Beautiful Santa Barbara, California | Film Travel Photography

While in Los Angeles for Franchesca and Josh's Malibu engagement and Outdoor Walnut Grove wedding (coming soon to Dear Gray, friends!) Stephen and I took a few days to visit one of my favorite cities ever, Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara-the happiest place on earth

I've often joked with Stephen that Santa Barbara is "the happiest place on earth." I don't really know why I say that-it's a little overly dramatic, if I'm honest. But it's a place that I dream about living. 

With it's lovely spanish inspired architecture, a walkable downtown, great restaurants, beautiful coastline, slightly cooler weather, and easy access to Santa Ynez wine country, it's basically everything I'd hope for in a town.  There can be a moody marine layer and cooler temps, but more than likely, this historic mission town will be sunny and moderate. 

Our Smoothie Bowl Obsession

While there, Stephen and I made a regular habit of brunching on the most delicious smoothie bowls at Backyard Bowls (go there. get the Coco-cado bowl. Thank me later!) before striking out on our adventures. While I wanted indulgent brunches of pastries, bacon, and specialty egg dishes, I was so thankful we chose something healthy, filling, and really really delicious! Also, this had cacao nibs in it (hello, chocolate.) So it felt indulgent!

We spent our days walking downtown, ducking in and out of cute shops, and visiting stunning Santa Ynez Valley.

Santa Ynez Valley

Santa Ynez completely stole my heart. Gosh, I miss it! We wandered the golden hills taking photos (they literally look like someone unfurled a blanket of gold velvet on the mountains!), picnicked and did a wine and brownie tasting at the stunning Sunstone Winery and Villa, and talked about our dreams together as we watched the sun set over the mountains. 

Those few days in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez are memories I cling to during a season where my to-do list seems larger than life. The best vacations are the ones that you savor long after they're done. And for me, this was one of them.