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01newcuyama-california-roadtrip-travel

Oh New Cuyama, I wish I knew about you sooner. Or maybe not, because then you wouldn’t have been so special. A couple of months ago (sorry it took me so long to get this post up and running) we spent a weekend in New Cuyama. Our day started later than planned but silver lining was that we saw the most epic sunset. On the way there, we stopped at The Red Dot in Frazier Park for a delicious vegetarian dinner. Up in the mountain in the middle of nowhere, sitting on a patio while three peacocks casually walked by, while tasting one of the most flavorful vegetarian meals I’ve ever had. We drove through Pine Mountain Club at sunset and it was unlike any other sunsets I’ve ever seen in California! We were so high up I felt like I was closer to the sky, so high that the sunset was 360°. We could also see layers of mountain ranges. It was simply epic and my words just don’t it justice. We arrived at Cuyama Buckhorn in the evening, settled into our spacious and inviting room, and called it a night.

We woke up early the next day to explore Cuyama Buckhorn. This property is lovely, and I am not only saying that just because I love mid century architecture, but the fact that it simply is. Bright and modern, but also vintage and rustic at the same time. You can tell this place has a story and you will leave with stories. I love the openness. I love the starry sky. I love that one giant tree in the middle with lanterns hanging on it. I even love the very hipster coffee shop. That day we did a 5ish-mile hike at Aliso Canyon. What a great hike but please note it’s not very shaded at all. The trail starts off with trees but just about 5 minutes in it is mostly exposed. So, I wouldn’t recommend it on a hot day. After the hike, we took a long drive through Carrizo Plain National Monument. Where am I? This is in California? How big is this place? Wow, I felt like I was somewhere else far away. I don’t even know how to describe it to you, it’s one of those places where you have to go to see it for yourself. I can’t wait to go back in the springtime to see all the wildflowers!

As I mentioned above that we drove through Pine Mountain Club heading into New Cuyama so we decided to take a different route heading out. We took Hwy 33 and went through Los Padres National Forest to get to Ojai (thought we would swing by to check out this cute town on the way home). It was equally scenic but different! I look forward to exploring more of California!

PS. Special shoutout to Cuyama Buckhorn for hosting us and for their hospitality and exceptional service!

02newcuyama-cuyamabuckhorn-california-roadtrip-travel-midcentury03newcuyama-cuyamabuckhorn-california-roadtrip-travel-midcentury
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New Cuyama, California

December 21, 2020

01newcuyama-california-roadtrip-travel

Oh New Cuyama, I wish I knew about you sooner. Or maybe not, because then you wouldn’t have been so special. A couple of months ago (sorry it took me so long to get this post up and running) we spent a weekend in New Cuyama. Our day started later than planned but silver lining was that we saw the most epic sunset. On the way there, we stopped at The Red Dot in Frazier Park for a delicious vegetarian dinner. Up in the mountain in the middle of nowhere, sitting on a patio while three peacocks casually walked by, while tasting one of the most flavorful vegetarian meals I’ve ever had. We drove through Pine Mountain Club at sunset and it was unlike any other sunsets I’ve ever seen in California! We were so high up I felt like I was closer to the sky, so high that the sunset was 360°. We could also see layers of mountain ranges. It was simply epic and my words just don’t it justice. We arrived at Cuyama Buckhorn in the evening, settled into our spacious and inviting room, and called it a night.

We woke up early the next day to explore Cuyama Buckhorn. This property is lovely, and I am not only saying that just because I love mid century architecture, but the fact that it simply is. Bright and modern, but also vintage and rustic at the same time. You can tell this place has a story and you will leave with stories. I love the openness. I love the starry sky. I love that one giant tree in the middle with lanterns hanging on it. I even love the very hipster coffee shop. That day we did a 5ish-mile hike at Aliso Canyon. What a great hike but please note it’s not very shaded at all. The trail starts off with trees but just about 5 minutes in it is mostly exposed. So, I wouldn’t recommend it on a hot day. After the hike, we took a long drive through Carrizo Plain National Monument. Where am I? This is in California? How big is this place? Wow, I felt like I was somewhere else far away. I don’t even know how to describe it to you, it’s one of those places where you have to go to see it for yourself. I can’t wait to go back in the springtime to see all the wildflowers!

As I mentioned above that we drove through Pine Mountain Club heading into New Cuyama so we decided to take a different route heading out. We took Hwy 33 and went through Los Padres National Forest to get to Ojai (thought we would swing by to check out this cute town on the way home). It was equally scenic but different! I look forward to exploring more of California!

PS. Special shoutout to Cuyama Buckhorn for hosting us and for their hospitality and exceptional service!

02newcuyama-cuyamabuckhorn-california-roadtrip-travel-midcentury03newcuyama-cuyamabuckhorn-california-roadtrip-travel-midcentury
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01solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture

A lot has changed since I last wrote a blog post... We are now over 9 months into our pandemic with Covid and we have since elected a new President (thank goodness). Simply put, 2020 has not been easy, and I sincerely wish you and your loved ones have been well. When I started this blog over 10 years ago, it was very heavily fashion focused (I have even archived many of my old posts) but over time, it became my travel diary. I can't believe my last post was from my Japan trip back in November of 2019. I had no idea at that time that it would be my last oversea travel for a while. The silver lining is... my boyfriend and I have been going on road trips and discovering so many wonderful places all within 2-3 hours outside of LA. We are so lucky to live in California and I can't wait to keep exploring and to share with you these hidden gems.

02solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture03solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-castle
04solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-architecture05solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-architecture

A few weeks ago, we drove past Santa Barbara out to Solvang. Hold on, wait, am I dreaming? Did I just suddenly go from rolling hills and vineyards to Storybook Land? Streets lined with Scandinavian architecture, Danish motifs, and a handful of windmills! Every corner was so picturesque, I couldn't walk a block without stopping for photos, and I am pretty sure I said the word "cute" a million times that weekend. We stayed at The Landsby which kindly hosted us in their lovely junior suite overlooking the courtyard. All the staff and guests were required to wear a mask in any public area and we felt relatively safe during our stay.

06solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture-windmill
07solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-architecture08solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture-windmill
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14solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel15solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel16solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel

Let's talk food! Here are the few places we ate that weekend and I highly recommend all of them!
- Coffee at Good Seed (The turmeric latte was sooo good!)
- Breakfast / Brunch at Mad & Vin (The eggs Benedict is a must!)
- Late Lunch / Happy Hour at Succulent Cafe (Wow that brussel sprouts!!!)
- Dinner at Ramen Kotori (Ramen in Solvang? Really? Yes, really. It's legit.)
- Pastries at Mortensen's Danish Bakery (Get the pistachio marzipan bar! My mouth is watering just thinking about it...)

09solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-bakery10solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-bakery

Often times when we travel to somewhere new, we check to see if there are any climbing spots. With gyms being closed for the majority of this year, outdoor climbing has been especially precious. We woke up early on a Monday morning, grabbed a coffee and breakfast bowl at Good Seed and headed off to Los Padres National Forest. After half an hour or so, we made a turn onto West Camino Cielo and was literally above the clouds. The approach to The Playgrounds (one of the many climbing areas in the forest) was long but fairly easy and since it was a Monday, we had the entire place to ourselves! We spent a good few hours climbing The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers Crag and overall just enjoyed being outside.

17solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing18solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing
19solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing20solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing

The next day, we stopped at Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch to pick up a couple of pumpkins before heading home. If you happen to visit Solvang in the Fall, be sure to stop by. It is a decent sized pumpkin patch with a massive corn maze!

21solvang-pumpkinpatch-california-roadtrip-travel22solvang-pumpkinpatch-california-roadtrip-travel
23solvang-pumpkinpatch-california-roadtrip-travel

Solvang is most definitely cute. Oops I used the word "cute" again! It really is quaint but I do want to say that it is packed with tourists on the weekends. We were there Sunday through Tuesday and Sunday was so different than Monday. If you want to get a photo in front of the windmill on the weekend, forget about it! I actually woke up at 7am on a weekday to retake a few photos. It really is the only time when no one is around! So if you go, go on weekdays!

Solvang, California

November 13, 2020

01solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture

A lot has changed since I last wrote a blog post... We are now over 9 months into our pandemic with Covid and we have since elected a new President (thank goodness). Simply put, 2020 has not been easy, and I sincerely wish you and your loved ones have been well. When I started this blog over 10 years ago, it was very heavily fashion focused (I have even archived many of my old posts) but over time, it became my travel diary. I can't believe my last post was from my Japan trip back in November of 2019. I had no idea at that time that it would be my last oversea travel for a while. The silver lining is... my boyfriend and I have been going on road trips and discovering so many wonderful places all within 2-3 hours outside of LA. We are so lucky to live in California and I can't wait to keep exploring and to share with you these hidden gems.

02solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture03solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-castle
04solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-architecture05solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-architecture

A few weeks ago, we drove past Santa Barbara out to Solvang. Hold on, wait, am I dreaming? Did I just suddenly go from rolling hills and vineyards to Storybook Land? Streets lined with Scandinavian architecture, Danish motifs, and a handful of windmills! Every corner was so picturesque, I couldn't walk a block without stopping for photos, and I am pretty sure I said the word "cute" a million times that weekend. We stayed at The Landsby which kindly hosted us in their lovely junior suite overlooking the courtyard. All the staff and guests were required to wear a mask in any public area and we felt relatively safe during our stay.

06solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture-windmill
07solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-architecture08solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-architecture-windmill
11solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel12solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel13solvang-thelandsby-madandvin-roadtrip-travel
14solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel15solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel16solvang-thelandsby-california-roadtrip-travel

Let's talk food! Here are the few places we ate that weekend and I highly recommend all of them!
- Coffee at Good Seed (The turmeric latte was sooo good!)
- Breakfast / Brunch at Mad & Vin (The eggs Benedict is a must!)
- Late Lunch / Happy Hour at Succulent Cafe (Wow that brussel sprouts!!!)
- Dinner at Ramen Kotori (Ramen in Solvang? Really? Yes, really. It's legit.)
- Pastries at Mortensen's Danish Bakery (Get the pistachio marzipan bar! My mouth is watering just thinking about it...)

09solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-bakery10solvang-california-roadtrip-travel-danish-bakery

Often times when we travel to somewhere new, we check to see if there are any climbing spots. With gyms being closed for the majority of this year, outdoor climbing has been especially precious. We woke up early on a Monday morning, grabbed a coffee and breakfast bowl at Good Seed and headed off to Los Padres National Forest. After half an hour or so, we made a turn onto West Camino Cielo and was literally above the clouds. The approach to The Playgrounds (one of the many climbing areas in the forest) was long but fairly easy and since it was a Monday, we had the entire place to ourselves! We spent a good few hours climbing The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers Crag and overall just enjoyed being outside.

17solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing18solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing
19solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing20solvang-lospadresnationalforest-california-roadtrip-travel-rockclimbing

The next day, we stopped at Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch to pick up a couple of pumpkins before heading home. If you happen to visit Solvang in the Fall, be sure to stop by. It is a decent sized pumpkin patch with a massive corn maze!

21solvang-pumpkinpatch-california-roadtrip-travel22solvang-pumpkinpatch-california-roadtrip-travel
23solvang-pumpkinpatch-california-roadtrip-travel

Solvang is most definitely cute. Oops I used the word "cute" again! It really is quaint but I do want to say that it is packed with tourists on the weekends. We were there Sunday through Tuesday and Sunday was so different than Monday. If you want to get a photo in front of the windmill on the weekend, forget about it! I actually woke up at 7am on a weekday to retake a few photos. It really is the only time when no one is around! So if you go, go on weekdays!
01kyoto-higashiyama-japan-architecture-travel

I wish I had spent more time in Kyoto because two days were certainly not enough! I could easily stay for 5 or 6 or an entire week! We took the bullet train from Osaka to Kyoto and checked into Node Hotel. Let me just say... this hotel checks every box! The aesthetic is spot on and reminds me of The Line hotels with the gray concrete details. Node Hotel kindly hosted us for two days and gave us the most beautiful suite. It felt like a penthouse apartment and we enjoyed every second of it.

Arashiyama was our first stop. Upon arriving at the Arashiyama station (which by the way is the last stop of that line), we noticed how hustling and bustling it was! Lots of shops and tons of food, we couldn't resist so we grabbed some jumbo shumai and fishcake to snack on! Yum! We began our walk toward Arashiyama and stopped again for strawberry mochi. But wow, I've never seen anything like it! So many bamboos and such beautiful landscape, there were cats too! I love it! We went around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and it was completely packed so I highly going there first thing in the morning if you have the option to do so. Next, we squeezed in Tenryu-ji and explored its garden before it got dark. Going to Kyoto in the Fall was such a treat, bursts of red and orange and yellow everywhere and the Tenryu-ji Garden is no difference!

The next and final day, we woke up bright and early and headed up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple which is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan found in 780. The ground around the temple was lovely as well, garden, other shrines, pagoda, not to mention you can get a great view of Kyoto on a clear day! We headed down the hill and walked around Higashiyama District and stumbled upon Ryozen Kannon (a war memorial commemorating the War dead of the Pacific War with a giant statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara). We also checked out Kōdai-ji real quick before heading to AWOMB for lunch nearby (I wrote a separate blog post on AWOMB here). After lunch, we went to the infamous Fushimi Inari-Taisha and hiked all the way up to Mt. Inari Summit.

Here are a few things I learned from Fushimi Inari:

  1. When you first see all the torii gates, you're gonna want to try to take pics. DON'T! There will be a sea of people and everyone is trying to do the same. Keep moving, there are SO MANY MORE spots just like this, if not better, for you to take pics with no one around!
  2. Definitely do the full hike up Mt. Inari! The further you go, the less people you'll see. Set aside enough time for this though!
  3. If you love cats, you're in luck! There are so many cats there and they are all super friendly!⁣
  4. When you're done and heading back down the hill. Do stop at the cafe (sadly I forgot the name of it but you shall see it, it's the only one there) and get a hojicha latte. It's the best I've ever had!

Where to stay:
Node Hotel
New, modern, luxurious

04kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel05kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel
06kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel07kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel

Japan Day 6-7: Kyoto

March 29, 2020

01kyoto-higashiyama-japan-architecture-travel

I wish I had spent more time in Kyoto because two days were certainly not enough! I could easily stay for 5 or 6 or an entire week! We took the bullet train from Osaka to Kyoto and checked into Node Hotel. Let me just say... this hotel checks every box! The aesthetic is spot on and reminds me of The Line hotels with the gray concrete details. Node Hotel kindly hosted us for two days and gave us the most beautiful suite. It felt like a penthouse apartment and we enjoyed every second of it.

Arashiyama was our first stop. Upon arriving at the Arashiyama station (which by the way is the last stop of that line), we noticed how hustling and bustling it was! Lots of shops and tons of food, we couldn't resist so we grabbed some jumbo shumai and fishcake to snack on! Yum! We began our walk toward Arashiyama and stopped again for strawberry mochi. But wow, I've never seen anything like it! So many bamboos and such beautiful landscape, there were cats too! I love it! We went around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and it was completely packed so I highly going there first thing in the morning if you have the option to do so. Next, we squeezed in Tenryu-ji and explored its garden before it got dark. Going to Kyoto in the Fall was such a treat, bursts of red and orange and yellow everywhere and the Tenryu-ji Garden is no difference!

The next and final day, we woke up bright and early and headed up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple which is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan found in 780. The ground around the temple was lovely as well, garden, other shrines, pagoda, not to mention you can get a great view of Kyoto on a clear day! We headed down the hill and walked around Higashiyama District and stumbled upon Ryozen Kannon (a war memorial commemorating the War dead of the Pacific War with a giant statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara). We also checked out Kōdai-ji real quick before heading to AWOMB for lunch nearby (I wrote a separate blog post on AWOMB here). After lunch, we went to the infamous Fushimi Inari-Taisha and hiked all the way up to Mt. Inari Summit.

Here are a few things I learned from Fushimi Inari:

  1. When you first see all the torii gates, you're gonna want to try to take pics. DON'T! There will be a sea of people and everyone is trying to do the same. Keep moving, there are SO MANY MORE spots just like this, if not better, for you to take pics with no one around!
  2. Definitely do the full hike up Mt. Inari! The further you go, the less people you'll see. Set aside enough time for this though!
  3. If you love cats, you're in luck! There are so many cats there and they are all super friendly!⁣
  4. When you're done and heading back down the hill. Do stop at the cafe (sadly I forgot the name of it but you shall see it, it's the only one there) and get a hojicha latte. It's the best I've ever had!

Where to stay:
Node Hotel
New, modern, luxurious

04kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel05kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel
06kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel07kyoto-nodehotel-luxuryhotel-japan-decor-travel
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