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I believe in working hard but I'm also a big proponent of spoiling yourself. And sometimes you just need a retreat to get away. Somewhere you can relax, drink wine and soak up the beauty of the environment, and someone to enjoy it with. That’s why I booked a bestie retreat in Ojai for no reason other than to enjoy the present.
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I first heard of Ojai from a cousin and then later stumbled upon Ojai Rancho Inn from Shelter Social Club. Ever since the discovery it lingered in the back of my mind for almost a year until bestie and I finally booked the trip. I was eager to make the trip no later than January so as to experience the infamous “pink moment.” And let me tell you, it most certainly did not disappoint.
Ojai is hardly 1.5 hours away from LA so I really don’t know why I haven't visited sooner, but I now know where I will be spending many more weekends to come. I can only describe the quaint town as a hidden gem. Downtown Ojai is walking distance from the inn but we still drove so we could cover as much as possible. From winery shops to bike rentals to an array of restaurants, it honestly has all you can imagine for a perfect weekend getaway spot. (I'll link to the places I visited at the end!)
Now onto Ojai Rancho Inn. The place is a photographer’s dream come true with wood accented rooms to teepee huts and a pool that probably gets more pictures than swimmers. The property even has its own bikes that you can borrow for the day…and I rode one of them! My second time ever riding a bike!! And I didn’t crash and die!!! (Kind of a big deal for those of you who may not know me well.)
Seriously, as much as I’d like to keep this spot a secret to myself, I loved it too much not to share. Hopefully you all get a chance to visit and see what I mean. Know of any other awesome, local getaway spots? Let me know in the comments!
Inn: Ojai Rancho Inn
Shopping: Fig Curated Living
Wine Tasting: Casa Barranca
Bike Rental: The MOB Shop
Restaurant: Suzanne's Cuisine
Restaurant: Osteria Monte Grappa
“You’re doing what?” is the reaction I got from most people. Whether it was in response to driving to Yosemite and back within a day or driving to Yosemite for an Instameet, I have no idea. I’ll admit that up until 3AM on that pitch dark Saturday morning, I wasn’t sure if I was really going through with it. But once I was out of bed, packed, and on my way, I was all excitement from there.
Google Maps said it was around a 6 hour drive from Venice to El Capitan Meadows. I think we made it in under 5.5. It really wasn’t too bad of a drive; nothing that some coffee and cheese danish from Starbucks couldn’t get us through, anyway. We got in around 10:30AM and saw car after car parked along the road, along with a massive group of people in the middle of the meadow. It was kind of an incredible sight to see. By the time we found a parking spot the group looked like a little ant mound.
I get teased a lot for geeking out over Instagram and being so nit-picky about my photos. And in all honesty, I wish I had started sooner. Working in the digital marketing space I thought of social media as work. When I started, “Instagram influencers” were just on the cusp of becoming the next big marketing sensation, and I simply thought of them as a moving piece for client campaigns.
It took me this last year or so to realize I was a content creator myself, and that I was already steered in that same direction. From my Nike obsession to my Tender Greens loyalty, I'm always curating content for the brands I love. And when LifeProof selected me as the weekly bucket list contest winner and sent me a $250 gift card to REI, I knew I was onto something.
So when people ask why I do what I do and try to understand why I spend my free time outside of work working, I’ll say this: To be a part of a community that is as excited as I am for the same little things in life. To not only inspire others who seek adventure, but to build a relationship with brands that embrace the same lifestyle and values as I do. Whether I win $250 or am inspired to drive 6 hours, I consider it a win in my book. And as long as I can in return inspire just one person, it’s all worth it to me.