Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Christmas is now over but I continue to quote Christmas songs, because I truly feel like I am living in a ‘winter wonderland.’ Cheesy I know! But putting a Californian in snow is like taking a fish out of water.

Well, this Californian girl had to explore this winter wonderland.  I am not use to staying inside all day, and I was getting anxious at the end of today .  Unlike California, I had to strap on my wool socks, winter boots, three jackets and gloves.  Somehow it still was not enough, but I did live.

This is my journey through the snow…

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All of these beautiful pictures are taken at my grandmother’s farm which has been in the family for the last 43 years.  It is a beautiful place, and it holds many memories for this brunette.   I hope you continue to have a beautiful Christmas season – stay warm!

Lights at The Mission

Little treasures can be found in places that you would not normally think about.  Riverside, California finds itself nestled in between Los Angeles and Palm Springs.  This city holds a strong historical significance, but it is rarely the first city thought of when thinking about Southern California.

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Visited by Presidents, the Mission Inn is a old, historical hotel in the heart of downtown Riverside.  It is especially beautiful this time of the year.  Why you might ask?  Well, because of the thousands and thousands of twinkling lights cast around the hotel.

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There is nothing quite beautiful like looking at Christmas lights.  It seems to put the heart at ease.

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Take a stroll down the corridors of the Inn, enjoy a drink at the bar and take a peak at the indoor Christmas trees.

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When you want a little fresh air, take a stroll outside to say “hi” to the reindeer that are for show, a quick round at the ice skating rink then a yummy cupcake at Casey’s Cupcakes.  Try to take a peak at this tree with crazy blue lights.

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Go explore this magical place during this time of year and see the lights of Riverside.  It might just be a side of California you’ve never seen.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar – Bradenton, FL

Traditions.  It is funny how a place can easily become a tradition.  My family and I have vacationed in Bradenton, Florida for the last 21 years (every year I have been born.)  My grandfather has a favorite restaurant that he has taken us to every year we have visited and in my opinion, this is the best seafood that you can find in the area.

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My grandfather is the type of person to know the bartender, the waiters and even the restaurant manager by name.  Every time we have visited this restaurant, my grandfather takes the time to introduce me to all of his friends.  During this time, there is usually a bragging conversation on his part involving me.  This is when I typically smile and shake my head.

Now when I say this place has the best seafood, it really does.  My grandfather has taken me to countless seafood restaurants in the area, but we always seem to come back to this one.

The environment in this place is very welcoming.  It is your typical family owned restaurant where the food always has a personal touch and the people are always friendly.  Over the years, I have had countless different dishes, but one of my favorites was last night.

The First Mate Seafood dish is just a smaller version of the famous Captain’s Meal, but it is just as delicious.  The plate consists of a yummy white fish – mahi mahi, fried rice, shrimp and scallops melted in warm, delicious butter and complimented with red skin potatoes.  To also compliment this meal, I took it back home to California and ordered myself a Clos du Bois Merlot from Northern California.  It was a sweet red wine but on the lighter side as far as flavors go.  It was a nice addition to this meal.

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Anna Maria Oyster Bar is by far one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Western Florida.  It is a tradition every year my family visits.  And every year, we sit down in this family-friendly restaurant and hear my grandfather’s stories while having amazing seafood.  If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, this place should be first on you dinner list.