Monthly Archives: August 2013

Lululemon is queen

20130811-075931.jpgMirror shot of the whole fam! Our plan of attack was to wake up super early and get to the race expo. Expo includes packet pickup, race chip registration, and the showcase store where exclusive Lululemon clothes only for the Seawheeze are sold.

I knew it was going to be a good day because the first thing Carley told me was that I had Disney Princess hair. Normally, I have too plain of hairstyles for her liking, so the was a compliment of the highest level!

We woke at 5am, throw on some workout clothes (duh!) and head towards the Vancouver Convention Center. A quick coffee stop along the way ensured a clearheaded shopping conscious. Ha! Chai lattes and iced Americans. Cheers to early morning experiences!

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We thought we were being proactive in rising before the sun – everyone else had the same thought process. We arrived at the convention center and joined the end of the line. We people watched, laughed, and drank our coffees. 20130811-080149.jpg

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As rounded the center, there was a giant orca whale statue and some Lululemon marketing telling us to “get our hair did”. I love it. This company and their marketing, their fabulous fabric yoga pants, the bright colors – I’m obsessed.

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Inside the center is a beautiful big circus tent where packet pickup takes place.

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We line up for the expo store area and are in within minutes. The race expo store is filled with the exclusive Seawheeze clothing only found at the race store. We are giddy with excitement and people are freaking insane. It’s a clothing feeding frenzy and there are hangers with $42 tank tops flying left and right. We can’t get our hands on enough stuff… and there’s a 15 item limit per person. At one point, we have to pull up a spot in the corner and play the “do I need this?” Game. Which helps, but we still leave with quite a bit of loot.

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In case you are curious, this right here is what $1,700 will get you at Lululemon. #oops

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The convention center is kiddie corner from the Fairmont Pacific Rim, the location of a very sad tragedy. Finn from Glee died here weeks ago. I shed a few tears of agony out front (JK mom!)

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When we walk to and from our apartment to the expo, we never trust any splatters, avoiding all liquids and questionable things laying on the sidewalk. E Hastings Street is a circus, always filled with the weirdest of characters. On our morning hike today, a gentleman dressed in shabby black clothing and trench coat crossed the street to get in front of us, turned around and told us to come see the “magic show premiere” as he shuffled a few cards in the air. He didn’t even pause for a reaction from us, just turned and walked back across the street where he came from, literally missing a speeding car by 3 inches. Insane.

Anyway, the rest of the expo was filled with getting free hairstyles, henna tattoos, and a local chiropractic clinic gave us all pre-race massages. Divine.

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We got bands with our race number and name on them in lieu of race bibs – so much cooler!!

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We got fresh mango Popsicles and shot a mantra pic they displayed on the wall of runner mantras. Cool idea! Our mantra was “live life to the fullest and never stop drinking mimosas with your best friends”. So corny! We felt obligated to put something up there! Ha!

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We signed our names on a large Seawheeze banner to hopefully be hung in the hall of fame somewhere. #killingitsince2006 and at that point we were done with the expo.

Hard cider was calling our name, so we headed back to the apartment and lounged. Tried on some super bright lipstick we decided looked terrible on all of us and Carley took it upon herself to slyly rearrange all of the art hung on the walls.

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The master bedroom is huge and the bed holds us all. So we played our favorite – Cards Against Humanity and just about peed ourselves many times. This game never ceases to amaze me with its terribly inappropriate combinations!

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I love, LOVE lounging and laughing with my girls. It seems every girls trip we always do a lot of this and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For lunch we went to a little spot in Gastown called the Lamplighter Pub.

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Right below that image of the pub sign, there is an entrance to a building that had the strangest cracked out characters come and go. We questioned the waiter and he said it was a free public house where those on drugs, off drugs, homeless, whatever – could live free of charge. He said about a year ago they were having issues with tenants living on higher levels whose windows were directly above the restaurant patio, as they regularly threw used syringes out the window… my expression was this…

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We ate our meals in semi-nervousness. All of the food served on wooden cutting boards, very cool!

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We spent the rest of the evening drinking hard cider and toasting to our half marathon adventure in the morning.

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Our sunset view looked like this…

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See you bright and early!
xo

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hello, Vancouver!

Good mornnnnnnnnning, Vietnam!!!!!!!!! I mean, Vancouver! What an early morning. This apartment has many rooms and 90% of them are lined with windows that show off our spectacular view on the 16th floor of this building.

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We look over the ocean inlet of the Science World and BC Place, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Both monuments light up like Christmas trees at night – beautiful!

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We found that the large mirrors in the foyer turn out to be great group photo tools. And we all know I love photos.

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We searched for a solid breakfast joint and we absolutely found it. Well, it took a little bit of adventure on E Hastings Street where literally, all of the heroin addicts of this providence are located.. Slightly nerve-racking, more about that later.

Breakfast takes place at a coffee + waffle spot called Cafe Medina. It’s a spot where there’s a wait, always, and well worth it. There’s fresh waffles in the entryway window. We ordered coffees (lavender latte for me) and enjoyed the fresh air out front while we waited. Foam heart etched into mine. #lucky

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Half hour wait and then we’re in! The place seemed to have 15-20 tables and every single plate brought out from the kitchen looked fabulous. We perused the menu and decided on cocktails to start. It doesn’t matter that it’s 10am when you order your first cocktail when you’re on vacation. Moll had a Moroccan Mimosa while the rest of us ordered Medina Lemonades: sparkling water, lavender, gin and mint.

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For $4.15 you could order a single homemade waffle and unique topping. We ordered the waffle + white chocolate pistachio rosewater. And another waffle + fig orange marmalade. The rosewater pistachio was stupid good. Like, are you kidding? What is this stuff? Heaven??

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For an entree, Kate’s and I split the Saumon Fume: open faced ciabatta sandwich- fried egg, smoked salmon, caper cream cheese, sliced avocado, arugula, peppadew and artichoke salad. Yum.

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The rest of the afternoon, we wandered round Gastown and peeked in different boutiques. One called Meadow. Cute little gifts and baby things. This mug called my name – the quote speaks true to my life – always on the go.

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And there was a small white shelf of little stuffed handmade animals. I knew my mama woulda bought them all, cause she’s cute like that. They made me want a child immediately. Then I remembered said child needs diaper changes every 90 minutes and has screaming tantrums on the daily and I decided a photo would suffice…

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We grabbed java at Smart Mouth Cafe – cute presentation and the creamiest chai teas.

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I kept seeing my new Brooks running shoes in a new light and falling in love with them all over again. No buyers remorse here.

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Different boutiques had necklaces, pictures, glassware, throw pillows. Everything was lit with shadows and modern lines. I found a horse print I wanted to buy my mama but thought $1,500 was a tad pricey. Sorry mama…

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A clothing boutique had a circular book stack for their dressing room. Really?? What a cool touch!

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After we thoroughly explored Gastown, we kept hiking and out front of Nelson the Seagull I realized I had to pee right NOW! In exchange for a bathroom visit, I bought a chocolate croissant.

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Apparently on Wednesdays they have free yoga in the middle of their cafe and afterwards, everyone has a big family dinner. How awesome? They make their own bread and the emptied tables looked as though the patrons had been there for hours and talked about the deepest of secrets together. What a great spot.

We jumped to a highly recommended place called Rodney’s for bloody Mary’s. I mean, Caesars… they use clamato juice and therefore their bloodies are called something different. We spent a good two hours there, quizzing the oyster boys and enjoying ourselves at the bar. Our bartender, Joel, even shredded fresh horseradish for us – divine!

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Megan texted and said she’s finally made it so we paid our bills and hightailed it out of there. We hiked back to the apartment, found Megan, and lounged for awhile at home. Dinner took place around 9:30pm at Tap & Barrel. I was too full from the day, but everything the girls had looked amazing and made me promise I would experience the spot at some point.

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I love love love these girls. And I love our memories.

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Tomorrow is Friday. A new day in ‘Couve
Xo

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a slower pace in Seattle

Molly landed next. Then Katie. And the three of us jumped on the Light Link Rail and rode the tram all the way to International District/Chinatown. The Amtrak station is located there and would hold our bags for a measly $4 while we explored downtown Seattle. The weather is stunning, sun shines and a cool breeze blows.

The first order of business was a drink. And soon. We asked a passerby where a good local watering hole is located and they recommended FX McRorys around the corner. We hightailed it there and found a spot at a high top. The bar was insanely impressive. I tried to take a pano but there was just too much. Any liquor you could ever want, in every flavor and infusion. There was a ladder to reach the top shelf bottles. A round of Long Islands were in order and truly appreciated.

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We anxiously awaited Carley’s arrival and when she showed up, we were that much closer to a full crew. Giggles, drinks, and a few too-garlicky apps were consumed before we blew that pop stand. There may have been a desperate q-tip session in there prior to departure. Sometimes it’s a seriously necessary action, even when smack dab in the middle of a Seattle bar.

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Off we went, walking blocks and blocks to Pikes Place Market. Fresh flowers, produce, and amazing pastries everywhere! We were on stimulation overload and slightly tipsy.

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There was a little ice cream place called Shy Giant Frozen Yogurt. The flavors were ridiculous. I settled for Honey Lavender and Pistachio. Both if which were divine. Totally worth the $6 price tag.

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A spot I stopped last year for cherries was still there, although no cherries this year. He did have some sort of plum grape hybrid that tasted a bit like coconut and greatness.

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We shopped more, people watched even more, and surprise surprise, ended up at Von’s Gustrobistro for mimosas and my randomly chosen vodka martini.

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Megan was due to get in any minute now. As we were paying our tab, she called and told us the airline lost her luggage. That is the worst case scenario for the situation we had since timing was crucial. She ended up spending the night in Seattle with some friends and waited for her luggage. In the morning she’ll jump on the bus and meet us in Couve’.

The time was getting closer to train departure so we headed towards Kings Street Station. Due to the fact we’ve all been traveling nonstop, we grabbed a little caffeine pick me up at Zeitgeist Coffee. Cutest condiment bar ever.

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The Amtrak Station was packed. The train was sold out. Not a seat left. We were late to the party (surprised?) and very near the back of the line. We waited our turn and by the time we got on the train, there was no chance in hell we would find four seats together. We split up and hoped to rearrange once the dust settled.

Half hour into the journey of a 4.25 hour train trek, we finagled seats near each other. We munched on farmers market finds, tried to sit comfortably, and giggled for a large part of our journey. Sometimes louder than our train car mates were happy with. Towards hour 3.5, I was so tired my eyes wouldn’t stay open. So while Molly and I tried to snooze, K and C were the responsible ones. They filled out (and forged) our Declaration Forms and signatures. (thanks mamas!)

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Arrival into Vancouver was as disorganized as ever, luggage stacked outside the train cars, wheelchairs everywhere, people moving like a giant mass towards border patrol and the special people with the stamps that make our passports look more like scrapbooks. We made it through, no strip searches this time. Our apartment was a five-minute walk from the station.

A property manager let us in, at midnight, and showed us up to our apartment on the 16 floor. Walking like zombies, we peeked at the rooms, divvied up the bedrooms and called it a night. The dark sky didn’t show us much of the view but there were shadows, and a cool breeze, and you could hear water, so we were optimistic….

Goodnight from ‘Couve!
xo

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airport adventures

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Let’s start with my first mistake. I assumed a domestic flight only required an hour of navigation time at our airport. My flight left at 7am, I woke up at 4:50am, I arrived to MSP at 5:50am. Being the tech-savvy girl I am, I’ve already checked in on my Delta app. All that’s left to do is drop my luggage at Baggage Drop and get thru security. Seems easy enough. I roll up to Baggage Drop (first bag checked free thanks to my Gold Delta Skymiles American Express), and I hoist my bag on the scale. Now, I’ve got a terrible judgment of weight. Just like I’m horrible at guessing height, age, and just about everything else that has to do with numbers. When I lifted that bag on the scale it felt like 75 pounds to me. Mentally, I was deciding which ten garments I would throw on as layers and walk like an abominable snowman thru the terminal. The Delta rep looks up and says, “Great! 44 pounds.” I was way off.

I continue on my way towards security and wait in the 60 person line. When there’s three people between me and the TSA rep, I go to launch my Delta app with my digital boarding pass. The app opens up, prompts me to reenter my email/Delta pin/last name – all of which I know six ways from Sunday and no matter how many times I try, the son-of-a will not log me in. I bow out of the security line like an incompetent traveler and I silently curse the App gods. I hard reset my phone, redownload the Delta app, then attempt to re-login. No dice. At this point, seeing as I’ll have to get back in at the end of the security line, I don’t have time to putz with being tech savvy. I’m doing this the old-fashioned way and speed walk to the Delta kiosk to get a paper copy. Pass obtained, back in line, get to the front, TSA let’s me thru, wait in line with my untied shoes and bag of liquids ready to go thru the laser beam scanner. I’m confident the rest of the day will go smoothly.

Wishful thinking. In front of the line is a heavyset middle-age woman with the largest piece of carry on luggage apparently having her first TSA experience. There’s an agent sifting through her stuff (before any laser beams have searched her bag or her person) and the rest of us watch while we give her the silent “WTF lady” look. The TSA agent takes out a full size bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and an extra large bottle of air spray (First Time Lady gets points for sharing my love of Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship hair care – but that’s all I’ll give her). TSA takes out a jar of peanut butter… which apparently now is deemed a liquid and must be taken out of checked luggage. TSA takes out a large bottle of cream, a Costco size toothpaste, and a half liter of mouthwash. She looks at the lady and says, “You do know you cannot have more than 6oz of liquid with you on a carry-on…?” And all of the liquid gets trashed. 1. What a waste. 2. If I were the TSA lady I would have said something more along the lines of, “Are you kidding me right now? We’re trying to streamline this process, if you don’t know what the process is – bring a guardian next time. You’re outta here!” and promptly kick her to the curb.

After that debacle, I get thru security in 4.5 seconds. As I’m redressing, I’m mentally mapping the MSP airport for where my gate is. I’m a tad crunched for time and just need someone to point me in the right direction so I can get in Emily Hightailing Mode. I ask a sweet young TSA girl with darker hair than mine where I could find Terminal F. She pointed one direction and off I went. Multitasking as I walk the way she directed. Trying to login to the Delta app, send an email, update the girls via iMessage and find a restroom at the same time. Trusting she knows the way around her workplace.

I get to the end of the corridor and there’s no Terminal F to be found. I slightly panic at this point as my flight has been boarding for about 10 minutes and I’m cutting it close. I turn around and look at signs. I see terminal A, B, C, D and E. no F. How much more clear could I be to the TSA bambino? Maybe I should have said – F as in Frank. F as in football. F as in… get me the F*#% on the plane already!!!

I turn in the direction I came and start a slow jog. There are many levels of running so we’ll call this a Level 2 of 10. I’m not quite at Home Alone running speed (thank God). But I’m definitely dodging and weaving thru strollers and groups of traveling Asian students taking pictures of God knows what.

Terminal F! There you are you little shit! Right where I got thru security. I find my door at F13 and all my plane neighbors are milling about – maybe 15 people left. The beauty of this is I normally prefer to be the last one on. Now that I’m checking my bag (for free), I don’t have to worry about fighting for space and laying a smack down on anyone to stow my would-be checked bag that I’m too cheap to check for $25 (tongue twister?). I take a deep breath, chuckle to myself, and contemplate sidling up to the bar next to my gate and ordering a double scotch with no chaser. Then I realized I don’t remember what kind of scotch I like. And at my luck (and extremely small bladder) I’ll be squished next to a heifer and desperate to use the restroom 5x on my three hour flight.

I’m the last to board my plane, and it turns out I snagged an Exit Row seat. I always choose window seats for the view but this one just so happened to be the very first row when you enter the plane. As you can see in the picture, there’s plenty of room for activities! It’s like God was all, ‘sorry for the shitshow morning, Em! I didn’t have my java yet.’ I hoped for a second there’d be a jumbo mug of mimosa and eggs Benedict delivered to me shortly thereafter. (No such thing in Coach).

It’s ironic this was my seat, as the flight attendant confirmed with us we were comfortable helping others in the event of an emergency. I replied in the affirmative, and then glanced at the audience seated behind me. There are a lot of 200 and 250 pounders on this flight. I highly doubt I could lift one of them, but who knows. I suppose I could try to yell loudly and direct traffic. Or grab a few of the little ones and baby monkey them to safety.

Negative emergency thoughts aside. The floor in front of us has room for two adults to Indian wrestle. But my seatmate passed out 3 minutes into the flight. My next idea was to lead the commoner (I.e. Coach) cabin in a nice 90-minute sunrise yinyasa flow yoga session. I am wearing a full yoga outfit after all…

An hour into the flight, the cabin door is blowing some seriously cold air my way. I bundle up and hunker down for the long haul. Rarely am I cold so I feel blessed, once again.

I arrived in Seattle, the first of the girls to touchdown at 8am. I’m on a mission to find a bar and order a Bloody Mary. Stat.

Woosah.

Let the games begin!
xo

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a small, unnecessary explanation

Let me take a moment to explain what I enjoy most in life.

Traveling, friends, adventures, running, good food, lovers, family, my dog, memories, experiences, and laughing.  I place a high value on traveling and friendship.  It may seem as though I just came back from Scottsdale due to my delayed blog posts but I really came back July 1st.  Bright and early tomorrow I will fly to Seattle, explore a little, then we take a train to Vancouver, BC for….drum roll please…… THE FOURTH ANNUAL GIRL’S TRIP!!

This is now feeling 150% like a tradition that will take place each year.  My closest high school girlfriends and I.  Meeting up in a city (domestic or international) for a long weekend of girl talk, mimosas, laughter and memory making.

This time we’re flying in from Minnesota, Arizona, Florida and Colorado to meet in the rainy city of Seattle.  Then venturing by train up to the most beautiful city I’ve imagined myself owning a home in – Vancouver.

The upcoming weekend is Lululemon’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon and we are all running it.  Combine an adventure with friends, laughing, good food, AND running… I’m content and in the best frame of mind.

Some people like to spend money on new fur coats, high heels, expensive $50 mascara that still smears all over after jumping in the water… some people even buy $6 lattes each morning.  But me?  I like to spend my money on travel.  On adventures.  On spending time with people I love in different corners of the world.

Stay tuned for updates on our weekend in Vancouver, starting tomorrow!

xo

Listening to

Sipping on

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Scottsdale : Monday

We slept in as long as we could before we had to get rolling.  Carley was the first flight out and we wanted to catch breakfast at Arcadia Farms first.  This sweet cafe is right out of Little House on the Prairie.  Wood floor, red doors, cute art on the wall.  It felt like going to a grandma’s house who knew how to interior decorate properly.

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photo 1-1In typical best friend’s fashion, we each ordered a Kir Royal to toast our remarkably great weekend.  While we recapped and perused the menu, our waitress dropped off a small plate of mini scones to nibble on.

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This was one of those spots where anything you ordered off the menu would be amazing.  I debated between the Fresh Berry Crepes and the Breakfast Panini.  The panini won: scrambled egg with rosemary ham and smoked mozzarella on a baguette.

photo 3-3Next, we had to hustle to make Carley’s departure time… never a dull moment!  Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is a city in itself, tons of terminals, north side, south side, ramps and overpasses.  Katie is a ninja navigating that space!

After dropping Carley off, we decided against our better judgment to a little hiking on Camelback Mountain in the 115 degree heat.  Plenty of water, working cell phones, crazy sports bra straps and sunglasses – we set off.  It got hotter and hotter as we climbed and pretty soon we made the executive decision that we were sweating faster than we could replenish with water, and that a descent was the best option.

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The rest of my afternoon, I dipped in the pool and packed up all of my things.  We stopped off at Sprinkles to pick up some goodies for the folks at home and I found my way to my gate.

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More than one time this weekend – Carley and I promised we would be back again next year for another long weekend in the hot box.  There’s nothing like 4 days with your best friends to really refocus on what’s important in life.  Friendships, memories, laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

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Until next time AZ,

xo

 

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Scottsdale: Sunday

*life happened before I wrote the rest of this trips blog posts – back on the bandwagon now!

 

Wake up with a little boob sweat?  Sure!  Good morning Scottsdale!  We made an executive decision to skip working out today and instead, totally enjoy each other’s company and humor.  The morning started out with brunch at The Herb Box in Old Town Scottsdale.  The interior was terrific – I almost had the girl’s cause a commotion so I could pull that old-school bike off the wall and ride to 26th and Cactus.  The end goal to our Sunday morning : plan couple’s trip 2014 and get elevated.  Successful? Absolutely!

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Our server informed us there was bottomless mimosas available, to which we all agreed upon.  Pineapple, mango, pomegranate, orange and grapefruit.  Did he recommend trying them all?  Maybe even trying them all twice?  Yes, he did.  And yes, we did.  Between sipping delicious glasses of champagne and planning the first annual couple’s trip, we played this game we call Pretend We’re Fabulous Like Carley.  How do you play?  It’s simple.  Grab the sparkly diamond off of your best girlfriend’s ring finger and wear it while holding your mimosa.  Every girl’s trip, we all gotta try it on, daydream for two seconds that it’s ours, and then give it back.  Thanks for being such a good sport, Carla!

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To supplement the mimosas we shared three dishes.  One I cannot remember for the life of me, the other two were fantastic.  One the Bourbon-Ginger Peach Brioche French Toast and the other the Chilaquiles Verde.  Interested in salivating over their descriptions?  Read here.

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We spent about 3 hours planning, drinking, munching on some brunch, planning some more, laughing, taking pictures, and then drinking 3 more mimosas each.  We didn’t want to overstay our welcome…. ha!  So the next group activity was decided upon… pedicures at AZ Tips and Toes!

On the way we stopped at Sprinkles off Camelback Road and then had not one but THREE dance parties in the car.  The most memorable being the rock out to “Thrift Shop”.  After all that dancing, I may have fallen asleep in the backseat for one second…

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AZ Tips and Toes was the cleanest, nicest nail salon I’ve seen.  Totally bright, plenty of color options, and comfy seats to consume a Sprinkles Cupcake in, or lounge and fall slightly asleep in your mimosa-enduced stupor.

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The rest of the day we spent in the pool.  Avoiding any opportunity to stand for more than 5 seconds outside of the pool in the 118 degree weather.  We swam, we laughed, we continued what we do best : enjoying each other’s company.  Dinner was decided on the first day of vacation… none other than the infamous In’N’Out Burger.

photo 5-2The little dude that took our order was, hands down, the most precious little ethnic, Russian, Serbian, whatever country he hailed from.  For someone that works at a fast food joint and deals with drunk, high punks on the regular – he was too nice!  We wanted to stand next to him all night while he took orders just to make sure people were treating him right.

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Full on the best burger, fries and shake EVER created… the evening commenced with Cards Against Humanity and more laughter than I could handle.

 

laughter is the best medicine,

xo

 

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