Joanna and Alex

What did you do over the holidays? We took the boys on a Southern California road trip, full of Uno card games and fish tacos. Here are our 10 favorite moments, if you’d like to see…

Best palm springs airbnb

1. Desert sunshine. First up, we met Alex’s family in Palm Springs. Have you ever been? We’ve gone for 10 years in a row, and it’s the only place the boys have ever had Christmas. This time, we stayed at this lovely Airbnb with a view of the snow-capped mountains. If you’re heading there in the future, I’d also recommend the restaurants Birba and Farm.

santa note

santa note

2. Santa letters. On Christmas eve, Toby and Anton wrote the cutest note to Santa. I love their logic that Santa could ever circle “not real.”

all the light we cannot see

3. Good reads. What kind of books do you take on vacation? Alex always teases me for taking dense, slightly depressing tomes, but the heart wants what it wants. This trip, I loved rereading All the Light We Cannot See and reading Wolf Hall. (Have you read Wolf Hall about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn? It’s the book equivalent of eating a chewy steak — so chock full of compelling dialogue and vivid characters.)

palm springs ace photo booth

4. Photo booths. We always stop by the Ace in Palm Springs, and this time, their photo booth was calling our name. I cracked up at what a natural Anton was.


felix restaurant

5. Hard-to-get reservations. Next, we went to L.A. and miraculously got a same-day reservation at pasta hotspot Felix. Here’s how we did it: You know when you make a reservation on Resy, and, if the restaurant is fully booked, there’s a sign-up part that says “Notify Me”? That means that Resy will text you if someone cancels their reservation. So, a couple hours after we signed up, we got a text saying we could come at 7:15 p.m. that evening. Score!

alex williams

6. Feeling twitterpated. Do you ever go on a double date and see your partner through fresh eyes? We met friends for dinner one night, and as Alex was telling a funny story about a work trip, I felt like I was looking at him for the first time and crushing hard.

joanna and boys

7. Travel ensemble. I realized I have a go-to travel outfit: an easy sweater (like this or this), high-waisted jeans, sneakers and funny socks. It works for anything you do — from car rides to exploring cities to dinners out. What do you usually wear on trips?

sand sledding in LA

8. Sand sledding. One overcast day, we met friends to slide down hills on the beach. It felt like such a California moment.

torrey pines sunset hike

9. Cliffside hiking. Lastly, we went to San Diego for a few days. We went on a hike at Torrey Pines, which was spectacularly beautiful. I never thought of myself as a hiker (I’m kind of a wuss and I get scared of bears), but this one was incredible, with views of crashing waves, the pink sunset and even whales. It reminded me of a Sex and the City episode where they realize that hiking is just…walking.

la jolla beach

10. New friends. We also met up with a few Cup of Jo readers during the trip, which was an absolute highlight. We are inspired to do actual Cup of Jo events around the country this year — more on that soon!

How was your holiday? How is 2020 going so far? Excited to catch up this week and share more posts. xoxo

P.S. A weird thing we do on vacations and my travel packing list.