Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot! -- A Weekend in Palm Springs

Last weekend we headed to Palm Springs to meet up with Grandma and shop until we dropped (from sweat.)  It was 90-degrees all weekend.  But this helpful guide in our hotel room reminded us we should be thankful for the ability to eat breakfast outside on a patio, because back East, people are still shoveling snow.

Friday night we had dinner at Las Casuelas Terraza, a lovely old-school Mexican restaurant with a live band.  Then we walked around and perused the mid-century modern stores along North Palm Canyon Drive downtown.  Madelyn had fun with some of the statues that can be found sprinkled around Palm Springs.  Here's Lucille Ball and Einstein. We decided to spare our readers from Sonny Bono.


Saturday began with breakfast at Norma's inside the Parker Palm Springs, our favorite hotel in all of California. Madelyn had the crispy Belgian waffle with fresh berries and Devonshire cream. I had the Waz-za waffle with brûlée bananas on top. #Yum! Norma's is a splurge, but well worth it.

The Parker is a mecca for interior design fanatics and fashionistas. All the decor is by Jonathan Adler, but the outside spaces actually shine as much as the interiors. The 13-acre complex has 2 glorious pools -- from which we could see the snow topped mountain in the background -- lot of plant-lined trails, hammocks, fire pits and bocce ball courts.  The interiors are fab '70s mid-mod chic.  Someday I will have a giant upside down palm tree chandelier in my house, just like those at the Parker.  A girl can dream.

After leaving The Parker, we went to the Westfield Mall in Palm Desert. Don't bother. It is small, old, and has many empty storefronts. So we headed to the El Paseo shops. This lovely little street has a lot of high end shops, but they were a little too high end for our blood (and wallets). (Seriously - there's an unmet need for mid-range stores in the Palm Springs area for anyone who wants to go open a new shopping center.)  So we left and went drive by the house where Elvis and Priscilla used to live, and  the house Marilyn Monroe owned.  By then, it was getting late, so we went to do what we do best -- eat.  Grandma said we couldn't have milkshakes for dinner. But Madelyn and I overruled her 2-1, and headed for Great Shakes

Great Shakes is not a misnomer. I had the greatest chocolate malt of my entire life here a few months back. If you are ever in Palm Springs -- do NOT miss it!  Every shake comes topped with a donut, and the adorable '50s diner atmosphere makes you forget how many calories you are consuming. This time, I had a strawberry malt, and Madelyn went with a s'mores shake -- with toasted home-made marshmallows on top!

The next morning, we said goodbye to our hotel (Don't miss this photo op at the Parker, below) and headed for the Desert Hills Premium outlets in Cabazon.  There are 2 giant malls -- an East complex and West complex.  We only had the time and energy for the East complex, which was enough, as Madelyn scored four pairs of shorts, a pair of leggings, two shirts, a dress and a romper. Exhausted, we decided to drive the 2 hours back to L.A.

But first, because no trip is complete without some goofy roadside attraction photos, we stopped at the Cabazon Dinosaurs. I probably have 12 sets of photos from this place, but it never gets old. But then I am that mom that drove 30 miles out of my way to find the world's biggest olive, hoisted my kid up inside of it, and made her smile for the camera. If you are that mom too, the dinosaurs are for you.

Madelyn told me, "Mom, unleash the lead foot" and we were back home safely in less than 2 hours. Special thanks to Grandma for accompanying us on this trip. Until next time, happy trails!

Jennifer and Madelyn

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Welcome to our new travel blog!


Many of our Facebook friends and Instagram followers have asked us to start a travel blog to share all of our adventures, along with tips for finding unique travel experiences at affordable prices. Since travel is our greatest passion in life and we love sharing with friends -- we have decided to go ahead and blog!

Watch this space for tales from the road, from both a mom and kid perspective.  We hope you will find something that interests or inspires you.

Our travel philosophy could be called Do-It-Yourself-Chic. We read and research…a lot!  Then we book everything ourselves.  Once we are there, we never take a train when we could take a road trip. Isn't the whole point of travel finding hidden gems in tiny villages?  We don't do museums or theme parks (ok, sometimes we do theme parks) -- we do experiences that put us in touch with locals. We like to learn what life is like for people living in the towns, states and countries we visit, so we wander. For weekends away in the USA, we like to treat ourselves by digging up amazing little boutique hotels and then combing them with really bizarre roadside attractions, for photo ops and fun. We are a quirky mother-daughter duo who loves living in Los Angeles, but loves leaving it even more.

For those who don't know us, this is Madelyn:

Madelyn is 11. She loves her two Persian kittens, Lucy and Desi. (Lucy is the redhead, naturally.) Madelyn does amazing accents. I've never met a kid who, when commanded "do Russian!," or "do French," can pull it off flawlessly like she can. She adores traveling for many reasons, but mostly to add to her collection of accents. She is a fearless eater, and will try anything once. Volleyball, playing guitar and crafting are other interests. She has an old soul and a sharp wit that will surely keep readers of this blog entertained.

This is me, Jennifer (aka Mom):

I should have been born a mermaid. I am happiest when I am snorkeling in clear blue waters. But since I need to work on dry land, I also have some more earthly loves, like photography, driving fast, watching sports, and volunteering to help solve cold cases.  My brain is a sponge that holds many useless pop culture facts, which makes me a great partner for cruise ship trivia hour.  Hopefully my finely honed sense of sarcasm and complete lack of filter will make you laugh as you read about our adventures.

We have upcoming trips to Palm Springs, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, and France scheduled. I will also try to write posts on some of our past trips to places like Belize, Puerto Rico, Italy, Croatia, Honduras, private islands in the Bahamas, Alaska, Hawaii, etc. We have a lot to share, so check back often! 

J & M