Jet Set

  

 
I’m off, off and away! I couldn’t be happier to start my adventure today.  I’m taking a true vacation, and won’t be posting next week, but be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram @NatalieNotions.  Can’t wait to let you know all about it when I’m back! 
 

Note: I’m floating on cloud 9. 

Thirty

Natalie Notions

I have now officially moved into the next decade of my life. It’s quite strange to think that I turned 30 today, since I feel a lot younger. I don’t know what 30 is supposed to feel like, but if I were to ask my 20 year old self, it would have been a different description. If 20 was exciting, 30 is freeing. I feel completely content in my life. Not complacent {I could never feel that way}, but grateful. It’s taken a lot of yoga, meditation and self work to be at this place. As I sit in the stillness and write this, I pause and think, am I completely content and happy? And the answer is yes. Last year on my birthday the answer would have been no. But maybe that’s what 30 is. It’s like I’ve arrived in my own skin.

7 For All Mankind Jeans, Crochet Kimono {similar}, Banana Republic Sweater, Stone Necklace {similar}

boho kimonoNatalie Zimmerman kimono hippie kimono jacket free people inspirationboho style

Note: Thirty is the new thirty. It’s the feeling of now.

Basanti Tea Bar

loose leaf tea

This weekend I was treated to a tea tasting at Basanti Tea Bar, a newly opened high quality tea shop in Beverly Hills. As you enter the shop on Little Santa Monica Boulevard you are immediately taken into a unique space. A large wood elephant greets you as you walk in, the walls and ceiling are painted a vibrant blue and canisters of organic tea line the side wall. It’s as if you were taken out of Beverly Hills and into an exotic tea mecca.

Basanti Tea Bar Beverly Hills

Basanti means spring season or born during the spring in Sanskrit, and throughout the store there are references to Hindu culture, Japanese, American and Indian. The owner Marcela Garcia told me, “Basanti is all about diversity.” Which is the reason why she chose to open her second shop in Los Angeles, where people are open to diversity. Marcela always loved coffee, but was interested in the healing benefits of tea. After years of traveling and living abroad with her husband she decided to open the first Basanti Tea Bar in her hometown of Monterrey Mexico. It was something different that they’ve never seen before. A lot of people are familiar with going to coffee shops, but not necessarily tea bars, which Marcela is about to change.

Basanti tea bar

The tasting started with Japan Emerald, a warm green tea brewed to perfection. All of the teas are brewed through a machine that calculates the perfect brewing temperature for each type of tea. What most people don’t know is that there’s a science to brewing tea. Each type of tea, black, green, white, red and oolong, must be brewed at a specific temperature and length of time in order to receive all of the anti-oxidants and benefits. It also ensures the best taste. Luckily for Basanti customers all of the specifics are noted on each bag of loose leaf tea.

green tea frapp

After the pure green I had a sample of Pandora’s Box Fruit Infusion Frappe and Yogu Matcha Frappe. I love green tea frappuccinos, and this one was the best I’ve ever tried! I’m craving it as I type this. Made with yogurt and matcha green tea, it’s creamy, refreshing and still gives you all of the same anti-oxidant benefits as a brewed matcha. I left with a warm Dragon Chai that was just the right amount of sweet and spicy. I also left with some knowledge about tea and a love for Basanti and its owner Marcela {the sweetest}.

Basanti tea bar

Note: The touch and feel section allows you to experience and learn about the different teas.

Solvang Wine Tasting

Solvang vineyard

The Santa Ynez Valley is known for it’s wineries, and wine tasting is one of the main draws to this beautiful area. Solvang is the best place to experience the wineries without having to get in your car. Walking to the many different wine tasting rooms in Solvang means you don’t have to pay to get a driver or a wine tour. Use this as your own walking wine tour.

Wandering Dog wine bar Solvang

Wandering Dog Wine Bar – Start at one end of the small down and work your way across. It’s only a few blocks with lots of tasting rooms to stop in and enjoy. At Wandering Dog there are a wide variety of local boutique wines, as well as their own label and wines from all over the world, if you’re looking to try something different.

Presidio Winery – With a knowledgeable staff that speaks highly about it’s wines, Presidio Winery Tasting Room gives you the wine tasting experience any newbie or veteran would want. I’m a rose fan, and always have to give it a try when it’s on the list, especially on a warm summer day.

Solvang California

Lucas & Lewellen – A well known sophisticated wine, this will be sure to satisfied your palette.┬áLouis Lucas, half of the wine making duo, is one of California’s premier grape growers. His partnership in the 1970′s in Tepusquet Vineyards marked his name in the history books as one of the first commercial grape growers in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo counties. If you’re looking for a wine maker with a rich understanding of the soil in the Santa Ynez Valley and how to produce a fine wine, then Lucas & Lewellen is a must on your tasting tour.

Dascomb Cellars – Another prestigious winery, Dascomb is home to one of the oldest vineyards in Santa Barbara County. It’s also another dog friendly tasting room in Solvang, which seems to be true for almost all of them. This is a popular tasting room, so it may be best to go toward the end of your walking tour when the crowds have died down. Solvang is a town that’s early to rise and early to bed.

Sante Wine Bar and Lounge – When you step inside this wine bar, you feel like you’ve been taken out of the Santa Ynez Valley and into a sleek lounge in the big city. It puts a modern twist on the wine tasting scene with white leather couches and counter tops. This is modern day Denmark. It’s open until 8pm, so this would be a good spot to end the tour.

Solvang winery

Note: Photos courtesy of the Solvang Travel Bureau.

Solvang

Solvang

When I was younger we used to take 30 minute day trips to Solvang. It was like a mini vacation to Danish land, and it still is. Now that my brother lives in Solvang I’ve been going up more often.

STAY:

The best place is the Mirabelle Inn. It’s cozy yet luxurious. I’ve come to love staying at inns and B&Bs, where you can walk downstairs in your jammies and grab hot tea and a cookie before heading to bed. The Mirabelle is a three-story Danish style house with a lush front garden patio. The breakfast is amazing and every detail in the quaint breakfast room isn’t overlooked. There are crisp linen napkins, a fireplace and crystal serving ware. I fell in love with the inn before I even stepped foot inside.

Mirabelle Inn Solvang

SHOP:

Solvang Antiques – There are a few other great antique stores in Solvang, but this one takes the cake for its wide variety of large and small antiques, furniture, jewelry and memorabilia. There aren’t any re-painted or reworked items, like other antique stores carry. I’m always fixated on the jewelry cases. I’m a sucker for antique jewels with a story.

Pacific Northwest Trading Co. – This is where I recently bought my Pendleton. Here you can stock up on your ranch wear and leather goods. There were items I would pass on, but I loved the selection of Pendleton blankets, bags and clothing. If you’re looking to fit in on the ranch in Solvang, then this is your spot.

The Mole Hole – Solvang is full of gift shops and boutique things stores. Lots and lots of things. The Mole Hole is one of my favorite stores to wander and get lost in. Solvang is made for walking, relaxing and being a tourist, and you can definitely do that here. The shop is just as cute on the outside as it is on the in.

Where to shop in SolvangSolvang California

SEE:

Solvang Festival Theater – ┬áThis outdoor theater will bring you up close and personal with the performance. Unlike the Hollywood Bowl and other outdoor venues in big arenas, this theater brings great shows right to your seat. There’s a range of performances from jazz musicians to summer plays. My Fair Lady starts June 11th, so start planning your weekend getaways now.

Old Mission Santa Ines – One of the 21 California missions, Old Mission Santa Ines was founded in 1804 and is not only part of the rich history of California, but Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. The mission is still an active parish church and is open to visitors. Hundreds of visitors from around the world visit it every year, just like they visit Solvang.

Old Mission Santa Ines Solvang

Danish Days – This year marks the festival’s 79th year of bringing the Danish heritage back to Solvang for a weekend of performances, dances, a parade and Danish food. This year it will be held September 18-20th, so if you’re looking to join in on the festivities make sure you book your stay soon, as hotels and inns fill up fast {especially the Mirabelle Inn}. Even during non-peak travel time, it’s still busy in Solvang.

There are tons of other things to see and do in Solvang. Check back for my food and wine recaps.

Solvang Danish town

Note: Photos 4,5, and 6 courtesy of Solvang Visitors Bureau

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