Say Hello to Palm Springs, California!

Before I ever visited Palm Springs, California I had envisioned it to be stuck in the 1960’s. I had thoughts of old cars with “fins” riding up and down the palm tree-lined streets. I assumed that every home was painted pink or neon green (or both). And, that the sounds of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin were heard on stereos everywhere you turned.

You know what? I wasn’t that far off with my “visions”. You see Palm Springs is a quirky city. Parts of it are hipster 2022 while much of it seems stuck in the decade of Marilyn Monroe. In fact, the streets are often named after presidents who lived or vacationed in the area or mega-watt celebrities of past eras. And… I love it!

If you decide to visit Palm Springs (or are returning) – here are some tips on how to maximize the fun factor.

Book ahead. You can save a heap of $$ if you book ahead using one of the many discount websites. You know that I love TripAdvisor for just this reason.

We stayed at the Shadow Ridge Resort in the Palm Desert/ Rancho Mirage area, a Marriott property. This is a timeshare resort that offers apartments, when available. You can always trust that a Marriott will be top-notch with quality amenities – like golf, pool, spa, and more. For more information go here.


(Plus, many more suggestions below)

#1 PIONEERTOWN

This place is actually 45 minutes or so outside of Palm Springs. Known for being an old movie set converted to part artist colony and part honky tonk village – Pioneertown is sure to please most people. Please note that there is a lot of sand in Pioneertown. This will make mobility carts/ wheelchairs tough to get around. But, you can access the fun and delicious Pappy and Harriet’s restaurant without any problem. This place is reason alone to go to the high desert. Plus, you are very close to Joshua Tree – so consider that a bonus to your visit!

Scenes from Pioneertown


#2 The PALM SPRINGS TRAMWAY!

I absolutely love this tramway! The people are exceptionally nice and knowledgable. (A Shout-Out to a staff member – Gil!) The ten-minute tramway ride takes you to over 8 thousand feet above sea level. There are two restaurants at the top building. Plus, you can see miles and miles from the balconies and the building. The gift shop is really chocked full of fun and interesting items for all ages. And, the tramway is accessible for people who need mobility equipment. On the way down to the base building, our tramway conductor put on music, and collectively the riders sang to Neil Diamond’s, Sweet Caroline!

Call ahead for your tickets here.

Ride the tramway in this video!


#3 THE LIVING DESERT

The Living Desert combines a wonderful eco-friendly zoo with lovely botanical gardens. It is small enough to visit in just a few hours or discover in small bites. We went with friends when it opened because the Palm Springs afternoons can be brutally hot. Easy access and multi-lingual information is available. Great for couples, families, or solo travelers! Visit their website here.


Runner-Ups for my “Best of Palm Springs” list:

The Cabazon Dinosaurs. A fun park intended for families with young children. Great for Instagrammers!

The Palms to Pines Scenic Ride (and a visit to Lake Hemet)

Agua Caliente Casino – Actually there are three! Photo credit: Agua Caliente

Whitewater Preserve This is a great place to rest, relax, and have a picnic!

Wait there is more!

Click on the links below to discover more about Palm Springs

Great Restaurants on Palm Canyon Drive

Village Fest

Antique and Thrift Shopping

Traveling with disabilities to Palm Springs

Palm Springs Road Names (yes, many are in memory of celebrities!)


For more about Palm Springs and area hotels, restaurants, and more go to VisitPalmSprings.com

My Journey with the making of “The Salon” – Culminating with a Win! (Indie Series Award for Best Ensemble- Comedy)

It has been more than four years since I sat with my friend Roxanne Messina Captor at the Yellow Vase in Redondo Beach to discuss a possible extension of her short film – A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser. This older film with the not so politically correct title, told the story of the comings and goings of “frenemies” who routinely met at their upscale hair salon. Loosley based on Roxanne’s own experiences, the film became popular and award nominated. Fans of of principle actor, Harry Shearer loved it. Fast forward a few years to when Roxanne was being urged by her friends to continue the “chicks” storyline. With much consideration and more than a few cups of coffee- the ideas for “The Salon” began to percolate (oh come’on it was too easy to make that pun).

For me, meeting that day with Roxanne was my baptism into how one creates a digital series. This week, I found out that the arc of digital series making also can be a like a rainbow- with a pot of gold at the end. For on April 7th The Salon won the Indie Series Award for Best Ensemble – Comedy.

I have a confession. I didn’t expect us to win. The competition was fierce! In fact, I was so lackadaisical about us winning that a few minutes into the ceremony I took off my shoes. Only minutes before our category was announced by Jason Stuart and Mitch Hara did I think to put back on my shoes. That was a good call.

And the winner for Best Ensemble – Comedy goes to … The Salon! “, announced Stuart and Hara

I couldn’t believe it! With aching feet, but exhilerated, I joined Roxanne and members of the cast, Kate Linder, Luis Jose Lopez, and Akende Munalula to receive the award on stage. When we hopped on the stage we were met with lots of cheers from the audience. Roxanne began her eloquent speech that touched on how important inclusion was to her for this project. She told the attentive audience about how she used humor juxtapose with pathos in The Salon. She added her admiration to the ensemble cast who she remarked brilliantly brought the characters they played to life. She thanked the cast and crew – who worked for SAG deferment – and gave a shout-out to all who took this journey with her.

What a night! WOW oh WOW!

What next? Well, now we are on to the next chapter for The Salon.

When an award is given as a recognition of the caliber of a project- it is the hopes of the creators that there is a “something next”. In this case, the hopes are that The Salon finds a permanent home on a streaming network in order for a large audience to enjoy it and for the story to continue with a Season 2.

I hope I piqued your curiosity. And before ending this article let me give my own thanks to all who were involved – most of all the visionary – Roxanne Messina Captor.

Here are related links followed by photos from the Indie Series Awards and behind the scenes.

TheSalonDigitalSeries.com

Last press release

Meet the cast:

Official poster:


Indie Series Awards 2022 – The Salon photos


Behind the Scenes of the Making of The Salon

Everything Danish (almost) is found in Solvang, California

Looking for a get-away vacation? Perhaps a place to rest your weary head when traveling along the coastal highways of California? Look no further than the quaint, culturally rich, proud Danish town of Solvang.

The first time I visited Solvang, a hamlet about 40 miles north of Santa Barbara nestled in the San Inez area of California, was before my college years. The second time I was pushing a baby buggy. So, obviously, it has been a long while and I was overdue. The Solvang I remembered has grown, but still kept the charm I recalled. Ready to be enticed to visit with a Top 5 list of things to do when visiting Solvang? I hope so!


Here are my TOP 5 things to do while visiting Solvang.

Visit the Elverhoj Museum

Located on a side street, but close to town, is the charming Elverhoj Museum. Partly a historical homage to the city of Solvang and part art gallery, this museum was once was the home of Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha Mott. Both Viggo and Martha were renowned artisans. Together they built a sensational home/art gallery packed full of photos and art but nailing together boards the “old fashioned way” – one peg at a time. The building is a testimony to the heritage of Danish culture and the history of Solvang. Well worth your time and guess what – it is FREE (but donations are welcome!)

Discovering and Creating Solvang …

When you enter the Elverhoj museum take time to chat with the uber knowledgeable docents, Linda and Kirsten. They relay and weave many that may you feel as if you are being transported in time. After you have completed touring the rooms – be sure to stop in the art gallery. Currently, they have an exhibit titled Fables, Foibles, and Fairy Tales by Susan Read Cronin. These whimsical sculptures just add to the charm of this lovely experience!


#2 Old Mission of Santa Ynes

The Old Mission of Santa Ynes is a lovely place to go and visit a true California relic. However, due to Covid 19, it would seem that the mission has restricted tour hours. But, the grounds are open and they welcome guests walking about.


#3 Take a sweet tour…

The Solvang Visitor Center offers a variety of tours throughout the year. The walking tours are under two hours and stop at a variety of “hot” spots (Most stops are yummy bakeries and candy shops – my kind of tour!).

Along the way, you can spot the Hans Christian Anderson bookstore, see the horse-drawn trolleys, and visit the Water Tower. (Langauge aficionados will want to try to read the various inscriptions on the side of the tower – representing a variety of cultures). Oh, guess what?! Kirsten (from the Elverhoj) and her dad, Dean, were our tour guides!


#4 Wine! Wine! Wine!

Wineries and taverns with tastings are throughout this area. From small bistros downtown to the large vineyards that adorn the perimeter of the towns – you will find a wine for nearly every palate. Many establishments serve small bites – while others are minimalistic. Prices vary. Ask around. The local folks have their favorites!

#5 Solvang is a Restaurant Bonanza!

Solvang is known for being a town with top-notch restaurants- including the First and Oak – a restaurant with a Michelin star. And you can’t miss the smell of sweet delights that waft the streets from morning through the day due to the local bakeshops. Yes, the bakeries are filled with creamy this and bready that… all delicious. (Rumor has it that the Danish elves remove all the calories!?!)

Despite the Danish bakeries and great local fare restaurants, our favorite place to eat was Ramen Kotori a noodle shop nestled on a side street. This place knows how to “heat things up” – so be sure to order the Thai Tea, too!


In closing, Solvang is a great place to relax, eat delicious food, and learn about Danish culture. But, most of all – it is about the people. And for that reason alone- we will be back!

Quick Links:

Solvang Tourism Link: SolvangUSA.org

Chumash Casino Link (nearby attraction): http://chumashcasino.com

iPhone Night Photography

Did you know that there is awesomeness in your own backyard? Really! Some of the most interesting places to visit may be within 30 minutes of your home. You don’t need to travel far to have a “mini-vacation” or a “staycation”! And if you are in the Los Angeles area – check out the venues Hubby and I recently have visited- the Descanso Gardens (La Canada) and the South Coast Botanical Gardens (Rolling Hills).

These two places have a rotating set of exhibits. Recently, they offered a walk-through of the parks with holiday/winter-themed exhibits. Of course, we went and I took this as an opportunity to check out the night mode on my iPhone 11 Max camera.

I have learned through much trial and error that some of the best shots can be taken without a flash and/or when the lighting of the moon is “just right”. Here are some of my recent favorites. Enjoy!

GLOBE. GLOBE. globe. globe.

This first photo was taken at Descanso’s Gardens winter exhibit known as ENCHANTED. Nine individual-themed sections of this botanical garden created nine opportunities to explore and dream that you were in faraway lands. I decided with the image belowL that I wanted the tall trees to frame the image in an upside-down V formation. The globes are illuminated as part of the display.

photo credit: lmsattler


A SciFi Movie Set?

Again taken at Descanso Gardens with purple and blue lights hitting the tall trees. Photographed after sunset and when the garden staff employed a subtle fog machine to create the “smokey” look. How did I get this shot? Well quite frankly – it was simply by luck. I raised my camera phone and took this photo – “blindly”. The result is what some of my friends are calling my “Twilight Zone” / “X-Files” pictures!

photo credit: lmsattler

QUAD PHOTOS

A year ago I photographed these trees at the South Coast Botanical Gardens. I virtually stood in the same area but changed the setting on my iPhone. Do you have a favorite?


The Simplicity of Illuminated Trees

Trees that are illuminated with lights can produce some awesome photos. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the trees – you may just spot something spectacular – like a full moon!


Venue Links:

Descanso Gardens

South Coast Botanical Gardens

A note to my readers…

If you are a regular reader of my blog, LouiseSattler.com – you may have noticed some subtle changes. First, I refocused the themes of this website to be more about learning – but the fun kind of learning. Nothing boring, I hope, you will find here.

WHY?

Because Covid 19 has resulted in my wanting to pivot – all the way back to my “roots” as a psychologist working with children, their families, and teachers.

So, as a result of my “pivoting”, I no longer will be offering any (social) media marketing services with these few exceptions:

  • Maintaining my relationships with current clients.
  • Creating BLIP BILLBOARDS
  • Review of products, books, or services that are child, education, or family -“centric”.
  • Event reporting (tbd)

Know that backing away from the world of social media marketing truly is a gift – to me! While I have made scores of great friends and have had more amazing and wonderful experiences than I can count working in the media world- I also have seen the dark side. And, it isn’t pretty. And frankly, I can’t stomach the drama a day longer. I am done with it. I now want to spend my time making a difference in the lives of children.

I won’t bore you with details about who, what, where, and how I went from happy to “done”. But, I will say that although I am stepping away from the world of social media marketing – I am confident that many excellent people will remain who I would trust with my business promotional needs and can help yours.

So, What Now?

For me, 2022 will be filled with positive changes and renewals! You can expect the following in the coming weeks, months, and years…

While I haven’t quite mapped out my next steps – I do know that they will be focused on children and creating content to help make their lives and education easier and perhaps more successful. I want to create common sense “takeaways” – such as helpful suggestions for families struggling with homework woes.

I also wish to do the following here on this website:

  1. Use this website and fill it with resources I have sourced! Travel! Special Education! Psychology! and MORE!!

2) More conversation and sharing of my content via my FACEBOOK , INSTAGRAM, and TWITTER. This way we learn from each other.

3) Information about travel – especially for families who have unique challenges.

In closing, it feels good to be “back home” and to announce my intentions for 2022! Feel free to share how the past few years in “pandemic-mode” may have changed your career or family goals? Did you switch gears? Did you revert to what felt more “comfortable or traditional”? And check out below for a free download!

Below is a list of fun games and how they help skill development! The button to download free is below the image.

birds flying on a beach setting with these words: And suddenly your realized it was time for a change. A new path. A different journey. Oddly, it wasn't scary. It felt familiar. Comfortable. Accepting. It felt magical. Louise Sattler photography and quote

2020. We. Have. Had. Enough.

This will not be my usual post. It won’t be full of humor or “teachable moments”, but, instead a blog that puts 2020 to “bed” as we turn the proverbial calendar to 2021.

The year started off with such hope and promise. While tensions over elections were predicted to be high – no one really grasped the enormity of impact that could be made by a microscopic terrorist that was to ravage our globe. During 2020 Covid 19 became the devil that walked among us – everywhere – 24/7.

I stopped sleeping last January. I know the exact day that I started to only rest for about 4 hours a night – it was the day our daughter flew China Air to Asia. Her wanderlust took her on a great solo-preneur journey throughout Cambodia, Singapore and Bali. But, I had heard about this global terrorist – then called CORONA – and was petrified that the two would meet up. Thankfully, our daughter traversed Asia without crossing paths with CORONA.

By the time she returned to the US, the now termed “Covid 19” was at our shores. But, just a “few cases” – mostly isolated. People seemed to not take it seriously or thought it was “fake news”. Nor did we quite expect that within a few months in to 2020 this disease would take hold of the US from coast to coast and across the globe.

I equate my March birthday with QUARANTINE. At first it was a novelty. Happy hours every night on the street – physically distanced, of course. People stirring their creative juices, pivoting their careers and learning how to assume the role as their child’s teacher. Zoom became a noun and a verb in March – meaning to meet online and not to physically race past another person or vehicle.

By summer we thought we were going to get “sprung” and travel. Some folks did. Some stayed put. I continued to be one of those people who did’t venture more than a mile or five from home.

I discovered this past July that I have Covid 19 anxiety. Every time I see people in crowds I start to sweat and my heart races. I have left a store with a basket full of items upon hearing a single person across the store cough – once. No joke – I literally ran out of the store and to the car at a speed that may have broke my personal best running time due to a single little cough. That my friends is situational anxiety. I got it. It ain’t fun.

In August I started a new virtual job – pivot, pivot, pivot! I pivoted so many times and in so many ways that I found myself becoming dizzy. But, my new job is really good and replaces the dire straights I was feeling with trying to make my “old gig” work financially and spiritually – especially during a pandemic. (So, this may be the 2020 silver lining). While I still work in social media from time to time, I am really enjoying helping kids and their families as a School Psychologist.

By fall I realized that 2020 would end but Covid wouldn’t. I must admit the sadness started to really drift in to my psyche when it hit me like a brick the cumulative toll that 2020 took on so many of my family and friends. People had become seriously ill. People had died. People had lost their jobs, relationships and for some – hope. Covid was indeed the name of the new Satan. It had no mercy. It had no rationale. It was just the devil. It took too much from so many.

Then today happened. The devil took someone else. Someone I knew and admired. Her name – Dawn Wells, and on this second to last day of 2020 she died due to complications from Covid 19. You may know her as Mary Ann from the TV show, Gilligan’s Island, but, I knew Dawn for herself – a great person. Dawn and I met several years ago at the premiere for a web-series directed by the very talented, Steve Wishnoff, and starring her called, Life Interrupted. My “assignment” at the premiere was to snap some photos and “do” some social media postings. My goal was to at least introduce myself to Dawn – and I did. I snapped the photo below, and several others, and that was the start of our first “meet and greet”. She invited me to sit next to her and we chatted for what seemed like quite a long time. We talked about her work with the awesome ensemble cast and crew of the series. Then we chatted fashion, how great she looked in the color she was wearing, and how I could never don an outfit in that hue of yellow. We gabbed, we laughed, and we said good-bye. I didn’t know it then – but we would cross paths again.

Dawn Wells at the LA premiere of
Life Interrupted,
May 2015 Photo: Louise Sattler

Photo by Louise Sattler, October 2017

Life Interrupted also was my pick for opening the San Pedro Film Festival (SPIFFEST) in 2017 – where Dawn and I met up again. I was helping put together the festival and thought it would be fun to celebrate the opening night with a party. Dawn attended and again we spent quite a bit of time talking and sharing funny stories. She was a huge “trooper” as she wasn’t feeling her best that evening – but you would never have known that!

Dawn impressed me as a consummate professional and genuinely an amazing person. I didn’t know her well – but I was glad we had an opportunity to meet and share some laughs. She was indeed very special.


Today, the news of Dawn passing came to me via text as I was leaving the dentist office. That was it. 2020 finally got to me. I broke. I cried all the way to my car and then the whole drive home. It was a sucky day.

Then this happened. A sunset. A glorious sunset with random formations of clouds and blue skies peaking through. I noticed that in the photo a little glimmer of yellow – perhaps nature’s tribute to Dawn?

If nothing else, the sunset reminded me that there is a lot wonderful days ahead. We just need to have patience, grit, and hope.

See you in 2021.

~Louise

Photo credit: Louise Sattler, Dec. 30, 2020

OY! What a Year! Photos Included.

I have started and stopped writing this “Retrospect of 2020” blog – a dozen times. Seriously. I started to organize my thoughts into a succinct blog days ago – each time with the intention to write about why we need to be hopeful and positive as we turn the calendar to 2021. I wanted to write about being grateful . I wanted to write how I learned so much by literally staying home. Yet… what I ended up typing (and deleting 12 times) was a potpourri of complaints. My rants ranged from a tirade of how so many people ended the year with unfathomable heartache due to Covid 19 to my disgust with the polarization of our country – largely due to politics. Delete. Delete. Delete… etc.

Finally – on my 13th attempt to write this blog – I found clarity.

2020 was about survival. I don’t have any words of wisdom for 2021. No big resolutions. No grand plans.

So, I end the year with a blog of photos from the year. Hard to believe that 2020 was a year that we saw LA Zoo Lights New Year’s weekend- back when the year held so much promise. Then off to Nevada to see Alan Parsons in concert and hike red rocks! January, February and early March also brought fabulous times including with the cast of THE CUBAN at the PanAm Film Festival followed by the LA Travel and Adventure Show, cheering our favorite films of 2019 the Oscars at a party at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, working on The Salon Digital Series for Emmy consideration, and celebrating Margaret McSweeney’s induction in to the Hall of Fame for the Taste Awards! Then Covid hit and we pressed the pause button. That is when you will see my photos become more of my surroundings -including starting a fairy garden for neighbors to enjoy. I learned to listen to nature and appreciate the simplicity of life. Enjoy my photos and please drop your blog in the comments for me to check out your year in review.

Be well. Be safe. Happy 2021. ~Louise

All photos are the property of Louise Sattler. Snapped with an iPhone 8 or iPhone 11 Max. 2020 All Rights Reserved Louise Sattler


A Driving Vacation to Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Sedona

If you ever want to feel small while delving in to nature –   drive to the many outrageously big canyons that grace our national parks. Including the Red Rock Canyon National Park  in Nevada. There is where Hubby and I started a week long vacation to visit the Red Rocks of Nevada followed by many places, including the Grand Canyon and Sedona, in Arizona.  

And, because I am often best telling a story through a lens versus the printed word, I offer you many a photo.

DAY 1

The excitement of the trip began days before we even packed when I was diagnosed with bronchitis and tonsillitis.  Should we go? Should we stay home? Well, I hate to be told I CAN’T do something, so we packed and went anyway.  By the time we hit the Nevada border I was glad I had stopped at my doctors for much needed prescriptions, including an inhaler. That little medication literally saved me later on in the journey. 

When you drive in to Nevada from California it is hard to not notice the billboards for Vegas hot spots  and note the lack of announcements for much of anything else. Yet after we found some quick bites to eat we  wandered in to the Red Rock Canyon National Park.  WOW! A mere 30 minute drive from downtown Las Vegas, it is a delightful place to spend an afternoon.

Tip #1 - When traveling with a cold be sure to bring all your "must have" sniffle supplies! Purchasing them on the road can be a hassle and also expensive!

 After I had seen about as many red rocks as I could handle, we ventured in to Las Vegas and parked for the night at the Westgate Resort and Casino.   This well appointed room was found on TripAdvisor who then connected me with one of their recommended third party sources. Easy as pie! Plus, I made some ‘dough” on both the cost of the room and  thanks to a quick trip to  the Quick Hits slot machine at this location. 

Bonus: A Youtube video to explain Quick Hits 

 

DAY 2

I never heard of Williams, Arizona before. But, it seemed like a place to stop given two factors, 1) The signs for Route 66 2) There was a Dairy Queen located in the town.  Now neither of those may be compelling reasons for you to want to stop. But, for me – it was worth it as Dairy Queen’s are not common in our part of California.  And, I am a sucker for any store with Route 66 tchatchkes. I loved meeting the local people,  many who gave us tips about visiting the Grand Canyon and Sedona.  

Tip #2: Sometimes the best photo is found off the highway.

Day 3

The majestic Grand Canyon!  Despite my feeling like a ton of red rocks were resting on my chest – I managed to still enjoy the mighty Grand Canyon.  (But, warning… it is up high! Like 7 thousand feet above  sea level. )  All the photos uploaded on this blog were snapped on my iPhone 8 plus.  They are unfiltered and uploaded as is. 

Tip #3: And, sometimes the best photo is found in the quiet of a canyon. But, remember to pack water to stay hydrated as you hike, snap photos and enjoy the vistas all around you.

Bright Angels - Grand Canyon
Mohave Point at sunset
Tip #4 - Spend at least two days or more in Sedona, Arizona. There is way too much to see and enjoy in a single day

DAYS 4 & 5

Sedona is like no place I have ever seen.  We entered this hamlet from a road that was recommended to us by a new “friend” from Williams.  He said to take this longer trek  to truly enjoy the scenery and be wooed by the mountains.  By the time we hit our hotel – The Bell Rock Inn – I was in love with this area. The rocks formations are like no other ones I had seen on this trip.  They seemed to be humongous towers from a movie set standing tall among the village. They were a backdrop to the town, the residences, the parks and schools. These mountains aptly called by appearance – The Cathedral, The Bell Rock,  Snoopy, etc. – were to this part of the southwest like the Pacific Ocean is to Southern California – the grande dame! 

When you visit Sedona be sure to go to the visitor center. There are several and each one is chocked full of great information.  Sedona itself is known for its’ artist colony, healers and diversity. Among the maps and tourist info I even found guides   for LGBTQ travelers and residents.

Sidenote: I always am curious as to the housing market in areas we visit. Compared to Southern California, most are cheaper than we are used to seeing. But, Sedona does present itself with a wide array of price points for housing, much of it pricey and some more affordable.  I can see why many retire to this state. Although I may need a lot more convincing knowing the heat index is well over 90 degrees much of the year.  

The food is also a mixture of Tex-Mex and “eclectic coffee house”.  Don’t expect to see a Starbucks on every corner – they are few and far between. But, do wander in to the several local coffee establishments that will gladly serve you a very fine espresso or latte. 

Without further adieu, I present you the sights of enchanting Sedona, Arizona…

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Oh, and in case you are wondering.. I am feeling much better! 🙂