Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blue Skies at Hearst Castle




Three months ago my mom, sister and I met in Cambria - a cute coastal town

on the Central Coast of California for a girls getaway (something we've been doing

for a few years now.)  It was the half way distance from our homes

We had a great time with lots of laughter and making fun of each other.  

Haha...  I truly look forward to these

times.  2013 was a crazy difficult year for both myself and my sister and this weekend

away was so needed!  On one of the days we took a tour of Hearst Castle.  Truthfully,

it had never been anything that was even on my to do list, but once there I was so glad

I went.  William Randolph Hearst was a fascinating man. I am currently reading a book

about his life titled The Chief and loving it.  Times were so different back then.  I didn't

take too many photos of the inside of the house, but it was extremely opulent.  

The stories that the tour guide told us were what I enjoyed most of all.  




This was the dining room and as the guide told us - he would invite people from all

walks of life - but especially the Hollywood crowd as he had a live in mistress, Marion

Davies.  There are 3 guest houses on the property for the guests to stay in.  None of

them have kitchens as he wanted everyone to eat together (the kitchen in the Castle

was huge!) and as the days went by, he always rotated the seating chart at the table - 

so that everyone would meet someone new every night. (The original social networking!)

  The newest arrival always sat by his side.   Drinks were served at around 7: 30 

and that is when he would arrive to great his guests.  

During the day he encouraged his guests to enjoy all sorts of outdoor

activities including horseback riding and swimming in his magnificent pool,

while he was working up in his office on his many business ventures.





What I loved most were the outdoor areas - the landscaping was breathtaking - beautiful

flowers, fruit trees galore, water fountains and a gorgeous view of the ocean.  The day

we were there was such a windy day and the bus ride up the winding narrow road

was a little bit frightening to me.  And to learn that originally it took days to get up that

road on horseback.  The Castle was formally named La Cuesta Encantada -

The Enchanted Hill but usually it was just called " The Ranch".

(And some ranch it is!)




The houses you will see in the photos below are all of the guest houses.  




Love these trees - I wish I could have picked a few lemons!



How gorgeous is this view?




Yes another guest house




Who wouldn't love to take a dip in this pool?





A beautiful fountain below another guest house.



And this indoor pool is stunning!





For more fascinating facts, stories and photos about this magnificent place

check out their website: Hearst Castle and if you're ever in the area by all

means check it out.  If you're driving on the Highway near their property you will

see quite a few zebras roaming - as they used to have a zoo on the property and still

have quite a few different animals.  Such an amazing place and story!


(Sorry Mom and Sis for taking so long to post these photos)



Have a beautiful week, friends!

xxoo

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hello Monday...


 
" A Sunday well spent brings a week of content "

In my quest to "move" more this year, yesterday I drove over to Santa Monica

and took a nice long walk on Ocean Ave. which is right above the beach.  Nothing

clears my mind more than a nice long walk and the fresh sea air.  I wandered around

took a few photos, walked thru the 3rd Street Promenade (which is an outdoor mall)

listening to all the fabulous street musicians and people watching. 

I stopped for a coffee and had a chat with a really nice

 lady visiting from Seattle, then I continued on my walk.

Afterwards, I headed over to the Brentwood Country Mart for lunch that included

a double scoop waffle cone filled with salted caramel and coffee ice cream.  It was

delicious and within minutes the place filled up with others waiting for ice cream.

We've had a pretty warm January which is kind of crazy but pretty nice too,

so as to enjoy the outdoors more.


Happy Monday, friends!

xxoo


Thursday, January 9, 2014

cambria here we come!


Tomorrow I am heading up to the central 

coast for a weekend with my mom

and sister for our annual mom/daughters getaway.



It's about a 3 hour drive for myself and my sister 

and is a very nice halfway point to meet up.


It's also not too far from my fave stopping place

San Luis Obispo - I wonder if they will be 

game to head there for a fave dessert of mine?  :)


Looking forward to just hanging out with them.  Lots of 

laughing and fun with be had, that is for sure!



We are staying at a cool little lodge that my sister has stayed at

before and really enjoyed.  I can't wait to explore the area

with two of my fave people!


Cheers to the weekend, friends!

xxoo

(photos via google.com)



Sunday, January 5, 2014

my word for the year....


Truthfully, I wasn't really planning on having a word for the year, but this morning

it just came to me, or more like hit me like a ton of bricks.  It's a simple word that

has a few different meanings - which totally resonates with me.  2013 was a year of

a whole lot of emotions - happy, extreme sadness, major grief, depression and a feeling

of being stuck and not being able to move - emotionally and physically.....So this year

I present to you my word:

MOVE

as in: "get your rear off the couch and move it girl"

and also 

as in:  "last year was tough, but you are still

here alive and well and you need to honor that.

Get moving with your life - bad things will

always happen and that is just called life..."



New Years Eve found me spending most of the earlier part of the day

in the ER.  I had been having some chest pressure for a week or so on

and off, mainly at night - so I figured it was anxiety - but then there is always

that nagging WHAT IF it's more than that...I'm definitely not one to run to the 

doctor so when I do, just know that I'm concerned.  After a ton of tests and 

and an extensive nuclear stress test - I found out that my ticker is doing just fine.

Actually it's pretty excellent, which makes me take a look at the rest of my life.

I love to walk and I normally walk alot but I have a pretty sedentary job except 

when the boss (my guy) calls me....I always joke that I need a spring on my chair,

as just when I sit down I get called into his office again....haha....The past few months

with Roccos surgery and death - I didn't do much of anything.  

Then there were the holidays

alot of socializing, eating and yes, sitting around.  I always feel so good when I walk and

it definitely lifts my spirits and eases my worries   

  So yes my word this year is MOVE

I want to honor myself and my health and be the best that I can be,

and that means taking care of myself better.  

I have a co worker who walks for 3 hours after

work, well you definitely won't find me doing that, 

but I am going to dedicate myself to walking

at lunch and a bit in the evening on my treadmilll.  

I'm letting you know to hold myself accountable.

Last but not least,

It's good luck when a bird poops on your head, right?

that's what I've always heard anyways.  Yesterday,

as I was taking a pretty long walk, at the very beginning

of it a bit of bird poop hit the top of my head.  It made me

laugh and I choose to take it as a good sign for this year!

CHEERS TO A WONDERFUL YEAR FOR US ALL...

SMILE, BE KIND AND MOST OF ALL

GET MOVING!!  :)

xxoo

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!


Cheers to a wonderful year filled with great health, 
fabulous company, lots of love, laughter and wishes coming true!

xxoo

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cheers to Christmas!


The shopping and wrapping are done and now it's time to CELEBRATE!!

Truthfully, this holiday season I just took it one day at a time, didn't stress

about any of it, really.  To say this year has been a tough one is a major understatement.

I am incredibly grateful and thankful for the health of my loved ones!

Looking forward to seeing my family on Christmas day and just hanging out with them

for a few days.....lots of laughing and eating is on the agenda!!  However you celebrate

the holidays, I hope you enjoy EVERY.SINGLE.MOMENT.  Don't take anyone for

granted and spread some cheer wherever you go - especially with your smile!

Smiles melt the coldest of hearts and are just about the best thing you could ever give!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS!

xxoo



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

come take a walk with me....



We were so excited a few weeks ago, when we landed in New York City.  We love

going there and it had been a few years.  The weather was nice and crisp - especially

for weather wimps like us, but I totally enjoyed it.  I don't know that I could live in

it for long periods of time, but it was such a nice change.




We checked in to our hotel and immediately went next door to The Monkey Bar

for some appetizers and a few drinks before we went out for a night time stroll.


I love the New York City bars, that seem like they have been around forever.  There

was a piano player playing everything from Frank Sinatra to the Beatles.  I requested

a few Frank Sinatra tunes and thoroughly enjoyed it and even recorded a few songs.


Off into the cool night we went - walking to Rockefeller Plaza to watch the ice skaters.

We met some nice strangers along our walk that we had a quick chat with.  We

were discussing whether we would look like total wimps, if we had gloves on as

alot of people we saw weren't wearing them...and as always with Alex, the men

were talking sports and the upcoming football game he was attending.. 



We stopped in to a few bars along our walk to warm up.  I enjoy the ambiance

of a pub like bar - just people sitting around chatting with either old friends

or strangers - it's nice getting to talk to people from different parts of the world.




The next morning while my guy was still relaxing at the hotel, I got up pretty early

and went out exploring on my own.  I stopped in to a fave place of mine, the

ever so quaint and beautiful Paley Park - just around the corner from our hotel.

I love the water wall and the gorgeous trees among the tall buildings.



These are 5 pieces of the Berlin Wall that were at Paley Park before the water wall.

Now it's right next door in a outdoor plaza


I then headed over to my favorite place in New York - Central Park.  I wanted

to test out these bikes, but I couldn't take them in the middle of the park, so

I put my feet to good use instead!






I stopped in at the Plaza Hotel first to wander around.  I love the stained glass ceiling

in the Palm Court restaurant - so pretty.....( I didn't get a photo of it though, dang it!)



I headed downstairs to the Todd English Food Hall  that has nine different food stations

and they all looked and smelled delicious, but I had already had a fabulous breakfast

back at the hotel, so I wasn't too hungry....I even popped into the Eloise store!



It was such a joy walking thru Central Park


enjoying all the autumn goodness


especially the beautiful colors


listening to quite a few jazz musicians throughout the park, a fabulous gospel

choir singing amazing grace - I recorded that one too....so sweet the sound!



lots and lots of people watching


and accidentally taking photos of myself.....haha...


watching the little sailboats


and the kids playing and climbing all over the Alice in Wonderland statue.

Such a lovely time just wandering around.....  


I then decided that I wanted to stop in at Serendipity to get a frozen hot chocolate


It was several blocks away - I was going to hop in a cab but decided that walking

would be a much nicer way to see more of the city....so I walked thru some 

pretty gorgeous neighborhoods enjoyed all the lovely holiday decorations that

were popping up...


When I got to Serendipity it was starting to rain and the line was out the door,

so I ran across the street to a small Italian restaurant and had lunch to see if the

line would be shorter by the time I was done.  The line was still long, but when I went

in to put my name on the list, they sat me right away....one of the perks of being a diner

of one.....Alex was at a football game by this time with a friend of his.......later on

when they returned we headed out for a nice dinner at Keen's Steakhouse (which has

been around since the 1800's.....crazy...)  A perfect end to the day!


We also met up with friends the next day and had so much fun catching up with

them and wandering around the Flatiron District and it's surrounding neighborhoods.

Such a fun treat to be in New York City again!


What is your fave part of New York City?

xxoo

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