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laguna beach!

June 24, 2016

shoreline at Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

I recently made my first visit to Laguna Beach!  It may have been a brief encounter, but it was a fabulous one!  I am sharing a few photos today on Friday field trip.

Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

waves at Laguna BEach pleasure in simple things blog

I was in awe of this iconic beach and I had to be sure and document my visit with a few photos.  I hope they inspire you to take a trip to a beach – no matter how brief – on one of these marvelous summer days!

 Beach pleasure in simple things blog

I didn’t do any shopping that afternoon in Laguna, but I did bring back a valuable memento.  Holding the papers on my office desk is a smooth, pale gray, heart shaped stone that I have marked very carefully in white permanent marker with the letters L-A-G-U-N-A.

the Laguna Beach CA pleasure in simple things blog

It is a reminder that I will be back someday!

weather at Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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lunch with a view

June 17, 2016

tableside at Raya Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

I showed you the fabulous hotel I visited in California recently.  But, I didn’t show you the fabulous restaurant I visited IN the fabulous hotel!  For today’s Friday field trip, we are visiting Raya!

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel view from Raya pleasure in simple things blog

I almost didn’t make it to Raya (the fabulous restaurant) because I was on a work trip and I didn’t have a speck of free time.  But, you know what?  When the assignment was completed, I had about an hour to spare while I waited for my transportation to arrive. I decided to use that time to grab a pre-flight snack at the restaurant I had wanted to visit the entire time I was at the hotel!

soup at Raya pleasure in simple things blog

Poblano, garlic, goat cheese, and white soy – the start of my Zucchini Flower Soup served tableside at Raya in the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

I wasn’t even really sure if the food was any good at this restaurant – which I assumed it was based on the rest of my experience at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.  But, what I did know about this restaurant was that it had an amazing view!  I had walked past it (usually, very much in a hurry) so many times while at the hotel!

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel at restaurant Raya pleasure in simple things blog

I just wanted to sit in Raya at one of the tables with the ocean view!  And, that is exactly what I did on my last day at the Ritz, minutes before I was set to leave my new favorite hotel!

ice tea at Raya Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

You can see more photos of the fabulous Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by for today’s Friday field trip!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  The food was good and I was also able to share the experience with two great people!  Enjoy your weekend!

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visiting dana point

June 3, 2016

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel from a distance pleasure in simple things blog

This week, on Friday field trip, I am sharing some of my gorgeous hotel views from my short stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point while on the West Coast!  I was so very lucky to have the opportunity to stay at this awesome hotel for a work assignment.

Ritz- Carlton Laguna Niguel stairs to beach pleasure in simple things blog

Named after ‘east coaster’ Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of the book Two Years before the Mast, Dana Point was the spot used by film producer Bruce Brown for the 1966 surfing documentary Endless Summer.  (Music buffs may recognize the title as the same as the film’s theme song by The Sandals.)

seating at Ritz- Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

beach at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

I was up at 5:00 am for workouts during my stay at the Ritz, and local surfers were already dotting the shoreline and providing some great entertainment for those of us interested in being spectators while enjoying an amazing ocean view!

working out at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Pleasure in simple things blog

The views also made for wonderful al fresco dining!

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel breakfast with a view pleasure in simple things blog

beautiful beach at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

The sprawling footprint of the hotel optimizes its expansive ocean views.  Believe me, my photos do not do the view justice, but I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel – Southern Orange County at its finest!

great beach at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel umbrellas pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

sunset Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie 

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ice cream & liquid nitrogen!

May 20, 2016

cookie butter speculoos pleasure in simple things blog

A new ice cream shop called Milkcraft opened last Monday in Fairfield’s Brick Walk in the center of Fairfield, Connecticut.  An ice cream shop may not sound all that exciting, but there was quite a buzz going on about this place. menu at Milkcraft pleasure in simple things blogI really wanted to see first-hand what made the place unique, so I made a trip over and I am sharing with you on today’s Friday field trip.  I knew there would be a long line, so I planned my trip on a rainy evening figuring an ice cream shop would not be as crowded on a rainy night…poor assumption on my part!  Indeed, the line was long!  But, since I went with a friend and we were busy talking – mostly about the amazing popularity of Milkcraft  – the line seemed to go pretty quickly! Most of the line was occupied by teens and it was apparent why – social media!  The owner of the shop did a great job of using social media to get the hype going about the place.

Milkcraft visit pleasure in simple things blog

The unique part of the store was the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze each customer’s made-to-order ice cream batch in a mixer.  This process creates a super creamy texture to the product by eliminating any formation of ice crystals.  It is also really fun to watch!

strawberry balsamic ice cream pleasure in simple things blog

Milkcraft boasts the use of locally sourced ingredients and fresh milk base from local farms. The menu, which is said to be updated seasonally, features sustainable and organic ingredients and delectable flavors such as roasted banana PBJ, Vietnamese coffee, cookie butter Speculoos and strawberry balsamic.  I have to admit though, I did have trouble figuring out what organic ingredient created the brilliant green and blue colors on some of the ice cream I saw served!

bubblecones at Milkcraft pleasure in simple things blog

The ice cream is served in two ways.  The most popular seemed to be the Bubblecone.  This is a Lego-like patterned bubble-waffle cone.  The Milkcraft website lists addresses in California and in Shanghai, China, so I have to think the origination of the concept must come from one of these two locales. And, the Bubblecones are definitely inspired by similar ones found in Hong Kong.

store exterior at milkcraft pleasure in simple things blog

The second way the ice cream is served is called Creameebun.  This is a glazed donut used as a bun and the ice cream is tucked inside.

I chose the Bubblecone option and split a strawberry balsamic with my friend – she got the short end of the split!  I also tried the cookie butter Speculoos (the bright green one).  Both were really good with a wonderful texture.  They were very creamy and dense.

cookie butter speculoos ice cream pleasure in simple things blog

A fun trip!  If you decide to visit, I would chose a time during the day when the teen set is still in school!

mixins pleasure in simple things ice cream visit

It is interesting to note that the owner of Milkcraft is also the past owner of one of Fairfield’s former Brick Walk restaurants – Spazzi – one of my favorite places to eat back in the 1990’s!

chillin at milkcraft pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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garden party bridal shower

April 15, 2016

bride to be placesetting at Terrain bridal shower pleasure in simple things blog

What is better than shopping at Terrain? Attending a bridal shower at Terrain, of course!

Bridal shower at Terrain in Westport pleasure in simple things blog

I recently had the opportunity to do just that at Terrain’s Garden Café and today I am sharing with you on Friday field trip!

bridal shower menu pleasure in simple things blog Terrain WEstport

bridal shower apps at Terrain pleasure in simple things blog

fern favors bridal shower pleasure in simple things blog

I know many of you are not lucky enough to have a Terrain located near you. With only two Terrain store locations – one outside Philadelphia, and one in Fairfield County, Connecticut – many of you can’t frequent the store regularly like me!

placesettings Terrain bridal shower pleasure in simple things blog

favors from bridal shower on pleasure in simple things blog

But, for today, everyone can enjoy the beautiful aesthetics of a Terrain event! For a detail oriented, color obsessed person like me; Terrain hits all the marks – particularly when the organizers of the party working with Terrain have incredible style as well!

bread and butter at Terrain Westport bridal shower pleasure in simple things blog

Enjoy the photos!

party prizes bridal shower pleasure in simple things blog

bridal shower naked cake pleasure in simple things blog

Please note: The beautiful fern favors, Prosecco prizes, wooden spoons, and cake top were not done by Terrain – they were created by the party organizers and, as you can see, tied into the Terrain décor perfectly!

celebration at Terrain pleasure in simple things blog

Thank you so much for stopping by and have a marvelous weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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jonesing for warmer temps

April 8, 2016

sunset on the ct coast pleasure in simple things blog

Can you believe, here in Connecticut, there are still weather forecasts of snow? It is a little much, in my opinion. Can we just get on with spring?

stonington ct pleasure in simple things blog

For today’s Friday field trip, I am providing a little glimpse of the Connecticut coast and hoping to inspire some thoughts of warmer weather.

ct coast pleasure in simple things blog

I know you can’t tell by the photos that the April temperatures while I was photographing were in the ‘20s!

enjoying the ct coast pleasure in simple things blog

Enjoy thoughts of warmer weather ahead!

end of day in ct pleasure in simple things blog

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a marvelous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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first visit to texas

March 11, 2016

Flower in Texas pleasure in simple things blog

It has been a crazy week for me – a very busy time for two of my jobs! One was in Texas and gave me the opportunity to travel to the Lone Star state for the very first time. The Texas weather could have been better – the area I visited experienced some of the rain that has been so severe in parts of Texas as well as some other areas of the South.

chillaxin in Texas pleasure in simple things blog

Texas branch pleasure in simple things blog

In spite of the weather, I experienced many bright spots in my life over the past few days. It wasn’t the weather providing these bright spots…the sunshine was provided by the people I met! My job gave me the opportunity to meet many fabulous people and the experience made my heart sing!

lone pines with flowers pleasure in simple things blog

Texas state flower pleasure in simple things blog

I had to hit the ground running when I got back from my few days away – very busy with another job and trying to control the wave of sadness over the loss of a friend’s brother that really breaks my heart.

Lone Pines at the Fire Pit pleasure in simple things blogmy texas firepit smores pleasure in simple things blog

So, Friday field trip today is just a few quick glimpses of the location I visited in Texas. I thank those I worked with in addition to all the new people I met for making me smile during a week that ends with heartbreak – particularly for my dear, sweet, friend that lost her brother.  xoquote about my new friends with flowers pleasure in simple things blog

Longhorn pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things and to appreciate those close to you, Jackie

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baita pop-up in nyc

February 26, 2016

Eataly popup pleasure in simple things blog

If you happen to spend any time in New York City, you know about Eataly; particularly if you are a foodie. For those of you that may not be familiar with Eataly – it is the largest Italian marketplace in the world! A collection of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail items, and a cooking school, Eataly occupies over 50,000 square feet near Madison Square Park.

Italian alps decor at Baita in NYC pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip, I am taking you to Eataly, but not to the popular main floor. Today, we are traveling above the market to the 14th floor. Why the trip up the elevator? Because, from December to March, Baita, a pop-up restaurant reminiscent of the Italian Alps, has taken residence on the 14th floor and we are making a visit!

Baita popup in NYC pleasure in simple things blog

Enclosed by a retractable roof, the restaurant offers wintry views of New York City, including those of the neighboring Flatiron Building.

window view at Baita NYC pleasure in simple things blog

With cozy plaid blankets hung over chairs and smells of mulled cider, a snowfall would have been the perfect way to complete the Northern Italian atmosphere!

 Baita pleasure in simple things blog

Seared Arctic Char with Beer Braised Brussels Sprouts & Roasted Hazelnuts at Baita in NYC.

It is a fun spot to visit. If you don’t have time for lunch or dinner, have a drink with a friend while sitting on an Adirondack chair facing the evergreen trees – still up and decorated with antlers from the holidays.

Italian Alps decor at popup in NYC pleasure in simple things blog

If you are lucky, your trip will take place during a good snow. ;)

beer tap at Baita in NYC pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend.

Baita on the roof pleasure in simple things blog

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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seaglass carousel

February 19, 2016

SeaGlass carousel pleasure in simple things blog 013

I have been eager to see the new SeaGlass Carousel at The Battery in New York City. For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing my first visit with you!

I hadn’t been able to fit in a Carousel visit on any trip I’ve made into New York since the Carousel opened last August. When I found out it would be open for visitors during Presidents’ Day week, I scheduled a special trip to make my first trip!

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Winter may not seem the ideal time to plan a trip to a park, but it turned out to be the perfect time! There were no lines or crowds to deal with – the cold weather kept everyone away! And, the fact that it was a gray day totally worked in my favor – better for viewing the glow of the lights!

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From the moment I caught a glimpse of the ride, I was impressed. But then, I guess the result of 10 years work and $16 million dollars should be impressive!

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Although actually made of fiberglass and steel, the structure looks like sea glass! It is made up of 30 sea creatures – some as tall as 13 ½ feet – that glow from within to create a marine life looking bioluminescence.

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Passengers sit inside the creatures as they rotate and rise up and down. Each creature has 3 stereo speakers and a base speaker to best project the classical music selections that play during the ride (and include sounds of gurgling water).

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The Carousel is truly a unique experience and definitely worth the $5. fee to take a ride. (I am guessing the same as the price of a beer in NYC?)

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Hours/days of operation are limited during the winter, dependent on the weather, so check the SeaGlass Carousel Facebook page for up-to-date schedule information if you plan on visiting.

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I am looking forward to going back – next time at night; to get the full effect of the glowing!

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I hope I have inspired you to visit the SeaGlass Carousel at The Battery next time you are in New York City!

SeaGlass carousel pleasure in simple things blog statue of liberty 065

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S. I posted a short video of the SeaGlass Carousel on my Instagram. :)

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visiting bass pro in ct

January 15, 2016

Fish Bowl bowling alley at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

The destination for today’s Friday field trip may seem an unusual choice, but if you consider how much I love a good theme, it makes perfect sense.

We are visiting a place where an outdoor sportsman theme is running in overdrive – Bass Pro Shop.

crosswalk at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

The crosswalk leading into Bass Pro Shop in Bridgeport, CT

Growing up, I was exposed to hunting, fishing, camping, and a variety of outdoor sports at a young age because my dad was a big sportsman and lover of the outdoors. And, I certainly am no stranger to boat shows. It seemed natural I would want to check out the new Bass Pro store where they specialize in all these areas.

buoy decor at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

looking up at Bass Pro Shop pleasure in simple things blog

But, once I got there, it was not the merchandise that grabbed my attention, but rather, the décor surrounding the merchandise – the place is like Disney for the outdoorsy set.

light fixtures at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

One of my favorite details at the Bass Pro in Connecticut are the hand painted light fixtures on the second floor.

In Fish Bowl Bowling Alley and Uncle Buck’s Grill, there is dramatic lighting and plenty of props to help simulate an under-the-sea ambiance. Details like a school of fish above the bar and alligator eyes painted on bowling balls are sure to grab attention. I’m pretty sure any kid would gladly trade some of his toys or give away Halloween candy (that’s serious biz) for a chance to bowl in the Fish Bowl bowling alley!

octopus bowl return Fish Bowl bowling alley pleasure in simple things blog

Bar at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

The store is worth checking out, even if you aren’t currently in the market for a fishing pole or a firearm! I guess many others think so too since people are traveling great distances to visit. The Bass Pro Shop in Bridgeport is only the second store in New England and the first in Connecticut. It is a great spot to stop and check out if you are driving along the Connecticut coast because it is super easy to access off I95.

shark at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

Dad, if you are listening; I sure wish you could have seen this place!  And, they even sell live bait!

decor at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend.

exit sign at Bass Pro pleasure in simple things blog

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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