Oh Man, Santa must be palming the biggest lump of coal with my name on it. I suppose I've been a pretty naughty blogger, having not posted much this month. But this elf has been busy -- shipping out holiday print orders, re-designing next year's merchandise, and uploading some new snaps to the website. That said, let's shift gears to another Santa -- Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is classic California beautiful, and I don't think Gian and I could have picked a better escape nook for our weekend getway than the Cheshire Cat Inn. Now, I know some out there aren't really into B&B's, but if that's your flavor, or you are game to try one out, definitely give this Victorian time machine a shot. The inn is inspired by a tasteful Alice In Wonderland theme (don't worry dudes, it's not at all girly), and believe you me, all that nasty, clingy stress that hitched a ride with us up from L.A. was tasered away Ghostbusters-style once we breezed through the front doors and into the parlor. Seriously: cozy corner nook, killer breakfast brought up to your room, walking distance to State Street, jacuzzi under the stars, chocolate chip cookies in the foyer to greet you when you return home at night -- need I say more? Plus, the place reminds me of New England, and nothing sells better than a slice of home.

This was also my first time wine tasting. Now, I confess I'm not much of a drinker, so I felt like a bit of a rube sloshing around vino like some bit player from Sideways. That said, Gian and I had an A+ day, picked us up some tasty sweet wines, soaked up the stunning landscapes, and there was still a nice cold Coca-Cola awaiting me at day's end.

I also wanted to use this trip as an excuse to take some pictures, for pleasure, which is a really important ritual in keeping one's core love for photography alive. I packed a lean gear bag -- Canon 5D and 50mm -- sure, I'd miss out on those shots better served wider or tighter, but there were still plenty of fun discoveries to be made while staying vacation-minded.

We'll miss Santa Barbara. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, but she should.