Best Winter Day Trips In Southern California

I grew up in the Inland Empire in Southern California. If you’ve heard of the Inland Empire, then you probably know it’s often referred to as the “armpit of California”. It’s not beautiful, and often trashy, but it’s very centrally located which meant I spent a lot of time exploring the surrounding areas. Below are my favorite day trips during the Winter in southern California.

Palm Springs

Left from Palm Spring Aerial Tram Right from Kayak

Most of my extended family lives in Palm Springs, so I’ve spent a lot of time there. It’s painfully hot during the Summer but mild during the Winter. Palm Springs is often known for the golfing, but there’s lots to do there. I recommend checking out some of the vintage shopping and restaurants along the 111 in downtown Palm Springs. If you want a more winter feeling getaway then I suggest taking the Palm Spring Aerial Tram. It offers stunning views and at the top you can hike, snowshoe, or just take in the scenery at one of the restaurants.

Big Bear

Photo from Big Bear Mountain Resort

Big Bear is home to a ski resort but also offers winter activities like snowshoeing and tubing. It also has a small walkable downtown area.

Joshua Tree National Park

Photo from Visit California

Joshua Tree is near Palm Springs and similar in that it’s miserably hot in the Summer but mild during the Winter. Joshua Tree has trails for any hiking level. Since we are talking about day trips here, I suggest the Arch Rock Trail, since it’s only 1.4 miles. Since it’s a short hike, you’ll be able to fit in seeing the Cholla Cactus Garden Trail which is less than a mile loop but packed with beautiful scenery that is iconic to Joshua Tree.


Photo from Visit California

Temecula is sort of known for being the little Napa of southern California. It has tons of great wineries and various ways to explore them. I think taking the Cable Car Wine Tour would be the most unique and charming way to explore wineries in Temecula. If you are like me, and not into wine, it’s still a beautiful place to visit. There are also activities that don’t involve wine, like fantastic spas, shopping in downtown, and biking trails.

Winter to Spring Transition Outfits

Spring is just around the corner and here in Colorado we’ve had a few Spring feeling days already. As the weather turns from Winter to Spring those days that feel very in between can be difficult to dress for. During seasonal transition periods I recommend dressing in current or previous season appropriate items (in this case Winter items) but in upcoming season colors (in this case Spring colors). I also suggest layers and light sweaters this time of year. Below are some Winter to Spring transition outfit ideas.

Tee Blazer (I’ve tried this blazer on in person and it looks more blue/mint color in person) Jeans Shoes

Jeans Sweater Earrings Shoes

Sweater Dress Scarf Belt Shoes

Inception Cookies

The cookie recipe below is truly heaven on earth and everyone I’ve made it for has asked for the recipe. My husband says these are the best cookies he has ever had. This recipe was inspired by three of my favorite cookie recipes. Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person taught me so much about baking. I think my baking went from a 7/10 to a 9/10 from everything I learned in that cookbook. One of the skills it taught me was browning butter and how much it elevates baking. I’d say in about half of the desserts I make now, I brown the butter the recipe calls for. It adds so much dimension in flavor.

Laura In The Kitchen’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe calls for Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix which I now use in almost every cookie recipe I make. It doesn’t impact the flavor as much as it impacts the texture of cookies. By adding instant vanilla pudding mix, you get a gooey cookie on the inside but the bottoms and edges get the delicious, crunchy, golden brown color. As someone that bakes at a high altitude, this has made the biggest difference in the shape of my cookies. It’s difficult to bake a cookie at my altitude (4,984 ft) without it coming out flat. The pudding mix really helps the cookie maintain some height.

Lastly, this recipe was also inspired by Stephanie’s Sweet Treats Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. This recipe is really unique because it calls for finely blended oreos that act almost as part of the flour. It’s creates and over the top decadent cookie.


2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Finely Blended Oreo Crumbs

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar

1/4 Cup Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

2 Sticks Unsalted Buter

2 Eggs, Room Temperature

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup Oreo Pieces

1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips


Set aside a medium, heat proof bowl filled halfway with ice. In a small saucepan, melt the 2 sticks of unsalted butter over medium low to medium heat. Use a heat proof spatula to stir constantly, scraping the sides and bottom of pan while stirring. The butter will begin to foam and you will see the fat solids begin to separate. The fat solids will begin to turn a caramel color and the butter will start to smell nutty, that’s when you know the butter has browned (this will take about 6 to 8 minutes). Remove from heat immediately and place in the bowl of ice to cool to room temperature.

Once the butter has reached room temperature (it doesn’t need to completely solidify again), use a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed to cream the butter with 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar (this will take about a minute). Add the 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla extract and continue to blend for another couple of minutes.

Use a food processor to finely blend Oreos. This will take about 5 to 7 Oreos to make 1/2 cup. In a bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of finely blended Oreos, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer and blend until well combined. Mix in the 3/4 cup Oreo pieces, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Use a 2-ounce cookie scoop to form the cookie dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before serving.


The brown butter can be made the day before and cooled in the regrigerator.

If you want extra decadent cookies, you can also scrape out the inside of 1 vanilla bean pod and add.

I always like to have cookie dough in the freezer, for freshly baked cookies at any time. I put the cookie dough into a freezer safe zip lock bag after it has cooled in the refrigerator.

Music Festival Outfit Ideas 2023

Music Festival season is coming up so I’m taking the time to put together some outfits that would be great to wear at music festivals. Obviously every festival is different so you can tailor it to your needs.

Look 1

Tee Sunglasses Shorts Sandals

This first look is a great option for anyone intimidated by music festival attire. Music festivals have become known for adventurous style, and I understand that’s definitely not for everyone. This outfit is great because it’s playful but not super out there. Flats are going to generally be most practical for festival attire but if you want to wear heels I suggest going for a block heel that’s comfortable and stable.

Look 2

Top Bracelet Pants Shoes

The second look is much more edgy. I generally don’t recommend bringing a handbag into a music festival so pants like these are super practical with all the pockets. This would be a great look if rain is forecasted the day of or days leading up to the festival.

Look 3

Set Top Set Skirt Handbag Sandals

This last look is a sexier look but still casual and music festival appropriate styled with the sandals and handbag. Like I said previously, I don’t really recommend bringing a handbag but I know that’s not realistic for everyone. If you need to bring one, I suggest making sure the strap is extremely comfortable, don’t over pack it, and wear it crossbody.