Photo Diary: Happy Birthday in Ojai

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I can say with confidence that I’m never happier in life than when I’m on an adventure – big or small, local or far. There’s something about being in new surroundings and exploring them that I feel most alive. Last week, I had the time of my life in Ojai for a much-needed birthday get-away, the sweetest surprise from my equally sweet guy.

Ojai Valley is a small, quaint, and friendly town about 66 miles from Los Angeles, a little more than an hour away from Santa Barbara. It’s an endearing combination of specialty shops, small businesses, art galleries, picturesque mountains and hiking trails, with a bohemian charm to match.

We stayed at the Emerald Iguana Inn, a charismatic boutique hotel with 13 unique rooms that all channel total cottage charm. The property rests on a secluded street, lush with greenery, meeting every expectation you can image (minus a not so great WiFi connection, but hey – who needs the internet when you’re surrounded by pure tranquility?). It’s the perfect get-away for two (kiddies are not allowed at this hotel). Our time inside the alluring Feather guest room was spent doing all things in salute to leisure and lounging: drinking wine at 1:00 in the afternoon on a Monday (just because…and I’m not even much a drinker!), reading, dining on the private patio, and watching old movies with the fireplace burning at night.

And of course, plenty of time was dedicated to walking downtown Ojai – window shopping and indulging in all things food.

This is a trip best told in pictures. What I will share is that as we settled into life in Ojai for just a few days away from the fast-paced streets of LA, I could literally feel my body and spirit slowing down and taking that deep breath I’d needed after the last few chaotic weeks. It’s amazing how driving one hour away was all I needed to recharge.

Here’s my photo diary of a very happy birthday in Ojai, CA.

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Highlights

It’s my first week back into the “real world” after a short break. It’s been pretty chaotic getting back into the swing of things, but as the week comes to a close I’m beginning to find my stride again. When I think about the highlights of my life lately, I think about how much one can accomplish if you just put one foot in front of the other and get it done. By nature, this is equal parts easy and difficult for me to do. I very much have the personality that I like to meet any challenge and won’t back down until it’s to my satisfaction, but there are those times I let procrastination settle in – particularly when it’s something I don’t feel like dealing with anyway. For example?

…My air-conditioning. Since I moved into my own place (away from the constant breeze of west side living), my A/C has been deciding to work properly only when it feels like it. The problem is that I’ve been letting it behave that way for a year. I finally got to a place after a 100 degree preview last weekend of what’s to come and decided that it was time to address it with my landlord once and for all. Of course, when they came to test it to see what the trouble was, it worked swimmingly (don’t you hate when that happens?). Despite this, I told myself I was not going to accept it any longer, even if it meant having to press the issue. I was now in a space to deal with it and when I’m in that space, nothing can stop me (blu-hu-ha-ha-ha!). I marched downstairs and told my landlord with a polite, but firm tone that I wanted it replaced. They changed it the next day. Mission accomplished.

On a different note, you might have noticed a little make-over to All that Glitters this week. Thanks to my friend Tonya over at Budget and the Beach, I’ve been thinking a lot about our recent lunch where the talk was all about blogging. More to come as I develop a new creative and visual approach to my site. I’m so excited to share my ideas with you!

A few other smiles that made my week (that interestingly involved breakfast food on two occasions)?

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{The BEST pancakes I think I’ve ever had from Du-Par’s on 3rd street.}

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{Cranberry Orange Muffin and an Intelligentsia iced latte from Graffiti made my Sunday morning as we made our way to see Iron Man 3. It was an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up…for the muffin, the latte, and the flick!}

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{Enjoying a thoughtful handmade birthday present.}

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{May’s Birchbox is here!}

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{A super cool belated birthday card from a friend.}

Have a great weekend! Star Trek Into Darkness – TONIGHT! xx

Highlights: Last Week

What a crazy week as I look back on it.The weather was indeed fickle last week: warm one day, then foggy and rainy the next, then cold and sunny. In the midst of the strange weather patterns, the election, the AFI film festival, and prepping for my boyfriend’s birthday, I always took a moment to enjoy the small things. Here are highlights from last week:

{A very unusual looking L.A. skyline for us. With the weather came my first few cups of earl grey tea.}

{As I mentioned: rainy one day, sunny the next. A beautiful view of Manhattan Beach while out on a surprise birthday errand for my boyfriend.}

{Wrapping presents!}

{Opening one of the presents early to enjoy a chocolate fudge cupcake from Cupcakes Couture. 🙂 }

{The final remnant of my “I Voted” sticker before tossing it. What a great voting and election experience it was for me personally.}