Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Moving
For those of you that regularly follow my blog, you heard that I am moving.  We moved from Southern California (the Inland Empire) to Northern California (Sacramento Area).  We were so incredibly happy when we drove down the Grapevine and saw the great Central Valley in front of us... it was full of orchards and fields of crops.  We totally love it.  A lot of people turn up their nose to the Central Valley but honestly, who can hate such a place where 1/4 of the Nation's food is produced (seriously, I'm not making that number up!). One of my favorite road trip "games" to play while I'm bored is to "name that tree"... basically when you drive by a bunch a crop of trees you guess which type of trees are growing. Sounds lame but it kills hours of driving time.

But more importantly, our stuff has NOT arrived.  Why are moving companies so shady?  They picked up our stuff 1 week ago.  They said it would be delivered the next day.  And the next day rolled around. And then the next day. And the next day.... still no stuff!  AND ONE WEEK LATER (yes I'm yelling) STILL NO STUFF.  Good thing I personally took my computer and a week worth of clothes.  But seriously, I NEED MY STUFF!  It's one thing to say "it will be delivered in a week" but it's another thing to keep lying to us about which date it's going to get here. How do they not know? It's a 6 hour drive. It should've arrived same day.
heard it through the Grapevine 
Inside Out - the Movie
Since we have no stuff, we went to the movies for the first time in 8 months.  It's a cute movie by Disney-Pixar about the different voices and emotions inside of your head.  It's about a family who moves from the Midwest to San Francisco.  Guess what, the movers lose their stuff (uh, great, sounds like real life).  So inside of the mind of the little girl, we meet Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness.  During the new process, we learn that basically sometimes it's okay to be Sad.  That's the short story. I tried to sum it up... but just go see it. 
Peaches
In the new house that we moved into, there are a lot of peach trees.   I immediately got the song from the 90s stuck in my head: "moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches".  There are peaches coming out of our ears!

Flowers!
There are hundreds of rose bushes where we are at.  While we were waiting for some of our furniture to arrive, I put together this rose floral arrangement for fun.  These roses smell so good!


UnREAL
Remember two weeks ago I was super sad that Game of Thrones ended?  Well, I'm still sad but I have a new TV show to watch.  It's called Unreal.  It is on Lifetime.  Do you like The Bachelor or the Bachelorette?  Well, basically this comedy show makes fun of the bachelor.  It is a behind-the-scenes look about what life is like on the set of Everlasting, which is a Bachelor show knock-off.  UnREAL is on Lifetime on Mondays at 10pm.  I don't normally watch lifetime, but it showed up in my app on my apple tv and then... I found it... and started watching... and now I like it!  If you like the Bachelor, this show is for you!
the bachelor? Nope. This is UnREAL!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Shopping in Napa... my Favorite Store!!

Happy July! With the start of Summer, I know many West Coasters will likely head to Napa Valley.

As we all know, Napa Valley is a very popular place to visit... and I wanted to share my favorite store with you all!


I pretty much love everything in this store... close your eyes, point, and I'll like it!






 She has lots of antique grape buckets on the walls; I always eye them when I go but they are expensive!

This wonderful store is called Napa Valley Vintage Home.  It is located in St. Helena in the Napa Valley.  Everyone needs to go and give her some business so my most favorite store there stays open forever and ever!   

Another must-visit when you go to St. Helena... Giugni's deli, just a few doors down.  It is the best Italian deli.  Bring cash.  Oh, and you *must* get the giugni juice on your sandwich, you must!

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Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
linking up at: amaze me monday The Scoop!  2 Bees in a Pod,  Metamorphosis Monday's Inspire Me Tuesday Moonlight and Mason Jars Wow us Wednesdays! Creative Ways  Share Your Style Thursday Favorite ThingsYour Turn to Shine Home Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays Foodie Friday & Everything Else 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Quick and Easy Party Food Ideas for Fourth of July!

With the Fourth of July coming up, I thought I'd share some of my easy recipes that can be made last minute at your BBQs!

You can make this Patriotic Fruit Flag in less than 5 minutes.  All you need is some red, white, and blue fruit!

You could make these easy Summer pasta salad the day before your BBQ.  It is healthy and stores well overnight!
One of my *favorite* things to eat during the Summer is corn-on-the-cob.  I LOVE this Mexican-style twist on classic grilled corn.

Something that's fun especially for kids is serving pineapple smoothies (aka copycat Dole Whip like at Disneyland) in a pineapple cup!

I hope you were able to find something on here that you could make quick and easy at home for your BBQ!

linking up at: amaze me monday The Scoop!  2 Bees in a Pod,  Metamorphosis Monday's Inspire Me Tuesday Moonlight and Mason Jars Wow us Wednesdays! Creative Ways  Share Your Style Thursday Favorite ThingsYour Turn to Shine Home Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays Foodie Friday & Everything Else   The Inspiration Gallery My Romantic Home  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend Whimsy- 4th of July Edition!

This weekend is about 4th of July!  I found some super fun ideas on the 'net and am sharing just a few with you this weekend....

 Easy last minute patriotic fruit flag...
from peonies and orange blossoms
I think these Red, White, and Blue Dipped Pretzels are super fun.
from 36th avenue
This watermelon lemonade is super duper cute...
from home is where the boat is
How fun would these fruit ice cubes be in a pitcher of water?
from Pip and Ebby
 Free Fourth of July Printables for your Party
from Mimi's Doll House
A DIY vintage Fourth of July Celebration
from Lia Griffith
This berry caprese bruschetta would be a nice appetizer...
from home is where the boat is
Next week, weekend whimsy is on vacation celebrating our wonderful country's independence!

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com





Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Favorites - SoCal Edition

As this is my last weekend in Southern California before the big move up North, I thought I would share some of my favorite things that I like to do in SoCal!

Disneyland
My favorite thing to do in Southern California is to go to Disneyland.  I had an annual pass for several years.  It was so much fun just being able to pop into the park for an afternoon or evening.  Sometimes on my way home from South Coast Plaza (aka the biggest mall on the West Coast), when traffic was too bad I would stop by Disneyland for 2-3 hours, grab a bite to eat and go on a few rides. Granted, the pass prices have gone up significantly, I still love to go.  I will miss going here the most. The 60th anniversary celebration is going on right now, check it out here.
Disneyland!
While living down here, I achieved a bucket list item of mine: go on every single ride at both parks.  I did it.  I even battled my fear of heights and went on the giant ferris wheel just to say I did it.  The other people that I shared the car with thought I was going to pass out when we were sitting at the top. It's all good. No passing out or vomiting occurred.  Needless to say, my fear of heights remains present.tt
Radiator Springs in Carsland!
The first year I moved down here Carsland had *just* opened.  It was SO CRAZY packed.  The Radiator Springs Racers is a lot of fun though.
delicious treats at the cozy cone motel
But my favorite time to go to Disneyland was during Halloweentime.  What's nice it's still light out later in the evening and the weather is really quite nice as well.  It's warm but not too hot.  I love how they decorate the whole park with a Halloween and Autumn theme.  I would go during Tuesdays or Wednesdays and there would seriously be no one in the park.  I would just walk straight on rides without a wait. It was so nice!  I will miss doing that!
Halloweentime is the best!
I wrote about my experience at Disneyland during Halloweentime here in case you missed it.  I also wrote about my experience at Disneyland during Christmas time here if you missed it. 

Bottega Louie
My source of French pastries when I'm not in France.  Granted, this store is all the way in downtown LA (so 1 to 2 hours depending on traffic from mere) but it is closer than France!  I wrote about my experience at Bottega Louie here.  Now I'm sure I can find a French pastry shop in San Francisco, but Bottega Louie copied Laduree down to the cute little boxes.  You can see their website here.  


Roger's Gardens
I will really miss shopping here. Or more like browsing since it's expensive.  This is the BEST home and garden shop.  They have lots of plants, and unusual plants, but during Halloween and Christmas they really out do every one with their seasonal selections.  They have unique products that are high quality and beautiful.   You can seriously spend hours looking around.  We might have to make a special trip during Christmas time to enjoy some SoCal Winter and get some shopping done!  I wrote about Roger's Gardens during Halloween and Christmas.  You can check out their website here.
They always had the neatest displays...
They would completely redecorate their whole store during the seasons. 
They have a whole bunch of highly decorated Christmas trees each with a different theme... so there is something for everyone!

The Pacific Coast Highway and the Beach
There's nothing quite like cruising down the PCH and going to the beach.  Even though the Pacific Ocean is cold here, lots of people still swim and surf in it!  I just liked sitting on the beach... the water is too cold for me!


Sprinkles Cupcakes
This cupcake store is the famous one that claims to have started the cupcake trend nationwide.  They even have cupcake ATMs so you can get your fix 24/7.  I personally like the peanut butter chocolate chip cupcake the best!  You know what else is nice? Grabbing a Sprinkles Cupcakes then enjoy it while doing my other favorite thing... sitting at the beach. Check out their website here.

Red O Restaurant
Our favorite restaurant is by Top Chef Master Rick Bayless.  His food is traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations.  It is SO GOOD.  This is kind of a swanky restaurant and we would only go here for special occasions.  Check out the website here.
One of his appetizers is a sampler of guacamole... each cup holds a different flavor.  Our favorite was the walnut pomegranate.  I know it sounds weird, but is is delicious!!

The Pasadena Flea Market
I loved going to the Pasadena flea market held once a month at the Rose Bowl.   It is the second Sunday of every Month.  It was so much fun... granted, I only found some treasures in my price range a few times.  The website is here.

While I will miss some things about SoCal, I am so excited to be moving up North.  San Francisco is my favorite city in the US, so I'm excited I will be much closer to it!
Thank you for stopping by!!
You can also follow me by clicking on these: bloglovin, instagramtwitterpinterest, and google plus.
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Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day Trip to Fontainebleau from Paris

After being in the city for several days, we decided that we needed to head out and explore the country.  On our last day, we decided to make a day trip out to Chateau de Fontainebleau.
Day trip to Chateau de Fontainebleau
Have you ever heard of it?
No? Well, it is like Versailles, except... prettier! WHAT? Prettier than Versailles? Yes, it is a UNESCO world heritage site (Versailles is not).  What's nice about it is that it has room after room of original furnishings AND it lacks crowds. The place was practically empty!

It's only about 40 minutes away, but when you don't speak French getting there can be a trick.  I'm going to try to make it easy for you!  My directions will be at the bottom of the post; the first part will be the pretty pictures!

Chateau de Fontainebleau had been the residence of French Monarchs from Louis VII all the way through Napoleon.
Gallery of Francis 1, made between 1533-1539!
I'm not going to do much talking... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  Everything here is original.
the Queen's bedroom
The Gallery of Diana, lined with bookcases
chapel
kids singing in the chapel
Napoleon really did wear a hat like the ones he was painted wearing!



the Pope's apartment
I just love the paintings on the paneling of this wall...
the council chamber
And we'll finish our tour with a look at Napoleon's Throne Room...

Beautiful tapestries...
 We met a "member" of the Royal Court in the Chateau as well... (they had several people dressed up in the rooms... it was kind of fun).

There are large gardens and grounds surrounding the castle, but it was a bit chilly that day so we didn't walk all around.  But here's what we're all missing...
the carp pond, from wiki
pic from wiki
I really enjoyed all of the rooms in Fontainebleau.  If you're looking for a Chateau experience and you're debating between Versailles and Fontainebleau, I highly recommend Chateau de Fontainebleau (unless you do the bike tour of Versailles. I loved that).  There were hardly any crowds at this chateau and the town of Fontainebleau is super cute.  Plus, there are a lot more things to look at in Fontainebleau as the rooms are all highly decorated with original furnishings.

I included a city map of Fontainebleau.  The X's represent the bus stop, the chateau, and the crepe place that we ate at.  There are lots of cute little restaurants and shops in the town, but I recommend trying the L'Hirondelle Creperie. It's just a short walk from the Chateau.
map of Fontainebleau.

Directions to get to Fontainebleau
The train to Fontainebleau departs from Gare de Lyon in Paris.  From the Gare de Lyon, you will need to take the RER train headed for either Montargis Sens, Montereau, or Laroche-Migennes.  Your destination however is "Fontainebleau-Avon".  Remember, the trains will not say Fontainebleau, they will only state which direction you are headed.  The trains leave about every 30-40 minutes from Gare de Lyon.

I thought the trickiest part was navigating through Gare de Lyon. We arrived by metro and had to take several flights of stairs to get to the RER station area.  We had no clue which machine to buy tickets from, so we simply went up to the staffed window.  The lady there didn't speak very good English, but understood we wanted round-trip tickets to Fontainebleau and back.  The ticket she sold us was good for all-day use for the metro, buses, and RER.   I believe that card is called the Mobilis (day pass).

Now once you have your ticket, it's time to find out which platform your train leaves from.  There are two train platforms, blue and yellow.  Your train can leave from either platform.  You need to go to the departures board and look.  Make sure you're looking at the depart board (it says Depart).  You will usually find a bunch of people staring at a tv screen somewhere and that is likely the departures board.  Look for your train. Then, once the train track line is posted, immediately start heading to the line.  The place is confusing and they will often only post the line number 5-10 minutes before departure.
destination screen, I tried to make it easy for you!
To make sure you're at the right track line, you will see the destination name on the screens on the train.

Once you get off at the station Fontainebleau-Avon, you simply walk outside and go to bus line #1. Ligne 1 is destined for Les Lilas.  Our RER ticket day pass worked as the bus ticket.  You will get off at the Chateau stop.  We didn't know which stop was what, but when all the tourists got off at one stop, we simply hopped off and voila! We turned the corner and we were there! I'm sure you could just tell the bus driver "Chateau, si vous plait".  It is about a 15 minute bus ride, or if you're adventurous, a 45 minute walk.

How to get back:
Where the bus line 1 dropped you off for the chateau, simply cross the street and pick up the bus there (it's next to the cute little town square that has flowers and a fountain in it).  The bus is still "ligne 1" and I think it says "gare" on it but I can't remember.

the pretty town square in Fontainebleau where you pick up the bus back to the train station
Now, once at the train station, it's pretty simple.  Take the train back to Paris. There are only two tracks at this station, so it's not too hard to figure out! Take any train that states "Gare de Lyon" as its destination.

The official Chateau de Fontainebleau website also has information about how to get there.

AND that concludes my trip to Paris.  A little later I'll write about my recommendations of where I shopped, what I ate, and where I stayed, but for now I'm going to blog about some recipes and seasonal things.  Also, I'm in the process of moving and these Paris posts take a long time to put together.
If you missed any of my trip recap so far, check it out:
I reviewed a bike tour of Chateau de Versailles, the highlight of my entire trip!
I talked about my 10 tips for your trip to the Louvre Museum
We strolled around the Champs Elysees and the Tuileries Garden
We went to the Eiffel Tower then strolled around in St. Germain des Pres.
We walked along the Il de la Cite and saw Notre Dame.
I reviewed the pretty pastries at Pierre Herme.
I talked about my fun experience at the Laduree tea room!
I talked about buying a LV in Paris 

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
linking up at: amaze me monday The Scoop!  2 Bees in a Pod,  Metamorphosis Monday's Inspire Me Tuesday Moonlight and Mason Jars Wow us Wednesdays! Creative Ways  Share Your Style Thursday Favorite ThingsYour Turn to Shine The Inspiration Gallery My Romantic Home  Home Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays Foodie Friday & Everything Else  Sunday's Down Under