Tag Archives: travel

O-jai, you’re back!

2 Jul

IMG_9369If you’ve followed my travels for a while, you know I love a good weekend trip to Ojai. There’s always less traffic than driving south–from LA. It’s a prettier drive, and you can stop for some outlet or antique shopping along the way.

I’ve been visiting Ojai for over 20 years now. The Ojai Valley Inn has always been my go-to. A quick escape away from home. I’ve loved it since my first rose petal treatment… which I believe they’ve stopped offering. I will always savor my stays there. But it’s changed over the years. The pools and shops for better; the customer service for worse.

I should clarify actually – the onsite service and staff still remain as lovely as ever. It’s the Reservations team and pre-arrival customer experience that has felt cold and unaccommodating the past few years. But, as I’m admittedly picky about hotels and not a huge B&B lover, the resort has always been my first choice in Ojai.

I hadn’t been back to the area since before the 2017 fires, and actually didn’t even know what was still standing. So when I got an invite from the town’s PR team to come visit for a summer solstice shopping event, I was all about it.

Turns out there are plenty of other lodging accommodations in Ojai – camp sites, lodges, B&Bs, and intimate hotels.

I stayed at the Lavender Inn—an historic B&B that my sister told me was charming. And it was! Late afternoon wine and cheese offering. Complimentary wifi. Morning breakfast buffet. Multiple outdoor and indoor spaces to sit and chill. Or work in my case. Lots of little touches to make you feel at home.

I’ll always prefer a luxe hotel stay, but it’s easy to be charmed by the pride of a well-maintained landmark B&B. Built in 1874. It was originally Ojai’s first schoolhouse! Like the Inn keeper at Lavender Inn, the local shop owners we came across all upheld an attitude of gratitude. It’s a town that’s endured disaster and has come out the other side.

I even spotted groups of chairs set up randomly along Ojai Avenue. When I asked what they were for, I was told that the older locals secure their spots weeks in advance for the annual 4th of July parade… and it’s well-known not to mess with these chairs. Amazing! Such small-town spirit is completely foreign to a city girl. I laugh thinking what would happen if people set chairs out prior to a Laker parade, or the like. If LA ever gets another Championship parade, I’m going to set up chairs the night before and see what happens.

If you visit Ojai (and you should!), I recommend stopping in at these charming shops:

#shopojai  #ojailove  #ojai

xo

 

 

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3 Practical Summer Totes

9 Aug

We’re approaching the dog days of summer, but there’s still time to squeeze in another road trip or three. For every other season, I love a good luxe handbag. Clutches, crossbodies, hobos, shoulder bags… I’m flexible! For summer though, I’m all about a big tote or straw bag. Something you can pile everything in, throw over your shoulder, and basically stick in the sand without care.

This summer, I’ve been primarily switching off between a few practical styles.

FOR PLAY…

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I’ve taken the Carmen Sol Angelica Jelly tote with me on picnics, to the beach, to Palm Springs, and to Ojai. It still looks brand new – and has kept its rose scent. All the Carmen Sol accessories (adorable sandals!) are water-resistant, smell like faint roses, and are made in Italy. The baby yellow color makes me happy + I get stopped a lot by people asking where they can get one, too. Here’s WHERE.

FOR WORK…

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For all of my work gear, I’ve been using a huge vegan leather toe by Be Brilliant Bags. First I’ll go on record and say that I’ve yet to find a vegan leather bag that goes the distance. My last favorite work bag was from Working Cute. It even had wheels. It was the perfect carry-on. And it lasted a year before starting to flake all over my shoulder and hands. RIP Working Cute bag. And company.

It hasn’t been a year, but my Be Brilliant bag has traveled well so far with a laptop, iPad, multiple cords, notebooks, shoes, makeup bags, and more. The inside is lined with moisture-wicking neoprene. Think: wetsuit material. It also has a special removable compartment to carry wet stuff. Awesome for a bathing suit, post-swim. I remain hopeful on its lifespan. Shop HERE.

FOR WHATEVER…

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I love traveling with an extra bag on hand. I keep this perfect cotton canvas tote folded up in my purse to use for things I pick up along the way on a road trip, or carrying hiking shoes, bottles of wine, and shopping local farmer’s markets. The brand is known more for its letterpress stationary, but Sky of Blue Cards carries adorable gifts, too. Shop HERE.

And John Muir had it right… When the mountains do call, I’m outta here.

xo

 

 

 

 

From L.A. to Wellness in Loreto: A 4-Day Diary

27 May

Rtkf2Fy20ALEn3NzZLnFElIa-xsmGLnZDvj60BNuVmNVi1t57d0ZSM3QQJybSwiLY3qJBwdIZOuHkHIV-xx3k3-jAGDTHZxNhrcMEZ4wpu3-ZDCeSv5NRqF8E2ZMe9AWsZnSB6cIocHiQbC32Xm2-BR7KS3uKnnoOxFWZWpQFdqWsHsdIYFBDYm7ISWI6SVtcVOY6ADuF33XCS9dtKgj5lDQBgMTSitting quietly off the eastern coast of the Baja peninsula is a hidden jewel in Loreto called the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa. Upon seconds of arrival, I went from feeling like I was in the middle of nowhere, to exactly where I was supposed to be.

Greeted with kind smiles and quenching strawberry lemonade, we would soon kick off our Wellness Week experience through a special hand washing ritual—signifying all of our stress and bad juju would be left outside the hotel doors.

SETTLING IN

Checking in was surprisingly simple since we had emailed all of our information and food preferences prior. I always recommend doing this, btw. Help the hotel help you! We were given magical bracelets to wear for the entirety of our stay. No room keys to lose (or get deactivated from being held too close to your cell phone) here. Just this little waterproof accessory that would never fail to let you in your room.

I had a One Bedroom Suite. It was 1,300 square feet of total comfort! With a king bed in the bedroom and a pullout queen sofa in the living room, it could have slept four easily. Not to mention a huge private balcony overlooking eyefuls of the Sea of Cortez, fully functioning kitchen, two bathrooms, two TVs, and (big drum roll!) a washer/dryer. The appliances put my little Los Angeles apartment to shame. Charming touches such as Welcome truffles and your name in colorful pebbles on the master bed represent the warmth of the culture—as well as the resort staff. Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 3.48.07 PM

The first night, we enjoyed surf & turf skewers under the stars amongst the fire pits and island breeze. There are three restaurants on the almost 4,500 acre property—all of which provide room service and can accommodate gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and even kosher (if notified in advance) diners.

Menus aren’t taken lightly here. Each meal is prepared like a work of art and presented with all the care of a gallery curator. Continue reading