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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!

 

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" (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Poolside necessities (stronglikemycoffee.com)

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 (stronglikemycoffee.com)One 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 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

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 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Jawaiian Jerk Chicken Plate at Hula's modern tiki (stronglikemycoffee.com)(The 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 (stronglikemycoffee.com)Sushi 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 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

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 (Stronglikemycoffee.com)This 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 (stronglikemycoffee.com)I 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

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