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Here’s to the Ladies who Lunch

I spent a week in Whittier–my hometown.  That’s a good deal of time to revisit one’s ghosts. It was fraught with hanging out with my beloved grandmother who has taken to throwing out heirlooms and photographs. So it was great to take a little time out on Saturday and hang out with other bloggers at the Costero Bistro + Bar for a luncheon.

It’s a great thing to get together with fellow bloggers because blogging can be a bit of a lonely vacuum–which is the kind of thing we discussed. What’s been our highs and lows, etc.

I know what mine have been. My biggest high was the response to my Just. One. Book. post. My low was an old professor saying I’m too talented to be low-brow (I think he was referring to dark fiction/zines/and horror films). HA. It’s not always easy doing things your own way in your own time. I probably don’t publish as much as I should when I should, but I usually hope whatever it is I’ve got to say is worth saying. I spend time on my observations and my reviews. I know a blogger/writer who takes pride in making 10 pitches a day, pens innocuous prose (she gets paid though) and writes from the top of her head without research–or much dignity for that matter.

I’m old-fashioned sometimes. I prefer articles and journals with content over a few paragraphs and a photo. So it’s a hard business for me, but nevertheless I enjoy doing it when I do it.

So hanging with 7 fellow bloggers (bloggesses?) was absolutely fun and relaxing and a good balance to life in front of a screen. To top it off–the food was amazing. (I live in the mountains, you know where good food either happens at home or not at all).

The fun thing about being around bloggers for lunch? Everyone photographs their food. I’m not a photographer, mind you, but here are mine.   First wine in awhile. I love wine in the afternoon.

Crabcakes!Brussel sprouts (I’m usually skeptical but these were really good).

That’s a very yummy salmon in a mango sauce with radish.

 and finally a Brudino? Never had one of these before. There’s caramel and sea salt. There’s something about that combination that just has me swooning.

I gave up bread and cheese for Lent because I have a serious addiction to both. So it was nothing but pleasure to eat so well without breaking the Lenten promises.

This was an LA Blogger Luncheon and man, there’s some smart women blogging from Los Angeles. I haven’t had lunch with two med students at once in a long time. Or hung out with a blogger from my home town. Or one who focuses on horses in Los Angeles. Or travel and food. Or natural hair and beauty and wigs. It made me think of what mine is focused on.

I’m focused on Throwing Chanclas just like all Latina moms. Bringing down what needs to be brought down. Relaxing after a hard day of mothering. Having a special appreciation for all things shoe and sandal related. And keeping myself up to my own standard.

So I thank my fellow LA Bloggers (even though I’m an LA Blogger in exile) for a lovely afternoon of lovely conversation that helped boost my moral in the solitary world of blogging. I thank Costero for a fabulous meal.

I thank my grandmother for not giving me too much fuss for stealing 500 some odd photos before she accidentally on purpose throws them away.

 

 

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A Trip to Carmel Valley, Part 1

Ever not realize until perhaps almost too late that you need to get away?  That’s kind of where I was earlier this month. I needed to go somewhere and not think about long term projects looming over my head. So I headed to Carmel Valley for the first time in at least 16 years. My mother and step father were stationed in Ft. Ord in the late 1980s. And then my mother lived in Salinas for 17 years. So I’m quite familiar (or was) and have quite a few memories of the area.

So…it was a beautiful few days….and while there were a few places long gone that I missed (the paper store in Carmel-by-the-Sea was the first place I ever bought blank books back when I was 16), I embraced the new and the newly rediscovered.

My companions and I had a lovely time exploring Holman Ranch. How could we not? Beautiful weather, beautiful walking.

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And wine tasting. Oh my goodness. Is there anything better than drinking wine in the middle of a week day afternoon? The height of decadence really. Here’s Nick at Holman Ranch offering up some of their finest.

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Here we are in the Holman Ranch wine cave. We did eventually leave the cave but I was happy there. Taking notes on which ones we liked so we could hit the tasting room on Carmel Valley Road on the way out.

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Apparently the state’s oldest swimming pool. Six feet in the shallow end. I liked to think about how Charlie Chaplin used to hang here frequently.

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And then I fell in love with the Hacienda on the premises and just wanted to stay forever and re-read A Hundred Years of Solitude in a corner with wine. Perhaps some coffee and chocolate. No wait. Mole. On everything. I’m a sucker for inner courtyards.

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and yes, I know I’m not Catholic anymore. (Catholic free? Well one is never really Catholic free) but the hacienda at Holman’s Ranch was exquisitely beautiful and peaceful.

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…and more wine. It’s estate wine  you know—grapes used are strictly just what grows on the property itself.

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At long last we settled into our rooms. And yes. I have a thing for tile. Can I live in the shower, please?

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Holman Ranch just had an amazing relaxing effect on me. I savored and enjoyed every minute of it.  I loved knowing that silent film stars used to roam about the grounds. As anyone who knows me knows—I’m all about the silent film era–well vintage everything really. Part of me just wants fashion to end at about 1964. Glad I also was able to break out the new bathing suit, retro in itself , to hang out at the Holman Ranch.

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It goes without saying that I want to come back. Holman Ranch guest cabins and rooms are available through either joining their wine club or by hosting and attending a private or corporate event. So please. Someone have something there again soon and invite me. Just deliciously relaxing.

Do I have to come home?

#LLBlogNotaConf