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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! 

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