i woke up this morning to the sound of my daughter saying, “mommy, it is 745.” for those of you without 3 year olds, that is truly an amazing hour to be still cozy in bed. i took a quick shower and headed to the grocery store to buy some goodies for today’s picnic with the ladies that work in my shop. . .the sky was a beautiful blue and it was sunny, but still cool enough to wear my “cozy” pants and uggs. the grocery mart was empty and freshly stocked and straightened, LOVE. i picked out all of my items and spent under $100, that does not happen often, so i decided to treat myself and the ladies to some gorgeous $8 napkins, frivolous and silly, but very pretty! when i arrived home, my husband had done the dishes and was applying labels to my holiday open house postcards for the shop. (it was about now that i wondered what i had done to deserve this loveliness that was being bestowed upon me) i then proceeded to prepare the picnic in the kitchen while missy higgins, coldplay and sarah mclachlan serenaded me. i made a caprese salad, pecan crusted chicken skewers, a platter of pears, pistachios, two cheeses and mission figs stuffed with humboldt fog cheese, croccantini with los olivos tapenade, baguette with olio e limone olive oil and balsamic and a crazy chocolate brownie cakelike treat that’s story deserves a blog of its own. basically everything that could go wrong in baking did, BUT, to keep with the theme of the day, it turned out absolutely delightful. boy, this is such a long blog, but the day was just so great. i proceeded to my shop to pick up the ladies who were able to join me and we ventured into the valley. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. we visited buttonwood farm for a picnic (where we get yummy jams, chutneys and wines that we sell in the shop), clairmont farms, where we get wonderful lavendar products, and some great shops in los olivos. . .in los olivos we did an olive oil tasting and i met a delightful woman who makes all sorts of lovely organic oils, spreads and mustards. we finished off the day at a little coffee shop where we sat outside and enjoyed the chocolate treat. i came home to a happy husband and daughter and am now just thinking about the day and how lucky i feel to have a great family, beautiful place to live, and wonderful people to spend my days at work with. . .lucky me.