Day Trip to Carpinteria


I think I am still recovering a little from our weekend. Monday was Chris’s 31 birthday, so we celebrated all weekend. The highlight of the weekend (for the non-birthday girl) was Saturday we spent the day in Carpinteria, CA. About 10 miles south of Santa Barbara is the little beachside town of Carpinteria. It’s a cute little artisan town just off of the 101 freeway full of mom & pop shops & restaurants that are just steps from the beach. Continue reading

A Day at Santa Barbara Zoo

DSC00102I haven’t been to an actual zoo in years. Last year while we were in West Palm Beach, FL we spent two days at Lion Country Safari & it was absolutely amazing. We had beautiful, massive giraffes, ostriches, & a bunch of other species of African born animals walked right past our car. So when Chris’s mom suggested we stop at the Santa Barbara Zoo on our way to El Capitan Canyon last month I was game.

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Staycation at Grand Californian

IMG_2975Well we are officially moved out of our one bedroom apartment. It’s amazing what an extra 200 square feet & a more useful layout can do to your organizational skills. Well last week we picked up our new keys on Wednesday after work, moved all night Friday night, & by Saturday afternoon we were drinking margaritas at Disney’s California Adventure before riding Soarin’ Over California.

What, didn’t see that coming? Let me explain.

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Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

A few weeks ago, on one of my rare Saturdays off, we headed out to Palm Springs to do a little sightseeing. I haven’t really explored too much of the Palm Springs area besides for when we have gone to Stagecoach… & well, does that really count?? So since it isn’t bloody hot out in the desert yet, we decided to make a day of it & see the sights.

So we got up early & headed out to the dessert. We packed a little lunch & before we actually got out there, we stopped at the outlets. Probably not the best idea since we ended up shopping around for two and a half hours. Oopps. So around 3, when we finally made it to downtown Palm Springs, it was defiantly time for a cocktail.

We stopped at a little Mexican restaurant right in the heart of Palm Springs. Maracas is on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive & Arenas Road & let me tell you, they don’t mess around when it comes to their margaritas or their ceviche. After eating splitting the amazing appetizer & finishing our drinks (mine being a frozen strawberry margarita, the size of my head) we headed toward the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to see the city from above.


Chris & I knew we wanted to get to the tramway before dark so we could see the view during the day & at night. It was absolutely beautiful. Once we paid the $5 parking fee, we hopped on a little bus to bring us to the Valley Station. Once we bought our tickets, we had to wait for the tramway to take a few trips up & down the mountain a few times before it was our turn to take the trip up.

Now FYI I am terrified of heights, so I was freaking out at the idea of hang thousands of feet above a cliff side to get to the top of an 10,800 foot tall mountain, but it honestly wasn’t as bad as I had expected. And the view was absolutely worth it. Once we got to the top we headed to the lookout spot perched on a peak above the Mountain Station. It was amazing. You could see all of Palm Springs & even part of Cathedral City to the right. Hundreds of rows of wind turbines boarder the city.

After taking our fair share of photos, & soaking in all of city from above, we headed inside to Pines Café, the cafeteria style restaurant that our ride & dine tickets allowed us to eat dinner at. Chris has his usual herb roasted chicken (that he seems to order everywhere we go) & I had BBQ ribs. For an extra $11, the upgrade to the ride & dine tickets were totally worth it. We both had a side salad, corn on the cob, & delicious fingerling potatoes as sides to go with our meals. They even had beer, wine, & sodas to add onto the dinner. After fueling up we headed inside to the little museum to look around.

Next time we head up, we plan on getting there earlier. There are miles of trails behind the Mountain Station that we didn’t get to explore & both really wanted to. Apparently there is even some camp sites you can stay at, but I think I will pass on the whole backpacking & camping part of the adventure.

Next time you are in the Palm Springs area take a few hours to head up the mountain. The entrance to the Aerial Tramway is right by the Palm Springs Visitors Center, & you can’t miss the big sign as you are driving into town. Take some photos & tag me in them on Instagram. (@meggoliver)




SoCal Driving Tips for Getting Around During the Holidays

Growing up in Connecticut my family spent a lot of time on the road. Family & friends lived in different cities & each weekend we were going somewhere to see them. But Connecticut is a pretty small state & there aren’t too many highways running through the second smallest state in the county. Even though my family took road trips to Florida pretty regularly, I still, naively only thought there was route 95 & 91. 95 spans the east coast, going from Maine to Key West. No need for other routes!

Then I moved away for college & realized, there’s a lot more freeways out there than my little self thought.

So naturally, my goal after graduating college was to move across the country to the land of pavement & interchanges… Los Angeles. Coming to the city with the worst freeways in the country was intimidating. I had had my car shipped out here & when I landed that first day, I remember being very adamant with my friend I was going to be living with that we go pick up my car. I wanted to have it right away so I could begin exploring my new home. Little did I know this adventure would take hours to drive 15 miles to & from the yard where my car had been dropped off at.

My first LA road fail.

November to December has the most traffic on the road compared to any other time of year. People are going to Holiday parties, shopping, dinners & spending time with family & friends. Driving around Los Angeles & Orange County can be a total nightmare any time of year, but during the holidays the nightmare is at a whole new level.

So I was inspired by the peer to peer car sharing brand, Turo, and their Los Angeles car rental team to come up with some of my favorite travel tips for the road in busy SoCal during the holidays. Soak them in, write them down, live by them… they will change your life.

Map it out

Before you leave, where are you going? Pull out your Google Maps & check out exactly where you are headed compared to where you are now. Sometimes it’s an easy straight shot where you hop on one freeway & get off a few miles away. Other times it may take 12 freeway changes to get from your house to your friend’s. (Yes, I am talking from experience.) Know where you are going, & if there are other options that you can change to when the road gets a little rocky.

Add 30 minutes

No matter what, leave early! Just last week I got in my car & my ride was supposed to take an hour & half. By the time I got to my location, it was nearly three hours later & I was a half hour late to work. Always expect it will take longer. No matter what.

Know which way traffic is flowing 

Some freeways are always busy, at all times. (Did someone just say the 10 freeway?) But others are very specific on which way the traffic flows at different times of the day. For instance, the freeway outside our house has constant traffic, going East only, from 3 pm to 7 pm… every single weekday. I don’t even go near the freeway in that directions during the afternoons. I know I will age just sitting there. It’s just like heading to Las Vegas on a holiday weekend, you know you will be sitting with the rest of SoCal on the 15.

Use a navigation app

There are a ton of app options for you to download straight to your phone that helps reroute you due to traffic changes. Use them. I am not going to lie, I didn’t trust these apps for a long time, but now that I use them, I don’t drive without them. Your arrival time updates as you drive, & they offer new routes when a traffic incident comes up. Which leads me to my final tip:

Don’t be afraid to venture off the freeway

Sometimes taking surface streets from one exit to another can save you from 45 minutes of just sitting in your car. Trust the app when they say a new route is faster. Get off the freeway, follow the annoying voice coming from your phone, lock your doors (I mean lets be real: safety first) & follow the train of cars that are using the app right along with you to save time.