I’m a desert rat. My family and I traded the modern conveniences of our bright, vibrant San Diego neighborhood to move to the unincorporated community of Joshua Tree about three years ago, and we haven’t looked back since. Some people might think Joshua Tree is in the middle of nowhere, but they’d be surprised how hip this town actually is. It’s the convergence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, it’s close to both LA and San Diego, and it has a long and storied history of attracting dreamers, artists, musicians and explorers. It’s a wonderful place for people like us, who are looking for a place to live more simply. The natural beauty, lower cost of living and lack of city stressors have allowed my family to really focus on living our days with intention—slowly and consciously.
"The natural beauty, lower cost of living and lack of city stressors have allowed my family to really focus on living our days with intention—slowly and consciously."
What Are You Passionate About?
I’ve been a really passionate environmentalist since high school. I remember showing up at the grocery store with a reusable bag in the early 2000s and the cashier was so confused, she put my groceries in a plastic bag inside the reusable bag! It has been cool to see more and more people becoming both more concerned about the health of planet, and more aware of the dangers of some chemicals. I love that so many green alternatives are easy to find these days, and that many states are taking steps to curb pollution such as banning single-use plastic bags! I more recently became more aware of humanitarian issues— like institutionalized racism and profiling—and am now hugely passionate about social justice as well. I try to avoid sweatshop-made products, and instead shop vintage or support ethical brands and makers. Some bloggers shy away from discussing politics, but to me it feels important for me to speak up about causes I care about. At the same time, I am far from perfect and have a lot to learn myself. I love shopping and design, and can be a bit consumer-minded. So my current role of blogging and content creation is super fun for me—I especially enjoy getting the chance to work with ethical brands to showcase what they are doing.
"Some people might think Joshua Tree is in the middle of nowhere, but they’d be surprised how hip this town actually is."
What’s So Wonderful About Joshua Tree National Park? Any Recommendations?
What I love most about Joshua Tree is the feeling of magic and peacefulness that the place holds. When you first arrive in Joshua Tree from the city, you are immediately struck by how still and quiet it is here. The quiet can be most disconcerting until you get used to it! The air is clear, so the stars are bright— you can see the Milky Way on most summer evenings. People think of the desert as a desolate place, but there’s actually lots of life here; even in our own backyard we spot jackrabbits, quails and roadrunners most days. My favorite thing to do in Joshua Tree is get out and explore. There are countless amazing places to hike. As a newcomer to the area, I recommend focusing your time on exploring Joshua Tree National Park. It’s the convergence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, and it is 100 percent magic. There are two entrances to the park on the side—one in 29 Palms and one in Joshua Tree. Pick one entrance and drive the route that connects to the other entrance. Stop along the way anywhere that catches your fancy to boulder or hike—you literally can’t go wrong. If you have time, divert from your route a bit and visit the Cholla Cactus Garden. It’s the coolest and cutest place, I promise! Don’t forget to bring lots of water with you!
"I remember showing up at the grocery store with a reusable bag in the early 2000s and the cashier was so confused, she put my groceries in a plastic bag inside the reusable bag!"
What do you look for in the clothing you buy for your daughter and yourself?
For both Prairie and myself, I primarily choose items that are functional for our lifestyle, which is messy and active. I reach for my vintage Levi’s and battered sneakers most days, and even when I dress up, it’s still usually casual attire. I tend to fluctuate a bit between bohemian prints and minimal silhouettes with neutral tones and lovely textures. I will pretty much always choose quality over quantity; ethically made and natural fibers are my jam.
Most of the time, we just like to get out and go for a hike. We love to pack a little picnic and go watch the sunset. We call it “desert happy hour.” But if we are feeling the itch to get out on the town, we like to go out to eat at either Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a restaurant and world famous concert venue located in an old western movie set that you can explore, or the 29 Palms Inn, a farm-to-table restaurant with a little turtle pond and farm you can visit after dinner. On a date day without my daughter, Prairie, we like to go to the Integratron (which is this cedar dome structure built in the '50s by a UFOlogist ) to relax in the hammocks, and then listen to singing crystal bowls for a sound bath. A post-sound-bath dinner at our favorite spot, La Copine, is a must!
"J Tree has a long history of attracting dreamers, and there’s a huge music, art and environmental scene here that we really dig."
Have You Always Lived There?
We moved here from San Diego shortly after Prairie’s birth. But I’m originally from Georgia, and my husband is from Kansas/ Oklahoma. Andy and I both really treasure the small town experience and do not consider ourselves big city people by any means. However, we don’t really dig the typical small town USA conservative atmosphere. That’s a big part of what appealed to us about Joshua Tree. We’ve been visiting the area for years, and even got married here. What has always stood out to me, aside from the physical beauty (duh, national park!), was the vibe. J Tree has a long history of attracting dreamers, and there’s a huge music, art and environmental scene here that we really dig. Andy is a musician, so he loves walking in the footsteps of some of the greats, like Gram Parsons, who famously died at the Joshua Tree Inn.