Thursday, March 31, 2016

spa, sauna, schnapps

since we originally started planning the paso robles trip, one of the wives found out that she was pregnant.  so with me not being a huge wine drinker anyway and her not being able to partake at all, the hub asked me to work on finding a local day spa that we could visit instead.  with a little research via yelp, i settled on the spa central coast.  while it wasn't a resort-type spa where you can relax in robes and hang out in pools and saunas and such, they did offer reasonably priced packages.  so i made reservations for both of us and that was that.

we planned our day so that we could get a mani/pedi somewhere in the morning, meet up with the group for lunch at whatever local winery they were at, and then head to the spa.  i was a little annoyed when no one at the spa could give me a single recommendation for a good nail salon, so i turn to yelp again to find one.  the first one that popped up with a lot of great reviews was this one:



it looked really nice, but of course since it was a saturday morning they were fully booked until the afternoon.  the second place on the list was this one:


they were fairly close by and had a good number of happy customers based on the reviews, so despite the janky, cheesy exterior we decided to go for it.  it was nowhere near as nice as the first place, but they were available and we were running low on time.

i thought immediately of the bean when i spied this cute little kids' spa pedicure chair:


and okay, the free boba milk tea was a nice perk.


i was satisfied with my pedicure too, so i suppose it ended up being a win after all.

after a quick glance at the group's schedule, we hopped into the car and headed about ten minutes away to find them here:



except that most of them were already done eating and ready to head to the next stop.  we got to hang out with our husbands for a few minutes while we ordered some food from the window:


my spinach salad, topped with grilled tri tip, was really good.


after the group left, we took a peek around the place.  it was really pretty there.



after doing a little browsing through a cute dress shop, we made our way to the spa.  we were led into the waiting area to fill out a form and wait for our therapists to pick us up:


and then we were led down this hall to our rooms.


because i'd opted for a sea salt exfoliation treatment, i got to wear this.  sex-ay.


it was lovely and my skin was super soft and smooth afterwards.  the massage was lovely, as was the facial.  i was led into another room for the infrared sauna, which kind of reminded me of a coffin as i slid into it and pulled the lid over me.  now i'm not really a sauna kinda girl, because i'm not really into the idea of voluntarily entering a heat chamber.  i know, i know, good for the skin and melts fat and blah blah blah.  i don't care.  i'm not a fan.  but since i was there and it was part of the package, i gave it a shot.  i was scheduled to lay there, sweltering and sweating and literally melting away for 20 long minutes, but i only made it to about 15 before i just couldn't stand it anymore.

now that i think about it, i kinda got screwed over - that spa package was supposed to include a 30-minute spa foot treatment, and that didn't happen.  ugh.

by the time we got back to the hotel, the rest of the group was just pulling up in their party bus.  they all looked sleepy and a little tipsy, and everyone retreated to their rooms to get a little rest and sneak in a nap.  for dinner that evening, we decided to just walk over to the bbq restaurant next door.

it was really cheesy looking, and for some reason they couldn't figure out how to seat us all together despite the fact that the place was damn near empty.  so we split up into two tables, situated next to the "jail cells."


i decided to go for it and have an adult beverage - some concoction with rum, watermelon liqueur, and sweet & sour mix served in a boot.


oh yeah...the place was called "big bubba's."  heh.  whatever.  i ended up getting a refill in my boot and built up a fun little buzz - which was a little anti-climactic since everyone was all done with alcohol for the day, leaving me the only one doing any drinking (aside from a few who halfheartedly ordered beers).  and then when dinner was over, we walked over to the 24-hour starbucks.


i kind of don't even remember taking this, so there you go.


and then i went back to the room and passed out cold on the bed while the hub enjoyed a cigar with the guys by the pool.  muahahahahahaha.  i'm a terrible drunk.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

beer is...not good

a few months ago, the hub asked me if i was interested in joining a bunch of his old-man friends and their wives for a wine tasting excursion weekend up in paso robles.  now we all know i'm no big wine-o, but it sounded like fun...and a date weekend is always a good thing, right?  so we put it on the calendar and i left all the planning up to him and his cronies.

that morning, i was super distracted and trying to get packed and making sure the bean and the old lady were all set (they were staying home together for the weekend), and hopped into the car to go and pick up some stuff at the dry cleaners'.  i threw it in reverse, stepped on the gas, and *crunch* i backed right into the hub's car, sitting in the driveway completely unnoticed by me.  UGH.

the hub came out to see what happened (since he'd heard the noise from inside the house), comforted me as i burst into tears, and then started cracking up.  UGH x 2.  and that's all i've got to say about that.

i managed to sleep almost the entire way up, and when i woke up we were pulling into the hotel...the best western black oak.  there hadn't been much in the way of availability for the weekend because it was also a big wine festival going on, and so we took what we could get that was still fairly nice.  our room looked to have been recently remodeled, and it was comfortable.


i totally smirked at the bathroom amenities though, knowing my hair stylist would clutch her pearls at the sight of the pantene products.


and i spent a few minutes getting caught up on local news.


once everyone arrived and got settled in, we hopped back into the car and headed out to check things out.  first stop:  the firestone walker brewery.


i was intrigued by the sign that greeted us as we entered, but as much as i'm not a wine-o, i'm even more so not a beer drinker.


still, i thought i'd try at least one to see what all the fuss was about.  maybe this fancy craft beer stuff wouldn't be so bad.  except that it was.  ewwwww.


the hub decided to try a flight to do some beer tasting, and received a token good for a discount in the gift shop.



i decided to forget about the beer and went for a trio of fries with dipping sauces instead.


and i should also mention that the staff at this place was less than hospitable.  the servers in the tasting room couldn't be bothered to even greet us as we entered, much less actually offer us any service.  and the server in the restaurant rolled her eyes at us more than once as we attempted to place orders for food and drink.  ROLLED. HER. EYES.  we were a table of 14 people, clearly there to spend some money and have some fun, and she was an asshole to the nth degree.  we finished what we ordered and got the hell out of there, stat.

next stop:  the barrelhouse brewing co.


more beer, but with much friendlier staff and better atmosphere.  it was really cool there, with tables to sit at and live music to listen and dance to.



 i didn't bother to order any beer this time, but everyone else seemed to enjoy theirs.



 we decided to cancel the dinner reservation for a local restaurant and ended up staying there to eat from the food truck instead.




and then we shut the place down.


it was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

tea...it's our jam

my mom introduced me to the tradition of afternoon tea way back in the day, and since then we've visited a ton of local tea parlors together.  and so when disneyland hotel announced that they were going to start serving afternoon tea, we jumped right it and made a reservation.  of course, with our jam-packed weekends, we had to wait like two months before we could find an opening that worked.

it'd been like 25 years since my mom had been to the disneyland resort, so other than living vicariously through my pictures and blog posts, almost all of it was like brand new to her.  and the girls and i adore the disneyland hotel, so everyone was excited for our adventure.


the tea was hosted at steakhouse 55, one of the hotel restaurants.  we tend to stick to downtown disney and eateries inside the parks, so we'd not been here before.  it was pretty OG, all dark woods and decorated with old-timey photos of walt and other old hollywood stars.  the girls liked the chaise in the waiting area.


predictably, afternoon tea done disney-style was not cheap.  definitely a special occasion kind of thing.  although we weren't really celebrating anything in particular.  whatever, you know what i mean.
 

the table was simply decorated, with pretty china and a small floral centerpiece.  i like to think that was a "w" for "wan."


when our teapots arrived, they came with a little arrangement of lemon slices, honey, several other different types of sweeteners, and these:



i'm not gonna lie, it was pretty fun to swish rock candy sticks around in my tea.  and it was delicious to boot.

the bean's tiers of deliciousness were topped off with a special mickey-shaped chocolate chip scone.


she loved the mickey pb&j and the ham & cheese, but turned her nose up at the cucumber sandwich.  i ended up handing her one of my salmon tea sandwiches instead, which she was super happy with.


her sister was pretty excited at the sight of the rest of our delicious meal.


and our scone spreads (raspberry preserves, devonshire cream, lemon curd) were arranged into a hidden mickey.  of course.


my favorite was this teeny-tiny, barely bite-sized tomato and mozzarella business.  i could've happily eaten an entire platter of these.


both of the scones were studded with fruit - currants in one and blueberries in the other.  i just slathered them both with an inch of cream and curd and went to town, doing my best to ignore the horrific feeling of berries between my teeth.  uggghhhhhh, just the memory of it is freaking me out.


the macarons were cute and tasty.


our server was more than happy to take a group photo of us.


and just outside, we hopped into this old autopia car for a fun photo op.



we decided to walk off some of that sugar with a stroll through downtown disney.  the bean and her lola stopped at the lego store to build a quick race car:


and the old lady and i paused for a selfie in the fitting room at anna & elsa's boutique.


i got my mom and my youngest to hop into a photo booth.


and then we were done.  while the afternoon tea at disneyland was fabulous and magical and lots of fun, i don't know that i'd do it again.  for that kinda coin, there are tons of great places out on the west side that are just as good, and maybe a bit more filling.  because we might have stopped at costco on the way home to grab a hot dog snack.  heh.
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