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

MONTECITO'S CORAL CASINO BEACH AND CABANA CLUB

Anyone who knows us knows we are massive fans of Santa Barbara and Montecito. It is a special place with fabulous restaurants and activities that we will be covering in the coming months. But for starters, I will let you in on a little secret: The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. Located on the beautiful Channel Drive, it is across the street from the The Four Seasons Biltmore and housed on the gorgeous Butterfly Beach. Though Coral Casino is a private, members only club, you can gain access to the amenities (including an Olympic-sized pool, two restaurants, a state-of-the-art fitness center & sweeping ocean views) during your stay at the Four Seasons. Sweet!

Walking path to Channel Drive from The Four Seasons Biltmore.

The Olympic-sized pool is on the main deck facing Butterfly Beach.

I dig the personal shades on the lounge chairs.

I dig even more the oversized hooded towels for perfect face covering.

A pool-side mojito.

Fish tacos also ordered from the Coral Cafe pool-side menu.

And for all of the parents out there: A 94 degree, 1.5 foot-deep kid pool filled with toys and paddle boards. Ocean-side, no less. 

Access to Butterfly Beach is just a step away from the club.

Little B enjoying the fresh ocean air.

EATING IN CALGARY + CANMORE

The Great White North, as my Canadian husband calls it, is a land of nice people, clean bathrooms, fresh air and a lot of heavy drinking.  I'm more of the heavy eating type.  They have a saying in Calgary, "if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute, it'll change."  But most of our recent trip included below fa-reezing temps, so we ventured into the city for some hot chocolate, and ran our frozen California selves right into Analog Coffee.  

Mila is very serious about hot chocolate. 

For lunch, we happened upon what I would call the Bottega Louie of Calgary, Corbeaux Bakehouse.  Chef Keith Luce oversees the culinary experience. He's cooked for President Clinton and won the James Beard Rising Star award.  Enough said, right?

Mila overseeing bakery production.

Our next adventure was a daycation to Canmore.  Although I believe it's better suited to an overnighter -- you really need that fireplace to kick off your snow boots in front of and play some board games.  But this time we took the day and ventured out to behold the natural beauty that is Canmore.  Known for the Three Sisters mountains (a trio of peaks), it's a beautiful little mountain town situated right next to the world-famous Banff.  They're gorgeous but pictures don't do them justice so I haven't included any here (laugh).

We noshed on some serious yumminess at the Mountain Mercato.  Who doesn't love some good charcuterie and cheese on a frosty day?

And then, of course, we had to take some goodies home!