santa barbara

As mentioned before, my mom and I took advantage of the coinciding of my trip to California for work, MLK weekend, and her birthday. After she flew into LAX on Friday, we rented a car and made our way to Santa Barbara for the long weekend. While in Santa Barbara, we stayed at Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara. The location of the hotel could not have been better. It is located right on Cabrillo Blvd, facing the ocean. The hotel grounds were lovely, with innocent courtyards filled with luscious plant life. And palm trees.

DSCN5163Beautiful ivy and elephant ear near the entryway to the hotel

DSCN5148The view of the courtyard cabanas and pool from our room

DSCN5143Complementary CO Bigelow bath products with turquoise tray create an adorable presentation in our bathroom

On Saturday morning, we rented bikes from the hotel, and rode around to get acquainted with Santa Barbara. Of course I was dangerously snapping photos on my iPhone as we drove along. No accidents though, luckily.




For lunch, we enjoyed a delicious meal at Metropolus. The inside of the store was filled with cases of delicious homemade salads of all sorts, cookies, meats, and breads. Per Sam’s suggestion, my mom ordered their famous gyro, and I got a delicious ‘OMG’ sandwich. Both were so tasty and flavorful.


Later in the afternoon, we hoped on over to the Old Mission, which was founded in 1786. Honestly, I was not very impressed. It looked mostly like a lot of the other buildings in the area, and the only tourist entertainment was a self guided tour.  I was also not thrilled that the rose bushes in the rose garden on the lawn were dead as a door nail. Still, we sat on the lawn and soaked up some California sun, but I would not put it on my top five of must visits in Santa Barbara. A drive-by would have sufficed in my book.


We ended the day with a lovely Mexican meal at Casa Blanca. A short walk from our hotel, the $6 house margs were pretty unbeatable [sorry, I indulged and didn’t photograph].

Sunday, we burned some cals while hiking to the top of Cold Springs Trail for an amazing view of downtown Santa Barbara and surrounding areas. Our total hike was about 5 miles, a bit longer than expected, but I’m glad we made it without any wrong turns. The trail was relatively unmarked compared to trails I have hiked in North Carolina before. From the photo below, you can see that this trail is declared by the California Forrest Service. This marker was the only one I saw, and it was near the end of the hike.IMG_0935

DSCN5201 copyTaking in the view, wearing my AE performance top for the hike

In the afternoon, we drove over to Santa Ynez and enjoyed a tasting at Sunstone Winery for Mom’s birthday. It was a lovely day to sit outside and enjoy a combination of whites, rose, and reds. Their wines were spectacular, I enjoyed every single one.

DSCN5215 copy

DSCN5235 copySuch a beautiful rustic setting — it felt like we were in the heart of Tuscany.

DSCN5231Savoring my cab sav

DSCN5219The birthday girl enjoying her vino!

On our way back into town, we made a stop at Ca’ Dario Pizzeria, a pizzeria opened only a year ago by the family that also owns the well known Ca’Dario. I am not kidding when I say that our meal was one of the most delicious I have ever had. We had a simple arugula salad but the dressing was so flavorful. For the entree, we shared a prosciutto pizza with marinated mushrooms. All the pizzas are baked in house in a brick oven. The flavors were so strong but complemented each other so well. Like I said, it was one of the most enjoyable meals I have ever had.

On Monday, we spent some time exploring Ojai on our way back to LA. For you fellow North Carolinians, Ojai reminded me of a small mountain town in NC, with various eclectic artists and homegrown stores. It was nice to have a change of scenery and another adventure on our last day.

When we got to LA, we hurried over to LACMA to see DVF’s Journey of a Dress exhibit that celebrates 40 years of the wrap dress. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It was amazing to see how timeless her previous dresses are from decades ago, and how relevant they still are today.

IMG_0919The entryway to the show showcases advertising and newsprint publications of her garments, as well as screen shoots of actresses wearing her dresses in various movies.


There was also a room hung with art of DVF,  all done by various artists. Many were portraits or photographs, utilizing different mediums. There were original Andy Warhols, as well as other unique art applications depicting her iconic face and dresses.


The walls and floors were covered with some of DVF’s most iconic prints. The colors were so lively and fun. I guess I dressed pretty perfectly in my cow print Zara pants, and almost blended right into the wall.



Whew. We fit a lot of activities into three days but it was an amazing trip. I enjoyed being able to share some special lady-time with my mom for my birthday, and I can’t wait to visit Cali again…the next stop on my list is San Franscisco!



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