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Four Seasons Westlake Village

This summer Luke and I stayed at The Four Seasons Westlake Village in celebration of his swearing in to The California Bar!

I had been there before for a friend’s bachelorette so to have Luke with me was different from my previous visit but all the more sweeter.

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I love this hotel because it’s really close to our house so it’s a great spot for a staycation and it’s super easy to get to from Calabasas or Thousand Oaks. One thing I find interesting though is that they really market towards Malibu and if I was coming to visit Malibu I would think this hotel is a little far, our house in Calabasas is closer than The Four Seasons.

My mother-in-law and I were so excited because our stay landed on global wellness day which had the whole hotel packed with delicious food and special workouts for guests. We participated in the food portion and opted for a spa day over any of the workout classes. I didn’t miss out on their gym though, I love their gym and I actually took a cycling class when I was there for the bachelorette weekend. Their cycling studio is really impressive! The gym is large and has pretty much anything you would need and then some (!!!) Most likely because The Four Seasons also hosts the California Institute for Health. You can always check with the concierge about special workouts they’re having or group hikes and even bike rides through Westlake. It’s one of the main reasons I love this hotel, all of the healthy lifestyle options they give guests.

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Upon arriving we were welcomed with beautiful oriental decor and their signature stunning chandelier directly in front of you as you enter. They never cease to amaze me with their flower arrangements either. During our stay it was a delicious bouquet of pink roses.

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This hotel is larger than some of my favorite boutique hotels but it still has many aspects that make guests feel as if they’re the only ones there! One of the ways they did so was the wake up call my husband received around 4:30 AM before his morning of fly fishing with my father-in-law. After sending Luke off and getting in a great morning work out I joined my mother-in-law for a beautiful breakfast with gorgeous views of their outdoor waterfalls and “backyard”. Since it was Global Wellness Day I opted for their special, egg whites, spinach and tomato omelette. Delicious!

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We then headed to the Calabasas Farmer’s Market as I had never been and we both knew we would have a lovely morning together there. I always enjoy time with my mother-in-law.

Once we arrived we stumbled across the darling shop ‘French‘ in Calabasas. Our helper, Emilie, was a charming French woman who has since become a friend of mine. I often say hello whenever I stop in.

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Don’t let the seemingly expensive materials and weaved baskets stop you from exploring ‘French’. Many of the items we found had completely reasonable price points and were all absolutely gorgeous!

After walking through the Farmer’s Market we met up with our guys to enjoy a spa day back at The Four Seasons. Again, I had experienced the spa during the bachelorette weekend but thoroughly enjoyed being back. It’s a large spa area with a sauna, steam room, hot tub and any amenity you would hope for in a spa. The locker rooms are large and very clean as are the bathrooms and showers for post spa pampering. My massage was as expected, so relaxing! It could not have come at a better time as spring was very challenging for me personally this year. I enjoyed every second.

To wind down after our massages that afternoon we all sat poolside and ordered guacamole with chips and cucumbers. Simply the best.

On the way to dinner that evening we had to swing back by our house to grab something and we realized that our home was flooded, the staycation could not have come at a better time! Ha! Brief update, all is well with our home and we didn’t have to pay for any damages and didn’t lose any furniture or clothing. ūüôā

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On Sunday morning we enjoyed The Farmer’s Market Breakfast at The Four Seasons Westlake which comes complete with a create your own omelette bar, yogurt parfait area, every pastry you could possibly imagine and delicious hot meal options waiting for you upon arrival.

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I highly suggest it all!

San Ysidro Ranch

This Memorial Day Weekend Luke and I decided to head north to Santa Barbara with Maui in tow. Neither of us had ever been before and I was so excited to take Luke to one of my bucket list hotels, San Ysidro Ranch. Working in social media myself, I often come across amazing properties through Instagram but I was actually introduced to San Ysidro by my friend Amy. She showed me pictures at lunch one Sunday afternoon at Cora’s Coffee in Santa Monica. I was immediately obsessed.

This hideaway, which is nestled in the Montecito foothills of Southern California’s wine country, will take your breath away. It’s blend of pristine nature (almost 500 acres of it), romantic heritage (it’s the setting of John and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon retreat) and luxurious accommodations had me wide-eyed¬†and smiling from the moment we pulled into their drive.

The origin of the Ranch’s name is embodied in the legend surrounding its namesake, Saint Isidore. San Ysidro (Spanish for Saint Isidore) was born into poverty in Madrid in 1070. He worked as a farm laborer in the fields of a wealthy nobleman. According to legend, because Isidore spent much of his time tending to the sick and needy, the Lord sent an angel to help him plow the fields. Hence, San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers, is always shown surrounded by a plow, oxen, and an angel. A retablo depicting the legend of Saint Isidore hangs above the fireplace in the Plow & Angel restaurant, honoring our namesake, Saint Isidore.

They have two restaurants on sight, The Stonehouse, open daily for brunch or dinner and Plow & Angel, open for dinner only. IMG_0795IMG_0804

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Upon arrival we quickly found a bench just below their rose garden and took in the amazing landscape. Luke knew I was in heaven!

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Guests have their own private cottage with names like Churchill Cottage, Daisy Cottage or Lavender Cottage. The cottages decor is a clean and fresh take on what you might expect in an old English countryside manor.

“Built in classic bungalow style, all are individually decorated, all with fireplaces or stoves, decks giving way to sweeping vistas and outdoor hot tubs. Here, every guest and privileged pet receives a warm welcome. Relaxation and refuge are premium, enhanced by the discreet personal service and flawless attention to detail that are Ranch hallmarks.”

IMG_0815IMG_0816I could have cuddled up next to this lily pond and read all afternoon.

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The Ranch is dog friendly with a small pet fee. I love hotels that don’t sacrifice luxury for pet accommodations. It’s a rare coupling but when you find it, I assure you (if you are a dog-mom) it will be a hotel you continue to return to. Two of my other favorite pet-friendly hotels, The Hay-Adams in Washington, D.C. and XV Beacon Hotel in Boston.

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Luke is so sweet to come along on these adventures with me. Some men might not enjoy strolls through rose gardens but Luke’s nickname, given to him BEFORE me, was Luxury Luke. I am in good company. ūüôā

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Within the first few moments of arriving at San Ysidro I knew I was in love and then the above happened. We found their organic vegetable garden, each row perfectly placed and categorized so we could know what exactly we were looking at.

“The ranch provides several premier dining settings, each featuring a palate of herbs and vegetables grown right here in our organic gardens.”

IMG_0840Luke enjoying a game of putt putt golf.

IMG_0842IMG_0843^ Please take a moment to look at Maui! She looks as happy as her mom did that day.

IMG_0844Just above the pool area is this stunning green courtyard with views of The Pacific past the ranch below.

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Looking to check in? Follow the pink!

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If you are looking for a unique escape moments outside of Santa Barbara, CA, I cannot suggest San Ysidro Ranch enough.

We love you SYR.

Malibu Beach Inn

Disclaimer: Today I am not at Malibu Beach Inn. While I am a short 25 minutes away (at home in Calabasas) I am not currently there. Instead, I am working from home with an around the clock rotation of carpet cleaners, painters, dry wall creators, plumbers and other home improvement experts. Our home had a water leak over the weekend. Luckily, we were at The Four Seasons Westlake (post to come) and didn’t have to deal with any of this drama until today. So needless to say I am currently dreaming of Malibu Beach Inn and just might have to pop in tomorrow to make today’s dreaming tomorrow’s reality.

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When I ¬†visited Malibu Beach Inn for the first time last month and walked into the newly renovated Carbon Beach Club Restaurant I felt a wave of peace wash over me. The Pacific Ocean is straight ahead as you walk into the dining and bar area. The windows are perfectly placed for optimum sunshine and breathtaking views. It’s light and airy with pops of color in the artwork, many of which are originals.

The flower arrangements seem to be a mix of wildflowers that are local to the area, I’ve seen many similar flowers on hiking trails and near beaches. Incase you’re cold there are thick cashmere throws both inside and out so that every guest can be cozy. If you have been to Malibu before you know that while nearly 99.9% of the time our weather is perfect, there are a few rare days that the temperature can drop. June Gloom, I am talking about you!

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If you ever see photos of Malibu Pier from the beach or above, they were probably taken on Carbon Beach or the outdoor seating area at Carbon Beach Club Restaurant. That is the best view of the pier.

 

I loved the fun striped wallpaper and color scheme they chose for the rooms and restaurant. It’s very fresh and relaxed, perfect for locals or travelers.

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If a blanket is not enough to keep you warm than you may want to call ahead and ask for a seat by the fireplace. If you need me, I’ll be there! The dining area pictured above feels so quaint and inviting. You almost feels as if you’re at a friends private beach house.

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The rooms have similar decor with that same stunning beach-y color scheme that I just loved. This King Premiere Ocean Front has it’s own couch and fireplace with a LCD HD flatscreen television just above. Movie night anyone?

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If you’re planning a trip to Malibu I cannot recommend this boutique hotel enough. It’s location, staff, decor, ambiance, and food make it a tough competitor in Malibu and beyond.

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21

For my birthday in April Luke gave me a package to a popular cycling class in Malibu. We’ve enjoyed going together and I’ve been amazed at how much Luke loves it‚Ķ maybe more than me. It’s a great work out, lots of fun, and one of the few activities¬†that actually leaves me exhausted afterwards. We love it.¬†

This weekend’s class was similar to all the others we have been to except for one tiny detail, some advice that our instructor gave us that I have not been able to shake.¬†

This class is known for high energy instructors, big personalities, loud music and moments of inspiration. During a challenging part of class our instructor attempted to motivate us with these words of “wisdom.”¬†

“Don’t like your job? Quit! Find a new job! Your boyfriend or girlfriend not working out? Husband or wife? Life is too short!”¬†

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Moving on from a boyfriend or girlfriend is one thing but placing that into the same category as husband and wife?¬†Luke and I looked at each other and almost in unison said, “no!”¬†

We believe words are a blessing or a curse. Which category do you think the above falls in? While her advice was meant to be an encouragement her call to action was “QUIT!”¬†

Too hard? Quit!

Your marriage isn’t perfect? Quit!

As I rode next to Luke and wrestled with her words, I began to pray. 

Luke and I have not yet reached our two-year anniversary and I understand that I’m young. There are many people who have been married for years that can give far better advice than me but one thing that I have learned during our first year of marriage is how powerful words are and that what we say really does alter not just conversations but the way that people think about themselves, others, and you. Words are powerful.¬†

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21

My reason for writing about this is not only to process her comments but to share with you my commitment to not only think twice about what I say but to hear what others speak over me and see if it aligns with the truth of my life. 

The truth about my life is this:

I will never quit on Luke Landers. I’m committed to him regardless of hardship. I won’t give up in the face of adversity and I won’t cower if my job becomes difficult. I will not partner with passivity or hold hands with fear. I won’t look for a new friend if a relationship becomes challenging and I won’t agree with anyone who encourages different actions than the above.¬†

Let me be clear. I am not condemning our instructor, I don’t think she’s a bad person, we enjoyed the workout she led and will be back to the studio again. But the resolve I left that class with probably isn’t what she expected.

As we peddled into the hill portion of class shortly after she shared her thoughts, I leaned over to Luke and whispered, “Til death do us part.”

Our D.C. Trip: The Hay-Adams Hotel

Last fall Luke and I took a trip to Washington, D.C. It was Luke’s first visit and my second. I was at The Hay-Adams in 2015 for their 4th of July celebration when I lived in New York and while that trip was absolutely amazing, nothing could have prepared me for my time with Luke at The Hay-Adams this time around. All thanks to their fabulous hospitality!

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IMG_1790The view from our room was classic D.C. It faced St. John’s Church.

St. John’s is the oldest church in the city of Richmond, Virginia, built in 1741. The Church Hill district was named for it. It was the site of two important conventions in the period leading to the American Revolutionary War, and is famous as the location where Patrick Henry gave his memorable speech at the Second Virginia Convention, closing with the often-quoted demand, “give me liberty, or give me death!” The church is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

One of my favorite things about The Hay-Adams, apart from its beautiful decor, is the location. Directly after our arrival (and after hours of traveling from LAX) we threw on workout clothes and were off to explore. First stop: The White House, which is literally steps away from The Hay-Adams.

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It’s always fun to travel with Luke because regardless of whatever¬†historical brochure you may have in hand, his brain is better!¬†My trivia champ.

IMG_4193Photographs from an event that took place the evening of our arrival on Top of The Hay. There is no better view in Washington!

I enjoyed spending time with The Hay-Adams Pastry Chef, Josh Short. His presentation of their treats are simply stunning. We were welcomed with a decadent 3 dimensional white chocolate White House. Below were his welcome amenities for inauguration week.

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IMG_1848Burrata, beet and citrus seasonal salad at The Lafayette. Divine!

IMG_1882Directly overlooking Lafayette Square and the White House, The Lafayette is a famed restaurant in Washington, D.C. featuring a light-filled dining room and carefully prepared menu of upscale contemporary American cuisine.

One evening in D.C. we decided to see the monuments by night. I had only seen them at night from Top of The Hay on the Fourth of July so to see them up close and with Luke was amazing.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetPerhaps our favorite thing we did while staying at The Hay-Adams Hotel was taking their classic cruisers out for a spin one morning. We called down the night before and the concierge worked hard to make sure the bikes were ready for us by morning. Incredible service.

It was very chilly so the wind on the bike was sharp at first but once we were off and enjoying the monuments I forgot about the cold. It ended up being such a charming way to see the city. I loved peddling behind my husband of nearly a year, taking in the beauty that surrounded us and the history we were now apart of. Not a moment I will soon forget.

After exploring D.C. by bike we had breakfast at The Lafayette and shared their Oatmeal Soufflé. Oh my.

IMG_4265P.S. we STILL crack up at my helmet hair–except, I didn’t wear a helmet. HA!

After breakfast we went to as many museums as time allowed. It was the perfect morning which turned into the perfect day.

To end our trip¬†we enjoyed mocktails and appetizer’s at Off The Record, the bar at The Hay-Adams before heading to dinner near by. *I will add other restaurants to this post once I remember them.

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This weekend Luke and I were reminiscing with family about our travels during our first year of marriage. Luke was quick to say how much he loved Washington, D.C. and that he can hardly wait to get back to The Hay-Adams.

I could not agree more. ūüôā

Simple Veggie Salad

Recently I have been making big salads for lunch and this recipe is one that¬†I’ve really enjoyed. Very easy, fresh, simple and light. Add a protein of your choice and enjoy!

SIMPLE VEGGIE SALAD

  • 1¬†handful of mixed spring lettuce
  • 1‚ĀĄ2¬†avocado
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 yellow bell pepper¬†chopped
  • 1‚ĀĄ2¬†red bell pepper chopped
  • sliced onion
  • 1 tsp¬†salt
  • 1 tsp¬†pepper
  • dash of olive oil
  • OR this¬†Primal Kitchen Dressing

Big Bear Weekend: The end of an era

This weekend Luke and I headed to Big Bear with two¬†of our favorite couples from law school (both husbands were groomsmen in our wedding). It was something we had talked about for months but only nailed down plans the week before and I’m so glad we did. I think sometimes we like to¬†romanticize¬†long weekends with friends but we’ll make up excuses so that the trips are never executed. I’m so thankful this group didn’t go that route.

Law school is a unique season of life and while I only have the insight of a spouse (no, I was not the one¬†in law school). I do feel as if I have been just as much a part of the late night studying, the early morning flashcards and of course the Bar Prep Luke so diligently took on. It’s draining, taxing and at times feels never-ending. And then all of a sudden, three years later (or two and a half if you’re Luke) you’re graduating! This trip was dedicated to our graduates and I loved celebrating them. As Elle Woods would say:

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When we were deciding on where we would go for this trip it was hard to narrow down our options, which is another reason I love California. We can go to the beach, the mountains or the desert!

Decisions, decisions.

The group (minus Luke) had been to Big Bear, a small city in San Bernardino County, located in the San Bernardino Mountains, earlier this year and loved it. We decided it was time to go back. It’s only about 2 hours from our home in Calabasas and is an easy drive without traffic. We left early Saturday morning and arrived at our cabin around 9:30am.

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I’ve never liked the A-Frame look but this house won me over. It was the perfect spot for our getaway. It had a spiral staircase that went from the loft to the main floor and then down to the lower level. It had a hot tub, lakefront¬†views, a boat¬†dock for Luke to fish on, three bedrooms and two baths with a foosball table and a patio for us to enjoy.

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It’s always so exciting to get to a new place, unload and begin to take it all in. I love what a change in scenery can do for my creativity, mood and dreams.

This weekend we hiked a mountain. I watched our dogs chase each other with big doggy smiles on their faces. We put our feet up. We cooked delicious food, made even better by the company. We laughed and sang songs. I learned new games and new facts about my friends. We fell asleep to snowflakes and woke up to a blanket of white over the previously green mountains. We exchanged stories and worries and dreams. We celebrated our comradery and talked about what the future held for each couple.

And as fast as the weekend came and went, I feel as though it was the first pause I have had in a long time. I don’t know what the factors are that made it feel that way but I’m glad to look back and recognize it.

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The other two women on the trip, Abby and Ellie, have become my best friends during this season and I’m going to miss them terribly when they move to Dallas and Austin. Abby is spirited, smart, quick, caring and fun. Ellie is kind, gracious, stunning and sweet. She knows just what to say when I’m sad and knows how to make me feel special. Maybe one of the factors of feeling that pause this weekend was the reality of their upcoming moves and how that will change things for me.

Maybe it was listening to their dreams and realizing mine still have them here with me.

Yes, I think¬†that’s it. Maybe I’m trying to grab a hold of these last few months that suddenly seem so fleeting. I was soaking in every Mosie and Maui moment¬†(our dogs). And as snap happy as I was with pictures I think I had that same urgency to capture every moment in my heart because friendships like this don’t come around as much as I’d like them to. This group goes together with ease and we’ve had something so special. Maybe all of those factors is why I was finally able to hit pause.

Whatever it was, I’m thankful that at least for a moment, I was cooking with my friends and calling the boys in from the dock for breakfast after fishing.

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