Archive | Travel

Travel Recap: Wisco to New Hampshire

Hi. Remember me? Where in the world have I been you wonder? I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I published a blog post, but for good reason. I was on a 10 day trip to visit my home state of Wisconsin and my husband’s in New Hampshire. When we returned to AZ, I just needed a few more days of “unplugging” and decompression before diving back into the blog. Sometimes you just have to disconnect and breathe.

The trip was a success! We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends & family, celebrating Independence Day, eating fresh seafood, horsing around with our nephews & niece and just r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. Speaking of Independence Day…it’s a long and somewhat comical story, but we never got to see fireworks. We were all psyched to head down to the fireworks on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, but ended up stuck in traffic for 3 hours instead! Boo. The traffic was horrendous and a dead gridlock. SO, if you have any fun fireworks stories from a few weeks ago, please share in the comments below so I can live vicariously through your memories 🙂 Thankfully the party on the 4th was awesome and made up for the night before. While in WI, we also had time to check out my brother’s new house, cook a family dinner for my parents & siblings, play with the pups and hang out by the pool.

In New Hampshire, we enjoyed staying in a beautiful beach house with upstairs and downstairs wrap-around, screened-in porches, bike rides, salty ocean air and the giggles of our nephews and niece. They grow up so fast and it’s always a blast to get to spend time with them. They crack us up and keep us on our toes. Bonus to being in NH, I got to meet up with my blogger friend, Melanie, of Melanie Delude! We met at Camp Blogaway and have kept in touch. Keep an eye out next month when we guest post on one another’s blogs. Melanie has some seriously good eats on her site.

After 10 days, we were ready to head back to the desert. It was nice to go on vacation, but I seriously missed my bed and creature comforts by the end of the trip. Nothing like home sweet home. Here is a slideshow of some of the pics I want to share.

 

Where are you vacationing this summer?

 

 

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Friday Four 6.19.15 – D.C. Inspired!

Today’s Friday Four is coming at you from the east coast this week as I joined my husband on his work trip to Washington, D.C. While here, I had a chance to explore the downtown area and the National Mall. My sightseeing included the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History, the Washington Monument, The White House and various federal buildings such as the Department of Justice, IRS, and FBI. The architecture in D.C. and the layout of the National Mall is stunning. I still think Chicago has the best skyline and architecture of any city, but D.C. is not far behind. Obviously there is so much history and significance around every corner that I really only had an opportunity to see a portion of what I wanted. However, I still enjoyed a relaxing, but adventurous day on my own. I took breaks when I wanted to, walked anywhere I pleased, enjoyed an awesome lunch at Plan B Burger Bar and a mid-afternoon glass of wine at Cafe du Parc. I people watched, took photographs and talked to strangers. Sometimes it’s days like this that become the best memories.

Here are four photos I want to share…

National Museum of American History

washington monument

gorgeous architecture

white house

 

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!! 

 

 

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Camp Blogaway: a Not-So-Rustic Blogger goes Rustic…

Camp Blogaway

I finally feel like things in my life have calmed down a bit from the last couple weeks of travel and I can now write this well overdue post about Camp Blogaway. It was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend that any food blogger attend next year whether you’re big time or you’re small time. It truly doesn’t matter what your level of “fame” or experience is as the real take-away in my opinion are the connections that you make along with the friendships that blossom. I was afforded the opportunity to meet some incredibly creative and talented people from all over the country including New Hampshire, New York, every part of California, Idaho, Illinois and another fellow Arizonian blogger, Taryn from Phoenix Bites. Yay for new AZ friends!!

Camp was held at De Benneville Pines in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, an elevation of 7,000 feet!! The drive up into the mountains was incredible, but I kept having to politely remind myself that I could indeed drive off the side of the mountain if I didn’t put my phone away and refrain from taking pictures while driving. I couldn’t help myself. The views were majestic and breathtaking. Even the pics I did take (on solid ground and not behind the wheel I might add) over the weekend didn’t do justice to the beauty I was surrounded by. I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, but once I pulled into the camp driveway, I wholeheartedly welcomed the rustic serenity breathing all around me.

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The weekend was packed full of extremely useful information with presentations from highly sought-after speakers & veterans in their respective businesses regarding a variety of topics such as: advertising & sponsorship, photography, social media outreach & strategy, the importance of content & passion, public relations advice, career tips and many conversations with inspirational people who shared their personal stories. It felt good to be in a room with like-minded people who all understand the concept and importance of “photo before food!” Finally I felt understood. Ha! My very supportive husband has gotten so used to this pre-meal ritual that he simply looks up and kindly asks “can I eat now?” Poor guy!

We were showered with generous samples and swag from amazing sponsors that joined us for the weekend who traveled from all over the country, near and far.

Camp Blogaway swag

The sponsors also gave us the gift of insight into the relationship between sponsor and blogger. I always wondered how a blogger begins doing sponsored posts and the information they provided was invaluable. They must know what they’re talking about because my first sponsorship package arrived via UPS today and I plan to write my first sponsored post in the next week or two. I don’t think this would have happened without the knowledge I took away from Camp Blogaway and these outstanding sponsors: Wilton, Wente Vineyards, Mann’s, Klondike Brands, Potandon, Canadian Lentils, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes, California Almonds, Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, Cabot Cheese and Sanguinetti Red Walnuts.

Camp Blogaway 2015

I had such a positive and memorable experience throughout the entire weekend despite fighting a cold that was trying it’s very best to keep me down. It was hard to stay down though between all of the workshops & presentations, the wine drinking “tasting” social hours, the smores by the fire, the cabin house parties and hanging out with my new frans.

Camp Blogaway 2015 - new friends[Left to Right: Lisa of Healthy Nibbles & Bits, Jenn of Awesome Food, ME, Hailey representing California Almonds, Melanie Delude of Melanie Delude and Vickie of Culinary Vixen]

Can’t wait for next year!!! Thank you to our “fearless leader” Patti Londre and the wonderful staff at De Benneville Pines!

social media contest
Camp Blogaway social media contest

 

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IIN Conference Highlights and NYC Trip in Pictures: Part 2

 

Part Two in Pics continues below…

Central Park

Central Park

Times Square

Times Square

Melt-In-Your_mouth Scallops at Tavern on The Green

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Scallops at Tavern on The Green

Tavern on the Green at Night

Tavern on the Green at Night

One of the best meals of my life with my favorite person.

One of the best meals of my life with my favorite person.

Lunch with a view!

Lunch with a view!

Today Show crew- Al, Hoda, Savannah and Natalie

NERD ALERT – Besides eating and the IIN Conference, the one touristy thing I wanted to do was to head down to the Today Show studio- got a pic of Al, Hoda, Savannah and Natalie. No Matt Lauer. My husband was super thrilled to be a part of this. Um…not so much.

 

One of the highlights for us as far as food goes was eating at Totto Ramen in East Midtown. We recently watched a few episodes of The Mind of a Chef Season 1 and became obsessed (or maybe that was just me obsessing) with trying authentic ramen from a noodle shop in NYC.  On the last day just before we headed to the airport, we stopped in for lunch. Needless to say, I left New York as a happy gal.

Totto Ramen

Totto Ramen

Previous

 

Home Sweet Home PhoenixTraveling is always fun, but coming home to this Phoenix sunset can’t be topped 🙂

 

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IIN Conference Highlights and NYC Trip in Pictures: Part 1

As I’m sitting here writing this post, my legs, hips, feet and back continue to ache and feel like tenderized meat (this analogy is assuming I can imagine what a piece of meat feels like from being hammered by a rolling pin) from all of the walking we did over the last several days on our trip to New York. With that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. We had a blast!! Between the IIN conference, the nerdy sightseeing and the many meals, I think I need a vacation from my vacation. It was definitely one of those trips where you’re on the go the whole time, but personally I didn’t mind because when am I going to get to New York again anytime soon?! The answer is who knows?

The conference itself was pretty inspiring. There were two major highlights for me. The first was having the opportunity to listen to a presentation by the amazing, Geneen Roth. She was one of the first experts to put together that a person’s relationship to food can reflect much deeper things in their life and that we eat the way that we live. The way we treat food is a reflection of our inner beliefs about ourselves and typically we treat food the same way we treat money, relationships and love. Makes sense right? Her voice was so strong and I can’t wait to dive into her self-improvement books this summer. The second highlight for me was getting to watch Vani Hari a.k.a. Food Babe speak. It’s so funny when you follow someone on social media and then see them in the flesh…yeah she’s a real person who happens to have really gorgeous, shiny hair. I mean really shiny like a Pantene commercial. Anyways her message was so powerful and I was moved by the amount of passion she was conveying to the audience. She spoke loud and with conviction and she had me hooked the entire time. If you don’t know who this kick ass woman is, please look her up on Facebook or on her blog. She’s on a mission to get the crap poisons out of our food system and she’s making real breakthroughs. JUST THIS WEEK, Chipotle announced they will no longer use any GMO’s in their food. This resulted in large part due to a meeting she had with executives at Chipotle in 2012 followed by a petition she created demanding that they remove GMO’s. I don’t understand her haters…all she is trying to do is advocate on the behalf of consumers and their right to know what’s in their food. Wouldn’t you rather know than be in the dark???? Why does she have to be a registered dietitian or nutritionist to ask the questions we all deserve to know the answers to?

Geneen Roth at IIN Conference 4/15

Geneen Roth at IIN Conference 4/15

Vani Hari (Food Babe) at IIN Conference 4/15

Vani Hari (Food Babe) at IIN Conference 4/15

Caught the Food Babe on the sidewalk before she was about to be whisked away...I am shameless.

Caught the Food Babe on the sidewalk before she was about to be whisked away…I am shameless.

The best part about NYC you ask?? FOOD! Dude, food. No seriously, the food. I could just go for that alone and make my own food tour through the city. I mean anything you want is there. The variety and options are endless. I don’t think I had a bad meal in the 3 days we were there. I tried to make healthier choices during the day so I could indulge more at night. I squeezed in green juices when I could and kept hydrated with tons of water. I definitely lacked sleep which shows in majority of my photos, but I was feeling that New York energy and just went with it….bags under my eyes and all.

Rather than bore you to tears with every detail of every sight we saw and every meal we ate, check out the pics instead. That’s all anyone really wants to see anyways right? 🙂

Here are a handful….more to follow in part 2 of this post later in the week!

Spring in NY

SPRING IN NY

WARM BURRATA & CHERRY TOMATOES AT BOND 45

CROSTINI WITH WARM BURRATA & CHERRY TOMATOES

PRET A MANGER ORGANIC COFFEE HOUSE & CAFE

PRET A MANGER ORGANIC COFFEE HOUSE & CAFE

RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL

RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL

SPINACH AND GRUYERE QUICHE WITH GREENS AT BOUCHON BAKERY

SPINACH AND GRUYERE QUICHE WITH GREENS AT BOUCHON BAKERY

LOBSTER SEAFOOD RISOTTO AT BOND 45

LOBSTER SEAFOOD RISOTTO AND BRUSSEL SPROUT PARMIGIANA AT BOND 45

 

 

PART TWO LATER THIS WEEK 🙂

 


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