48 Hours in Miami

Itching for a little getaway? Here’s what to do, and what not to do if you’re spending 48 hours in Miami. Our impromptu weekend trip to Miami was driven around the purpose of going to see Lady Gaga’s Chromatica tour and last stop at that. So please enjoy this travel guide that is written with some dry humor based on the roses and thorns from our recent trip.

What to Do in Miami

Stay in South Beach. 100% no questions asked and on Ocean Drive. The vibe from Ocean Drive to Collins Ave is like night and day. I’m so glad we stayed on the western part of South Beach just off Ocean Drive at the Marriott Stanton.

Book a Hotel with Amenities, on the Beach. If we didn’t want to, we honestly didn’t have to leave our hotel. We had direct beach access, a private pool, a top-notch sushi restaurant, Starbucks, a bar, and a cantina restaurant (& a gym, but we didn’t entertain that life in our 48-hours). What more do you need? Oh, I’ll tell you, complimentary margaritas (2 each), complimentary beach chairs, and prime walking to the beach and the rest of Ocean Drive. The only complaint was the wait for the elevator, so we just got more exercise with the stairs!

Go to Gianni’s at the Mansion. Gianni Versace’s mansion located right on Ocean Drive is a must, from the atmosphere to the food it was an incredible experience. Interested? Check out my guide to Gianni’s to see more!

Stop by the Palace for a Sidewalk Show. As we were headed back from our Versace’s lunch, we were in the midst of a free and insane drag show at the Palace, we of course stopped, hooted and watched — but that would be an experience and the mimosas were definitely flowing!

Buy J. Crew Swim Suits. This isn’t really to do with Miami, but something to do before you come. At the age of 32, I finally appreciate buying a decent swimsuit… my life has been changed.

What NOT to Do in Miami

Don’t Go To a Concert at Hard Rock Stadium. Enough said, just salty.

If You Do… Drive Yourself & Check the Radar. Honestly, you need a game plan for escaping (either before the crowd or on your own terms with a car strategically parked somewhere far away). Also, if there is any chance of a storm or inclement weather, let’s hope your seats are in Section 300 and that it won’t interfere with your show/event. ICYMI – Gaga postponed her concert due to ‘inclement weather’ for 2.5-hours gave false hope of restarting, only to cancel completely with 4 songs left with continued lightening (after we already sat in the stadium during a horrible storm for 2.5 hours…) #StillSalty

Don’t take the 6AM Flight. Because no one likes waking up at 3:30am to get to the airport. Our last few trips we’ve been spoiled with late-night flights in (which we did on our way to Miami) or mid-afternoon/evening flights home. We booked the 6am flight in hopes of getting home early, but with delays and just not being worth it just book the late flight and take the extra PTO, you’ll just be happier and won’t be disappointed when you don’t get home early. Also; wear a parka in Miami International Airport – because it is an ice box and horrible.

Don’t walk 40-minutes to Brunch After a Gaga Let Down in 80-degree heat & humidity. Need I say more? Just pick a different place, or take the Uber – maybe decide to walk home, but definitely not there.

Overall our 48-hours in Miami were filled with yummy drinks, pool time (& drinks by the pool), and walks along the beach or Ocean Drive. We obviously went there for a reason, and everything else was a bonus – plus it was a new city for B and I to explore together, so that is always a priceless memory to add to our scrapbook. ❤️


A Guide to Gianni’s at Versace Mansion

We were lucky enough to score a reservation at Gianni’s at the Villa aka Gianni Versace’s Mansion right on Ocean Drive in South Beach. We low-key love Versace, and not for the fashion and even have an 80’s themed Versace playlist that we listen to often, so this was one of the first things we planned as soon as we had our flights and hotel booked. So the first tip in the guide to Gianni’s at Versace Mansion is to book your reservation (conveniently on OpenTable) as soon as you know you’re going to be in Miami! We booked about a month out, and that was in more of the “off season.”

TIp #2 – Order a Signature Cocktail

The cocktails are a must, at $20 a piece you definitely just have to go all in and embrace it. Our cocktails did not disappoint in presentation or taste! B got the 24 Karat Golden Margarita with orange juice and gold flakes and I got the Passion in the Mansion which was passion fruit vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and prosecco! Sooo yummy! I also think they somehow make these with a delayed buzzed effect, because it definitely hit a bit after the fact.

Tip #3 – Opt For Lunch

Going for lunch is an “affordable” option to enjoy this special and incredibly detailed landmark. The lunch is a set $34 per person that gives each person an appetizer, entree, and dessert – which was more than enough food for us and all delicious. I got the Gianni Salad with baby arugula, cherry tomato, avocado, onions, cucumber and lemon dressing – for my entree I went with the Faroe Island Wild Salmon pan seared, served with carrots and broccoli. B ended up getting the Octopus Carpaccio for his appetizer (which was an $8 up-charge) – and for his entree, he ordered the Chicken a la Rotisserie, oven roasted with demi glaze and roasted potatoes. For dessert, we shared the brownie and a fresh fruit plate. The dinner menu looks amazing, so that will be a must for our next visit, but definitely more expensive.

Tip #4 – Stop for the Photo Opt

I am pretty sure people were taking photos in front of the iconic The Thousand Mosaic Pool nearly the whole time we enjoyed our lunch – but don’t let that shy you away from jumping up and getting your own shot of the pool or in front of it – people had no shame, so neither should you, cause it is SO PRETTY and iconic! Other guests and even the staff are willing to snap a few shots (& I’m pretty sure the staff doesn’t even think twice about it either). Besides the mosaic pool, the staircase leading down is also unbelievable (see first photo above) – so I say stop for a photo opt there too, as it definitely more overlooked, but still has incredible mosaic detail as most of the outdoor space has.

There is also a little bar off the main atrium and outdoor dining that is so cozy, we wanted to stop back for a drink but didn’t make it into the rest of our weekend trip. Also, the front is pretty lackluster (whoops, I said it) you’re greeted by the hostess’, and other guests so you can’t really enjoy it – to best view the magnitude of the estate, cross the street to soak it in. There is something about being on the very steps where Gianni was killed, once such a private spot turned the main entry to a very popular spot. But to end on a more positive note, this was definitely a highlight of our trip from the food and drinks to the incredible architecture of this iconic home – it was truly a treat!

White & Brass Kitchen Finishes

Picking out our kitchen remodel finishes was no easy feat. I wanted to be bold and make a statement, but also wanted to be classic and modern — it was finding a balance between the two that felt right for our home and our style. I realize that all-white kitchens may be a thing of the past? But, honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong – and love how everything came together. Without further ado, here are all of our kitchen finishes and even a rough breakdown of costs.

Hardware & Light Fixtures

We knew we wanted brass accents, because of our appliances (yes, we will get to those beauties, too!). So our hardware and accent lights were for sure going to be brass, in fact, the sconces were some of the first pieces I picked out and bought — I didn’t make a decision on our hardware until about a week before we were told our cabinets were going to be installed. One thing I didn’t count on was how much we would use our accent lights instead of our ‘canned lights’ – they provide plenty of warm lighting and truly create a mood.

Matching the brass finishes was a bit tricky, since I was doing most of my shopping online – if anything I was prepared to return, or I would order two different things and compare! It was a little extra effort, but worth it, IMO.

Shop our lighting: Scones (discontinued) & Breakfast Nook Chandelier

I also wanted to make a statement with our hardware, so we went for larger pulls on our upper cabinets which I just love – we even added in some glass knobs under the sink and on the pantry for a little extra something. We had a mix of 5″, 12″ and 18″ pulls with our knobs.

Shop our hardware: Hickory Hardware Skylight Collection; 5″ Pull, 12″ Pull, 18″ Pull, Glass Knob

Backsplash, Counters & Flooring

The backsplash was something I was really looking forward to finding something unique and different, and not being afraid to spend some money on it. Well, that totally didn’t really happen. I went to boutique tile shops and searched the interwebs, only to land on herringbone tile from Lowe’s. I was so disappointed about what the boutique tile shops offered (at least around here) and found this tile at Lowe’s that was pretty comparable to this super expensive tile I fell in love with online but for a fraction of the cost. We were especially cautious because we did counter to the ceiling on two sides above our sink and stove – and luckily we over-ordered our tile and were able to return to Lowe’s!

Our backsplash netted out around $900, with the cost per sheet was just under around $9 when we purchased (more expensive now) but compared to the $30 a sheet that I initially fell in love with, I’d say we replicated the same look for a third of the cost!

Shop our Marble Herringbone tile from Lowe’s compared to the expensive Talon Calacatta & Thassos Marble Polished Mosaic Tile.

Can we just swoon over these quartz counters? Our counters are even better than we ever imagined, we lucked out with our counter company Granite Works Stone Design. Everything was amazing, plus they helped us find the perfect quartz to compliment our finishes. Our sales rep, selected two great options – but finding the Calacatta Miraggio Gold Quartz and securing the slab was meant to be.

The flooring was another sticking point that we ended up pivoting on multiple times. From initially thinking I wanted heated tile floors, to planning to refinish the floors we uncovered during demo, to trying to match our first-floor oak floors with hardwood, to then go in a completely different direction with a wide plank almost farm-like direction it was a doozy getting there, but we did. I’m also so glad we went this direction because it really warms up the space, cleans easily, is waterproof, and was only $615 vs. $3,000 to try and refinish our floors. Honestly, I’m just bummed I didn’t push harder to heated floors – I just couldn’t find anything that confidently said we could do it under this type of flooring.

Another bonus of our flooring is that Moz matches it, so when it comes to showing dog hair – we don’t see much, even though Moz isn’t that big of a shedder.

Shop our Pergo Laminate Flooring – Color Rustic Amber Chestnut from Lowes

Appliances & Plumbing

Confession: We may have designed our kitchen finishes around our Cafe Appliances. I found these appliances while we were awaiting our permits, aka early on in the kitchen reno process – and – to my surprise, didn’t need to spend too much time convincing B on splurging on these appliances! The white matte with brass hardware was just so beyond, the price was also a bit beyond, but something that B and I both loved, agreed on, and wanted without compromise. It ironically matched up with our fourth wedding anniversary gift. From the dishwasher to the fridge and stove we had to have the complete set. We loved the matte finish, the built-in WiFi options on the stove, and brass hardware — not to mention, everything was in stock so we ordered it ASAP to get ahead of any potential back orders and delays. Our appliances were definitely our biggest splurge, but we don’t regret that for a second, especially now that we’ve been living with them! And yes… you’re doing the math right our appliances were over $10k combined. 😇

Shop our appliances: Stove | Dishwasher | Refrigerator

We lucked out ordering our appliances in June 2021 and receiving them in the Fall, we did have some issues with our stove, coming a bit banged up but luckily was able to get money taken off with some fierce negotiations. 😏 I think the stove is my favorite, next to the dishwasher and I’m adjusting to life with a two-door fridge. 😅

I really wanted a bridge faucet, but most I found were itching close to $2k. With time, I lucked out and found this more modern and affordable one by Allen & Roth at Lowe’s. We have a very good friend who is a plumber, and he was very adamant on getting an InSinkErator for the garbage disposal. Luckily, we were able to get a brass flange for our garbage disposal too, yes we covered all the bases!

Getting Ruggables for the kitchen was also non-negotiable, with the number of dogs that can be at our house at times and with the back door being our main in and out, we needed something we could keep clean easily! The runner miraculously fit in front of the stove, with a smaller 2×3′ in front of the sink area.

Woah, that was a lot! What did I miss? Any other finishes you’re curious about that I may have missed? My tip if you’re starting any sort of remodel or big project, is to order stuff you like as soon as you see it, and depending on what it is more than enough (like tile), just in case by the time you get to install it could be discontinued or have a longer lead time.

Want more updates on our Kitchen Remodel?
Kitchen Remodel Reveal
📜 Kitchen Reno – The Plan
🛠️ Demo & Mood Board
🎨 Kitchen Progress Update

Five Year Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide

Is year five like the first mini-milestone when it comes to wedding anniversaries? I think it might be! This year’s themes are fun and offer a bit more creativity than year four – although, I will say we knocked year four-anniversary gifts out of the park with our Cafe Appliances in our kitchen remodel, the timing just happened to be perfect for us! But let’s talk about year five wedding anniversary gifts; the traditional gift is wood and the modern gift is silverware… but I might challenge that to be goldware!

“Your roots have sprouted much like a tree by your fifth anniversary, so together you can endure anything.”

“All the meals you’ve enjoyed together and will continue to share are best commemorated with beautiful silverware.”

The Knot

Traditional: Wood

We always love going the traditional route whenever possible – and this one feels like it could be easy with endless options, but when that is the case, I always like to try to make it a little more special or unique to us! OK, so it’s no secret if you’ve read my previous wedding anniversary gift guides that I love to head to Etsy. There are plenty of wooden themed gift options that offer personalization – here are a few I found and why I love them.

Apple Ornament Box: This is super simple and I love the play on “love you to the core” it’s such a sweet and symbolic jester that can remain as a reminder even after the fifth anniversary – plus this one opens and you can include a sweet memory, better yet, it could be used on a weekly or monthly basis to exchange sweet messages to each other after the anniversary.

Jenga Memories: I hate playing Jenga, because it gives me anxiety but I also love this idea because it’s a unique and personalize way to document 5-year milestones. Instead of doing the engraved route, buying a Jenga set is another way and as a gift, combination anniversary activity you and your sig-o could take turns and write memories, moments or milestones on your Jenga set. This could be PG or R rated even. 😏

Shop these Etsy Gifts: Apple Keepsake, Personalized Jenga, Engraved Hammer, Wooden Kitchen Utensils

Engraved Hammer: Of course, I love this because B and I are no strangers to home projects and building a life and home together. Plus, this can be a useful tool or used more as a decorative piece or have as the inside hammer.

Handcrafted Wooden Utensils: Since our kitchen remodel, we’ve been wanting and looking for new utensils — and can’t quite find something that fits. Not only is this set handcrafted in Seattle, WA., but the finish and set is beautiful, I also can’t help but think of the wooden utensils I had growing up and how sturdy they were.

Other ideas include custom ornaments, charcuterie boards, engraved signs, plaques, trays, or picture frames – if you’re going the traditional route you have plenty of options to make it special!

Modern: Silverware

Like most, you may have had this on your wedding registry – maybe your taste has changed in the last 5-years? Maybe it hasn’t, but you want to add a little flair to your silverware game. This is the perfect excuse, to add, grow or change it up completely. We got brass silverware for our wedding, but didn’t use it unless it was a special occasion, since our kitchen upgrade it’s become our go-to, I just wish I had more of it! Here are a few things to consider if you’re going the silverware route to celebrate year five:

Price Point: How much do you want to spend? This is obviously all with what you’re comfortable with. But consider a few things if you’re in love with something but not the price.

Ask yourself: How many times did you get new silverware growing up? (never) Does your current set match? Or is it hand-me-downs? (we had mix-match & hand-me-downs).

Pro-Tip: Don’t be fooled by the price point and how many pieces you get, for the price you may feel like you should be getting a whole set, when in actuality you’re only getting one place setting!

How Many Pieces? For our wedding, we were equipped with 8 tables settings for our bronze flatware – which always seemed like plenty. Since our kitchen renovation, and dishwasher life we quickly run out of our nice flatware! Also, another way I like to gauge quantity is imagining the biggest group of immediate family or closest group of friends if they were all to come over for dinner – how many pieces would you need? We would need around 12 – aka – we need more!

Shop The Pieces Above: Floral Hand Set, Square Brass Set, Vintage Silver Set, Modern Brass Set

Handles & Finishes: Not sure if this is something that bothers you… but fat or square handles can be a little bulky in your hand while you’re eating! So if you like your current style or size, keep that in mind when you’re shopping. I have small hands – but obviously I’m not the only one who uses them, so if possible try to test out some different options in store if you’re looking to make a big change. Finishes can go hand in hand with cleaning and care or your general style, try to go for something classic since this is can be an expensive and not a piece that is typically changed up.

Cleaning & Care: If you like having the ability to use your dishwasher as much as possible, it’s important to make sure you’re picking out dishwasher friendly pieces. However, if you’re looking for more of a statement, special occasion option like silver – know that you’ll have to do some hand washing and care! Always read reviews whenever they’re available.

Happy Fifth Wedding Anniversary and Happy Shopping!

Celebrating a different anniversary milestone? Read my Two Year Gift Guide, Three Year Gift Guide & Four Year Gift Guide.

Planning The Perfect Dog Pawty

As much as I hate seeing my baby girl get older, I can’t help but embrace and spoil her more and more, especially on her birthday! We dabbled last year, creating the perfect Instagram moment and this year I decided to kick it up just a notch. Here’s how you can plan a simply adorable pawty for your favorite four-legged friend.

Create a photo worthy backdrop

This can be done really simply for your pooch – especially if you have a low rider like Moz. Make it simple for your pup, and plan for lower on a wall, fence or side of the garage so it’s easy for them to sit and pose! The easiest way is to grab a standard ‘Happy Birthday’ Banner to create your focal point. From there, you can add balloons, other banners, and decorations to help fill the space. Since Moz has a summer birthday, it can be pretty hot – so I created two this year, one inside with gold balloons and a simpler one outside! This Lets Pawty gold balloon set was too affordable not to pass up.

(FTR: I totally broke my own advice with the indoor set-up this year, but luckily it worked to grab a picture with Moz still!)

A Perfectly Themed Pawty

I’m absolutely obsessed with The Foggy Dog, a woman-owned, small biz out of San Fran. As soon as I saw their Lady Bow’s I had to have them for Moz. This started getting a gorgeous red velvet one for our Christmas card photos, and has turned into a seasonal obsession – so it’s no surprise as soon as I saw the pink sprinkle lady bow, I knew Moz needed for her birthday this year – and in turn became the inspiration for a pink and gold, sprinkle party!

Hooman & DOG-APPROVED Treats

This year, I decided to ask my super talented friend from Sweet Geebs to make hooman cookies to go with the theme of playing off Moz’s pink sprinkle lady bow. So if you can plan ahead, and get on your favorite sugar cookie baker’s schedule – I highly recommend it for another sweet and simple touch to bring your dog pawty together.

More importantly, we cannot forget to spoil our pups with some yummy, special treats! Moz always gets her birthday year in whip cream (because she is super spoiled from getting Starbucks pup cups). I really like this route, because it’s a simple way to showcase your pups age, and it takes little prep, especially if you’re a hardworking dog mom without a ton of time.

Two other really easy treats that you can make your pup are these super simple, 3 ingredient frozen dog treats – also great to give your pups on a hot summer day to keep them cool and refreshed. If your pup has a winter birthday, or you have a little more time – I always recommend these 5-ingredient dog treats. These peanut butter pumpkin treats are a little more time intensive, but super great for your pup and you can always dress them up with some additional peanut butter as frosting on top! Honestly… sometimes we spoil Moz with all three!

The final details to bring your pup’s special day together are inviting their best furry friend over and of course a few presents! Moz was extra spoiled with a Birthday Themed Lamby (which is practically the size of Moz) and a crinkly colorful birthday cake toy, both linked and from Target! I also grabbed her some Bocce Bakery treats. Her fairy god aunties also got her a birthday cake toy!

Shop more of my affordable decor:
Iridescent Tassel Garland
Cactus Pom Pom Garland
Gold Happy Birthday Banner

Kitchen Reno Reveal

Our kitchen reno is finished! (well almost… but we won’t talk about that in this post)

It just took under a year from inception and planning to completion for our kitchen renovation. That timeline was not at all what we were expecting… honestly if someone would’ve told us it would’ve been 8-11 months and kitchenless over the holidays, I don’t think we would’ve tackled the project when we did – so it was a blessing in disguise. It’s surreal to have this giant, brand new kitchen… especially compared to what we had, we added an 6x8ft section, which didn’t seem like much in the planning, but it was huge in the end! All of the details and planning came together and she sure is pretty.

Let’s take a look at where we started:

Project Recap

As I mentioned in previous updates, we had “contractor” drama and cabinet delays for days – but once it came time to the finishing touches, we were pretty much in control. Our cabinets were delivered and installed relatively quickly, although, as we came to find out with our counter and backsplash install not everything was as even or level as we were told or had hoped – but I know it was done with a bit more care than if our “contractor” stuck around.

Our biggest learning from our biggest home project to date is that good, quality workers are hard to find – I would be curious if we paid more money (but trust me, the bill for our kitchen was not cheap!) for some of those things if the quality, craftsmanship and customer service would’ve been better – part of me thinks not (unless we were paying like triple?). Our countertop company, Granite Works, was the only company we worked with that we had nearly zero qualms about! But even with all the headaches, at the end of the day, we also reminder ourselves that we live in a 100+ year old home, and even with the “new” she’s still a little rough – and now we still have an amazingly beautiful kitchen.

The Big Reveal

The finishes all seemed to come together, and we’ve definitely been told by many people that our kitchen is “very white.” But we like everything light, clean, and classic. One of the trickier pieces was honestly getting the brass/gold finishes to match – but I’d say we did pretty good with 90% of them. The appliances (as much as I love them) are a bit more of a darker bronze. We went with easy and classic white shaker cabinets and a Calacatta Miraggio Gold quartz counter that has this beautiful brown veining that runs through it and pulls the golds, flooring, and backsplash nicely together.

The breakfast nook is honestly my fave, from the garbage picked table upcycle to the DIY oversized settee we created – it just makes the space cozy. I’m sure there will be some additional decorating the walls, I’m looking forward to adding in more wood grain pops with the deeper walnut color from our table, it’s nice and warming to compliment the white and gold. We also have shelves that match the cabinets to go over the sink area, but haven’t installed them yet – maybe we will, maybe we won’t. I honestly, just don’t know what to do with so much counter space!

We already hosted our first event, an Easter brunch – the bloody and mimosas bar was perfectly placed (sadly, I forgot to take photos) and there was plenty of room for people to get around one another. I’ll share a post that links out all the actual finishes from the backsplash to the floors… but until then let the dance parties, endless plates of snacks and food, afternoons of Moz soaking up the sunshine and bottle popping commence!

Want to look back at our Kitchen Reno project?
📜 Kitchen Reno – The Plan
🛠️ Demo & Mood Board
🎨 Kitchen Progress Update

Travel: Palm Springs Hikes

After four years, we made it back to one of our favorite spots: Palm Springs/Palm Desert, California. This trip was the first time we would be there for an entire week, normally we would just stay for 4-5 nights – which honestly is also plenty – but the extra few days for us was definitely a treat.

Since we were staying longer, I wanted to venture outside of our normal PSP vacay routine (which is eat, pool, drink on repeat) and find some hikes to venture out to. Indian Canyons was the first thing that stood out and often a handful of different hikes, plus it’s not far from downtown Palm Springs. And then I wanted to venture out to Joshua Tree Park, since it’s so widely talked about, but we’ve never officially gone – I found this neat Ladder Canyon Hike in Painted Canyon that looked super cool. Spoiler; we didn’t make it out to JTP – our desert-dwelling friends suggested another free hike, that was closer and thought we would enjoy more.

Selfie from the Josie Johnson Vista Park via the Carl Lykken Trail

Murray Canyon Hike

This is labeled as a moderate 4.7 mile hike and is an in and out hike. It cost us $26 to get into the ‘park’ which we were only expecting to pay $10 – so I was a little surprised about that, but the Murray Canyon Hike was worth it. If you want to make a day of it, I’d probably try to plan another hike to get a little more of your money’s worth, as we did not do that.

With temps supposed to get up into the mid-80’s, we made sure to get an early start, which isn’t hard since we were operating on East Coast time. We started our hike just before 9am, which was perfect because we beat the crowd. I would suggest 8:15 or 8:30am if you really want to get a jump on everyone. It took us an hour in and an hour back to complete this hike. It was definitely magical with little ‘air conditioned’ sections through palm tree jungled oasis with streams and mini canyons. There was also so scaling and parts of the trail that were a bit questionable, luckily we caught up with some people to mimic the way.

The end of the trail was just so lackluster – but the journey there is really what you should focus on, stop and soak in. You miss a lot of the same magic on the way out since you’re going the opposite way. But there were some incredible spots, especially the biggest waterfall.

Carl lykken trail (free)

This hike was recommended by our desert-dwelling friends, as it was right behind where they used to live! This free hiking trail is easy to spot, as you can count on a handful or more cars parked along the roadside at the trailhead. We definitely were underprepared for this hike, as we decided to keep going, beyond part 1 which was a short 40-minute steep incline to a picnic area known as Simonetta Kennett Vista Point. This first part was pretty much all uphill, had steep drop-offs while you scaled stone vs. dirt for a majority of the path. We wanted a bit more, so we kept going an additional 2-miles. 🙃 That part of the hike was fairly boring compared to part 1, and didn’t add for much more of a view, but got us additional steps and exercise! This hike is not shaded at all, so wear a hat, dose your body in sunscreen and pack a water bottle.

We ended up venturing to the Josie Johnson Vista Park, before heading back the way we came. Our hike ended with a total of 6-miles and 1,726 elevations climbed. Let me tell you, the mountains around Palm Springs are simply stunning – B and I definitely have a thing for mountain towns. Going down part 1 from the Simonetta Kennett Vista Point to the Lykken Trailhead, was tough on the toes as it is almost all downhill and steep!

Both hikes were super unique and really cool. The Murray Canyon trail took you through a magical desert oasis with views to soak in along the road – while the Carl Lykken Trail offered sprawling views of Palm Springs and the surrounding rolling mountains.

Looking for more Palm Spring adventures and mile long views? Check out my guide for visiting Palm Springs Aerial Tram (note this was written pre-pandemic and doesn’t include any new rules/restrictions). Happy desert living!

32 (Belated) Birthday Reflections

I had full intentions of getting this post up on my birthday, 11 days ago – but I embraced our desert vacay and shut off from all personal and professional work (at least 95% of it!).

And it felt so good.

One resounding reflection I had during my birthday week and over our Palm Springs vacay was just how necessary a trip like that is, for everyone – and just how good for the soul it is. And as much as I’ve always tried to do more that is good for the soul, it wasn’t until I was sitting poolside without a care in the world that I realized this was the ultimate good for the soul moment.

This past year I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds in prioritizing my anxiety, mental and physical health – and I’ve noticed the resounding change in just feeling better. Although trust me, there are still plenty of weak and challenging moments – I know my anxiety is always looming in the shadows. Perfect example, on our travel home from our super relaxing and perfect trip – we had a layover, the airport was packed with people and I was instantly overcome with chest pain and anxiety which stayed with me for the rest of our travel and even into the next day being home. The switch flipped from vacay back to reality and my anxiety was right there to welcome me home.

But as I reflect on all those good moments from the vacay week, I just felt so content on my birthday and looking ahead. I want to continue riding the 2022 wave, do things we want to do, not be afraid, and start living life again – and continue to choose and prioritize those good for the soul moments. I also want to not be afraid to share my voice, opinions, grow confidence in myself, the decisions I make – and honestly stop caring so much what other people think (it’s really hard!). I hope 32 brings on lots of hosting in our new kitchen, slow moments and soaking life in. ☀️🌴🍹

To be able to spend a week in paradise with B, my person, was simply incredible. I felt beyond blessed, grateful and was so spoiled all week and had the best time taking a break from life, kitchen renovations, and the last 2-years.

Book the trip, rent the mustang, and order another cocktail. Here’s to 32! 💜🎉

Travel: Palm Springs Eats – part 2

One of our favorite things about travel and Palm Springs is all the good eats, cute restaurants, and different memories we create along the way. I will say, eating out in Palm Springs adds up quickly, I feel like everything is a minimum of $18 and goes up from there – another reason to make this trip a 4-5 day vacay instead of a full 7-days! But honestly, we never regretted any meals and got to try out a few new spots, while returning to our old favorites.

A few weeks before our travel to PSP, they dropped their dining in mandates/requirements – so we were able to enjoy a pre-covid kind of life, even though the next best thing about dining in Palm Springs is you can basically sit outdoors anywhere you go!

gigi’s – best experience

Gigi’s was our first dinner in Palm Springs – and honestly, it was incredible. As soon as we were seated by the hostess and offered complimentary champagne (to which we said, yes please) – the experience was great, the food was amazing, and the atmosphere was intimate and magical. Not to mention the service was so attentive and on point – we were so well taken care of by our server and the rest of the staff.

The cocktails were tasty and had their own unique twist. I ordered the How Cosmopolitan and it came out yellow but was so tasty and refreshing, I had to order a second one! B ordered Gigi’s Martini that was served with crispy fried olives – we have never seen that before and it was definitely a yummy treat. When we get back to Gigi’s I definitely want to try the Tea Snack Tower that they offer for their Hors D’oeuvres – because everything on that list looks unbelievable. We had the GiGi’s Onion Dip Bacon Powder with Waffle Chips and Caviar and the Pig In a Blankey Wagyu Beef Sausage with a Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Puree, Wellington-Style, served with a pink truffle mustard aioli (pictured bottom right). I ordered the Wedge Salad for my main dish, while B got the Charred Broccoli Waldorf salad and Crispy Brick Jidori Chicken, everything was amazing. Honestly, our only complaint was the Brussel Sprouts, they were not crispy and only offered big pieces of bacon. I’d love to try their brunch out next time we visit also, but 10 out of 10 at Gigi’s for us.

returning favES

In & Out Burger – We love this west coast chain. From the atmosphere, amazing customer service with friendly faces, double cheeseburgers, and animal fries – we had to hit up this favorite twice while we were in Cali. Not to mention we love supporting companies who don’t buckle to corporate America and the backward narrative.

Wilma & Frieda’s – This is another favorite, especially for brunch. We actually ate here three times – once at the downtown Palm Springs location and twice in the El Paso, Palm Desert location, which we prefer for the views and neighborhood. Ordering their homemade biscuits is a must! We also got to try some of their bakery treats, the W&F Bar was brought out to celebrate my birthday and it was incredible, we also tried their strawberry pop tart and that was incredible too. They also serve delicious and reasonably priced mimosas!

Tropicale – Another incredible spot with a great atmosphere, drinks, and delicious food. The way to go here is definitely small plates to share with the table – although the entrees are also delicious. Heading here early for a happy hour cocktail is also a great go-to, but reservations are a must as they fill up fast! The inside is definitely sexy, but the outdoor space is magical and pink.

Honorable mentions

Copley’s in Palm Springs – This is where we dined for my birthday dinner. Copley’s is known for its incredible and spacious outdoor dining space and offers mountain views. The garden walled entryway is a dreamy welcome and the trees throughout are also magical, as the sunset, the lights lit the patio for a truly intimate evening – luckily we could see our dinner! We started with the Chicken and Lemongrass Pot Stickers to share at the table, they were great. From there, B ordered the Ahi Tuna Special, which he loved and I got the Charred-Grilled Center Cut Pork Chop (pictured below). My favorite part of this, however, was being surprised with our desserts being lit with gold glitter candles that B snuck to the waiter for my birthday – I was so surprised, it was awesome!

The Pink Cabana – This is probably the cutest place we ate at and an influencer’s dream for those in-feed photos. Our family friends also picked and arranged this spot for us. I give the Pink Cabana mixed reviews. The champagne selection wasn’t my fave (but that is kind of a problem in California, IMO), and the appetizers weren’t the best – also sitting outside was great, but once it got dark we couldn’t even see our food, also our server wasn’t the greatest, I think we were too much fun for him. The main courses were however incredible, I got a Wagyu steak special that was served with mushrooms, broccolini, and sweet potatoes. B got the Pescatarian Tagine and only wished there was more of it – he also ordered the Hot to Trot cocktail which he enjoyed, but wished it was a little more spicey!

Starbucks Reserve – We of course had to stop at the Starbucks Reserve in downtown Palm Springs. Steps away from the Marilyn Monroe statue, we had no clue what to expect, but it was pretty cool. I was not expecting craft coffee cocktails (sans alcohol) basically – B ordered The Melrose, which was a cold brew shaken with cherry bitters, and topped with Bordeaux cherries (see the first photo, on the right).

Since being home we’ve gotten back into our gut-healthy eating lifestyle, but as I mentioned we love exploring and trying new food when we travel. From the endless patios, views, trendy spots, and unique food dishes we are always here for it.

B was definitely on an ahi tuna and spicy cocktail kick, while I was all about the meat and desserts. We also were able to dine with our desert-dwelling friends four times while we were in the desert and they are truly such great company, our dinners were filled with multiple cocktails, laughter, and delicious food – and honestly what is much better in life than that?

Check out our Palm Springs Eats – Part 1 from our last trip.