Festive Feel-good Friday

Trying hard not to be naughty….it’s too close to Christmas!

Jia Jia & Santa

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, but if it runs out I’ll drink Red.

Cheers to the weekend!



Feel-good Friday: just vending

When you desire something cool and refreshing….

Tiffany & Co.

Possibly the world’s most decadent vending machine was unveiled earlier this year by Tiffany & Co.

Inside the space of the jewelery brand’s new London store in Covent Garden is a vending machine – in which the brand is hoping to encourage creativity and playfulness.  Instead of buying a chocolate bar or a packet of sun chips, you can quench your thirst for something different by picking up the brand’s first fragrance.  How original is that?

As well as the world’s chicest vending machine, the jewelery brand has installed a number of other elements to encourage creativity and spending. This includes Tiffany Blue wooden crates displaying whimsical ‘Everyday Object’ accessories and a #MakeItTiffany personalization bar.

How FUN is that?

In the meantime, make it a good weekend!

Tiffany & Co.




Feel-good Friday: the Great Beauty

Valpolicella.  Land of wine, charm and tradition.

At the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver on Wednesday for a trade & media tasting of beautiful Italian wines.  Focus was on superior tasting Prosecco, Valpolicella and Amarone.  Unfortunately for me I was under the weather.  Feeling anything but beautiful myself, I could not properly taste anything, so I brought along another nose who knows...my friend Tamara (now known as Tamarone).  And as you can see from the photos we were looking a bit fuzzy.  But we were introduced to some nice Italian men wines.

Cheers to the weekend!


Reception on the Runway

Introducing Rock & Riyo (aka runway bride)

On Saturday I attended the most original and fun wedding reception with a twist, along with my sister Lisa and good friend Margeaux.  It took place in Clearwater B.C. which by the way lives up to its name.  Too bad the sky wasn’t clear but it certainly didn’t place a damper on the evening which took place on a private airstrip where our friends made their arrival….by plane of course.  The flight was pretty much on time too.  Out they came  dressed as captain and first officer…and we would expect nothing less from these two exceptional adventure seekers.

Top L: Riyo (first officer), Rock (captain) + me (flight attendant wannabe). Top R: Lisa, Margeaux, Riyo, me. Bottom L: Lisa, Margeaux, me. Bottom R: Rock, Riyo + Spruce Goose Chardonnay.

The reception took place on the airstrip with big white tent set up just outside Rock’s airplane hangar.  The hangar itself was turned into a fully stocked open bar, and it was catered with delicious food, dessert and even a hot dog cart for those who wanted a late night extra snack.  Naturally there was music too.  Everyone got place settings with their names written on a little paper suitcase which when opened had a number (for door prize) and a cute luggage tag with a plane on the inside.  It was an evening that was very plane but never boring.

Infact the actual exchange of vows took place on the infamous Spruce Goose which used to be owned by Howard Hughes, in the town of McMinnville, Oregon at the Evergreen Aviation Museum.  The reception was hosted by the bride and groom who sat at a head table by themselves and played trivia games where prizes were given out for either having the right answer or the craziest answer.  We were asked to please not bring gifts, but guests were given gifts.  A reverse order. There was also an inflight movie at dusk about the Spruce Goose and for those not able to attend, their wedding ceremony.

Oh; and the food…catered by Gateway Grill in Clearwater which provided a beautifully plated delicious dinner which when served was still surprisingly warm (remember we were on an airfield) and later, the tastiest dessert served in a signature mason jar.

Gateway Grill – Dinner: stuffed chicken with mango, veggies, wild rice.  Dinner and Salad complete with edible flowers.  Dessert: fresh fruit trifle.

Suntory sake shooters were passed around  later in the evening.  The whole thing was relaxed, impressive and unique.  I don’t think I’ve had more fun attending a wedding reception before (sorry to the ones I’ve previously attended).

Top L: individual place setting Top R: R+R host the evening. Bottom L: Jack, Riyo & Lauren (her gorgeous daughter). Bottom R: plane decor at top of tent.

The entire day was full and eventful starting with an amazing white water rafting adventure (photos to come) and then this celebration of a new beginning (instead of an ending; for a welcome change).  No one really knew what to expect.  Although Riyo really knows how to make an entrance and Rock is the perfect partner…or accomplice.  Congratulations to both!

 Cool Heights.  Amazing Sights.

Rock operates Wells Gray Air (a seasonal business when they’re not travelling elsewhere) and takes people on awesome 44 minute sightseeing tours over world famous Wells Gray Provincial Park (nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in beautiful Clearwater, British Columbia (when it’s clear of course).  What you see: majestic waterfalls (39 in total), snow capped mountains, ancient volcanoes, crystal clear whitewater rivers, hidden lakes, mountain pastures and much more.  Click the link below and check out the “Wings and Waterfalls” 1 minute, 37 second, absolutely breathtaking video.  





Feel-good Friday: the Bees & the Blueberries

Have you ever…

put your hand on top of hundreds of honey bees right after digging your bare fingers into their work of art honeycomb to taste the deliciously sweet honey?  Well I have!

Hand on left belongs to Tamara. Hand on right belongs to Bill.  If you don’t freak out they won’t even bother you.  The bees I’m talking about.

I had the pleasure of visiting a boutique blueberry farm yesterday on a beautiful piece of property with two girlfriends. 

The farm belongs to Bill, a friend of Cassandra’s.  I might add he was super friendly, very knowledgeable in many areas (not only bees & blueberries) and extremely generous.  This is not your regular blueberry picking farm.  It’s a private farm. Bill supplies his organic big super sweet blueberries to top restaurants in Vancouver and several lucky select markets.  He also has an amazing garden with a variety of hot peppers I’ve never even heard the names of before.  That alone is impressive (I mean that I don’t know the names), and lots of majestic sunflowers.  I love sunflowers.

We left with big boxes each of the most delicious handpicked blueberries ever, a few jars of super sweet honey, and I got a huge spaghetti squash and a bottle of spiced honey liqueur.  Oh; and the yummiest homemade blueberry (naturally) muffin made fresh that morning by Bill’s mother.  They really are THE BEST I’ve ever tasted.

lucky women – Tamara, Cassandra & Debbie.


So far I’ve made blueberry pancakes, a blueberry crisp and bars.  Just plain blueberries on their own are good enough this time of year.

Next up: Blackberries

Oh it’s that time of year again.  The time where until the end of August I post sporadically and not as often.  But you probably already know that.

Feel-good Friday: to hear a Mockingbird

Every single morning while I was away I woke up to the intriguing sounds of what appeared to be many different types of songbirds right outside my window.  Not only birds, but frog sounds too.  

While there were plenty of other types of birds in the area, especially dainty little hummingbirds, the pleasurable noise as it turns out was made by one ordinary looking little bird.  And now I know the name of the specific type of bird – it was a mockingbird.  Which makes sense since it made a variety of sounds mocking other animals and noises, even that of a car alarm (heard in this video).  On my phone video the sounds are awesome but the picture didn’t come out very clearly so instead I found one on youtube (below).  I also came across one that calls out a dog’s name.  Amazing creatures.

After listening to these captivating sounds it made me question why in the world anyone would want to kill one.  Kiss one maybe.


Then I came across a post I did 3 years ago re: birds of a feather from photos I’d taken of birds from my travels:


And I came to this conclusion….

Birds are Paradise


For the love of tacos, margaritas, friendship, parties with people you’ve never met and photography.  Not really in that order.  Before leaving Palm Springs my friend Tammy invited me to talented photographer Gary Dorothy’s amazing  garden + outdoor space to celebrate the sweet 16 year anniversary of his gorgeous gallery Imageville.  I admired a piece she and her husband David have of his in their home. It’s obvious that Gary also has a good eye for party detail. Complete with tended Margarita bar and a help yourself to tacos smorgasbord. And any Mexican-theme party would be totally incomplete without Bichon Frise piñatas right? Exactly. Simply divine!

Image: Gary Dorothy Photography

This from California’s Prestige Magazine Palm Springs Life:

You think you’ve seen our mountains, palm trees, architecture, and iconic places. Then you see Gary Dorothy’s photographs and realize you haven’t really seen them after all. The owner of Imageville — his gallery in downtown Palm Springs (La Plaza) has a curious eye that sees the desert from a different perspective.

Gary Dorothy Photography
I also wanted to include the Palm Springs Modern-style
home to convey what we who live here see in most neighborhoods, period pieces that reflect a simpler time long past but somehow preserved here in this unusual desert town. – Gary Dorothy
Couldn’t make up my mind

Check out the Website:  http://www.imageville.us/

Image of Gary Dorothy: Modtraveler.net


Feel-good Friday: Fido Friendly Fitness

Well here’s something refreshingly fun. 

We already know they’re more dog friendly than most places in and around Palm Springs but here’s a place where you can actually work out with your pooch.  It’s called Venus de Fido and it’s in Palm Desert.  I mean I’m not sure my two are up for pilates or anything like that, but Layla is bugging me to get a membership to this place.

Not only that, but they have a specialty retail doggy boutique that’s dedicated to offering stylish, high-quality, unique products.    After your work-out you can check out the fashion-forward designer apparel, carriers, accessories, eco-friendly grooming and spa care products, novelty toys, premium pet foods, treats to share and other fabulous dog gifts and goodies.  Oh; now I see…that’s probably what Layla really wants.

Fido & You Fitness Class

The Fido & You fitness class combines light cardio, with yoga and core strengthening exercise for you while providing agility and trick training for your dog.  You can check out Fitness Class/Workshop Calendar for dates and times.

These classes are reason enough to move to Palm Desert:

Make Over Monday – All Day Spa Special and Happy Hour (4-6p)

Trunk Show Tuesday – Happy Hour (4-6p)

Wine Down Wednesday – Happy Hour (4-6p)

Yappy Hour Thursday – Happy Hour (4-6p)

Website: http://venusdefido.com/fitness-schedule/

The thing is, will you be able to keep up to your canine?