Sizzling San Simeon: Hearst Castle & The Elephant Seals

Roman Pool Tile MosaicHearst Castle
No visit to central California is complete without touring world renown Hearst Castle or La Questa Encantada (Spanish for “Enchanted Hill”) in San Simeon. The vision of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, the castle took an astonishing 28 years to build under the direction of architect Julia Morgan. The 165 rooms, 127 acres of gardens, terraces and pools are home to Hearst’s legendary art collection. In his prime, Hearst hosted countless celebrities such as Hollywood legend Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, politician Winston Churchill and aviator Charles Lindbergh. The castle is now owned and operated by the California State Park system. It’s advisable to book a tour(s) in advance and allow time to wonder the grounds afterward and or watch the 45 minute documentary shown at the visitor center.

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
Drive four miles North of Hearst Castle to see the protected colony of Northern Elephant Seals on Highway 1. Adult males develop large noses resembling elephant trunks, can grow to over 13 feet in length and weigh up to 4500 pounds. It’s an amazing site to see these majestic marine mammals flopping and lounging along the beach en masse.

Hearst CastleHearst Castle View

Fushcia FlowerOrange Lilies Hearst CastleHearst Castle WallHearst Castle HallwayHearst Castle Movie TheaterHearst Castle TileHearst Castle Roman Pool
Roman Pool TileworkHearst Castle Stair DetailBarking San Simeon Elephant SealsSan Simeon Elephant Seals

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Central California Cruising: Cambria and Beyond

Morro Rock

Gaviota Wind Caves Hike
The Gaviota Wind Caves are sandstone formations located in the Gaviota State Park off Highway 101 about 30 miles West of Santa Barbara. The short 2.5 mile round trip hike up to the caves is somewhat steep given the 600 feet of elevation gain. For more ocean views another option is the nearby Gaviota Peak trail.

Morro Bay
The 576 foot high iconic Morro Rock is the dominant feature of the seaside village of Morro Bay in San Louis Obispo County. Morro Rock is one of a series of nine volcanic plugs collectively called the Nine Sisters. The plugs were formed eons ago when the area was a volcanic hot spot. Take the easy three mile roundtrip Black Hill Trail (also one of the Nine Sisters) in Morro Bay State Park to see stunning panoramic views of the entire area on a clear day. Then head into town to dine on scrumptious seafood in one of the many restaurants lining Morro’s bustling wharf. The family-owned Tognazzini’s Dockside is an excellent choice.

Cambria
Just 21 miles North lies the picturesque town of Cambria nestled amongst towering pines and bordered by the awe-inspiring rocky seashore. Ocean front hotels, abundant art galleries and gourmet eateries all add to the village’s alluring charm not to mention the incredible sunsets best enjoyed along the Moonstone Beach boardwalk. During the daytime, enjoy sandy beaches and vivacious tide pools. The nearby Fiscalini Ranch Preserve offers a variety of hiking trails and a chance to see humpback whales swimming offshore.

For lunch and or picnic supplies, head over to Indigo Moon Cafe on Main Street which doubles as a wine and cheese shop. For dinner, suggestions are the popular ocean view Sea Chest Restaurant & Oyster Bar for their extensive array of seafood specialties or Robin’s Restaurant in town serving up signature salmon bisque.

Lodging options are numerous and the Cambria Landing Inn & Suites will not disappoint. The staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful. Whimsical folded towels and fireplaces in every room are nice touches. Rates include a basic continental breakfast, complimentary wi-fi and sociable daily wine reception.

Harmony
Backtrack six miles south to the tiny town of Harmony (population of 18) for a pleasant day trip from Cambria. Harmony Cafe’s Chef Giovanni sources locally to cook delicious casual meals. Next door, over 150 artists are represented at Harmony Pottery. Across the street enjoy an opportunity to watch live demonstrations by artist Eric Dandurand at Harmony Glassworks. And just up the hill, the lovely Harmony Cellars is open to visitors for wine tasting and special events.
Gaviota Wind CaveWild Fennel

Pink WildflowersWild LilyMoonstone Beach BoardwalkFiscalini Ranch View

Cambria Driftwood BenchMonterey Pine at DuskCambria Inn Dog Towel Fold

Cambria Inn BreakfastSea ThriftSea Chest RestaurantCambria SunsetHarmony, CaliforniaHarmony Pottery

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Chill Out with Blue: Decorating with Color Series

Tropical Brown and Blue Throw PillowsFew colors can relax the mind and body the way blue can. From the light blue of the sky to the deep blue of the ocean, this color is the one most associated with open space and tranquility.

A universal favorite of both men and women alike, blue is commonly used in home decorating palettes. From lighter robin’s egg and periwinkle to darker cobalt and indigo, varying shades of blue affect spaces differently. Although a cool color, blue tinted with red or purple—such as ocean or slate blue—becomes a bit warmer. Like a dusk-tinged sky, this type of blue advances in on you, creating a sense of intimacy, romance, and a connection to the environment. Cooler shades of blue containing yellow tones, like aquamarine or ice, seem to recede, creating a clean, crisp airiness in a room.

Combining blue and brown in your design color palette introduces the natural look of the outdoors: think earth and sky. Want to try these colors out in your home? Whether you live by the beach or just dream about it, add coastal charm to your home with the Sea Turtle or Wave Throw Pillow. For a touch of tropical style, opt for the Papyrus or Frond Throw Pillow. Decorative throw pillows are the perfect go-to when you want to change up your decor without replacing bigger pieces of furniture or embarking on an exhausting painting project.

Adding a touch of green to blue creates aqua, the perfect summer shade for any room, inspiring thoughts of warm, tropical seas in faraway lands. Use aqua and cream accents, such as the Coral Throw Pillows or Coral Napkins, to break up darker rooms full of deep browns and rich woods, the way a light sea breeze breaks up the heat of the day. These accents can also add a bit of spunk to a neutral decor palette of beige, white, and cream.

As one of the most versatile colors, blue can be nostalgic in one shade (periwinkle), regal in the next (royal blue), and innocent in yet another (baby blue).  It’s one of the few colors that can both soothe and inspire at the same time. So whatever your decorating goal, there’s sure to be a shade of blue for you.

Coastal Brown and Blue Throw PillowsAqua Coral Modern Eco Fabric Napkins

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Invigorating Green: Decorating with Color Series

Bloom Modern Eco Table LinensWhether for a stoplight or spring, green is the color of no longer waiting. Green means go. It means life, re-growth, and hope. And it also means a radiant home when applied expertly while decorating.

Decorating with the color green can mean so many things. It can literally mean bringing the outdoors in— with sprigs of mint and other herbs placed in mason jars, as well as delicate maidenhair ferns and all other kinds of foliage spotted around the room— reminding those who step in the house that nature has not stopped at the door. It can mean using lime green accents as a light-hearted addition to other tropical colors, like tangerine and passion-fruit pink, to create a happy-go-lucky, youthful energy for darker, more closed-up rooms that could use a bit of island fever. It could also mean using the soothingly elegant shade of olive green in spaces—especially paired with cream, rich yellows, or black—where you want to set an understated, urban mood. The Bloom Modern Eco  Table Runner, Placemats, and Napkins in Olive and Cream set the perfect bar for this example.

As green is the color most easily detected by the human eye, the already-effervescent shades of teal and lime green will not go unnoticed by anyone at your dinner party when using the School of Fish Napkins in Teal and Lime Sizzle. And since green is a naturally soothing, restful color, the Bloom Eco Art Throw Pillow in Olive on Cream is a calming, comfortable and versatile accent for any couch, bed or chair.

Can’t get enough of this reminder of spring? Choose a more saturated hue of green, such as emerald or kelly, and pair it with black and white for an energetic, vivid elegance. Muted, milky greens are considered neutrals, and pair well with other neutrals such as brown, beige, or cream. And moss green is the perfect backdrop for showcasing antiques and art pieces.

Whether you’re using mint green to create a spa-like atmosphere or a bold yellow-green chartreuse to enliven a room, the color green will remain true to its nature: it will bring your room to life.

School of Fish Modern Eco Dinner Napkins

Bloom Olive Modern Eco Throw Pillows

 

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Move Ahead with Red!

Red Starfish and Coral Sea Fan Throw PillowsThe color red is known as the color of life, vitality, passion, and intrigue. In its warmer hues, the color red is the hottest of colors, which also makes it the most stimulating. Red is the color of movement, and when used artfully while decorating a room, it can motivate the senses to action without dominating them.

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott knew the power of the color red when he designed the old London telephone booths. Painted cherry red, they were meant to be seen easily through the dreary English weather. And that is why the color red has the same effect when sprinkled strategically through a neutral space. Splashes of red crisp up an all-white living room or bedroom, adding a surprise of color that brings an immediate, bold presence to a room. Why not do your own experiment with this vibrant shade and grab a couple of our Starfish or Coral Sea Fan throw pillows?

But bright reds shouldn’t get all of the attention. Darker shades of red, such as burgundy, also add drama to a room. Pairing this hue with a room full of dark furniture gives the space an elegant, old world feel. Barn reds, which have a more purplish hue, are perfect when interwoven into a country theme. And rich, tomato reds can add a more sedate and rustic warmth to any space.

The color red is known to stimulate the appetite and conversation. This is why savvy restaurateurs use the color red in their restaurants to increase their customers’ craving for food. Why not try spots of red in the kitchen for the same effect around the table? Try adding our Lobster Napkins or a Rock Shrimp Table Runner to your metal or wood tabletop, and watch your conversations and appetites come to life with just a touch of this invigorating hue!

Red Lobster Modern Eco Dinner Napkins

Modern Rock Shrimp Red Table Runner

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