Sunset Celebration Weekend Recap

Finally I got the time yesterday to upload the photos I took from the Sunset Celebration Weekend. I mentioned that this day was a total flop, and it started before we even got there. Here is the play by play for your enjoyment:

6:00 am-Alarm goes off. I am determined to leave the house by 8am in order to get to Menlo Park when the celebration opens at 10am.

7:00 am-I am all showered and dressed, but now comes the hard part: waking up the hubby and kids. I start with my husband: he murmurs and turns the other way. I head over to Natalie's room: "Mom, it's too early!! I am still tired!" Ummm, isn't this supposed to happen when she is sixteen, not three? Next up: Kara. I decide to just open her door so she will hear that everyone is up.

7:00-8:00 am- A mad frenzy of getting everyone dressed, breakfast, the diaper bag stocked, snacks for the car ride, sunblock on everyone, my camera charged, and stroller in the car ( I decided against carrying Kara-Thank God!)

8:15 am- We are on the road! And only 15 minutes past schedule! Things are looking good.

8:45 am- We've already been driving about a half hour. Convo with the hubby is flowing nicely, kids are content in the backseat when it hits me: I FORGOT THE FLIPPIN' CAMERA. What do we do? Turn around and waste a whole other hour just to get it? No we've come to far. But I promised to post photos on the blog! We turn around and go back to get the camera. By this point I am furious with myself for forgetting something so important.

9:15 am-Arrive back at the house, run in and get camera off the charger. Run back out to the car.

9:45 am- Back to the spot where I realized I forgot the camera. We are now ridiculously behind schedule. I picture the Secondhand Sunset booth and all the goodies I am going to be missing out on because we are going to be over an hour late. Mope and whine to the hubby that I am a total idiot. (That's the perfectionist Virgo in me-I can't forgive myself).

11:00 am- Arrive in Menlo Park and begin searching for parking. Lot after lot are already full. End up having to park several blocks away.

11:30 am-At the entrance at last. Take this photo of the ridiculously long lines:

11:45 am- Notice that our line is barely moving while the others are moving along a lot faster. Finally realize we got in the line for credit cards, and the rest are for cash. We had cash. Decide to stay where we are because we have been waiting so long in it already. Luckily when we get to the front they accept cash as well.

12:00 pm- We're in!! Hurry-let's make a beeline for Secondhand Sunset! Wait-Natalie has to go to the bathroom. Finally locate them and they are Porta Potties-Gross!

12:10 pm- Finally at the Secondhand Sunset booth!! Hooray! Hmmm, it's a lot smaller than anticipated. Where is all the furniture?

Well, here is a chair and table that are already sold, but that is it. Bummer.

Peruse the rest of the booth, but nothing really catches my eye. A bookshelf full of outdated titles, some mismatched dishes and bowls, a ton of placemats and cloth napkins.

This table looks promising, I see a cute candle stick...upon further inspection I see how chipped it is. No thanks.
12:25 pm- Walk away empty handed. Totally bummed that it did not meet my expectations. Decide to head over to the Modern Cottage, and see the line to get in goes on for days. Decide to try back later because everyone is hungry.

12:30 pm- Hubby gets in line for some fish tacos. I get in line for a corn dog for Natalie. Natalie begins to complain that she is hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. Great, we've been here less than an hour and the complaining begins. This does not bode well for the rest of the day.

12:45 pm-Hubby is STILL waiting for our tacos. What the heck is taking so long??

12:55 pm-Finally have all our food. Look around for a place to sit, but all the tables are full. Find a semi-shady spot on the sidewalk behind a booth, and plop down to eat. Natalie doesn't like her corn dog and starts to cry because she wants a balloon and I told her she would have to wait until we are done eating.

1:00 pm-Scarf down our food (which was so not worth the wait for) and try and hunt down a balloon. Find one and Natalie is appeased for awhile.

1:10 pm-Head over to the Garden Stage to see a talk by Flora Grubb, owner of Flora Grubb Gardens, on "High style, low water gardens". All the seats in the shade are taken, so we have to stand in the sun. Decide it is too much for the kids, so we start walking around again. Another bummer because I was looking forward to her presentation.

1:20-2:20 pm- Wander aimlessly through the gardens, past all the exhibitors, into the main building, all the while taking pictures:

Here is a wall of framed vintage covers from inside the main building.

Natalie got to feed these guys. (No- that is not her in the pic!)

A cute little seating area in one of the gardens.

I liked this and am thinking of doing it in my garden. I believe the plant growing up the trellis is upright rosemary.
I thought this was an interesting idea, planting succulents under a glass topped table.

2:30 pm- We run across an activity where you could paint a terra cotta pot. Great! Something fun for Natalie to do! I go to the entrance where the man informs me that due to popular demand, they are handing out tickets for the next "session" which starts in an hour. I look around and see mostly adults occupying the tables. Shouldn't this be more for the kids? We don't think we are going to be around for another hour, so we pass. Natalie is upset because she really wanted to "paint pots". I assure her that we can get the supplies and do it at home.

Hope you had fun painting your pot lady-thanks for taking up a space my daughter could have occupied. (Image taken from the sunset website-not mine!)

2:45 pm-Decide to swing by the Modern Cottage one more time to see if the line has let up. Nope-still too long. I would have liked to take a look, but it was really small anyway, and they have photos online here.

I realized I wasn't taking any photos of us, so here is Natalie!

And Kara! I never did get one of myself.

3:00 pm- Time to go home. We're all tuckered out from walking around in the sun all day and have a long drive ahead of us. Peace out Sunset Celebration Weekend.

5:00 pm- Home Sweet Home!

Now, I don't usually like being negative, so let me follow up with a few more positive aspects of the day:

-It was fun to get out of the house and see something new.
-Natalie did end up having a good time and got lots of little freebies like a beach ball, bracelet, sand dollar pin, balloon, lemonade and chocolate pudding!
-I got some good ideas from the idea gardens that I would like to try.
-I got a free year's subscription to the magazine-and since I already subscribe I am going to spread the love and giveaway the subscription to one of you lucky readers! This is kind of a secret giveaway to reward those of you that have read this far! Just leave me a comment on this post that you would be interested in the subscription to Sunset. If more than one of you comments, I will draw a name this weekend.

Hope you enjoyed this crazy little recap of the day!


  1. Wow, sorry the day was such a bummer. When the shade is all taken up that's the worst. And the lines sound awful. That succulent garden is pretty though! And I cracked up at your mad "letter to clay pot lady".

    I actually don't subscribe to Sunset yet, so I'd be interested! I've been meaning to subscribe for a while, but I'll take my chances :)

  2. oh goodness, I hate when a day flops! can you believe I have never even heard of Sunset mag? duh, where have I been?

  3. Yikes! Sorry to hear about all the bummers of the day! I like that you posted all the positive bits too though - it's always good to look at things both ways :)
    You don't need to include me in the draw (I'm in Canada) but I just wanted to let you know that I did enjoy reading your entire post - especially the comment on the lady with the painted pot! Ha!

  4. that stinks that you had to drive so far for an underwhelming experience. glad some good did come from the day though.

    i'd love a subscription to sunset. maybe i'll win. :D

  5. Hilarious post... but I can so relate! Don't you hate it when a day goes like that?

    Ok, I, too love that idea of the garden trellis... what did they use to make it? I have a huge space in my backyard screaming for a trellis and that looks perfect!

  6. Wow what a day! Craziness. It sounds similar to my experience at the Domino sale, but instead of kids I had a cranky husband and sister that I was dragging with me. Long, long line, lots of waiting and totally not worth it when I got in!

    I love that you posted positives as well. I always have to remind myself to think of those when I'm getting cranky.


  7. What a bummer! I have always wanted to go to this, but, sadly, live too far. Don't you hate when you anticipate something and then it doesn't live up? Still...lots of good ideas there, huh?

  8. How fun! I love that little outdoor seating area!

  9. I love freebies! You can throw my name in the pot!

  10. exhaustion, eh? Fun though!!!!

  11. this sounds kinda like how my day at the fair went... hopes and expectations and then uggghs and bleghhhs and you've gotta roll with the punches! I so know what you mean about the perfectionist virgo thing- "whyyyy did I dooo that?!" only mine involved lots of tears and maybe a slight anxiety attack. sometimes I hate being a virgo.

    also, I love that that woman's name is flora grubb. how appropriate for her occupation. its like something out of harry potter :]