Tag Archives: Santa Barbara

[Traveling Tales] A Weekend Jaunt to Santa Barbara

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“Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul.”

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For as vast and varied as Los Angeles is with its multitude of museums, live music on damn near every corner and a menagerie of personalities, there are just some times that you need the elixir of another town, to be able to drink in the libations and life of a new location. Southern California, with its little bit of everything, is an adventurers wet dream with ample amounts of snow, surf and everything in between.  Travel a few hours south of Los Angeles, and you’ll end up in Mexico – go East and you can jaunt out to Joshua Tree or Palm Springs, West will take you to the Pacific Coast and adventure just a little up the 101 and you’ll hit one of my favorite places ever: Santa Barbara.  I should premise this by saying I’m incredibly biased, I spent five lovely years in Santa Barbara pursuing my college degree and each inch of that town is crawling in marvelous memories – but admittedly, it’s been far longer than that since I’ve been back. So, the other weekend when Danny was itching to get out of town, I knew exactly where we needed to go.  After booking a great hotel through CheapTickets at the last second Friday afternoon, on Saturday we were off, off and away on a whirlwind landmark and culinary tour of my old stomping grounds.

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After a leisurely drive up the coast, our first stop on Saturday was the new(ish) Santa Barbara Public Market.  apparently it’s been around for a few years, but it’s definitely new to me since the last time I visited town! Originally, I had planned to stop by the Big Eye Raw Bar started by my college friends’ husband (ps. it looks delicious), but the tacos from Corazon Cocina looked so heavenly that it would have been a sin to pass them up.  UntitledA few laughs and micheladas from The Garden later, and we were off, off and away to stroll State Street in search of The French Press. From what I’ve been told, its one of the best coffee shops in America – and damn, they were so right; I loved it a latte – pun very intended.   Taking the long way back to the car, we stumbled into the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, something I didn’t even know existed – let alone in Santa Barbara, but very worth getting sidetracked by.   Boasting a wide array of original documents and technological advancements, we took a serene stroll through eye opening artifacts and inventions before checking into our hotel, which truly felt like more of an oasis than I would have ever known from the photos.

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Walking in, we were met with an unexpected blend of blooming flowers, lush ponds, as coy fish, ducks and geese unfolded in front of us.  The scene only got better as the sunset began her magic.  Oh, and it wasn’t just ducks – there were ducklings hanging out on lillypads and it was literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  I may or may not have spent half an hour chasing them around with crumbs to get the perfect photos, and of course make a few furry friends along the way.

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When dinnertime came about, we had only one decision to make: Mexican or Fish-centric.  Santa Barbara is exceptional when it comes to both, boasting some of the best authentic Mexican food at La Super Rica, a small hole in the wall family business that has the best meats, as well as the uni that’s imported the world over.   Stretching from Isla Vista into downtown, hitting the coastline, is Santa Barbara’s main squeeze: State Street.  The closer you get to the ocean, the more populated everything is – and rightfully so when you can take a romantic walk on the beach after a hearty meal and the further you get from the water, the less packed you’ll find your haunts.  Deciding to get fishy with it, we ventured over to Edomasa and chowed down on some exceptional late night sushi.

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On Sunday afternoon, we gallivanted down the length of State Street and onto Sterns Wharf for some views and a kickass meal of the freshest of sea food before we hit the road back to Los Angeles. The oldest working pier in California, Sterns Wharf boasts plenty of shops and sightseeing right over the ocean; it’s magnificent.  Formerly a buying station for local fish in the 80s, the Santa Barbara Shellfish Corporation sits at the very end of the pier and has been cooking up a storm for the last two decades with literally the best seafood you could catch – and they do!  We chowed down on fresh oysters, dungeness crab cocktail, rock crab, uni shooters and this kitten had her first cioppino.  Full of crab legs, shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels – it was a dish I wouldn’t have ordered for myself, and I’m so glad Danny insisted we try it – delicious!  I would have taken photos of the food, but I confess I was too busy eating it all.

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Coming back down the coast, we stopped in Summerland to take in the fresh sea air just one last time before heading back into Los Angeles and reflect on a weekend well spent.  If you ever have a weekend to spend in Santa Barbara, here’s some of my must visit places in no particular order:

Sushi, Upper State St: Edamasa
Sushi, Lower State St: Arigato
Mexican Food: La Super Rica
Seafood: Santa Barbara Shellfish Co, Enterprise Fish Co
Views: Santa Barbara City College, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Coffee: The French Press
Smoothies: Blenders
Beach: Butterfly Beach
Dancing: Eos

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[Wednesday Watercooler] Take a Mini-Mind Vacation

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As we enter the middle of the week, we sit smack dab in the cusp of Gemeni and Cancer, and at the pivot point Spring and Summer; June Solstice is just around the corner, happening this Saturday around 3:50 AM PST.  Now, I’m not in school anymore but I definitely wish I was for more than one reason – I loved my collegiate community in Santa Barbara, I loved summer in Santa Barbara – but more over, I loved celebrating the Solstice there! Every year, the streets of downtown are littered with excited visitors and locals getting down in the beautiful sunshine to live music, great food and wonderful art all weekend long.

Festival Date: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Solstice in SB

If you’re in the So Cal area, I definitely suggest getting to State St to check out the festivities; but if you don’t make it, don’t sweat it – there’s always the ‘Old Spanish Days’  and Fiesta in early August.  Put all of that together and shake it up, and you’ve got me thinking that I could use a vacation – couldn’t we all though? This whole week I’ve been staring at posts, links and pictures that literally transport me to a different world – so even if you’re stuck in an office cube, and your version of a vacation is getting off work at 5pm and diving into a cold beer, take a mini-mind trip through these awesome posts…enjoy!

Travel Through Underground Caves in Wales by Trampoline

Yes, you heard that right – in the Llechwedd caverns, Bounce Below has set up three giant trampolines to take visitors on a unique sight seeing experience.   The caverns are located in Northern Wales and the trampolines will open this July, boasting a 60′ slide and 10′ tall net walls on either side.   According to creator Sean Taylor – “It’s a one-hour activity where customers get dressed up in a cotton overall and are given a helmet…they then jump on a train and travel inside the mountain. They then disembark into a cavern twice the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral.” The cherry on top of this amazing adventure sundae? Lights.  The Llechwedd caverns will be swimming with gradients of pink, green, purple and turquoise lights. I say we book a group trip, like now.

Photo Cred: Creator’s Project

 

Nocturnal Wonderland Returns to Southern California

There might be a bit of gloom in the June of Southern California, but thanks to an early announcement from Insomniac Events founder Pasquale Rotella – residents are far from bummed. Late last night, Pasquale took to Facebook to announce that their pinnacle Autumn attraction ‘Nocturnal Wonderland’ will be making a triumphant return San Manuel Amphitheater for two days of festival fun over September 5th and 6th.

We are taking all the necessary steps we need to alleviate some of the logistical issues we’ve had in the past, especially where traffic is concerned. We’ll be lowering the capacity to create a more comfortable experience so that we ensure that everything about the event runs smoothly, even after the music ends. Our top priority is delivering the highest quality experience possible for all you Headliners. – Pasquale Rotella

As it stands, Nocturnal Wonderland is Insomnaic Events’ longest running festival with deep roots in Southern California – and as they always say, ‘The Show Must Go On’ – and, it is! Past headliners for the event have included 12th PlanetAbove & BeyondCosmic GateChris LakeGui BorattoMat ZoOrbitalSub FocusUmek and more.

Thanks to the love, dedication and determination of the EDM community at large Nocturnal Wonderland is back in a big way. Make sure to stay tuned for the latest and greatest in Insomniac Events headlines, and keep your ears to the ground for line-up announcements, ticket sales and more through the company’s websiteFacebook and Twitter.

See you in Wonderland!

Uber in Style with Optimus Prime 

In a cross-branding effort by Transformers and Uber for the new movie ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, the companies have teamed up in three major US cities to shuttle you in tech savvy style.  In Dallas this past Tuesday, Phoenix this Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday – if it’s between 1-7pm, Optimus Prime will cruise to your neighborhood and swoop you for 15 minutes of fame.  You might not get where you wanted to go but really, who the hell cares: YOU’RE RIDING ON OPTIMUS PRIME, DUDE.

Photo Cred: Uber

 

[The Audiofiles] Lightning In A Bottle Is Cruising to Central Cali

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Of all the magical experiences that 2013 had to offer, hands down – my weekend away at Lightning in a Bottle was hands down the best five days of the year.  From the creatively costumed concert go-ers to dance and yoga workshops, right on down to the live musical acts, live art and live entertainment – Lightning in a Bottle expertly tantalizes each and every one of the senses and left me both searching and yearning for more out of myself, my life and the community I surround myself with.

Between last year’s fiasco with the outlying community of Riverside County and a desire to please their loyal fans up and down the coast of California, The Do Lab knew that they had to switch something up about the location.  When the festival was still in it’s early years, it was held in the Santa Barbara mountains and over the last four years has been bouncing between locations around Southern California.  The weekend deserved a location as unique as the culture it emanates, and with it’s new location in the Central Coast – that’s exactly what it’s getting.  This year, Lightning in a Bottle is migrating up to the San Antonio Recreation Area in Monterey County and I couldn’t be more excited.  Not only is it equidistant from the amazing music communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the new venue boasts more space than at the Live Oak Campground in Santa Barbara and the Lake Skinner Recreation Area in Temecula.  To boot, rain permitting we’ll be able to frolic in the lakes of the recreation area in the sweet heat of Memorial Day weekend; a stark contrast from last year when my friends and I got to tell folks to ‘Nama-stay off the lake!’ while trying to stay out of the immense Summer sun.

During the day, your mind is opened in so many directions with the plethora of enigmatic speakers and workshops.  They’re on everything from urban foraging, sustainability, sexuality, your infinite potential, inter-species communication and much, much more.  last year, speakers for the weekend included visionaries like Alex and Allison Grey, John Perkins and the author of one of my favorite books ‘Breaking Open The Head’ Daniel Pinchbeck;  workshops ranged from ritual movement, hooping, sacred dance and slacklining.  Scattered throughout the festival grounds are amazing, living works of art that evolve with the weekend with phenomenal artists from across the country and some of the most fun I had was routinely stopping by my favorites to see how they’re coming along.

As the sun starts going down, the beats begin to pick up and the community truly comes alive – spinning fire, gathering to admire live art and dancing to the infectious, underground sounds that are throbbing through the epic sound systems of the three main stages (the Woogie, Bamboo and Lightning) or one of two smaller stages at the Lumi Lounge and the Temple.  Each stage boasted a different assortment of acts, community and culture – at the Bamboo stage, you could get your grime on with gLAdiator, Griz, Kastle, Andreniline and the mud people (like, really though), the Lightning stage held the more theatrical productions like Emancipator and Nicolas Jaar and last but certainly not least, the Woogie got you to boogie with deep house DJs like Lee Burridge, Pumpkin and Marques Wyatt.

I went to Lightning in a Bottle with an open mind and no expectations; what I left with was an enhanced world view, self confidence and an amazing support system of friends new and old.

With a little something for everyone, this is an experience that I truly want all of my friends to be part of.  Tickets for this amazing five day experience go on 24 hour discounted sale on 2/18, and on 2/19 they’ll go on sale for full value.  Make sure to get yours quickly, this is one weekend not to be missed!

[A Drop In The Ocean]

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“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”

― Mother Teresa

In most college towns, it’s pretty common that you graduate then move on and get on with the rest of your life.  But, Santa Barbara – the land of sand and surf – it’s where people come to retire; where they get a job at bar or in the food industry so they can enjoy each and every day, find a place in the community and give back.   And it’s not uncommon for people to take longer to graduate from University, or from SBCC – our local community college.  When you live in a place that beautiful, it takes a hell of a lot to compel you to leave; doubly so when your friends are still there too.  I should know, it took me five years. But, I digress.  Whether people moved away or stayed, the bond with other Santa Barbara-ians, or fellow Gauchos as we refer to them is real and the community is rich. The bartenders in Santa Barbara are fixtures of the community and most of them have been firmly planted in the downtown scene since I left in ’08, including close friends from college and my housemates from my last year in Santa Barbara.

Before I relocated myself to Los Angeles, I spent five amazing years going to the University of California in Santa Barbara and during that process I met some of the most amazing people in the world.  Whether it was in passing walking to class, gallivanting to the beach, heading downtown to bar hop or enjoying a lazy Sunday in the grass – there were always smiling, familiar faces simply itching to make connections.  Regardless of our incredible amounts of differences, all of us were well aware of one thing: that we were pursuing our futures in paradise. Granted, not every decision was a mature one but we all managed to do so eventually. We ditched class in February to go to the beach, when we won the NCAA championship in soccer our reaction was to tear down the goal post and throw it into the Pacific and Halloween provided the perfect excuse to spend a week wearing costumes; and then, of course – there’s the party scene. Not saying that everyone participated, but let’s get something clear – we all knew how to unwind, and we were oh so good at it. But don’t get it twisted – sure, we’ve ranked near the top of almost every ‘Top Party School’ pool from US News down to Playboy, but we also have had more Nobel Prizes awarded to us than every other UC combined; we’re walking, talking examples of the ‘work hard, play harder’ mantra and are damn proud of it.

For anyone connected to the Santa Barbara community, this week has been a trying one; a frustrating, harrowing, nerve bending, soul shaking one. Last Thursday night,  a pillar of the Santa Barbara community was leaving work and subsequently was struck by a drunk driver leaving a holiday party blocks away. She spent the last week in the ER, fighting against all odds to come back to us but yesterday afternoon our community was dealt with a sorrowing blow.

If you went to college in Santa Barbara, chances are you crossed paths with Mallory more than once – I know I did. If you didn’t know her personally, which regretfully I never had the chance for, you probably know someone that did;  I do.  I might have only had brief encounters with her, but when so many lives in the community have been touched by one individual – when a substantial drop in our ocean has been removed – the sorrow and anguish is wholeheartedly by everyone in it.  In the past 24 hours, in the moments of sadness and pain – there’s also been an outpouring of support from the extended Santa Barbara community.

So how do we put these pieces back together and rebuild our small, but strong, community?

We learn; we grow.

 There’s the small things, like simply reaching out to the friends and extended family from Santa Barbara and letting them know that we’re all in this together, big things like the Facebook Support Page, and last but not least – large things, like a page on Fundly that’s already raised over $30,000 in less than a day.

Last but not least, there’s this:

The next time a friend comes to drink at your house, make them a comfortable place to crash and take their keys until you feel it’s appropriate to drive. Designate a sober driver, or just rock-paper-scissors it; a lot of bars will give free non-alcoholic drinks to anyone that’s been delegated the role for the night. If you’re going out on the town, call a cab, Uber, Lyft  or, if that’s not in your price range – try taking public transportation.  If you work in a bar, club or anywhere someone could leave under the influence, take an inventory of the people you’re serving and those that are leaving.  And most importantly, keep an open and honest dialogue about drunk driving with the people in your life: if there’s someone that has a problem, talk to them – and set an example.  Here’s the thing – it’s the holidays, and we’re all someone’s child;  this is not the time of year where parents should be burying theirs. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let your loved one’s do it either.  Let’s smarten up this holiday season, please; for everyone’s sake.

Oh, Snap: Globe Photo

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At this point, I both think and hope y’all understand that I have this ridiculous love for all things technology and photography related; when I discovered Pixlr-o-matic I went a little crazy and started editing the shit out of my favorite pictures.  Well, seems life has come relatively full circle because now I have a new admiration for an Android application – this one is called ‘Globe Photo‘.  I know there are a few out there for you iPhone obsessives as well, but hey – that sounds like a personal problem 😉

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Essentially, what the application does is take the left and right edges of your image and stitch it together to make a circular, planet-esque, image.  After a few hours of playing around with horizons, lines and fun edges in my old pictures I have a nice little album going of my own images – enjoy

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Porter Robinson World

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Cosmic Gate World

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All Day I Dream

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Ingrosso

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Coachella

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Kaskade

And last, but certainly not least:

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San Diego Train Tracks