Tuesday, December 29, 2009


By late afternoon, we were back on I-10 West, and headed for home (actually after we made one more important stop at the Desert Hills/Cabazon Outlet Malls, in Cabazon, CA).

For miles we passed through the somewhat eerie looking electricity generating windmills, on our way to the Fields Road Exit for the outlet malls (a 20 minute drive East of Palm Springs).

Left: Desert Hills Outlet Mall
Right: Cabazon Outlet Mall


As we neared our destination, I made a mental list the things that I hoped I would find, and Caroline (MC) was verbally mapping out her shopping list, by category and by store.

The two malls are built side by side, and most people just call them the Cabazon Outlets. This place is huge, so we were ready for some serious shopping! These outlets have a lot of the higher end stores not usually found in Outlet Malls, including Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dior, Dolce & Gabana, Fendi, Ferragamo, Georgio Armani, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, even Judith Leiber Handbags, Loro Piana, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Zegna, and even super watch retailer Tourneau (plus dozens of others that you would expect).


PHOTOS: Not everything was a "deal". Pictured here are a couple of models that they may have trouble selling at any price!
Left: Gucci
Right: Dolce & Gabana


I found it interesting that the announcements over the malls PA system were made in English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese. For a moment I felt like I was in a European mall, where hearing multiple languages is the norm, instead of in an American outlet out in the middle of the desert.

Also, you will be happy to know that the Cabazon Outlets have plenty of "Public Restrooms" for their customers.

Five hours after arriving at the mall, we were still there. We were famished, and the mall was closing. We asked the sales associate who was ringing up our final purchase (a Juicy Couture sweat suit for one of the grandmothers!) at the Juicy Couture Store if there was a nearby restaurant, to which she answered, "Yes, right next door, Ruby's".

I kind of laughed, thinking I heard her say "Boobies". I thought I'd better check, so I asked her, "Did you say Boobies?"

Well the whole counter of check-out gal's started laughing. I think they were all punchy by that time of night, then the customers joined in the laughter too!

She had of course said "Ruby's", as in Ruby Tuesday's Diner.

We dragged our multiple shopping bags out to the parking lot and sat them down next to Jetta Jane. Somehow as we shopped, we hadn't given any thought to where our purchases might fit into the already overstuffed car. I'd already decided that we could donate some more of MC's old stuff to the Goodwill so the new stuff would fit in.

Fortunately for MC, we managed to wedge in all of our purchase, sans the shopping bags and shoe boxes, as there was not a smidgen of extra room for such luxury's.

Once seated in our booth at Ruby's, we were promptly greeted by smiling Darleen, our waitress. We quickly assessed the menu, and both ordered the Kobe Beef Burgers, and a big fat order of French Fry's. We were famished, and the Kobe burger was fabulous, really!

I must tell you that Darleen completely understood the concept of giving great customer service, and we tipped her accordingly. And note this: Ruby Tuesday's has "Public Restrooms" for their customers as well!
If you eat at Ruby's, be sure to ask for Darleen!


We arrived home in Santa Barbara at 1:15 A.M. on the fifth day!


Good Night Moon

Monday, December 28, 2009


It was early afternoon on the fourth day, and as we approached the State of California's Agricultural Check Point Station at the California/Arizona Border, we didn't even try to jockey for the shortest line since we couldn't see out of the cars window's due to our overstuffed packing job.
When it was our turn we pulled forward. The officer leaned forward from her safety rail and peered at me, and then looked at our car, packed to the headliner.
"Where did your trip originate," she asked.
"The Royal Palms," I answered.
She looked at me blankly. "The royal what?"
"I mean Tucson," I quickly corrected myself.
She shook her head. "Go on" she said, and motioned us through, still shaking her head.
No matter, we were thrilled to have finally reached California! Next stop: Palm Springs! That city has some of the best consignment shops, whether its furniture, jewelry, clothing or furs, you name it, there's a shop for it.

PHOTO: A vintage Palm Springs sign, c. 1938.


I think the best consignment store for furniture is The Estate Sale Company, located at 4135 Palm Canyon Drive.

But, be forewarned: They have no "public restroom", which we found out after our very long drive from our last stop, which was the gas station/massage parlor out in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Upon our arrival, we asked to use the bathroom so we could shop in comfort, only to be told that they had no "public restroom".

To which I replied, "That's fine, but we're not in public, we're in your private store, here to shop."
To which the snappy attendant at the front desk replied, "Sorry, you can speak to the manager if you'd like".

A few moments later, we heard her mocking us to a fellow employee, which was so incredibly unprofessional.

Resourceful as ever, we left the store for the adjacent Mercedes Benz dealership, who welcomed us to use their facilities.

Now with that being said, other than the employees (and provided that you used the bathroom prior to your arrival), this is a good consignment store, and the largest in the area. There is depth in every imaginable decorating style: Mid-Century; an overdone sort of "Kelly Wearstler look"; high "frou-frou"; the Palm Beach look arrives in Palm Springs look; the "more is better look"; and the "it looked great in our house back East" look.

Sounds horrible, right?

Well, there were those looks, but there was also many a find amongst them, including a George Smith sofa from London, a Cartier estate jewelry piece, a vintage Judith Leiber handbag, vintage Fortuny curtains, some great old chandeliers and sconces, and a lot of other choice pieces.

PHOTOS: The Estate Sale Company
Left: A George Smith Sofa
Center: A collection of Mid-Century Furniture and Art
Right: A mis-labeled Vase stating: "Goose Bump finish"! I thought it look more like Shagreen!


Speaking of estate jewelry, I've purchased from these guys before, and I thought we got an exceptional buy for the piece we bought. The estate jewelery department (actually a pair of glass display cases and a large safe, located in the corner by the front windows) is one of the best I've seen and has an amazing selection of tasty treats!


This consignment store is huge, about 20,000 sq. feet. You can hardly visit this store and not fall in love with something.

But if it's good customer service your after, you'll have a better chance of receiving it at Ruby Tuesday's Diner (see below)!


Next door to The Estate Sale Company is a very good consignment clothing store, RESALE THERAPY, 4109 E. Palm Canyon Drive.

Owned by Caroldean Ross, a second generation Consignment Clothing Store owner, and the former owner of an upscale retail boutique in Palm Desert's chi chi, El Paseo.

This gal has a discerning eye, and we saw rack after rack of high-end clothing, furs, costume jewelry, designer shoes, and a small selection of authentic designer handbags. We saw vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases, a Dior evening gown, vintage Pucci, an Yves Saint Laurent jacket, a Gucci blouse, Chanel and Jimmy Choo shoes, a plethora of St. John Knits (not too surprised about that are you?), a couple of Escada pant suits, several Prada separates, and Etro and Fendi scarves. They even have men's clothing and lots of men's shoes, but not nearly in as good condition as those for woman.

NOTE: The staff was knowledgeable and nice, and they even had a bathroom for their customers!


No, we did not check into another hotel! But, I do have a favorite hotel in Palm Springs, VICEROY Palm Springs (http://www.viceroypalmsprings.com/) , 414 S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs, CA. Tele: 800. 670. 6184.

These stylish digs are the creation of hot LA designer and author, Kelly Wearstler. They describe their look as "Designed in a modern interpretation of the Hollywood Regency Style". I would say that is perfectly accurate.

Originally built as a bungalow hotel in 1933, that was revamped and reborn in 2003. Sixty five rooms, casitas, or villas to choose from, three pools a spa, and an special event center (ballroom).

DO: Take one of the hotel's Townie Bicycles for a spin and tour around the hotels neighborhood which is chock full of mid-century houses, and make your way down to nearby "old town" on Palm Springs Avenue.

DO: Have a massage at the hotel's beautiful Estrella Spa.

DO: Check out the hotel websites link to Viceroy Palm Springs Famous Past Guests. It's a stroll down memory lane!

GOOD TO KNOW: It's a pet friendly hotel (less than forty pounds). Check out their website to see the services offered to pet owners for your pooch or pussy!

DON'T: Forget to book a villa, much better than the hotel rooms, which are more akin to a two story motel than a hotel.


Next stop, The Desert Hills/Cabanzon Outlet Malls, where two outlet malls sit immediately next door to one another, and are located just twenty miles West of Palm Springs.

Until tomorrow...

Good Night Moon

Friday, December 25, 2009


Woo...who! Yippee Ki yea! It was finally homeward bound for us.

First stop, Scottsdale!

I know, I know, Scottsdale is only 110 miles from Tucson (but that's two hours and thirty minutes in the overloaded Jetta Jane). We deserved a break, so it was off to our favorite hotel.

Our favorite hotel?
The Royal Palms Hotel (http://www.royalpalmshotel.com/). The setting is incredible; from the palm lined entrance to the Camelback Mountain backdrop, everywhere you look is a visual feast. Driving up to the hotel looks like an oasis in the desert. Granted our car with sheets and towels stuffed into the back window, looked more like the Clampet's truck pulling up to their new Beverly Hills mansion, sans Granny in a rocking chair on the trunk.

Left: The fresco ceiling of the exterior Vestibule to the Hotels Guest Reception Hall.
Right: A pair of upholstered Knole Loveseats greet you on arrival.

Left: The carved stone fireplace and beamed and fresco ceiling in the Guest Reception Hall.
Right: A tile window surround with Pediment in the Guest Reception Hall


Left: Venetian Plaster walls in the Guest Reception Hall.
Right: Fresco ceiling detail.

I loved the look on the Valet's face as we pulled up in the front of the hotel. He had a puzzled but pleasant look on his face. So, when I stepped out of the car, he politely asked if we were checking in, attempting to hide the concern in his face.
I said, "Yes, we have a reservation"

"Oh", he said, trying to act like he wasn't surprised, "Have you stayed with us before, uh, Mr., uh..."
"Yes, we have. It's Thompson. Steve Thompson"
"Of course sir!" he said, snapping to attention. "Which bags would you like?" He asked somewhat hesitantly.
"Uh...all of them!" I replied with sincerity.

He stood there, blankly, not knowing what to think, when MC said, "Oh, Dad!"
Her tone, more than her words blew my little fun. Thanks a lot MC!
We checked in and learned that they had upgraded us to a suite. Very Nice!
History: The hotel, was originally built in the 1920's as desert home for Delos Cooke (nephew of J.P. Morgan) and his wife, who commissioned the building of a grand Spanish colonial style mansion on 65 acres. Today a stunning collection of antique furniture, fresco ceilings, huge stone fireplaces remain, and views of the spectacular gardens awaits the weary traveler, like us!

It's pricey, but there is something for everyone: Free standing Casitas, private Villas, or a simple (well they're not exactly simple) Guestrooms. How pricey? Here's how to contact them:

The Royal Palms Resort and Spa
5200 E. Camelback Road
602.840. 36.10

Great to know: The Royal Palms is pet friendly, up to 30 pounds.

Don't miss: Dinner at the four star T. Cooks Restaurant, winner of the Wine Spectator, Award for Excellence, 2000-2009.

PHOTOS: T.Cookes Restaurant
Left: Private Dining Room with carved stone fireplace and beamed ceilings
Right: The main Dining Room opens to an outdoor Dining Terrace and fireplace.

The hotel was probably a bit of a luxury, since we hadn't arrived until after 10:30 P.M., but the bed is worth the price of admission, and the service is five star. We needed a little pampering by this point, so I sprung for it.
We ordered room service, and passed out without setting up a wake up call.

PHOTOS: Details, passageways, and fountains abound on the hotel property.


PHOTOS: The outdoor Ballroom/Pavilion is one of my favorite things about the Royal Palms. The water of the fountain abuts the edge of the Pavilion. Guests are separated from the water by a single heavy chain draped across a beautiful arched opening. The room has high beamed ceilings with wonderful wrought iron chandeliers, a carved stone fireplace and old stone floors. Incredible!

Somehow, we rose early the next morning, showered and were on the road by 9:00 A.M.
Now on Day 4 of this adventure, it was California here we come!

PHOTO: We saw miles of this beautiful Arizona scenery


PHOTO: And we even saw this sign on the door of the gas station when we were getting gas, literally out in the middle of nowhere!


But we were the happiest when we finally saw this!

Day 4 continued until tomorrow!
Good Night Moon

Thursday, December 24, 2009



It was Day 3, and we we're really almost done with the move! Hooray!

The next morning we slept in til 9:00 A.M., on purpose this time, nor did we have an annoying wake up call!

We took our time at our favorite breakfast buffet, in the poolside dining room (included in the room price in the summer months but not in high season, which of course is now!).

Afterwards, we drove through the U of A campus a little more leisurely, as the pressure was off. The campus is not particularly attractive, but the campus MALL is beautiful, as is OLD MAIN, a wonderful restored historic building.

When we walked into MC's room at the Niner house, the pressure resurfaced. We were faced with piles of clothes to try and fit into Jetta Jane, which was quite simply an impossible task.

I convinced her that we could not take all of it with us, and more importantly, that there is no way she can accommodate even a fraction of these many clothes in her New York apartment.

She was willing, so we divided them up into four piles: One pile to go to Goodwill; another for Buffalo Exchange, her favorite resale shop (2001 E. Speedway, Tucson, 520.795.0508); one to Fed Ex; and a pile for the things that would fit into Jetta Jane!

Once that was done, we started making the first of several trips to Fed Ex, where we ended up shipping a total of fourteen boxes and/or suitcases, all filled to the brim; I pulled up to Buffalo Exchange twice, and Goodwill once.

While MC worked on loading Jetta Jane, I worked on pulling up the new carpet (the new carpet had been laid over the existing carpet); I then removed her curtains and rods, and reinstalled the original vertical plastic blinds, which drove me crazy; Lastly I reinstalled the built in desk, which we had taken down to create a charming niche for her dresser.

We made it back to the Arizona Inn around 8:00 P.M., just in time to shower, dress and meet her friends in the hotel's Audubon Bar, and later dinner in the main Dining room. It was just me and the girls, but I had a good time. I was so impressed with just how sophisticated, smart and well mannered her friends were. These girls have been really good friends to MC, and I'm so glad she had met them.

After dinner we retired to the hotel Library to finish our coffees, where they took some pictures in front of the Christmas Tree. I soon excused myself, and left MC to say her goodbye's.

Off to bed to rest for tomorrow's drive back to California, and of course with a few stops along the way. First stop Scottsdale, where we luxuriated/slept in the Royal Palms Hotel.

Tune in tomorrow for: Day 4: Adventures in Moving a (my) College Student!

Good Night Moon