The White Way To Dine

If you ever get the chance to visit Beverly Hills, I suggest you make a stop by Villa Blanca! Villa Blanca combines Mediterranean and Italian cuisine with Asian touches and influences. This beautiful eatery is close to major Beverly Hills boutiques and shops and is the perfect place to grab lunch on the patio. With grandiose mirrors hanging on the walls as well as exotic and elegant flower arrangements everywhere, Villa Blanca offers brunch, lunch, dinner and a fancy bar area for all your drinking and dining needs.

A took two of my friends here for a mini bridal party brunch and they absolutely loved it! The food was delicious, and the dining experience was splendid. Whether you are going on a date, with your family, or a group of friends, they will accomodate to your requests! I love how everything is white, even the flowers and decorations. The decor is absolutely exquisite and classy. Villa Blanca is lovely and cozy place to visit so next time you are in town be sure to check it out. It is two blocks away from Rodeo Drive so why not after a walk around the famous fashion street, relax and enjoy this delicious place!

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Lunch and the Pacific Ocean

I am so excited to go here this weekend! My aunt’s birthday is this Saturday and I am going to surprise her and take her to lunch at this beautiful restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s going to be a surprise she won’t know where I am taking her 😉 the restaurant is called Geoffrey’s Malibu. This cozy fine dining restaurant located in the California coast line along the Pacific Coast Highway, has a classic style that makes for a truly special experience! I have never been to a restaurant where you overlook an ocean and gaze at a spectacular view. I will tell you guys about it over the weekend! 

Best Spring Trips

Ready for Spring break? Here are some picks voted by National Geographic!

National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.

Photo: Cherry Blossom trees in bloom

Blooming pink and white blossoms have heralded spring’s arrival in the nation’s capital since 1912 when the people of Tokyo gifted Washington, D.C., with 3,000 ornamental cherry trees. The living gift spawned the nation’s signature springtime celebration called the cherry blossing festival which extends for five weeks (March 20 to April 27) for the 2012 centennial edition

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

Photo: Flowers blooming in the forest

Over 800 square miles of terrain and more than 800 miles of hiking trails spread across some of the oldest mountains on Earth, there is plenty of room for everyone to roam and explore! Spring is prime wildlife and wildflower viewing season in this international biosphere reserve. Spot wild turkey, deer, black bear, and elk in one of the park’s least visited areas in western North Carolina’s Cataloochee Valley.

Temps de Flors Festival, Girona, Spain

Photo: View of flowers on stairs during the Temps de Flors Festival in Girona, Spain

Spring paints Catalonia’s sunshine-laced Costa Brava region in vibrant colors: Bright umbrellas shading café patios in seaside Calella de Palafrugell, turquoise waves lapping white pebble beaches in Cap de Creus Natural Park, and flowers cascading down cathedral steps during Girona’s annual Temps de Flors festival, May 12-20.

Wander the old city’s labyrinth network of steep, cobbled lanes where unexpected urban gardens and bloom-inspired art installations adorn monuments, stone-walled courtyards, and city squares. Beyond the festival, hike along Girona’s ancient Roman walls, explore Europe’s best preserved Jewish quarter, and indulge in the experiential cuisine of El Celler de Can Roca, named the second best restaurant in the world in 2011 by Restaurant magazine.

From Girona, hop an early train to Figueres, where native son Salvador Dalí conceived or designed every aspect—from the giant white rooftop eggs to the geodesic dome of the Dalí Theater-Museum. The surrealist masterpiece houses the world’s single largest and most diverse Dalí collection, as well as the artist’s crypt.

 

World’s Best Picnic Spots

Photo: Hikers in the Andes Mountains near Machu Picchu

Huayna Picchu, Peru

At an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet, the view from atop this peak, which towers over the 15th-century ruins of Machu Picchu, is breathtaking in a number of ways. A steep, slippery climb to this rocky summit is a nerve-racking effort—one instantly rewarded with a panoramic perspective of the Urubamba River Valley and the famed city of the Inca. Don’t linger too long—the hike down is a doozy.

Photo: Temple of Aesculapius in the Villa Borghese gardens

Villa Borghese Gardens, Rome, Italy

The Villa Borghese gardens, near the Piazza del Popolo, is a picnic-perfect landscape for escape. The Spanish Steps lead up to this English-style garden, but the romantic feel of the urban park is all-Italian—a fact reinforced by the sculptures by Bernini and paintings by Titian, Raphael, and Caravaggio housed within the Galleria Borghese on the broad expanse of these scenic gardens.

Photo: Alamere Falls at Point Reyes National Seashore in California

Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Station, California

This spectacular nature preserve located on a 70,000-acre peninsula north of San Francisco is rich in wildlife. Hikers, backpackers, and beachcombers ply the trails, especially the wildflower-wild Chimney Rock hike, while picnickers head to the nearby Point Reyes Lighthouse for prime whale watching in January and March and coastal beauty year round.

Photo: Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France.

Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France

Fountains, sculptures, two museums (the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l’Orangerie—which houses famed water lily paintings by Monet) and countless comfortable chairs make this garden on the perimeter of the Musée du Louvre a surprisingly tranquil space for staging your own déjeauner dur l’herbe. With the Seine on one side and Rue de Rivoli on the other, the park is a well-placed rest stop. Stop by patisserie Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli) to pick up a Mont Blanc cake!

Photo: People lying down to look over cliff

Aran Islands, Ireland

Embarking on a scenic ferry ride to the karst limestone landscapes and rough green terrain of Inishmore island. Explore some of Ireland’s oldest archaeological remains and landmark monasteries and then head to the Iron Age fort of Dun Aengus to savor a summertime picnic while gazing over the Atlantic Ocean!

Hotel Wonders

All of these hotels have opened within the last four years, and each is an example of awe-inspiring design in its own right. You can stay in a wave-like skyscraper in Chicago, a stack of cantilevered cubes in Portugal, or a hotel tucked into the wild cliffs of an Australian island. And, even better, it won’t cost a fortune to spend a night in these architectural wonders.

Southern Ocean Lodge (Kangaroo Island, Australia)

<br/>Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island, Australia

This hotel opened in 2008 and consists of 21 suites cascading down a windswept slope, following the natural curve of the land, each with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and sweeping views of the Southern Ocean. Suites were constructed from lightweight materials steel screw piles, timber framing, iron cladding that could be carried in to create minimal disturbance to nature, and which also could handle the challenge of building on precarious soil conditions. $1,000 per person per night.

Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)

<br/>Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

This trio of 55-story towers opened in 2010 and hold an incredible 2,561 hotel rooms, plus a museum, casino, convention center, waterfront promenade, shops, and restaurants. Architect Moshe Safdie has said that his challenge “was to create a vital public place at the district-urban scale-in other words, to address the issue of megascale and invent an urban landscape that would work at the human scale.” The towers are connected at the top by the cantilevered, two-and-a-half-acre SkyPark, home to gardens, 250 trees, a public observatory and a 492-foot swimming pool all perched high in the sky. $350 per night.

Axis Viana Hotel (Viana do Castelo, Portugal)

<br/>Axis Viana Hotel in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. See more photos of the hotels at <a href='http://www.budgettravel.com/slideshow/photos-the-hotel-worlds-most-striking-architecture%2C8367/?cnn=yes' target='_blank'>BudgetTravel.com</a>.

The 88-room Axis Viana Hotel was a striking addition to the folkloric village of Viana do Castelo when it opened in 2008. The exterior is made up of reflective aluminum, black glass, and green stone, and the cantilevered design changes the shape of the hotel depending upon your vantage point. The contrasting interior consists of white finishes and materials including wood and stone. It’s all edged by a shimmering outdoor pool and surrounded by views of the Lima River and Mount St. Luzia. $100 per night.

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel (Chicago, Illinois)

<br/>Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden

Architect Jeanne Gang literally made waves in a city full of iconic skyscrapers with her showstopper building. The 82-story glass structure’s exterior has undulating concrete balconies resembling the swirls and ripples of nearby Lake Michigan. Such a unique design brought with it a unique construction challenge each floor plate is a different shape, which means a different concrete pour was required for every story. To manage it, the concrete was poured into a specially designed flexible metal edge that was reused over and over again an important detail for green architecture.

Baby Squirrel Gets Tiny Purple Cast After Falling Out Of Nest

A little grey squirrel, named “Violet,” who fell from her nest last week has been fitted with a cast that fits just right. According to the Solent News & Photo Agency, Violet fell to ground when a couple unknowingly trimmed the tree branch that was holding her nest.

Spotting the baby and realizing she was now separated from her mother, the couple called up animal rescue workers at the Wildlife Aid Foundation, who bandaged up the squirrel with a small cast. Foundation workers have since been feeding her a special milk formula while they nurse her back to health, MSNBC reports.

“Violet is a little fighter and is coping very well – I’m really hopeful she will be fine,” Lucy Kells, hospital manager at the Wildlife Aid Foundation, told the Daily Mail. “We hope we can release her back into the wild in about 16 to 20 weeks’ time.”

Penny’s Day Out

I took Penny out to the park last weekend for our usual weekend outings together. (Mother daughter bonding time :)) After walking for a while we sat down on the grass and admired everything around us. I sometimes wonder what Penny is thinking about. She likes to stare at many things we see and I sometimes would like to ask her, “Penny what’s on your mind?” The way she looks at me sometimes is like she wants to tell me something. Every night when we go to bed, I always kiss her goodnight and she gives me her paw like saying don’t leave me mom. She sleeps in my room, but I think she sometimes wants me to sleep right next to her. My favorite part of every morning is surprising her by hugging her and saying good morning to her! She always wags her tail and I love seeing her beautiful big brown eyes each morning looking back at me. I can’t imagine my life without her! I can just imagine all of the funny conversations we would have. I sometimes wish animals could talk they would have so many things to say to us 🙂

I don’t think I mentioned this before, but I named my blog Any Lucky Penny because of Penny! She has been a lucky charm for me and I owe her so much! I love these two songs because they remind me of her 🙂

Nikki Hassman- Any Lucky Penny

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87Dds_RodDk

The Beatles- Penny Lane

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd-oLhJQne0

Have a fantastic Friday! If you are an animal lover like me, I am sure you will love these quotes 🙂

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.”

“A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn’t care if you’re not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector.”

Dandelions

I went to wash my car the other day and as I waited, I saw this cute little dandelion staring back at me. I felt bad taking it so I decided to take a picture so I can keep it as a little memory. I remember when I was little I loved making a wish, blowing them and then watching them fly away into the sky 🙂

Quote of the Day: “Make yourself a better person and know who you are before you try and know someone else and expect them to know you.”