Tagged Palm Springs

IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings Light, Fire and Dance to Joshua Tree

by Andrea Verdin

The wilderness of the desert brings life to many, especially if they’re looking to improve themselves. There’s just something about the quiet and beauty of the great outdoors. That’s why IgNight Fire Flow Conference is such an amazing experience. Each person attending will develop their abilities in aerial acrobatics classes, archery, astronomy, and yoga.

Of course, you can’t have a conference called IgNight without having elements of flow tools, like lit wicks, flow tools like hoops, poi, fans, staves, torches, wands and swords. The conference features lectures with spiritual teachers from all over the world. The event began today at noon, and will end at 5p.m. Sunday, more than 160 classes will go on during the daytime. A nightly spin jam session allows students to practice and develop their muscle memory.

According to Michael Engel, lead organizer for IgNight and fire performer with almost 10 years in the flow arts community, the great event truly gets started on Saturday night. Once all of the conferences and classes have finished, the attendees join together into a dance circle and put all that they have learned from the two days into practice. Together, they play music, and dance until sunrise.

In addition to having a great time, the conference goers  take care of the nature they enjoy. IgNight’s leadership works closely alongside The San Bernardino Fire Department to make this, the safest event possible. All participants must attend a mandatory fire safety workshop, which grants them access to the fire spinning area.

In a letter to the IgNight team, San Bernardino County Fire Marshal Curtis Markloff  wrote, “You guys always amaze me on how safe you all are at your event. Thank you for organizing and putting on this event.  I hope that you keep coming back year after year.”

Since IgNight’s inception in 2012, the event has sold out and it is still the only event of its kind and size in southern California. Each time, the rapidly growing contingent of local flow artists transforms it into an epicenter of growth, play and magic.
 “It’s for everyone to come and learn,” said Engel. “Ultimately, it’s an exercise in community building and community building is always a positive thing.”

IgNight’s location is the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, the oldest and largest center of its kind in the country. The buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, meaning that they are beautiful elements to the backdrop.

The retreat center’s elegant spaces house luxurious amenities: air-conditioned classrooms, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi and shaded meditation nooks to relax and reflect. However, most participants will sleep under the stars in the property’s ample camping space.

The vast, clear desert skies are ideal for stargazing and the Black Rock Observatory will be giving nightly lectures and telescope demonstrations.

With all of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences occurring in one weekend, it’s easy to have a life-changing transformation. These types of arts allow for a better understanding of who you are, and what you are capable of doing.

The IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings an educational celebration of fire, yoga and flow arts to Joshua Tree, CA on May 8-10. Admission is $150.00 and covers all three days of camping, workshops, shenanigans, and music from Friday at noon to Sunday at 5pm. For more information about IgNight, go to http://ignightconference.com, call (310) 497-4775, or check out their Facebook Page.

Day Trip: Weird and mysterious curiosities at the Salton Sea

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

As I get older, I’m noticing that all of my vacations and trips require balance. Before, trips would be an overload of shopping, drinking, or sightseeing. Now, I don’t find balance until I spend a few hours walking around town and shopping, exploring natural wonders, sipping on some craft cocktails, and indulging in a spa treatment or some personal time. My last trip to Palm Springs was just as balanced: shopping, eating, sunning, and making the long trek to the Salton Sea for a weird afternoon.

Abandoned houses near the shoreline of the Salton Sea

While the entirety of Palm Desert is packed full of things to do and see at every price point, one of Southern California’s weirdest wonders is just an hour drive away. Here’s the gist if you have no idea what the Salton Sea is: an enormous and incredibly salty lake at one of the lowest elevations.

The only fish that can survive in the highly salty water are tilapia

Wikipedia says the sea was accidentally created by a flood in 1905 and is the largest lake in California. Initially, settlers want to make the Salton Sea a resort town in the 1950s before soon realizing that the water wasn’t so silky or ideal for the average beach goer.

Dead fish are scattered all across Bombay Beach

Today, Bombay Beach seems to be the big attraction with its “unique” beachfront residences and the carcasses of dead fishes that have washed up on shore. I’m pretty sure that the grainy sand is also part pulverized fish bone as very few fish species can survive the hyper salinity in the sea water.

Destruction and abandoned homes at Bombay Beach

Most of the residences have been abandoned and are now covered in spray paint and graffiti. I walked up to one and almost went inside before realizing that the dirty mattresses and trash were probably my cue to head in the other direction. There’s something eerie about Bombay Beach and if you’re into weird American culture or travel destinations, this is definitely your place.

You should definitely make a stop for the Bombay Market, which seems to be the only grocery/convenience store for miles for the couple hundred of residents in town. Take your pick at canned pastas, pickled pigs feet, boxed wine, Four Loko, TV dinners, and the like. The man at the counter was super friendly and gave us recommendations for other things to check out during our visit.

Don’t forget your souvenirs when you visit Bombay Beach!
The wine aisle at Bombay Market
Booze for days at Bombay Market

If you’re running out of things to do in Palm Springs, I recommend setting a morning aside and driving out to the Salton Sea. Talk to some locals – if there are any even out and about – get a history lesson and investigate. You’ll find it either entirely creepy or totally fascinating.

Until next time!


Best hotels to grab a drink in Palm Springs

Norma’s adds color and quirk to every meal at the Parker Palm Springs

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

It just so happens that Memorial Day weekend coincided with the same weekend that my girlfriend wanted to spend her 30th birthday out in Palm Desert. Her family has a home out there and I was happy to oblige in a weekend of laying by the pool in 90 degree weather, checking out some local restaurants and doing a little sightseeing. Being that this was my first time staying at a residence in the desert, I still had an inkling to check out some of my favorite hotels to grab a drink in Palm Springs.

Most of my trips to Palm Springs and the surrounding areas usually revolves around a music festival, bachelorette or a press trip. I highly recommend staying at a residence if you’re in the area to save some m oney, but you should definitely take advantage of all of the cool hotels around town for a change of scenery. Here’s my pick for the best hotels to grab a drink in Palm Springs.


The Second Date Cocktail at the Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage.

Perched on a bluff above Rancho Mirage, The Ritz Carlton is a pet-friendly and family-friendly destination in the desert. Head straight to State Fare Bar & Kitchen for a cocktail and some snacks and you’ll be surprised with the craft cocktail list. I opted for the Second Date, mostly because I’m a new brandy fan and also because the region is known for its date farms. The cocktail is a combination of Germain-Robin California Brandy with date and vanilla. I also tried the Wolfskill & Pine, which was a combination of Ketel One Citron, Chandon Brut, lemon and rosemary. The complimentary bar nuts were also delicious and were mixed with chopped dates and rosemary.


The Ace Hotel & Swim Club is where all of the hip kids go in the desert. The hotel is known for its pool parties during festival season and its super groovy décor. We visited during the evening and people were all over the grounds near the pool, in the lobby, at the hotel’s bar The Amigo Room, and in King’s Highway, the hotel’s onsite diner. Grab a craft cocktail and walk around the grounds and you’ll surely meet some interesting characters.

Take your drink outdoors at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs
The lobby at the Ace Palm Springs is just calling your name


The Parker Palms Springs isn’t for the weary or the uber-conservative

While you may feel super fancy the second you walk into the Parker Palm Springs, there’s a calming and serene vibe after you soak in the lush and interesting furnishings, designed by the one and only Jonathan Adler. The Parker is full of color and its grounds will make you want to take a permanent residence. Grab a drink at the Mini Bar or better yet, at one of the resort’s two restaurants, Norma’s and Mister Parker’s. You absolutely have to walk around the property with your drink in tow. Play a game of Bocce Ball, stumble upon some hidden doorways, take a dip in the pool, or lay in the hammock.

Color and texture inside the lobby at the Parker Palm Springs
Get lost on the grounds at the Parker Palm Springs
Belly up to the outdoor bar at the Parker Palm Springs

Palm Springs and the surrounding cities has so much to offer when it comes to hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping, sightseeing, and so much more. Even if you’re staying at a friend’s house or personal residence, get outside and explore!


Korakia Pensione evokes relaxation and romance in the desert

Just one of the hidden gems at Korakia Pensione

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

One of Korakia’s Mediteranean Villas

After surviving our first trip to Coachella in 2012, I immediately knew that I needed a comfortable and quiet place to stay this year. Coachella can be rough on anyone – the sun, the loud music and the constant flow of people covering every inch of the Polo Fields can be exhausting. This year, I decided to book a hidden bed and breakfast for the week so that we could unwind and relax before heading to the festival everyday. Thank goodness for the Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs.

As I get older, my travel requirements become a bit lengthier and require more comfort than anything else. I first found out about the Korakia a couple years ago and was thrilled to finally have an opportunity to visit. The Korakia was everything I hoped it would be: secluded, quiet, romantic, beautiful and offered all of the essentials to hideout for a bit.

Inside Korakia Pensione’s Byzantium Room

We booked a few nights in the Byzantium Room, which was fully equipped with an enormous bed, kitchenette, patio and stone-walled bathtub. While our room was wonderful and comfortable, Korakia’s amenities and grounds were above and beyond.

We started every morning with coffee and a cooked-to-order breakfast. Complimentary breakfast is always a plus while traveling and Korakia’s daily offerings were delicious. Throughout our stay, we tried everything from huevos rancheros to strawberry French toast. Korakia also has a number of bikes that their guests can rent out. I rode around downtown Palm Springs one morning for a little change of scenery and the major streets were surprisingly bike-friendly.

One of Korakia Pensione’s pools at night

The grounds at Korakia are absolutely beautiful. From the whitewashed stone walls of each Mediterranean villa, to the palm trees and saltwater pools, Korakia just evokes relaxation. Better yet, you can opt for an in-room massage or visit the on-site “massage hut” for a little more personal time and healing. I opted for a massage before checking out, which helped to soothe my sunkissed skin and sore body.

After spending three days at Coachella weaving in between teens and drunks, I would have been totally content just wading around Korakia’s pool all day and riding a bike into town for a meal and happy hour. That’s how you know you’re getting old.

Korakia’s Bocce Ball court

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Palm Springs that’s a bit off the grid, but still close enough to all of the shopping, restaurant and bars, you must check out Korakia Pensione. This B&B is perfect for a girl’s trip or a romantic getaway with the one you love the most. For more information, visit www.korakia.com.

Our Favorite Dishes from Native Foods Café Encinitas

We’re always on the lookout for new and delicious restaurants opening in our neighborhood and we were absolutely thrilled to hear that Native Foods Café has opened in Encinitas. Founded in 1994 in Palm Springs, the restaurant offers vegan, plant-based dishes in a fast-casual environment. Considering the beachside city’s progressive and healthy lifestyle, Native Foods Café is the perfect addition to Encinitas’ ever-growing list of innovative restaurants and businesses.

We tasted a bit of everything off the comprehensive menu, ranging from huge salads and starters, to hearty meals rich in nutrients with ingredients so good that you barely notice the lack of meat. Take a look at some of our favorite dishes.

The Watermelon Fresca has a hint of mint and is sweetened with agave.
The Nuevo Native Nachos are a huge starter and are topped with black beans, guacamole, Native Cheese, soy ground beef, salsa, and chipotle crema.
The Carribean Jerk Kale Salad is topped with jerk-seasoned tempeh, avocado, mango, red peppers, and toasted coconut.
The Bangkok Curry Bowl is topped with seared tofu, steamed vegetables, brown rice and a lemongrass and ginger-infused coconut milk curry.
End the meal with the Peanut Butter Parfait, layered with Boogie Bar bits and chocolate chips.

Word on the streets is that another location will pop up in downtown San Diego, so keep your eyes open. For more information, visit www.nativefoods.com.