Road Trip Upon Road Trip…Heading North Pt 2


Heading north from LA was harder than expected.  We started our morning off at Abbot Kinney.  Our intent was to hit the road and head out from LA Monday afternoon around 1pm or so.  None of us seemed to be in too terrible of a rush, as at 6pm, we still found ourselves in LA.  Obviously we weren’t getting very far that night.  The second lesson learned on this trip:  don’t hold tightly to expectations.  We were hitting the road with no plan (other than being in San Fran by Thursday night).  We had no reservations.  Only a tent in the trunk and high hopes of camping along the way.  Hopes that we soon realized were sorely unrealistic in California in the summer.  Our plan was to start looking for a place around 7pm and to stop by 8pm.  That never happened.  Our average stop time was around 11pm.  And we never found camping.  So, needless to say, we ended up bringing a tent on the plane and all the way to California, along with three sleeping bags, to never use them.  Hotels and motels and crashing at a friend’s house it was for us girls.  All of which added to the adventure.  The motel was up there in the top five worst places I have spent the night (complete with a sink and toilet that didn’t work).  Camping would have been so much better.  Needless to say, we hit the road bright and early the next morning.  Lesson three learned:  finding a decent hotel on the road is not as easy as it is overseas.


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We had one golden rule.  If at any point, someone wanted to pull over and check something out, they just had to say the word.  And each and every stop was totally worth it.  Those were the best.  The ones that were unexpected.  Like the sea lions sunbathing on the beach.  The hidden beach across the railroad tracks.  The organic strawberry farm where you could wash your berries in a sink and eat them right then and there.  The little town of Davenport.  The list goes on and on.




Places to Stop Along the Route:

Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you if I wanted to.  We didn’t make note or pay too much attention to where we were.  I think that was the beauty and the adventure.  It was just happening upon things.  The delight was in the unexpected.  In nature.  In the drive.  In each other’s company.  We didn’t listen to music.  We just talked and drove.  And probably said oh my gosh a trillion times.  The nature was breathtaking.  It kept getting better and better.  It was what made my heart burst with excitement and emotion.  It was almost too much.

But, there were a couple of places of note that are worth a stop if you happen to see them.

First, any and all fruit stands!  With prices as low as 10 grapefruit for $1, how can you not.  Lesson learned.  We should have lived off of fresh produce.  Why we didn’t I don’t know.

Pezzini Produce Stand:

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We made a pit stop here without even realizing what it was…an artichoke farm.  I have tried to grow artichokes for the past couple of years (and quite unsuccessfully) so I was pretty darn excited to see an actual farm.  Plus, we had to try the artichoke cupcake and the food truck selling steamed, fried, or grilled artichokes.  Too tempting not to.

Fambrini’s Farm Fresh Produce:


I wish we had more empty bellies and a larger car.  We could have gone crazy here.  So sweet and so quaint.  And hint…near the beach by the railroad tracks on the way to Davenport.

Big Sur:

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You will know when you hit it.  We were waiting for this the whole drive.  It was like nothing else.  Make sure to save some serious time here.  And if tons of cars are seemingly pulled over at an overlook, chances are it is worth stopping too.

…and then finally we crossed over into San Francisco, where we walked the streets for the next four days.

San Francisco:

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San Francisco Places to Eat:

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Seed + Salt:  After eating whatever we happened to find on the road, this felt perfect.  I don’t know if our mouths or bodies were happier.  So good.  Definite recommendation:  zucchini spaghetti w/ buckeye veggie balls and fresh tomato sauce

Jane:  An excellent recommendation from my uncle.  One of my sisters voted it the best latte she had in San Francisco (I was too tempted by other drinks to try their coffee).  The perfect start to the morning and our time in San Francisco.  Definite recommendation:  the turmeric tonic.

Four Barrel Coffee:  So California lattes took some getting used to.  Super creamy and not too strong.  Not bad.  Just not what we have become accustomed to.  Four Barrel Coffee definitely had the best hands down.  Plus, anyone who roasts their own always gets brownie points from me.

Sight Glass Coffee:  Another great coffee shop.  And they just happen to roast their own beans too.

San Francisco Things to Do: 

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  • Sunset ride across the golden gate bridge
  • Explore the Ferry Building farmers market

As our trip came to a close, all we wanted was for another trip to California.  Little did we know it would only be weeks away…


Flower Fever

If you have stopped by the shop of late, you might have noticed the slow transition from Winter to Spring.  As February begins, so does the thoughts of gardening and the starting of seeds.  This year I am dreaming of flowers:  peonies, poppies, roses, some edible flowers for sure, dahlias, oh the list goes on and on.  I am placing an order for seeds this week for the shop (so stay tuned).  With all these thoughts of flowers, I thought I would share photos from last years Flower Crown Workshop that I cohosted with Maggie Pate of Inks+ Thread and Sarah Ervin. It literally was forever ago, but figured it is never too late to share and inspire dreams of spring and summer and all the potentials for this year’s garden.

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From Brooklyn

While in Brooklyn, I came upon a little card with a little quote.  It seemed just right for my heart at that very moment.  I don’t know why, but I bought it and brought it home.  It read…

“I told the sun that I was glad,

I’m sure I don’t know why;

Somehow the pleasant way he had of shining in the sky,

Just put a notion in my head that wouldn’t it be fun.

If, walking on the hill I said ‘I’m Happy’ to the sun.”

…John Drinkwater

Inspiration: France

A couple of years ago, my family took our first trip overseas together.  We have all traveled many a times before but never all 6 of us together out of the country at once.  My sisters and I had given my parents a trip to France for their 25th anniversary and they decided that we should go as a whole family.  Of course my sisters and I readily agreed.  It took a couple of years to actually go but finally we made our way to the south of France, outside of Toulouse.  My mother found a home for us to rent and we settled in for a wonderful French filled week.  Words cannot even begin to describe the amazing beauty of the home and the setting.  Seriously.  It was perfect!



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Set gently on top of a hill, it was surrounded with fields that blew gently in the breeze.  There was a cheese farm up the road where we bought fresh cheese from the owner.  Part of the Roman Road ran through the area and was perfect for walking.  We did do some exploring, but the majority of the day was spent going to market to buy food and then cooking it.





As there are four girls plus my mom, we have plenty of cooks in the family.  We decided that we would each take one night and be in charge of the food preparations.  (I guess technically the nights we ate out were my father’s nights.)  Now, when given an assignment like that, we all wanted to create a feast, so our days quickly became about planning menus, sourcing food, and cooking.  And boy, did we cook.  Sometimes we did not end up eating until 10pm, but that was part of the experience.  There was an amazing concrete table right outside the kitchen that was perfect for feasting.  Even though the home was beautiful, it is hard to eat inside when you are in France, or anywhere for that matter, when nature and your surroundings are so beautiful.



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Now, I will clarify that Italy has my heart.  It is my first love and will always be my true love.  I had been able to travel to France at least four other times and had loved each trip.  This trip was different.  It resonated with me in a way that France never before had.  I fell in love with not just France, but living French.  Things that I have incorporated into my life now.

I think that is part of traveling – being exposed to new and different things, or seeing things in a new way.  I don’t think I ever come back totally the same person.  It might be little things, but they change my life.  So, here is a list of some of what I discovered and fell in love with…

Citrus Press

Who knew that squeezing lemons could be so easy.  The kitchen had the most amazing old press.  It looked like it was an antique and worked so well.  It got every drop out of the lemons.  Totally sold!  I bought one when coming home.  I still have my eye out for one that has a little more age and charm and is straight up solid metal.

Canopy Bed

Okay, so I would never have thought I would want a canopy bed.  I never liked the looks as they seemed a bit Victorian and I prefer more of a rustic/minimalist look when it comes to design.  I guess that is because I never slept in one.  That sold me.

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My sisters and I all shared a room (not that we had too as there were plenty of rooms and beds, but we like to be together).  We were traveling in May so the nights got chilly even though the days were warm.  We thought it only fair that we would rotate who got the floor and who slept in the bed.  My younger sister and I started out in the bed and my older sisters slept on the floor.  Every night they would tuck us in and wrap the curtains tight around the bed so that we had a warm little cocoon.  It was so unbelievably cozy.  The coziest bed I have ever experienced.  So much so that my older sisters let us two younger ones sleep there the whole time we were so in love with it.  I desperately want a canopy bed!


I really prefer vegetables over meat.  Up to this point I did not really care for steak at all.  (Meaning I did not like it.)  At the end of the trip we spent a couple of days in Toulouse.  There was a little steak restaurant down the street from our hotel that we decided to go to one night.  As I was in France at a steak restaurant, I figured I would eat a steak with gorgonzola.  I don’t know why I ordered it when I did not care for it typically.  Oh my goodness!  It was absolutely delicious.  The best steak I have ever had.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what the name of the restaurant is.  But I am forever thankful for such a delicious meal and wonderful experience.

Fennel & My French Kitchen

In the kitchen of the house we stayed at, they had a selection of cookbooks that we used as resources for our meals.  (Thankfully the home owners were British and most of the cookbooks were in English.)  One such cookbook was “My French Kitchen” by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde.  This is a must-have in my opinion.  The Baked Red Pepper recipe is what made me fall in love with fennel.  In addition to the baked red peppers, we also made the White Bean & Tomato Salad, the Warm Tuna & Potato Salad, the Artichokes with Vinaigrette, the Onion Tart, and the Gratin Dauphinois.

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Gotan Project

One night, at the local restaurant, there was this beautiful, emotionally stirring music playing.  The whole meal we were memorized by how fabulous it was.  We asked if they knew who it was…Gotan Project.  Love their music!

For anyone traveling to France and looking for a vacation rental, I would highly recommend Pure France!