Dinner Adventure at Spare Parts Bistro

pare Parts Bistro Pop up Dinner


To round up the week on the Santa Barbara Funk Zone, the public art and penny cafe,  I had an amazing dinner adventure at Spare Parts Bistro!  Spare Parts Bistro is a pop up dinner or otherwise called a supper club experience. What’s that you ask?  It’s a weekly 5-course prix fixe dinner put together by a chef and a restaurateur at a location that will be sent to you only after you RSVP (and yes the location is still in the Santa Barbara area)! Each weekly dinner only seats 20 and it’s all at a communal table where you get to know other fun people, learn about each course as its served and have a great dinner adventure!

The dinner adventure began when we entered The Loft which was the location for this inner. Outside The Loft was just as interesting as the graffiti type art mural in the entry hall!

The Loft entry

Graffiti Art at the Loft for Spare Parts Bistro

The dinner menu is never the same and Spare Parts Bistro uses local ingredients with interesting twists. What it meant for me was expanding my food horizons! Yes, both my husband and I thought we might need to pick up a sandwich ‘after’ the dinner because half of the courses had things we weren’t quite sure about. Here’s the amazing menu which was truly amazing! 

Spare Parts Bistro menu

Spare Parts Bistro Food

I can’t say enough good things about the food itself since I ate every bit ! My favorite of course had to be the toffee candied bacon crowing the maple creme brulee – who doesn’t like bacon on their dessert!  What you should know is I ate every enjoyable bite and I’m not a seafood fan, I never have tried lamb outside of a gyro and creme brulee is never in my dessert line-up.  The same was true for my husband too. No after dinner sandwich was needed!

If your ever in the area check out the Spare Parts Bistro dinner and if not, check your town for a pop up dinner, farm table event or supper club!

Enjoy being adventurous about your food and spend time with great people making dinner an adventure!


Pennies For Decor

The Lucky Penny Cafe

Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is….Pennies for decor! This is the latest cafe coming to the Santa Barbara Funk Zone The Lucky Penny set to open in June.  No chance yet to check out the food but I had to share the amazing work of pennies that cover the entire outside of cafe.

Luv the way copper shines and that it’s used on a building (let’s not ask who’s going to clean the pennies after they tarnish!).

Penny Building


Pennies as decor seem to be one of the latest trends. Check out these floors, countertops  and tabletops…amazing patience and possibly the best use of pennies yet! Put those 5 gallon penny jars to good use and make it shine!  And yes, you can also go upscale and use dimes or nickels too.

Penny floor

Source: Makezine.com


Penny Countertop

Source: Makezine.com

Penny table

Source: Lushome.com

And if those aren’t enough ideas, you can basically use it to decorate any type of surface…backsplashes, wall frames, outdoor walls.

Enjoys creating a glowing copper piece or just stop by The Lucky Penny or anyplace like it!

New Art in Santa Barbara Funk Zone

Santa Barbara Funk Zone Mural


This week- although a bit delayed in starting the week – is all about the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara, CA.  Why? It’s another visit and this place always gets creative and there is always something new!  The Funk Zone has just had a great write up in Sunset magazine so expect this little piece of funkiness will be much bigger in a year.

Remember the art mural wall from this post which was already amazing – but expect nothing to stay the same in this neighborhood! With all the creative vibes going on in this area you’ll always get some interesting mural art..this is one of the latest updates on the Public Art Funk Zone mural wall.

Funk Zone Santa Barbara


This is the first black and white public art mural I’ve seen in the Funk Zone and it really gels with the classic theme of the mural … art medium is spray paint which is always pretty impressive!


Funk Zone Art Mural


Lucky enough to see artists in action creating their piece…

Funk Zone Painters in action


There’s always more around the corner too…

Funk Zone Wall Murals


Enjoy checking out local public art or if you’re in the neighborhood spend some time walking the Santa Barbara Funk Zone art mural!

Where to Hike and What to Bring?

This week I’ve been sharing some great hikes you can do even if you only have 1 hour!  It’s not always about hiking in a lush forest or in snow-capped mountains. Sometimes it’s places a little different like The Dead Hike or the Waterfall  hike.  No one says hiking has to be in a forest, so if you prefer the ocean scene check out local beach hike …with shoes or without!

Ocean hike Ventura County


Ocean hikes usually mean finding great shells, crawling creatures and of course seaweed animals…

Ocean Hike Seaweed Animal


Still don’t know where to hike and need inspiration? Check out these websites or load up an app too!  Big reminder on the app use, don’t depend on them for your map when you are out hiking – you may end up out of range and without a signal!

Map My Hike  – hiking trails plus lots of features if you want track your excercise, food intake and more. Has a mobile app too iMapmyhike

National Park Day Hikes – plan your next road trip to a National Park with a great day hike! Check out their mobile app on itunes

Every Trail  – local hikes in your area with reviews and ratings

Local Hikes – local hikes near metropolitan areas, reviews, ratings and filters in case you are looking for dog friendly hikes or destinations like waterfalls

So now you have a couple of sources to find a hike now what to bring? Make sure you bring the TEN Essentials as they are commonly called, so you don’t wind up needing this ride to get you home…

Source: Malibu Search & Rescue

Enjoy your spare time on a great hike!


Hike to a Waterfall

Duvall Waterfall Hike

Need more motivation than a dirt path to get out an enjoy a hike? Hike to a waterfall is a great treat for motivation. Who knew this hike would include a waterfall, an island and two log chairs to lunch on in a spot of sun!  This is Cherry Creek Falls hike in Duvall, WA.

Great local hike and not too crazy you can’t bring young ones under 5 …although expect you’ll end up carrying one at some point on the way back.

Why it’s worth the journey?

  • Water …who doesn’t luv to wade in cool water after hiking and for kids it’s always fun to race sticks and leaves, skip rocks and generally get wet!
  • Lunch on an island...need I say more? It’s a slice of vacation less than an hour from home
  • Great big logs to try out your tightrope walking skills …even adults like this challenge
  • Chairs…who doesn’t appreciate a chair to rest on especially when it’s next to a waterfall

Enjoy your time hiking to a waterfall – it’s worth the journey and the destination!

The Dead Hike

Sycamore Canyon Hike Ventura County


Sometimes you just need to get out! We’ve been taking time on recent weekends and checking out local hiking spots. Nothing too crazy just 1 hour round trip and with our youngest that usually amounts to 3-4 miles.  What makes it great is we try to make it about the journey and not the destination.

Our journey recently was Sycamore Canyon in Ventura County, CA.  About a month ago the area …plus 39,000 other acres were under a massive wild-fire – hence the dead hike! We really just wanted to see if it had life yet. Totally surprising – the amount of green popping up everywhere!

What makes it a cool journey for young or old and the non-hiker?

  • Singing – made up songs about dead things seemed to be chart busters this trip
  • Making up names for interesting plants…the FIRE PINEAPPLE..our scientific  name for a plant we thought looked like a pineapple coming back to life

Fire Pineapples


  • Finding Live animals... or insects (are rolly pollies insects – I have no idea but they are the best animals to hold in the wild) 

Rolly Pollies Live On

  • Finding dead animals…not sure if snails are animals but their white shells made a stunning contrast with the dirt!  We did find a dead, partially exposed skeleton of a field mouse but thought it might be wierd to share it here. I still took a photo and we admired the extra long teeth and spine.  Ok if you really want to see it leave a comment and I’ll post it.

Dead Snails


Convinced yet to venture out in your area on a hike? Go ahead take a walk on a dirt path you’ll feel awesome!

Enjoy some time getting out on a local hike!

Garden Pots Re-Imagined

teapot Garden Pots

Yes you can use the standard garden pot in all it’s usual varieties like clay, wood and plastic or …you can re-imagine ordinary containers as garden pots! Keep them for yourself or give them as gifts. I’ve tried tealights, votives, vases and books all with great success! Click on the photos to jump to the source

Teapots and teacups make great garden pots!
(Top photo source: Architextureartdesigns.com)

Concrete blocks are a great garden pot, wall and table all in one!

Concrete blocks as garden pots

Source: Shelterness.com

You can DIY your own garden pot from your lastest food and beverage container (aka the milk jug, yogurt or OJ container)

DIY Concrete pots

Source: radmegan

A succulent garden planted in an old boot.

Have a unique lighting fixture

Industrial light fixture becomes garden pot

Source: Sunset.com

Yes you can even put your silver items to a new purpose- and you don’t even have to polish it…tarnish makes it chic too!

Silver Cup Garden pot

Source: FactoryDirectcraft.com

Enjoy re-imaginging your garden pots…anything can be used!

DIY Garden Gazing Treats




DIY Garden gazing ball

Since I shared the dresser turned DIY potting bench thought I’d keep heading down the garden path this week. So… on to sharing DIY garden gazing treats! Every garden spot – even if it’s a container deserves a little extra surprise.  Don’t have a garden or the green thumb? These still make great indoor decor too! These are all based on transforming and old bowling ball.
Click on each photo for the source.

DIY Garden Gazing Ball (top photo)- yep it’s a bowling ball underneath all the sparkle (Source: HGTV)

DIY Garden coin bowling ball

DIY Coin Gazing Ball  (Source: Garden Web)

DIY Critter Gazing Ball

DIY Critter Gazing Ball (bowling ball, glue plastic lizards and spray paint hammered bronze Source: Pinterest)

And of course I won’t leave you non- DIY’ers hanging without an option – here’s a great mosaic version on Etsy you can have arriving on your doorstep!

Gazing Ball Mosaic Garden Sphere


(Source: GardenandCrafts on Etsy.com)

Enjoy creating your own DIY gazing garden treats in your spare time!

Dresser to DIY Potting Bench

dresser for potting benchDIY Dresser potting bench

Take one rickety old dresser (free from garage sale) with great pale turquoise chippy paint and repurpose as a DIY Potting Bench!  I’m not going to claim this DIY Potting Bench is glam but for me it’s part of my reclaiming and repurposing plan.

I’ve been wanting a small potting bench for a long time and found this dresser that fits my outdoor space perfectly! The drawers were falling apart and the dresser top was so warped and dry that my drawers filled with rain. Which is when I learned not to store garden stuff, especially seed packets in the drawers-luckily nothing sprouted!

On a scale of easy to hard I’d say this project falls about a medium if you feel comfortable already using a few power tools. So here’s the DIY repurposing plan:


  • 3 – 24″ pre-cut pieces of wood (I used Poplar wood)
  • 1 box of brad nails
  • 1 box of galvanized wood nails
  • Paint (spray or latex)


  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer

1. Remove all the drawers and the board from the dresser top

2. Using brad nails reinforce -aka- add more nails to the entire dresser frame (mine was so rickety the entire frame sent sideways after I removed all the top dresser boards!)

3. Disassemble the dresser drawers with your hammer- yes this is a great task to take out all your stress! Save the wood pieces that aren’t too warped or rotted

4. Use your jigsaw to cut out the dresser drawer bars in front

5. Put on your ” I’m an architect” and bring back all those memories of building with Lego or maybe you just played King Kong on your brother’s Lego creations!

6. Replace the boards on the top of the dresser and nail to the frame. If you are wondering how to figure out where to nail I’d suggest measuring from the edge of the board to the frame and then plotting your line of names on the boards.  I apparently acquired the “eyeball it straight” gene so this piece was just eyeballed – Yes I know, I hate people like that too!

New wood top to planting bench


7. After saving just the drawer fronts I had enough of a ledge at the bottom of the dresser to add a shelf.  I’m sure you have a carpenter friend they could whip up a shelf anywhere you want it and even make sure it won’t fall.  P.S. I don’t have a carpenter friend so I did my own version.

The bottom 3 boards have a brace (piece of wood) going down the middle,  they are all nailed to keep it shelf like.  Yes, I’m going to share my very ghetto picture of the ‘underneath’ of my shelf which is proof I’m not a carpenter! You’ll also notice I forgot to flip one of the boards so all the painted sides were together.

DIY Potting bench shelf


8. Install shelf and admire handy work!

DIY Dresser to potting bench

9. Paint dresser top if you choose and voila a DIY Potting Bench using reclaimed wood!

DIY Dresser potting bench

Enjoy creating your own DIY Potting Bench or enlisting that carpenter friend to build one for you!