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Archive for September, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Ever feel like you need to do something JUST to get it checked off your list? Can’t rest until you do it? Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling about this post. I’ve been avoiding the second half of our trip recap because it’ll make me want to jump on a plane and head back to paradise – Northern California! If you didn’t read the first part of this trip, start here.

So, let’s see, I left off at our arrival to the Elk Cove Inn. Did I mention that we found this little B&B at the very last minute on the web? We were tacking on a few extra days in California after my business trip, and I didn’t want to leave Florida until we booked a place to stay for vacation. Anyone can put pictures on the web of a pristine inn on the rocky coast and make it sound like a dream, right? I was bracing myself for a nightmare. I could see and hear it before we even got there – paper-thin walls, dirty bathroom, threadbare sheets.

But in reality, it could not have been further from the picture I had painted in my mind. Everything about the Elk Cove Inn was absolutely lovely, especially down to the flowers that dotted the property. Here I am sitting near the garden that was outside the door to our room. It was quiet and relaxing, just the thing we were looking for in our first vacation away from our 6 and 4-year old girls. Despite the peace, I was still imagining the girls running around the flowers, smelling them…studying them. Time away was good but I missed the wonder that comes with those ages.

Ok, enough of the mommy thoughts. We wanted to get down to business -hiking and wine tasting! We started off the day on a hike through a nearby Redwood forest. To even *try* to describe the amazing tress would be doing them a complete disservice. Needless to say, we were humbled and amazed by these majestic trees. As a result of all the neck twisting from looking up in amazement at the Redwoods, and wandering around in total awe, we had worked up quite a hunger for lunch so we stopped at Libby’s Mexican Restaurant in Philo. Delish!! Get the shrimp tacos. Scarfed those down in a matter of minutes.

Next stop – wine tasting! We didn’t think we’d do much of this, but I’m glad we made a few stops. First, we went to the Brutocao Cellars. The Bridget Dolan restaurant served this wine the night before and I was hooked, so I had to get some for my own personal stash. My husband and I aren’t wine connoisseurs by any stretch – I can fake a good wine swirl and sniff with the, “I totally know what I’m doing,” look on my face. The atmosphere was a bit stiff, but who cares when you’re drinking wine for free (so cultured of me, I know). And they sold us the nice tasting glasses for $5 a pop – not bad for a relatively sterile experience.

Not only are we a bit on the ‘new’ side of wine tasting, we also don’t hold our alcohol very well! We knew this trek would be short lived – for our safety and the safety of everyone in the county who had to drive! We wanted to make this next and final stop a good one, so we headed down the road to the Toulouse Vineyards. It was a much more relaxed environment – open air tasting with cheerful hosts ready to pour whatever you wanted to try. And they had nice seating and made you feel right a home. Great! I’ll take three bottles please, and two cute tote bags, and…ok, by this time my husband is nearly dragging me to the car.

We weren’t quite ready to head back to the inn, and we wanted to make the most of our time together – alone!! So a trip to the Mendocino County Fair was in order. What a cute, quaint little fair! We didn’t end up spending much time there, but we couldn’t help but just enjoy the beautiful weather, smiling people and taking it all in. After that, one last stop at the Van Damme State Park. We wanted to see as much of the woods as we could, and this nice little 2.5 mile hike was just the thing to bring us out of our late afternoon Mexican food/wine tasting lull. It felt as if we were in a rain forest (or back home in Florida, except it wasn’t 102 degrees). The trail was paved and we were the only humans for what seemed like miles. And once again, my overactive imagination was getting to me and I could just imagine the serial killer that was living in the woods waiting to make his move.  Ok, honey…let’s hightail it back to the car! I’m so adventurous!

That’s pretty much our trip, in a very small nutshell. Overall, it was a lot of driving since we flew in/out of San Jose. But the scenery was spectacular, food was amazing and everything really worked in our favor…or maybe we’re just getting old enough to know how to roll with the punches and enjoy some peace together! Either way, we’ll definitely be back to the Mendocino area – hopefully sooner rather than later!

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Friday Garden Update

Each Friday, I’ll post an update on the progress of the garden and include new pics as well. Overall, everything seems to be doing very well thus far. We did have one tomato plant that didn’t make it, so we pulled it out and replaced it with a ‘standby’ that we had in a pot. So far so good.

The cucumbers are the surprising leaders in growth this week. They really seem to be thriving. One of my butternut squash plants got a little eaten up, but hopefully the repellant we sprayed on it will help.

The lettuce which was started from seed is growing really well too, and will be ready to transplant in the next couple weeks.

One area of concern is the basil. Now, basil is one of my favorites because you can add it to so many different dishes and it tastes so wonderful when it’s fresh. Unfortunately it’s turning yellow near the base of both basil plants. The initial research says based on that development, it either needs more sunlight or less fertilizer. Well, it’s been getting about 9 hours of Florida sun a day, and we haven’t added any fertilizer. So I’m going to keep researching. If you have any other ideas, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section.

Check out the latest pictures of the garden. Hopefully the positive growth shows!

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We returned from our lovely visit to the northern coast of California a few days ago, but just now able to sit down and reflect on the details of our trip. Since we arrived back in Florida on a Sunday night, we had to unpack and hit the ground running on Monday morning – basking in the glow of our trip wasn’t really an option, but we still have great memories!

As soon as my husband flew into San Jose, I picked him up and off we went…until we realized that we left the camera at home! We knew there were going to be PLENTY of photo opps on this trip, so we stopped by Target, sucked it up and bought a cute little camera. Memories safe…check!

Jumped on the 101 North – discovered the sweet rental SUV had an iPhone connection, so we jammed the whole trip to our favorite playlists. Thank goodness since some of our driving was in remote areas and it was like we had our own private soundtrack for our journey! U2, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay…all my faves.

Good thing we left when we did since it took us about 4 1/2 hours to get to our final destination – the Elk Cove Inn in Elk. The sun was starting to go down and we were on some treacherous roads. Keep in mind I’m from Florida, so anything that’s not at least 4 lanes, flat, newly paved and dotted with strip malls is like going off road in a developing country. The beautiful winding roads took us through some of the most amazing scenery – quaint towns with not even a stop sign, past lovely vineyards and wineries, impoverished areas too…the trip had a little sampling of every background imaginable.

As we turned onto US 1 drawing closer to the Inn, the bluffs greeted us – as did the fog and sundown. We were starving and road-weary, ready for some dinner and concerned that the area was so remote, we’d be eating the rest of the fig newtons we had purchased way back in Sausalito! We stumbled upon a cute little dining spot called Bridget Dolan’s. Wonderful pizza, even better wine. After we ate, we found the Inn and settled into our cute little room. It was extremely comfortable and had all the amenities we were looking for in a getaway including a very reasonable price and delicious breakfast each morning. We highly recommend it!

It’s getting late, so tomorrow I’ll share all that we did on our one full day in the area. In the meantime, check out my new Flickr link on the right side of this page. You’ll see some of the pics from our journey. Night!

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You go!

It has taken sheer force of will to finally sit down and get to blogging this week. It’s not for a lack of wanting. The ideas have been coming to me like the wine that flowed into my glass last weekend in Sonoma, California! I now actually have some semblance of a content calendar which I am very excited about. This blogging thing is a whole process, I’m learning.

So first, I’m ‘getting my blog on’ on my iPad tonight. I already have my ‘blog setup’ on my laptop – all pages are bookmarked, passwords are saved automatically – you get the picture. But dear husband is finally getting to update HIS blog on the wooden surfboard he built earlier this year.

He only had 93 pictures saved up from the last time he posted till the time the board went on its maiden voyage in June…and yes, now it’s September! Are you getting a feel for how things work in this house yet? Check out my husband’s surfboard.

I’m happy to say that the iPad is nearly all set up for my blogging pleasure. WordPress for iPad has been great! Mission #1 of 200 accomplished for tonight.

Now, onto the point in really wanted to get to – congratulating Marisa on the launch of her new site. Hers is a blog I’ve been following for a few weeks and her creativity is captivating. I’m totally envious of her ability to give a thrift shop find a brand new life by taking it in, hemming it or just simply belting it at the waist! She’s given up ‘traditional’ clothes shopping for a year and given herself a $1 per day allowance for her ensembles. Marisa does an amazing job at documenting her journey so check out her blog and get inspired!

Back to the topic of gardening, I’m planning a full update this week as well as a recap of Sonoma and Mendocino. Chat again soon!

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The chicken or the egg?

I have to admit, I’m a marketer by day. But at night and in my spare time, I’ve wanted to explore the world of blogging a bit more. I really enjoy writing and after I read the book, The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini, I was inspired to try blogging to see where it would lead. It’s all of the things I can’t try out during the day, so in some ways this is my little science experiment.

When my husband and I started talking about growing a garden again – after a failed attempt in the spring that left us with weeds that were as tall as our children – it was the perfect topic for a blog! I started dreaming about what could become of the blog about our amazing garden-to-be. I dreamed of ad space and hundreds – even thousands – of readers! Who knew that setting everything up for the blog would take almost as much time as planting the garden itself! There are so many things I want to fix with this blog…like why does the RSS feed have that annoying space to the right of the link? In fact, the right hand navigation looks atrocious so in my ‘spare’ time, my aim is to clean it up. Suggestions are welcome, especially if you are familiar with WordPress. I’m definitely still learning.

And while I decided to focus on our garden in this blog, I might stray a bit because my interests span beyond just that and it’s hard not to slip in an obnoxious post about adorable kids, or the latest news on saving energy and resources through doing something a little differently.

One of those ‘different’ ideas: My magic ball predicts a blog post, or separate category about how we plan to put a green roof on our house! I’m sure my dad would absolutely cringe at that, but hey…who wouldn’t think plants on the roof is attractive!? I’m sure it’ll do wonders for the resale value of our home. Hmmm…yeah.

So in this case, which came first? The blog or the garden? It’s all intertwined just like life. It’s hard not to have one area of focus spill into another area of life – kind of like weeds into your vegetable patch!

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