Santa Monica and Temecula

Santa Monica Pier at Sunset

This weekend, Dave and I packed in a whole lot of “California” before we head back to Indiana for a visit! I’ll be there for two weeks starting on Friday, and Indiana and I have this ongoing conversation right now. I demand that the weather will be no more than 67 degrees the whole time and no less than 40. Indiana says she is considering my request. *Fingers Crossed*

Friday night we headed to Santa Monica, home of Kelly and Winston! We went to a swanky hotel right on the water called Shutters on the Beach. It was everything you would expect out of a Santa Monica beach hotel—gorgeous, ritzy:

Shutters on the Beach

And celeb approved!

I casually mentioned it would be fun to see a celebrity, because I know they’ve been there in the past—and what do you know, we ended up sitting next to Bethenny Frankel. I wasn’t a Real Housewives of NYC watcher, but I do respect Bethenny for her ingenious SkinnyGirl Margarita creation. 🙂 She was beautiful in person!

We got to share this incredible view with Bethenny:

Beach palm trees

They sky just kept getting prettier and prettier. We grabbed a table outside for happy hour, and the colors changed every few minutes until the sun faded away completely.

Santa Monica Pier at Sunset

(This is the same shot as the very first one, only about 10 minutes later!)

My martini glass wanted in on the photo action, and since it was basically gin and three olives, I let it. You’re a good man, Shutters on the Beach bartender.

Martini glass

Hi, beautiful clouds! Thanks for stopping by.

Orange Santa Monica Sky

The view when it was pretty much dark was so great, but a little harder to convey in photos. Forgive the blur—I didn’t have a tripod—but this next one shows you how bright the colors were!

Santa Monica palm trees

And the sun sank fast here…


I played around a little with this last one, which was taken right before sunset. I love the Santa Monica ferris wheel!

Santa Monica Pier

So Friday night was a great time. I managed to not inappropriately stare at Bethenny and ate some incredibly delicious food. This is always key.

Then Saturday, Dave and I headed to Temecula, which is Southern California’s wine country, basically. It’s a cute town with a lively little square, and then you drive about 10 miles out to all the wineries—there are 23! We hit 3 of them…but we didn’t get there till midafternoon and took our time at each one. (Now that I say that, 3 out of 23 sounds pathetic. We are going back.)

More pretty views!



Vineyard Temecula Winery

Win barrels

This one had a beautiful rose canopy we walked under to get in …it’s called South Coast Winery.

Rose canopy South Coast Winery

It was our favorite (except one other one that had deep-fried pita chips, which tried to steal the top spot just for that—because, hello, deep fried pita chips). If you’re a winery and you don’t have cheese, chocolate, or something munchy—at the very least crackers—no one will like you. Fact.

South Coast clearly knows what they are doing, even sans pita chips!

Winery awards for blog

It had a great atmosphere and delicious wine.

Lamp at Winery

After South Coast, which was our final stop, we found ourselves at the casino, where I won $130 on a nickel machine and Dave *cough* lost money courtesy of karma for making fun of me for liking slots *cough* playing blackjack. Then we took my winnings to a country western bar called Stampede, where every single person in the bar knew how to line dance except for us. (I’m exaggerating a little bit—but only a little!) I used to know how to line dance and am now determined to know again. How does one let themselves forget how to boot-scootin boogie?! Disgraceful.

There was a also a mechanical bull. If I wasn’t wearing a dress, everyone in the bar could have seen fall me off of a mechanical bull. (Bull riding is clearly off limits in a dress, correct?) I always laugh when people fall off of mechanical bulls, so I would expect no less if it was me.

Have a good Tuesday!

Santa Monica, Temecula, wine tasting, beach, sunset, line dancing



  1. Temecula is awesome! Love the pics! I used to go to school near Santa Monica and thus went there a lot. Need more excuses for Temecula. =P Maybe gambling…

  2. Beautiful photography! And how cool that you sat next to a celeb 🙂 Helll yes skinny girl margaritas haha

  3. Awesome shots, I can’t believe how gorgeous it is there. And I would have freaked out if I was sitting next to her! I watch the show occasionally, but any celebrity sighting is enough to send me into a star struck frenzy.

  4. Santa Monica is one of my favorite places…and so is Temecula! I have relatives in both locations, so I am a frequent visitor from NY.
    Love the pics—they took me right back there!

  5. Isabelle@cheesymiteapples says:

    Stunning photos! Great tasting wine…I’m jealous.
    Mechanical bulls are so much fun. First time I went on one was in Tijuana Mexico.

  6. Those pictures are so beautiful!!

  7. Your sunset pictures are gorgeous! It looks/sounds like you had a beautiful time! 🙂

  8. Your pictures are once again stunning and so professional! I think I say the same thing all of the time, but I am ever-impressed by your photos 🙂

  9. Hey I was just at Santa Monica a few days ago! 🙂
    I never got to take such stunning pictures though. You’re making me re-appreciate all the beauties of SoCal.

  10. I just love your photography! You should post them to pinterest 🙂

  11. Such unbelievably gorgeous photos!

  12. You make California look so so beautiful!! Good luck with the weather deal 🙂

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