Vacation Photos: Palm Springs and L.A.

For the holidays, we went to Palm Spring and Los Angeles for two weeks. It was great to get a blast of California sunshine, and a few funny things happened during our trip…
I couldn’t stop smooching this little hunk. Those soft biceps are too tempting! (Don’t his arms look like Pillsbury crescent rolls?)
And after Alex snapped this photo at the Ace Hotel, we realized how similar it is to this photo of Toby at the same age! Uncanny!
We piled into a lovely rental house in Palm Springs and spent long lazy days with my dad and Alex’s family around the pool, playing guitar and picking grapefruit off the trees. The best part was the fire pit, which we’d sit around in the evenings with a bottle of wine.
And guess who learned how to sit??? Bravo, Antoni!
On Christmas Eve, Alex’s sister got engaged! Her boyfriend played their favorite song and proposed before dinner, in front of everyone. We were all in tears! As you can see, Toby was awestruck, and now he’s totally obsessed with weddings. He has asked me if I’m married about 1,000 times. And he often tells me, with a very serious expression, “I’m not married, Mama. I’m just a bachelor.”
After Palm Springs, we drove to L.A. for a week…
My mom met us there, which was such a treat! In the photo above, she was indulging me by trying on the plumberry lipstick I’m obsessed with:) She was also a really good sport and played Cards Against Humanity with us, although the cards were so inappropriate that she laughed too hard to say them and made us read them for her!
We stayed in a sweet Venice apartment, which we booked through Kid & Coe, the kid-friendly vacation rental website. It was our first time staying in one of their homes, and it worked out really well: Toby loved playing with the toys (especially the trains and airplanes), and they had a crib for Anton, which made packing that much easier.
One afternoon we went to Blue Plate Oysterette, where we had fish sandwiches and Anton flirted with the waitress.
Afterward we went by the Santa Monica Pier, and my mom taught Toby the joys of whack-a-mole.
Another afternoon, we went to the James Turrell retrospective at LACMA. Have you seen his stunning light installations? And I was surprised by how each color affected our moods—the pink room, above, immediately mellowed us all out. Other rooms felt like haunted houses—you’d have to creep down a pitch-black hallway, holding onto the wall, until you turned a corner to see all different shades of light. The exhibition was fantastic. (Sadly, we only got to see half before we had to hurry home for the boys’ naps!)
Finally, on one of our last evenings, we discovered sledding on the beach! We had no idea this existed! We borrowed a round sled to take the Venice Pier and actually got up to some pretty good speeds:)
Anyway, it was such a great trip and we miss California already! Sending a big kiss westward :) Hope you had a wonderful holiday!! xoxo

Here’s a video of sledding that my friend took:)

P.S. Our Christmas trips over the past three years, if you’d like to see.

  1. So glad you had such a happy vacatIom. I just catching up on a bunch of missed posts and I’m so excited to see what you have planned for CupOfJo this year.
    You inspire me!


  2. Ah what a lovely time you had. It looked very relaxing. And that picture of Anton looking up at the waitress…heart melting! You can tell her day was made. :)

  3. Welcome back. While I really missed your posts, I’m glad you could take a break and enjoy your time with family!

  4. What a nice getaway. We want to take a trip to Palm Springs real soon. Also, WOO WOO look at you in a bikini post pregnancy! You look great!

  5. Toby’s Yankees hat is too cute, and his bachelor comment! And sand sledding, who knew?! Glad you’re back and also that you had a lovely break :)

  6. Wow, these photos are just the best! And Anton is just the cutest. SO glad you guys had fun!

  7. These are my favourite types of your posts! Welcome back – glad you guys had a fabulous vacation. Anton and his chubby little belly is too cute, but the expression on Toby’s face looking at the engagement ring takes the cake – it’s like he just saw Elmo! (does he realise who you are married to by the way?)

  8. YAY! So happy to see you posting again. Welcome back and cant wait to see what you have in store for A CUP of JO

  9. Beach sledding!?!? Sounds a million times better than wet, cold snow sledding!

    Happy New Year Joanna! Looks like you had a great vacation. Welcome back!

    P.S. Anton is starting to look a lot more like Toby!

  10. Love! Thanks for sharing! Anton is adorable and your mom is beautiful!

  11. So funny, my husband and I are taking our 5 month old to Palm Springs & LA for 2 weeks this month. I’ve been looking everywhere for recommendations. We’ve never been to Palm Springs and my husband’s only done LA on tour sans baby. I’d love any suggestions.

    x Amy

  12. I think i might just have to pin little Anton. the perfect little baby:)
    I hope you don’t mind.Btw,welcome back!! I am looking forward to this new year with all the changes that will be happening with your awesome blog!

  13. Holy moly Anton looks like your mom!

  14. I always like your family vacation posts (or any travel posts, really, haha). Hope there are more in your future so I can continue to live vicariously. :)

  15. So funny how hearing a blogger’s voice for the first time is never quite what I expect! Looks like a wonderful vacation, maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to rent someone else’s house :)

  16. What a super dreamy vacation with family. Glad you had some time off, and glad to be reading you here again! Welcome back :)

  17. Hi Joanna! I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog and this is my very first time to leave a comment. What can I say? I’m jealous that you get to smooch such cuteness all day. It’s been a while for me. Aaaaaaaah makes me want to have another one right this instant.

  18. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos
    It is difficult to look at Anton and not think Toby. lol

  19. Oh my gosh, we played Cards Against Humanity with my parents over Thanksgiving. It was so awkward, and so inappropriate, but we had so much fun! My mom (the preschool teacher) won of course!
    ~Sarah @ 702 Park Project

  20. Beautiful photos, looks like you had a great trip :)

    Toby is sure starting to sound like a New Yorker :)

  21. Your little family is so cute. California for two weeks sounds delightful right now.

  22. Thank you! for the lovely pictures of southern California. My family visited me instead, so I didn’t get to go home. I so miss walking on the beach and the sound of the waves. And great recommendations about where to stay in LA and Palm Springs.

  23. Toby really loves Anton! So cute:)

  24. that looks grand! i am heading out to LA with my 3 year old son and I definitely have LACMA on my list. any other must see/do with a little guy?

    thanks! welcome back…i missed your blog :)

  25. Those first two photos of you and the boys are absolutely wonderful.

  26. So glad you’re back! We live in Santa Monica-love this California-love post!!! Come back soon!

  27. Ha! How does Toby even know what a bachelor is at 3 years old? Too cute!

  28. Cela ressemble à des vacances magnifiques! Le soleil, la lumière, le rire des enfants, le sourire des parents, tout évoque le bonheur!

  29. So adorable about Toby and weddings! thanks for sharing your CA sunshine.

  30. Adorable pictures. Happy New Year!

  31. Too fun!! Love the Kid & Coe idea, such a smart concept!

  32. mona, thanks for your note! we go to an episcopal church on christmas eve (toby LOVES the music), and then we hang stockings. he thought it was really magical this year and asked santa for a real motorcycle. (santa brought a toy one instead:) it was such a great year! we should have taken more photos! :)

  33. what a fun and eventful vacation! i particularly love the idea of sledding on the beach. i love sledding but hate the cold and snow, so this is rightup my alley ;)

  34. Looks like a lovely vacation… and celebrating christmas in the warmth- that for me would be strange but Wonderful! I was finally home for christmas this year (winnipeg, canada) and man -50 is not fun! BUt i’m curious, you showed pictures from your vacation, but none from christmas eve/day. How do you guys celebrate? Would be nice to hear. And how did toby like it, he’s in that prime age for making christmas magical.
    Anyway, glad to see you back :) Love coming to your blog daily (sometimes more than once ;) )
    – Mona

  35. Looks like such an idyllic vacation and the photos are beautiful!

  36. Sounds good fun,
    What a weather !

  37. Sounds like good fun, what a weather !

  38. Palm Springs is one of our favorite getaways! Glad you enjoyed the California sun!

  39. WOah that was cool hearing your voice in the video! I had always read your words and imagined how your voice sounded. Post more videos if you have time :)

  40. I missed you too! I’m excited for the changes your considering, sounds great!

  41. These photos are so so so gorgeous. Fat segmented arms crack me up. Going to Palm Springs on Friday for the first time–can’t wait! Your pictures are making me excited.

    As a nervous flyer (who nonetheless travels a lot), I second asking how you do on airplanes! I am not too excited by the idea of the two flights to Palm Springs and two flights back all by myself…

    -Katie H.

  42. I love reading about your trips to California since I live in LA. I also just noticed that sand sledding is a thing near Playa Del Rey.. can’t wait to try it with our little one soon!

  43. I love Toby’s Yankee’s hat! And totally cracked up over the “I’m a bachelor” comment. Looks like you had a relaxing vacation. You totally deserved it!!

  44. Toby – what a crackup! You bachelor, you…

  45. I was just at Venice Beach for two weeks training! I’m glad you enjoyed your trip(:

  46. It was so fun seeing you at LACMA. I felt legitimately starstruck; I’ve just been reading the blog for so long! Toby was so sweet to my little Jude, and I’m glad you all had a great time in our lovely state.


  47. So happy you’re back!! Your pictures are beautiful and it looks like you all had a great time!!

  48. Oh my gosh! Your vacation photos are beautiful. It looks like you had a blast! I can’t wait for your future posts, there is always a cheery sense to them!

  49. Welcome back!! I missed you and your delightful
    posts!! Your holiday looks magical!!

  50. Welcome back! So glad to see you all had a wonderful Christmas trip! I must say that Anton looks just like Alex! I remember an older post about how you guys couldn’t figure out who Anton looked more like. I say its definitely Alex. Meanwhile Toby looks just like u. Pretty awesome how genetics work huh? :)

  51. Come to Manhattan Beach next time! Beautiful beaches and a really friendly, fun downtown area.

  52. Come to Manhattan Beach next time! Beautiful beaches and a really friendly, fun downtown area.

  53. You make the cutest babies! I always love a good Toby and Anton update. I’m also glad you’re back online, though it looks like the kind of vacation you’d want to stay on forever. :)

  54. Your voice surprised me when I watched the video! It’s weird, I realized all these years of reading your blog I’ve subconsciously thought your voice sounded like mine since that’s what I heard in my head!

  55. Your voice surprised me when I watched the video! It’s weird, I realized all these years of reading your blog I’ve subconsciously thought your voice sounded like mine since that’s what I heard in my head!

  56. Toby looked/looks just like you, Joanna. But I think Anton might look more like Alex (at least in the pilsbury doughboy arm photo).

  57. ooh this looks like a nice vacation,,,lovely photos

  58. Love that game! Could never dream of playing that with my parents though! Good for you!

  59. So glad you made it to the Turrell show!! Isn’t it just incredible? I just finished writing a term paper on him for one of my classes last semester (I’m an art history grad student). I think he’s one of the most sincere and important contemporary artists around. It’s great that the LACMA show has been up for so long so that many people can enjoy it.

  60. Yay! I’m so happy you are back. I’ve missed you dearly, especially because I’m 7 weeks preggers and going through a little mood slump :( Baby hormones are making me crazy, but we are so thankful to add a little one to our family. Your vaca looks dreamy. Toby and Anton are getting so big. I love your blog and I’m excited for the changes that will help you do more of what you love. Can’t wait!

  61. so fun and lovely i know it was very relaxing. and your mother is gorgeous you look exactly like her. xoxo great post

  62. It’s really nice to have you back posting.

  63. I love seeing my beautiful city in the eyes of visitors! glad you had a good time!

  64. HAHAHAH!!! “”I’m not married, Mama. I’m just a bachelor.” I died, that was so funny!!!!

    Beach sledding!! That is brilliant!

  65. Hi! Happy 2014!!! i was wondering if you are afraid of airplanes, because of what you sayed of elevators and the subway… It’s a ne phobia for me so I was wondering about that!

  66. “I’m not married, Mama, just a bachelor”? Toby is too good!! He’s absolutely adorable and hilarious.
    So glad you’re back. xoxo

  67. what a nice trip!!! james turrell’s guggeinheim installation was a highlight of my new york vacation this past june.

  68. jm says...

    That sledding video is the cutest!

  69. This vacation sounds like one big bag of awesome. Looks like you guys got to stay at some really fun places! That Venice apartment looks heavenly. So glad you had a great time.

    Welcome back!

  70. What a lovely way to spend the holidays! I miss California…

  71. How cute of Toby to be aware that the engagement was such an important moment!

    Also, hilarious that he says he’s a bachelor!