Monday, August 29, 2011

My Favorite BLUE!

My favorite color is blue
The sight of the ocean true
I feast my eyes in sweet surprise
To see my puppy's hue was blue!

Dear friends,
Meet our sweet puppy, Sol!

Sol @ 8 weeks
She is a darling blue great dane from Victory Great Danes. We named her after the Spanish word for "sun" (Sol). She has most definitely brought great sunshine into our lives - even though our sleeping has suffered a bit. It had been 11 years since we had a puppy and to be honest we had forgotten how much work training a puppy is. Luckily, Sol has a wonderfully calm disposition and is always in great spirits. The fact that she takes to routines well is an added benefit!

We look forward to spending many years with her in our family and know that our dear Sydney is looking down on us with love as we welcome cute Sol into our life. We love her so much already!

Sol's first day at home.

Sol is such a good poser. Always ready for the paparazzi!

It was love at first kiss for daddy Chris!

Look at how big her paws are! One day she will grow into them.

She plays so well with others. Gwendolyn and Tia Alicia were so proud.

Olivia brought Sol a new toy. Sol decided to check it out before she welcomed it fully.

She was wiped out after all that fun!

Sol loves to take naps on your lap. Nice now that she is still about 10 pounds...
won't be as nice when she gets to be about 130+.

In her first week she learned how to sit. So CUTE and SMART!

Well - that is my life these days with Sol. Filled with simple, kind moments. She is so much fun. Cheers to ending the 2011 summer heat wave with our Sol! We are so happy to have her.

To keep our blue theme going I thought I should end my last summer blog post right & leave you with some of my other favorite "blue" moments...

Happy Summer's End to all!!

View from Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina headed to Ocracoke Island on the Ferry.

The famous "Welcome Hotel" in VillaFranche-sur-mer in the south of France.

Beach time in Sitges south of Barcelona, Spain.

Varenna, Italy on Lake Como.

Shell Beach in St. Barts.
Slice of heaven on Jost Van Dyke, BVI's.

Looking forward to Labor Day weekend!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

California Dreaming...

Dear friends,
A couple of you have asked when I was going to post pictures from my California adventure this past May with Gooch. Well, here it is and the pictures do not do it justice ~ Enjoy!

Driftwood in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

A little cafe in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I could have spent all day here people watching alone.

This was a house in Carmel that I totally stalked! It was on the corner of Ocean Ave & Scenic Drive.
 I think that says it all!

Swooooooon! Can't you see yourself having your morning coffee on the veranda overlooking the ocean?
 When everyone else is headed to work!  *Sigh*
Loved this rustic garage/shed. Carmel-by-the-Sea was filled with inviting vistas into private quarters.

Made it to Big Sur! Well worth the 30+ year wait since I first read about Big Sur in National Geographic as a little girl.

View of Bigsby Bridge

The terrain around Big Sur was constantly changing.

Leaving Big Sur. So sad, but siked to pick up Gooch and start our trip to SONOMA!

Let the fun begin!

We stayed @ a little B&B called An Inn 2 Remember. It was wonderful! Right on the square.
We were the life of the party here!  

Gooch and I got the bright idea to bike our way through Sonoma.
After all, we had ridden enough stationary bikes in our day! HA!
Gooch was ready for the challenge!
Our first stop, which took us out of the rain, was at Sebastiani Vinyards. Not our fave.
But we were in SONOMA after all and the rain had finally stopped!

Our next stop was on our top 5 list: Bartholomew Park Winery! It delivered - we purchased a couple of bottles & had them shipped home. Sadly they were consumed pretty fast and it is terribly difficult to find BPW out of California!
Guess we will have to visit again soon!!  
By this time we were STARVING! So we took a break from the bikes (and wine!) and
 found delicious treats in the Sonoma Market. We were VERY happy!

Speaking of the Sonoma Market, "The Bachelorette" finalist - Sonoma's own Ben Flajnik - will be at the Sonoma Market Friday, August 19th from 4 PM to 6 PM signing bottles of his Evolve Wines!
I can't believe I just shared that! LOL.

Next on our trek was one of Sonoma's oldest family run winery, "Gunbun" or Gundlach Bundschu.
We had a blast in their cave tour, more because of the cast of characters that were there..
and lets be honest, we had been drinking since 10:00AM! 

Taking in the view @ Gunbun.

Leaving GunBun this is what we found by their exit gates. Sooo true. Thank goodness we were headed to a private Cline Cellars tasting @ our B&B. By the way, Cline Cellar owners purchased the Italian Villa used in the Under the Tuscan Sun movie and are now hosting 8 day escapes to Italy for 9 lucky couples. Learn more HERE.

After the Cline tasting we were feeling REALLY REALLY good and stumbled into the Harvest Moon Cafe.
 We had the patio to ourselves, it was unseasonably cool for Sonoma, and we LOVED it!

We ate VERY well throughout our Sonoma trip but Harvest Moon Cafe was by far our favorite!

The food was amazing!

This was just our dessert menu!

Our selections. Yummy!

Sonoma was hard to leave. But San Francisco beckoned....

Gooch and I had such a fun time in California! This was just a little taste of our visit.
We have plenty more stories and pictures but I thought this was a perfect preview for now.
Hope you enjoyed it!

Share some of your Sonoma stories with us!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Patina Style in Atlanta!

Shhhh... I am going to share a secret with you: Velvet & Linen bloggers, Brooke & Steve Giannetti are coming to Atlanta! To our very own Peachtree Hills!! How exciting is that? The event is open to the public and I for one can't wait to attend! Want to go with me?

Having spent the last three hours reading and swooning over their new book Patina Style (a link to their book on Amazon can be found HERE) I must confess that if I were Oprah, this book would be one of my favorite things! Not only is the book actually fun to read, it has useful tips like how to turn Home Depot drop cloths into great curtains, how to choose colors based on your rooms sun exposure and  how to take bees wax to convert your wooden floors into something spectacular! As if this weren't enough (trust me there is way more in the book!) the pictures are BEAUTIFUL! See for yourself below...

Classic vignette of goodies.

These are antique Swedish doors/shutters repurposed into a super fun bookcase/closet on page 47!

Gorgeous bedroom. Totally simple and doable!

And who can live without this garden?
Hurray for the bloggers and self taught designers turned authors! I love to see people that turn their lifestyle into a way of life surrounded by the everyday beauty around them. The book is true artistry. I can't wait to meet them in September!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ode to El Bulli

Have you heard the news? The devastating, yet thrilling news that the famous chef who altered the landscape of gastronomy as we know it has closed his famous El Bulli restaurant in Cala Montjoi near the remote Costa Brava seaside town of Rosas, Spain.
El Bulli in the background of the cove. Nothing else really around. This has been rated the BEST restaurant in the world!
Ferran Adria, is (was) the chef at El Bulli. This title of "chef" does him no justice... he is an innovator, the Albert Einstein of creating evocative delights on your tongue, soul, and senses! He is a pure classic Spaniard in spirit, he has duende for sure. He is the CEO of embedding emotions so rich and complex, while eliciting the most simplistic childlike abandon the moment you taste, sense, hear, smell and fathom his creations.
Ferran began at El Bulli around 1983 in this remote cove on the northeastern coast of Spain. 100 miles from Barcelona. A mere two hours away from much of civilization. You have to get there mainly by driving on a two lane cliff-side road. Through the treacherously winding road that is essentially a dirt path towards the end of the journey & did I mention that the wind in this area of the coast is notoriously brutal?

Blogger from A Life Worth Eating shares their experience at El Bulli while also providing this incredible photo
 (along with all the ones below) of the road leading towards the restaurant.
If you can believe it, the restaurant was only open for about 6 (SIX!) months out of the year and had some 2,000,000 (that is NOT a typo) reservation requests per year and only 8,000 were granted seats (50 seats per night) into this dining fantasy. Those fortunate enough experienced 30+ (Yes, THIRTY!)courses over 5 hours for roughly about 230 Euros.
Wouldn't you love this view? Feels like you are home!

By course 17 you would have had these yummy prawns.
Guest change tables throughout their courses. This could be your next seat. Fun!

By the 32nd course Gazpacho and Ajo Blanco!
 This is serious food and a serious experience - so serious in fact that Harvard and ESADE MBA's have actually done case studies on the famous chef and his little restaurant by the sea.

So ask yourself...Is all the hype worth it? Is this just some fancy shmansi overdone food that just looks impressive but has no heart? Well, I searched and searched the internet and found this great story about two guys who finally, after FIVE years of waiting, got the email that they had a reservation! Check out their blog The Amateur Gourmet to hear and read their story. They actually walk you through their 30 courses in a cool comic book style. You will love it!
elbulli5.jpgIf you aren't sold after reading the cute boys from The Amateur Gourmet orgasmic delights over their experience or A Life Worth Eating blog then take a look at Anthony Bourdain's recent homage to Adria on the Travel Channel.

If this still doesn't illicit solid heart pangs that you may have missed out on the most famous eating experience of your life then enjoy the Catalan beer, Estrella Damm 2011 commercial that pays its respects to the man that put them on the map in a whole other dimension.

Video clip Estrella Damm 2011: el Bulli

If this still doesn't do it (really?) then hear for yourself what comes next for the famous chef. A Charles Darwin like experiment that will likely turn how we eat, think, grow, cultivate, write about, experience, learn, and breath food completely upside down. His new El Bulli Foundation will be an inspiration to the art and soul of digestive consumption. I can't wait to see what's next!

BRAVO Ferran Adria! You are me hero, my intriguing purist, agriculturalist, scientist, and above all dare I say one of my favorite Spaniards. Ok - that's a big statement considering I have never actually met the man or eaten at El Bulli. Yep, that is correct, I have never eaten there but have read, heard, and seen so much that I know I am a fan. His book alone is amazing! So, here is a toast to my future pilgrimage to Cala Montjoi!!

Mucha salud y buena inspiracion!

Maybe one day I can sit here and enjoy the view while I have a drink with Ferran!

I would even gladly share the famous petit fours!