Welcome to my blog!My name is Melody M. Nuñez, and I’m an artist and a writer. Please look around my website and make yourself at home. I post new blog entries weekly, and hope you’ll subscribe to my blog and come back often! To learn more about me, please view the “About” page…
Category Archives: travel
Welcome to a new installment of Another Look! This post is designed to share some goodies from my blog’s archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries. I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before. Today’s category is travel! Just click on the name of the post to link over…*
My wish list of places to go includes Italy, India, Thailand, Scotland, China, New England in the fall, New Zealand, and many, many more – just about any place that isn’t ridiculously dangerous. Which travel destinations are your favorites, dear readers? I’d love to hear about them – maybe I’ll add them to my travel wish list!
Welcome to a new installment of Another Look! This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries. I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before. Today’s category is Ethnic Markets! Just click on the name of the post to link over…
Do you enjoy trips to Ethnic Markets? Which are your favorites? Please comment and share…
As I mentioned in a post last week I was on vacation – taking in the beauty of California’s Central Coast. I stayed in Cambria for a week, and was lucky enough to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium during my stay. What an incredible facility! The exhibits were amazing, and the volunteers and staff were both friendly and helpful. If you’re going to be in the area, and have a chance to take it in, I’d definitely recommend it.
The Kelp Forest was magical. Seaweed stretched from the “sea floor” to the surface of the water, and the exhibit was teeming with sea life. From starfish and sea cucumbers to leopard sharks – and oodles of fishies in between – there was so much to see. It was so lovely I could’ve stayed at this exhibit for hours, but finally had to move on.
I think of anchovies as being itty-bitty things, but these silvery beauties were around 4 inches long. They swam round and round, and opened their mouths wide from time to time – which was both funny and kinda scary looking all at the same time!
The jellyfish exhibit was another of my favorites – I could’ve lingered there for hours. SO lovely!
I enjoyed the other exhibits, too, which allowed me to see things like anemones, sea horses, and other sea life and plants up close.
In addition to the aquarium, I was also lucky enough to visit the Elephant Seal Rookery near San Simeon, CA. Though most of the thousands of seals that birth and mate yearly on this beach had already headed back out to sea for their annual trip north to the Aleutian Islands, I was able to see many of the weaned “babies” (they weren’t so little!) and a dozen or so of the large male seals. It was such a treat to see these creatures sunning themselves on the beach!
In addition to drinking in the sun, the seals also made frequent “raspberry” sounds and occasional barking/crying sounds. Another of their favorite past times is using their flippers, which have “fingernails” on them, to scratch and to flip damp sand up onto their bodies. The sand helps keep them cooler in the baking sun…
One more photo: this was taken on the bluffs in Cambria, not far from Lodge Hill.
I went for a walk with my Cambria hosts, and we saw so many wonderful things! In addition to the gorgeous ocean view overall, we saw seals, pelicans, dolphins and sea otters! I was super excited, and actually jumped up and down while watching the dolphins. Seeing and hearing the otters crack-crack-cracking their food open on their chests made me giddy, too. Yep, I’m definitely a nature lover!
We also went whale watching, and saw at least four whales, but the sea was rolling our boat around so much that I was more focused on not falling over the rail than taking great photos! Please feel free to comment and share some of your aquarium or sea life viewing adventures, dear readers…
Days in Cambria:
relaxed, quiet, beautiful.
Love that it’s tranquil…
I’m currently on my second annual week-long retreat in this magical spot along California’s Central Coast. (Thank you for your hospitality, T.E.L!) I’ll drive home to hubby and the bunnies this weekend, and will return to blogging from Southern California next week. In the meantime, I’m wishing you a relaxed, quiet and beautiful weekend…
Hi y’all! Happy Tuesday!
You’ll find images of my artwork in the GALLERIES, including photography, collage, and mixed-media. Here are a few examples of images that live there – won’t you visit the rest?
This photo of the Rock of Cashel (in Ireland) is in the Travel collection.
This pink water lily image is in the Nature collection.
This glass bottle image is in the Man-Made collection.
This piece, made in memory of my Aunt Bobby, is in the Collage collection.
This up-cycled metal can project is in the Mixed-Media collection.
If you visit my PUBLISHED WORKS page you can see where I’ve had my art and writings published – and in many cases you can click on the work’s title to see a scan of the tear sheet (magazines) or can link over to the website my work appears on. Projects range from collages and cards to Memory Jars (love that one!) and more! So please take a peek.
Here are a few projects/articles you might particularly like – I hope you’ll also take a peek at the others:
You may also visit my About page to learn more about my background, my Art Program page to learn how you can help me provide art education and supplies to at-risk public school children, and my Contact page if you’d like to email me with any questions or comments.
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to save your chocolate boxes so you can make your own version of my Heart’s Desire project!
Southern California is full of wonderful cultural and culinary opportunities, and the creative spirit and great eats boldly collide in the Santa Ana Artists Village. Located in Downtown Santa Ana, the Artists Village is home to galleries, “make and take” studios geared towards paper arts and mixed-media, street corner food carts, and fabulous restaurants.
A bit grungy, bohemian and decidedly urban, the Artists Village also has beauty and charm galore. From the distinctive architecture of structures like the Santora Building, to the “slice of life” peek at locals going about their business, the Artists Village is a sight to see. With its varied eateries, you’ll definitely want to take a bite out of the Artists Village!
The Santa Ana Artist Village is home to many galleries, ranging in size from very small to very large, and the most common mediums shown are paint and sculpture. Some studios offer hands-on experiences and classes, and two of my favorites are Studio Crescendoh and The Art Bar. Geared towards those of us who love paper arts and mixed-media, Studio Crescendoh and the Art Bar offer a wide variety of classes – from lettering and art journaling to painting. I recommend these venues if you’d like to make art – not just look at it!
Grand Central is one of the anchors in the Santa Ana Artists Village.
Colorful paintings grace the walls of Studio Crescendoh, but they offer classes in a variety of artistic mediums…
I certainly haven’t been to all the eateries in the Artists Village, but I’ve really enjoyed those I have visited. Two of my favorites are the Gypsy Den and Memphis.
Gypsy Den: Budget-friendly, this is the most artsy and bohemian of my three picks. Their baked goods are delicious, and the coffee house feel takes me back to the Beatnik scene in the 60’s – though I hadn’t even been born yet!
I love the decor at the Gypsy Den – so eclectic and colorful!
It’s only right that some artwork should grace the walls…
There’s plenty of seating to enjoy a bite. I took this photo just after they’d closed on New Year’s Eve day, so it’s customer-free.
Memphis: A bit pricier than the Gypsy Den, Memphis has fab food and a great, modern interior. I love that the afternoon sun creates wrought-iron-shaped shadows in the restaurant’s interior windows, and having breakfast for lunch was a treat!
A bit of the interior at Memphis, including the wrought iron work up top…
I opted for breakfast, though it was after 2 p.m.
Eggs over easy, French Toast, and chicken-apple sausage. Yum!
I’ve also heard great things about Lola Gaspar, but haven’t made it there to taste their food for myself yet and hope to change that very soon. Located just down the way from Memphis, and across the courtyard from the Grand Central Building, this restaurant is right in the center of the action…
The Artist Village really comes alive on the first Saturday of each month, when many of the galleries throw open their doors and welcome in the public. From larger galleries with special shows to single-artist studios displaying their on-going work, the Art Walk is a great way to see a variety of artwork. You can also sip some wine and nosh on the snacks folks often lay out, if you’re just looking for a nibble.
Architecture & Ambiance
One of my favorite things about the Santa Ana Artists Village is the look of it – all the the little details that give it a unique flavor. Naturally, architecture and some historic buildings play a big part in that. In my mind, the gorgeous Santora Building is the grand dame of the village, and the center of it all. Built in 1929, it’s Spanish Ultra Baroque Design delights me.
The ornate stone work combined with wrought iron (seen elsewhere on/in the building) is lovely…
An interior photograph of the Santora Building.
A clock tower in Santa Ana…
Bare branches reach out to the Grand Central Building.
It’s more than the big structures, though. It’s the old street lamps, the trees, and even the streets themselves. These are some of my favorite things about the Santa Ana Artists Village, and if you’re a fan of details like this, it’s best that you visit during daylight hours to take in all the lovely visual details that make this area unique.
The base of an old lamp post beckoned to me.
Gritty, yet still beautiful – near the Santora Building.
Hope to See You There…
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek at the Santa Ana Artists Village. If you live in Southern California – or if you’re planning a trip to Orange County – I hope you’ll stop in for a visit!
New York City – what a wild ride! I joined hubby partway through one of his business trips in New York in 2005, and had a blast. Though I was only there for four days it was long enough for me to take a bite of the Big Apple and know that it tasted very sweet.
Not that it was perfect, mind you. It was hot that July, and so humid that the air seemed to both surround and smother me. Traffic lanes are mere suggestions, and though most of my taxi drivers seemed to have a death wish, I survived unscathed. Some of the smells were less than charming as well, but the few drawbacks were eclipsed by the city’s charms.
From the white-knuckle taxi rides to the incredible variety of people, cuisines, and things to do, New York City is a thrilling destination. And for this California girl, a trip there was a chance to see and do things I’d only read about or seen on a T.V. or movie screen: hailing a cab, ambling around Central Park, getting a hot dog from a street vendor, and visiting mind-blowing museums like MoMA and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a thrill, and a pleasure, and my trip was all too brief. I hope to see you again soon, NYC – I’d love for us to get better acquainted!
Chinatown, New York style. I did some shopping, and was treated to the sight of some silvery, scaly beauty.
Riding the subway for the first time was a treat, and as we came out from underground, and rode along the tracks in the sunlight, I spied the iconic brick buildings and fire escapes I’d seen so many times before on T.V. or in a movie.
The Empire State Building was incredible. It was amazing to see the city from above – the taxis and cars looked like little ants down below.
Hubby and I – 102 stories up on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
Our trip to MoMA touched my heart. An art major in college, and a big fan of van Gogh, I was thrilled to see Starry Night in person.
We just took in a fraction of the work at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection is so vast, it would take days – maybe weeks- to enjoy it all properly. It was surreal, and a joy, to see works of art I’d only seen in textbooks and in slideshows in person! This photo was taken on the second story of the museum, looking across Central Park.
Central Park was the place to be – it was full of people enjoying the summer’s day, and it’s truly a haven in the midst of all the concrete, glass and steel.
Times Square – talk about sensory overload! All the people, the lights, signs, and traffic! Oh, and all the horses – pulling tourists in carriages, that is.
We visited Carnegie Deli in Times Square, and shared a mammoth, delectable piece of cheesecake. Yuuuuumy!
Our trip to Ground Zero was solemn, and it didn’t surprise me that it started raining as we left the site – it was as if Mother Nature was trying to cleanse the wound that had been opened nearly four years before.
French restaurant Les Sans Culottes was scrumptious! I had the Shrimp Provencal…
One of my favorite meals and experiences from the whole trip was a meal at Dominick’s out in the Bronx. There was no set menu, and it was a delicious, authentic, charming experience. We were with a group of locals – a very friendly group – and were so busy eating the food that hit the table (antipasto salad, stuffed mushrooms, and much more!) that I failed to take any photos. Dessert? The most fabulous strawberry gelato from a place a few doors down. The experience was deeply satisfying on every level.
We also had great meals at PJ Clarke’s (where I had the best corn on the cob I’d had in decades!) and Little Johnnies – a pizza place (we dined on a white bean salad and a scrumptious thin crust pizza).
Though I crammed a lot of wonderful experiences and meals into my short stay, what I fit in barely scratched the surface of all that New York City has to offer. The city is so diverse and so densely packed, there are literally wonderful things to do, see, and taste around every corner. It’s like they say in the musical On the Town: “New York, New York! It’s a helluva town!” I hope I’m able to entrust my life to one of those fearless taxi drivers and make my way onto the island of Manhattan again soon…
One of my favorite cheap ways to “travel” is to visit ethnic markets and restaurants. Real travel isn’t in the budget this year, so hubby and I decided to take in some Persian markets and cuisine last Sunday and had a great time! We’re lucky enough to live in a very diverse area, and enjoy the exposure we get to different lands and peoples even while staying close to home. I hope you enjoy this peek into our recent adventure, and hope you’re inspired to visit an ethnic market in your area.
Our first stop was Wholesome Choice market, and while the store is more of a multi-ethnic international market, it had a lot of Persian food items – Indian as well. We began in the produce department, and I drank in the gorgeous and unusual sights. Discovering a new (to me) fruit or veggie is always fun!
Such pretty colors!
Can you tell what this is?
Yep – melon!
Beautiful – and unfamiliar. This is the fruit from a Rambutan tree, and I was relieved to read on Wikipedia that the fruit is peeled before it’s eaten!
As we made our way through the store we found some more interesting things. I fell in love with an unusual jar of honey – it was filled with nuts, and was called Ari’s Aligned Nuts. Gorgeous! I didn’t purchase it, though I wanted to, because the jar was nearly $8 and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy eating the contents. I may head back for it at some point. So pretty…
Ari’s Aligned Nuts (in honey)
Naturally there was a large selection of rice, spices, and grains. Though the store features many “standard American” brands and products, there were some decidedly more exotic items in the store as well. For example, they sell hookahs and the related hoses. You won’t see that at Albertsons!
Hubby shopping in the rice section…
Hookah hoses on the household goods aisle.
We ended up purchasing an assortment of goodies, including some Persian sweets, and a yogurt/soda drink.
We also got some olives, lentils, and unusually-colored tomatoes.
Our next stop was Caspian, a nearby Persian restaurant, and the food was delicious! I ordered the Chicken Soltana, while hubby ate an assortment of goodies from their buffet. My meal portion was huge, and we both had the leftovers for dinner!
Chicken Soltana at Caspian – my lunch and our dinner!
Tummies full, we proceeded to Super Irvine, a market that’s a stone’s throw from Caspian. I oohed and aahed over the bags of rice near the door – they zipped open and closed, had handles, and featured appealing graphics! I reluctantly walked away though – it was just too much rice for two people to use in a reasonable amount of time.
One of two signs on the Super Irvine storefront.
Moving on, I had to take a picture with the lavash bread (huge!) before meandering through the rest of the store. Our purchases at Super Irvine included a bottle of pomegranate juice, and some feta cheese.
Big slabs of bread!
The last stop on our Persian adventure was a sweet shop called Assal Pastry, which was just down the way from Super Irvine. Hubby was quick to pick out four cake-like pastries, and I selected something called Bamieh, which is likely deep fried dough drizzled in a sweet syrup. Yum!
Some of the sweets we purchased – almond tarts, bamieh, and pistachio nougat.
Though our outing was brief, and was a mere glimpse into the Persian food experience, I’m really glad we went. Trips like these give my senses a little jolt, and I cherish the new sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. Exploring new things energizes my artistic and creative spirit, and though I still want to travel much farther afield, you can’t beat getting a dash of a “foreign” experience without having to pack a thing or experience jet lag!
Have you visited any ethic markets lately? If not, are you hoping to? I’d love to hear about it and welcome you to comment. I also invite you to take a peek at my blog posts on Little India, a Korean market and Chinatown if you haven’t seen them already…
I’ve been a very busy girl! I’ve published over 135 posts in the last year, and since you may have missed a few – especially if you’re a newer reader - I thought I’d mention the ARCHIVES feature that resides along the right side of this page – just below RECENT POSTS. Simply select a month and go! You may start at the very beginning (August 2010) and read forward, or just skip around.
In addition, here’s a compilation of links, by category, to some of the more popular posts I’ve published in the last year. I hope you’ll all find something interesting (and possibly “new to you”) to enjoy!*
Life in General
Friendly Giveaway Reminder
My blog birthday giveaway winners will be announced on August 30, 2011 so please enter today. You could win a $15 iTunes gift card, a pack of my handmade photo notecards, or a $25 Visa gift card! (Giveaway details/entry HERE) I hope you join the fun…