Monday, November 3, 2014

31 Days: Giveaway Winners!

Hey everyone!  Can you believe it's NOVEMBER?!

Me neither.

Quick post today just to announce the winners of the two giveaways I posted during the 31 Days of Santa Barbara series.

The first giveaway was for a cool trucker hat from Sweat Outdoors, and the randomly selected winner is...

Michelle!



The second giveaway was for TWO people to each win a $25 gift card to Sambo's, and the randomly selected winners are...

Mary (aka Mom)



and Megan!



I'll be contacting you all to get these prizes out to you ASAP!

Thanks to everyone for entering, for tagging along all October to read about my favorite things about Santa Barbara, and for generally being awesome people.  Now stick around, because hopefully it won't be another gazillion years before I get inspired to post again!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Photo Finish!

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}


It’s the final day of October and the last day in this series!  I must say I am pretty amazed that I made it through this thing without missing a single day.  And I’m really happy with how it turned out; I don’t think any of my posts were just “fluff” like a lot of posts I’ve done during past write-every-day challenges.

Anyway, for this very last post, I thought I'd just dump a bunch of photos of some of my favorite places and memories in Santa Barbara over the last couple of years.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and maybe you’ve even found some new things to explore in the area!  

There’s still a few hours left to enter my two giveaways, which are here and here – don’t miss out on a chance to win a cool trucker hat or a $25 gift card to Sambo’s!


Let the photo dump commence.  Happy Day 31, everyone!

(click any photo to enlarge!)






























Thursday, October 30, 2014

Playing Tourist

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}



I don’t know if you know this, but Santa Barbara is kind of a major tourist destination.  (Ha ha.  Like anyone is surprised by that.)

And as a “local” (I can say that now that I’ve been here over half a decade, right?), it’s easy to forget about some of the typical “touristy” activities that Santa Barbara has to offer.  But every once in awhile, Joe and I will pick one of those things and do it, imagining we don’t actually have the insane privilege of being able to do it any old time we please.  

Instead, we’ll be like, “Wow!  I didn’t know there was such a thing as a beautiful courthouse!” or, “What is this crazy contraption that can travel on the city streets AND in the ocean?”  

Here are a few of my favorite things to do when I feel like playing tourist:

And here’s a couple touristy things I have yet to actually experience (hint hint, Joe – date ideas!):


Tune in tomorrow for the very last day of this series!

Don’t forget, I have a couple of giveaways and deals that end TOMORROW, so be sure to click over to the starred posts in the lists here and enter or get the scoop on some sweet deals!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Festivals

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}


Santa Barbara (perhaps like a lot of other cities) has a LOT of different festivals and events throughout the year.  There’s Fiesta, Summer Solstice, the Lemon Festival, the International Film Festival, the French Festival, the i Madonnari chalk art festival, and tons more that I have yet to explore.  

Fiesta (or more formally, Old Spanish Days) is probably the one that Santa Barbara is best known for, and I must admit that until last summer, I had never actually experienced any of the Fiesta festivities!  It usually falls right around Joe’s and my anniversary, so we’ve always been out of town or otherwise, ahem, busy.  But last year it was the weekend before our anniversary, and I got to go out on the town with my Soulmate Neighbor (who is not actually my neighbor anymore) Michelle, and it was a blast!  

We had dinner and drinks at American Ale, walked around downtown and smashed confetti eggs all up in our hair (and purses and shirts and cars...), danced at a little Mexican bar I didn’t even know existed, and had a generally amazing time.  We even managed to escape the crazy crowds and take a late night stroll on the beach to talk about Deep Things and Jesus and stuff, which was maybe my favorite part even though I guess that’s not officially a “Fiesta-sanctioned” activity.


American Ale!

Confetti all over!

Walking to the beach!

This lovely lady.

Then there’s Solstice.  

Let me tell you a quick story about the first time I learned about the Solstice Parade.  One Saturday a few years ago, I decided to go downtown for some shopping and leisurely walking.  Traffic getting downtown on a Saturday around 10 AM was a little more congested than usual, but I thought nothing of it.  I parked, walked into a store, and about half an hour later when I came out, the streets were FLOODED with people and there were all manner of weird things happening in the middle of State Street.  Someone was inside a gigantic bubble, rolling around and doing some weird acrobatics or something.  

I immediately thought to myself, “Is this Fiesta?  I thought that was later in the year.”  I asked someone what was going on, and they looked at me like I was from another planet and said, “This is the Solstice Parade!”  And then I booked it out of there as fast as I could (which is to say, very slowly because ALL THE PEOPLE).  See, back in those days, I was still pretty introverted and averse to large crowds, especially when I wasn’t mentally prepared for a crowd, much less a crowd that was so dense I couldn’t even walk back to my car without brushing up against at least a hundred people.

I have not ventured back to the Solstice Parade since that day, but as I mentioned a couple days ago, I did co-host a solstice party last summer, which I think was way better because I was surrounded by all the people I actually WANT to be in such close proximity to, and I didn’t have to go far to get back to my own cozy home.

I’ve been to some of the other festivals in town on occasion, but I definitely hope to explore more of them in the future!  I missed the last couple Lemon Festivals, which is just so, so sad since I LOVE me some lemon meringue pie, lemon beer, and lemon cotton candy.  Next year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

BRUNCH: Domingo's & Cajun Kitchen Cafe

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}


I’ve already written about a couple of my favorite brunchy spots in Santa Barbara, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention these next two as well.  And we've already established that I am kind of obsessed with breakfast, so seriously, wipe that look of surprise off your face!

Domingo’s is the first place Joe took me for pancakes when I moved to Santa Barbara.  He said it was kind of a hole in the wall, but that they made amazing breakfast, so I was already pretty on board with it.  And sure enough, they really do make some delightful pancakes, waffles, hash browns, omelets, biscuits & gravy...basically all things breakfast!  (And yes, they do apparently serve lunch, too, but I literally have no idea if anyone ever actually gets lunch because all I see on people’s plates is breakfast.  Smart people.)




I also love Domingo’s because the staff is very friendly and accommodating if you ever have any issues or special requests about your food.  I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait more than five minutes for a table there, even if we come with a larger group.  And bonus for Joe and me: it’s walking distance from home!

So if you’re not afraid to try out a place that may not look super fancy-schmance, definitely give Domingo’s a try.  It’s clean, quiet, delicious, and best of all, pretty dang inexpensive too!  (I know, what?!  I thought there was no such place in these parts.)

Next up on my list of go-to brunch spots in town is Cajun Kitchen Cafe.  This may sound weird, but the #1 reason I keep coming back to Cajun is that they carry green Tabasco sauce.  



Let me back up.  Several years ago, Joe and I visited his birthplace, Boulder, Colorado, and we went to this amazing breakfast joint where our server offered us an array of hot sauces for our meals.  One of the choices was green Tabasco sauce, and I had never seen it before.  The server noticed my curiosity and urged me to try it, claiming that green Tabasco on breakfast food is basically the greatest thing ever.

And he was right.

And ever since then, I have been on the hunt for places that have green Tabasco sauce (side note: Chipotle does, and no I absolutely do not go there like twice a week and pour the stuff all over my tacos and chips ohwaityesItotallydo).  

So, my first time going to Cajun Kitchen was after I volunteered for the SB Marathon a couple of years ago (cheering people on and making sure no cars were driving on the parts of the road that were blocked off for the runners).  My friend Megan must have known she had some making up to do for talking me into waking up at like 4 AM on a Saturday, and inviting me out to breakfast with the other volunteers definitely made up for it...especially when I found out they had my favorite green sauce.

Okay, but aside from my ridiculous addiction to that stuff, Cajun Kitchen does ALSO have really, really yummy breakfast foods, AND the most amazing blueberry muffins ever.  Their breakfast options tend to be plenty filling, too, so you definitely get a bang for your buck there.  Plus, there are several locations to choose from, each with its own ambiance and vibe.  

Seriously, when this is an option, what is even the point of lunch?

Shoot, now I just want to fast forward to this weekend and figure out a reasonable excuse to eat at all FOUR of these places I’ve mentioned in this series!  (PS: Did you enter the giveaway for a Sambo’s gift card yet?  Time is running out!)