Solvang

Solvang

When I was younger we used to take 30 minute day trips to Solvang. It was like a mini vacation to Danish land, and it still is. Now that my brother lives in Solvang I’ve been going up more often.

STAY:

The best place is the Mirabelle Inn. It’s cozy yet luxurious. I’ve come to love staying at inns and B&Bs, where you can walk downstairs in your jammies and grab hot tea and a cookie before heading to bed. The Mirabelle is a three-story Danish style house with a lush front garden patio. The breakfast is amazing and every detail in the quaint breakfast room isn’t overlooked. There are crisp linen napkins, a fireplace and crystal serving ware. I fell in love with the inn before I even stepped foot inside.

Mirabelle Inn Solvang

SHOP:

Solvang Antiques – There are a few other great antique stores in Solvang, but this one takes the cake for its wide variety of large and small antiques, furniture, jewelry and memorabilia. There aren’t any re-painted or reworked items, like other antique stores carry. I’m always fixated on the jewelry cases. I’m a sucker for antique jewels with a story.

Pacific Northwest Trading Co. – This is where I recently bought my Pendleton. Here you can stock up on your ranch wear and leather goods. There were items I would pass on, but I loved the selection of Pendleton blankets, bags and clothing. If you’re looking to fit in on the ranch in Solvang, then this is your spot.

The Mole Hole – Solvang is full of gift shops and boutique things stores. Lots and lots of things. The Mole Hole is one of my favorite stores to wander and get lost in. Solvang is made for walking, relaxing and being a tourist, and you can definitely do that here. The shop is just as cute on the outside as it is on the in.

Where to shop in SolvangSolvang California

SEE:

Solvang Festival Theater –  This outdoor theater will bring you up close and personal with the performance. Unlike the Hollywood Bowl and other outdoor venues in big arenas, this theater brings great shows right to your seat. There’s a range of performances from jazz musicians to summer plays. My Fair Lady starts June 11th, so start planning your weekend getaways now.

Old Mission Santa Ines – One of the 21 California missions, Old Mission Santa Ines was founded in 1804 and is not only part of the rich history of California, but Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. The mission is still an active parish church and is open to visitors. Hundreds of visitors from around the world visit it every year, just like they visit Solvang.

Old Mission Santa Ines Solvang

Danish Days – This year marks the festival’s 79th year of bringing the Danish heritage back to Solvang for a weekend of performances, dances, a parade and Danish food. This year it will be held September 18-20th, so if you’re looking to join in on the festivities make sure you book your stay soon, as hotels and inns fill up fast {especially the Mirabelle Inn}. Even during non-peak travel time, it’s still busy in Solvang.

There are tons of other things to see and do in Solvang. Check back for my food and wine recaps.

Solvang Danish town

Note: Photos 4,5, and 6 courtesy of Solvang Visitors Bureau

Tuna Carpaccio

tuna carpaccio

My cousin Vinnie {yes, I have a cousin Vinnie}, isn’t a trained chef, but he prepares a meal like one. I watched him as he made these amazing tuna carpaccio sandwiches, which can be served open face as appetizers. All of the ingredients were extremely fresh, including the prime cut of tuna. The bread was baked fresh without any preservatives and melted in your mouth. Cooking is an art. You may not like everything on the ingredient list or you may need one large tomato instead of two small. Use this as a guideline.

Ingredients
1 Loaf of white bread, cut into thin slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Pound raw tuna
1 Red onion
1 Avocado
2 Red tomatoes
1 Bell pepper
1 Bushel parsley
1 Bushel arugula
Cheese of your choice
 
Dressing Ingredients
1 Tablespoon apple cinder vinegar
1/2 Cup Dijon mustard 
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pepper, to taste
 
Mix all ingredients together for the dressing with a whisk or fork for even consistency. Add more of each for desired taste and texture. More olive oil and vinegar for a thinner dressing and more mustard if you like a ticker dressing.
 
carpaccio
 
Directions
1. Go to a fresh food market to buy the tuna. If you can’t get the veggies from the farmer’s market and the bread from a baker, at least get the fish as fresh as can be, since you are eating this raw you want to be sure it’s top quality.
2. Cut the bread into thin slices and spread with avocado. Then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
3. Thinly slice the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Place 2-3 slices on each on next.
4. Cut the tuna into fine thin slices. This is not sashimi. Place 1-2 slices on top.
5. Add a pinch of chopped parsley to each slice.
6. Place the arugula in a bowl and mix with the dressing. Add a small handful of the dressed arugula to each sandwich. 
7. Top with a grated cheese of your choice. Romano, Parmesan and goat cheese are all yummy options.
 
raw tuna appetizer Tuna carpaccio appetizer
 
 
Note: Cooking should be based on what your taste buds like, not what the cookbook says you should like.

London Calling

London Calling

In two weeks I leave for the second annual mother-daughter trip. I’m not really sure if it’s going to be a yearly thing, but it’s been working out that way so far. {Here’s where we went last year}. For my birthday my mom and I are going to England to celebrate with my mom’s friend, who’s like an aunt to me. London is one of my favorite cities. I first went when I was 17. It was my first trip abroad and I immediate fell in love. I’ve been back several times since, and each time I take in a new sight, whether it’s doing something different in the city or going to a new town or castle.

This trip we’re going straight to the Cotswolds when we land to relax in the countryside. Then to London where we have lots of activities planned for the next few days. The Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, high tea at Claridges, the Chelsea Flower Show, meeting with friends, and then I’m off to Cannes for three days. On the last day I’m meeting back up with the ladies and heading to Leeds Castle. Make sure you follow along my adventure on Instagram!

Note: London has been calling for awhile.

Gift Guide for Mom

Mother's Day gift

Clockwise from top right: Estee Lauder Eyeshadow, Banana Republic Hat, Gigi New York/ Graphic Image Luggage Tag {I have this tag and love it}, AERIN Amber Musk Perfume, Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, Reiko Kaneko Mug, Emily and Fin Dress, Banana Republic Tote, Marley Lilly Key Chain, Tuckernuck Canvas Passport Cover, Stella & Dot Necklace, Jouer Hydrating Lipstick

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and I’m so excited to be spending the day with my mom and my sister-in-law, the new mom. I always seem to think of a gift last minute for Mother’s Day, so this year I did a little online shopping to get the ideas flowing. I pulled together some of my favorites for mom.

Note: I figured out what to get my mom, just need to pin down a gift for my sister-in-law.

Pendleton

pendleton flannel shirt

I got this Pendleton flannel shirt on a recent trip to Solvang. It looked like something I would add to my fall wardrobe and not spring, but I immediately fell in love with the ultra soft cotton and royal colors and had to get it. Surprisingly, I’ve never owned a Pendleton. I don’t know how I went so long without having one of their cozy flannels hanging in my closet. A classic American company, Pendleton has been a family owned business for 150 years and are still based in Oregon where it all began. I love the Native American prints and have been eyeing the blankets for years. My wish list seems to keep on growing.

Pendleton Flannel Shirt, Skinny Black Jeans, Free People Boots, Chanel Sunglasses {similar}, Necklace {similar}

plaid flannel shirt and bootsPendleton plaid flannel Pendleton plaid flannel shirtFelicia plaid flannel shirtflannel with bootsNatalie Zimmerman Natalie Notions

Note: I already need more Pendleton in my life.

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