It's a beautiful life

2009 was the worst year of my life. A series of extremely difficult circumstances taught me that life has to be lived to it’s fullest. Because the day upon you might be all you’ll get. I don’t mean to sound horrifically morbid, but I do know the happiest people in the world treat every day as a gift. One of the promises I made to myself was to travel more, for fun and for work, and to visit some beautiful places around the world. I feel lucky to have taken in the extreme beauty of the Santa Barbara area for the last couple of days. I completely understand why Oprah decided to settle down here!!

I’m convinced Montecito must be one of the prettiest places in this country. It’s nestled between the ocean and the mountains and filled with incredible gardens, flowers and beautiful architecture. With a hotel check in that looks like this…how can you go wrong?

All of Montecito is basically littered with picture perfect mansions. All so perfect you sometimes think you are on a Warner Brother’s lot. These are some random images from a local real estate site.

One estate is larger and more beautiful than the next.

Some with the incredible ocean views.

Or with amazing mountain views at the end of a luxurious olympic pool.

Did you see the movie “It’s complicated” with Meryl Streep? No, it wasn’t a fake set – it all looks like that!!! You’re not sure if you’re in the south of France, somewhere in Italy or out in the wild west.

But everything is perfect and beautiful!!!!

Dan and I visited the gorgeous San Ysidro ranch nestled at the edge of the mountains.

Don’t you love an outdoor fireplace? That indoor/outdoor California lifestyle has such allure.

This could be from Meryl Streep’s house in the movie…

It’s not hard to understand why this is one of the most popular areas in America to live.

Even going for a Starbucks run we passed a beautiful church.

An old mission church from the 1800’s. Of course I had to go in…

Even the door was perfect.

It was amazing to spend some quiet time in a completely empty beautiful church.

We lit some candles for some of our friends and family.

We had dinner plans with friends in Santa Ynez, and took the most breathtaking 45 minute drive up through the untouched mountains, where the only thing missing might have been wild buffalo, only to arrive…

….to a cool little cowboy town. We were early for dinner and decided to go next door for a drink.

Who can resist an old cowboy bar? I looked out of place in my dress and high heels, and I felt even weirder when I ordered a glass of red wine. The bartender looked at me like I was nuts, then said:

“Well, we’ve got ONE kind of wine here, it’s a Cabernet and it’s real BAD!!” Then he snarled at me and said “Lady, this is HONKY TONK!!”

Not in the mood for tequila I settled for the real BAD glass of wine (it was BAD!), and took in some new design ideas…

A ceiling filled with dollar bills.

Never thought of this design concept before! Every dollar bill has been signed by a customer and pinned to the ceiling. Don’t think I’ll try it at somewhere, but how is that for originality?

I’m definitely coming back here (in jeans) to have some tequila soon…

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8 thoughts on “It's a beautiful life

  1. I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad year, but you are indeed right- It's a Beautiful Life!
    That's my home town that you featured (Montecito) and I feel incredibly blessed to have raised our children here. I know well all the places you pictured of course. I was lucky enough to see John Saladino's home in the flesh (or rather stone) and was not disappointed. Of course I adore the San Ysidro Ranch, who doesn't?!, but my very favourite is the Mt. Carmel church, as it was this very church that led us here over 17 years ago. I can here the bells from my home 🙂

    Best wishes,

  2. All I can think of when I see that dollar ceiling is to winder what kind of security they have, there must be thousands of dollars there, it's like an open tiller for thieves. What vulgar thoughts I'm having when your premise of this posting is so positive.
    On another note, I was wondering where "It's Complicated" took place. I thought it was some highly fake and idealized LA setting, but Santa Barbara makes sense to me. I have never been, but now I think I want to..thanks for the posting.

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