My sister (Frances) and new brother-in-law (Brandon) had the perfect set up for their California wedding at the Rincon Beach Club in Carpinteria a month ago! ! From my own kids walking down the aisle as ring bearer & flower girl to the groom being the DJ at the reception, everything was so magical! We partnered with Jenny Yoo for my maid of honor dress & to feature my daughter’s flower girl dress. Scroll below to see all the images & also the details of the wedding! You can also see videos on my Instagram stories here.
Huge shout out to their photographer I Heart My Groom for capturing all these images!
Favorite Moment: The highlight of our reception was when the groom started his DJ set and got the party started! The excitement and celebration in the room created an incredible energy on the dance floor, and you could tell how much fun everyone was having. Towards the end of his set, he played the bride’s favorite song then joined her on the dance floor.
Santa Barbara was not what I expected at all, in a good way! It is about a 2 hour drive typically depending on traffic from LA, and for that reason I expected the area to be a very busy beach town like Santa Monica/Venice area. It did not feel busy at all! In fact it felt like a southern small town on a beach, with very high class/dressed people. We went during “June Gloom” (which is known as the gloomiest weather), but over half the time it was sunny! I saw a quote the other day that also summed up how I felt about the weather and what you should pack in California: “Welcome to California. Winter starts at 6am. Spring starts at 10am. Summer is at 2pm and Fall is around 4:30ish. Dress accordingly.” Too true! Here is everything you need to know!
Where to stay:
Belmond El Encanto: This 5 Star resort is located just a mile up the hills from downtown Santa Barbara and the beach! This was one of our favorite resorts we have ever stayed with the kids! Make sure to request Bungalow 101, you can see behind the scenes videos of the resort on my Instagram stories here. What we loved about the hotel:
Proximity: You could walk out of your bungalow and the pool, spa, fitness center, and restaurant/lobby were all within 5 feet. You never had to walk far and the entire property felt small, not crowded at all!
Pond area: There is a turtle feeding area that the kids LOVED! The bell men give you turtle food and my kids would spend hours sitting by the pond playing with all the turtles.
Room: I loved that we felt like we were in a small southern house in the middle of a resort. It was a newly updated villa with one bedroom, a huge bathroom with heated floors, and then a small living area with a pull out couch. They even personalize the pillow cases with your last name initial, what a personal touch!
Dining: We ate on property almost the entire time because the food was so good! Every morning we had breakfast over looking the fog rolling off the beach view you could see from the cliff. Get the nutella french toast!!
Activities: From onsite work out classes to electric bike rentals, you won’t get bored at this resort but also feel relaxed at the same time!
What to do:
Explore downtown Santa Barbara & Beach: We rented a fun 4 person bike from Wheel fun rentals SB, located right in the Funk Zone!
Visit all the kid Museums/Parks: We had a press pass, but we were only able to hop around to 4 different ones during the week we were in town. I loved the Moxi Museum the best, it is right in the funk zone and has a roof top area for the kids to explore. Make sure to visit Santa Barbara Zoo as well, and reserve a private giraffe feeding, or any type of feeding for that matter! We did the turtles! Other Museums we visited included: Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (more educational) & Santa Barbara Museum of Natural Sea Center (you can touch the sharks & various animals)
Hop around all the wineries: There are some in the Funk Zone you can walk around to, but we opted to do a full day wine tour with Dee Tours one day! Dee can customize the tour for you, or you can plan your own tour and just use Dee Tours for the open air jeep that fits 10 people! The Wineries we ended up doing were: Sunstone Winery, Brave & Maiden Winery, & Lucas & Lewellen.
If you need a babysitter: Belmond Recommended this company- Mummys Day Off, we used them one night while the kids were sleeping and felt great about the babysitter. She said she worked for the company for 3 years since she was 18.
I just got back from New York this weekend and it made me miss California even more. It probably didn’t help NYC was cold & rainy. I am definitely a “cali” type of girl. I mean the beaches, vibe, and food in Santa Monica have us coming back multiple times a year! You can see our last trip to Cali & all we did on this blog post here. Not to mention my sister lives there, so its an easy excuse to travel over :). This trip, I am so glad we found Loews Hotel. We decided to stay here on a Saturday night, and spend the day hanging out at the beach and Pier. I knew this hotel was in prime location, but I was blown away the second we walked in. The hotel has huge glass walls that face all the action on the boardwalk, with a pool overlooking everything as well. With kids, I couldn’t ask for anything better to make our stay easier.
Location, Location, Location! Prime spot right on Santa Monica Beach. You can walk right out of the hotel, and be on the beach, playing on the playground, or walking to the pier/restaurants. There are so many rental companies right there too, you can reserve everything with your room number to the hotel. We decided to go rollerblading on the boardwalk. Roman ended up loving it more than lainey!
The Pool/Hot Tub: Both are situated on 4th floor of the hotel, outside and overlooking the incredible view of the ocean. They have complimentary towels and chairs set up for you. We were there on a Saturday and it felt like the perfect amount of people without being overcrowded.
Restaurants on site: They have staff on site at the pool to wait on you, and also have dining options outdoor by the pool too. All our service was 5 Star. We ended up having breakfast outside in the morning as well because the weather and views are just too good.
Rooms: We had two queen beds, both very comfortable. The rooms also came with sound machines (this was genius for traveling with kids)
Service: From check in to check out everything was quick and smooth. The Loews Team sent us wine, cookies, and milk for the kids with a personalized card (they spelled everyone’s name right: yeirdon, lainey, roman. very impressed). I thought that was so sweet, sometimes with big hotel chains you get lost in the mix with all the people. Loews made us feel like we were there number one priority, and it definitely felt special!
Loyal Customers– We spent a lot of time in the hot tub and we met so many locals that were members with the hotel for over a decade! They all new each other and only spoke highly of the hotel. Apparently you can join and pay a yearly fee if you live in the area and use all their facilities. If I lived there, this would be on the top of my list.Here are some images from our stay with them, PS they have several other locations. Book your stay with them here!
Now to our Restaurant Hit List:
Elephante: I do a ton of research online and on instagram before we plan to visit a city (so you don’t have to!). This restaurant kept popping up as “new to the scene” and the “hottest new restaurant in Santa Monica.” I saw several of my favorite celebs/bloggers dine here online. It didn’t disappoint, you NEED to make reservations here 30 days in advance if you’re going to get in. It has a club like feel, their are two bars and the tables are laid back vibe. I wouldn’t bring kids here (the music is loud)- this is a good night out with friends or date spot. Get the “whipped eggplant” hummus. I am still thinking about it!
Scopa Italian Roots: THIS PLACE FOR DESSERT! (they shake donuts in a bag of powdered sugar in front of you). Melt in your mouth. I’d go here once a week if I lived in town, and I’d be broke too. Besides the dessert, each dish was tapa style and just as good!
Nobu, Malibu: About 30 minutes from SM, but if you’re a seafood/sushi lover its the best. Prepare to be dining among the best (John Snow from Game of Thrones sat at the table next to us, and Sheryl Crow was dining another time when we went). You need to call 30 days in advance to reserve here too.
MEAT (Venice): This place is the sister restaurant to WATER Grill (which we’ve dined several times and wanted to try a new place). I vote Water grill over Meat. This place was really big and didn’t have that intimate feel I like. The staff was slower than normal too, and with kids I cant handle eating out with slow service for their sake and mine.
Tocaya Mexican- Chain, we rode our “Bird/Lime scooters” Over to the Venice location one afternoon here. It is a unique twist on mexican and all the drinks/sauces are so good! Why can’t we have chains like this in NC :(. (The kids loved skating on the pier, their skates are from playwheels Order them here)
(We visited a few pumpkin patches that were just up for the season, one we loved the best was hosted at the platform by Mila & Emma. I hope they continue to do this every year because it was the cutest set up!)I linked all my outfits here
I had been eyeing this Airstream in Malibu for years now. I first saw one of my favorite bloggers (Amber Fillerup) visit it and blog about it here! I then started seeing it pop up all over social media after Taylor Swift did a shoot for Vogue and Kortney Kardashian did a stay-cation with her boyfriend! We decided to bring the kids, and all our friends met at the top to watch the sunset with appetizers & Wine. Luckily my sister and dad were with us, so they took the kids at bedtime back to Santa Monica and let us enjoy the place to ourselves! There is only one bed, so its best suited for a couple. We did have some of our friends come camp out on the mountain right behind us though- so that could be an option for a big group!
But let me tell you, it is worth the hype (and hike!). We chose to do one night and Yeirdon wished we had stayed their the entire time (I mean he is a doomsday-prepper and all haha). If you’re into “glamping” with a once in a lifetime view, stay here. I was happy we just did one night, I like to be social and explore area (eat out nonstop) when we visit cities. We did go to Nobu the night we stayed at the airstream, and I immediately regretted leaving and have to drive back in the pitch black up the 5 mile dirt road back to the airstream. (minor anxiety attack). Other than that, waking up to the sunrise on the side of the mountain at 6am with no one else around but animals was surreal.
Here’s what you need to know:
You need an SUV to get to the airstream, I don’t think any Ubers/taxis will take you there (its off a beaten path)
The sun sets on the airstream side, so if your going to enjoy it and get your pictures in do it at sunset!
Follow the fall itinerary below the provided us, make sure to grab wine/groceries (they have a mini kitchen on site)
The bathrooms are open air
Bring bug spray, tennis shoes
Stay on the lookout for wild animals!
Bring “on the go chargers” for all your electronics, there is no service there!
This is the Itinerary we used for one day with them:
Assuming you have the entire day off, go to malibu EARLY and either spend the day at the beach or go hike one of the many great hikes in the area (google Malibu best hikes). Finish the hike by noon, go grocery shopping in point dume or Trancas market so you can then check in by 2pm at the latest at the airstream and enjoy an amazing afternoon at the property. You can do a small hike up there if you want but odds are you will not want to leave!
If for any reason you run out of wine, Neptune’s net restaurant sells some and is only 8 minute drive down.
* Make sure to bring an iPhone cable to plug into the battery or stereo for your music and have an “offline” playlist ready as there is no reception for Spotify.
Don’t hesitate to do this if you’re in the area, I had to reserve it for one night months in advance! If you click this linkyou can get $40 off your first time booking airbnb! (this isn’t sponsored by airbnb, I paid for our stay. They give each user a coupon code to give people and that is mine).