Friday, December 11, 2009


There is a new blog in town and I am LOVING it. Which by the name is exactly what they thought I would do. . .I get an email every morning that tells me what is great and fun around my town. You must check it out and subscribe. You will LOVE it.
(oh and by the way, they featured someone really cool this morning. . .) hee hee
visit LOVEmikana

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I think these cards are my most favorite holiday items we have in the store this year. Lazaro Design, a local company, created these works of art using inspiration from her favorite carols. They are absolutely gorgeous and you have to see them in person to appreciate her amazing details-glitter, snow and color. Her packages of cards include little bird tie-ons for your gifts. And the price per card is amazing for the amount of work that goes into each one. Come on down to the shop at 1223 State Street to take a look.

Monday, November 30, 2009

advent 2009



i LOVE this new iphone app!!  the content and content are amazing and it is free.  you must put it on your iphone today! and oh my goodness, there are some gift giving tips from ME in there.  seriously. i made it on an iphone app. how fun is that?  but for real, it is really cool.  put it on your phone today. merry christmas! 

get it here

Friday, November 27, 2009


thksgivingcheese platter

our thanksgiving was amazing.  so much fun and so wonderful to spend time with family.  i was in charge of the appetizers.  i am working like crazy and therefore did not have time to sort through recipes for hours like i would normally want to.  so, as i was quickly browsing through my november issue of real simple, i came upon a page of beautiful apps.  i decided to make a few.  one of these was the most amazing combinations of flavors that i have ever discovered.  the recipe is available at, but actually is REAL SIMPLE. here goes. 

we used turkish apricots, black forest bacon, sage leaves and real maple syrup.  put a sage leaf on the apricot, wrap it in the bacon and then brush them with maple syrup. put them on a baking sheet seam side down, kept together with toothpicks at 350 degrees until your bacon is crispy.  serve them and watch people enjoy.  they will be nodding their heads and saying “yum” and then count to 15.  at 15, the sage leaf will hit them and they will be in a glorious epicurean heaven and will not know what hit them.   it put all of my other crudites to shame.  the poor cheese, fruit and nut platter which usually takes center stage was an afterthought.   sad.  except for the amazing raspberry habanero jelly from santa barbara preserves.  it is up there with the bacon. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

fall is lovely

fall arrangement


can’t believe it is thanksgiving already.  that is absolutely nuts.  i thought this was a beautiful idea for a centerpiece.  sometimes it is hard to always have to be a season ahead in the retail world.  i have to try really hard to appreciate the current season.  this helped. 


how to instructions here from design sponge

photo by studio choo

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

little bug

madeira 5happy 5th birthday buggie. 

these five years have been the most amazing years of my life.  never would i have imagined how much a heart could be filled up with one little girl’s love.  your spirit is a gift.  since you were a tiny baby, you have made even the grumpiest of people smile.  lately you have befriended a woman who walks past the shop everyday a couple of times.  she has always seemed sad and i have often wondered her story.  i have smiled at her before, but have never said hello or asked her how she was.  you gave her candy on halloween and now whenever you see her, you run up to her and say hello with a huge smile and without hesitation. i have noticed she now has a slight bounce in her step and holds her head a bit higher when she walks past.  you have also begun carrying around a brite orange paper bag for the past two weeks that is filled with shells we have collected over the years.  you give one to everyone you come across, you call them your friends and they now are.  you are the epitome of unconditional love.  you seem to see through the exterior and look straight through to the heart and soul of people.  what a blessing.  thank you for being an example to me.  and oh my goodness, do you make me laugh.  your vocabulary has been amazing since you were 1 year old. . . always shocking us with the words that come out of your mouth and your seeming ability to know exactly the proper time to use them.   your sensitivity is a beautiful gift, as well. . . i love that i will hear a whimper in the back seat of the car and when i ask what is wrong, you tell me that the song that is on is so beautiful that it is making you cry. or when i look in the mirror and see a reflection of you with your eyes closed just listening. and when you dance, you dance from your spirit. . .i LOVE the mad face  you make when you dance hip hop.  you are filled with grace, emotion, joy and beauty that just is.  you don’t even have to try to be.  i hope and pray that your strength and confidence in the way you know yourself never leaves you because you touch people’s lives just by being you.  you have changed me forever and i will eternally be grateful to the Father for giving me the opportunity to be your mama.  happy birthday to my baby girl.

love always, mommy

Thursday, November 5, 2009

dancing queen, young & sweet


what little girl doesn’t love to dance on her daddy’s toes. . .these are too sweet for words. i can just see a pair sticking out of madeira & sam’s stockings on christmas morning.


found on design mom via kirtsy via handmade charlotte

give at company

Thursday, October 29, 2009

jana alayra concert

on friday, november 13th, madeira's lifelong dream is going to be made reality. THE jana alayra is going to be appear live in concert at her school. she is SO excited. our red ipod has been bumping the jana beats for months and she is ready-with every word, key change, volume change for emphasis memorized. . . it is going to be a very fun concert, hopefully i can take my eyes of madeira and watch. probably not. please join us if you have any jana fans in your family, or if you want to make some.

info about jana and source for photo

trinity preschool
1002 cieneguitas road, santa barbara, ca 93105
friday, november 13th at 6.oopm
dinner by spencer mackenzie's fish co. prior to show at 5.oo

for tickets contact brittney at 805.687.4988 or

Friday, October 23, 2009

the pumpkins are back!


the lynne bonnell pumpkins are back for fall again this year. . .and she added burlap!!  LOVE.  you can see the glitter and black pumpkins that madeira and i made in the back too.  i am obsessed with fall.  made caramel apples last nite too.  just ignoring the 80 degree weather and the sweat dripping down my head while i sip hot cider in my uggs. ;) 

call the shop if you see a pumpkin you like, we ship! 

santa barbara gift baskets @ 805.965.1245

Friday, October 9, 2009

off to paris

flower market

la jarine



kind of. . . sam and i would LOVE to travel to paris, italy, spain, portugal etc etc, but for now and for various reasons, it is not the right time. . .  this weekend we are up in the sonoma/napa area for a wedding.  such a beautiful part of california.  for some reason, sam and i have dubbed it our french trip (i think a lot of it has to do with my new hair do, i think it looks french. . .), so we have been speaking with a french accent (although mine tends to go between persian and spanish more than french), we have been trying to find patisseries & boulangeries, enjoyed the amazing movie, chocolat with a bottle of cotes du i forget where, but it was good and had an adorable hen on the label, visited a gorgeous sidewalk flower stand and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at k&l bistro today.  it has been so much fun to have our own little secret theme, and seriously, hearing sam say patisserie in a cute accent with his sweater vest is just too much.  


the meadows flower market in oakland on college avenue

la farine bakery in oakland (try the morning buns or the ham and cheese pastry, OMG)

k & l bistro (amazing lamb and favra bean pot pie was the lunchtime special of the day, YUM)

more to come. . .

Sunday, October 4, 2009

project pumpkin

glittery pumpkins

black pumpkins





i have come across some super cute pumpkin crafts the last couple of weeks. . .wanted to share.  i am feeling a craft nite coming on, who is with me?


glitter  and black pumpkins how to here thanks to frenchie and flea

gourd garland how to thanks to martha

jack o lantern towers thanks to martha

Friday, September 25, 2009

loving the vintage packaging

look at this pudding. do you die? i do. i don't even like pudding, but i bought two packs. that is some good packaging. i want to do a retro gift basket with stuff like this. . .i would buy that. (but you probably have gotten the idea that i would buy most anything)

image taken by me and retrofied with the iphone app camera bag
pudding available at trader joes

Saturday, September 12, 2009

savor santa barbara



Please come and meet the faces behind Santa Barbara's finest gourmet foods as part of the month to savor santa barbara program, Epicure SB. Lovely locals from companies such as Jessica Foster Confections, Savvy Wine Foods, Santa Barbara Preserves, Sugar Bliss Sweets, the amazing Friday Evening cookbook and more will be there and will bring treats. A basket filled with local goodies will be raffled off to benefit Share Our Strength's mission to end hunger in America. Please join us!

Tuesday, October 13th from 3.oo until 7.oopm at Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, 1221 State Street #13, Santa Barbara, California a month to savor santa barbara. The 31-day, community-wide culinary extravaganza features food and drink festivals, cooking classes, winemaker dinners, seasonal menus, book signings, epicurean-inspired art exhibits and many other tasty opportunities to sip and savor the bounty of The American Riviera®!


Click here for more information on this event and here for more information about epicure sb

Friday, September 11, 2009

great american dine out


Unfortunately, hunger is a reality for almost 12 million children in OUR country.  I can not imagine how it would feel to be the mama sending her child hungry to school or the poor child trying to focus and learn with a hungry belly.  Share Our Strength is the leading organization trying to ensure that no child in America grows up hungry. They say, “poverty is complex, feeding a child is not”. And I agree.  They have created this great program and we are lucky enough to have local restaurants participating.  When you dine out at any of these restaurants on September 20th to 26th, you will be helping to end childhood hunger. 

I have decided to participate, as well and have decided to donate a percentage of our internet sales to the organization during this week, as well.  Shop online at

Participating Santa Barbara Restaurants as of today are:

Bouchon, Seagrass, Elephant Bar, Woodstock’s Pizza


Visit Share Our Strength’s Website Here

Thursday, September 10, 2009

growing up

wow. i love this growth chart. maybe this will make the fact that she is growing up so fast a little bit easier. . .absolutely adorable

created by miss natalie
give it here

Friday, September 4, 2009

nothing against starbucks



but, i LOVE this packaging.  i seriously get so awkward every time i go to starbucks and have to close my eyes and do the formula in my head small=tall (by the way i am “small” by height standards (5 foot 2) and where i come from that is not TALL) , medium=grande (again i would describe certain parts of me as grande yet certainly NOT medium) and large=venti.  the barista is always looking at me like HELLO? and i am secretly having a mild panic attack inside about the conversion, and what i want and if i should go for nonfat or soy and what the calorie content of each is. . .sugar or sweetener-which will make me sicker and fatter, why am i spending 5 dollars on something i can make at home. . . you get  the picture.  i like this packaging.


brooklyn fare link here (oh i wish they would deliver to santa barbara)

found via shelterrific

things were much simpler


so, while in sacramento at target for about the fourth time in two days, i discovered the super secret “specialty toy” aisle.  it was a feast for the eyes and i was definitely more excited than madeira ,who was pulling me toward the pink explosion aisle of princesses, baby dolls, tiaras and glittery make up for toddlers.  but this aisle brought me back to days when things were much simpler and i could stare at a little plastic tv with four revolving still pictures and two songs which only worked if i wound it up with my own two hands.  now, i am all for technological advances and never wanted to be “that mom” who is always talking about the good old days, but things were much simpler and less LOUD back then.  i want our kids to understand how fun a phone with happy eyes can be when you pull it around the house and it makes a little quiet jingle jangle once in a while. 

we bought our nephew the hall of fame pack above and as mentioned in a previous post, the slinky was quite a hit.  and seriously, those crayons are in a real metal tin, absolutely gorgeous.  anyways, i am so glad that duncan and fisher price have brought these toys back.  now maybe i can get madeira to stop talking about this hannah montana person and asking me what it means to “break up with a boyfriend”. yuck, so not ready for that, the dating age has been officially moved to 21 in our home. 

all of these toys were available at the target in sacramento, also saw them online in various toy shops

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

special nite


back to school dinner 1

back to school dinner 2

back to school dinner 3

back to school dinner 7

back to school dinner 6

back to school dinner 5

     so, we had our special back to school fancy dinner (inspired by nie nie).  it was so much fun and madeira has never been happier.  she kept saying “i really love this dinner, but i especially love my crown”. the whole day was delightful with madeira and i doing preparations-making the crown, deciding what to eat, setting the table, grocery shopping and cooking.   on the menu was maryland crab cakes, mixed greens with heirloom tomatoes (lettuce and tomatoes came from a friend’s garden) with drizzled walnut oil and balsamic and garlic and parmesan cous cous.  dessert was soy ice cream, raspberries and drizzled chocolate sauce.  dinner discussion centered on the theme for the year which is “be kind and respectful”.  madeira’s example of being kind was all about sharing a slinky. . .she just spent a few days with her cousins and the slinky was VERY POPULAR.  respectful was a tougher one for her (see saucy photo above). after dinner madeira modeled her first day of school outfit (thank you target for your oh so adorable clothes!) what a sweet nite.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

back to school


back to school

college survival kit

we are not sending madeira to kindergarten this year, she is going to do preK to the second degree.  lots of reasons, but the biggest one being that it will be one extra year before she goes away to college.  although, she has told us that she will be marrying sam & i and living with us forever, i get this feeling that our independent girl will be more than happy to leave off to school one day.  so, i am delaying it.  but lots of her friends are going off to super cool kindergarten this year.  so thinking of all those mamas and papas whose kids are leaving off to their first day of school in one way or another, i made a couple of comfort baskets-one for a grade schooler with comp books, number two pencils, goldfish and the like and the other for a college age kid, chips, chocolates, sunscreen, focus gatorade...  haven’t figured out who will be more comforted, though, the parents giving it or the kids receiving it.  speaking of first day of school, please take a look at this most amazing way one family celebrates the first day of school everyday.  i plan to have one of these dinners in the next week or so, so sweet.


give the baskets here and here

Friday, August 21, 2009

please don’t leave us yet



i don’t want to say goodbye to summer.  it has been too much fun.  i want MORE. . .

bike rides, pool days, blended drinks, sandy bed sheets, green hair, popsicles, melon, late nites, picnics at the mission, wet bathing suits ALL over the house, open windows all day long, warm sun, cool breeze, lunches at padaro, walks to harry’s, concerts at the bowl, bbqs with friends, AND most of all those little butt cheeks in her red and white polka dot bathing suit. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

back to school lunches







so it is back to school time again. . . look how adorable these lunch boxes, sandwich containers and water containers are.  and if you go to their website, there is a cool thing where you use a dime to scratch off a discount on your computer.  not a real dime because that would damage your screen, but a virtual dime. it is fun.  super coolness.  and much better for our little earth-y poo than sandwich bags, brown bags and plastic water bottles. 


found via tot snob

Friday, July 31, 2009

really love your peaches


the other day i was looking for a bible verse that talked about summer. . .interestingly enough, the bible only references summer in a negative way-hot, dry, angry etc. (please correct me if i am wrong, i am in NO WAY a bible scholar, seriously i BARELY passed my westmont religion courses.  what i lack in book smarts, i make up in character, right?? ) anyways, back to summer, i think that anything that leads to fruits as gorgeous as peaches deserves some positive attention.  we visited buttonwood farm in solvang last weekend –it just happened to be their peach festival, so we came home with some super yummy peaches and recipes.  i made cobbler which was delish (thanks paula deen) and am looking forward to trying out some of the other recipes that we sampled.  our shop will have the peach products very soon!  happy summer.


Just Peachy Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Heat 1 TBS olive oil in large pan.  Add 1 chopped onion and saute until soft.  Mix in 1 TBS curry powder.  Stir 1 minute.  Add 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a large pot.  Add 2 cups plain couscous and stir until couscous is toasted, about 3 minutes.  Mix in hot curry water and turn off heat.  Cover pot and let stand until couscous is tender and water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.  Mix in 1/2 cup salted cashew pieces, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins, roasted vegetables.  Mound on a platter and serve warm or cold with cilantro yogurt and buttonwood farm peach chutney.  (let me know if you want to order the chutney!)

serves 6-8

Cilantro Yogurt

Combine 3 cups cilantro leaves, 1 TBS fresh lime juice and 3/4 TSP salt in blender and puree.  Transfer to medium bowl and add 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Cover and chill.

Roasted Veggies

Preheat oven to 4oo.  Spray two large baking sheets with non stick spray.  Cube 2 pounds of unpeeled eggplant and 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled zucchini and place separately on baking sheets.  Drizzle olive oil on veggies, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat, then spread evenly on baking sheet.  Bake until golden and tender, turning occasionally with spatula, about 25 minutes for zucchini and 50 minutes for eggplant.  Meanwhile roast 3 large red bell peppers over and open flame, charring the skins. Place in large paper bag and let stand for 10 minutes.  Peel and seed. Cut into 1 inch pieces and combine in bowl with other vegetables.


recipe courtesy of buttonwood farm

Monday, July 27, 2009

Picking Berries. . .




If you live nearby, you MUST make a trip to Morrell Nut & Berry Farm in Solvang (right down the street from Buttonwood Winery & Farm, that post is coming soon!).  We went this weekend and picked the most amazing blackberries and raspberries.  It is the sweetest farm and absolutely gorgeous scenery.  We filled up a large plastic container and it was less than $7.  Madeira had the best time picking the berries and we loved helping her.  Oh my goodness and did I mention how absolutely yummy the berries are. . .

More info here

Sunday, July 26, 2009

sunday reminder


photo by samuel thomas

Friday, July 24, 2009

summer gifts

IMG_3117IMG_3057IMG_3013   IMG_3068 IMG_3224IMG_3020

 IMG_3155 IMG_3191

backyard swings, brightly colored buckets, dancing in the sand, waves, pool days, “laying out”, ocean breeze, warm sun, popsicles, bbqs, tug-o-wars (gone wrong, sorry papa), watermelon, good friends, cousins. . .these have been our summer gifts.  how about you?