Hello, December.

I love going to new places and trying new things. I also love going to old places and doing thing I've done before, but that's not important right now. ;-)

When December rolls around, I always look forward to having holiday-type experiences. Sometimes those include plays or movies or Disney Magic.

But yesterday, I had the happy privilege of being invited to enjoy Tea by the Sea at the Getty Villa in Malibu.


First of all, the Getty Villa itself is a magical place. And it just so happened that it was a perfectly beautiful, cool and clear California evening. 

We stepped over the threshold (with our right foot first - in keeping with the Roman custom - for good luck) and into Rome in the First Century A.D.

The Getty

Marta at the Getty

In the past, I've taken my kids to the Getty and we revelled in uber-geekiness. But, as you know, they are in school these days, (*insert sad face here*) so I invited my good friend, Jana (editor of The Summer House and The Homeschool Jungle blogs).

Jana at the Villa

We were treated to a tour of the authentically recreated first-century Roman gardens.


After the amazing tour, we were ushered up to the beautiful Founder's Room to enjoy Tea by the Sea, a special experience inspired by the herbs, vegetables, and fruits that grow in this beautiful replica of a first century Roman garden.

Founders Room

Is there anything I love more than a beautifully set and laden table? Okay, there are lots of things that I love, but this was truly lovely. Scones, people! And clotted cream and jam! Freshly made by their executive chef on the premises.

Basket of scones

And then......Tiers of Culinary Amazingness...

Tea tray

At the bottom of which was hidden Mrs. Garrett's Carrot Cake of Awesomeness. (Okay, well...I kind of added the "...of Awesomeness" part, but that's not important right now, either.)

The carrot cake

{NOTE ABOUT - Tea by the Sea and Mrs. Garrett's famous carrot cake: Tea by the Sea was inspired by the Villa's authentically recreated first-century Roman gardens—and by visitors' fond memories of the Villa's beloved Tea Room, which closed in 1997. In a further tribute to early days of the Museum, the menu features Mrs. Garrett's carrot cake, made by our pastry chef from the personal recipe of Jean Garrett, the late wife of the Museum's first director, Stephen Garrett.}

And because I want to share the entire experience with you (you know that I love you, right?) here's the recipe:

Mrs. Garrett's Original Carrot Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1.2 cup crushed pineapple
  1. Combine oil, sugar, eggs, flour, cinnamon, soda, vanilla, salt, carrots, walnuts and pineapple in a large bowl.
  2. Mix until blended.
  3. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  4. Ice with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1.4 cup chopped walnuts

Mix cream cheese, sugar and butter until fluffy. Add pineapple and walnuts. Mix well.

You're welcome. =D

And thanks, Jana, for sharing the day with me.

Jana & me

It was the absolutely most perfect way to say, "Hello, December."