Our Happy Work Retreat – Thrifting and working from Palm Springs
No job is all glamour all the time, but every now and again the job gods tap you on the shoulder, and interrupts your schlepping and invoicing to say, ‘Hey, lady, I got a good one for you’. Last week on the blog we teased where my fantasy work destination would be – in other words where I’d shop (which is work) if I could shop anywhere. Now, in my fantasy world I’d be a 22, rich, wrinkle-free, child-free girl, just traveling the world, shopping in exotic, cheap markets. But here’s the deal: Leaving Charlie and Brian (while 35 and pregnant) to go somewhere foreign sounded kinda sad, and yet shopping with Brian and Charlie sounded stressful and frustrating (and just overall a marriage-threatening-idea). We are launching ‘The Flea’ which will be our online vintage market in 3 weeks and we need more stuff to sell. Nothing can remedy this situation like some local thrift stores.
We recently partnered with HP and Intel for this dream work getaway and I decided to really make it a work getaway by taking the whole crew on a thrifting/working retreat, in a way cooler office for a couple days in Palm Springs, CA. We’ve travelled for work together (most of us), but never in this capacity and frankly everyone just kinda deserved to get out of the office. We have been very busy and while I try to show daily gratitude, I’m sure I don’t quite convey the level of gratefulness (and co-dependance) I feel for these four people. So, it was perfect: I got shopping support and they got a chance to step out of their floral upholstered chairs, and into a whole new happy work environment for a couple days at The Parker. It’s never like this, you guys, we deserved it, I promise.
Click through to see all the desert thrifting …
We hit the road on a Wednesday morning – and no, this wasn’t also sponsored by that MASSIVE car – we just needed a lot of space for our loot and apparently wanted to pose like a mid-90’s mormon band. We headed out towards the desert, with dreams of disgusting/cheap stores and fantasies of big king beds with no chance of middle of the night teething cry-sessions.
We ate sugar on the way out because Brady is an 11-year-old boy who eats McDonalds daily and buys candy as ‘snacks’. The first time I sent him out to buy ‘healthy snacks’ for all of us he came back with low-fat chocolate chip cookies and chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. I clarified immediately that ‘healthy’ means dried fruit and/or a dip or two. To this day he still doesn’t understand why we don’t all eat chocolate for breakfast and skittles for dinner. But this was a getaway of sorts, so I ate a few mandarin oranges and then ravaged those sour punch bites. Brady was real proud of me.
On our way out we off-roaded a bit to try to find some thrift stores. This is how you do it, folks: You can read all the thrifting/antique guides on every blog but you just have to put ‘thrift store’ in your GPS and see where it takes you. We used the HP Stream 8 with Intel tablet that has built-in 4G right out of the box while we were in the car so I could navigate and find the thrift stores – or anything else that was interesting. It’s funny because I think our generation is used to laptops so I’ve never really been a big tablet user before and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to function/carry around and just generally use.
We did find a few thrift stores this way, but those thrift stores weren’t worth mentioning or shooting. You know what we did find though? This amazing cactus nursery who I am apparently the new spokesperson for as seen in that above photo.
It was pretty magical. Although if you are thinking that you need to drive all the way out there to get some cactus make sure that you look up ‘cactus farms’ near you because these prices weren’t necessarily cheap and it was an hour and 15 minutes out from Glendale, so it’s far. It was, however, a super beautiful selection with lots of mature plants.
It’s what California instagram dreams are made of.
After hitting a couple of thrift stores we landed at our new “office” for the next couple of days – The Parker Hotel. I’ve actually never stayed here – I’ve only had dinner, so I was psyched to finally really use/abuse these grounds for our blogging/working pleasure.
The Parker was designed 10 years ago by Jonathan Adler and it’s just generally Mid-century California Boho at its core. I’m sure that there are a lot of well-designed resorts there, but this feels so native to the area – as if it was decorated in the late 60’s and it hasn’t changed.
After we checked in it was time to get dirty and go thrifting. I’ve been to Palm Springs (and the surrounding area) a couple of times, but it’s been years. So I knew where to go – ish, although we were really trying to find new places.
I skipped that lady face sculpture, although it’s good to know how I’d look with a shrunken head. Brady found this awesome seascape but unfortunately for him we were here to first and foremost shop for ‘The Flea’ so I nabbed it for the new online store that launches soon (although I’m seriously eye-ing it for my newest guest room that we are hopefully going to build downstairs in the old office).
Sometimes you got to really get in there.
Remind me not to wear that shirt unless it’s styled properly. That 16 week belly isn’t my friend – although the baby inside will be.
We cruised back to the hotel to catch up on some work and blog stuff while we ate, and to take a break from the grueling work that is thrifting.
Obviously they needed some refreshments to help them conquer the afternoon hours. I was drinking that sad blue water glass full of ‘boring’ and ‘good health’.
Round 2 of thrifting was almost as fruitless. Unfortunately Palm Springs was pretty picked over from Coachella or maybe just from years of people hyping it up as a great place to thrift (like me). Cute little brass knick knacks were like $36 at Good Will! There was a lot of stuff, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that the prices were so high.
I’m sure there are good days out there, but we didn’t catch them. I think if we weren’t trying to resell pieces (therefore needing to buy them cheap so we can profit) it would be different. Or if we were looking for major pieces of furniture and had the capacity to bring them back then we would have taken a few more risks.
Out of desperation to spend money we moved onto clothes. Brady threatened to buy himself that vest but I told him he wasn’t helping his whole ‘young hungry vampire’ situation what with his new bleached hair and all.
I did, however, find him a shirt and then a mini version for me. He bought his, I skipped mine.
Some of the thrift stores were starting to sell new items (I think stuff that was just left over from closed down stores) with not used prices – which just generally bums me out. Like that rug which was totally expensive and looked cheap in person.
But they did have old barber shop chairs for like $400. Wonderful. Just what we needed.
Last time I was in Palm Springs this place (below) was amazing, but this time we scored less – as indicated by my downward facing thumb.
Hats are a thing. Put them on your head and then use your hand to pose.
A beautiful worn rug for my kitchen (It’s more pink, but looks burgundy in that photo).
I was fairly tempted by this cream and brass player piano (below). If it were in LA and if we had room for it in the living room I might have nabbed it. I grew up playing and I plan on subjecting my children to piano lessons. Hopefully they will play with as much emotion as I’m portraying in the shot below.
I skipped the piano because schlepping A PIANO back seemed like a really weird/unnecessary thing for a pregnant chick to subject her team to.
We bought stuff, don’t worry and more importantly we had SOO much fun hunting. Thrifting is like online dating – sometimes the anticipation is the most fun part.
So after the second day of thrifting and some emails (to make sure that we didn’t completely neglect all sense of responsibility) it was time to hang up the sanitary gloves and relax at the hotel.
We ate and drank poolside. I had A LOT of burgers and fries (baby want burger real bad all the time).
We all lounged in the hammocks for a bit and then I waltzed off to lay in the room and watch iZombie, which is pretty good – not amazing, but I’m DESPERATE for shows right now so it’s good enough.
Then off to the spa where we all had massages. I booked a group massage in the same room, so we could hold hands from table to table, listening to soft global beat music as we shared our favorite moments from the trip and life, so far, whilst debriefing on why we all loved our jobs so much. Real team-building stuff. After our massages (where were actually all normal individual massages obviously) they all went for happy hour while I treated myself to a facial. If I had been there alone without anybody monitoring my credit card I would have kept going – seaweed wrap, mani/pedi, sugar scrub … once you start to get pampered you just don’t want to stop.
They made us all take shots of cucumber infused vodka before the massages (something about getting us to relax) – I took a shot of ‘boring’ aka, water. Ginny looks TERRIFIED and peer-pressured into it. Don’t worry, she can handle it.
After the massage situation I laid around and surfed the web – just generally trolling on blogs (yes, on my HP Stream 8 with Intel inside) and maybe I even bought some vintage french clothing for that little baby in my belly off of Etsy. That muu muu is by Emerson Fry by the way. Working from my happy place is something I could very easily get used to.
The Parker grounds are a very happy place to not only work, but to hang out, too. Then that night we had a fancy dinner out (and by out I mean still at the hotel because Mr. Parker is one of the best restaurants in town). We dressed up a bit and they had some cocktails and fancy wine.
It’s a wonderful feeling when you can sit around a dinner table with the people that you work with everyday and not be completely sick of seeing their shining faces to the point where you want to rip their eyeballs out. This is the case with these humans above, although we work across from each other everyday, we have found a way to work hard and play hard. After dinner they stayed out by the campfire and hung out while I went back and happily crawled into bed, so excited to sleep. Of course I still can’t sleep in – with or without a baby involved, so I just woke up, did some more online blog browsing on my tablet and worked out which was lovely in itself.
The whole trip was EXTREMELY fun and productive. We shopped, we ate, we relaxed, they drank, we worked, we blogged, we over-instagrammed and ultimately had SUCH a good time. There are perks and negatives to every job, certainly, and it’s just so nice that my hardworking team can appreciate the perks of this blog as much as I get to – because it’s just not always the case. So thank you HP and Intel for partnering with us and allowing us to work away from the studio for a few days in Palm Springs with your HP Stream 8 with Intel Inside. We also want to give them a big thanks for the giveaway that so many of you entered and we have a WINNER! Erica Ater (@deepbluenotion), welcome to the wonderful world of the Stream family thanks to HP and Intel, I will be contacting you directly this week so that we can get it out to you.
Cheers to ‘Working from our Happy Place.’ It was a VERY happy (and productive) three days.
*This post is in collaboration with HP and Intel as part of their #WorkFromHappyPlace campaign. Now go on twitter and name your happy place.
All photos by our apparently anonymous team member, Jessica Isaac, who documented and hung out with us the whole time.