Tag Archives: music

Scottsdale: Saturday

Good morning sweat box! We woke up and got our daily caffeine fix at Village Coffe Roastery. Dirty Iced Chais and a pistachio muffin. Both of which we’d all vouch for. There was a small shelf for the locals to store their coffee mugs (kinda like beer mugs being kept in lockers in beer halls of Germany). Cool location, great coffee, definitely gave us some energy! photo 1photo 2photo 3 Next up : SPIN! One of the first times I visited Scottsdale – Kates exposed me to this exercise phenomenon called Spin. But down here, they do it WAY differently than I’ve been used to. The room is black, blacklights, concert-volume mixed pop music, and everyone is 110% balls to the wall. You leave dripping with sweat, feeling like you just scaled a mountain and conquered world peace after 60-minutes. We took spin at the Madison Improvement Club. Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 10.32.51 PM It’s a swanky spin/yoga boutique with a modern health cafe on the inside. You even have the option to preorder your food before your class so it’s ready and waiting for you to inhale afterwards. Yesterday was Orange Theory and today was Spin… let’s just say our thighs and quads were on FIRE. Like literally on fire. The music was excellent, the instructor faced us and called people out over the eardrum blasting noise to “sprint! sprint! spring!” At the end of the class, on a normal, non-Hell temperature day, they open up the front wall to a gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. We were thankful they kept the doors closed this time around. photo 1 copy 2photo 3 copy 2 photo 2 copy 2photo 4 copyphoto 5photo Our refueling took place at a great place in Old Town Scottsdale called Chop Shop. Are you getting the theme of a Scottsdale visit? Workout, REALLY hard, and eat at REALLY awesome restaurants! Cardio, fuel. Spin, brunch. It’s a cycle (ha!) and we love it! At Chop Shop I had the Zen Bowl: scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, white cheddar and brown rice. Ah-may-zing. We dined outside under the misters and gradually live was returned to our legs. photo 1 copyphoto 2 copy photo 3 copyphoto 4
After refueling, we ran a few errands. Katie dropped her iPhone and completely shattered the screen. Is this a sign she’s on it too much? ūüėČ

It was time for a dip in the pool. Two hours of pool to be exact. After we cooled down, we showered, made a few drinks for the road and headed to Fashion Square Mall to get the heck out of the heat. The drinks were not, in fact, for the road but instead for a little adventurous shopping. We had a few dressing room dance parties, and enjoyed the latest in POS checkout technology. #nerd



Something that lights my heart on fire when I’m with these girls is we always make friends where we go. ¬†One stop at Fashion Square was to LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. ¬†The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a young man who inquired what brought us in. ¬†He told us about himself, how he’s a ballet dancer, and recommended tons of products to us! ¬†I told him I really wanted to get a great facial mask and also something to tame down my insane long locks in this heat. ¬†He recommended, and I purchased, Mask of Magnaminty¬†and Sea Spray¬†for my hair. ¬†The whole place is well done with a beautiful font and the way they display their products. ¬†The masks look like they’re displayed at a salad bar on ice. ¬†The large wedges of soaps reminded me of the enormous wheels of Gouda cheese in Amsterdam. ¬†I fell in love with Lush today after I read their We Believe statement.

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After we exhausted all that Fashion Square had, we drove to Scottsdale Quarter to continue our night. A stop at the Apple Store allowed us to get Kate’s a new iPhone and also allowed a little time for Carley to change the backgrounds of multiple devices to showcase a really hot picture of Hugh Jackman.




Dinner took place at True Food.  Another Scottsdale staple Рincredibly healthy, organic spot.  You can order anything and everything on the menu and be 110% satisfied.


I always get the Chicken Chopped Salad. ¬†There’s something about the way the manchego cheese, marcona almonds and jicama mixes together that it takes me to my happy place every time. ¬†We split the Vegetable Crudit√©s starter – it was like a wonderful garden on ice with fabulous dipping sauces. ¬†Really cool presentation – we were impressed.

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Katie is friends with a manager and she brought us these delicious honeydew melon vodka cocktails (which we of course, cheers’ed). ¬†The back end of the restaurant near the outdoor restroom held this garden, sink washing station that caught my eye in the setting sun. ¬†Love True Food, always have, always will.

photo 2-1photo 2-2The end of the evening brought us to a 3-story Restoration Hardware, because let’s be honest, you know there’s going to be some good stuff in there. ¬†I only fell in love with 75% of the store. ¬†Carley tried out many chairs and we decided this one most resembles her walk-on role in Game of Thrones and thus she had to buy it ($15,000 later….).

photo 3-2As we walked up the flight of stairs, I marveled at these hanging chandeliers inside of bird cages, hung by thick shipyard rope.  I need a big house, with tall ceilings, so I can properly hang them. #wishfulthinking

photo 1-2We made friends with the gentleman that greeted us at the entrance, named Brian. ¬†He took us on the Grande’ Tour of the store and priced out different couches we laid on. ¬†We, of course, knew at this time they were out of our price range but we laughed and he enjoyed chatting with us. ¬†He looked up prices on his iPad and we walked through all the different rooms, quickly falling in love with every duvet and medieval spoon we found. ¬†We bid Brian a good evening, bought a few little trinkets, and made a swift stop at It’Sugar¬†candy shop for some pineapple gummi bears and chocolate covered oreos.

The evening ended with another hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity.

Loving this adventure,



Listening to.




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Scottsdale bound

Tonight I took a super late flight to Scottsdale for the weekend. ¬†Time for a little R&R with some close girlfriends. ¬†I’ve been out there many times and always come back feeling refreshed, renewed, with my core body temperature slightly out of sync in the red zone. ¬†I have miles on Delta (more on that later) and booked a flight to the tune of 25,000 miles + $7.50 in taxes.

Knowing I paid the ticket taxes with my Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, means I have one free checked bag. ¬†I decided to pack more than enough into a larger than necessary bag. ¬†A girl likes to have options, 3 swimsuits for 4 days? ¬†I think so! ¬†I found my seat in the back of the plane and smiled to myself as I set eyes on my seat mates. ¬†Both younger girls wearing yoga pants. ¬†With a thankful sigh of relief, I scooted into my window seat. ¬†Nine times out of ten, I have someone pushing 3 bills and reeking of cheap beer sitting next to me. ¬†Flying takes on a whole new adventurous tone when you aren’t sure if the dude next to you is either going to try to hit on you or throw up in your lap. ¬†Not pleasant. ¬†I enjoyed not having a sweaty, hairy thigh pushed up against my personal leg space. ¬†I enjoyed the camaraderie of using Apple products with competent, smart, healthy girls doing the same next to me. ¬†Call me crazy, but that never happens and I was thankful. ¬†As I was sitting in me seat, I watched my luggage roll up the conveyor belt underneath me into the plane. ¬†That’s always a good sign. ¬†The journey is off to a good start.

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Katie picks me up from the airport where I’m instantly sweating on the sidewalk. ¬†This is going to be a test of strength and effort to not literally melt while I’m here. ¬†No one likes a puddle! ¬†We drive back to her apartment in Scottsdale and I haul my 44-lb luggage into the room I’ll be staying in while I’m here. ¬†The AC is a blessing and I have a feeling we’ll be spending quite a bit of time near the pool. ¬†Go for a run, jump in the pool. ¬†Lunch date, then jump in the pool.

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This morning we woke up and had iced coffee + Rumchata Рa true start to vacation.  Cheers to a hot, sweaty, adventurous-weekend!

Life is good!


Listening to this.

Current temperature in Scottsdale at 7:55 AM : 86 F

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Dublin -> Minnesota

Oh. My. God. My body. It hates me.
I feel like I’ve been smashed in by a pot of gold.
I feel like I’ve been on a month long Jameson binge.
I feel, for lack of a better word, like shit. With a capital ‘s’, Shit.

It’s been ages since I’ve had a hangover and now I remember why I avoid it like the plague – because it is the absolute worst feeling ever. Aside from childbirth I hear, but That Is A Miracle Happening, people! You cannot compare the two. They’re not mutually exclusive. (good phrase, right dad?)

Apparently, I let my tolerance guard down a little. I should have said no when I said yes and I won’t be making that mistake again.

In the wee hours, I even had a mini-pass out session. Mini because I stopped it just before it happened, but felt as if it still occurred. My body passes out on occasion. It’s like a reboot. More often than not it happens around alcohol, but not always. I’ve passed out on a plane, in my bathroom, in other peoples bathrooms, heck, in the bathroom of Ed Debevics in Chicago just two weeks ago…

I ran to the bathroom, stripped, jumped into the tiny 3’x3′ shower and blasted the water freezing cold. Ten minutes like this and I felt the feeling pass. Afterwards I always feel uncharacteristically tired and very weak.

I slept a bit longer and dreaded the alarm clock that woke Chelsea and I at 6:45am. We didn’t start moving until 7:00 and by that time, we were already running behind. They say to get to the airport at least 2 hours early for international flights, right? Our flight leaves at 10am, boarding starts at 9:15.

We pack speedy fast, rouse the sleeping boys, and load into the car. No coffee, tea, breakfast. I couldn’t have handled it anyway.

Ian drives us in his sporty car to the airport. The windows are down (by request) and the cold air is refreshing and energizing (it’s the simple things in life, right mom?). He pops in a Michael Bubl√© CD and turns it up.

Here we are: four people, packed into a car, weaving thru the streets of Dublin with the windows down and Michael Bublé blasting.

I just wanted to recap for you because, hangover or not, it was the best exit ever.

We arrive at the Dublin Airport and get our boarding passes at the American Airlines counter. The lines are short but take longer than necessary. I waver while I stand and I’m nauseous as all get out.

We get thru the first security checkpoint. I get buzzed when I walk thru the sensor so a nice woman asks if she can “pat me down”. What are my options? Closed room strip search or in-the-open pat down? I’ll take the pat down. Unless the strip search agents are Michael Bubl√© and David Beckham. In that case, I hope there’s favorable dim lighting… ūüôā

I don’t know how I could have caused it to buzz. I’m wearing Lululemon socks, yoga pants, a sports bra and tank top…

We hear the overhead PA say, “Passengers flying on American Airlines flight XX to Chicago, make your way to the lower level U.S. Preclearance“. We walk a bit faster, just to stand in another line. This is US Customs, it is nice to get out of the way now versus once we arrive. The time is 9:05, we board at 9:15. We get thru customs, part of which includes them showing us an aerial photograph zoomed in on our luggage after it was checked at the counter. The customs agent asks, “is this the luggage you checked earlier?” I reply in the affirmative. Holy creepy, big brother! I guess I would rather have more security than less but, yikes.

Next stop is security checkpoint n√ļmero dos.. It’s 9:15. We get thru relatively quickly and find the nearest restroom (sensing a pattern here, folks? We pee a lot.)

9:20 and the gate is packed. Standing room only. They are seating individual sections and ours has been called. There’s no need to board and sit so we won’t board until the last possible minute. Nearby is a small cafe. We have leftover euros and decide to pick a few things up. A chicken sandwich, a blueberry muffin and a bottle of water. I probably would have paid ‚ā¨40 for that water, my body was crying out for it so terribly bad.

We board the plane and exhale a sigh of relief. We made it. What an adventure!

I love traveling and seeing the world. I love the cultures, the music, the locals, the food, the memories. I enjoy it all and feel blessed for the opportunity.

But there is nothing, absolutely nothing like the feeling of going home.

We toast one last time onboard, with oj and water.



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Rainy Galway

Rainy! Cold! Gloomy!

Today we head to the Cliffs of Moher. A student out&back ticket on the bus is ‚ā¨21.50, significantly cheaper that any tour we found… and we can spend as long as we like. We grabbed a lunch and got outta dodge.

The Bus √ąireaan is the Ireland bus company. We ride in a nice coach bus thru the rain and fog about 2 hours away. There’s no bathroom on the bus, and for me, that’s like saying there’s no air to breath when you need it. I just have to pee. Always. Every 25 min it seems like. And not having a bathroom onboard is slightly nerve-racking. Deep breath.

Small side note: It’s amazing how much mileage I can get out of this car. Both domestic and international. Students get discounts on food, hostels, bus tickets, Jameson tours, everything. I’m going to milk it for all I can. And when the card is unreadable. I’ll regress and buy a fake… how’s that for ironic? We spend our younger years striving to have an older ID just to become legal and strive for a younger ID.

Anyway, we made it to the Cliffs of Moher. The entire ride was bumpy. Entirely. The ride home was extremely bumpy over the cobblestones, like we were in a giant blender. Despite that, both Chelsea and I fell asleep on the way there and on the way home.

The Cliffs of Moher were invisible. The fog was so heavy and thick we were unable to view any of the steep cliffs. Mini photo shoot at the teeny castle on the bluff and we jumped right back on the bus again. Really shitty too because these cliffs are in The Princess Bride, one of the best movies of all time!

Back in Galway, I take the deepest nap ever. Chelsea wakes me up and we shop for an authentic sweater for someone at home. Our reward is gelato and enjoying more street musicians. Mmm.

An old Irish man rolled many kegs down an alleyway… straight out of a movie I felt like.

Dinner turns into an exploration in other parts of this small town. We dine at Busker Brownes. The hostel gave us a free pint of Guinness there.

After dinner we pub hopped to three spots that had large crowds, intimate lighting and live music. We enjoyed Jameson at each. Everywhere we went two Jameson neats were ‚ā¨8.40 – no one can charge more or less.

We toasted to friendship, silly Irishmen, our futures….

Laughing all the way back to the hostel.












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another day, another macchiato

Our two hostel mates (sisters from Canada) packed up loudly and left this morning pretty early. It was pretty rough trying to sleep while that went on so we started the day.

Another macchiato at the coffee shop to pair with our hostel breakfast. Fuel for a long days travel. We develop a secret code to use in case we need to dip out of a situation without offending who we’re around. (we would tell you, but then we’d have to kill you).

We pack all our belongings and hiked to the light rail. Before hoping on- we checked to see if ticket checkers were on board… nope. We rode free (scandalous!) like bandits fleeing the city.

The light rail brings us all the way to the Heuston train station. A one-way ticket to Galway (‚ā¨20) and we’re off to platform 4. I looked everywhere for platform 9 3/4… nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, trains absolute rock. I love speeding past the countryside watching the rolling hills fly by. Dublin to Galway is clear across Ireland. Look it up if you’re curious!

Our trip takes about 2 and some hours. I plug in my earbuds to the iPad and the first song plays, “If I Die Young” – the Band Perry. This absolutely matches my mood. If I die young, I feel so blessed for all of the experiences I’ve had. It’s surreal to have that song play first as I’m rolling thru beautiful Ireland landscape. I can be proud that I’ve made this happen. I’ve worked hard to get here. I’ve accomplished dreams and made my life what it is. I wish more would make the most out of their time on this planet. *steps off soapbox

Halfway thru the ride, a lady rolls this giant 4-story snack cart down the aisle and I just about ask if she has any Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.

I fall asleep listening to Andr√© Bocelli’s “Por Ti Volare” and swear there is nowhere else I would rather be in the world right now.


We arrive in Galway and walk thru Eyre Square to Kinley Hostel. Judging by the clothes, we are rooming with two guys. The hostel is in excellent condition and highly rated throughout the world. We are very excited for our next few days here.

Lunch is at Cafe Express, we grab sandwiches before exploring the town. Grilled chicken sandwich (‚ā¨5.90) on the freshest homemade ciabatta ever. Two thumbs up.

It’s pretty interesting, there is no tipping in Ireland. Waitresses and servers don’t go out of their way to be friendly, nice, or cordial because… they aren’t working for tips. It’s something to get used to- entirely different from America. They come over and say, “what do you want?”, and leave.

The wind was blowing like crazy but we wanted to continue our exploration. All thru downtown Galway were street performers. Fire baton twirlers, a harpist, but my favorite were these 4, standing on metal poles and playing old-fashioned guitars. They got the change in my wallet.

We walked and walked all the way to the ocean. There were rugby teams playing in the tall grasses, abandoned boats tied to the pier, and greenery as far as the eye can see.

After a few photos, and battling the wind (literally), to stay standing, we worked our way back. A little downtime, a little retail therapy, and planning the next segments adventures worked up an appetite.

We found an off the beaten path ecofriendly and organic restaurant called mixgreens. The food was locally grown, super fresh and reasonable priced. Penne pasta with grilled chicken and spiced olives (‚ā¨8.50). We noshed before calling it a night.

Deeply tired, blessed, content,









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