The Butterfly House at The Environmental Nature Center

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Butterfly House at ENC

I can’t believe it’s already the middle of July, I feel like summer is flying by!

Last weekend, in an effort to get out and enjoy things I can only do in the summer, I took the kids to The Butterfly House at The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach.

The Butterfly House is only open from May – September and although I had been to the ENC before, I’ve never been during these months.

It was such an easy and fun outing. We printed out the butterfly guide from the organization’s website and I asked each of my kids to try and find certain butterflies once we go there. This made them EXTRA excited; I swear there’s something about going on a hunt that gets them really fired up.

Once we arrived a super helpful guide gave us some guidelines to follow (no, you can’t actually catch the butterflies) and some fun facts about what we were going to see; Monarch Butterflies are abundant this year.

With summer flying by, taking a trip to the Butterfly House is a must. If I had more time I would have planned a picnic at the Environmental Nature Center for afterwards since the grounds are really fun to explore. In my opinion, the entire center is one of Newport Beach’s hidden gems.

Do you have any special summer outings planned to take advantage of the season? If you have school aged kids, is summer flying or creeping along? I have definitely had a few days that creeped, but overall the time is going fast.

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Whole Foods Market Newport Beach: A Shopping Wonderland

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Jen and I just spent an entire morning perusing the new Whole Foods Market Newport Beach wonderland (the word market just doesn’t seem to do it justice) and WHOLEY MOLY, if it weren’t for a looming preschool pick-up, both of us could have spent the whole day there!

Upon entering the store we were greeted by an inviting rainbow of colorful, perfectly ripened produce, stands and stands of it.  This might sound silly but it felt like happy food: Heirloom tomatoes, Bartlett pears, Honeycrisp apples, golden beets, turnips, endive, swiss chard, cabbage.

The care they put into their produce was subliminally saying: Eat these beautiful whole foods and you will feel happy.

It was a little bit of sensory overload because we wanted to take it all in and enjoy but we weren’t sure where to begin (in a good way).

We worked our way through the produce and noticed some bins of sprouted grain trail mixes and porridges (ooooooohhh) next we found ourselves in front with large vats of different types of olive oils to taste and bottles you can fill yourself  to take home (aaaaaahhh), and behind that were a bunch of empty little honey bear bottles begging you to choose your flavor and fill (I chose a sage flavored selection).

Then the seafood department!  Beautiful selection, amazing whole fish in front packed on ice, the prepped and ready to grill lobster tails and the oysters! Only 99 cents each- what a fun family night, to shuck and eat oysters at home!

As we strolled a little further we encountered the friendliest of helpers in the meat department.  Everyone wanted to be sure we were helped and the employees in every department asked if they could answer any questions. Here’s our new BFF Ryan the butcher…

We were quite enamored by a find in the center cooler for a quick grab: a few different types of pre-packaged dinner kits.  Each prepped complete with the meat and vegetables in an oven proof container. All you have to do is unwrap, season and throw it in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours for a delicious dinner! And a great deal- priced about $15.99 for about 5 lbs of food (before cooking).

Ryan shared that their meat department also boasts an in-store smoker and they will smoke smaller cuts as you shop or with 24 hours notice they will smoke a larger cut to order. We tasted one of their smoked Texas burgers- loads of flavor!

Our next stop was the cheese department. We were given a sample of this goat cheese called Mitica Capricho De Cabra (he simply called it Mitica) which put the other pre-crumbled stuff to shame.  It had the distinct goat cheese flavor, but was smoother and creamier, Jen and I were dying over it! We couldn’t leave the store without a round of this- and this high quality goat cheese was just $4.65 for about 5 ounces, about the same price you pay for the mediocre stuff.

Here’s another new BFF, George from the cheese section. The employees all made us feel like celebrities! Everyone had such a passion for the products. Their enthusiam was contagious.

Just behind the cheese is the Back Bay Tavern a gastro pub featuring a cozy atmosphere, 24 beers on tap, cocktails and a nice wine selection plus a playful menu of exciting comfort foods.  This could make for a fun “Oh Babe, I didn’t have time to run to the store so I’m just going to run to the market really quick…” and meet up with a girl friend for a bite, a glass of wine and some groceries!

We were rounding out our visit and headed back to the front of the store to The Tea Hive featuring frozen tea drinks, a mixologist’s version of an iced tea and a selection of hot teas.  They even have two kinds of iced tea on tap so you can grab one while you shop and swing back around for a free refill on your way out!

As we were shopping and chatting we made plans for Jen and her family to come over for dinner.  I’ll be preparing a classic slow cooked Beef Short Ribs paired with a Celery Root Puree.  Stay tuned for a post with the photos and recipes for this delicious and easy Fall-feeling feast!  I was inspired when I spotted this gorgeous celery root…

I think the next time my girls and I have an open afternoon I’d like to just take them over to Whole Foods Newport Beach to introduce them to new food items in a fun show & tell sort of way.  Such a great opportunity to talk to them about eating a rainbow of colors and tasting exciting new healthy whole foods.

As we headed out the doors with our shopping bags, we were greeted by a shuttle attendant that offered us a free ride to our car. She helped us with our bags and we rode off into the sunset…

Incidentally, they also offer free valet if you prefer. There is nothing they haven’t thought of! PLEASE do yourself a favor and make a visit to this stellar location. It is an experience you will never forget. But trust us and block out a nice amount of time to take it all in. Once you step foot into the doors, you too, will be taken away into the Whole Foods Wonderland!

www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/newport

Follow Whole Foods Market Newport Beach on Facebook ~ And @WholeFoodsNB on Twitter
Click here for the weekly sales flyer

[Disclosure: We participated in a sponsored campaign by Whole Foods Market to help spread the word about this new location and were provided with a gift card to shop and share. Opinions are 100% our own!]

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Whole Foods Market Newport Beach Grand Opening

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Oh happy day! Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and first national certified organic grocer will be hosting the Grand Opening of Whole Foods Market Newport Beach in Fashion Island on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 and you are invited to come and celebrate!

The Grand Opening celebration will take place from 9am – 10pm and include lots of fun events during the day, including a special “bread breaking ceremony” for the first 300 customers in line in the morning, who will receive a complimentary demi-baguette.  There will also be delicious food and wine tastings throughout the day, local vendor demonstrations and Happy Hour specials in the Back Bay Tavern.

This location, the fifth Whole Foods Market in Orange County, will feature the national debut of the Tea Hive fusion cafe and tea bar.  At the Tea Hive customers will be able to choose green, black or oolong tea in almost any imaginable form – frozen, sparkling, iced or steamed. The specialty drinks are made in martini shakers by the “Tea Tenders.” Try their Pomarita, a blend of pomegranate and lime with green tea or Chocolate Chai, which is a combo of black tea, spiced chai, chocolate and cinnamon. YUMMY!

At this location you will also find their casual bar/restaurant, the Back Bay Tavern. With indoor and outdoor seating for 150 and a rotating selection of 24 craft beers on tap, wine and spirits and a delicious menu featuring beef, seafood, vegetarian and vegan meals, make Back Bay Tavern your new go-to dining spot when shopping with friends at Fashion Island!

In addition to the Tea Hive and Back Bay Tavern, at this store location you will also find:

~ An extensive produce selection of locally grown fruits and veggies.

~ A high quality meat department offering meat from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones. All meats have to adhere to Whole Foods Markets stringent quality standards, including a full line of 100% grass-fed, locally-sourced beef and chicken, ready to take home and cook.

~ Their fresh seafood department has sustainably-sourced fresh filets, steaks and seasonal seafood, which are oven-ready, delivered up to six days a week.

~ Full in-store bakery offers freshly made breads from scratch, including focaccias, baguettes, muffins, and special diet selections like vegan and gluten-free treats.

~ Large selection of bulk and raw foods.

~ Free Wi-Fi and plenty of parking.

~ And much, much more!

For additional information, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com. You can stay up-to-date on the latest and follow Whole Foods Market Newport Beach on Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the opening of their Newport Beach location, Whole Foods Market invites you to enter the Whole Foods Market Newport Beach Photo Contest HERE!

Show them why you love Newport Beach, whether it’s a photo of your feet in the sand, or another favorite NB spot, and you could win a private party suite for 10 people at the Newport Hyatt Jazz Concert or $100 Whole Foods Market gift cards.

Contest runs now through September 21st, 2012.  For more information click HERE.

I am soooo excited for this store to open as it is going to be the closest Whole Foods to my home!! I hope you will stop by to check it out and enjoy all of the many special features this store has to offer.

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Newport Beach. One of which I am thrilled to share as I am a huge Whole Foods fan and this new location sounds a-mazing!!!]

 

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Newport Cottages Children’s Furniture

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Bring your nursery or kid’s bedroom to life with the magic of Newport Cottages children’s furniture, a local USA-made furniture manufacturer that can design any piece, any style to fit your little one’s personality. From modern to classic, frilly to clean-lined, there is a style for every space.

Do you love looking at photos of children’s rooms or nurseries for ideas? Be prepared to drool over the gorgeous pieces of furniture! Click here to visit their “Ideas & Inspiration” page. Love.

Every piece from Newport Cottages’ California Coastal Cool children’s furniture is made to order. That means your order is custom made for you, by real people, using “Old World” craftsmanship techniques. Their individual benchmade construction from hardwoods means that their pieces of furniture will last not just through their childhood, but as they go off to college and longer.

Their heirloom investment pieces are built to last a lifetime.

You can customize size, finish (there are 23 options to choose from), style, you name it.

Or maybe you have a photo of something you like that has been hard to find?  You can bring it to Newport Cottages and their designers can help design a piece perfectly suited to your little one’s space.

When I was searching for nursery furniture, I remember getting so frustrated with the options.  It took me oodles of time to try to find a dresser that had the exact number of drawers and storage space I wanted.  I wish I knew a company like Newport Cottages existed at that time.

Have a baby on the way?

All of the Newport Cottages cribs convert into toddler beds, and their special conversion cribs convert into full size beds.

Or maybe you have a child moving out of the crib into their own Full or Queen sized bed?  Finding a bed frame in a Queen in children’s furniture can be hard to find.  But not to worry, every single style of bed on Newport Cottages can be made into a Queen, even King size to fit your growing kiddo.

Even though it seems odd to have a little one in a bigger bed, when investing in pieces of furniture or a quality mattress, in 10 short years, your 3 year old will be 13 and will likely be much more comfortable in a bigger bed.

That’s why planning ahead can have big advantages when making good furniture purchases.

Newport Cottages furniture is available online as well as through their Newport Beach store in Atrium Court in Fashion Island.  You can even make an appointment to meet with a designer in their store to help talk you through your space planning and design.

They offer a wide selection of beds, bunk beds, dressers, nightstands, desks, armoires, accent tables and more. Stay tuned for a special “Back to School” promotion next month and (I hear) a special desk giveaway!  I will do a post as soon as the contest starts.

Stay up to date on all the fun Newport Cottages promotions on their blog, on Facebook, Twitter and of course, Pinterest.

[Disclosure: Newport Cottages is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor]

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A California Coastal Office

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I fell in love with Jessica Bennett Interiors when she did my living room makeover last year so anytime she finishes a project, I can’t wait to see the photos as I am a sucker for design ideas.

This recent project was for Darlynn Morgan of Morgan Law Group, a long time Tiny Oranges friend and sponsor, so I was excited to share photos of their beautiful new office in Newport Beach.

Darlynn is an Orange County Estate Planning Attorney.

When she moved into her new space, she wanted to create an office where clients would feel like they were coming into her home and sitting at her living room coffee table.  At times estate planning can be difficult, so she wanted a calm and soothing environment that would put clients at ease.

When I saw what Jessica did with her vision, I don’t think they could have designed a more perfect space!  Here are the photos and the descriptions and details as written by Jessica.

A California Coastal Office
by Jessica Bennett Interiors  

We actually picked this blue based on the color of Morgan Law Group’s logo….we thought it would be a perfect tie in, plus we  just loved the color.

To offset the light gray-blue, we had all of the wood trim in the office stained to this dark espresso color (you should have seen how it looked before!!) and stuck with a warm, but neutral, carpet.

We wanted to maintain a traditional design with a fresh new appeal.

It was important to Darlynn that the space feel inviting, homey, and comfortable. The chairs are traditional staple pieces, but the pillows, oversized mirror, and lamp provide a modern twist.

Accessories are an essential in any space…and they are actually our favorite part of the whole design process.

In the Morgan Office, it was imperative to select accessories that made the space feel like a home yet were simple and understated. Here, a few pieces of blue coral, our favorite white scented candle, a fun silver “OK” sign and of course framed photos of Darlynn’s son did the trick.

Have you ever seen a conference room like this?? Bet you haven’t!

Again, playing on our subtle beach theme and our love of mixing traditional and modern elements, we created a conference room that felt more like a fun dining room.

We LOVE the slipcovered chairs, the bold accent pillows, and our soft and breezy window treatments.

This little space is another conference room, used when clients need to meet with Darlynn or one of her associates to review and sign documents.

We loved this table and chair combination…they had such unique silhouettes, yet worked seamlessly with the serene coastal artwork and accessories. We also loved how the black and blue play off one another perfectly.

 www.JessicaBennettInteriors.com * Click here to follow her on Facebook
Click here to see her blog and ideas * Tweet with @JBInteriorsInc on Twitter

www.MorganLawGroup.com  * Click here to follow her on Facebook 
Tweet with @DarlynnMorgan on Twitter

[Disclosure: Both are Tiny Oranges Sponsors]

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