Monday, May 27, 2019

Flowers on the Wall... Colorful Mexico!

Being the start of summer and my love of flowers, I thought I would post a piece on the some of the beautiful planters and plants that adorn the colorful walls in Mexico.  Something my mom just loved too.
Calle Mesones in San Miguel de Allende, across from my favorite bakery, La Petit Four.  I had never seen these pots look so magnificent as they did the day when I I shot this.
What a stunning entry, the wall of potted orchids at La Cathedral Restaurant in Oaxaca City.  I take my groups here every time for comida (lunch).
Talk about lush plants.  This is the interior courtyard of the home and workshop of the Jacobo and Maria Angels family where they carve and intricately paint the Alebrijes (wood figures) in the town of San Martin, located just south of Oaxaca City.
I was intrigued by this four-sided, tiered pot stand that was in a courtyard in Oaxaca City.  What a clever idea.
A rather crude but so attractive, this plant holder is just beautiful against the old stucco wall.
So simple but so inviting!
I simply adore this colorful and spotlessly clean restaurant the I take my group to when down in the Oaxaca countryside.  One of my favorite dishes here is their stuffed Squash blossoms. 
What a clever and colorful way to display the plants.
At our last home in San Miguel de Allende, my mom's pride and joy, these clay pots with the voluptuous succulents in them
and this "Burro Tail" that we were always amazed at.
Canales, down spouts, in San Miguel de Allende.  No longer functioning as a down spout but as a wonderful planter made by nature.
Every time I go up to El Charco, the botanic gardens outside of San Miguel de Allende, I marvel at the colorful Bougainvillea and the flowering hedge at one of the house near El Charco.
Okay, I know these are not flowers but I had to throw this in at the end.  At a restaurant in Oaxaca City.  What a clever idea on what to do with wine and liquor bottles.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Honoring my mother, Lorraine

My mom, Lorraine Rubie Mullen, left this world on the 29th of April.  This past Saturday I had an open house in honor of her and I invited those who had known her well over the last few years in Denver.

My mom loved peonies and she was crazy about the baskets in Mexico.  So I made an arrangement of over 50 peonies in a basket I had recently bought in Oaxaca.
I made over 30 tent cards with photos of her on each side and I wrote the date of the photo and where it had been taken under each photo.  Everyone loved them, especially my dad.  I made my spicy pecans, a Spanish Coco (a flat bread with caramelized onions, piquillo peppers and Manchego cheese) and a spinach and artichoke dip with seasoned pita chips.   My mom was always so proud of me, I could just hear her saying, "That Robin!".
The weather was really strange that day.  It started out cold and gloomy.  Then around 12:30, big snow flakes started to come down and then it turned into rain.  But at 1:15, the sun came out!  My mom wasn't going to have bad weather ruin her celebration.  I also hired a couple who I have used for large parties before to come in and bar tend and serve.  She would have loved that.
The dining table on the back patio with more flowers and photo tent cards.
The kitchen counter had a big arrangement of Sunflowers and Irises.  I bought that gorgeous copper pot on one our adventures together over in Santa Clara de Cobre in the state of Michoacan in Mexico.  She and my dad loved that area and searching out the different artisans in the mountain villages.   The three of us explored that area often, especially when I was on my buying trips for my import sales.
Here are just some of the photos I put on the tent cards.  This was taken in front of the San Francisco church in San Miguel de Allende, 2009.  This is when her cousin, Marje, and Marje's daughter, Jill, from Minneapolis came to visit us at our casa in San Miguel. 
At the Denver Botanic Gardens, touring the Chihuly exhibition, 2014.
An exceptional day north of Colima, Mexico at the Hacienda de San Antonio.  What an exquisite property.  2004.
 Having a picnic up at Barr Lake, just north-east of Denver.  Fall - 2016.
 One of my mom's favorite restaurants in Denver, The Capital Grill.  On their anniversary, June 19, 2013.   
Another anniversary dinner at The Capital Grill, 2015.  This coming June would have been their 71st anniversary!
A typical scene, my parents sitting in the jardin (main square) in front of the Parroquia (the parish church) in San Miguel de Allende.
 At Carter's 60th birthday party - Scottsdale - spring 2010.
Hamming it up.  A friend of mine gave her these "royal slippers" so I had her model them for me while reading Majesty magazine.  She just loved reading about the Royals.
When Carter and my dad would go on their annual Dove and Duck hunting trips down in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, my mom would come up from Scottsdale for the week and we always had the best time.  One of the highlights was having crab legs (and a lot of butter) for dinner along with a bottle of Spanish Cava.
 We moved to Arizona in 1962 from Minnesota.  The Phoenix Airport back when...
 More Arizona.  I loved that sweater that my mom had on.
Up on a rooftop restaurant that overlooks the Parroquia in San Miguel de Allende - 2012.

My mom was always up for an adventure, upbeat,  always beautifully dressed,  just a real lady.   My parents traveled through out Europe, especially Ireland, and Mexico.  They had custom-built homes that my mom decorated beautifully.  She was so talented and really embraced life.  

She was the best mom, wife, mother-in-law and friend.  
She is sincerely missed. 

Love you Mom!! 

A special thanks to those who contributed to making Saturday such a special day.  Patsy and Tom W., The Green Girls (Holly, Jill, Shelley and Leslie) and Debbi W.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Travels with Robin in 2020

Buenas tardes,

I just returned from leading a group to San Miguel de Allende where we celebrated Semana Santa (Holy Week) with the locals.  I had such a great group of people from Alexandria - Minnesota, Tucson - Arizona, Houston - Texas, Chicago - Illinois and of course Denver.  It was a wonderful ten days that I am sure everyone will treasure for quite a while.  I know I always do after one of my tours.

I have been asked by quite a few who have traveled with me on many, if not all of my trips, what I have in store for my "Travels With Robin" tours for 2020.  I have three exceptional trips planned!

First trip planned is The Magic of the Maya World, a nine day guided tour in the state of Chiapas: February 20 - 28.  It's an opportunity to visit a forgotten corner of the world few people will ever see.  Chiapas is best known for its colonial cities but above all for its Mesoamerica's most stunning Maya ruins such as Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilan. 
I have visited these ruins many times and often there are little if not any tourists at all.   The area is also known for its diverse landscape from
the stunning Canyon de Sumidero (one morning we will enjoy the Canyon in our private boat up the Grijalva River),
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to the mountains in the highlands where we will visit some of the villages known for their textiles to the dense tropical rain forest.  Chiapas is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet and it has one of the largest and most diverse indigenous populations in Mexico, with approximately 960,000 native language speakers over the age of five, which represents one quarter of the state’s population.

Next April, I am repeating that same trip I just lead for Semana Santa in San Miguel de Allende, seven days during Holy Week which is such a colorful time of year with the option to add four extra nights to the trip which everyone except one couple did this year. 
Full of pageantry, processions, decorated churches and homes, just a special time to be in this 475 year old colonial town to witness the spirit of the people as they partake in celebrating Semana Santa. 
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April 3 - 9, 2020 with the option of signing on for an additional four nights, departing on the 13. 

Travel the ages... From the lavish culture of Mexico City, to the colonial town of Puebla to

ancient Oaxaca for El Dia del Muerto, The Day of the Dead

October 21 - November 3, 2020

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Mexico City is cosmopolitan and cultured with world class museums where part of the city was built directly on top of the capital of the Aztec Empire.
It will be four days of exploring museums, visiting the homes of Luis Barragán, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, taking in all the sites around the main square (the zocalo), and experiencing some of the best cuisine Mexico City has to offer.
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Off to Puebla for a few days, a colonial town with its Renaissance and Mexican Baroque architecture.  A city famous for mole poblano, chilis en nogada and Talavera pottery.  Staying right in the historic district close to the many magnificent churches.  We will visit the Museo Amparo with one of the finest collections of pre-Columbian and colonial art in the country and the Taller Uriarte where we will have a private tour of the Talavera pottery workshop.  A morning at the International Baroque Museum, not only is the collection phenomenal, the building itself is something to see.  And of course some exceptional dining.
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Final stop, Oaxaca for five days over El Dia de Los Muertos!  An experience you will never forget.  We will be staying a block from the main square (the zocalo).  One day will be a side trip to Ocotlan de Morelos, famous for its Friday open air market, a visit to the ex-convent and Morales museum, lunch at a fabulous restaurant in the countryside and a few stops at some of the local artisans known for their ceramic figures, Alebrijes (hand carved and painted wood figures) and weavers using their back-strap looms.  The days spent in Oaxaca City, we will be right in the thick of the celebrations for El Dia de Los Muertos.  And of course, the cuisine in Oaxaca is some of the best in all of Mexico.   It is such a popular time to be in Oaxaca, that I have already reserved the hotel rooms.

Semana Santa and Dia de Los Muertos are such special times to be in Mexico.   Please let me know if one or all of these trips are of interest to you and I will add your names to the list.  I already have some folks ready to sign up.

Soon I will sending a detailed itinerary on The Magic of the Maya World.
Dates:  February 19 - 25, 2020.

Look for the Semana Santa in San Miguel de Allende email the end of May.
Dates:  April 3 - 9, 2020  (with the option of staying on until the 13th)

And look for the Travel the ages... From the lavish culture of Mexico City, to the colonial town of Puebla to ancient Oaxaca for El Dia del Muerto, The Day of the Dead email the end October, after I have returned from leading a tour to Mexico City and Oaxaca.

Dates:  October 21 - November 3, 2020

I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully traveling with you in 2020!