A Chic Evening with the KNOT Pro in San Francisco (The Video Edition)

A Chic Evening with the KNOT Pro in San Francisco (The Video Edition)

I recently shared a blog post about our festive evening with the KNOT Pro in San Francisco last month. What a fun surprise to see a video from the event pop up on the KNOT Pro blog. They do such a fantastic job with both media and style. I am honored to have my Curated Travel voted best of the KNOT for 2018. 

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A Sweet Bridal Brunch on the Canyon

A Sweet Bridal Brunch on the Canyon

Remembering this sweet bridal brunch on the canyon for the beautiful bride-to-be, also my honeymoon travel client, Jordyn. She and her family are longtime Chico residents and have become my dear friends in recent years. We had such fun celebrating Jordyn’s upcoming nuptials in this beautiful spot on the canyon.

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A Bridal Brunch in Newport Beach: Roses and Rosé at Zinqué

A Bridal Brunch in Newport Beach: Roses and Rosé at Zinqué

The setting was picture perfect. The rustic table, embellished with nosegays of white roses tucked into vintage urns, laced with delicate greens, and crowned with intertwining wreaths of greens and tulips from above. The vibe was definitely roses and rosé with chilled bottles of Gerard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé adding a blush of color to the table.  This was a labor of love and creativity as Dorie created the one of a kind tablescape and arrangements through her popular design business, Broadway Botanicals.

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A Parisian Apartment Style Brunch

A Parisian Apartment Style Brunch

One of the most alluring reasons to stay in a Parisian apartment while visiting Paris is savoring a taste of the French way of life. With a boulangerie, fruit market, grocery, patisserie, butcher and international market on nearly every block, it’s easy to gather the freshest, tastiest ingredients each day to create memorable bites.

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How to Make a Limoncello Spritzer - A Taste of Positano

How to Make a Limoncello Spritzer - A Taste of Positano

One of my favorite discoveries of the liquid kind, on our trip to Italy, was the Limoncello spritzer.  Scott and I typically store a bottle of the velvety-sweet lemon liquor, Limoncello, in the freezer for the occasional after dinner ‘digestivo’. In Positano in July, we were introduced to a lighter, more fizzy version of this bold citrus taste. It also happens to be the easiest cocktail recipe I’ve ever made.

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Creating a "Sunny Escape" for House Guests

Creating a "Sunny Escape" for House Guests

Scott and I had the pleasure of hosting house guests for the long weekend. It was late summer and the weather was picture perfect for poolside lounging and some outdoor fun in Chico. My sister, Dorie, and her guy Michael, were up from Newport Beach for the weekend and I wanted to create a “sunny escape” for my special house guests. My first step is to prepare the guest roomFreshly washed linens, fluffy towels, candles and fresh flowers are a must. For this visit I added some lovely dark calla lilies to the mirrored bedside table.

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Cooking Class: Ceviche from Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita and a Surprise Meet Up!

Are you in the mood for something fresh, healthy and easy to make? Scott and I learned to make one of our favorite go-to summer dishes on our recent trip to Riviera Maya. We took a cooking class with chef Nicholas at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. At the last second, I flipped on the video camera on my phone to capture the experience. I'll also share the recipe at the bottom of the post.

All the ingredients were carefully chopped and prepared by Chef Nicolas. The friendly staff, including Fermin, started the class by serving chilled white wine. Pour yourself a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc, sit back and join me for a few moments at the cooking class as we make ceviche for the first time.

Here's Scott diving in!

It's fun to serve just about anything in a martini glass!

friends-cooking-class-zoetry
friends-cooking-class-zoetry

These are more of the fun folks we met at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. Rosemary and Rolando, in straw hats, were great. We also ended up in a sweat lodge with them at the spa -- but that's a whole different story. With Facebook these days it is so easy to stay friends with people we meet while traveling. That is a huge plus for social media in my book.

In the background of this shot, I'm introducing myself to the famed Mexican architect Carlos Gosselin, who designed Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. He lives part time at Zoetry, and a number of guests, including my husband, had seen him during our stay. I woke up on this morning and announced to Scott, "I'm going to meet the architect today". I wanted to tell him how impressed I am with this magnificent resort. As I shot the video of the cooking class, I turned my video around to get a glimpse of the resort (about 6 minutes in) and he was the shadowy figure walking just a couple of feet behind me. It was a fun moment and such a surprise! As soon as the class was over I raced over to meet him and he was just as elegant and charming as I expected.

Zoetry grouper ceviche

Ingredients

1 kg diced fresh grouper or mild white fish

8 lemons (the juice)

1 red onion in julianne

1 chopped mango

½ chopped papaya

1 chopped cucumber

Basil

Coriander

Mint

Salt

Dried oregano

Olive oil

Tortilla chips

Procedure

Place grouper, lemon juice, oregano, salt and olive oil in a bowl and let it rest for at least 15·20 min

Add the rest of ingredients

Serve with tortilla chips

Scott recreated this dish at home with fresh ingredients from the farmer's market in Chico. We devoured it so quickly that I didn't get any shots of his finished product. Ceviche is also delicious served with guacamole.

For more on our trip to Riviera Maya:

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita

Secrets Silversands

A Sunny Escape to Tulum and Akumal

Date Night: A Sunset Sail

Discounts to Zoetry Resorts

Have you ever made ceviche?

 

Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

Be my guest! It's finally the summer season which means many of us will be doing some travel of some variety. It may be a luxury resort, a tour, a road trip, a camping adventure or visiting friends and loved ones for a vacation. With that in mind, I've been in the mood to update our guest room for summertime guests.

Start with freshly laundered, high thread count (read smooth)  sheets.  I love to use all white sheets in our guest room for a fresh feel. I add a lightweight comforter, either down or hypo-allergenic (best for those with allergies). This bold black and white duvet cover captured my eye the other day and I'm liking the additional pop it gives the room.  I layer on a colorful coverlet, this one is DKNY, folded at the lower edge of the bed which can be added for cooler nights to adjust the level of warmth.

I always add fresh flowers~tuberoses, freshly cut roses or white lilies have lovely scents. Gardenias are fresh and fragrant from our garden during the summer season. I like to float them in a pretty vase or bowl. 

My mom, Jeri, is a flower lover and had fresh flowers from her garden in the house, most days, while I was growing up. This small tradition definitely makes life a little more beautiful. 

Lightly scented candles (don't forget the matches!) are another favorite touch.My current favorite is the Dayna Decker candle.  I always include an alarm clock but hopefully, no one will need to use it during a relaxing visit.

This glass dish is originally from my husband's family. Scott's mother had labeled it (using tape and waterproof pen) with this caption 'Daddy State's candy dish 1800's'. Labeling family heirlooms adds is an instant reminder to the family of the history of the piece. A history that might otherwise be forgotten.

Fluffy white towels are always a must in my house. Magazines for early or late night reading is a nice touch to deal with insomnia. I often include a travel magazine for dreaming about the next adventure.  Putting items in a welcoming basket is a good way for your quests to know you thought of them in preparation for the visit. This Kai perfume oil smells like a tropical holiday in a spritz.

When I travel I easily get dehydrated so a carafe of water within easy reach is essential to quench the dreaded midnight thirst.I like to change out the photo based on who is visiting. Our girls are our most frequent overnighters so I love to use this one from our trip to Cabo San Lucas in 2007.

On a tray, I include some favorite spa items like the MOR body butter, sugar scrub, and fragrant soaps.

A light summer weight robe is also a nice touch to avoid any 'mishaps' around the house. #tmiThis chic number in Greek key motif is one of my favorites.

A corner chair is always handy for conversation or putting on shoes.

This little sparkler was a find from Target.

The vintage print and two petite florals painted by my mom, Jeri, many years ago are special to me. Aren't they sweet?

My final tip~Stock up on toiletries and extra supplies for guests in the guest bathroom. I always supply toothbrushes & toothpaste, lotions, deodorant, band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, and aspirin.

Typically my recommendation is that a weekend or long weekend is the perfect length of time for a visit. You know what they say about how guests and fish alike don't you??(After three days they both begin to stink.......ha ha ha -just jokes here!!;) I tend to follow that rule when I am a guest in someone else's home as well. 

Leave 'em wanting more.... also a great motto for life!

If you are welcoming guests this summer or being a house guest yourself,here's to long lazy mornings catching up over coffee, walking and talking, belly laughs and shared sunsets, with a glass of wine, enjoying those you love. 

Are you having house guests this summer? 

How are your travel plans shaping up?