Wine Tasting

Temecula Toyota and Tranquility Our Weekend Getaway #Sponsored @ToyotaLatino #Prius #LetsGoPlaces

Posted on June 10th, 2017 by & filed under Blog Venture, Events, Everything Miz Meliz, sponsored, Travel

Temecula, Toyota, and Tranquility, Our Weekend Getaway

Let me tell you about my experience at the Temecula Valley Wine & Balloon Festival sponsored by Toyota Latino #LetsGoPlaces #VayamosJuntos…A huge thank you to Toyota Latino (check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram ) for hosting me and Lito on this amazing weekend getaway and giving me the opportunity to review the Prius Four! Please see my disclosure for details on why I post articles like this on MizMeliz.com. It was my pleasure to share my experience with you, all opinions are entirely my own (with some input from Lito.)

I am excited about getting away for the weekend! Let’s go!

Temecula

It was time for a romantic weekend getaway! Lito and I have lived in Southern California all our lives. We have been married twenty-five years. Can you believe we have never been to the Temecula Valley? It is just a short three hour drive from our home in Los Angeles (depending on traffic) and we have heard about how amazing it is, but we had not been there. So, when we got a chance to get away for the weekend and check out the 34th Annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, it sounded like a dream!

Driving out to the festival felt like getting away from it all!

The Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival is the perfect combination of many of my favorite things. Lito and I had a great time there! I felt like a kid when I walked through the gates! It was like a fairytale.

Taking the drive in the 2017 Toyota Prius Four was magical from the start. I had fun driving it. Lito took the pictures and we posted on Snapchat along the way. After a long day of doing errands around town, stopping at the dentist – which happened to be the only thing we couldn’t reschedule that day, grabbing lunch and making our way to Temecula, we finally were on the road to the festival. It was a long and windy road. (giggles) It was! Imagine it, a beautiful sunny and warm day, great music, a fun car to drive, my hunny by side and I am on my way to enjoy the best wine, listen to live bands (Bush, The Gin Blossoms) and see giant helium balloons light up the night!! It was a dream for me!

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If you have a chance to go to the annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, I highly recommend it. There is plenty to do there, even camping by Lake Skinner within walking distance. (Actual walking distance, the same as you would do from the parking lot – not hiking or having to take a shuttle, the campgrounds are right there.) I mention this because I wouldn’t have thought of a Balloon Festival/wine event as a family outing at first. However, there is plenty to do for the whole family. The festival part did not disappoint. The food and entertainment, craft fair booths, live music, and of course The BALLOONS would keep the kids happy and occupied while you taste wine and beer from the region to your heart’s content. Everything was clean, beautiful, well controlled, and very well organised.

The vineyards and estates that lined the road on the way to the festival were breathtaking!

There are two stages with bands playing almost non-stop over the three days of the festival. There are balloon ride packages available. There are wine tasting packages or you can have a single taste, all purchased separate from the admission ticket. There are plenty of options for meals. Make sure you have cash! Although most of the booths and vendors accept credit cards, the remote location has some limitations with internet connection. This made it difficult for the card readers to work, and the ATM machines also could not function in some spots.

Cheers!

I have to admit, I’m not that in to wine these days. In our younger days Lito and I did our fair share of wine tasting and enjoyed learning about wine. I can’t drink a lot of wine now because of dietary restrictions, or shall we say…lifestyle choices. I found it very easy to have a single taste while at the festival and there were volunteer stewards there to help me choose just the right thing. For my celebratory selection, I went with a peach champagne. It was c’est magnifique! If you are a wine aficionado, this would be a great place to try all the wines of the region in one location. Every winery in the area was represented. It was impressive. Check out the website for more details.

Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival

37701 Warren Road

Winchester, CA 92596

Toyota

I was so excited to have the opportunity to experience the Prius Four – with an EPA-estimated 54/50 MPG. With advanced materials, an innovative design, Prius promised to deliver the perfect drive. It turned out to deliver much more!

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Even though I had driven the Prius all day on the way to the festival, it was on the way out of the parking lot that I really got acquainted with all the features this model has to offer. We sat in the car for over two hours as the thousands of automobiles were slowly ushered out of the multiple parking areas through that one windy road we came in on. We looked at it as a positive since we had a great vehicle that was equipped for this kind of thing, we were actually charging the battery as we sat listening to music, reading the manuals, and playing with all the buttons and dials! We didn’t have to worry about turning off the engine, wasting fuel, or putting out emissions. It was pretty cool.

Here are my Five Favorite Things About the Prius Four:

  1. It Feels Like a Car – I never drove a hybrid before this and it wasn’t at all what I thought. It felt like a car. It didn’t feel like an electric golf cart. It was sturdy, great to drive, it had power, I loved the steering and handling, and I felt safe in it. The doors are heavy, the base is solid. It did have that “whirrr” sound when accelerating like a ride at Disneyland, which was strange. I usually drive a Jeep Wrangler, so nothing about that sounds cute! I liked that this Prius did not need to be “plugged in” to charge. It was everything I would expect from a vehicle, with more ways to save energy.
  2. Light Leather Interior – Living in a part of the country that gets temperatures of 80-100 degrees most of the time, I appreciate a cool interior. I also love leather. The two together are usually a disaster on a hot day. Not so with the Prius Four – I imagine it was the color that made the difference. It was very stylish with white on black. The dashboard was very modern and state of the art – futuristic even! I liked the crisp angles and large lettering and numbers. The design was fresh, from the fabric, to the little touches of metallic edges infused into the design that gave it a retro feel.
  3. Blind Spot Assist – The design of the Prius Four creates a big blind spot and Toyota has a great feature that I was skeptical about at first. I like to look over my shoulder and see what is next to me and behind me. It didn’t take long to get used to the indicators on the side-view mirrors that let me know if there was something in my blind spot. That really helped.
  4. It’s Roomy – The Prius Four is a hatchback with lots of cargo space. It also has a lot of leg room and felt comfortable. It is a small, mid-sized car, yet I would enjoy having it as a commuter car that I could use for long trips as well as family outings.
  5. It’s Sporty and Cute! – Not just because the Prius Four that I reviewed was “Hypersonic Red” but the design is pretty cool. It’s sleek and sexy. The tail lights have a unique design. Lito called it my spaceship! We definitely enjoyed all the features the 2017 Toyota Prius offers!

Tranquility

 Toyota thought of everything when they treated us to this little getaway. We stayed at the Pala Casino Spa and Resort.

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After all the driving, balloons, and wine tasting, we were ready for some rest and relaxation! I’ve heard of some other Indian Reservation casinos in the Temecula Valley area before but I was not familiar with Pala. It was off the highway a bit, but that added to the adventure. It is a smallish hotel and casino and reminded me a little of “old Las Vegas.” Lito and I got some ice cream and walked around the gaming tables and slot machines after we got back from the wine and balloon festival. We thought about trying our luck. We ended up not playing because we really feel like winners already! We were very lucky to have this fun weekend together with all the activities, transportation, and lodging provided. We felt truly blessed. I didn’t want to risk losing any of that!

In the morning we walked around the beautifully landscaped grounds of the resort. We checked out the pool and cabanas. We took a little peak in the spa gift shop. I did a Facebook Live tour (see below) to share the experience. It was a very nice morning. I enjoyed my stay and would return to Pala anytime. The room was luxurious and spacious. Next time, I will try the spa services!

They have live bands perform in the center of the resort, as you can see them setting up in the video. This would be a great all inclusive destination for any occasion. It is especially nice because it is close to the Temecula Valley wine country and Oceanside, which is a beautiful seaside town in North San Diego County. We ended our trip with brunch in Oceanside and took some beautiful photos with the pier in the background. It was a great day!

Listening to ’80s music all the way home, played on Sirrus XM by Richard Blade, brought us back to our younger days for sure. The entire weekend in Temecula, with Toyota, gave us just the tranquility we needed to recharge our battery and enjoy the fun summer ahead!

Pala Casino Spa & Resort

Pala Casino Resort & Spa

11154 CA-76

Pala, CA 92059

A huge thank you to Toyota Latino (check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram ) for hosting me and Lito on this amazing weekend getaway and giving me the opportunity to review the Prius Four! Please see my disclosure for details on why I post articles like this on MizMeliz.com. It was my pleasure to share my experience with you, all opinions are entirely my own (with some input from Lito.) I was under no requirement or obligation to post this on my blog, nor did I receive any compensation for doing so. I was invited to drive the 2017 Toyota Prius Four for one week. We were treated to an overnight stay at the Pala Spa and Casino Resort, received a gift of $150 in Visa gift cards for gas and expenditures and two (2) general admission tickets to The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival. #ToyotaLatino #Prius #VayamosJuntos #LetsGoPlaces 

 

Fantastique French Wine Tasting & Art Exhibit #AD March 1st @WFMlosangeles

Posted on February 25th, 2014 by & filed under Discoveries, Everything Miz Meliz

This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Venice. (Disclosure)

Can you feel the moment?

The soothing ocean breezes.

The waves gently breaking on the shore.

The warm sun setting into the horizon.

A glass of wine in your hand.

Inspiring art all around. Mysterious. Fantastic. Poetic.

It’s Venice! It’s Fantastique!

This could be you!

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_15998389_a-glass-of-red-wine-at-sunset.html'>kosmos111 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Come to the wine tasting and art exhibit  at the Whole Foods in Venice, California on March 1st from 5 to 8 pm.

The event costs $10 per person and proceeds benefit the Whole Planet Foundation.

image005

 

Featured Wines

fantastique wines

 

Meet Germany based French artist, Gildas Coudrais

Coudrais has developed an international career in the last ten years with several exhibitions in Germany, France, Switzerland and the USA. He now uses his successful experience to create and illustrate original wine Labels. His designs bring a unique touch to the wine category.  After graduating from the university of art in Rennes (France) he designed theme cards for a French print company (1998-2004), taught art lessons for children and adults (till 2001) and also led an artist’s workshop for disabled people (2000.2004).  In 2004, he decided to leave France and moved to Germany where he is working and living with his wife and two daughters.ensemble 10 a 24 (Kopie)

Gildas CoudraisMagical use of yellow and red, light and airy, yet with a deep curiosity, Coudrais gets very close to the aesthetics of pop-culture. His work is reminiscent of large sized billboards on the Sunset Strip but remains loyal to European tradition. He experiments with a wide-ranged repertoire of history of art, which he combines, literally, with quotations from media, advertising and poetry. Taken out of context the parts lose their original meaning and values and the art becomes a multi-layered piece on its own, mysterious, fantastic and poetic.

For more information visit these Links:

FB Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/269677509864980/

Whole Foods Venice Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/wfmvenice

Whole Foods Market Website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/venice

Whole Foods Los Angeles Twitter https://twitter.com/WFMlosangeles

 

WFM Venice Logo

Let me know if you attend this Fantastique Event!

Santé

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Surrender to Your Inner “Cowboy” #BlogVenture

Posted on February 22nd, 2013 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

San Francisco, Here I Come!

“Adventure is out there, it’s heading our way So grab your scarf and goggles, let’s fly! I’ve mapped out our journey, we’re up here to stay. A sunset is our home. A moonbeam we will own. My Spirit of Adventure is you!”~Michael Giacchino

I was excited about my road trip to San Francisco for lots of reasons. I have had ‘Visit SF’ on my bucket list for a long time. I thought it would be with my hubby or even a trip with our kids – but I was thrilled to be going on a road trip with fellow blogger, Mary Lansing of Along Comes Mary!

The reason for this trip was a quest to meet and interview another blogger, Evan Sanders of The Better Man Project. He had just launched his book by the same title and invited many of his followers to a launch party in Palo Alto, CA over the weekend. It happened to be a free weekend for me and I thought I could take my son up and look at colleges along the way. As I began planning the little trip, I crowd-sourced the idea on my So Cal Lady Bloggers Facebook Group to see if anyone knew of a B&B or hotel that was blogger friendly, thinking I might get a good deal. I also contacted a relative that recently moved to a suburb of San Francisco and has offered me the use of her guest room. As I casted out my net, I snagged a few interested blogger buddies and a road trip/meet up was born!Blog Venture

The Spirit of Adventure

The spirit of adventure takes over in me when I think about travelling. I love exploring and letting vacations unfold. I like to have a light structure and be open to all the possibilities. I love meeting up with and visiting with friends and family along the way. When Mary and I set out, we talked and talked the whole way. We really got to know each other. One thing we have in common is that we take after our fathers. Our dads have always had the type of personality with which they made friends with everyone easily and always ran into people they knew everywhere they went. It was uncanny to my family that this happened to my dad on so many occasions. The same is true of Mary’s dad. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now when we are able to keep in touch with distant relatives and old friends on Facebook and with email, but long before that became an option – our dad’s had that friendly comaraderie with people all over the world. They left lasting impressions and their friendly and easy-going demeanor was always approachable. We both want to continue the tradition. We enjoy making friends along the way on our journey through life. Having the spirit of adventure and openness to possibilities running through our veins is one thing that made our spontaneous trip to San Francisco so much fun! This got me thinking. . . one of my core beliefs is based on being open to the possibilities that can be life changing—and believing that these possibilities may bring a greater sense of joy and fulfillment to my life.

So Cal in the Rear View

Cowboy-up

In Evan Sanders’ book, The Better Man Project, he mentions how he thinks he should have been born in the “cowboy era” when things were much simpler. He says, back then you could . . . “Jump on your horse and go. Didn’t matter where, you could just go for miles. If you needed to get away, there was always a new frontier waiting to be discovered. But most importantly, you could be at peace.”

“The cowboy symbolizes the free life, closely tied to the out-of-doors and nature. The impact of land, the grass, the rivers and streams and gushing springs, the color of the sky and the clouds, the climate and the weather, these things are characteristic of the real and the mythical cowboy cultures.” ~David Dary, Cowboy Culture

I had this “cowboy” feeling going on around the time that I heard about Evan’s party in Palo Alto. I felt the urge to go on an adventure and I wanted to get away. I felt a need to let go a little. Too much routine was getting to me. I actually went to Google maps and entered Palo Alto, CA. Where was it? How far a drive was it? What was it near? I checked my bank balance. Could I swing it? I had just told my hubby that we shouldn’t spend too much on Valentine’s Day and I knew a hotel or airfare was out of the question. But sharing the cost of gas and only having my own expenses to worry about was doable. The call of the road was beckoning me!Rainbow

Sometimes when I get this feeling, I will take a long drive by myself. I like to take the top down on the Jeep and drive up the coast. I will find a place to park and go for walks on the beach. Have a picnic. Shop. Explore. Alone. I like to get some solace now and then. Be introspective. Recharge. Listen to my heart. Let go. Surrender to the wind.

Bonding and Forming Lasting Relationships

This time, I felt like connecting with others and forging new relationships. I really felt a call to venture out to connect and reconnect with friends. I had the urge to spend a weekend networking and expanding my community. I was in the mood for “girl-time” and boy did I get it! I lost my voice from talking for three days straight and I enjoyed every minute!

I wanted to surrender and get away from the every day. I wanted to make the most of my time and have fun, too. I made my mission for the trip to use the time getting to know people and letting them get to know me. I opened myself up a bit. I actually enjoyed being me and I made the most of it. This was a chance for me to be the “pure me” – not the mom, or the wife, or the planner, or even the blogger. Just me and my rental car, my iPhone and my debit card! It was a blast!

I want to thank my husband and sons for being so very supportive of my ideas and my spirit of adventure. I know they all like to travel and would have loved to take a trip to San Francisco. They were very understanding of my reasons for my need to get away without them. We are a very close family but we respect the need to do things on our own at times. That goes for the mother, too! I am blessed!

Have a Hap-pea Day

It was a big risk! I went on this trip with someone I had only met a few times and barely knew. Since she is a blogger, I checked her out by looking at her online presence. I knew very little about Mary and she knew very little about me. There turned out to be a big age difference, but when we tried to guess each other’s age, the gap seemed much closer. This was a good thing. We found that we have much in common and we got along famously. We connected on many levels, but the most important factors we found to have in common is our love for blogging, our love of travel, and our love of 80’s music! By the time we arrived in San Francisco, we had eaten lunch at Pea Soup Anderson’s in Buelton, gone wine tasting in Solvang, searched for garlic ice cream in Gilroy, and become great friends!

Miz Meliz in BeulltonWine Tastes

The San Francisco Treat

We stayed at a wonderful new Bed & Breakfast in South San Francisco. Just kidding! We stayed with a family friend of mine (my husband’s cousin) and her husband and their two young sons. Their hospitality matched that of the best B&B’s around and we were particularly impressed with the wait staff. The cute little boys not only carried our bags, provided turn down service, brought us coffee and snacks, but also snuggled in bed with us! It was a heart-warming experience. There was a lot of trust, a – lot – of – trust with bringing a stranger along with me to stay in the home of a family friend!! That was the biggest risk of all. I thank my lucky stars that it turned out as great as it did! (I did have a back-up plan. It would have been costly, but if Mary and I didn’t “click” I planned on checking in to a hotel.) But, luckily, she fit right in and has become an extended member of the family. Our gracious hosts made their guest rooms comfortable and our stay was an A+ experience thanks to them!Our Hosts

Over the weekend Mary and I spent a significant amount of time connecting with friends, making new friends and interviewing bloggers. We also did some sightseeing. We went to breakfast at the Squat & Gobble in the Castro District and the food was amazing! We spent the afternoon taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and driving around the city. We went to the Walt Disney Family Museum at the famous Presidio and we saw the Snow White Exhibit. Our friendship grew during this day as we shared these experiences together. Mary and I took lots of pictures and we were fortunate to be in one of the most famous cities in the world on a gorgeous sunny winter day. A few times along the way Mary asked me, “What do you want to do right now?” Which I kindly responded, “I’m doing it!” Truthfully, it didn’t matter exactly where we went to eat or what site we saw next – I was on a trip having a great time, making a friend and being one. That is all I wanted to do and I was so happy I got to do it!

Golden Gate Sightseeing Snow White and the Seven Oscars The Presidio

Palo Alto Party

Our host, Maryann, joined us as we headed to Palo Alto that evening to meet with two other blogger friends for dinner. Five ladies in a small booth at the well known old-time diner, the Peninsula Creamery was quite a sight to be seen! After dinner, we walked over to the Coupa Cafe for coffee. We talked and enjoyed getting to know each other even better over coffee. It was here that we experienced the “girl power” of a weekend get away! Blogger, Susan Cooper of Finding Our Way Now came to town on her own ‘girl’s weekend” with her long-time friend, Deborah. The two drove from Sacramento to attend the launch party.

Mocha from Coupa Cafe The Five Ladies The So Cal Lady Bloggers

Susan says that she is an adventurous soul. I was glad to get the opportunity to spend time with her. She brought her camera and tripod. She took lots of pictures and was quite interested in meeting Evan and joining in the fun. She made the trip seem like no big deal. It felt like it was what we should be doing. Both Mary and I have felt a connection with Susan via our blogs. It was nice to spend time together. We didn’t have to do much discovery about each other. We just “fell in line” in a conversation that seems to be forever ongoing!

“I find great excitement when taking a new path in a new direction, often offering new lessons to learn and share. I have learned that life’s lessons are just that… lessons that we must learn from, appreciate and share and most of all, remember to have fun along the way.” ~Susan Cooper

After coffee, we went across the street to the bar where Evan’s big party was taking place. We were on a quest to meet the writer and get an interview about how he went from blogger to published author. It was fun being at a party for someone having never met the guest of honor (except for via social media!) It was a fantastic party and a great venue. There was a big turnout for Evan’s celebration and we met some of his biggest fans, followers and even his family. Evan gave us a lot of attention and honored us for coming so far to meet him. The next morning, he gave Mary and I even more time to ask questions when he met us for breakfast to complete the interview. See my post Meet Evan Sanders.

Big Margarita Deborah Entranced Inspired Ivy Mary Listening Evan Sanders and Melissa Reyes

The Last Day

Sunday morning was spent hanging out in the kitchen of our host family and making plans for the day. It was a bitter-sweet farewell as we were just getting comfortable with our new found friendship with Maryann and Alec and their wonderful sons and we really liked being in San Francisco. I wished we didn’t have to leave so soon. One or two more days would have been terrific!

From the breakfast interview with Evan, we went on a side trip to Silicon Valley to meet with another blogger buddy. Our dear friend, Maribel of Stroller Adventures would have loved to attend all the activities in Palo Alto and San Francisco but she couldn’t coordinate it with her two small children in tow. I suggested that Mary and I meet her some place where the kids could have some fun while we have a chance to hang out together. The important part was to make a connection and spend time together. All the blogging and social media connections that we do could never measure up to a face to face meeting. Warm hugs, smiles and face time! Now Maribel’s kids call me “Auntie Melissa!” That is golden to me! It was worth the effort and all it cost was some time.

The InterviewOutside Peninsula CreameryMelis Maribel Mary

On the drive back to Los Angeles, Mary and I had ideas to stop at more places and have even more adventures! We would have loved to take a pit stop at the campy restrooms at The Madonna Inn that we have heard about or go wine tasting at the beautiful winery at Bella Luna in Paso Robles. We talked about sharing a sunset in Ventura with my good friend, Joy of Facets of Joy. We talked about other friends of ours that live in the Bay Area and how we could definitely take another trip together some day to visit them. We did stop for dinner at Woodstock Pizza in San Luis Obispo. It was the last leg of the trip. Mary had heard they had great gluten free pizza and they did! By this time I was tired and starting to show my age. (No, I can’t keep up with Mary!) Luckily she had the energy to drive the rest of the way home. I was sad that our little adventure was coming to an end. But somehow, it seemed like a beginning. Yes, it’s a new beginning! We will have more adventures together. We will call them our. . . Blog Ventures!

Woodstock Pizza

Surrendering

You don’t have to take a road trip to enjoy the feeling of getting away. You can make changes in your life by accepting it the way it is. Surrendering does not mean giving up… it is about acceptance. When you accept your life the way it is, you can free yourself.

“When you feel like you’re fighting your life instead of living it … clinging to the past … afraid of the future … not feeling what is in your heart … to put it simply, you feel stuck. When you can’t steer your life where you want it to go, don’t give up — learn to surrender.” ~Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav believes that surrendering is one of the most difficult things that you can accomplish in your lifetime. Surrendering is about accepting your life just as it is, without any resistance. When you resist your life, you resist what you can learn from it, and what you can gain from it. Open yourself to new experiences, open yourself to loving yourself in all experiences. Just the way you are.

Don’t Give Up

Surrendering is not what most people think. It doesn’t mean giving up — it means acceptance. When you accept your emotions and experiences, you begin to create a more powerful life for yourself. Surrendering doesn’t mean letting go of your responsibility. You must do your part — only you have the power to change the direction of your life.

Evan Sanders believes in never quitting. Evan says in his book, that standing for never quitting is a very measurable aspect of his life. He knows when he is quitting something. Not following through on commitments. Giving up. Giving in. He says he wants perseverance to be at the heart of his character. Love. Passion. Never quit.

I am so glad I took the time to get away on this Blog Venture! It was time to refresh, renew, surrender and open myself up to new things while accepting myself and what I am capable of doing. I hope it inspires you to be spontaneous and to enjoy the things that make you tick.

 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/When-Life-Seems-Unfair/4#ixzz2DXxIX79l

The best things about you are there all the time!