Gotta Getaway: Four Seasons Biltmore, Santa Barbara

Since so many people take trips around the President’s Day holiday – or are at least beginning to dream of their next escape,I thought a little vacation inspiration would be in order today! As you may have seen on Instagram, we recently made our pre-baby getaway to Santa Barbara. It’s the perfect escape from San Francisco – just far enough away to feel like a real vacation, but close enough to enjoy for a long weekend. But this weekend getaway was extra special. Since we were marking our last trip together sans kid, we headed straight for an equally extra-special spot – The Four Seasons, Biltmore. After getting to visit for one night at age 12, the hotel has always held this amazing mystique for me. And it certainly lived up to my childhood memories.

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Tucked away just south of downtown Santa Barbara, the Biltmore is really its own oasis. There’s really nothing else around it – other than a gorgeous stretch of Butterfly Beach and the Pacific Ocean of course! The property opened as a hotel in 1927 and has enjoyed a storied history as hot spot for the Hollywood crowd ever since. But I can see why people love coming here – there’s just something warm and inviting about the place. The grounds make you feel like you’re in a secret tropicl garden, paths twisting and turning until you stumble upon a hidden courtyard or beautiful balcony. When the classic gas lamps are lit at dusk, the place literally glows.

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my bump style: asos leather bomber jacket {similar} // hackwith design studio dress // zara booties {similar} // the podolls x shawn burke clutch // banana republic sunnies // sweet n spark necklace 

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While I’m usually drawn to a more modern aesthetic, I love the stately old-world elegance of this spot. Spanish tile, terra cotta roofs, gorgeous masonary are everywhere. And then there’s the impeccable attention to detail. Things like heating the bathroom floors automatically so they’re warm when you head to bed and when you wake up in the morning is just one of the little bits of genius tucked into every room. That the uber plush terry cloth robes made me oh so happy.

The most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept in also certainly helps – especially when suffering from pregnancy insomnia. I would have gladly stayed in that bed all day. I would have been totally content just listening to the ocean waves crash and the enjoy the breeze coming in through our open balcony doors. Bu tthen I would have missed out on the 80 degree January weather and my prenatal spa treatments.

You don’t know indulgence until you’ve enjoyed a massage in a gorgeous treatment room streaming with natural light, the windows open to let in the warm air waft over you and the melodic sound of the surf just across the way. It was the purest definition of heaven. Add on a facial featuring all-natural, organic Tata Harper skincare that left my face glowing afterwards and I was nothing but a puddle of pure bliss.

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Adjacent to The Biltmore grounds is another gem – the Coral Casino. It’s been around almost as long as hotel itself and serves as a private beach club, but all Biltmore guests have access. I swooned as soon as I stepped inside. The throwback Miami vibe had me at hello. Sure there’s a full gym and all that good stuff, but my sights were set firmly on the ocean-front olympic-sized pool. It was all I needed to convince myself to get out of that feathery hotel bed! With pool side service that included fresh green juice and house-made granola with berries for breakfast, followed by stellar fish tacos for lunch and mocktails to lounge away the afternoon, I was one very happy preggo lady.

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The days seems to slow down as we enjoyed doing very little. Reading, relaxing and just enjoying our surroundings was exactly what we needed. Each evening we’d enjoy an epic sunset overlooking the ocean. I don’t know what it is about Santa Barbara’s golden sunset glow, but I swear light just doesn’t take on quite the same quality anywhere else. And even though it was a short stay, I swear that 72 hour escape is what continues to fuel me through these last few crazy get-ready-for-baby weeks.

I did take notes on my favorite new Santa Barbara discoveries. I’d highly recommend any of these if you’re stopping through town.

 Top 10 Things to Do/See/Eat in Santa Barbara

Diani Boutique: Tucked away on upper State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, the coolest fashions in town can be found here. Diani’s home store is also stellar! I still kicking myself for not buying the Moroccan blanket I saw there…

Jenni Kayne Boutiques: If you’re looking for chic minimalism with lush fabrics then Jenni Kayne clothing is for you. And her home store is the perfect curation of ceramics, textiles, candles and all those other little details that turn a house into a home. I was in heaven!

Whistle Club: For an eclectic mix of California-cool and more uptown looks check out this brand new shop in the Paseo Nuevo pedestrian mall. Manned by a husband and wife team, they whip up Stumptown espresso to keep the guys occupied while you shop!

The French Press: The perfect place to get your coffee fix either before or after shopping

Rori’s Ice Cream: One of Santa Barbara’s newest foodie attractions is the Public Market – a cute little one-stop-shop for artisanal groceries and lots of local food purveyors including Rori’s Ice Cream. I’m obsessed with their “biscoff” aka shortbreaad cookie flavor. To.Die!

The Funk Zone: Why oh why didn’t this exist when I was in college. Just blocks from the beach at the edge of State Street there’s now a little criss cross of blocks filled with wine and beer tasting rooms! I definitely plan to go back when I can indulge.

Lucky Penny: If you want a great pizza or super delicious salad to break up your wine tasting, this is the spot! I’m dying to try their sister restaurant The Lark!

SamaSama: A modern take on Indonesian food, the flavors are fantastic {my fave was the pork belly skewers!}, the level of spice is intense {consider yourself warned} and the setting is super chic. I’m only bummed I couldn’t sample their amazing cocktail menu!

The Stone House at San Ysidro Ranch: If you need spot for an ultimate romantic dinner under the stars- this is it. JFK and Jackie O honeymooned here. Does it get any better??

But what really tops my list is simply indulging in an escape to The Biltmore. You’ll never want to leave that lovely dream-land! I’m already plotting my return – this time baby in tow!!

 

original photography for apartment 34 by arna bee photography 

Must-Make Treats for Your Sweetheart

There’s a reason they say the key to someone’s heart is through their stomach! There’s just no sweeter gesturet than making a home-cooked meal. So this Valentine’s Day, we’re opting out of cheezy, couples-filled restaurants and whippin’ up something good to eat for our sweethearts. From lovingly shaped waffles {hello breakfast in bed!} to a bold red colored beet risotto for dinner, these love-filled recipes will make anybody scream, “oh baby!” by the end of the night! Now that’s what we call a win-win!

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Breakfast in bed couldn’t be any cuter than with these Heart Waffles. If you don’t have a heart shaped waffle maker, you can use a cute heart cookie cutter to get the same, perfectly adorable results. Top them with whipped cream and berries to really get the day started on a sweet note!

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Speaking of sweets, you just can’t have too many on Valentine’s Day, right?! These rustic, Mini Strawberry Galettes are gorgeous to look at and even yummier to eat. We love the way this dessert doesn’t scream hearts and arrows, but certainly gets cupid’s job done. Leave them on the kitchen counter for easy nibbles throughout the day! Drooling…

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Hello, gorgeously, bold Beet Buckwheat Risotto! This dish is the perfect dinner entree for the love struck vegetarians out there. It’s mind blowingly unique and not to mention, the flavors and heartiness of the beets and buckwheat will leave you and your honey feeling satisfied – it’s just filling enough to leave plenty of room for more dessert!!

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If you’re searching for an equally unique dessert to pair with your risotto, look no further! These Grapefruit Possets cups with Pistachio Crumble on top sound ah-mazing. The light pink color is so precious {perfect for a single girl’s brunch too, right?!} and the cute individual servings make this treat extra special!

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But if you really really wan to impress, we think you should whip up this perfectly cooked fish fillet with pink rhubarb on the side. This dish is delicate and so sophisticated – we have no doubt it will give any top restaurant’s Valentine’s Day menu a run for its money. Fair warning: it’s so impressive, your lover may want to skip dinner all together and go straight to dessert! No worries, you don’t have to thank us!! ;)

Need extra help in the kitchen? These adorable tools will help you seal the deal!

 

 

 

image 1 via In Honor of Design // 2 via Call Me Cupcake // 3 via Dagmar’s Kitchen // 4 via La Peche Fraiche // 5 via Suvi Sur Le Vif

 

Color Coded: Camel + Black

If you’re looking for a timeless color combo to get you through the winter doldrums, we’ve got you coverd. There’s something so classic and yet always alluring about {drum roll please….} camel and black!

We’re obsessed with how the honey and ochre undertones of camel pair perfectly with an inky, jet black. So obsessed, in fact, that we’d back our love for this rich and warm color combo over the reigning classic black and white any day. And this goes for both fashion and decor! But what’s that, you say? Hesitant about such a “standard” pairing? But this is a classic that will keep everyone coming back for more. We’re confident this evidence will change your mind!

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So good, right? When it comes to personal style, camel and black is literally the easiest thing to wear. Throw on black jeans, booties, a black tee and a camel coat and…done! I always feel my post pulled together and confident in this uniform. Then you just sit back and wait for the compliments, becuase they will come. The same goes for the combo in your home. Black and camel feels sophisticated yet comfortable. It says you have style but you’re not trying to pretentious about it. It’s casual, calm and endlessly cool. It’s super his & hers friendly too. We say, never underestimate the power of a camel colored couch and black pillows!

What do you think? Has camel and black always been a go-to for you or is it just now winning over your hearts?

image 1 via The Quarter Life Closet // 2 via Stil Inspiration // 3 via Adenorah // 4 via we and the color // 5 via Who What Wear // 6 via Domino // 7 via The Chronicles of Her // 8 via Rue Magazine // 9 via The Fashion Cuisine