Blog

Navigation

PA (AND BEYOND): THE BEST COLORFUL & HAPPY-MAKING RETRO SCARF

By Nora Zelevansky / March 24th, 2010

SCARF

You all know I'm a scarf fiend.  I actually realized like six months ago that I needed to get a handle on myself.  I mean, how many scarves does one person need?

Um, a million, I guess.  Or a million and one, now that I was given the above Lilly Pulitzer scarf that I, of course, now can't live without.  I mean, I don't have another that's quite so bright and springy!  And it's so soft and light.  So soft and light, in fact, that I was willing to post the above heinous picture of myself (alllll nose, no neck) in order to feature it.

If you've never heard of Lilly Pulitzer and need a frame of reference, the iconic line is like the original Trina Turk.  You can just picture a cute little prepster in a 1960's shift dress, cardigan, oversized sunglasses and this scarf, right?

Personally, I debuted mine this weekend in Palm Springs, which is the perfect place.

And if you've never heard of Palm Springs and need a frame of reference, its like the original Palm Beach.

Groovy.

xo – N.

P.S. M. (who hopefully doesn't hate this pic of her too much cause I think it's cute) is wearing an adorable necklace by R.L.

PALM SPRINGS: THE BEST HANGOVER CURES

By Nora Zelevansky / April 1st, 2009

2009_04_01VICEROY4

At the risk of sounding like some desert tweaker (rambling a mile a minute about cacti, magic shrooms and Burning Man), I'm going to rave about my mini-trip to The Viceroy Palm Springs.  I know. I know. I'm like Palm Springs obsessed lately, but each spot is so different that the trips really differ.

But I promise to keep it short.  Not POCKET LINT short.  Like actually short.  Or at least mostly pictures. Shit, I'm already rambling. Maybe I am a tweaker?

2009_04_01VICEROY13(My Comfy, Pretty Bed)

My traveling companion (okay, my mom) and I arrived in the late afternoon to discover our lovely room and a delightful yellow package of Estrella Spa products: Lemongrass, Lavender and Sage Body Scrub, Body Lotion and SPF.  We grabbed that handy sunblock and hauled ass to the pool for the last hour or so of light, where I waded in literally a bath water warm pool.  Heaven.  I mean, sigh.

That evening we headed over to the spa for a cocktail party (pineapple, rosemary and ginger vodka drinks) with a mini-sampling of spa treatments from Kinara's Red Carpet Manicures (the beloved LA spa has a new partnership with Viceroy Palm Springs and my hands have never felt so soft as after their sizzling, Alka-Seltzer-like skin treatment) to the most amazing reflexology.  I ask you: Is there anything in life better than a foot massage? I really think not.

2009_04_01VICEROY72009_04_01VICEROY122009_04_01VICEROY10
(CLICK TO EXPAND: Burrata and Five Tomato Salad, Hanging–Post Outdoor Dinner Party–With The Viceroy's Chef James Bailey, and a Lovely Meyer Lemon and Raspberry Dessert)

The dinner party was delicious, fresh and surprisingly light (prepared largely with local ingredients). Not only did we get to chat with Olga from Kinara (who is hilarious and charming), but, afterward, we also got to pick Chef James Bailey's brain, always a treat for me. He dished about one of his go-to Palm Springs haunts: Matchbox Pizza.  But he also mentioned this place called Cheeky's, where they offer an entire Bacon Flight from honey-cured to jalapeno.  Hmm . . . bacon.

2009_04_01VICEROY15
(The Estrella Spa's Fireplace Room)

The next morning, my mother and I both had spa fab treatments.  I luxuriated in a massage and scrub with Estrella's signature aromatherapy blend (made in-house), while my mother had the Lava Shell Massage (where they heat smoothed shells and drop a tea bag-like sack inside).  Did that sound dirty?

2009_04_01VICEROY22009_04_01VICEROY2009_04_01VICEROY5
(CLICK TO EXPAND: Pizza, Signature Parmesan Truffle Fries, My Mother Lounging poolside at Citron)

Next, we grabbed lunch poolside at Citron and started with the signature juices like the Asparagus, Lemon and Cucumber combo (like drinking a salad) and the tastier Hangover Helper with Apple, Carrot and Ginger (featured in that initial picture above).

Soon, we were off on a hike and to check out the new Ace Hotel (very cool–I LOVE the Portland one too) and then, finally, to The Desert Premium Outlets.  I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that The Outlets have crazy stock right now because people haven't been shopping.  Think Prada. RUN. DON'T. WALK.

I guess I didn't really keep this so short, but such is life.  Sue me:)

xo – N.

PALM SPRINGS: THE BEST KUMQUAT MARTINI & SPA TEA

By Nora Zelevansky / March 6th, 2009

2009_03_05PalmSprings

2009_03_05PalmSprings52009_03_05PalmSprings6
2009_03_05PalmSprings32009_03_05PalmSprings4
(Miramonte's Kumquat Martini, Magical Hour View, Chicken Wings a.k.a. Andrew's Favorite Eat Of The Weekend, Carpaccio With Caper Berries–YUM–and Andre at The Vineyard Lounge, Still Looking A Bit Tense Post-Drive)

Sometimes, mid-winter, one just needs a break from SoCal's treacherous 70-degree weather.  Poor Angelenos, stuck in the frigid cold.  So, last weekend, we (and some wonderful travel companions who prefer to remain hush hush) headed out to dreamy 85-degree Palm Springs for a little lolling poolside.

No, but seriously, I was sad to miss the pretty east coast snow too.  Sometimes you just crave a little weather, one way or the other.

Anyway, we landed in Indian Wells/Palm Desert (actually about 20 to 30-minutes from Palm Springs) at the recently renovated resort, Miramonte.  (If you want more info on developments in the Palm Springs resurgence from cool kid Ace Hotel to new Riviera Resort & Spa, here is a link to a Palm Springs design story I wrote not long ago for Hospitality Design).  I'd heard rumors that Miramonte's Kumquat Martini (served at The Vineyard Lounge and at newly re-conceived eatery The Grove Artisan Kitchen) was must-try.  Turns out the buzz was deserved: we settled in for cocktails upon arrival (how better to ring in a weekend escape?) and found the drink not overly sweet with a delightful, tangy half kumquat floating atop. 

2009_03_05PalmSprings7
2009_03_05PalmSprings92009_03_05PalmSprings8
(Passion Fruit Iced Tea, Pool From Afar, Yummy Fatoush Salad Poolside)

Pool-time the next morning: In lieu of breakfast, I opted for an early lunch while sunbathing (heavy SPF, of course) and the food was delish, as were the comfy lounges.  But this was a weekend of wonderful beverages (including a pricy wine ordered accidentally the night before–#48 from Castelli's wine list, though I would NOT recommend the restaurant), so I need to highlight the totally refreshing passionfruit iced tea.  I mean, really what could be better on a warm Palm Springs winter day?

2009_03_05PalmSprings13
2009_03_05PalmSprings102009_03_05PalmSprings11
2009_03_05PalmSprings12
(The Well Spa's Wishing Well Tokens, Spa Lounges, Salt Water Hot Tubs and The Wishing Well Itself)

Well, no resort weekend is complete–in my overly pampered book–without a spa treatment, especially when the hotel is known for its services.  Now, I spend an inordinate amount of time at spas for work (I know, rough life), so I'm not so much particular as hyper aware of a given haven's offerings.  In my humble opinion, a spa's success is all in the minute details.  I mean, I could write a book on spa water and robes alone.

And The Well Spa did not disappoint: the robes were thin and buttery soft (pockets would make them perfection), the spa water was amply cucumber and citrus-infused (and was also available at the pool), the eucalyptus steam room was truly steamy and tiled in pretty sea tones (although I'm so clumsy that I managed to knock my head on the ceiling–how do I do these things?), the towels were fluffy, the sandals came in actual s,m,l sizes, complimentary hair ties served me well in a pinch (although they're scrunchies–eek), the refreshment counter offered up dried fruit (I hate when they starve you) and the MOST DELICIOUS chamomile lavender tea with lavender picked from a nearby farm.

Andrew thinks tea is an Emperor's New Clothes phenomenon–just watery and bland, but I am in love and drink herbal versions every single night.  Gee, I wonder who has the more developed palate?  Just saying.

I had a Cobblestone Massage (as in Hot Stone), which was nice.  I'm usually a lotion over oil fan, but it's always oil with hot stone and they let me choose my scent (lavender always, unless there's orange blossom–I told you: I go to a lot of spas) and also my music, which I really appreciate.  My esthetician was a tiny bit heavy-handed, not in the massage arena, but when she sort of moved me around into position like I was a piece of meat.  But I know for a fact that this was an anomaly and it was still pretty relaxing.

2009_03_05PalmSprings142009_03_05PalmSprings15
(Our Room At The Hotel–See My Linea Pelle Clutch On The Bench Totally Matches)

The room itself was lovely and everyone on the first floor gets their own little patio, which is so nice! The hotel is not "cool" per se, but it's not stodgy either–it feels upscale and the service was great.

2009_03_05PalmSprings172009_03_05PalmSprings18
(A Granite Spiny Lizard Friend We Made At Indian Canyons)

After lunch at a biker bar (odd choice, but a long story and I've ramble enough), we headed out for a short hike near Palm Springs at Andreas Canyon in Indian Canyons.  The above pics don't do the oasis justice, especially this time of year when everything is so green.  We kept mumbling about how beautiful it was, as we wandered just before 5pm closing.

2009_03_05PalmSprings16
(Yup, The Biker Bar, Where "Easy Rider" Plays On Repeat, We Think)

In my experience, Palm Springs area food can be spotty (and pricey) at best (think banquet chow), but there are two restaurants where I've had good experiences: On Palm Desert's El Paseo, at Armando's Mexican Restaurant a few years ago, I tried Fajitas for the first time.  I know that's weird, but it's just one of those things.  Anyway, I've been eating them as much as possible ever since.  And, though it's kind of a fine-dining commitment, The Colony Palms' Purple Palm poolside resto in Palm Springs is yummy. Palm, Palm, Palm . . .

On the way home, we always take the Apache Trail exit to Morongo Casino (for Andre), Hadley's (Dried Fruit and Date Shake shop, where they sell these rare black dates for my dad) and Desert Hills Premium Outlets (pour moi–but not to be mistaken with Cabazon next door).  We're talking Barneys Outlet, people!!!  I'm broke like everyone else and we were meeting people for lunch at soup dumplings, so this time we only hit Hadley's, but, as always, it was a tasty stop (though Andrew once had a scarring ostrich burger experience).  Maybe he just doesn't like ostrich.

Anyway, all and all, a loverly way to play hooky and a breather from LA's raw winter weather.  Life's hard in SoCal, no?

xo – N.