anniversary road trip

Imo and I managed to go on a little getaway right smack in the middle of the craziness of late December. It was just an overnight trip, but we were able to pack a lot of our favorite things to do in it. The day after Christmas, we left LA before noon and were in Santa Barbara county before 2 p.m. We stopped for lunch in Los Olivos: quaint, bougie, filled with wine tasting rooms and white people. Maybe if we stayed longer we would've spotted other brown people there, but it was just weird, so we were like, let's get out of here. Lol.

los olivos olive tree fountain our shoes + red leaves fall! in winter! walking around los olivos los olivos

So we headed off to Sunstone Vineyards in Santa Ynez. We did the tasting, bought a bottle of port and their Soleil Blanc, wandered the grounds, took photos with my camera's self-timer, and left my wallet behind in the process. (I was using it to prop up my camera and in my wine-induced happiness, forgot it on one of the outdoor tables. We were already headed into downtown Solvang when I realized my wallet was gone and we had to turn back. I was getting nervous because the winery was closing in 30 minutes. Luckily, I found my wallet right where I had left it!)

sunstone winery wine tasting s i&s leaving sunstone without my wallet

It was starting to get dark when we finally checked in at The Landsby in Solvang. This whole trip was planned around The Landsby, to tell you the truth. Haha. Ever since we discovered it last year, I've dreamed of spending a night there and dining at Mad & Vin again. Anyway, it was still early for dinner, so Imo and I walked around downtown Solvang, which really comes alive this time of year; there were so many tourists -- many people of color, I am happy to report! We stopped at the Book Loft, where we always go whenever we're in town.

solvang the landsby solvang imo, bookshop bookshop window

We walked back to the hotel for happy hour and had a couple of drinks and snacked on ceviche and chips, and pita with olives and romesco. SO GOOD. Our dinner reservation wasn't till 8 p.m., so we still managed a short walk outside after drinks and went back to our room to freshen up. At Mad & Vin for dinner, Imo had the steak, and I had the seafood hot pot, and more wine! The food was excellent, but I was sad that they no longer had the lamb porterhouse and the jidori chicken on their menu. We shared a chocolate pot de creme for dessert. We were stuffed! Later that evening, Imo and I sat in front of one of the outdoor fire bowls in the hotel courtyard (this was on my list of things to do so we literally waited around until one of them freed up -- those fire bowls were pretty popular!) and Imo fell asleep on me. Nothing says seventeen years of married bliss better than having your husband fall asleep on you on a date, I guess. Lol!

landsby lobby imo & ceviche 2nd round of drinks + pita landsby lobby imo, landsby lobby s&i, firebowl

The next day, we had breakfast at Mad & Vin (yay!): coffees, steak & eggs, french toast & berries & chicken sausage. We checked out of The Landsby at 11 a.m. then drove to Santa Barbara to a record shop called the Warbler, bought some old records, then wandered into the Santa Barbara Historical Museum across the street. The highlight of that museum visit was the ghosts that appeared in the mirrors in one of the exhibits! (We are easily amused.)

warbler me we saw ghosts i&s, courtyard fountain
(I was an expert at setting up my camera timer at this point and very conscientious about my wallet. Haha.)

We then drove ten minutes to Butterfly Beach, where, even though it was December, the weather was beautiful and mild, and a bunch of locals were sunning and surfing. Imo and I spotted dolphins while we were walking along the shore.

butterfly beach dolphins!

Our last stop before driving back to LA was Summerland, where Imo got pour-over coffee and I a "Ray of Sunshine" (turmeric spiced milk) with espresso at Red Kettle Coffee, and we split an Inferno burger (delicious!) and fries from Tinker's next door.

tinker's "inferno" burger & fries red kettle coffee centerpiece summerland

It was a really short trip, and I had to go straight to an on-site photoshoot after we got home at 6 p.m., but we had a really nice time. Now that our kids are older, maybe an anniversary getaway is something we can keep doing every year.


and just like that

The holidays are over! I was spiraling into post-holiday depression for a while there, but I think that I am now recovering from it. It didn't help that I was sick on New Year's Eve with flu-like symptoms, PLUS I've been having really bad tooth pain (which I am still dealing with right now). Imo and I put away our Christmas decorations on Wednesday night, and I took out the tree to the curb yesterday, and that helped. It always helps to rid the house of the tyranny of Christmas, the sooner after Christmas the better. I don't know why holiday decor after the holidays (and even before Thanksgiving) is one of the saddest things in the world. I cannot bear it.

This past December was a little more insane than usual. I had photography work for two separate clients, which, you know, I am always grateful for -- the thing is, I only love this job after it's done. Lol. I am so easily consumed by it and therefore stressed out, so it was really hard for me to enjoy the month's happenings. Yumi had her first band concert and her last (!) elementary school holiday program; Asha had her first hiphop dance performance; Nacho's pre-season JV soccer games started; Imo and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary with an overnight road trip sans kids; our family had Noche Buena at the Buenaventuras' (thank goodness we didn't have to host this year) and an 80's prom-themed NYE party (our last time-traveling NYE party, according to Baloo, but I don't know)! It's during these times, when my mind is elsewhere, that photography saves my life because at least I get to relive the moment in pictures.

tree in afternoon light fresh eucalyptus garland cypress imo playing guitar red wine + cookies listening to some christmas songs ready clarinets 5th graders trisha & yumi & nina & jordan trisha & yumi
(The green dress Yumi is wearing is Asha's old Merida costume resurrected!)
saturday performance saturday performance presentssss eating crispy pata mom carving the ham the quibs the quibs millie's "present" nacho & yumi portable record player drinks before dinner buffet dinner isaiah's present from ben & ninang nyan playing chess