Summer Road Trip Recap!

Above: A glimmering rainbow somewhere in Utah. 
And now, a brief departure from all things beauty (although, makeup invariably ferreted its way into this post!): as I’ve mentioned in blog posts and recent videos, I returned last week from a 12-day road trip across seven states (California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming) and am excited to share an overview of the experience.  Since were were driving, it was easy to document the landscape, which was rife with photogenic moments! 
I hope you enjoy the journey…
Above: We were sad that this highly-praised small town diner was closed the day we passed through town.  The expansive list of shake and malts in the window further intensified our disappointment ; ) 

After an ambitious drive from Southern California to St. George, Utah on our first day (mitigated by a brief dinner stopover at PF Chang’s in Las Vegas, NV), we found ourselves driving across the vast state of Utah, which yielded hundreds of miles of pristine flatlands, immaculately-maintained small towns and skies filled with delightfully fluffy clouds.

Above: A creative planter with bright skies and the Mormon Temple in the background.  

We spent one night in Salt Lake City, Utah and explored the famed Mormon Tabernacle…the grounds were well-manicured and featured an array of gothic architecture that posed striking contrast to the bright blue skies.

Above: My husband and me in Salt Lake City.

After some requisite picture taking in the gardens, hark, I spotted a Nordstrom in the distance…we ended up picking up Mocha Ice Storms at the eBar and perused the store.  Miraculously, I left without purchasing a single item…I made sure to record that moment in my planner because it doesn’t happen often!

Above: The Salt Lake City Nordstrom in the horizon. 
Above: Crossing the state line to Idaho.

Onward, we briefly drove through Idaho and the weather and terrain changed rather dramatically.  The temperature dropped and the flatlands transformed into smaller mountains ranges and valleys, giving the land texture and character.

Above: The Wyoming state sign was my favorite on this trip…pure Western Americana.

Before nightfall that day, we made it to Wyoming (our farthest point in the trip).  After a few days of nearly 100 degree weather, the brisk weather felt wonderful…I was actually able to put on a jacket on and the rural surroundings emanated a vibe of the real Wild West!

Above: Side braid to save the day. I love how the clouds are reflected in my glasses in this image…the skies were utterly gorgeous in Wyoming.

We got a restful night of sleep at our lovely hotel in Jackson Hole, WY and the next day, we headed to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks.  Because it was quite windy, a loose side braid seemed like an apropos hairstyle for the afternoon.

Above: One of the many geysers and geothermal pools we encountered while taking the two mile walk along the “boardwalk” at Yellowstone. 

The Grand Tetons National Park offered lush forest and meandering waterways, but Yellowstone National Park blew my mind.  The geysers and geothermal pools created an amazing landscape to behold…it truly felt like we were on another planet!

My brother and me at the geysers in Yellowstone National Park. 
Above: The kind and knowledgeable Shayne and me in front of her beauty boutique. 

After a full day of driving and walking through Yellowstone, we opted to explore the charming city of Jackson Hole.  Aside from Las Vegas, this was by far the most populous and retail-friendly city, with adorable shops and tasty restaurant options.  I stumbled upon an adorable boutique called Shayne Skin Care and Cosmetics.  It was like an oasis in the beauty desert that I had encountered up to that point!  Stocked with independent beauty lines and skin care favorites from Decleor and Caudalie,  this store keeps the fine citizens of Jackson Hole glowing!

I also was introduced to a line that was new to me called H.Wood.Beauty, which had a full offering of products and left with a lovely pinky nude lipstick called Newport (full review soon!).

Above: The H.Wood.Beauty line and a swatch of Newport on my wrist.

Above: Some other spoils from Jackson Hole…husband and father trying on cowboy hats like crazy and a perfectly comfortable pair of  tall,  flat boots.  I wore them the rest of the trip!
Above: Jethro and me in front of the famous antlers of Jackson Hole. 

Upon leaving Jackson Hole, we drove a dirt road eight miles (which, naturally, felt like 20) to a hot springs up in the hills.  This pool of sorts has water from the hot springs pumped into it consistently…a totally strange incarnation in the middle of nowhere! The proprietor told us to make sure we don’t accidentally drink any unless we wanted amoebic dysentery.  Uh…no thanks.

Above: The hot springs in the hills of Wyoming.
Above: My brother and me post-hot springs…still alive! Oh, and my lip color is Newport ; ) 
Above: In a ponderous mood…trying to make sense of that which is the Outlaw Inn.

Late that night, we then checked into what I might deem the hotel with the most bizarre (yet oddly alluring ) architecture I have ever encountered (and I’ve stayed at a host of hotels/motels, both large and small).  The Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs, Wyoming, was like a typical motor inn, except that it had a roof over the entire property, making it feel like you were outdoors while being indoors.  It’s difficult to articulate to say the least.  Couple that with the early 1960’s vibe and I can safely say that I won’t be forgetting this place anytime soon!

Above: The Outlaw Inn…another view.  Quick question…why are there umbrellas by the pool? 

From Rock Springs, Wyoming to Grand Junction, Colorado, we detoured to Dinosaur National Park, which boast a plethora of fossils nestled into its rocky canyons.  Although we were too late for the last shuttle to view the bones themselves, we did get to see some manmade dinosaur formations at the front of the visitor center…almost the same thing, right?

Above: Yes, that is a dinosaur behind me.
In Colorado, we visited an endearing little town called Palisade.  Known for its peaches and small town charm, we had a marvelous time strolling the heart of the city for snacks and souvenirs. 
Above: A typical view from anyplace on Main Street in Palisade.

We then pulled back into Utah (albeit, a different section of the state than we had been in previously) and checked into our hotel in Moab, a small town known for two national parks: Canyonlands and the Arches. The bright red rocks and giant Colorado River created a vibrant palette for eyes!

Above: Our unreal view at dinner.

Our first night in Moab, we ate dinner al fresco on the river and, although there were a litany of flies to bat away (apparently that is to be expected during this time of year), the view at the Cowboy Grill at Red Cliffs Lodge was beyond gorgeous!
Above: Handling the flies like champs.
Above: Arches as far as the eye can see and tiny, tiny people.

Arches National Park was strikingly beautiful…the intricate formations are true icons of the West, calling to mind God’s glory and our small stature.  We braved the heat and merciless sun (thank you baseball cap and Napoleon BBB Cream for the added protection!) to walk the trails that led to intimate views of the most famous of the arches.

Above: My lovely mom and me enjoying some temporary shade. 
Above: My husband, Jethro and me.  It’s tricky to skillfully fit all three of us into my iPhone camera window ; )
Above: Dual arches appropriately titled, “The Double Arch.”
Above: Poolside, watching the storm approach.

After a couple of days of exploring the red canyons and fantastic formations of Moab, we decided to spend some restful time at the gorgeous pool at our hotel.  It was so relaxing to soak up some sun and do a bit of reading.  I’ll admit, I also took advantage of the speedy Wi-Fi to return email and prep a blog post ; ) Later in the afternoon, a wild thunderstorm rolled in; the extreme winds, rain and lighting forced us to take refuge in our rooms nearby.

Above: The Colorado River at sunset, right before departing on our boat ride. 
Fortuitously, the rainstorm cleared up, just in time for us to take an evening boat ride along the Colorado River.  The sunset was spectacular and once it became dark, our guide put on a light show along the canyon walls that channel the river.  It was peaceful and engaging…I have never quite experienced any attraction quite as unique and memorable! 
Above: The night sky above the Colorado River.
Above: When he’s tired,  Jethro can slumber anywhere.

After our adventures in Moab, Jethro was duly exhausted.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that one step for us is many steps for his little feet!

Above: Clouds, clouds and more clouds…just breathtaking.

Our drive from Moab to St. George, Utah was punctuated by a bevy of clouds (that at times, produced torrential rain) and over the course of our winding route, we found ourselves bouncing between Colorado and Utah until we reached our final destination.

Above: The Marc Jacobs Beauty line at Sephora in the Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada. 

On our last day of our travels, we reached Las Vegas by noon, which allowed for a perusal of the Sephora at the Venetian.  I was excited to explore the recently released Marc Jacobs Beauty line (initially reviewed HERE) and ended up selecting a key set of items to experiment with at home.

Above: The men sitting in “their chairs” at Sephora (needless to say, they’ve been in this position before).  They are patient and supportive, which is a blessing, indeed!
Above: Immediately following a leisurely dinner at Canaletto.
Our trip ended with a beautiful dinner at Canaletto in the Venetian hotel…we always enjoy the people watching, relaxed environment and delicious Italian food and this meal was no exception.  Upon leaving, we were sated and alert, ready to make the 4 1/2 hour drive home that evening safely and without incident! 
Above: Jethro loves getting fresh air when driving.  He truly is the best traveler!
Bottom Line:  Road trips, while slightly exhausting at times, allow for one to truly experience the territory traversed in a personal way.  Every cloud, sunset, mountain and dirt road is processed first hand!  When I think about the fact that we can drive thousands of miles in comfort in such a relatively short period of time, it makes me really thankful for the pioneers and settlers who were brave enough to migrate West, going no more than 20 miles a day over rough terrain, in extreme heat and cold all the while facing uncertainty and palpable danger.  Five hours in an air-conditioned car mournfully pales in comparison to such a feat!  I am grateful to have explored the beautiful country in which I live the the people I love most; it was a lovely break from the everyday routine and expanded my perspective of America on so many levels.  
What kind of road trips have YOU taken?  Would love to hear about your experiences!
–The Beauty Professor
**Next up on the blog…swatches of the YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation, a review of the NARS Cream Foundation, a peek at Armani Rouge Ecstasy lip color and details for a special Beauty Professor event for Southern California localsplease save the date of 9/18/13 11 AM…more to come!! 

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Comments (22)

  • Anonymous Reply

    Such beautiful places and a beautiful family, you are blessed! The west is so fascinating to drive through. I thoroughly enjoyed the post, thanks for sharing!

    August 23, 2013 at 4:04 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you very much, Anon…I am so glad you enjoyed this post. I am truly blessed indeed. I hope you've had a wonderful summer!


      –The Beauty Professor

      August 23, 2013 at 4:52 am
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hi B.P absolutely breath-taking! Thankyou for giving us a peek at the wonderful journey you had with your family. I must say you look amazing in every photo. It almost looks like your in various ads for magazines. Your family is great and I certainly got a kick out of the photo of the guys in their white shirts! Too funny that they all had them on. What can I say about Jethro….adorable! Your traveling Buddy. My husband had a chance to visit Jackson& the Grand Tetons when he was in his friends wedding party. The landscape pics blew me away as well. What a beautiful world we live in. In the hustle & bustle of life, we tend to forget. Thank you,I truly enjoyed it.

    August 23, 2013 at 5:12 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Oh Lynn…you are too kind to me! I always strive to keep the posts on this blog wholly beauty related but sometimes a girl must deviate from the norm at bit ; ) Thank you for all of your sweet compliments! My family and Jethro are such gifts in my life and I am grateful that we had the chance to take this trip together…it's not often a group of adults (who happen to be related) coordinate travel of this nature. I hope you get the opportunity to visit the Jackson Hole area in the future…it truly feels like a totally different way of life.

      Have a lovely weekend, beautiful friend…xoxo and talk soon!

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 23, 2013 at 5:21 am
  • Unknown Reply

    Hi Beauty Professor,
    What a great post. I would love to visit Wyoming one day (maybe when the kids grow up). I am originally from New Zealand where I grew up in a horse farm so these sorts of areas appeal to me so much and your photos make it even more appealing. As always you look stunning and what a beautiful family you have. Loved your hair in the side braid it really suited you.
    What colour have you got on your lips in the first few pics it looks great and so does the new one you bought, just the colour I love love.

    Have a fabulous weekend.
    Julie Xoxo

    August 23, 2013 at 8:32 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Julie,

      Thank you so much! I highly recommend a trip to Wyoming whenever you can swing it…the land is just so expansive and full of history. A horse farm in New Zealand…sounds idyllic! Thanks for your kind words about my pictures ; ) In the first few pictures, I was wearing Kanebo Sensai lip color in Ususakura with a bit of Tom Ford gloss in Naked on top (one of my favorite combinations).

      Enjoy the weekend…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 24, 2013 at 5:08 am
  • Kate Reply

    Hello friend!
    Your road trip is literally one of my dream vacations. I have always wanted to explore that part of the country – especially Wyoming and Utah. The pictures are gorgeous, and have reignited my desire to head out that way. Plus, I could schedule a visit with my friend, the Beauty Professor!!

    I have totally been to that restaurant in Vegas at the Venetian! I recognized it instantly. And, I do love that Sephora in the Venetian. We stayed at the Venetian when we were out there, and it was dangerous to be that close to a Sephora (and the countless other shops!)

    Loved seeing the pics of the fam. What a beautiful family, and how wonderful to be able to travel with them!

    Take care and talk soon!


    August 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello dear Kate!

      Wow…thank you! It was quite an adventure–you totally need to go and also come visit me ; ) The fun we'd have at LA makeup counters is guaranteed!

      I love that you recognized Canaletto…it is so tasty and at the heart of the prettiest section of the Canal Shops (with Barney's etc. right around the corner in the Palazzo).

      Thanks for your warm words about my pics and family…they are such a blessing!

      I hope your weekend is off to a great start, dear friend…xoxo and talk soon,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 24, 2013 at 5:18 am
  • BulldogMommaForever Reply

    I would love to do a road trip someday – thanks for sharing yours!
    LOVE those boots! What is the brand and style?

    August 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      My pleasure and thanks! My boots are by Liberty Black and they are in a shade called El Paso Tan. I think that the style name might be Lote, but it was difficult to tell on the box : )

      I hope that helps…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 24, 2013 at 5:27 am
  • ZOE (aka LittleMissForty) Reply

    Hi Rachel….Thank you for the gorgeous photo's of your fabulous trip. My road trip in 97 started in SF and went onto Tahoe, Yosemite, Kings Canyon Bakersfield Grand Canyon, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Joshua Tree and LA. (sure I got the order wrong). It was amazing…all in an RV….I want to do it again…but perhaps do a different trip. Coming from a small island…I so appreciated the 360 degree views which you rarely get in England and the big skies. Can I ask what breed of dog is Joshua..he looks to have Poodle and Old English Sheepdog colouring too? He is a bit of a babe…anyways! lol I LOVED your black booties you had on with your shorts…are they are recent acquisition? Loved them! So glad you got to buy some make up eventually though….and self-restraint in Nordstrom…very commendable indeed! Have a great weekend 🙂 xo

    August 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello LMF!!

      So happy you enjoyed this post…it was fun for me to document everything in this way. Your road trip sounds like it was an exciting adventure…I know all the places you mention very well. What did you think of Death Valley? I've grown up going there during the springtime before it gets too hot…it is such a strange yet alluring place, no? Yes, the big skies in the desert are breath taking, indeed! I've never been to England (or any part of Europe, for that matter) and would love to visit sometime.

      Jethro is a Peke-a-Poo (half Pekingese, half Poodle) and many mistake him for a baby Sheepdog so you have a great eye!! He is such a little angel. I just had to pet him while typing this because he's so darn cute : )

      My black boots are from Madison Harding ( and based in NYC) and are called the Olivia booties…they were actually designed by one of my past college students whose also a very successful fashion blogger named Olivia Lopez. When I saw them, I had to get a pair (and they're comfortable, too!). I think the line is coming out with white and tan ones for spring so they still might be on the website now!

      I appreciate your commendation of my restraint in Nordstrom…only a makeup lover can truly understand that feat ; )

      Have a beautiful weekend…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 24, 2013 at 5:42 am
  • princess wendala Reply

    hi rachel!!! this was such an awesome post! i felt like i was traveling with you. next time, please keep driving because i want you to come to ohio and visit me!!! i've never really been out west only a stop in utah to connect to another plane to get to anaheim. i remember staring out the airplane window hoping to take a glimpse of what utah looks like. i do believe that jethro is passing my much beloved "boo" as world's cutest dog! as always, i'm available for dogsitting. xoxo to you!

    August 24, 2013 at 12:18 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Wendy!

      Oh my…thank you so very much! I love that you felt like you were traveling with us (that was my goal)…the iPhone 5 camera is pretty amazing for capturing every moment as it is lived. Your comment made me smile…would you believe, that despite 3 or 4 cross-country trips in my lifetime, I've never been to Ohio?! I have a few friends that live there but haven't ever made it to the state! When you were in Anaheim, did you go to Disneyland? Jethro sends his thanks for the honor of being world's cutest dog in your book because he knows how adorable and popular Boo is. He's feeling pretty good right now ; )

      xoxo and talk soon!

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 24, 2013 at 5:47 am
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hi B.P, saw your instagram pic of the armani lipstick….So excited! Wanted to tell u after reading your tip about putting the Napolean BBB under Kanebo I too tried something today. I have not received the Napolean yet but put The Jouer tinted moisturizer under my kanebo foundation instead of the LMdB Peau vierge. I almost felt like I was cheating on My fav product, Peau vierge, but went ahead anyway! haha I had a ridiculously busy day at the salon with back to back clients & no lunch or time for touchups. Well to my surprise, my Kanebo foundation over the Jouer stayed completely perfect!! Thanks for the idea! Also I'm not sure if u got my question about which powder to buy b/c there was some sort of error last night & I don't see it posted yet. I'll keep my eyes peeled, maybe u have'nt gotten to it yet. I need to pick a powder that does'nt cancel out the finish of the Kanebo's luminosity & 1 that does'nt look cakey. chanel les beige says it's a healthy glow but marc jacobs says it feather-light & brightening. Your thoughts are always appreciated. xoxo

    August 24, 2013 at 12:54 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Lynn,

      Hooray for Instagram…yet another way to connect in this wide world! I think you will love the new Armani formula…with over 20 lip colors in the collection, I was proud of narrowing it down to only one ; ) Thanks for sharing your experience with the Jouer/Kanebo combination…I love that it worked so well for you and will have to try it myself this weekend! I did get your question about the powder and was able to publish it tonight…will answer it on that post. This day was full of adventure; my mom and I went to a Rudolph Valentino memorial service at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (we love old movies) and then did a bit of shopping in town. In turn, I knew I wouldn't get to comments until I got home tonight!

      xoxo and hope your weekend is off to a splendid start,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 24, 2013 at 5:58 am
    • Lynn127 Reply

      Thank-you so much. Glad you had some time with your Mom today. Hope it was fun. Started off my weekend after work with some shopping at the Gap & bought their new studded skinny jeans!! Love! Starting to finally get excited for some new fall clothes. Still not 100% happy summer is nearly over though. Enjoy your Sunday. 🙂

      August 25, 2013 at 5:07 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Lynn,

      My pleasure…yes, my mom and I had a delightful time in LA…good start to the weekend. Your new Gap studded skinny jeans sound stunning…will have to look them up online ; ) All of the sudden, it is inordinately hot here; as of today, the dry Santa Ana winds are fiercely blowing…cool fall weather please come soon!!

      xoxo, talk soon and have a lovely Tuesday, friend!

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 27, 2013 at 4:57 am
  • Kainita Reply

    Dearest BP,

    Wow so much to comment on! Thank you so much for sharing the memories of your lovely trip! All the photos were absolutely breathtaking and really highlighted the inherent beauty of the different places which you visited. How wonderful that you were able to go with your family and of course, take Jethro! He seems to get cuter and cuter in every pic and I am sure had a ball as well. The photo with the clouds reflected in your sunnies was just fantastic, and hopefully will be one that you can look upon frequently to remind you of that trip. I have to say, that the photo of the boys waiting for you at Sephora really resonated with me as that has happened to me numerous times with my husband, where he's being supremely patient whilst I have being perusing Mecca Cosmetica (similar to Sephora although stocking predominantly high end products)!!!!

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us and allowing us to experience through your eyes some magical parts of your beautiful country.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend with hopefully gorgeous sunshine.
    Ps: You looked amazing as always (I don't know how you do it).

    Cheers, Karen

    August 25, 2013 at 5:07 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello dear Karen!

      Thank you so much for all of your kind words! I am honored that you enjoyed my pictures and am thankful that my readers appreciate post like this from time to time ; )

      I love how your husband can relate to the guys in my life…I've always wanted to visit Mecca cosmetics and can imagine that if/when I do, it will be a long while before I reemerge from its doors into the light of day!

      I hope your week is off to a beautiful start…xoxo and talk very soon,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 27, 2013 at 4:55 am
  • Lena Reply

    What a fabulous recap, with great photos to boost! I have never been to the places you visited (although I have been to
    Indeed, the great thing about America is the endless possibilities for a relaxing and adventurous road trip. I made many a trip, but the most memorable is surely the one taken with my parents. The three of us spent 2 weeks making a loop of Boston, down the coast to NYC and Washington DC, then west to the Amish country in Pennsylvania, then up to the Niagara Falls,and back east to Boston through Vermont (where my parents saw a little bit of snow for the first time). I will have to blog about this.

    August 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Lena,

      Why, thank you so much!!

      You are so right in your assessment of America…the land is so diverse that the possibilities for riveting road trip are utterly endless! Thanks for sharing the details of your parents. That must have been so fun…such a great span of land to cover and explore. I've been to all the places you mention (with my family!) except for Niagara Falls…they look absolutely magical!

      Please let me know when you've blogged about your trip…I'd love to read the post ; )


      –The Beauty Professor

      August 27, 2013 at 5:00 am

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