Flower Designs, Travel

Portugal – Sintra

On our last day in Portugal we finally made it to Sintra to visit Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace). Sintra has four palaces that you can visit. Each one different and all beautiful in their own way. We had plans to visit both Pena and Quinta da Regaleira, but due to the very dreary weather we only visited Pena.

First off, let me say that Pena Palace is beautiful and something out of a fairy tale. Inside the palace the décor is amazing and the architecture is stunning. However, you are herded through like cattle. While we made friends while in our cue, there were times we were being pushed along by others. You can pay only to walk the grounds and not go inside the palace.

That all being said, it is so worth a visit if only to walk the beautiful grounds and see the stunning vistas (not that we could see them due to the weather).

Mind you, I was having a blonde senior moment and wore my sandals. I had put them on to walk down for breakfast and forgot to change into my tennies. Silly me. We were in the Uber half way there when I finally notice…of course it was at the same time the rain started. Oh well…I don’t melt.

If you love photography, Pena Palace is the place for you. Even with my very amateurish abilities I was able to get some great shots of the grounds. And these were just from the path to walk (uphill) from the ticket booth to the palace. Most Instagram pictures of the palace are when it’s bright and sunny out, but I actually loved this moody, mysterious vibe that the drizzly rain gave to my photos. It did prevent us from exploring too much though as the pathways were a bit muddy.

Ok less talking…more pictures. Please note these photos are unfiltered.

First the palace. While it’s not flora, architecture is important in design and is a fascination of mine.

Look at these cute little cyclamen. It’s hard to tell from the picture because I zoomed in but these are itty bitty. I’ve seen small cyclamen in like two inch pots but these seemed even smaller. Could just be that they were in a massive forest. No matter…they are precious.

It was told to us by our tuk-tuk driver (we took a tuk-tuk back down the hill) that King Ferdinand II collected trees and plants from all over the world (including sequoias from North America) and planted them on his property. His collection is so vast that it created its own ecosystem and that the weather we were experiencing was more common than the sunny skies you see of the palace in all the pictures.

While I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have views from the palace overlooking the town of Sintra and seeing the other castles on neighboring hills, I have to say the artist in me loved how these photos turned out.


And…because I’ve become moss obsessed…some close-ups. 😍


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May your day be filled with flowers!


The dreaded sandals on a rainy day.


Flower Designs, Travel


Last year, I was so lucky to be able to travel to Portugal with my very best friend, Heidi. She is my soul sister and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate our 50th birthdays than this trip. She did have to put up with me taking a million pictures and yes, dear readers, I took many of the plant life there. Mind you, I was truly fascinated by the architecture…so beautiful and intricate. The tiles were colorful and awe inspiring.

Honestly, thinking back on the trip I was remembering very few trees and plants throughout the streets of Lisbon. I was thinking of the praças (plazas) that were located every few blocks that had maybe one tree next to the coffee/beer huts with tables scattered underneath them. But even in the more residential areas that were we staying in there were very few trees or flowers. And then I went back and looked at my pictures and realized, I wasn’t wrong, very few trees along the streets but just as many Jardims (gardens) as there were stony praças. And two were right in our neighborhood…three if you include the Botanico.

Our first day there, we visited the Jardim Botanico which was only a few blocks from our apartment. The grounds were beautiful and we took a leisurely stroll through. I hadn’t ever seen this lovely pink blossomed tree before… called a Chorisia Speciosa or silk floss tree. A relative of the baobab tree which you can see in the way the bottom of the trunk is shaped.

In the Jardim do Príncipe Real (which was the district we were staying in) there is this gorgeous Cyprus tree that sprawls out so wide that they placed a iron arbor underneath to hold it up. Spectacular!

Of course I had to find flower stalls, shops, and wholesalers.

Lisbon is so large that I think we could have spent another month there and not see a quarter of it. But, we left to explore other cities. Our next stop was Coimbra which has a large university situated at the top of a hill. We, unfortunately, could not visit the university’s Botanico because of a hurricane that had come through the week prior and damage was done to some of the trees. Which I had noticed on the train ride up, seems a lot of trees were affected throughout the region.

Check out these massive Kokadamas hanging in a window of a vegan restaurant we ate at in Porto…yes, I ate in a vegan restaurant and lived to tell about it. Lol!

Our final city that we visited was a day trip to Sintra. But I think that will be next week’s post as the gardens there were magical…especially because the day was dreary and foggy…giving it a very mystical feel. But you’ll see that in next week’s post.

P.S. For those of you who are following along, I’m happy to report I did my financial audit and my desk is still a mess!

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May your day we filled with flowers!

Business, Flower Designs

2017 Year In Review



Happy New Year!  (Better late then never.)I hope that 2018 brings much happiness to you and your family.  As I watched 2018 roll in, I noticed my friends on social media say “good riddance” to 2017 and talking about just how horrible it was.  And let’s just say there were a lot of negatives in our world, needless acts of terror, death, devastating acts of nature, and let’s not talk about politics.  However, I think when looking back on the previous year, it is easy to focus on the negatives and not remember those little nuggets of gold that are scattered throughout the year.  I think in order to move into a new year, it is necessary to remember the good from the previous year and to send it off with a fond farewell.   I firmly believe that if you focus only on what went wrong last year, it will foster negativity for the coming year.  Besides…you will be happier thinking of all the funny, exciting, loving, wonder-filled events that happened. 


So here goes…a quick list of the good that happened in 2017.

1. I travelled to Denmark with my Mom on the 1 year anniversary of her heart surgery.  To be able to go on a trip like this with her was so very special.  We’ve travel together all the time, but we had never gone out of the country.  The year before I spent April driving to and from San Francisco to see her in the hospital everyday.  I much preferred traveling to Europe with her.  We walked everywhere!  Prior to her surgery, she wouldn’t have been able to do that much walking.  I am so very blessed to have been able to spend time with her on that trip.  Definitely a memory I will never forget.

Little Mermaid
Not the best picture, but as you can see it was very windy April in Denmark.  I didn’t care what the weather was like…I was in Denmark!

2. My first Pop Up Shop was a success!!  I have dreamt of owning my a shop since I was a child and for one day, I had one.   I remember this one moment where I was sweeping the foyer and it really felt like I was a shop owner.  And I was!   I had so many people that supported me by either helping me set up, working with me, or coming in to purchase an arrangement.  Again, I am blessed to have so many wonderful, caring, and loving people in my life.  (Hint:  Keep an eye out for pop ups in 2018!)


Alex & Me
Christmas 2016…no picture was taken this year I as I was in bed with a cold. 


3. My son has been home for a year after being in the Marines for 5 years.  Now technically he came home in 2016, but there was talk of him moving to Oregon, which fell through, so he’s been home for the year.  Now normally I support his goals and dreams, but secretly, I was glad to have him home again.  The kid (kid…he’s 28) cracks me up.  I was never quite sure what he was planning on doing now that he was home and that Oregon fell through.  But he is never one to ask for help or favors so I knew he would find his way.  During this year, he studied on line and got his certificate as a personal trainer and now has a job at his gym.  I’m so proud of him that he has found what he wanted to do and to go out and get it.  Finding his way back into civilian life was not easy, but I was always knew he would succeed in what he set his mind to as he’s always been smart and responsible.


4. Woman that have been victimized found a louder voice this past year.  While you might not think of this as going on the “positive” list…because we are talking about verbally and physically abused women…it’s more the fact that we are being heard and actions have been taken…in some cases.  It’s not perfect…but it’s progress.

5. I watched my town and county rise above the devastation that hit our community.  The fires were unexpected, terrifying and heart breaking, but #sonomastrong came through from everyone.  In that I found hope and inspiration.

There is my top 5 from 2017.  What are your top 5?  What inspired you or made you thankful?  I would love to hear from you.

Looking forward into 2018, I’m extremely excited and motivated.  While I was sick and doing nothing, I brainstormed and took notes for what I wanted for this year.  Not just for the floral business but for me personally…and sometimes those lists overlapped.  I’m trying to put infrastructures in place to support these goals and projects I have planned.

Here are few things that I’m eager to get started on this year:

This year, Marmalade Sky will be offering a subscription service where you can have fresh, seasonal flowers delivered monthly or bi-monthly to your home or office.  My plan is to launch this service this spring, so keep your eye out for more details.

Purple Dahlias

Lastly, there will be another Mother’s Day pop up shop.  I had so much fun doing this last year and seeing all of you that came to the shop.  It was really wonderful.   I’m also noodling with the idea of having more frequent pop up shops throughout the year.

TrixiePix - blue and white

I’m currently designing my website, which I hope to have up and running by February, which will contain my portfolio, and have ways of which you can order on line.

As you can see I’m hitting the ground running.  My mind is spinning in many directions, but they are all pointing the correct way!

Happy 2018 to you all.  Thank you for your love and support this past year.  Hope to see you soon!

Wire Heart