Friday Five October Third

Holy cow, but Friday came fast this week! Not that I'm complaining, mind, it's just a bit of a surprise is all. Because you know, yesterday was TUESDAY, or something! So, yeah. Anyway, here's five totally awesome things about this past week (besides that fact that's it's FRIDAY because that's already cool!):

1.  I've mentioned this before, but it's worth mentioning again: Ulta Beauty opened in Paso! Woot! I stopped by last Tuesday, and picked up a few items, which I plan to try and review soon! I also plan to return to Ulta soon with my list of things I would like to purchase. Honestly, I cannot squee hard enough for this!

2.  Also squee-worthy: I started tap dancing this week. Yup, in yet another attempt to add more adventure into my otherwise dull and meaningless life, I spontaneously (and maybe a little drunkenly) signed up for adult beginning tap dancing at Eleve Barre  last Saturday night, and my first class was -gulp! - Wednesday! Of course, taking this class means I had to cancel my Wednesday training sessions with Michael, but it's only for 6 weeks, and he seemed to think it was pretty cool. Or crazy. I'm not sure which. Anyway, I was really nervous, but it turned out to be super fun, and while I suck at it just about as badly as I sucked at the ballet class I took last spring, I love it, I love dancing, and can't wait for next week!

3.  And speaking of spontaneous, I did a little online shopping as well. So far I only got two of the items I ordered, but I love them, and can't wait to wear them to work! (Well, okay, I can wait. For work, that is!) Now it just needs to cool down and be autumn, dammit, because one of the things I bought was a new wintery coat, and it's still at hundred-flippin'-degrees outside. Not. Fair.

4.  Umm, let's see. What else? Oh, yes! The Green Bay Packers  beat the Bears AND the Vikings in one week, so that's awesome! Go Pack!

5. Finally, gosh, I don't know. I started reading Anne Perry's The Cater Street Hangman, and it's really wonderful! I don't read a lot of mysteries, but I'm really enjoying this one, and may have found a fun, new-to-me genre to indulge in! And, speaking of mysteries,  Gracepoint started this week, and while everyone is comparing it to Broadchurch (and finding it lacking, apparently), I enjoyed it (disclosure: I haven't seen Broadchurch, so I have nothing to compare it to, really), and I really like David Tennant (his Doctor was pretty awesome, and his Hamlet rocked, too), so I'm looking forward to watching the mystery unfold!

And, so ends another week!  Stay cool, SLO County! Cheers!


Art and Wine Tour September 2014

Last Friday my mom and I attended one of our favourite local events: The Art and Wine Tour in downtown Atascadero. This was one of the better Tours they've had with a total of 17 wineries representing their best wines, as well as some flavoured olive oils and vinegars, lots of yummy hors d'oeuvres, singers, dancers, various artists like photographers and painters, belly dancers, a country band, and even the drama department from Atascadero High School! To be different, we started on Traffic Way instead of Entrada and paced ourselves this time, so we didn't get to taste at every winery, and didn't get to see all the artists (particularly bummed about missing the drama department!), but we did manage to try some different wines, and got to browse some different as well as newly opened downtown shops and businesses. And we broke out of our rut! Yay, us!

Frolicking frog

Frolicking Frog inside Olive Tree Gallery.


Model posing outside Olive Tree Gallery - pull up an easle and draw a picture!

Our one big regret was not thoroughly perusing the map showing the business and their artist and winery before we started because Envisions Gallery had as their artist, executive chef Shannon McDuffie who prepared a food and wine pairing with Eberle winery which looked amazingly delicious! However, we had already been to six places before that and they all had lots of really good food (Wilwand Tea basically put out a full meal!), so we were already full by the time we reached Envisions and only tried the wine and looked longingly at the amazing food. That was a bummer!

EberleEberle winery inside Envisions Gallery. 

The food thing is kind-of hit or miss as this event; you really can't count on there being any food at all. At one of the first-ever Art and Wine Tours, every business that was hosting a winery had a variety of  hors d'oeuvres, fruit, or desserts, so we snacked the whole way around as we drank. We didn't even need to have dinner afterwards, or worry about The $20.00 Rule. The next time we went, only a couple places had anything at all, and they were crumbly little cookies, and dried up mini cheese and crackers. It was not enough, let me tell you! So, from then on we decided  to play it safe and have at least a small snack before going down there, so we weren't drinking a lot of wine on an empty stomach if no one was offering food.  Still, if we'd checked the map, we would've gone to Envisions first, and tried their food and wine pairing. I'm hoping they'll do that again next time!

St hilaireSt. Hilaire inside Grape Enounters Empourium

Still waters

Still Waters Vineyards inside Wilwand Tea Co. & Healing Arts

Robbins family olive oil
Robbins Family Olive Oil and Vinegar outside the Empourium 

Several businesses who participated in this event before weren't open this time, which was disappointing because I always enjoy browsing those shops, and a couple new businesses joined in. It's always nice to see new faces downtown, and I wish them all the best of luck!

 Demeter Winery at the Atascadero Family Chiropractic.

Ancient peaks 2

Ancient Peaks at 805 Board Shop.

Trader joes red

Trader Joe's Coastal Zinfandel inside Back on the Racks Consignment.

Pomar junction

Pomar Junction's fantastic Picnic Chardonnay inside the Historic Carlton Hotel.


All in all it was a great event - good job, Downtown Atascadero Association! Looking forward to the next big event!

A Few of My Favourite Things: August 2014

It's time again to list a few of my favourite things for the past month.  August was not as exciting as July (no major trips or anything!), but there were a few things I really enjoyed the heck out of! I hope you enjoy them, too!

Fragrance: While cleaning out underneath my bathroom sink, I came across a bottle of Jean Paul Gautier Summer perfume from, like, three or four years ago. I thought I'd finished that!


Anyway, since I hadn't been able to find any other summer-specific fragrances, I decided to use it up. I always liked the cute bottle, and the scent is nice and fresh and goes really well with my skin in the sun and heat. The only thing I don't like about it, is that it's kinda sticky, I think because there was some glitter or some other kind of sparkly stuff that was meant to give you an extra summery glow.

Fashion:  I ended up buying a lot of really cute outfits from Lane Bryant, Avenue, and Torrid, but am still on the fence* about a few things, particularly these two leather jackets:


and these cool boots:


Mostly because the jackets just might not be practical - How often would I really wear them? Would I really wear them on the bus to work? Do I really need TWO of them? - and the boots are too tight in the calf (which, since they're designed to be for fat girls, is really disappointing, Lane Bryant!). Now, I know I could try to stretch out the boots, but it would require yet another purchase, and then, what if it didn't work? I'd have to try to sell them on eBay, but they'd be basically "used", and I wouldn't be able to sell them for very much. Also I already have a pair of black knee-high boots that actually fit, it's just they're not nearly as cute/cool as these. le sigh.

Book:  I read Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta in August and LOVED it! It's a beautifully written book with a great story, interesting characters, and satisfying ending. Doesn't get much better than that! I highly recommend it!

TV: Of all the reality TV shows out there, my two all-time faves are So You Think You Can Dance and Face Off. I just love watching intelligent, brilliant people using their God-given brains and talent to perform and create, and to make us feel all the feels. It's so much more pleasurable and satisfying than watching insipid, stupid rich people yelling, swearing, and throwing stuff.  

Another awesome TV thing is that not only did the new series of Doctor Who start up (FINALLY! And, I say that then have to confess I have yet to start watching it myself!), but RetroTV started playing all the old Doctor Who shows in August starting with the William Hartnell episodes. My mom and I have been really enjoying watching the old, stuttery black and white series, complete with awesome props and wardrobe!

Food: I picked up some amazingly delicious tomatoes at the SLO Farmer's Market, and made some awesome BLTs out of them. It really made me wish we'd been able to have a garden this year (but, alas, there's no water in California for gardening!), but I'm thankful I was able to get a taste of some really yummy produce!

Fun Stuff: The August Break is one of my favourite photo projects, and I was thrilled to see Susannah Conway did it again this year! I think I had some really good shots all around, but here are my top three faves (in no particular order):







I hope you had a great August filled with wonderful things you loved and enjoyed! I'd love to hear about them in the comments below! Cheers!

 * by the time you read this I'll probably have made a decision about these, which you'll probably read about in a future post.

Friday Five: Weekend Recap

Earlier this week I meant to write up a comprehensive recap of last weekend's adventure in Morro Bay, but this week has been crazy busy for me, and I just didn't get it done. Therefore I'll be recapping briefly in five bullet points:

  • Morro Bay was beautiful! We had sunshine and blue sky Friday and Saturday, then a return to the usual overcast skies on Sunday, which was fine. The only problem was the wind, which was outrageously brisk!
  • Mom and I planned to just have dinner in our room Friday night, but with Bella Vino's Wine Bar and Bistro just down the street, we couldn't resist going for a glass of the delicious Green Eye Chardonnay and their amazing bruschetta!

  • Saturday was the Morro Bay High School Bands on the Run 5k/10k/Half Marathon. I walked the 5k in a little over an hour (I think; honestly I'm not sure how to read the sheet below. I thought I walked it in 1 hour 16 minutes, according to the timer by the finish line, but the sheet looks like it was 1 hour 32 minutes. I don't know. All I know is I FINISHED!!), and despite the pain in my shins and feet, had a good time. That deep sand is a bugger to walk through - I don't know how the runners did it!  Later, mom and I wandered around the quaint little shops along the Embarcadero and had lunch at Stax Wine Bar. I can't remember the Chardonnay we had there, but it was good, as was their Caesar Salad special with steak (although to be honest, the steak might've been better if it'd been cut in strips, rather than 1/4" cubes). Unfortunately, I ended up with some rather uncomfortable issues (which I've mentioned before), and spent the rest of the day just relaxing in the room as much as possible.

  • Sunday I felt much better (why? who knows? I don't even know why I felt miserable in the first place!), and we were able to do some more shopping along the Embarcadero where I ordered a silver ring with an etched floral design at an gallery shop in Marina Square and bought a darling bird nest garden stake (photo coming soon!) at another gifty shop,  and a summer-weight white sweater at Poppy's. I probably could've shopped more - Poppy's had some awesome jewelry as did Fiona Bleu gallery - but I really should clear out some old jewelry first, and also I ordered tons of stuff online recently, so there will be another closet purge coming soon, too!
  • Later we had lunch at Off the Hook where I had a delicious soft-shell crab sandwich and tried their Cosmo martini which was made from Sochu instead of vodka. It was pretty good, but I could tell it wasn't as strong as a vodka Cosmo would've been. After that we wandered around a little more then headed home to get ready for the week. We had to mow and water the lawn, and I had to prep for a full week of work as well as after-work activities every night this past week, including tonight which is the Art and Wine Tour downtown Atascadero - always a fun time - and tomorrow, Saturday, which is the Central Coast Oyster Festival in Avila Beach. Can. Not. Wait!

  • Bonus Bullet Point: Wow, reading this back it sounds like all I do is eat out, and drink wine and martinis! Really, my life is not always this much fun! Cheers!


May Recap

So, I must admit that May 2014 was a bit of a win for me. I was finally able to convince my doctor I have polymyalgia rheumatica (or at least got her to just humour me), and got a trial run of medication, which has been working WONDERS. I truly hope now I can continue with it until I'm completely healed.

At the beginning of the year, I made the word "Adventure" my word and goal for 2014. Thus far I've done very little adventuring, and while I suppose can use my illness as an excuse for some of it, I have to be honest, and admit that frankly, I've been a little afraid to be adventurous and try new things. In an effort to break out of that rut (and because I am feeling so much better), I spontaneously signed up for Adult Beginning Ballet classes at a local studio Eleve Barre, in Atascadero. I've had two sessions so far, and while I'm suck mightily at it, it's a lot of fun as well as being a great workout!

Also, I was planning to add a third session with my trainer at Kennedy, but instead decided I would start reserving a lane at the pool and swim laps instead. I've always enjoyed swimming, and it's a great cardio exercise!

That won't be happening for a while, though, as today and next Friday are already booked. Today I'm taking off work early and heading to Morro Bay for the weekend where I will be adding to my Adventures by participating in the Morro Bay Bands on the Run 5K Saturday morning. I'm just walking it, not running, but I'm really looking forward to it! Then next Friday, I just discovered, is the quarterly Art and Wine Tour in Downtown Atascadero, which is always a fun time! And just to add to the Adventures, next Saturday June 7th, I'm going to the Central Coast Oyster Festival in Avila Beach for an afternoon of oysters, music and fun! It should be a total blast!

I'm exhausted just looking at that list, but SO excited to be feeling better, and able to try new things! Have a great weekend, y'all! Cheers!

First Friday Five of 2014

Well, well, well, lookie what I remembered to do! I'm sure it's been several weeks since I did a Friday Five - maybe months! - but, hey, it's never too late to pick something up again right?  Anyway, last night I went to SLO Farmer's Market for the first time in forEVer ( so I think it might count as an "Adventure"!), and it was so. much. fun! I had a light dinner at Novo, browsed a few shops, heard some awesome music, and purchased some beautiful produce I'm looking forward to roasting this weekend. In light of that, I decided to share a few observations from the evening:

1.  First off, something completely randon: I think I might like Hendrick's Gin more than Tanqueray.

2.  Marston Smith - The Lord of the Cello - is totally awesome and amazing and has fantastic fashion sense.

3.  Hands Gallery still owns my heart and my wallet.

4.  Downtown SLO is hipper and cooler than I remember it, and that's saying a LOT because it's always been pretty hip and cool!

5.  I'm going to have to do Farmer's Market again. Soon. Maybe even make it a monthly outing. I forgot how much fun it is!

 Have a great weekend! Cheers!