Life – Food & Luv


Flying Solo – The Monterey Peninsula 2015


Processed with Moldiv
Processed with Moldiv

Many people believe that in order to have a “Grand Adventure” you would need to travel to a distant land to find something extraordinary .

This may be true at times but I also feel that there is so much one can find even closer to home if they are willing to “Dig” for small gems of travel .

As I have mentioned before in my previous posts I was born and raised in Southern California. The land of beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts and flip flops. We see sunshine over 300 days of the year. We eat well too. Our produce flourishes year round with an abundance of  Avocados, Artichokes, Strawberries, Squash, Table Grapes, Tomatoes , Oranges, Grapefruits and Lemons. To top it all off we are spoiled with some of the best wines in the world that are produced from the Central Coast (Paso Robles & San Ynez Valley) and Northern California (Sonoma & Napa). It really is a food lovers dream over here.

By the time August 1st hit this year I found myself pretty worn out from the previous 11 months of non stop activity and work. I wanted to escape to have a real break. I wanted to breathe in some fresh crisp ocean air , I wanted to go and explore , I wanted to hit the California’s (Hwy 1) heading North and most importantly I wanted to do all of this, Alone.



I pitched the idea of doing this alone to my husband D and from the get go he was very supportive of my plans (Thanks D- you are so sweet). D and I have always traveled well together but at the same time we have always been very independent in the sense that if there is something we want to go and see and the other won’t be able to join in because of (work or other commitments)  then we always do our best to support each other in our endeavors.

Did I get a little flack for wanting to to this solo? Well yes, a little bit.

I found that some of my friends and especially (My parents) couldn’t figure out why on earth I would want to take a trip alone. My answer is easy, “I wanted to”. Like most women my days are filled with an overloaded “To do list” and I am more than happy to put in long days and hard work for the benefit of others and especially my family. But sometimes I frankly want invite a little “quiet” into my life , a little disconnect in order to center and renew myself. So I came up with the perfect spot to do this. I would drive north to- Big Sur.

Big Sur has always been a very special spot to me since I was a small girl. It’s a landscape that is at times is just too “Majestic for words”. It’s where I feel I can stand on a mountainside, cast in glorious sunshine, and gaze down upon a Pacific Ocean completely blanketed by dense fog. It’s a view most of us would associate with being in heaven, or at least the window seat of an airplane. In Big Sur you can get it with your two feet on the ground.

Not much has changed here in the past 50 years. Sure, there are now some small grocers and restaurants around. But the nearest supermarket is still dozens of miles away. It’s a destination where cell phone coverage is nearly nonexistent. The nice part of this is that, whether you like it or not, you’re on vacation. If someone at the office needs to reach you, well, too bad. I can’t urge you enough that if you have never been for a visit (especially if you reside here in California) by all means pack up your car and hit the Hwy 1. It’s a journey that one needs to do at least once in their life and it is one that will definitely “Take your breath away”.






  • “I got to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in tune once more”
  • -John Burroghs-


  • McWay Falls – My Happy Corner of the World

McWay Falls is an 80-foot waterfall located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park that flows year-round. This waterfall is one of only two in the region that are close enough to the ocean to be referred to as “tidefalls”, the other being Alamere Falls. The source of the waterfall is McWay Creek and is one of the few waterfalls that empty directly into the ocean. Originally the waterfall cascaded directly into the ocean but after a 1983 fire and 1985 landslides, the topography of McWay Cove was altered, forming an inaccessible beach. The waterfall now meets the ocean when the tide is in.

I must have taken hundreds of pictures , I was so hard to choose which one’s to share. It’s also so hard to describe all the joy and happiness I came home with. I was able to take in so much in one weeks time. I only scratched the surface of this most beautiful route. But as the old saying goes “All good things must come to an end”. There is one thing I know for sure and that is I will be back over and over again. I am a California girl to the core , I love the Pacific with all my heart…………………………

We will forever remain close!





There where so many spots along the way that made my trip extra special.

Here is a listing of some of my favorite places to STAY-PLAY-EXPLORE

 and most importantly EAT. 

For more information on each establishment feel free to click on each of the places described here it will connect you directly to their websites.

  • Santa Barbara

Canary Santa Barbara- Stay

A Spanish colonial Santa Barbara boutique hotel gem is located just steps from lively State Street, the heartbeat of Santa Barbara. Walking distance to many great restaurants and wine bars.

I found the rooms to be quit lovely and oh so pretty. It was perfect for a girly gal like myself.




Scarlet Begonias– Eat

OMG, OMG , OMG and did I say OMG ……Everything here is delish. Heavenly Breakfast served right here on earth. Many unique and beautiful dishes made here with extremely fresh and organic ingredients. Homemade granola, lemon ricotta pancakes, hot chocolate with hand crafted marshmallows, soft scrambled eggs with a light sprinkling of sea salt, maple/bacon biscuits, shrimp and grits I can be here all day listing all the items that can be adored here. The place is just that amazing……………………………………………run here #forreals


IMG_3924 IMG_3925


  • Cayucos

Brown Butter Cookie Company– EAT

Freshly baked brown butter cookies served right off the baking tray. Each is hand rolled by a dedicated staff of artisanal cookie makers. Beautiful blends of brown butter and sea salt. I have never tasted anything like it before. So unique and carefully made. You really taste the love in these cookies. They carry their signature brown butter and sea salt selection but they also have a very tasty array of other flavors to choose from (Almond, Lemon Poppy Seed, Cocoa Mint, Citrus and Espresso) to name a few.

They are located in the adorable little beach town of Cayucos. The good news is you can order these amazing cookies online and have them shipped to your front door! at




  • Big Sur


Ragged Point– Explore & Eat


This is a great spot to stop and take a rest from driving and stretch your legs. They have a little cafe here that serves really good burgers, shakes and coffee.

The best part about this place is walking out to the lookout. The views are absolutely breathtaking, looking north along the coast. Great spot to take photos.

They also have a little Inn here. I have never stayed here overnight but would like to one day in the future.




Ventana Inn & Spa– Stay

This was the most beautiful property I’ve ever stayed at in California. They hold many weddings here each year and it’s so easy to so see why (If I could get married all over again Mr.D and I would of done it here). They offer many outdoor activities here. From guided hiking excursions, you can have a guide take you out to the best point on the property to enjoy the sunset and if that’s not enough they have one of the best afternoon wine and cheese tastings I’ve ever experienced. The rooms are exquisite with the most amazing views.

Tranquility is found in every corner of the most memorable property.






  • San Luis Obispo

The Madonna Inn– Stay & Eat

I’ve driven past this place so many time over the years with out stopping to take a look. But legend has it that the place is notorious for there (50 shades of Pink) that is generously sprinkled everywhere through out the property all the way down to the infamous Pink Champagne Cake. I decided I would stop and check it out and , OMG I am so glad I did. The place is so over the top tacky and fabulous. Pink is EVERYWHERE. I was in Pink euphoria. After taking a walk through the pink dining room I was convinced that Liberace was the interior designer for this place…lol


  • Madonna Inn feels like a mix of one of those old roadside attraction postcards, the kitschy room Grandma didn’t let you in, that weird in-between area between Fantasyland and Frontierland.




You really have to see it to believe it. Whenever I think of the Madonna Inn, I remember one thing most of all. Pink Champagne cake!!



Buona Tavola– EAT

All is can say is thank God for Yelp. It guided me to one of the most delicious meals of 2015 so far.

I was really craving Italian and this place delivered in the most profound and life changing ways.

I have eaten in Rome, Parma, Florence and after one bite I  instantly felt “transported back to Italy” it was an A+ experience on every level. The service, the warmth of family who runs the place, the mezmerising smells that came out of the kitchen. The real mind blowing thing here is the food.  I ordered the Tagliata di bue salutare (a flat-iron steak grilled on fresh arugula with shaved parmesan and balsamic reduction sauce. It completely rocked my world. Please make sure if you are ever in the adorable little college town of San Luis Obispo that you make sure to stop here and have one of the most delightful dining expriences.





  • Paso Robles

Pasolivo Tasting Room & Olive Mill– Taste


From the moment you walk in, you could smell the wonderful aroma of the various spices & things. I thoroughly enjoyed my olive oil tasting. you pick your spices/salts & put it on a plate, then you’re provided with some bread & get to taste the different flavored olive oils. The ladies that work there are all very friendly & knowledgeable. They gave me recommendations of what spices to try with which flavored oil. They also have a ton of other products from lotions & soaps to different flavored balsamic vinegars & jams as well as wooden boards & bowls for serving.

o-1 o-2 o-3




Yes 5 stars! I visited Opolo based a recommendations from other wineries. This place is off the beaten path of 46 and has a nice desk/patio area that serves food as well (loved the outdoor Tuscan Pizza Oven). All their wines were good but their reds are some of the best we’ve tasted in the area. Nice bold reds! My favorites where the Sangiovese, Zinfandel and the 2011 Petit Verdot!!






  • Solvang

Wine Country Inn– Stay


Dutch-inspired ambiance enhanced with all the comforts of today. I very much enjoyed my little cottage. It’s located in the heart of the sweet town of Solvang. Walking distance to local restaurants, dozens of wine bars and Bakeries. The grounds are really green and pretty here. They also offer bike rentals to cruise around town.


Actors Corner Cafe– Eat


It all started with the warm welcome from the lovely Grace Lebecka (she is the wife of the chef Santo Cervello). It’s ambiance is romantic and all things beautiful from the fresh flowers on the table to the sounds of the outdoor fountain trickling in the background while you eat the most amazing food . Grace explained to me that she hand picks all the freshest of ingredients everyday from the local farmers market. This was very evident from the first bite of my butter leaf salad . Then came the Capellini Bolognese with Kobe beef. I told myself that there was no way I could possibly finish all of it but “I’m no quitter” This pasta was very special you were really able to taste the care and love that was put into that plate. I just know I will be back here soon, but next time I plan to bring along Mr.D I know that he too will fall in love with this place like I did. Thank you Grace! You are the very best and your restaurant can best be describe in one word………..AMAZING.




Quicksilver Ranch– Play


And I have saved the best for last. One of my last stops that was made on my trip was at the Quicksilver Ranch. Home of the Mini Ponies. The ranch is located only 3 miles outside the town of Solvang. These little ponies are too precious for words , they walk up to the fence and you can pet them. Walk around and you’ll find others more willing to get pet. The grounds are well kept and if you have children this is surely a place they would love. I could have stayed here all day just looking at all these cuties graze and eat grass.

IMG_4558 IMG_4575

Baby Boy “Bubby”



My family life has pretty much always revolved around “Babies”.

When I was 13 years old my parents sat me down and told me that mama was pregnant. Which was so “Unexpected” because for years our family was made of up of – Mom-Dad- my brother Steve and me. Here my mom had 2 teens living in the house and here came “The Surprise” our baby sister Camille.

She was a beautiful baby girl. I loved being a big sister to her. I always felt so protective of my little “Sosi” as we call her. We did so much together. Because of our rather large age gap Sosi quickly became exposed to teen music playing in the house (after all she was born in the 80’s) she was a fan of U2 by the ripe age of 5, She loved to sing and dance, she loved taking care of all of her cats, she loved cheese and she like her dad and big sister loves chocolate.

Soon our family baby grew up to have a baby of her own.

Ian Jude was born on May 25,2011. He is the spitting image of his mama and his grandfather Carlos.

Oh to speak about this special little nephew of mine……Well he makes my heart swell. I love this little guy so much. I can’t believe he is 4 years old today.

I can’t imagine what life would be like without our little “Bubby” he truly is the apple of our eye!





By – Mindy Gledhill

Little boy, when you speak
I can’t help but kiss your cheeks
I love the way you grab my hands
And tell me all about your plans

Rocket high, comets fly
You and I could hitch a ride
And fly away to Neverland
And give our best to Peter Pan

When you reach for the stars
Don’t forget who you are
And please don’t turn around and grow up way too fast
See the sand in my grasp
From the first to the last
Every grain becomes a memory of the past
Oh, life’s an hourglass
Life’s an hourglass

Story’s read, prayer is said
Close your eyes sleepyhead
While angels linger in your dreams
And hold you in their feathered wings
Just like you, I was small
Not that long ago at all
I wish you all the happiness
That God gives freely if you ask





2014- It’s a Beautiful Wrap……



I have a question, “Have we really come to the end of 2014”?

Amazing how time really does not “wait for no one”. So everybody has a story of what their 2014 was like. For me it was another year of growth and refinement. For years I used to cling to the lyrics written in the U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For” but this past year I let go of this song as my small anthem in life because I feel as if “I have found what I was looking for”.

All I needed to do was take a little more time with “me” and look around to those in my life that make it such a beautiful experience. This past year I learned how to “draw the line” in politely saying a goodbye to the things that had the habit of bringing excess stress into my life. In essence I finally said “No you can’t come here anymore” and I meant it. The outcome was incredible. I feel lighter, brighter and eager to keep moving forward with change.

I was able to have the opportunity & privilege of meeting many new fellow foodies and chef’s who all share the same love of food and the who all strongly believe that “Sharing is Caring” when you invite people to congregate at a table and break bread together.

There is so much joy that can be found in the kitchen. Let’s be honest it’s a harsh world out there and when family comes home from a long day spent away from this safe haven there is nothing more comforting and soothing than all the aroma’s that seep out of the oven that without one word spoken says “Welcome Home Sweet Love”.



I feel as I am still finding my way in this huge world of food blogging- it’s takes a lot of work to be “relevant and fresh” but I am in no rush. All I can be is “Me” candid and honest. I will take my time this next year with my new adventures and education in all things that involve food and sharing. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having a share in my life and my passion. It really is my honest hope that one day I can cook a little something special for each and every one of you!



P.S- Here is a summary of the “Plates I ate” or a portion of them to be honest. I love photography and all the big and small delights that I was able to cross paths with this past year. I can’t wait to see what this next year brings to my plate.


All Things Golden


You are given one set of parents in life. But sometimes you get blessed with a second set.

My second set comes in the form of two very special individuals by the names of Jim & Lena Stuber. They came into my life when my brother (Steve) started dating a cute gal named Kimberly Stuber back in the mid 80’s.

Before Steve and Kim ever got married I had established a close friendship with Roxanne, Leslie and lil Heidi (Kim’s younger sisters). I was able to spend many fun summer’s at the Stuber home. We would play at the beach by day and watch the movies Airplane & The Best of Eddie Murphy SNL (all on VHS I might add) over and over by night. There was constant laughter that lived in their house (there still is). It didn’t take long to fall in love with the whole family especially Jim & Lena.

Since those days our lives have been intertwined in a very special way for the last 30 years. They have been there for many of my special moments and now I had the privilege to be involved in a very important milestone that was about to occur in their family.

The Celebration of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.


  • October 17, 1964

Dad_MamaChapelYes it’s been Fifty years of a love that’s produced 6 children,10 grandchildren, invited lots of cats & dogs into their sweet home on Euclid Ct, a love that has brewed hundreds of thousand gallons of coffee. It’s a love that has survived cancer and an unexpected heart attack.

It’s the union of two unselfish individuals who have always been willing to help out the single mother, that divorced father, the sick, the elderly widow. They are the ones who have always had open arms to help nurture all those children who had no love to be found in their own home. It’s a love that has experienced much laughter, tears and growth through out the years, and it’s all wrapped up in one amazing couple.

For me they have been one of the best examples of what it means to genuinely love others from the heart.


  •  The Stuber Children- (From Left) Leslie, Kim, Tim , Angie, Heidi & Roxanne.



  • The Palm Springs Weekend Begins


The plan was to have a relaxed weekend of family, fun and food. The festivities of the weekend kicked off at the beautiful El Cielo Estate located in the Movie Colony district of Sunny Palm Springs, California.  We began with a decorated welcome table that included a photograph of Jim & Lena on their wedding day along with childhood pictures of all 6 children.






Then it was time to add a few small touches to the Master Bedroom, including a crate filled with many of their favorite things to snack on and a few items for “Happy Hour”- For Lena (Wine) for Jim (Whiskey)


IMG_0325 IMG_0322



  • The little ones in the family wasted no time in getting this party started with a dip in the pool. Little Nanners and Dude……. Don’t you just want to pinch them? They are cuteness to the max……….


Yes, it was definitely time to celebrate and get busy creating some new memories!

On Saturday morning we got the coffee pots started early and began to prepare the Anniversary Brunch. Here is a sampling of some of the items that where on the menu.


  • Greek Yogurt Parfaits with Homemade Granola


Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Recipe type: Brunch
  • One 17½-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Assorted berries (we used Blueberries & Raspberries)
  1. First, pour the yogurt into a bowl. Then add the cream and vanilla. With a whisk, carefully stir until combined. It should be nice and thick.
  2. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top of the yogurt mixture. Do not stir the mixture. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and tightly seal the edges. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. When you are ready to serve, place a small handful of berries (or other fruit) into a bowl or cup. Without stirring the mixture, spoon the yogurt over the berries. There will be creamy areas and brown sugar areas. Repeat the layers once, ending with berries on top. Garnish with Granola for some extra crunch!

The recipe for the homemade granola that I made to garnish these cuties can be found by clicking here Eleven Park Madison Granola


  • Assortment of Mini Fritatta’s
  • We feasted on combinations of
  • (Pancetta/Carmelized Onion  – Tomato/Basil – and Spinach/Crimini Mushroom)



  • Loaded Breakfast Potatoes – An exquisite blend of Red Potatoes, Sautéed Sweet Peppers, Onions and Garlic combined with butter & olive oil
  • and roasted to perfection.


Loaded Breakfast Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 12
  • 1 bag (5 Pounds) Red Potatoes, Cut Into Chunks
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Onion, Peeled And Roughly Chopped
  • 2 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Roughly Chopped
  • 2 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Roughly Chopped
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ stick Butter, Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Pour potatoes onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan twice.
  4. Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes, tossing twice.
  5. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.


  •  Pumpkin French Toast Bake


Pumpkin French Toast Bake
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 16
  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping:
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  1. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Tear French bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly place in the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread. Cover pan with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces and cut into the dry mixture using a fork or your hands. Combine until the mixture resembles sand with a few pea sized chunks. Cover and store mixture in the refrigerator.
  4. When you’re ready to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove French toast from refrigerator and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the French toast is set and golden brown.
  5. Serve warm with syrup & Garnish with toasted pecans.



  •  Nutella Croissant French Toast

IMG_0963 IMG_0969 IMG_0959


  • Oh Mr. Hubs you are so cute!





  • The Grandchildren


So here is the order in which these kiddos where born:

  1. Steven – The Oldest
  2. Chelsea- The Smart One
  3. Kiley- Pretty Blue Eyes
  4. Kara- The Brat
  5. Matthew – The Athlete
  6. Emma – The Hilarious One
  7. Isabel-  The Sweet Princess
  8. Aleena- Princess Leah
  9. Cyrus – The Dancer
  10. Talulah- The Love Bug
  • The Dudes



  • The Gals








The Grand Finale of the weekend was celebrated at world famous Melvyn’s Restaurant located in the beautiful Ingleside Inn right here is Palm Spring , Ca.


What makes Melvyn’s so special is it can best be described as a nice throw-back to a bygone era. With little touches of old Hollywood ambiance and nightly live entertainment that fills the air with songs of all “The Greats”. Be it Frank Sinatra ,Tony Bennett, Dean Martin to name a few.

While sitting at the dinner table I looked around at all the beautiful faces of those whom I have so much love and affection for. I listened to all the laughter, the little whispers of the night and In this moment I was reminded that this room became filled with all these special family members, because to two people fell in love 50 years ago.


We love you Jim & Lena – May your love continue to bloom and grow for all eternity.




















Beloved- 20 Years of Marriage

 Nov 2011 603


  • Love

Love: is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection (“I love my mother”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment.[1] It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—”the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”.[2] It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals.

The above was Wikipedia’s description of Love. My favorite definition of Love is best defined in the Bible at (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up. does not behave indecently, does not look for it’s own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….”


  • Youth & Dating


Today marks my 20 Year Wedding Anniversary. I have no idea now to describe all the emotions this day brings with it. I have never been one to wear my heart on my sleeve , but as part of my Anniversary gift to Damon today I will go out on a limb and write the words that go off in my mind and live in my heart. It’s not going to be easy because well-  I tend to be very private when it comes to this part of my life. I’m just plain shy but Ive always been good with writing my thoughts down, so today I surrender and will just let everything flow.

  • My Mama – Words of Wisdom

The day before I got married my mama and I had a little conversation were she said “After tomorrow (my wedding) you will always be, working” which prompted me to ask “Working at what”? her candid and honest reply was “Your Marriage, you never stop working at this, just know you will always be having to work hard at keeping it healthy”. Little did I know at the time how profound these words would come to be. Because after all I was the ripe “Mature age of 23” and I just knew that I would be able handle this new commitment called marriage.

Oh if I could have had a conversation with that “Young girl” , who had her head buried deep in the clouds of love. We would have been up for hours talking about all the realities that marriage would bring into her life. I would have told her “Marriage isn’t for sissy’s” and when you reach your forties you will completely come to understand all of this candid advice very clearly.


  • November 5, 1994

We married on a crisp beautiful fall day. Our wedding was held in the garden of the La Quinta Resort. A local landmark with beautiful grounds surrounded by the gorgeous Santa Rosa mountains of my childhood.

Mama worked tirelessly at all the big and small details of the day. All the way down to the the harpist and every last song she played. We where surrounded by all the people that we loved most in this world. It was just as I imagined it would be, walking down the path of love with papa by my side. Everything about that moment was pure utter joy and sweetness.



  •  “A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
  • -Dave Meurer


Is Marriage easy ? No

Will it challenge and test you to the core?  Yes

Do you sometimes question if you are cut out for this job as a wife? All The Time

Is all the hard work worth it in the end? – Absolutely…..

In hindsight we really were two kids who had no idea what we where doing in the those early years together . We both carried strong personalities into this marriage. Yes there have been hundreds of thousands of times that we both sat back and looked at our world from two very different perspectives . Anyone remember the old self help book called “Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars”? It’s so funny that book came out the very same year we where married. I ran to the bookstore to buy it because I was totally convinced that “Yes, my man was from Mars” and Yes I had sometimes wished he stayed on Mars to begin with……(lol).

It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I found the perfect book that had all I needed in order to help guide me along in my journey of being a wife. It was sitting in my house the whole time I was out in search of finding the “Secret” to a happy married life.

That book was my Bible and in it was all directions on how to build a beautiful life with my beloved. In picking it up and reading all the timeless wisdom that it contained and more importantly by applying it in my day to day life with my husband I quickly began to see and appreciate that the Marriage Arrangement is a very beautiful gift. A gift that was created for us to treat with tender loving care, respect and kindness. Day in and day out. There is never a day off , you are always having to nurture each other in order to stay strong and connected.

  • “You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you, and then you meet one person and your life is changed forever.”
    – Jamie Randall


Today I am thankful for the man I get to share life with. My beloved – My Hubs – My Mr. D- He has brought so much joy to my life. There is so much humor that lives in our house. I say this all the time but he is the “Funniest man in the world” to me. He is so strong, kind, compassionate, supportive, affectionate ,dependable, positive ,ambitious ,hard working, curious, adventurous, encouraging, loyal and stubborn all wrapped up into one extraordinary human being.

So in closing I say – I love you to the moon and back my precious Damon, thank you for giving me such a beautiful life. I honor our marriage and the journey of our first 20 years together. We are strong together – we are blessed.


  • “Two drifters, off to see the world
    There’s such a lot of world to see
    We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waiting, round the bend
    My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me.”
  • Audrey Hepburn – Moon River






The Summer of Clouds – 2014

Tomorrow marks the first day of Autumn.

My favorite, beloved time of year. However I most likely won’t feel the actual climate of Autumn for about another three weeks. Thus living in the Southern California Desert. Yes it’s still 100+ degrees outside and the AC is still very much on (boo).

  • Ode To Jacob

Anyhow what I will attempt to write about today is my incredible Summer of 2014. I can start by saying that we had a lot of company come and stay with us. Our very 1st guest of honor was the wonderful and ever so dear, Mr. Jacob. Who traveled the farthest to see us. Hailing all the way from Dublin City Ireland.


Oh dear Jacob , how can I even begin to describe this very special man that has touched me and Damon’s life so profoundly ?  Well I can begin that by telling you that we have shared a very closed friendship with Jacob for the last 8 years. Jacob is originally from Nigeria and has resided in Dublin for the last 15 years. He is the loving Husband to Rachel and Father to his two sons Stephen and Zecheriah. He is also Bono’s right hand man in his work done at The Clarence Hotel.

Jacob is a man that has a very strong faith and relationship with our loving creator Jehovah God. He has a real love for his fellow man and is always willing to help those in need. He is always generous and eager to share bible truths with those he meets. A very Humble, Kind, Loyal person with a very good sense of humor!


We had the opportunity to visit him last Fall in Dublin. It was a very special trip. He really rolled out the “Red Carpet” for us. So when he came out for his visit in June we wanted to make sure we pulled out all the stops for our sweet dear friend. The time we all spent together was priceless. There is so much wisdom and sincerity that Jacob carries in his heart. When he speaks with you there is always a lesson that can be learned an experience to be shared. He makes you want to be a better person. There are times that I have felt the I have 3 fathers in my life – Jehovah, My Papa (Carlos) and my Nigerian Father Jacob. I am blessed , I am grateful.


  • The Summer of Clouds (Literally)

As Summer began I noticed that there where many days and evenings when the sky above me would be filled with the most amazing clouds. I found myself becoming obsessed with photographing them. Though those same clouds brought lots of humidity , the beauty of them more than made up for all the discomfort . I sat and marveled , it was delightful. Sometimes I felt as if I as looking up at a big bunch of “Cotton Candy” in the sky.

It was all so spectacular………



  •  The Soundtrack of this Summer – Chris Botti



I had the chance to see one of my favorite jazz musicians “Chris Botti” not once but twice this summer. It was a experience I will never forget. I have been a fan for the last 10 years and to hear him play live was a surreal experience . My favorite piece from him is the song called “Emmanuel”. I felt like the earth was moving under my feet after hearing this masterpiece live. It would be very difficult to convey the beauty of this song , so I have included a live clip for you to listen too. Enjoy…..


  • Time to Say Goodbye to Summer

There have been many blessings that occurred in my family this past season. Here is a little list of highlights -The night that my oldest nephew Steven gave his first bible reading in ten years, I ate at many new eateries up and down the California coastline, There where a few more (Date Nights) with the hubs ,Kim and Kara graduated Pioneer School, I went to the Ballpark with Papa and watched the Angels play (they won!) , There was a painting class with my girlfriends, I drank vino in Napa, I grilled meat, chicken, fish, veggie’s you name it, I grooved with Brodie, Asia and Mia to Janelle Monae, I visited my “Hero” cousin Nicole as she braves through many health battles and is still smiling and marching forward with life and I finally put back on my running shoes and hit the roads again. Putting one foot in front of the other.

Most importantly I was able to participate in a worldwide campaign to help others learn more about the bible and all the hope it promises for the future of mankind at This was truly the biggest highlight of my entire summer.



  • The Road To Everywhere



In closing I would like to thank all of my wonderful family and friends for making this past Summer extra special…… This little movie below should sum up how much each and everyone of you mean to me….I love you all more than you will every know.







McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream


I should start this write up by telling you that several years ago I was able to make a pilgrimage to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury , Vermont. It was fun and I got to taste lot of great ice cream during my visit. However nothing, I mean Nothing could match the Ice Cream that I had at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream.

The ice cream itself is different. I was once told that good quality ice cream doesn’t melt fast, and that is what I used as a base to measure ice cream quality. The ice cream didn’t melt quickly , the taste was spot on to what I think the flavors I choose should be. Super creamy ice cream that screams quality ingredients. I had the turkish coffee……. I left me speechless. Yes this place could easily leave one possessed and #addicted.



They offer some of the most unique flavors imaginable. Here is an example:

Black Coffee Chip

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Churros Con Leche

Dark Chocolate Paso Brittle

Double Peanut Butter Chip

Dutchman’s Chocolate

Eureka Lemon & Marionberries

Golden State Vanilla

Island Coconut

Mint Chip

Peppermint Stick

Roadside Raspberry

Salted Caramel Chip

Sweet Cream

Toasted Coconut Almond Chip

Turkish Coffee

Vanilla Bean


l-1 l

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

728 State St

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Finch & Fork

With food in mind let me share with you one of the first eateries we experienced on our Cali Coast Road Trip – This took place in lovely Santa Barbara. Where our first family meal together took place at the Finch & Fork.

Many of the ingredients used to create their menu are local, homegrown and handmade. A lovely little restaurant with touches of rustic elegance.

  • Some of the plates we ate:

IMG_8216 IMG_8215

  • Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings: chili caramel,pickled celery




  •  Fennel Sausage Flatbread: roasted fennel, caramelized onions, ricotta salata



  • Baby Back Pork Ribs: local grits, cipollini onion, mushroom, citrus, mustard glaze



  • Baked Macaroni & Cheese Skillet: aged cheddar, bacon, breadcrumbs



  • Burger and Hand Crafted French Fries




  • P.S. Best deviled eggs of a gourmet kind I’ve ever had. The white is marinated in beet juice so it’s pink and the salmon is terrific.


 Hungry yet? Yes every last one of these plates got us all off to a very good start.

Finch & Fork

31 W Carrillo St

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 879-9100

Hugging My Home State- California


What do you get when you load up the family Suburban with camera’s, GPS Maps, SiriusXm Radio, Beatles CD’s and four cases of Perrier? A whole lot fun!

Last week The Hubs along with our four fabulous nieces (Chelsea, Kiley, Kara ,Asia) and I drove up our beautiful California Coastline (Hwy 1). For a week full of adventure and discovery.

The very first time I experienced this drive was with my parents when I was 5 years old. There is not much I vividly remember about that trip other than the fact that apparently I was wearing a blue polka dot bathing suit that whole week (I loved it so much I refused to take it off). What I do remember is that I did a whole lot of swimming at the different campsites we stayed at in our motorhome. It was also on this trip that I saw the Golden Gate Bridge for the very first time in my life. Though I was a little person at the time I was amazed at the beauty of this city and of the “Big Red Bridge”.



  • Me & My Beautiful Mama – Fisherman’s Wharf 1976


  • In the Motorhome with big brother Steve



  • Playing in the lake with the ever famous “Polka Dot” Swimsuit







Since that trip there have been several times that I have been up the coast on this same exact route. However I must say with every trip I have been reminded over and over again what a gorgeous state I live in. My nieces had never experienced this drive before so Hubs and I thought this presented a prime opportunity to take a road trip of this kind together. I believe we all had a little something we each wanted to take away from this journey.

For the girls I believe it was a chance to take a break from our summer heat here in the desert and most importantly attend the Arcade Fire Concert in San Fran. For Hubs well he’s always been a fan of cruising the open road and stopping here and now for a pint at some pub off the beaten path. For me- well that easy, I wanted to explore some new foodie jaunts along the way.

This is an adventure that everyone should try to experience at least once in their lifetime. I am beyond grateful to have shared this week with my family and now with all of you who have taken the time out of your busy lives to read this little post.

Never Stop Exploring………xo…………Mis




Tony’s Famous- Mai Tai

So everyone has that “Favorite Cousin” in their life and I would have to say that out of my hundreds of cousin’s my ultimate favorite is “My Sweet Cousin Tony”.


Since childhood he has always been constant and solid in my life. You want a guaranteed good laugh and a the most memorable Mai Tai that will send you to the islands and back then you would want to pay a visit to Tony’s House. Speaking of Tony’s house it’s like stepping back into “Vintage Island Life” in the 1960’s. No kidding with the amount of vintage island decor and mementos that his house holds, he could very well charge admission to the pubic. Yes our Tony loves everything about Island Life (Even though his little slice of island paradise is located in Indio, Ca………



So back to the Mai Tai. Tony has become quite famous for his mix master talent of finding the perfect formula for this very special cocktail. So without further delay I give you his secret, which he gladly shares with you!


Tony's Famous- Mai Tai
Recipe type: Cocktails
  • 1½ oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1½ oz Light Rum
  • 1½ oz Dark Rum
  • 1½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1½ oz Orange Curacao
  • 1½ oz Almond Syrup
  • Garnishes:
  • Maraschino Cherry
  • Fresh Pineapple Wedge
  1. Mix -Pineapple juice, light rum, lime juice, orange curaçao and almond syrup together with ice in a shaker.
  2. Pour mixed drink in a glass and top off with the Dark Rum and Garnishes.



A Short History Lesson of The Mai Tai

  • Trader Vic’s story. In the 1930’s, Vic Bergeron owned a restaurant in Northern California called Hinky Dinks, which was decorated with an Eskimo theme. Things like snow shoes and old bear skins were hung on the walls. Legend has it that Bergeron had been to Hollywood around 1934, where he saw Don the Beachcomber’s restaurant. He went back to Hinky Dinks, redecorated it with things from the tropics, and opened his first Trader Vic’s. As for his Mai Tai, another legend has it that in 1944 at Trader Vic’s, he wanted to make a special drink for two friends visiting from Tahiti. He combined a gold Jamaican rum, Orange Curacao, rock candy syrup, French orgeat, and fresh lime juice and served it to them. His friends took one sip and allegedly said: “Mai Tai roa ae” which is Tahitian for “out of this world, the best.” He then named the drink the Mai Tai, added it to his menu, and later served it throughout his chain of Trader Vic’s restaurants.


IMG_9940 IMG_9927 IMG_9933

  •  Tony & “His Cat Son” Mr. Dewey – We love our Dewey he’s a rescue and he loves living the island life with his mom and dad…………………………………………………….