travel

santa barbara photo diary

IMG_9134Justin and I spent Easter weekend in Santa Barbara, and it was a pretty perfect little getaway. We stayed at the Belmond El Encanto which is perched on a hilltop overlooking the city and the ocean, and has the cutest little cottages for rooms and really gorgeous gardens and landscaping. We spent most of our time just lounging and being lazy by the pool (they made really good margaritas) but we did venture into town one afternoon for a little sightseeing. Our first stop was Butterfly Beach in front of the Four Seasons (which is the most gorgeous hotel, you should pop in and look around if you haven’t seen it) which is dog friendly; it was so funny to see Penny testing out the ocean for the first time. She was pretty apprehensive at first but then ended up loving it. So cute!

IMG_9155 IMG_9128 After the beach we got our sandy pup loaded into the car (which is such a disaster now…like I mentioned here she gets a little motion sick!) and headed to downtown Santa Barbara’s ‘Funk Zone’ for some wine tasting. We sat on the little patio at Oreana, before heading to Au Bon Climat (we bought a bottle of their Pinot Noir which was really good) and finishing off at Grassini Family Vineyards which was tucked back in a cute little area next to a delicious looking restaurant that I want to try next time.

We meant to have a late dinner at The Lark but ended up just ordering food in the hotel bar and heading to bed early. Overall it was such a fun and relaxing little getaway. Hope that you had a fun weekend as well!

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let’s all go to this gorgeous moroccan hotel

1030095Hi guys! How was your weekend? I guess technically it’s still the weekend since it’s a holiday, so hopefully you’re not at the office and get to just relax a bit today. I have a bit of work to get done today, and then I’m planning to go to this little spa in Santa Monica for a Turkish soak and scrub. The power of suggestion apparently works very well for me because I immediately felt obsessed and like I had to go to a hammam after reading about La Sultana, a stunning hotel in Marrakech that has a huge traditional spa and plenty of relaxing little alcoves.

Morocco is high up on my wish list of places to visit. Have any of you been? It just seems like it would be so different than just about anything else I’ve seen, and such a neat country and culture to experience; the markets, the food, the ornate decor and gorgeous textiles, and of course, the spas. Yes, please! If I ever get the chance to go, La Sultana is where I want to stay.

If, like me, a trip to North Africa isn’t anywhere in the near future, then below are a few ways to get the look and feeling. I particularly like this pretty Moroccan wedding blanket inspired pillow (I like that it’s different than the white ones that have been so popular recently) and I bet this this luxe looking Moroccanoil cleansing bar smells amazing…

 

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Palawan Islands, Philippines

Alright, finally posting some photos from our trip to The Philippines. I honestly probably took about 3000 photos so it’s difficult to go through them and figure out which ones to share, but I took a stab at it and here we are! A group of ten of us (five couples…we kept joking it was like a couple’s retreat) spent four nights at El Nido resort which is on its own private island within the Palawan Island region.

The hotel was really beautiful and our villas were like fancy tree houses; they backed onto a hillside and were up about sixty feet on stilts in the front, so you looked out onto the tree canopy and could see the water just past. Since we were so close to nature we had little monkey visitors every day, and while they were so cute to look at they were actually a little aggressive and seriously smart. The hotel told us to keep our doors locked because they could not only open the doors but find get inside, find the minibar, and open a bottle of coke. Crazy right!?

We spent most of our time island hopping to different snorkeling and kayaking spots, and it seemed like every place we went was better than the last. I truly don’t know if there can be a more beautiful place in the world; the water was crystal clear and the sand was superfine and bright white, there were palm trees swaying and an unlimited supply of fresh fruit and just picked coconuts. It was heaven. I imagine that the Palawan Islands look similar to the beach areas in somewhere like Bora Bora or Fiji (or even Thailand) but the neat thing was that a majority of the area is completely untouched and largely unknown to a lot of the world; we could barely find any information on visiting the islands when we did research, it’s like a secret that the Filipinos are keeping for themselves, and I totally understand. If you ever have even a tiny inkling or opportunity to go there, promise me you’ll do it!

Here’s my first round of photos, and I’ll try to sort through and post more in the next few days…

 this was the coolest dinner. It’s a traditional Filipino meal where a banana leaf covered table is heaped with garlic rice flanked by grilled fish and meats, which you eat with your hands. There was this spicy citrus sauce that you could pour on your meal and oh my God it was so good el nido palawan

cheeky monkey! ^ group lunch on our first day on the islandpalawan island

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