Odeum – Artisanal European Cuisine

By Jessica Willis

It’s becoming a yearly tradition to dress up fancy and visit Odeum for my birthday dinner. Serving artisanal Mediterranean cuisine in downtown Morgan Hill, this local favorite offers heated outdoor seating or intimate indoor dining near a colorful magenta wet bar. But the real reason to eat at Odeum is Michelin Star-awarded chef, Salvatore Calisi….

Ostrich Land – Wild Muppet Dinosaurs

By Jessica Willis

I still can’t believe we found this place. On my way to Santa Barbara with Brandon and my brother Josh, we planned to stop by Solvang, the adorable Dutch town in the mountains about 45 minutes away. But passing this sign for Ostrich Land USA, we did a hard double-take. A place to feed real…

The Superbowl of Flowers – California Spring Trials!

By Jessica Willis

Every year, bigwigs of the flower industry fly in from all around the world to California Spring Trials (CAST) to ponder the latest floral innovations and genetic improvements. It’s at this week-long plant extravaganza that marketers and breeders proudly reveal their newest and best creations – flowers that are longer-lasting, are available in new colors,…

Water+Leaves, Rescued Honey By The Sea

By Jessica Willis

I visited Water + Leaves on a rainy coastal morning, when Fisherman’s Wharf was bustling with delivery people carting in fresh produce to the harbor-viewing restaurants. This tea bar/coffee shop at the end of the wharf was quiet and clean, with a single barista behind the counter. A bearded man sat in the corner and…

Lolla – Local, Organic, Seasonal

By Jessica Willis

Sourcing locally so you can eat seasonally. ( Here’s something to ponder – what business would you start in a corner space with fantastic natural light, but extremely limited square footage? If you’re Sarah Griss, you open Lolla. Sarah and her brother took over this tiny storefront following a melange of tenants spanning back decades,…

A day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

By Jessica Willis

Watch these sea nettle jellies float around in live action, here on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website! Mesmerizing, isn’t it? Growing up in California, I remember visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium often, dazzled by the many levels and colorful childrens’ areas. Now as an adult, after exploring a handful of other aquariums (like the Shedd…

Sleeping In The Santa Cruz Redwoods

By Jessica Willis

Brandon knows how much I love treehouses. I talk incessantly about building one in our front yard and living in it. What’s more magical than being high off the ground and surviving like every moment is an adventure? While Brandon does not share my desire to actually LIVE like Robinson Crusoe, he was happy to…

Enjoy Seoul Korean in Vietnam Town

By Jessica Willis

It’s Friday night. You’re looking for a place to simultaneously eat sweet/savory Korean BBQ and watch high-energy K-Pop in a bright, colorful environment. No sense flying to South Korea – just go to Enjoy Seoul! Though Enjoy Seoul is a Korean restaurant, it is located in San Jose’s Vietnam Town – the favored stomping ground of the largest…

Small Bites At The White Hart Tea Room

By Jessica Willis

Turning 29 again is always a special occasion, so I treated my mom (the birthday girl) and my grandma to afternoon tea at The White Hart in Pacific Grove, just blocks away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This gorgeously restored old Victorian home overlooks the sparkling Monterey Bay. After we selected a loose-leaf tea to fill…

Color Factory pops up in San Francisco

By Jessica Willis

I’ll keep this brief because the photos speak for themselves. Founded by the delightfully colorful creators of the Oh Happy Day blog, Color Factory in Union Square, San Francisco, is not like any museum you’ve ever been to. While most museums expect quiet observance of static art, Color Factory throws guests into the role of…