Wine, Pastries, and Feeling Tipsy in Solvang

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Welcome to Solvang! This quaint Danish village packs a lot of punch and charm.

Big Sur

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Big Sur is a very special place that is sure to fill your sense of wonder. Driving south on Highway 1 from Pfeiffer State Park (where we spent the night camping)has some of the most jaw dropping views of the coastline. I kept hearing all about the hair raising twists and turns but after traveling on the Apache Trail it did not even compare.

Sunset at Pfeiffer Beach

Monday, December 7, 2015

After we (and when I say we I mean Jer) set up camp we jumped back into our car and raced to see the sunset at Pfeiffer Beach. One of the many great things about this trip is that we did not miss one sunset. With every single sunrise we missed we made up for with viewing some of the most amazing sunsets to date.  

Camping Big Sur

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Camping is not one of those things I normally get excited about. When I told family and friends we were going camping they immediately thought it was Jer's idea. Little did they know, on our last camping trip, he was the one that tried to fake sickness so we could leave early. True story.

I have been wanting to visit Big Sur for so long and since we now live on the west coast decided it was time for a visit. Researching hotels and lodges just seemed wrong to me in a place that is known for their outdoor scenery and parks. So I checked with my supposed "boy scout" and it was decided we would give it another go. He assured me that as long as we were in the woods he would be happy (first time was in an RV park and he could not sleep with all the noise). 

Tourists in Santa Barbara

Friday, November 27, 2015

We left Laguna Beach and headed north to Santa Barbara. We dropped our bags at the hotel and hit the ground running trying to maximize our limited time here. 

A short walk brought us to the County Courthouse which is one of the major attractions in this coastal city. A bit surprising, but once you step inside you know exactly what all the fuss is about. The tile work and hand painted ceilings are spectacular. Make your way up to the top of the clock tower and you have the best views of Santa Barbara. 

Laguna Beach

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ZuZu's Brunch

Sunday, November 1, 2015

We had a busy day ahead of us on Saturday with a little bit of shopping, a little work, and more shopping for our upcoming camping trip(the amount of stuff you need to camp is exhausting to think about). But first...brunch.   

We entered the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale and instantly were transported back in time; circa 50's-60's. The mid century design of the resort and the Beach Boys blaring from the speakers as we walked in set the mood for the laid back vibe. 

T Cook's

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

We pulled up to the Royal Palms Resort and watched the other restaurant goers get out of their Bentley's and Jag's dressed to the nines while the valet so carefully parked their cars front and center. I looked at my husband dressed in a black polo tee and shorts and said "I think we under dressed." He took one good look at me and said "Well, you do have holes in your pants" (in reference to my ripped white denim that are totally in right now)

T Cooks has been on every must try restaurant list in the Phoenix area (every time I search on Google) so it was about time we gave it a try. We made our way to the Mediterranean inspired courtyard where the aromas of fresh flowers and wood burning from the many fireplaces instantly hit your nose. The charming ambiance made you want to grab a drink and stay awhile.  

Fall in the Desert

Monday, October 26, 2015

We had such a great weekend celebrating all things fall at the Carefree Desert Gardens and channeled our inner kid at Anthem's Autumn Fest.

Ray Villafane created an "Enchanted Pumpkin Garden" at the Carefree Desert Gardens. The intricate details that he is able to achieve is so incredible. I mean, I have tried my hands at pumpkin carving (ended up with a big whole in the front of the pumpkin) and it is no easy feat. 

Work Hard, Play Hard

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Carry On Only

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Standing at the baggage claim carousel (at the airport) watching everyone grab their luggage while you keep waiting, hoping that you catch a glimpse of yours. Then you hear it...the buzzer goes off and the conveyor comes to an abrupt halt. You are alone and your hopes and dreams of having clean undergarments for your trip have been crushed. 

Has this ever happened to you? If so, you know that it is time to start traveling with only a carry on.  It not only saves you time and possible aggravation but it can also save you money (now that most major carriers charge for checked baggage). 

Golden Hour

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pinch Me, Am I Dreaming...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Apache Junction Trail

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Boot Scootin Bull Riding

Monday, July 20, 2015

Do you remember the feeling when summer break was over and you had to return to school? A part of you was excited to go back and see your friends and then the other part of you longed for more relaxing summer days when you didn't have to worry about setting your alarm. 

That is exactly how I am feeling right now because it is almost time for this girl to return to work since moving here. I am looking forward to getting back to the grind but a part of me is going to miss the days where my biggest decision was if I should read my book poolside, in bed, or on the couch. So I am trying to soak it all in while I can. 

We headed to Cave Creek this past weekend and were instantly transported back to the wild wild west. Well, not the real wild west since they have more rattlesnakes then actual real cowboys but a replica. Quirky souvenir shops, galleries, and restaurants line Frontier Town. 

Retail Therapy

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Retail therapy is supposed to make one feel happy and cheerful. Typically it has the opposite effect on me. I end up feeling guilty and questioning my choices. 

I mean, how many plain white tees does one girl need? (A lot because I tend to spill=the reasoning in my head.)

Do I really need this garbage can? (No, we can just reuse the bags from the grocery store under our sink=the reasoning in my head. Puts garbage can back.)

Since moving from the east coast to the Arizona desert, I can't tell you how much I despise looking at all the big chunky sweaters that line my closet. So I pushed guilt aside and headed to Scottsdale for some retail therapy. With sunshine, palm tree lined streets, kids laughing in the splash pools, fresh fruit smoothies, and the variety of shops, I must say, I was feeling quite chipper.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lake Pleasant is a hop, skip, and a jump for most that live in the Phoenix area. It is no wonder why so many flock here on the weekends to soak up some sun, appreciate the beautiful scenery, and play in/on the refreshing water. 

Rest Stop

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The fourth came early as we celebrated with an Independence Day celebration that wasn't too far from us. Food, music, rides, jugglers on stilts, and fireworks; what more could you ask for?


Asian Mexican Fusion

Monday, June 29, 2015

I was finally able to ease my craving for a banana split at Proof at the Four Seasons Troon North, thanks to a friend's recommendation. It was our lucky day since they were offering buy one get one complimentary so we indulged. A little dessert before dinner never hurt nobody, am I right?

Desert Vibes

Friday, June 26, 2015

We were on a quest to find an ice cream place that serves up an old fashion banana split. Vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries, pineapple, hot fudge, banana, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Temperatures reach well over 105 degrees here and yet I still can't find an ice cream parlor that serves a banana split within a 30 mile radius. The struggle is real! There are tons of frozen yogurt places where you pick your own toppings which I happen to be horrible at (who would think that Fruity Pebbles and Gummi Bears don't mix). 

I may not have been able to find the ice cream that I wanted but we were easily distracted by breathtaking views. We had to pull over and do a little exploring.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day to the man who taught me what hard work really is, the man who taught me if it is broke fix it (or at the very least rig it), the man from whom I get my no filter no nonsense attitude. This man I am grateful to call my dad!! Love you! 

Cafe Monarch

Friday, June 19, 2015

To celebrate our move to Arizona we decided to start hitting up the plethora of restaurant options there are in the area.

Cafe Monarch is located in Old Town Scottsdale and offers a set menu that changes every week. They post their menu online so you may take a glance over before you go.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We packed up and headed out early Friday. Said goodbye to our old home and strapped ourselves in for the long cross country journey.

The plan was to drive about twelve hours a day switching off and on. I ended up driving about four to five hours a day because my other half wasn't thrilled with my driving nor speed (I tend to have a lead foot and make sporadic jerky stops). He likes to set his cruise control to the exact speed limit and we just sit back and watch all the cars pass us by. 

I am not complaining though since I got to read, watch movies, and sleep my way through Maryland, Virginia, Arkansas and Texas.  

Moving Day

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Today is the day that we say goodbye to our first home and buckle in for a very long car ride cross country to settle in to our new home in Arizona. 

Iceland-Chasing Waterfalls

Monday, May 18, 2015

If you are a lover of waterfalls, like myself, you will have no problem finding them in Iceland. They are everywhere. 

On our long drive to Glacier Lagoon we stopped for multiple photo ops along the way. 

Our first stop was at Seljalandsfoss (do not ask me how to pronounce it) where you can actually walk behind the waterfall. When we first arrived it was very crowded so we decided to continue along and stop back on our return to Reykjavik.

All By Myself...On Our Anniversary!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Yesterday was our fourth wedding anniversary and I celebrated sans husband who was across the country on business. 

I recently had a conversation with some friends about trying on and wearing our wedding dresses. I insisted that I knew mine would not fit and was not about to even attempt trying. 


Iceland-Blue Lagoon & Whale Watching

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Blue Lagoon was the perfect place to relax after our full day road trip the day before.  

Once we arrived we made our way to our separate changing rooms. They take showering very seriously before entering the Blue Lagoon. You must strip down to shower and they provide in depth picture signs of the areas that need the most attention which I found quite comical. I would strongly recommend using the conditioner that is provided since the minerals in the water cause havoc on your hair. 

We made our way into the milky blue water that actually comes from a geothermal plant next door. It was the perfect temperature and I instantly felt my muscles relax from the cold temperatures outside. We slathered our face and body with the silica mud that is provided in tubs all over the lagoon. I did go a bit overboard with the mud but my skin never felt so soft so I kept piling it on. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day to a fun loving, caring, kind, and gorgeous mama!

I don't know what I would do without your unwavering love and support. 

So grateful I get to call you mom. Have a wonderful day and I am looking forward to our spa day! Love you!

Iceland- The Golden Circle

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

With well over fourteen hours of sleep we ended up having a much later start than originally anticipated. It is a good thing that it stays light in May well past 11pm. Needing all the light we could get for our self drive tour of THE most popular tour in Iceland...the Golden Circle. 

Welcome to Iceland- Reykjavik

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

When I told my family and friends that we were going to Iceland for our second anniversary trip I received questionable looks. Even Jer was not so sure of my choice since he is used to traveling to warm tropical destinations. We just made it through a pretty bad winter and any destination with the word "Ice" just did not seem appealing to many. But, I was adamant with my decision and knew we would both love it. 

We arrived in Iceland early in the morning and after a hellishly long wait for our car(3 hours to be exact)we made our way to Reykjavik where we were staying for the full length of our stay. 

Checked in to the quaint Reykjavik Residence Hotel which happened to be in such an ideal location. With only a short walk to the harbor, major sights, shopping, and restaurants I would highly recommend a stay. 

We were extremely tired but forced ourselves to go out and wander around the streets of the city.

Postcards from Arizona

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

We touched down in Arizona early in the morning. I was tagging along on my husband's work trip to Scottsdale. Once we checked into the Hyatt Scottsdale Gainey Ranch he went straight to his meeting and I went straight to the convenience store at the resort since I had forgotten my sunblock. 

I placed my order for a strawberry banana smoothie and placed the only sunblock they had on the counter and checked out.

"That will be $41.50 ma'am." 

Say what?!?! The sunblock was over $30.00 for a small travel sized bottle. I took my smoothie left my sunblock and went straight to Target for my $6.99 full size bottle of 50+ sun protection. 

Only wasting ten minutes of precious sun and relaxing time. I must say I felt slightly guilty that while my husband was hard at work I was sipping a few cocktails, reading a trashy novel, and soaking up the sun and enjoying the palm trees breeze poolside. But I got over it quick.

Bitter Sweet Easter Holiday

Monday, April 6, 2015

I don't know about you guys but I completely indulged this Easter. Every year I receive a gigantic milk chocolate Easter bunny. I sank my teeth in the chocolatey goodness and next thing you know half the bunny was gone. I just consumed half of a life size chocolate bunny and was feeling a bit ashamed; I had to get rid of it. But I couldn't bare throw it out so I rationalized with myself and decided to eat the entire thing so the temptation was no longer there. It was a holiday after all. Makes sense, right!?!?! Chocolate is my weakness. 

This Easter was bitter sweet because it will probably be the last Easter/holiday spent in our current (first) home. We tried to soak it all in but it seemed to go by so fast. 

The boys came and dove right into their gifts and the candy Nanny brought them. Owen, very hesitantly, let me have a bite of his chocolate lollipop.

The Nightingale

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My mom, so graciously, dropped off a mound of books for me to read a couple of weeks ago. I love to read and hate to admit that it had been a couple of months since I actually picked up a book.

It was no surprise that half of the books were World War II related since it seems we are both intrigued with anything during that time. My grandfather fought in the war as a Paratrooper which he never liked to talk about so I am always drawn to stories to get a glimpse of what he and those he was fighting for endured during that unthinkable period in time.    

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was the first one I started reading and I finished the book in two days. I was totally immersed in this fictional story set in wartime France. 

Philadelphia Flower Show "Lights, Camera, Bloom"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

This year the Philadelphia Flower Show was celebrating the movies with a huge Disney influence.

I was back and forth if I wanted to make the drive to attend and finally experience what so many have been raving about (mainly my mother). Last minute I made the choice to go and I brought dragged Jer with me. He is such a good sport. 

When we arrived we were not expecting the overwhelming amount of people that were there. It was insane. 

Our first mistake (and we made many) was that we did not purchase the tickets online before we left. We would have saved a little bit of money (a whopping $2.00) but would have saved so much precious time by not having to wait in line for our tickets. 

When we entered the actual "show" I was a bit disappointed because I thought I would have been overcome with smells of spring and all I could smell was popcorn. 

I was, however, impressed with the time and effort it must have taken to pull some of the exhibits together. The Cinderella Wedding exhibit was truly stunning. I was drawn to the English gardens and could totally see myself living in Serendipity. 

The crowds, for me, though were just too much and it was difficult to really appreciate all of the exhibits because you were constantly being pushed and shoved. I so wanted to see the Nightmare Before Christmas but the line was ridiculous. If you are planning to go next year I would highly suggest to go during the week when it may not be as crowded or try going early morning.

Dreaming of Spring

Saturday, February 21, 2015

It has been ungodly cold here the past month or so and feels like every other day it decides to snow. I, personally, love the snow but on the other hand despise the cold. 

My perfect scenario would be 70 degree weather with a picture perfect layer of snow on the ground. I had a dream the other night of just that and it was heavenly.

Favorite Travel Destinations: Turks & Caicos Guide

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

There is no denying the fact that the one place I continually long to return to is Turks & Caicos. 

This destination holds a special place in my heart. This is the place where we said our vows. It is the place where we adopted our fur baby. It is the place where the moment I step off the plane I instantly feel at home.  

It is also the place I recommend everyone to visit, at least once. 

Late Date at The Circular

Friday, February 13, 2015

Trying to get a reservation for dinner the Friday before Valentine's Day seemed next to impossible. But, my friends, nothing is impossible and I found one at the sweetest place on earth...Hershey (hotel).

Now, I have been to the Hershey Hotel for multiple spa days but have yet to try any of the restaurants at the hotel.  So when The Circular had an opening I thought why not give it a go. 

We arrived and had a brief wait which meant multiple photo ops in front of the fountain in the courtyard because one is just never enough.

Destination Wedding: Turks & Caicos

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When it came time to take the plunge and finally get hitched after many years together we knew exactly the destination where we wanted to say our vows. We wanted a very small intimate wedding with just close family and friends and zero hassle.

We visited Turks and Caicos three times before and we absolutely fell in love with the island. It was the perfect location for us.

We chose the beautiful Seven Stars Resort on Grace Bay to stay and exchange our vows. I can not say enough great things about this resort and their wedding department. They made planning a breeze.

The day of the wedding we just lounged at the beach until it was time to get ready for the main event. 

For hair and makeup I heard so many great things about Sheque Perfection and she did not disappoint.  I had a major situation happening on my forehead (every brides worst nightmare) and she made "it" virtually invisible. 

Photo by: Brilliant Studios

Happy Birthday Jer!

Monday, February 2, 2015

I have a confession...I really suck with words. Especially when it comes to the mushy I love you, you mean everything to me type of words. Even when we get into arguments Jer will say "I think you meant to say it like this." Really, did I? 

Every birthday I always try and come up with something deep and meaningful to describe how much I love this man.

This Used To Be My Playground

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Over the years Jer and I have been trusted to watch others pets when they are away but for some reason when it came to watching kids it was another story. We were always on the bottom of the list. 

So when we got the call that we were actually going to be trusted with watching little humans (our nieces) overnight we were at a loss. 

We stocked up on nutritional food; cheese curls,m&ms,chocolate chip cookies,and ice cream. 

I was all set for movies since I heard Frozen was like every kids favorite. These kids had another idea...Annabelle. Um, no. The previews alone had us all trembling. 

We had games and a list of different activities we could do. 

We were set to be the best fucking babysitters ever. 

When they arrived they had their snow gear and sleds and said that they wanted to go sledding. Um, okay, wasn't prepared for that but I knew just the place to take them.

My childhood home has the best hills for sledding. So we headed to my dad's and I relived my glory days.  

Skiing vs Snowboarding

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I have been trying to get Jer to snowboard for years to no avail. We don't get to go often so when we do he wants to do what he knows he enjoys; valid point. 

I, on the other hand, will try anything (well almost anything) once and gave his beloved skiing a try a couple years ago and it did not go well. 

I sucked and kept wrecking with ski poles flying this way and the skis flying off the other. Then I had to walk all over creation picking up the pieces of my disastrous falls. What a big pain in the ass! Now I just stick to snowboarding.

Favorite Travel Destinations: Belize Part III

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turtle Inn would be our home for the remaining four nights of our week long trip. It was raining when we arrived which didn't stop of us from taking a walk around the deserted grounds.  

Favorite Travel Destinations: Belize Part II

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We decided to book a private tour to the ancient Mayan site of Caracol. I, typically, will go at this on my own but since this seemed to have so many different structures I thought it would be best to hire a guide. So glad we did since many of the sites were not even marked. 

Favorite Travel Destinations: Belize Part 1

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Belize; with dense jungles, ancient Mayan ruins, waterfalls, underground caves, gorgeous beaches, and the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world it truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

Goodbye Girl

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello." 

Jer's sister has decided to ditch the cold temperatures and move out on her own to the Sunshine State. She is packing up and starting a whole new exciting adventure.

Before she leaves in two weeks, friends and family gathered at her uncle's bar to bid her farewell.

Some things to keep in mind when living on your own for the first time:

Marlboro Man

Monday, January 5, 2015

When asked by my dad if Jer and I would enter a cattle sorting competition we said, "Sure". 

We had no clue what exactly a cattle sorting was and there is also the minor fact that Jer has only rode a horse four times his whole life, but carpe diem.

We arrived early to try and get an idea of what exactly we were supposed to do as the more experienced riders went before us. 

We entered the arena and took a glance around and gave each other the "we are in trouble" looks. 

We felt like Vinny Gambini and Mona Lisa Vito when they first arrived to Beechum County for the first time, totally out of place. (If you have not watched the movie My Cousin Vinny please rent it straight away; it is hilarious).

We warmed up our horses and then the competition started. Jer was up first. 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The New Year is here and it is time to put our resolutions into action. Well, tomorrow anyway. 

For me, today is all about eating some pork and sauerkraut (which is a PA Dutch/German tradition supposedly to bring good luck for the year) and trying to recover from the night before. 

Each year seems to go by quicker than the last and leaves you thinking where the hell did the time go. 

Which leads me to my New Year's resolution:

Make the most of my time off.
More often than not my days off consist of lounging at home trying to catch up on any TV shows that I might have missed, cleaning (although my husband may say otherwise), and running errands. Boring, right?!?

I am not one of the lucky work folks who get to have two days off in a row and I must work every Sunday. This leaves me feeling a bit slighted at times and I tend to miss out on a few social gatherings (good thing I love what I do). 

I am going to make it a point to try/visit something/someplace new at least once a week. I stumbled upon this quote recently on Pinterest and it really spoke to me. It led me to the realization that I better get living and stop putting so many things off.

"You have exactly one life in which to do everything you'll ever do. Act accordingly."

With that, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year. May this year be even better than the last. 

Goodbye, 2014.