Two “Besties” and an Inspiring Spring Day on Cedros Avenue

An afternoon of shopping, wining and dining with cherished friends on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach. Hmmmn … now that’s a perfect way to spend the first Saturday of Spring! With over 85 storefronts including furniture and home décor showrooms, hand-made jewelry and exquisite fashion and shoe boutiques, art galleries, garden shops, day spas/salons, restaurants and professional offices, this 2-1/2 block long treasure trove is rightly considered “The Avenue With Everything”. For anyone who needs or simply appreciates unique, one-of-a-kind style and artistic inspiration, the Cedros experience is a MUST. Cedros Avenue is right up my alley and I happen to have a couple of awesome friends … namely Patti and Marlene … who are kindred spirits in my addiction to design, style, and overall creative ingenuity in most any form.

Leaping Lotus, Cedros Avenue

Patti and Marlene at Leaping Lotus, a Cedros Avenue shoppers paradise

“The Three Musketeers” … scratch that … “The Three Graces” grabbed a mid-morning café au lait at Orange Blossom Cafe ( and embarked on our adventure. First stop: Leaping Lotus, a 21,000 square foot space containing booths of over 100 merchants. This one-stop-shopping marketplace offers furniture, home décor, jewelry, clothing, gifts and just about anything one could imagine from destinations spanning worldwide. Ohhh what fun … the three of us delicately piling our wares onto the checkout counter must have been a sight to see!

If the shoe fits, buy one in every color ... at Cedros Soles

If the shoe fits, buy one in every color … at Cedros Soles

On to shoe nirvana at our next stop, Cedros Soles. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Lloyd’s Shoes on Ocean Avenue in Carmel, CA., you’ll LOVE Cedros Soles! They’ve combined an incredible selection of the latest shoes, boots and handbags with unique jewelry pieces and trendy clothing items for a fashion lovers utopia. What woman in her right mind wouldn’t want to shop here?

Wild Note Cafe

Service with a smile at Wild Note

Toasting the day at Wild Note Cafe

Toasting the day at Wild Note Cafe

With growling tummies and thirsty mouths, Patti, Marlene and I wandered into Wild Note Cafe for lunch and refreshments. Part of the Belly Up Tavern, one of San Diego County’s trendiest music and entertainment venues, we discovered that this al fresco lunch spot has a diverse menu offering healthy, flavorful items. Settling on the Mediterranean Platter, the Wild Note’s “plat du jour” of Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps and some tasty wine, we enjoyed great service, a delicious retreat and wonderful lunchtime conversation. The Belly Up (located adjacent to Wild Note Cafe) has a fantastic concert schedule this season. To view the schedule, purchase tickets or more information on The Belly Up Tavern (they also have a prime location in Aspen, CO!), Wild Note Cafe or their sister restaurant, Pacific Coast Grill located on the beach a few miles north in coastal Cardiff, visit them online at or

Annie Sloan paint

Ta Dah Home Decor carries Annie Sloan paints

Back to our mission! I must admit that creatively merchandised storefronts along Cedros Avenue make it very easy to become distracted, but one in particular instantly drew us inside. Ta Dah Home Décor & Gifts is brimming with gorgeous one-of-a-kind furniture, home and garden accessories and objets d’ art! The store is brilliantly designed with creatively inspired vignettes placed atop hand-painted furniture pieces virtually everywhere I looked. Walls are covered in beautiful framed prints and mirrors. Yes, imagination and creativity abounds here! I’m absolutely incredulous that the only items I left with were a collection of Annie Sloan paints. That being said, I have a confession: I love finding neglected, time-worn furniture pieces, cabinets, frames and other such items, and transforming them with layers of paints, stains, glazes and waxes. I’ve heard raves about Annie Sloan paints, and am excited to try this new chalk paint and wax technique on a lonely, neglected furniture piece in desperate need of some TLC … For a peek at Ta Dah Home Decor’s innovative, inspired style, visit them online at Then visit them in person ASAP!

We offloaded our shopping bags at the car and quickly escaped into Pink Lagoon, a lifestyle boutique filled with the hottest seasonal clothing and jewelry trends. A little F.Y.I.: Pink Lagoon stylists also assist clients in building and editing their personal wardrobe. The vibe here is chic and laid-back, yet the stylists are very approachable and helpful, thus offering clients an extremely comfortable shopping experience. Pink Lagoon recently opened a second location at 1033 Silverado Street in La Jolla.

Carruth Cellars

Wrapping up a full day on Cedros Avenue (and nursing a broken foot) with a wine tasting experience at Carruth Cellars

Imagine this: the Three Graces are thirsty yet again … and ready to wrap up our enjoyable day of shopping on Cedros Avenue. As luck would have it, we stumbled upon Carruth Cellars, and upon arriving at the entrance, discovered we were definitely not alone! This little gem was filled with happy tasters and we were thrilled to join in the fun. The Sauvignon Blanc was crisp and fruity; Chardonnay was like butter on my palate! Moving on, we sampled a wonderfully balanced Pinot Noir and a velvety smooth Barbera. The bold, yet fruity Syrah (I LOVED this one!) wrapped up our tasting experience. Winemaker Adam Carruth uses grapes from California’s premier wine appellations including Mendocino and Lake Counties, Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles, when creating his wines. He is clearly passionate about winemaking; recently his 2011 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was Double Gold Winner at the 2014 San Francisco Wine Chronicle. Winding up our fantastic day with a sampling of Carruth Cellars wines was THE perfect way to end a spectacular day with cherished friends. For more information on Carruth Cellars, visit

For complete information on the Cedros Avenue experience and a “Tour de L’Avenue”, visit And for fresh, locally grown produce and more, visit the Cedros Avenue Farmers Market any Sunday afternoon between 1:00pm and 5:00pm.

Gardenology in Encinitas, CA

More inspired home décor and unique furniture pieces await visitors to Gardenology in Encinitas

By the way, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in north San Diego County, more exceptionally unique seaside shopping and dining awaits just a few miles north of Solana Beach in Encinitas. South Coast Highway 101 is lined with unique shops (including one of my favorites, Gardenology.) and fantastically delicious restaurants (please treat yourself to a meal at Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, one of executive chef Matt Gordon’s three amazing San Diego eateries) 

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