Nili Stevens Inspired Living bio picture
  • Welcome To My Blog,

    A place to share my passion for food, travel, entertaining and interesting people.

    I am a mother, wife, devoted friend, collector of people and professional woman. I have worked in the special events industry for over 30 years and have had the good fortune to work with countless creative and talented floral designers, lighting specialists, photographers, entertainers, culinary artists and others that remind me through our collaboration that the possibilities are endless !

    I have traveled to 22 countries and I am still forever dreaming of where I will go next, and more importantly what I will discover.

    Here's to "Inspired Living " and sharing my passions with you...ENJOY ! Nili

Wedding Day

SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1989

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It’s my 25th wedding anniversary today ! Twenty five years ago I said “I do” to this handsome devil and have never looked back! Oh sure, we have had our spats and problems like all couples but we have never stopped having fun together!

I  have always loved this list by Dear Abby:

It never hurts to be reminded.

10 Rules For A Happy Marriage 

1. Never both be angry at the same time.

2. Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.

3. If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate.

4. If you must criticize, do it lovingly.

5. Never bring up mistakes of the past.

6. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.

7. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.

8. At least once every day say a kind or complimentary word to your life partner.

9. When you have done something wrong, admit it and ask for forgiveness.

10. Remember it takes two to make a quarrel.

***

Here are my personal rules.

10 Rules For A Happy Marriage by Nili Stevens: 

1. Find something you both love that you can share together.

2. Hold hands.

3.  Always kiss each other good bye and good night.

4. Drink wine at lunch when you can, especially when you are on vacation.

5. Dance when together when ever possible. Don’t sit it out.

6. Have a common  dream.

7. Take interest in what’s important to your partner.

8. Take personal time away from each other. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

9. Share your life with friends and family. Eat, drink and be merry !

9. Take care of your mind, body & spirit.

10. Remember to water the grass.

Our pastor told us on our wedding day, “THE GRASS IS GREENEST WHERE YOU WATER IT”

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“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be….”

Happy Anniversary To Us !!

Thanks for stopping by to share our day. xo Nili

  • ChristineSeptember 17, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Rules to love by xoxoxoReplyCancel

    • adminSeptember 17, 2014 - 3:06 pm

      You have been there from the start,loving us and supporting us every step of the way…It takes this and so much more..with gratitude…ReplyCancel

  • Greg StevensSeptember 17, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    That’s awesome.
    A Quarter Century, Congratulations!
    Words to Live By. Photos are a trip down memory lane.
    Have a Great Day. I know you must be missing each other today,
    but the holidays are fast approaching and you’ll be together soon
    Love Always, gsReplyCancel

 

 

 

 

Daily offerings

 

 

OFFERINGS ARE PLACED AT HOME ENTRANCES & CROSSROADS WHERE DARK SPIRITS TEND TO CONGREGATE. THEY ARE MEANT TO APPEASE THE GODS (BOTH GOOD & EVIL) AS WELL AS MAINTAIN A PEACEFUL BALANCE

 

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We recently returned from two magical weeks in Bali visiting my son Rush and his girlfriend Cezanne. One of the highlights was our stay at the serene Villa Amrita in the town of Ubud.

On most of our trips I am almost always in charge of booking our accommodations, since where we stay and what we eat are the  most important to me (surprised?). I usually spend hours on various websites (like trip advisor ) and  travel blogs looking for reviews and insight.  When Cezanne suggested I look at  VillaBali.com (a site that hosts over 400 villas in Bali ) and the lovely Villa Amrita, a three bedroom private villa with all the bells and whistles up in the hills of Ubud, it took me all of five seconds to  give the thumbs up on booking this little slice of heaven.

Let me show you around:

***2014 Bali & Beyond 171

 RICE FIELDS TO WELCOME YOU

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THIS  GARDEN PATH WILL LEAD YOU TO  UTTER RELAXATION

 

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A WARM & FRIENDLY STAFF TO TEND TO YOUR NEEDS

Living room and TV area

THERE IS A COMFORTABLE LIVING & DINING ROOM TO GATHER

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Elevated Pool View from Saraswati Room 3 -larger pixel size

 

 IN THE CENTER IS ALL OF THIS !

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I know what you are thinking. You want to go there right now ! Wait there is more,there are three lovely bedrooms with private patios and outdoor showers. The space will sleep six comfortably and allow everyone the privacy they need.

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THE SARASWATI ROOM AKA MASTER SUITE * HOG HEAVEN

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THE VIDYA ROOM * THIS ROOM CAN BE MADE UP AS A KING BED TOO

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THE DHANYA ROOM HAS A GORGEOUS VIEW OF THE TERRACED RICE FIELDS

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Villa Amrita is a short ride from the main town of Ubud. The villa offers one complementary round trip ride into town per day. They give you a cell phone that allows you to ring the driver when you are ready to be picked up. You can also hire the driver for additional excursions. A full made to order breakfast is also part of the package. If you don’t fee l like leaving the villa, dinner can be prepared for a nominal fee.

***

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HAVING A NAP OR GETTING A MASSAGE IS ALL PART OF THE DAILY RITUAL

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Before we left we had the pleasure of meeting the owner Jon Jones (a young semi retired finance guy from the US, who started coming to Bali on vacation back in 1999) who could not have been more thoughtful and enthusiastic. He shared his plans of building another villa and all the fun additions he had planed for his future guests.

 The thing I like best about Villa Amrita is that it felt like home. It had just the right amount of luxury without being over the top.

***

2014 Bali & Beyond 194

IT REALLY DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS

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Ubud was just  a small fraction of what we experienced on our trip to Bali. To show you all of it would have your head spinning.

Here is a little peek at Ubud:

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The Scoop:

Villa Amrita

Ubud, Bali. Indonesia

villaamrita.com

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Villas in Bali

villabali.com

It was hard to leave this magical place after the wonderful memories we shared but there is always next time….

Tell them Nili sent you xo

 

 

SOMETIMES LAST MINUTE DINNER PARTIES ARE THE BEST

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It’s hard to believe it’s already August! I started writing this post back in June and I am just getting back to it.

I have a mountain of stories and recipes ready to share with you but while I am getting them together,

I want to share a very simple marinated chicken dish that I made for a last minute dinner party.

This dish is perfect for a group and easy to assemble. Add a couple of sides and a salad and you will have a tasty and affordable feast. I like to use chicken thighs because you are pretty much guaranteed a moist piece of chicken every time.

I am not going to a step by step delio because you don’t need it for this one. You just make the marinade, drop in the chicken and grill it up.

 

It goes something like this:

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THE BASICS * YOU CAN BUY EVERYTHING YOU NEED AT TRADER JOE’S

INTO THE DISH WITH ALL THE GOODIES

VOLIA * FOR ADDED FLAVOR & COLOR  GRILL UP A BATCH OF LEMONS TOO

***

Here’s what you need:

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup good olive oil

1/4 cup rosemary leaves

4 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons lemon zest

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

sea salt (I like Maldon) & freshly ground pepper

8 chicken thighs rinsed, dried & trimmed

extra lemons to grill for garnish

extra rosemary to garnish the platter

***

Put it together:

In a medium bowl whisk together the first 8 ingredients / save a little on the side to brush onto chicken while it’s cooking.

Add the marinade to the chicken thighs in a large zip lock bag and smush it around so the thighs are evenly coated. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight turning occasionally if you remember.

Preheat your grill to medium temp.

Shake off your thighs and start cooking. Depending on the size of your thighs this should take 8-10minutes per thigh. Brush the reserve marinade on the chicken when you turn it.

 

Once they come off the grill season with salt, pepper & a big squeeze of lemon.

Clean off your grill and add lemons halves and char until they are golden, add to your platter of chicken and garnish with rosemary.

Serves 6-8

***

Note: This marinade will keep in the frig for at least 4 days so feel free to make it in advance.

Enjoy these summer days while you can!

Talk to you soon xox Nili

I KNOW YOU WANT ME

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I am always on the hunt for a festive cocktail to get the party started and this little concoction is one that is sure to brighten up any gathering! It is especially spectacular in the summer months when strawberries are abundant. You can make a big batch in advance and add ice as you serve it. I like to make extra and  freeze batches so that I always have these babies on hand. This is one recipe you will want to save forever !

It goes something like this:

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TWO SIMPLE INGREDIENTS THAT WILL MAKE THIS COCKTAIL SING

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Here’s what you need:

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries pureed

2 cups premium white tequila

1/4 cup triple sec

5 limes juiced

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup simple syrup (here is the recipe in case you don’t know what to do)

2 cups crushed ice when you are ready to serve

***

Put it together:

Put all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. At this point you can refrigerate until your guests come. Once you are ready to serve add ice as needed and blend. Two cups of ice makes a potent slushy cocktail. It’s up to you how strong you want it to be.

Garnish with a chubby strawberry and a sprig of basil.

Serves 6

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FREEZE INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS FOR A RAINY DAY

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Feels like summer to me! Thanks for dropping by. xo Nili

 

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MY FRIENDS

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In celebration of Mother’s Day I wanted to give you something really meaningful, something that would make a difference in your life and help you to remember me fondly. Because I love you, I feel it is my duty to share a product  that has taken me through some rough patches over the last year. By doing this, I will need to mention two four letter words that literally make me cringe when I say them out loud GREY HAIR !

If you are like me, you pay a small fourtune each month to rid yourself of those nasty little bastards and even then about two days before you are going in to get fixed up they are back, reminding you of their power over you (usually it’s right before you have a party to go to and a baseball hat won’t do).

After multiple frustrating conversations with my stylist I headed over to my local Sephora to see if I could find a solution to my problem. It was a slam dunk, all the girls in the store agreed that Rita Hazan Root Concealer was exactly what I needed and the best product for the job.

One quick pin point spray exactly where you need it and a little rub with your finger you are good to go until you wash it out. It comes in five different shades and costs $25. I have had mine for a almost a year. A little goes a long way!

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A STAND OUT ON MY BEAUTY COUNTER

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I know that there are many other brands on the market but I have heard some unfavorable things about a few of them. In my book this product works and does the trick perfectly. Be sure to drop me a line and let me know how it goes.

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 When you wake up this Sunday take a moment to pat yourself on the back for all that you do and all that you have done to make a difference in your child’s life.

You matter more than you know…. xo Nili

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YOUR MOTHER

Your mother is always with you.

She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself, she’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well, she’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day.

She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning.

Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in every tear drop.

She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take.

She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, not space . . . . . . . . . not even death.

Author unknown

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MY SWEETIE & ME

WELCOME TO SHED LOCATED IN DOWTOWN HEALDSBURG CALIFORNIA

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It has been a very long time since I have been so excited about a venue! In fact I have never seen anything so well done and so artfully executed under one roof. This nearly 10,000 square foot, four years in the making, one of a kind,

dream come true modern grange, is the collaboration of Cindy Daniel and husband Doug Lipton whose vision has taken sustainable living to new heights.

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COFFEE BAR * CAFE * FERMENTATION BAR * LARDER & PANTRY

HOUSEWARES * FARM & GARDEN * COMMUNITY & PRIVATE EVENTS

WHERE DO I BEGIN ?

DELECTIBLE OFFERINGS ALL BEAUTIFULLY DISPLAYED TO TAKE AWAY *  I AM SO EXCITED !

IT’S ALL MADE FRESH * GOOD LUCK DECIDING WHAT TO EAT

DINE INSIDE AT THE BAR, COMMUNITY TABLE OR ENJOY THE OUTDOOR PATIO

MANY OF THE ITEMS ON THE MENU ARE OFFERED IN THE LARDER

I WILL TAKE ONE OF EACH

 

KNOWLEDGEABLE & HELPFUL STAFF AT YOUR SERVICE

THEY THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING* EVEN THE BATHROOM SET UP IS COOL

GOTTA LOVE THIS !

LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCE, FRESH FLOWERS & PLANTS

MY IDOL CINDY DANIEL & HER AUTHENTIC MILL FROM AUSTRIA USED FOR GRINDING LOCAL WHEAT & CORN

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SHED MISSION STATEMENT

” To celebrate and nurture the connection between good farming, good cooking and good eating. We are a community that brings people together and provides the tools to learn about growing, preparing and sharing delicious food”.

See what I mean ?

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A GLORIOUS SELECTION OF GOURMET PRODUCTS & SPECIALTY ITEMS * OH HEART BE STILL !

UPSTAIRS IS A PRIVATE EVENT SPACE WITH TWO PATIOS & STATE OF THE ART KITCHEN

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Believe it or not this is just a sampling of the what is waiting for you. By the time you get there they will have even more fabulous things to discover, taste and experience. This is the kind of place that is always evolving. It took me a year to get there (I was checking it out even before it opened) and I am counting the days until I return.

This is exactly what I mean when I say “Inspired Living”.

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The Scoop:

SHED

25 North St
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707.431-7433
Open 8:00am to 7:00pm

Closed on Tuesday

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Tell them Nili sent you !

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Note: Just a little over an hour from Oakland & San Francisco airports and less than an hour from Berkley.

Not to mention, the town of Healdsburg is utterly charming!

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WINTER IN THE NAPA VALLEY

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If you are looking for the perfect winter getaway then look no more. There is nothing quite like the Napa Valley in the winter months, especially when the sun is shining. The air is crisp and clean, the roads are clear of traffic and the vibe in town is relaxed and welcoming. My favorite area to stay when I come to Napa is Yountville, home of the famed French Laundry Restaurant. It is centrally located for wine tasting and for dining. In fact there are a number of Michelin starred  restaurants, all in walking distance making it easy to dine and drink wine without the worry of driving.

One of my favorite places to stay in town is the Villagio Inn and Spa. It’s casual, well priced, well appointed and centrally located, making it a breeze to explore the surrounding areas.

Let me show you around:

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WELCOME

WATER FOUNTAIN PATHWAYS WILL LEAD YOU TO YOUR ROOMS

THE ROOMS ARE SPACIOUS WITH FIREPLACES. THE UPPER FLOORS ARE NICE. YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THE 13,000 SQ FT SPA FACILITY WHETHER YOU ARE HAVING A TREATMENT OR NOT. 

I LIKE THE ROOMS JUST ACROSS FROM THE SPA SO I CAN WALK OVER IN IN MY ROBE.

 

 

THE POOL IS CENTRALLY LOCATED & INVITING

THEY ARE FAMOUS FOR THEIR COMPLIMENTARY BUFFET BREAKFAST

THERE IS A WINE STORE JUST ACROSS THE WAY

TO DIE FOR GOODIES AT BOUCHON BAKERY

BOUCHON & BISTRO JEANTY  JUST TO MENTION A FEW OF THE GEMS IN THE ‘HOOD

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. MICHAEL CHIARELLO’S BOTTEGA RESTORANTE

A MORNING WALK ABOUT TOWN

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There are several other higher end and more modern properties in Yountville but this one serves all my needs perfectly. It is an amazing place for a weekend with the girls or a getaway with your honey. Take advantage of their Sunday through Thursday specials and off season rates. I am pretty certain you will enjoy this spot as much as I have year after year.

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PUT THIS ON YOUR RADAR PRONTO !

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Here’s the scoop:

Villagio Inn and Spa

6481 Washington Street. Yountville

Napa Valley. California

Reservations. 800.351.1133

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Have a wonderful time and tell them Nili sent you !

**

Note: I have not been compensated in any way for my review by any of the parties listed.

  • dori kollMarch 7, 2014 - 1:58 am

    Nice job Nili! Brings back all the good memories of spending time there with you!
    xoDoriReplyCancel

    • adminMarch 7, 2014 - 2:36 am

      Back at you my dear. Everything was just perfect! Thanks for being a stellar travel partner. xo NReplyCancel

 

 

 

 

ROMANESCO & PURPLE CAULIFLOWER * NO FILTER ADDED SWEAR !

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On Saturday mornings I love going to the  UCI Farmers Market. It’s my favorite market in the area and the perfect spot for instant gratification. I have a few stands in the market that I support regularly. One of them is the Cal Poly Pomona Farm Store (you can read their story here).

The produce is grown by the students and the stand is run by the students. The prices are fabulous and the quality of the produce is exceptional. Let me warn you though, if you are looking for perfectly coiffed specimens this is not your stand. It’s pretty much piled in boxes with signs to match.

That being said, I wanted to share my recent purchase of Purple Cauliflower with you. I could not resist the magnificent color and knew that next to any dish it would be a stand out. Let’s keep things simple and just roast it !

It goes something like this:

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THE BASICS

1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL & 2 TSP CHOPPED GARLIC

2 TBLS LEMON JUICE * 1 TBLS LEMON ZEST * FLAKY SALT & PEPPER

TOSS THEM TOGETHER

ROAST AT 425 FOR 15 MIN OR UNTIL FORK TENDER  & TOP WITH A LITTLE PARMASEAN

***

This dish could not be easier  to make or prettier to look at. Cauliflower is low in fat, high in fiber and loaded with vitamin C, not to mention it comes in a variety of colors.

If you get a wild hair stop by your neighborhood farmers market and support your local farmers.

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The Scoop:

UCI Farmers Market

Saturdays from 8:00am-12:00pm

Bridge Road and Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92697
(714) 573-0374

 A list of other certified Farmers Markets in our area

Tell them Nili sent you! xo

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year my friends! It’s hard to believe that January is already in full swing. Needless to say, I have been busy !

I promise that we are going to catch up during the next couple of months and I am going to fill you in on the posts that have been waiting in the wings.

Let’s get cracking with my “new” favorite place to buy plants, Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano! Don’t think for one minute that I have abandoned my obsession with Rogers Gardens (see previous post), let’s just say they are not the only fish in the sea. Wait until you see all the glorious things this place has under one roof.

It looks something like this:

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THE MAIN INDOOR SPACE IS MASSIVE & FILLED WITH STUFF

FROM ORCHIDS TO VIOLETS AND MORE

THERE IS A GREAT SELECTION OF INDOOR PLANTS

AND PLENTY OF OTHER GREAT THINGS TO PICK UP

 THERE ARE POTS IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES

OUTSIDE THERE IS A  WHOLE BUNCH MORE

THIS IS JUST A TASTE

MEET THE SHOP CAT

I WAS ESPECIALLY FOND OF THESE

 FRESH POPCORN 24/7 IF YOU RUN OUT OF STEAM

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As you can see this place is pretty great, and I only scratched the surface. When you go take the time to explore. Keep in mind it changes with the seasons. Like all garden shops there are sometimes that are better than others. In fact there are days that are better than others. I find Wednesdays and Fridays are the best days to shop for plants. As far as the prices go, they are in the middle. They are a little more than Home Depot but less than Rogers Gardens.

One thing for certain, I have never left the Plant Depot empty handed. I hope you will stop by for a visit soon.

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Plant Depot

32413 San Juan Creek Rd, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 240-2107

Open 7 days a week

Be sure to tell them Nili sent you !

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