My first trip to California was about three years ago when Garrett and I traveled to his hometown in Huntington Beach. Since that first trip, I have been five or six times, so I feel like I am becoming a California expert (just kidding)! But every time I venture out west, I do like to compile a list of places I really enjoyed. One of my favorite places in California is Joshua Tree. It's a gorgeous desert with an endless view of the mountains. Also, it just so happens to be where Garrett’s grandmother lives. She lives on five acres of desert land with an airstream just yards away from her front door. It’s actually very common for residents to own airstreams. I've added a silver airstream to my Christmas list but Santa hasn't come through just yet!
In true Gemini fashion, I think both the desert and beach oasis are paradise in my book. There is something about the desert that feels perfect. Maybe it's the open space, dry sand, and beautiful plant life. I like to think I am a minimalist of sorts, and the desert really gives me beautiful minimal vibes. The desert also is indescribably peaceful. I love feeling so present without the lights and noises of the city. But on the other hand, the crystal clear waters and white sand of the beach are just as amazing! I feel like when I am at the beach I also feel a sense of peace and relaxation. There is no way I could pick between the two, which is saying a lot, because in the past I would have always picked a beach vacay over anything! Both have their own characteristics that I am drawn to, and luckily, in California, I can experience both!
During my trip to Joshua Tree, I made a list of the places we visited so I could share them with you (and remember for my next trip):
First and foremost, Joshua Tree National Park is an absolute must! It looks exactly like my photos but you HAVE to experience it for yourself in person. It stretches for miles, and the views are just out of this world. For me, I felt so lucky to experience this natural, unadulterated space. It is such a beautiful part of the country unlike anywhere else. And maybe you are thinking a desert doesn’t interest you, but trust me, you will enjoy and appreciate it. I want to go every time I'm in California, and y’all know that I love traveling to a new location every time I leave NOLA.
There are so many great, unique places to visit in Joshua Tree, so here is a run down of my faves. We visit Crossroads Cafe for breakfast every time we're in Joshua Tree. Both the food and the coffee are delish. We have only had excellent service and amazing food. Joshua Tree Saloon is one of the only night life venues in the city, and it is super fun! There’s usually live music, in addition to amazing burgers and a fully stocked bar. They also have a pool table for those wanting to play a game while sipping on a drink or while waiting for a table. The atmosphere is upbeat and fun, and the staff is friendly. We were looking for something fun to do on a Friday night and went to Yucca Bowl. It is several decades old, with true vintage decor. I've heard it's being renovated, but it’s the perfect place to spend the evening and have some friendly competition. I love a good, old school bowling alley and Yuca Bowl is definitely that! If you visit and see the new renovations, let me know what it’s like! I can’t wait to see the new look when I go back.
If you end up staying the night in Joshua Tree, you have to take a moment and look up at the sky. The stars are so big and bright, it truly is beautiful. Living in the city, I don’t get to see a “true” night sky, and all I can say is that it is breathtakingly beautiful. Getting to see a sky lit up by stars is another reason why Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in California. To wrap this all up, being able to experience a desert oasis and all it has to offer during the day and at night is incredible, and you won’t be disappointed. I'll link where we stayed. If you want to see more, visit my Instagram Story Highlights!
All selections and opinions in this post are my own.
Hey guys! So I’ve already shared some of my favorite boutiques in the Mandeville/Covington area. If you missed it, I linked it here for you to read! I honestly never thought I would spend so much time on the Northshore AND like it. Both my best friend and Garrett’s best friend live across the lake so we’re there pretty often. We always get asked about moving and our answer is pretty consistent, NO! I love the Northshore; it’s safe, clean, and peaceful, but it’s a little too far from the city. I don’t want to say NEVER to moving there, but right now it’s a hard no. We love being right in the middle of everything, and I can’t imagine living so far from all the excitement of the city. So for now, I’ll just enjoy my trips across the lake and share all of the wonderful places it has to offer with you! When I’m on the Northshore and I’m looking for a good workout, I have a few favorites...
It's a regular gym. You purchase a membership and have access to their pools, cafe, childcare, spa, locker rooms, fitness classes, and gym equipment. It is super clean, and the layout is really nice and organized despite being such a large gym. I’m usually there with Erin. We love starting our workout on either the elliptical or spin bikes. Then, we finish with BURN, one of their scheduled workout classes. I love that once I’m finished working out, I can head to the locker rooms, sit in the steam room and shower before leaving. They also offer a TON of fitness classes, which I love. Body pump, cardio blast, and killer core are just a few of my favorites. I’ll link their Instagram page here!
Oh Evolve, I’m sore just thinking about the workout. Their studio space is new, inviting and very clean. They have a second location in Baton Rouge, so it’s good to know that I have a place to workout if I’m ever staying the night in BR, which Garrett and I do. They have a pilates studio as well as a HIIT studio space (offering sculpt and yoga classes). I love pilates classes and for those of you who aren’t familiar with it or new to it, here’s a little explanation. At Pure Barre, we would tell clients that you use small muscles during isometric movements to help tighten and tone. So basically, while you’re on the reformer, you’re using muscles you don’t normally use in a “regular” workout with resistance. It’s a more intricate and targeted workout. You have to focus, breathe, and push past your comfort zone. You can’t really cheat during this type of workout. If you’ve been working out for a while and you feel good about your progress but you’re not as toned as you’d like to be, add pilates into your workout regimen. You do need cardio, but pilates will define your muscle groups way more than any other workout. I’ll link their Instagram page here!
Hot Worx recently opened on the Northshore, and I could not be more excited! Did someone say Infrared sauna?! Sign me up! I didn’t realize how beneficial or how much of a boost using a sauna and a steam room would be until I started dating Garrett. He sits in the sauna or steam room after every workout (and he’s been doing it for years - which makes me jealous). There are so many health benefits from being in the sauna. Some of the benefits include an increased metabolism, boosted immune system, shorter recovery time after workouts, and flushing of toxins built up in the body. What makes Hot Worx so unique is that you actually workout in a sauna. It’s pretty amazing! They offer spin, row, yoga, barre, bands, and booty workout classes. The saunas can fit up to three people, and they have 10 infrared sauna rooms. They also have an open space in the back for any free style workout, a full weight room, and a nice place to shower. I’ll link their Instagram page here!
I know this post is about my favorite workout places, but I just have to shout out one of my favorite spots to eat at in both Mandeville and Covington - Coffee Rani. My mom's aunt is one of the owners! They have such a fun atmosphere, because they’re always hustling and bustling. If you’ve ever eaten there, you know just how amazing the food is. It’s the perfect little lunch spot. My go-to lunch is the margarita chicken salad but I ask for it in a wrap. SO yummy! Cafe Rani is so good and popular, I’m sure some of you guys have been. I’d love to know what your favorite meal on the menu is?! Comment below!
All selections and opinions in this post are my own.