Category Archives: california

One Day Stay: Palm Springs, California

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This visit to Palm Springs was my third to celebrate my birthday. I’ve enjoyed each visit for different reasons. The first two were more “resort-like” visits and further removed from the action of downtown. This time I was able to feel more a part of things and could practically walk to everything I wanted to do, which I really loved. Here’s my ‘One Day Stay’ of what I did during my brief visit to Palm Springs.

DROP YOUR BAG

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The Viceroy Palm Springs is a 67-room boutique hotel that seems to have been made for Lola. Merging the best of glamorous old-world Palm Springs with modern cool touches, I LOVED the pops of yellow and all the awesome lighting fixtures throughout the property. On site you will find 3 pools, some of which are ‘Adult Only’, free wifi and an incredibly friendly staff. Let me just say these 3 things made my visit perfect. Well that, and the fact that it was warm & sunshiny every day with gorgeous palm trees above, surrounded by the stunning San Jacinto Mountains. Within walking distance of things to do, eat & drink, I cannot imagine a better spot to rest my head.

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Some come to Palm Springs for the nature, some for the golf, and some come to get pampered at the spa. Luckily for me, Estrella Spa, on property at Viceroy Palm Springs, has been voted one of the top 50 spas in the US by Conde Nast so I didn’t have to go far to get treated right. Carrying the cheery color scheme & design of the hotel over to the spa didn’t hurt in lifting spirits. Just look at the waiting lounge above! With a cool indoor/outdoor luxury setting, I was fully able to relax and enjoy a divine custom massage which was a combination of Swedish and Deep Tissue massages. IT. WAS. HEAVEN.

DRINK

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Always in search of the best cocktails around, I was fortunately pointed in the direction of Lulu California Bistro. This hopping establishment is HUGE and has quite a bar scene going down. That, in itself, might be enough for some but, for me, the true test is in the cocktail. I tried a dirty martini & a Negroni, classics and two of my favorites. Lulu didn’t disappoint Lola!

DINE

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Located in the hip Upper Design District of Palm Springs, Workshop Kitchen + Bar has brought industrial chic to the historic El Paseo building, circa 1926. Along with the urban edgy interior comes a fantastic farm to table concept sourced from local farms all within an hour of Palm Springs. Even their cocktails are handcrafted from local ingredients. I was throughly impressed with the knowledgeable staff and their guidance of Workshop’s delicious offerings. This is one place I would definitely choose to repeat.

While I booked my own trip to Palm Springs to celebrate my birthday weekend, Greater Palm Springs  coordinated and treated me to my Estrella Spa massage ($135) as well as drinks and dinner at Lulu California Bistro. Thank you for your help! Palm Springs is always ‘Lola Approved’ for its great weather and hip scene!

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Filed under california, hipster hotels, one day stay, palm springs, travel

Getting Glam + Glitterati in LA

Welcome to Hollywood!

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How else do you do a weekend in LA? I mean it IS the capital of celebs. The home of beautiful people. When I think of LA I think of the silver screen, the award shows, the hair, the make up, the clothes! So I really was really happy that our FourPlayGo weekend included a day of this kind of GLAM LA treatment.

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Saturday started with breakfast in bed for moi, followed by meeting up with the lovely Mrs. O Around the World, Jetset Extra & Vanity Girl – all three sassy and very stylish jetsetting women! We met at Fragola in West Hollywood, a high-end designer showroom that flaunts fashion collections from the likes of Gucci, Valentino and Versace to name a few.

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Not only were we styled in haute couture, we had our very own hair and makeup stylist, Lyric Cross, as well as a jeweler to the stars, Gerald David Bauman.

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After trying a few options including vintage pieces, Lola was dolled up in a Nina Ricci frock and GINORMOUS aquamarine necklace and earrings. I also managed to wear very high heels and not fall down. A minor miracle! Playing dress up is always fun for me but this day was exactly how I imagine a day in the life of a starlet to be AND it was all captured by photographer Charles Hopkins.

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Once we wrapped up at the showroom, we didn’t want to waste our perfectly coiffed hair and gorgeous make up so the FourPlayGo gals headed over to grab a quick pre-dinner drink at Tortilla Republic, the trendy modern mexican resto & tequileria next to our dinner destination, SUR Restaurant and Bar. I sipped on a delish cucumber lavender margarita that was like none I’d ever had before at Tortilla Republic. MMMM.

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Taking the glitterati party over to SUR (Sexy Unique Restaurant) my cocktail experimentation just got going. Let’s just start with this is Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant of “Vanderpump Rules” and many of the cast members were working that night. It was like stepping into a set of a TV show for the beautiful and famous. A definite see and be seen kind of place. So perfect for us glammed up ladies!

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The bartenders were HOT and FLIRTY, my favorite, and dinner was great. SUR’s menu is an interesting variety of things that seem like comfort food and I went with chicken enchiladas. BUT I have to say the cocktails and scene make the place what it is famous for – a very sexy LA spot!

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The only thing that could make this experience any more ‘LA celeb worthy’ would be having your photos snapped all night by a professional photographer like you were being followed by the paparazzi. Soooo that’s what we did. The amazing Alyson, from Flytographer, fired away all through our dinner capturing some awesome shots for our GLAM FourPlayGoLA memories.

This fantabulous day was organized by Maxine Tatlonghari aka @VanityGirl in conjunction with West Hollywood. Thank you to all the people involved, making this day very star worthy indeed. If you’re interested in having glamorous Hollywood Insider experience like this, please reach out to VanityPR@me.com.

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Filed under california, los angeles, travel

One Day Stay: Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles is quite a city. The ‘City of Angels’. The ‘City of the Stars’. I was looking forward to returning to LA and delving deeper into what the second largest city in North America has to offer. I’ve done the Hollywood tour thing before but I hadn’t completely experienced Los Angeles like a star. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed with my little luxe visit. Even though there is far more to do in Los Angeles than one day can hold, it’s an easy place to do a little at a time and I enjoy discovering more about LA with every return. Here’s some of what I did during this One Day Stay.

DROP YOUR BAG

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Alright, I will admit it, if you didn’t already know…I’m a sucker for all things French! So, staying at Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills made Lola one happy girl. Not only is this 295 rooms & 28 suites hotel all things luxury, fashionable and French, they had a few other things that made my stay FAB. For one, I LOVE the Hermes products!! Yeah, and the view of the Hollywood Hills was pretty awesome too. Sending up all PINK amenities really won me over. BUT my breakfast in bed with a spicy bloody mary may have pleased me the most. This hotel definitely exudes a see and be seen Hollywood vibe and the location couldn’t be better. Not only did I not wish to leave, I didn’t even want to get out of their ridiculously comfortable bed! TRES ADORE YOU Sofitel.

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I have actually been to Los Angeles several times and enjoyed many different parts of the city. Let’s face it, it’s a big sprawling place with so much to see and do. BUT one thing I had NEVER done while visiting LA is go to the beach. It seems insane because when I think of California I immediately think of surf, sand & suntans. SO, I thought it was high time to visit the LA beaches. Fortunately, there’s a way to do this in style and it’s especially convenient for travelers. May I introduce you to the Beach Butler by Perry’s Cafe. Offered at 3 different Santa Monica locations, Beach Butler has two levels of service: standard and custom. Both come complete with a chair, umbrella, towel & table but the custom also offers the service of lunch and drinks. Standard service starts at $50 and custom at $100. It was perfect to drop in, relax in the Cali sunshine, have a bite and then leave without any of the fuss. Why oh why can’t every beach have this?!

DRINK

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Santa Monica is a neighborhood I’ve been to before but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what all you can do there. This visit to Los Angeles I had a few cocktail pit stops but by far my favorite was The Craftsman Bar and Kitchen. As they say themselves, it’s like drinking and dining in a beach style living room. Completely shabby chic, cozy & casual, naturally I enjoyed a hand crafted cocktail. It was delicious and I was delighted to have discovered this special spot in Santa Monica.

DINE

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Nic’s Beverly Hills was the perfect place for a great bite and a glass of wine while in LA. I particularly enjoyed the watermelon and goat cheese salad. Not only was it refreshing and delicious, it was also so creatively presented. BUT I have to tell the truth. The piece de resistance wasn’t the food for Lola. You see, Nic’s also offers this amazing experience, the VODBOX, which is right up my alley. You may be thinking “what the heck is a VODBOX?” It’s only the coolest walk-in freezer (no pun intended) for vodka tasting. The room is lined with literally hundreds of bottles of vodka. OH YEAH! Even better, you’re provided with faux fur coats & hats so you can stay warm inside the 28°F freezer. I loved the dressing up, of course, and the flight of vodka as well. Someone *should* remind me, though, tasting doesn’t mean you have to drink it all LOLA! Flights begin at $21 per person, bottle service begins at $250.

A huge Hollywood round of applause and thank you for a wonderful time in Los Angeles. My Beach Butler service in Santa Monica, cocktail at The Craftsman and dinner & drinks at Nic’s Beverly Hills were complimentary. Sofitel Los Angeles graciously gave me a press rate! All these experiences were very ‘Lola Approved’ and I express my own opinions.

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Filed under california, los angeles, swanky luxe stays, travel

Touring and Tasting in Sonoma, CA

I’m excited to share a guest post by one of the most clever and funny people I know. I hope you enjoy Esther’s touring and tasting tips for Sonoma. See if you can figure out what all we have in common and why I adore her so much! I hope she’ll be a regular contributor.

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When Lola asked me to write a guest post detailing my recent trip to Sonoma, CA my first thought was panic. Me? Really? I do not travel like Lola. I do not write like Lola. I do not take fake moustaches with me wherever I go either. What could I possibly bring to Lola’s fabulousness that hasn’t already been said? Well, I’m pretty sure I got it figured out. It’s the “practically virginal traveler, who is so psyched to be away from kids and have a perfectly legitimate excuse to drink all day” market. Perhaps a small niche, but hopefully you’ll get some Friend of Lola Verified tips.

I should probably start off by admitting that my knowledge of wine starts and ends with red/white/rose. Maybe a teeny bit more, but you get the picture. Before we even embarked on this journey I was given a somewhat nose-upturning reaction when I mentioned Sonoma. “Oh. You’re not going to Napa?” “What’s the difference?” I responded. Note: If you are currently thinking “Who the hell doesn’t know the difference between Sonoma and Napa, then I’m pretty sure this tale is not for you.”

So, there are my big disclaimers. I don’t travel much. And I don’t know much about wine except drinking lots and lots of it. Let’s move on.

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By far the smartest decision made on this trip was to hire Jonathan, owner of Healdsburg Tours to be our guide and driver for the day. Jonathan, you had me at Wine-a-Bay-Go! From email exchanges before we left, Jonathan knew that wine knowledge was minimal, but we were a group that wanted to have some serious fun (while we learned a little too.) When I say Wine-a-Bay-Go I am not kidding. He showed up at our rental property with this beautifully well-appointed Mercedes van armed with ideas for how we would spend our day.

He suggested we start “big” and work our way through some of the lesser-known vineyards. “Yep. Sounds good.” Our first stop was Ferrari-Carano.

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This place is heavenly. The grounds. The gardens. The beautiful cellar. The formal tasting rooms. The wow factor was immense. And, while you’ve probably tasted or seen this brand in your favorite restaurants or liquor stores, we opted to try the ones mere mortals rarely taste. Since this was our first stop, we were not familiar the “Join our wine club” mentality. (More on this later.) We bought our bottles and decided to worry about how to get them home later.

(Quick aside…Ferrari-Carano also owns a restaurant in Santa Rosa called John Ash where we enjoyed our first sips upon arrival. Really beautiful property and GREAT happy hour deals on wine and food.)

Here’s the deal about wine clubs. Most of the vineyards are pretty small and do not distribute to the public or even restaurants. The schtick to reel you in is that if you really enjoy the wines you taste, the only way to enjoy them again is to become “members” of the club and receive 1-2 cases of wine a year. “Sign right up” they encourage; and sign up we did.

Our next favorite stop was a veritable smorgasbord of wineries. We decided to do what any lushes would do…divide and conquer and report back on our favorites. Top 3: Trattore, Papapietro Perry and Kokomo — with Kokomo earning top honors because 2 out of 3 couples joined the club — translation, drank the Kool-aid. But yes, we were members. Owners. Family. Proud doesn’t begin to describe it.

And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, Jonathan suggested one last stop — which of course turned out to be our favorite. (And not because we had been “tasting” for 5 hours.) Two words. Lambert Bridge. (ok three words because I’m going to add Beth in the mix because she was our absolutely outstanding tasting guide.) We three couples left with heads held high that we were part of the Lambert Bridge experience.

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Although our time with Jonathan was coming to a close, his suggestions for what else we should do were honored and enjoyed for the following 2 days.

The next day, needing just a short break from the tasting menus, we ventured to the coast to a spot in Jenner, CA where the Russian River meets the Pacific. There just happens to be a great little restaurant called River’s End with breathtaking views, mouth-watering food, and oh yes, the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. (I said we needed a break from wine tasting, not alcohol altogether.) From the fresh horseradish to the perfect pickled green bean garnish, this drink hit the spot. It’s worth the drive for the view and this drink alone.

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Lest you think the trip was all alcohol fueled, we managed to visit the beautiful Annadel State Park with trails that accommodated all our cardio needs — from quiet walks, to brisk hikes, to 6-10 mile trail runs. Take a break from the vineyards and visit this place!

Our last day, and Jonathan’s suggestions still lingered. We ventured to the oh-so-quaint town of Healdsburg where the girls could shop and the boys could watch a little NFL. With west coast time zone, games start early, and they happily settled in at Bear Republic Brewing Co. while the ladies stumbled upon a great store, Healdsburg Olive Oil Company where we even managed to do a little pre-holiday shopping. And, speaking of stumbling, oh yes, we ended up at another great winery. Even if you don’t need one more taste of fermented grapes ever again, you need to visit Williamson Winery. First of all, the family owners are from Australia and the charming accents alone make this a fun place. They are also really really smart and pair the wines with different cheeses — I’m pretty sure you can join the cheese club too. Accents, great wine, and cheese oh my! Of course we had to join the club!!

And if you think Lola was not with us in spirit, check out these photos. Fabulous cupcakes and an enviable ‘stache. Lola was missed but certainly not forgotten.

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It was a great long-weekend getaway. And should memories begin to fade, I’ll have about 48 bottles a year to remind me how fun it was!

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Esther, affectionately known as Queen, is one of Lola’s most favorite people. She enjoys reading about Lola’s fabulous journeys and joining in on adventures whenever possible—especially Miami!

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Filed under california, guest post, sonoma, travel

i spy eye candy! – Los Angeles

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This week where in the world is lola? picked the EYE CANDY topic of LA because I’m headed there for the weekend to have a glam tour of the ‘CITY OF ANGELS’. It’ll be fun to do up Los Angeles and the Golden State of California like the stars do!

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Of course I will be staying in swanky style at Sofitel Los Angeles and having drinks and dinner in some of the city’s hot spots. I’m looking forward to getting dolled up for the day by stylists from Fragola and having a fab photo shoot. Discovering more of West Hollywood & Santa Monica will also be a treat BUT the BEST part of all is sharing this weekend with 3 other GLAMOROUS GALS – @JETSETextra, @MrsOAroundWorld and @VanityGirl and this is exactly why it’ll be even more of a delicious EYE CANDY experience!

You can follow our GLAM girlfriend adventures on my InstagramFacebook & Twitter with the hashtag #FourPlayGoLA 

NOW all I need to complete my EYE CANDY dreams is a few star sightings! What’s EYE CANDY about Los Angeles to you?

XO – Lola

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Filed under california, eye candy, los angeles, travel