Bathing In The Possibilities of 2015

This New Year’s, I’m feeling utterly bubbly as I reflect, wash away what doesn’t serve me, bathe in the possibilities of 2015, and toast to the beautiful mysteries that 2015 holds.

Bathing in the possibilities of 2015

Feeling so grateful for so many dreams coming true in 2014.

So do I want more to come true this year?

As@AmyPoehlerSmartGirls says…YES PLEASE!

*This photo was taken in the Double Courtyard Cottage at The Oaks Spa in Ojai, California. (Full McCoy’s MeCation up next week)

xoxo,
BF

 

BF Asks: How are you celebrating this first day of 2015? 

McCoy’s MeCations: Satori Tea Company in San Jose – A Whimsical, Tantalizing Tea Room

I love surprises. The good kind. The sweet kind.
I ran into one of these such sweet surprises when I discovered Satori Tea Company on a lark on my McCoy’s MeCation in San Jose this past weekend.

Satori Tea Company in downtown San Jose

For those of you who don’t know, I grew up going to afternoon tea with my mom on a regular basis. It was our thing. It was our chance to catch up with one another after school, eat some delicious food and share with her all of my hopes and dreams (with a little gossip mixed in here and there) – all while sipping our cups of tea. My senior year of high school, we went daily whenever we could, because we knew we wouldn’t have that opportunity the following year. So afternoon tea, or high tea, has always held a special place in my heart.

The Royal Tea at Satori Tea Company in San Jose

Finding a good tearoom that measures up to those I remember from my youth, like the long-gone Lady Primrose in Dallas, is no easy quest. Until now. On a lark, I decided to take my Step Up Women’s Network alum mentee, Rosy, to tea, while in San Jose for Oprah’s The Life You Want weekend. We had gone to tea together once before in Beverly Hills, and it was now becoming our tradition, much like it had been for my mom and I.

A royal high tea with Rosy at Satori Tea Company

I walked around downtown San Jose and stumbled upon Satori Tea Company. This place hits all the points I deem crucial when it comes to an exemplary afternoon tea. And, it’s no surprise as owner, Victoria, partook in tea classes as a child and then found herself later studying the art of tea while studying abroad in England as a college student.

  • There is a wide and interesting selection of teas – a wall of them, actually, that you can sample-sniff.

    The wall of tea at Satori Tea Company

  •  They offer a wide and tasty selection of flavorful, authentic, homemade tea sandwiches.
  •  They serve true clotted cream (as well as lemon curd and jam) with their scones

    Clotted cream, lemon curd and jam - topped with pomegranate seeds and berries - for the homemade scones at Satori Tea Company

  •  They add their own twists on the classic tea, like these crumpets topped with their homemade yum – I mean – rum butter.

    Homemade Crumpets topped with their homemade yum butter - er, I mean - RUM BUTTER.

Housed in an unassuming space, its front door faces a parking lot. Nothing magical on the storefront…but then you go inside. Magic. Pure magic.

Poms cascading from the ceiling at Satori Tea Company

Poms hang from the ceiling, beautiful antique furniture abounds (SO beautiful that I kept trying to buy it), and servers are dressed in beautiful, feminine frocks. I felt transported to a Mad Hatter tea party in the middle of downtown San Jose. Not bad for a Friday!

I. Want. These. Chairs. For my office, please?

I recommend ordering the Royal Tea ($45) which includes 3 finger sandwich selections (2 each) on a bed of delicate green salad, warm heritage cream scone served with fresh fruit, clotted cream, lemon curd, & preserves, an assortment of petite tea fancies, twice toasted crumpet topped with sweet rum butter, plentiful pot of tea, and a flute of their signature tea-infused champagne cocktail.
Enjoy the complex flavors of their wide selection of tea sandwiches, their toasted crumpets with homemade rum butter, scones with clotted cream, jam and lemon curd, and petite pastries that are sure to please.

Oh, the deliciousness! Shown here: Cucumber Cream Cheese sandwiches and pastries

As for the sandwiches, these are their delicious offerings:
  • English cucumber & cream cheese
  • Egg salad with green onion & dill
  • Pear, gorgonzola cream, & arugula
  • Apple, cranberry, almond chicken salad
  • Herbed turkey, pesto, & pepper jack
  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers
  • Ham, English cheddar, & fig butter
  • Peanut butter & jelly with sprinkles

I am still dreaming of those oh-so-tasty tea sandwiches (8 varieties, including ) and the Breakfast Club pink tea, which is the comforting taste of cinnamon toast meets bread pudding meets morning porridge. Yes, really. I actually left with a tin of this, I was such a fan!

And, my purchase didn’t stop there! They have a beautiful selection of antique teacups, tea sets and teapots, so I also picked up some delicious Christmas gifts for friends and family.

Best of all, it reminds me of the sweet and tasty tearooms of my youth. Satori Tea Company is a warm, inviting, delicious, whimsical little world that invites you to share tea, swap stories and make memories – like the ones my mom and I have – that will last a lifetime.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I can’t recommend highly enough that you schedule a visit to this tantalizing tea room. You will thank me for the recommendation.

**Stay tuned for some delicious recipes from Victoria of Satori Tea Company, coming soon here on BeautyFrosting!

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: What’s your favorite tearoom? 

 

 

McCoy’s MeCations: The Ways of San Jose

When I was invited to attend Oprah’s The Life You Want weekend in San Jose this past weekend, I decided to make a McCoy’s MeCation out of it, because well, that’s what I do.

On my way to Oprah, my most exciting McCoy's MeCation yet!

I’ve never been to San Jose before and I was so excited to navigate this bay area city on my own and, um, on Oprah’s terms.

It started with my check-in at The Fairmont San Jose. When Oprah’s having a party and your hotel is the most luxurious in town, they’re gonna be a little – shall we say – busy. Everyone was staying there – including, I was told, Oprah herself. Even though The Fairmont had over 850 guests check in this weekend on the last stop of the Oprah’s The Life You Want weekend, The Fairmont staff still managed to make me feel like a star during my stay.

I left The Fairmont feeling relaxed, recharged and inspired. What more could a girl ask for from a mecation?

From the personal recommendations on where to dine, to the turndown service, and Republic of Tea surprise nightcap, I truly felt pampered for my inspiring, Oprah-fueled San Jose mecation weekend.

A comfy robe and an unexpected Republic of Tea nightcap, served with simple syrup

The Executive King Suite in the main building

I started with a relaxing in-room light lunch to get my belly filled, my mind cleared and my body relaxed for what was up next on the mecation agenda. *Travel note: I always try to order the same first room service meal at every hotel I stay in: caesar salad and french onion soup. By using this as my common thread, I know what level of cuisine I’m in for once I taste it. This one indicated excellent food to come!

A happy girl right there. All it took was a bowl of french onion soup, caesar salad and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon

Next, I headed down to the lobby to Tova Day Spa, where I was surprised by a most relaxing massage with Flurya and the best facial of my life (no exaggeration here) with owner, Tova. Tova is just a ray of light who takes great pride in her spa. And, I really appreciated the fact that she was so gentle with me since it was my first time getting a microdermabrasion facial.

Facial time with Tova. My first time having gentle microdermabrasion and truly the best facial of my life

In the sauna at Tova Day Spa, before returning to my Oprah weekend

Afterwards, my skin felt softer than it had in years – like that proverbial baby’s bottom we all crave – and my skin glowed and looked lit within.

My skin was the softest it had been in years! Still is, thanks to Tova

Walking through the city (which I love to do), I stumbled upon my hidden gem in San Jose…Satori Tea Company. This place might just be my new favorite tea house. If you’re in San Jose, do yourself a favor and head to this little treasure chest of a tea house that sits in an alley facing a parking lot. Unexpected surprises in the most unexpected of places, yet again! Isn’t that what travel is all about? *Stay tuned for more details about that experience!

My most favorite high tea experience in over a decade

For my last dinner, I indulged in the deliciousness at The Grill on The Alley, a traditional steakhouse, which was a comforting trip to the past in my weekend of new discoveries. *More on that later, too.

When it comes to dinner in San Jose? Stick to The Grill on the Alley - the best in town, and better yet, in the lobby of your hotel when you stay at The Fairmont

Overall, The Fairmont San Jose made for the best home away from home, married with a touch of an escape for a weekend that was all about bettering myself.

Relaxed, recharged, reinvigorated - and ready to take on the world! Thank you, San Jose.

I rested in their super luxurious beds with buttery soft sheets, I beautified and relaxed in their spa and I dined – oh, how I dined – at their restaurants. And the best part? I got to enjoy some of the best of what San Jose had to offer all in one beautiful building.

My San Jose MeCation Travel Takeaway?

  • 1) Fly into the San Jose International Airport.
  • 2) Splurge a bit and stay at The Fairmont.
  • 3) Order room service at least once.
  • 4) Enjoy The Fairmont breakfast buffet at The Fountain – only $25 – it is SO worth it.
  • 5) Pamper yourself with the best facial of your life at Tova Day Spa.
  • 6) Head over to Satori Tea Company for one of the best high teas you’ll ever have (and be sure to leave with a tin or two of tea and one of their vintage antique tea sets)
  • 7) Spend at least 30 minutes walking around the city (and any city you’re traveling in) so you can get a true feel of the beat of that city.

 

McCoy’s Me-Cations: A Taste of Texas – Fall ’14

Gosh, Texas was fun.

It's been too long, my homestate!

My trip home to Dallas consisted mostly of family time, catching up with friends, hanging out by the pool, napping, eating…and more eating.
Hence, the 5-lbs that decided to come back to LA with me – and I’m not talking about in my carry-on –  but I digress.

Here is just a taste of the Texas I know and love. I am dedicating the next 3 days to my 15-day Texas fall experience.

The first thing I see when I come home is THIS. The cutest. That’s mine – Miss Ellie – in front and her brother (my mom’s) in the oh-so-festive bandana. His name is Reagan.

Meet Reagan (in back, my mom's pup & Miss Ellie's big brother). That's Miss Ellie in front, of course.

Here are a few of the highlights of the trip. And did I mention the delicious food?

First stop? Mi Cocina. And I can assure you, it won’t be the last.

Our second family home: Mi Cocina Preston Forest

I spent many an afternoon, laying out by the family pool. Mom would bring me delicious snacks when I’d been out there a while! More details (and pics) on Thursday.

Fall in Texas looks a little different.

A Dallas autumn (almost) citywide blackout calls for marshmallow soup, soufflé and wine at Rise Soufflé. Obviously.

A blackout calls for one of my favorite Dallas restaurants.

There’s Breakfast and then there’s Texfast. This is the latter at The Original Pancake House on Midway and Northwest Highway. Banana Nut crepes with coffee caramel sauce. Delish.

Almost every morning, we eat at our neighborhood's The Original Pancake House. We've been coming here for 23 years.

Next up? Lots of visits with friends.

All my exes live in Texas. Well, not all of em. But this one’ll do. We checked out some live music at Poor David’s Pub with a few other friends. I have always been in awe of the Dallas music scene.

One of my exes, who - yep! - lives in Texas.

 

We used to play hooky during our high school days to hit Bubba’s for lunch. Now, hooky is no longer necessary. Known this girl for over 18 years and so thankful for that…and for Bubba’s mashed potatoes that we demolished over our ladies’ lunch.

No more need to play hooky!

 

Sunday ladies’ brunch in full effect at The Grape on Greenville.

Mimosas & muffins to start at The Grape on Greenville in Dallas

 

Warning: Brunch and mimosas at The Grape may cause intense laughter and inappropriate conversation. Love the chance that I had the opportunity to introduce two of my friends, KellyAnn and Lori to one another on this trip home!

Warning: The Grape's mimosas may lead to intense laughter and inappropriate conversation. Um, sorry to the table sitting next to us.

 

Laughter never ages. Love these two – Tadd and Jenna . One of my favorite traditions every time I’m home – Hendrix alums & dear friends unite at Mi Cocina! (Yes, again, with the Mi Cocina).

Hendrix '00 friends at Mi Cocina!

 And I love that I timed my trip perfectly so I could attend my college friend Camille’s wedding party in Texarkana with our other college best friends, Jenna and Cathleen!

Hendrix '00 in Texarkana for Camille's wedding party

You knew this was coming. RED MEAT ALERT.

When you’re raised in Dallas, good steak and lobster only means one thing…Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. I spent almost every birthday dining here, from age 10 onward, with my family, which totally spoiled me for life. Even though the Lemmon location is gone, the deliciousness lives on on Spring Valley. My taste buds experienced a bit of nostalgic heaven that night and I am still thankful. (Thanks, Mom!)

Why, yes! As a matter of fact, we did have steak AND lobster!

 

A lighter night. Girls’ night at Cafe Istanbul with Mom.

Cafe Istanbul girls' night with Mom.

 

And the, ahem, family “food tour” continues. Sharing a fiesta omelet and French strawberry crepe with Mom at Original Pancake House, before we hit the mothership, Neiman Marcus Northpark.

The best Dallas breakfast spot..and it's right in our 'hood.

 

One piece of advice for y’all before I wrap this up: When in Texas, there is only one beer you can drink, in my opinion: Shiner Bock.

Sippin' on a Shiner Bock in Texarkana, Texas on a Friday night. Life's pretty good.

 

Yep. Texas Forever.

**
Tomorrow? The man I always fall in love with every fall in Texas. He’s the dreamiest.

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: What are your favorite Dallas restaurants? 

 

McCoy’s Me-Cations: The Parker Palm Springs – The Ultimate Luxurious California Escape

Yesterday, I shared with you the announcement of my new series, McCoy’s Me-Cations – posts that encourage you, my readers, (and myself) to take more mini vacations on your own. Why? Because as Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I don’t wanna miss it. And I don’t want you to either. Taking little holidays alone, away from the hustle and bustle of life – and even those we love, sometimes – can helps us relax, unwind and further discover the riches that lie within us as individuals. I share with you now my first official McCoy Me-Cation. May it inspire you to follow suit.

***

Where: The Parker Palm Springs
When:  July 1st-3rd, 2014  

What: Golden age of glamour + Rat pack resort = The ultimate luxurious California escape

Special thanks to Marisa Zafran & The Parker Palm Springs, Nicole Myden, George Duchannes (photography), Gabby Castro (hair), Sabrina Ginsburg (makeup), Isha Takomaki (hair assistant) and jewelry ℅ AV Max, Liv Haley, Heather Gardner and Rachel Meis Communications

Upon entering The Parker Palm Springs, there is one thing that everyone agrees upon – it feels enchanted. Haunted almost, if you will. But it’s not haunted by ghosts – but by the golden age of glamour.

Welcome to The Parker Palm Springs.

From the eager-to-please valets to the customer service kings and queens they call concierges, the swanky limestone Mini Bar to the egg swing chairs and croquet lawn, everything about it reminds you of a playland where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Angie Dickinson would have played. It almost feels like how the fictional Overlook Hotel might have felt in its peak season pre-Shining era. But don’t let that scare you. I mean it in the best possible way.

The Jonathan Adler designed lobby. It's not that you take drugs at The Parker, it's that you feel like you're on them while there because you're just so darned blissed out. *Photo by George Duchannes

I left on a Tuesday, and the drive was a breeze at just over two hours.

Color me one happy girl. Caffeine in my hand, wind in my hair and Otis Redding on the stereo. Parker Palm Springs Me-Cation, here we go!

I LOVE this place. I can’t emphasize that enough. I went in the dead heat of early July and people thought I was crazy. “Palm Springs is an oven in the summer!” 

But they were the crazy ones.

I arrived at around 6 pm and was led by a super sweet valet to my estate room with a lanai, looking out onto the north pool.

Paint the door red. Standing in front of the door to my poolside estate room *Photo by George Duchannes

I was greeted with a fresh fruit plate and handwritten welcome card that immediately made me feel at home.

It is rare that I have been this happy. Thank you for the oh-so-warm welcome, Parker Palm Springs . Let's just call it love at first sight...or bite. *Photo by Dawn McCoy

My new home away from home! *Photo by George Duchannes

The location of my room allowed me to have solo swims with a glass of vino in the evening and early morning post-coffee dips.

Sipping coffee on the lanai of my estate room by the north pool

It was my favorite moment of the summer. And it was a moment that was stretched over 3 lavish days and 2 luxurious nights.

I spent my first evening, having a light, casual dinner of oysters and wine at the Mini Bar.

A light dinner of oysters and pinot noir at the Mini Bar, with my charming bartender, George

This place  – with its green marble walls and bar – is just luxe.

The Mini Bar - gorgeous green marble all around. *Photo by George Duchannes

The next morning, I had room service on my lanai, enjoying the delicious view of the pool and palm trees almost as much as I enjoyed my omelet.

Good morning, @parkerpalmsprings ! Day 2 of McCoy's MeCations is off to a delicious start. Enjoying this Denver-style omelet & fresh-squeezed juice on the lanai of my poolfront estate room. Heaven while fueling up for today's shoot. **p.s. Thanks @mollanderson for the tip on bringing touches of home on vacation with you to make it feel like home. I brought this lovely Vera tablecloth which just couldn't fit into the ambiance of the Parker more perfectly. *Photo by Dawn McCoy

Enjoying some oj in bed while catching up on emails before I turn the laptop off for the day! *Photo by George Duchannes

That afternoon, I spent some much-needed R&R, reading for a bit in the swinging egg chair in the lobby.

Just a swingin'. Photo by George Duchannes

Next up? Some spiked lemonade at the lemonade stand. This is when I really realized how much a mini me-cation can be as therapeutic as a long vacation.

Know what this picture says? Summer, y'all!! Come to the @parkerpalmsprings - it's the MOST fun! (Am I the only girl who still references Shag?) *Photo by Dawn McCoy

And I was plumb giddy about the lemon and vanilla-hued life-sized chess board!

Ain't life grand? Living la vida lemonade on the Parker's chessboard *Photo by George Duchannes

For dinner? Why, I had to find Mr.Parker’s, of course.

Looking for Mister Parker *Photo by George Duchannes

At Mister Parker’s, you get not only the most delectable food and top notch service, but there’s the bonus perk of the best 70s music mix ever made.

A slice of 70s. Yep. This In Bloom by Jonquil pj lounge set is what I wore to Mister Parker's for dinner. Don't judge. It just felt right. *Photo by George Duchannes

The soundtrack at Mister Parker’s is as if The Virgin Suicides was living and breathing on Spotify. Do yourself a favor and get the burrata salad. The lemon oil and champagne vinaigrette is one of the most scrumptious tastes I’ve ever tasted in my life.

That night, I got to enjoy my favorite thing in the world – nightswimming.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night… *Photo by George Duchannes

It was just me in the pool, so I put in my earbuds, sipped some wine and listened to some Sam Cooke and Bill Withers. It was one of those moments when you nostalgize while actually in the moment, because you know it’s that good and that you’ll always remember the moment.

The next day, I hit Norma’s for breakfast, which is a must.

Norma's for Breakfast - a Palm Springs must!

Even people visiting Palm Springs, not staying at The Parker, hit Norma’s for brunch – because it’s that killing.

Just a bit of the naughtiness at Norma's. A breakfast of Norma's Benedict with a side helping of gratitude. Writing thank you notes to the incomparable concierge, John, and all the staff here at the@parkerpalmsprings . They just made this MeCation (and last minute photo shoot) a dream!*Photo by Dawn McCoy

Next up? I read for a bit in one of the hammocks.

Stop. Hammock time.

And then read some more on the lawn.

Nora Ephron + The Parker = HEAVEN *Photo by George Duchannes **Sunhat by Bungalow LA

And then visited with other Parker guests outside the lobby.

Comfy-cozy at The Parker. *Photo by George Duchannes

Then…it was spa time.

PSYC (yes, that's what it's called). I am so thankful for my life. Having said that, I would really like to be back at PSYC - the spa - at @parkerpalmsprings right now. A little slice of yacht club heaven from the Fitzgerald days. I want my house to look like this spa did. Swoon. (I swoon a lot at the Parker. Luckily, there are plenty of valets and bellboys to catch me). *Photo by Dawn McCoy

The Parker PSYC is a whole other experience to be had. A little slice of yacht club from the Fitzgerald days. The 90-minute massage took my bliss to the next level and the various baths and pools of the Parker were just what I needed to round out my trip, before heading back to LA.

When I left The Parker, I was naturally sad to leave.

Don't tear me away! *Photo by George Duchannes

But I was surprised at how rested, relaxed and revitalized I felt. And I knew my first time wouldn’t be my last. I now consider myself to be a true Parker devotee.

It's like the sun is chasing me. This is how I feel after 3 days and 2 nights@parkerpalmsprings . What's that word again? Oh, yes. HAPPY. Yep. That's the word. *Photo by Dawn McCoy

A little piece of The Parker. The talismans I brought back from my @parkerpalmsprings MeCation - hopefully, they'll bring a bit of magic back to LA with me. These are the goodies you find on your toiletries tray when you stay at the Parker. Divine.@penhaligons_uk @penhaligonsltd @hermes @bulgariofficial @loccitane

 

Your takeaway? If you want to escape the modern age and go back in time to the Gatsby era meets 70s Rat Pack days, The Parker Palm Springs is where it’s at. The resort must be how the Dirty Dancing resort felt to Baby.The accommodations, the service, the taste level, and, well, the tastes will make you want to return as often as you can. It’s like home…only elevated.

Some glamour at the glamorous Parker

**Dawn Do: I often visit The Parker Palm Springs site is the Deals section. They’re sent as they become available to my inbox – and I recommend you sign up, as well. They offer GREAT deals, including those for spa junkies and foodies – both of which I think we know I am. What kind of deals? Well, when you pay $249/night (during the week or $299/weekend), you receive a $250 credit in spa or dining amenities.  I don’t know what could be more inviting than that!

 

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: Where should I take my NEXT McCoy’s Me-Cation? 

A New Series: McCoy’s Me-Cations – Wish You Were Here

My first official Me-Cation at The Parker. Come on inside and join me for my getaway, tomorrow! *Photo by George Duchannes

The french know best when it comes to many things. And they especially know how to holiday. How to close one door and open another, to get away from it all.
That’s why I decided to say, “Oui” to treating myself to mini me-cations on a more regular basis.
After all, I’m single, have steady income and heck, I think we all deserve a little escapism every now and then.
That’s what inspired me to create, “McCoy’s MeCations.”
The first one will go live tomorrow and I encourage you to take the trip with me to the legendary and luxurious Le Parker Meridien in Palm Springs.
And after you take the vicarious trip, I encourage you to take the real one.
I am so looking forward to exploring this new column this year in cities across America and right here at home in LA for some staycations.
**If you’re interested in us taking a McCoy’s Me-Cation to your city, hotel, bed & breakfast, resort or restaurant, please contact me at Dawn@BeautyFrosting.com.
Bon voyage, y’all!
xoxo,
BFBF Asks: Have you ever taken a me-cation?