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Camelback Mountain + 8 Scottsdale restaurants in 24 hours

Tomorrow I have an exam at 8:00am, so naturally I am trying to relive my incredible weekend by sharing pictures with you rather than cram study. ;)

Cheers from Old Town Tavern in Scottsdale (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

I celebrated my birthday from Thursday night clear through Monday morning and there isn’t any moment that sticks out as my favorite. Friends, family, food, drinks, sunshine, hiking, and good music = one blur of happiness.

Camelback Mountain is the highest point in Phoenix, and my parents and I love to hike! This was described as an intense climb, but only 1.2 miles to the top. We each only brought a small bottle of water, no snacks. Figured we’d be up and down in an hour.

View from the top of Camelback Mountain Phoeniz, AZ (stronglikemycoffee.com)

WRONG.

The “intense climb” is no joke, literal climbing up and over large rocks. This is not a dirt trail. It’s a rock-covered obstacle course. Which was kind of a blast! We just should have come prepared with a backpack for more water and snacks.

As soon as we started, sirens came blaring in and a dozen firemen unloaded rescue gear. They started the hike with us, on a mission to assist an injured hiker. We watched as the hiker, who injured his ankle (hmmm that sounds familiar), was helicoptered from the mountain. According to one of the firemen, this is completely typical. An every weekend activity.
Firemen rescue on Camelback Mountain (stronglikemycoffee.com)

We had a clear view of Phoenix from the top, the grid of neighborhoods and downtown buildings. We were suprised by how crowded the mountain was the entire time, considering it was Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's day martini glass (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Time to jump into the pool again! We had clemetines, apple slices and yogurt to tide us over before another dinner and night downtown. I decided to hop on the treadmill for 4 miles and mini core workout too. Help offset all the splurges over our four days. Dinner was at the crazy-crowded and super loud (we take that as a good sign!) restaurant RNR. I ordered the Ahi Tuna tacos which came on jicama instead of a tortilla.

Ahi Tuna Tacos from RNR in Scottsdale (stronglikemycoffee.com)

They were delicious…but tiny. Like a baby appetizer. Good thing we were heading to Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, next!

Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row Scottsdale (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Country-themed bars are my favorite. The atmosphere and the crowds at these bars are typically more relaxed, less formal, plus the music is the best. And I’d rather two-step than bump-and-grind any day. ;)

Also, cocktails taste 67% better when served in a mason jar.

Scottsdale, Arizona is a part of Phoenix. Our hotel was just a block away from Old Town Scottsdale with dozens of restaurants and bars with outdoor seating and adorable decorations. So on Sunday (after another couple hours by the pool…. I told you I was craving the sun!), we decided to make an entire day and night out of walking through all of the shops, restaurants and bars.

We started at Sip, which is an ecclectic mix of coffee and beer.

Sip coffee and beer I would love to say I loved this place. Anywhere with a unique menu or funky mix automatically has my attention. I thought the beer handles next to the espresso maker was hilarious. But I have to admit….I threw away my Americano after two sips. And if you know me, you know it has to be baaaaad to not finish a coffee drink. So our first stop = fail.

Brathaus in ScottsdaleRight next door was Brathaus, infinitely better experience than at the previous bar. We got appetizers and enjoyed sitting outside. There was jumbo-sized jenga, cornhole, and other games. It was the type of outdoor area I would love to have as a backyard.

Before long we were walking along again, through the art distict and the jewelry district.

kissing the statue in scottsdale's art district (stronglikemycoffee.com)(I wanted to kiss the statue but I’m also afraid of germs.)

Next up – Italian Grotto. We sat outside here again because it was nearly sunset, that perfect golden lighting. This place had great music too and really cool sports memorabilia decorations.

Italian Grotto in Scottsdale (stronglikemycoffee.com)The next bar was my FAVORITE from the weekend. Old Town Tavern. This bar was very small, but it had indoor, outdoor, and upstairs seating. We started at the outdoor bar, moved to the bar inside, then moved back outside to a table. There was a live band playing great covers and the bartender made fantastic cocktails. If I were a local, I’d be here all the time for the atmosphere! We spent the most amount of time here.

FullSizeRender(34)Even though my birthday was Thursday, I hadn’t gotten a birthday dessert yet. (Yes, there was banana pudding on Thursday. But I mean, that’s pudding…) I’m an ice cream girl! Sugar Bowl was a 50’s themed diner, decced out in pink. My kinda place! We sat up at the bar and I ordered a banana split with coffee and cookies n’ cream ice cream. This day had already been all about eating and drinking, and I’d spent a month eating healthfully in anticipation of birthday splurges. GO BIG OR GO HOME. (I went big.)

Sugar Bowl banana split

Our 7-hour food fest finally came to an end Sunday night. It was so abnormal for our usual healthy habits and routines, which made it all the more special to me! We were carefree for the weekend, ignoring calories and  treadmillls for a few hours which were replaced by so much laughter and fun. Definitely not an every-weekend type of outting but definitely a well-earned treat. Although I’m sure my stomach and my skinny jeans are happy that the weekend is over and normal eating/exercise has returned.

Also I told myself that I would be done blogging and back to studying by 9pm, and it’s now 9:27. So I shall wrap this up.

P.S. This song came on at Whiskey Row, the first time I’ve ever heard of this singer. I like it!

Goodnight XOXO!

 

16 and Wild at the Phoenix Open

What a privilege to have full access to a professional sporting event, in fact the most attended tournament on the PGA tour. Today I started my internship at the WM Phoenix Open, the FedEx Cup. Although the official tournament doesn’t begin until Thursday, there has already been plenty of action for spectators. The Pro Am took place today, with lots of other fun promotions on Hole 16 aka “the party hole.”

Phoenix Open Intern (stronglikemycoffee@hotmail.com)Fun facts about Hole 16:

  • First – it is NOT your average golf round.
  • The hole is surrounded by 15,000 spectator seats (the most of any on the PGA tour)
  • It is notoriously known for fans rowdy behavior, noise levels which would be taboo on any other course.
  • Tiger Woods hit a hole-in-one here the last time he played at this tournament
  • This hole is iconic for its atmosphere – more like a football game, than golf.
  • Skyboxes and Loge passes are $45,000-$150,000.

I began today by picking out my new set of wheels….

Phoenix Open Golf Carts (Stronglikemycoffee@hotmail.com)Just to set the stage a little bit. Scottsdale, Arizona is absolutely GORGEOUS. I had the pleasure of driving into Scottsdale during sunrise this morning, and the sky was cotton-candy colored while the mountains were a grey/purple. Cameras don’t to desert colors justice. The golf course is as prestigious as you would imagine from a nationally-televised sporting event. The holes have large stadium seats and skyboxes with elaborate buffets, desserts and coffees, and of course full bars throughout.

Phoenix Open Golf Coffee (stronglikemycoffee.com)First let me mention that I have never played or watched a golf event unless mini golf at Fiesta Village counts. Even in my interview for this position, I straight-up admitted that I was not very familiar with golf. But I was excited about an opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes business aspect of a new sport! So my expectations for this Open were: very quiet crowds of people, lined around the course. Stuffy “golf claps.” Silly golf outfits.

Well….I was right about the outfits part. Golfers love their crazy pants. Exhibit A:

Phoenix Open Golf Pants (stronglikemycoffee.com)(Seeing how many pictures I took of other people’s pants today is making me concerned now.)

But the atmosphere of the spectators was far from stuffy or quiet. It was a 100,000 guest P-A-R-T-Y. The music was blasting, the drinks were flowing, the entertainment was constant. The “shot at glory” on Hole 16 was a treat! We stood in the skyboxes, looking down at professional athletes, businesspeople, and celebrities swing on the green. My personal highlights were Jake Owen, Larry Fitzgerald, and the tall cute guy from Lady Antebellum (I don’t know his real name…).

Phoenix Open Gold Hole 16 (stronglikemycoffee.com)I watched Tiger putt on Hole 15 and fall apart on Hole 16. I learned who Phil Mickelson is, and apparently missed Tim Tebow autographs by a few minutes. I’m not a star-struck person, because when you see Tiger Woods in real life he just looks like a normal person. But it was pretty cool to have such an out-of-the-ordinary day (on a school day!) and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Phoenix Open Golf View (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Sunshine // Springtime

Let’s finish up with my weekend adventures, shall we? After our day zip lining through the trees, Chelsea & I headed towards sunshine.

Am I sick of Sedona yet?

Ha, not in the slightest. Every time is different! The Devil’s Bridge picnic, the Valentine’s Day hikes, the solo adventure.

Our mission was to absorb as much sun as possible. Chelsea calls herself a “ghost” and my skin is about 43 shades lighter than my summer self. Thank goodness for GORGEOUS blue skies, BRIGHT shining sun, and TONS of friendly people out. You just couldn’t help but be happy on a day like this. You just couldn’t.

Sedona Hiking day

We packed a bag with essentials like sunscreen, cameras and (clean) snacks. The trail isn’t too hard, just follow Bell Rock Pathway until you reach the base of the hill and start climbin’! There were people sun tanning, people doing yoga, people having photo shoots. We had a picnic :)

Sedona Hiking Lunch

Our clean picnic – almonds & pistachios. Apples. And my current addiction, Quest Bars.

When you’re following a clean diet, you get a little desperate for something sweet and desserty. Quest Nutrition is getting creative with their bars to use in recipes with other clean ingredients, and I can’t wait to try this Pumpkin Pie recipe. I even follow the brand on Facebook & posted this picture with #Onaquest hashtag to enter into a Quest Bar Photo contest. Loyal customer right here!

Sedona Shoes

Working on our tans ;) This is our kind of spring break! We might have gotten a little too much sun and some aloe vera was necessary but I wasn’t ready to go back home just yet. Heading to Phoenix was like an obstacle course with the crazy tumbleweeds across the highway that were sticking to everyone’s grill. Welcome to the desert.

Phoenix palms

I got a personal tour by Miss Chelsea of ASU & I’m a fan. Everyone wants what they don’t have, though right? Come from a snowy climate and you’ll be immediately attracted to the heat. Come from the desert an you’ll be fascinated with the white mountains.

When in Phoenix! (stronglikemycoffee.com)

When in Phoenix..?

Our hiking wasn’t even done yet. Sunday morning began with a short hike up A mountain to get the overview of campus and Tempe. This is where I ran my first marathon so I have a special attachment to this city! Seeing the Tempe Town Lake reminded me of running the last quarter-mile, crossing the bridge and seeing my family. Good memories :)

phoenix view

After a few hours by the pool with a pretty fruit salad I was back on the highway with my iced coffee and my country mix CD. I’ve driven more miles in the past week than I have in my whole life ;) and I’m loving it!

This song……..change “Ford” to “Honda” and it’s like he’s singing about me. Love me some EYB!

 

And spring break is just getting started. Happy Wednesday! (Also known as “Chest & Triceps” day. Ha!) :)

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