Over The Vineyards And Through The Clouds

I was bummed that unfavorable weather prevented my hot air balloon ride in Sedona, but I wasn’t willing to throw that item off the list in favor of something easier to check off.  Sure it was a setback, but this was something I could and would do.  For years I had wanted to experience a balloon ride, perhaps even ending up in the Land of Oz.  Hell, I would have been excited for a trip down a yellow brick road.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

When In Doubt, Add More Bacon

Remember last year when I proved to you all that I am a silent auction queen?  Of course you don’t and I wouldn’t expect you to.  It was a long time ago and so much has happened since then.  A quick recap: I won a silent auction at a 5K I ran.  The culinary themed gift basket was full of cooking utensils, fancy salt and pepper shakers, kitchen towels, and a gift certificate for a Let’s Get Cookin’ class at the Westlake Culinary Institute.

Continue reading

A Crime Most Hilarious

As I’ve written about before, my dad and I like to go out and do things together.  Over the years, we’ve chuckled at plays, giddy-upped on horseback, and felt the wind on our faces while exiting a plane at 13,ooo feet.  We always have a good time, just the two of us.  So, when Father’s Day rolled around, I knew exactly what I wanted to get him: an evening of murder and mystery.  The fact that I checked off #11 on my 30-Before-30 list was just an added bonus.

Continue reading

Live Free Or Die At A Sugar Shack

california-east-coast-winter-weather-seasonal-ecards-someecards

I spent last week on the East Coast in Massachusetts for my annual pilgrimage to visit family.  It was one of the best trips out there for quite a few reasons.  One, my mom didn’t have to work and my aunt and uncle from Sacramento were also there (though my uncle did have to work).  And two, this was the first time we managed to see the entire family in the few short days we were there without a funeral being involved.  Unfortunately, a full schedule didn’t allow me to visit with any fellow bloggers and I’m still disappointed about that, but I’m sure they’ll understand the whole “family comes first” sentiment and I will always be back again next year.

Normally, I stay fairly close to the family, but this time, we stayed in Andover in the Northern part of the state and a mere two miles from New Hampshire.  The moment I found out we would be so close to New Hampshire, I made everyone aware that I wanted to visit.  The response: “Why?”  My answer: “Why not?”

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Searching For Banana Slugs

IMG_1385

A few weeks ago, my friend Karen and I decided to get out of town and visit Rose up in Santa Cruz.  It was a journey that we had tried to make happen since she moved up there in May, but conflicting schedules made it impossible.  Finally, after a human sacrifice and the proper alignment of the planets, we found ourselves driving up the 101 Freeway bound for Northern California.

I had never been to Santa Cruz so I was incredibly excited about this trip.  Rose had planned several activities that she thought we would be interested in and I quickly realized there was no way we could do it all in the weekend we were there.

Arriving after a long drive, we were greeted by Rose and one of her new friends.

IMG_1393

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading