Gotta Getaway: {An Inspiring Island Retreat}

While cooped up in a house on maternity leave, one can’t help but get travel fever – dreaming of beautiful far away places like Morocco, Cape Town, and Bali. In doesn’t help that this time last year, our Editorial Director shared her incredible Balinese vacation and I was living it up on Mykonos! Since we’re homebound this year, dear friend Jaclyn from Blog Society kindly offered to share her breathtaking Indonesian island retreat. Hosted by Natalie of Eat Read Love, some of Australia’s top bloggers, stylists and photographers set out on a journey together that would change their lives! Warning: the following is likely to induce severe wanderlust!

Taking place at Villa Sungai – an award winning luxury villa in Cepaka, Bali, a group of amazing creative ladies joined forces on an international retreat to talk business and collaboration, creating a truly inspiring experience. The recounts of this magical trip will surely help you get through a lackluster Monday in the office! Jaclyn, take it away!

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First off, Natalie is no stranger to hosting gorgeous events and our trip to Bali was no exception. She hosted a once in a life-time adventure – a complete ‘pinch me’ getaway that I was so grateful to be part of. Myself, Natalie, Lisa, Nadean, Luisa and Sophie were speechless when we arrived. There we were in the most luxurious villa we’d ever seen, surrounded by close friends and in a culture that is rich in tradition and history.

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Over lychee martinis by the pool, we shared stories of success and failure – talking openly and passionately in the kind of freeing environment that only travel can offer. Walking through lush rice paddies, we created the ultimate picnic spot and sat while sipping on rosé and taking in the local surroundings – almost in silence, each of us reflecting on the impact that travel has on the soul. We watched the sunset together while talking about what the future holds and laughed until the wee hours. We explored the countryside and enjoyed balmy mornings that were hot and humid, with still air that was was laced with incense.

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Looking back it was the small moments of luxury – being surrounded by exotic flowers, fresh cuisine and indulging in a relaxing massage that made these incredible few days such an escape from reality. But the true adventure was bonding with my soul sisters over cocktails, a new culture and endless conversation – the ultimate trifecta of blog travel!

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This trip that Natalie planned was just the beginning. She plans to create more international retreats coming up this year complete with gorgeous setting, brilliant company and a magical culture. Talk about dream getaway. It doesn’t get much better than that!

And if you’re planning an escape to Bali yourself, here what you’ll want to pack to get that perfectly chic island style!

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Get Your Shop On:

> 1. Illesteva Round Mirrored Sunglasses
> 2. Ryan Roche Crushable Straw Hat
> 3. The Net Bag
> 4. Dolce Vita Nude Sandals
> 5. Koza Elyse Dress
> 6. Rag & Bone Gracie Scarf

 

images c/o Luisa Brimble

What To Visit in LA If You Have Less Than 24 Hours

With spring breaks upon us, it’s time to start thinking about taking a mini escape! But where to go and what to do when time is short? A few months ago our Editorial Director went on a quick 24 hour trip to Los Angeles in search of big design and even bigger inspiration. With hours against her, but no set itinerary, Bianca hit the pavement running, at times quite literally, in order to beat the ticking clock and savor every second in sunny LA! She stumbled upon some hidden gems while she was checking out a couple of other mainstays. This all looks so fun, she’s even got me considering a quick trip to the City of Angels before le bebe appears! Here are her top discoveries:

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> The Line Hotel – A super modern hotel where no design detail was missed – we’re talking down to the “do not disturb” sign. Refrain from trying to sneak every gorgeous piece into your luggage. You also get an awesome view of the Hollywood sign from your room, but really, no one is looking at the sign when your hotel room looks like that!

> Poketo – The popular design focused store has a pop-up shop right in the lobby of The Line. It definitely goes above and beyond our average “pop up” and is well worth a walk through. From super gorgeous bath soaps, to chic zip pouches, clothing, bags and everything in between, you’ll likely find an excuse as to why you “need” it all.

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> The Commissary – The Line’s restaurant  is kind of the best thing about the entire hotel – because it’s in a greenhouse! You can enjoy the ambiance even if you’re not staying in the hotel and we highly recommend it. Vines and leaves hang overhead and mismatched English tea sets and plates make your food prettier, if that’s possible. A playful menu built like a bingo game and cocktails served in soup to-go containers will ensure sensory overload and surprise after surprise. Did we mention it’s in a greenhouse?!

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> Bottega Louie – If you’re headed downtown, it’s basically a sin not to stroll into this longstanding joint. Stop for a pastry {Nutella filled brioche!!} and coffee, stop by for a cocktail or enjoy lunch in the spacious restaurant. Regardless, don’t leave without getting something smothered in butter or sugar, or both. You’ll also want to check out Aesop if you’re in the area!

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> Aesop – Every Aesop store is designed completely differently, something the brand prides itself on. So if you’ve been to one, you haven’t been to them all which is exactly why you should go to every single one you possibly can! LA’s is filled with cardboard, yup cardboard, cardboard that looks so cool you’re going to want to wallpaper your own home in it.

> Joan’s on Third – It’s an LA institution and you should probably go just to feel the LA buzz practically humming off its outdoor patio. This place is always packed, so if humans aren’t your thing, go in, grab a sandwich {or cookie or cupcake or amazing salad} to go and head out.

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> Beckley Boutique – Alexander Wang, local LA jewelry designers, cool design books, they all live in this well curated women’s boutique. You’ll want something. And you should probably get it because it’s LA –  the land of looking good!

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So there’s proof postive you can literally hit all of these LA hotspots in under 5 hours – perfect for a pesky layover! If you only had a day in LA, what would you see?? We’d love to add to our must-see list for our next trip!

Looking for more last minute travel ideas?? Check out more of our fave escapes HERE!

images by bianca sotelo

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