Highlights: Carmel

After a very happy Christmas Day and once I had gotten over the initial shock of such a thoughtful and extravagant gift, we headed out to enjoy the surprise Christmas trip from my boyfriend, a 3 (that turned into 4 – long story) night stay in Carmel!

I had never been to Carmel-by-the-Sea (which I learned is the city’s official full name), and honestly, had only heard of it because of Clint Eastwood. (How cultured of me, I know). As a lover of travel, good hotels, dining out, and sight seeing, I knew I was in for a real treat. Better yet, I was going to get 4 full uninterrupted days of adventure with my favorite person! 🙂

It was the prefect mixture of relaxation (i.e. spending lots of time lounging in our hotel room watching Saturday Night Live re-runs on VH1) and exploration (i.e. getting to know the city of Carmel).

Random fact: I just visited the city’s Wikipedia page and apparently there’s a law that prohibits the use of high heels without a permit due to uneven pavement throughout the town. Thank god I wore my Converse and didn’t get rock my 4 inch heels – it seems that would’ve been illegal!

Here are a few highlights from our Carmel-by-the-Sea adventure:

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{Our hotel, Carmel Mission Inn.}

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{Loved the beach-y inspired flair to the room with this cool electric blue lighting over the bed!}

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{Nothing like starting the day with room service.}

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{Exploring The Crossroads shops across the street from our hotel on a beautiful rainy day.}

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{This is by far the coolest way I’ve ever been served a vanilla latte! Nothing but nice things to say about our breakfast experience at “From Scratch Restaurant.”}

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{Exploring the shopping and dining places on the other side of our hotel, The Barnyard.}

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{View from our 4th floor hotel room. I loved all the trees, so much greenery.}

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{Roaming Downtown Carmel. Very quaint. Very expensive.}

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{400 Degrees Gourmet Burgers & Fries. This place was super cool! You placed and paid for your custom made burger order on the device at your table and your hot food came directly to you when ready. I predict we’ll be seeing this in L.A. very soon.}

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{Finally, I made a wish and threw a penny into this fountain in a park in Downtown Carmel. Here’s to hoping it comes true.}

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Highlights: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

During the Holidays, most of the fun for me comes from the build-up, immersing myself in the spirit of the season. Weeks of planning, shopping, listening to holiday music, wrapping presents, going to festive parties, stopping by The Grove, sipping warm beverages, decorating and then enjoying the warm glow of a Christmas tree; and before you know it, it’s showtime…

CHRISTMAS EVE

After a relaxing and lazy start to the day, we spent Christmas Eve in Downtown Santa Cruz walking along the quaint Pacific Avenue.  It was an afternoon perusing charming boutiques and the used book and music stores. Of course, out of all the boutique places around us, I go and buy something from The Gap (I know, which is like everywhere!). I also tried my boyfriend’s favorite cookie from his old stomping grounds (delish!) before meeting up for a casual dinner and movie with his family. We ended the night with a short drive around town to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. It was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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{Strolling Pacific Avenue.}

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{Enjoying the famous Lemon Drop cookie from the Pacific Cookie Company.}

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{Admiring the marquee of the old Del Mar Theater.}

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{Inside the Del Mar. Our Christmas Eve movie was Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3D. Warning: amazing visuals, super boring and shallow story line.}

CHRISTMAS DAY

Rise and shine, bright and early. Christmas day had arrived and it was filled with lots of smiles, gratitude, food and good company. Let’s just say Santa was very kind this year. It’s always the things you’ve had your eye on, but mentally filed away for another time that happen to magically appear under the tree that are my favorite. I also love a really good surprise. This year after giving and receiving gifts that couldn’t have been more perfect, my boyfriend went and did the unbelievable. The last gift opened was a paper confirmation of a 3 night hotel stay in Carmel. Our Northern California Christmas was being extended! Here are just few photo highlights that don’t even begin to capture all the highlights of that special day. I was in such a fog of happiness, I rarely took my camera out.

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{Sneak peek at some of the wrapped presents.}

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{Surprise! I’d been eyeing these awesome purple hand blown glasses from Maison Midi on La Brea for months!}

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{Picture this: A 4.5 pound bag of Hot Tamales, gift-wrapped! I didn’t even know they came this big!}

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{Victoria’s Secret gift card. Always a welcomed present.}

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{Getting ready for dinner.}

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{Hotel confirmation for a 3 night stay in Carmel!}