Easter Weekend — Carmel and Pacific Grove, CA

 Single rose in my grandma's backyard in Salinas, CA. 

Single rose in my grandma's backyard in Salinas, CA. 

 

Salinas, CA and Monterey Bay has always been a familiar and nostalgic place for me. I've been here through every stage of my life. I've welcomed new family members in, I've grown up, I've said goodbye to family members, I've eaten lots of artichokes, I've drank lots of wine, I've made memories—all in this little corner of California. 

Given that my immediate family and I lived in Montana, it used to be just a yearly occurrence that we would come to visit our relatives. Lucky for me, I now inhabit the biggest little city in the world, and am just a 5 hour drive away (give or take depending on the hell hole that is Sacramento traffic... sorry I mean "Sac"). 

Once I moved away from my immediate family to live in Reno, NV I promised myself that I would continue to visit my family in CA. I am now lucky enough to visit multiple times a year—to see my cousins play sports, party with my aunt and uncle (#tequila), and spend much needed time with my grandma. 

So here we are. I spent Easter weekend of 2016 hanging out, taking too many photos (but really, there's never enough), and enjoying the area. Getting to take two days off of work, we've been able to see some pretty awesome stuff and actually make it a vacation. 

Here's a rundown of what I love in this area (omitting the Monterey Bay Aquarium this trip, but seriously, GO): 

Monterey, CA: 

Bull and Bear Whiskey Bar and Taphouse. 

I got to catch up with an old friend and grab a Stella here... awesome live music and atmosphere. Cool bubble lights, fire pit, and open sky with stars included. 

Alvarado Street Brewery. 

Get the pesto flatbread (and the De Tierra pinot), you're welcome. 

Carmel, CA: 

This trip, I purchased my grandma and I tickets to Smuin Ballet (prof. ballet based in SF). I've been meaning to attend one of their shows—they're contemporary, awesome, and I used to dance with two of the girls #duh. So we decided to go for it. 

And, it was amazing. They were at Sunset Center in Carmel, CA. They perform here quite often along with San Mateo, SF, Livermore, and Walnut Creek. If you want some extremely modern, athletic, and talented dancing in your life, I suggest you check them out. 

Of course, I had to dress for the event. So here's my cozy outfit brought to you by a few dif. places to be seen in the caption.

 Sweater: Francescas. Jeans: Levis. Ring: Francescas. Booties: Kohl's. Sunglasses: Those Ray Bans though.

Sweater: Francescas. Jeans: Levis. Ring: Francescas. Booties: Kohl's. Sunglasses: Those Ray Bans though.

 In case you couldn't see it well enough the first time.

In case you couldn't see it well enough the first time.

The Sunset Center itself is a nice venue. Here's a photo of the outside and inside of the theatre.

Outside...

 Outside the Sunset Center in Carmel, CA aka some flowers.

Outside the Sunset Center in Carmel, CA aka some flowers.

And inside...

 Pretty much stoked on life before Dance Series 1, by Smuin Ballet. 

Pretty much stoked on life before Dance Series 1, by Smuin Ballet. 

Before the show, we hit up La Bicyclette for a quick bite. It's definitely not your burger and fries bar food joint, but it's an awesome small plate and healthy spot. Perfect for filling up before walking the cutie streets of Carmel. 

 Quinoa Salad at La Bicyclette in Carmel, CA. 

Quinoa Salad at La Bicyclette in Carmel, CA. 

And of course coffee, which by the way was bomb...

 Please read that piece of paper. It came with the coffee and made my day.

Please read that piece of paper. It came with the coffee and made my day.

Alright, so then we got to the good stuff and went over to Pacific Grove, CA (which fun fact is where my parents got married, but that's beside the point). Take note that this is all right near Big Sur, just a little less crowded with tourists (I said a little). 

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 Pacific Grove, CA

Pacific Grove, CA

 PG, CA (PG is what the cool locals call it I think).

PG, CA (PG is what the cool locals call it I think).

And then, all of a sudden it was Easter, and the fam went to The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas, CA for an awesome brunch. 

Here's my outfit, complete with (borderline crappy) dutch braid (that was a first): 

 I tried. It'll get better I promise. Shirt: Dressed Boutique in Reno, NV.

I tried. It'll get better I promise. Shirt: Dressed Boutique in Reno, NV.

 Dress: Francescas. Booties: Kohls. Cardigan: Aerie... but like ten years ago sorry.

Dress: Francescas. Booties: Kohls. Cardigan: Aerie... but like ten years ago sorry.

And the post-brunch outfit, more for watching NCAA basketball and drinking wine and daquiris: 

 Shirt: Dressed Boutique in Reno, NV. Sweater: Francescas. Black knee high boots: Francescas. Jeans: Levis, duh.

Shirt: Dressed Boutique in Reno, NV. Sweater: Francescas. Black knee high boots: Francescas. Jeans: Levis, duh.

 

Pretty much any vacation that I get to take photos, spend time with family, and enjoy my coffee is a good one for me. But I seriously recommend the Monterey/Carmel area. It shouldn't be missed.

 Salinas, CA is one of the top produce capitals in the world. So naturally here's a blueberry bush I took a photo of.

Salinas, CA is one of the top produce capitals in the world. So naturally here's a blueberry bush I took a photo of.

 My camera and coffee... the 2 C's of life.

My camera and coffee... the 2 C's of life.

 If only I knew how to take care of orchids like my grandma does...

If only I knew how to take care of orchids like my grandma does...

 Cuz you have to.

Cuz you have to.

Anastasia Warren