Staycation at Ojai Rancho Inn

Ojai Rancho Inn SucculentsI’ve been wanting to visit Ojai for quite some time now, so recently when my friend Kimberly texted me “!!!” followed by “We’re spontaneously going to Ojai Rancho Inn! You guys should come!” Needless to say, I immediately was hooked. Christopher and I threw some clothes in a bag, grabbed Rusty and hit the road!

Ojai Rancho Inn GreeneryOne of the incredible things I immediately noticed about about Ojai is all the lush plant life that grows in the area. Everywhere I looked was green and full of diverse trees, wildflowers, cactus and succulents. It’s the perfect mix of nature and small town living, which makes you sit back, and just take in your surroundings. The perfect staycation/getaway if you live in LA, that’s for sure! I highly recommend taking the PCH route all the way up to Ojai if you can – the drive goes by so fast with breathtaking views of the Pacific.

Aside from relaxing in their seriously swagged out rooms (I’m talking Heather Levine ceramic lamps, Lookout & Wonderland curtains, Carly Jo Morgan artwork) we hit the pool, cleansed in the sauna, and made new friends over s’mores, chatting by the bonfire until 3 a.m. Honestly one of the best nights ever – so much fun!

Ojai Rancho Inn Pool

Ojai Rancho Inn Decor

Ojai Rancho Inn House

We also spent some time exploring the grounds of the Inn, including the house, infamous yellow trailer and a new yurt that are all just next door the the Inn itself. Oh, and of course when hanging out with Kim and Andre, a little portrait/photoshoot action is always on the agenda!

Since our first visit, we’ve been back literally every week because of their incredible weekday rates through Hotel Tonight. We’re now at the point where we’re trying to figure out how we can eventually move up to the area and set up shop. Yes, we are hooked. Oh, if you’ve never used the Hotel Tonight app, you seriously need to download it asap. We’ve used it for trips to Vegas, Morro Bay just to name a few. Plus if you use code “CLEE496” you can get $25 towards your first stay. You’ll be thanking me later, swearsies.

Ojai Rancho Inn_Kim Genevieve

Opening Day at Santa Anita Park

Opening-Day-Santa-Anita-Park-2013

A few weeks ago the America’s Best Racing Team invited me out to opening day at Santa Anita Park which was an experience I couldn’t possibly pass up! Christopher grew up going to the race track with Grandpa Cybula, and over the years has gotten me into horse racing. We’ve been to Hollywood Park a couple times but boy, nothing compares to Santa Anita Park! I had heard that it was one of the most beautiful parks in the country but had no idea how truly breathtaking it was until we arrived and saw the view for myself. Nestled at the foot of the mountains of Santa Anita Canyon with a clear blue sky as the backdrop, the park was the absolute perfect setting for a day of racing.

The ABRV Crew gave us a tour of the track and then lead us up to the Club House where we grabbed a couple of drinks (bourbon, please!) and proceeded to get settled into our box seats.

Santa-Anita-Park-Races

After placing our bets on a few races, we headed down the the lower levels to check out the building and the Grandstand areas. I’m always fascinated with the interiors of historical buildings and admire all the Art Deco elements of Santa Anita Park. Also, how fun are these colors and pattens at the betting counters? Love!

Santa-Anita-Park-Betting-Counter Santa-Anita-Park-Cash-and-Bet

Santa-Anita-Park

One of my favorite moments of the day was observing these two gentlemen hanging out on the steps, watching the races and going through the day’s book. It was obvious that they had been coming here for years and years, and opening day is most likely a tradition. It seriously melted my heart. So sweet, right?

Santa-Anita-Park-Regulars

After a few drinks over the course of the afternoon, we got pretty hungry and ventured over to the Terrace Food Court for some grub. Christopher got some pasta from their Noodle Bar (yes, a noodle bar) and I got a yummy salad from The Turf Course. To satisfy our sweet tooth, we headed down towards the track and got a couple churros from one of the snack carts. I swear, it was one of the biggest churros I’d ever eaten!

Santa-Anita-Park-Churros

Santa-Anita-Park-View

We ended the day with a round of “fancy drinks” as Mary Frances called them. It was the perfect way to end a day at the races with new friends, and to celebrate opening day. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to The Breeder’s Cup next weekend as it’s one of the most important events in horse racing (well, aside from the Kentucky Derby) – read more about it’s history here. Interested in joining me? Grab your tickets here and hope to see you Nov. 1st at the park!

Santa-Anita-Park-Cheers

Getting Sideways in Solvang

Solvang,-California-Getting-Sideways-2

For Christopher’s 30th birthday we traveled up to the Central Coast of California for the very first time to celebrate! As geeky as it may sound, we’ve been big fans of Sideways ever since we first watched it a few months ago and decided to head up to Solvang for a long weekend. We stayed at The Hamlet Inn the first night – as part of Shelter Social Club, I highly recommend checking it out. I mean, how cute are the rooms and the free bikes you can borrow? Plus, they were literally located in the middle of everything and Solvang actually reminded me of towns in Michigan like Holland and Frankfort, which makes complete sense because apparently the city was founded by Danish people from the Midwest who yearned to create a little Denmark in California. Pretty neat, huh?

We randomly decided to stop by OstrichLand (Sideways reference didn’t even hit us until we saw it on the map in the gift shop) which turned out to be THE BEST decision ever. We got to feed the emu and ostrich who were unexpectedly pretty fierce, pecking crazily at the pellets we fed them. I mean, take a look at some of these videos on Instagram! It was so much fun and I definitely plan on going back next time we’re in the area.

After a day in Solvang, we went north to Morro Bay and explored their beach and downtown area. We had breakfast at Top Dog Coffee Bar and browsed records at The Vinyl Isle before heading back home to LA.

Camping in Joshua Tree

A couple of weekends ago I went camping for the first time in my life. Really, the very first time ever. I mean, no big deal right? Wrong! I was excited but the nerve-wrecking part was that we were going to be off-site camping, aka backpacking. There wasn’t going to be any cozy restrooms, electrical hook-ups or any of the usual comforts of living in civilization. Just us, Rusty, a campfire, our tent and the desert.

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House On The Rock

Recently I’ve been going through my photo passport aka hardrive which is literally thousands of photos deep. It’s such fun looking through almost but not really forgotten memories and bringing them back to life, in the current moment. Back in 2008 we vacationed in Spring Green, Wisconsin at a magical place known as House On The Rock. The short version is it’s an unusual architectural project of Alex Jordan, Jr. whose father was a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The famed architect was never a fan of his father’s and despised Alex’s plans for HOTR but believe me, this place is not to be missed! Continue reading

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