GUYS! What an experience! I knew I was getting into something big by signing up for Designer Vaca, but with the normal fears and anxiety of traveling alone, having roommates I didn’t know, catching a 3 hour ride from LAX to Palm Springs with 3 other girls I didn’t know…I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect! But it ended up being a life changing event – meeting people I can’t wait to connect more with, listening to speakers who have broadened my horizons & branching out in a way I was always too nervous to do. These ladies are all badass, hard working creatives and spending some quality time lounging around at the pool making connections was exactly what we all needed.
My ride in with Ngaio, Emily & Pam was super fun. Ngaio texted us a picture of the unexpected rental car she got paired with – a bright yellow convertable Camero, aka Bumble Bee from Transformers, ha. We made our way to the gorgeous Ace Hotel with the occasional stop (the best being In-N-Out.)
Our first night was all about meeting roomies (mine were AMAZING by the way – Martha, Maggie & Sarah), and mingling with the 170 ladies in attendance! There was an awesome photo booth, continuous margaritas, a table of macarons, and an awesome DJ. Since I had been up since 3:45am Eastern time, I was exhausted but managed to stay out until 10ish.
The next morning we wandered over to the Ace Hotel’s amazing restaurant The King’s Highway Diner for a delicious breakfast before our 1st speaker. All of the speakers were kept secret until they walked up to talk, which was pretty exciting. Our enthusiastic and inspiring first speaker was Bob Goff. He was funny, excitable and ready to share with us as much as he could. He talked about turning ourselves into love, being a reflection or reaction to our environment, and filling our bucket with things we wanted to become. He seriously was a hoot, with his loud booming voice which was pretty much on the verge of laughing at all times! He was a great start to our day and our weekend.
After the talk, a bunch of us wandered over to the Moorten Botanical Garden to check out some amazing cacti. Southern California has some amazing vibes. These things were outrageous!
We then literally hung out by the pool for the rest of the day. We wandered around making new friends, adding people into our little group chats, drinks in hand.
Later in the evening we had an awesome taco buffet dinner while we listened to one of the most inspiring talks I’ve ever been to, Elle Luna. People were literally tearing up by the end (myself included). It was moving, powerful & emotional. She spoke about her quest for passion and fulfillment, her essay about the Crossroads of Should and Must (which I saw online when she released it last year, but I only browsed it, when I really should have been reading it!!) and her new book which speaks to all of this. It seriously was life changing. This girl is so inspirational and kind, please check her out! I bought her book the minute I got home!
And lastly, on the morning of the last day, we had a great mini chat with Jessica Hische + her little nugget Ramona (ah so amazing to meet her in person) and we broke up into smaller groups for “Chalkboard Chats”. The smaller chats were just what I needed. The 1st one I went to was called “Sanity”, and about 10 of us talked about our experiences with being overwhelmed and how each of us copes with that, sharing personal tips. It was great to listen to others about their experiences and how we all overcome them. It was both eye opening and reassuring. The last talk I was apart of was “Collaborating & Working with Others”, which also was a great topic and up my ally (I want to collaborate all the time!). More people joined this group and we had a lovely chat about reaching out to work with the people you want, how to effectively work with others & again, shared stories from people who had done it successfully. I also got to be in these chats with an illustrator I’ve been following for awhile, Kelsey Dake, which was inspiring and awesome – she’s great!
Overall it was a top notch time, and I was so great to connect and befriend some really fun and creative ladies. I wish I got to meet more people, but it was great overlapping with people in smaller moments day to day (drinks at the pool, chalkboard talks, bumping into each other in the bathroom ha). I got to finally meet my newest favorite stationer from Odd Daughter Paper, Katie Hart – what a gem (and one of the many honorary roomies)! And I also met some amazing Toronto gals from my roomie Martha – Rachelle & Marta. *Funny story, when Rachelle walked in, I saw that she had a fun pin on that I’d been eying on etsy, so I told her – turns out, she makes it!! I was SO excited when she gave me my own at the end of the trip 🙂 Rachelle’s roommates ended up being some other amazing ladies we hung out with a ton, Linda, Erica & Stephanie.
Cheers to an amazing time and to planning next year’s trip! xo *And if you’re interested in hearing a couple other people’s recaps, you can check out these 2 – 6 Things I learned about myself at Designer Vaca and Julia Walck’s Designer Vaca recap.