St. Petersburg Garden

St. Petersburg Garden

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekends in San Diego & a Detour in Temecula

There are so many things that I keep saying I am going to do. One of them is berry picking. More specifically the berry of straw. Every year I pass by the sign that says "Strawberry Picking here" and every year I keep saying I'm going to do that. Of course it doesn't happen. It also doesn't help that Mike hates strawberries and we all know that picking fruit by yourself is no fun.

We've gone blackberry picking before. Sure, that was great but again, we've done it and I wanted to go strawberry picking. It's literally right down the road from where I drop Mike off at work so I didn't even have the excuse that it was too far to go. What was I waiting for? I don't know. I have this bad habit of living in a place and saying that I will do things eventually and then never doing them and before I know it, it's too late. I didn't want that day to come. I knew the time was now.

That's my new outlook. Now. I can't say I will do something one day. What if that day never comes? Especially since I know I will most likely be moving. Oops. Cat's out of the bag. I have to take advantage of everything that I can while I have it in front of me and that included the berry fields. I put in a call. Well, I knew Mike wouldn't pick so I needed back up. Those aren't my perfectly manicured hands holding those perfect specimens to the right. Thanks Naomi.

We headed to the fields in Carlsbad to begin our adventure. It's not as easy as you'd think. It's hard to get those berries off the stem without bruising and there are rules to follow. You can't take the stems off. Not an easy task. But you can eat as many as you'd like. This was a rule I could abide by. I will admit, I have gone strawberry picking one other time but it was on Long Island in New York and it was years ago. I recall the berries being a little easier to get off the stems and the fields were more wide open but overall this was a lot of fun and definitely the best way to go to get your berries. Much juicier, fresher and better tasting than any berry you'll buy in the market.

The weekend had us take a little detour out to wine country. That's right people it was time for us to get our wine and cheese on. Nothing but the best for us. Thanks to Kevin we had the finest in cheese. A little sharp cheddar and some cheese whiz. Nothing says "Day in Wine Country" like the cheese whiz. We were the envy of the all.

Every winery we went to, we laid out our fine delicacies in front of us for all to see. Crackers and chocolate supplied by Doug and Naomi added to our fine dining. People kept passing by, staring, drooling, hoping to be invited into our circle. We weren't exclusive. We were willing to share. We passed out a few cracker stix. We're a sharing bunch.

We began our journey at Falkner Winery. It was a successful stop. It kicked off our tour with a bang for it was there that Kevin found the magic glasses. The "wine bottle" glasses. What started out as a fun gag turned the day into a paparazzi filled photo frenzy. Every where we went, Kevin was surrounded by people asking for a picture. Either with him or of him, it didn't matter. As long as they had him and his glasses in the photo was all they cared about.

We moved on to South Coast Winery. At first we were overwhelmed. So many wines to choose from. What to do, what to do. But then, those glasses. Kevin was a hit. First one girl, then a crowd of girls. Who knew? I think he might take these glasses every where from now on. We had a great time here. The wine server was super friendly and I loved that they had a whole section on just sparkling wines.

Next stop, Ponte. Mike and I are wine club members so we figured we would just pick up our shipment and have a quick tasting. But with our entourage there really isn't such a thing as quick. Plus, those glasses. I mean, they draw crowds. Really. I'm talking crowds. They didn't disappoint here either. We set up shop and got busy. Cheese, crackers, the whole spread. And the cameras. Can't forget those. The people were approaching from all around.

I honestly didn't think these glasses would get that much action. It was time to move on to our last winery, Europa Village. This was a new place. I'd been stalking it. Since I love Europe and it was supposed to be European style wines I figured it should be good. We headed over. The concept was cool - it's supposed to be a village - Italy, France and Spain. It will eventually be three different wineries on the property but at the moment they have one building open. There are 3 different tasting rooms with the themes. We chose to taste in France. Bet that surprises all of you, huh?

The wine servers here were very friendly too. This may come as a surprise to everyone - the glasses were a big hit here as well. The cameras were out in full force. From the beginning to the end those glasses made Kevin a star. It's no surprise that he's ready to go back for another day of wine tasting. Maybe next time we should all get some glasses. See how it feels to be famous. At least for a day.

If you'd like to visit any of the places I've mentioned above check out their websites:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Belongs to Charlie

I should have known better, really I should have. When we first got Charlie we thought that because of his size everything would be okay. He won't take up much room. I mean come on, the little tyke is only 10 pounds. We even thought it would be nice to get him his own bed. You know, one of those cute little doggie beds. That was our first mistake.

Now that he has taken over the house and our Queen sized bed and the couch oh and let's not leave out the 6 foot love sac you can definitely say that we've learned that Charlie is the King of the Castle. Don't get me wrong, we wouldn't have it any other way. Just one look into those cute big brown eyes and you can't help but let him lay all over anything he wants.

But it makes you wonder - how much room does a 10 pound dog really need? When we lay in bed at night and feel a little paw stretch out, pushing us over, is that really necessary? Someone was getting a little greedy here and no, this time it was not Mike. The other day it went too far. I like to have blankets stashed all over the house. I found that every time I needed a blanket Charlie happened to be tangled up in not one but two.

Something wasn't right with this picture. I knew my blanket supply was dwindling and I'll admit I was slacking on the laundry duties but did he need two at a time? What was going on here? First I had Mike and his pillows. Now I have Charlie and his blankets. I was surrounded. I finally decided to stop slacking on these blue blankets. They were in the wash zone for a while. I needed my own coverage and decided it was time. I couldn't wait to sit on the couch and relax. I took one out of the dryer, all nice and toasty. This was actually a king size blanket.

I put it on the couch and stepped away for just a minute, not even. I came back and this is what I found - a brown ball of fur completely engulfed in the warmth "pretending" to be asleep. That's right, pretending is what he was doing. It's almost as if he was stalking me, waiting for me to drag that blanket out of the dryer because that thing wasn't on that couch for even a minute when he shot over and staked his claim. Now I know and now you know. As long as you have a dog and a husband there's no such thing as "your" pillow and "your" blanket. Apparently they're all loaners. That's what I'm told.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weekends in San Diego

When you live in an area for a while there are so many things to do that you don't. You take them all for granted. You think that you'll get to it eventually until one day you realize that you never did and now it's too late. I refuse to let that happen. It seems to appear that the end is in sight for our San Diego days. I can't tell you an exact date but I know that the end is near. With that in mind, we now pass signs advertising events with a new outlook. Instead of saying we'll have to check that out sometime and put it in the back of our mind we actually now check it out.

The new goal - go to all of the places that we have been saying we were going to go to for the past 8 years. Yes people, we're actually going to do it. And enjoy it. And pay the discount price for all of it. Thank you Entertainment Guide. And Groupon. And Living Social. And Buy With Me. And the Daily Save. If you're going to do it all you might as well look for some deals while you're at it. Doing it all can add up. And hey, if you're doing it all you might as well go all the way. Go big or go home. Sounds good in theory.

We begin our adventure at what was formerly known as the Quail Botanical Gardens. I like this name much better. I don't like when people decide to rename things. Old names are much better. Baseball Stadiums should take note. Quail Botanical Gardens had such a nice ring to it. Apparently the city felt left out and they had to get in on the action. The new name is the San Diego Botanical Gardens. Really? Because if you didn't know where you were before entering the gardens you just look down at your map and ah, relief, I'm in San Diego.

This place was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. Actually HUGE. We didn't leave enough time to get through the place and there was a bonus - Chocolate Festival. Well, I actually knew about that and this was the real reason I decided to check out the gardens on this particular day. I'm a smart cookie. Mike gets his garden and I get my chocolate. It's a win-win situation. After walking around in the forests of bamboo, we bumped into local boy scout troop 799 who were selling honey which was produced by their assistant scoutmaster, a beekeeper by trade. We're all about supporting the boy scouts so we bought a bottle of the sage honey. Beeelicious.

The next day it was time to get our bingo on. I'm not talking your grandma's bingo. This was Babette's bingo brunch - the best bingo I've ever had the pleasure of attending. Sure, the pressure is still on. It's all about across, diagonal, up and down. The stakes on high. Everyone wants to win, win, win. But this bingo is like no other - it's at our favorite place in downtown San Diego, Martini's Above Fourth in Hillcrest where the Martini's are absolutely delicious and the entertainment is hilarious.

At bingo you don't just come to win, you come for the food, the friends, the show and the fun. It's the total package. Of course winning makes it all the more fun but even if you don't get to yell BINGO you still enjoy the afternoon of non-stop laughter. But this day I was a winner. Yes, when I got that bingo I jumped out of my seat and made a beeline for the stage. I wasn't taking a chance. This was my time. That win was mine. I was so excited. I chose my ticket, saw my first prize and decided to go for the bag. Just like "Let's Make a Deal", I had my options. Blue bag or Pink Bag. I looked to my table. They all yelled Blue, blue, blue. I had to go with my people. I chose blue. Oh no a zoink! I got a zoink! A child's cheerleader outfit. Smile, pose for the camera. Ah, all in good fun. Besides, I do have a niece. No prizes ever go to waste.

After the fun of bingo, and all those martinis, we decided to walk around Hillcrest and do a little shopping. First stop was Babette Shwartz's shop. Chock full of gag gifts, t-shirts, cards and novelties. It's always a stop on the tour. We continued down the block and came upon the best little clothing store called Twirl. We only intended to peek inside for a minute or two. I think we were in here for over an hour. We literally put on a fashion show for the store. I don't know how it happened. The clothes are incredibly fun, fashionable, trendy and the best part.....affordable.

What a freakin' gem of a place this store is. A hidden gem. It's not a mass marketed place where you know a million other girls will be wearing the same shirt as you and yet it's so budget friendly you know you can buy a few items and not panic that you just blew your paycheck. I think I just convinced myself to go back for more clothes. Uh oh. Plus, if you spend a certain amount, you get a coupon for a free pedicure. You really can't go wrong. They get new styles in on a daily basis so it's always a good day to check this store out.

It was a fabulous weekend spent with great friends and some new memories were added to the mix. Although I think next time the guys should join that fashion show. That turquoise dress would have looked great on one of you. Maybe that see through pink top with the white hat. Come on, you guys have some great legs. Work it, work it.

*If you would like to visit any of the locations mentioned above check out the following websites and/or store locations:

Twirl - 619-291-0933
3840 5th Ave San Diego, 92103

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back to Reality

For the most part, I'm not a big fan of reality. It's not really that fun. Come on, admit it. What's so fun about reality? Work, bills, work. Have I mentioned work and bills? There. That about sums it up. Sure, I know it's all a part of life but it's certainly not the fun part and I'm all about the fun part. I like to enjoy life. We all do. Well, most of us anyway. The fact that I have a little trouble snapping back to reality coupled with me being a constant dreamer is not an easy mix.

I'm always dreaming of what kind of fabulous life I could be leading, of what kind of fabulous life I should be leading. And believe me, I should be leading a fabulous life. Why? Well, because that's the way I dreamt it should be and my dreams should always come true. Don't question it. I don't.

Last week I was prepared for a time of fabulosity. My friend Roach was coming to visit and I knew reality would be thrown out the window. I can always count on my Roach to bring the entertainment and I was not disappointed. Neither were the people around us. For a brief moment in time it was all about us. Wait, did I say that? I didn't really mean that. It's pretty much always about us so let me rephrase that.

For a brief moment in time where ever we went the world was our stage. Wait, that doesn't work either. Isn't the world always our stage? Hhmm. Ok, ok, here's what I meant to say. We were together. Me and Roach. Roach and I. United. Together again. Tag Team. Double Trouble. I think Mike was a little scared. We took San Diego by storm and for those few days all was right with the world. The universe was aligned. All was as it should be.

We started off slowly, doing what we do best. Looking good. Crap, did I just say that? Actually Charlie Brown wanted me to put that part in there so I'm just complying and let's face it he was looking pretty hot in his beach photo shoot. Strolling the beach, relaxing on the shore, looking at blue skies. This is part of my so-called reality. Roach fit in just fine. It was time for some fun.

We headed to the wineries to entertain the masses. And entertain we did. I won't go into details. Some things are better left to the imagination. But there was a lot of camera action, statue posing and climbing of walls. Just a little note though - when you climb a wall, always make sure you aren't afraid of heights. Getting down isn't as easy as getting up. Roach found that out the hard way......

The best part of when a friend visits is the sleepover. You always know they are going to be there when you wake up and you can start planning your day together. They don't leave and go home. Not yet anyway. Before it all ended we even managed to slip in a royal wedding sleepover at another friend's house. Tea for me, Tequila for Roach. Hey, we all have our preferences. Then it was time for Beer Fest 2011.

A few microbreweries, a paddle for spanking your a** (ok, so that's not really what it was for - it may have just been a beer holder) and new friends for Roach completed the trip. I never stopped laughing. Wait, scratch that. The end. I stopped at the end. When my Roach left me. And reality came crashing back. Damn. Reality. The end of fabulosity. Which begs the question - why can't we get paid just to be fabulous? I saw how much we were entertaining people while we were out. Roach saw it. Our friends saw it. We have pictures to prove it. Ah, a girl can dream, can't she?