well, the sister trip got off to a rocky start, thanks to american air's computer for randomly selecting me for a full search through security; which consisted of being physically pat down head to toe, and electronic wands searching for illegal substances and weapons through every bit of my carry-ons, then x-raying everything - twice - i missed my flight! i know we need security, but this seemed to be all pomp... so my direct flight to SFO turned into an 11 hour ordeal with a layover at LAX. the worst part was that my sister was meeting me at SFO at noon and we were driving straight down to montecito to see my dear friend suze (friends since 4th gr!) and family. unfortunately, that was delayed a day...
we got up at 5 a.m. the next day and headed out in the dark and drove down route 101, which is the most beautiful drive through rolling mountians and farmland - in my sister's pride and joy, her little red BMW.
of course someday i'd love to do the coastal PCH. we loved smelling the produce as we drove - that garlic is pretty potent! we had to make a stop at the famed madonna inn. it would be so fun to have a big event in the grand room with the pink tufted vinyl furnishings, the entire ceiling dripped with faux flowers and butterflies. it was magical!
this was our first trip to suze's new home, which is fabulous! i love the outdoor living here. her house is one level and has french doors opening from everywhere to the central courtyard, and they have a guest cottage painted and decorated in sea foam greens and blues - which is so suze. she designed and added an outdoor shower (similar to ellen & porche's) with tiles replicated from the santa barbara court house. they had a couple of projects going on - the cottage bath was being installed and a back deck and fountain were being put in - all for guests - love her! now you may not know this but i love contractors - i do! actually, i have contractor envy because we have never - that's right, never hired one. we are "do-it-yourselfers." i know very hip of us, very trendy, but i'm oh so over it! right before we came suze had a new white sparkly chandelier installed in the kitchen. i guess our visit was the push for chandelier time! she drove us all around town, and gave us the grand tour of celebrity gates; oprah, tom, ellen, ty, rob, and many more. very nice gates i must say! that ty warner owns practically half of montecito - all from beanie babies! she also took us to the santa barbara court house where we went to the top to take in the spectacular views. the next day we got up for suze's daily 6:30 a.m. four mile power walk. my sister quickly separated from me, and walked with suze's friend. now i do walk, but this was all up hill, until the "high 5 rock" where you can look out from the hills and see the beautiful pacific ocean, only if i stopped they may have had to drive back and get me! from that point it was basically level and i caught my breath. my biggest problem was i had the lousiest shoes, open back sneakers that gave me a huge blister - another theme of this trip - bad shoes! the cute new pair (looking all innocent above) i wore on the plane gave me blisters higher up on my heels. so my feet were a mess to begin with! despite the bad shoes, and that i walked funny, we had the best time with suze and her family, but sadly it was over in a blink! i'm still spinning with the lifestyle there, everyone is so happy and friendly - who wouldn't be! glad we have a cool place to stay...we'll definitely be back to scoop suze up for a girl's spa vaca next time! the singing chef (who shared his breakfast table, with heat - it was chilly) gave us a great itinerary for that trip!
heading back we picked up our other sister, jenny, at the airport. i still hadn't seen benta & bryan's house in the daylight. they call it the gnome house because it's a wonderful little fox brother's chalet style set in the berkeley hills. they have the most amazing view of the whole san fran bay, with sunsets over the golden gate bridge. jenny and i couldn't help but get right into decorating and rearranging. we even did a quick trip to ikea and bought some curtains which cozied things up a bit. it had been almost a year since i had seen their house. last year when i was out, we went on a whim to the open house, and i told them i knew they were going to buy it, and they did! it's so fun having a new home to set up and make your own. they have big plans, can't wait to see them unfold. right after we left they went out and bought a swanky mod leather daybed for guests, hooray! that means no more air wafers!
of course we went to breakfast at la note, their fave breakfast spot. they serve hearty french country fare, and it is decorated in the same provencal style. shopping was a big part of our trip too, with stops at tail of the yak, bel'occhio, mixed pickles, castle in the air- where we met up with ulla who was teaching a class, and of course one of the highlights (that we scheduled our trip around) the alameda flea market. i love this market and bought so many millinery flowers they filled a very large suitcase! we also went to see my brother-in-laws band play at the coolest bar, which looked like a flea market! there we met up with our cousin maria and her sweet boyfriend bobby who came to the gnome hut for dinner the next night - i miss that girl, she's so sweet! they brought a delightful lemon tart from sweet adeline's (which we frequented several times also!) we also visited ici a gourmet ice cream shop who's flavors and delectable goods are out of this world delicious!
the return flight home was uneventful, even with a two hour delay, but it was nice to be home with my hubby and girlies.