Sunstone Villa | Santa Ynez Valley

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A couple of months ago, hubby and I had a mini “workcation” in Santa Ynez Valley but it felt like we were transported to another country. The Tuscany region holds a special place in our hearts and Sunstone Vineyards & Winery is a slice right out of Italy! Aptly enough, our suite was named Tuscany featuring a huge balcony overlooking the vineyard and sunset. The whole experience was simply magical!

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Above picture, I am standing at the private entrance leading into our suite. That one corner alone is our huge room…but on the first night…we had the whole villa to ourselves because we were the only guests there! Before night falls, hubby had to walk the entire ground and locked all the doors because it was so quiet and I didn’t want anyone sneaking up on us while we were sleeping lol.

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clawfoot bathtub
Uhhh can we talk about that clawfoot tub? I’ve always been obsessed with this particular style and may have to hunt one down for my imaginary Tuscan home. 😛

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Hubby was really living the life, starting each morning with a cup of cappuccino followed by a glass of wine. Yes, you heard that right, he was drinking wine at 9am in the morning. Lucky guy! I wish I had more free time to take pictures of the interiors because every corner, from the kitchen to the fireplace to the staircase, they’re simply works of art. I must remember that for our next visit, because there will be a next visit. 😉 Big thanks to the wonderful staff at Sunstone for being so accommodating and we look forward to more relaxing time spent here.

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Honeymoon in Santorini Greece

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One of my greatest joys in life is being able to travel with my husband. I led a rather sheltered life and didn’t really do much or go anywhere…then all of a sudden…BAM!…the past few years were filled with the greatest adventures. I’ve always been consumed by wanderlust but it seemed like a farfetched dream rather than reality. It all started with a short trip to Hawaii, and as soon as we got home, I started doing more research and booking trip after trip. If you’ve harbored a love for seeing the world but somehow always held back, my advice is this, just do it. 😉

My husband and I got married in the fall/winter and decided to save our European honeymoon for June when the weather is warmer. We did, however, had a mini-moon in Maui following our wedding and boy, it was as expensive as the Europe trip! Should have saved all that money and added a couple more countries to our European itinerary instead. 🙂

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When you think of Santorini, blue dome churches are probably the first to come to mind right? We saved Santorini for our last leg of the trip and splurged for a 5-night stay at the Honeymoon Petra Villas located in Imerovigli, a small town between Oia and Fira. 1 of those nights were spent largely at the airport since high wind prevented our flight from going out. I have to admit my husband is the voice of reason and often questions my spending habits (like how much $$$ I paid for our hotel ha!), but once we arrived at Honeymoon Petra, he was in awe and loved every minute of it. So really, go ahead and splurge here because I PROMISE you won’t regret it.

Here I am all bummy in my travel clothes but couldn’t wait to instagram a pix of the amazing Caldera cliff view. Yes, this was right outside our door! I booked a suite in the newer wing and requested for the one with the best view. And best view is what I got!

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I adore all the details around our room. The attention to little details makes me so happy!

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I’m not sure how to describe our suite except that it was dome-like. It reminds me of a cave…albeit a very luxurious one haha.

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Even the bathroom is amazing. Love the white, curved arches and stone details.

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After a short nap, we made our way to Fira. Honestly, just walking about the resort already turned my legs into jelly because there were so many stairs. I know I know, I’m weak sauce.

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honeymoon petra pool

Look at that infinity pool and the 360° panorama view! We ate breakfast every morning at one of those tables while taking in the beautiful colors of the Aegean sea. Talk about paradise. This is by far the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed at. Oh and these pictures are not edited so what you see is what you get, Santorini is really this beautiful!

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The walk to Fira took us about 25 minutes (most of it was easy except for a few steeped areas). I was so tempted to buy a bunch of stuff but didn’t since we travel light. I always bring a carry-on suitcase, even for a 2.5-week vacation.

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Whenever I go to a Greek restaurant in the States, the first items on my order list are pita bread and tzatziki sauce. Guess what, they were so rare in Santorini. Must be a difference between regions since we found plenty of pita bread (and the best gyros) in Athens. I didn’t research for restaurants so much of what we ate were good but not memorable. Funny thing is, my best memories of Santorini food include warm bread and sweet tomatoes. Seriously I hate tomatoes and I ate a few of those every day.

santorini food

Honeymoon Petra is a family-owned hotel and we met and chatted with the owner several times. The main staff are also family members and they were all so nice and accommodating. When we asked them for recommendation of things to do, they said many guests love the 9-mile hike to Oia to catch the sunset. When I heard 9-mile hike, I almost fainted haha. Although I love walking, I do not like the idea of treacherous and rocky roads. And did I mention it was 9 miles? They said the view on the way to Oia alone is worth it and somehow I was convinced. Not only did I make it without dying, I actually enjoyed it very much!

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oia santorini sunset

There’s no doubt the sunset in Oia is beautiful, but what I didn’t prepare for was the sheer amount of people who had the same goal we did in mind. Every nooks and crannies were filled with people to the point where it was difficult to move around. So no, it wasn’t exactly romance in my book. We were like sardines on top of each other. 😀 If you happen to stay at a hotel with a sweeping view, I suggest enjoying the sunset there instead of camping out on the streets of Oia. I still recommend that hike though!

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Our hotel also owns a sailing center and we spent a day on board visiting the volcano and swimming in the hot springs. I knew I was kinda seasick before this, but I did not know how bad it was. It may look like I’m sunbathing here, but really, I was out like a dead fish. The captain, who’s the owner’s son, made a scrumptious bbq lunch below deck and I ventured down for a minute before having to run back up before I hurl. Several of my friends and families have tried to convince me to go on a cruise with them, but I will NEVER put myself on a boat/ship/anything that moves on water again. 😛

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We returned to watch the sunset from our hotel and it was breathtaking. And it was just the two of us.

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santorini by night
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We spent our last morning at the Honeymoon Petra eating breakfast in this little nook before having to say goodbye.

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honeymoon petra view

Oh Santorini, I’ve missed you every single day and hope we’ll meet again. Well, we’ll definitely meet again. 😉


Cape Cod Vacation

Hubby and I took a trip to the East Coast last fall and I’m now finally going through the photos. I used to be on top of these things but editing clients’ photos definitely comes before our own hehe. From Boston, we rented a car and drove ~1.5-2 hours before reaching Cape Cod. To me, Cape Cod is the ultimate relaxing vacation offering a slow-paced life, quaint town, maritime character, and lovely beaches. There’s a very serene and old-world feel here that’s probably more fit for the “older” souls likes us. 😀 This was our second time on the Cape and we didn’t have any specific destinations in mind except to see a few lighthouses, windmills, and finally, indulge in lobsters. Check, check, and check!

While driving by Pleasant Bay, I excitedly made hubby bust a U-turn as soon as I spot a dock full of beautiful boats. I seriously have a thing for cute little boats! To think of it, I have a “thing” for lots of things. 😀 Sigh…

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We drove on to see Chatham Lighthouse and spent the next hour roaming the beach right across the street.

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We chose Chatham Pier Fish Market for a quick lunch stop but unfortunately it wasn’t open that day. Phong struck up a conversation with a fisherman for what seemed like 30 minutes while my tummy was growling so I passed the time wandering around the pier in solitude. How breathtaking is the scenery!

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Food was never far from my mind, but I wanted to spend the afternoon in Eastham so we drove a bit to get to Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar. The sweet cashier saw our camera and we spent some time chatting about photography. She wanted me to write down the make and model of my camera and so she can save up money for one. 🙂


White hydrangeas madness…oh yes I’m trying to replicate this for our home.

Eastham Windmill is believed to be the oldest and last working windmill in Cape Cod. I felt a great reverence looking up at this wonderful piece of history.
We circled back to our last stop at the Nauset Beach Light House. The last time we were here, we experienced the most beautiful pink sunset. Unfortunately it was cold and cloudy this day so our time was cut short when it started drizzling.

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Hope you enjoyed following along with us! 🙂