Minstrels And Maidens Galore

When I wanted to attend a new festival, I had so many options to choose from and not enough at the same time. I began my festival search a little late into my 30-Before-30 challenge and I found myself with a million festivals that I wanted to experience and a year in which to wait for them. That’s right, most of the festivals I envisioned going to had already passed by the time I started looking. Apparently, the prime season is the summer and there aren’t many in winter and spring. I thought about revisiting one I’ve already been to, but I figured that would be cheating myself out of what I set out to do which was find a new one to enjoy.

So I kept looking.

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Falling And Laughing: Adventures In Wine Country

It’s fair to say that I love wine.  Though I’m by no means a wine snob and my palate rarely detects the “subtle notes of cherry/hickory/peach/etc,” I do enjoy celebrating the return of the weekend with a bottle.  Or two.  Whether it be a pinot grigio on a warm afternoon or a cabernet sauvignon on a stormy night, those fermented grapes are darn delicious and have been an integral part of many a fun night or heartfelt chat.  And more than one game of Guitar Hero has been played with my mom while sipping vino.

When coming up with my 30-before-30 list, I knew I wanted to incorporate some time in wine country.  Luckily, California has quite a few wine countries to choose from.  I toyed with the idea of going up to Napa or Sonoma, but those proved to be too far away for a weekend.  I briefly entertained the idea of going to Temecula or Paso Robles, but neither panned out.  So I ended up revisiting the old standby: Santa Ynez Valley.  Though I didn’t spend a complete weekend there, I figure one overnight plus another full day more than count for checking the item off my list.

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Of Course I Can Speak Whale

One of the great things about living off the coast of California, aside from the impeccable year-round weather and proximity to the Happiest Place on Earth, is the annual migration of gray whales as they make their way down to the breeding grounds in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.  For years, I’ve been wanting to witness these mammals in their natural habitat and a few weeks ago, thanks to a Living Social deal and a willing friend, I made it happen.

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Wandering Through Wine Country

We’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave here in Southern California.  Not exactly feeling like winter when it’s too warm to wear sweaters and boots.  It was noted that my hometown was the hottest place in the country last week (take that Florida!) and I for one am eager for things to cool down.  Christmas didn’t quite feel like Christmas with the warm Santa Ana winds rattling through the house making it necessary to run the air conditioner all day.  Nevertheless, this weather makes for perfect exploring and that’s just what Karen and I did this past weekend.

When we drove up to Santa Cruz to visit Rose in September, part of our journey included passing through Santa Barbara’s wine country.  It was there that we decided we needed to plan a weekend and come back for some tastings, our own PG-version of Sideways, which we had every intention of watching the night before, but we were so busy chatting and scouring for discounts on Groupon that we didn’t get around to it.  Nevertheless, after a breakfast of eggs and bacon made by yours truly, we settled on Los Olivos with Groupons for two tastings and the planless plan to just see where the day took us.

Wine

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Southern California: Tourist Style

When you live in Southern California, you rarely experience Southern California.  I’ve lived here almost my entire life and there are so many great attractions that I’ve yet to visit.  Living near a popular tourist destination like Los Angeles, you tend to forget that it’s there.  Museums, parks, theaters, and restaurants become invisible to the territory’s natives.  We comment on these places, saying “I’ve always wanted to go there” or “I’ve always wanted to see that” and, somehow, we keep forgetting to go and see.

And it’s a darn shame.

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Summer Fades To Fall

Fall has finally come to Southern California and by fall I mean there was one day this week that was below 70°F for a significant portion of the day.  Yeah, we’re not much for actual seasons around here.  And darn it if I know what I’m missing.

The autumn colors of New England

I would love to have jumped into a giant pile of crispy red and orange leaves when I was a child or had the need to wear scarves for function not fashion.  However, I live in the land of the Indian summer where the heat lasts until the end of October.  Nevertheless, since Mother Nature is a tad confused about the nature of autumn in Southern California, I must find things to make it more fall-y around here.

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Introducing: The Wonderland Registry

For a while now, I have wanted to share with all the Wonderlings (what I have finally decided to call my readers) a collection of recommendations if you will.  Inspired by many blogs out there, behold the Wonderland Registry!

The Wonderland Registry will contain many of my favorite things—raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens—and a few new obsessions that I simply can’t get enough of.  I hope to turn this into a recurring post and welcome any and all recommendations.

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