You know what the downside is in the world of social media?
You know what one of the downsides is in the world of social media? The amount of time you spend indoors.
Don’t get me wrong. Mobile technology is great. I love that I can do so much with my phone. I love that I can find wifi hotspots practically anywhere (including the airplane I’m on right now). This isn’t about unplugging.
While I agree that a certain amount of unplugging is highly recommended for anyone who spends their days in demand and/or online, sometimes you need to stay plugged in and just find new inspiration.
That’s exactly what happened to me over the past four days as I embarked on an adventure as part of the TWIN (Toyota Women’s Influencer Network) in Southern California.
I was so fortunate to be invited to a experience that embraces everything that Toyota is about: fun cars, appreciation of the outdoors, and driving off the beaten path. I was fortunate to do all of them, and have a little fun with my fellow TWIN bloggers.
I’ll set the stage but hope my pictures tell the story.
On Sunday, I flew from Baltimore to LAX where I was promptly shuttled in a Toyota Highlander, with my pals Amanda (@dumbparent) and Kate (@guavalicious), to the beautiful Loews Santa Monica Hotel (@LoewsSMBeach). The evening was filled with beautiful scenery, amazing food (at The Penthouse in the Huntley Hotel), and a reunion with many TWINs.
With fine food and drink in my belly and an extreme deficit of sleep, I drifted off for a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. I woke up and remember how my eyes are supposed to look!
Ready for a day of adventure and hitting the road. So we picked our driving team. With me at the steering wheel and Christy (@quirkyfusion) and Shell (@shellthings) as my trusty passengers, we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway to see what we could see.
You might noticed that I was kind of enamored with our cherry red Toyota RAV4. It was Christy’s choice (because I came down too late to call dibs on the Sequoia) and was surprised at what a fun, sporty little vehicle it was to drive.
It handled my erratic last minute turns to see the sites. It accommodated my need to stand up through the sunroof for just the right shot. And more importantly, it was a comfy ride that served us well on this scenic route.
Our adventure started in Santa Monica, took us up the coast with a lunch spot in Santa Barbara, and we ended up “glamping.”
Short for “glamorous camping,” it’s supposed allow regular, old, non-tent-loving folk to go camping. El Capitan Canyon hosted our group where we were each provided our own cabin. And that’s about where the glamor stopped. I’m cool with that though. My only real requirements for camping include a comfortable bed, no spiders, and indoor plumbing. I got all of those.
But I did feel quite lucky, if not glamorous, to attend a private wine tasting and dinner al fresco at the Sanford Winery, nestled in the mountains of Santa Barbara County.
Me + Wine + Wine Country = Heaven
Specializing primarily in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, these high-end wines lived up to their price and I actually splurged and bought myself a $36 bottle of Chardonnay (hey, I’ve got a birthday next month).
The experiences and inspiration lasted all four days and, as you might guess, would make for a pretty long post. So more details to come. The trip was too amazing not to share. But what made the trip for me was seeing some of the fabulous women I have come to call colleagues and friends. And they’ll be TWINs in my heart for quite some time.
(some TWINs you might see: Leticia @techsavvymama, Elena @ElenaSonnino, Leila @dontspeakwhinese, Christy @QuirkyFusion, Kristi @TweetingMama, Andi @AndiPerullo, Kate @guavalicious, Terra @terrabear, Lizz @lizzporter, Lindsay @linzlovesyou, Glennia @glennia, Barb @chaoticbarb, Danyelle @TheCubicleChick, Shannin @shannoncarino, Shell @shellthings, Amanda @dumbparent, Suebob @suebob, and Maricris @MaricrisG)
Thanks to Toyota and Clever Girls for including me in this program and offering me this amazing experience to not only connect with Toyota but also the lovely land of Southern California!
Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.