PHOENIX TRIP

What a weekend! I dedicated this solo adventure to healing & finding inner peace again. After an emotional time lately, I deserved this. I always feel better after traveling & I have come to love traveling by myself. 10 years ago, I would have never even thought to do such a thing & now it’s all I know & love. I should do a blog post sometime with my tips for traveling solo. I’ve become quite good and confident @ it.

Anywayssss – I’m just going to do a little recap & share some photos from this weekend. I love being able to look back on my posts & see what I was thinking in that moment in time. A digital scrapbook in a sense.

I decided I was just going to go into the weekend with some plan ideas but nothing set in stone – going with the flow and doing whatever my heart desired in that specific moment. Doing whatever brought me happiness & joy.

I’ve been wanting to go to AZ for a few months now. I just thought it would be a really relaxing weekend spot. Different than the city life I’m used to. Less touristy & go go go like I did in Seattle last summer. I loved the mountain feel in Denver for my bday this summer too. And I of course knew I wanted to go somewhere warm! It was ridiculously cold in MN and 86 every day in AZ. Perfection. I settled on flying into Phoenix & staying in Scottsdale. It seemed like things would be pretty spread out yet close enough to drive between Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa & Tempe. I found a bomb Airbnb @ a luxury apartment complex in the paradise valley area of Scottsdale. I also rented a car for the first 24 hours to explore a bit.

I arrived @ 930am on Saturday morning. Nice & early so I had the entire day to do stuff. I grabbed the rental car. That is one thing I’ve never done by myself and it went really well. I really covered a lot of ground on Saturday in the car.

I set off right away to The Local Donut. I wanted to get there right away because they close early & I didn’t know if I would have time to trek there the following day. They are like the Glam Doll of PHX. I loaded up on a few different fun finds, my favorite being apple cider.

Next up was the Desert Botanical Gardens. I was so pumped for this. Haha. For real. It is like a massive cactus & succulent garden! My favorite! I had soooo much fun snapping cool pix here.

I had planned to go somewhere called Zookz for lunch but I stumbled across a chili stand. I mean come onnnn. Chili is one of my top 3 foods. No joke. I’ve never just stumbled into an actual chili stand before. So despite it being a scorching 86 degrees, I got the damn bowl of chili.

I then spent the afternoon shopping. I found a cool handmade dish thing to put my jewelry in. Cactus themed of course. I also found the Michael Kors jacket I’ve been eyeing up online. I’m obsessed with that olive green color and they had my size. SOLD.

Checked into the Airbnb around 3pm and explored the property. It felt like a resort. It’s surprisingly less than I pay in Minneapolis too! Here are some shots of the place …

Decided to grab some dinner @ a spot near my place – Blanco Taco & Tequila. I had been eyeing up these nachos. They were incredible. I actually feel really comfortable eating out alone these days.

Had a low key night just lounging @ the Airbnb and settling in. I had an early morning ahead and needed sleep.

Woke up @ 5am on Sunday! Wanted to get on the road by 6am to trek to Camelback Mountain. This is the highest mountain in all of Arizona. This was really something I was excited for. I’ve never climbed a mountain alone! Haha. I went for the cholla trail which is apparently slightly easier than the other one. I wanted to beat the heat by going early like that. When I arrived I still had to park a ways down the road and some people were already coming down! Wow. I started off and felt great! It was really neat with stellar views. There are some signs to direct you but it’s not much of a trail. The top portion got a bit intense. You had to like rock climb! Scaling on your hands & knees in some places. I took breaks for water and photos which helped. I’m not going to sugar coat it though, this is quite the workout. I spent a lot of time on the top just sitting there and reflecting. I was also dreading the climb down. HA. I have really bad knees especially when going down from all the extra pressure. I decided to just go for it. I was going relatively fast to get it over with but also trying to be careful to not get hurt. I definitely had to put my phone in my backpack and focus on where I was going and I needed my hands a lot. It took me 9,382 steps round trip. This was by far the most invigorating thing I did during my trip. I felt like I really proved to myself again that I am capable of ANYTHING.

I drove directly to The Original Chop Shop after that adventure for a healthy green juice & protein bowl. Both were amazing.

I returned the rental car after this and showered up. Spent a solid 5 hours laying @ the pool for the afternoon. It felt really hot in the sun but I love HOT! I studied a bit for financial accounting and just straight chilled. Soaking in the rays hitting my skin.

Had a massage booked for 6pm because that’s another “treat yo self” necessity in my book! It was amazzzzing. This was good planning for after that hike I did in the morning!

The Vikes were on so I walked back to the Airbnb after my massage & got the game on. I also LOVE Chicago deep dish pizza. One of my fave chi places (LOU MALNATIS) has a location in PHX. I ordered delivery and indulged!

I woke up on Monday and strolled to the hot tub. Just what every person does on a Monday morning @ 7am! HA! It felt so amazing though. I was calculating and plotting how I can move to Arizona in the near future. I have a game plan. We shall see if it all works out. March 2022 I’m out. I’m manifesting that shit right here! I can tell right away if I like somewhere and this entire trip gave me excellent vibes. I’ve been wanting to move somewhere warm and haven’t quite put my finger on what would make sense and feel right for me. Phoenix checked all my boxes!

I got ready for the day and walked to Scramble for a coffee & mushroom omelet. It felt great to just sit on the patio and eat my breakfast in peace.

I went back and studied @ the pool for a bit. And then I just laid in the sunshine for a short bit. Reflecting again on life and this trip. This is exactly what my soul needed. I’m proud of myself for just doing it.

I ubered to downtown PHX to drop my luggage off with the rental company. Then I was off to the Heard Museum. There was a Native American boarding school exhibit I wanted to view. I knew it would be triggering and upsetting. It was. Honestly, I just kept thinking WHAT IN THE FUCK. There are some seriously SICK people in this world. It was really sad but I am glad I got to see it.

I then did something completely random and not really on my plan list – I got dropped off in the middle of Rosevelt Row and just wandered alleys and found so many awesome street art gems. I legit love doing this.

Found another random spot called The Dressing Room and had a snack & marg to refuel.

It was already time to grab my luggage and roll out to the airport.

I missed my Mia baby but she was in good hands @ my sisters with her favorite cousin.

This was another solo trip for the books. I accomplished everything I wanted & more. I had time to decompress & think. I did new things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I relaxed and slowed my body to melt & feel the inner peace deeply. I saw Camelback while on the runway and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with pride and joy. I came, I saw, I conquered. Until next time AZ.

Thinking maybe I’ll do one more quick 2 night trip before the end of February when I go to Key West for 5 days! Traveling really does rejuvenate me!

P.S. thank you to everyone who reached out to me after my latest post about what I’ve been going through. I was humbled by how many of you actually care. Your kind words & gestures really mean the world to me. It’s easy to feel alone in this cruel world, but when y’all reach out (some of which are complete strangers to me) it renews my hope & faith in humanity. We are in this fight together!

UP NORTH

I’m just getting home & settled in from an enjoyable trip “up north”. If you’re a Minnesotan you know what that means. For those who aren’t familiar with this odd obsession, just about anyone & everyone makes their way “up north” (north of the Twin Cities metro area) most summer weekends but especially on holiday weekends. Every direction you look, you’ll see campers, boats, trailers, atvs & more being hauled, as people are fleeing the city for the weekend! Just a few short hours out of the city & it feels like you’re in a completely different place. There’s something about unplugging & just relaxing away from the hustle & bustle of the city that rejuvenates people. MN is the land of 10,000 lakes after all!

My parents officially retired & moved up north this past year. It’s nice to have a beautiful place to visit & enjoy the MN lake life. I personally could never live up there full time but they seem to have adjusted and like it! Anyways, Alex, Mia & I ventured 3 hours northwest to spend the weekend with my parents. Being that it was Labor Day weekend, lots of others had the same thought. It was an abnormally cool weekend for this time of year, so there was not much water & beach action, but it was nice to just move slowly & lounge up there. We went out to brunch, enjoyed bloodies & mimosas, ate way too much good food, hot-tubed a bit, napped, went on a boat ride, got lots of laughs in with my parents, watched some tv & just straight chilled. Perfection in my book.

I didn’t take many pictures but here’s a few:

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend doing whatever brings you joy. Now it’s onto a short 4 day work week! YAY!

SEATTLE

Although my trip to Seattle was several months ago, I am still going to blog about it to document my suggestions, tips and adventures!

I decided that for my 30th (I know, right!) birthday I would go to Seattle for a mini vacay by myself! It was meant to prove to myself as I entered a new decade, that I was still a strong independent woman who could do hard & new things on my own! I planned this about two weeks prior to my birthday, which is June 29th. It was my first time away from Mia so of course I was nervous about that and didn’t want to be gone too long. I settled on leaving early Thursday morning and coming home late Saturday night. I crammed a lot of adventures in during that time and I really do feel like I saw enough to feel accomplished in Seattle.

So Thursday morning bright and early I dropped Mia off at her Rover and raced to the airport. Made it there without any issues, although, the flight was quite long (4 hours). When I got there I made my way to the light rail line. I used a mix of public transportation and ubers to get around. I successfully navigated downtown Seattle. I went from the airport to Public Market Center. I grabbed a quick bowl of the famous Beecher’s Mac & Cheese (which was SO good that I got it again TWO more times) and then ubered to my awesome airbnb.

I have used airbnb before but had never stayed in a SHARED house. But since this trip was allllll about doing new things alone I decided I would try it. I found a home that had amazing reviews and bedrooms on the first and second floor that they rented out. I opted for the first floor one … it had its own private bathroom, mini fridge and an electronic lock on the door. I never even ended up seeing the owners and it was seriously perfect! They had a keypad on the front door and you could come and go as you please. Once I came home at night I didn’t venture back out … just relaxed in my room and went to bed. I would totally do this again especially with the private bathroom. It literally felt like a hotel room. If you ever travel to Seattle and want the link let me know!

So anyway, I ubered to the house and dropped off my stuff. I only traveled with a backpack but it was getting pretty heavy. I freshened up and headed back downtown. It was only like a 10 minute uber ride from my airbnb. I loved that they have uber pool in Seattle … it was always like $2-3 for a ride. You just can’t be in a rush because you pick up other people on the way. The app tells you where to stand and then the uber comes and picks you up. It was usually just me and maybe one or two other people. I actually enjoyed this! I explored the market & famous gum wall. Then after a while, I ubered North to the Queen Anne neighborhood. I went to find this cupcake joint which did not disappoint. Then I walked South to Kerry Park. This was apparently the BEST view of the city skyline … and it truly was beautiful!! Snapped a few pictures and took in the beauty. Then I walked to a burger joint and had a late dinner before ubering home and calling it a night.

Kerry Park Overlook

Friday morning I woke up super early because of the time change. I just laid in bed for a couple of hours relaxing. The bed was SO comfy and it was nice to just do nothing. Today was my 30th birthday! I had so many fun plans for the day so I eventually got up and headed downtown again. My go-to place was always the market. I had an amazing breakfast bagel for breakfast and some bday Starbucks of course! I then headed to the Seattle Art Museum. Since it was a Friday morning it was pretty quiet in there. There were some really neat exhibits. It was about lunchtime by the time I finished up at the Museum so I walked back over to the market. I went to Pike Place Chowder. There was about a 30 minute line but I had read such good reviews so I waited it out. It was the best $30 birthday lobster roll of my life. So good. For the afternoon I took the light rail train up to Chihuly Glass Gardens and the Space Needle. The glass gardens were beautiful. I ended up just finding a bench and chilling there for a while because my Space Needle time slot wasn’t for an hour or so. I could have done without the Space Needle … it really wasn’t that great and I sort of felt weird all the way up there. Snapped a few pictures and got out of there. Ended up ubering further North to the Ballard neighborhood. Found a booth at Mod Pizza and had some really good pizza. Walked around the neighborhood a little bit and then had a massage booked for 6 pm. After the massage, I went home and crashed! I did so much on Day 2.

Saturday morning I woke up and headed to none other than the market! I got some really good maple bacon donuts and then just spent the morning shopping downtown and roaming around. There was Starbucks involved and just taking it slow. It was starting to sprinkle a little around lunch time. Later that afternoon I took the light rail back to the airport and headed back to MSP. It was truly a special trip for me. I tried new things and felt rejuvenated when I got back home. I will definitely return someday for another long weekend. It was the perfect place to travel solo and was filled with such amazing food!