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Chic traveler:  Molly Sims

Occupation:  Model, Actress, Jewelry Designer & Host

Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA

Model, actress and entrepreneur Molly Sims needs no introduction.  Recently, she welcomed her first baby – a boy named Brooks – with husband Scott Stuber, and she sat down with Stephanie to dish about traveling chic, her pregnancy, and her love of Stephanie Johnson bags.

As a traveler, do you always go to the same place or do you like to try something new?  As a model and actress I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world for work.  For pleasure, I tend to visit my favorite locales.  I’ve lived in Paris, London, Milan, and now New York and LA so I’ve really gotten to know so many other cultures and experience really amazing things.  I am always up for something new; this past year I have gone to the Bahamas and Mexico.  Traveling home (Kentucky) is always fun.

What are your favorite types of destinations?  (Are you a beach bum? City dweller? Rustic adventurer?)  I really enjoy the beach.  We have a house in Cabo and we love going down there with friends and family and just relaxing.  I also bought an old barn 12 years ago in the Hamptons.   This is the first place I’m taking my new baby.  The one thing I can say about me is that I’m always up to travel somewhere new.

What inspires you most when you’re in a new location?

  How people decorate!  I’m a big design geek and I love checking out local home goods stores and flea markets wherever I visit.

Where did you head on your babymoon and why did you choose that location?  Palm Springs.  It’s not a far drive from LA (my back was killing me to sit for long periods of time).  I love the laid back vibe of Palm Springs.  This time of year it is too hot out there for anyone to move too fast!!  A good friend of ours is loaned us his gorgeous home to stay in.  I didn’t leave the spa because it was so hot!

Did you partake in any spa treatments on your trip?  Prenatal massage, etc.?  When you are pregnant your options for spa treatments are pretty limited.  I love a god hot tub, steam room and body scrub, but those are all off limits when you are pregnant.  I definitely took advantage of a pre-natal massage and a mani/pedi when I was there.

How did pregnancy affect your travel style?  I’m a very organized person, especially when I travel.  So many road trips during my modeling days taught me well.  If you don’t pack properly, you could be out in the middle of nowhere without something important.  I don’t think I’ve changed very much since getting pregnant, but I do have a bit of anxiety when I think about when we start to travel after the baby.  I see my brother (with my 4 year old nephew) and how much stuff he and his wife have to pack and schlep around when they travel.  I love Stephanie Johnson travel bags because they are beautiful, chic and extremely functional.  I have three different sets that are always packed and ready. One set for the beach, one set for travel and one set for every day.  I love the patterns and how she mixes gold and orange and cream and gold.  I also love the multi-colored set (Large Flat Pouches in Malibu Aqua, Malibu Lemon and Lima Blue).  I took that set with me to the hospital when I had my baby.

Favorite travel ritual or souvenir?  I shop most when I travel.  I love the ultimate find.  Whether it’s a great book, picture frame, a great blouse . . .  Sometimes I will look on the internet and locate all the great places I want to go.  I’m the girl that really uses the city shopping guides they always have in magazines.

How was traveling while pregnant different than traveling any other time?

   It’s actually easier because I can only fit into 5 things!

How does it affect your packing?  What comforts of home did you bring with you?

  My pillows, my food, and all my vitamins.

How can Stephanie Johnson pouches/bags help keep your organized while traveling?

  They keep me so organized in a very chic way.  I like that they come in different sizes so you can use them as set or alone.  You can throw them in any bag.  I LOVE THEM.

What’s your favorite Stephanie Johnson bag to take with you?  The crème and gold set (Palm Desert White).

What’s inside?

  I have a specific one just for makeup, one for hair products and one for pens and sticky notes with my chapstick and glasses.

Is there anything on your Stephanie Johnson wish list?  I wish she’d make a diaper bag!

Do you have your first post-baby getaway planned? Do tell!  The Hamptons (my barn that I rehabilitated).  We’re going there in one month and I am so excited!!!!!  I’ve been doing the 40-day rule and haven’t left the house but twice to get my roots done.  Yes, I will have my color done no matter what!

I’ve just returned from a weekend in Palm Springs where among other things, I filled my Prius rental car with diesel fuel and found myself stranded at the Chevron at 11pm on a Sunday night.  Mishap aside (yes I know the nozzle doesn’t fit!), I wondered how my only experience with Palm Springs up to this point (let’s not forget the 14 years I lived in L.A.) had been hot Coachella weekends where I shuttled between the fairgrounds and The Parker.  Not to mention, who doesn’t love a town where directions to a hiking trail include taking a right at the giant Marilyn?

STAY

Since this is the year I’m mixing things up, I decided to pass on The Parker and try The Colony Palms Hotel.  That was my first good move.  Although I missed the sprawling lawn and kitschy Palm Springs decor of The Parker, I was thrilled to discover the magic of this little in-town Spanish Colonial oasis.  My room was big with a perfect bathroom including a roomy glass shower, and was on the first floor close to the pool.  Never mind that by 7:55 a.m. every poolside sun lounger was accounted for, I still managed to find two loungers in the garden where I read my Sunday New York Times and marveled at all the hummingbirds and butterflies flitting about.

I visited friends at the nearby Korakia Pensione which had a real hippie vibe, no restaurant on the property, and overgrown grounds with a bocci ball court and a couple of pools.  A great spot if you want to get away from the scene and have a private, romantic weekend.

Then it was on to The Viceroy where I was surprised to see such a big in-town property, with lovely little orange door villas and lush landscaping throughout.  I didn’t get a chance to peek into the rooms, but they appeared to be classic Kelly Wearstler regency style (and likely a bit ornate for my simple taste).  I discovered three pools on the property, two of which had a real sceney vibe and were marked ‘adult only.’  A third ‘family’ pool was tucked into a niche in one of the gardens, where splashing toddlers aren’t likely to bother the other guests.

I totally fell in love with The Horizon Hotel.  Originally built by William Cody (desert modernism) as a retreat for the Wrather Family and their Hollywood guests (Marilyn stayed there), the property consists of the main residence and multiple bungalows on a 2.5 acre property.  All transformed now into guest rooms with clean lines, white sheets and sexy outdoor showers.  Central pool and a badminton net.  Excellent example of mid-century modern architecture.  Perfect couples retreat as children under 21 are not allowed.

Hotel Lautner is a bit off the beaten path and is tiny with only four rooms.  If you are serious about your architecture this may well be your only opportunity to sleep in a John Lautner designed home.

EAT

As soon as I arrived a friend declared that Cheeky’s is the ‘best breakfast west of the Rockies,’ so of course I had to start my days there.  The line is impossible.  Get there by 8 and be seated on the patio before the heat hits.  A pretty to-die-for cinnamon bun should be on your list whether you are eating wheat these days or not.

Birba – which means ‘little rascal’ in Italian – is an open-air simple box attached to a giant shaded patio with misters keeping it cool.  Expect a line here too, but go for dinner and enjoy their light Italian fare which includes yummy pizza.

Johannes is a local favorite for dinner, and you can’t beat Norma’s at The Parker or the poolside patio at the Purple Palm, for weekend brunch.

DO

Hike if you can stand the heat and bike everywhere.   Some hotels have beach cruisers for you to borrow or you can rent from Bike Palm Springs.  Golf (if you must) and definitely get your early morning tennis game on.  Of course poolside reading is a given, and on my trip it seemed no one was embarrassed to show how far into the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy they were.  This is not on my reading list but feel free to comment on why it should be.

Call Palm Springs Modern Tours (760-318-6118) and take in all the Albert Frey, Donald Wexler, Richard Nuetra, William Cody, Victor Gruen, and John Lautner to see.  I did a self-guided tour and as I was taking a photo of the Nuetra Kaufmann house I was surprised (and maybe a wee big embarrassed) to see the owner waving at me through my camera lense.  If only the Lautner designed Elrod House, where Bambi and Thumper met their match in Diamonds are Forever, was available for public viewing. . .

Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up 8500 feet for stunning views, or if heights aren’t your thing, stay on the ground and marvel at the Albert Frey designed former gas station that now houses the tourist office.

Under no circumstances are you to miss Sunnylands, the Annenberg Estate.  RSVP is a must and if by chance you can’t get in, then absolutely see the Annenberg Gardens next door with its immaculate rows of succulents and desert flowers.

PACK

Sunscreen of course.  Multiple hats, shorts, breezy dresses, bathing suits (I’m partial to Eres), and sneakers for a hike, run or tennis.  Don’t forget to stock up your Stephanie Johnson Palm Springs Tote with reading material and perhaps an Evian spray.

 

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