Posts Tagged ‘Carmel’

Sunday in Carmel, CA

Day Two of Tiff’s Birthday Weekend.

So, after our kidnapping Tiff for her birthday and having a blast all day Saturday, Sunday morning we woke up and enjoyed the ‘breakfast’ part of the B&B at The Gosby House! Breakfast was served between 8A and 10A and was delish — definitely the benefit of staying at a B&B over a standard hotel. We had our morning coffee and juice to get us ready for a fun-filled day in Carmel, plus they had oatmeal, a vegetarian egg dish, bagels, muffins, fruit, English muffins and cereal!

Breakfast!
Breakfast!

Nana at Breakfast!
Nana at Breakfast!

After an early breakfast, we headed to Carmel-by-the-Sea to spend the day. Tiff had never been, so it was super fun for everyone! We arrived around 10A, so we were just in time to hit up a few of our favorite stores (Anthropologie and J.Crew) and spent a good hour in Sur La Table shopping for kitchen gadgets! If you’ve never been to Sur La Table — it’s like a Williams-Sonoma, but a little cooler <3.

We also hit up a number of art galleries to check out some really awesome art work: paintings, glass work, sculptures… amazing stuff. Plus, who can forget the amazing apothecaries, perfumeries and jewelers! We ended our shopping with a stop at Lush to check out the always-great handmade cosmetics. Tiff grabbed a lip balm and I got a  citrus-scented massage bar (basically a solid, portable lotion). All around great shopping day. We finished off our afternoon in Carmel by stopping in at The Grill on Ocean Avenue for a quick bite to eat (click here for the menu). In honor of Father’s Day, we made a mini toast to the best dad ever. We weren’t super hungry so Tiff and I opted to split the vegetarian sandwich (which was absolutely delicious!) and accompanying salad and the portions were huge! Mom and dad also split their turkey sandwich and added a bowl of chicken soup. We would have had major to-go food if we hadn’t split the entrees — half a sandwich and salad easily filled us up! Again, awesome service and a cute stop with a  little fireplace inside.

After our jaunt in Carmel, we decided to begin our journey back home. My mom, however, has an obsession with artichokes and had been begging to stop in Castroville (aka Artichokeland) for some artichokes on the way back! She had also been dying for a DQ soft serve, so we grabbed a few cones while passing through Capitola.

In front of the GIANT artichoke -- the epicenter, no doubt.
In front of the GIANT artichoke — the epicenter, no doubt.
Funnies thing ever.
Funniest thing ever.

Tiff and I were dying when we saw this sign… all she could say was, “Yeah… they don’t use illegal immigrants… Hah!” I have never seen so many artichokes in my life! The whole town is dedicated to artichokes — growing them, selling them and eating them!

DQ!
DQ!

DQ Mom 2

Mom wanted to stop at DQ, so we made it our last stop on the way back and grabbed a few cones from the DQ on Bay Avenue. Mom asked to make her large as large as possible and it ended up being as big as her head. Surprisingly (or not) she inhaled it and finished about the same time that my grandma and I finished our small cones!

Aside from the somewhat chilly weekend (60s in Carmel), the weekend was great. We all had an amazing time and it was super fun bonding. We’re planning our next trip now — deciding between Disneyland (maybe too packed for summer?), San Diego (wanna hit up the beach and the zoo!), or Las Vegas!

What do you guys think? What’s a good spot for a semi-inexpensive weekend family getaway?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

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Facebookers: To see the entire album from Tiff’s birthday on Facebook, click here!

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Capitola to Carmel!

Saturday’s Adventure.

Saturday was a total blast! After kidnapping Tiffany on Saturday morning, we landed in Capitola at around 10A after a pretty short drive! Capitola Beachwas absolutely darling! I visited another neighboring beach last year when I went with Hilary, but Capitola Beach is much livelier and there are loads of nearby restaurants, coffee shops and stores! We parked right on the town streets and took a two minute stroll down to the beach!

Hanging out on the beach (pre-sun!)

Hanging out on the beach (pre-sun!)

Tiff & Dad waiting for the sunshine <3.

Tiff & Dad waiting for the sunshine <3.

By 11A, the sun had come out and we were able to spend a few hours hanging out on the beach, soaking up the sun!
Afterwards, we strolled around Capitola for about an hour before deciding to move on to Pacific Grove to check in to our B&B. It was a short 40 minute drive from Capitola to Pacific Grove and we we were able to check it at around 2:30P at the Gosby House Inn. Our rooms were darling; large enough, cozy and a great value for the otherwise pricey area.

The Gosby House Inn

The Gosby House Inn

Our Room, Room #9!

Our Room, Room #9!

We loved our stay at the Inn (sans the treacherous staircase that scared my grandmother)! The service was great and we even had wine and hors d’oeuvres, which were complimentary for guests between 430P and 630P. It gave us some time to relax before heading down to Carmel for dinner.

My sister chose to check out The Forge in the Forest for dinner (check out the menu here) after perusing four restaurants that we had picked out. The atmosphere was awesome and the food was delish! Outside seating (if it’s not too chilly) is absolutely gorgeous. My sister and I each had a bowl of portabello mushroom soup and split a salad. Mmm! Plus, the atmosphere was such that we were able to get all prettied up and not feel out of place while there were other patrons totally dressed down dropping in for a bite to eat.

Tiff at the Forge!

Tiff at the Forge!

You can see how cute the outside area is in the background :)

Sisters at Dinner

Tiff & I at dinner!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to enjoy the Baby Cakes that I had ordered from a little bakery in Monterey called Layers; we got two red velvet, two lemon love, and two strawberry cream. They even wrote “Happy Birthday” on one of the baby cakes:

Our Baby Cakes -- Mmm!

Our Baby Cakes -- Mmm!

We had such a blast all around on Saturday — after playing a few rounds of blackjack, we ended up passing out around 930P (such partyers, I know) to get ready for our fun-filled day in Carmel on Sunday. More about that tomorrow — stay tuned!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

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Facebookers: Check out the entire album from Tiff’s birthday weekend here!

Happy Birthday, Sis!

I am actually doing some seriously relaxing and sight-seeing today!  We are spending the day on the beach in Santa Cruz, having dinner in Carmel & spending the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Pacific Grove to celebrate my sister’s birthday! She had no idea before today (which is half the fun!) so we kidnapped her this morning, packed her bags, packed a picnic lunch for our afternoon at Capitola Beach and we’re off! Check out yesterday’s post for all of the deets — got her some amazing new beach stuff, the most darling birthday “baby cakes” {courtesy of Layers Sensational Cakes in Monterey) and a room with a spectacular view! I’m so pumped and I hope she loves it as much as I hope!

Happy Birthday, Tiff!

If you’re reading this, I love you to the moon — you’re a pain in the ass, but you’re my best friend and I couldn’t imagine life without you! Glad my begging mom and dad for a baby sister paid off <3.

Shan & Tiff (2)Tiff & Shan (2)sleepy

shanni and tiff

Signature Stamp - Shannon

PS. After this weekend, I’ll keep you guys posted on the B&B, plus the eateries and places we’re hitting up! Should be a blast <3.

Sisterly Surprise!

So for anyone that knows me, you probably can attest to the fact that I am the consummate planner. Like a super planner. And it’s not because I’m anal, no… well, that’s a part of it, but the real reason is that I am obsessed with coordinating something awesome and memorable! I love when birthdays, holidays and other special occasions roll around because I am gifted with a new day for which to plan. Mother’s Day was the last thing I was able to plan and that was a success! We had a super fun tea party complete with homemade scones, tea sandwiches, bellinis and (of course) tea! We even had homemade place mats & roses for each of the moms present. Needless to say, there were a few tears. It was perfect. Well, as soon as Mother’s Day had come and gone, my mind was on to the next occassion — my sister’s 19th birthday!

As a preface, let me explain something: Not only do I totally love my sister to pieces, but she had to spend her 18th birthday in the hospital after undergoing a pretty major back surgery — although the surgery went well, her birthday was not so fun. She was stuck in a hospital bed, eating ice chips and downing pain meds like there was no tomorrow. I highly doubt she even remembers her birthday last year. Well, as a sister (and a super planner), I am destined to make this year a success. I had to wait until today to share this with you guys because I didn’t want her (and her nosy self) checking my site to see what was up for her birthday. She definitely knows that I have something planned, but she has no idea!  

So, here’s a run down of my super secret plan:

My mom, dad, grandma, Tiff & I will all be a part of this surprise weekend (although she is obviously not yet aware!)

I made reservations at a B&B in the Monterey area called Gosby House Inn. I managed to snag two awesome rooms for the night; grandma, Tiff & I are in one room, while mom and dad share the other (there will definitely be a review to come)! The B&B is kind enough to put celebratory balloons in our room before arrival as an extra bonus! The day before we head down, we’ll be packing up all of our clothes (and her clothes) for the weekend and throwing them in the back of the SUV where they are effectively out of sight. We’re also packing a picnic lunch for the beach. Mmmm! The plan is to stop at Capitola Beach on the way down and spend Saturday soaking up the sunshine at Capitola Beach (weather.com has informed me that it’ll be about 70 and sunny). Tiff hasn’t been to Santa Cruz or Monterey before, so this is going to be a super fun experience for her.

Since it is her birthday, aside from the trip, I got her a slew of beach-themed goodies for her to celebrate the day. I’ll be giving these to her on the way down (once we’re about 30 minutes in) so she can get an inkling of where we may be going:

tiff tote

A cute new beach tote to store all of her beach goodies!

tiff monokini

A very Tiffany-esque monokini inside the tote!

tiff hat

A super cute floppy sun hat!

tiff gladiator

Gotta love Aldo’s Hempe gladiator sandals!

maui babe

So she can work on her tan <3.

And, of course, a beach towel, a water bottle & a good book to read while laying out!

For Saturday night, in honor of her birthday, we’re heading into nearby Carmel for dinner and hang out time. This is the first real family vacation we have been on since 1998 (I know!!) so it’s much-needed! My mom has been dying to go to Carmel, so this is a must. With so many restaurants and the gorgeous June weather, it will be heaven! For dessert, I have ordered little specialty cupcakes from Layers Cake in Monterey, CA!

Baby Cakes

They are clearly delicious looking and they come in a slew of flavors including: mocha latte, lemon love, cookies ‘n cream, rocky road trip and red velvet. They are ginormous and half dozen will be absolutely perfect for our night in paradise. I, of course, am having her cupcake emblazoned with a big “T” on the top to designate which one is for the birthday girl (cookies ‘n cream) <3.

We’re currently leaving Sunday up to the Birthday Girl — she can decide whether she wants to stay in Monterey or head back up to the Santa Cruz area for some more beach time! Since it is Father’s Day, however, breakfast in bed will be heading to dad’s room along with a mini gift exchange (made him a scrapbook & got him some super cute beach attire).

Like I said, I am an obsessive planner. I just hope it’s a success & she’s happy with it. Tiffy, if you’re reading this:

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Little heart&soul action!

Little heart&soul action!

Lots of love & many happy birthdays,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Greenies & Gastronomes.

Soooo… Big Sur was a no-go for Saturday, but Friday at 7P until Sunday morning brought nothing less than greatness! Friday night we headed out for drinks and dinner with some friends and had a very quaint (and delicious!) night on the town. We ended up having a late-night dinner with fantastic folks that frequent Carmel and know what’s up! Dinner was at a place called Casanova’s; delicious Mediterranean (think Italian meets French!) food that’s served in 3-course meal style. The menu was limited (and not exactly inexpensive) but the atmosphere was top-notch and the wine menu was the length of a small novel!  Apparently they have an extensive wine collection (think wine from $60 a bottle to $1500 a bottle!) and although I’m not a huge wine drinker, I was definitely impressed! Note that there aren’t a slough of vegetarian options on the menu but the butternut squash ravioli (which almost our entire table ordered!) was sooooooo delicious; I’m currently scouring the internet for a comparable recipe! If you’re in Carmel with a significant other, this is definitely a place to check out! Like I mentioned, our dinner reservations were at 8:15P, and although that would have normally been okay, in Carmel it’s a tid late. The town shuts down around 10P so if you want to really take your time to enjoy your investment in dinner, a 7:30P reservation may be a better bet! <3.

Saturday was our day for some alone time and we definitely made the most of it! We started out with breakfast at a little place called the Village Corner(which we also hit up today!) Let me say — I’m not a huge breakfast person (my body is usually just fiending for coffee in the AM and food isn’t really on the top of my list until about 930 or 10A), but this place has AMAZING veggie benedict and exceptional coffee! I never get to have eggs benedict because they use meat so typically my breakfasts consist of egg white omelets with mushrooms, avocado, spinach and maybe —if I’m super lucky– some tempeh. This place, however, made eggs benedict with spinach & mushrooms in lieu of ham and it was FANTASTIC! Their dinner menu also looked top-notch but we never got a chance to experience it.

After breakfast, we headed down to the Del Monte Shopping Center in nearby Monterey to pick up some clothes, baubles, etc. and then made our way down Highway 1 to Point Lobos State Park. Although I’m not a fan of paying $10 to enter a not-so-large state park (I think Yosemite was only $7!!) it was definitely a sight. The hiking was nice; definitely more leisurely than strenuous but it gave us a chance to get outside and move and see the amazing Carmel coast. Lots of birds, seals and general wildlife which made the area fun, and the sun– which came out of hiding at around 1P– made the hike that much more enjoyable. If you’re looking for something active, this could definitely be a fun place, but I would park right outside of the park (and save the $10!) and not go too early as the coast is a little too chilly before the sun is fully awake!

All in all, our trip was great! When I have millions of dollars to my name it would definitely be a town with property worth looking into! The $5+ million homes lining the beach were definitely fantastic; we couldn’t stop commenting on how storybook the entire town was. Very clean, very quaint and very perfect. The entire town is comprised of boutiques, art, spas and fantastic eateries. Great little spot in California — we’ll definitely be down again some time this year! <3.

Hiking at Point Lobos.

Hiking at Point Lobos.

Dinner Date <3.
Chris & I at dinner
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In a nutshell ::  Carmel, CA = shopping + food + nature at its best