The Accidental Greek. My New Blogging Adventure.

The Accidental Greek

Well leave it to me to create not only one but two blogs to try to keep up with and work a full-time job as a Marketing Director! But what I have learned in almost three years of writing Allison Cafe is that focused blogs not only perform better, they are easier to plan content for as well. But picking a topic to blog about should also be something that you are passionate and know something about. So I thought about it. What do I know well?

Well I’ll tell you what I don’t know well enough yet. Everything Greek. You see, I am not Greek by birth but I am now by marriage. (Hence the name The Accidental Greek) And there is so much richness in the culture and so much to learn as a new Greek housewife that I thought what better way to learn and share that knowledge. So here we go, join my on my new blogging adventure when you get a moment. See you soon. And efharisto poli!

Written by in: Life Moments |

Catalina Dreaming. A 4 Hour Tour to Beautiful Catalina Island.

Catalina IslandMy parents recently bid on a package at a local charity event for a day trip to Catalina Island. The package was a four hour tour of Catalina island, including round trip air transportation from Air Options Aviation and lunch at the Inn on Mt. Ada for four people. My husband and I were my parents’ lucky guests for the day.

Departing from Palomar AirportOur flight departed from Carlsbad, Palomar Airport. We simply drove up to the private hanger and were whisked aboard the small plane. No tiny 2 oz bottles. No waiting in line. We felt like celebrities. The flight there only took about 30 minutes. The airport on Catalina Island is actually perched on top of a mountain with a bird’s eye view of the island. The view from the flight there and from the airport was amazing. From the turquoise water to the peaceful looking harbors.

The Avalon HarborFrom the airport we took a local taxi to the city of Avalon, about a 30 to 45 minute journey through the mostly uninhabited island. The island is also home of a variety of wildlife, including buffalo that roam the hills. And our cab driver gave us an unofficial tour and history of the island as well. The island was purchased by William Wrigley, Jr. in 1919 and his influence is still seen there today. Everything from the areas of the island devoted to education and the preservation of the land to the winery.

The Inn on Mt. AdaOur next stop was the Inn on Mt. Ada, the former Wrigley mansion turned inn and business venture.  Mt. Ada was named after Mr. Wrigley’s wife. And they chose the location for their home because of it’s wonderful sunrise and sunset views. From the moment we set foot into the lobby of the inn we felt right at home.

Sipping bubbles on the porch at Mt. AdaIt was so amazingly peaceful and serene. And it didn’t hurt that they had champagne waiting for us! We enjoyed a scenic lunch on the patio and took in the breathtaking views of the mainland and the harbor of Avalon. If not for the scheduled return flight I think we would have stayed for days!

Air Options AviationWe hopped back in the taxi and journeyed back to the airport. Our pilot and guide, Joshua, gave us an aerial tour of the island as we left and I even got to sit in the co-pilot seat. That was truly amazing to experience. From the technical instruments to the dialogue of the air traffic control tower and the pilots. Not to mention the views.

Thank you Mom and Dad for inviting us on your tour of Catalina, it was something I’ll never forget. And thank you to Joshua of Air Options Aviation, our taxi driver and the crew at the Inn on Mt. Ada for making our brief visit one to remember. In fact we are feeling very inspired to sail there for the jazz festivals this summer and make it a longer stay next time. We didn’t have to go far at all to feel like we were on vacation. Catalina is definitely on our minds!The Inn on Mt. Ada


Lucky me, a Liebster nominee!

The liebster nomineesSpecial thanks to the talented nesters over at Domestic Nest for giving me a Liebster nomination. How exciting! I accept!

Now the Liebster Award works like this:

1. If you are tagged, and you want to accept, then create a post on your blog and add the Liebster Award pic shown above.

2. Link back to the person and say you accept.

3. Choose 3-5 of your favorite blogs to tag, link them in your post as well and tell the lucky ducks they have been chosen. The aim of this award is to bring unknown good blogs to light, (less then 50 followers is ideal), therefore, please don’t tag someone with 3000 followers!

We nominate…

Just Writing – the official blog of Megan Just, a talented writer and insightful book critic. Check out her latest adventures and good reads. You just might learn something new about the love of reading and writing!

Heather Ivy Designs – Heather is not only one of my favorite people, she just so happens to be a talented designer, entrepreneur and super-mom. She just launched her blog recently and within it you can find all kinds of visual and crafty inspiration. And even a link to her Etsy shop where you can buy here one of a kind designs!

The Rustic Rooster – the official blog for an adorable furniture shop in Encinitas, CA. The talented design team at Rustic Rooster Interiors shares their latest finds and showcases the before and after transformation of their shabby chic pieces. They also share little tidbits about life in North County San Diego. Get ready to get inspired!

This Week for Dinner- the visually delectable blog of Jane Maynard, a talented designer and food blogger. Jane’s weekly digest of what’s for dinner not only presents a weekly list of menu ideas, it gives you tasty photographer that will leave you wishing Jane were cooking in your kitchen each week!


Little Miss Sunshine, The World Premier Musical

We went to see the new musical, Little Miss Sunshine, for its opening weekend on February 19th. I could not have asked for a better birthday gift. Performing at the La Jolla Playhouse through the end of March, the musical is an inspiration of music and lyrics, set design, amazing performances and even a few unexpected surprises.

Having seen the movie a long time ago, I had forgotten just how many different life messages are in the story line. The musical does a fantastic job of reminding you of those messages. Like “Refuse to Lose”, the father’s overly optimistic business tagline. Or little Olive’s story of determination, and the self-confidence journey of a little girl and a teenage boy as they mature. But most of all the reminder that through it all, family is what is most important. Through their crazy road trip to California for the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, they embark on a journey together that touches on their individual and joint struggles and triumphs. Incidentally, the little girl that played Olive did a phenomenal job. I’m no play critic but she got my 2 enthusiastic thumbs up!

Also worth noting was the set design. It was truly impressively simple, yet imaginative. I was really curious how they were going to portray a road trip. And don’t worry the bus is a big part of it. I loved that the Volkswagen bus was almost a character in the movie and the musical.

If you have a chance to catch this musical before it leaves town, I highly recommend it. The La Jolla Playhouse is a fantastic location, the venue is small enough that just about any seat in the house is a great seat. We were in the very last row, and it was great view. Who knows you just might leave there more inspired by their journey than before you got there. Or at least having laughed uncontrollably as Olive sings “shake my ba-donka-donk baby“!


I Don’t Do Dirt Work……

There is a famous story in my family that when I was  a little girl I told my Mom that I couldn’t help her in the garden because “I don’t do dirt work.” Well look at me now Mom! I not only tore apart our whole flower bed, I even planted flowers today.

Today was a perfect 60 degree SoCal day for planting some spring flowers. Yes it is February and the rest of the country is still in a deep freeze. But that’s why I live here! We moved into our new home last April and life has been too busy for any work in the front flower bed. Until today!

Beautiful ranunculus

One of my favorite flowers is a ranunculus. And they are in season from now until May. I was so excited to plant them on our front yard, but when we moved to Carlsbad last April it was the end of the season for this flower. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw them for $2.90 a gallon container at Evergreen nursery in Vista! We loaded up the trunk with at least 8 containers!

Our front flower bed was a boring sight to see. It just had some flax plants and beach grass of some sort. Which is very low maintenance, but not very colorful. We spent some time last weekend ripping out the old plants and putting down some compost just in time for a week of SoCal rain! So the ground was nice and soft today for planting. I also had to add some amendment to the soil, nothing like clay to stunt flowers without some help!

The before.....

I’m not done yet though. Stay tuned for the next wave of planting, a rock border and some mulch for the complete transformation! I guess I do dirt work now!

Almost done......

Written by in: Life Moments,Photos | Tags: ,

Bikes, Trains and Ferries. From Carlsbad to Coronado.

Felt Cafe Cruisers

Our new Felt Cafe Cruisers along San Diego Bay

When it came time to treat ourselves to new bikes, we fell in love with Felt’s cafe cruisers. We found a great deal on new bikes at Holland Bicycles in Coronado, CA. It was love at first sight when I first saw these bikes years ago in a bike shop in La Jolla. A perfect mix of beach cruiser and street bike. What’s not to love about a bike with a coffee cup holder?

Bikes ride free on the Coaster!

Bikes ride free on the Coaster!

So with our new bikes in tow, we jumped on the San Diego Coaster and took a scenic ride on the double decker train from North County to downtown San Diego’s Sante Fe Depot train station. We took our bikes for a biking tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s exhibit of Viva La Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape. Various buildings and locations around downtown had been used to display graffiti art, it was walking or driving tour of various art exhibits and it was a fun addition to our biking adventure. The show had a cool interactive element in that you could call the exhibit’s phone number and enter a specific code for each artist and listen to a recording describing that artist’s work. A cool use of art and telecom!

Sunset on Coronado at the Hotel Del

Hungry for more adventure we hopped on the ferry from the end of the Broadway pier to Coronado. It was quick ride and once we arrived it was a short bike ride to downtown Coronado and the Hotel Del, where we relaxed and watched the sunset.

Sunset at the Hotel Del Coronado

As we rode the ferry back to downtown San Diego to catch the train home to North County, we took in an amazing view of the San Diego nighttime skyline.

San Diego city lights

One of the fun things about living in San Diego is taking what would otherwise be an ordinary day and making it extra special by just enjoying the simple joys of living in southern California.

Have any good SoCal bike adventures or must-do trails? Do share!!!


This little puppy went sailing

Daphne's first sailing trip

This weekend we took Daphne sailing for the first time. She as a little apprehensive at first, actually she did a full-on mule maneuver at the dock. I didn’t think she was going to make it. But with a little coaxing (food never hurts!) she made it aboard and she seemed to have a great time. By the end she was snoozing with the wind in her hair and the sun on her face. She didn’t like it much when the boat started heeling, actually that always freaks Hayley out too. They had a great time though, as did we.

Sailing Puppies

Sailing Puppies

What this photo can’t capture though is the conclusion of our sailing adventure. Usually after an afternoon of sailing we stop at the local fish market and enjoy some Oysters Rockefeller and a glass of wine. But since we had the dogs with us this time, we decided to buy some seafood from the market and make it ourselves at home. We had to make a quick stop at the grocery store too though, for butter and parsley of course! While in the grocery store, for I swear no more than 10 minutes, the dogs were waiting patiently in the car. Well, not so patiently so much as devouring an entire pound of raw shrimp that I accidentally left in the front of the car! Yes, that’s right this cute little face pictured above turned into a carnivrous beast and ripped the bag of raw seafood to shreds, not even so much as a shrimp’s tail was left as evidence. Hardly any of the bag was left either!

Now, it was my fault for leaving the seafood unattended in the car. But I honestly had no idea that they would get into the bag, let alone actually eat all of it! The unfair part is that I have no evidence to suggest that Hayley played a part in the sabotage of our dinner. Daphne is quite protective of her food and when we returned to the car Hayley was hiding in the back seat. So it appears Daphne may have acted solo. But we will never know.

I seriously wish that dogs could talk to us. I would love to hear Hayley’s side of the story. They are both resting peacefully tonight with full bellies after a day of sailing. Life with dogs is certainly entertaining! I’m trying not to think about what that pound of raw shrimp is doing in Daphne’s belly. I’m going to hope for the best and be thankful it wasn’t chocolate!

Written by in: Life Moments,On the Water | Tags: , , ,

Welcome Miss Daphne!


Our new sweet girl

Ok, so it has been too long since my last post but once again I have a great excuse. Not only have I been loving my new job and our new life in North County, we also welcomed into our lives a new family member, of the four legged kind. Miss Daphne joined us last week.

New friends

New friends

She is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. She is 6 and a half years old and is the sweetest little girl. But do not let that sweetness fool you, she actually has become top dog around our home; little Miss Hayley follows her all around. They have been getting along great, although Daphne has more interest in food than she does in playing with energetic young Hayley. Daphne’s family was moving and could not take her with them. And although I am sure she misses them she seems to have adjusted quickly and quite happily to her new home. We are so happy to have Daphne’s sweetness and calm demeanor in our home and Miss Hayley is loving having a friend around while Steve and I are at work all day.

Please join us in welcoming Daphne! Wondering how life is with 2 dogs now? Great, but I am sure I will have twice as many stories to share!


May Flowers Bring Thoughts of Spring

Beautiful May Flowers, Orange and Blue Contrasts Captured My Attention!

Beautiful May Flowers, Orange and Blue Contrasts Captured My Attention!

Hello everyone! I know I have taken a long break from posting any news. But I have good reason! So far 2010 has brought all kinds of good change. Kind of like how after the cold of winter and the rains of spring, flowers begin to thrive. Well, so has our life lately. In the last month we have moved into our first home (as first time homeowners!), which also meant we relocated to North County San Diego and after months of unemployment I am now employed!

We are still settling in to the new place. And since I am now working full-time, there really has not been enough time to write about the whole home buying experience. But now that things are starting to calm down a bit, I am thrilled to have a few minutes to write again and think creatively. More to come on our home journey.

This past weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day early with my mom. I took the above photo of one of the many adorable vases filled with fresh blooms that could be found all over my brother and sister-in-law’s house. These particular little roses in this blue vase captured my attention from across the room and I just couldn’t resist taking their photo.

Stay tuned for more house photos as we unpack! Happy Spring everyone!

Written by in: Life Moments | Tags: , ,

Happy St. Pat’s Day! And 1 year of Allison Cafe!

shamrockA Drinking Song
by William Butler Yeats
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

May you all feel lucky today, I know I do! Today is one of my favorite holidays. It also happens to be the one year anniversary of starting my blog, Allison Cafe. So happy anniversary too! In honor of the day we will be feasting on corned beef and cabbage and homemade Irish Soda Bread this evening.Oh, and maybe a Guinness or two as well!

St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts

  • Saint Patrick was a priest. He was born to wealthy parents in Britain and his birth name was Maewyn Succat. He took Patrick as his Christian saint name when he became a priest. As a priest he spent his days teaching the Christian faith in Ireland. After his death, the country decided to honor him with day of his own – Saint Patrick’s Day.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious holiday. It started as a simple feast day to honor St. Patrick but developed into a holy day of obligation where people attended mass in the morning and celebrate for the rest of the day in the afternoon. And gave Catholics a one day reprieve from lenten fasting, leading to a tradition of indulging in beer!
  • Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional Easter Sunday dinner in Ireland. But today it is a St. Patrick’s Day must for us in America!
  • Irish Society of Boston organized what was not only the first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the U.S. colonies but the first recorded Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the world on 17 March 1737.
  • Originally the color associated with St. Patrick was blue not green. But green won out over the years – obviously!
  • Shamrocks, three-leaved plants, were thought to have been encouraged to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish. Saint Patrick was known to have used them in his teachings. Wearing and displaying shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day.
  • Cheers in Irish Gaelic is “Sláinte”, which means ” to your health”. In the South and West of Ireland it is pronounced “slawnt-yeh” or “slant-yeh”, in the North it’s “slain-cheh”, with the “ay” much broader than in the English “slain”.
Written by in: Life Moments | Tags: , ,

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