2019 DESERT SUPER BLOOM


You might have already seen the pictures on Instagram, of the hills covered in poppies, or of the wildflowers in bloom across the state.

A super bloom is a rare occurrence where large amounts of desert flowers open at the same time, making for stunning landscapes covered in native, local flora. And this year, we’re being treated to the second super bloom in two years, following the enormous 2017 blooms at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, blooms so large that they could be seen from space.

Luckily, you don’t need to travel to Borrego Springs to experience this year’s super bloom for yourself. This year, desert blooms are popping up all over Coachella Valley.

COACHELLA VALLEY PRESERVE

Photo via desertusa.com

Flower sightings of species such as Desert Sunflower and Brown-eyed Primrose have been reported at the Coachella Valley Preserve, located at 29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Rd, Thousand Palms.

THE SANTA ROSA AND SAN JACINTO MOUNTAINS NATIONAL MONUMENT VISITOR CENTER

Photo via localemagazine.com

This national monument hosts a variety of hiking trails, from moderately easy hikes to challenging ones. Stop by the visitor center to speak with the friendly and knowledgeable staff. T visitor center is also equipped with two restrooms. Address: 51500 Highway 74, Palm Desert

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Photo via desertusa.com

Besides a chance at seeing the Joshua Trees in bloom, the fields of poppies, daisies, desert dandelions, and many other wildflowers that have been spotted off of I10, east of the south entrance to Joshua Tree make a visit to the national park worth it. Nonetheless, you’re bound lots and lots of flowers in and around the park.

For directions, head over the National Parks Service official site.

If you want to learn more about where you can see wildflower blooms in Coachella Valley, check out the Desert Sun’s guide for more locations!


Feature image by desertusa.com

Modernism 2019 Highlights


Modernism Week and another 10 days of modernism tours, lectors, and swanky soirees have come and gone. Trying to narrow down the highlights from this February’s annual event was not an easy project thanks to dozens of unique offerings for Modernists but here is our Top 5 List:

The Christopher Kennedy Compound

Every year local designer, Christopher Kennedy, invites other notable designers to collaborate on a show house remodel and every year it is more gorgeous than the last. This year’s show house is located in the Indian Canyons neighborhood and was a dream of bright colors, cool outdoor spaces and a bohemian pool house perfect for post-swim naps. The cocktail party kickoff sells out each Modernism Week so the best way to experience the house is to purchase tickets for the self-guided tour.

The Palm Springs Style Door Tour

A few years back Palm Springs Style collaborated with Dunn Edwards to host a bike tour of famous Palm Springs doors and it has become an event that can’t be missed. The tour begins at The Saguaro Hotel and riders are provided a map of the route.  Volunteers are available at specific homes to discuss paint color and design.

Photo from @thedarlingniki

The Vintage Trailer Show

The second weekend of Modernism hosted the Vintage Trailer Show offering viewers a glimpse at rare and one of a kind trailers. Many of the trailers being shown have been thoughtfully restored and attendees were able to purchase merchandise from vendors selling trailer inspired items. 

Photo from @modernishmweek

The West Elm House Reveal

For the past few years, West Elm of Palm Springs has partnered with local vacation rental company, Acme House, to design a dream vacation rental. This year’s home is located in the Movie Colony neighborhood and features 3 bedrooms plus a bonus room and a gorgeous double sided fireplace.

The Aqualilies

Another favorite event was the Aqualilies synchronized swimming performances at the 2018 West Elm house. The ladies of Aqualilies put on a beautiful show filled with a mix of dancing and of course, synchronized swimming.

Photo from @acmehouse

Modernism Week will return in October for the annual Fall Preview event.  Be sure to check out their website for tickets and events as the dates get closer!


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Featured image by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Desert X Returns

 


Two years ago, Desert X took the Coachella Valley by surprise with it’s pop up art exhibits scattered across the desert. Trying to find installations randomly placed from Palm Springs to La Quinta, like the “Mirage House” and “Curves and Zig Zags” was much like a scavenger hunt!

Aerial shot of Desert X exhibit in the middle of the desert
Photo from Desert X

The Mirage House, an exhibit from Desert X
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

This February Desert X, a site-specific biennial event and not for profit 501c, returns with artists from across the world creating art based on the unique, blank canvas that is the Coachella Valley. The installations will be scattered between Palm Springs and the Salton Sea from February 9 through April 21st and are free to visit!

Curves and Zig Zags exhibit from Desert X
Photo from Desert X

 

For those of you looking for a more curated and educational experience, a bus tour is available every Saturday and Sunday at either 9am or 2pm. The tours will be lead by a Desert X docent and will include snacks and waters. Tickets for the bus tour is $75 per person.

Young woman posing in from of Mirage House
Photo from @thedarlingniki

Young woman facing the Mirage House exhibit
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

If you are planning to head out on your own to see any of the exhibits be sure to check the Desert X website for maps and directions. As a reminder, viewing these installations requires walking on uneven pavement, and not all are handicap accessible. For more information visit the Desert X website here.


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Featured image by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

5 Unique Things To Do In The Coachella Valley


For those planning a trip to the Coachella Valley this winter, there is no shortage of fun and unique experience waiting for you.

 

Attend the Desert Classic Golf Tournament ????️‍♂️

Each January, for the last 60 years, golf fans gather at PGA West in La Quinta for a long weekend of golf and music. Whether you plan to attend to watch your favorites like Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose or want to listen to the nightly concerts (Sammy Hagar and The Circle play Friday while Bad Co will play Saturday), there is something for the whole family. The Desert Classic runs from January 16 to January 20, and daily tickets start at $30. Get more details here.

Audience overlooking golf course during ongoing tournament
Photo from visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

 

Take a camel ride ????

The Living Desert in Palm Desert is more than just a zoo it actively works towards desert conservation and habitat protection for animals. If you are planning a visit to The Living Desert be sure to add some of their unique offerings to your day’s agenda. Feed the giraffes or brave a ride on a camel that you won’t forget thanks to a souvenir photo! Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Check out more here.

Two children riding on camel at the Living Desert

 

Book a Red Jeep Tour ????

The Coachella Valley is not only an oasis of golf, pools, and spas but also features a unique landscape and history thanks to its Native American roots. Book a Red Jeep Tour and spend 3 hours learning about the history of the Valley, the Native Americans who lived here long before the Valley we know today, and even get an opportunity to go inside the San Andreas fault! Tours run twice per day and are $140 per adult. Book a tour here.

Young blonde woman posing in front of red Jeep
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

Listen to a band at Pappy’s ????

If live music is your jam be sure to check out the events calendar at nearby Pappy & Harriet’s, an old school roadhouse with great food, strong drinks, and plenty of bands already scheduled through the Spring! Whether you are looking for a small, up and coming artist or a big-name talent, Pappy’s never disappoints (Paul McCartney even played a popup show during Desert Trip in 2016)! Check out the upcoming schedule here.

Artist performing at Pappy & Harriet's
Photo from @thedarlingniki

Sign reading "Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace"
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

Shop for Vintage at the Palm Springs Vintage Market ????

The first Sunday of each month (through May) offers desert locals and visitors the chance to shop for vintage furniture, clothing, and accessories at the Palm Springs Vintage Market at the Cultural Center in Palm Springs. Find out more here.

Woman shopping at Palm Springs Vintage Market
Photo from Palm Springs Vintage Market

 


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Cheers to 2019! Where to Celebrate the New Year in the Coachella Valley


It’s that time of year once again. Time to tie a bow on the Holiday season, say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019 with a bang. If you are visiting Aqua Soleil and wondering where to ring in the New Year look no further. We have rounded up a few of the most anticipated celebrations from Palm Springs to Coachella.

Draughtsman

Draughtsman, a local favorite for great beer, gastropub bites, and live music is hosting an all-inclusive celebration to make your evening as carefree as possible. Tickets will include multiple food stations, open bar, live music, a midnight countdown, and champagne toast. Tickets are $110 per person. Check out more here.

Del Rey at Villa Royale

Del Rey at Villa Royale will be hosting an adults-only cocktail club in their newly renovated restaurant. Guests will enjoy an experience bringing together guest bartenders from Palm Springs, San Diego, and Portland. For $75 guests will enjoy three cocktails plus a champagne toast. Learn more here.

New Year, New High

New Year, New High at the Rowan Palm Springs will provide guests the only rooftop NYE celebration in the desert. Guests will dance under the stars to the sounds of The Gand Band and sip champagne at midnight. Tickets are $50. See more here.

Photo from The Rowan

Spa Casino

Each year the Spa Casino hosts the largest free New Years Eve celebration and block party. This year will feature the sounds of Rockin’ 80s, dozens of food trucks, and activities for the whole family (yup, this one is all ages!). The evening will culminate with a midnight fireworks show! More info here.

Photo from Palm Springs Life

Aqua Caliente Resort

Aqua Caliente Resort will also ring in 2019 with the sounds of the 80s and plenty of food and drinks. The complimentary celebration will take place on the casino floor complete with free party favors and a DJ. For $35 you can enjoy the sounds of Pop Vinyl, a seven-piece dance band. Check out more here.


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Your Local Holiday Gift Guide


‘Tis the season of egg nog, carols, twinkling lights, and shopping for the perfect gift. While visiting the Coachella Valley, there are plenty of gift ideas unique to the Valley.

The Body Deli in Palm Desert is a locally owned, raw & natural skin care brand. With two locations (the El Paseo location is an easy stop while picking up other gifts as well) The Body Deli is known for their all-natural scents, lotions, serums, scrubs, and hair care. To bring the feeling of the desert back to family and friends don’t miss the Palm Springs scent (local Medjool dates, fresh grapefruit, blood orange, evening jasmine, and ginger. Check out more on the Body Deli website.

Photo from @alchemehealth

For the art lover in your life a one of a kind piece from desert local, Ryan Campbell, is a must. Ryan uses a minimalist approach and a range of colors with his ongoing series “Line Segments.” See more here

High Desert artist, Mikal Winn, designs stunning jewelry with brass, mesh, and Swarovski crystal perfect for the jewelry lover in your life. A pair of Mikal’s signature earrings or one of a kind cuff will be a favorite for sure. Check out more of Mikal Winn’s work here.

Photo from @thedarlingniki

For more local favorites don’t miss The Shops at 1345 for a collection of clothing, vintage home goods, books, and ceramics. The shop, Thick as Thieves, in Downtown Palm Springs has the cutest collection of candles, jewelry, and home goods perfectly curated for the desert lifestyle.

Pink brick wall reading "The Shops At Thirteen Forty Five"
Photo from @thedarlingniki

Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Header image by The Darling Niki

5 Ways to Get in the Holiday Spirit in the Coachella Valley


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Planning a trip to Aqua Soleil this December and wondering how to get in the Holiday spirit? Look no further as we have rounded up five unique offerings.

 

1. Robolights Palm Springs

Local artist Kenny Irwin has turned his Movie Colony yard into a Holiday wonderland of lights, sculpture, and a bit of quirky magic. Kenny has taken old TVs, trash, and even toilets and created a world of “why not” covered in lights. Parking is available at Ruth Hardy Park, and Robolights is open daily until January 2nd from 4:30 pm – 9 pm. Get more details here.

Robolights Palm Springs
Photo from California Through My Lens

 

2. Ice Skating

Nothing says Holiday magic quite like an afternoon of ice skating at The Desert Ice Castle. Grab your mittens, scarves, and a hot cocoa for after and hit the ice with friends and family. Find out more about the Ice Castle here.

Ice Castle - Cathedral City
Photo from Visit Greater Palm Springs

 

3. Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Purchase your tickets at the Valley station and take the 15-minute ride from the Aqua Soleil up to 8,500 feet of elevation. Once you reach the Mountain Station grab a hot toddy at the bar, take a walk in the brisk mountain air, or if you’re very lucky, enjoy some fresh snow. During peak winter weather the Adventure Center offers cross-country skiing and snowshoe rentals. Learn more about the Palm Springs Tram here.

 

4. Wildlights at The Living Desert

The Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with millions of lights, camel rides, nightly entertainment, and of course the G Scale model train decked out for Christmas. Get more info about Wildlights here.

Living Desert - Wildlights
Photo from the Living Desert

 

5. Sip a Hot Toddy

There is nothing that says Holiday cheer quite like a “CHEERS” with a warm, boozy cocktail. Check out the Mezcal Hot Toddy at Palm Springs favorite Birba for a unique take on the typically whiskey-based cocktail. (http://www.birbaps.com/new/birba-home.html)

Hot toddy
Photo from F10 Creative

 

 


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Header image by We Like LA

 

Live Music Not to Miss This November in the Desert


The Coachella Valley is known for many things: it’s 300+ days of sunshine, natural mineral springs, golfing, and vintage shopping, just to name a few. The Valley is also home to plenty of amazing live music year round. If you are heading to Aqua Soleil this month and looking for some great live music, keep reading!

 

Johnny Mathis at Aqua Caliente Casino

Johnny Mathis is celebrating more than 60 years in the music industry, and this month he will return to the desert for a show highlighting his hits like “Misty,” “Chances Are,” and “It’s Not For Me To Say.” Tickets start at $90. More details here.

Johnny Mathis
Photo from Hot Water Casino

 

Easton Corbin at Spotlight 29 Casino

If you are a country music fan, grab your tickets to see Easton Corbin! Easton has had numerous hits including “Baby Be My Lovesong,” “A Girl Like You,” and “A Little More Country Than That.” The show is sure to be a boot-scootin’ good time! Tickets start at $40. More details here.

Easton Corbin
Photo from Spotlight 29 Casino

 

Paula Abdul at Fantasy Springs Casino

If you have been secretly wanting to relive the 80s, then grab tickets to see the queen of 80s pop sing her hits including “Straight Up,” “Cold Hearted,” and “Rush Rush.” Tickets start at $39. More details here.

Paula Abdul
Photo from Fantasy Springs Casino

 

Live Shows at Pappy & Harriet’s

Photo from @thedarlingniki

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, which is located less than 30 minutes from Aqua Soleil, features live music nearly every night. With a mix of free and ticketed shows and artists ranging from big name (Paul McCartney once played a secret pop up show) to up and coming (Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah have both been known to play). Check out their calendar for who is coming up this month. More details here.

 


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Header image by Pappy and Harriet’s

 

Shopping Local in the Coachella Valley


One of my favorite things to do while exploring a new place is to stroll around and find charming, local shops. The Coachella Valley has no shortage of unique locally owned shops to spend your day browsing.

 

Thick as Thieves

A husband and wife duo moved from the Midwest to sunny Palm Springs in early 2017 and opened their brick and mortar shop in Downtown Palm Springs. Thick as Thieves is an eclectic mix of home goods, gifts, clothing and accessories that are part desert chic, part industrial, and just a little vintage. If you are hunting for a unique treasure to remember your time in the desert this spot may be just for you.

Corner of Thick and Thieves displaying a bookshelf of various items for sale
Photo from @thedarlingniki

The fireplace display in Thick as Thieves complete with cacti and a bovine scull
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

Candice Held

With two locations in the desert (El Paseo in Palm Desert and The Shops at 1345 in Palm Springs) designer Candice Held is serving up timeless elegance with her custom printed scarves and scarf dresses. Be sure to browse her stunning collection of vintage sunglasses.

A pink painted brick wall with "The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five"
Photo from @heymamaco

 

Palm Springs Style Shop

This recent addition to The Shops at 1345, The Palm Springs Style Shop, is a gift and home shop inspired by Palm Springs! Chic glassware, cute cards, and charming gifts await!

Display at the Palm Springs Style Shop with candles and a felt board
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

Elizabeth and Prince

If cool desert fashion and beautiful leather footwear are what you are craving, then look no further than the local boutique, Elizabeth and Prince. The owners (residents of La Quinta) curate men’s and women’s brands that are lesser known, made from beautiful fabrics, and ideal for our desert lifestyle. Visit the store in La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs.

Interior pf Elizabeth & Price displaying a dress, a cactus, and handbags in from of a gallery wall
Photo from @thedarlingniki

A pair of Golden Goose Deluxe Brand shoes onto of a stack of books
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

 


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Header image by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

 

5 Modernism Fall Preview Events You Can’t Miss


Every October Palm Springs throws open it’s colorful doors and hosts thousands of modernists flocking to the desert for nearly a week of events. While the Fall Preview is a smaller event than it’s February counterpart there are still dozens of tours, shows, and of course parties to enjoy. If you are heading to the desert for this year’s Fall Preview here are five events not to miss:
 

1. The Architectural Bike Tour

Every year Hot Purple Energy hosts a morning bike ride/tour through a few of the most notable Palm Springs neighborhoods. The tour takes place on October 20 at 10am and is a FREE ticketed event. If this is your first time experiencing Palm Springs, this ride is a great way to see many of the architecturally significant homes in town while getting in a bit of a workout!

Young blonde woman smiling on teal bicycle
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

2. Hidden Paradise Showbiz Legends in the Mesa

This neighborhood tour takes you into the celebrity enclave known as “The Mesa” in South Palm Springs. This one time home to stars like Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, and Sonny & Cher is now home to Suzanne Somers, Barry Manilow, and fashion designer Trina Turk. Tickets are $35, and the tour lasts about 2.5 hours.

Blonde woman in black, sleeveless jumpsuit with black high heels in mid-century mid-century modern styled living room
Photo from @thedarlingniki

Blonde woman in black, sleeveless jumpsuit laughing and sitting at swimming pool's edge
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

3. La Vie en Rose Cocktail Party

A stunning Alexander home in Vista Las Palmas plays host to a swanky sunset soiree complete with cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres. Tickets are required, and this event is 21 and over.

An evening backyard party in Palm Springs. Formerly dressed guests standing around pool
Photo from modernismweek.com

 

4. Shag’s Fall Preview Print Release Party with Martini Kings

Shag (a local artist) always hosts such a fabulous event, and this one should not be missed! This free event will take place at Shag’s Uptown Gallery with live music and cocktails to enjoy.

 

5. Laid Back & Leisure with a Modern Twist

The “Pretty in Pink” home in the Indian Canyons neighborhood plays host to this casual cocktail party/fundraiser for local non-profit, Volunteer Palm Springs. Don’t forget to dress in your best colorful, laid back Island attire to keep the theme.

Young blonde woman walking along side swimming pool wearing a pink caftan
Photo from @thedarlingniki

Backyard Palm Spring party with guests standing and lounging around pool
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 
For tickets and information, please visit the Modernism Week website.

 


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Header image by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

 

10 Unique Spots to Enjoy Dinner in the Coachella Valley


The Coachella Valley is quickly becoming a foodie’s paradise with unique dining experiences popping up from Palm Springs to La Quinta.

Palm Springs

Alicante – A great spot for tapas in Downtown Palm Springs. This spot has hit the small plates nail on the head with their diverse offering and killer happy hour. Try the Fried Egg Mushroom Bruschetta with Truffles and a glass of wine on the patio.

 

King’s Highway – A south Palm Springs neighborhood favorite. This former diner features a creative menu, tasty libations, and Game Night every Monday. Try the Ricotta Flatbread with Honey and Cherries and local Date Shakes.

Dining room at the Ace Hotel's King's Highway in Palm Springs, CA
Photo from @kingshighwaydiner

 

Rooster & The Pig – This spot is hands down my favorite. The Vietnamese restaurant is located in a strip mall on Indian Canyon and is only open 4 hours a day. They do not take reservations so pack your patience, but I promise you it is worth the wait. My go to order: Panko Crusted Coconut Curry Chicken Rice Ball, an assortment of Spring Rolls, and any of the seafood options.

Lovely flat lay of Vietnamese food, spring rolls and egg rolls on a plywood table top
Photo from @thedarlingniki

Blonde women sitting at a table in a Vietnamese restaurant smiling and holding glass of white wine
Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

Birba – This hidden gem has been a Palm Springs favorite for years and with great reason! Birba (which means ‘rascal’ in Italian) offers farm to table pizza, pasta, and Italian inspired dishes under the stars and tucked behind a large ficus wall. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended, but there is limited seating at the bar and firepits.

Photo from @birbaps

Photo from @birbaps

 

Mr. Lyon’s – Think about your favorite old-school steakhouse and then imagine it has been redesigned with chic decor and a classic menu, that is Mr. Lyon’s. Sit at the bar or in the dining room and enjoy beautiful steaks, baked potatoes, innovative sides, and classic cocktails. Pro Tip: Sunday Night is Prime Rib Dinner complete with tableside carving for $30!

 

Workshop Kitchen & Bar – The space alone makes this spot one to see but don’t worry, the food is equally as impressive as the design. Start your meal with a Palm Springer cocktail and don’t forget the Duck Fat Fries.

Photo from @workshopkitchenbar

 

La Quinta

The Cliffhouse – The setting alone is worth the drive to La Quinta! The Cliffhouse is just that, a restaurant built into the cliffside between Indian Wells and La Quinta. Happy Hour at the bar is always a happening spot, and for a romantic dinner, there is no better spot!

Photo from @laquintacliffhouse

Photo from @laquintacliffhouse

 

Palm Desert

Il Corso – Traditional Italian fare meets modern design at this El Paseo favorite. The wine list is beautiful, and the gnocchi is pure bliss!

 

Armando’s – If lively Mexican food is what you’re craving then Armando’s is a must! The Calamari Tacos are a personal favorite, and the guacamole has to be my favorite in the desert. If you are looking for a libation to sip, try a Cadillac Margarita or Fresh Banana Daiquiri…but have an Uber on standby!

Photo from @thedarlingniki

 

Mt. San Jacinto

Peak’s – We can’t talk about unique dining and not include Peak’s located at the top of the Palm Springs Tram. Take the tram up to 8500 feet and enjoy Filet Mignon, fresh seafood, and a drink with panoramic views of the Coachella Valley.

 


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki

Header image by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki