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Santa Barbara Travel Guide | What to see, do & eat

After a couple days in Los Angeles we made our way to Santa Barbara. The city itself is called the American Riviera & for good reason - this little slice of heaven is like a piece of Europe in America. We were both so incredibly taken aback by the beauty of Santa Barbara & can't wait to make our way back because two days was just not enough!
What to do in Santa Barbara, travel guide, jetsetting to santa barbara
 

Where to Stay ||

Santa Barbara Hotel, Hotel Milo, Beachfront Hotel
After doing a little research I stumbled upon an article from Lauren Conrad highlighting Hotel Milo as a great hotel for a trip to Santa Barbara. Situated right across from the beach, you are greeted by a friendly staff - hello complimentary happy hour from 4-6 pm every day, continental breakfast every morning, free wi-fi throughout the property & in your rooms & even fun bikes to take out for a day of exploring. 

Santa Barbara Hotel, Hotel Milo, Bikes to Ride
For those of you that might remember - before leaving for California I didn't know how to ride a bike properly - I'm happy to report that I now know how to ride a bike & can't wait for warmer weather in Boston!! 
Santa Barbara Hotel, Hotel Milo, King Suite, Beachfront Hotel

L'Occitane bath products - my hair never felt as silky as it did using their shampoo! 
We paid a touch extra to have parking included in our room rate which for the location was incredibly affordable. The best way to describe the hotel is coastal chic - when you're on a California vacation there is nothing better! 
Travel Guide for Santa Barabra, What to do in Santa Barabra

What to Do ||

Santa Barbara Mission, Things to do in Santa Barbara
Aside from the beach, there are a few "must see" attractions in Santa Barbara - particularly the Old Mission & the courthouse that gives you views of the entire city - from the ocean to the mountains!
Things to do in Santa Barbara, Views from the Santa Barbara court house


Butterfly Beach & the waterfront are not to be missed. 

Where to Eat ||

Lobster Bisque, Enterprise Fish Co.

Scallop Risotto



Enterprise Fish Co
Hands down one of my favorite meals during our entire trip was at Enterprise Fish Co. We had the best, trust me I am not exaggerating since this is what they are known for, lobster bisque I have ever eaten. They have two locations - the Santa Barbara one is the original & it was easy to hop on Open Table to get a reservation. We talked about our dinner here the entire trip - it's must stop! The scallop risotto was also equally delicious. 

Santa Barbara Fish House
If you're looking for a staple in the city, I'd say SBFH is the place to go. They have a great patio area with really nice views of the beach & if you time it right - you can be there during sunset & there is nothing quite as romantic as a sunset dinner. 

Great Pacific Ice Cream Co. 
Ice cream tends to be pretty delicious anywhere, but on a pier hearing the waves & seeing the sand is where I enjoy it most! 

Final Thoughts ||
Butterfly beach

We absolutely loved Santa Barbara and can't wait to go back. There were things that we didn't have enough time to do like the walking wine trail and exploring the vineyards around the area, but that just means we have to go back sooner rather than later! I know this was a rather long travel guide & I hope you enjoyed it! Next up...stops to make along the Pacific Coast Highway! 

Back from Vacation & Favorites!

Happy Friday friends!! I can't tell you how good it feels to be back home from almost 2 weeks away. Admittedly, I was hoping to get at least one more blog post up while I was away, but at the request of my husband to just relax, I did just that and shared A LOT of our vacation via InstaStories! I have so many travel guides coming up in different varieties, but before getting into them I did want to share a few of my favorite things that happen when you come home from a long vacation!! 

Your Own Bed & Shower ||

Stay tuned for a Bed & Breakfast review of the White House Inn  in Napa

So hotels are fun and everything, but there is nothing quite like coming home and sleeping in your own bed. Same thing goes for your own shower - you're just used to the water pressure that you get & have a set routine of where everything "lives." We were in 6 different hotels & airBnB's on this trip which is a lot, so not feeling like we are living out of a suitcase is a very welcome change! The amount of laundry that was done yesterday is crazy to me! 

Eating at home ||

Definitely going to miss brunches like this one from Bardonna though...

Eating out is alway nice in the beginning of a trip, but after about 2 weeks of not having a home cooked meal you start craving your usual dinners - the crock pot meals that were mundane a month or so ago are all I can think about now! Not to mention, my body thanks me when I eat at home! One thing we didn't eat while we were on vacation was sushi!! I feel like I'm cheating on my sushi place here in Boston if I eat anywhere else, so we definitely had that yesterday for dinner!

Routines ||

Picked up a few more of my favorite pens 

Oh how I have missed my routine. The walk from the train to work, talking to my family without a three hour difference, watching my shows on TV & honestly getting to the gym is something that I enjoy!! I made a "to-do" list on our last night in San Francisco & I can't tell you how good it felt to actually use a pen & paper to write something down!! I'm a creature of habit & very happy to be back to my routine! 

What are some of the things you love to come home to after a trip? Hope you have a great weekend & I hope you come back Monday for a travel diary of one of my favorite cities I've ever visited! 

Weekending | Vacation Mode

Happy Monday friends! We are still enjoying California for the next few days & I'll be back to blogging on Friday with a fresh post! Until then - wishing you all a wonderful week ahead & here's a snap from our hot air balloon adventure yesterday!! 
Hope everyone had a great weekend!! Comments have been disabled for this post! 

A Day in Los Angeles | Travel Diary

Happy Friday friends! I wanted to get ahead of all the travel posts as much as possible and before I forgot all the details, so today I'm starting with our 36 hours in Los Angeles. Our flight got us into Los Angeles right around 3 pm - once you factor in picking up the car, navigating through the city & getting dinner -you're pretty much pooped from the time difference. Especially when you had a great weekend on the east coast. We did have a quick dinner with a friend of mine who was also in town with her husband celebrating their anniversary which was such a nice treat, but more on that later! 
What to do in Los angeles, LA, one day in LA, where to eat in LA, Bardonna

Tour 

I wanted to make sure that we got the most out of our short time in Los Angeles so I immediately started the search for interesting tours and kept seeing "A Day in LA" pop up. An all day, smaller tour of about 12 people takes you through every popular and let's be honest, touristy spot in the city. I knew that it would be overwhelming to try to hit all the high points on our own, so this was really the only option I wanted. Here's what we were able to see & do! 

Santa Monica / Venice 

We chose to meet up with the tour at 9:30 AM in Santa Monica since that's where we were staying and was the easiest pick up point. They do offer hotel pickups but we were staying in an AirBnB in the area so this made the most sense. From the pick up your quickly taken a few miles up the road to Venice Beach. Your given about 35-40 minutes to tour the true highlights including muscle beach & the venice boardwalk. 
Venice Beach Board Walk, A day in LA tour, tour venice

Rodeo Drive / Beverly Hills 

I'd say this was the one part of the tour I wish we had a little more time - sadly we were only given 45 minutes so you're not given much time to really go into any of the stores, but let's be real - everything is so astronomically priced odds are I shouldn't have been going into the stores anyway. We walked around, saw a $2.5 million Bugatti & saw a few of the famous hotels in the area. 


The Grove 

This was definitely my favorite stop on the tour and the "lunch" stop. We opted for a super quick lunch so that we would have as much time to roam around the outdoor area as possible. Filled with great stores, an incredible food market & a beautiful outdoor space - the Grove is one of the places I would have gone back to if we had more time in LA. 
Los Angeles The Grove

The Griffith Observatory 

Funny enough, the observatory itself is closed on Monday's which is the day we were doing the tour, but it was the second longest time we had a stop which I didn't think made that much sense. I watched La La Land on the flight to LA, so when we were driving up to the observatory I felt like - hey I know this place!! You get absolutely incredible views of Los Angeles - the Hollywood Sign looks pretty great from the top! 

Hollywood Walk of Fame 

The final stop of the tour is the Hollywood Walk of Fame and it was the most meh portion of the tour for me. Not because of the tour itself, but I was so let down with how it actually looked. Felt a little rundown & of course the highlight is seeing all the stars on the sidewalk, but I was expecting something more, I'm just not sure what that was. 

Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica 

After the tour was over around 5:30 we were dropped back off in Santa Monica and we decided to stick around and check out the Third Street Promenade. It's a completely outdoor experience with shopping, food & musicians performing on almost every corner. We spent a couple hours walking down the length of the promenade & it was plenty of time to see everything! And I also made a little purchase :) 
After one full day in LA I actually walked the equivalent of a half marathon - that number of steps was pure insanity to me! My calves were still hurting two days later!! 

Eat

We didn't do a ton of eating LA believe it or not, but hit up a few of the local spots. 
In-N-Out Burger, Los Angles Burger, Where to eat near LAX
Of course the first stop was In-N-Out burger which you already saw, but I'm hoping we can go again because I had no idea there was a secret menu and we should have gotten the fries "animal style" 
Mercado Santa Monica 
We also ate at Fig in the Fairmont Hotel & Misfit in Santa Monica - we didn't really taste test the menu since we weren't that hungry, but the few things we did get were good. 
Bardonna, places to eat in Santa Monica, Brunch in LA
My absolute favorite meal from LA was at Bardonna  in Santa Monica. The brunch that both Gary & I had were delicious and of course the latte's were perfectly brewed!! Highly suggest a visit there if you're in the area & take a picture near the love wall - picture below! 

Fun fact & Mural Art! 

Bardonna, Santa Monica, Mural Art, Love Wall
Outside the first Starbucks in Los Angeles
You might have noticed that in some photos I had my jean jacket on and in other's they were a no go...well all of California has something called "micro climates." I'm well aware of how different inland temps can be to those temps by the water, but 20 degree differences with fog rolling in within a matter of a few feet was just crazy!! Just be sure to bring lots of layers when you visit! It also wasn't hard at all to find great backdrops for photos - there are murals on every corner! 
So there you have it - a quick and easy way to see all the highlights of Los Angeles in basically one day! Of course we missed out on some great food spots, but that means we'll just have to go back and do a food tour version next time!
We are headed to Napa today & looking forward to a few days of relaxing in Wine Country. Hope you'll follow along on Instagram - I'm sharing a lot of quick snippets of the trip - sometimes too much, but when everything is so picturesque it's hard to stop yourself!! 
What to do in Los angeles, LA, one day in LA, where to eat in LA, Bardonna
Sadly no celeb or real housewives sightings in LA, but I'm still crossing my fingers for some! Have you ever been to Los Angeles? 

Birthday Weekending in NYC

Happy Monday friends!! What a whirlwind weekend - from Midtown to the Lower East Side all the way to Brooklyn, this was the ultimate weekend! With the pictures doing much of the explaining, there's really no need for an introduction! Warning...picture overload ahead! 

Stay ||

Park Avenue Hotel, New York Hotel, Iberostar Hotel New York

Park Avenue Hotel, New York Hotel, Iberostar Hotel New York
When it was decided that we (my family including parents & sister / BIL) would be coming to New York for a wedding and my birthday I jumped on to Jetsetter to see what types of deals we could get for a great location & nice hotel. We lucked out with Iberostar on Park Avenue - seriously we paid such a great price - a quick walk to 5th Avenue & not too far from everywhere we would be going over the 36 hours in New York. I really appreciated all the full length mirrors in the room, which it seems like hotels never have & free WiFi - that coupled with a comfy bed and I was a happy camper! 

Birthday Celebrations ||

Lower East Side Restaurant, LES, Beauty and Essex, New York Restaurants,
Figuring out where to host a birthday dinner in NYC is no easy task - loads of restaurants to choose from, but I was looking for a place that had a private room, could easily host 20 people & gave you an experience to go along with the food. After doing a little research and asking some friends I kept hearing Beauty & Essex as the top choice. If you followed along on Insta Stories then you saw you enter the restaurant through a working pawn shop. 

The minute you walk into B&E you are transported - it's a mix between old hollywood glamour & over the top decadence. The private room in situated in the back of the restaurant on the first floor & although a tad bit loud with the music that's played in the other areas of the restaurant you do get a nice bit of privacy to enjoy the night. I was surrounded by my family and friends -  some that live in NYC & other's that just happened to be in town. 
I preselected the menu that was served family style & oh my word was it delicious. All I kept hearing from everyone was how incredible everything tasted. I'd go back for the tuna sashimi alone! 
private party menu at beauty and essex
I wasn't able to get any photos, but if the menu gives you any indication - there really is no other way to describe it other than delicious! Each course was better than the one before & even though we were all incredibly stuffed we couldn't stop eating! The restaurant was very accommodating with a couple allergies that we had which makes things that much more enjoyable. 
I have to say the biggest surprise was the size of the cake - when I selected the dessert I had no idea that the cake would be bigger than any cake I've had before and just as everything else - incredibly delicious. It was the most fun I have ever had for a birthday & without a doubt one I will remember forever! My cheeks hurt from laughing & smiling so much & the toasts that were given in my honor brought tears to my eyes! Oh & did I mention there is a champagne bar in the women's bathroom - that's right a full on lounge with a bartender serving champagne!! That's reason enough to go!

Wedding Celebration ||

The wedding we went to on Saturday gave us views of the Statue of Liberty, the most gorgeous ceremony followed by a stunning loft reception - with cherry blossoms and twinkle lights!! I was in wedding planner heaven! Jackie & I need to find a couple in Boston to recreate this for soon! 
I had a couple folks ask about the two dresses I wore this weekend & both were bought on a whim and pure luck! I found the blue Pamella Rolland dress in the Runway section of TJ Maxx & it's my new favorite piece in my closet! A touch long, but higher heels make everything work! The red dress was a random find at Nordstrom Rack - sometimes you just have to buy the dress because you never know when you'll need to wear it!! 
Sunday morning we packed our bags & made our way to California...vacation mode in full effect!! Literally the first stop we made after picking up our car was to In-N-Out burger. To me, it totally lived up to the hype!
This was without a doubt one of the best weekend ever - so much fun and I want to thank you all so much for your birthday wishes!! 

How was your weekend? Link up below to share!