Brie Barbaccia, desert aficionado and owner of a seriously good head of hair
Brie is a fashion and lifestyle brand manager, event producer, and the Creative Director of Modrn PR (so “hugely successful” is a pretty good descriptor) – and easily one of the most stylish and in-the-know (about pretty much everything) women I’ve ever met. She could also have a second career as a high desert tour-guide: we just spent a couple of days tooling around the area on a girls’ weekend, and Brie executed an itinerary so perfect – hikes! vintage shopping! cool bars with live music! midcentury-modern hotel rooms with plunge pools! – that this weekend just went down in my personal history as one of my all-time favorites.
Tl;dr: When it comes to brand management, style, and the desert, Brie knows what she’s talking about. So let’s give her a listen.
Trying on safari attire (obviously) at The End, in Pioneertown
BRIE’S TOP 5 JOSHUA TREE-AREA MUST-DOS:
(1) Hike the Park
Whenever I make a trip from LA out to the desert, my #1 Priority is getting into Joshua Tree National Park for a sunset hike, followed by a trip to Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown to see The Sunday Band. (I usually stay overnight on a Sunday; the crowds at the park are a lot lighter, which makes for a more relaxing trip.)
(2) Take a Sound Bath At The Integratron in Landers, CA
Described as “kindergarten naptime for grownups,” this geodesic dome in Landers is where you go to meditate (or attempt it at least). Make sure to call ahead and make an appointment, because spaces in the dome fill up quickly. And FYI: The space can also be rented out by groups for overnight sleepover; I did this for a friend’s birthday and totally recommend it.
(3) Brunch at La Copine
This New American restaurant and supper club in Yucca Valley serves things like beignets, grits, and “The Biggie Shorty” (braised short ribs and fondue on a baguette). When you drive out, make sure to take the long way through Pioneertown and Pipes Canyon Road (where I one day hope to build my off-the-grid dream home) to check out sights that rival the drive through Joshua Tree National Park.
(4) Cocktails at Bootlegger Tiki
Missing those craft cocktails that are rampant in every major city? Drive down to Palm Springs and go to Bootlegger Tiki for kitschy decor and a drink with an umbrella in it.
(5) Buy A Cactus at The Cactus Mart
I never leave the desert without a making trip to the Cactus Mart, in Morongo Valley, to pick up a few new pets for my backyard. The variety of succulents is better than what you’ll find at most LA nurseries, and the prices are much more reasonable. (They even sell seed packs of Joshua Trees; I purchased some about a year ago, but haven’t started the science experiment yet.)
At the Hotel Lautner, in Desert Hot Springs
BRIE’S TOP FIVE MUST-BRINGS FOR A DESERT ROAD TRIP:
The dry desert plus my fascination with collecting rocks (outside of the National Park of course) means that my hands get pretty banged up. This cream has a really nice consistency to it and smells great. (Plus it’s a great perfume replacement when I forget to pack my usual scent.)
I hate single-use, plastic water bottles (and even if I liked them, they don’t do well when left in the sun). I always travel with a stainless steel water bottle that I can use – and refill – along the way.
(3) Good Tunes
I’m a big fan of creating playlists in Spotify, and like to get in the road trip and desert mood as soon as I leave my driveway. Tip: make sure the playlist is set so that it’s available in an off-line mode, since cell service is really spotty, especially in the more scenic areas. My collection of tunes includes everyone from Future Islands to Philip Glass and Beach House to Nina Simone, and a friend recently turned me on to Chris Stapleton, Sam Outlaw and Sturgill Simpson.
(4) Caudalie Skincare
I always make a pre-trip stop at Caudalie on Abbot Kinney, in Venice, to pick up travel supplies. Because the desert is so dry, it’s important to drink a lot of water and also important to hydrate your skin. I love Caudalie’s natural skincare line, and they sell a lot of their products in travel sizes. My favorites: the Moisturing Toner, the Lip Conditioner, the Divine Oil and the Hand & Nail Cream.
(5) A Back Issue of National Geographic
It’s the only magazine subscription I get, and I sometimes don’t have the time to read it cover to cover at home. When I get to the desert, I suddenly feel peaceful and clear, and find that I’m more absorbent to reading about – and learning – new things.