Belmond El Encanto : A Luxurious Santa Barbara Escape

Belmond El Encanto property view

Santa Barbara has long been called the American Riviera. With its subtropical temperatures and proximity to coast, it’s easy to see why everyone who visits is so enchanted with the location, especially when staying at the Belmond El Encanto. In Spanish, Encanto quite literally means “enchantment” or “glamour“. Nestled right in the neighborhood mountains, overlooking the dazzling waters of the Pacific Ocean the Belmond El Encanto is Santa Barbara’s only Forbes Five-Star resort. With a longstanding history of being a landmark for inspiration, relaxation, and romance, the property is steeped with tales of tranquil offerings to Hollywood elite and beyond. The Belmond El Encanto has hosted former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Golden age celebrities such as Clark Gable, Carol Lombard and Hedy Lamarr, and today has become the go-to destination for many celebrity artists. I’m honored to say I’ve now added my name to it’s guest list as well. It could be the perfect hideaway for your next luxury escape too.

Arriving at the Blemond El Encanto Kia Motors America

Luxury vehicles line the drive at the El Encanto (pictured here : Kia Optima, Cadenza, Stinger and K900)

As soon as you arrive on property the staff graciously anticipates your every request. As the porter escorted me to my bungalow, he shared the unique history of the resort with me. Everything here has meaning and was designed with thoughtfulness of the overall experience. I love learning interesting facts and special stories that are only told by those who know a property best. Curious about something? Just ask the staff, they are incredibly knowledgeable and always happy to share.

Belmond El Encanto bungalow exterior

Opening to guests for the first time in 1918, the property has exchanged hands a more than a few times in its history. Belmond reopened the hotel in March 2013 following an extensive seven-year, $134 million dollar meticulous renovation to bring back glamour, restore original architectural elements and updating with the modern luxe detailing that you experience today.

Rooms Made for Relaxation

Belmond el Encanto bungalow

92 luxuriously designed bungalows and suites are situated among acres of lush gardens and landscaping. In the air the scent of lavender and eucalyptus sweeps over you as you walk along the pathways to your reserved hideaway. There are two distinct styles of early Santa Barbara architecture present here – California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival. Each bungalow interior is decorated with works of art reflecting the Santa Barbara landscape.  As a landmark property much of the architecture styling has remained the same but the interior comforts of plush beds, heated floors, wi-fi access, push button gas fireplaces, controlled lighting, private terraces, waterfall showers and over-sized tubs have not been overlooked. The cottages provide a more than accommodating space for master bedroom and living room space. The in-room welcoming of a fruit plate and bottle of wine was a lovely surprise.

Belmond El EnCanto Welcome

Gardens, Pool and Spa

El Encanto Belmond Lily pond

Courtesy of Belmond El Encanto

The gardens are as welcoming as the rooms themselves and you might find yourself torn between where to spend the majority of your time. Signs along the walkways subtly direct you to your chosen spot of interest: a historic 1928 wishing well, serene waterfall, or a historic lily pond perfectly positioned under a wisteria lined arbor. Any choice is a good choice here and all make the perfect backdrop for memorable photos you’ll treasure forever.(insider tip: the lily pond is home to an adorable family of turtles.)

El Encanto Belmond Santa Barbara Wishing Well

If the pool or spa are more your interest, you’ll be delighted at what you find. The zero-edge saline pool is positioned to look out over the ocean and city for a spectacular view. The full-service, on property spa offers an array of treatments over seven rooms including a couples room to relax and unwind together. The Spa also offers relaxation lounge, showers, steam rooms and private lockers.

El Encanto Belmond Santa Barbara pool

Courtsey of Belmond El Encanto

Be certain to take advantage of the complimentary sunglass cleaning and Evian cooling mist service before returning to your room. Ending the evening with glass of Californian wine in hand, watching the sun dip below the horizon, is the perfect way to remember this luxurious escape whether visiting for a solo retreat or relaxation with ones you love.

Enchantment at the Belmond El Encanto

To book your stay visit the Belmond El Encanto online or see more on instagram and twitter.

Address: 800 Alvarado Pl, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, United States
Phone: +1 805-845-5800

Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation. My host for this stay was Kia Motors America as part of the Kia Santa Barbara Experience #KiaSBExp







Green Chef Delivers Organic Dinners to Your Doorstep

Life is busy. I don’t know anyone who isn’t looking for ways to simplify in order to have more time for the things they enjoy most. Last month, I partnered with Green Chef to delegate my meal planning (and shopping!) responsibilities to give me more time and simplify one more area of our lives.

Want to try Green Chef for yourself? New customers get $50 off their first box.

green chef

Handing over the reigns on what’s in the fridge can be a little intimidating. We have a couple of vegetarians, a couple of omnivores, and of course a few general preferences I have to be aware of when shopping and meal planning normally. None of that was an issue with Green Chef. They have a variety of organic meal plan preferences you can choose from. Vegan? Paleo? No Problem.

Once you pick your preferences, Green Chef sends fresh, premeasured, organic ingredients right to your doorstep. The delivery dated are flexible and there is no commitment. You can skip weeks whenever you want. The meals arrive in insulated, eco-friendly, refrigerated boxes. There is no need to be home when it arrives.

Green Chef OrganicGreen Chef Poultry

The meals they deliver are certified organic. That means no GMOs, no synthetic pesticides and no growth hormones or antibiotics. Green Chef puts an emphasis on using seasonal ingredients and sustainable suppliers, including small family farms. Knowing where the food is sourced from and supporting these growers and farms gives me a good feeling as well. You can check out all the Green Chef suppliers here.

Green Chef Menu

Ultimately, what makes this service work is the timesaving element paired with the taste and ease of cooking.  Each box includes a very easy to follow recipe card and cooking instructions with step by step pictures. I could leave this for my family and feel totally confident that they could make it with out me there. I may just order this for them to be delivered when I leave on my next travel trip.

Green Chef directions

On the average of 30 minutes, you will have a all-organic delicious meal ready to serve in about the same time it takes most people to decide on what to order off the take out menu. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you. Our family favorite was a veggie quesadilla recipe made with whole-wheat tortillas filled with Monterey Jack cheese, plus red bell pepper, pinto bans, and corn seasoned with a paprika-cumin spice blend. The side was a simple but flavorful lime-dressed slaw and cilantro-scallion rice.

Green Chef Veggie Quesadillas

My experience with Green Chef was extremely positive and the chef created dishes were very tasty. I was able to utilize more of my mental energy those weeks on projects and not meal planning. I will definitely be utilizing the Green Chef service again soon!

Want to try Green Chef for yourself? New customers get $50 off their first box!

Team Us: Marriage Together – Book Review & Giveaway!!

Product disclosure
“If I get married, I want to be very married” – Audrey Hepburn


12+ years ago I married my best friend. I can honestly say almost every day of those 12 years has all been wedded bliss. Do we have it all figured out? Umm, no. We have just always decided that we are on the same team. Even when we disagree, our goal is to do life together. It’s not you or me, we are fighting for “us” and we make decisions based on what is best for us together.

Another key to all of this is investing our time into our marriage. Just like a car or home, a marriage requires upkeep and maintenance. It would be silly for someone to purchase a car and never check the oil, purchase new tires, or take time for a tune up. The same is true for keeping your marriage in good working order, especially if you want it to last ( hopefully longer than your car!). Taking time to read the manual can help you know what to do when a warning light comes on.

Recently, I was sent a copy of Team Us: Marriage Together. I find that we study the things that are most important to us. My marriage is the most valuable thing in my life and I want to take care of it that way- I certainly want it to last longer than my car! lol.  This book offers couples practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. The author, Ashleigh Slater, shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.


If you are looking for a book to strengthen your marriage, I highly recommend checking this one out with your husband or wife. Maybe try one of you reading a chapter and handing it off for the other. It’s not terribly long (176 pages) but will give you both an opportunity to focus in together. At the end of each chapter are questions that spouses can use for talking points and “us time”.  It got me to thinking…as moms we talk a lot about not getting enough “me time” but are we making “us time” a priority?

Giveaway Time!!! Team Us: Marriage Together Book Giveaway

I’m giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Just Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the book trailer HERE & hear from Ashleigh Slater HERE.
Check out Ashleigh’s blog HERE
Check out the official website HERE (you can read an excerpt here to see if you’d like it!)
Many Thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners are 100% my own and not influenced by monetary compensation. Samples were provided for the purposes of this review. 


There’s nothing like your favorite holiday songs to put you in great spirits this season. What if you could have some of the best holiday classics, sung by one of today’s best vocalists? You’re in luck!

Idina Menzel, the voice of Elsa in the mega-hit Frozen and star of Wicked, Rent, Glee and If/Then , has a new album called Holiday Wishes! It’s 12 tracks of holiday hits, including guest performances by Kenny G and Michael Bublé.

I’ve been listening to this album all morning and it will likely be my favorite holiday album this season. I’m betting our kids will love it as much as me when they recognize the familiar voice

Holiday Wishes is out on Warner Bros. Records and available on for download from iTunes or Amazon now!!  Keep up with Idina Menzel through her official website her and be sure to follow her on Twitter and facebook to let her know how much you enjoy the new Holiday Wishes album. 
Holiday Wishes Track Listing

  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • The Christmas Song
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside (Duet with Michael Buble)
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • All I Want For Christmas
  • What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  • December Prayer
  • When You Wish Upon A Star
  • Silent Night
  • River
  • Holly Jolly Christmas
  • White Christmas

Bonus Tracks on Target Exclusive

  • Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
  • Mothers Spiritual


I participated in the Idina Menzel Holiday Wishes album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.

What is your favorite song from the Holiday Wishes Idina Menzel album?

Best Buy is THE Holiday Destination for shopping this Season! #HintingSeason

Best Buy Holiday Tree
post disclosure
With the holidays season in full swing shopping is on the minds of most everyone I know.  What to buy for the perfect gift? Once we decide on that, where do we go to buy? For the latest and greatest in technology, we always  trust Best Buy as THE holiday shopping destination.

Along with our individual presents, each year we purchase one gift the entire family can use. One year it was a video game system that we all had a TON of family fun with! This year we have been discussing a new television for the living room in our new house and of course we began our holiday shopping at Best Buy.

Oh, sure family gifts sound storybook and magical…..Unless you have a large family like ours. Then EVERYbody has an opinion and a wish list. Making six people pleased with one gift is a lot to hope for. Luckily, Best Buy had one TV we could all agree was amazing, the LG OLED TV.

LG OLED Best buy

The LG OLED TV is the newest technology from LG. It features picture quality including  infinite contrast ratio( this provides more natural, life-like viewing- perfect for sharing videos and pictures with the family!) and stunning color that delivers a greater sense of realism and depth, enhanced color range and accuracy, super thin design and the intuitive webOS™Smart TV interface that lets you find content faster. The stunning design of LG OLED TV is only 0.21″ thick at its thinnest point.

LG Best Buy

I just couldn’t get over the display technology. It has deep and rich color, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens, it is unlike any technology you’ve ever seen to date. The 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors delivering a picture that will exceed your imagination.

You can always expect great pricing from Best Buy as well. You can save $500 on the LG OLED TV right now with Best Buy’s everyday price of $3499.99. Learn more here:

What family gifts will you be purchasing at Best Buy this season?