Shields Date Garden, Indio

NJ in LA Desert

My desert journey continues with Shields Date Garden, located in Indio, just 25 miles East of Palm Springs. I hadn’t been to this desert gem in years so I thought it would be fun to introduce my girlfriends to this spot which serves up some of the best date shakes in the desert. Though I am now lactose intolerant (WTF?) it didn’t stop me from ordering a frothy shake. Unfortunately, I could only have a couple sips of that cold treat because let’s be straight, no one wants diarrhea on a road trip!

We all swooned over our delicious ice cream treat, a much-needed reprieve from our long day of exploring the high desert. My girl Joanne was really bold and ordered some coffee ice cream which she reported to be tasty. When you are looking to venture away from Palm Springs, make sure a visit to Shields Date Garden is on your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.

P.S. It has been a long-time James family tradition to take photos by signs.

Shields Date Gardens

Shields Date Gardens

Shields Date Shakes

Shields Date Gardens

Shields Date Garden
80225 Hwy 111
Indio, CA 92201
(760) 347-0996

The Saguaro Hotel, Palm Springs

NJ in L.A. with friends in Palm Springs

In case you missed it, I recently celebrated my birthday, and like I often do, I escaped to the desert to celebrate. This time around, I scooped up two of my best friends for fun in the sun and was beyond excited to show them my regular haunts in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs. Being that I’ve stayed at The Parker, The Viceroy, and The Ace countless times, I thought it was time to check out something new so I chose The Saguaro Hotel Palm Springs. I was initially drawn to this vibrant hotel, carved out of the former Holiday Inn, for its bold display of bright colors. This year has been all about color for me so I thought this would be the most appropriate choice.

Though the rooms are not as luxurious as other hotels I’ve frequented, I would recommend this joyful spot for their incredibly  friendly staff, decent room rates and delicious restaurant Tinto (which I’ll also be blogging about). The warm greeting I received when I checked into the hotel left me feeling like I was a VIP – I mean aren’t I?  Positive vibes combined with attentive team members made for an enjoyable stay, in addition to the immediate happiness we experience while being overwhelmed with pinks, yellows and greens. Throw in some freshly pressed strawberry margaritas, striped comforters and a pool, and us girls had our very own desert paradise.

Once you peep these photos of the hotel’s lobby, rooms, and pool, I think you’ll feel the warmth I experienced while staying at this new spot in Palm Springs.

The Saguaro Hotel Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs Front Desk

the saguaro

The Saguaro Hotel Palms Springs Lobby

The Saguaro Palm Springs Room

The Saguaro Palm Springs Pool

The Saguaro Hotel
1800 E Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92264
(760) 323-1711

Eating at Coachella

I am excited to announce my first piece over on one of my favorite Los Angeles sites, L.A. I’m Yours. My lifelong trips to the Coachella Valley & the Mojave have paid off in many ways and I am super psyched to share with you some of my favorite places to eat at while in the desert.

Since it appears that everyone & their mom is heading out to Coachella over the next couple of weeks, it was the perfect moment to break down where you should be taking your very own culinary adventures. Eating at Coachella is important, you cannot exist on partying alone.

Check out my round-up: Unseen LA: Nine Food Pitstops You Must Make At Coachella

High Desert Here I Come

Fashion Intel Joshua Tree

Believe it or not, I am heading back to the high desert for a couple of days. I am leaving town in a few hours with my friend Martine and I am especially excited as we’ll be staying somewhere I have never been. The mystery place just might be magical and I cannot wait to share it with all of you.

Looking forward to an afternoon soundbath, warm weather, and simply being surrounded by magnetic energies.

Joshua Tree National Park

No trip to the high desert would be complete without a stop at Joshua Tree National Park. About 1 hour 15 minutes from Palm Springs, this desert landscape filled with spikey tree-like beauties is a vast place to explore. We hightailed it into the park with bright eyes and bushy tails. Wearing appropriate clothing for hikes is a must and I have realized that it is time I invest in some hiking boots! Nonetheless, Natalie A. and I hit a couple small trails in our tennis shoes and enjoyed every ounce of the journey.

I live for National Parks and feel grateful for having visited so many in my short life. If you live in California, there is no excuse not to visit this magical place! I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, California
(760) 367-5525

Salton Sea

Salton Sea

My fascination with the Salton Sea goes years back when I read something about this spot at my local library. Then I caught a clip of the John Waters narrated film, Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea and knew I had to visit this desert site. Each time I found myself in Palm Springs I promised to finally drive down to this destination but time always escaped me. My last desert romp lasted almost a week, meaning there was no excuse to not visit this abandoned oasis off HWY 111.

No doubt the first thing you will notice about the Salton Sea State Recreation Area is the smell. The overabundance of salt combined with the equally matched rotting corpses of tilapia fish is enough to flare up anyone’s nostrils. Don’t let the smell factor detour you from this journey as it only adds to the gnarly experience. Pay $5 at the entrance, park your car, and take a tour of the visitor center, which upon my arrival was being run by a lovely couple in from Canada. Make sure to spy the white board listing all the birds that have been spotted at the Salton Sea, with over 400 species reported! Since I am talking numbers, I was shocked to learn that this 35 mile long man made sea houses over 400 million tilapia. Think what you’re walking on is sand? Take a second look a realize you are walking on are the skeletons of the lives who once inhabited the sea.

A big thanks to one of my dearest pals, photographer Natalie Arriola for sharing a mutual interest in all things out-of-the-ordinary. She was also kind enough to share some of her incredible photos of our adventure, which are credited below. Check out her site for even more stunning images.

Salton Sea

Salton SeaPhoto courtesy of Natalie Arriola

Salton SeaPhoto courtesy of Natalie Arriola

Salton Sea

Salton Sea

Salton Sea Photo courtesy of Natalie Arriola

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Resolution: Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in 2012. C H E C K ! As much as I like to think of myself of an adventure seeker or may I even suggest bad ass, I have to admit that when it comes to moving machines in the air, my stomach begins to hurt and my face becomes flushed. If you were to see the video my friend filmed of me at the beginning of the tram ride you would feel sorry for the pain I was experiencing! Fortunately, it was all in my head and the tram ride was a breeze; within the first minute I took a chill pill and was ready for the fun.

At the top of this 8,500 incline from the desert ground is gorgeous Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Covering 14,000 square feet of this mountain are gorgeous trees, streams, wildlife and lots of snow. Nothing is more fun then being in the 83 degree desert one minute and in the snow 10 minutes later. I love you California.

The landscape was calling our legs for a trail hike, where we found ourselves thankful for bundling up in ponchos and sweaters. I could have benefited from some hiking boots on some of the slippery ice, but I still managed to trek through it. Whether you enjoy hiking or not, you’ve got to take this tram the next time you’re in the area. The ride is a blast, the scenery is refreshing and you can look out over the entire desert.

Palm Springs Aerial TramwayPalm Springs Aerial TramwayPalm Springs Aerial Tramway

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

I am back from my week in the desert and I definitely feel refreshed. Relaxing with friends in 83 degree weather was definitely the best way to start the new year. 2012 feels particularly exciting to me as it is the first time I have been single in 8 years. Going to the desert brought me so much closure and at the same time, so much fun! If you read my Twitter, you might know what salacious details I am referring to.

My friends and I stayed in a condo, which felt like a home-away-from-home, but I did make time to play at the Parker Palm Springs. My friend Dehlia had never been to this gem in the desert, so I insisted we had to stop by for a meal and tour of the grounds. As you might already know, Norma’s at the Parker is one of my favorite brunch spots in all of the desert and this time was just as great as any other. The added bonus is that there is now a rad cat hanging around the restaurant, appropriately named Parker.

Don’t these photos make you feel warm?

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Playing at The Parker, Palm Springs

Desert Cleanse

Desert Cleanse, Palm Springs
Blogging from the desert, Palm Springs specifically, and 2012 is off to a fantastic start. I am calling this a desert cleanse because I came out here to renew myself with great friends, fresh food, exercise and just balls-to-the-wall fun. So far so good, but I do have to say that last night we did share a Four Loko and hot dog flavored chips (evidence here). We were pretty toasty so lets consider that part of the fun!

Today I made Dehlia and I a delicious carrot and apple juice for breakfast. I bought a Breville juicer last fall and it has seriously changed my life. After “chatting” on Chatroulette until 4:30 a.m. we definitely needed a pick me up this morning. For lunch we hit up Native Foods where I enjoyed a Sesame Kale Macro Bowl, made with some flavorful krout and then came back to resort to take a two-hour nap because apparently we are old ladies.

If you are ever in the desert on a Monday evening, you must hit up the Ace Hotel’s B I N G O night hosted by Linda Fabulous. I promise it is a guaranteed good time.

Desert Cleanse, Palm Springs

Desert Cleanse, Palm Springs

Desert Cleanse, Palm Springs

Desert Cleanse, Palm Springs