Sunday, April 29, 2012

Summer Tablescapes

Dinner with friends. Casual evening. Already too hot to eat outside in Central California in April. We may have cooler evenings but this particular evening was in the 90s and we would have been in the direct sunlight. So, I gave the evening a outdoor feeling.

Nothing special. Nothing mind-blowing. Just bright and sunny.

Now, for some inspiration for the next time:

There is something so appealing about formal dishes, silver and stemware in a casual setting. Love the moss and lace. So many contrasting ideas coming together is such a great way.

Same idea....formal furniture in a beautiful informal garden. Just stunning. Who doesn't want to have tea here?

I think if I don't purchase a burlap tablecloth or runner from Etsy soon, I might scream!
Formal chandelier, mismatched shabby chairs, casual setting and gorgeous flowers
Gorgeous garden theme...

RUFFLES.....and lights under the tablecloths. Beautiful
So pretty. I love the metal Paris cafe chairs and the beautiful bouquets.
Look at the metal mesh dome.....

Lunch on the lake. Quilt clever. I love the purples and greens. Fresh and pretty.
So many gorgeous ideas for eating AL Fresco!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I had a proud mommy moment yesterday! I went to a nature preserve with Lucie and her 3 rd grade class. I was in charge of helping in the owl pellet dissections. I thought it was interesting and our guide promised that they had been sterilized. Nonetheless many of the students were squeamish. Lucie just dove in. She was all hands on and just loved it. Separating the small bones she found, using the magnifying glass. So focused (which is not always her forte) At one point she looked up at the specialist from the Nature preserve and said, "I really want to be scientist." The woman looked at me, almost teary eyed, and said, "This is why I do this."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cal Berkeley Campus

Last weekend my husband needed to vote in the French presidential elections. Round one. The voting took place in Berkeley, California. As we planned for the day it came to our attention that he had never been. We have been in Northern California for nearly 8 years. It's just one of those things we haven't had time for. So, we made it a day. I really wanted my husband to see The Cal Berkeley campus. I am not sure if it's the nerdy engineer stereotype or what, but he got nervous and panicked when I drove right on campus. I am more of the thrill seeker. I figure if it's not allowed someone will tell me and then I'll leave. was kind of allowed (with a permit) and I got an amazing parking spot....and NO ticket.

Turns out they were having "Cal Day". So my parking spot was even more amazing in retrospect. It was pretty crowded for a Saturday morning. What I love about the campus is the eclectic buildings and serene feel you get from all the trees, flowers and pretty pathways.

Can you see it in the far background?

On a beautiful day like this, standing in front of the clock tower, it's just amazing. The Golden Gate Bridge is framed here. Too bad about my camera. It's stunning when you are standing there. That would inspire me everyday.

As a teenager we visited the campus with our high school and I was so impressed with this library. It's a sprawling building with many different wings. It's wonderful to take a tour.

Future Cal student?

The kids are very impressed with college life so far. Here they are with The Cal Berkeley Bear!

Lucas saw this from about a mile away and could hardly contain himself. 
A little Harry Potter fun.

Have you ever noticed that unplanned adventures often turn out best? We had no idea Cal Day was happening. We may have even tried to avoid it, because of crowds. The kids had a blast. Event or no event the campus is beautiful. If you get a chance to explore it, you'll have a great time.
This was just one tiny section of the campus and two small wings of the large library.
Not sure if I mentioned I found a brilliant parking spot right on campus.... :)

If you'd like to know more:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The California Wine Country

I am fortunate to live only an hour away from The California Wine Country. I am also happy to say that it is so large and vast that I will be exploring it for years to come. There are so many fantastic wineries and towns, it's impossible to have tried them all. Last Saturday we decided to go to Yountville and just have fun. It had been raining for a few days and now things were heating up. Did you know you could actually have fun in the wine country with children? Everything is geared to the outdoors, picnics, wide open beautiful spaces. Of course, if you get lucky and have some time alone, it's even better, but very doable with little ones.

Yountville is an adorable little town near The Napa Valley. It's a must see. Here is one of it's claims to fame:

The Bouchon Bakery.  As you can see I am waiting in line. There will be a line on Saturday. It will go a bit slow. It will be worth it. Everything is delicious.

Some of the breakfast goodies available

The desserts

Some of what we got.

Lucas picked a dessert. Anything goes while at Bouchon. The bakery is very small. No seating areas inside hence, the line. However the courtyard is fabulous.

Lucie enjoying her croissant. She share a lot of it with the bird.
Right next to the Bouchon Bakery is the Bouchon Bistro.  There are only three in the United States! Here in Yountville, In Las Vegas, and in New York.

If you are lucky enough to be near any of them, you should definitely have a Bouchon experience!

Right across the street from Bouchon is The Yountville Marketplace:

The Marketplace. Look at those views in the wine country. It's just so peaceful here. The gardens at The Marketplace are just beautiful.

Napa Style at The Marketpace is out of this world, gorgeous finds, food, tastings, and samples. Loved this place.

If you like to shop, eat, drink, and relax, this is your place. The Marketplace has some wonderful galleries; including original works by Dr. Seuss, great shops, wonderful restaurants like, the famous Bottega)

Bottega is a fantastic restaurant in the gardens of The Marketplace. Beautiful wrap-around open air porch for al fresco dining.

The original cutting board from Bottega.

In the Marketplace is a great wine cellar where you can find many of the wines from the region. The also offer FREE wine tasting. We stopped in to taste some COHO wines. They were delicious. Lucas and Lucie were on a bench outside the window with their DS games.

What a wonderful experience. Who better to pour your wine then the wine marker himself. The tastings were free so we really saved over $30 on the fantastic bottle we bought. COHO makes only red wines. Everything he served was delectable. What a great intimate experience.

Next stop: Michael Mondavi's! See you there!!!!!!!