There’s no place like Southern California to soak up the sun and the sea. And Santa Monica checks all the boxes. How to get there, where to stay and what to do.

Last weekend Jim and I took a quick trip to Santa Monica.

To start the New Year off right by soaking up some sun and sea.

And catch the Eagles Long Goodbye Tour.

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Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica.

Last week I hosted two fun giveaways.

One here on the blog and the other on Instagram.

On each platform I gave away a copy of Patric Richardson’s latest book, House Love.

And the winners are Karla M (blog) and Karen B (Instagram)!

Thanks to everyone who entered for your enthusiasm AND amazing cleaning tips.

More about those at the end of the post.

Let’s get back to the beach …


Last weekend Jim and I took a little jaunt to Santa Monica and flew JSX for the first time. Do you know about JSX? Billed as a semi-private (which makes it sound a lot more glamorous than it is), the 30 seat jets fly in and out of executive (private) airports and take much of the hassle out of air travel. You can read more about JSX in this Travel & Leisure article. We flew out of our local municipal airport, Buchanan Field in Concord, and into Burbank (near Los Angeles). I can’t believe how quick and convenient it was, with none of the hassle of standard airport travel. Even better, drinks, snacks and Wifi, provided by Starlink, are all free. And the Wifi is available as soon as you get on the plane, no waiting until you’re in the air. Nice.

We flew into Burbank (Los Angeles area), waited about 5 minutes for our bags and were quickly in an Uber and into LA traffic. One very cool note, the JSX terminal in Burbank is in a historic hangar used by Amelia Earhart.

JSX Hangar at Burbank.

JSX has expanded their service a lot in the last few years and flies in and out of over 20 airports, mostly in the Western states (three in the Bay Area) as well as Cabo San Lucas and the Bahamas. You can check out their website here. I think their airfares comparable to other airlines doing the same routes, maybe a tad more. But you can’t beat it for ease, convenience … and pleasantness.


After our amazing experience on JSX, not even the dreadful LA traffic could put me in a bad mood. I was one happy camper when we rolled up to the hotel Casa Del Mar a historic ocean front hotel in Santa Monica. We usually stay at their sister hotel, Shutters on the Beach, next door. When I say next door, I mean about 25 steps. We love both hotels and their rooms are very similar. White built-ins, dark wood furniture and lots of rattan. Woven baskets, books and blue and white ginger jars decorate the rooms … and, of course, coral and seashells. The vibe is elegant, cozy, beachy … a very Nancy Meyers movie set feeling. Where the hotels differ is in their public spaces. The Casa’s entrance is quite grand and spectacular, and the Lobby Lounge bar area feels more expansive with soaring ceilings. Shutters entrance and lobby are have a more intimate, clubby feel. Both are AMAZING and have a similar beach club feel … gorgeous upholstered sofas, comfy chairs, fabric covered, pleated lamp shades, potted plants, garden stools and lanterns. The stuff my dreams are made of.

After arriving, we quickly unpacked and headed to the Lobby Lounge for a cocktail and light dinner. While we were sipping and nibbling guess who we saw?!

Prawn Cocktail at Lobby Lounge, Casa Del Mar Hotel.

Mama Kelce and her mama! In the unlikely event you don’t know who I’m talking about, Mama (Donna) Kelce is mother to two NFL stars. Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs aka Taylor Swift’s boyfriend. Turns out the Chiefs were in town to play the San Diego LA Chargers. And, no I didn’t recognize Mama Kelce even though she was wearing a shirt that said ‘Mama Kelce’ and her mom was wearing a Kansas City Chief’s sweatshirt. We did notice the Chief’s attire, and wondered if they were in town, and if Taylor Swift might be in town. Our server told us that not only were the Chief’s in town, but Mama Kelce and grandma were both ensconced in the hotel and had just walked in the bar. Hello clueless me. Over the next couple of days we ran into them several times in the elevator lobby and lobby lounge. No, we didn’t speak to them, we just smiled, nodded and tried to be cool. Sadly there was no Taylor sighting, but we kept our eyes peeled. Turns out she was in town, not for the game but to attend the Golden Globes.

We stayed in an ocean front king room overlooking the pool. None of Casa Del Mar’s rooms have balconies … but you can crack the window and hear the soothing sound of the surf.

Ocean Front King Room at Casa Del Mar.

Coastal shelf styling.

Casa Del Mar has a wonderful boutique, Wheat, just off the Lobby Lounge where I never fail to find something fabulous.

Wheat boutique at Casa Del Mar.

Last time I bought a Barefoot Dreams poncho/wrap that I wear constantly, and this time I splurged on a Frame boucle cardigan. It’s like wearing a teddy bear. It was very chilly on the day we departed so I wore it to travel home, and I’ve worn it several times this week so the cost-per-wear has already been reduced significantly.

Frame boucle cardigan on rack in Wheat boutique.


When I heard the Eagles scheduled a series of shows billed as The California Concerts at LA’s Forum, I knew we had to go. The Eagles are a quintessential California (American) band and their music is truly the soundtrack of my tweens, teens, and beyond. The Forum has seen better days, but the Eagles refer to it as their ‘home field’ … and have long history playing there … they said preferred to do four shows at the Forum to one show at ‘the spaceship across the parking lot’ … referring to Sofi Stadium. And I’m glad they did it that way because it was a much more intimate experience and the sound was way better in a less massive venue. They asked the audience not to use their cameras, and most of us (reluctantly) respected that.

The Forum in LA night of Eagles concert.

As with many bands of this longevity, some of the original members have left. Glenn Frey died in 2016 and other original members have left and some have returned. Their current line up includes Glenn’s son Deacon Frey … who is a very good guitar player and vocalist. Vince Gill has been playing and singing with them for a long time. And, Joe Walsh, who was not an original member (but who can imagine the Eagles without him?) is such a character. They put on a really good show and it was a fun, fun night.

Jim stumbled across this documentary of the band, it’s about 10 years old. They’ve had quite a fascinating history … and if you love the Eagles too put it on your watch list.


There are so many wonderful places to eat in Santa Monica and neighboring Venice. But we’re creatures of habit and returned to our favorites. We also have limited time. I already mentioned our quick dinner in Casa Del Mar’s Lobby Lounge. We shared a wonderful prawn cocktail and out-of-this-world fig flatbread. I was all gaga over Mama Kelce on the neighboring sofa that I neglected to snap a photo of the flatbread in all its glory. The main hotel restaurant, Terrazza, is right off the lobby and with gorgeous ocean views. During the summer months the al fresco Patio Del Mar is a dream.

Both mornings we were lazy and ordered room service. I love room service and I really love a hotel fruit salad. Since the Covid era many hotels have stopped or limited room service options and it can take forever to arrive. Not at the Casa … our breakfast arrived lickity split both mornings. And I’m pleased to report that their hot chocolate is exceptional.

Room service table at Casa Del Mar.

On Saturday we walked to lunch at Ivy at the Shore. It’s a second location of the famed The Ivy in Beverly Hills.

Both Ivy’s are the happiest restaurants … from their bright, floral decor and pottery to charming servers and delighted diners. Their menu is extensive and everything is delish (and generously portioned!).

As if we hadn’t eaten enough already we had our second night’s dinner at 1 Pico, the ocean front restaurant at Shutters with a wonderful view of the Santa Monica Pier. I don’t know what got into me but I ordered the special catch of the day, a spiny lobster. A ginormous spiny lobster. When it arrived at our table it created quite a spectacle and neighboring diners took notice and said, we’ll have what she’s having. Sadly for them, I got the last one.

Glass of wine and martini at 1 Pico in Santa Monica.

1 Pico also offers al fresco dining in the patio courtyard at main entrance. No ocean view, but it’s a charming and magical spot to enjoy brunch or lunch. And so pretty lit up at night … I don’t think dinner is served here in the winter months.

1 Pico patio light up at night.

Jim recommends Meat on Ocean if you’re in the mood for a good steak. He’s been there on business many times. We walked by … it’s not far from Ivy at the Shore … it’s a wonderful location. If our stay had been longer I would have booked a table.

Other things to do? You mean other than eat? Hmmm. I’m kidding. Sort of. My visits to Santa Monica have revolved around other events … work related, concerts and shows and so I haven’t gotten out about about much aside from walking along the long stretch of gorgeous coastline, up and down the Santa Monica Pier and to and from restaurants. And there are so many wonderful restaurants, that can keep you pretty busy.

Santa Monica Pier.

I’ve already mentioned the obvious, walking on the beach and the pier. If you’re traveling with kids, the pier is a must. If not, talk a walk out to the end of the pier for a great view back toward the shore and maybe catch the sea lions antics. Otherwise, it’s a boardwalk like any other and I’m not a fan.

Overpass overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica.

Rent cute bikes at Casa Del Mar or Shutters and pedal up and down the paved beach paths to neighboring towns.

Both hotels have spa’s, excuse me, Wellness Centers. It’s not a luxury, it’s self-care.

Woman wearing visiting hotel spa.

And of course, each hotel has an amazing pool/spa area … at Shutters you can rent wonderful poolside cabanas. I mean, seriously, why leave the hotel?

View overlooking the pool at sunset at Casa Del Mar.

The Santa Monica Farmers Market – on Wednesday and Saturday – is an easy (less than a mile) walk from the hotel.

The famed Erewhon Market’s Santa Monica location is just two miles from the hotel and I intended to walk there Sunday morning. But the weather took a turn and it was chilly and very windy so we passed on it. Jim breathed a sigh of relief to avoid paying $20 for a smoothie!

The Getty Villa is not to be missed, or so people tell me. I’ve never been but I swear I’m going to make it there on our next trip.

Santa Monica Beach.

For more ideas of places to eat, sip and shop check out Goop’s Westside LA Guide for the most up to date hot spot info.


This dispatch is getting a tad long so here’s a brief rundown of my packing.

On the plane I wore Madewell’s super wide-leg jeans, a white t-shirt under a cropped cable knit sweater and Dolce Vita tennies. I didn’t have time to change and wore the same thing to the concert.

For lunch at the Ivy I wore my Alo trousers (I love these pants), the same white tee, a cashmere sweater and Adidas Superstars. I brought my Everywhere bag to use as a crossbody. I took it to the concert too … The Forum has a clear bag policy, but the Everywhere bag meets the size requirements to be an exception.

To dinner at 1 Pico I wore my New Year’s Eve outfit … the one that I didn’t wear on New Year’s Eve. Long story. The Michael Stars black midi-dress was a purchase from Kim’s blog last year, and I threw over a many years old Joie leopard print cardigan with Via Spiga booties.

I brought a pair of straight leg jeans that are easy to roll up for walking on beach, my cozy Quince cable knit cardigan and Birkenstock clogs.

I brought a pair of joggers, another white tee and this cropped heather grey sweater (currently on sale for $29.40!!! I have it in oatmeal too.) to wear on morning walks. I wore the same outfit to travel home because after eating non-stop for three days I didn’t dare attempt to zip up my jeans. There was no room to spare in my suitcase, plus it was cold, and I wore my new boucle cardigan for the trip home too.

What I should have packed and didn’t … a hat and flip flops. What a rookie mistake.

Yes, I packed too much, but I’m proud to say I got everything zipped into my carry-on bag (although with JSX there’s no carrying-on) without having to sit on it and struggle with the zipper. Oh, and I brought along my Ivy Cove East West Tote (remember to use my code SPRITZER20 for 20% off site wide). It doesn’t have a zip or a snap closure, so I used a purse dust bag inside the tote to hold the contents and cinched it up. Good thinking, right?!

Woman standing in Casa Del Mar hotel room with carry on luggage.

So there you have it, a little recap of our jaunt to Santa Monica.

After checking out we plopped down in the Lobby Lounge for an iced tea and quick bite.

After reviewing our hotel bill, Jim may have needed something stronger.

Man sitting on sofa in Casa Del Mar's Lobby Lounge.

Odds & Socks ~

Last November I started taking yoga classes again. I noticed this cute sweatshirt style jacket on a woman in one of my classes and ordered it in true navy . It arrived this week and I really love it. Especially the longer length in back … I like to keep my tushie covered when at all possible. Anyway, it’s on final sale for $99. The true navy is sold out, but it’s also available in a beautiful smoked spruce in sizes 2 & 4. Lulu clothing can run small, I ordered a 4 and it’s a really good fit. You can also sign up to be notified when your size and color choice is back in stock.

It’s that time of year and our Meyer lemon tree is going bonkers. If your lemon basket runneth over these are a few recipes ideas I shared last year that might come in handy.

Lavender Lemon Tom Collins and Lemon Pudding Cakes.

Lemonade Hot Toddy and links to Ina’s Lemonade and (very best ever) Lemon Cake recipes.

Meyer Lemon Fettucini

Current Favorites ~


And that’s what I have for you this week.

Let’s see what’s inspiring Kim and Elizabeth …



Let’s circle back to the House Love giveaway.

Congratulations, again, to Karla and Karen!

I was blown away by everyone’s wonderful comments and cleaning tips.

There were some recurring themes.

If you hop back over to last week’s post and scroll down to the comments section,

you’ll find a wealth of great info.

Until next time, cheers from Snowberry!

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  • Love your blog, great resource. I also enjoy your humorous writing! I’m planning a long weekend away for FEB and we are leaning towards Palm Springs, for the sun. I’ve never been (and I’m a Bay Area native!) so if you have any tips that would be a great post, too. Thanks!

    • Vallette! Palm Springs sounds like an ideal getaway. And February is the perfect month. I haven’t been to Palm Springs in years. Maybe I should plan a trip too. And we can compare notes. Keep me posted! xo

  • Wow, what a wonderful time! Sounds like the perfect New Year getaway . Thanks for sharing, your storytelling recall is exceptional. Makes the reader feel like they are actually walking along with you. I can’t imagine the time you spend on the blog. Pictures, events, links…..thank you!

    • Linda, thank you! That is so nice of you to say and I’m honored that your take time to read my little blog. You’re the best! xo

    • I was going to say something similar. Really fun post, the bookcase pictures, meals, outfits, hubby…enjoyed it all.

  • Juliet, What a fun getaway. Love to see all the beautiful details at this pretty hotel! I am in love with all the fabrics and blues and lovely touches of beach inspired decor. Looks like they have a dream spot. I have been to Shutters once for a drink and seen that cute outdoor area. We used to take our kids for a few days and stay at the Loews Hotel which is next to Shutters and is sadly shut down. We loved the proximity to the beach ( Kids loved all the muscle beach stuff and swings and the ability to walk down to Venice which has some great shops too.- Also the outdoor mall a few blocks away.)
    I love the Ivy! Yes agree everything about it is a dream and I always see celebs. You guys ate at some beautiful places and I am saving all of it. The pic of Jim with the bill is cute. Looks like you did a great job packing! Love the pants and sweater with your adidas! Cute combo for a winter California trip. You are lovely in the tank dress too. I love it with a long sweater right? I am dying over that Frame cardi! Gorgeous. Well this was fun and I am now scheming on how I can so this same getaway! Saving all of this! xo

    • Kim! You’ve got to plan a trip to SM … without the kids. Although the muscle beach situation is fun to watch. Anyway, the hotels … the Casa and Shutters … are so your vibe. Maybe you and I should do a girls weekend there and just sit in the lobby and soak up the fabulousness. Hope you’re feeling a lot better today and ready to get out of the house and enjoy the (rainy) weekend. xoxo

  • I always love reading your posts on Saturday mornings! Sounds like you and Jim had a wonderful getaway and I love the Eagles! All your wardrobe choices for the weekend were simple and stylish. The black tank dress looked great on you and I love how you styled the dress with booties and the leopard sweater! Looks like 2024 is off to a great start for the Russell’s!

    • Good morning, Jane! And thank you … I’m honored you take time to read my little blog. I’m sure from time to time you absolutely cringe! 😉 Going to the concert reminded me how much I love the Eagles too. Guess what I’ve been downloading this week?! Happy weekend! xo

  • I’m curious how tall you are? I am 5’4” with short legs and while I love the wide leg pants and jeans I feel swallowed up in all the material. Do I just need to get used to the look? I can no longer wear heels because of a foot issue.

    • Good morning, Harriet. Like you I’m 5’4″ but I wouldn’t say my legs are short … I’m pretty evened out all over. I also have a hard time with heels and a suggestion I’d make is sneakers or loafers with a little platform. An inch, even 1/2″ helps gives the illusion of longer legs … or at least I delude myself it does. Also a platform is much more comfortable. I love the look of a chunky shoe, so lugs sole loafer – they make me feel statuesque. Ha! I think with an extra inch of heel and an elongated pant hem you might be surprised! xo

  • Hi Juliet,
    It looks like you had a wonderful get-a-way
    weekend. The Hotel Casa Del Mar is a lovely place to stay. I can tell it’s right up your alley.
    Great way to start the New Year off seeing The Eagles. Life is about the experience. The meals were enjoyed too.
    You looked like a “hot mama” in your slip dress and leopard sweater. I say you “go girl.”

  • Wow, what a trip you had, Juliet! As I sit here watching my property flood for the second time this week, I have to say I am envying your much more glamorous life. Love all your outfits and the hotel looks beautiful! I am traveling to Minnesota later this month — almost as glamorous, ha! But I get to celebrate my grandson’s first birthday, so I am not complaining! Have a great week!

    • Hey Molly! I’ve never been to Minnesota so I’d be super excited. And, of course, celebrating your grandson’s milestone birthday is icing on the cake. Thinking of you and hoping these storms pass quickly without further destruction. xo

  • Juliet, it looks and sounds like you had a wonderful trip.
    JSX sounds like the perfect way to travel, I love the idea of skipping the big airports and the hassle.
    Your hotel looks so beautiful and perfect for a nice weekend relaxing. I can see why you did not want to leave the room, I wouldn’t either.
    Food is always a good idea, and great meals within the hotel or walking distance are even better. It looks like you enjoyed several delicious lunches and dinner. Where is the photo of the spiny lobster?
    All of your outfits look beautiful! And I love your new sweater, the perfect neutral and something that you will wear for years to come.
    We love the Eagles! I will have to look up the tour dates and this video.
    Have a wonderful weekend Juliet, stay warm!

  • What a fun and beautiful time away! I always love reading about your travel adventures. Happy New Year, Juliet!

  • What a great post! I stayed at that hotel years ago, such a great location. Hubs and I went to the Eagles concert on Friday and had a blast. What great musicians , songs and harmonizing! Spectacular!

  • Well this sounds like fun! We love the Eagles! We haven’t stayed in Santa Monica since the kids were young. Sounds like a fun getaway!

    • Cindy, you and Steve deserve a getaway weekend at the beach. Although you’re so close to so many wonderful beaches. xo

  • Well, my friend it looks like you are living the good life. The trip to Santa Monica looked great Lucky girl. You keep this up and Jim will never retire which might be good.
    PS It’s next week and a half.

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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