This past weekend, I was up in Santa Barbara (which if you aren’t familiar with the California geography is about 2 hours north of Los Angeles). My friend Rayshell was celebrating her 30th birthday and her parents offered to throw her a party. So the party was held at her parents’ place in Santa Barbara.
I’m sure at some point in my life I’ve been to Santa Barbara, but it must have been when I was little because I don’t remember ever going there. I know that I’ve never been there as an adult, so that’s at least 13 years.
I knew about the birthday party a few months in advance (Rayshell wanted everyone to have the chance to make hotel reservations if necessary). My sister-in-law’s parents live in Santa Barbara, so as soon as I knew that I would be up there, I texted them to see if they could meet up while I was there. My sister-in-law’s mom wasn’t sure if they would be in town while I was there, so she asked me to text closer to the date.
When I texted her again, she let me know that my brother and sister-in-law were going to be in Santa Barbara the same weekend. So I made plans with everyone to meet up with them for a little bit on Saturday before I went to the party.
I drove up by myself and got to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house in about 2 hours (traffic wasn’t my friend the entire way). It was so great to see everyone. I hadn’t seen my brother or my sister-in-law’s parents since Christmas and I hadn’t seen my sister-in-law since our NYC trip.
I was only able to stay there for about an hour, but it was a nice visit. My brother and sister-in-law are going on a trip to Africa next month. They are going to be going to Tanzania, which is where my family went when we went to Africa in 1997. So we were chatting about different things to prepare for the trip and memories that my brother and I have when we went there as kids.
After my visit, I got back on the road to head to Rayshell’s parent’s house. It was only about 10 minutes from my sister-in-law’s parent’s house, so that was easy.
The party was in the backyard and they had hired a taco man to cater dinner. Technically, he was more than a taco man because you could also get a salad, a burrito, a quesadilla, or nachos. I opted for the beef nachos because they looked so amazing!
I totally made the right choice! My nachos were awesome!
I was sitting next to my friend Sarah Levin (who I refer to as the “other Levin” and she does the same to me) and it was so nice to get to catch up with her. She recently got engaged and will be getting married soon. So I got to see the ring and hear all of her incredible wedding plans.
And of course, Sarah and I wanted a picture with the birthday girl.
Not only is Rayshell in a Levin sandwich, Sarah and I are dressed alike (blue dresses, black sweaters). I thought it was pretty funny.
Also at the party, there was a magician. He reminded me of the magicians who perform the close-up magic show at The Magic Castle. There were some tricks that I’ve seen before, but there were also a bunch that I had never seen and I was amazed how they were done (I might have googled some of the tricks because I just couldn’t understand how he could have done it).
And one of the final tricks of the show was the magician juggling a machete, a bowling ball, and a torch lit on fire while balancing on a board that was on top of a plastic pipe.
I know you can’t see that he is balancing in the picture, but trust me, he was. And he was very close to the tree in the backyard so everyone was nervous that he would catch the tree on fire. But fortunately, everything was safe and not on fire at the end of the show.
After the magic show, there was some dessert and then people started to head out. Some people had to make the drive back to LA, some were headed to their hotels (or houses if they were locals), and some people headed out to the bars. I was very lucky that Rayshell’s parents said I could spend the night at their house. Hotels were very expensive (especially for a Saturday night in the summer). So while everyone else was leaving, I was helping with some cleanup.
And while putting away the leftover alcohol (which I didn’t have any of), I discovered the biggest tequila bottle I’ve ever seen!
It’s Costco brand but everyone said that it was great.
After cleaning up, everyone who was staying at Rayshell’s parents’ house just hung out outside for a while talking around one of the fire pits that they have.
It was a very relaxing way to end the evening. And before we knew it, it was 1am and we were all exhausted. I slept in the living room on the couch, and it was a perfect place to crash after a party (I can’t imagine trying to make the drive home after the party).
The next morning, we all had breakfast together and then I headed back to LA. Sarah needed a ride back so I drove her and that gave us even more time to catch up and just have fun talking.
It was such a perfect little mini-getaway! It felt like a vacation but I didn’t have to go that far.
Thank you so much to Rayshell’s parents for letting me stay at your house! You are both so generous and were amazing hosts! And Rayshell, even though I’ve wished you a happy birthday a couple of times by now. Happy Birthday again! I hope you had a great time at your party! I know I did!