Take Me To California

Venice Beach baby

I’ve written before about my love for the great state of California, here and here and then there’s that time I ran into Britney Spears.

This time around, we had one day in Los Angeles while James worked and Giovanna and I enjoyed the Beverly Hilton, played on Venice Beach and visited with two very special women.

Then, we drove to Palm Springs where we used Hotels Tonight and Priceline to book some deals on four-star hotels with fire pits, poolside service, hot tubs, a kiddie pool, and a faux-beach/sand-box amongst so many other luxuries to savor. (All day with my love, afternoon bubbly, daily housekeeping…)

And it was like winter had an affair with summer. Bright skies and eighty degrees in LA, eighty-five in the desert. The sun warmed my bones and kissed my skin golden and delighted my daughter and relaxed my hard-working husband.

The resort cities in the Coachella Valley are intertwined with my childhood, my ancestry and my heart. I was so young, but I still remember those endless drives from my grandparents condo in the Pacific Palisades to their other condo in Palm Desert. These were the hours when my Grandma Lucy taught me how to pray on the rosary, and I learned to love Frank Sinatra.

One time, my mom took my sister and I on a girl’s trip for Spring Break, when we were both in college. My greatest memory of this trip was my desperation for a tan. And before I existed, my mother and her family spent many weeks vacationing there, just 111 miles east of their home. If I lived that close to the desert, I think I’d become addicted to it.

I don’t know why it feels so good to me, not only the desert sun, but the swimming pools and the bushy palm trees and the rocky mountains and the wide open spaces. I guess that’s how inexplicable joy works. It just is.

Venice Beach.

Venice Beach

California Beach

Hotel Riviera, first day in Palm Springs.

Hotel Riviera

My loves smothered in zinc oxide.

Zinc Oxide

My attempt at swimming lessons.

swimming lessons

mommy bikini

Barre Body

mommy love

Hotel Riviera

Palm Springs Family Vacation


Swimming Lessons

Hotel Riviera’s swank lobby.

Hotel Riviera restaurant

Hotel Riviera lobby

Hotel Riviera Lobby

Hotel Riviera Lobby


Renaissance Esmerelda, Palm Desert. (Awesome for kids.)

Renaissance Esmerelda Sand Box



Broken big toe.


Painted nails.DSC_0624





View from our room at the Esmerelda.Renaissance Esmerelda View

Coachella Valley Preserve.Coachella Valley Preserve with kids

Hiking buddies.Angel Pack Toddler

Coachella Valley Preserve

Palm Desert palm trees






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