Joshua Tree in Four Days

I had no business planning a trip this past October. Travel was kind of frowned upon, and I was kind of scared actually. Deep down in the pits of my soul, I knew I had to put myself in a new environment. Work was intense (but was lucky to have a job) and home – work – home – work was not good for my creative and mental state.

We had an accommodation credit in Joshua Tree (we had to cancel a massive West Coast road trip that we had planned in the summer) and we were not sure we could fit this trip in next year. We additionally used flight credit to get us there (yep, from the cancelled summer trip and the Spring trip we cancelled to Mexico – damn you Covid 19).

Joshua Tree has been calling me for years, though I am not sure why. I learned when people asked me where I was going, that JT was not as well known as I thought it was. It is an American national park in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, near Palm Springs. It is named for the Joshua trees native to the Mojave Desert. We opted to fly into Las Vegas, and rented a car. I love Vegas, I have some very good friends there so it made sense for us to take this route. We planned a 6 day trip (2 days travel) – and yes, that was such a short time for the length of travel, but like I said my soul was speaking to me loud and clear!!

My go to website and app is Roadtrippers. Their site is super user friendly. You type where you start and end your trip, and it shows not only the route but everything in-between like attractions, where to eat, nature spots, accommodation and more.

First stop was Seven Magic Mountains – absolutely worth stopping by. This artwork has been said to be taken down some time in 2021 – so get your asses there before it goes.

Renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s colorful large-scale, public artwork Seven Magic Mountains is an exhibition located in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring seven, 30 to 35-feet high day glow totems comprised of painted, locally-sourced boulders. Visible across the desert landscape along Interstate 15, Seven Magic Mountains offers a creative critique of the simulacra of destinations like Las Vegas. According to Rondinone, the location is physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Along the way

We definitely took a couple of wrong turns, lol. We were in no rush other than to get to Cholla Cactus Garden by sunset – that was a must for me. With a couple of stops to stretch our legs we stumble across this interesting collection of blown out shoes at Shoe Fence, Rice. Rice is a little ghost town on Route 62, south tip of The Mojave Desert.

Cholla Cactus Garden

You can find the Cholla Cactus Garden on the Pinto Basin Road. This area is dominated by the famous jumping Cholla Cactus, also known as the Teddy Bear Cholla. There is a nice ¼ mile loop hike through the middle of this beautiful cactus garden and they really seem to light up around sunset. Just a word of caution, avoid sandals and stay on the trail. Do not attempt to touch or rub up against them! They easily attach to you and are very unpleasant to remove – yes, I walked backwards into one and Eddie had to pull the spikes out of my butt cheeks lol. Why was I walking backwards off the trail you ask? Because I wanted to get “THE” photo! Lucky I wasn’t on the edge of the cliff!! We arrived about an hour before sunset, and boy were we in for a treat. It was beautiful, the reds in the sky was deep and intense. Once the sun set, the full moon rose above the hill and bats flew above us. This was Halloween night, it was perfect.

Our Accommodation

We stayed at a converted water tower. I think because of it being Halloween, all the campsites were full at the parks. Again, we had the credit so we used it. It was interesting. We slept well, but the space in the water tower was not so comfortable. The bathroom situation was a little shocking – even for a seasoned backpacker (yes, me). It was in the low 40’s, so it was cold, cold to be outside. But when the shower and the portaloo is outside in the 40’s it was not ideal. The shower temperature was hot and perfect but the shower stall had only 3 walls, what happened to the door? I don’t know why there wasn’t one, I had Eddie be my body guard. Then once you dried up you had to walk on the sand back, there was no walk way. I don’t know, it was expensive to stay and I’m not sure I’d be back there but overall – the Tower was immaculate, cool interior design and had a fun rooftop. With that said and my complaint out of the way; we had a lovely night by the fire pit (you can see in the photo inserted) eating Chinese, drinking red wine and listening to the neighbors playing Talking Heads. It was literally perfect.

The Hikes

We chose a few of the mini hikes for the few days we were there. Arch Rock, Cap Rock, Skull Rock, 49 Palms and Split Rock. I can’t even begin to describe this area – ok, a lot of rocks but gigantic rocks. Big gigantic rocks that some how have another massive rock on top as if someone put a cherry on top to decorate it. This area took my breath away – this is where my soul started singing. I didn’t want to leave.

Cool StuffCrochet Museum and Art Queen Complex

Just a short walk from the Joshua Tree Visitor Center you have little to no excuse not to visit the World Famous Crochet Museum. Take some time browsing the strange, adorable, and extensive collection of crochet creatures, along with the Art Queen Installations and Art and Clothing Gallery located at 61855 Highway 62 in Joshua Tree, California.

On the way home

I love an interesting road trip and the the drive back on Route 66 back to Vegas did not disappoint. There were ghost towns, an inactive volcano with lava matter all over and my favorite – the Mojave Desert. I love the beach and the mountains but the Desert has my heart. I will be back dear desert.

This maybe my favorite photo of the trip – I don’t know though there were many for me : )

See you soon,

A

Did someone say Bacon?

Okay so I know what you’re thinking, and your right I usually don’t blog about food well I have never blogged about food. But after learning that today is National Bacon Day I had to share my candied bacon recipe with you. This candied bacon is sure to be a hit on game night, movie night, or if you’re enjoying an ice cold beer or Martini at home!

What you’ll need:

1 pkg. of extra thick cut peppered bacon
1/4 cup of brown sugar 
3 tbsp. of maple syrup 
You will need a wired rack and a baking sheet. Please trust me and use foil to line the backing sheet . This makes cleanup much easier .  
Mix brown sugar and maple syrup together. Place bacon on the wired rack and coat the bacon with the brown sugar mixture. Cool at 425• for about 8 min ten flip the bacon over and repeat the process, place bacon back into oven for 10-12 min or until crisp. Remove bacon from the wire rack and allow to cool ! Bacon should be delicious and crisp! 

HAPPY NATIONAL BACON DAY BABES!!

29 -Dia de Ñoquis.

La costumbre Argentina se remonta al siglo VIII en la región del nordeste de Italia de Veneto. Según cuenta la leyenda, cuando el joven y mártir San Pantaleón pasaba sus días predicando y curando enfermos en esa localidad, todo vestido con andrajos, un dia 29 tocó a la puerta de una familia de pescadores que lo invitó a comer y le pusieron en la mesa un plato de ñoquis. Como forma de agradecimiento en ese acto de amabilidad, en un año muy bueno para la pesca, el santo les pronosticó una notable mejoría en la actividad en los próximos meses. Cuentan además que cuando el joven se fue, la familia encontró debajo del plato vacío monedas de oro, con las que inauguraron esa temporada de prosperidad, por las que la familia de la región, adoptaron esta fecha para degustar esta pasta.

Los ñoquis suelen ser uno de los platos tradicionales de la Argentina, tradicionalmente los días 29 pero los domingos también suelen juntarse en familia a la hora del almuerzo y la nona suele hacer ñoquis

La tradición de poner dinero debajo del plato, como símbolo de buenos deseos, simboliza el deseo de nuevas dádivas. Es costumbre dejar un billete o moneda debajo del plato para poder atraer de esta forma suerte y prosperidad al comensal.

La tradición llega a la Argentina específicamente al río de la plata, durante la oleada de la migración italiana a américa en el siglo XIX y que hasta hoy se mantiene vigente, mes con mes , en toda la Argentina..

RECETA ÑOQUIS.

1kg de papas

800 gr de harina 0000

queso rallado parmesano a gusto

3 cucharadas de aceite

1 huevo

sal y pimienta a gusto

PREPARACION DE LA MASA.

  1. Poner a hervir las papas y hacer el pure
  2. Una vez listo el pure dejar a enfriar, poner las 3 cucharadas, condimentar cn sal y pimienta a gusto
  3. Agregar el huevo y el queso rallado y mezclar un poco
  4. Hacer un hueco al medio del pure y agregar 700gr de harina aproximadamente
  5. Luego unir (no amasar) solo unir, y despues hacer tiritas, cortarlas y dar forma con ñoquera o tenedor
  6. Los restantes 100gr de harina es para terminar de unir la masa y para espolvorear los ñoquis terminados y que no se peguen

Que vivan los ñoquis! 🙂 Gisella.

Santa Would Love One

Not sure how I obtained a subscription to Southern Living Magazine, I have been getting it in the mail at least for the last 6 months. I have to say, I have enjoyed flicking though, turning the glossy pages, reading the good articles BUT best of all – the fabulous recipes!

I stumbled on this recipe in the November issue, initially as a sauce to go with Thanksgiving dinner. As soon as I tasted it I knew I was going to not eat it – I was going to drink it!!

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to copy and share their recipe (I’ll wait to see if they tell me to take it down) so write it down while you can!! I made a batch of this to make my cocktail of the month.

Spicy Citrus-Cranberry Relish

  • 4 cups frozen cranberries ( I used fresh)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 jalapeno (it says to take out seeds, I keep them – I like the heat)
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest

Process all ingredients in a food processor until mixture is chopped and sugar has devolved, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator for up to a week.

Now for the cocktail recipe……..

Santa’s Helper

In a tall glass: Half fill with ice, add 2 tablespoons of the cranberry relish, fill the rest of the glass with ice

In a shaker:

Shake, pour over ice and top with Club Soda. Garnish with a lime wheel. Serve with a stirring stick or straw. Yummo.

Drink responsibly : )

Holiday gift guide – support local!

This year has been quite a rollercoaster. But, I always like to say there’s a positive side to every challenge life throws your way. A couple of years ago Alessa, Ana, and Gisella had an idea to do something together as they were enjoying a pleasent afternoon at a cafe. This idea took some time to materialize since they were all busy with work and everyday life. Later they met Tasha who also loved the idea and joined the team. I was the last to be added to the group, not sure if it was hearing about the idea for so long or Alessa’s persuasiveness to convince me to be part of it … and here we are!

Let’s start with the BRE Ladies (BRE as in Bondi Road Everyday of course!).

One of the things we wanted to accomplish with this blog is to support other women with their goals, dreams, and businesses. That’s why we love to feature a guest of the month. As the holiday season is fast approaching, I would like to reintroduce these amazing ladies and their holiday gifts for those special people in your life.

Alessa is so creative and a multitasker. We are always telling her that she definitely has way more hours in a day that most of us. So, here are a few things she currently has for sale. DM her at AlessaDel on Instagram for more information.

Make sure to follow Ana’s Hello Petals on Instagram and contact her for all your holiday flowers, and of course for all the special events (right now small, but in hope that soon we will be able to celebrate big events again).

Gisella has been concentrating on the flower’s healing powers, which she recently shared here on the blog, stay tuned for her business coming soon! In the meantime she has prepared this awesome gift for the holidays. Please contact her through DM at Gi Gaudini IG page for more details.

And now our amazing featured guests …

Melissa is almost booked up for the holidays, so make sure you schedule your appointment with her soon at Mely’s Nail Studio. I’m ready with my red hot Christmas nails!

Who doesn’t love cookies for the holidays! Maita has delicious Holiday Chewy Gift Sets on the Cookies by ME website.

Megan is making handmade mini boho macrame and macrame backdrops, wall hangers, plant hangers, dreamcatchers, and many more gifts. Take a look at 9 Lives Designs Shop Section.

Pronoia 11:11 Skincare is offering great kits for the holidays such as The Goddess Vibes, The Fancy Fanny, and Secret Santa. Check out Pronoia’s webpage for these and other holiday gift ideas.

And don’t forget to get Gold Milk from Ayurvita and skin care from Vilot for you and your friends, so we can all start the new year beautiful and healthy!

I want to thank all the ladies that have participated in the blog this year. Stay tuned for even more great articles and guest in 2021. Wishing everyone a beautiful holiday season. And don’t forget to support your local shops and restaurants.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! … xoxo Elisa

Out and About – Downtown Doral

For the past couple of years, the City of Doral has really invested in bringing more hospitality businesses to the area. Downtown Doral has played a big role in making this a reality, as it describes itself as a “vibrant community of culture and commerce; where you can live, work, play, and learn”.

Welcome to Main Street – This year Main Street has been transformed into a pedestrian-only paradise, where people can dine at the different restaurants and enjoy activities, such as live music and exercise classes, all al fresco.

Art – There is plenty of art displayed around Main Street, including the Bubble by multidimensional artist Haiiileen. Also look all around for the murals painted on the walls and on the multiple containers, and the Ground Art by Chalk & Brush.

Music – Live music can be enjoyed at the Main Street Stage from Thursdays through Sundays (show times vary depending on the day). Local musicians such as Xperimento, Yoli Mayor, Leslie Cartaya, Raquel Sofia, Cortadito, and Andre Carvajal have performed at Downtown Doral. Just announced for NYE, GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY nominated Best Latin Band in Miami, Locos Por Juana will be performing. Love them! All live music is brought to you courtesy of The Doral Yard; be sure to check their website, Instagram, or Facebook page for more info! … And don’t forget to stop by the bar inside The Doral Yard for a few cocktails before, during, and after the music (just as our friend Tasha did recently).

Speaking of The Doral Yard … it’s a community gathering spot that much like the beloved The Wynwood Yard brings food, drink, live music, community, and buenas vibras to it’s new hub in Downtown Doral. At the moment they have limited seating indoors and plenty of tables outside under the tent and on the sidewalk to enjoy great drinks from the Bar at the Yard, and delicious food from Della Bowls, Un Pollo by Chef Lisseth Campos, Yip Dim Sum, Santo Dulce Churros, and Morelia Gourmet Paletas. They have happy hour Tuesdays to Fridays from 4pm to 7pm; as well other events such as Margaritas & Me on Wednesdays and Veza Sur Sundays. Stay tuned for the upcoming The Backyard, which will bring more vendors, another bar, a stage for live music, and the much anticipated Barbakoa Restaurant and Bar by Chef Eileen Andrade. (And of course you will read all about the opening of The Backyard next year here on the blog!).

Life is Definitely Sweet – One of my favorite places in Miami has recently also opened a location in Downtown Doral … and this is no other than Bachour Doral, from acclaimed Chef Antonio Bachour as executive chef, and Chef Clark Bowen as chef de cuisine (I’ve know Clark for years, he’s like a brother to me. He has worked in a couple of great Miami restaurants, including as an executive chef for Chef Daniel Boulud. So, I’m super happy to see him at Bachour now). Bachour is very well known for it’s excellent desserts, but make sure to check out their savory menu for extended happy hour from 5pm to 9pm on Fridays and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 4pm. Their brunch is amazing! I feel I need to go every weekend since I really want to try the whole menu, LOL!

While walking around Downtown Doral, don’t miss all the holiday decorations, including three Christmas trees. Also happening this month is the much-anticipated George Balanchine’s Nutcracker in the Park by Miami City Ballet from December 18th to the 31st and Gaitas at The Yard on December 23rd. And last but certainly not least, Bunnie Cakes just moved to Doral, OMG! Who doesn’t love Bunnie Cakes. If you haven’t tried their delicious vegan cupcakes, you must! Hint hint … remember to say ‘Doral goes Vegan’ at the register to get a little discount for purchases of $35 or more.

I can’t wait to see what else will be opening on Main Street in 2021. Who’s with me?!?! 😉

xoxo Elisa

The Brownie and the Ice Cream

To celebrate National Brownie Day I hit the endless pages of Pinterest to find this recipe from bakerbynature.com . The title reads ‘The Best Cocoa Fudge Brownies’, and is it really ‘The Best’?? OH YES IT IS MY FRIENDS!! Head over to her page to get the recipe. She describes them as:

  • shiny, crispy, and crackly on top
  • rich and fudgy in the middle
  • loaded with gooey chocolate chips
  • made with affordable everyday ingredients
  • completely from scratch
  • sure to become your new favorite brownie recipe
  • always a crowd-pleaser!!!

She is not wrong! I love brownies with ice cream. I love my ice cream with cookies, coffee, cake, on its own, the list is endless- clearly I like ice cream with everything : ) Although the brownie recipe is gearing to basic ingredients that is affordable, I totally went opposite with my ice cream and headed over to my favorite adults only boozy ice cream shop Aubi & Ramsa in the Design District, Miami. I selected The Scotch and Decadence, it is a rich chocolate ice cream made with The Dalmore 12yrs with chocolate and pecan, topped with dulce de leche swirl. They have so many boozy ice creams and sorbets to choose from, just don’t go with anyone under 21!

This paired combination of the warm brownie and the cold ice cream just blew my taste buds to the moon and back – be prepared : )

A

Have you Heard of the Fanny Facial?

Have you ever noticed any breakouts on your bum? Have you experienced irritation, chafing or ingrown hairs. What about plans of wearing a new bikini to the beach only to realize that your bottom has a few pimples and blemishes. Well, recently Alessa and I visited this cute intimate spa that offered a somewhat different list of services.

Pronoia 11:11 is the name of the spa. The name itself was interesting to me, I looked it up and loved what I learned. It means that the universe is working in your favor. While 11:11 are angel numbers meaning whatever your actions, feelings or thoughts are to become manifested. All of that sounds good to me! Alessa and I were searching for spa services that could help with our concerns. Then we thought, if this is our concern how many others are having the same issues. So that’s when we decided to book treatments at the Pronoia 11:11 Spa. There were so many unique services offered and amongst them was the fanny facial. OMG! The universe has answered our prayers.

The Fanny Facial is just like your traditional facial only it’s not for your face. It is designed to treat ingrown hairs, heat bumps and breakouts on your booty. During the service you will receive a cleansing, steam, exfoliation, extractions and a soothing mask. This service is definitely going to combat any blemishes or breakout concerns. And on top of all of that it feels good! After receiving this unique service you will definitely be beach bum ready!

Amongst the many unique services such as the Vajacial and the intimate area skin lightening treatment, the Under Arm Detox is another service that I’d like to try. Clara the owner, explained that most antiperspirants have chemicals that are harmful for our lymph nodes preventing the natural detoxing process and clogging the pores which can lead to other pressing issues. It is suggested for anyone who is thinking of switching over to a natural deodorant to consider having the Under Arm Detox. After receiving the Fanny Facial or any service it’s recommended that you maintain your results with home care. Just like with any other facial service the esthetician will have a home care regimen ready for you. At Pronoia 11:11 most of the take home products are compised of natural ingredients. So before you head out for your next beach day or bottoms up poolside please go and see Clara at Pronoia 11:11. She has over 10 years in the esthetic industry and loves to share her knowledge of skincare with her guests.

Recently Pronoia 11:11 has added facial services performed by Muffin. All of the services provided by the lovely duo are delightful and fabulous at the same time.

It’s the holiday season but here in Florida, we have plenty of warm weather and sunshine. Which means there is no time better than the present to book a service at Pronoia 11:11 using our special discount code: BREP10

When you book a service using our special code you will receive 10% off your first visit!

You’re Welcome ; )

Tasha

Katherine’s Earthy Goodies Ginger Tonic

Direct from Sugar Hill, GA USA – introducing Katherine’s Earthy Goodies Ginger Tonic Immunity Booster. While the name may be quite a mouthful, this tonic is made with all natural ingredients that lives up to it’s locally made label. 
The creator of this tonic is Paula, my sister-in-law. She started out making this for her daughter, Pandorah (age 8) – to combat her seasonal allergies and cold symptoms. Paula is an avid naturalist mom, where she insists on making her own medicines over purchasing store bought-solutions. She has other remedies up her sleeve, but the Ginger Tonic Immunity Booster has been a family favorite for over 2 years. What’s more, to continue with family love, the company label “Katherine’s Earthy Goodies” is named after her beloved sister who recently passed this year in El Salvador. 
“Family is everything,” says Paula, “I enjoy being able to help people – family, neighbors, friends – with what the earth provides us. Especially without the side effects of mass-produced medicines. I really like it!”
The tonic is all natural and takes about 2 hours to prep the ingredients, which are listed on the label: – Honey- Tumeric- Ginger- Lemon- Lime- Cinnamon- Black Pepper
Paula uses local, organic ingredients near her home. It’s a lot of work, and she’s proud of this work. The hardest part is peeling, cutting and smashing the ginger. “[Ginger] is a b*tch… especially when I do the lemon and limes next and their juices seep into my cuts from fighting with the ginger,” says Paula. “This is how you can tell that I love what I do.” 
Katherine’s Earthy Goodies Ginger Tonic Immunity Booster helps boost immunity to seasonal allergies and any cold symptoms. You can enjoy it with tea or eat it directly from the jar with a spoon, and this is my secret ingredient to my cocktails too! Place an order through the company’s instagram and enjoy an extra dose of healthy today! www.instagram.com/katherinesearthygoods. 

Honestly, it is so delicious!