A WINTER WEEKEND IN OJAI

Over the holiday break, the boys and I spent a couple of days in Ojai. It really is such a cute and special place. Though it still has the same small-town charm I remembered from my last visit (several years ago), there are some really great new additions to the area. Here's a look inside of our little winter getaway.

We started our trip off with a bang, eating this completely delicious brunch at Knead Baking Company in town. This artisan, family-run bakery serves house-made bagels, super fresh salads, organic eggs and fresh-squeezed OJ. We truly loved it and will definitely be going back. 

Knead's cute and quaint setting.

Family portait!

I have officially named deKor & Co. Ojai's best and most stylish one-stop-shop. They have everything from furniture, to clothing, to cosmetics, to homewares, (in addition to a tea bar!) and so much more. I could've stayed and explored the store all afternoon.

The shop exclusively carries cult cosmetic brand Face Stockholm and offers in-store and at-home make-up application and tutorials.

So many gorgeous treasures. Heart eyes all the way.

Walking through the town under its beautiful Spanish archways.

Another major point for Ojai is their health food store (and the fact that they have one!), Rainbow Bridge.

Cute country vibes in Rainbow Bridge.

And here's another major point-score for the town of Ojai - their huge park and playground, Libbey Park. This place was Brixton's dream. 

The park comes complete with a turf hill, for all of your box sledding needs!

The park is also home to The Libbey Bowl, a beautiful 973-seat outdoor amphitheater. 

We arrived at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa as the sun was going down. It gets pretty chilly there on winter nights, so we were ready for a warm dinner and our cozy room.

These handmade baskets at the entrance of their gift shop caught my eye.

We ate dinner at the resort's Oak Restaurant. I had their "Green & Spicy" signature cocktail with a kick. 

Brixton had to make a few calls before bedtime.

Good morning from the golf course.

Brekky was the California Scramble, bacon and berries. All food groups covered! ;)

Their newly renovated (adult only) Indigo Pool.

You sure are beautiful, Ojai! Thanks for the lovely getaway! xx

5 CALI GETAWAYS TO TAKE BEFORE THE END OF SUMMER

(The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay)

(The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay)

Are you looking to have one more fabulous getaway before the end of summer? With less than a month of official summertime left, I've made my list of Top 5 California resorts to ensure a grand finale to your 2015 summer season. Let's go!

1. POST RANCH INN, BIG SUR.  

High atop the cliffs of Big Sur, the 39-room resort is surrounded by incredible mountain and ocean views. The rustic-luxury hotel offers a world-renowned restaurant, an infinity pool, spa and plenty of romance. So much romance that the resort has an 18 and up age requirement. And don't forget to stop by the amazing Big Sur Bakery while you're in the area!

 

2. THE RITZ CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY

Set upon a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, The Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay is located 23 miles north of San Francisco. The resort was completely renovated and refurbished in March of this year, with rooms decorated in cool blue and grey tones, to match its oceanic surroundings. The resort features two championship golf courses, so bring your clubs.

 

3. SAN YSIDRO RANCH, MONTECITO

Rated by Forbes as the #1 Hotel in America, San Ysidro Ranch is nestled in the Montecito Foothills of Southern California's wine country. The ranch occupies 500 acres of coastal landscape, just a few miles from downtown Santa Barbara. Their private cottages are individually and uniquely decorated, all including fireplaces or stoves. Their property also includes 17 miles of active hiking trails, a hillside pool and sumptuous gardens. I also hear that their extensive and impressive wine list is a BOOK to behold. 

 

4. MONTAGE, LAGUNA

Located on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific, the 30 acre beach resort is located in the heart of Laguna Beach. The resort features 248 Craftsman style rooms, all featuring ocean views. The hotel is also home to three restaurants, two pools and a renowned spa. If you are looking for the quintessential California beach resort, this is the place.

 

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5. CALISTOGA RANCH, CALISTOGA

Located in a secluded Upper Napa Valley canyon, on 157 oak lined acres, Calistoga Ranch is a luxury retreat completely engulfed in nature. The Ranch's culinary team sources only the finest organic ingredients to create seasonal dishes to reflect the area. The resort offers wellness classes, such as yoga and Tai Chi. Check out their chicken coop and bocce court on the way to their indoor/outdoor spa.

Now I want to go on vacay too!!! xx

PADARO BEACH IN CARPINTERIA

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Our love for the coast took us to Padaro Beach in Carpinteria. This rustic beach is located just north of the famous Rincon Beach (one of the best surfing spots in the world). It's a local favorite with street parking and a short walk over the train tracks.  

Just down the road, Santa Claus Lane has a small row of restaurants and shopping. The Garden Market has lovely outdoor seating -- perfect for sipping wine over a game of cards.

Padaro Beach Grill has a beautiful view of the ocean, a sandbox for the kids to play in and a big lawn to lounge on.

DINNER AT THE TASTING KITCHEN

It seems to me that Venice's Abbott Kinney is pretty much where it's at for restaurants these days. A few gal pals and I had a fun ladies' night out at Chef Casey Lane's The Tasting Kitchen. Featuring a daily changing "bill of fare," we tried a bunch of different dishes and drinks. Here's what went down.

Style is on point with the leather covered Eames chairs and the bare wood-top tables. Love the "indoor" trees.

Today's menu.

The frosted process coupe was a really nice touch, I gotta say.

Cheers, Ladies.

Warm housemate bread and butter is basically the best thing in the world. 

Five cocktails for four ladies. That's about right.

Charcuterie platter. The fluffy empanadas were fun to stuff with meats and burrata. 

Raddicchio Salad.

Pesce Crudo.

Muscles with Saffron Cream.

Tagliarini with Shrimp & Serrano, Roasted Lamb Leg and Creste di Gallo with Calabrian Sausage and Breadcrumbs

I think we tried almost every dessert.

Ice Cream is always king. Especially the house-made mint chip. Ladies night, every night? xx

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The Tasting Kitchen is located at:

1633 Abbott Kinney Blvd.

Venice

Open for dinner 7 days a week and brunch on weekends.

 

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND WEDDING AT BACARA

Our close friends renewed their vows at Santa Barbara's Bacara Resort & Spa over the holiday weekend. We thought it was the perfect excuse to spend a few days relaxing at the oceanside retreat. I was reminded how the grounds at the resort are some of the best around. And the wedding, overlooking the ocean, was very special. Here's a peak.

I love this huge succulent and cactus planter as you pull up the the entrance.

Gorgeous green and white blooms greet you in the lobby.

Drool-worthy orchids and peonies.

Let's get cozy by the lobby fireplace,

My favorite part of the resort -- lush grounds surrounding the Spanish-style villas. 

Brixton was in Heaven being able to explore and run around the resort grounds.

B's Outfit -- Sweatshirt:  Mimobee via Eggy, Pants: Nununu, Shoes: Nike, Air Jordan's

The Bistro patio, complete with ocean breezes.

Power breakfast. Though it isn't on the menu, they will custom-make any omelette you'd like.

Post-brekky walk to the beach.

Pool time! 

The wedding ceremony, on the outside grass of the Beach House restaurant, overlooked The Pacific. The the flowing white hupppah, housed a crystal chandelier and was tied with gorgeous pink and white flowers. STUNNING.

Guest chairs ready for the ceremony at sunset.

Drinks awaiting thirsty guests during arrivals.

The gorgeous and intimate dinner in the wine cellar.

I loved the incorporation of artichokes and fruit into the florals. And the signature rosemary lemon drop cocktail was sublime.

Mom and Dad having a rare night of raging. 

Dessert and dancing under the stars. So lovely. xx

Design: Donna Isham & Brownstone Designs

Styling: Brownstone Designs

Florist: Snipping Violets