Santa Barbara Favorites List. Round-up #1!

If your Memorial Day weekend was anything like mine, you're probably having difficulty shaking off the leisure and sheer glee of it all. Between hiking, biking, and leisurely sipping rosé on a Funk Zone Sunday, it was bliss. I ran into one of my oldest friends who has long since moved away while getting ice cream at the Santa Barbara Public Market (see #9) and developed a sunburn while doing #2 and #3. It was a perfect weekend—one so perfect that I've developed a lengthy new list of my favorite ways to revel in our beautiful city.

Here they are, 10 ways to enjoy Santa Barbara right now.

1) Drink: The Mojito from Los Arroyos (on Coast Village Road). 

Like Hemingway and not just a few others, I am in love with the Mojito. I had the good fortune to drink a good number of Mojitos when I spent five months in South America almost two years ago now. While they aren't native to either Brazil or Colombia, they're everywhere and frankly superior to what our American bartenders spin out. I chanced it this Sunday and ordered one (err...two) up at Los Arroyos on Coast Village this weekend. I was blown away; they were fabulous.

2) Beach Walk: Turn Right on Butterfly Beach

At Butterfly, turn right and at low tide, continue until you hit East Beach. This is one of my new favorite beach walks that rivals the lovely walk from Thousand Steps to Mesa Lane. The distance is surprisingly short, the bluffs inviting and the breeze rejuvenating. Sigh. 

3) Hike: Jesusita Trail 

I grew up in Mission Canyon and I feel a sense of ownership and connection with this area of the Front Country, as it's called. I often hike to Inspiration Point from the top of Tunnel Road. It's a quick hike doable before work if you're feeling ambitious, but the paved section at the start of the hike is less than ideal for a trail purist. This, combined with the hot and un-shaded path, the crowds, and the parking nightmare at the trail head, has been deterring me lately. On Memorial Day, I started from the trail head up San Roque Rd and followed Jesusita Trail to reach the same Inspiration Point destination. It's a longer and more challenging hike, but decidedly shadier and less jam-packed on busy holidays. You wind along a river and finish at Inspiration Point where on clear days, the views are spectacular. This site has details.

4) Blog: Could I Have That

I finally got around to subscribing to Santa Barbara's own Could I Have That blog about a month ago. This outfit secured her place on this list. It's just so distinctly tropical and summery and I admire her sophisticated no-fuss beauty. 

Photo by Arna Bee

5) Blog: Leela Cyd

A couple of months ago I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Cannelle et Vanille, when I stumbled across a post in which she mentioned a photographer and friend named Leela Cyd. A few clicks later, I was on Leela's blog Tea Cup Tea. I discovered she lives in Santa Barbara,— I mighty and happy coincidence. Since then, I've had the good fortune to get to know Leela and her photography. I even took her very worthwhile Food Styling Photography workshop. If you don't follow Leela yet, you're missing out.

Photo by Leela Cyd of chocolates from Chocolate Maya

6) Food: Gluten Free Scones at French Press.  

Made with almond flour and coconut oil, I don't eat gluten-free, but I am addicted to these delicious scones! 

7) Read: The Book of Santa Barbara

Macduff Everton is truly one of Santa Barbara's best photographers. Macduff captures a complex and raw vision of Santa Barbara and her people that lacks the banality and triteness that marks so much of Santa Barbara photography. We're very happy to finally have this book on our shelves.

The Book of Santa Barbara


8) "What can I do right now to be the woman [or man] I want to be tomorrow?"

This question resonates with me and motivates me. It helps me to jump out of bed in the morning, make it to the gym, or pull myself away from the sort of laziness that brings me unhappiness in the long run. Just wanted to share it.

9) Food: Rori's Baby Ice Cream Scoops

Brilliant Ice Cream. I think that they might have invented the perfectly sized tiny ice cream scoop. I now give myself permission to make the short walk to the Public Market and get my scoop of paradise on sunny afternoons regularly.

10) Community: Isla Vista

What can we say? It's hard to find the words. Our hearts and minds are with the students and families touched by the shootings on Friday night. We are awed by the sense of community and support.

May your week be blessed with happy discoveries! What's on your favorites list right now?