IKEA madness

 

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The current shape of my kitchen. Look at the amazing c1963 wallpaper that was living below the drywall and old cabinets! How fun!! Remember, this is an original 1920 California bungalow, making it 100 year old/century home đź’— I can tell so much love has been exchanged here.

Oh Em Gee!! IKEA is maddening!! The bathroom has been so much fun, but designing this kitchen is nooooot as lovely of an experience. First of all, why in the world are IKEA cabinets $2200?! IKEA. Cabinets. Not including  the counter and appliances. Just. The. Cabinets. 🤯. It makes no sense to me!!

When I first arrived at IKEA, I was actually pleasantly surprised by how happy it made me. The tiny room displays were so inviting and pretty, I felt assured that both the cottage and main house would be gorgeous despite their compact statures. There was a really pretty living room, a bathroom I may copy for the 3/4 bath in the main house, and even a couple nice looking kitchens. At first I was intrigued and excited to begin the kitchen planning.

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Such a well decorated cute space. It’s all in the details.
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Love this little outdoor garden area. Perfect addition for a tiny home. An outdoor room can make a home feel bigger. Living in SoCal allows us that opportunity.
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Definitely plan on using the closet system in the main house. It’ll save me a ton of money. Plus they just look nice. This bedroom was only 230sf, yet felt elegant and nice. Wait a minute… 230sf isn’t actually small…..

I was assigned to a man named Paul who did explain he was fairly new at kitchen design. FYI, by the way, you can’t just show up and design a kitchen with a designer. Appointments have to be made well in advance  ( this IKEA was backed up by three weeks). Paul admitted the cottage kitchen was a challenge due to its lack of space in conjunction with its shape. I considered pushing out the back wall to create enough space to build a galley kitchen, but expanding the exterior would put me over budget and eat into the budget for the main house.

Different kitchen layouts

👆🏼In case anyone is interested in learning the different kitchen shapes, this is a great explanation.

Let me tell you, kitchen cabinets are actually hideous. And piecing them together is like playing Tetris except somehow not at all fun. If my budget was unlimited, I’m certain it would have been a better experience. It just seems like things are more expensive only because they are made for a kitchen. Maybe I should put bathroom cabinets in the kitchen. “Oh yes, these are DEFINITELY for a bath room. Only $50?! Great! Haha I fooled you, they’re going on my kitchen!!”

The issue with IKEA  cabinets (other than price) is the doors are not inset. On the one hand, this is what creates the sleek modern look ikea is known for. On the other hand, the door style requires there be space for the door to hinge open. Space being the key word. Space being something that is majorly lacking in the cottage kitchen. It was like trying to squeeze Cinderella’s mean step sister’s gigantic foot into the tiny glass slipper.

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IKEA’s design software was cool. Too bad my kitchen is so small nothing useful really fits. I’m not giving up! I know there will be a solution and something will fit and be great.

Once I realized three hours had passed, we still hadn’t figured out how to deal with the dead space to the left of the sink (a corner cabinet with lazy Susan won’t fit in my kitchen), and the moderately decent solution for too much money was actually less than moderately decent, I ran off. Poor Rudi needed to be free! I texted with Mike who assured me we’d find better cabinets for a significantly lower cost, as well as nice countertop that is reasonably priced (the quartz at ikea has a 25sf minimum and starts at….are you sitting?….$1500!! )

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Rudi had enough after 3 hours. He thinks a Dutch door from the kitchen to the back yard is a great idea though, and so do I đź’—

It was a successful day but I’m exhausted.  I learned about how ikea works and I’m not sure custom cabinets would cost more. If so, then ikea could be a solution for the main house (not the counter top though!!) and/or for someone who wants a sleek modern look and can’t afford going custom but can afford ikea. The Home Depot cabinets are not pretty, but for a rental likely fine and worth the price. I feel like money is better spent on getting durable appliances and reasonably priced hard to ruin countertop.

 

I’ll keep y’all  posted.
Toodles!

Xoxo

QJ

QJ

The Bathroom Quandary: A Sink Conundrum.

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You’re my obsession, Farm Sink. You may be SO last year (actually these were apparently a big deal in 2017), but I 100% agree with  Design Chic , totally in love with the look of these antique farm sinks.

Last night I met with my contractor, Mike, at the “rental cottage” (which we’ve named it, so I will call it that from now on). I am SO excited!! He has already done so much work. The marred mildewed floors are all pulled up and the disgusting dilapidated appliances are all out. There’s already a hole in the wall in preparation for the barn doors, and I can tell the space will feel much more open that way. Also the closet has been demo’ed so we can put in our ikea hacked closet system (once i muster up enough nerve to actually go to ikea and pick one out).

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The hole in the wall, and i’m not talking about the bar in Austin (though that bar makes FANTASTIC tacos!). I decided to add barn doors so the tenant can decide if he/she wants to make the apartment feel more open or if an actual closed- off bedroom is ideal. Also, when its time to sleep, the doors can be shut for privacy.

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Here’s my demolished bathroom. I love it! It’s on its way to the clean slate phase. The death of the past, soon to move on to the introduction of its re birth. It will be gorgeous and the site of many wonderful gifts!

First we discussed the bathroom in great detail. As you can see, it is TINY. Maybe it is hard to tell with no reference, but seriously, it’s the size of a hallway. Not as tiny, apparently, as Mike’s guest bath, but in my opinion its TINY. I’m still excited because I have big things planned for this bitsy space. I’m looking into a 30″x 48″ window on the back wall to open up the space and to allow in abundant natural sunlight. The window will be right at the shower and is large, so I am  looking at one that can become opaque by the push of a button! It has been challenging to remember this isn’t really MY space to live in, its a rental. So I have to stay neutral and universal with my choices. My “homework” , assigned by Mike,  is to pick out tiles and a sink/vanity. It is harder than I thought (but still totally fun) because there are SO many choices. My designer, David, recommended Daltile (daltile.com) and Mike recommended Emser Tile (Emser.com) so i’ve been perusing both websites while waiting for story board revisions to come in at work. I’ve also been looking at small bathroom ideas on pinterest. I want to give the room the illusion of space. Here are some ideas I am considering. Maybe someone out there reading this will have some input:

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This was my inspiration for the window. I originally wanted to copy this entire bathroom, but now that i’ve thought about it, I imagine its too many lines for my ity bitty space,  and will be an eye sore. I do like the mirror, the colors, and the idea of a floating sink (more floor space is better).

 

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I apparently am into navy, black and blue, and my eye is drawn to subway tile. I love this bathroom. I love the contrast of the floor juxtaposed against the wall, and I adore the wallpaper (which is shocking me!).  At least I love this photo of this bathroom. Would i love it in real life? I am not sure. Also, is it something a renter would like?

 

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Maybe something like this would be better. I love the floor. It is pretty and seems like it could give the room an illusion of depth. The glossy subway tiles filed with white grout appear cleaner than the subway tiles in the first photo. The all white ensemble would reflect the light and give a sense of space, maybe?

Mike liked the idea of a floating vanity. He did say with such a small space, it is better to have less on the floor. I love the one in the first photo. I found it in two places, both cost a fortune.

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Smart to have a shelf above the sink, since there is no vanity space. Which actually could be a problem for renters. No vanity space is No bueno, really. Mike and I did discuss a linen/storage closet at the end of the bathroom, but under the sink cabinet space may be imperative. Not sure its worth putting expensive design over functionality in this situation. Maybe it would be better to find a nice sink that does have under cabinet storage. I do love this though, and it seems compact which is perfect for this particular bathroom. Of course I would want it in navy. In case you are interested, here’s where you can find these:

Antique Farm Sink by Kohler Amazon $1200

 Farm Sink on Houzz for $1400

I will keep searching for floating wall mounted vanities. So far….yuk. I like the farm sink. I haven’t even begun to think about what color to paint the half wall that will not be tiled. haha. I’ll get there!

It’s interesting how its hard to take my own taste out of it and be neutral. I’ve never been “average”, so it is a challenge for me to try and think like “the masses”. It is difficult to put my head into the mind of the “average Joe” when I truly believe each and every one of us, at least deep down if not evident on the surface, is totally unique. I do love that I am practicing my decision making skills. For a long time (like, my entire life), I made decisions based on what would make other people happy and/or what would keep me far away from conflict. Now I will need to make executive choices based on this cottage being a business. Let’s be honest, I would be so excited if one day I could build another unit over the garage, and then call the triplex an ACTUAL Bed and Breakfast/Hotel! I am happily energized by doing research, and making these choices. I am improving my visionary skills! And if I pick something that doesn’t work, we can (and will) change it!

More to come! Mike is sending possible kitchen layouts soon.

 

xoxo

QJ

QJ

New Decade, New Digs.

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On December 3, 2019 Rudi and I bought a house!!

I guess the process took four or five years. When I first started writing this blog, I was looking for a house. I feel like my years with MSM was a wrinkle in time that took me off my path. Actually not really, because I definitely loved him and the breakup nearly destroyed me. It turned me into a totally different person. On the good side, I am now more self sufficient. I have no interest in falling so in love with anyone ever again. Never again will I admire my mate to the point that I need them to validate me and my choices. I have no interest in that. I just want to be with someone who can take care of themselves, let me take care of myself,  and then sometimes we can hang out and have fun together. In my dreams I still want a kind and loving relationship filled with pets, travels, service to the world, joy, laughter, self  growth (learning new things together), and passion. I am working on trusting the process to get there, and trusting the entire thing, actually. For now I bought a house. I don’t know what got me starting to look. Actually, yes I do. I was fostering my dog Rudi, who I am somehow trying to keep but as I stated before I don’t want too much attachment to anyone, so he is free to leave me if someone else can provide him with a better life. I challenge anyone to that, though, because I adore this dog, and have invested A LOT into his happiness. It’s a fantastic return on investment because he is sweet, makes me laugh, and he is unconditionally loving. Anyways, I was fostering Rudi and he was barking a lot and he MAYBE chewed the balcony post in the amazing duplex i was renting (i LOVED that place) so the landlord didn’t renew my lease. I am not certain thats WHY he didn’t renew it because the day I left (literally moments later), I stuck the address into google search, and up it came for $500/mo more rent. So it is extremely possible the landlord just wanted more money. Greedy bastard. But I do understand. LA is expensive. Especially Santa Monica. They gave me 20days notice. That’s right. Twenty days to find a new house, pack my stuff, and move out (more bastardly than raising the rent). Was I stressed, you ask? BEYOND. This entire scenario has wreaked havoc on my blood pressure (Not kidding. Quite serious in fact.  I’m working on that with a doctor and really hoping we can get this under control and consistently good in what I hope is quick period of time because I don’t do well when I am in fear of health issues). I ended up in an Air BNB for 3 weeks (cost a fortune), a few hotels (which was somewhat fun. I should have reviewed them!), and then renting a holding cell, which is actually a lovely apartment, in the same complex where my nephew and his wife live. The amenities are amazing, the people are friendly, the rent isn’t bad, and the staff are really sweet people. I love the pool and hot tub, I love that i have a parking space in a garage, and I love that my nephew and niece are so close. It has been fun living there, actually, despite how dark my unit is. And I never unpacked fully because immediately I started house hunting fairly aggressively. I just would like to go somewhere and live there at least five years and NOT be kicked out or worry about rent going up. This way I will own something and hopefully…..HOPEFULLY it will appreciate this time (unlike last time when I bought in 2006 and then the crash happened in 2008). I’ve been gun-shy, but I am excited. Rudi loves the yard and seems at home in the space. The fun part is, the entire place needs to be completely renovated. So I am going to get to basically make my own home. With restrictions, of course. I have to stick within my budget. I WILL make a nice home. The greatest part of it all is its a duplex. Two 1920 single family bungalows on one lot. So I will be renting out one of them to help pay the mortgage. The hard part is my  budget and the bungalows are both pretty small. I know that anything under 1500SF is too small for me, so I am going to need to figure out how to make 1100SF FEEL like 1500. Solution #1-  I hired a Feng Shui specialist to go through the space with hopes she can help me create an efficient, open and airy floor plan. #2-  I am currently talking with different architects and interior designers so I can find an affordable one to work with and support me to do this right. My contractor, Mike, is one of my closest friend’s best friend. So lets hope we are all still in love with each other on the flip side. Pun intended hahaha

The Feng Shui lady was interesting……I was SUPER excited about her. She got fantastic yelp reviews but when she showed up she was frazzled. In her defense she wasn’t feeling well, and apparently had bronchitis. At first she seemed mean, but I am sensitive so I knew I may have been taking things wrong. Once time passed, she was really very sweet and gave me a lot of her time. However, every time I email a question, her answers, though they do answer my questions, seem abrasive. I guess its hard to tell tone in an email so I’ve been giving her the benefit of the doubt. She didn’t give me colors or a basic layout describing what quadrant was what- so I ‘m not sure where “love” is (now I know because I asked) or “finance”, or “helpful people”. Whats advantageous about knowing these things is one can put stuff in the quadrants to enhance positive energy in each arena. For example, in the helpful people quadrant (ie friends), its good to hang art with groups of people, and to place certain colors and elements that go with that idea to promote more friendships in life. As a bonus, once done, the rooms seem well designed because Feng Shui lays down ideas for color and decor in the different quadrants. Since my Feng Shui lady didn’t share this information with me, I will not likely be using her for anything else. I may even call a different Feng Shui person,  or just use what she did give me, trust it, and not worry about it ever again? Her stuff was more about protecting the house and making it a strong, energetically safe, place to live. And that is a good thing.

Rudi is SO excited about his new house and yard. My friend Ina and her pup Elvis stopped by. My first friend to see the place. I’m excited she got to see the “before”. 

I wish I had blogged through my breakup and the creation of my last home (the duplex I rented). All the bumble dates and self growth I went through, I am sure, would have been funny and also may have helped other people going through a break up. It just all felt very personal and I didn’t want any of it out in the internet. There are probably a lot of blogs that cover that topic.

So thats the catch up. I plan to blog about the renovation and where I am at in my life and how this is all going. Coincidentally I picked the death card in my tarot reading the other day (yeah, I did a tarot reading, keep your comments to yourself haha). This obviously scared the crap out of me, but then I read that it actually was not literal. That it meant all negative things that I no longer need will be leaving my life. That if I do whats needed, my health will be improved and back to fantastic. That it is a good time to renovate and start new projects. Perfect timing with the New Year just around the corner,  I am really excited to create something new. I am excited to have this fun project, to pick colors and tiles, and shower heads, and to plot out a floor plan. I am excited to create this new home and business (the rental unit), and to build a strong foundation for love, health, prosperity, and happiness in the new decade! I am standing up to the challenge of creating something amazing in my tiny home with my tiny budget.  download

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Passion cures the clamorous mind.

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I remember when I was three or four I composed my first song. I didn’t know how to write or read music, so I literally wrote “La la la” on a piece of paper. I wrote it in a strange sort of prose- with odd spacing- probably thinking of COURSE i would remember the melody. Alas, when I re-discovered that paper maybe twelve years later, I did not remember anything. Honestly I was SO beyond excited when I found the note and when I opened it up and read it my heart was broken by the:

La la la   la la

lalalalalalalala

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hahaha is more like it!

The last time I had a major work hiatus previous to this past one, I decided to use the time to exercise my mind and learn something new. I decided on the violin, and I never looked back. I practiced fervorously every day. I was quickly addicted and I wasn’t horrible. My teacher told me she was impressed. I mean granted I was like 30+ years old with previous piano lessons of which she was unaware but regardless, she told me I was doing unexpectedly well and that I picked it up faster than anyone she had ever met. And I LOVED IT. Not the praise, I LOVED playing.

The Benefits of Learning A Musical Instrument

  1. Increases the capacity of your memory.
  2. Enhances coordination.
  3. Fosters self expression.
  4. Relieves stress.
  5. Creates a sense of achievement.
  6. Boosts listening skills.
  7. Promotes happiness in your life and to those around you.

I miss my violin, and the zen of playing it. I need to get her out of storage. Seriously.

We should all resolve to do something wonderful that placates our minds in 2017.

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Must Love Dogs

 

 

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Such a cutie! Dogs are definitely man’s (and woman’s) best friend! 

I loved working for a salon. I was just thinking about that today. It was so much fun. The sisterhood, the camaraderie, and all that laughter! The exchange of services didn’t hurt either. An eyebrow wax and facial for highlights or a pedicure for a pedicure! But mostly it was the sense of fitting into something that was bigger than myself. I was a part of something, a group of women that would have run through fire for each other. Its really odd to me how there wasn’t much cattiness. We all really got along and had each other’s back. I miss that. I miss that a lot.

We all know its hard to make new friends as we get older. It really is. My two closest girl friends moved across the country and  I’ve been doing some soul searching in attempt to figure out where I can make new friends. Definitely not to replace the old, they’re not replaceable! But I do need a local support group, people I can connect with in my neighborhood. The new job is good. Its great, actually. I feel much more part of the whole team here. I’m invited into conversations and well received. I love that. Most days we all eat lunch together as well, which is awesome. The crew is exceptionally cool. We have a dynamic group of very different personalities that all seem to get along and respect each other (so far, anyways). I think back to the Emmy’s consideration party for Jane The Virgin and how well that crew got along. I feel like this one is on that path. Its very refreshing.

In my quest to meet new friends, I’ve decided to look to new volunteer ventures, especially since I am on the cusp of releasing myself from the Junior League of Los Angeles. With this in mind, last weekend I decided to visit the Much Love Animal Rescue charity event at Bloomingdales. This event was brought to my attention by Tori Spelling via Instagram. There were two motivators that pushed me to attend the party. 1. Dogs. 2. Tori. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I adore Tori Spelling. She’s an amazingly witty and humorous writer and just deep down a good person. I’m inspired by her. Shall I do a list? I think so….

Things I’ve learned from Tori Spelling:

  1. Its ok and probably a good idea to laugh at yourself.
  2. On a similiar note, always take the humorous angle first. My dad said this too- find the funny in every situation. Its always there. And it really helps to just laugh!
  3. Be kind as if you think the best of everyone.
  4. The unconditional love of animals is real, not a figment of my imagination.
  5. Big families are a good thing- including extended members.
  6. Share your experiences with others. Especially the ones that you can help educate or inspire, even if it makes you vulnerable.
  7. Love yourself no matter what. Not in an egotistical way, but in a respectful way.
  8. Nurture your friendships. They are important. Tori (and I ) have both had the same best friend for years. I won’t say how long because I don’t want to give up my age- but trust me, a long time.

With this being said, of COURSE I was excited to meet her AND to help out the puppy dogs!

The Event:

I was a bit disappointed the turn out appeared very slight. Surprisingly the line to meet Tori was short, which was great but also not so great- I had hoped a lot of people were participating so that Much Love Animal Rescue could raise a considerable amount of money.

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I just adore Tori. She’s so down to earth and unaffected. I appreciate her strong desire to help animals as well as her deep love for dogs (it matches mine) and also how much she loves her family. She’s one of the least entitled people I’ve ever met and am so happy that in person she’s exactly what I imagined. 

Available to those that showed their receipts of purchase from Bloomies (a percentage of the proceeds went to the charity), there was a DJ, food and drinks, and a station to make a beaded bracelet. At the bead station I met Dean (Tori’s husband) and her daughter (I think Stella?), both exceptionally sweet and kind hearted. Dean was holding a rescue dog that they were taking home with them! That dog looked so content (not to mention adorable) in his arms. Her daughter was SUPER sweet and helped me design my bracelet. She also made one for her dad. I loved seeing how “normal” their family was and how well they interacted.  I appreciate that both Dean and Tori treated me as an equal who happened to be attending the same event.

 

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I love this bracelet that Tori’s daughter and I made together. I had assumed I’d throw it in a drawer but I actually have worn it a few times already!

The dogs were SO CUTE. I fell in love with this little dark tan baby girl that looked like a wired haired dachshund. MSM, however, didn’t budge on the the “no dog” policy that we’re currently obliged to follow at the apartment complex.

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The adorable Cami, who was ultimately adopted by the McDermotts. Photo from the Much Love website. Please go check out all the other adorable pups looking for humans to love. Link below….

In an effort to donate, I purchased the most BEAUTIFUL NARS compact. My thought was that I wished they had set up this event at Saks, since I don’t buy anything clothing wise (for the most part) without Danielle. But here’s the compact:

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Nars’ holiday cheek and lip palette is SO beautiful. I was happy to have an excuse to splurge a little on some new makeup.
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Look at the stunning cheek colors. Highlighter and blush all in one place, this compact is just gorgeous. And the texture is like butter, a great sign that they colors will last.

Sadly I did not make a new friend at the event. Lets face it, no matter how cool Tori is, I knew there would be no way we’d be exchanging numbers and grabbing coffee next week (sadly). Here lays the selfish reason I was bummed the turn out wasn’t bigger. I literally only spoke with Tori, Dean, their daughter, and the bead lady! (Bead lady was actually super cool). Despite no new friendships  I’m grateful I attended because the rescue itself seems amazing. I may reach out and see if they need any volunteers (or even better, board members) to help plan events. But first I want to look into other 501c3. I need to pick just one in which to get involved so I don’t spread myself too thin. I have learned, though, that its important to feel passionately about the non profit you do work with, and I DEFINITELY love dogs….so this one may be the right fit.

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In case your interested in getting involved, here’s a quick link to the rescue: Much Love Animal Rescue This is an amazing foundation that provides foster homes to pets in need. Of course they also help find forever homes for these adorable fur babies.

What the heck to wear to a dog rescue fund raiser at the mall:

I kept it casual because I wanted to keep it real.

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A candid shot of Tori and I perusing the floor, taken by my own personal paparazzi, MSM 🙂 How adorable is that baby bump on T? My outfit: Top: Chaser Layered blouse: Rails Jeans: Rag and Bone Bag: Gucci

I like the idea of making friends through volunteering or being on a board of a non profit because I think it will bring me to like-minded people, where a basis for friendship can be real and substantial.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Cabin in the Woods

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For the 20th anniversary of her 25th birthday, my friend Ina decided to experience wine tasting in Paso Robles. MSM and I have touched on wine tasting here, but we only went to two vineyards (see my post from last thanksgiving), so I was more than excited about this trip. Ina wanted to make sure she could bring her fur child, Elvis, so she searched through Air BnB for dog friendly locations. She couldn’t have picked a more spectacular place than the one she picked! Nestled in the “town” of Templeton, this secluded cabin in the woods was a breathtaking hideout and the perfect getaway. Its also a perfect place for Halloween!

Upon arrival we weren’t sure into what we were getting. At one A.M (we had to leave after a class I’m taking that ends at 10pm)  MSM plowed up a steep incline ensconced in brush and  filth, hardly indicative of a road. Damion, Ina’s husband, was whispering Jason’s infamous “chachacah ahahah”. Where was this place?? Up and around a hill and suddenly the cabin was revealed. At this point we were expecting something straight out of the film Army of Darkness (or Friday the 13th), but instead before us was a beautiful cabin with an exterior enveloped in immeasurably large windows. The interior was modern with built in book shelves FULL of books. The house came equip with an outdoor BBQ and a gorgeous galley kitchen, Wusthof knives and all clad pans included. Any chef would have been excited. Ina was allowed first dibs on rooms, since it was her birthday :). She picked the upper loft so MSM and I stayed in the downstairs room covered in windows. I LOVED IT. It was like sleeping in a tree house! The windows in this house had no curtains, but when the sun came up in the morning it was so peaceful the light did not deter our sleep. I felt home for the first time in a long time. We were surrounded by trees and sky and blue jays. It was wonderful. Even our shower was completely open to nature (yep, floor to ceiling windows in the bathroom). It was so much fun to wash up in what felt like a real waterfall!

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A view with a shower or a shower with a view?

After eating a gourmet breakfast of veggie scramble with toast (prepared by our men), the wine tour van picked us up for a fun day of wine tasting. And yes, with our help, they were able to find the abode. Though we had to walk down the hill. hahaha.

Vineyards of Paso Robles:

Midnight

Midnight Vineyard was our first stop and was probably my favorite. The hostesses were so sweet and gave us great education on their wines. Also they had an adorable dog-like cat that just came to greet us and then curled up by our feet. This vineyard produced a white wine that I really enjoyed. I’m not a big white person, but it was dry and crisp and delicious.

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I had such a great time walking around the grounds of Midnight. Ina and I climbed onto a tractor, a reoccurring motif throughout our afternoon.
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Chardonnay is Midnight’s 19 year old Vineyard cat. She was a ferrel cat that adopted the owners a long time ago. So sweet and adorable. It was love at first sight for her and I. 

 

Dark Star

Despite the cool name (reminds me of Star Wars for some reason…) MSM and I sat this one out, so we did not taste the wine. BUT we did meet these two cuties:

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At Dark Star we met the rest of our pack. These two lovely blondes and their family joined us the remainder of the day. 

 

Red Soles

Red soles was a huge hit. The wine was very good, especially the Rosé. ANNNND, Red Soles is also a distillery which the rest of our crew loved. MSM enjoyed their limoncello and Damion liked the rum. The hard stuff somewhat reminded me of rubbing alcohol, so I stuck with wine.

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Always a sucker for the footprints. And Rosé.

 

J. Lohr

J. Lohr was Ina’s birthday pick, and I can see why. The wine here was quite good. The grounds were stunning. Here we stopped for a picnic lunch before our tastings.

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Another Vineyard dog. Who can say “no” to a corgi? Not me! Look at that face!

 

Via Vega

Via Vega was the last leg of our tour. A very amusing vineyard, but not the best wine in the world, in my opinion. I don’t like writing negative reviews, so I’ll try to be constructive here. I’m not sure if I just need to revisit Via Vega under different circumstances because the owner was in a hurry to close up this day in order to get to his beloved annual Beaver Festival. I DID like that every year Via Vega produces a stock whose wine sales are used to raise money for their neighboring Zoo. I appreciate the philanthropic notion as well as anyone that promotes something to help animals. Unfortunately , I felt this place was a “vineyard for beer lovers”. During the tasting they didn’t really educate us about the wines at all, the owner just poured our ounces and told stories about himself. When we first arrived we were peeking about the nooks and crannies of this unconventionally decorated tasting room and the owner basically yelled at us to “get on with it” so that he could close early. He came across as a bit abrasive, which turned me off from the wines. Wasn’t loving his vibe. But i DID love their vineyard dog.

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I didn’t love the wine at Via Vega, but their dog was ADORABLE! I’m really excited that all these vineyards are so pet friendly!
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Another tractor to crawl on. This one channeled my inner Ronald Miller 🙂
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Birthday girl with the two adorable golden’s that joined our tasting entourage.

 

Denouement

After a day of wine tasting we were all exhausted. Big Chill Style, we cooked a great Curtis Stone recipe for dinner (we were all slicing and dicing). We ate, and pretty much crashed on the sofa until we moved into our respective beds. Even Elvis was tired.

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Elvis guarded the house while we all relaxed after a long day of wine tasting and vineyard exploration.

The next morning MSM and I took a hike around the property. The whole place was landscaped with secret spots and benches. It was incredible. So quiet and inviting but interesting with its little hints of horror movies- for example a small unfinished shed out back, or the murder of yellow jackets that swarmed around us (Damion was stung, thank goodness he’s not allergic!). After our walk the guys watched football and I did something I’ve been wanting to do FOREVER. I grabbed a book, laid down on a surprisingly comfortable futon, and, with natural sunlight abundant, I read. No interruptions. It. Was. Incredible.

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Inside the Cabin In The Woods was an opulence of books and natural light. A reader’s dream. Coffee mug is actual size!

We all discussed visiting here again some day. I can not WAIT!

What the heck to wear while wine tasting in Paso Robles:

Answer: Layers. I think I said that last time. It was cool in the morning and then became abruptly HOT HOT HOT.

Second answer: Comfortable shoes. Heels are great and sexy, but not the best idea here. Especially if your like me and you like to explore the surroundings.

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This Layer was comprised of: Shoes: Fendi  Shorts: One Teaspoon  Top: Charlotte Russe (i.e wear something you can spill wine on and not care) Above: outfits Top : current elliott Tank: Jackelope, Austin  Shorts: Joie  Sneakers: Asics
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This seemingly hot fedora from Rag and Bone was the perfect protection from the sun. Oddly my head didn’t over heat at all. I definitely recommend a fedora when wine tasting. They protect you from the sun and are so stylish!

J’aime boire du vin rouge Ă  midi! <– I’m learning something from duo lingo! 🙂

More later…..

xo

QJ

QJ

Dad.

 

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A few years ago I wrote this essay about my father and I wanted to re share it here. My dad always loved my writing and often suggested I focus on it. He is one of the reasons I started this blog! Four years ago, on Oct 12 2012, my father passed away from complications of dementia. He was 87 years young. I say “young” because even until the end he maintained his child-like sense of curiosity and humor. He was gifted at finding excitement in even the most banal things. He was one of my biggest supporters, always helping me to see the silver lining and to seek the “funny” in every situation.  I miss him immensely.

When I was two or three my father taught me how to ski. At first I didn’t love the sport, but I DID love my beautiful red ski boots. Once a shoe lover,always a shoe lover, I guess. I adored their candy red shell, and how it felt to walk around in them with that fun clunky gait. Ba-bam ba-bam. Those of you who have skied know the rhythm of which I speak. The sport grew on me and eventually I learned to really enjoy it. In high school, I followed in my brother’s footsteps and became a certified ski instructor. Other than my current career, this was probably the best job I ever had. It was rewarding teaching people a sport and it felt great to be part of a like minded group of amazing and fun people who remain my friends even today. I also loved the bonding between my brother and me. Over the years I went on family ski trips to Colorado, Utah, Vermont, New York State, Austria, Switzerland, and others that I’m probably forgetting. But the trips that stick out the most in my mind are the ones I took alone with my father. Whether it was a local day trip to the Cleveland Ski Club, to Peak-and-Peak (just two hours from home), or to Park City, Utah, Skiing with my dad was always very special. It gave us time to bond and have fun together. To laugh, share ideas, and also to sit in peace together on the chair lift and take in the beauty of nature. “Look Jilly, isn’t it beautiful?”, my father would say. Somehow being there in the snow, hearing only the swishing of the skis and the creaking motor of the chair, everything else in the world was quiet as if the blanket of snow was silencing the earth into a peaceful lull. I asked my dad once why he loved skiing so much and he said “because we live in Ohio and I needed to find something fun to do outside despite the winter cold.” And then in an exhilarated tone he added “Also, don’t you feel so free flying down that Mountain?!!”. My father skied until he was 85. And the two years he was stuck in the home before he passed away, there was always a Ski magazine next to him. By teaching me the art of skiing my father taught me so much more. How to see the best in something, how to find the good in a challenging situation, how to learn from your mistakes or at least laugh at them, how to see beauty where other people don’t, the importance of silence. But the greatest thing he did, I’m not even sure he was aware of. I had avoided skiing for a long time once my father became ill and especially after he passed away. This past weekend I went for the first time in five years. I was nervous and tried to make excuses not to go but my friends very supportively nudged me on. I sat on the chairlift and looked out. I saw the beauty of the blue sky. The snow covered mountains, the green pines, the frozen lakes. As I sat there, going up the mountain, I could hear the beautiful peace and quiet of the blanketed earth, the familiar sound of the lift motor, and most importantly I could hear my father say “Look Jilly, Isn’t it beautiful?” and for that brief moment he was there with me. By teaching me skiing my father gave me a gift. The gift of him.

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Dad’s first selfie! This is a photo of my dad and I during a winter visit in 2011. I’m so glad he was still laughing. We had so much fun that day taking a walk around the home where he lived. He slipped on ice and fell but thankfully wasn’t hurt. Despite his illness he remembered to lift his head so he didn’t hit it.

Life is way too short. Lets embrace every moment.

xoxo

QJ

QJ