Palm Springs fashion & photography locations! Miffy x Strathberry wallet & purses, Moorten Botanical garden.

spiltmilk eyewear pink sunglasses, st barts eyebrows glasses

2020 started out well, with a jaunt in Palm Springs. How quickly things can change!

Right now, I’m dealing with smoky skies due to the west coast wildfires, in addition to a certain viral pandemic… It feels like we’ve entered the era of Mad Max / Dune / Blade Runner. 

But let’s look back through rose-colored glasses, at my January adventure in the California desert. As you might surmise, photographer Joey Wong and I were captivated by the Wild Wild West landscapes. Very glad we made this trip before the end of times. 

Strathberry x Miffy collection bags totes wallets coin purses

In other happy news – I wanted to share a new collaboration from one of my favorite handbag designers, Strathberry. They released a luxurious collaboration with beloved kawaii character, Miffy the bunny!

The new Strathberry x Miffy collection includes purses of all sizes and shapes, and accessories – like this ridiculously cute coin purse and wallet. The collab is a match made in minimalist heaven: the accessories’ clean lines and fine leather share the aesthetics of Dick Bruna’s designs. 

strathberry high end designer kawaii miffy bunny handbags wallets

How adorable is the pink Walker Street Miffy wallet, featuring the X-mouthed bunny with butterflies and flowers? There’s a midi-size version in white as well. 

Keep reading for close-ups of my Miffy coin purse, and more info. And see more of Strathberry’s outstanding leather designs below (all made in Spain from fine leather):


San Gorgonio Pass fashion blogger windmills coachella

Let’s go back in time to the pre-apocalypse, when our minds were focused on finding the best places in Palm Springs to take fashion or Instagram photos! 

Read on for our favorite photography spots, including mid-century modern houses, epic doors, a cactus garden, and rows of white turbines (above).

We’ll also take a look at Palm Springs’ LGBT nightlife, including drag queen shows.

cut out sexy sun dress cherry print dresses

Palm Springs’ dramatic mountains are the perfect backdrop for outfit photos. In January, we found this photogenic location next to the Tramway Gas Station, a modernist triangle designed by Albert Frey in 1965.

My Cali desert outfit consists of a hat by Tenth Street Hats, St Bart’s pink sunglasses from Spiltmilk Eyewear, red sandals by Lola Ramona, and a For Love & Lemons cherry print summer dress (get it here). 


I was excited to visit Moorten Botanical Garden, as it’s a top Palm Springs photography location. Founded in 1938, this living museum features more than 3000 species of cacti and desert plants. 

revolve fashion bloggers Moorten Botanical Garden palm springs

Wander through Moorten’s outdoor gardens, and be amazed by the wide variety of spiky cactus species.

circular ball cacti cactus species

Some cacti are tiny, while others are three times my height. A few look like the ones drawn in cartoons! And they’re all pokey, so watch your step.

cactus garden park museum palm springs moorten

Bring your DSLR camera, or use “portrait mode” on your smartphone — and have fun snapping close-up cactus photos.

fashion bloggers photoshoot, girl Moorten Botanical Garden

Be sure to visit the “cactarium,” which is the only indoor area of the garden. The enclosure houses the world’s rarest cacti, such as odd-looking specimen from South Africa, the Mojave Desert, and South America.

fuzzy cactus closeup spikes

What does this cactus remind you of? I wonder why Joey took its photo…

Moorten Botanical Garden is a spiky delight for plant-lovers and photographers alike.

Richard Neutra Kaufmann House tour modernism week

Many travellers come to Palm Springs for its golf courses, spas, and gay life. The resort city is also a favorite spot for retirees. As for me, I was mostly keen to see the mid-century modern architecture. 

Behold, Kaufmann House — designed in 1946 by Richard Neutra, a talented architect who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolf Schindler. Rising above stones, this sleek glass and steel vacation home is a Desert Modernist classic.

kaufmann house tour palm springs, architecture blogger

You can find a large number of mid-century homes in this style, known as Desert Modernism, throughout Palm Springs. Most are privately owned, so you can’t see the interiors unless you join an architecture tour.

I want to come back to Palm Springs for its annual Modernism Week. Some of the most famous MCM houses open their doors during this event, giving you a rare opportunity to look inside.

coachella valley wind turbines windmills landscape

As the sun began to set, we drove to perhaps the most iconic Palm Springs photography location: San Gorgonio Pass. These tall “windmills” are actually wind turbines. You can’t miss them, as there are more than 3000 spinners at the entrance of the Coachella Valley.

palm springs windmill farm modeling fashion coachella style

Pastel sunset + wind turbines + desert sand = Instagrammer or style blogger heaven.

Matching the pink skies with Spiltmilk sunglasses, and a pink cherry printed cut-out waist dress by For Love & Lemons. Find it here, and more below):


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The San Gorgonio Pass is one of the windiest places in the USA. The wind farm was established here in the 1980s, providing locals with clean and renewable energy.

coachella sunset skies windmill shape

The wind turbine silhouettes stand out against the candy floss sunset. No Photoshop needed: this is the unfiltered beauty of the California desert.

pink rose glasses spiltmilk sunglasses st barts

The light desert sand creates a space-like feeling. No wonder these “windmills” are among the top photography (or Instagrammable) spots in Palm Springs. 

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Is there life on Mars? (I’m ready to explore other planets, once the technology is there…)

wind turbines san gorgonio windmills

Grateful I was able to experience Palm Springs for the first time, before Covid-19 made travel impossible.

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Hang in there! We’ll make it to the other side soon, and be off on new adventures with a greater appreciation.

silhouette wind mills palm springs

After all, we Goths know that there is beauty in darkness…

palm springs drag queen shows, gay lgbt nightlife clubs

That night, we were keen to check out Palm Springs’ infamous LGBT nightlife. The main gay clubs and shops are clustered on Arenas Road, with storefronts lit up in neon.

Palm Springs has a friendly and casual gay scene. Anyone can bar-hop between the venues, which cater to different ages and preferences.

palm springs lgbt travel, arenas gay club district bars

We caught a drag queen performance at Hunters Palm Springs, on Arenas Road. This queen’s lip-syncing was as dramatic as her floor-sweeping gown!

(Hot tip: Tune in to the local K-Gay radio station. We blasted it every time we drove… I miss it so much!)

parker palm springs hotel entrance white wall door

A howdy to the Parker Palm Springs hotel for hosting us, and making our stay so memorable. You can see our full story about this hip hotel here.

The Parker Hotel is home to the most photographed / Instagrammed door in Palm Springs. We took an obligatory photo in front of the tall orange and white entrance.

big macrame owl, andy herman owls

Jonathan Adler designed the Parker’s interiors with his signature whimsy. I was tickled pink by this enormous macrame owl, by artist Andy Harman.

parker palm springs spa, yacht club nautical sailor interior decor

Stop by the Parker Palm Springs’ spa, which looks like a waterfront yacht club. Snap some photos with the nautical decor, and snack on some fresh fruits and herb-infused water.

the shining carpet parker palm springs jonathan adler

Check out The Shining carpets, and an enormous mid-century macrame owl… The Parker seems like it was designed for me!

famous palm springs hotels, doors

Enjoy my first post about the Parker Palm Springs here.

for love lemons cutaway waist sides cherry dress

If you’re enjoying these ‘fit photos, you can see more on my social media @lacarmina. Find La Carmina on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Perhaps you might be interested in owning something from my wardrobe… I’m still selling clothes and accessories on Depop (username @lacarmina)!  

Check out my Depop shop, and email me if you’d like anything from my personal collection. Happy to do discounts.

how to style face masks with outfits fashion bloggers tips

Things are quite different these days… Instead of planning my next international trip, I’m writing about how to style COVID face masks with your outfits! 

Check out my latest article for At Home in Canada magazine here.

aurelio voltaire goth musician masks home decor

We should all be wearing masks, but many people are reluctant to put one on. For this article, I turned to my stylish friends around the world for tips on how to look fashionable in face masks. 

aurelio voltaire gothic homemaking show goth furniture decorations

Here are some additional photos that I hope will inspire you. Aurelio Voltaire rocks a macabre mask and gloves…

josie stevens outfits fashion stylist covid face masks

Josie Stevens models masks from her fashion line. She created a collection of cheeky and edgy masks in a variety of prints.

josie stevens masks married to rock reality tv star

The stylist, designer, and “Married to Rock” reality TV star has an enormous selection of fashionable face masks for sale here.

gloomth medical masks taeden hall

Taeden Hall of Gloomth & the Cult of Melancholy, the Toronto-based Gothic indie fashion house, released a medical-art mask that is creepy cute perfection. Her model Azura Rose shows off the matching leggings, which come in inclusive sizes. (Photo of her by Stephie Scarlet)

stephanie yanez cute kawaii masks hello kitty face shield

Anime/J-pop musician Stephane Yanez is kawaii to the max, in her pink masks and Hello Kitty face shield!

goth face mask styling, gothic mad max apocalyptic masks

Last but certainly not least, Asia’s Goths show how mask-wearing is done. Mim Midori Lai rocks this devilish look, while Yukiro as drag diva Die Schwarze Frau “werrrkks” it. 

I hope these fashionistas worldwide inspired you to wear a mask with confidence.

miffy collaboration strathberry tote purse bag bunny rabbit

Accessories are everything… and the Strathberry x Miffy release is a head-turner! I’m delighted to update my wallet and coin purse with these cute meets luxurious designs, crafted from supple leather and gold hardware. 

miffy pink wallet strathberry luxury leather kawaii wallets

I’ve been a Miffy fanatic since childhood. These days, I focus on timeless, high quality leather bags and accessories — but preferably with a touch of cute. And so, the Strathberry x Miffy Walker Street Wallet is a dream come true. 

strathberry miffy anniversary designer wallet cute bunny

I love the compact size, which holds together with an easy snap button. It opens up to reveal a handy bill compartment, credit card slots and a zipped coin pocket.

miffy strathberry coin purse leather accessories dick bruna

And I’m seeing stars, with this Strathberry x Miffy cobalt leather coin purse! Love Dick Bruna’s illustration of the white rabbit with a moon and stars, surrounded by sleek orange edging.

The limited collection includes clutches, totes, crossbody bags, scarves… check out the adorable range here before it’s gone.

And browse more Strathberry bags below:


designer furry faux fux slippers, bedroom flip flops

Speaking of sweet bunnies… I’m staying at home almost all the time now, and lounging in these soft bunny-ears slippers from SlipperSin! These open-toed bedroom slides are so comfortable, and keep my feet protected. 

fuzzy white bunny rabbit bedroom slip on open toe slippers

I’m wearing these adorable faux fur slippers with bunny ears, which come in women’s US size 5-6 or 7-8. The “kawaii” pastel rabbit design is head-turning, without being heavy or cumbersome. 

slippersin cute kawaii novelty slippers, japanese bunny rabbit slides

In addition to these cuties, there are hundreds of slipper designs available on SlipperSin — including rainbow poofs, animal print booties, and other fab footwear for home. 

gothic medical illustrations coffee table book anatomica joanna ebenstein

I’ve also been riveted by the new book ANATOMICA, by Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy fame. (We met at the museum in NYC, and went on a Day of the Dead Mexico trip together!) 

In “Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy,” Joanna compiles bizarre and beautiful medical art from the 16-20th century. I was flabbergasted by some of the drawings, such as Japanese illustrations of “energy points” in the body, and a Chinese guide to tongue diseases! 

anatomica book by joanna ebenstein morbid anatomy author

Anatomica vividly shows how our understanding of anatomy and medicine changed over the years. We’ve always been fascinated by the human body and death. As you’ll see from the remarkable paintings of blood vessels and dissected cadavers, there’s a lot of beauty to be found within the “morbid.” 

Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy

You’ll encounter skulls galore as you flip the pages… It’s the perfect book for anyone who loves history, medicine, art, and all things Gothic. 

Anatomica is a labor of love by Joanna Ebenstein, and it’s out today.  This hard-cover, full-colored book is only $35 — well worth picking up a copy, as you’ll gain so much fascinating knowledge from it.

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In this age of COVID and wildfires, we’re remembering how much of an impact medicine has in our lives. Stay inside and keep healthy, everyone!

PS: You can see all my Palm Springs + California posts here. Dreaming of being back.


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