Natalie Notions » Where Taste Meets Travel

  • a written word......is the choicest of relics. - not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself...

Ojai Spa, Ojai Valley Inn

When your friend tells you that she’s staying at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and wants you to come visit, you do it. This beautiful resort is located about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, so it makes for a relaxing weekend getaway from the city. There’s a peacefulness to the resort that you immediately feel as you coast up the long driveway. It pulled me in all day. Along with laughing with my dear friend, it was exactly what I needed.

We started the day with breakfast at The Oak Kitchen on the patio overlooking the golf course and huge oak trees {hence the name}. A quick bite turned into a few hours and we found ourselves catching up and calling an old friend. I’m sure the people next to us hated that we had her on speaker phone.

Ojai Valley Inn SpaOjai Valley Inn poolAfter breakfast she gave me a private tour of the property, starting with her Spanish-style room. I really felt like I was staying there. We checked out the spa, which only made me want to book a service and spend the rest of the day there. But we moved on and walked to the Artist’s Colony, a cute cottage with an artist in residence the leads painting classes. There are guest artists that lead other classes depending on the schedule. The room next door is an apothecary center where you can make and mix your own oils and scents.

We made our way around the walking path to the adults only pool. This is where we soaked up the sun for the rest of the day. We ordered drinks, which were delivered to us in the pool, and floated on one of the highly coveted pool loungers. Supposedly there are only 7 or 8, so you have to snag them early. We succeed in doing that. After a few hours in the pool we relaxed in the comfy lounge chairs and ordered some chips and guac. My go-to poolside snack.

Ojai Valley PoolOjai Valley Inn Spa

I was sad when it was time to say good-bye to my friend. It was the most fun I have had in a long time. A full day of laughs, relaxing in a gorgeous setting, good food and drinks. I’m looking forward to a full weekend at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. I might have to go book it now.

Ojai Valley Inn, Pool Note: This was the perfect daycation.

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While I was on on my trip to Asheville I committed myself to taking videos and talking into the camera. It made me nervous at first, and still does, but I’m just rolling with it. This video of my stay and visit to the Biltmore Estate doesn’t even do it justice. I was able to capture the estate house, Antler Village, and the barn. But I left out the gardens, winery, and shops.

Now I know to take tons of more videos on my next trip. And, I’ve decided to invest in a better camera for my videos. I’m really getting into this. Would love to hear what you think!

Note: I’m taking my own advice and doing what scares me.

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Go West Style

I’ve been eying Janessa Leone hats for quite some time now. I would see the hats styled in my Instagram feed and on my favorite blogs. Last month I finally decided to pull the trigger and invest in one of the timeless pieces. I went back and forth about which hat I should buy as my first Janessa Leone, and finally decided on the wool Gabrielle. All of her wool hats are sustainable and cruelty free, made from 100% virgin wool take from a lamb’s first sheering, which makes it the softest and finest wool available. Call me crazy for wearing wool in the summer, and a wool hat let alone, but it’s such a unique classic piece I can’t help it. I brought it on my trip to Asheville, so if you’ve been following along you’ve already seen it. But it’s just too great!

I’m looking forward to taking this hat into the seasons.

Janessa Leone Gabrielle Hat, Splendid Dress, Madewell Bandana, Saint Laurent Paris Booties

Janessa Leone Gabrielle HatJanessa Leone HatSaint Laurent Paris bootiesJanessa Leone hatMadewell bandanaJanessa LeoneJanessa Leone Gabrielle Hat

Note: Shop the look below!

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Asheville North Carolina

STAY

The Inn on Biltmore Estate – Located on the Biltmore Estate property, the inn sits atop a hill overlooking the mountains and the sprawling grounds. Whether you stay at the inn or the Village Hotel, both are on the grounds and allow you access to all of the activities and amenities. With plenty to do on the property, you can easily spend a few days there, depending on how adventurous you want to get. There are restaurants, shopping, wine tasting {free when you stay there}, the barn, and plenty of outdoor activities. There’s also live entertainment and festivities for the kids.

Biltmore Estate, Asheville

Omni Grove Park Inn – Another hotel with a magnificent view. For over 100 years it has remained a resort destination. It was built as a health spa where guests could enjoy the fresh mountain air in Asheville. They brought in the top spa officials and salon specialists from New York to attract world class travelers. Over the years presidents and celebrities have all stayed at the hotel, from Taft to Obama, as well as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The Spa is amazing, but it books up fast, so make sure to make a reservation well in advance.

Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville

SEE

Biltmore Estate and Gardens – Definitely take a tour of the Biltmore Estate house. If you can call it a house. And get the guided tour. It may seem a little silly walking around with this phone looking thing around your neck, but not only are the majority of people doing it, but it will inform you about everything you’re seeing. I suggest doing the house tour first to avoid the crowds, then take a stroll through the lavish gardens and down to the pond. George Vanderbilt knew what he was doing when he built his home. It has all of the top amenities, even for that time.

Biltmore Estate North Carolina

Basilica of Saint Lawrence – This beautiful church is hard to miss when you’re walking downtown Asheville, which is also a must. Regardless of your religious preferences, it’s a beautiful building with gorgeous art work inside. The architect, Rafael Guastavino, originally came to Asheville to work on the Biltmore House. He liked the area and decided to stay and build the Basilica with the Catholic community and another fellow architect. Be sure to look up at the pattern on the dome ceiling. This is part of Guastavino’s patented tile work that he brought to the US from Spain.

Asheville North Carolina, Basilica

SHOP

East Fork Pottery – This well curated store offers classic, well-designed pottery all made entirely by hand. My dear friend Connie and her husband Alex Mattise established the company in 2010 and recently opened the retail shop. All of their objects are made from North Carolina clay, in a dirt-floored workshop in the mountains of Asheville. Their pieces are timeless, which I love, and are color glazed in beautiful muted tones. Not only can you stock up on pottery while you’re there, but you can also pick up fun gifts and items for the home.

East Fork Pottery Asheville

ScreenDoor – This antique shop was so lovely and inviting. The over 100 vendors, each added their own unique vibe to their station. It was easy to look through and see how the items would fit in your home. Some antique shops just pile everything in, leaving you to dig through the stuff. The organization made it more shopable and inspiring for my own home design. I especially loved the vendor below. It was very simple and chic, with lots of plants, but it made me want to hangout in the space all day.

ScreenDoor, Antiques, Asheville

Antique Tobacco Barn – This antique mall will take hours to go through, even if you don’t look at every little thing. There’s more than 70,000 square-feet, filled with lots of home decor and furniture. There aren’t too many vendors with clothes, if that’s what you’re looking for {like me}. If you’re traveling, you might want to stick to the smaller items, unless you’re driving and have a truck, which I wish I had. I ended up leaving with a small pitcher and an old book to add to the collection.

Note: You will love the lush green mountains that surround Asheville.

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Bandana style

Summer style should be easy and carefree, like the season. Or at least that’s how I think summer should feel. One of the easiest ways to change up an outfit is to add a bandana or head scarf. I’ve posted about my love of wearing head scarves and different ways to wear them, but have yet to post it styled this way. This bandana has become my new favorite accessory for the summer. I’ll be sharing another way that I styled it soon!

Madewell Bandana, Banana Republic T-Shirt, Hudson Jean Shorts, Saint Laurent Paris Booties

Head scarfBandana styleAmerican summer style

Note: Shop the look below!

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