USA

Weekend Getaway: Palm Springs

This past weekend was my partner’s birthday and to celebrate I wanted to take our first weekend getaway to Palm Springs. As we have only been in LA for less than 2 months (and most of those months were packed with the apartment hunting, furnishing, buying a car, job starting, and end of year holidays shenanigans), my guy was a bit resistant to planning a trip for his special day. But after my insistence and incredible sale of a place I'd never been he gave in 😉.

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As part of the deal I promised him a super chilled out and easy weekend, and that’s where I delivered. We left our house around 9am with a short 2 hour drive a head of us. Given that in LA it takes 2 hours to get from our apartment to downtown during rush hour, I knew this would be a piece of cake. The drive was more scenic than expected, much of it you are nestled within mountains and vast empty landscapes as you approach the desert. We both absolutely adored it and cruised along in the carpool lane the whole way.  

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Our very first sight was a wind farm just outside of Palm Springs. For an easy vantage point you can stop by the Amtrack station (PSP) to take in all the spinning turbines. Beware, it is very windy when they are all on! After a bit of train spotting, windmill watching, and photo taking we headed to our hotel.  

STAY

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I booked a night for us at V Palm Springs Hotel. It was a toss up between the famous Sagauro, Ace and V hotels when deciding, but in the end I took a chance on the V hoping it would be the quieter of the three on this particular weekend. And it was just quiet enough without feeling desolate. Our room was super efficient, clean, and comfortable, equipped with cozy bath robes and a swinging chair on the balcony overlooking the pool and out onto the mountains beyond. Honestly, I could have skipped all activities and spent the entire weekend right here.

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Hands down the best part of the stay was lounging by the pool and relaxing in the hot tub. After checking in early we lounged here for hours, riding bar snacks and turning over every so often to get an even amount of sun!

EAT

There are quite a few restuarants I wanted to try out in Palm Springs, but there are but so many meals in one weekend! Fortunately I know I have many more weekends ahead here. These are a the few I will certainly return to... 

  • Elmer’s Reastuarant; a classic diner well worth the wait. The German pancake may look wierd but it is not to be missed.
  • Evzin; a Mediterranean spot that feels more like a chic gallery than a restaurant. And save room for their only dessert, it was better than expected. 
  • Lappart’s Ice Cream Shop; try the date and caramel ice cream and thank me later...
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DO

Aside from lying pool side and eating, we were able to squeeze in a few other activities. On the way into town we checked out the wind farm. After checking out of the hotel on Sunday we made our way downtown to see the Palm Springs Art Museum. First stop the architecture and design center which was in between exhibits, but the docent was kind enough to give us a history of the building. We walked 15 minutes to the main museum which has two lovely sculpture gardens. And then we popped in and out of shops along the main drag until we decided to check out some mid century home in the residential area. On our next visit I'd like to do more of this beacuse the houses are just so inspiring. Never have I wanted to own property more than after seeing these super efficient and minimalist homes. Ginally, just as we were leave town we stopped off to check out the great Cabazon Dinosaurs. They are such a quirky attraction (the world's biggest dinosaurs!) but a must see for us nonetheless.

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Before we knew it we were home just after sundown getting ready for the workweek ahead and with just enough time to unpack and Netflix and chill on the couch. All in all a perfect first getaway and lovely weekend! 

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El Matador State Beach

I fell in love with Southern California, and it only took a week.

Last month my honey and I took a somewhat impromptu trip to LA. We usually mull over our destinations up to a year a head of time and then spend months planning. Maybe it was because of the tireless winter this year, or the depressing politics wearing away at us, but this trip was different. We decided in early February to get away and we on a flight in March. Let me just say, I could get used to this kind of spontaneity if this is what it produces.

We left California inspired and rejuvenated. And one of my favorite places was El Matador Beach in Malibu. The beach was a bit crowded, and the water freezing cold but nonetheless it was well worth the short drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. Just see for yourself...

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I have more highlights from this trip to come, so stay tuned!

More Of California

A Minimalist's Thoughts After a Trip to the Flea

Feb 12, 2018

A Minimalist's Thoughts After a Trip to the Flea

Feb 12, 2018

Feb 12, 2018

Weekend Getaway: Palm Springs

Jan 24, 2018

Weekend Getaway: Palm Springs

Jan 24, 2018

Jan 24, 2018

Our Los Angeles AirBnB: Apartment Tour

Apr 27, 2017

Our Los Angeles AirBnB: Apartment Tour

Apr 27, 2017

Apr 27, 2017

El Matador State Beach

Apr 11, 2017

El Matador State Beach

Apr 11, 2017

Apr 11, 2017

Space Program Europa at the YBCA

Jan 25, 2017

Space Program Europa at the YBCA

Jan 25, 2017

Jan 25, 2017

How to Spend a Weekend in San Francisco

Jan 18, 2017

How to Spend a Weekend in San Francisco

Jan 18, 2017

Jan 18, 2017

The de Young Museum

Jan 13, 2017

The de Young Museum

Jan 13, 2017

Jan 13, 2017

San Francisco in Pictures

Jan 11, 2017

San Francisco in Pictures

Jan 11, 2017

Jan 11, 2017

Be Outraged and Resist

Trump has been in office for a week and the country is on fire. It started with limiting a woman's right to choose and an effort to start dismantling universal healthcare (see the reinstatement of the global gag rule), setting back climate change efforts and clamping down on science as a whole (see Keystone XL & Dakota Access pipelines and Federal science actions), and attacking immigrants on multiple fronts with a particular emphasis on Muslims (see the border wall and Muslim ban). I have been slow to accept our new reality. I tried to be cautiously optimistic the days before his inauguration, then I tried to avoid the news as my greatest fears were being realized, then I was just sad. Now I am really pissed off and ready to work. Trump and his hateful policies must go. So here is what I am doing and I encourage you to do to. And this isn't where I am stopping, if you have any suggestions of other actions we can take please leave them in the comments below so everyone who sees this post can take part too.

Let's be outraged. Let's resist. Let's take our country back.

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Make Your Voice Heard

Call your representatives, write letters, sign petitions, demonstrate in the streets if you have to! Our representatives are supposed to represent us and so it is our responsibility to make our positions known and continuously apply pressure on them. Use Common Cause's representative locator to find out who your reps are. And if you need a little extra help on what to say, check out this article for some tips about how to talk to your representative when you do call.

Organize

When President Obama told us in his farewell speech to organize I had no idea where to start. Luckily I have some incredible friends who did. We have begun by sharing good information and finding ways to do the above (reach out to our representatives). One friend has offered up her apartment on a weekly basis as a hub to create call scripts, make calls, write letters and keep information sharing. There is also an incredible guide and directory of how and where to get involved called the Indivisible Guide. Start with this and you'll be good.

Share Good Information

This requires staying informed and not propagating "alternative facts." Misinformation/fake news is a dangerous thing as we have already seen with this administration. We need to armor ourselves with the truth and be cynical with the media we consume. Also, good information is power. Articles like  what to do if ICE agents come to your door should be widely shared so that everyone has the knowledge they need. 

Donate

A little can go a very long way if we all chip in. I am personally giving to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood and Justice Democrats(at minimum). I will be cutting out my work lunches, extra coffees, and any other frivolous spending to give all that I can. This is an investment in a country I want to live in and society we can be proud of after all!

Stay Positive

If we stop believing in the power of the people and democracy there is not way we can win. So please take care of yourself and those directly in front of you first. Practice self care and go at your own pace. Do what you need to in order to feel like you (and not a hopeless shell of you), feel strong, and remain hopeful. We could be in for the long haul and everyone of us needs to be able to take some time for ourselves.

"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

-desmond tutu

That is all I have, again please add ideas to this list. I want to know what actions you are taking and how you are taking care of yourself. Now is the time more than ever to spread love, count our blessings and support one another to ensure this time does not become our new normal! 

XO

Space Program Europa at the YBCA

I haven't been up for writing over the past week or so. I have some serious new administration blues that seem to worsen with each press release. So until I get my attitude together and figure out a way to contribute positively I will post about other's beautiful contributions to society! Today I want to share with you a few photos from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) in San Francisco.

Sharing this feels particularly relevant for me considering all of the political actions against the federal science agencies and anyone federally funded in the sciences (especially working on climate change and sustainability). As a climate scientist who relied on federal dollars for all of the research I have ever been involved in I feel the hurt. I hurt because this work, work seeking to help humanity and the most vulnerable communities do not receive significant funding from other sources, certainly not from private one. So this post is dedicated to the determined scientists out there, inspiring hope, art, and a better society for all on a daily basis. We shall resist, we shall overcome.

Landing Excursion Module (LEM), a 1:1 model of the Apollo lunar module
Landing Excursion Module (LEM), a 1:1 model of the Apollo lunar module

While at the YBCA I examined in depth Tom Sachs' third Space Program, Europa which ran through the 15th of this month. In the introduction to this work Sachs writes, 

In our age of disaffection, the sculptures in this exhibition are also objects of love that support the rituals of studio practice, all things analog, and the handmade. Their meaning is born out of action in time - the original act of their making, and later their use, charges them with purpose beyond art for its own sake.

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That's it for my little glimpse into this intricate exhibition and truly hope you get to see some of Sachs "postindustrial mashup of high and low culture" (as he has said) in the future! Save a few hours to if you do, it is very thought provoking and such a spectacle to see.

How to Spend a Weekend in San Francisco

Weekend trips are so hard for me to plan, there just ins't enough time to see all I want to see (story of my life)! So I put this little guide together of my hit list of places to stay, eat and see from my recent trip to the Bay Area.

Stay

The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
The Tilden Hotel
The Tilden Hotel
The Tilden Hotel
The Tilden Hotel
The Tilden Hotel
The Tilden Hotel

My first two nights I stayed at the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel, a super cute boutique hotel at the nexus of Japantown, Fillmore and Pacific Heights. Stylish and super hospitable, this hotel was offered a wine happy hour in the lobby each evening which is a added bonus! On my last night I stayed at the recently renovated Tilden Hotel. The Tilden is simple, budget friendly and located within walking distance of downtown and shopping districts.

EAT

Sweet Maple
Sweet Maple
Flora Restaurant
Flora Restaurant
Flora Restaurant
Flora Restaurant
Flora Restaurant
Flora Restaurant
Akiko's Sushi Restaurant
Akiko's Sushi Restaurant
A  kik  o's Sushi Restaurant
A kik o's Sushi Restaurant

San Francisco has many great restaurants, all of which I was dying to try! But between all of the running around and the conference I attended there were three stand out meals from my visit. One brunch spot I really enjoyed was Sweet Maple. Sweet Maple is in between the Pacific Heights and Fillmore neighborhoods and truly feels like an institution there. The all american menu gave me diner vibes with a Californian-freshness. One morning I popped over to Oakland (another place I am dying to get back to!) for brunch at Flora with friends. Flora is a stylish, art deco spot with an elegant and delicious menu. Finally, Akiko's Sushi Restaurant. Althoughquite the splurge this is some of the best sushi I have ever had (this coming from someone with a Japanese Grandmother!). I suggest sitting at the sushi bar and asking for omakase (chef's choice) and just letting them know about how much you'd like to eat/spend (scope out the menu ahead of time to get a feel for the prices.) Then sit back and be spoiled! 

Do

The Painted Ladies
The Painted Ladies
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts
San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts
The de Young Museum
The de Young Museum
The de Young Museum
The de Young Museum
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge

If you've been following me here you know how much I lovemuseums and my first recommendations won't surprise you. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is a contemporary arts space that aims to show socially impactful exhibitions while making sure it is affordable for all to see. On my visit I had the fortune of experiencing Tom Sachs' Space Program: Europa in all of it's toolshed fusion glory (read more here!). Just across from YBCA and the Yerba Buena Gardens it is nestled in is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Unfortunately I didn't get to pop in on this trip but I definitely will next time, I noticed they have several Richard Serra works (which I fell in love with since my visit to Dia: Beacon!). And finally, the de Young Museum of Fine Arts. From the architecture to the art within, the de Young is a must see destination. Read (and see) more about it in my last post.

As far as the traditional sights, I made my way to the Painted Ladies, drove down the crooked Lombard Street, and admired Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge. Honestly, the painted ladies and Lombard street are tourist traps. If I had it to do over again I would spend more time hiking the trails on either end of the bridge.

And thats about it! Tell me, what have or would you do in in the Bay Area for 48 hours?