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Birthday Weekend Continues in Oldtown

We last left off on Thursday night, when Birthday Weekend was just beginning. Senior year perks include no classes on Fridays, so after a 6 mile run and Sprout’s detour I drove myself to Oldtown Scottsdale to meet some ASU friends and my parents. Honestly, I’ve been craving the Phoenix sunshine as if it were a pint of mint chocolate chip. Sweet, sweet sunshine! We were down by the pool within 20 minutes of my arrival. "Birthday Suit" (

Poolside necessities (

My mom is one of my best friends so I loved getting to sit by the pool and catch up on all the gossip and girl stuff :) The hotel blocked the sun pretty early, so when it became shady we traded in bikinis for boots to head downtown.

Oldtown Scottsdale is SO CUTE. Some of the buildings look like saloons, there are strings of white lights across the streets, the trees are lit up, and the people are so pretty. Probably because they live in this gorgeous sunshine all year long! I’ve been eating extra healthy and working out extra hard for the past month, ready for some birthday treats. First, margaritas at Salty Senorita. We sat on the outdoor patio under colorful umbrellas. I got a cadillac with prickly pear, sans salt.

Prickly Pear margarita at Salty Senorita in Scottsdale ( of my best friends, Chelsea, lives in the area and met up with us for dinner. I’m becoming more and more jealous of her decision to transfer to ASU after our sophomore year together. I can definitely get used to flip flops and sundresses in February!

Chelsea and I in oldtown (

We also witnessed “hangry” Kenzie…..we left for dinner around 6:30pm, walked around looking at restaurants for a while before deciding on Hula Modern Tiki Bar in Oldtown. We put our name in around 7:20 and waited until 9pm for dinner. My hunger affected my mood for a bit…..I’m not very chatty when my stomach is growling! :) All was well once this amazing Jawaiian Jerk Chicken plate came out.

Hula's modern tiki in Scottsdale (

Jawaiian Jerk Chicken Plate at Hula's modern tiki ( funny looking brown things in the front are plantains, and the squares in the back are “Jawaiian Johnny Cakes” which are cornmeal, molasses and more plantains.)

By the time we finished dinner and walked back to the hotel around 10pm, we were too full for birthday dessert. Saturday morning began with one heck of a hike up Camelback Mountain (some kind of unplanned Valentine’s-Day-hike-tradition?) but I’ll save that recap for a bit later because this girl is off to the pool.

I hope you felt some love yesterday! But if not…..V-day candy is on clearance today ;)

Beginning of Birthday Weekend

The biggest surprise of my birthday was that no one sent me T-Swift’s most appropriate song, “22,” on my birthday yesterday.

No we did not dress up like hipsters, nor did we have breakfast at midnight. But we keep dancing like we’re twenty-two-oooh-oohhhhh. ;)

22nd birthday banner (stronglikemycoffee.comMy birthday was on a Thursday, so I actually have an entire birthday weekend ahead of me. As soon as I press ‘publish’ I will be grabbing my swim suit and suitcase to head to sunnier lands.

First of all, I planned on spending an extended birthday celebration with family and friends for the weekend. So I didn’t have any elaborate plans on my birthday. Several friends were working, and I still had class and my internship from 8am-5pm. We opted for a late-night downtown adventure instead of a birthday dinner at a restaurant. I didn’t mind at all, I still had this lovely plate and a sparkle-tini on the side:

22nd Birthday Dinner ( is my favorite, and I was excited to see salmon wrapped in brown rice!

A little before 10pm, Kerri came over with a beautifully-wrapped present. She opened with, “I’m so freaking proud of this present, I feel like Martha Stewart.” Intrigue! Apparently she had gone through my DIY board on Pinterest to find a decorative craft that I would like. She picked a candle holder; she made me two of these candles encompassed in ‘local’ sticks with baby pinecones and delicious smelling candles. I love candles! And these are too pretty to burn! I love the fact that she made it and I love the fact that it’s a little piece of Flagstaff. I did have to laugh out loud, though, trying to picture her on campus pulling sticks off of trees while people walked by. :)

Homemade DIY Stick Candle Holder (

The night was just getting started! First, we opted to try The Wine Loft for the first time. We’d heard about this cute, upstairs wine bar with tons of games. That is more my style.

The bar itself was adorable, dark lighting with thousands of bottles of wine and chalkboard menus – perfect ambiance for a wine loft. One problem……there was only one other person in the huge space. The bartender. Why so empty on a Thursday night? Having the bar to ourselves was a little fun and a little awkward. We each picked out a glass of something light and pretty. Rose’ for me, bubbly for Kerri, and Pinot Grigio for Bri. Next, time to pick out a game. We’d never heard of 70% of them and didn’t feel like concentrating on Monopoly or Scrabble so we picked the perfect classy wine bar activity…..Cards Against Humanity.

22nd birthday wine and games ( game is hilarious! And racy. Some of the cards made us blush reading out loud in front of the bartender. And a little too far for the content I want on this website so moving right along….

We ended up staying and playing until The Wine Loft closed but we weren’t ready to go home yet. After all, we had dressed up (a rare event for some college students) and no one else had really seen us! The second we walked in to the next bar, we looked at each other with non-verbal agreement then walked right back out. Blegh, it smelled like canola oil and smoke and no one was on the dance floor. We walked by a couple other bars but honestly, the “club” thing is not our scene so we went to our old stand-by. The country bar. We found a booth and a menu to find a birthday dessert!

22nd birthday dessert ( left our table for a few minutes, and in my absence a guy asked my friends if he could buy me a drink. They eagerly informed him that it was my birthday. When I returned, he sent me over a pineapple rum drink and I’m only including this detail in the blog post because that has never happened. I was flattered, but also a little confused because he and his friends left the bar just a few minutes later….

Next the bartender came back with our banana pudding and 3 spoons, topped with a little pink candle :) He also refused to bring us a check. See, people at the country bar are just so dang sweet.

We walked around downtown a little bit more, contemplating whether or not to go in anywhere else but I think we all agreed that the night had been so much fun that we would just cap it off right there.

Birthday song would have to go to Don’t Say Goodnight by Hot Chelle Ray because when it came on the radio for the first time ever as we pulled up to our apartment last night, we had a little parking lot dance party. Love my silly best friends :)

Aboslutely too perfect to sum up my night.

See you here again tomorrow! <3

Recent Inspirations #2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post that compiled some ‘Recent Inspirations.’ The format was different than my usual, and I liked the alternative to coming up with my own original content. So I bring you a second dose of things that are currently inspiring me.

Life Inspiration: Empowering Quotes

I’m sure my fellow graduating seniors can relate to how stressful of a situation it is to be 12 weeks away from the end of our college career without a clue as to where our next chapter will take us. Pinterest has some calming quotes for that!

Inspiring words 1And this wonderful reminder for any senioritis sufferers:

Inspiring words 2

One more thoughtful reminder before we move on to something more colorful (because I know sometimes those winter blues/hormones/stress/whatever creep in and temporarily cloud our perspective. In reality, we are pretty lucky souls to have a life with so many possibilities. And yes, I have to remind myself this all the time.)

Inspiring words 3Style Inspiration: Dressing the Part

You will never find me in class in a sweatshirt. Nor will you catch me with leggings as pants. In fact, I avoid pants as much as possible because I find dresses and skirts so much more flattering. It takes a little bit of extra time and effort but I believe that putting together an outfit is an important representation of ourselves. Some people joke that only freshmen wake up at 6:30am to “get ready” for their 8am class…..but I’m in my 8th semester of class and I do this twice a week. What we wear and how we present ourselves can impact our attitude and confidence for the day. To me, it’s a worthwhile habit. My style inspiration (if only the weather here would cooperate…..pencil skirts and parkas kinda clash!):

Style Inspiration 1The shoes! <3

(So many more outfits on my Career Path board!)

Health Inspiration: Nutritious Recipes

Some of the food photography on Pinterest is amazing. They make pictures of granola bars look so fancy! A few recipes I’ve been inspired to add into the weekly rotation:

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Honey Coconut Apples from Simply Taralynn:

Raw Banana Bread Shake from The First Mess:

And this bouncy workout for a little extra exercise:

health inspiration 3So what else is inspiring?

The series finale of Parenthood.

The song ‘Pretty Good Day’ by Lonestar.

A winning streak by your school’s basketball team.

Hearing a friend talk about falling in love.

Finding a new running trail.

Seeing some pretty big moments coming up on your calendar.

Earlier this week I mentioned by affinity for Echosmith’s album, and after over-playing ‘Bright’ I’ve decided that this is my new favorite:

Feel free to add your own recent inspirations in the comments section :)

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