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Kristin Luna

Poshness in Sacramento?

It used to be that when you traveled to Sacramento, whether on business or pleasure, you'd be destined to stay the night at some impersonal chain hotel, like a Sheraton or Marriott (which are fine for some, but let's be honest, sometimes you deserve a little pampering). However, thanks to the gradual addition of a few quality inns and B&Bs, this is no longer the case. While not yet thriving like a state capital should, at the very least, Sacramento's heart is pulsating once again.

Comic Book Fanatics Descend Upon SoMa

If you happen to see Darth Vader wandering around the Moscone Center this weekend, closely followed by a hairy Chewbacca and a couple of Watchmen, it's not (just) because you're high. Rather, San Diego's revered Comic-Con festival will kick off its annual Northern California offshoot, WonderCon, Feb. 27 through March 1, bringing fanboys (and girls) from far and wide to San Francisco for a weekend.

Bloodhound: Hunting-Lodge Chic

San Francisco is not lacking in the themed bars category. Nevertheless, a new trendy watering hole has taken it upon itself to join the ranks. Five minutes in Bloodhound, which opened its doors in early February (replacing former neighborhood favorite Cassidy's) will make you wonder where exactly you veered off course in SoMa and wound up in your Uncle Billy's hunting room in West Virginia.

A Winter Wonderland

President's Day weekend travelers were rewarded for all the hard effort it took to actually reach Tahoe--a seven-hour drive from the city, if you were lucky--by the biggest snowfall of the season. And it just keeps getting better for ski junkies and snow bunnies alike. Northstar-at-Tahoe, for example, has accummulated 59 inches of powder in the last week alone, with the promise of more in coming tonight, as a winter storm lingers over the Sierras.

Upside of the Recession: Killer Last-Minute Getaway Deals

If you didn't plan a weekend getaway for Valentine's or President's Day in advance, that might have been a wise decision. Whereas in holiday weekends' pasts, you'd be looking at a 500 percent increase on day-before bookings, 2009 has proven that it pays to wait and be flexible. In an effort to keep occupancy high, many hotels are offering killer deals--deals that are sometimes even better than their normal rates (and when does that ever happen over a peak weekend?). This is where new California travel site, LocalGetaways, comes in. Offering amazing new specials each week on regional travel, you won't find better proposals anywhere on the Web. Check out some of the ones still available this weekend:

Escape to Carmel (On the Cheap)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it. You're broke just like the next person. So are we. But that doesn't mean any of us should go depriving ourselves of an occasional treat (and simultaneously pumping a little money back into the economy while we're at it) by taking advantage of one of the many amazingly affordable travel offers aimed just at people like us.

Escape to Carmel with this Steal of a Deal

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it. You're broke just like the next person. So are we. But that doesn't mean any of us should go depriving ourselves of an occasional treat (and simultaneously pumping a little money back into the economy while we're at it) by taking advantage of one of the many amazingly affordable travel offers aimed just at people like us.

Live in Spain for Free? Sign us up...

First, there was Australia's Best Job in the World offering (speaking of which, you can still apply to be an island caretaker in the Great Barrier Reef through Feb. 22!). Now, as if you needed another reason to quit your job--or revel in your recently unemployed state--Spain has to come along and drop a doozy on you, as well. Are you ready for this? Take a deep breath and listen here.

Eat, Play, Work

In our opinion, one of San Francisco's greatest attributes is its plethora of indie cafes and friendly coffee shops, eager to welcome you for an hour or two (or entire afternoon if you're an amiable patron and order something occasionaly). On the other hand, this makes it more difficult to sift through the masses and reveal the true gems. Which is where we come in: We've done the work for you. Whether you're an artist, self-employed or simply need to get out of the house once in awhile, hit up one of these beloved spots for a respite, quality eats and a little peace of mind (oh and occasionally, complimentary WiFi, too).

BEAN BAG CAFE (601 Divisadero St., 415-563-3634)

Avoid Bridezilla-dom: Enroll Yourself in Wedding U

Here comes the bride, all dressed in...stress? If you're totally freaking out about your upcoming nuptials, you may want to enroll yourself in what the Silicon Valley Four Seasons is calling their "Wedding University."

Held down in Palo Alto on February 8, it's essentially a crash course on how to plan a wedding.  Instructions will be offered on musical selection, the first dance, photography and videography, designing a wedding menu, personalizing your wedding, managing a budget, event flow and choosing a wedding dress and accessories.  Phew!

Oh, and there's champagne.

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