the Monterey Concours

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My man and I spent the weekend in Monterey, visiting his family and searching for wedding venues.  And guess what! I think we found one, but I’ll refrain from jinxing it until we lock down the date with our church.

August is a big car month in Monterey, and this past weekend especially as auto enthusiasts from across the state (country?) celebrate car week.  If you didn’t know this already, Laguna Seca raceway is smack dab in the middle of Monterey, so all those race car dudes go nuts this time of year.  Hundreds of rare and collectible cars get auctioned off during the week.  Can you believe a car went for over $11.8 Million on one of the auctions! It’s unbelievable people have that kind of cash, while I’m sitting here stressing out about $75/head for a wedding.  *le sigh*

My fiancee and I popped in on Saturday to see what cars were up next for auction.  The event itself is closed to the public, you must pay to get into the auction, but we were able to see some beautiful cars lined up outside awaiting their turn for bidding.  Here are a few I fell in love with…

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Favorite Places – Big Sur

I love California. There are so many hidden treasures in my state, places to explore, small towns to visit, sights to see.  California is so vast, it makes me sad that I'll probably never get to fully experience it's nooks and crannies. One of my favorite places to visit is Monterey. I just loooove California's central coast, with it's desolate beaches and rocky cliffs.  I promise you I will live here one day. 

We pretended to be tourists this weekend while visiting my BF's family for New Year's.  We explored Carmel, 17 Mile Drive, and Big Sur, which is located a little further south from Monterey on HWY 1. I wanted to visit the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, which I've seen in photos but never in person.  Here are some of the photos we took on our voyage to Big Sur…

 

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 I was raised on these northern California beaches, so when I think of beach, I think of cliffs, rocks, seaweed, fog, and turmoil in the ocean.  Strangely, I don't think of warm white sands and sun tans at all!

 

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The cliffs were a little scary to say the least. Last year a piece of HWY 1 fell into the ocean! How crazy is that?

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Of course, my BF had to plank on the cement pillar standing inches from the cliff's edge.  And Rocco, just chillin in his winter sweater.


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I feel so lucky to be so close to gorgeous places like Monterey and Big Sur.  I would love to spend a weekend and drive down the entire California coastline, hit up places like San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara!

 

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Favorite Places – Las Vegas

Hey peeps! I spent the last few days in fabulous Las Vegas, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with my BF and his family. I had a blast! This was only my second visit to Vegas, and before this weekend I hadn't seen much of the strip so I made it a goal this time to visit other casinos and hotels.  

We stayed at the Mirage, which is a tropical themed casino and hotel.  I actually really like the Mirage, it's not too big where you'd get lost, like Caesars Palace. 

(all photos were taken with the new iPhone 4s)

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And it's located directly across from the Venetian, our favorite hotel.

 

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Favorite Places – Lafayette, CA

I am a gal of many towns, which means it's very difficult for me to call only one town 'my own'.  I've lived all over California, as far north as Cloverdale, and as far south as San Diego.  I was raised in wine country – Petaluma, Sonoma and Glen Ellen.  I moved south to San Diego for college, and finally, last year, I moved up to the East Bay for a new job opportunity.  So, when Centsational Girl invited her readers to share a little favorite somethin-somethin about our own home town, I decided to write about the East Bay's secret little hiding spot – Lafayette, CA.

Lafayette is located right on the other side of the Berkeley and Oakland hills, through the Caldecott, a quick blink past Orinda, and minutes before Walnut Creek.  It's very easy to miss if you're not paying attention.  The moment you pull off the 24 (which is a very busy commuter freeway), you'll find yourself in the most adorable town.  I swear, Lafayette is like the East Bay's Sonoma or Napa, minus the vineyards of course.

Lafayette is home to cute mom-and-pop shops; family grocery stores selling local produce; a square for hosting farmers markets and art festivals; a reservoir for picnicking, jogging and kayaking; delicious boutique restaurants and cafes – this only makes up a short list of the wonderful places you can find in Lafayette. 

My favorite spot in Lafayette to spend 'me-time' is at the reservoir.  I'm a runner, and a jog around the reservoir is no easy feat.  It's quite hilly! For a good run I would leave my apartment, jog to the reservoir, run around the lake, then jog back home.  The reservoir itself is nearly 3 miles around, and as you can see… it's gorgeous!  There are hundreds of wild turkeys, cats, birds and deer.  Who would've thought this sits just over the Oakland hills?

 

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