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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Heading To a Conclusion ....Blogging Tour Final Days

All good things must come to an end....

Well I am finally wrapping up my posts sharing my blogging tour with you all...sort of! What does "sort of " mean , let me tell you.... I plan here in the very near future to share a few of my purchases I made, as well as profile a few of the smaller businesses that became my sponsors for the tour so that they get a bit more of the spot light, such as Polished Raven Hats, and Lola Von Rose Lucite I feel I tagged them on Instagram, but did not really do them justice....and hopefully also will have all my final edit photos from my photo shoot with Dream Out Loud Photography to share with you. So let's see where did I leave off? Oh that's right last week I was sharing the portion of the trip where we started in Anaheim and made the trip to Solvang CA., with a partial day in Los Olivos, and then heading to San Luis Obispo for our stay at the Madonna Inn; today it will be about Santa Cruz, then on to an unplanned stop at the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield Ca, then finally ending up with a bit of back tracking driving along the Delta before heading home...ending what had been a whirlwind trip. First stop, Roaring Camp Railroad in the hills above Santa Cruz.

The drive from San Luis Obispo started nearly before dawn! At least for me. I had to get up before my husband and do my hair as well as my make up and finish packing. Once we were both up and had filled both the gas tank and our grumbling bellies, we got on the road and arrived at our first destination at 10:30 a.m., right on time for our steam train ride through the redwoods. If any of you actually know me personally, you would know I adore trains, and train travel and I have shared that love here and FB in photos, and videos as well as a few blog posts from when I have visited different railway museums. I have traveled by train across country as well and tho it was never perfect, always a hiccup or two during the journey, I always could not wait to do it again. One day it will happen and I will post Youtube Videos of that time when it comes strait from the train! So all that being said when given the chance to ride a open air train pulled by an authentic steam train engine through the California redwoods I was aboard for that in a heart beat and knew it had to be included in my blogging tour. It was a very pretty drive to where the rail camp is located and I was really pleasantly surprised at seeing an entire little village set up surrounded by ponds and open green areas and of course tall redwoods. We had a delightful ride full of history and fun facts, and of course beautiful scenery and once back a very good lunch was had at their cafe where you order at a window and sit out on picnic tables with red checkered table cloths with the other visitors...lucky for us as it was warm it is under a roof top that covers the patio area. Below is a jumble of photos....I created collages and just realized that I used some photos twice within the grids and some are out of order, but all are worthy taking a gander at. If you ever find yourself able and in the general area of Roaring Camp, I highly suggest you take a little trip into history via a steam train.  

The dress for this portion of the trip was by the online company Le Bomb Shop
You can find this dress along with so many other cute, and very affordable retro clothing
on their web site, I know I have and still have a long wish list. It is a tiny, home based
business run by Melissa who is just dandy to work with. 
Yes, that is my handsome hubby there in the bottom center photo.

The next stop following immediately was a place I have heard about for some time and though quite "camp" or "kistch" I knew I wanted to include on our time there in the Santa Cruz area....The Mystery Spot. OHHH I bet you thought I was going to say the boardwalk, well let me tell you, it was on our list, but a wind had kicked up and the fun area of the boardwalk was not open on Fridays due to it being off season, so we decided instead to save that for another trip... The Mystery Spot would fill some time before we would want to go off and find some dinner and even give us some relaxation time in our hotel room. I will tell you this, it was everything I expected and there was no surprises, and it was as enjoyable as I thought it would be for what it is. Make sure you watch for the next YouTube episode to air where I will share a bit of footage I was able to take.

Later after having all that fun it was time to find somewhere with food. I wanted somewhere close by, we were referred to a little place down the street a couple blocks from where we were staying, in a strip mall located on Mission St. there in Santa Cruz, by the name of "Your Place", great name right? Well this little hole in the wall is a hidden gem! Owned by a lovely couple Art and Rachel, it is a farm to fork establishment decorated with bright colored walls, unique art, a mis-matched array of tables and chairs and 1940's and early 50's music in the background...I felt at home for sure. We were seated by the window in two over stuffed floral arm chairs and a table for two. It turns out it was not just the tables and chairs that were not matching, even the dishes and the glasses for wine was an eclectic collection. The food is cooked by Art with a little assistance from a co-worker and served by Rachel. We ordered a gorgeously overwhelming meat and cheese plate along with our wine that we had ordered that was generously poured, and then a Caesar salad for two....prepared table side by Art himself...quite the experience, and possibly the best Caesar salad we have ever had...served with fresh baked bread with a dipping bowl of local olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, we were in heaven....even more so because after a long week filled with being surrounded by people, this place was pretty empty...told you hidden gem! After our fill of the before mentioned spread, I ordered the macaroni and cheese small plate, and my husband the Trout Almondene (sp?) ... scrumptious all of it! We finished off the meal with a shared piece of homemade by Art blueberry pie and vanilla bean ice cream....perfection! Worth the calories, I was like a happy little foodie as we strolled the 15 minutes back to our hotel and I settled in for a night of sleep before we would head out on our last day. 

The next morning began our last day of the blogging tour. We decided to skip Napa, which had been our original plan and take a more relaxed drive to Fairfield and the factory home of the Jelly Belly factory....turns out they have wine tasting too! The tour is free, tho the wine tasting is not. For 15.00 a person you get two souvenir glasses, five wine samples and matching chocolate ( yes the JBF has a chocolate shop too) to go with it and then once you are on the tour you get Jelly Bellies at the end too! We were there on a weekend, so the factory was no open, but we still had to put on the required paper hats and there was videos to describe the process. Not only do you get to see all that, but there is an art gallery, a gift/candy shop ( of course) , where you can sample more sweets, but then there is also a place to eat where some of the food even is jelly bean shaped! Not the best place to eat, but it was basic and filled my now grumbling tummy since I had not had quite enough at the hotel provided breakfast bar. 

So much candy ......the outfit is pretty sweet too! It is from Heart of Haute! 

Having sampled quite a few sweets, and buying some to take home and eating our fun shaped food, it was time for the final leg of travel on the way back to Muse Cottage....a drive along the Delta region here in Sacramento with a little stop off at Miner's Leap just outside of Clarksburg for some more wine of course and to do a little photo shoot of the beautiful outfit you see above provided to me by the wonderful mother - daughter owned company Heart of Haute out of the L.A. area of California.  H.O.H is one of my very favorite companies ever since discovering their clothing on my last trip ( prior to this) down to San Luis Obispo where I purchased a beautiful summer dress at HepKats, that I shared with you here a few weeks ago and then a beautiful Estelle bow blouse, identical to the one above that I purchased on my trip to Reno at Dressed Like That only in white, which I wore and shared here to Universal Studio. 

I had contacted Mandie B who is the mother portion of the team via Instagram and since I am already an affiliate of HOH she said to shoot her an email to discuss it all, and later I ended up working with Alissa and we got the ball rolling. I was so very excited, it was my first larger sponsor that I have had since starting my journey as a promotional model/blogger ....I had no doubts that whatever they sent me I would be thrilled as there is nothing I do not like from their site.The only worry was about fit. As it turns out depending on what item of clothing, and style it is I wear different sizes ( I found that out when trying on a few styles of dresses at HepKat this trip also by HOH) , but lucky for me they sent as mentioned an Estelle Bow Blouse and one of their signature circle skirts, both in size small, and both fit like a dream! I am currently 123 lbs stand at 5'2 " and am a 34b/26.5/38 , and the top is a bit snug, but as I said fits like a glove that way, well as long as I stay this size... motivation to do so is strong to be able to wear this beautiful outfit. Heart of Haute clothing is always well made, authentically designed to fit into a 1940's through early 1960's wardrobe and each season new fabrics and designs along with a few standards are released. So I promise you that even though this outfit was provided to me I am very much marking HOH Ruby's Musings approved. You can read more about this great retro clothing company HERE and from there do some shopping, and be sure to sign up for their newsletter, they often have sales and you do not want to miss a single one. 

Below are just a few of the photos that we took that sure to follow me on my FB fan page and on Instagram to see more and of course there will be a little slide show attached to this Friday's YouTube video as well. And with these photos I close the book of my first ever blogging tour and one that was actually sponsored by vendors. Now don't forget that next week I will begin sharing a few of the smaller vendors including Lola Von Rose purses, Polished Raven Hats, and a peek of some of my shopping haul as well. In the coming weeks keep an eye out for a special blog about one of my fans that has become a close friend Sweet Steph Starr aka Stephanie Starr and her visit here with me this very week and all our adventures and a couple review style posts before I start my month of cookie recipes to usher in the holidays! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Blogging Tour ~ Ruby Visits the Central Coast

The Journey Continues.....

So last week I shared with you my experiences visiting several attractions in the Burbank/Hollywood/Anaheim California area. How it was both so much fun, and yet the hardest thing physically I have done in a very long time and the repercussions certainly were not fun. I do hope to go back one day, but I would do it a very different way that is for sure. This week I want to share the next leg of our trip, the portion that covered many locations in the area of California that my husband and myself grew up in, the Central Coast of California and points north towards home, well our home for the last 9 years. I was ready to relax and in an odd way, have fun. Not that the previous few days were not fun, but on many levels as I discussed, amusement parks are no longer my type of fun, at least as far as my body it was on to country drives, small towns and wine tasting.... and a little bit of shopping of course.... I can always have fun with that! 

As you may recall, we left California Adventure early and headed to Westlake California to meet up for a glass of wine, a bit of pizza and some good conversation with my friend Elle. I met Elle a year ago as situation would have it, at a wine tasting room of our favorite winery Alapay Cellars in Avila Beach, and a conversation was struck up, photos taken and information was exchanged. Elle is an author and works closely the Big Brother's and Sister's of America among other things. We got to talking about my blog and she called me a "writer" and I argued that I never saw myself that way, but was flattered, and she said she wanted me to own it, and she would do what she could to see me flourish and grow...of course many things are said over glasses of wine and soon forgotten. This was NOT the case with Elle, and as the year progressed messages have been going back and forth, not regularly, as Elle has been facing some big changes in her life, but enough so that when the planets aligned once again, we were able to meet up once again on this Tuesday of my blogging tour last month....To say she is a light, a true beacon and inspiration to me would be an understatement and my life has been enriched so very much even with the small amount of contact we have had and the two meetings over fine wine. 

The gorgeous Elle Feebo looking chic, and well ...yep I was still Disney bounding and looking a little rough around the edges from being on the road... *sigh*  UM THANK YOU hubby dear for not telling me to tuck my shirt in again, and maybe stop with the silly grin again *sigh* 

It finally, as the sun was setting was time for us to part, and we said our was a departing of mixed feelings, I was exhausted, but my heart hurt to part from her side. But that is another story. 
Depart we did however and we made the drive to our next destination, Solvang California; a small Danish themed town. I love this little town nestled in the Santa Ynez valley, just north east of Santa Barbara. I have so many fond memories of walking around, shopping and especially eating there. We were staying at the Wine Valley Inn and Cottages, a place I was very excited to stay at since I was familiar with this older, but charming Inn nestled on a back street of the town. We arrived quite late so I was even more excited to arrive. Once checked in, and had found a cute little place to eat close by that was still open, we settled in and fell into bed. The next morning we awoke to birds chirping, the sounds of a waterfall and nothing much else, ahh small towns. I was actually feeling rested, even if I did not look it, as I had fallen asleep with the window open, the first time being able to do so in many years, far too many , and my allergies ( so worth it) and the trip were catching up with me... I stretched and then got up and got ready for the day. We would have breakfast in the main building of the hotel, dining on danish of course and a decent cup of hot coffee while chatting with a few of the other hotel guests before heading off to explore. Fortified with a full belly and having taken time to film a video spot in the beautiful gardens that surround the cottage portion of the grounds, our fist stop was at a wine tasting room, Sort This Out, that is located on Copenhagen there in Solvang and is the hub bub for local rockabilly, pin up tiki and car culture alike hang out to drink wine. On the weekends people gather to  listen to live music and drink wine based tiki drinks in the mini tiki bar in the back.  I was eager to go for a couple reasons, I mean come on any place that has a Betty Page wine line, and Pin ups on the labels not to mention my online friend Ruby Champagne has her own label on a pink sparkling wine, is the place for me, but I was also eager to do my next interview that might be included in the Pin Up the Movie online documentary. What better place right??

After sampling some good wine and doing the interview ( look for it on my Youtube video this week), we explored Solvang a bit further. I was on a mission to have butter cookies, Aeblelskivers and maybe sample a bit more wine..... OH! and fudge! All my favorites from the past...with only one day I had a lot to squeeze in; food wise.  We managed to do it all and satisfied with our time in Solvang we headed to Los Olivos, another nearby small town , were we had plans to have supper at the famous, well sort of due to the movie Sideways, Los Olivos Cafe with friends we had not seen in 15 years. Of course we sampled a bit more wine as well.... I mean it is the wine valley , or one of, the Central Coast. 

A not to miss treat ....Aebleskivers ...a type of round ball pancake served with jam


My outfit, consisting of the lace T , BBQ A line skirt and
rhinestone and pearl necklace,
by Sidecca was the perfect wardrobe choice
for a laid back day.


Now before I move on to the following day, that Thursday within my blogging tour, I want to take a minute to thank my clothing sponsor for that particular leg of the trip SIDECCA , they were so very kind to fill in a last minute gap within my sponsors and ship me this adorable outfit along with a few little extra gifties that I passed on to some deserving fans. Not my normal colors or style, you might notice, it was a fun departure and a perfect relaxed ( for me) look. If you are on the web version they are now part of my Ruby's Musings Approved promotion ads on the side bar. I have been shopping with Sidecca for a couple of years now, in fact their clothing, then purchased through Amazon, feathered my retro closet with every day wearable and way too adorable clothing. They now have their very own website that just went live a short time ago and I am hoping to see it grow and grow with that they can offer to their growing fan base of shoppers. They also have actual stores if you happen to be in Burbank or Pasadena. It was an honor to represent them and I also hope that I can do so again in the future! I asked my contact at Sidecca to describe what they have to offer, a bit about their store.... here is she shared with me....

"When you mix together retro, cutesy, girly and glam, and then pop them in the oven, you get a super cute store called Sidecca.  It is a store that inspires you to take risks on yourself and be confident! We want you to come in, enjoy your shopping experience and leave knowing you will look amazing in your new purchase.  Regardless of whether or not you know where you will wear that cute quirky outfit, we want you to feel super cute in it because that’s all that matters! Have fun dressing up by creating your own unique look.
                The creative mind behind this adorable store is Adriana Molina.  She is the inspiration behind what Sidecca and Ruby’s Red Ribbon truly represent.  She loves to have fun and sees everyday as an opportunity to celebrate.  Adriana has used her love for baking and event planning to create a fun and colorful environment.  When you walk in the door or shop online, you see decorated displays of fashion and accessories that could easily remind you of an adorable bakery with yummy treats inside.  She believes that with the perfect props and accoutrements you can transform anything ordinary into the extraordinary!  Her goal is to help develop a conversation between you and the merchandise, whether your reaction is “OMG!” “How cute!” “I used to wear that,” or “I loved that as a kid!”  She encourages everyone to “just try it on!” You’ll never know how amazing that special unique piece will make you feel with the bonus of adding a great piece to your wardrobe collection."

Moving on.....

 After waking up to another lovely breath of fresh air and the sounds from the gardens there at the Inn, we checked out and headed to our next stop.... Pea Soup Andersens, home of the best Split Pea Soup that I have ever had, in Buellton California. Just up the road from Solvang and on the way to the freeway entrance to Hwy 101 that would lead us to all points north on our trip, is located a landmark to many Andersens. The perfect place to do a few short video spots, snap some photos, have a hearty breakfast AND buy a half dozen cans of pea soup before heading north.

Andersens , where you can even have pea soup for breakfast! 

 Once I was satisfied and stocked up on pea soup, it was time to head to San Luis Obispo and get a bit of shopping in at my favorite little retro shop on the Central Coast, Hep Kats, do some wine tasting at Alapay that I mentioned up above, and Kelsy Vineyards and of course stay, explore, and eat at Madonna Inn, a beacon for pinup and retro ladies from all over the world...places I shared last year here on the blog when I had a little get away last September.

We were lucky enough to have booked the Fab Fifties room ( of course!) 

I always stop at Hep Kat while in Slo was one of the stores just over a decade ago
that really fueled me on to going 100 percent an adult anyway.

Wine and shopping at once... I am one happy girl!

So I forgot to flip this photo....the label reads
ALAPAY, check them out if you are ever in the
Avila Beach area, they are on First Street. 

Of course I had to go see the ocean, I miss it so much! 

The super cute head scarf is from A Little Bit of Paris
on Etsy....they have an ad here on Ruby's Musings if
you are on the web version. Be sure to check them out.

At Kelsey Vineyards you can drink wine AND feed the peacocks!!

YES! I went home with a couple in jadeite green.


Even the cows at Madonna Inn are eye candy

Great place to stay, explore, eat and meet up with old friends ...The Madonna Inn. YES, my hubby Captain Awkward did have his arm around our long time friend Keith seen here with his lovely new bride Felicia. 

Well that concludes this recap of my blogging tour, I can hardly wait until I can go back and visit the places I shared with you today, they are part of an area of California that will always be my true home and part of my heart and soul for my entire life. Up next, Trains, Mystery, Jelly Beans and some really good wine ( of course) ! So until then.... go check out my Ruby's Musings YouTube Channel *wink wink* a new episode and right now, extra content from the trip every Friday!