Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gifts for Mamas

One of these last Mother's Days, Jon gave me a wonderful gift certificate to the Glen Ivy Hot Springs.  I made sure to use it before we left California, and it was heavenly. I wish I would have gone monthly  while we lived there. If you live in Southern California and haven't been, get there ASAP! And definitely do the mud bath, and make a reservation for the grotto

Our new house has a master bathroom (!!) with a soaking tub (!!!), and since I can't get to the Glen Ivy easily any more, I'm thinking of ways to make it my own private spa retreat. Maybe your mom, or your kid's mom, would love something to pamper herself too, after a long day (or many years) of mothering.

1. Pottery Barn's Waffle Weave Resort Robe is super soft and plush, with a thick terrycloth inside. And it would look so pretty hanging in your bathroom! Get it monogrammed for an extra special touch. $99

2. Jo Malone has gorgeous fragrances that can be layered and mixed and matched. I personally love to smell like a rose! $60 for 30ml

3. K. Hall Designs has great collections of soaps, bath goodies, candles, and perfumes in beautiful scents. I especially loved the Egyptian Jasmine. I wouldn't be sorry if my bathroom smelled like that all the time. $42 for the room diffuser.

4. The K. Hall Designs jar candle in Egyptian Jasmine should give 60 hours of bath time bliss. $24.  The travel size is $11, if you want to take your spa bath on the road!

5. The K. Hall Designs 3-wick candle in a printed tin is $36. The Peony scent is so lovely, and the tin is beautiful. Pottery Barn is currently carrying some of the K. Hall products in a few of the scents. I would love to smell Earl Grey, Moss, Shoreline, and Washed Cotton.

6. I loved the Club Mud mud bath at Glen Ivy so much, I bought a jar to take home with me and have been using it every day. Unlike at the spa, the home version has some added oils and fragrance. I'd love to try the Moroccan Red Clay Mask from NOW Foods. $10 from Amazon.

7. My tub doesn't have any jets, and I don't love to use regular liquid bubble bath, but this bubble bar from Lush seems like it would give me lots of luxurious, natural bubbles. This Rose Jam Bubbleroon smells like roses, is shaped like a macaron, and is good for two baths. $6.25

8. This natural sea wool sponge just seems like such a luxury. $18 from Anthropologie.

9. The K. Hall Designs bath salts in Milk would make a lovely bath, for those times you don't want a bunch of bubbles. The Milk scent is so sweet and clean, and the bottle would be a lovely decoration on the tub. $29.50 from Pottery Barn.

10. The Republic of Tea has a collection of Downton Abbey tea. I would love a cup of the English Rose while soaking in my rose or milk flavored bath. The most memorable cup of tea I've ever had was rose petal tea at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, and I've never been able to find a rose tea that comes close. I'd love to give this one a try. $12

11. And of course, rose tea would taste best from this Royal Albert Polka Rose vintage teacup and saucer. $40

12. I love the fresh smell of Earl Grey tea and think this solid perfume from K. Hall Designs would be lovely after a bath. And the printed tin is pretty enough to decorate your counter. And of course, you could always match the solid perfume to your bath scent. $18.

I'm also in love with Pottery Barn's scent collections in Ocean, Gray Moss, and Mission Fig. I also love their faux flowers and plants. I can rarely have fresh flowers in the house, because so many are toxic to cats and my cats aren't smart enough to avoid toxic foliage. The peonies, roses, or succulents would bring a nice touch of color and texture to my private spa.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Skagit Tulip Festival

Last weekend, we wanted to get out of the apartment and find something fun and free to do. We were still waiting to hear when our moving truck would arrive, and we were getting antsy with that anticipation and being inside in too few square feet for too long. So Jon poked around for things to do and found out about the Skagit Tulip Festival. I said yes, please.

We left a bit later than I was planning and after a 30-45 minute drive, we were too early to eat lunch but wouldn't have a lot of time to look at tulips if we didn't give the kids a little something. So we drove up and down the two main streets in town until we found a cute little coffee shop.

The Ristretto Coffee Lounge was charming. Jon and I got tasty coffees, and I got the girls a marionberry scone to share with me, and a steamer to share with each other (steamed milk, with just a leeeetle bit of chocolate syrup). While Alice and I were watching the coffees get made, a woman came to collect her frequent buyer card out of a little box on the bar. Adorable.

 The girls loved the tiny leather chairs and all the toys. In fact, they loved the little kid lounge so much, they forgot to drink their steamers!

We finished up and then headed off to find some tulips!
 And we did!
We enjoyed the little garden area and maze for a bit before heading out to the fields...

 This lovely trail of tulips led the way out to the fields.
 It had been raining that morning, and I think a few days before, so the roads were good and muddy and puddly. The girls had more fun tromping in the mud and splashing in the puddles than anything else. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people on the road with us and not all of us wanted to go home with mud-soaked pants, so I had to keep being no-fun mom...

Alice was taking a photo of Jon, Ivy, and I and a nice girl with a nice camera offered to take our photo with everyone in it. I guess the focus works differently on her Nikon... Still cute.

Alice brought her camera along and took some nice photos, though she got carried away with the extra features and shot everything with a frame on it. I keep telling her to shoot clean and add effects later, but why would she listen to me?? So, to be clear, all the photos with the cloud frame belong to Alice...


They had a row of tulip varieties literally from A to Z. We started at Z and I just couldn't believe how many different varieties there were and how absolutely beautiful they were. I loved all the different names, too!

I think the Salmon Parrot is one of my very favorites.

I love the Rococo Parrot, too. I just love those ruffles.

Princess Irene is totally my jam. 
I thought the old design was fine, but the New Design is lovely, too!
Irene Parrot! Now we're talking.
This was Ivy's favorite, because it was right in front of her when I asked. She made me take a picture. 

Just gorgeous.


 By the time we reached the 'A's, it was way past our lunchtime and the girls were getting squirrely, so we headed back to the car. But on our way out, I spotted these beautiful gardens that we had missed before, full of all kinds of gorgeously arranged beds. While Jon and Ivy charged ahead, Alice and I ducked in and skirted the outer most path.

The tulip festival runs for the whole month of April, but it seemed like we were there at the perfect time. And it was a beautiful day. Fresh and chilly with lots of beautiful clouds, a bit of wind, and plenty of sunshine. Next year, I'll make sure we go again and make sure we plant some bulbs of our own in the front yard. We've seen so many beautiful tulips just driving around, I would love to see some right in my very own yard. Unfortunately, we can never enjoy them inside, since they are highly toxic to cats (and our cats go straight for the really poisonous stuff). But we have plenty of places to put some that we could enjoy from inside! 

We tried to eat lunch at the Empire Ale House, but kids weren't allowed even for lunch. So we tried the Skagit River Brewery, but there was a 45 minute wait there and we were all starving and cranky. So we headed up the road just a bit to try a Five Guys burger for the first time.

I've heard a lot of buzz about Five Guys, and we've seen them all over up here. The outside and inside    are plastered with enlarged copies of positive reviews (most from several years ago) from places like Tampa and other Southern locales, though there were a few local lauds.

Our burgers were tasty, but I don't think they really compare to Habit Burger or even In-N-Out. The restaurant design and idea was really similar to In-N-Out, but just kind of off the mark - at least to these California kids. Jon said it was like someone described In-N-Out to the five guys who started their own burger chain on the other coast...
We had peanuts while we waited. Ivy got impatient and tried to eat the whole thing, shell and all before I could peel it for her...
We tried the regular and the cajun fries and both were undercooked and squashy. The cajun seasoning was good though, Ivy loved it!

All in all, Five Guys definitely doesn't displace our favorite burger joints, particular the quaint burger stand that was around the corner from our old house. We tried another local spot down the street from our new house, but that's not a clear winner either. It will just have to do, though - plus, it has about a million model airplanes hanging from the ceiling (mostly - all? - Boeings), so Jon and the kids love it...

I can't believe this outing happened last weekend. It feels like weeks or months ago already. We've officially moved into our new house and are working hard to get everything unpacked and organized. Hopefully, I'll post a bit about that soon!