Category Archives: Travel

January 25, 2017

Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs House!

One of the BEST things we got to do during our trip to Palm Springs was go and tour one of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate. Since I grew up on his movies and music from an early age I am a giant Sinatra fan so getting to go and see his house was definitely a dream come true. Frank’s always my answer to the question, “If you could meet one person living or dead, who would it be?” and being in his personal home is probably as close as I’ll ever get to ol’ Blue Eyes since he passed away in 1998. The house was built in 1947 but unfortunately someone that bought the house after him let it deteriorate rather badly until the current owners renovated it back to it’s original look and feel. These two twin palm trees were the main reason that Frank chose this spot to build on and it was originally next to a dirt landing strip that was the Palm Springs airport in the 1940’s (his other requirement was to be close to the airport for traveling).Sinatra had his pool built in the shape of a grand piano and the holes in the ceiling of the walkway above me cast shadows like piano keys when the sun is setting over the mountains. So cool!Orange was Sinatra’s favorite color so they’ve re-decorated the house with lots of orange accents like in the master bedroom above. While a lot of the original flooring, tile, and wall treatments had to be replaced, there are still some things in the house that are original like the sink and tile in the master bathroom. Why does that matter? Well, you can still see a crack in the sink and wall behind it where a champagne bottle was thrown during one of Frank and Ava Gardner’s fights (they were kind of famous for their over-the-top fights in the day).
Another original piece to the house is Frank’s recording setup in the living room. Obviously all the musician boys in our group were fascinated by it and if you look closely at the photo below you can see where Frank marked his favorite settings with pencil. It didn’t really hit me until afterwards that I was standing in a room that Frank Sinatra was singing in all the time. Woah. That was a big deal for me.This room with the palm wallpaper is called the “green room” and it’s where he would hide his celeb friends who were going to perform that night at one of his parties until it was showtime. It’s hard to get the full scope of the room but even the ceiling is wallpapered with the palm leaves. It’s amazing. It’s not the original paper, but they used the closest they could get so it would have that same overwhelming feeling. I have such a star-struck look on my face in the above photo, but I promise it wasn’t posed! Just trying to take it all in…Apparently Sinatra originally had a flagpole set up between the two palm trees and he would raise a Jack Daniel’s flag (his favorite liquor) at cocktail hour to signal to the neighbors that the Sinatra bar was open for business. How cool is that?!While we had so many memorable experiences on our first trip to Palm Springs, I will certainly never forget the few moments that I had to spend some time in Frank Sinatra’s house. My current favorite Sinatra song is actually from a much lesser known movie called “Higher and Higher” where he made his first movie appearance ever and sings this reeeeally sweet little song (it starts about 2:12 in the clip) that literally makes me want to do one of those fainting sighs that you see at Beatles concerts. Thanks for letting me come over Frank, I only wish you could have been there too!

January 10, 2017

Palm Springs, Here We Come!

You may remember a few weeks back that I said we were hoping to take a Babymoon trip someplace warm while I was still in my second trimester, and we finally decided to go to Palm Springs! If you’ve seen my house it may be a bit of a shock to you that I haven’t already been to the mid-century-lover’s oasis, but this is my first trip out to Palm Springs and I’m SO excited. I originally was trying to find a beach destination for the trip, buuuut the US beaches weren’t quite warm enough yet in January (the water would be cold too in a lot of spots) and looking at flying south of Florida or Hawaii was getting expensive so we decided to save the beach for later and finally make it out to the desert. I’ve been trying to shop for this trip ever since I thought it might be a possibility and let me tell you that it has not been easy! There’s a lot of boxes you’re trying to check off when shopping for such a colorful town and in the middle of winter and for a pregnant lady. If I didn’t already count swimsuit shopping as one of the nine circles of hell, let’s add the 24 weeks preggo component and see how that goes…

Anyways, we leave later this week and we are hoping for great weather and some much needed relaxation. We are also meeting up with 3 other couple pals and sharing a house so it should be a blast—can’t wait!!

(Top photo by Slim Aarons)

March 23, 2016

Oh La La—Our Paris Video!

So apparently all you need is imovie, a lot of time, and the ability to google your way through any problem that comes up and just about anyone can make a video. I did’t say it would be a good video necessarily, but a video none-the-less! It’s a good thing too because we took a few phone videos in Paris just to document the trip (we aren’t usually the videoing type) but I secretly decided to surprise Todd at some point with a little musical montage of our week in the city of lights. It only took me 10 months to do so, but I finally sat down here and there over a couple of weeks to create this little snapshot into our trip and he loved it! I don’t think I’ll be winning any directorial awards anytime soon, but it created a sweet memory for sure.

By the way, those songs in the video are two of my favorites and I listed to them all the time at home (So Nice by Wanda De Sah and La Vie En Rose by Louis Armstrong). Hope you enjoyed a peek into our trip! If you want to see more photos and our Paris recommendations, you can view parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 to get the full scoop. Here’s wishing I’ll have another chance at making a Paris video very soon!signature2 copy

September 7, 2015

Bonjour Paris! (pt.4)

We have reached the end of our Paris trip series! With only a few precious days left in the city of lights, we tried to make the most of every second and enjoy the town to the fullest. So what did that mean for us? A 48-hour crepe marathon?? Mmmm, close but not quite!
Amazingly enough, Todd’s sister Gail and her husband Joel had just moved to Brussels, Belgium a few months earlier with their kids Anthony and Emily so we got to meet up with them for a half-day to sightsee together. The kids really wanted to go up into the Eiffel Tower so we got to see the view from the top on a beautifully clear day. We actually weren’t planning on going up to the top during our trip until we heard it was their big request, but hey, if someone has one day and one request in Paris? You should make it happen if you can. Oh, and if you do want to go up in the tower, buy your tickets ahead of time if at all possible. They are sold out a bit in advance, but it saves you 2-3 hours of line waiting to buy them when you get there.

Also, the French Open was happening that week, so that explains the giant tennis ball hanging from the Eiffel Tower…
Ok, ok, so we did the lock on the bridge thing. Super touristy, but it’s fun. I was reading that they took all the locks off one of the bridges pretty soon after we left (they are so heavy they make the bridge unstable after a while) but I saw them on a lot of bridges while we were there so I’m just pretending it definitely wasn’t the bridge we put ours on. IT’S TOTALLY STILL THERE. FOREVER.One of my favorite spots of the trip was the historical Cafe de Flore in Saint-Germain. We mostly did breakfast at the flat each morning to save some money (not that I minded the fresh pain au chocolat and baguettes of course) but I wanted to make sure we got out on our last morning to experience a cafe breakfast as well. This was such a charming little spot (although a bit pricy) and it was such fun to just sit and watch the morning Parisians either heading off to work or meeting up for morning coffee with friends.It was a bit dreary and cloudy on our last day as we walked around after breakfast, but when you are in Paris, the dreariness just feels romanic and it hardly dampens the spirits at all.We eventually walked over the Palais Garnier (the Paris Opera House) to take a look inside. It was certainly as beautiful as advertised and they have a hall of mirrors type room that is similarly stunning as the hallway in Versailles. I couldn’t believe that people were going to be seeing an opera there that night only hours later. I can’t even imagine how amazing it would be to be dressed to the nines and attending a performance there.Just a quick word on macarons in France…they are certainly all over the place so eat them as you find them, but for our “treat” macarons we ended up getting a box from Pierre Hermé near the Opera House. I read they are kind of the Parisian favorite, as in, that’s where they go when they want a special box. We picked some up while we were out with the intension of eating them that night at the Eiffel Tower. While it was really fun to try some of the best in Paris, I didn’t know until after we ate them that PH is more known for their adventurous macaron flavors so they are a little different that you might expect. I think Ladurée might be better if more classic flavors are your jam…Since it had been several hours since having a crepe, we naturally needed to stop off for another one at Creperie St. Eustache, near the Louvre. This place had great reviews, it didn’t disappoint, and the two ladies that work there (or own the place?) are really sweet. I actually think, as boring as it sounds, that my favorite crepe flavor on the trip was a butter and sugar crepe. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.It was a little intimidating trying to pick a last dinner place in Paris. I mean, the food was so amazing and we had several meals that were some of the best in our lives, so I really didn’t want to end on a bad note. The decision to go to Le Petit Cler was made easy by two things: it was near the Eiffel Tower where we wanted to end our last night in town and it looked like they had amazing croque-monsieurs on their menu. I had so been looking forward to having the French version of a hot ham and cheese sandwich but I hadn’t really had a “real” one yet. I say “real” because the day before I had one at a snack stand near the Eiffel Tower and it was terrible. Like, not just bad, but pretty much inedible. It tasted like it had been frozen for a few years and then they microwaved it to hot so fast that the insides turned to goo. Gross. However, Le Petit Cler totally redeemed the dish and it was the perfect little bistro to end our French culinary adventure.
Once we finished our wine at the cafe we headed over to the grass area of the Eiffel Tower for a nighttime picnic on the lawn. Now, let me first say that I really had reservations about going over there at night with wine and macarons. I mean, it could have just felt so cheesy and crowded and been a terrible way to end the trip, but you know what? I actually loved it. We went on a Tuesday night after a 3-day weekend so maybe it was crazy there the nights before, but it wasn’t crowded at all. It was actually pretty relaxed. There were a handful of people spread out from each other on the grass, soft music floating in the air, and we got to play a guessing game with our macaron box about which flavor was which. And though it may be garish to some of the locals, I loved the sparking tower at the top of the hour. Sometime touristy things are popular because they’re just plain fun and I think this was actually one of my favorite things of the week.All in all, I don’t feel like words or photos could ever really do Paris justice. It’s a feeling. It holds you in this dreamlike state as long as you are in the city. I actually keep having dreams about Paris since we’ve been back and it’s a lovely little way to visit. I was planning this whole trip with the thought in mind that I had to do everything I could ever want to do while we were there because I may never go back. But I had this overwhelming feeling at our beautiful dinner at Kong that I couldn’t bear the thought of never going back. It has to be when we go back from now on. I think sometimes you just go to a city or a place that just feels right. You feel like you could slip into that foreign life so easily and I think Paris is that place for us. So, for the meantime, my foggy snippets of nighttime dreams will be all I have to remind me of the city until we go back…when we go back.signatureP.S. If you missed any of them, check out Paris part one, two, and three 😉

August 7, 2015

Bonjour Paris! (pt. 3)

In case you thought I had given up on completing our recap of our Paris trip this spring, think again!! I may be covered in paint and still unpacking boxes at our new house (hence the delayed posts), but even if it takes me until Christmas, I’m going to finish my Paris series come hell or high water. So let’s jump back in! In case you missed parts one and two, get caught up and prepare for the next installment…
Again with the doors, I just can’t get over how beautiful they are!!On Sunday morning, we took the metro over to grab brunch at a place right by the Louvre called Le Fumoir. The spot was actually the recommendation of our sweet new Parisienne pal Sibylle, and not only was the brunch one of the best I’ve ever had (the Eggs Benedict were unreal!) but we got to pick her brain and ask her all our questions about Paris life and culture. My biggest question was, “Where are all the blondes??” It took us a few days to realize that we hadn’t seen one blonde Parisian yet and I could count them on one hand by the end of the trip. Sibylle said that the blondes have been weeded out by cross-cultural breeding over the years (although a few can still be found up near the north of France). Who knew the days of Brigitte Bardots in Paris have come and gone?Once we finished our brunch in a distinctively Parisian manner (i.e. at our leisure) we strolled over to start our day of museum hopping and enjoyed the stunning courtyard of the Louvre for a bit. The weather and architecture was beautiful and it would almost be enough to just hang out outside the museum, but eventually we wandered inside too.The Louvre was giant and formidable, and yes, we did see the Mona Lisa. I didn’t want to fight the notorious crowds just to see her, but the exhibit wing I wanted to see was nearby so I thought we might as well. It wasn’t as much of a zoo as I thought it would be near the painting, so I was glad that we stopped in for a peak. Her eyes do totally follow you around the room, definitely tested that one out…After giving our regards to M. Lisa, we made our way over to the second most famous museum in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay. I was actually more excited to go to this museum than the Louvre because my sister had told me that it was her favorite stop of the two and we usually have similar taste in art. She was totally right and it had so many of my favorite painters and periods of art (Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renior, Degas) that it felt like I was seeing a celebrity around every corner. This, my friends, is where art majors go to FREAK OUT.View from the museum—so beautiful!After the museums closed, we raced back to the flat, changed our clothes and headed out for our “fancy dinner” night of the trip. I had bought this feather skirt to wear on the trip and I was so excited about it that I could hardly wait for that night. If you can’t wear a skirt made of feathers in Paris, where can you wear it? I kept the color choices classic Parisian (i.e. all black) to complete the look, but topped off the bag with the Hermes scarf my Mom found thrifting (for under a dollar mind you!!!!!). I was sitting next to a lady with a Birkin bag at the bar, so I felt so happy to have a bit of couture with me as well.

I know there are so many amazing restaurants in Paris, but I wanted to pick just one for our special dress-up dinner and our flat owner recommended Kong to us. I was a little hesitant to pick a Japanese/Parisian restaurant to be the culinary pinnacle of our France trip, but not only was it an amazing choice, we will for sure go back any time we are in Paris—it was to die for! The whole rooftop is made of glass and you can see the Seine from your table and watch the boats go by and people on the bridge. Make sure if you go to ask for the top floor when you make a reservation, I didn’t know to make that distinction when I called and they sat us on the lower floor that is not nearly as stunning. Thankfully we were able to change our table to the top floor but we had to kill an hour at the swanky bar in the meantime—no punishment there!

Apparently Kong was the restaurant featured in a Sex and the City scene when Carrie goes to Paris. I had no idea they shot that scene there until someone pointed that out on Instagram the next day! We sat about one table to the right of them in the scene, next to the glass…
Should have taken the “real camera” there to get better pictures, lesson learned!Just a few more days in Paris to cover so hang tight until my last Paris installment comes up soon. Until then, à bientôt!signature