Tag Archives: Field Trips

missjunebug’s Latest Love: Bottega Louie

Bottega Louie has it going on. Photo by mjb2014
Bottega Louie has it going on. Photo by mjb2014

“Je t’aime, je t’aime toujours, Monsieur B. Louie!” says missjunebug.

All her ladies-who-lunch dreams came true recently at 700 South Grand Avenue where Bottega Louie holds court over downtown Los Angeles. The physical space is large and white; the atmosphere,  lively and inviting. For just a brief moment, missjunebug thought she had been transported to Paris, especially when she got a good look at the patisserie. Row after row of exquisitely decorated desserts and pastries, creamy, fruity, flaky, fabulous!

Just take a look:

A patisserie in Los Angeles worthy of Paris! Photo by mjb2014
A patisserie in Los Angeles worthy of Paris! Photo by mjb2014

Of course, Bottega Louie presents more than pastry. The café has salads, soups, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches.  missjunebug delighted in the Caprese salad (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, fleur de sel, cracked pepper & extra virgin olive oil) and the Asparagus and Poached Egg small plate. Believe missjunebug when she says the flavors were not small, nor the portions! missjunebug’s lovely companion (who introduced her to Bottega Louie on their recent field trip) enjoyed the savory Club sandwich. 

Happily, mjb and her dear friend saved room for dessert from the très jolie patisserie! Imagine whipped cream, flaky pastry, vanilla, caramel, and more! Fruit tarts! Eclairs! Beignets! Macarons!  Here’s what they enjoyed:

Oh. my. yes. De. Licious. Photo by mjb2014
Oh. my. yes. De. Licious. Photo by mjb2014

Note the prayerfully folded hands of mjb’s dear friend! Yes! They were thankful to God in heaven for these heavenly desserts!

Brave the 101 and the 110 and get yourself downtown. missjunebug promises you will be transported to another world in of all places downtown L.A. Things are looking up in the City of Angels!

mjbTip: check out Bottega Louie’s welcoming website for further details: www.bottegalouie.com

DAYNES Brings It: Authentic Chicago-Style Italian Beef

Chicago Beef: Beefed Up with Sweet Bell Peppers Photo by mjb2014
Chicago Beef: Beefed Up with Sweet Bell Peppers Photo by mjb2014

Trusty Mr.JB is happy as a clam since trying out the Chicago-style Italian Beef sandwich at DAYNES in Thousand Oaks. It is the real deal. missjunebug spotted this colorful eatery after a quick cuppa at Chocolatine (located right next door) on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and she convinced Mr.JB to give it a go. Believe missjunebug when she says he is glad he did!

It’s a bit jarring to leave the languor and sophistication of the French-inspired Chocolatine cafe and coffee enclave and enter the graffiti-bright graphics of DAYNES, but that’s the beauty of the strip mall, n’est-ce pas? 

For their first visit, missjunebug ordered the Beef and Sweet Peppers; Mr.JB, the Combo. With the order comes plenty of napkins because these sandwiches are ridiculously juicy. Eat ’em up fast so your plump sandwich roll doesn’t get soggy! Yep, they are that juicy!

For their next visit: the Chicago Dawg. Can’t wait to taste its authenticity! Celery Salt included!

If you are a Midwestern transplant missing that savory flavor of the Chicagoland Italian Beef-style sandwich, or you are just a hungry, hungry local, Daynes Chicago Beef and Dawgs can hook you up!!! Check out their website www.dayneschicagobeef.com for more information or swing by their little restaurant of really good eats at 2951 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard in T.O. missjunebug is sure you will savor the flavor!

The Works: Sausage, Beef, Giardiniera!
The Works: Sausage, Beef, Giardiniera!

mjb’s Next Culinary Pursuit? Locating Authentic Texas-style Barbeque in SoCali. And she thinks she’s got a lead on where to find it. Stay tuned.

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Black-Eyed Peas = Good Eating and Good Luck!

 

Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013
Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug had a fine time recently at Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark playing Farmer-for-the-Day! It’s black-eyed pea pickin’ season and the good people at Underwood have rows and rows of bushy black-eyed pea plants just waiting for pick-your-own peeps to drop by and fill up their bags with these beautiful peas famous in the South. They even have a restaurant named after them! Yes! The Black-Eyed Pea! A pretty decent place to eat all your southern faves when you’re in the South: cornbread, okra, collard greens, black-eyed peas (natch!), fried chicken, and, well you get the idea.

missjunebug donned her straw hat, hiking boots, old jeans, hiking shirt, and super bright orange garden gloves in preparation for taking on row after row of pea plants. She garnered four bags full o’ peas ripe for the shelling. Picking is really the easy part. Once she got home, she had to start the labor intensive task of shelling each individual black-eyed pea pod and popping out those beautiful peas. Fun times!

She’s still got a few (hundred!) to go, but she’s managed to Zip-loc lots of peas for the deep freeze. missjunebug will have plenty to eat on New Year’s Day 2014, making sure she covers her year with good luck by eating black-eyed peas that day, one for every day of good luck! Okay, not really. A bowlful will do.  She might explode if she actually ate 365 peas in one sitting.

Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013
Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013

Here’s a simple recipe from missjunebug’s Aunt Mary that pleases the pea palate!

Black-Eyed Peas that Please

Ingredients

1 1/2-2 cups of shelled fresh black-eyed peas

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 slices uncooked bacon for flavor

1-3 shakes Tabasco

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Place peas in a saucepan. Cover with water. Add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced bacon, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir. Heat on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat for a continuous simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas are slightly firm, not mushy. Adjust seasonings. Enjoy.

Eat with cornbread, over rice, or just on their own with the delicious soupy juice they are cooked in! You might have to have some serious Southern roots to enjoy these beauties, but keep an open mind and give them a try. They are delicious, nutritious, and lucky!

mjbTip: It’s fun to be a Farmer-for-the Day!

Don't forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013
Don’t forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013

 

Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
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Aroma Coffee and Tea Company! Good for mjb!

Al Fresco Dessert! Perfect! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug and a dear friend made their way from SoCali suburbia to a hipper, cooler, vibe-ier locali: Aroma Coffee and Tea Company. What fun! And what fine food.

missjunebug is on a mission to try every tuna melt she meets up with on the menus of her restaurants of choice. Aroma’s Tuna Melt with swirly black and white rye bread, yummy tomatoes, and delicious tuna fishes did not disappoint. missjunebug’s friend had an Asian noodle-y salad that looked exotic and colorful.

The Aroma menu is complex, interesting, and it offers breakfast fare and a fair amount of lunch and dinner items that you just can’t go wrong in choosing. missjunebug found the Buenos Dias, Los Angeles! section particularly intriguing but she passed on the enticing South of the Border flavor in her on-going pursuit of the Perfect Tuna Melt!

After the meal, missjunebug and her dear friend made their way back to the pastry case that graces the entrance to the charming restaurant, an erstwhile home with vintage touches and many tucked away, comfy tables in which to enjoy a fresh repast. Her friend ordered the Princess cake, a many-layered, custardy delight; missjunebug made a beeline to the Bee Cake. Believe missjunebug when she says It be good!

The next time you want to escape the fast food joints, the burger stops, and the other links in the restaurant chain, hop in your car and head down to Aroma Coffee and Tea Company for delicious food and fun. You’ll find them at 4360 Tujunga Ave. Studio City, California 91604 • Ph: 818.508.0677. Hours: Mon – Sat 6am to 11pm / Sun 7am to 11pm.

When you’ve eaten your fill of fab food, take a stroll down Tujunga and pop into the local boutiques for a little shopping, window or otherwise. missjunebug found a nice pair of earrings for a nice price while her friend found a lovely handcrafted skirt.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

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Paging Arizona! missjunebug’s Annular Eclipse Adventure in Page, AZ

mjb's fave pic taken at Meteor Crater! Photo by mjb2012

So missjunebug’s Mr.JB has been busy planning more eclipse adventures! This time he traced the route from LAX through Phoenix by way of Flagstaff, then onto Page, Arizona and the Lake Powell Resort in a four-wheel drive Jeep! The four-wheel drive came in really handy when Mr.JB staked out centerline viewing real estate atop a semi-remote bluff! By the time the eclipse rolled around, lots of eclipse chasers had joined the junebugs at their prime viewing location. The conditions could not have been better! And the Ring of Fire eclipse was deLIGHTful!!!

missjunebug won’t go into details about getting off that semi-remote bluff. Suffice it to say there were many unmarked paths and the junebugs did their share of choosing the wrong ones to get the heck out of there before darkness descended! Whew! Believe missjunebug when she says she felt some serious relief when they finally found the main road!!

missjunebug also won’t go into the accommodations at the Lake Powell Resort where she requested and paid for in advance a Room with a (Lake)View. Suffice it to say what the junebugs got was a gorgeous asphalt-filled parking lot view! Lucky them! When Mr.JB went back to the front desk to show the receptionist their ressie, he was assured the entire resort was booked with a capital B and they were S.O.L. To their credit the management of the L.P.R. provided vouchers for two dinners and two breakfast buffets which did a lot to assuage a painful situation. And guess what? The food was great!!! And it went a long way toward make that parking lot view look a whole lot better!!

Here are some pics that tell the tale of missjunebug’s Paging Arizona Adventure:

First Stop: Meteor Crater!!! Photo by mjb2012
Wow! 20 football fields could fit down there! Photo by mjb2012
Navajo Nation Roadside Retailers! Photo by mjb2012
Eponymous Horseshoe Bend! Photo by mjb2012
The Grand Canyon earns its name! Photo by mjb2012
Lake Powell Resort's Rainbow Room: Great Place to Eat and View the Beauty! Photo by mjb2012
missjunebug's Annular Eclipse Point and Shoot Shot Rocks!!! Photo by mjb2012
Cruise America Rvs: Great at Impeding the junebugs' Progress!! Photo by mjb2012

missjunebug’s Tip#1: Get out there and Cruise America! Just don’t do it in a Cruise America RV!!! Try a Jeep instead!!

missjunebug’s Tip#2: Get a Senior Pass at the National Park of your choice for 10 tiny bucks and you can get into any National Park for free forever! How to qualify? Be Mr.JB’s hair color and age: silver and 62!!! The junebugs used his card on the way back to Flagstaff, stopping in at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon using that pretty little card for no dollars!!! Now that’s a fine bene for being a senior.

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Cow Cookies! missjunebug Loves These!

The other day missjunebug had a few pieces of art work to pick up from her fave framer in Ventura: Gonzalez Framing. They’re located on 4160 Market St. #4 Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 477-0749. She’s had many, many pieces framed here and has never been disappointed in their work. They are perfectionists, and they use the best materials to protect and to enhance special art pieces.

Here’s one she recently had framed. Won’t it look great in her newly painted kitchen? Oh. my. yes.

What a great framing job for missjunebug's chickens! Thanks Gonzalez Framing!

So what does this have to do with Cow Cookies? Well, right after missjunebug picked up her awesomely framed art works, she realized it was time for a little lunch. Right around the corner (practically) from Gonzalez Framing is Royal Bakery & Cafe. This little gem of a lunch spot is located at 4726 Telephone Rd. Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 658-6030. They have a wonderful menu including soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, pizza, desserts, and coffee. What more could you ask for on a cafe menu? missjunebug had the divine Tuna Pesto Melt on French bread. Such a delicious mix of tuna, red onion, celery, and pesto, topped with melted cheddar and toasted to perfection. She suspects all the menu items are equally delightful to the taste buds.

Which does finally bring her to the Cow Cookies. These big and tender iced gems are shaped like dairy cows each marked with its own pattern of cow spots. Cute! Clever! Fun! and Delicious! She took six of them home with her in a congenial little box.

Check out two of her Cow Cookies and then check out Royal Bakery & Cafe a.s.a.p. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you rustle up some Cow Cookies to take home with you!

Cow Cookies Rule! Photo by mjb2012
Each Cow Cookie has its own unique design! Photo by mjb2012

 

A nifty box for Cow Cookie transport! Photo by mjb2012
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A Few of missjunebug’s Favorite Things

English: Christmas cookies in Czech republic. ...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug is not much of a fan of that Julie Andrews song from the treacly Sound of Music--was that really Best Picture??–my! how tastes have changed. Anyway she still likes the idea behind the song: enumerating favorite things can be fun and useful. So here are a few of missjunebug’s current favorite things this time of year:

The Somis Nut House–the most awesome place to buy holiday candy, fruit, and nuts in Ventura County, SoCal. Located in an unassuming building reminiscent of a big shed, you’ll find an array of  candy favorites vintage and new as well as nuts amped up with spices, sugars, and smoke. She even found a spicy little mix called Samurai whose name speaks for itself! There are the usual sweet suspects: cherry sours, licorice, a virtual gummy zoo of shapes, malted milk balls on steroids, English toffee that’s pricey but so worth it, and many other chocolatey and foil-wrapped Christmas favs. And nuts and dried fruits galore. Mr.JB’s fav? Dried Kiwi fruit! Pale green disks of sugary sweet fruity goodness that look perfect as the centerpiece of a Christmas gift box. Where is this delightful house of delicacies? 4475 East Los Angeles Avenue  Somis, CA 93066-9616 Call them at (805) 386-1211 or check out their website at www.somisnuthouse.com. You and your sweet tooth will be thanking Somis Nut House (and missjunebug) the rest of the holiday season!

Pandora Radio set to Christmas Jazz. If you are a little tired of Jingle Bells barked by dogs or the Vienna Boys Choir somber Latinate songs of the season or the mellifluous but slightly depressing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” crooned by various old school musical masters like Bing and Tony or updated by Michael B. then try the instrumental and upbeat Christmas Jazz stream playing right now on Pandora. missjunebug recommends it as the best possible music to decorate a Christmas tree or bake cookies to. For a slightly edgier mix try setting your Pandora to Mannheim Steamroller. That will definitely get your Christmas groove on.

Spritz Cookies! What would Christmas be without these little pressed wonders so sparkly and buttery! missjunebug knows you remember she already gave you the recipe for those cookies in a previous blog post. If you don’t believe her just search her very accommodating site for it under Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious Recipes! And make some! If  you can’t find the time to do that and you still crave sugar cookies, try to make it to Royal Bakery in Ventura for some delicious Christmas sugar cookies that are so worth the drive! Green trees! Red stockings! Black and white cows! Okay, so the cow cookies are not particularly seasonal, but they are delicious!

A fresh-cut Christmas Tree from the Men of the Elks Lodge or other such helping organization! These dedicated white-haired gentlemen provide funding for so many worthy charitable enterprises in local communities, you’ll feel practically holy buying a tree from them! And the piney fragrance is worth every penny! So bite the bullet, dole out the cash, and inhale the green freshness of that very noble Nobel Fir!

A Kiva Gift Card to help support small business entrepreneurs throughout the world. This is the quintessential gift that keeps on giving. As soon as the global entrepreneur pays back the loan, guess what? You can re-lend it again! And again! missjunebug has helped finance a Kenyan moto man so that he could buy some new tires for his burgeoning motorcycle taxi transportation service, a Rwandan woman who needed to procure beauty products for her salon, and another Rwandan woman supplying her clothing business with some fresh fashions! It’s never been more interesting to provide a hand up, not a hand out! Check out this super worthy enterprise at www.kiva.com!

Now missjunebug has an important question for you: What are your favorite things of the season? Shopping? Eating? Watching Christmasy movies–(actually, missjunebug should have included this one, too). Figure it out! Get busy doing them! And do as Julia says,”I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Carlsbad Flower Fields in Full Flower!

BFF: Best Flower Fields! Photo by mjb2011
BFF: Best Flower Fields! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug has been doing a little travel lately in and around the lovely Carlsbad! She highly recommends taking a tour of all the flowery fun the Carlsbad Flower Fields offer. The fields are located along Highway 5 in Carlsbad, California at 5704 Paseo Del Norte. If you are in the San Diego area, they are just a quick hop up the freeway. If you are further north, say Los Angeles and environs allow a couple of hours to make the trek. You don’t want to miss their colorful display!

A tractor-pulled wagon ride can tour you right around the fields or you can do what missjunebug did and walk the paths beside the colorful rows! She’s promises you it will be some of the most beautiful exercise you will ever get!

Pretty in Pink! Photo by mjb2011
Pretty in Pink! Photo by mjb2011
Flower Fields as Far as the Eye Can See! Photo by mjb2011
Flower Fields as Far as the Eye Can See! Photo by mjb2011
Ridiculously Beautiful: Ranunculus! Photo by mjb2011
Ridiculously Beautiful: Ranunculus! Photo by mjb2011
Poinsettias Get Their Own Venue! Photo by mjb2011
Poinsettias Get Their Own Venue! Photo by mjb2011
Key Lime Pie Flower!!! (jk) Photo by mjb2011
Key Lime Pie Flower!!! (jk) Photo by mjb2011
Carlsbad Ranch History in Brief! Photo by mjb2011
Carlsbad Ranch History in Brief! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug agrees: Flowers Rock! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug agrees: Flowers Rock! Photo by mjb2011
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Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark Rocks!

Wow! That's a Lot of Great Produce and a Delicious Sweet Treat for 21 tiny dollars!  Photo by mjb2010
Wow! That's a Lot of Great Produce and a Delicious Sweet Treat for 21 tiny dollars! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug suggests you remember this website name: www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com. And this addy: 3370 Sunset Valley Road
off of Tierra Rejada Road in Moorpark, California. And this motto: Discover Underwood Family Farms “bringing you back to the farm.”

She took a leisurely stroll through the colorful farmer’s market area and came away with a treasure trove of delicious vegetables and fruits without paying a king’s ransom. In fact, missjunebug wants you to know that what you see pictured above set her back a mere 21 dollars. Now all she has to do is throw in a little protein and she’s got dinners for the rest of the week. And don’t overlook the little treat missjunebug picked up for herself included in that tiny price tag: Honees Honey Filled Drops Pure liquid honey inside every drop! Did missjunebug mention how delicious these little candy treats are? Believe it! Sweet and soothing and she says, “Just one more, please” as she unwraps another and pops it into her happy mouth!

Honees are just about as sweet as a trip to Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark. But not quite! Check out their website to find out more about the fun family doings at this rare way to spend your day in the era of blogging (mjb guilty as charged,) web surfing, twittering, facebooking, and general self-absorption via technology that knows no bounds (actually a pretty good thing!). Here’s a shortlist of the fun available down on the farm: Birthday Parties for wee ones, Pick-Your-Own Produce (check out their website for what’s currently in season), School Tours, Fun Rides, and, of course, the fab Farmer’s Market with Specialty Gifts & Products and Fruit & Vegetable Gift Baskets!!!  And the people working there are Super Friendly, too.

missjunebug wants to know What are you waiting for? Grab that cowboy hat (she knows you have one up in that hall closet somewhere) and head down to Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark. There’s one in Somis, too! Fun x 2 for mjb and you!

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Plethora of Poppies at Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve!

Poppies Galore! Photo by mjb2010
Poppies Galore! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug and Mr.JB took a little field trip out to the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve in Lancaster, California this weekend. It was time for some serious natural decompression what with taxes being due and Icelandic volcanic ash clouds wreaking havoc with ElderJB’s travel-back-to-Africa plans! What a week!

Those glorious little bursts of orange x 10 kamillion did the trick! mjb and Mr.JB arrived early enough to score a good parking space and she recommends you do the same if you don’t want to wait in the long line of cars that begins to form somewhere around 10 am. Trust her when she says, “Arrive early!”

missjunebug and Mr.JB grabbed their jackets and their cameras and wandered the little trails taking picture after picture. So many poppies! So little time!  They enjoyed looking at the skittering lizards, listening to the melodic birdies flying around and even talking to some of the other onlookers.

mjb took a chance and said “Ni Hao” to a trio of friendly Chinese tourists enjoying their visit to the Poppy Preserve. missjunebug had a fun time telling them how much she and Mr.JB had enjoyed their country in two recent trips to China and they were pleased to hear it. missjunebug is a big believer in promoting understanding between cultures and it’s fun, too!

Further up the trail Mr.JB concentrated on taking some of the best nature photos he’d ever taken! missjunebug can say this now because she’s seen them herself and they put her little point n’ shoots to shame, but she’s happy to share her p-n-s’s here anyway. Enjoy! And get out to see those poppies before they disappear!

Mr.JB Heads Up the Trail to Track Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Mr.JB Heads Up the Trail to Track Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
More Glorious Orange! Photo by mjb2010
More Glorious Orange! Photo by mjb2010
Upclose and Personal with Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Upclose and Personal with Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Little Lupine Loll with the Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Little Lupine Loll with the Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
A Little Lizard Leaps into the Scene! Photo by mjb2010
A Little Lizard Leaps into the Scene! Photo by mjb2010
Poppies Mostly! Photo by mjb2010
Poppies Mostly! Photo by mjb2010
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Getty Villa: It’s All About the Glass!!

Welcome to the Getty Villa!! Photo by mjb2010
Welcome to the Getty Villa!! Photo by mjb2010
missjunebug's Super Fav: Mini-Me-style Ancient Skeleton!! Photo by mjb2010
missjunebug's Super Fav: Mini-Me-style Ancient Skeleton!! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug sees clearly that for her and many others it’s all about the glass at the Getty Villa. The glass and the tiny skeleton!! Molten Glass of ancient times is truly an awesome thing.

Yes, the urns are gorgeous in their understated blacks and oranges and reds and whites, telling stories of the Trojan War. Yes, the statuary of animals, gods, emperors, and even a few everyday peeps  are well, statuesque! Yes, the grounds are exquisite replete with meticulously groomed herb gardens, fanciful fountains, and shapely trees.

But nothing comes close to the wonder of ancient glass on display in a little room on the 2nd floor at the Getty Villa! Delicate, frothy, molded, mosaic, milky, crystal clear, striped, sparkly, multi-colored yellows, greens, blues, golds, and reds swirled like ribbon candy from a Christmas stocking!

Delicious eye candy! Amazing ancient artisans! Take a look:

Shiny, Pretty Things! Photo by mjb2010
Shiny, Pretty Things! Photo by mjb2010
Shiny, Pretty Things Part Deux! Photo by mjb2010
Shiny, Pretty Things Part Deux! Photo by mjb2010
Nifty Vases! Photo by mjb2010
Nifty Vases! Photo by mjb2010
Lovely x 10! Photo by mjb2010
Lovely x 10! Photo by mjb2010
What a color palette! Photo by mjb2010
What a color palette! Photo by mjb2010
Seriously one of mjb's Favs! Photo by mjb2010
Seriously one of mjb's Favs! Photo by mjb2010
Exquisite Doesn't Even Come Close! Photo by mjb2010
Exquisite Doesn't Even Come Close! Photo by mjb2010
Glass Cutaways that Reveal Beautiful Secrets of Structure! Photo by mjb2010
Glass Cutaways that Reveal Beautiful Secrets of Structure! Photo by mjb2010

Xie-xie to Bowers Museum for Awesome Silk Road Exhibition!

Ancient Travelers Leave Their Secrets Along the Silk Road of China! Photo by mjb2010
Ancient Travelers Leave Their Secrets Along the Silk Road of China! Photo by mjb2010

Just when Mr.JB and missjunebug begin to talk nostalgically about their travels to China last year and the year before, along comes the Bowers Museum with an exhibition to supply that longing with perfectly selected artifacts, tastefully presented, and fully explained in an audio tour! Last year it was the Terra Cotta Warriors that supplied the need; this year the Bowers has something even better: the first showing ever of Chinese mummies in the U.S. A preposterous coup for curators of the museum!

Way to negotiate, President Peter Keller and board member Anne Shih with the Xinhiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum and the Xinjiang Institute of Archeology to secure the two amazing mummies and the other fine artifacts for public viewing!

In the 150-item exhibit, the museum goer will find two of the most amazingly well preserved Caucasoid mummies he or she is likely to see anywhere in the world. The “Beauty of Xiaohe” is the star of the show. In the audio tour Victor Mair professor of Chinese language and literature nicknames her the Marlene Dietrich of the Desert  for her  haunting, captivating beauty. missjunebug’s take on her: No botox needed here thanks to the dessicating salt and hot sand environment that encapsulated and preserved her. The beauty abides at 3800 years old!

The other mummy in the exhibit is a swaddled baby perfectly cocooned in a blanket, blue stones covering tiny eyes. Along side the baby, an ancient “baby bottle” fashioned from a goat’s udder will no doubt provide nourishment in the after life. missjunebug hopes this little one fairs better there.

In addition to the fab mummies, there are a pleasing plethora of artifacts, textiles, statuary, and many other ancient wonders to delight the eye and fill the mind with wonder. Don’t miss the veiled lady on horseback, the bronze eyeshades, the nifty slippers, the intricate robes of Yingpan Man, a mummy who didn’t make the trip but whose funeral clothing did! missjunebug wonders what he’s wearing now.

There is even a mouthwatering exhibit of a 1,000 year old wonton, a spring roll complete with dessicated goodies still inside, and a delightful and perfectly shaped chrysanthemum dessert that looks, well, good enough to eat!!

missjunebug encourages all her readers to check out this fine exhibit! Here are the necessary details:

Bowers Museum   2002 N. Main Street   Santa Ana, CA

Through July 25: 10am-4pm  Tuesdays-Sundays

A bargain at $16-$20

missjunebug encourages you to order tickets online at www.bowers.org and have them ready for you at Will Call. Parking is a measly 2 dollars! You can’t beat these numbers, people. Hop in your car next weekend and get some China culture going. The next thing you know you’ll be booking your flight to Beijing and traveling west along the Silk Road to find out these amazing secrets for yourself first hand.

The Grand Entrance! Photo by mjb2010
The Grand Entrance! Photo by mjb2010
Interior Courtyard Delights! Photo by mjb2010
Interior Courtyard Delights! Photo by mjb2010
Beauty of Oxen Secured in Stone. Photo by mjb2010
Beauty of Oxen Secured in Stone. Photo by mjb2010
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Caught in Neptune’s Net

A Gem on the PCH! Photo by mjb2010
A Gem on the PCH! Photo by mjb2010

So yesterday Mr.JB and missjunebug had a little field trip to the Pacific Coast Highway. Mr.JB thought it would be cool to try to take a few pictures of the transit of the International Space Station across the sun! What a wackadoo idea but missjunebug thought “Why not?” If it hadn’t been for that seriously messed up SigAlert at Topanga Canyon around 3pm, they would have made it, but alas, it was not to be. Mr.JB needed about 60 more seconds to get his equipment set up and camera focused. missjunebug is not kidding. It came down to a matter of 60 seconds. She has two words for that: Ri Diculous.

Mr.JB shook off his extreme disappointment and missjunebug suggested Neptune’s Net for a soothing brewskie and some seriously fried seafood. Nothing like fried something to take your mind off your troubles. The drive up the PCH to Countyline and  Neptune’s Net was gloriously uneventful and beautiful x 10. And believe missjunebug when she says she really enjoyed her Stella and Fried Clams. As for Mr.JB, those shrimp tacos cured any residual grumpiness about missing the sun shot. missjunebug highly recommends just about everything on the Neptune’s Net menu and you can’t beat the view of sun, surf, boarders, and bikers.

The good news is that Mr.JB tracked down a new location for another shot at the space station making its way across the face of the sun. Saturday’s destination: Buellton and its fab pea soup! And another chance to get a real hot shot! Here’s hoping for clear roads, a photogenic sun, and a delicious lunch.

Oh. My. Yes. Stella and Some Fried Clams! Photo by mjb2010
Oh. My. Yes. Stella and Some Fried Clams! Photo by mjb2010
Yes! Shrimp Tacos! Delicious! Photo by mjb2010
Yes! Shrimp Tacos! Delicious! Photo by mjb2010
Board Ready! Photo by mjb2010
Board Ready! Photo by mjb2010
The View From Here: Surfers Prepare! Photo by mjb2010
The View From Here: Surfers Prepare! Photo by mjb2010
The View from Here Part Deux! Photo by mjb2010
The View from Here Part Deux! Photo by mjb2010
Bikers on Break! Photo by mjb2010
Bikers on Break! Photo by mjb2010
Nice Reflections on Neptune's Net! Photo by mjb2010
Nice Reflections on Neptune's Net! Photo by mjb2010
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African Animals Amaze missjunebug

Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug has been looking through her fab iPhoto collections recently and decided to put together a little photo essay of her Amazing Animal Finds in Africa! Mr.JB and missjunebug had the good fortune to travel to Uganda and Rwanda (with a day trip to to the lava flows of  the Democratic Republic of Congo) and view the zoo animals of their childhood on the animals’ home turf. What an experience!

Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
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99 Reasons Minus 90 to Shop 99¢ Only Stores

Easter Treasures 99¢!!   Photo by mjb2009
Easter Treasures 99¢!! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug could probably come up with the full complement of 99 reasons to shop a 99¢ Only Store but, frankly, she’s got more pressing things to attend to. Trust her that there are 99 of ’em. Here’s the best of the bunch:

1. It’s such a weird-ass store. missjunebug’s dear friend says, “You might feel like you need a shower after you get out of there,” but missjunebug says, “You’ll have such a mind-blowing experience and such fun stuff in your shopping bag when you’ve recovered your senses (!) that you’ll be grinning all the way to your car and you’ll forget about how grappy you feel (mjb neologism: a X between grody & crappy).

2. Seasonally speaking, right now the 99¢ Only Store is Easter Central! Pink Styrofoam glitter bunnies, plastic yellow chicks that lay little colorful gumball eggs, synthetic Easter baskets galore complete with synthetic grass, a crap-ton of jelly beans imported from Mexico, Cadbury eggs, vanilla creme, caramel creme, and a new one for mjb this year, orange creme just to name a few of the quadtrillion Easter items you’ll find!!!

3. It’s Cadbury Creme Eggs headquarters, too.  mjb knows she already mentioned these creamy, chocolatey, delicious orbs in #2, but this find is so important it gets its own number. Yes, missjunebug knows these candies are cloyingly sweet but, hey, she only eats them once a year. Just don’t ask how many she eats once a year.

4. The savvy shopper will find lots and lots of obscure brands of shampoos, conditioners, lotions, bath oils, soaps, fragrances, bath gels, creams, and emollients in pastel colors of pinks and lavendars. To describe them as off-brands doesn’t fully capture their full-blown obscurity (oxymoron??). mjb says this despite The 99¢ Only Store promotional copy online that says “The 99¢ Only Store is a unique deep-discount retailer of primarily name-brand consumable general merchandise.” Primarily name-brand?  Hmmm. Maybe mjb hasn’t shopped the right aisles yet. It is a big store!

5. Presbyopic baby boomers who’ve recently suffered a 401K or 2 setback and can no longer shell out for designer prescription reading glasses at Lenscrafters can find awesome reading glasses to choose from.  Hey, even Dame Elizabeth Taylor proudly owned the fact to Larry King on CNN‘s Larry King Show that she’d picked up her colorful glasses at a 99¢ Only Store. If it’s good enough for MizzLiz, it’s good enough for missjunebug.

5. Cool kid toys. Her latest find: Spiderman assemble-it-yourself gliders. Enough said.

6. Fresh fruits & vegetables! Yeah, missjunebug can’t wait to buy her fruits & vegetables at the 99¢ Only Store! Who needs Whole Foods?

7. Fresh dairy products! mjb asks that you refer back to Reason #6.

8. Canned goods in vast array that will support just about any recipe in the fab 99¢ Only Store Cookbook. Yeah, there is such a tome. There’s even some helpful video demos at the 99¢ Only Store website. Watch as the author of the book creates these mini pumpkin pies by slapping some dough in muffin tins and plopping some pumpkin filling right in the little crusts. Don’t forget the 99¢ whipped topping!

9. missjunebug will remind her readers lest they miss the obvious: everything is 99¢!!!!!

If you’re not convinced yet what a great value 99¢ Only Stores are, maybe Great Art will turn your head. Yes, that’s right. 99¢ Only Stores have been valorized in a huge-ass photograph taken by famous photographer Andreas Gursky. Appropriately, it’s named 99 Cent and it fully captures the surreal beauty of the 99¢ Only Store. Google it for yourself and see. The photograph has been on display in big-city museums all over the country and recently sold for well over 99¢, going for $3,346,456. And that’s no chump change. mjb says, “Support the arts, shop at 99¢ Only Stores”

mjbTip: Get out there, have some fun, and do some 99¢ treasure hunting!

mjb Common Cents Wisdom     Photo by mjb2009
mjb Common Cents Wisdom Photo by mjb2009
Even The Easter Bunny Shops Here!    Photo by mjb2009
Even The Easter Bunny Shops Here! Photo by mjb2009
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Tiny Print Big Impact: Magna Carta at Reagan Library

The view from here: Reagan Library photographed by mjb2009
The view from here: Reagan Library photographed by mjb2009
A scan of the Magna Carta, signed by John of E...
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday missjunebug took a field trip with a dear friend to the Reagan Library to take a first-hand look at one of four extant copies of the Magna Carta. Despite the tiny print and the Latin text, there was no mistaking the profound impact the document has had throughout Western civilization up to, including, and beyond our own Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

mjb remembered two salient factoids from her history studies in high school: King John wrote it and 1215 was the year. The place? She couldn’t come up with that. It’s Runnymede, a little meadow alongside the River Thames in the county of Surrey, England where King John and the barons sealed the deal.

King John didn’t like it much, but as mjb says to herself frequently, if it’s hard to do, it’s probably right to do. Props to King John for doing the right thing: guaranteeing protection against imprisonment without cause (habeas corpus), speedy justice, and  inheritance rights for widows to name a few.

This “Great Charter” paved the way for advancing the rule of law and human rights. Think this history is just that, history? Think again: The Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Dec. 4, 1996) draws from the principles set forth in the Magna Carta over 800 years ago.

As for the Reagan Library, mjb encourages everyone visiting SoCal to head over to Simi Valley, plop down 12 dollars, and enjoy all the exhibits it has to offer, including the Magna Carta exhibit which is around until mid-June or so. Money well spent.

After your tour, take a moment to have a seat on one of the benches that looks out over the gorgeous chapparel landscape rolling down into Simi Valley. Check out the great shot above this post that missjunebug got on her iPhone. Too cool for school. If you’ve worked up an appetite trapsing through history, have a snack in the new cafe. Great views from there, too.

mjbTip: Field trip it up!

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