Spring Break in LA

I recently had a chance to go to LA for the first time. My husband was going to a conference in downtown LA, and since it was over spring break I could leave the kids in the capable hands of my two oldest, who are now 20 and 17-yikes. (What it feels like to be a mom of a 20 year old is another topic for another time.)

Anyway, I was exited about the LA food scene, and some of the local buisnesses that have become destinations. The food scene did not disappoint. Especially Grand Central Market in downtown LA. This place is awesome on so many levels. It’s a huge warehouse with lots of different local vendors. International lunches, dessert, juice bars, craft beer, candy, cheese, coffee, produce, you name it. Our local cousin recommended Sari Saria Fillipino rice bowl place, and my husband had pupusas from Sarita’s Pupuseria. Both very tasty.  But choosing  was hard, there are so many options.  Check out their current vendors at Grand Central Market .

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LA Art District

I loved this part of town. It’s growing fast, lots of new condos moving in. After dropping off the hubs at Art District Brewery, I ventured over to 3rd street where Apolis is located. I bought one of their iconic bags, which was a splurge, but I’m super happy with it. I use it for the pool, the beach, the lake, wherever. It’s waterproof, and so big you can fit the family’s swim gear in it. And look LA cool while shlepping towels.

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Venice

Abbott Kinney in Venice was nice, I just didn’t have enough time there. I had a really good, healthy lunch at Gjelina, a hot spot in Venice, where I had my first and only celebrity sighting. I stared at her as  inconspicuous as possible. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t figure out who she was. A friendly couple, I was sharing the table with, finally told me it was Sophia Bush from Chicago Fire.

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A few things surprised me in LA.

People were really nice. From my time in Chicago and visits to NY, Paris, and London I kind of expect people form large cities to be rude. Not here.

I actually liked driving in LA. The few times I drove in our rental I really enjoyed. I should add, I never once got stuck in traffic. I was always going in the opposite direction everyone else was going. But I found the drivers a lot nicer than I imagined. A few times we took Lyft and that was also very enjoyable. My drivers were friendly and chatty for the most part, ranging from musicians, to an actor’s assistant, which was super interesting. I think Im still so used to cab drivers, who drive as their main job, and who are not really interested in talking, or playing tourist guides.

Lastly, the homeless. Wow, over 5,000 homeless in tents on side walks. Mostly near downtown and the Art District. It’s quite overwhelming.

Other places we enjoyed were the Factory Kitchen. Their handmade pasta was beyond good. Our cousin took us to the Strand House in Manhattan Beach, where you can watch the sunset over the ocean. It doesn’t get much better than that. Everything we ate there was really good.

We really enjoyed our time there, and little did we know we would be back so soon.

I stayed for three nights, cause you can only leave the kids for so long…

-Sofija

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break in LA

Chimayo, New Mexico: The Perfect Mother’s Day Destination

Mother’s Day was perfection, and I can appreciate it now, because I had some not-so- perfect ones in the past. Interestingly when the kids were little, and I worked so very darn hard, constantly exhausted, I had some disaster Mother’s Days. Now that life is pretty easy they get better and better. Just throwing it out there, in case you are not there YET.

The day started off with me waking up to a sweetly decorated table, the best crepes made by my husband, and of course coffee. And very special earrings, a gift from my son and my husband. So sweet! The girls had gotten up at 2 am to decorate. The silver ware had little notes taped to them: I love you. Melted. my. heart.

For lunch we were joined by our friends for a quick bite to eat at a local diner. I thoroughly threatened my girls not to get ketchup on their dresses, it worked, for once.

Then our friends and our family drove up north to Chimayo, a tiny village on the High Road to Taos. Chimayo is famous for its church and restaurant. We parked in the parking lot and made our way to the church. What I love about Chimayo is that it has the feel of Mexico or Spain. It’s quaintly old world. Built in 1813 the church El Santuario de Chimayo is a very popular pilgrimage and a National Heritage site. It gets very crowded around Easter. IMG_6354IMG_6355PicMonkey Collage-4

Above is my friend’s son taking a break. A rare moment I had to capture…

Below is the church. It seems to be always open to visitors. It is vey small, with a tiny courtyard.

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Here is my friend with her darling baby girl, who wasn’t feeling it at the time, but did great over the course of a very long day. IMG_6378.jpg

This was my third visit to the church, but the firs time catching the flowers in full bloom. IMG_7293.jpgIMG_6370.jpgIMG_6374.jpgIMG_6410PicMonkey Collage-4.jpgIMG_6416 (1).jpgIMG_6412

Aren’t the roses lovely?

During our drive the kids kept asking where the playground was. But then they saw this…Here is Tasha playing with my friend’s son.

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Nearby the church are more quaint little shops, a coffee shop, and another little chapel.

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It was time to go to the Restaurant de Chimayo in time for our reservation. I do recommend making a reservation for Mother’s Day, it was packed.

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Rancho de Chimayo is a destination in itself. It has a little gift shop next to it, and is associated with the B&B across the street. My friend ordered a delicious prickly pear lemonade (pictured above), and I loved my silver Margherita. The guys drank local beer. And the flan for dessert melted in our mouths…

Another must do in Chimayo is a visit to the weaving store Ortegas. They sell hand woven rugs, purses, wall hangings, and more, made by local artists. Sadly they are closed on Sundays so we didn’t get a chance to shop.

Now you know why Chimayo is one of my favorite destinations in New Mexico.

I do hope you will visit it soon.

-Sofija

 

 

Tasha is wearing a blue dress from Old Navy, and a hat from Baby Gap. My top is from Banana Republic.

All pictures taken with a Canon 7D and a 50mm lens. I used PicMonkey for the side by side pictures.

 

 

 

 

Chimayo, New Mexico: The Perfect Mother’s Day Destination

Rapberry Picking in Mora, New Mexico

We went Raspberry picking last weekend and we were surprised how much fun we had. Take a look.

Upon arriving you get a small bucket to collect the raspberries. You fill those and at the end they get weighed and you pay by the pound. We paid $6 per pound. Everybody gets a row assigned to pick their berries. We were shown how to properly pick the raspberries off the stems. Tasting is allowed; we tasted A LOT. picmonkey-collage-2

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After we were done picking we went to the store to pay for our 4 lb we had collected. There was a small shop that served raspberry sundaes. So good!!picmonkey-collageimg_3470img_5348IMG_3478.jpgIMG_3343.jpg

I recommend bringing bug spray and sunscreen.Which we forgot and paid for the next day.

Be sure to check Salman Raspberry Ranch’s website before you go, fields and stores are not always open. They update daily.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

 

Rapberry Picking in Mora, New Mexico

Los Poblanos, the Perfect New Mexico Summer Escape

Los Poblanos is many things, most of all a great escape, a relaxing way to spend your day with your best friend, your partner, your mother. The restaurant has fresh farm to table food, the shop is full of lavender products, the grounds invite to stay. Oh, and there is an inn, too, making it the perfect place for a destination wedding.

The tree lined entrance alone is worth a visit.

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The shop

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The lavender field

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The Inn

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The view of the mountains from the parking lot. IMG_2587IMG_2561 (2)

Their lavender hand soap is my favorite. My husband and I have eaten here for our anniversary, it was lovely.

Have a great day,

Sofija

 

 

Los Poblanos, the Perfect New Mexico Summer Escape

Modern General, Santa Fe

I have a new favorite store in Santa Fe: Modern General. It has quality gardening and kitchen tools, but it also serves as a lunch and meeting space. And their smoothies are so good. And super healthy.

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I was surprised to see Hartwood here, a cook book from a restaurant in Tulum, Mexico. I’m kind of Tulum obsessed and I had seen the book mentioned on Instagram. So cool to find it here. modern general 4modern general collage

It’s a good place to bring kids. My youngest felt really comfortable here. And she liked that healthy smoothie, too. So now I’m thinking I need the recipe for my picky 12 year old who never eats vegetables. _MG_3726modern general 5.jpgmodern general collage 2_MG_3711

I love when a store owner puts so much thought into design and purpose. If you find yourself in Santa Fe, be sure to check it out. It is not too far from the plaza and the train station.

Have a great  day,

Sofija

All pictures taken by Sofija Burton

Modern General, Santa Fe

Old Town Albuquerque Felipe de Neri Church

When my mom was visiting we went lots of places. I really wanted her to experience the rich Spanish and Native American mix of cultures here in New Mexico. It is so unique.

One of my favorite places to experience this culture is Old Town Albuquerque. Here is a photo shoot I did with my two youngest outside of San Felipe de Neri church right by the plaza.

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On Tasha:

Dress: from Mexico

Flower Headband: H&M

On Lucy:

Dress: Old Navy

Gosh I love taking pictures of these two. I have a lot more pictures from this summer to share, hopefully I’ll get around to posting them. School at our house is in full swing and this year I am giving it all my attention, which leaves me with very little time to be creative. But that is OK.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

Old Town Albuquerque Felipe de Neri Church

Cedar Crest, New Mexico

A couple of weeks ago Tasha and I hung out in Cedar Crest while my oldest son had a meeting at the Gutierezz Canyon Open Space. He will be doing trail work there this weekend for his Eagle Project. So proud of him! Anyway Tasha and I had some time on our hands, so I decided to take some pictures…
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Dress: Tea Clothing
Shoes: Crocs
I was ecstatic to find a field of wild flowers in New Mexico! Imagine that!
Have a lovely day,
Sofija

All pictures taken with my iphone 5.

Cedar Crest, New Mexico