Nili Stevens Blog bio picture
  • Hello World!

    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 28 years and have helped hundreds of brides celebrate the most important day of their lives. During this time I 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

SHED A Healdsburg Destination

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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Villagio Inn and Spa * Yountville California

 

 

 

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 !

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

Roasted Purple Cauliflower

 

 

 

 

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

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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

 

The Plant Depot

 

 

 

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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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Merry Christmas To You !

 

 

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THINKING OF YOU ALL TODAY

WITH HOPES THAT YOU FOUND A MOMENT IN YOUR BUSY LIVES TO ENJOY THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON !

 THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR ONGONG ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT.

THE BEST IS YET TO COME MY FRIENDS…

XO NILI

 

 

 

 

The Beachcomber Cafe At Crystal Cove

 

 

 

CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK * YOU ARE IN FOR A TREAT

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This past Saturday was my birthday and I wanted to start my day with breakfast and a walk on the beach at the Beachcomber Café at

Crystal Cove State Park . Since it’s off season, it was easy for Jeff (my hubby) to secure a 7:30am reservation.

Since the place opens at 7:00, we definetly beat the rush.

It went something like this:

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 ONCE YOU PARK  YOU CAN TAKE A QUICK WALK TO BREAKFAST OR GRAB THE SHUTTLE

WE DECIDED TO WALK

INTO THE TUNNEL WE GO

 IT’S SO CHARMING & PEACEFUL

IN THE SUMMER YOU CAN EAT OUTSIDE

IN THE WINTER THEY MAKE IT  NICE & TOASTY INSIDE

HOT COFFEE,  A TEMPTING MENU &  FRIENDLY FOLKS

WARM BEIGNETS &  EGGS FLORENTINE FOR TWO 

A WALK ON THE BEACH AFTER BREAKFAST  AS PLANNED

 A QUICK PHOTO OPP BEFORE THE RAIN

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The Beachcomber is such a gem and totally off my radar, but that is going to change! It takes a little advance planning or the patience to wait but as you can see it’s well worth it! They are open for breakfast, lunch or dinner (I have only had breakfast there) and start serving at 7:00am. The website is full of information. Check it out here and if you happen to visit. Let me know how it goes. I always love hearing from you!

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The Beachcomber Cafe

15 Crystal Cove. Newport Coast California

949.376.6900

For Reservations

Tell them Nili sent you ! xo

With Gratitude

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving is here at last. It’s my favorite holiday of the year for many obvious reasons, but like many of you I rarely take a breath to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving until we are all gathered around the table, the wine is poured and the food has been served. This is when my heart over flows with gratitude for all the blessings in my life.

When Rush was little, and for many years after, we would always start the meal by having him read a poem or saying. I loved hearing him speak the words with pride and watching all the faces around the table as everyone listened quietly.

My wish for all of us this Thanksgiving Day (and everyday) is to make gratitude part of your daily lives, not just something we reserve for holidays and special occasions. It may just put a whole new perspective  on the way we see things.

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GRATITUDE

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity.

It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

- Melodie Beattie

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING MY FRIENDS

 Wishing you a beautiful day filled with Love & Gratitude xo Nili

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This Week At Trader Joes * Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

 

 

 

 

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I have a thing for breakfast sweets. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t really eat them (ok sometimes I do) but I spend a lot of time thinking about them. Last week I spotted these Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls at Trader Joe’s and decided I needed to give them a go. I thought it would be an interesting twist to add Pumpkin Butter to the vanilla icing to create Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. The results were quick and delicious.  There is nothing like a warm cinnamon roll right out of the oven with a cup of Joe! If you want a quick fix then this is the ticket.

Take a peek:

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TWO KEY PLAYERS

BUST IT OPEN LAY IT OUT & BAKE FOR 15

NOW THE ICING

MIX WITH 2-3 TSP OF PUMPKIN BUTTER

OUT COME THE ROLLS * ON GOES THE FROSTING

NOW THE FUN BEGINS

THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART

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As you can see, that was a no brainer. Bust these out for your family one morning and see what happens.

Thanks for stopping by. xo Nili

 

Claro’s Italian Market

A LITTLE MARKET IN TUSTIN CALIFORNIA

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Every time I visit Old Town Tustin (see previous post) I always stop by Claro’s Italian Market. I  know there will be a little something there that I just have to have. Claro’s is the type of market that you don’t see much anymore. It’s not a mega store, it’s not fancy, organic, grass fed and there isn’t anyone in cute outfits handing out samples (unless you ask for a taste). It’s just a good old fashioned Italian Market with a bunch of stuff in a small space that has been in business since 1948!

In my book that means they are doing something right.

Take a peek:

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WALL TO WALL GOODS

BOTTLE YOUR OWN OLIVE OIL OR CHOOSE FROM A NUMBER OF BRANDS

FEEL LIKE MAKING YOUR OWN PIZZA ?

WHAT ABOUT SOME MEATS & CHEESES ?

DON’T FORGET THE COOKIES

AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

 A LITTLE ITALIAN SAUSAGE TO GO ? NOT MY THING BUT THEY HAVE THAT TOO !

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This is the real deal. They are especially popular at lunchtime when locals line up for a variety of items to go.

I will continue to visit this little neighborhood gem and hopefully now you will too.

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Tell them Nili sent you! xo

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Claro’s Italian Market

1095 East Main Street. Tustin CA 92860

714.832.3081

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Other Locations : Arcadia. San Gabriel. Covina. La Habra & Upland

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