Visiting Ventura

This past weekend T and I took a short road trip to Ventura to visit a friend / neighbor from our San Luis Obispo days back in 2000-2005! He looks exactly the same. T has seen him off and on over the years, but I think it had been about eight years since I last saw him. I have never been to Ventura. I have driven through it a lot and know where the In N Out is located, but had never really checked it out. It is a fun town. Sort of a bigger beach city that backs up to some mountains. The 101 freeway bisects part of it but the downtown area is pretty cool.

Per usual, this was a bit of an eating trip for me. We arrived and had lunch at Anacapa Brewing Company with our friend and his girlfriend. We split a margarita pizza and some deep fried stuffed jalepenos. Our friend was catching us (me) up on his life over beers and it was a relaxed place to have lunch.

Next the coffee drinkers (all but me) decided to have a coffee on our downtown tour of Ventura. The place our friends like is called Palermo and it has a great coffee shop vibe. In addition to selling coffee, they also have gelato and a little bookstore like place in the back. We had coffee here on Saturday and Sunday. And when I say "we", I mean I ordered tea.....

I found out on this trip that Ventura is known for it's thrift stores. There were a lot of them on Main Street and we spent some of the afternoon walking around and exploring them. I got some great belts, a hat, and some napkins all for under $5. Score! We also explored a cool furniture store where I could dream about my chair obsession...

For dinner we visited Capriccio. Dinner was good, but I really enjoyed the dessert! Big surprise. We shared the Dolce di Plantano and the chocolate flourless cake with raspberry sauce.

The next day we had a leisurely breakfast at the Cajun Kitchen and then T and I spent some time at the Camarillo Outlets. It was a fun weekend and I am looking forward to my next thrifting trip in Ventura!



Happy fall equinox 2014

Happy Fall Equinox!  I am taking a Physical Geography class right now and I feel like it is the missing piece of science behind all the things I observe in the world.  For example, today is the Fall Equinox which means the suns rays are hitting the equator directly and we will have the same number of day light as darkness today.  The day and night should be about equal.  Hence the EQUINOX.  Fun times.

So with the change of the season comes the reflection of the past.

Welcome to Remembering Summer 2014.

Summer 2014 was filled with a lot of travel.  There was the Italy 2014 trip with the Sisters, T, and his brother and wife.  Along with the sister-in-law and niece for a bit of it.  What a great trip!  We ate well, stayed in an amazing villa, and finally got to visit Bordighera, the hometown of a friend of ours.

I did a few projects around the house (like always) and painted over some pots via some internet inspirations.  As always the OC Fair charmed me and then T and I got to go to Hawaii for a change of command ceremony.  It was a full summer!

The photo for the summer 2014 blog banner was taken when T and I took a road trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2009.  This is our stop in Riverton, WY at the Sweetwater County Fair


Native Plants at Palomar College

Do you remember my Library friend AC? She switched jobs and now works at Palomar College. Happy for her, sad for me, but we still talk and I got a chance to see some native plants this past weekend at Palomar College with her. She is not really a plant person, but I was on her campus last spring for a conference and told her how much I loved the landscaping. A few weeks later she asked me if I wanted to go on a tour in the fall and I said YES! So we did.

My day started out well when I flipped the minute and hour numbers on google maps and arrived in Oceanside an hour early.... Rather than cramp her morning style I headed over to Beach Break Cafe and had the amazing Banana Crunch French Toast! Here it is! So good, but I could only eat one piece.... and still have room for all the bacon that came with it.....

I saw this in the bathroom and laughed so hard. Well played Beach Break Cafe....

I met up with AC at 9am and we enjoyed a native plant talk sponsored by the Friends of the Palomar College Arboretum and then toured some of the native plants around the campus.

Not all plants on the campus are native, but Palomar College is filled with other drought tolerant and Mediterranean plants. Considering we are in a heat wave right now, it was nice to see how the plants were managing and to hear about the maintenance of the landscaping. What can I say, I'm into that stuff.

After our tour AC and I had lunch at Stone Brewery. We split the Stinky Cheese Platter and Cheese Soup. I then had the appetizer short ribs and she had the veggie pot pie. My beer was one paired with the cheese platter but I can't remember what AC got! Stone was pretty cool.

The next day I was up early running along the Santa Ana River Trail when I realized that all the plants there were California natives! It was like a light bulb had gone off. I have been running by these plants for years and all of a sudden I knew exactly what they were! The truth is we never stop learning and I was excited to immediately get to use my new knowledge. Of course I am not sure if other were as excited as I was, but I guess at the end of the day it doesn't matter what makes you smile, as long as you get to smile!

This day inspired me to get out a little bit more often. Try new things, and pay a little more attention to the details around me.

Have you tried something new recently or been inspired by something around you? I hope so!
Like I said, never stop learning....


Ikea Hack Closet

Have you heard of Ikea Hacks? It's a phenomenon where people take items from Ikea and either embellish them or use them for a completly different purpose. When I was talking to my friend Naya about this she said, "Isn't that what you are supposed to do with stuff from Ikea?". Well yeah....

The truth is I DO think that is what you are supposed to do with stuff from Ikea! I am lucky to live close to an Ikea and remember just going there in college to walk around and get ideas. I would always have house "problems" in mind and sometimes I would find something that could be my solution at Ikea. Now Ikea might not have designed that item to do what I ended up using it for, but I like to think that Ikea was trying to be frugal with their packaging and wanted to encourage creativity among it's patrons. In that sprit, Ikea Hacking is the norm.

Looking around our current home, we have a bit of Ikea stuff. Like I said, it's close, but most of it has been hacked. I think the only thing that screams Ikea is our dish drainer, and maybe our phase one kitchen cabinets. But maybe I have lived with the stuff too long to notice. You let me know as I start posting some of our Ikea Hacks.

First up! My closet. I don't have a before picture because we did this years ago, but my closet was your typical closet with one closet rod and one shelf. I am a maximizer and organizer of space. The first year we had our house we scrapped the "popcorn" off the ceiling with the help of a friend and retextured them. I got to retexture all the closets in our home (three total). During this time we decided to clear everything out of the closets and redo them. One closet was the front coat closet. We added two high shelves in there, raised the closet rod, added key hooks and an outlet so we could put our wireless printer in there. T's closet also got a makeover but he has updated it twice since then and then we had my closet in the bedroom.

Here is what it looks like today: (the grey hearts on the wall were a painting test).

We started with the PAX Wardrobe frame from Ikea and purchased some shelves and a drawer. The second drawer was added when T decided he didn't like the PAX system for his closet. He installed two closet rods and a shelf above them. I asked him to size the closet rod so my red Ikea boxes from about twenty years ago would just fit on it. Then he installed one more shelf above it.

Over time I installed belt hooks and a bar behind my clothes for thick scarves and pashminas.

I also talked T into installing these ATTEST knobs so I could hang some necklaces.

And sometimes I use Ikea items for the written purpose, like this hanger which I use for a growing collection of scarves.

So there you have it, my Ikea Hacked Closet. There are still things it needs, but it is much more functional than it was and I am very happy with it. Anyone else have some Ikea items in their home that is slightly hacked? How do you like it? I am loving ours.