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Treasure Hunting in California

Treasure Hunting in California

Meaghan's Santa Barbara Shopping Guide

When I think California, I think of sun, sand and shopping. Sand and sun are a no-brainer, but shopping takes skill, planning and imagination. I always leave lots of room in my suitcase for the goodies I find on my travels to the beautiful west coast. On my most recent trip, I focused on finding unique items, American made clothes and great deals.

Let's just say I didn't go home empty handed.

Vintage Heaven

During past trips to Santa Barbara, I've been overwhelmed with the vast array of shops - and so little time to explore them. This time, we decided, or should I say I insisted, we needed at least one full day to take in the shops of Santa Barbara.

Vintage from Punch, Santa BarbaraVintage from Punch, Santa BarbaraI'm in love with hunting down unique vintage items, especially vintage accessories. I find myself imagining the history of each accessory, where it's been and what it's seen in its lifetime. Walking into PUNCH on State Street I was surrounded by items with stories to tell. I know it's a great shop when I can spend over an hour inside just being mesmerized by all the treasures. PUNCH has everything. From the vintage accessories I was hunting for to shoes, dresses, glassware and furniture. Everywhere you look, you're transported to a different era.

I limited myself to only a couple of purchases, one being a beautiful vintage owl necklace for under $20...a steal for sure. I've received many compliments on it, but best of all a woman came up to me at an event and told me how she remembers when she was a little girl buying the exact same owl for her grandmother. Seeing her face glow with the warm memory made this purchase priceless.

It's all in the details

best shopping in Santa Barbarabest shopping in Santa BarbaraLately I'm finding myself attracted to flowy blouses and dresses and I knew I'd be able to find them in abundance in California. But little did I know I'd find them at such a great price. While still on State Street in Santa Barbara, nearing the end of my day, I stumbled across a shop called Gossip. As I entered, a smorgasbord of gorgeous fashions overwhelmed me, clothing made of wildly different materials and patterns not easily found shopping in a mall.

What caught my eye was the unique and clever small touches of detail. At first glance, I assumed this would be a looking-only store, but the two blouses I fell in love with were both under $40. Another plus for me was that most of their inventory was Made in America.

I left with my purchases, happy this store didn't offer online shopping...

Shops, shops & more shops!

Premium Outlet bargainsPremium Outlet bargainsFinding our way back to Los Angeles, I can't help but stop at one of my favorite outlets. If I want to find name brand items but not pay high ticket prices, I visit Camarillo Premium Outlets, just 40 minutes south of Santa Barbara. My first time here I was completely overwhelmed by the never-ending shops and the busloads of people hunting down the best bang for their buck.

My second visit, a seasoned veteran now, I came more prepared. I knew the landscape and had pinpointed my targets ahead of time - I only had two hours to hunt, try on and purchase. This required serious skill.

My fave shop is LOFT by Ann Taylor. Business casual clothing with thoughtful - and beautiful - details. And since it's an outlet store, the deals are intoxicating, women stumbling up to the register with their piles of finds overflowing from their arms. I left wishing I had bought more beautiful pieces. When I returned home, I was pleasantly surprised to find they've opened up a store in Yorkdale Mall, Toronto. Hello heaven!


great one of a kind shopsgreat one of a kind shopsWhile the CHANEL's & Dolce & Gabbana's dominate the Los Angeles shopping landscape, there's a delicious selection of unique, eclectic shops just off the main streets. Wanting to find one-of-a-kind novelties, our local friends took us to Burbank to It's a Wrap. It's the only retail store in the US that offers the public clothing and props from movie and TV sets. Each rack is labeled with the movie or TV series it came from with the name of the star who wore it.  

I found myself hunting around the Mission Impossible rack. Most of the clothes have been tailored to the star who wore the items, so this can make it tricky to find a perfect fit. Most normal people don't fit into super-model sizes... But when you find a dress from All My Children and it fits, BLISS.

Shopping is hard work and it builds a voracious appetite. If you want to know where to find the best grub, check out my article: The Foodie Side of California. I took in as much as my tummy and taste buds could handle.

Have you come across unique treasures on your travels? We would love to hear about it! Find us on Twitter or Facebook and let's start talking!

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