Santa Barbara Vacation

Californians are pretty spoiled in that we have quite a few major cities that make fantastic vacation spots. Sometimes we don’t take advantage of what is right in our backyard, even though we could have an amazing vacation without even getting on an airplane. I am a native San Diegan and I’ve been a lot of places, but had not yet been to Santa Barbara. I am not sure if I am the only one, but I have the hardest time planning vacations with others. There are always scheduling conflicts, people who are non-committal, and financial limitations.

I was getting close to graduation time, and the opportunity to get away and relax near the ocean was too much to pass up– and driving 20 minutes to the beach would not be the same. So, I forgot about needing friends or family to accompany me, I grabbed a small traveler’s bag, a journal, sunglasses, and I headed out. Okay, it wasn’t that easy– I had to also book a hotel, but you get the idea! 🙂


From Los Angeles, SB is an easy 90 minute drive up the 101, and it actually gets quite beautiful the closer you get to the destination. I left on a Friday evening. Arriving in just 90 minutes, I used trusty Yelp to help me find good cuisine, and decided on a vegan restaurant. It was warm, folksy and bustling with people enjoying a guitarist in the center of the restaurant. I must say I had a chuckle when the waitress raised her eyebrows “So, just you then for dinner? Okay…” Honestly, I rather enjoy a quiet dinner alone every now and again! She should have really saved the eyebrow raise until after I ordered the food I ordered! I had an appetizer which was deep fried cauliflower with Indian herbs and spices, a veganized American dish, and a miniature pecan pie.


Crispy Indian cauli


Cauli/potato mash, vegan meatloaf, steamed kale

The next morning after lounging and snoozing till 8am (that’s super late for me), I headed to D’Angelo and though it isn’t pictured here, I had one of the most delicious croissants ever with strawberry jam. I still had room to polish off my yummy huevos rancheros. My only complaint about this dish is I often forget to ask for the eggs to not be runny! Still very delicious!

huevos rancheros

Fried corn tortillas, refried beans, cheese, over easy eggs, and salsa.

My primary reason for visiting Santa Barbara was to experience the beach. It did not disappoint! It was a bit cold, but that’s not surprising because I went in May. There were lots of friendly people on the beach who were happy to just strike up a conversation. I’m not used to this at all, but it was refreshing. I wore my pedometer and got about 5 miles of walking in that day.


I thought the SB courthouse was amazing. Apparently the lawn in the summers is where the town enjoys movies outside and sometimes concerts. Some people want more than just getting married at the courthouse, but maybe if they saw THIS courthouse, they would not feel that way. It is so beautiful!


I had a chance to enjoy a lot of the siteseeing with my longtime instagram pal, AriAnna. What a treat!!


Courthouse terrace

 101_1092View from the terrace

I love Indian food for the versatility, and plethora of filling vegetarian options. The food was just spicy enough for me.


Dahl, cauliflower and potatoes, chickpeas, basmati rice, and yogurt.

If you couldn’t already tell, I had a wonderful time. Taking vacation time is crucial to your mental and physical health. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you don’t have to go far, and you are welcome to go alone. Rest is not earned, but essential to life. I hope you’ll think about taking some time for yourself soon! I plan to do this again in the near future!



A Day at The Ranch Malibu

When I was asked to join a group of fitness bloggers to experience and observe what this wonderful place, The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu had to offer for jump-starting fitness and facilitating weight loss, I was completely excited! Now I can share my firsthand knowledge with others who may benefit from this completely amazing and energizing experience.

The Ranch

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The ranch itself is one very large plot of land just a few miles from the ocean, and just far enough off the beaten path to feel like it is a far away place. The less distractions during this journey, the better! In fact, my cell phone did not even have reception, which is probably a good thing. The grounds have a fitness facility, plenty of land to hike, an organic farm, a vacation-worthy pool, and more. The sleeping arrangements were nice and serene just like the rest of the grounds, and there is laundry service too! They are very well equipped to handle all the special care needed for fitness gear.



With the exception of one breakfast food item, the ranch is completely vegan. I loved the reasoning given for the ranch for being mostly vegan– it was to completely simplify the diet to whole, plant-based foods, to give the body a good baseline for how it performs and responds in terms of allergens, inflammation, exercise, and energy levels.We found that we were able to have full energy to attack each exercise challenge as we learned that plants fill the stomach and provide vital nutrients at a much better rate than do processed foods. This picture shows 120 calories of nuts, oil, kale, refined sugar, and spinach. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat on the planet!


At lunch we had a totally yummy massaged kale salad featuring chick peas, pickled red onion and olives.


Dinner was even more amazing– a “veganized” bolognese with celery noodles and lima beans with lovely cashew shavings that really reminded me of Parmesan cheese. Honestly, I am not a big fan of celery but I loved this!



A normal day for a guest would include 8 to 10 hours of fitness (lots of walking) meals, snacks, possibly time at the pool, rest time, and a massage. 8 to 10 hours would have seemed like a very long time had I not experience it firsthand. On this day, we got about 6 hours of fitness in with hiking, a TRX class, a yoga class, and foam rolling to loosen up difficult-to-stretch and tight muscles. My favorite class will come as no surprise to you– it was the 75 minute yoga class with instructor Ted! He was a great teacher, and I loved that the course had parts that were dynamic and aerobic, and other parts that were more focused on lengthening and strengthening the muscles. Check it out, I’m wearing the yoga pants I recently bought from Athleta! 🙂


One important observation I have was on this day of attendance, all the leaders and instructors were men. Some of the nurturing and intuitive qualities that are so often associated with women were not spared that day. They were all amazingly attentive, patient and encouraging. I can’t think of a better place to recommend for someone who is very serious about turning their health around and getting back on track!

Want to see more? Check out this video overview:

Remember my philosophy: Eat like you love to live! ❤