Category Archive for Palm Springs + California

Road trip from Palm Springs to LA! The Orlando Hotel West Hollywood, Cabazon Dinosaurs, OUE Skyspace panorama.

cabazon dinosaurs palm springs kitsch statues

Welcome back to La Carmina’s Big Adventure! (Do you recognize these Cabazon Dinosaurs from the Pee Wee Herman movie?)

After a few relaxing days in Palm Springs (see first post), photographer Joey Wong and I took a road trip to LA — with a pit stop at this kitschy roadside attraction. 

orlando hotel west hollywood review weho hotels

In LA, I stayed at my favorite home-away-from-home — The Orlando Hotel in West Hollywood. At this point, taking a photo with the big O sign is tradition.

Read on for a peek inside, as well as dinosaurs and aliens, oh my!

t-rex statue palm springs Mr. Rex

When you’re driving west from Palm Springs to LA, you’ll pass through Cabazon. This appears to be a sleepy retirement desert town… until you see a tyrannosaurus rex in beast mode!

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are an amusing place to stop and take photos. The 20 meter tall Mr Rex is made from steel and concrete. 

 Dinny the Dinosaur, cabazon palm desert

Dinny the Dinosaur, a 45 meter long brontosaurus, hangs out next to him. His humped back mirrors the curves of the Palm Desert mountains. Both dinos were featured in the 1985 comedic film, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”

(My outfit consists of a hooded top by Cyberdog, white dress by UK Swimwear, and sandals by Lola Ramona.)

fashion blogger cabazon dinosaurs

I disguised myself using my silver alien backpack (get one here), and got up close to the T-Rex.

These ridiculous dinosaur statues were built in the 1960s by Claude K Bell, a former sculptor for Knott’s Berry Farm. He made them to entice highway drivers to visit his restaurant. 

dinosaur museum ice cream palm springs cabazon

Things get weirder. After Claude died, the dinosaurs were sold to a group… that turned the attraction into a Creationist museum! Yes, there are people out there that believe the world was created only 6000 years ago along with humans and dinosaurs, who co-existed. 

cabazon dinosaurs weird creationists roadside attraction

The dino attractions look like kid’s stuff. But if you look closer, you’ll notice Creationist slogans in the gift shop like “Don’t swallow it! The fossil record does not support evolution.”

pee wee dinosaurs cabazon

The Creationist museum suggests that dinosaurs might still exist but be in hiding, citing Loch Ness and other supposed spottings.

Is the truth in there? I wasn’t about to pay the fee to go in and be dis-informed, so I just took photos outside. 

cabazon dinosaurs fashion blogger travel style outfit

One can dispute whether dinosaurs are real… but aliens exist for sure!

downtown la moca building fashion blogger girl

The drive between Palm Springs and LA is an easy one, and takes just over 3 hours (try to avoid peak traffic hours). We landed in downtown Los Angeles, which has developed significantly over the past 10 or so years.

Here’s a futuristic view from The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (contemporary art museum). In a later post, I’ll show you the Broad art museum and Disney Concert Hall. 

bradbury building interior balcony architecture

Don’t overlook the incredible historic architecture in this district. I popped in to the Bradbury Building: built in 1893, this is a five story masterpiece of cast iron filigree surrounding a central glass atrium.

If this setting looks familiar to you, it may be because Harrison Ford ran around here with a gun, in the 1982 apocalyptic film Blade Runner — one of my personal favorites. 

blade runner cosplay bradbury building downtown la

The set designers added trash, fog and mannequins to The Bradbury Building, transforming it to the character J. F. Sebastian’s apartment. These geometric stairs, iron railing and open cage elevators made this one of the most memorable scenes in Blade Runner. 

I’m wearing a holographic alien backpack, and pink sunglasses with built-in eyebrows by SpiltMilk Eyewear.

orlando hotel west hollywood review

Time to check in at The Orlando Hotel in West Hollywood. I’ve been docking at this boutique hotel since 2011, and always recommend it to anyone coming to Los Angeles. From the valet to the front desk, the Orlando staff are a standout. Everyone shows genuine care and welcomes you warmly. 

(Silk striped dress by Chaser, and skull mini purse by Alexander McQueen.)

orlando hotel los angeles boutique hotels swimming pool

The Orlando Hotel’s location (West 3rd Street in WeHo) can’t be beat. I dislike taking the highways and battling with LA traffic. By staying at the Orlando, I can take local streets and easily get to the beach, Koreatown, Hollywood, and downtown. 

In addition, the hotel is on a hip street lined with cafes and shops, so you can access plenty of fantastic places by walking. Or, you can simply hang out at their pool. 

orlando hotel la bar, weho design hotels

Over the years, the Orlando has spruced up its interiors. They now house Cleo Third Street, a chic bar and restaurant named after Queen Cleopatra. Guests can order room service from Cleo as well (no need to ever leave those cozy rooms!)

the orlando hotel los angeles travel blogger

I’ve stayed at a number of “design” hotels that seem luxurious, but aren’t actually that functional or comfortable. This is why I adore The Orlando: everything works seamlessly! 

Here, it’s easy to find and operate the light switches. The rooms and bathroom are spacious, with plenty of storage space. The shower heats up quickly, and is easy to step in and out of (no water splashing everywhere). And the plush beds with silky sheets are among the best I’ve slept in. 

cleo restaurant la orlando hotel menu food

I feasted like a royal at Cleo Third Street, the hotel’s restaurant. Their Middle Eastern meets Mediterranean cuisine has a modern touch, and the small plates are designed for sharing with friends. We were fans of the craft cocktails, featuring fresh juices and garnishes. 

cleo third street restaurant los angeles Mediterranean food

The fiery halloumi was a big hit, along with the smoked eggplant and sumac babaganoush, served with spongy laffa bread. The menu has plenty of flavorful dishes to choose from, with ingredients like harissa, tahini, and lebaneh. Cleo also has multiple options for those who are vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. 

josie stevens married to rock reality tv star wife

I’ve made so many wonderful memories at The Orlando Hotel over the years. My friends, from Josie Stevens to the Amazing Race Goths, have found inspiration here with me. 

Next time you’re heading to LA, I hope you’ll get to stay here and see why The Orlando Hotel is my happy place! 

oue skyspace los angeles observation deck

Time to check out something new: OUE Skyspace in Downtown LA. Opened in 2016, this is the tallest open air observation deck in California.

oue skyspace la events, panoramic view

We went up the elevator until we were almost 1000 feet above the city. From the various outdoor viewing decks, OUE SkySpace lets you take in panoramic 360 degree views of Los Angeles. 

sunset la golden hour photos fashion blogger skyspace

You can buy wine from the bar, and sit on the lounge chairs to enjoy the views of the horizon. OUE Skyspace has areas set up for selfies as well. 

OOTD: alien backpack (from here), pink sunglasses by SpiltMilk Eyewear, mesh shirt Cyberdog, white dress UK Swimwear, heels Lola Ramona.

night views los angeles sky space slide

Be sure to ride The Skyslide, a clear glass slide that lets you shoot down the outside of the building! Although the slide only spans one floor, it’s a fast zoom that delivers thrills. (I yelled “Oueee!”)

oue skyspace downtown la panorama observatory

I recommend visiting right before sunset so that you can catch the glow of dusk. Yes, that’s the moon above me. 

downtown la view panorama buildings

OUE Skyspace is a must for photography lovers. Joey Wong shot these images that capture the energy of LA.

oue skyspace portraits selfies fashion blogger

During golden hour, you can get plenty of pink-hued portraits and fashion photos.

long exposure la cars traffic lights

Joey’s long exposure shows the snake-like roads and frenetic pace of downtown LA. 

photography tips locations skyspace la

Love how the car lights turn into laser beams. 

oue skyspace tickets review

The last light before the darkness. If you’d like to come up here, you can learn more about OUE Skyspace and get timed entry tickets through their site.

los angeles The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA architecture

LA LA LLA LA! I have more to come from Los Angeles and Palm Springs, as well as NYC and Portland. (You can see previews on  my @lacarmina social media.)

Thanks for your patience, these are crazy times… Wash your hands and stay safe, aliens!

A hip getaway to Parker Palm Springs: mid-century modern design hotel review! Rainbow fashion & best restaurants.

very long dark purple hair girl

Winter, what’s that? At the start of 2020, I made an escape to sunny Palm Springs. What a relief to have a break from the dark and stormy weather.

I was keen to kick back and indulge, so I stayed at the Parker Palm Springs. I’m sure you recognize the luxury hotel’s iconic entrance….

parker palm springs hotel door entrance entry

… it’s one of the most Instagram-ed spots in Palm Springs, a destination known for its mid-century modern architecture and Cali-cool vibe.

fashion blogger palm springs california guide

Even though I’ve spent tons of time in LA over the years, I had somehow never gone to Palm Springs until now.

Photographer Joey Wong and I adore modern design, so we were thrilled to shoot photos in this hip hotel. In 2004, the famed Jonathan Adler revitalized the Parker Palm Springs. Read on to see his chic interiors, which include spooky The Shining carpets! 

palm springs parker hotel location address

From Vancouver and other major cities, you can take a fast and inexpensive direct flight to Palm Springs — making it an easy getaway. Alternately, you can fly to LA, and then drive just over 3 hours to get here.

Joey and I had a rental car in Palm Springs, which we recommend. The streets are wide and easy to navigate — and there are a lot of older drivers on the road, so everyone goes slowly!

jonathan adler drugs lobby parker palm springs decor

Don’t do drugs, kids… or you might end up like this…

I’m wearing a black hooded wrap-around top and Equaliser rainbow skirt from Cyberdog. This cyber – rave – Goth label is one of my favorites, and everything I own from them is of beautiful quality. (I visited their futuristic shop in Camden, London; pics here.)

My silver purse is an Alexander McQueen skull mini bag.

mid century macrame owls furniture retro vintage

Jonathan Adler’s decor pays tribute to the mid-century vibe of Palm Springs. The Parker Hotel’s lounge is a 1970s dream pad. I was tickled to see a wall of macrame owls; my mom made one of these in the late 70s!

rainbow skirt cyberdog equaliser

My Cyberdog skirt’s colorful equalizer scale also fit in with the retro feel. I paired it with bow-tied red sandals from Lola Ramona, a designer inspired by vintage and pin-up.

parker palm springs swimming pool grounds

Feels good to get some vitamin D, poolside at the Parker. I also got some vitamin C, thanks to the fresh lemons on every table next to the lounge chairs.

hip palm springs hotel pool spa

The Parker Hotel has three pools, including a saline, chlorine-free one for adults. Guests can take a dip, and then cool off in the charming blue and white cabanas.

palm springs photography locations instagrammable

Only guests of the hotel are allowed into the private grounds, which resemble a Secret Garden. I got happily lost wandering around the maze-like paths, lined with waving pampas grass and fan palms.

travel style blogger guide palm springs outfits

The Parker’s gardens are a treat for the senses: I loved the vivid colors and fragrances of the flowering hedges, and citrus fruit trees. The weather was perfect in January — sunny but not overly hot, and not a trace of mosquitoes.

alexander mcqueen mini bag skull, sylvain le hen hair clips barrettes

Blending in with nature, purple hair and all. My barrettes are Sylvain Le Hen, and my silver croc skull crossbody purse is Alexander McQueen.

See more of his Gothic bags below:

parker palm springs croquet field

I felt like Alice in Wonderland, as I explored the labyrinthine gardens of the Parker. I came across a giant chessboard, and a grassy lawn for petanque and croquet. (I don’t know how to play, but I can wield a mallet and yell “Off with their heads!”)

parker palm springs resort gardens

Be sure to pop into PSYC spa, which stands for Palm Springs Yacht Club, and has a blue nautical design. There’s a peaceful indoor pool, and studios for free yoga classes.

dark purple dyed long hair asian girl

We passed our time taking photos — but if you’re a sporty type, you can have fun on the tennis courts, or rent bright yellow bicycles.

bronze banana sculpture palm springs parker

Behold, a banana! I laughed when I saw this 7-foot bronze sculpture, which weighs 900 pounds and rises up from a grassy plain.

famous goth influencers instagram colorful gothic hair

Kudos to my brilliant stylist Chad Evans of Kore Salon in Vancouver, for keeping my violet hair so vibrant and healthy. Check out his site for positivity and inspiration.

mister parker's restaurant bar

Jonathan Adler’s interiors play with kitsch and psychedelia. I snapped this gigantic macrame owl (it barely fit in the frame) and neon doorway to Mister Parker’s restaurant.

the shining carpet parker hotel california

This Goth girl was obsessed with the orange and red hexagon carpet — maybe you recognize it from The Shining horror movie! “Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya.”

joico k pak color intensity purple dye hair model

“Photog” Joey Wong and I found inspiration in every corner of the Parker Palm Springs.

jonathan adler interior design palm springs hotel

Found my knight in shining armor, next to a vintage Warren Platner chair (mid-century furniture master) that was reupholstered in an Adler fabric.

macrame owls wall hanging 70s

What can I say… the quirky retro interior design of the Parker Hotel is a hoot!

palm springs hippest design boutique hotel

The russet tones of the swinging 70s are alive at the Parker.

front entrance doors of the Parker Palm Springs

And then, there’s the iconic 23-foot front entrance. Tall tangerine double doors, framed by a white lattice cement “brise soleil.”  Love how the palm fronds cast a shadow.

famous goths celebrities gothic celebs

You can’t find a better spot for futuristic portraits. Wearing two metallic barrettes by Sylvain Le Hen, and a silver Collier de Chien bracelet by Hermes.

parker white famous entrance doors palm springs

Palm Springs is known for its mid-century desert architecture. I recommend driving around, or taking a tour to see the houses. I want to come back one February for Modernism Week, when you can go inside some of the most famous Case Study homes.

norma's restaurant brunch menu food

Time for brunch at Norma’s, the Parker’s open-air terrace restaurant that serves breakfast all day. Even the plates and garnishes match the hotel’s orange color scheme.

There’s an extensive sweet and savory menu to choose from. Norma’s serves many creative varieties of eggs Benedict, from artichoke to glazed short ribs with sweet potato cake (above). I drank two servings of the oat milk latte with house-made vanilla.

lobster mac and cheese caviar norma's

You can also get indulgent at Norma’s, with specialities such as a lobster macaroni and cheese (the presentation looks like a Jaws shark attack). If you’re a high roller, you can get the Zillion Dollar frittata with caviar and lobster… which will set you back $2000!

parker hotel mini bar

At night, I said welcome to the dollhouse. This little bar at the Parker is designed like an Art Deco jewel box, and is a sweet spot for people-watching. (A lot of stylish people pass through the turquoise velvet doors).

counter reformation drinks cocktails parker

VIP guests get a glass of cordial each night. It’s tempting to stay at the Parker 24/7, as there’s so much to enjoy… but Joey and I did venture out for other fine dining experiences.

(More from the Parker Palm Springs at the end of this post, so keep reading!)

eight4nine restaurant palm springs decor

Palm Springs’ hippest restaurants are located in the Uptown Design District, which is also a hip area for strolling and popping into art galleries.

We had a fabulous dinner at Eight4Nine, a lively restaurant decked out in white interiors with Louis IV chairs and hot pink accents. This is an excellent spot to gather with a group of friends before a night out.

Eight4Nine dinner food menu

Eight4Nine’s menu focuses on modern American cuisine, with bright flavors and presentation. The fresh and well-sourced seafood stood out in the appetizers (Ahi tuna poke and Dungeness crab corn chowder). The scallops and duck with red wine reduction were luxurious yet down to earth, and brought together a variety of culinary influences.

lgbt gay palm springs Eight4Nine

Eight4Nine is known for serving one of the best Sunday brunches in Palm Springs. Every year, they host a Pride Brunch that lets you sip champagne while you watch the parade, with 25% of proceeds benefiting Greater Palm Springs Pride.

evzin palm springs menu Mediterranean food

On our second evening, we feasted at Evzin — a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influenced eatery. The friendly staff greeted us warmly, and were wonderful at giving recommendations.

Be sure to start with a spread of dips and pita, including smoky eggplant with garlic, tzatziki Greek yogurt with cucumber, and cilantro jalapeno hummus. Also to die for: halloumi with honey and dates, and Albanian burek (herb, feta and corn meal pie). I paired the shared plates with a rosemary cocktail lit on fire.

evzin restaurant chicken adobo

For mains, expect a mix of juicy flavors and generous portions. Joey had the tasty Adobo fried chicken, and I bit into a zaatar-roasted chicken with red chard, almond basmati rice, and tahini sauce.

evzin palm springs dessert greek yogurt cheesecake

The most outstanding dish at Evzin? The homemade Greek yogurt cheesecake, which is slightly tart and paired with berries. Trust us, this dessert is a must-have — we were stuffed, yet ate it all up!

trio Restaurant palm springs figs appetizers

On Day 3, we dove into local specialities at the cheery and sophisticated Trio Restaurant, housed in what was a mid-century bank. I was a big fan of the ahi tuna tower, and Coachella Valley dates stuffed with blue cheese. Trio’s wine list is also outstanding, with selections from nearby Napa Valley, Oakville, Sonoma County, and Alexander Valley.

trio Restaurant wine dinner menu

After a long day of shooting, we were delighted to indulge in a creative menu that combines Midwest comfort with sleek California dining. The space ribs with chipolte rub and sweet potato fries were some of the best we’ve tried. The delicate Australian sole and Yankee pot roast (with slow roasted carrots) were also winners.

pink sunset palm trees palm springs

Can’t beat sipping on a Cali rose, while taking in the pink sunset.

parker hotel rooms jonathan adler suites

Back to the Parker Palm Springs, where I gave a “hail” to the outdoor fire pit. A perfect luxury campfire for sitting around with a drink.

fire pit parker palm springs

Joey and I always joke that the highlight of every trip is getting back to our room and lying in bed. The Parker’s rooms were a study in comfort: the carpet is unbelievably lush, and how cute are the Adler bed frames? The custom-made needlepoint pillows and mid-century wall hangings added to the flair.

parker palm springs dining room service

The staff left us snacks every evening. Still dreaming of this truffle ricotta with sorrel and figs, on Parmesan chips.

lemonade stand parker palm springs poolside

We’ll miss getting a fix of fresh fruit from the spa: the blood oranges and pink-red pears were our favorites. You can also visit the Parker’s lemonade stand to nosh on snacks, and drink spiked lemonade. 

jonathan adler design hotel interiors

The ghosts of old-time Hollywood celebs are alive at the Parker. The hotel has a decadent history: it was once owned by  “singing cowboy” Gene Autry, and talk show host Merv Griffin (creator of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune).

cyberdog goth fashion clothing

Today, The Parker Palm Springs remains a favorite amongst stylish travelers and celebrities. We ran into a few fashion photoshoots taking place around the grounds.

luxury gothic jewelry accessories

As someone who loves modern design and boutique experiences, my stay at the Parker was total enlightenment.

prices review parker palm springs

I’m keen to come back for another desert escape soon. If you’re planning a Palm Springs trip, go all out — and book a stay at the Parker Palm Springs. You won’t regret it.

doorway parker palm springs instagram spots

Much more to come from Palm Springs, including our adventures at the windmills and Joshua Tree! I think you can tell we had a blast here: thanks to the Parker team for welcoming us.

For previews of my photoshoots, take a glance at @lacarmina Instagram (and stay tuned for New York Fashion Week coverage, coming up next).