California living and adventures in creativity

Jul 15

California blue

It constantly amazes me how truly beautiful this great state of ours is!

Recently we experienced another example of California’s infinite beauty when we traveled up to Tomales Bay. It is a narrow inlet in Marin County, about 15 miles long and one mile wide (see below) map.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were completely surrounded by blue sky and blue water. We had a beautiful view looking toward Point Reyes, just hills and wide open space. It was incredibly peaceful.

Although we only spent a short time there, we definitely will explore this area more.

tags:   travel
Jun 14

French cats

As a cat lover, I’m always on the look out for cats when I travel. Since France (Paris specifically) have a reputation for being cat-friendly I was looking forward to seeing some French cats.

At the beginning of our trip, we were in the French countryside and we came across a sweet tortoiseshell kitty. She was enjoying the expansive green grass, and a setting that would generally be considered a cat paradise. As we tried to coax her closer, she just looked at us with her big green eyes. Malheureusement, elle ne comprend pas l’anglais!

Unfortunately while in Paris we didn’t run across any kitties roaming the street, but I know they are out there. There are some amazing photos of cats in Paris in a fun book I found called Les Chats de Paris.

On our frequent trips to the Luxembourg Gardens, we passed this majestic lion statue. When I took this photo, I thought about the little countryside kitty and how from a behavior standpoint, they aren’t all that different. As cat lovers know, our little domesticated lions think they are king of the animal kingdom.

tags:   cats   travel   Paris
Jun 2


After a lovely few days in the French countryside, we arrived in Paris to some very chilly and rainy weather. Despite this unexpected cold front, we soaked in the ambiance of one of my favorite cities. There is something to be said about a city which has bread and pastry shops on every block, an infinite number of cafes, and cheerful flower stores everywhere. Good crusty bread, rich coffee (un cafe creme si vous plait) plus fresh flowers equals a happy day!

One of my favorite episodes of Anthony Boudain’s No Reservations is his Paris episode in Season One. He describes the French appreciation of good food, and their ability to enjoy simple pleasures. As I sat at a cafe on one of our only sunny days, I thought about his episode. We watched people go along with their daily errands, make phone calls, buy the daily paper, and I was thrilled to soak it all in. Paris is a city with endless things to see, and yet lingering at a cafe is particularly satisfying.

For those planning a trip to Paris, I found this book, Paris by Pastry when I returned. I wish I had had this book handy while in Paris as it would have been fun to search out the best pastries in the city!

tags:   travel   Paris
May 26

French countryside

My recent trip to France was broken up into two parts. The first part was experiencing the French countryside for a few days followed by a week in Paris. Since all of my previous trips to France had been to Paris, I was excited to spend a few days in the French countryside.

We stayed in a little town called Amilly which is about 1 hour 15 minutes outside Paris. My sister and her family had rented a “gite” which essentially is a french farmhouse that is rented out. We had a lovely few days there exploring the town of Montargis and the canal in Briare. We met some very happy french chickens with a super long chicken run, and had what would be considered the best pain aux raisins of the entire trip!

The best part of this segment of the trip was attending my sister’s art show opening. My sister, a painter, was part of a joint show in Amily, and we were so proud to be there to support her.

Next stop….. Paris.

tags:   travel   France
Feb 5

This morning, in Yosemite….

My husband and I had a brief getaway to Yosemite this week. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be less than 4 hours from such an amazing place.

Even though I’ve had spring on my mind lately, I thoroughly enjoyed the winter wonderland we found in Yosemite: beautiful snow capped cliffs, lounging deer, ice cold waterfalls and the unparalleled warmth and comfort of The Ahwahnee hotel.

This morning as we were leaving it started to rain. They were expecting quite a storm today so we were lucky to sneak away before it got too bad. The photo above was taken on the side of the road as we made our escape. I miss it already…………..

tags:   travel   Yosemite
Oct 22
More fall beauty from Portland
On our recent trip to Portland we unintentionally found ourselves in this lovely neighborhood which included this amazing street.  Flanked by one way streets on either side, this gorgeous path is lined by trees in full fall splendor.  We had never seen anything like this before, and I wondered why more streets couldn’t be like this one.
I can only imagine how fun this path would be on Halloween!

More fall beauty from Portland

On our recent trip to Portland we unintentionally found ourselves in this lovely neighborhood which included this amazing street.  Flanked by one way streets on either side, this gorgeous path is lined by trees in full fall splendor.  We had never seen anything like this before, and I wondered why more streets couldn’t be like this one.

I can only imagine how fun this path would be on Halloween!

tags:   Portland   travel
Oct 19

Trip to Portland

We had an amazing few days in Portland over this past weekend.  We were there to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.

The fall colors were spectacular, the Pinot deliciously subtle, the food inspired and the gardens breathtaking.  We spent an afternoon at the amazing Japanese Garden.  It was on the verge of raining, but instead there was a little mist in the air, and not many other tourists.

My favorite parts of this gorgeous garden are the moss covered hills and the Sand and Stone Garden.  You can’t help but feel at ease and peaceful in such a setting.  It was a wonderful way to spend a quiet afternoon, and a perfect place to reflect on our anniversary.

tags:   Portland   food and wine   travel
Aug 26

The best blueberries ever

Normally I am writing about some amazing flower or fruit that we have access to in California.  The list seems endless, and I always enjoy sharing.  That said, hands down, ironically the best blueberries I have ever had are from an organic u-pick farm in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region of New York state.  I was fortunate enough to spend some time there recently with family on vacation.  These blueberry bushes are like none other I’ve seen.  They are huge and absolutely packed with pristine samples of about 4 different varieties of organic blueberries.  The setting is out of a novel: rows of tall blueberry bushes straining under the weight of huge violet blue clusters of juicy berries all situated in a beautiful field ringed by a dense forest.  It is truly a very special place, a blueberry oasis.  In about an hour our family picked close to 30 pounds of blueberries!  Needless to say, blueberries factored into every meal we enjoyed together on this fabulous vacation.

Check out our favorite blueberry muffin recipe, and if you are up for a bold blueberry barbecue sauce, try this:

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 jalapeno seeded & chopped

1 pint blueberries

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup water

Saute onion and jalapeno in oil over medium heat 2-3 minutes.  Add reminaing ingredients and cook at low boil for 15 minutes stirring often.  Puree in blender until smooth.  Works great on salmon!

For those people in the Finger Lakes Region, this u-pick farm is located in Penn Yan at 3455 Chubb Hollow Road.  It is definitely worth the trip!

tags:   Finger Lakes   food and wine   recipes   travel
Jul 6

Parlez vous francais?

I thought it was time for another cat related post.  The above kitty is Mimi, and I met her on my recent trip to Paris with my sister.  Mimi lives in a beautiful 17th century french farmhouse about 1.5 hours outside Paris with her owners who are full time artists.  She also lives with her daughter and granddaughter and they spend their days mostly outdoors in an idylic setting.

These french cats certainly epitomize “joie de vivre”.

tags:   travel   cats

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About me

I live in Northern California with my husband and three cats (Pinky, Newbie & Henry). This blog explores creativity in many forms and simple daily pleasures. californiablue handcrafted jewelry is my creative outlet and inspired by where I live. Contact me

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