Guide to Palm Springs

It’s Fall already and it is hotter than hell in this neck of the woods. Dean had to install an air conditioner in Franco’s room yesterday, it was so damn hot. By the way, no one has AC in the Bay Area. You just always opened up a window to sufficiently cool off. But global warming has ushered in a new era of unbearable heat. After putting together a Guide to Seattle, I thought it would be fun to continue building my travel guides. There’s no better way to say good-bye to summer than a trek to always sunny Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is very special to us as it’s the place where we got married and celebrated with 100 family members and friends. Someone had suggested we might want to check it out as a wedding location and the very first time Dean and I stepped into the Ace Hotel, we knew we had found our spot. Everything about Palm Springs screams VACATION! It’s hot, fun, and relaxing.


Ace Hotel & Swim Club
701 E Palm Canyon Dr.

A converted Howard Johnson motel, the Ace Hotel is desert hip. The rooms are rustically decorated—like you are camping, but in a luxury tent. Plus everything you need is at the hotel: bikes (not that I have ever biked in 90 degree temperature!), Vespas, two pools, a spa (nothing fancy), a diner (a converted Denny’s called King’s Highway), a bar (the Amigo Room), and a photobooth.

Motel 6
595 E Palm Canyon Dr.

There is a Motel 6 next to the Ace Hotel that is super cheap (obviously) and perfectly sufficient if you don’t plan to spend all day lounging in your room. I say that because you can sleep at the Motel, then make your way to the Ace to lounge poolside.

Parker Palm Springs
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

If I had my druthers, this is where I would stay in Palm Springs and I would not leave! Designed by Jonathan Adler, who is one of our favorite designers, it is a photographer’s dream. People stop by just to take pictures at the Parker—not that that’s the only thing to do. You can play croquet, order cocktails from the outdoor lemonade stand, relax at the amazing PSYC (Palm Springs Yacht Club) spa, have brunch at Norma’s, and dine at Mister Parker’s.

415 S Belardo Rd.

We’ve also stayed at the Viceroy and enjoyed it. Pretty standard with pool, spa, and restaurant/bar. It’s closer to the main drag of town which may be appealing if you don’t want to drive everywhere. It’s also a smaller boutique hotel, meaning less crowds and raucousness.


Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
One Tram Way

The tram is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. Incredible views! At the very top, there’s a café, restaurant, and bar. I would love to go back and do a hike. Apparently, there are miles and miles of hiking trails all around the mountain. The cold weather and breeze at the top of the mountain are a huge contrast to the desert heat.

Palm Springs Visitor Center
2901 North Palm Canyon Drive

The Palm Springs Visitor Center is a former gas station at the bottom of the road that leads to the tram. It’s a historic site noted as an example of modern architecture.

From the Visitor Center, you can see Palm Springs’ iconic windmills. You can see the windmills from many different directions, but the Visitor Center is a good anchor location if you don’t know exactly where to go.

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
1350 Ladera Circle

It was closed when we went, but we did a little tour from outside. Super cool. It’s like being transported to the 1960s. I wish we could have gone inside. Next time!

Palm Springs Yacht Club (PSYC)
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

I love spas! I could spend all day in a steam room turning into a prune. If I had limited time on this earth, I would hightail it to PSYC at the Parker Hotel and tell everyone I knew to meet me there. It’s probably my favorite spa ever! Beautiful indoor pool and every spa amenity you can think of. Put this on your bucket list.


622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.

Exceptional brunch spot. All the classics (chilaquiles, eggs benedict, French toast, bacon flight) done with zeal. I detest waiting, but this place is worth it.

200 W. Ramon Rd.

Melvyn’s is an upscale classic restaurant which defines 1950s Hollywood glamour. Waiters in uniform and tableside cooking!

330 E Amado Rd

This place is one of my faves. The food is great. They call it world cuisine, but it’s really just a smorgasbord of every kind of food you can imagine: sushi, pizza, spring rolls, ribs, shrimp tacos…and it is all so damn good! Great vibe. Fun for small or big gatherings with tables both inside and out.

Kings Highway
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

This is the diner attached to the Ace Hotel. The menu is extensive and the food is good, especially for a hotel restaurant with a daytime, evening, and kids menu.

Mister Parker’s
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

Having dinner at Mister Parker’s is an ideal option for checking out the hotel without splurging on accommodations. You can also opt for breakfast or lunch at Norma’s (the daytime restaurant at The Parker), but I think you get more bang for your buck with Mister Parker’s. Food is good too. Food is actually pretty good all over Palm Springs!

The Original Las Casuelas
368 N Palm Canyon Dr.

This is where to go for margaritas and Mexican food.


200 W. Ramon Rd.

If you only have one night in Palm Springs, go to Melvyn’s! Imagine me, Dean, a friend of ours, and Dean’s parents, ordering rounds of drinks, dancing, and howling along with the singer at the piano bar. Music and entertainment every night of the week.

Amigo Room
701 E Palm Canyon Dr.

The bartenders make stiff drinks—not really my style, but this is a fun place to have a cocktail.


Renting a car is ideal, but you can also call for cabs. Does Uber service Palm Springs?!

Throwback Thursday

When we met up in Seattle, Conrado gave me beautiful framed photos that he took during our wedding as a birthday present. He also gave me prints of the pictures below. They’re pictures of me and 6 of my high school friends–who were all in my wedding party as bridesmaids and bridesmen. For my bridal shower in 2010, we spent the weekend in Sonoma, winetasting, cooking meals, and playing silly games until the wee hours of the night. Good times, good times. Makes me so happy.

Guide to Seattle

We just returned from a last minute family trip to Seattle. LOVED IT! Seattle has all the ingredients of a fine city: lots to see and do, excellent food, great neighborhoods. Plus the weather was perfect. Also it was very kid-friendly. I could absolutely see us living there during retirement. It’s on our list! Since we booked the trip last minute, we really just played tourist for a couple days. We didn’t even rent a car which turned out to be just fine. I didn’t even tell anyone I was heading there, especially since we didn’t rent a car and I didn’t want to bother anyone with meeting up and trying to schedule things around Franco’s naps. But thanks to social media and Dean’s relentless status updates, my bestest/dearest friend Conrado (more like a brother than a friend since we grew up a few blocks away from each other) sought me out and met up with us. That was icing on the cake!

Here is my guide to Seattle in 3 days. We covered everything I mentioned below super easily. Totally took our time and didn’t rush at all. And I still felt like we got so much accomplished. Truly great vacation. Pictures from the trip are below the recommendations.


Hyatt House Downtown
201 Fifth Avenue North

If you want to cover as many attractions as possible, I would highly recommend a stay at the Hyatt House which was adjacent to the Space Needle, Seattle Center, and the monorail. Excellent location plus buffet breakfast included.


Pike Place Market 
85 Pike Street

You can’t go to Seattle without visiting Pike Place Market. Go hungry so that you can taste fresh fruit, seafood, and piroshkies. The original Starbucks is at the Market. And you cannot miss Rachel the Pig, the Market mascot and bronze piggy bank with donations supporting the low income community.

Space Needle
500 Broad Street

I wanted to go to SkyCity, the restaurant atop the Space Needle, but the timing didn’t work. We didn’t go up this time, but if you go to Seattle for the first time, the Space Needle is another mandatory stop.

Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison Street

The Chihuly Museum is adjacent to the Space Needle. It’s awesome. The world-renowned artist and Seattleite Dave Chihuly makes these beautiful glass sculptures. This is another must see.

EMP Museum (formerly known as Experience Music Project)
325 5th Avenue N.

Admittedly, I am not the most worldly person when it comes to music, but Dean also thought the museum was a bit boring. We saw exhibits on Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, guitars, and some famous cartoonist. I say pass, but there were so many people we met who said the EMP is a highlight of Seattle.

Artists at Play
305 Harrison Street

The Seattle Center Playground was great for Franco. We could’ve kept this kid occupied all day long just by hanging out in the Seattle Center. In addition to the playground, there’s the Children’s Museum and Pacific Science Center. We didn’t get a chance to go to those places, but like I said, lots of things to do for kids just at the Seattle Center!

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way

I really liked the aquarium: seals, otters, birds that swim and dive, jellyfish, touch pools. I would have enjoyed it more if Franco wasn’t having a meltdown.

Sky View Observatory
701 5th Ave

For the best views of Seattle, you have to go to the Sky View Observatory. Sure it’s one of the top floors of an office building and you feel like you’re an extra in the movie Office Space, but the views are stellar. There are also interesting factoids of Seattle along the office walls.

Olympic Sculpture Park
1483 Alaskan Way

I really enjoyed this. Very zen and peaceful. There aren’t too many sculptures, but it was so nice walking along the path, overlooking the water, and enjoying art. Don’t miss it.

Seattle Public Library – Central Library
1000 4th Ave

Unfortunately the library wasn’t open when we happened to walk by. It is an architectural gem! I read from one of the exhibits at the Sky View Observatory that it was designed to look like a few stacked books, but I couldn’t confirm that from my online research.


Tilikum Place Cafe
407 Cedar St

We were trying to find a place to eat after checking in and happened upon Tilikum. What a find! Everything was plate-licking-clean scrumptious. Dean got the crab benedict. I got the baked eggs house special: creamed corn, cherry tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, and bread crumbs.

Bambino’s Pizzeria
401 Cedar St

This is another restaurant by our hotel (next to Tilikum) that was surprisingly good. Cheese plate and pork belly which was the size of a steak! Delish! Their house red wine was good too. Crazy.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar
Queen Anne neighborhood
124 Republican St

Great selection of well-priced oysters, bad selection of wine. Not a single glass of red wine on the menu. So strange! Who cares if red wine doesn’t technically pair with oysters. Sheesh.

Bacco Cafe
Inn at the Market, 86 Pine St

Open from 7am to 3pm daily, this is a great place to eat right in Pike Place Market. Good fresh food, plus they are known for their stellar juices.

Matt’s In the Market
Pike Place Market 94 Pike St #32

This is a top restaurant in Seattle with a view of Pike Place Market. I wasn’t going to leave without eating here! Dean got the caesar salad with dungeness crab. I got the shrimp and dungeness crab melt. Didn’t disappoint.

How to Cook a Wolf
2208 Queen Anne Ave N

Special occasion group dinner! One of Dean’s groomsmen Don organized the dinner. My big request? It better be good, but not fancy. One of my bridesmen Conrado also joined. Great food, great wine, highly recommend. Our only issue is that Franco will not sit still in a high chair, so we all took turns throughout dinner walking the kid around the block. Does anyone else have this problem?!



We got around just fine without renting a car. Spend a day at the Seattle Center and you’ve got the majority of tourist attractions crossed off your list. We took the monorail to shoot us to and from Pike Place Market. Easy!

Pictures of Pike Place Market and Rachel the Pig

Pictures of the Chihuly Museum

Pictures of the Seattle Center playground, Artists at Play

Pictures of the Olympic Sculpture Park

Pictures from the Sky View Observatory

Pictures of the Seattle Central Library and Monorail

How to Be Successful in Online Dating

I love the topic of online dating for a variety of reasons: 1) my blog started out documenting my adventures as a single girl dating in San Francisco, 2) I did online dating off and on for a LONG time, 3) I met my husband on, and 4) a lot of my friends and readers are still single.

Now that I’ve read comedian Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance cowritten with NYU Sociology Professor Eric Klinenberg and mathematician Hannah Fry’s The Mathematics of Love, I thought I’d share these tips on how to be successful in online dating.

Date a Lot

I’m a firm believer in maximizing your odds. With so many options (Tinder, OkCupid, eHarmony), you might as well take advantage of all that is available to you! That means registering on multiple sites, and continuing to date other people even if you think you’ve found ‘the one.’ I got burned so many times thinking that I’d met my future husband, and next thing you know, I was getting dumped and crying my eyes out for weeks. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep on, keeping on! Dean bristles that it took him 20+ emails before he got to meet me in person. Sorry, buddy! I was dating other guys at the time. And hey, persistence paid off for Dean.

Emphasize Your Unfair Competitive Advantage

Short, bald, fat? Play it up! In her research, Hannah Fry discovered that the majority of online users stay away from the typical beauties. Why? Because the average person does not think they stand a chance contacting Bradley Cooper or Miranda Kerr. Further, why would anyone waste their time contacting a supermodel when the competition is high? Wouldn’t you rather focus your energy on a profile where you may get a response? That means contacting someone who is attractive to you, but you think may not be so interesting to others. This is why it’s important when you craft your profile to not hide what you think may be unattractive. That 6th finger? Emphasize it!

Hannah gives the example of Portia de Rossi and Sarah Jessica Parker. Who do you think would do better in online dating?


Stop Filtering So Damn Much

We think we know what we want, but it turns out that we absolutely don’t. We want someone who is this certain height, this certain age, but all of that goes out the window when you actually meet someone in person. Research shows that the characteristics we think are important to us, do not align with what we’re actually attracted to. This all means that we should stop filtering and just go out and meet people!

Try to Remain Invested

Aziz gives the example of his dad who was given 3 options for an arranged marriage. He met all 3. One was too tall, another too short, and one who was just right. That was it! Height was all he based his decision on and they’ve been happily married for a lifetime! This goes to show that falling in love with someone and maintaining that loving relationship takes time, deep interactions, and sustained activity.

Time Savers

Before I had Franco, I was working full-time, blogging part-time, involved in Burning Man and all of my alma maters, traveling around the country and the world for pleasure, spending 1-2 weeks in the Black Rock City desert, doing movie nights, book clubs, happy hours, hiking, eating out extensively and I still had a lot of time on my hands. Now, with a 15-month-old kid, I have very limited time. I cannot stress enough how little leisure time I have!

So today I want to talk about time savers. I will share some of mine if you promise to share some of yours.

Showers: I used to take 2 showers a day. Gulp. I especially feel bad saying that since California is in crazy drought mode. But I used to take a shower in the morning and then again late at night before bed because I love long hot showers! Still do. Except now I am down to 1 at night. This means I wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, put on my clothes and I’m good to go.

Botox: Yes I do botox! Botox under the armpits helps control my hyperhydrosis problem, which means no time wasted applying deodorant. Yay!

Makeup: Don’t wear any.

Perfume: Don’t do this either. I don’t do it, nor should you. Ok I know I’m being a bit drastic, but perfume obviously is a very personal thing. I get it for nights out, but please not during the day. It can be very repulsive. The guy sitting next to me on the bus this morning was wearing this cologne that made me want to vomit. Perfume, like smoking, should be banned in the workplace.

Hunger: As a sugar addict, I used to spend so much time out of my day going to get hot chocolate or froyo or chocolate chip cookies or ice-cream. OMIGOSH, what a huge time waster! I now have large packs of almonds and whenever I get hungry, I just munch on almonds. I’m also a huge proponent of Lean Cuisines. They’re balanced meals and very healthy. When I was working with a nutritionist, I was embarrassed to tell her all I ate were Lean Cuisines and she said, “Good! Lean Cuisines are great.” I couldn’t believe it. That’s 3-4 minutes nuke time and you’re ready to eat.

Exercise: I don’t do it. No gym membership. No running along the beach. Nada. This isn’t to say that you should stop too. Personally I have never needed exercise to feel healthy and good about myself. I also believe exercise in moderation is best. Excessive exercise (i.e., marathons) is not good. Your body gets so used to that much training that if, God forbid you miss a day, then you are screwed. Also, with exercise, you burn more energy and have to eat more! I wasted a lot of time running in my 20s and 30s and I am here to tell you, it did me no F*ing good. My body is in much better shape with ZERO exercise.

Reading: Love me some audiobooks! Also when I come into the office in the morning, my printer is on fire because I am printing out all my non-urgent emails. So bad for the environment, I know, but I swear I do my part in other ways. I work better, faster and retain more with printed material. You’ll never catch me without a book or printouts in-hand; that way while I’m waiting in line or my computer is giving me the hour glass, I can quickly read something from my stash.

Finances: All automated. Savings are withdrawn automatically. Bills are linked to my Citi 2% cash back rewards credit card. The credit card payment is automated. My stock portfolio has built-in stop orders so I don’t have to worry about anything dipping below 2%. I use where I can see in one dashboard where I am spending money, how my stocks are doing, if my properties are increasing in value, and my entire net worth.

Email: I cut out all the bullshit. I don’t get a single promotional sales email. Do this now: Unsubscribe to anything that is cluttering your mind and wasting your time.

Shopping: As much as possible, I stay away from stores or shopping malls. I try not to waste time buying more shit. If I do need something, Amazon to the rescue.

Facebook and Social Media: I am not one of those people who’s on Facebook all day, every day. That’s silly. Get a life! I limit my use to once a day–if that.

Outsource: I’m a huge believer in outsourcing: cleaners, travel agents, personal assistants. Think of it this way. Is it worth your time to clean your home, or is your time best served elsewhere (i.e., closing more business, spending more time with your children, going away for the weekend, etc.).

Don’t do stupid shit: I try really hard not to do stupid shit. Waiting in line for a free ice-cream. That’s stupid shit. Going to the museum on a jam-packed free admission day because it’s going to save you $20. THAT’S STUPID SHIT! I shake my head at these people. Don’t be one of those people, trying so hard to save money, they can’t see beyond their blinders.

Please share with me your time savers or shortcuts in the comments! I would love to hear.