Spice Storage

If the cute vintage spice cupboard holds fewer bottles than the ugly wire racks from Home Depot, then you get rid of some spices.

That’s what I think!

I was more than happy to sort and toss when I found this cheery yellow cabinet at a thrift store a few days ago.

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I cleaned it up with Murphy’s Oil Soap, but I left the paint as-is.

It was already chippy happy.

I love its curvy profile too.

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I tucked things like yeast packets and bouillon cubes into the little drawers.

Now, I just need to find another one!

I still have one last ugly Home Depot rack on the wall below it.  😦

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What are you up to this week?

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market & Thrift Store Treasures

I met some friends in Pasadena last weekend.

I spent Saturday night by myself at the Courtyard Marriott in Monrovia.  This hotel is right on the 210 Freeway – convenient, but kind of loud.  If you’re a light sleeper, this may not be the place for you.

On the upside, the room was super clean, the hotel was nicely decorated, the service was excellent, and this was the view from my room:

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I didn’t mind the traffic noise at all and I felt very safe in the area too.  There are a ton of large chain restaurants and stores nearby and parking is free and plentiful, even at the hotel.

I thoroughly enjoyed moving at my own pace, wandering around a couple of stores, then going solo to a late evening soup and salad dinner at Mimi’s before heading back to the hotel for the night.

I found these four huge, sparkly ornaments on clearance at Kirkland’s for $1.24 each:

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On Sunday, I met my friends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  Have I told you how much I love that place and wish, with all my heart, that I could go to it every month?  Sigh.

I picked up an odd assortment of things this time.

First, there’s this:

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He is missing a foot (fin?) and has been wrapped in the middle with fishing line to keep from coming apart, but I love him.

He’s made from a gourd or some kind of seed pod and he is filled with little stones that make a very pleasant rain stick kind of sound when you move him.

Um…yeah…if you know me, then you know it was not possible for me to leave without this guy.

I’m not sure what to make of the mermaid and her friend on his back:

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I also found my favorite ribbon vendor and picked up a few things in her 3/$5 bin:

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I found two more Delft-style milk maids too.  I don’t know if I really love these ladies though.  Their faces aren’t as sweet and well painted as the other two I have, so I’m not sure I will keep them.  For the moment, they are in the china hutch with the others.

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I love these little Matryoshka egg dolls:

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I’m not sure how exactly to display them, since they won’t stand up on their own, but they amuse me!

I picked up the sweetest little wooden duckling too, but the ten-year-old promptly claimed it on my return.  I haven’t seen it since.  😦

My favorite find of the day was this wire cake stand:

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The seller wanted $15.

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I offered $10 and hoped she would take $12.50.

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She took the $10!  Yea!  The silver stand below it is another of my favorites from long ago.  Just one more and it’s a collection, right?  Uh oh.

When hunger hit us, I wasn’t in the mood for our usual Italian place, so we ate at the Cheesecake Factory.  I rarely go there, so I never know quite what to order.  This time, I copied my friend – faro salad and fried avocado egg rolls.  Oh my, was that ever a tasty lunch!

We wandered the shops for a while and then went to Goodwill and an unexpectedly large and interesting antique store in South Pasadena before parting company.  It was a disappointment to find the Out of the Closet thrift store closed for the day, but we all felt pretty good about our other adventures.

What a great weekend!  Good friends, good food, good finds, good fun.  Thank you, Leighann and Corina!!

Back on my home turf and apart from my son after three and a half long weeks of winter break, I wandered through the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores near my home yesterday.

I picked up a little wooden candle holder:

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and I found this amazing little wooden stool:

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At first glance, I thought it was painted.  It’s actually decorated with beads.  They are hammered into the wood.

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I would love to know how the artist did this.

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The wood seems soft, but surely there’s a secret.  The whole thing makes me swoon.  It’s clearly hand crafted, an interesting shape, probably Mexican or central American, colorful, detailed and lovingly made – just my taste!

And that’s it!

What did you do this week?

♥♥

Otay Farms Market

I’ve wondered what would bring me back to my blog.  I should have known it would be a good food experience.

I went to Otay Farms Market today.  I’ve driven past it a few times a month since I was a little girl, perusing the thrift stores with my dad, but I’ve never gone in.

I’m not even sure why.  I knew the minute I walked through the door, that it was the kind of place my dad would have loved.

The fruit and veggies are plentiful and well priced and there’s an intoxicating aroma of fresh baked goods coming from the back.

Along the way to the bakery shelves, there is a Mexican style deli complete with fresh guacamole, a variety of salsas, spicy jalapeno carrots, and a selection of other interesting lunch fixings.

I will definitely go back for a meal from there one day soon.

Today however, I only grabbed some pears, a bag of plums and a tall, sticky-looking coconut macaroon.

And tortillas.

Fresh, piping-hot-off-the-stone tortillas.  (Insert glee over upcoming food deliciousness here.)

The bag of them was so hot in fact, that I couldn’t hold it in the palm of my hand.  Instead, I had to dangle it from my fingers by the teeny bit of plastic above the twist tie.

After a quick glance at the rest of the store, I paid and left.  I tossed the tortilla bag on the seat next to me and was all set to drive away, but those tortillas had already filled the van with an amazing aroma.  I had to eat one right then, in the parking lot.  Isn’t that the rule with fresh food?  Eat it on the spot?

I ripped open the bag, rolled one quickly to avoid burning my fingers, and then took a bite.  It was really good.  So good.   So fresh.

I started my car, left the lot and headed home.  But that aroma was still there.

I grabbed another tortilla from the bag.

I was about to take a bite when I remembered the See’s Candies Dark Chocolate Almond bar in my purse.  I ripped open one end, broke off a square and tossed it inside my rolled up tortilla.

The chocolate started to melt on contact – just enough to easily eat, but not enough to make a mess.

I took a bite and immediately felt happy.  And then quickly sad, because no one was there to share that amazing moment.

Fresh, hot tortilla with See’s Chocolate?  If I go to Heaven one day, that’s what I will eat there.

Absolutely.

And I probably won’t ever buy tortillas at the supermarket again.

I am changed.

♥♥

Renegade Craft Fair & Fun With Friends

I met a couple of friends in Los Angeles yesterday.  They rode the train in from the desert and I drove up to Union Station to meet them.

We started our morning with some coffee and Mexican pastries on Olvera Street.  We sat and chatted while the sleepy storekeepers unfurled their goods, then we shopped a bit before walking back to my van for a quick ride to our main destination.  We were headed to the annual Renegade Craft Fair at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Renegade is an annual gathering of etsy.com artists and local food trucks.  The off-road parking is dry and dirty, the bottles of water are overpriced, and shade is in short supply, but the art is worth the inconveniences!

I think the best thing about this event is that everyone has a web presence.  If you spend all your money before you get to the end of the first row, you can still have fun walking through and gathering business cards for future purchases.  All of the vendors sell items online.

Another great thing about Renegade is that it’s not gigantic.  You can actually see everything.  Twice.  And you still have time for some other adventures in your day.  That’s a boon for me, since I don’t live in the area.

We headed to Atwater Village next.  After a quick peek into the Out of the Closet thrift store, we had veggie burgers at the very teeny Atwater Grill.  I was pretty hungry when we got there, but even with that bias, I think I can say that was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten.  It came with huge, delicious onion rings too.  Yum!

Ever the fiend for something chocolate immediately after a meal, I shuffled my friends down the street to a little bakery called Sweets for the Soul.

Honestly, I wasn’t impressed when we walked in the door.  The cashier was a bit aloof and there was a stressful vibe in the air.  Odd.  Or maybe we were.  I don’t know.

Nothing in the display cases appealed to me particularly.  I really sort of wanted to leave, but my manners got me.  I chose a salted caramel shot, just to be polite.  I paid a few dollars and thoughtlessly tossed the container into my bag as we walked out the door.

It wasn’t until I had parted company with my friends a few hours later that I found the box and decided to eat the little cake inside.

OH MY!  What a surprise of heavenly goodness!  Small wonder this place has gotten rave reviews.

The “shot” was something in between a brownie and a small cake.  It was dense, but with a good crumb texture.  And it was moist, not like the dry muffin I’d had hours before on Olvera Street.

It was very chocolate, but neither too bitter nor too sweet.  And the salted caramel on top?  It had melted slightly in the box – a happy accident, if you ask me.

The whole thing was just three teeny bites of yummy.  I wish I had another one right this minute.  Sigh.

I’m in chocolate love and MUST go back to Sweets for the Soul.  ♥

This experience taught me a lesson.  I think I’ve concluded that small sweets need to be eaten within mere steps of their source.  If you have to get another one, you’ll need to be right there.

Going forward, I will make my purchase respectfully, but with a fib about saving it for later, then I will duck around the nearest corner and enjoy it at once!

From there, we headed to Potted in Los Feliz.  I love this store!  Love!  My friend had been there before and she described it only as “inspiring.”  I have to agree.  Potted is serene and beautiful, but interesting, just the way a garden ought to be.  I saw many, many things I would love to own from this place.  I will definitely go back the next time I am in the area.

On West Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, we went to Mindfulnest Contemporary Artisan Gallery.  Over 70% of the merchandise in the shop is made by local artisans, including the line of Klean Spa bath products blended on site in the back of the space.  I bought a small bottle of cream in the Lemon Love scent.  I think I might even like it more than my old favorite J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Lemon Cream!  THAT is HUGE.

Somewhere along the way to all of these destinations, we also hit a few other thrift stores.  I did the driving, but with my friends along, I was blissfully freed from navigation responsibilities.  Yeah, so don’t ask me how to find any of these places again, okay?  In fact, I will confess, I started our day by forgetting where my car was parked at Union Station.  That was a good 45 minutes of frustrated social anxiety.  Sorry, ladies!!  😳

Anyhoo, this is what I have to show for my day of fun.  Not a lot, but enough for me.  🙂

On Olvera Street, I bought a few more teeny chickens for my collection…

and a guatemalan wallet/glasses case.

At the Renegade Craft Fair, I found this whimsical soap dish by Catherine Reece:

and a very heavy weight, well made tote (with long handles like I love!!) by Dutch Door Press

At Mindfulnest/Klean Spa…

and from Leighann, my beautiful friend who always brings me the greatest stuff –

a very fun drawstring Maneki-neko bag – so freakin’ cute –

a pack of bright orange rick rack – not even opened – love!

and a very pretty batik stamp…

I agree – the little curlicue at the top is the sweetest part of the design!

And from one of the thrift stores, I bought a book for Thomas –

because who can resist those crazy Berenstain Bears?

and because I can’t leave my house without buying a book, right?

Right!

That’s it for my day in L.A.

Happy Afternoon!

P.S.  What did you do this weekend?

♥♥

Pasadena Shops, Rose Bowl Flea Market & South Pasadena

Husband pulled some solo parenting duty this weekend.  I escaped to Pasadena  to meet a friend.

I needed this little break so much.  Thank you, husband!

Pasadena Shops

I arrived late Saturday afternoon, checked into the Courtyard Marriott on Fair Oaks, then dashed down the street to hit a few of my favorite little shops.

I made it to Maude Woods with ten minutes to browse before they shut the door.  This shop is a little pricey, but it’s beautiful and serene and I thoroughly enjoyed the quick walk-through.  It’s an interesting mixture of home and garden and other little wacky things.  This was my first visit to the store and I didn’t really have time to find a treasure I couldn’t live without, so I moved on.

Next on the list was Mignon, thankfully open until 7:00 p.m!  I love this chocolate shop and I go to it every time I’m in Pasadena.  It’s an interesting departure from the See’s I am used to.  Mignon has a rich and fascinating family business history too.  Go to the Mignon website to check it out and then go to the shop to eat the chocolate!

Lula Mae was open the latest of the three, so I went there last.  It’s a teeny place with a ton of stuff.  I always wish I had a lot more time and a lot more money to spend in Lula Mae.  There’s a whole bunch of cuteness in there!

I bought a bag of sea salt caramels and a little glittery chickadee for my friend.  Yum.  Sweet.

I bought this amazing dyed silk ribbon for myself:

It looks great with orange paper too…

I love Lula Mae.  ♥  I want to go back there right now.

Rose Bowl Flea Market Finds & A Celebrity Sighting

On Sunday morning, I raced to the Rose Bowl to join my friend for a day of wandering and lunch.

This is what I bought:

an antique French butter mold

a small car with wind-up key

a little painted plaster duck (can’t get a good pic of this for some reason)

Friendly Hen print

another color plate of animal drawings (I have two others already framed from the same book)

and a small potted plant watering bird

On the way out of the Market, I spotted Joy Bryant, who plays Jasmine on Parenthood, one of my favorite shows.  She was just coming in with her friends.  She is even more beautiful in person than she is on t.v.

Happy shopping, Joy!

South Pasadena

After the Flea Market, we headed to Zinnia in South Pasadena.  Oh. My. Gosh. I. Love. This. Store. And. The. Giant. Pretty. Kitty. Who. Lives. There.

I bought a funny flat paper donkey, some beautiful yarn and a pile of teeny felt balls.  Love.

I also bought two jumbo sized fuzzy pipe cleaners for my son…I’m not sure why…they just made me think of him for some reason!  😀

We skipped across the street to Hodgson’s Antiques too.  There is so much to look at in this shop that I was overwhelmed.  I would love to return to Hodgson’s on a weekday and take my time looking.  It is full of unbelievable treasures, but my claustrophobia kicked in a bit when we were there.

We had lunch on the patio at Mike & Anne’s, where a shortage of sourdough proved lucky for me.  A delicious cinnamon walnut raisin bread was substituted and it absolutely made my grilled Swiss cheese, tomato and carmelized onion sandwich.  Garlicky mayonnaise and a pile of sweet potato fries were a great side dish.  The place was packed, so it’s surely a local favorite.

Unfortunately, my friend didn’t fare as well with the bread substitution.  Her pesto didn’t really go with cinnamon and raisins.  😦  That aside, we enjoyed an hour on the patio and had a nice conversation with our waiter about where to go for dessert.  He didn’t have a clue, but he was funny.  (Do you have a clue where to go in South Pasadena for an exquisite dessert?  Please let me know!)

We left and headed for Marz, Rue de Mimo, Camille Frances de Pedrini and the Dinosaur Farm toy store on Mission Street.  Marz was my favorite.  It’s a wacky gift shop that has a little bit of everything.  It is connected inside to Mimo and Camille, both of which have beautiful clothing and jewelry.  The Dinosaur Farm reminded me of Geppetto’s.  I enjoyed it a lot, but I didn’t really see anything I hadn’t seen before.

Somewhere in this very full schedule, we also went to Out of The Closet Thrift on Fair Oaks.  In the back of the store, I found an amusing, hideous animal drawing marked $10.  I picked it up in disbelief and promptly dropped it, shattering the glass to pieces.  The whole incident knocked me off my game, so it was probably good that the day was almost over.  I paid for the ugly painting and we left.

And that, my friends, was a wonderful, lovely weekend!

Thanks to beautiful Leighann for spending the day with me and for giving me a huge bolt of gorgeous upholstery fabric and this amazing Mr. Bunny chocolate mold:

Happy Monday!

What did you do this weekend?

♥♥

Sweet Sisters Sweeter Than The Reader

In the spirit of “all publicity is good publicity,”  I am providing a link (below) to The San Diego Reader’s review of Sweet Sisters Bakery and Cafe in downtown Chula Vista.

It amazes me how shockingly different our first impressions were.  I was ecstatic to find this little cafe, but Elizabeth Salaam compares Sweet Sisters space to a Holiday Inn breakfast lobby.  😦

I agree that there isn’t much on the walls yet, but who cares?  That pistachio cake from Sweet Sisters is a triumph and it will get me back there, no matter what some paid reviewer cares to write about the spare decor.  My taste buds are finicky when it comes to dessert.  I don’t like mediocre and that’s not what I got.

I get the feeling that Ms. Salaam actually likes Sweet Sisters too, but she buried that lead and I’m not sure everyone will read past her “muffins wrapped in plastic” comment in the second paragraph.  Maybe no one is reading my little review either.  Whatever.

Just GO to this bakery.

No matter what your feeling about the decor, the menu, the unfinished website, the bottom line is these ladies can bake and we all know they’re just going to get better and better at it.

Enjoy!

And eat dessert first.  🙂

Sweet Sisters Bakery & Cafe
357 3rd Avenue
Chula Vista, CA 91910
phone: 619-207-0222

Here is the link to Ms. Salaam’s review.

I do appreciate that she included a few pictures in her write-up.  I will snap a few the next time I go in too.

Happy Sunday!

♥♥

The Boy & Sweet Sisters Bakery

It was foggy on trash day this week.  The little boy and his Oreos were glued to the window to watch the show.

I asked him to say “cheese” once or twice…

but my little camera is slower than the big one.  😐

Ha!

A few weeks ago, I ordered a Razor Rip Rider.

It arrived on Wednesday, but I made the little boy wait until Saturday to help open the box and put it together.

He was very patient and amazingly appreciative once I got started with the assembly.

While I was busy with pedals and wheels and wrenches, he was busy with a thank you note.

Sweet.

And on the back…

That’s right, Mama loves to do the tools.

You may commence your jokery now.  🙂

Yesterday, I discovered a new bakery in downtown Chula Vista.  Yummy!

Sweet Sisters Bakery has only been open for about ten days, so there is very little in the space other than the sweet offerings.  I imagine as the sister duo (Karina Estrada and Araceli Mendoza) gets going, that a few other little things may pop up – maybe some retail items or local art on the walls?  For now though, it’s perfect to find them concentrating on what they clearly do well.

The space is fresh, clean, airy and inviting.  The bakery case is the star attraction and it includes a little bit of everything – a few cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, jelly rolls, quick bread rings, tiramisu mousse cakes, pistachio cake slices, chocolate cake slices, and some larger, multi-serving chocolate cake items too.  They also serve the usual line up of bakery beverages – tea, coffee, etc.

I left with a slice of pistachio cake and a passion fruit iced tea.  My dessert was dreamy – light, super fresh cake with a very natural, subtle pistachio flavored cream in between the layers.  The top was sprinkled with crushed pistachios too.  So good!  So, sooo good.  And the tea was one of my favorite brands.  China Mist makes a great strong passion fruit black tea.  It went well with the sweet cake.

I can’t wait to go back for something else.  Or maybe the pistachio cake again.  🙂

Here is the info, if you’d like to check them out:

Sweet Sisters Bakery & Cafe
357 3rd Avenue
Chula Vista, CA 91910
phone: 619-207-0222

Their website still seems to be under construction, but here is the link.

Hope you enjoy this place as much as I did do will.

Happy Saturday!

♥♥