Winter Vacation: Session One / by chris miele

Crystal clear (atmospheric) days in LA are a rare and valuable score.  Winter doing its thing.  LA.

It was time.  The West Coast had been screaming for our return for months and with winter approaching, the time was nigh.  As with all of our trips, business and pleasure are as interwoven as the fabrics we're hunting.  Erin had been void of the California sunshine for nearly a year and Eldorado's supply on key items had been depleted.  It was time for an inventory restock as well as a refill on sunshine and West Cost inspiration.  

It's amazing how much I miss abundant palm trees.  Santa Monica, CA

When the moon makes a surprise hello.  LA

Magic is what we seek.  Venice, CA.

They're a staple, sun-charged crystals from Daniel on Venice Beach.  Flowing with endless good vibes, Daniel always greets us with hugs and the best gems.  In conjunction with crystal hunting, It wouldn't be a proper return to the west if we didn't stay with friends in our old neighborhood of Venice.  While it's amidst some serious and conversational gentrification, Venice will always be eclectic as ever.  Narrow alleys, hidden gates, tropical vegetation, all things only uncovered if days are wasted away via bicycle.  If you allow it in, the magic of Venice never disappoints. 

Sunset rituals.  San Diego, CA.

And then came San Diego.  Despite living exclusively in LA, the majority of our CA family resides way down south by the border.  After 5 non stop (and I mean non-stop) days spent circling LA sourcing goods, meeting store owners, and re-living our former existences, San Diego was our down time.  Somehow dancing till 4 am, wandering Law Street after dusk, and cruising the bay via boat constituted as down time.  Despite stretching our stay by a full (and much needed) day, we had to begin adventuring north. 

Mandatory dusk adventures.  San Diego, CA

Perhaps our biggest checklist item (or place) of the trip was Ojai.  Erin had been wanting to visit and somehow I'd never been.  A mere 90 minutes from LA, Ojai boasts retreat-like vibes that are oh so California.  As Eldorado General Store grows, so does our inspiration and several Ojai stores sit high atop that list.  Our only formal stay of the trip was planned for The Ojai Rancho Inn, another must see/stop/stay destination for us.  The subtle seclusion mixed with a dash of desert really allowed Ojai to shine just as we'd hoped.  Perhaps our favorite shops of the entire 10 days were found in that little hidden Ventura mountain valley.  With only two full days left before heading to Portland, we made a final dash north to visit more friends and drink in some proper Central Coast views.

Twilight at Refugio.  Santa Barbara, CA

Freedom comes in many forms.  Avila Beach, CA

Despite the move east, California still feels like home.  It's an immensely huge reminder from the universe that we're lucky to call so many friends family in the Golden State.  Our creativity and drive are rooted in the cliffs that climb above the Pacific.  When exposed to the ocean breeze my mustache curls perfectly, our smiles widen on every bike ride, and our souls sing when the sun disappears behind the ocean's horizon.  California, we love you, let's hang again soon.

She truly is the Golden State.  San Diego, CA