Palm Springs, CA // Desert Weekend Getaway

Palm Springs, CA // Desert Weekend Getaway

How is it already Fall?! Summer 2017 flew by with a quickness. Between balancing event planning at work and eventful weekends with family and friends this summer, my poor travel photos and video footage quickly got buried. So, consider this post as my attempt to dig them up and make treasure out of the ones I captured in Palm Springs, CA. There’s definitely more adventure-type posts coming soon. So look forward to those 6 months from now…LOL. Just kidding. Maybe.


 Check out my little Palm Springs travel video here:


I thought about it, and I want to say that Palm Springs is one of my favorite mini getaway destinations. I’ve been almost a handful to times and there hasn’t been a time when I didn’t enjoy it. Whether it was with my friend’s family or with my friends, there was always something enjoyable about it.

Everyone has a different definition for “staycation,” but for me, anything slightly beyond the outskirts of the county line qualifies as one. It’s approximately 2 hours away, yet it seems like a completely different atmosphere. Maybe it has something to do with Palm Spring’s proximity to LA. It’s comfortably close and far enough. Isn’t it amazing how you can drive two hours in any direction from LA (…assuming little traffic) and find yourself in completely different terrain? I would say Palm Springs is two things the heart of LA isn’t: serene and spacious.

So what’s the deal about Palm Springs? It used to be known as the wild spring break destination for college students, but what’s so cool about it now? Maybe a better question to ask is: What’s always been so cool about it?  It may have fallen from the top college spring breaking spot, but I think that’s part of its charm. While everyone else is hopping on planes or driving off to Vegas, Palm Springs sits quietly along the 10 freeway, a sparkling desert oasis in the distance, an underrated destination to sneak away to. If you are into mid-century modern architecture, quirky art, mountainscapes (not sure if that’s a real word), cute brunch spots, poolside chilling and vintage shopping…Palm Springs, CA is definitely for you. By the way, if you plan a visit in the summer…you also have to be okay with melting into the ground in triple digit heat. No joke.

Here are a few “10 outta 10, would recommend” tidbits I came across during my recent trip to this desert oasis:

Food // Drink

The summer heat is no joke, so if you are planning on walking the streets of downtown, be sure to take a pit stop at these places to stay hydrated & fueled up:

  • For Coffee // Koffi – There are three locations to choose from, so whether you are staying in North Palm Springs, South Palm Springs or just outside of town in Rancho Mirage, you’ll have one near by. They carry staple coffee favorites and pastries to pair. From the couple of times I’ve been there, it seems like a spot revered by locals and tourists.
  • For Breakfast & Brunch // Farm – Southern French-inspired breakfast and brunch. What more can I say? Nothing really. I will mention this though, if you can bear the heat, or if you are visiting during their non-sweltering season, I highly recommend sitting in their patio area. The aesthetic removes you from Palm Springs itself (except for the heat) and creates the illusion of being in a countryside backyard enjoying your French Aunt’s cooking. Okay, that’s all about that.
  • For Ice Cream // Ice Cream & Shop(pe) – Attached to Arrive Hotel on Palm Canyon Dr., it’s a quirky gift shop and gourmet ice cream stop all-in-one. Their rotating list of homemade ice creams and sorbets has many flavors to choose from. It’s a great balance between classics (with a twist) and completely unique flavors. We stumbled upon it after having dinner at Reservoir, a restaurant also adjacent to the hotel. Grab dinner, grab a drink, hang out in their pool lounge area, then grab some ice cream before you leave. Sounds like a perfect night to me.

Sites // Activities

Definitely check out a few sites while you are in the area. I’m kind of a closeted interior design/architecture fangirl. So Palm Springs was a fitting place to indulge in tile work, woodwork, coffee tables and more! Here’s where I visited:

  • Parker Palm Springs – The photos above are just their lobby area…so that gives you a small peek into how the rest of the hotel’s design standards are. Hotel guests can roam the grounds and lounge around on their hammocks and abundant lawn seating. Their patio brunch restaurant, Norma’s (pictured above in the food & drink section), offers a mid-50s vibe with it’s olive green, orange creamsicle and muted teal color scheme.
  • That Pink Door – Apparently there is an official Palm Springs door tour, which is interesting. It’s an open invitation to stalk people’s houses to admire their eclectic front doors and aesthetically pleasing landscaping. But because of the heat, we ended up just visiting the coveted Pink Door, took pics and ran back inside the air-conditioned car. Definitely an Instagram-friendly spot. I would’ve wanted to do the whole tour if we had the time.
  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – Not pictured, but during a past visit to Palm Springs, I’ve taken this amazing/scary, rotating tram ride up the Chino Canyon mountainside in San Jacinto National Park. No explanation needed other than it’s worth it to witness beautiful, scenic views 8,516 feet above the valley. There are two observation decks, two restaurants, a number of hiking trails and a museum. It’s also much cooler up there!

Fun Facts

Did you know that the summer time in Palm Springs is their off-season? I didn’t either until one of our Lyft drivers told us when we were wondering why half of the restaurants we wanted to go to weren’t open and noticed there weren’t many people walking around town. Apparently after festival season (Coachella & Stage Coach), tourist activity winds down as the desert gets even hotter, so a number of business owners find it better to close up shop on a few strategic, slow summer weeks. Who would’ve known? Not me apparently!


Girls Weekend

My recent trip to Palm Springs was one I’ll always remember because it’s the girls weekend that transformed us from childhood best friends into a “bridal gang.” It’s the weekend that Lauren asked us to be her bridesmaids!! ❤ What an official door-opening into the chapter of young adulthood it was.

My heart is warm knowing that we can still make it a priority to remove ourselves from our busy schedules once in a while to reconnect with one another. I love and appreciate these girls more than they probably know and this trip was was much needed. Check them out below 😉 Anyways, cheers to more girls weekends and sharing life’s milestones with one another! xx

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Sincerely,

Melissa Beee.

Napa Valley // Fine Wine + Good Times

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Photo captured on Annalyn’s Canon AE-1 Camera using Ektar 100 film ❤ 

– Are #ThrowbackTravel posts a thing? –

Well if they aren’t…they are now! Perfect way to hide the fact that it took me just over a year to compile only some of my video footage from my trip to Napa Valley… *insert embarrassed face emoji here*

Let’s forget that fact and move on to what the video features. It captures just a snippet of my second trip to Napa Valley with some of my childhood friends ❤ It was my first real attempt to vlog my travel adventures and I definitely have a lot to learn, but there is no better way to learn videography than to just do it right? I’m pretty proud of this video, so I hope you enjoy!

As a girl that grew up in the smoggy city of Los Angeles, I never get used to how much fresher the air is in NorCal and how serene it is particularly in Napa. My inner boujee grandma alter ego loves it. What’s a better pairing to the rolling hillsides, vineyard views and the fresh air than good food, good company and good wine?

–  Places I visited that I highly recommend –

  • Oxbow Public Market: this is a good place to take advantage of variety.  You can divide and conquer the market by visiting with a group and getting bites from all the different vendors! There is a lot to choose from. I was able to enjoy delicious artisan pizza, a yummy breakfast burrito and a hearty deli sandwich all in the same weekend!
  • Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ: Located in Downtown Napa, this BBQ joint is the shopfront of a larger “wine insider” company. They are open until midnight on Friday and Saturdays and offer a large menu of wines to choose from. But be sure to put your name down or make a reservation in advance! We put our name down and walked around the city for an hour or so before getting our names called.
  • Joseph Phelps Winery: I’ve been to this winery before because my lovely friend Vanessa had a membership, but this time, the renovations they were working on last time were complete! The newly redesigned terrance was cozy and had an amazing view of the vineyard. It’s a great place for a low key, classy wine tasting. A lot of other wineries in Napa have become more of a tourist attraction and it was nice to be able to concentrate on the wine and not the noise of tourist group chatter.
  • Castello di Amorosa: Speaking of “touristy” spots, this is definitely one of them. I mean, why wouldn’t groves of people want to drink wine in the cellar of a castle?! Who wouldn’t want to make your way to the highest point of the castle and pretend to rule over all the peoples below?! I would say it’s worth a visit, but I didn’t find the wine tasting experience as intimate as the one I experienced at Joseph Phelps. The tasting is more like a bar scene, with servers running back and forth between groups. But, I think it was worth the visit for the views and cute farm animals that live there 🙂

Hope you enjoyed a little look into my Napa Valley trip. Maybe there will be a part two?? There is a lot of footage leftover and I’d like to compile it sometime soon. Video editing just takes so much time! When I get into it…I stare into the computer screen for hours and look up to see the day has gone. I need to choose a day to dedicate to another edit or edit in small increments. We’ll see! I definitely want to take up vlogging more so I can capture all these fun travel moments. I look forward to putting together more videos and developing my own vlogging style.

Sincerely,

Mez ❤

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Photos taken by: Annalyn

2017 So Far: The Year of Yes

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With almost a quarter of 2017 come and gone already, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on what I’ve experienced so far. I didn’t really make new years resolutions this year, but the one thing I decided was to make an effort to embrace more situations that scare me and make more decisions that make me happy. I purposely made these goals very broad, to allow myself to explore what it is that scares me and makes me happy.

Graduating from the Bunny Slopes – In January, I went on a semi-spontaneous snowboarding trip. It was my second time snowboarding and I was nervous about falling and shortness of breath from the altitude…not far off from the fears I experienced the first time I went snowboarding. Last time, I may have only gone down the bunny slope a total of three times before knocking out in the warm and cozy lodge while the rest of the crew went up the mountain. This time, with some peer pressure…I mean a lot of encouragement from my friends, I embraced the fear of falling and actually allowed myself the opportunity to learn! It was a lot of fun an I’m glad I did it. I also learned new phrases like “Shredding the gnar today bro?” lol.

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Taking on Public Speaking – I did not get into the public relations field because of increased opportunities to speak in front of crowds. It has always been my least favorite part of the profession because I always imagined myself as the person “behind the scenes.” Which, for the most part, is my role. Most of my job is outreach program development, which does require plenty of interaction with people, but on an individual basis. In the past couple of months, I’ve started leading meetings with other departments and making presentations at board meetings on a regular basis. I still struggle with the nervousness, but with every presentation that I complete, I’ve  become a little more comfortable and confident in the way I present my reports. It also helps that I receive such helpful feedback from my colleagues.

Getting Back to My Creative Side – I’ve upped the activity in my DIY, writing and photography side of my brain. This is something that I neglected in 2016. Last year centered around establishing myself at my job, and with that came less trips to Michaels and JoAnns and more nights of unwinding with Netflix. Not saying I didn’t enjoy that, I just miss using my hands to create things! Now that I feel like I’m at a good place in my career, I’ve taken the past few months getting back into finding the time/place to express these creative urges…including maintaining this blog. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m trying! (I’m currently sitting at Barnes & Nobles on a Tuesday evening to force myself  to get this post written). See below for a few photos I captured on some random exploration days I had recently in Los Angeles.

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Saying Yes to Travel – I travelled to Seattle, Washington for the first time in March! Going into the year, I didn’t have any set travel plans, I just knew I wanted to go somewhere. As opportunities to travel come up, I’m making more of an effort to work it into my schedule. I’m a big fan of taking advantage of 3-day weekends and turning them into mini-vacations. I’m also a working adult now that accrues vacation days…so that’s a thing to consider. Luckily, my boss is also awesome and encourages me to take these mini-vacation opportunities. She’s all about making sure the team doesn’t “burn out” and I appreciate that. Anyways, I’m grateful that I was invited to join my friends’ trip to Seattle because it’s been the highlight of my year so far! I’ve had multiple people tell me that they could imagine me loving Seattle, and they weren’t wrong. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy so much was the biting wind chill D: Such cold. Much freeze. I took so many photos in the city, so here are a few for you to browse through:

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Running Past the Pain – Second 10K down. Much more exercise to go. I signed up for A Better World Running‘s Spring Equinox 10K on March 25th as a source of motivation to get back into running. The training process was….hit and miss. I started training 6 weeks out (when I should’ve started 8 weeks out) and on the week prior to the race, I travelled to Seattle and spent that week prepping for the trip and not running. Surprisingly though, I had the best race experience I’ve had to date! Out of the 3 races I’ve done (10K, half marathon, then this 10K), I ran the furthest without stopping, I experienced my runner’s high at 3.5 miles which lasted to the end, I stopped feeling the pain in my shin and ankles at 4 miles, and it was great! We’ll see if 2017 brings another medal to the collection…I’m debating on signing up for another 10K this year.

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And…that’s been some of the highlights of my year thus far. I’m looking forward to doing more scary and exciting things and documenting them here 🙂 I hope you all are have had a productive first quarter of 2017 ❤ Let me know how your goals have been shaping up this year!

Sincerely,

Mez ❤

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