la la land

los angeles will always hold a special place in my heart. it's where i wanted to live for the longest time, and Q and i actually became such good friends after living and working out there during the same summer before senior year of college. we both had plans to move there after graduation (and she eventually did it, yay!) but i just fell deeper in love with austin.

this most recent trip to LA was focused around hitting up all of the places i didn't get to during that summer, and revisiting my all-time favorite haunts. first up on the list was pink's hot dogs. i used to live soooo close to pink's and would drive by it almost every day, but never endured the long line by myself. Q and i stopped in on my first afternoon in town (even though she picked up chipotle next door, lol) and i got a chili cheese dog, french fries, and pink lemonade - YUM.

since we were heading to palm springs the next day, we wanted to get our nails done for the pool. olive & june has been on my list for forever after swooning over their cute nail art designs on instagram. the manicure itself was honestly one of the best i've ever gotten. my girl went over and over all the little details and hang nails to make sure my nails looked perfect, and THEY DID! plus the decor was totally my style, i loved the leather chairs, kilim pillows, and hanging florals.

i was so obsessed with my eye ball design (remember i have a thing for eye balls?) so i tried really hard not to bite my nails afterward. i lasted about 2 weeks, woo hoo! after our manicures, we drove out to santa monica and met up with kim and her sister for dinner and margaritas at blue plate taco - one of my absolute favoriteee restaurants in LA, i don't care how touristy it may be.

once we got back from our palm springs excursion, Q actually had to go to work on monday (ugh). so i explored the city on my own. since LA is so large, i divided up my days by neighborhood. i spent monday in venice.

i rented a beach cruiser and biked a few miles to santa monica and then came back to venice to shop along abbott kinney. there are soooo many cute stores along that one strip and i popped into almost every single one. by the end of my bike ride and my walk, i was STARVING. i was excited to try the butcher's daughter, but overheard that the wait for lunch was 45 minutes long - LUCKILY, i was flying solo so i got a spot at the bar immediately hehe. i (bravely) ordered a juice flight - very bold move for me - and avocado toast. both were pretty delish and super filling.

after returning my bike, i headed out to the beach to get some color on my skin and some sand in my toes. the water was FREEZING cold but i made sure to go completely underwater at least one time, you have to! only i ran my phone down to 4% battery, i headed back to west hollywood and after Q got off work we went to the hudson for dinner. one of her roommates recommended it to us and it was right up my alley. we feasted on short rib mac n cheese (YUM!), burgers (duh), and friend chicken sliders (yes).

tuesday was my last day in cali *sigh* and i spent it exploring downtown, an area that i pretty much never ventured to a few summers ago. i started off the day with lunch at honey hi in echo park. i was nervous about what to order since i'm such a picky eater, but i got the miso bowl (and chocolate chip cookie) and it was AMAZING. i think i have a new obsession with daikon sauce.

i took an uber further into downtown to visit the broad museum. unbeknownst to me, there's always a super huge line... so i ended up waiting an hour before making it inside the doors. thank god the weather was so nice. i have a thing for giant art so this museum was right up my alley. i saw this cool weaving created out of aluminum pieces - and then literally stumbled upon two giant KEITH HARING paintings. when i saw them, i swear my heart started beating so fast. they were unreal. there was also this super cool exhibit that was just a basic, black table and chair set but it was GIANT size. the museum itself was pretty small but it was worth the wait for the few pieces that absolutely took my breath away.

afterwards i walked over to grand central market and grabbed an ice cream cone. i swear i ate so much ice cream on this trip. i got WILD BERRY flavor (basically like a pop tart) and it was SO GOOD. i didn't even walk around with my cone. instead i found a table, sat down, and savored every lick.

the last place on my list before heading to the airport was the art district. on my map it looked like a pretty short walk (1 mile) but it was a pretty sketchy area in between the museum and the art district... when i finally made it there, i checked out poketo and wanted to buy every single thing in the store. if only i could fit it all into my carryon... i stumbled upon another shop called alchemy works that was just as cool but with slightly different vibes.

i feel like i got to see so many different sides of LA on this trip which i loved. i've been pretty set on moving there eventually, but now i'm not so sure. the traffic was so crazy and i kinda love my little austin bubble. so for now, i'll just rack up another to-do list before i head out to la la land again. - carm

palm springs for the weekend

ahhh, my first vacation of 2017. i flew out to LA to visit Q and we took a weekend trip to palm springs. this place has been on my travel list for everrrr, and we finally checked it off!! we hopped in the car on saturday morning and two hours later, we arrived at our destination. in typical carm fashion, i created an entire itinerary listing out every place we had to eat, drink, and hang out (with backups too).


first up on our list was BREAKFAST. luckily i scarfed a chocolate chip poptart in the car on the ride in, but poor Q was starving. we ended up waiting an hour for a table for two at cheeky's... but seriously, we HAD to eat here, and it was totally worth the wait. i got eggs benedict (duh) and it came on a cheddar scone instead of a plain ol' biscuit YUM. Q got huevos rancheros and we split a corn pancake. the corn pancake was exactly that - a pancake with corn in it. isn't it picturesque??

we stayed at the saguaro, aka the rainbow hotel. we were expecting a pretty chill scene since coachella was over but nope, it was a straight up vegas-style hotel pool party, complete with live DJ. 

we got into the spirit by ordering a pitcher of margaritas and going for a swim. i also got this drink called MERMAID BAIT (how cute) which was basically just watermelon juice. there were sooo many bachelor/ette parties, but we ended up making friends with these two other girls who thought the whole scene was just as absurd as we did. we spent all day by the pool and then went to birba for dinner, where we split a bottle of wine, started with the highly recommended meatballs, and finished off the meal with a couple pizzas. it was divineeee.

since saturday was our pool day, sunday was our day of activities. i had a list of places i wanted to go just to see them in person and grab a photo. first stop: the parker. ever since seeing gray marlin's parker palm springs series, i've been dying to find the white brick wall and bright orange door IRL... and hoping a giraffe/camel would pop out with an hermes gift for me.

next up was #thatpinkdoor !!! this door has become insta-famous due to its millennial pink color and its midcentury modern vibes. it's actually somebody's house but i guess they don't mind everyone and their mom taking photos in front of it. while we were taking this photo, a neighbor was walking her dog by us and said that about 50 people a day stop by to take in the door and all its glory. *sigh* when can i move in?

i swear every hotel in palm spring is cool. i'd love to come back another time and just do one night at each one to experience them all. i took this star jump photo of Q at the ace hotel. she's my sunshine!!!

then we skaddadled over to reservoir for brunch. this was definitely our most anticipated meal of the trip and it did not disappoint. for some reason i was craving a salad (that never happens) so i got the cobb salad topped with the absolute freshest shrimp i've ever eaten in my entire life. Q got the burger, following along with one of my many life mottos "you can never go wrong with the burger." 

palm springs is like a city stuck in the midcentury. everything from the architecture to the people has an old-world vibe. we popped into two stores that are known for having great midcentury furniture finds. a la mod had a cool (but slightly odd) collection of vintage furniture and home decor. just modern was a more updated store with contemporary items that looked like they were created in the 1960s.

the amado was my dream place to stay but it was unavailable for the weekend that we were in town. i've been obsessed with this orange door and the boutique hotel's five rooms for years. next time we go back, we're staying here. it'd be the perfect location to rent out for a bachelorette party.

throughout my entire stay in california, i think my diet consisted of about 50% ice cream. on our way out of town we stopped into ice cream and shop(pe) - yes, that's its real name - for a couple scoops! i got mint chocolate chip and licked away trying to finish it before the desert sun melted it all... the sun won.

i found out about this amazing collection of art installations throughout palm springs called desert x pretty randomly via instagram. the last day of the exhibit was the last day we were in town and i was so excited to have caught it! we hiked up a giant hill in the blazing sun (post-ice cream cones) to check out this mirrored house installation called 'mirage' by doug aitkin. it reflects the sky, the mountains of coachella valley, and the city of palm springs. from certain angles, it seems to disappear into the scenery completely. it was AMAZING and the perfect way to end our artsy, foodie trip to palm springs. - carm