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Casa Fayette

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Casa Fayette

Comment Guadalajara, Mexico
Casa Fayette Menu

Casa Fayette Menu


While preparing for my trip to Guadalajara, I made a list of hotels, galleries, and architectural sites I wanted to see while in the city and I made Casa Fayette a top priority. Opened in 2015, this 37-room boutique hotel is one of the best designed in Mexico and from my travel experiences, the world. Casa Fayette is one of the coolest hotels that I have ever had the pleasure of exploring and one that I cannot wait to be a guest of.

This unique property is on the roster of hotelier geniuses Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha of Grupo HABITA, a personal favorite of mine. They're also owners of Condesa DF in Mexico City, which I had the pleasure of visiting back in 2014 and am currently long over due for a return. Grupo HABITA teamed up with local architectural firm Estudio5 to transform this 1940's mansion into a design paradise within the city. They maintained and played-up the original Art Deco structure while incorporating both mid-century modern and Jalisco aesthetics. In the restaurant and lobby, the Barragan-inspired palette played perfectly with the lavish tropical prints and fecund botanicals found throughout. The interiors are credited to the brilliance of Milanese design firm Dimorestudio, who hand-selected the furnishings and fixtures throughout the entire space, many of them which are for sale. There were also a variety of objects specifically designed for Casa Fayette and manufactured in Mexico. I had the opportunity to look at Casa Fayette's catalog of furniture while on my visit and was blown away. 

As a an art and design fanatic, I was excited to further explore Guadalajara during my free day on this spectacular Don Julio press trip. For those who love and worship the work of Luis Barragán and those he inspired, making the pilgrimage see the modernist houses built between the 1920s -1940s in GDL is a must, with Casa Fayette among them.

Located in the burgeoning Lafayette District, it was but a short walked on the tree-lined streets from Hotel Demetria, where I was staying. I arrived for weekend brunch and ordered a latte with pancakes and avocado toast. The natural light and casted shadows were absolutely stunning in the restaurant. My only snag was that while taking my first few photos, I was stopped and forbidden from using my camera in the hotel. I was restricted to using my iPhone on the property as management said I'd have to pay an hourly rate to use a camera with a detachable lens. 

 
Pancakes at Casa Fayette

Pancakes at Casa Fayette

Casa Fayette Interior

Chef Leobardo Solano Garcia is at the helm of the restaurant, with a menu that describes itself as "a mix of American comfort food and local Mexican ingredients" based on the surrounding seasonal products. I wish I had a photo of the menu design because it was the most beautiful menu I have ever held in my hands–it almost brought me to tears because it was that incredible. My brunch was served and the pancakes were a dream, topped with mascarpone and stewed raspberries. I have been on a real pancake trip these past couple of months and these were some of the best. The Avocado Toast  was a unique serving, topped with smoked trout, pickled onion, habanero, and coriander. I indulged in the  pancakes so much I found myself mad that I could not finish my toast, which was topped with so much flavor, it felt a shame to leave most of it behind. I have encountered a lot of lazy avocado toasts in Los Angeles, so to be served a dish so elevated, I wanted to savor every bite. Again, Mexico with all the right flavors.

Because I was beyond hyped to experience the design-lovers dream known as Casa Fayette, I pressed the issue again with my camera. A young man then appeared and although did not oblige my request, asked me if I'd like to take a private tour of the property. I emphatically said yes. When we reached the rooftop pool, I was ready to put on a robe, kick up my feet, and take in the views of Guadalajara. My favorite hotels are the ones that welcome and encourage the art of relaxation, and at Casa Fayette you can disappear into the spa, pool or one of the artfully crafted enclaves, guaranteed to foster total chill vibes. If you want a cocktail, they have that too, from a gorgeous Art Deco bar in the lobby to the Modernist roof-top bar. You don't have to leave if you don't want to. And I didn't want to.

Casa Fayette | Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2308, Lafayette, 44160 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

 
Casa Fayette Suite

Concept: Grupo HABITA
Architect & Design: Estudio5
Interiors: DIMORESTUDIO
Graphic Design & Branding: Pierre Marie Agin
Restaurant: Chef Leobardo Solano Garcia

Casa Fayette Patio
Casa_Fayette_Furniture.JPG

Casa Fayette Design
Casa Fayette Rooftop Pool

Casa Fayette Rooftop Pool

Hotel Demetria

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Hotel Demetria

Comment Guadalajara, Mexico
Bathtub in my master suite at Hotel Demetria

Bathtub in my master suite at Hotel Demetria


Hotels are something I could not live without, they're my preferred method of lodging when I travel–the plush robes, slippers, turn down service–these all make for the perfect self-care recipe when I'm out here catching flights. Add in the largest bathtub I have ever seen and you could almost call it heaven. This is what luxuriating in Guadalajara, Mexico looks like. There are two hotels in GDL that get all the love, I called one of them home for a week and the other I took a private tour of after eating a delicious brunch at their restaurant (more on that later this week). Hotel Demetria is located in Colonia Lafayette, known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, perfect for my kind of lifestyle. The hotel itself, owned by architect Iván Cordero, is filled with art at every turn, and as someone who truly appreciates beautiful things, I delighted in every moment. My stay happened to coincide with an art festival happening at Hotel Demetria and I took the opportunity to make my first appearance in the Guadalajara art scene. People were wondering “who is she?” as I frolicked around the lobby in a faux fur and colored lenses. I felt at home and the women were coming through with bold statements and strong looks. This was Mexico after all, a country with incredible taste and a rich history of celebrating the arts. 

Hotel Demetria is constructed out of glass, steel, and concrete, pulling hard at my brutalist-loving heart strings. No two rooms are the same and from the tour I had the privilege of taking, I learned that I had been blessed with one of the largest rooms on the property. My master suite was nearly 350 square feet, fully equipped with a bath tub and my own private living room. The shower, built entirely out of black concrete, had 3 different water spouts. If you’re obsessed with showers as much as I am (I take 2-3 a day), this hotel is begging you to get wet. I have a lot of Pisces in my chart if you're curious as to why I cannot stay out of the water. You can only imagine the squeal I made when I first laid eyes on the tub! If you happened to watch my Instagram Stories while I was in Guadalajara, you got to hear me gush in real time.

 
Daily breakfast spread at Hotel Demetria

Daily breakfast spread at Hotel Demetria

HotelDemetria_Brunch.jpg

I am not entirely sure if the daily breakfast spread is typically included with a stay at Hotel Demetria or if it was one of the many things my host, Don Julio, laced me up with. Either way, what a pleasure and convenience it was to walk downstairs to the hotel restaurant every morning to start my day with a delicious meal. Mexicans do it right and as a Mexican American I know this–I know that every meal I eat when I'm in Mexico is going to be delicious whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. The standards for food in Mexico are superior to those in the USA, it's as simple as that. Oh, and the flavor!

What an abundant spread I got to lay my eyes on every a.m.: fruta fresca, yogurt, granola, pastries, salchichas, eggs, beans, nopales, and fresh tortillas to name a few. There was a choice of orange juice or my personal favorite, kale & orange juice, in addition to a full espresso bar.

When I leave the states it never fails that I inadvertently become a coffee drinker, a fascinating reality whenever I think about it. If there is one thing I've experienced in all my travels, it's the ability to order a quality espresso no matter where I am outside the USA. I unfortunately cannot say the same about my homeland, so my coffee drinking it much limited here. While staying at Hotel Demetria, in addition to my kale orange juice and Agua de Piedra Mineral Water every morning, I would also start my day with a pipping hot latte made with leche de almendra (almond milk). I became friends with the men working the espresso bar and before too long, I didn't even have to tell them my order as they already knew. It was perfect.

 
HotelDemetria_Design.JPG
HotelDemetria_Exterior.JPG
Patio de las Huilanchas, art installation

Patio de las Huilanchas, art installation


The 10,000-square-foot boutique hotel has 37 rooms and six apartments. Not to mention a gym, rooftop pool, jacuzzi and two bars. Hotel Demetria opened in 2011 and can be found sandwiched between two historic houses: Luis Barragán’s Casa Franco and Pedro Castellanos Casa Quiñones. The lobby serves as a gallery and event space, while many of its hidden gems are discovered while searching for your room or wandering the halls. Everything you see in the hotel is for sale, in true boutique fashion.

An art piece outside the elevator read "Do More Of What Makes You Happy", I appreciated seeing the affirmative message every time I maneuvered in and out the lobby.

If you have an affinity for modernist architecture, this makes for a beautiful stay in Guadalajara. Glass stairs, glass elevator, a black pool on the roof–I could go on and on. No elevated detail is spared, from the bottles of Agua de Piedra mineral water, Moët, and Casa Bosques chocolate bars in the room's mini bar, to the L'Occitane products lining the bathroom sink. As I write this, I find myself wishing I was back in my tub soaking in some bubbles. Get me back to Guadalajar, pronto.

Hotel Demetria | Av. de la Paz 2219, Lafayette, 44140 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

 
HotelDemetria_AguadePiedra.JPG
HotelDemetria__Lobby.jpg
Hotel Demetria rooftop pool, overlooking Guadalajara

Hotel Demetria rooftop pool, overlooking Guadalajara

HotelDemetria_Lobby_Art.jpg
HotelDemetria_Rooms.JPG
HotelDemetria_RooftopPool.JPG
Taliesin West

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Taliesin West

4 Comments Scottsdale, Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright's Taliesin West

Frank Llyod Wright's Taliesin West


Upon confirming my trip to Scottsdale, Arizona I began researching what art, design, and architecture I could experience while in the Southwest. I was excited to learn of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, a National Historic Landmark which was once Wright's cherished winter home. Established in 1937, this 620 acres desert oasis was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices. This magical place is said to be "among the most personal of the architect’s creations." It is currently the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Without hesitation I added Taliesin West to my itinerary; my contacts in Arizona loved the idea so much they set up a tour for our entire group, which was a major highlight while in Scottsdale.

After an all-nighter that spilled well into the morning with my Arizona lover Antonio, I rolled out of bed and into the shower to meet the crew for an 8:30am departure. A tour bus awaited outside The Andaz Scottsdale and after a short drive on the highway we found ourselves at Taliesin West. Perched atop a hill over-looking the vibrant Arizona desert, I found myself at the glorious doors of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West. 

I first came to know Frank Lloyd Wright's work in 2003, when I started working at the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles. The library hosted an exhibit of his prints and I quickly became interested in his use of sacred geometry. Over the six years I worked at the library, my knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright expanded, as did my appreciation of his work. Remember my piece about the Institute of Mentalphysics? He was the original architect, but his son finished the job. The Institute remains one of my favorite sites in America. Have you been to The Guggenheim, Hollyhock House, or Wayfarers Chapel? That's his work too. Here's a list of his public sites. I have vowed to visit them all, checking them off one by one.

 
Exterior of Taliesin West, Scottsdale Arizona

Exterior of Taliesin West, Scottsdale Arizona

Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona

Upon arrival I quickly became hyped. There are very few things I love more than unique architecture nestled in between a desert landscape, cacti as far as the eye can see. It was gorgeous. We linked with our docent, who was one of the best docents I've ever had the pleasure of encountering. Here's the thing about docents–they're volunteers–so you know they really want to be there! One of the reasons this tour was so spectacular was due to the knowledge dropped on us by our guide.  She was emphatic, enthusiastic, and smart.

Our tour topped off at just over an hour and a half. During our visit, we had the chance to peak inside every space on the property. Just when I thought I found my favorite room, I'd walk into another and be completely blown to pieces. I had the chance to explore inside Frank Lloyd Wright's private quarters and living room, the “Garden Room”, drafting studio and the Cabaret. The living room (shown in my first photograph) is where Wright would throw parties, gather with friends, or chill. His use of sacred geometry was found at every turn, the vibrations were high. Although it was nearing 100° outside and everyone had their sun umbrellas out, I could be found spinning across the grass alongside his custom built triangle pool. It wasn't meant for swimming, but had it been, ya girl would've gone for a dip. 

Taliesin West | 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259
when looking for accommodations near Taliesin West, I'd recommend a stay at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

 
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

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Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

4 Comments Scottsdale, Arizona
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 

My trip to Scottsdale couldn’t have presented itself at a better time. Last month I began to slowly emerge from a post-break up gloom and personal funk that had been lingering since late 2016 and managed to spill well into 2017. For the past year, I haven't been feeling social, upbeat, or psyched on life, as everyone knows me to be. A trip to some place warm and restorative was exactly what I needed to recharge my spirit. I wasn't sure what kind of magical powers I’d tap into while in Scottsdale, but I knew that being in the desert yet again, particularly in the Southwest, would elevate my vibrations in ways I so desperately needed. If you find yourself in a position where you are seeking a retreat or time away from your everyday stresses, Scottsdale Arizona, particularly this resort, is an ideal atmosphere. There's no excuse when it's only an hour and a half flight from Los Angeles or six hour drive if you appreciate a good road trip.

I was invited to experience the brand new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel in Paradise Valley that Conde Nast Traveler named to their 2017 Hot List of hotels. Initially I was invited to attend a Food & Wine Magazine event on the newly designed property and there was no hesitation to say yes on my end, as a party under the desert moon is always appealing to me. What I didn’t anticipate is that this Scottsdale adventure would become one of the best press trips I ever took – I must give a special shoutout to the women on this trip who I had the pleasure of spending my days with. I was reminded yet again of the beauty in walking into experiences without expectations, a recent lesson I learned, which has only been confirmed countless times over the past few months. When I boarded my flight to Arizona, my mind was open, and before I knew it, I was experiencing an unforgettable trip, with the Andaz Scottsdale at the center of it all.

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona, Best Room Service
 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 

the hotel

When I arrived at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, the warm welcome from the bell men immediately set the tone. There's very few things I appreciate more than genuine friendliness and a smile. I walked into the lobby where I was greeted with an ice cold glass of freshly brewed peach tea. At the Andaz, you can find ice tea awaiting you in the lobby every day of your stay. My check-in was easy breezy and before I knew it, a German woman grabbed my luggage and so began the tour of the property and our journey to my casita. I am in love with the various style elements of the Southwest and the Adobe meets mid-century modern bungalows looked serene situated across 23 acres of desert landscape. I looked up at saw Camelback Mountain, a beautiful view to be surrounded by and so lovely to wake up to in the morning. One of the first things I noticed on my walk through the property where the intricately designed and maintained rock lawns, with calming swirls, reminiscent of a Japanese Zen garden. I had to ask – especially after walking across one and messing it up – were these raked every day? The answer was yes. The utmost attention is paid to the rock designs and that was one of the most impressive things. I believe that how you do one thing is how you do everything and the Andaz's attention to detail was impressive.

As with any hotel stay, I’m obsessed with the pool. The first thing I ask at check-in is always “is the pool 24 hours?” I'm usually prepared for a property to say no, but at the Andaz, it was enthusiastic yes! You want to impress me? Treat your guests like grown ass adults and allow them to swim antime day or night. You can best believe I was taking a dip at 3am under the palm trees and desert sky. Even better is that is was with a date I met in Arizona with plenty of late-night kisses (more on that later). Completely rejuvenating. If lounging by the pool is your vibe, you can post up in one of the 13 private cabanas at The Turquoise Pool. Hit the bar to enjoy boozy punchbowls and spiked popsicles. Are you looking for a girl's getaway? This scene is perf.

One of the most interesting elements of the hotel is its connection to local artists. Upon inception of the property, the Andaz Scottsdale made a conscious decision to work with Cattle Track Arts Compound to create artwork to adorn the lobby, restaurant, and in various nooks across the property. In each of the 201 casitas you can also find prints that were made at the compound, which I had the great pleasure of visiting. 

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 
Weft + Warp Bar & Kitchen, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 

the restaurant

I ate many meals at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, the restaurant located on the property. This naturally well lit and airy restaurant serves contemporary Sonoran cuisine with an emphasis on small, shareable plates. While enjoying dinner one evening, I ate a Blue Cornbread muffin baked into a cast iron skillet that had me obsessed; Southwest flavors can truly awaken the senses if executed well, and Chef Adam Sheff, formerly of the Park Hyatt NYC, made some memorable dishes. The show stopper of all our meals was an incredibly prepared Whole Trout from the Plancha, accompanied by grilled lemon, cauliflower, and pecan romesco. It’s not every day you can shout out trout but my goodness the flavor was incredible! Also not to be missed, the Compressed Watermelon Salad paired with Crow's Dairy goat cheese, crispy chicken skin, and basil. Any time I see "chicken skin" it's an automatic yes, so don't miss this. I had the chance to meet the farmer from Crow’s Dairy, also located in Arizona, while at the Food & Wine function, and it’s always really cool to meet the person behind the food. He was so delightfully affable, people had assumed we were old friends by the way we were chopping it up. His cheese curds are something else I must add!

The restaurant is well-designed without feeling pretentious, the menu thoughtful and devoid of trendy hype beast dishes. All of the dishes I so happily consumed at Weft & Warp were reflective of the Arizona vibe, none of them leaving me with a heavy feeling, but rather nourishment. The  waitstaff was friendly and not faking it, which is so uncommon these days. One night our group spent hours at a large dinner table ordering plates on top of plates, multiple bottles of wine, and laughing about all the ridiculous that is everyday life. The vibes were high and the restaurant welcomed every minute. I appreciate a space where you don't feel rushed and can enjoy a good meal with loud friends.

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
Best Spas in America, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona, Best Pools in America
 

the spa

This was one of the best spa experiences of my life, if not simply for my massage which was paired with a custom oil corresponding to my numerology. Even writing about it now my body was enveloped with total calmness. When I walked in Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary I was greeted with the softest & calmest voice I had ever heard; it was like speaking with an angel. I was then given a questionnaire on a tablet, presented to me by my massage therapist. She asked what kind of feeling I’d like to evoke from my treatment – positivity, clarity, strength, followed by the option to create an oil based on my numerology, to which I immediately said yes! The feeling of clarity or strength sounded top notch, but I am never going to pass up a New Age experience. I typed in my birthday and asked for it to reflect 2017. A message appeared describing what my year had in store and that my signature oil scents would be ylang-ylang, citrus, & rose. 

I made my way to the locker room, which was brand new, like everything on the property - it's hard to beat the smell and look of new while traveling. The amenities came correct for any woman trying to relax or pamper herself in front on a mirror, draped in a cozy robe. In the waiting room, fresh water and pastries were available to spa guests, with a large glass door overlooking the spa’s pool, a much quieter vibe from the hotel’s main pool. The spa also features a salon, apothecary boutique, eucalyptus steam rooms, outdoor relaxation lounges, and a fitness center. If you’re like me and appreciate fine pampering, don’t sleep on Palo Verde. There are very few things that compare to being massaged on a heated bed which by strong hands. I say emphatically that this was one of the best massages of my life, and at this point, I’ve had hundreds.  

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa | 6114 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 
Weft + Warp Bar & Kitchen, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
Folded Hills

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Folded Hills

4 Comments Gaviota, California
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 

I feel at home on a farm – the open fields, animals, fresh air – they put me at ease and bring my spirit the purest form of joy. As much as I love the city, I equally love miles of land with not a person in sight. Being alone is something I truly appreciate, and for this reason, I love traveling solo dolo. While on my last trip to Los Alamos I had “visit a local farm” on my list of things to do. I had familiarized myself with the gems of Los Alamos, but now it was time I discover other pockets of Central California and the California Coast.

I wasn’t sure which farm I would venture to, but I did plan on asking the townspeople of Los Alamos where in the area I could see animals, buy produce, and get my life on a rolling hill. A young woman working in house keeping at The Alamo Motel was kind enough to give me a list of her personal recommendations. Her mother and I had bonded earlier on my trip speaking entirely in Spanish, and the three of us developed a friendship during my stay. After our great conversation about nearby farms, I decided that I would set out to Folded Hills, located in Gaviota, about 30 mins located from Los Alamos, between Santa Barbara and Buellton, off of Highway 101. On the beautiful drive to Gaviota I saw “Blueberry Picking” signs and cows roaming the green pastures. It was beautiful and true California living.

When exiting the highway, I gleefully followed the signs to the farm. I pulled up on a dirt road that led me to a gorgeous steel barn. I could see a small donkey in the distance and I knew I was about to lose it. Hopping out of the car, I spotted piglets and goats, which nearly made me collapse to the ground, as I couldn’t handle the cuteness surrounding me. I quickly befriended the goats, who were sunbathing; I could’ve ended my trip there with the amount of fun I was already having. Interesting fact, as a child and into my teenage years, I had considered veterinary medicine and started studying the practice as a volunteer at the Pasadena Humane Society. At the time UC Davis had the best program and I wanted to learn about more about the treatment and care of farm animals. I digress.

I made my way into the barn, which I discovered to be a shop selling organic fruit and vegetables from the land on which it occupied. The produce was vibrant in sight and smell, with prices too good to pass up. It’s wild to hold, taste, and experience food that has just been plucked out of the ground, void of poisons and pesticides. This is my ideal food story – and I hope one day a majority of us California residents have access and education (especially poc) to grow our own organic produce. Ron Finley, who I've been following for the past couple years and recently heard lecture at CAAM, is a leader in that discussion, who I recommend you check out.

 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 

Being incredibly inspired by the fresh produce I was fondling, I decided to purchase a picking basket from the farmstead and head to the field to gather my own strawberries. Being Mexican American, who’s grandmother worked in the fields, this moment was not lost on me – I had a mixed emotions, especially with the understanding of how migrant workers are treated in our country. I also began to think of my culture and family’s connection to the Earth and how important yerbas, plants, and gardening has been to our lives. Being among the flora and fauna has always felt like second nature to me, and it’s unfortunate that this tradition has been disrespected and undervalued.  

Everything about my visit to Folded Hills was nourishing to my life – the food perfection and the farm so lush I could've taken a nap in the lettuce field. The local and organic olive oil from Figueroa Farms (only $8, that I bottled myself) was so insanely good that I got mad at all the trash I'd been buying back home. While wrapping up my visit, the farmer who oversees the property picked up on my enthusiasm for farm life and welcomed me to take a private tour. It was on this excursion I had the opportunity to meet his pet hog, chickens (they also sell fresh eggs), and play with the piglets. I cannot wait to return.

Folded Hills | 2323 Old Coast Highway Road, Gaviota 93117

 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
The Alamo Motel

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The Alamo Motel

Comment Los Alamos, California
The Alamo Motel, Los Alamos

The Alamo Motel, Los Alamos


As much as I love Los Angeles, leaving this city on the regular is crucial to my mental health. One of my favorite places to go semi-off-the-grid is Los Alamos, a cozy town less than 3 hours Northeast of L.A. I love hitting the open road to clear my mind and the drive to Los Alamos is a beautiful one. On this journey up the 101 to the 154, there is an expansive ocean view, lush mountains, rolling hills and the ability to inhale the kind of air you often forget exists in California. I open my sunroof, roll down all the windows, blast my favorite tracks, and breathe out all the bullshit. Highly recommend.

The Alamo Motel is my lodging choice when staying in Los Alamos. Completely renovated by the creative duo behind Shelter Social Club, this boutique motel offers everything I need when I want to unwind – a clawfoot tub, cozy bed, and outdoor fire pit perfect for star gazing. A personal favorite is the portable heater - which looks like tiny fireplace - that I like to place at the foot of the bed in the colder months. Across the street from The Alamo Motel are some of my favorite restaurants in California. Los Alamos is killing the farm-to-table culinary game and I cannot wait to share my favorite spots with you; keep your eyes open for my complete restaurant guide. And if it's wine you love, this makes for an ideal location for a wine turn up, because everything is within walking distance. Don't want to leave the property? Pull up a stool at Muni Wines, located on site, with lots of great options. Rosé in the Spring is just my vibe

 
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Clawfoot Tub at The Alamo Motel

Clawfoot Tub at The Alamo Motel


Nice things don't always have to deplete your bank account and this is another reason why I love staying at The Alamo Motel. The standard room during the week can be as low at $99 and on the weekends $199. I'm going share a secret with you though. Are you listening? You can cop a room for $80 on a weekday via the Hotel Tonight app. That's something I discovered on my own and my life has been better for it since. Whether you snag the deal or not, Los Alamos is the perfect place to unplug, or to start writing that book you've been putting off. Need a solo getaway, a girls trip, or romantic romp – Los Alamos is ideal for it all.  

The Alamo Motel | 425 Bell Street, Los Alamos CA 93440 

 
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alamo hotel los alamos, alamo hotel los alamos ca, alamo motel los alamos, alamo motel los alamos ca, alamo motel shelter social club, where to stay in los alamos
Institute of Mentalphysics

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Institute of Mentalphysics

Comment Joshua Tree, California
Institute of Mentalphysics Dining Area

Institute of Mentalphysics Dining Area


The Institute of Mentalphyics and Joshua Tree Retreat Center is where I stay when I am in the High Desert. I first wrote about this magical place in 2012 and have been returning at least once a year since it came into my life. Interestingly also in ’12 I invited someone from Donald Glover’s Royalty team on my desert tour, and although he didn't make it, I brought him back a meditation book from the center. Years later they held Childish Gambino’s “Pharos Experience” at the same space which probably not a coincidence.

Before we set off for Joshua Tree I had told my friend Macchew Bentley about where we were staying, but having spent many nights there over the past 6 years, I know that you don’t quite understand the power of the Institute of Mentalphysics until you step foot onto the property. Our room was modest, as all of them are. There aren’t amenities or robes. If you describe yourself as “bougie” this place is not for you.  If you enjoy strolls in the desert sand surrounded by Joshua Trees, incredible architecture, labyrinths, late-night jacuzzi sessions, and most of all, spiritual awakenings, then this place should be added to your list. Rooms range from $60-$75 a night, plus a $8 pool/jacuzzi fee. The retreat center also has a great book store, offering an nice selection of Mentalphysics books, crystals, and singing bowls; I never leave there empty handed.

 

If its sacred geometry and earth magic that you love, you need to explore the Institute. The grounds are vast and the energy is vibrating on high levels. If you are in tune with nature, you are going to feel it here. Designed by world-renowned architects Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd, most of these unique buildings were built using sacred geometry circa 1941. The design of the land was carefully constructed, as to harness the powers of the ground below. The land on which the Center was built rests upon a aquifer (a running river), “producing an intriguing magnetic effect on those who enter this ancient and sacred space.” The energy at the Institute is unique and restorative – I’ve experienced many indescribable things while here. Matty can now also say the same, ask him. If it’s healing that you need, spend a couple nights here and I promise life will become clearer. 

Seeking mystical, mid-century modern, and magnetic forces? The Institute for Mentalphysics and Joshua Tree Retreat Center is the place. Although this landmark has never been a secret, it has flown under the radar for decades. When people ask me where to stay in Joshua Tree, depending on who they are, this is where I suggest they stay. Not because it’s luxurious, but because your spirit leaves fully recharges. If you’re open to it, that is.

Institute of Mentalphyics | 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

 
Inside the Mentalphysics Chapel

Inside the Mentalphysics Chapel

Salton Sea

3 Comments

Salton Sea

3 Comments Mecca, California
Salton Sea at Sunset
 

The Salton Sea is one of my favorite places in California. I’ve been going there for years and whenever I am in the desert, I always make time for a trip out there. It’s a strange and beautiful place. It feels nearly abandoned and is surrounded by death, but there is magic in the air if you open yourself up to it.

If you are coming from Joshua Tree, the drive to the Salton Sea is about 1hr 15mins and if you’re coming from Palm Springs, the drive is under an hour. I typically enter through the visitor center off HWY 111, either on my way to or from Salvation Mountain, located in Slab City just beyond Niland, approximately 30 mins away. I know this drive like the back of my hand but I recommend if you’re new to this adventure, pay close attention on the highway or you just might miss it. Look for the large light blue road side that reads “Salton Sea Recreation Area.” 

When I bring friends to the Salton Sea, I can never anticipate what their response will be and that’s mostly do to the pungent smell coming from the hundreds of thousands dead tilapia washed up on the shore. Upon arrival I say not a word and then lead my guest onto the sand. As we begin to walk, someone always mentions the crunch of the sand underneath our feet. I lean in and say “that’s not sand, we are walking on decaying fish carcases.” The sound can be best described as walking on Captain Crunch. It makes for an interesting moment to say the least.

This was the first time I had been at the Salton Sea during sunset. Matty and I had a full day of my favorite desert sights and we were speeding back from Salvation Mountain in order to catch the Salton Sea before it got dark. We found ourselves chasing the sun every day on our road trip, as we weren't going to let a moment go to waste. I’m glad it worked out this way because I had never experienced such beauty at the Salton Sea. It was surreal. The beauty of Earth never ceases to amaze me, but after all these years, I experienced something new at a place I was so familiar with. I was hyped that Matty was in awe too. 

Salton Sea | 100-225 State Park Rd, Mecca, CA 92254

 
Salton Sea, Mecca California
 
Salton Sea California
Maachew Bentley at the Salton Sea
Dead fish at the Salton Sea
Sunset at the Salton Sea, Mecca, California
Salton Sea, Joshua Tree, Mecca, California