Winter is callinnnngggg. Good thing I live in Cali (and yes, I call it Cali and I’ve called it Cali since the 80s. I’m allowed). For everyone else outside of this great state, people are seeking sunshine elsewhere. With the kids remote learning, mom and dad working from home offices, and the thought of outdoor dining in 30 degree weather, thousands of families have opted for palm trees instead. And what do you need when you have the outdoors? Good outdoor amenities and toys, if you can afford them!
During the pandemic, people have left the cities for more space. With this, has come an increase in sales for farmhouses outside the city, cabins, beach shacks, boats, and trailers. When looking at new rides and ways to live my own best shutin, but not shut outdoorsy life, I came across Moke America. The reinvented throwback cruisers are loved by the celeb lot like Kris Jenner, Joe Jonas, and Katherine McPhee because they have the space and like to enjoy hopping around using fun eco-friendly rides. Plug in your Moke America and you’ll get about 40 miles of fun. I’d call it a pimped out golf cart meets a mini (pared down) Bronco.
Carbon free, steel and fiberglass chassis, four-wheel drivetrain, hydraulic steering, the modern touch of a backup camera, and a kickin’ sound system. The best part for the individual in all of us? Moke America is fully customizable with 11 rainbow bright colors, camo (yes, camo!!) and additional customizations for the bumper, grill, rollbar, rims, seats, and top. It’s good vibes all around so that families can enjoy the little things like taking a short drive around the neighborhood in warm weather to keep the staycation going every day.
Let’s face it. Traveling with kids can be a nightmare. I often need a vacation from the vacation because it’s not like parents can really be “off” when the kids are screaming that they don’t want to go to bed, they’re hungry, or they simply want to play with you 24/7.
Enter The Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park. It’s a favorite of Silicon Valley execs due to it’s close proximity to the major VCs, Stanford, and San Jose. Reflecting a mix of California Ranch and Tuscan architecture, the main lobby rises up from terraced land with large balconies overlooking the gardens, mountains, and pool. The grounds are, quite simply, stunning with a pool largely unmatched by other local properties. They also have poolside food and cocktail service right now so that means… get me to the Rosewood!
My first order of business? Poolside cocktails. Obvi. They make a delicious Aperol Spritz.
Yes, their drinks are delicious, but expect to pay a small fortune for food and drink (anywhere from $22-$28 for a single cocktail). Inspired by San Francisco’s world-renowned cocktail culture, Madera’s menu consists of a mix of classic favorites and innovative concoctions (like a modern take on the Gin and Tonic with Elderflower Liquor) created by cocktail craftsman Oreste Catenacci to emulate the spirit of the Bay Area.
The hotel charges anywhere from $650-$800/night for a standard room, so this isn’t a place you go to save money. It’s a place you go to splurge. However, they do have deals like the one I took advantage of — 3 nights for the price of 2 — with two nights where you get $100 resort credit (to help ease the pain of spending $24 for a cocktail and $25 for a bagel with lox). It worked. On top of the lovely cocktail service and even lovelier staff, they also deliver cocktails to your room. Do you notice a trend with this mom of two young boys?
This little Negroni delivered by room service held enough for two cocktails and was one of the best Negronis I’ve had in years. It’s now my go to summer/early fall beverage. If you’re also like me and your favorite part of staying at a hotel is holing up in the room, they offer luxe Le Labo bath amenities and amenities for kids like this cute miniature robe, backpack, and water bottle.
My friend and I ate dinner in the Madera Lounge one of the last nights there and we enjoyed the warm night and beautiful grounds. The Artichoke with valbreso feta, almond, and naan ($14) was tasty and I also ordered the Farmers’ Market Bowl ($20) with grilled brentwood corn, brokaw avocado, tomato, cotija, cilantro, harissa, and lime vinaigrette. I added salmon, but would skip that part next time as they couldn’t quite get the salmon cooked to my taste. It was far too raw the first (and second) time around when I had to sent it back again. The couple sitting at the table next to us also sent it back for the same reason. That said, the next day when I ordered the Smoked Salmon Tartine ($25) with ricotta, celery, caperberry, and dill it was so good that my friend and I were still thinking about it the next day. My mouth is watering thinking about it now.
All in all, for a quick local escape with a clean stunning pool, delicious drinks, and superb staff, I give it a big thumb’s up. Look for deals where you get a free night or resort credit and you’ll live like a Queen or King for a few days without regretting it.
We’re back by popular demand! After giving birth to a baby and taking a break during the Covid-19 pandemic (let’s face it, no one in their right mind was really traveling), it’s time to pick up where we left off and offer our readers some of the beauty tips and travel secrets we’ve learned during this hiatus (both physical and virtual). One of them comes from our home state of Hawaii and we have to support the aina because… Hawaiian pride. Originally created to combat dry, cracking skin from the use of harsh sanitizing liquids, UA Body’s Botanical Skin Repair was made popular by Covid-19 for the use of moisturizing the hands and the face.
But here’s why your homegirl loves it. The smell! Not too strong, but not unscented, they infuse calendula, comfrey, chickweed, and red clover botanicals into sweet almond oil, then blend avocado and shea butters scented with lavender, thyme, sage, rosemary, and healing essential oils to aid in cellular repair. The result is a light, delicious vacation-esque cream that fortifies the skin with true botanical oils without leaving a greasy residue. Think of this as a cream with the potency of a salve.
Because of its high concentration of botanicals as essential oils, you want to avoid putting it on any open cuts or wounds, but it does works really well to soothe eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, bug bites, skin irritations and rashes, dry or flaky skin and skin that has been ripped bare of its natural oils. So, next time you think you need some thick greasy solution to solve your skin woes, think again. This light cream does the trick and makes me long for the days windsurfing Kanaha.