Well, its March. Spring, with all its splendor, is just around the corner. A long time ago I had a fabulous car. My current car is also fabulous, but for different reasons. When I moved to California I came out here with just my car, my dog, and the (19inch) television that my mother insisted she needed binoculars to watch. Do they even make that size anymore? Sort of one step up from “phone” or “tablet” but below a traditional flatscreen? Anyways, I ADORED my car. It was a BMW Z3 convertible that my friends back home referred to as “the shoe”. As I said, this car was FABULOUS. SO MUCH FUN.
When I first moved to Orange County I would take daily drives up and down the coast from Dana Point to Newport and back around. Top down, wind in my hair, salt air kissing my skin, and Janet Jackson on my radio. Paradise. I never got sick of or even used to those views either. The OC coast is probably one of the most beautiful in the world, in my opinion.
I can’t say its been truly “winter” regarding climate.The weather is completely erratic here. Hot, cold, hot, cold. OR freezing in the morning, 90 degrees in the afternoon. The weather channel is not one to trust for reliability, either. However one trait of winter remains true; darkness at noon is practically a reality in LA until Spring springs into town. Thank goodness its on its way because I have had enough with midnight and am more than ready for some sunshine.
With spring’s approach I’ve been thinking a lot about my little shoe and how liberating a top-down drive felt. In fairness, my thoughts may have also been persuaded by the 80’s rock icon/gym buddy whose been talking with me about his brand new corvette convertible (so exciting).
Along with the fun, there are some (first world) “issues” that arise when one drives with the top down. Namely:
How To Avoid A Hairtastrophy And Other Negative Top Down Ramifications:
The Hair Wrap– First and foremost its imperative we classy women maintain hair integrity. Especially if the convertible joy ride is with a date! Plus HELLO, if your driving you have to be able to see!
2. Don’t forget your SPF. Anyone in this day and age that does not use SPF is an idiot. I’m sorry to be judgmental, and I know a tan looks great, but its STILL better to use SPF and a bronzer. Protect your skin people. Actually lets make this: DON’T FORGET YOUR SPF!!!
My esthetician recommends these Sunblocks by MD Solar Sciences. They are all natural and approved by the american dermatological society as safe and effective.
3. Sun Glasses. Protect your eyes too. Also because who doesn’t want to look like Jackie-O or Grace Kelly when going for a joy ride?
What The Heck To Wear To Go Cruisin’ In A Convertible:
Option A: Spring
Option B: Summer
Here’s an idea- lets rent a convertible for a day! Its more affordable than buying one and allows an opportunity to feel the joy!
PS I also hope I get to go for a spin in Rock Star’s new ride. #bucketlist.
Every time I take a trip to the central coast (of California) something inside me sets back to zero. I mean this in a good way. Like my internal compass re-aligns and I suddenly feel balanced and grounded.
This year is the first year I ventured north during the autumn and I was happily surprised by the colors of the changing trees. Mustards, chartreuse, and vibrant oranges brilliantly complimented the clear blue sky, mottled only by the sporadic cloud. The air up there is crisp now, and clean. At least I assume its clean because my deaf nose was able to smell again (the smog in LA has taken a bit of a toll on my sinuses).
Our final destination for some needed Thanksgiving RnR was in San Luis Obispo, but, as per usual, we took a pit stop in the quaint town of Santa Barbara. We both adore SB. Its just fun. The people are friendly and the shops are unique. The beach is gorgeous as well.
The drive from Santa Barbara to SLO is breathtaking. There are two routes- a coastal route, and a just as pretty “inland” route that I’ve named the painted landscape route, or the PLR. The latter is the road less traveled. I actually prefer the PLR because it feels like an escape into a different time-space continuum. The PLR somehow acts as a reminder to leave my stress behind, to take a deep breath and enjoy some time to replenish the soul.
Where to stay? The Sycamore Hotel:
MSM found this AMAZING little (ok not that little) hotel called The Sycamore. The hotel property is divided into three areas, town homes, cabins, and an area of natural hot spring hot tubs that can be rented. Each town home and cabin has a unique name, like “joy” or “serenity” We stayed in “fulfillment”.
The suites here are nothing short of amazing. High ceilings and happy yellow walls will make anyone smile. Each town home suite boasts king sized beds (ahhhhh), a fireplace (ahhhh), and, lucky us, a private natural hot spring hot tub! With hiking trails abound and a centrally located yoga center, there is enough to do here for a week! It kind of reminded me of a lavish summer camp. I was in heaven.
We arrived early in the evening on Thanksgiving, just in time to rest before partaking in the magnificent hotel-prepared feast. A feast deserving of a write-up in Town&Country. Our palates were prepped with a heart warming potato leak soup followed by a traditional Turkey Day dinner; roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans (with home made crispy onions – not the nasty canned ones), and a choice of pumpkin or apple pie for desert. All this paired with our choice of local wine.
After our meal MSM and I decided to snoop around the hotel’s property. This adventure lead us to a gated chef’s garden that was (probably mistakenly) unlocked. It was fun to see the origin of the herbs and vegetables that made up our prior meal. After exploring we retreated back to the room where we did absolutely nothing but relax and plot out our activities for the next day. It was perfect.
A day of wine tasting:
First of all, if you decide to stay at the Sycamore, you MUST set your alarm for an early wake up to hike the crest trail. The reasons this is so awesome are threefold. 1. you will burn off the meal from the night before 2. THE VEIW!!! And 3. The dogs! So many cute pups to pet and friendly people to meet. Its amazing how nice everyone is here. I can see why SLO was voted the happiest place in the US. Interesting fact- its ALSO in the top three areas of the world for the most centenarians with outstanding quality of life.
After a challenging but invigorating hike, the perfect denouement is wine tasting. San Luis Opispo and its neighbor, Paso Robles, host a plethora (I want to say 600 but I’m sure that can’t be right) of vineyards. Knowing how much I love learning about local wines and going wine tasting, MSM had planned to take us for a special birthday picnic at the vineyard where my favorite wine is made- Justin.
On the way to the vineyard we stopped in the heart of SLO to pick up some picnic sandwiches at the adorable High Street Market and Deli. OMG possibly the best sandwich and in-house made pickles I’ve ever had!
It took forever to get to Justin. An hour, to be exact. If you go to Justin you should know its actually in Paso Robles, NOT SLO! But it was well worth the wait. Besides, driving through rolling hills painted with autumn trees and cute cows and deer is relaxing. By the time we arrived at Justin, I felt at ease, and ten years younger.
After getting our buzz on at Justin we decided to do a wine and cheese tasting at Jada. I had never done a pairing before. Wine, Cheese, Wine, that is the order. The wine here paled in comparison to Justin. But the cheese was amazing! Especially the Irish Porter Beer Cheese. Who says you can’t mix wine and beer?
Our day of wine tasting ended with a wonderful dinner at the romantic Novo in San Luis Obispo, where we partook in a fabulous seafood linguine. We are always happy with the food at Novo. This restaurant is truly worthy of its own review – so thats all I’m going to say about it for now.
After a delicious dinner we enjoyed the hot tub one last time before settling down in bed to marathon watch “Younger”. Have you ever watched that show? Its me in a nut shell. I read somewhere recently that its actually healthy to lie about your age. So I decided that I am reclaiming the last ten years. I am no longer blankety blank. Instead, I just turned ten years younger!
What the heck to wear in Wine Country California:
Central Coast California in the fall has a wide range of temperatures. Even within a day the weather can swing from 80 degrees in the afternoon to 45 at night. I’m feeling redundant, but…..layering is essential. I packed for this trip with no help from Danielle, and I’m not truly confident in my pairings. But I’ll post them anyways:
With replenished souls and a new lease on life, we headed back to Los Angeles. I had a wonderful birthday/Thanksgiving weekend, with a newly attained knowledge of so many things for which to be thankful.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving memories?
Midwest summers were a magical time for me. Hot humid days with an underscore of crickets and refreshing evenings lit by fireflies. No obstacles to deter my unbounded imagination.
This year, 2015, marks the 30th anniversary of one of my all time favorite films, Back To The Future. I remember the first time I ever saw the movie. My best friend Charlotte and I spent all day swimming and playing at the Oakwood Country Club. We started by laying out poolside, dousing ourselves with Bain De Soliel #4. We had lunch at the “Snack Bar”. Followed by 40 minutes or so of watching MTV for an air conditioned break in the club’s “Living Room”. Then more lounging poolside, including many moments of jumping in the water and splashing around while talking. Ahhh life as a youngster was so great. Around 5 PM my mom asked if we would like her to drop us off at a movie. That’s when we decided to see Back to the Future.
I’ve always enjoyed movies, but Back To The Future is particularly special to me. It was after that night I concocted this cockamamie idea that I would one day move to LA and mary Michael J Fox. Hahaha. But it wasn’t just a crush on him. The movie was so well done that I call the viewing date a “red letter date” in my history (to quote doc brown). I had been transported into another world and lived an adventure that normally couldn’t have been lived (I think this happens more easily for us overly-empathetic folk). The seed had been planted. I knew I wanted to somehow be involved in making films like these. Films that offer an escape, inspiration, education, and most importantly, Magic.
Last Saturday night the Michael J. Fox foundation and Cinespia (one of my favorite summer activities- outside air and movies?! I mean can it get any better??) joined forces to throw a benefit double feature screening of Back To The Future and its sequel, Back to the future 2 (don’t get me started on that one :P). There was no way I was missing out on this.
The whole night was like being transported back to 1985. It was our own journey of time travel 🙂 and it was SO MUCH FUN. The DJ was awesome. On the lawn we bumped into old friends and work colleagues. We danced to songs from the movie soundtrack and fun hits from the 80’s like New Edition’s Cool It Now and a newly mixed rendition of Human League’s Don’t You Want Me Baby. We had our picture taken in a DeLorean. The open bar was delish. And since we were in the VIP section MSM and I were gifted soft and warm 30th anniversary Back to the Future blankets, which I love.
Once the sun set the entire lot of us situated ourselves on large blankets that enveloped the lawn. We picnicked and relaxed under the stars as we watched the films. Its amazing how the movie still holds up. The humor plays, the acting is incredible. Yes, MJF and Christopher Lloyd are great but as a kid I never realized the incredible talents of Krispin Glover and Emma Thompson. The movie felt like it ended right when it started. The pacing is perfect. The editing was so strong I literally was sucked into the story, re-living the adventure. The best news? While we were having all this fun, $100K was raised for The Fox Foundation/Parkinson’s research to find a cure!!!
At the end of the night we were all transported back to 2015. I love how watching that movie made me feel like I took a time machine to 1985 (omg! Hot Tub Time Machine! Another great one!).
What to wear to al fresco movie screening?
Even when its 102 degrees during the day, it gets cool at night. Believe me.
This past weekend MSM surprised me with a spontaneous staycation in Orange County! He only gave me a few moments to pack and told me to not over think it 🙂 He knows me well.
What to wear:
I was excited to take my beautiful new Fendi Crocodile sandals for a test run before wearing them in Hawaii. Good thing I did, too, because by hour four my feet were bleeding (ah the price we pay to stay in style). Once the bandaids were in place, things were fine. They are actually very comfortable. Since I wore them all weekend, the leather softened so next wear will be great. Lesson learned- break in sandals only a few hours at a time.
For all you beach goers, I have found (via Danielle) the most AMAZING tote. It fits everything, does not get too heavy even when packed to the rim, is comfortable to carry and is GORGEOUS! The leather is coated so it will last for many years too. Its well worth the price. I love it for the beach and will use it as a carry on when traveling.
This was my first time wearing a sun hat (this one is spf 50). I felt so lady like.
Despite the hat, don’t forget your sunscreen!
We had a fabulous lunch at this quaint little restaurant called Anastasia’s. When I first saw it I thought “the eyebrow bar has a cafe now?” But they are not related. If your are ever in Laguna I highly suggest this place. The owner- I assume named Anastasia- walks around and talks/jokes with the customers. She’s lovely and has a great sense of humor. She is also very familiar with the area and can suggest other options regarding restaurants as well as where the night life is lively. They specialize in sandwiches, salads, and breakfast foods. Everything was fresh and I assume organic. They even custom make juices with fun names which unfortunately I didn’t write down, so I don’t remember (other than The Vampire, which I ordered). The line to the counter was long but the food was well worth the wait. Delicious!
Laguna Night Life
Despite living in OC for so long, I had never attended the local Sawdust Festival. Its an arts and crafts fair that I had heard about for years and always wanted to see. Ends up its really fun! We enjoyed wine and quesadilla while listening to live music and then walked around to see the art booths. One crafts woman created comfortable earrings for people with ears that aren’t pierced. I have to say – this is no easy task. This artist also has a sense of humor; she named her company Hooker Earrings.
We ended our night with the Electric Light Parade at Disneyland! So much fun!!!