Palm Springs: A Mini Vacation Guide

At Camp Sterling, occupied by one tennis NUT of a husband, all attentions are currently focused on the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Palm Springs. We attended last year, and since I’m not up for 24-7 tennis,  I spent much of the week trolling the shops, spas and restaurants of Palm Springs.

I have some intense spring break fever, and Tyson and I are both tempted to hop in the car this weekend for a Bridget Jones-esque mini-break. If we head to Palm Springs, this will be our itinerary:

STAY – BEST CHOICE: I would drive to The Parker Palm Springs this weekend just for the Blueberry Pancakes at Norma’s. They are evil, ethereal, orange-laced creations and when we were in Palm Springs, I ate them almost every day.

The Parker was designed by Jonathan Adler, who is in the midst of a design refresh here as well. There are hammocks on the lawn, cute bars by the pool, and JA pottery in each witty little room. The grounds just feel like a vacation. And don’t miss the yacht club-themed spa. I swam laps and felt like I was in a Slim Aarons photo.


STAY – BUDGET: The Ace Hotel, Palm Springs

You’ve heard it’s sooooo cool. And here’s my review: it is — if you’re in your 20s or early 30s and budget and clout matter most.

You can’t beat the rates. The atmosphere is hipster-chic. The rooms are clean and look stylish. But our air conditioner didn’t cool the room well, even after they “fixed” it, and we were told this is a consistent problem at the Ace. It’s hot in Palm Springs, people. I also didn’t love the hard floors and futon sofa.

Bottom line: get a room on the first floor and adjust your expectations, or visit in the winter.

SHOP: In downtown Palm Springs, make a beeline to Palm Canyon Drive, where midcentury temples make friends with kitschy boutiques. My don’t-miss pick: Trina Turk. There’s a clothing boutique adjoined to a home shop, and the entire place is themed around pools, pink cocktails, and joy.

I also really loved The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five — many mini boutiques, all housed under one roof. This is where I was tempted to load my car and never look back.

I’m still mad I didn’t buy these — made by a Los Angeles artist.

EAT: Norma’s, Norma’s Norma’s. Got that? Good.

I also flipped over Workshop Kitchen + Bar. Dinner was delicious, but I really remember how I felt in this space: low candlelight, so much texture, hushed laughter, and sexiness for days.

Oh, and there’s also a certain outlet mall — you know the one. Gucci, YSL, Prada, Valentino, DVF, Vince, et. al. I didn’t spend any time there at all. (Sssshhhhh.)

What are your favorite stops in Palm Springs?

By |2015-03-13T08:52:04-07:00March 13th, 2015|Travel|12 Comments

The most stylish chocolaterie in Paris

One of my dearest friends arrived in Paris last night, for fashion week. She invited me to go last-minute (!@#$$%) and I squealed and said “yes!” and then looked at my calendar, which was piled with immovable and important client events over each day we’d be in France  (!#$%^$).

So today I want to lie on my sofa and shovel chocolates and cheese into my mouth while wiping away tears with a scented French hankie.

Adulthood rocks.

And so, chocolate. I came upon this image nigh about the time I was invited to go to France, and when I realized that the photo was of a Parisian chocolaterie, I stood up, went into the kitchen, and ate a slice of cake.

Not going to Paris is making me fat.

Just look at this:

Le Chocolat is the creation of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, which means the confections will be as glorious as the case that holds them. Can we pause a moment for the brass trim? And the knobs? And those fantastic industrial pendants hanging above?

This is industrial design at its best.

I’d be a happy girl visiting this place without any chocolate at all.

My friend promises to go, and I hope she brings me back a chocolate — or a brass knob. Both would be equally welcome.

And I hope she has the house specialty, which is a piece of chocolate wrapped in bread. French bread. Howl.

When my husband and I were in Paris for our wedding, we spent an afternoon on a chocolate crawl, which is an excellent thing to do in Paris, where the chocolateries look like high-fashion boutiques and the candies are encased under glass like Chanel pearls.

Our list included Jacques Genin — where the chocolates are so exquisitely careful I don’t know how anyone can eat them.


And Patisserie des Reves, which feels like Willy Wonka’s Factory and is home to the best versions of classic French pastries like the Paris Brest and St. Honore.


You actually lift those glass cases and point to what you’d like to have — and then walk away with your mouth full of lemon meringue and your mind dancing with inspiration.

Only in Paris, mon amour.

Le sob.

By |2015-03-05T07:00:28-07:00March 5th, 2015|Travel|4 Comments

Our wedding: apartment hunting in Paris

For our wedding-honeymoon abroad (see yesterday’s post for the news!), we decided to stay awhile. It’s like this: skip the big expensive wedding, get a really long vacation to France. Also, get married when you’re old, like me, and have been saving. That helps.

We’re breaking the trip into three parts: a special hotel for the wedding, an unbelievable outing to Reims courtesy Puddinn’ and her husband (you will squeal), and a real Paris apartment for the remaining days.

A Paris apartment!

I’ve been carrying a faded dream of a Paris apartment around in my head for decades. I imagined something high up, with wood floors and glorious vintage furniture, worn just so. I pictured grays and golds and lots of white walls — a garret from the storybooks.

Look at what we just rented:



Can you even stand it? The beams! The mirrors! My little black wedding dress hanging in that pretty  armoire.

(I just stood up and did a small dance in the kitchen.)

It’s in the Marais, on the top floor, with skylights and views over the Paris rooftops. It was even in our budget, which makes everything feel meant to be. There’s even a sleeping loft, with windows in the roof. The French really work the romance, even in 600 square feet.

Now, can we discuss the shoemakers’ conspiracy to rid the world of elegant black satin pumps?  OK, that will be tomorrow.


By |2013-08-21T08:12:31-07:00August 21st, 2013|Travel|2 Comments

Understanding Me + NYC

Long ago, when I was going through a jarring life left-turn (le divorce from my high school sweetheart), I made a to-do list for self-discovery. Among other things, I wanted to polish my French and try it out in Paris, write a story that stretched me, make friends with my dad, take a literature class, kiss 25 men, and visit New York “until I got it,” I specified.

Those 25 men, they’ll disappoint you every time. But oh, New York, New York.  I went every year for my birthday to see Central Park in the fall. I went in December with my mom and my sisters to realize “it’s Christmas time in the city.” I went for a hurricane  — and stayed. I went in January and never will again. And finally, this month, I went (with Marni) to see the spring.

It was only once we’d arrived and found ourselves wandering the streets that I realized I’d left my worn-out map and guidebooks at home. Maybe I didn’t need them, I thought. Maybe now, after all this time, I understand New York.


I suppose what I wanted was just to feel comfortable here.

The city  scared me the first time I came — as a little intern from The Baltimore Sun who took the train up for the day  to visit the paintings at the Met, alone. I was afraid to go into the restaurants and ask for a table for one. I was afraid to take the subway. I was afraid to walk under scaffolding, even. My mother had warned me about dark corners and New York.

That same summer, I realize now, I was afraid of many other things. I was afraid to take a job offer that would stretch me. I was afraid NOT to get married. I feared being 24 and single. I was scared to leave Arizona, and home.

A few weeks ago, as Marni and I tripped along the city streets, pausing at daffodils and tulips and white-flowered trees, I thought about that frightened girl.




She would marvel at this older self who yells at cabbies,  laughs when she gets lost on the subway, dances on tables with drag queens at the Standard Hotel on Halloween, sits alone in restaurants all the time and sometimes even prefers it. She would admire the open smile that invites strangers to become friends — on street corners, in cafes, at museums and plays and standing outside photo booths, waiting for a turn.

She would love the reading room of the New York library, too, and be glad to have found it.

Maybe now, after all this time, I also understand her.

Traveling, I think, is brought on by the instinct to search for something: a memory, an experience, a painting, a dessert, a place, an ideal, or the thought of a different kind of life.

“There are two kinds of travelers,” writes my beloved New Yorker scribe Adam Gopnik. “There is the kind who goes to see what there is to see, and the kind who has an image in his head and goes out to accomplish it. The first visitor has an easier time, but I think the second visitor sees more.”

This spring, in New York, I found myself on the brink of many frightening things: another wedding, the hope of starting a family, and new jobs that will stretch and scare me.

When I set out for New York all those years ago, I held an image in my head of a girl who charged bravely around town and knew just where she was going.

And this spring, I saw her there.


By |2013-04-30T08:51:43-07:00April 30th, 2013|Travel|5 Comments

Where to eat on the patio this weekend (The House Brasserie)

In New York, Marni and I left no carbohydrate behind. I’ll show you photos next week. You’ll be sick. We came home vowing a life dedicated to chicken and vegetables. Then I went to dinner at The House Brasserie in Old Town Scottsdale to celebrate spring, and to see my friend Shauna, and to enjoy these gorgeous patio nights, and it all fell apart.

You want to go there this weekend for dinner — it’s my new favorite patio in town, and just the place to honor these breezy evenings.


It’s from the team behind The Mission — chef Matt Carter and manager Brian Raab, who always makes you feel as if he’s so happy to see you.


The menu is a little Southern, a little American, a little “whatever-Matt-wants,” as Brian says.


We wanted farro salad with arugula and salame, and jerk chicken on Arizona fry bread.



Go, and happy weekend.


P.S. Hayden Flour Mills is up for Entrepreneur of the Year — the company makes those gorgeous flours in Chris Bianco’s pizza and other cool carbs around town. If they win, they get more money to revitalize their old, beautiful building and to feed us. Vote here.

By |2013-04-12T08:04:34-07:00April 12th, 2013|Travel|3 Comments

Local love: the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday edition

Where to spend and save at local shops and restaurants this weekend:

Black Friday means 20% off everything at Modern Manor, one of the best midcentury modern stores ever — and it’s here in Phoenix on the 7th Avenue strip. That rocking chair. Cusswords.

Small Business Saturday works like this: register your American Express card, use it to spend $25 at a participating business, and get $25 back from Amex. It’s like free money. Some of my favorite haunts are on the list. (LOCAL STORES: if you’re on the list, leave a comment below so my readers can find you! The Amex site is not navigable for the impatient.)

Use your card to have dinner at The Parlor, where Tyson and I love to sit in the old beauty parlor chairs at the chef’s bar and share the chopped salad.

On the AMEX list: Design*Lab, where $25 will be easy and fun. This store is such happy doom.

Go on a ribbon/vintage decor AMEX spree at Melrose Vintage.

Antique Gatherings on 36th Street and Indian School is my favorite antique store in town, and where I find all of my best Christmas gifts. I can spend $25 on AMEX the second I walk through that door.

*Lastly, REstyle Source is rewarding people for shopping small. If you visit a local store or restaurant this weekend, post a picture to Instagram, tag #REstyleSource in your pic, and you could win a $50 gift card to that store. I’m into that!

(Don’t forget to follow @REstyleSource on Instagram to win.)



P.S. I helped them with this cute video. Happy shopping!


By |2012-11-23T07:52:03-07:00November 23rd, 2012|Travel|1 Comment

Localove: UNION now open at Biltmore Fashion Park

Imagine mini versions of the best local boutiques complete with a bicycle shop, a whoopie pie window, and a custom parfumerie, and that’s UNION — a thoughtful, cutting-edge co-op that opens today at Biltmore Fashion Park. There’s a restaurant, a newsstand, dress shop, an outpost of Queen Creek Olive Mill, even a Royal Coffee bar. I went to the opening bash last night and watched as the stylish set around town lapped it up. Bravo, Lew Gallo: what an idea. Would you like to see inside?

UNION is Arizona-centric right down to the salvaged wood interiors and the restaurant manager: Lisa G., who used to make beloved meatballs at her restaurant on 7th St. Lew Gallo and Macerich made sure of that. Lew’s shop, For the People, is where I plan to buy many Christmas gifts, including this killer gray leather pig. (Isn’t Lew debonair?)

One of the best things: cloud vases from ASU professor and local artist Sam Chung, also at For the People.

Paris Envy has moved here from 7th Avenue — and wait until you see co-owner Jason Moore’s handmade chandeliers. They were my find of the night.

The Willows Home & Garden is here in miniature:

Smeeks has moved here now, too — candy and novelties galore.

A small version of Frances, in the house, where I liked this sign and these killer padlocks:

Citrine is a beauty bar where you can learn about natural makeup, find my favorite perfume in the world, or create your own.

There’s a British bicycle shop, where the handles and seats are leather-wrapped. Go just to see the basket collection.

I loved the Bonafide menswear boutique – from the folks behind The Clotherie:

Oh, those whoopie pies. You want the pumpkin.

The fantastically named sunglass boutique, Me Myself and Eye:

Pretty patio:

Customatic comes from local architects who build chess sets and make interesting things — look at this booth closely.

There’s even a newsstand and a card shop — all the good bits that we love in those rare, hard-to-find places called bookstores:

UNION is at Biltmore Fashion Park on 24th Street and Camelback, near Stingray Sushi.

Also opening today: Restoration Hardware’s three-story temple at the Scottsdale Quarter. Photos to come from last night’s opening gala.

By |2012-11-09T09:46:02-07:00November 9th, 2012|Travel|2 Comments

Connor and Brendan

Last night, I went to bed in tears for a mother named Glenda Moore in Staten Island, whose two little boys, aged 2 and 4, were torn from her arms by Hurricane Sandy’s surge. Yesterday, rescue workers found them at the end of the street, drowned. Their names were Connor and Brendan.

According to the Associated Press, Glenda Moore’s SUV stalled in rising water and she lost her grip on the boys as they tried to escape.

“In a panic, she climbed fences and went door-to-door looking in vain for help in a neighborhood that was presumably largely abandoned in the face of the storm. She eventually gave up, spending the night trying to shield herself from the storm on the front porch of an empty home,” AP reported.

This list will help you choose the best way to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

People are hungry and cold. Their homes are underwater or gone. There is a fuel shortage, and it’s hard to get around, to get help, to find family. I’m coming home tomorrow — if I can get to the airport — with this city, and my family, and Connor and Brendan’s mother in my heart.

 The Empire State Building, as seen from the New York Public Library reading room, where I looked for light in the dark.


By |2012-11-02T08:25:16-07:00November 2nd, 2012|Travel|4 Comments

Pre-Sandy NYC Joy

The city is starting to come back to life, and I have a flight home that promises not to get cancelled. Meanwhile, before there was Sandy, there was joy. Things I loved in the city:

This foxy doorknocker in the West Village, which reminded me of my Burberry crush.

Kissing pumpkins at Lulu Guinness on Bleecker Street:

Discovering Brooklyn’s Fort Greene, complete with autumn leaves.

A trip with Marni to MJ Trim, craft headquarters of the universe.

An evening at The Standard Grill, ever chic (with the best photo booth in the basement).

Pumpkin doughnuts at Doughnut Plant in Chelsea, my favorite NYC treat.

Iron and webs for the holiday that was cancelled, in the West Village.

An autumnal afternoon on a bench in Union Square Park, where I watched a couple kiss like it was their first date.

Walking to dinner at Co.

A window filled with tiny paper artwork at the beautiful Pushkin on 57th Street, near 5th Avenue.

My temple of doom.

Pumpkins for sale streetside in the Chelsea flower market district — an experience not to be missed.

Warm and stylish surroundings at the new Hotel Gansevoort Park Avenue, where we visited Winston’s Champagne Bar.

Gorgeous autumnal displays in all the restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, where I had butternut squash soup with chestnuts and lobster. It’s about as perfect as a restaurant can be.

Lunchtime tradition — my beloved Union Square Cafe. Eat at the bar, share incredible salad and pasta and laughs. This is the Barefoot Contessa’s favorite restaurant in the city.

A stop into Fish’s Eddy for kitchen-addled, table setting bliss.

A skeleton in the moon  at Tinsel Trading Co., Martha Stewart’s favorite store in all the world — truly.

And sidewalk wisdom that I found walking the streets.


By |2012-11-01T05:27:31-07:00November 1st, 2012|Travel|2 Comments

NYC: Hello, Hurricane

I’m going to blow out an emergency candle on top of a granola bar for my birthday in New York City today.

My flight home was cancelled and the city has shut down. The taxi horns have stopped. We’re left listening to wind. Even the chess tables in Washington Square Park are empty.

Ah, Frankenstorm, thanks for the mystic fun.

(The last night of peace: our view from the rooftop bar of the Met, my new favorite place in the city.)

(Checkmate, Sandy: Washington Square Park — where Harry left Sally.)

I’m staying with a girlfriend and our hurricane preparedness has included stocking up on water and flashlights and non-perishables, of course. We also over-ordered at restaurants so we can have leftovers and ran to Sam Flax for glitter. We need constructive indoor activity and cheerful attitudes, n’est-ce pas?

A smart last supper: dinner with leftovers at Ilili. I loved the giant pumpkins on high shelves and the Mediterranean food we can dream about while eating trail mix: falafel, fattoush, labne, and wicked brussels sprouts.

Then, we blew off Saturday night Halloween parties to push two grocery carts down 57th Street, fighting taxis and stares, laughing like the madwomen we appeared to be.

Scary shelves at Whole Foods that once held water:

We’ve been tempted to interfere with the  people in line about what “non-perishable” means. Lean Cuisine, hummus and Snack-Pack pudding do not qualify. Peanut Butter, people, you need peanut butter.

I hope I still like peanut butter when all of this is over.

Early Sunday morning, I walked the High Line with Marni just as the wind kicked up. I sat on a bench and watched golden leaves float down cool currents.

Sandy, be gentle to my beloved New York.

Save power interruptions and mass calamity, I’ll be posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you’d like to follow along. On Instagram, I’m @jaimeerosestyle.

By |2012-10-29T03:30:02-07:00October 29th, 2012|Travel|1 Comment


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