LA, Montecito, and Santa Barbara, California

I’ve kind of dropped off from blogging for a bit, but no worries now! Here I am with more of a throwback post from when my boyfriend, Dillon, and I visited southern California to attend a wedding over Labor Day weekend of 2018! I know both the bride and groom from my college. The bride and I were in the same dorm from our freshman year, and then both the bride and groom were on the basketball teams while I was on the cheer team. They both moved to Australia about a year and a half after she and I graduated, which is where the groom is originally from. They both play for basketball teams in Australia now! Even though it was just for a weekend, it was the one time I would be able to see my beloved friend in the US!
So Dillon and I decided to make the most of our weekend and tried to explore some Los Angeles landmarks before heading to the cute beach towns of Montecito and Santa Barbara.  Someone in SeaTac airport struck up small talk with me and was telling me that the worst thing about LA is how crowded it is.  Yes, it is a huge city, but the lines and traffic are absolutely nuts!  Dillon stood in line to pick up our rental car for over forty minutes!  I would have stood in line with him but it was SO crowded, I felt it would be better to wait outside the building with our luggage.  Once we got the car, we wanted to try In-n-Out burgers and visit the Griffith Observatory near the Hollywood sign.  It took nearly three hours of driving through LA traffic to get from the airport area to the Griffith Observatory.  We detoured from driving to stop at an In-n-Out.  We waited in another line for over half an hour before placing our order.  Then spent another half hour waiting for our order number to be called while eyeing the crazy crowded place for open tables.  We managed to snag a table and burgers were pretty decent!  But definitely not an-hour-long-wait decent.  I don’t have any regrets about it though!  I feel like the lines and the crowds are part of the LA experience, and I know someone somewhere would have strangled me for not having tried In-n-Out.

LA neighborhood street lined with palm trees – after Dillon and I decided we were too hungry to continue on to the Griffith Observatory.
Colorful mural before turning onto Sunset Boulevard.
Across from the In-n-Out was an iHop!  Labor Day weekend was shortly after their announcement to add burgers to their menu.
I have no film or director aspirations at all.  I just thought the design was pretty cool.
The ceiling in the entrance room of the Griffith Observatory.
It’s teeny-tiny here, but to the left of the top of my head is the Hollywood sign!
Jumping photo in front of the Griffith Observatory!
Wider shot of the Griffith Observatory.
A giant swinging pendulum inside the observatory – I zoomed in on the sign in the center of this display.
This is the entirety of the pendulum display, which is supposed to determine the time of day using the force of gravity on the weight at the end of the pendulum.
Highway 101 before sunset!
Highway 101 at sunset!


The wedding and our AirBnb were located in the cutesy town of Montecito, where the bride grew up.  The AirBnb I found used to belong to Evelyn Keyes, a Hollywood actress who was in the film Gone with the Wind as Suellen O’Hara.  Oh my gosh, it was such a beautiful property!  The owner conducts it as a bed and breakfast, renting out multiple rooms and serving a continental breakfast in the morning.  Each room has an en suite bathroom, and some of them have a balcony as well!  I managed to snag one with a balcony.  The prices of this AirBnb were some of the best ones I could find on short notice for Labor Day weekend.  I don’t even know what the hotel rooms were going for because they were all already sold out when I received my Save the Date – but I know hotels usually jack up the prices on holidays anyway.
Montecito has a fun shopping strip with a swanky restaurant & bar, the Honor Bar, where we had dinner at one night.  There is also the beach that looks out to the Pacific Ocean!  The day we went was the day of the wedding, after I had just shaven my legs so I can go without tights and dance without overheating as much.  If you’re not familiar with saltwater and freshly shaven legs, let me tell you: it is an excruciatingly painful experience and you will have a ton of irritated follicles in the form of itchy, painful red dots all over your legs!  Lucky for me, the wedding was far off enough for my legs to recover in time.  Rookie beach bum!

I typically order appetizers for meals at restaurants because I can’t handle big portions!
Beloved Dillon after a long day of flying, sight-seeing, and driving!
Entrance to the AirBnb we stayed at.

Stunning sitting room with morning light flowing in.
Staircase up to the bedrooms.
The landing midway of the staircase.
The balcony off of our bedroom had a claw foot bathtub!
Succulents really thrive outdoors in Southern California.
Our balcony view into the backyard.
The windows of our bedroom, seen from the balcony.
Dillon and I after the wedding ceremony!

The bride and groom had a VIP lounge reserved at a nearby club for an after party!
Bidding our AirBnb goodbye the next morning!
We saw a very LARGE dog at the local coffee shop in Montecito!
So many gorgeous outdoor succulent plants in Montecito!


Montecito on a Sunday is pretty quiet and it has just the one strip of boutiques to look through. So Dillon and I decided to drive to Santa Barbara to spend the rest of our day in! More shopping, fun stores, restaurants, bars, and general tourist attractions were open and available!

Parking garage in Santa Barbara is pretty fancy!

Saw many, many birds on the pier!


It was such a fun weekend in California! I definitely want to go back for at least a week and explore more. Until next time!



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