Days 1 - Montecito
I’ve been going to Montecito for over 20 years, mostly with my mom. We went before Oprah, and definitely before Prince Harry and Meghan made the small town next to Santa Barbara famous. It always felt wealthy, even when it was a bit more of a secret than it is now.
In-between my birthday (Feb 1) and my husband, MIchael’s birthday (Feb 14), we drove up to Montecito and stayed at a lovely Airbnb… Here’s the view of our sweet little courtyard…
We had our own little casita with a comfy bed, kitchen, closet/office, bathroom and that walled off courtyard. It felt cozy and like our own little retreat.
We arrived on a Wednesday, so we didn’t think we needed a reservation for Bettina, a popular pizza place, but after walking in, seeing someone we know, whom we didn’t know was a server there, and the hostess telling us it would be an hour’s wait, we decided to go to Oliver’s, a plant based restaurant that was incredibly charming and delicious.
Photo of our heads in front of the Oliver’s sign…
While Bettina’s was crammed into a strip mall with Von’s, Oliver’s is a stand alone restaurant with a lovely and large patio strung with lights and cool artwork and comfy booths inside.
The hostess couldn’t have been more welcoming, and the servers were all excited that we were celebrating our birthdays. I ordered Thai Curry, while Michael had the Braised Mushroom Ravioli, and we finished our meal with the apple crumble - a complimentary dessert, they brought us!
Day 2 - Montecito & Santa Barbara
We had gloriously warm weather while we were in the Montecito and Santa Barbara area, and the next day was probably the nicest.
We went to the Rosewood Miramar Hotel, and we had brunch at the Revere Room. We definitely want to come back and stay at this stunning hotel, where even the wallpaper in the bathroom was beautiful!
After brunch, we did a little shopping in the hotel boutiques, including the Goop store. The sales clerk said Gwyneth (yes, Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress and owner of Goop) was just there, and a newsletter that very same day said she was still in Montecito. (I secretly loved that I was there around the same time as Gwyneth.)
After browsing through the boutiques, Michael and I went for a walk along the beach, but not before we stopped for a train that roared through the property.
(The Surfliner is a train I would love to take someday. It runs from San Diego all the way up to San Luis Obispo.)
We also saw a hawk, and although I believe that hawk kinda lives at the Rosewood, I’ll still take it as a spiritual sign, and when I looked it up, what resonated with me was this:
Hawks are intelligent and represent the power of divine sight, seeing opportunities and futures that most others can’t see.
Once we got down to the beach, we instantly felt a sense of calm and rejuvenation. Michael and I are both Aquarians, and although they’re technically Air Signs but because they’re water bearers, the water has always brought us back to our being.
Day 2 (2nd half of the day) - Santa Barbara
My mom isn’t a big fan of Santa Barbara. She loves everything about Montecito - Butterfly Beach, the restaurants, and the high end boutiques. For her, I think Santa Barbara feels “dirty.” I don’t have the same feeling about Santa Barbara that she does. I love it equally, and so the afternoon of our second day, we walked over 20,000 steps, all over downtown Santa Barbara. The film festival was in town, and so we saw a lot of people lining up to go into these beautifully ornate theaters (something you don’t see in Los Angeles, which is odd, since LA is where movies are made).
We found cool, eclectic shops, had a late afternoon snack at a seafood restaurant near the pier, and walked up and down the uneven pier to take in the waterfront, the breezes, live music, people, and of course, the seagulls. That evening, we ate at Arnoldi's, one of the oldest restaurants in Santa Barbara. We had a delicious salad and veggie lasagna, and afterwards, played some bocce ball on their courts!
Day 3 - Santa Ynez Valley
Michael and I love the Santa Ynez Valley. We’ve been coming up here every year since we got engaged! In fact, on our engagement weekend, he planned an elaborate ruse at one of the wineries, where I thought he was going to propose! We went to a winery, where we were the only guests. Once we arrived, we had wine tasting menus in front of us that had our names on them! (It might’ve even said, “Happy Birthday, Katy!” since it was my birthday weekend.) After our exclusive wine tasting, we get a tour of the winery, and on the tour, they take us to a picnic table that was secluded and decorated with a gorgeous floral arrangement, picnic basket with our lunch, a bottle of wine to go with everything and fine linens and silverware. It could’ve been designed by the set department of The Bachelor. However, when we finished our lunch, and he had not proposed, I just figured it was just a birthday weekend. Later on that trip, he proposed at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. It was the most romantic weekend of my life.
So, almost every year (besides the last 3 years), we’ve taken a trip up to the Santa Ynez Valley, around our birthday. It’s a great time of year because the Valley is still very green, from recent rains.
(Did you know that California is called the Golden State not because of the Gold Rush but because the hills turn this brown/yellow “golden” color?)
Now, wine tasting is better experienced, so I’ll leave you to your own imagination on the details, but if you go, it’s fun to try and hit all of the “Sideways” stops. (If you don’t know this movie, watch it. It’s hilarious.) On this trip, we went to Foxen, which has two locations - the main winery and a smaller, really cool roadside “shack.”
Now, I’m not much of a drinker, to be honest. I get the Asian flush (You can see it in the photo above), and too much wine just puts me to sleep, so when we got back to our Airbnb, we just ordered some pizza from Bettina (Yay! No wait), ate it in bed watching a Reese Witherspoon romcom, and went to sleep early. This is life in your late 40s. Ha!
Day 4 - Summerland & Home
On our last day, after breakfast at the historic Jeannine's Bakery and Cafe, we stopped off in Summerland. My mom and I used to stop here too, on our way home. It's now filled with beautiful and high-end outdoor and indoor furniture shops. Below are some extra pics - Jeannine's Eggs Florentine and gorgeous rose arrangements at the Rosewood for Valentine's Day that we got to see on our last day before heading home.
Time & Financial Freedom
I forgot to mention that on our way up, we stopped off at Bob’s Well Bread in Ballard.
I wrote an IG post about the photo of the old man sitting next to the window, reading his newspaper, and sipping his coffee. It’s about time freedom, and how that IS financial freedom. Check it out, if you’re interested.
I also have to mention that while in SB/Montecito, my husband told me that a friend mentioned reading my blog posts. When he suggested she could work with me, she said “I’m good.” She then “accidentally” sent a text back to my husband but meant for someone else, and I'm paraphrasing here, “he must think I’m not doing well…”
And here’s what I have to say about that – I’m not a financial coach for someone who is “not doing well.” In fact, most coaches (at least the good ones that I know) come from the foundation that NO ONE is broken. No one needs fixing. You are already resourceful, creative and whole. I’m here to support you to tap into your own resourcefulness, your creativity, and to embody your wholeness. Sometimes, we can be our best allies, and sometimes we can sabotage what we already know to be true.
For example, the first time I ever sought out a coach, it was because therapy was no longer working for me. Therapy helped me a lot, but I believe sometimes therapy comes from the place of…I’m broken, and I need someone to heal me. It’s why therapists are called doctors! When I first went to therapy, I definitely felt that way. However, after a while, I felt stronger but I didn’t know how to get to the next step of my own growth. That’s when coaches have helped me and how I’ve helped my clients.
Last week, while working with two clients, in particular, I saw it even clearer. I worked deeply with these women. They both had, what they called huge breakthroughs. One said that she’s been in therapy for over 20 years, and this is the first time she’s experienced this kind of breakthrough. And you know what? It’s because it was always in them to create it for themselves.
I’m just a guide, a vessel. Sure I’m trained AND I know that God, Source, whatever you want to call it, also uses me to give them the information they need in order to create these breakthroughs. I already see them in a way they can’t see for themselves yet. I see both of these women as beautiful, amazing, talented, creative, resourceful beings, and there are parts of them that know this too. Now, they get to wholly embody it!
Does that make sense?
I’ll just say one more thing – one of my biggest core values is being proactive and taking ownership of your life. I really believe that we are all responsible for our own actions and our own lives. There’s a time to complain, and then there’s time to take action to make our lives into how we want it to look, and honestly, that doesn’t even have anything to do with money!
I know I can have just as beautiful of a life without a lot of money. I just also know that money gives me more of that freedom that I want! Freedom of time and freedom of choice. With more money, I can choose to stay at the same Airbnb that I stayed at or stay at the Rosewood Miramar next time!
If you want to get resourceful and proactive, I would suggest starting out by taking the Financial Freedom Method Personality Quiz. Based on your personality, it will give you the next steps you can take.
And if you’re in a relationship, just for this month, I’m gifting you my Money Guide for Couples. It’s usually reserved for members of my Financial Freedom for Creatives Club, but just for the month of February, which is not just because it’s Valentine’s Day, but also because it’s the birthday month for my husband and me. And although we’re not perfect and may fight about other things, we don’t ever fight about money.
With Love & Gratitude,