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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!

 

The Last Week of Summer Break

It has been 105 days of Summer Vacation.

As much as I love my family, I am beyond ready to return to college life for SENIOR YEAR. My car is packed, my apartment is ready, and I’m cruising down the highway as we speak! The past 7 days have been the busiest and craziest days…here are some highlight:

 The Green Goods:

Last week at work, our receptionist asked if anyone would like to “adopt” some of the office plants. I have a brand new unfurnished apartment…something green sounded nice!   I got some funky flowered plants (don’t ask me what they are). Well….they needed pots. And planting soil. And metal stakes. My “free” plant babies cost $30. These damn things better not die. ;)
My first house plant (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

The Book List:

I stocked myself up with PLENTY of reading material for the school year too! One day after work, I had some time to kill while I waited for the temperatures to cool off enough for an evening run. The selection at the used bookstore in the mall this week? JACK POT. As I browsed the store, the stack of books in my arms grew taller and taller. The cashier actually came to me TWICE to hold my books at the counter.

“That looks very heavy.” You underestimate my muscles, mister.

But thank you ;)

My favorite find of the day = Someday, Someday, Maybe because of the author. Lauren Graham AKA Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls AKA my favorite show ever and ever. I’m three chapters in and already hoping she writes a sequel.

New Used Books for Summer Reading List (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

The Last Home Long-Run:

On Sunday morning, I tackled a 12-mile long run before the 7 o’ clock hour. The route was different than usual because 3 miles in I took a sharp left turn that led to some greener views. Sightings: 1 coyote, 2 scruffy mutts, and 5 hungry ducks.

Summer Sunday Long Runs (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

A Jittery Habit:

I’ve picked up a habit of running to the deli next door for an afternoon Iced Americano with 3 pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce and a splash on non-fat. I have this “treat yourself” mentality going on right now. I’ve had 4 this week. Starbuck’s is capitalizing on my cold cravings and I’m okay with that.

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Baseball Oreos:

Our office hosted a Bake Sale fundraiser for one of the employees. Instead of buying goodies, I will be participating by contributing something to sell. Pinterest is my go-to for crafty-crafts and I was immediately attracted to “Baseball Pops” AKA white chocolate-covered Oreos.

Popsicle sticks + Oreos + White Melting Chocolate + Red candy melts

Baseball Oreos Pinterest Recipe (Stronglikemycoffee.com)
Interning as Usual:

All summer long, I have worked in the corporate office of a major national manufacturing company.  This has been an eye-opening experience since so much of my projects are directly related to my business courses. I’ve really enjoyed working in an office-setting….mainly because I get to dress up in heels and blazers and pencil skirts. Playing dress up is never a bad thing.

Office Intern (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Lot’s of “goodbye” meals.

First, the department at work planned a mid-week lunch. It was my choice of restaurant. Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar & Grill :) No shop-talk allowed!  I got a salad with shrimp skewers, avocado, mango salsa and light balsamic vinegrette on the side. (It reminded me of the version I made two years ago…)

Shrimp Salad from TK Bar (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

We also met up for a last summer dinner with my mom’s BFF and her daughter. We were too busy girl-chatting for pictures on that one ;) Yesterday some girlies from work all went out for lunch at my favorite: Panera. Garden Veggie Soup with a Thai Chicken Salad:

Panera Bread Lunch (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Friday morning I walked into the office for the LAST day of my summer internship. Outside of my office was a breakfast spread that was noticeably different from previous company potlucks: It was healthy! Our office enjoys celebrating birthdays and special occasions with potlucks, most of which include donuts and streudals. They themed this one “healthy” in honor of moi and covered the table in fruits, nuts, granolas, yogurt, hummus and crackers. So sweet!

Office Breakfast Potluck Healthy Spread (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Plus an awesome last dinner at a sushi bar, Ooka. This week was full of some hilarious, ridiculous moments. It included lots of packing and cleaning and errands. But it also became a little overwhelming at time, and by Friday night I wanted a drink! I wanted to sip, relax, laugh and have a great last night. It was a success :)
 

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Sending me off to school fat & happy and ready to take advantage of our amazing recreation center!

My summer was a long one. Two trips to New York and two medical procedures. Two trips to Flagstaff. One spectacular concert. Working full-time. Running morning and evening. Baking and cooking. Trips to San Diego and Newport. The only thing I didn’t get to was a baseball game. But the Dbacks are just a two-hour drive away, so maybe I’ll catch an AZ game pretty soon. ;)

BRING ON THE NEW SEMESTER.

Sunday Sundae and The Pig’s Trough

I have some alarming news: health nuts eat dessert too. And it isn’t always sugar-free non-fat soy protein jello either.

Sometimes, I splurge on an indulgence. My weakness? Ice Cream. A favorite I inherited from my dad and grandpa. I can turn down a doughnut anyday; I’ll say “no thank you” to cake, cookies and candy. But ice cream? The obvious answer is DUH!

I’ve been to Dairy Queen, Cold Stone and Thrify’s exactly zero times this summer…that is a first. So since my summer vacation is ending in less than a week, we planned a trip to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour where the story of the pig and the trough begins:

Farrell’s is an adorably-themed restaurant with an old fashioned ice cream parlour and many one-of-a-kind desserts that come with not just a spoon but a song and dance too. There’s this thing called the “Pig’s Trough” and for whatever reason, my dad thought that sounded enticing.

Oink Oink!

That is TWO banana splits: 2 bananas, 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream stacked with strawberry sauce, 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream with pineapple sauce, and 2 scoops of strawberry ice cream with chocolate sauce. Don’t forget the can of whipped cream, almonds and cherries. When you order a trough, you are accepting a challenge: finish the entire pig’s trough and receive a prized blue ribbon. Not to mention the HILARIOUS song the entire staff sang, an ice cream version of I Like Big Butts (“I like pig’s trough and I cannot lie”).  My father, I am proud to say, found his inner swine and devoured that ice cream trough :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Proud Pig

My mom and I were not attracted to anything on the menu that compared it’s customer to a farm animal. Look at what I found though!

When I saw the title “Mocha Nut” I knew I wouldn’t find anything else more perfect for me. Coffee ice cream, Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream, and Butter Pecan ice cream. It’s like I designed it myself! Aside from the whip cream and cherry which I promptly plopped off, I finished the whole thing. Sadly this earned me no ribbon though..

I’d rather be a Nut than a Pig!

My family had a great time at this cute restuarant, though I can’t say we’d come back often – this was a rare splurge but totally worth it. (How many times do you come away from a restarant with a ribbon for finishing dessert?!) We had made small efforts through out the week to offset this huge diet deviation. This was our lunch AND dinner for the day, after a week of skipping desserts and adding in extra evening walks. I don’t feel too guilty about the indulgence but we are definitely back on oatmeal, smoothies and salads today ;)

Ice Cream Trifecta

 

 

 

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