Thursday, September 29, 2011


It is so good to be home! I am still on Cali time but I think by this weekend will be OK!
I am taking a break from my trip photos to join in a couple of my favorite parties and share some junk!
I found this great planter at a thrift store back in the beginning of the summer.  It's been waiting to make it's appearance! 
It's old and has lost lots of paint but it still has so much charm
Are they parakeets?  Love birds??
Do you know? For 50 cents I decided they were a bargain!

**Thanks to a couple of blogging friends I have found out these were made my Morton and are called Love Birds**
I'm joining Suzanne at Vintage Thingy Thursday

Please go by and visit these fun parties!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


On my wish list for my trip to Calif was a visit to Napa Valley.  I lived in Napa back in the early 70's and boy has it changed.  Back then there were a few wineries but the industry has exploded and now you can hardly drive a few feet it seems without another winery.  Calif does produce some awesome wines and Ash and I set out to taste a few...
Our first stop was Valley Gate Vineyards
Beautiful grounds as most of the vineyards are and lovely tasting room
This amazing chandelier hung in the tasting room
Wish I could say the wines were good, but they were just OK.  We tasted (and spit out) most of them.  Ash was driving so she did not drink at all, just tasted.  If I found one I liked a lot I would indulge in a few sips.  
I thought this was cute and almost bought one for Tiger, 
but he is not a whiner so passed!

Our next stop was Domain Chandon

Know for their sparkling wines I choose the 
Reserve Tasting
"Explore the diversity of our sparkling wines with this delicious tasting of our toastiest, creamiest, and most complex styles. This palate adventure includes samples of our voluptuous and creamy Chandon Reserve Chardonnay Brut, complex and robust Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Brut, and elegantly rich étoile Rosé. Take the accompanying logo flute home with you for the next time you pop a cork and enjoy some bubbly."

It was amazing and some of my favorite tastings of the day....I do like my bubbly!
Ash tried the
Varietal Tasting
"If you aren't familiar with our still wines from the acclaimed Carneros & Sonoma appellations, you can try three of our highly regarded wines with this tasting. You’ll sample our delicious, subtly oaked Carneros Chardonnay, crisp and fruity Carneros Pinot Noir Rosé and tantalizing and food-friendly Carneros Pinot Noir. The Burgundy glass is included."
Don't you love the descriptions of the wine!

They had some of the prettiest grounds we visited
These rock mushrooms were so cute!
Our next winery is one of the oldest in the valley
Beringer Vinyards
They offer tours and several venues for wine tasting
We choose Reserve Wine Tasting in the Rhine House
They were extremely busy but we did enjoy our tasting...we were allowed to pick 4 wines from an extensive list.  My favorite here was the desert wine Moscato white that was 25 years old...Amazing!

Our last stop on day one was
V. Sattui Winery
This was my favorite winery of the day!  We did the Classic tasting and choose 5 wines from a very large list.  They had several whites (my favorites) and I really enjoyed most of them.  Ash who is more of a Red wine girl also enjoyed their wines.  Moderate prices for pretty darn good wine.  This was the only place I bought wine since I did not want to try to get it home with me.  I knew I could enjoy this one bottle before leaving Cali
This wine was fabulous and an award winner

2010 Anderson Valley White Riesling

A drier style Riesling, with aromas of jasmine and pear, grapefruit and green apple characteristics, a slight grassiness and crisp natural acidity.

I really enjoyed sipping this wine!  It cost more then I normally pay for a bottle of wine but since it was the only one I was buying I'm glad I splurged.
We were ready for dinner now and decided to visit this place I had heard was good
After tasting wine all day a nice cold ale was perfect with dinner.  I had shrimp fettuccine and it was delicious.  We then headed to our hotel for the night. 

I will tell you that the wine tastings are not free and can get really pricey!  We used online websites to find 2 for 1 tastings and that was a big savings.  We paid as low as $5 and as much as $25.  Some places will give you credit towards a purchase of wine or even waive it, but others will not. 
Today's wineries were on the main Hwy 29 that runs through the Napa Valley.  Day two will find us visiting some wineries on the Silverado Trail.



Monday, September 26, 2011


No trip to California would be complete without a trip to the beach! 
(warning long post lots of photos)
I am in Northern Calif where the beaches are much different then in the Southern part of the state.
We went to Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz
This is the only remaining natural bridge
*back in the 1900's 3 arches carved by nature out of a mudstone cliff inspired the naming of Natural Bridges.  The arches were formed millions of years ago when water, silt and clay sediment combined with one-celled marine plants

Wave action against the soft rock formed the bridges and also undercut them eventually wearing them away and leaving only islands.  The outermost arch fell in the early part of the 20th century and the inner arch broke during a storm in 1980
Only the middle arch remains but it is slowly being eroded by the waves
*Information from the State Beach brochure for Natural Bridges
This has become a favorite spot for Pelicans
I had a great time watching them swoop and dive 

I always take a 'foot' photo at the beach
I'm telling you that water was cold!!
Ash enjoyed it also
The other end of the beach has homes perched on the cliffs...we stayed several hours and then went in search of lunch
We went to Zeldas on the Beach at Capitola
Wonderful view from the outdoor restaurant
Mojito anyone?  Yummy! 
I remembered to take a photo half way through my food!  I had a shrimp and crab melt with potato salad... it was very good!
This is the life!
We spent the rest of the afternoon at 
Lighthouse Field

Lighthouse Field State Beach

Also known as Point Santa Cruz, this area forms the northern boundary of Monterey Bay. It is one of the last open headlands in any California urban area. Surfers, tourists, birds – including the rare Black Swift and wintering Monarch butterflies are drawn to this area. Sea lions populate the offshore rocks.
Lighthouse Field State Beach has the distinction of being home to California’s first surfing museum. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive. Overlooking internationally renowned surfing hotspot Steamer Lane, this museum has photographs, surfboards, and other interesting items tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz.
The museum was not open while we were there
but we did see some surfers out in the water
Waiting for that perfect wave
Most of the surfers had wet suits on as that water gets really cold

The view out over the cliffs
The sea lions were really loud!

This was also a dog friendly beach
It was so much fun to watch them run, fetch and dig in the sand.  The owners seem very responsible and most had 'poop' baggies with them

From the beach look towards the lighthouse
Yes, I was here!

The sun was starting to set

We headed home a little sunburned and much more relaxed
 then when we started the day! country!


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Here I am in sunny California!  
The title of this post sounds like lots of fun doesn't it?  Art and Wine?  Well it was! 

Last Saturday Ashleigh and I walked over from her house to the Santa Clara park where this event was held.  
There were lots of vendors but I think the word ART was used loosely.  There were some artists but lots of crafts also.  Ash and I each bought a pair of earrings.  Mine are glass and really pretty...see
These are made of Dichroic Glass which has reflective and refractive capabilities.  This glass is produced in optics laboratories.  Extremely thin layers of metal oxides are deposited onto clear glass in vacuum chamber.  This coating reflects certain light and lets other pass through.  The colors are obtained by different thicknesses of the coating.  
It is hard to photograph just how pretty these are.  The different colors and how they change in the sunlight are amazing.  

We also drank some wine on this hot day as we walked around...we sat in the shade for a little while to cool down 
Me and my girl!
It is a lovely park with this nice pond in the middle
The sun was really bright and it was crowded so I didn't get many photos
We ate some pretty good grilled teriyaki chicken!
Talked a lot and listened to some music.
We had a really good time! 
I was tired and a little sunburned but happy!
So ends my first adventure in Sunny Calif!

I'm linking this up to Potpourri Friday

My next Cali adventure....the beach! 



Sunday, September 18, 2011


I'm joining Chari at Happy to Design for her Sunday Favorites Party
This was from October 2010


Mr ALC and I stopped to visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Thursday!  We had a fun time on our mini photo shoot.  At the start of the gardens is a cute gift shop and they had plants for sale.  I enjoyed the fall displays.

I had to take this shot with the flamingo 
Gorgeous Mums!
I love the pumpkins and other squash among the flowers
These orange pumpkins really pop on the blue planters
This was my favorite vignette of squash and flowers
I love this rack! 

This caught my attention and made me smile
Honkin Huge Pumpkin $69 (???)
I'm having a great time in Cali! 
I will be posting some of my adventures soon!  Hugs to all!