california top ten

california

Wow! What a jam packed, absolutely awesome, totally perfect vacation. Der and I are back from 10 days in the sun experiencing all things California. The week started in the Palm Desert, more specifically, in the picturesque and perfectly manicured resort city La Quinta, CA. Fittingly, we stayed at La Quinta Resort & Spa which was a perfect home base for experiencing Coachella! Following that a drive up the coast Santa Monica-Santa Barbara-Carmel by the Sea-San Francisco rounded out the trip. Here are some of my favorite parts…

1. The weekend festivities at Coachella deserve their own line. The weather was hot and the music was pumpin’. Some of my favorite performers include; the Neighborhood, Passion Pit, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House, The xx, Ben Howard, Shovels & Rope, the Lumineers, James Blake, La Roux, and Pretty Lights. It was a thrill just to see how the whole thing went down. We approached it all very laid back, no rushing around { I mean you can’t possibly see everyone } and really just took it all in. The sights and sounds along with yummy food and gorgeous weather made it an awesome weekend.

2. A quick lunch + shop stop in Silver Lake on our way to Santa Monica was great. I love this area! We had a very yummy lunch at Local Restaurant then stumbled upon my new most-favorite-shop-ever. Such a wonderful breezy atmosphere, fresh smelling candles, beautiful housewares, gorgeous accessories, a small selection of carefully curated designer duds. Oh, and the name, it’s called Lake Boutique.

3. Our one night stay in Santa Monica flew by and it was shockingly cooler than the past few days spent in the Palm Dessert { good thing for picking up a new sweater at Lake! } We celebrating Ders birthday with dinner at Barnyard in Venice.

4. Early the next morning we hopped in the convertible to start our journey along the Pacific Coast Highway. We had brunch in Malibu on the beach and I also just had to stop in at Consentino’s Fresh Flower Market which, as it says on their site, is the most beautiful store in Malibu. I was totally inspired by their arrangements of succulents and cacti. Definitely my next project…

5. Our first stop was Santa Barbara which turned out to be one of my favorite places along the way. Very neatly laid out, great for biking, strolling, relaxing. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen to be one of my favorite restaurant cities { I didn’t care for either one we went to } but we always started the evening at the hotel resto/bar which was the perfect spot for a Champagne cocktail, a few apps, making a few new friends, getting invited to a wedding { of course we couldn’t attend; how much fun would that have been! } The hotel was The Canary and their restaurant, which was re-branded about a week prior to our arrival, is called The Finch and The Fork. It’s the perfect hotel bar.

6. An amazing yoga class in Santa Barbara at Yasa Yoga; recommendation courtesy of Goop.com { thanks Gwyneth! } Located in an historic Santa Barbara building with gorgeous wood floors, 20-foot ceilings with exposed beams, and run by a husband and wife team who are very passionate about their practice.

7. The next portion of the coastal drive was my absolute favorite! The drive from Santa Barbara to Big Sur for our one night stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea, was absolutely breathtaking. Driving up the Chumash Hwy through Los Padres National Forest and then eventually ending up cliff side along the ocean is a sight to be seen. Upon recommendation we stopped at Nepenthe Restaurant for lunch. Which I would, in turn, recommended to anyone and everyone doing this drive. Close by the restaurant is a great place to head into Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and do a short hike through the redwood trees to the Pfeiffer Falls and the valley.

8. Our scenic route, lunch, and hike, brought us into Carmel by the Sea later into the evening and we stayed at a charming B&R called The Colonial Terrace. It wasn’t quite on the downtown strip, but not that far away, and we were able to enjoy a wonderful dinner paired with wines at the notable Andre’s Bouchee. A restaurant that is honoured by Wine Spectator as having one of the most notable restaurant wine lists in the world!

9. The final stop was San Francisco and really think I picked some gems when it came to restaurants. The only downside was that I did find the restaurants to be so far from anything else { and they took ages to get to } but it was well worth it when we finally did.

a rustic dinner at Outerlands; locally sourced,
organic fare served in a warm, handcrafted setting.

one of my most favourite brunches ever in Noe Valley
at Pomelo; I highly recommend the huevos motuleños

cocktails at the hotel restaurant were amazing because I
happen to love all things TIKI! the Tonga Room and Hurricane
Bar in the Fairmont does not disappoint with a live band
performing on a thatch-covered barge over the lagoon, classic tiki
cocktails and periodic light tropical rainstorms complete
with thunder & lightening. such a blast!

and our final night dinner at an interesting venue, Foreign Cinema,
where foreign and independent films are screened in their covered
outdoor courtyard. our film du jour Jiro Dreams of Sushi

10. Oke last but not least is really just to say that my dream trip was every bit as great as I thought it would be! I think that y’all should get out there and do it your own way and have an amazing time !! xx

{ image 2 : 5 : 7 : 9 }

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