California Vacation Recap + Things to do in the Bay Area

Two weeks ago I was visiting my mom and dad in California. Every time I go home to visit them I have a great time, but this one was just so great! I am so thankful for my time with them and we had so much fun, I thought I'd recap what we did.
When I first arrived my mom and I went to get our nails done together. Always so fun! The next day we went to Santa Cruz, where my dad has a new office center (you can check it out here if you're in the market for a co-working space). My dad's company recently bought this building, so they are revamping it a bit. I chose the paint colors for the office a couple of months ago, so he took my mom and me to see it all completed. Across the street from his office is a fun market-like set up with one of our favorite coffee shops (I got my husband some coffee beans because he loves them so much!) The floor was so cute, I couldn't help it! #ihavethisthingwithfloors <--- black hole hashtag full of gorgeous floors  (and cute shoes!) on Instagram ;)

 We shopped around a bit downtown Santa Cruz, then headed to our favorite winery in the Santa Cruz mountains called Regale. My parents have been members for years, so we've enjoyed lots of gorgeous afternoons up there. It's even where my college graduation was! If you've never been, it's a must! The roses were in FULL bloom!

  The view:

While in town, my new lipstick arrived and I love it so much! So did my mom, so she bought one also! The lipstick is from Beautycounter and it's long lasting (compared to our other lip "sheers", this one lasts a whole lot longer! Usually 3ish hours on me!) This color is called Brunch. It's a really sweet neutral, tawny pink. I also got the First Date color, which is a bright pink and I'm obsessed with that one!
The next morning my mom and I drove down to Carmel (the sweet little beach town we got married in almost 2 years ago!) The reason we chose this town for our wedding was because my family and I grew up going there. Every time I'd come home from college, my mom and I would go to Carmel by the Sea for the day to shop and eat and enjoy the stunning beach and white sand. I even wrote blog posts about our trips. This one reflecting on the ocean is my favorite.

We shopped around the town, then ate at my favorite restaurant for lunch called Grazings. It's SO good! I always get the chicken BLT.

Then we headed out to Carmel Valley, because typically it's sunny out there even when it's foggy by the water (which is most days!) We stayed at Quail Lodge hotel for the night so we could spend two days in our favorite town. We just adore this hotel! We sat by the pool for 30 minutes each day, which was just enough to get a little color. The roses were so beautiful all over the property.

We went up to Carmel Valley Ranch for dinner (the hotel my parents and I stayed at the night before our wedding) and enjoyed a delicious pizza and some wine. This is the view right off the restaurant and pool / hot tub.

After dinner they had a smores station set up, so we endulged in one :)

On the way back to our hotel, I spotted 3 baby deer and their mama along the road! They were SO cute and small!

That night we watched The Bachelorette together (so fun ;)) and then the next morning we got up and went to a cute nursery in the Carmel Valley before heading back to town. It is called Griggs and we just loved it.

We got back into Carmel by the ocean just in time! The clouds began parting just for us ;) My mom and I walked along the beach to look at some gorgeous homes on the coast. My mom has definitely instilled in me my love for the ocean. How can you look at it and NOT see the great love and power of our God?!

Some fun things to do in Carmel: 
- Shop up and down Ocean Ave
- Go wine tasting in Carmel Valley
- Visit Griggs Nursery in the Valley
- Get a tasting at Holman Ranch's tasting room off of Ocean Ave (that's the winery we got married at!)
- Eat at Grazings, Demetra Cafe (SO GOOD!), Hog's Breath or Mission Ranch (Clint Eastwood's restaurants), Il Fornaio in the Pine Inn, Casanova, The Tavern in the Valley, and get coffee at the Carmel Roasting Company (great pastries, too)
- Stop in the Cottage of Sweets for some cute candies! My favorite is the sour vines.
- Tour the Carmel Mission
- Walk along the beach
- Drive through the charming neighborhoods and gawk at the gorgeous homes!

That concluded our two days in Carmel. So thankful for that special time! A couple days later, my mom and I made a spa day at our favorite space, Burke Williams. We got there early to use the hot tub, then enjoyed our massages and ate lunch together at one of my very favorite places in town called Pizza Antica in Santana Row. The cobb salad is my fave, along with a fizzy berry limeade.

We went into the Loft and I loved this floral blue jumpsuit! It's really lightweight and super soft. It's supposed to be cropped at the bottom, which I also really like for summer.

 That night we went to BJ's for dinner (I used to work here as a hostess in high school, so always brings back memories ha!) It was my dad's birthday, so we got Pizookies, which if you don't know are cookies baked in pizza dishes. They're hot and topped with ice much YUM.

The next day I squeezed some work in! I met with a client in my area who I've been helping with thier house for a couple years. We are doing window treatments for the whole house now and I'm excited about seeing it all get done! For the playroom, we are going with a cute printed roller shade on the french doors. The Shade Store has some awesome options!

That was the end of my trip with my parents, as the reason I was out in California, to begin with, was to meet my husband up in Sacramento for a wedding he was in. My parents dropped me off in Sacramento with McCann on their way up to my grandparent's house in Graeagle (just and hour or so past Tahoe) which was perfect. After the rehearsal lunch, we had some time to kill, so we got my husband a haircut (LOL) and then I realized how close we were to Lake Tahoe and that my husband had never been, so I said "Let's go to Tahoe! Quick, get in the car!" We made it just in time to see the lake right before sunset, then during our dinner we watched the sunset.

We just made it into Tahoe City, which is the first little town you drive through to get to either side of the lake. We ate at Rosie's, but if we had more time we would have loved to try Christy Hill, Sunnyside or River Grill, all of which we were recommended.

The sunset was absolutely stunning and the town was so cute decorated for the 4th! Always the lake's busiest time of year. I'm so glad McCann could see it and experience once of my favorite places, if even for an hour or two!

The next day, and last day of our trip, was the wedding for our friends! It was at Monte Verde Inn in Foresthill and it was probably the hottest day of the year so far at 102 degrees! Phew. Reminded me of our wedding, which was 96 ;) It was a quaint and super charming venue, thankfully with a lot of shade.

Everything was really lovely!!
 The bride and groom looked beautiful and we're so happy for them! This is one of my husband's old roommates, so it's been fun watching them grow together!

Me and my handsome wedding date. Sadly this dress was from a boutique in Carmel called Cage that doesn't have an online store. But let me tell ya, it was NOT breathable! Oh the sacrifices we make ;) The shoes, however, can be found at Target here. True to size and very comfy!
That concludes my trip recap. Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow for my parent's bathroom renovation's gorg!
interior design website / services / portfolio


  1. Michaela, where is your denim jacket from (in the photo of you and your husband in Tahoe)? I love it and have been on the hunt for a light wash one.

  2. Colors School of Fashion Technology started by a group of the top fashion designer in Chennai and now with 10 years of success looking forward to more successful years in providing the best fashion designing course in Chennai.

  3. Hi Katie!! Sorry for my delay. Just now seeing this comment! This is my jacket but it’s almost sold out in all sizes:

    This one is slightly different but same brand (looks almost exact but the inside is a touch darker when you roll the sleeves!)


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