Sunday, May 20, 2012

California Dreaming.....

Just spent a few days in beautiful Southern California...and do I have some great stuff for YOU!


* Cabazon Outlet Mall....OMG!!! This mall is out by Palm Springs, so plan to make a day of it. There are the typical stores like Banana Republic, J Crew, and GAP...but there is a whole other section for the luxury stores....and that's the part that I visited!
Tods, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Etro...on and on! There's even a Jimmy Choo outlet....shoe heaven!!!!!
*Upscale retail resale shops can be found all over the Costa Mesa/Newport Beach area. One I liked was La Belle Armoire...I got a gorgeous, pristine Marni skirt at a fraction of the department store prices and a  brand new silk DKNY dress on sale! This store also has an online presence:
* Olde Town Orange is a quaint little college town FULL of antique stores! It's definitely worth the the food is fabulous (see below)

If you find yourself in the Costa Mesa area, you MUST check out The Camp's a cool little shopping complex that you would only find in California...the parking spaces are all stamped with cute little sayings like, "Pause" and "Show Up For Life"...2 of my favorites.'s home to the sole location of Taco Asylum (
yum, yum, yum....short rib tacos, duck tacos, octopus tacos....
In Orange, you can visit Taco Asylum's sister restaurant, Haven Gastropub 
( MUST try the Mac & Cheese.....KILLER! According to their website, there's a 2nd location in Pasadena. This is farm-to-table cuisine at it's best!
Finally, if you're in the Newport Beach area, stop by Kean Coffee ( coffee, great baked goods---the ginger apricot scone was divine!!!

I usually stay in LA when I visit sunny CA..I will definitely return to Orange County to visit some of these great new finds....

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chicago Q

Tonight's post is about....BBQ!
Specifically, it's about a BBQ restaurant (a little too upscale to classify as a "joint") in my neighborhood called "Chicago Q."
It opened a few years ago and, sadly, it's taken me this long to try it...but Holy COW, was it worth the wait!
The owner is a WOMAN from Virginia...gotta love that! and she has quite an impressive resume, including WInner of Bobby Flay's Throwdown for Best BBQ!

Way to go Lee Ann!

The accolades are well deserved....the food is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!
You simply must go try it for yourself....but here are the highlights of my dinner tonight:

*Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies (starter)
*Pulled Pork Sandwich with choice of fries, cole slaw, or cornbread...I chose the SLAB of cornbread....deeeee-lish!
all the BBQ dishes come with 4 sauces: Original, Spicy, Eastern North Carolina vinegar and South Carolina mustard (my fave!)
*"Bruleed" Mac & DIE for!

The service was friendly and attentive...our waitress was great!
PLUS, there was enough left over for me to get a doggy bag for lunch tomorrow!
(Q....round 2)


We were too full to splurge on dessert tonight, but made plans to return for dessert another night....I can't wait to try the cobbler!

Chicago Q is open for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
Here's the link for more information:

Summer's coming....

Fire it up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Queen for a day..... long last, I made it to King Spa in Niles, IL.  (
I invited a girlfriend to join me to check out this Korean wellness spa, which came highly recommended from several people.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect, even though I visited their website beforehand (see above). One of the things that intrigued me was the fact that they're open 24/7....really? Also, there was a menu of sauna rooms from which to choose...the Amethyst Room, the Charcoal Room, the Salt Room, the Pyramid Room...9 in all! Each promised to heal and detoxify in their own way.  There were spa treatments, a food court, even a movie theatre....why would you ever leave?

So we set off on a bright sunny day and made the trip to Niles. The Spa is located in a strip mall (!) next to a large Korean grocery store. Once we checked in, we were directed to the ladies locker room. I have to admit, we were a bit confused and overwhelmed by the place, kind of reminded me of a Chinese restaurant in an SNL skit! The ladies were friendly and offered suggestions re: the treatments: we decided on the Queen package (of course!), which included a 90 minute body scrub and massage. We changed into the "uniform" ( pink t shirt and shorts) we were given and set out to explore the sauna rooms before our scheduled appointments.
We tried the Charcoal Room (so so), the Base Rock Room (TOO hot) and my favorite, the Pyramid Room. 
Then it was time for the scrub!
We returned to the locker room, showered and were directed to the ladies who would be giving us the treatments. If you're self conscious, this may not be your cup of fluffy robes at this joint! Everyone except the employees are nude. There are no fancy frills, just the basics. But the scrub was divine! I joked that I wanted to have 5 pounds of that dry skin that had been plaguing me all winter scrubbed off....and that very well may have happened! The scrub lasted about 60 minutes, the massage about half an hour. I was giddy when I got off that table!

Total cost: $90, tip included! ( A separate admission fee is paid when you check in...we used a Groupon for a reduced rate.)

If you're in the Chicago area (they also have a location in Dallas, according to their site), treat yourself to a day at this spa. While it may not have all the frills of the Four Seasons, you get a great spa experience for a reasonable price!
I will definitely be back!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A new day.....

It's been a few has been a bit...hectic. Life does that sometimes.....
If you're anything like me, at times like that, it's hard to find bliss in your daily life.....unless you remember to look for it!

What I have learned is that bliss can always be found, if only in the smallest detail....I know when I operate from a place of gratitude, I find a lot to be grateful for....I recognize the abundance in my life rather than focusing on what I perceive to be lacking.

Therefore, on this 1st day of April, I will recommit to living from a place of gratitude.
I hope you'll join me!

I had a pretty amazing weekend...

I was reminded (once again) of how blessed I am to have such an incredible group of friends. My peeps ROCK!

I did a little retail therapy at RR #1...( previously here)
and checked out a fabulous new grocery store, Mariano's (
Yes, I am a grocery shopping geek...I LOVE a good grocery store. Mariano's is everything you could ever want in a grocery store....amazing produce, prepared food, bakery, deli....fresh, fresh, fresh and reasonably priced...PLUS happy, helpful employees!

Later in the evening, I went to an AMAZING  3 hour yoga workshop at Moksha...this monthly workshop is taught by Amber Cook...Vinyasa, breath work, meditation, and live music...
I will definitely be going back to this one!

So, I will leave you with this quote....a favorite from Joseph Campbell:

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.” 
 Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SHOP 'til you DROP!

No list of "favorites" would be complete without shopping!
I love shopping as much as any girl I know....but I really love  sharing cool, unique resources...both online as well as good old "brick & mortar" sites.

In no particular order, here are a few of my faves:

* --Newell and Sally have designed gorgeous scarves, pillows, placemats, and more! Great for gifts...and while you're there, why not pick up a little something for yourself?

* --newly launched artisan jewelry website...gorgeous, hand crafted work by American're welcome! :-)

*RR #1 ( -- eclectic boutique at Chicago and Ashland. If you can't find a gift here, you are in serious trouble! They have everything: candles, beauty products, novelty gifts, baby gear, cards, lots of kitsch! Stop in and indulge yourself!

* Dose Market ( monthly event, featuring local artisans, food vendors, and more....participants change every month. Not to be missed! Hope to see you there this Sunday....

I'll tempt you with other shopping sources in future blogposts....that's all ya get for now!


P.S....what are some of YOUR favorites?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peace & love......

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the things I love about yoga is the spiritual aspect of the practice....sure, the physical component is fantastic, but what really speaks to my soul is the connection between my mind, body, and spirit. Over the years,  one thing has led me to the next and so on, as I've travelled along my spiritual path. My mind and my heart have opened up and invariably, when I have been ready, the teacher has appeared, in various forms.

I would like to share some of my favorites with you in tonight's post.

Several of my favorite authors include Dr Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, and Deepak Chopra.

*Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending a 3 day workshop in Chicago with Deepak Chopra and the late Dr. David Simon. It was incredible and, should you have the opportunity, I would strongly suggest attending one of the various workshops offered at the Chopra Center. In the meantime, there are many books by both of these incredible teachers. Some of my favorites include: The Book of Secrets  and Syncrodestiny (Chopra) and Free to Love, Free to Heal (Simon).

*I am a huge fan of Marianne Williamson and would recommend any book that she has written. I was fortunate enough to attend one of her weekly lectures last summer when I was in L.A.---run, don't walk to the Saban Theater if you're in Los Angeles on a Monday evening (Wilshire & Tower, east of La Cienega). If I had to choose one favorite book, it would probably be Return to Love....although Everyday Grace is pretty amazing too!

*Wayne Dyer was my initiation on this journey....his book, There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, is one that I return to again and again. There are so many good books to choose from....take your won't be disappointed!

If you're interested in meditation, please check out Light Watkins is a Vedic meditation teacher, based in Venice, CA, who travels the country teaching this ancient form of meditation in a very accessible and enjoyable way. At this point, he visits Chicago and New York on a monthly basis. HIGHLY recommended! 20 minutes, twice a day...I promise, it will change your life!

If guided meditations are more your cup of tea, you might want to look into You can sign up for a free download to experience it for yourself.

FInally, the teachings of Abraham-Hicks have had a profound influence on me, particularly the last book, The Vortex. You can learn more at their website:

Start telling a better-feeling story about the things that are important to you. Do not write your story like a factual documentary, weighing all the pros and cons of your experience, but instead tell the uplifting, fanciful, magical story of the wonder of your own life and watch what happens.~~~Abraham-Hicks

What are some of your favorites?

Peace & love,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rub a dub dub

Happy Monday!
Hope you all had a terrific weekend....

I don't know about you but I am suffering from a mean case of dry winter skin. My epidermis could use some major T.L.C!
All of my "at home" remedies have been ineffective and I'm ready to consult the pros....

However...I need help!

I rarely treat myself to indulgences like am planning a little "recon" mission.

I sent an SOS via Facebook tonight and received a few suggestions....I will dutifully check them out & report back in a future post!

In the meantime, I would love to hear your suggestions for ways you have found to combat dry winter skin....what's worked for you?

To be continued......