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!

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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!!
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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

Monday, June 22, 2015

Versailles Bike Tour Review

Now I'm going to talk about my FAVORITE thing we did during our trip to Paris... the Versailles Bike Tour!!
Versailles Bike Tour Review

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Weekend Whimsy

What what it's the weekend.  But it's actually my Monday. I'm headed to work... but you all can enjoy reading these links...

I know everyone loves a Royal Wedding.  Check out the pictures from Prince Carl Phillip and Sofia's Wedding in Sweden.

While we're in Sweden this week, check out this beautiful Provence Style house that belongs in the Mediterranean but instead is in Scandinavia!

It's been hitting 100 degrees this week, and I've been eyeing these Gorgeous pool houses and pools making me wish for one!

The new trend in doggie hair cuts. It made me laugh.

50+ Red, White, & Blue Ideas for Fourth of July!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday which means... Friday Favorites!  I found this Friday Meme... I know that's how we all feel when we leave work on Friday.  

Fit Bit!
I got a Fit Bit last week! And guess what?! I LOVE IT! I wasn't too sure about how much I'd like it... because, well, it's not very pretty.  But then I started wearing it around... and I love it! It tracks my steps, my calories, my flights of stairs, my heart rate (resting and during exercise), exercise calories burned, and even my sleep pattern!  A full review is coming soon as I've only had this thing for 1 week but let me tell you... GET ONE!  I think the HR monitor is the most important thing.... so get the one I got here: Fitbit Charge HR

Les Marquis de Laduree
So, remember how I'm totally obsessed with Laduree?  Well, what I didn't tell you is that Laduree also has a shop dedicated to chocolate... it's just... I didn't take pictures when we were in Paris. I know, I'm regretting it. We window shopped but simply weren't in the chocolate mood that day (it was hot).  BUT, don't fret, because they now have an instagram that shows off all of the pretty chocolate creations so we can drool from a far...
 OH WAIT. I just figured out how to imbed instagram pictures. CHECK IT OUT: I feel a little bit like a computer genius right now. 
A photo posted by Les Marquis de Ladurée (@lesmarquisdeladuree) on
Fancy Houses
Do you ever go to model homes just for fun?  With the temperatures here now hitting 100 every day I am totally dying to jump into a pool.  We went to some model homes for fun and I totally love the indoor-outdoor living.  Now during the day I would definitely keep the outdoors out... but come evening time it would be nice to have some dining outside like below... don't you think?

Moving
I wouldn't call moving a favorite, but it's a reality.  We're moving in less than 2 weeks and have been busy packing.  I hate packing.  It's nice to throw some things away that I don't use anymore, but seriously, where'd all this stuff come from?  We're headed up North to the Sacramento area and I'm so excited to start a new life up there.  As much as I've loved SoCal, I'm totally over the traffic and the amount of people down here.  Sacramento isn't exactly small, but we're moving to the country where it will be quiet.
Who hates moving? ME!!
Game of Thrones
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT And I have a lot to say about this...
I meant to write on this last week and even started my post on it but then apparently I got side tracked and hit post before I even wrote about it! Whoops.  Did I mention that this post contains spoilers?
First off, can I just say that I can't believe we have to wait ANOTHER YEAR to find out what the end to all of those cliffhangers?  Nooooo!!!
How I felt at the end of this episode!
Ok, ready? Here come spoilers.  I cannot believe that Melissandre was FOS when Stannis rode down to Winterfell only to have half his army leave him and to be wildly outnumbered.  Then she peaced out when she realized that they were going to lose.  I kind of feel bad for Stannis, only kind of, because he literally lost everything trying to take over the Iron Throne.  But I guess there's a word called Karma and that's what happens when you burn the most lovely character on the show, the Princess Shireen.  Brienne of Tarth kills him with a capital J for Justice.  But then she misses out on Sansa lighting a candle int he window, forcing Sansa and Theon to grow a backbone and jump out of the castle for freedom.  But c'mon.  We know they're going to get caught.  Nothing good ever comes for Sansa.
Next, we go to the lame story plot of picking up Myrcella from Dorne, only to find she gets the kiss of death from the lame-o Sand Snake lady.  I'm over this plot and I'm not talking about it anymore.  I'm glad she's gone from this story.
Queen Cersei finally confessed to one of her many sins for which she is forgiven for, and she's forced to walk a nude walk-o-shame back into her castle.  I felt bad for Cersei for the first time in this series, but honestly, she's a terrible person and had it coming.  Letting her go back to her castle to the newly reborn Mountain was the Sparrow's biggest mistake.  The Sparrow effed with the wrong person.
In the mean time, Drogon the Dragon has dragged Dany over to who-knows-where and is acting like a teenage boy by only laying around wanting to eat and do nothing.  So Dany wanders off only to be surrounded by her old people, the Dothraki.  I have no idea what they have to say to her, but likely it's not good news.  This also leaves Tyrion to rule Mereen in the short run.  I think he will do a fine job, and some day when Dany gets back to Mereen she will see he's worthy as a Hand.
But let's talk about the most important thing: Jon Snow.  The little kid tricks Jon Snow into thinking his Uncle has come back... only to be greeted by a Traitor sign and then his death.  NOOO!!  Jon Snow can't be dead!  He's like... the most important character besides Dany.  Honestly, I don't think he's dead.  Why?  Because he can't be!  I find it highly *convenient* that Melissandre has now showed up to the Castle right when Jon Snow dies.  This show has magic all around... I think she'll resurrect him.  She's obsessed with his blood, remember?  While the show writers say dead is dead, we all know that's not true.  Look at the Mountain... he's back.  I feel like I've been stabbed 12 times Jon-Snow-Style by George RR Martin after this episode...

All and all, I thought episode 8 and 9 of this season were much better than the season finale... with the White Walker King raising his army of dead and Drogon being the true hero of the day and rescuing Dany.  I can't wait to see what the next season brings... but we'll have to wait another year.  I guess for now I'll have to watch reruns of Downton Abbey and Outlander... Actually, I found a new show on Netflix. I'll write about it next week.

Thank you for stopping by!!
You can also follow me by clicking on these: bloglovin, instagramtwitterpinterest, and google plus.
Sharing at...
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Oh Hey, Friday! at September FARM



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay Review

Ok, bonus post today! I love going to Starbucks. But sometimes it is so busy I don't go. They aren't worth 20-25 minutes to wait. I'm busy. Today they rolled out their new mobile order and pay. And I tried it.  Here is my review...

First this only works on the Starbucks app.  I am using my iPhone to order.  You have to have your location services turned on in the app for it to work.  You also have to be a member of my Starbucks rewards.  It's free, so if you're not a member you need to join as you get free drinks. Mobile ordering is not available for android. Sorry android users.

To order, click on the upper right hand order button in the app, as circled in yellow in the picture below.  I hid my address and account info in blue, so ignore the blue in all the pictures.

Next, place your order online.... You can customize how many pumps of syrup you want, whipped cream or no whipped cream, extra shots, type of milk, etc. You can also order food.
Then you pay. I used my Starbucks card.
And voila! Order ready in 2-5 minutes. So I headed off to Starbucks which is 2 min away.

We walked in and picked up our drinks. They were ready for us at the counter where you normally pick up the drinks. There were no lines and it was super easy to use.  I love this new idea from Starbucks. It took me about 6-8 minutes total... Basically the drive to and from home. I was inside Starbucks for less than 1 minute. It was super nice.  I wonder how this service will hold up on super busy Friday mornings.   I will use this in the future.  No lines, no wait. This was great! Finally, a new thing from Starbucks that I like... After all, I'm still a bit disappointed with their pumpkin scone fiasco and La Boulanges sucky food.  
 Review written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
I was not compensated by Starbucks to write this post.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

10 Tips for Surviving the Louvre - Trip to Paris

On our fourth day in Paris, we put on our walking shoes and headed to the Louvre.

The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world.  It is also the most visited museum in the world.  And it is HUGE.  I have been there FIVE times and I still see new things every time I go.
10 tips for surviving the Louvre

Monday, June 15, 2015

Trip to Paris - Champs Elysees and Tuileries Walk

On our third day in Paris we spent most of the day shopping and dining.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Weekend Whimsy #12

Is everyone getting excited for Summer??  I am over here! Check out the links I found this week...

I love this glamorous gray showhouse kitchen! I love the tile going up the wall.

An English Country Life... I love this little English cottage with the chickens and sheep!

23 ways to use Lavender... with all that lavender that's growing in everyone's gardens!

Smart everyday cooking tips from 10 celebrity chefs. 

The most elaborate hedges and topiaries... love the rabbit and the elephant!

posted at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com