Long Weekend in Portland & Boston + Intuitive Eating on Vacation

Long Weekend in Portland & Boston + Intuitive Eating on Vacation

Sharing a recap of all the yummy bites I enjoyed on our trip to Portland for a wedding! Plus, sharing some insight into how I eat intuitively on vacation. It can be a challenge because you're out of your element, but that also makes it the perfect time to practice those intuitive eating skills. 

Read More

How To Do Iceland's Ring Road In A Camper Van: Part 1 - Reykjavik, South & Southeast Iceland

How To Do Iceland's Ring Road In A Camper Van: Part 1 - Reykjavik, South & Southeast Iceland

Guys. Let's talk Iceland. It’s for sure the most naturally beautiful place I’ve ever been. Every turn in the road led you to a new vista – lava fields opened to fields of purple wildflowers as far as the eye could see, to steep basalt cliffs shrouded in fog with waterfalls crashing over the edge, to open valleys with tangled mountains streams...

Read More

A Long Weekend in Asheville

Get a sneak peak into my long weekend in Asheville, filled with lots of good eats (biscuits!!) and gorgeous hikes off the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Craggy Pinnacle

Hi guys! I know today is usually my day for a #wellnesswednesday post, but after a crazy three of weeks of travel, client work and wrapping up not one or two but THREE big writing projects (phew!) my brain just isn't in the mood to get deep into intuitive eating, mindfulness or really anything that requires more than 15% of my brain cells. Actually, I was really looking forward to a light day of working from home, catching up on some mindless tasks until a HUGE storm came through last night and blew out our internet with this crazy lightning strike. So instead I'm here at the office. Womp womp.

I know I've already shared a few recaps of trips to Asheville (one and two), but what's one more? I ate at a few new restaurants I must tell you about and did a couple new hikes, so alas, here's Asheville recap numero tres?

The trip started as a quick-mother daughter Thursday overnight to go to a craft fair, then a few of my friends decided to tag on a trip to the backend, so we rented a house and stayed the weekend.

First stop in Asheville: food. Duh. My mom had been talking about this restaurant called Biscuithead for well over a year, so I was pumped to finally check it out. They specialize in biscuits (shocker) and all sorts of fancy jams and butters. There's even a condiment bar (!!!!) filled to the brim with different hot sauces, jams, compound butters and honeys. There was an old deadhead sitting next to us at brunch literally doing shots of the chocolate blueberry. They have a ton of biscuit sandwiches on the menu, so my mom and I shared the fried green tomato biscuit sandwich with brie, poached eggs and tomato hollandaise and the fried chicken biscuit with sriracha slaw.

Fried green tomato biscuit and fried chicken biscuit with sriracha slaw with a side of watermelon habanero bacon and a little kale salad...for balance?

Then it was off to the Southern Guild Craft Fair, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. We had been years ago and really enjoyed it, but this year it just seemed really old fashioned. I'd say I was the youngest person there, but actually, I think my mom was too!

Since we were done with the craft show way early, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring downtown Asheville, grabbing a glass of green juice followed by a glass of rose (normal), and then catching an indie film (The Innocents - highly recommend!).

For dinner, we met up with family from the area at Limones, a Mexican restaurant with a California spin. Didn't take any pictures, but we shared a bunch of appetizers and a few entrees - brussels sprouts with smoked bacon, beet salad, bbq shrimp with grilled watermelon, braised lamb with fresh pasta and a Mexican fish stew. It was really tasty and might have to make a special trip to Asheville for their lobster enchiladas....

The next day we hit up another popular breakfast spot, Sunny Point Cafe, where I had the second best heuvos rancheros in the nation (aka the best breakfast of my life). Bonus points for the blackberry mimosa 👌

Heuvos rancheros with chorizo, roasted potatoes, smoked green tomato salsa, avocado, and cilantro crema

From there, we spent the morning and afternoon wandering around the River Arts District in West Asheville. If you haven't been there before, it's an Asheville must. Tons of really affordable art...and some pieces that made me consider selling a kidney on the blackmarket.

Got two beautiful lace pressed porcelain vases from this guy!

For a light lunch before my mom headed back to ATL, we went to All Souls Pizza. They had polenta pizza on the menu which I've tried (and failed) to make at home. Should have asked them their secrets! Ours was topped with kale, cremini mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, roasted garlic and red onion.

IMG_7787-2 copy

From there I waited around for my friends to arrive from Columbia at our airbnb. We stayed in a house in West Asheville. Have you stayed in an airbnb before? This was my second or third time and I'm a fan. Plus, we got to sleep with a pet beta fish in our bedroom so there's that.

Once our friends arrived from Columbia, we grabbed dinner at Gan Shan Station, a new Asian restaurant. You know those restaurants where you just sit there looking at the menu because the idea of choosing a single dish gives you major FOMO? This was that kind of place. We spit an order of pork dumplings and roasted cauliflower dumplings between the table and I finally settled on the spicy drunken noodles with shrimp. I sweat profusely just thinking about it.

IMG_77921 copy

After that it was off to my absolute favorite craft brewery, Wicked Weed. I’m recently obsessed with sours and saisons, which they have a huge selection of. I had a beer with beets and mango and a sour brewed in cabernet barrels.

The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed for yet another breakfast at Biscuithead. I wanted a plain biscuit so I could fully indulge in the condiment bar. On the side (😉 ) I ordered their special of pimento cheese grits with roasted poblanos and eggs and the bacon of the day (strawberry jalapeno!). Which I then proceeded to douse in their smoked jalapeno hot sauce.

IMG_77971 copy

Jam bar!! I love to imagine Joey from Friends in this situation.

We spent the rest of the day driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiking. Our first hike was up Craggy Pinacle.

Enjoying the view and the company at the top of Craggy Pinnacle!

From the top of Craggy Pinnacle

Then we took a drive to Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. Sadly, it was really cloudy and starting to rain, so we really didn’t get the full view. But we did get a really lovely flute solo from a shirtless guy in a beanie. Oh Asheville…

Our view of the horizon from Mount Mitchell

From there, we hiked Deep Gap Trail to Mount Craig, which was a pretty tough hike for North Carolina, but well worth the views. And the forest we hiked through was SO pretty – pretty sure it may have been enchanted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Taking a breather at the top of Mount Craig!

IMG_78621 copy

After we got back and showered up, us ladies split off while the hubs went to a couple breweries, we visited the Grove Park Inn for wine and sunset. If you haven't heard of it, Grove Park is a historic inn from the early 1900s and it is GORGEOUS...but I'm also pretty sure it's haunted so for that reason (and the fact that it's crazy expensive) we don't stay there.

IMG_78371 copy

IMG_78261 copy

IMG_78511 copy

Afterwards, we met back up with our SOs and grabbed dinner at LAB. I wasn’t very hungry after appetizers at Grove Park and needed something green before I actually turned into a biscuit, so I got their kale salad with tahini dressing and roasted chickpeas.

The next morning, the rest of the crew headed back early but Scott and I wanted to hang around Asheville for a bit. Curate, a Spanish tapas place,  is my favorite restaurant in Asheville. It usually has a long line so when we saw a couple empty seats at the bar we snagged them. It's my favorite spot to eat there anyway since the bar overlooks an open kitchen. We split a few small plates – fried potatoes with prosciutto and a fried egg, octopus in olive oil and paprika with potato puree, and a fresh green salad with compressed watermelon, goat cheese and heirloom tomatoes.

Fried egg with prosciutto and fried potatoes

Pulpo with potato puree

Before we hit the road back to Columbia, we had to make one last stop – French Broad Chocolate Factory! It’s essentially Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for adults! They have a huge menu of chocolates – chocolate truffles, chocolate cookies, chocolate cakes, chocolate drinking truffles, hot chocolate...you get the point. I usually get their Xocolatl, this frothy, bitter chocolate drink made with almond milk that I’m obsessed with, but it wasn’t on the menu. Waaaah!! French Broad, if you're reading this, do something about it! Instead, I ordered their Mexican spiced hot chocolate and the hubs and I split a mint chocolate chunk brownie and I felt slightly better!

IMG_78591 copy

Have you been to Asheville? If so, I'd love to hear any new restaurant recs? Any amazing hikes we missed? 

A Week in New England: Boston, Maine and New Hampshire

A recap of our trip to New England for my little brother's wedding, with stops in Boston, Acadia National Park, Portland and New Hampshire! 

View from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

FYI: If you're interested in joining our first Joyful Eating, Nourished Life group, it's almost full so make sure you sign up soon to reserve a spot! 

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I spent a week road tripping through New England. My little brother was getting married in Boston, so we decided to make a trip out of it and drive up the coast to Acadia National Park before the wedding weekend! I've always wanted to go to Acadia, and now I'm determined to get back there again to see the leaves change. Any of my dietitian friends want to road trip up when we're in Boston for FNCE? ;)

We flew into Boston the Saturday night before the wedding and spent the night with my brother and my now sister-in-law, who live in Fenway Park. After catching up over wine, we walked a few blocks away for an incredible meal at Hojoko. It's a kind of hipster-y tavern that sells fancy cocktails and has a Japanese influenced tapas menu. Everything was SO good and I really wish I got pictures, but we were much too busy eating and enjoying being together for the first time since my brother moved to Boston. Some of the highlights were a foie gras and pineapple sushi roll, bacon, shiitake and yam okonomiyaki, crispy chicken tails with truffle salt and spicy salmon rolls with smoked pasilla chile mayo.

The next day, while my brother and SIL were wrapping up last minute wedding stuff (I promise we offered to help!), Scott and I took a walking tour of Boston following the Freedom Trail. It's a 2 1/2 mile trail through Boston that links the most important historic sites like Boston Common, the Granary Burying Ground (resting place of basically everyone from 6th grade American history class), Paul Revere's house and the Old South Meeting House, where the Boston tea party was organized. We stopped a couple times along the way for refreshments, first at the extra touristy Cheers in Faneuil Hall for a beer and to cheer on Arsenal, our favorite soccer team. We got a good giggle over the irony of cheering on British guys in red while visiting some of the most important Revolutionary War sites. Then we took a brief detour off the trail for lunch at Boston Public Market. There were SO many delicious looking food stands it was hard to decide, but ultimately we took my brother's recommendation and got a smoked bluefish roll and smoked salmon burrito at Boston Smoked Fish Company then a vanilla bean Union Square Donut for dessert.

Granary Burial Ground

Boston Common

Cheering on Arsenal at Cheers! Go Gunners!

Smoked bluefish roll and smoked salmon burrito

Vanilla Bean Doughnut

After our tour, we picked up our rental and started our trek north, first stopping in Merrimack, New Hampshire where my aunt and uncle live. My little cousin was there too, healing after she fell off a mountain in New Zealand (I kid you not). We enjoyed an incredible Venezuelan fish stew made by my uncle from a recipe my grandpa taught him (he wasn't Venezuelan, just adventurous in the kitchen, especially for a man born in the 1920s).

IMG_6949-1

The next day, we slept in a bit then hit the road for Maine, first stopping in Portsmouth New Hampshire, one of the many adorable little coastal port towns. It was really windy and cold that day, so we grabbed coffee and a bacon scallion scone at a cute little coffee house then wandered around the Strawberry Banke museum, a neighborhood of restored homes built in the 1600-1700s.

We stopped just across the river from Portsmouth in Kittery, Maine for lunch at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria, where we got crispy soy sesame brussels sprouts and a wood fire pizza topped with mozzarella, dates, sopressata, and spicy honey. It was SO good! They also run a bakery next door that sells 40 different types of bread. Most of them out for sample so I think my husband, who is weirdly obsessed with bread, was in heaven! I'm surprised they didn't kick him out for oversampling! 

Crispy soy sesame brussels sprouts

IMG_6953-1

Going back for thirds...

Detour to Nubble Light House on our way to Portland

We then drove another hour to Portland, Maine. It's basically a mecca for craft brews and since Scott and I love craft brews, you know what we spent the rest of the day doing ;) Unfortunately, most of the breweries were closed on Monday, but we were able to check out Shipyard and Rising Tide for a couple flights.

IMG_6969-1

After hitting the breweries, we took a long walk along the Eastern Promenade, eyeballing all the old Victorian houses we wished we could afford. For dinner, we went to Portland Lobster Company on the recommendation of basically everyone. We enjoyed our first and favorite lobster of the trip, dubbed Lionel, along with a bowl of lobster stew and fried clams.

Strolling the Eastern Promenade

Real estate envy...

Before

After

We woke up bright and early the next morning, which wasn't too difficult since our hotel was filled with sunlight by 5 am. So, we went for a 3 mile run along the promenade, ending with a big breakfast at Local Sprouts Cooperative. We couldn't decide so I got an egg sandwich with local oyster and shiitake mushroms, greens and sharp cheddar, Scott ordered heuvos rancheros with Maine baked beans and we split an order of the most heavenly vegan pancakes.

IMG_6993-1

From there, we hit the road to Acadia, stopping in Camden along the way. Y'all, Camden is one of the cutest towns I've ever seen. For my fellow Gilmore Girls fans, it's like Stars Hallow on the water. After walking around town and enjoying a lobster roll and Asian fish taco from Harbor Dogs on a bench at the pier, we drove to the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park. The view was EVERYTHING. You could see all of Preboscot Bay and even parts of Acadia across the bay, which was still another couple of hours (scenic) drive away.

Check out that claw meat ;)

Camden

Camden Hills State Park

We arrived in Acadia National Park midafternoon. After a brief stroll around Bar Harbor and a snack on fried local seafood at Thirsty Whale Tavern (I swear we did more than eat and drink...), we drove the Park Loop Trail, a 27 mile road that takes you through the prettiest part of the park. I think we stopped at every overlook along the way! Sandy beaches do nothing for me, but rocky coastlines give me all the feels!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It was kinda cold! Decided against copying the Canadians at the beach and hopping in!

Because we're those weird people who get really excited about tents and sleeping bags and campfires, we decided to camp in the park. Plus, by letting Scott think he talked me into it, I convinced him I deserve a fancy meal and a bottle of rose ;) We went to McKays Public House, a farm to table restaurant in a historic Victorian house on the main drag. We split lobster baked brie with leeks for an appetizer and a triple duck dish of roasted duck breast with duck sausage and sweet potatoes cooked in duck fat (holy coronary!). Then on the lighter side, a salad topped with hazelnuts, golden raisins, gorgonzola and a truffle dressing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next day was our mountain climbing day - we climbed three of them! But they were all less than 1,000 feet so don't let me sound too impressive ;) First up was Beehive, a super steep trail that requires climbing up metal rungs and scooting along cliffs. It was SO much fun but maybe not the greatest for those who are afraid of heights! Our next stop was North Bubble and South Bubble which overlook Jordan Pond, this gorgeous glacial lake. At the top there's a massive glacial erratic, this huge granite boulder precariously balanced at the edge of a cliff. It looks like you could tap it and it would fall right off, but it's been there for over 10,000 years. Still, even knowing that and how many tourists have taken the same picture, I was kinda nervous I'd be the one to send it crashing!

The Beehive from below

Scrambling up the Beehive

View from the Beehive of Sand Beach

We made it!

Bubble Rock

Jordan Pond from the top of the bubbles

For lunch, we stopped at Jordan Pond House for seafood stew and popovers (Scott) and pepita crusted scallops with kale, bacon and quinoa (me). Definitely recreating that one! After lunch, we drove on the western, more populated side of Mount Desert Island to hike Acadia Mountain then visited the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. If you're doing the same trip, right nearby is a place called Thurstons Lobster Pound where you pick your own lobster and they steam it for you. We got a ton of recommendations from instagram followers and friends, but unfortunately they weren't open for the summer when we were there - sad! So, we went to Geddy's back in Bar Harbor for a big bowl of steamer clams and a pizza topped with shrimp, scallops, spinach and roasted garlic.

View of Jordan Pond and North and South Bubble from the Pond House

Pumpkin seed crusted scallops

For sunset, we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain (hey, we hiked enough mountains that day!) and watched the most incredible sunset. It was a perfect end to the day! We debated going back for sunrise, since it's one of the first places to see the sunrise in the United States, but we just didn't get our act together. Another reason to go back!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_7042-1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_7035-1

The next day, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Cafe This Way (the omelette with smoked trout, red onions and tomatoes - do it!) then started the long 5 hour trip back to Boston. We broke up the drive with a quick stop in Cape Elizabeth, where one of my dietitian friends here in Columbia is from. We went house shopping on Shore Ave. (with the two million dollars we don't actually have), stopped at the Portland Head Light, and snagged yet another lobster lunch at The Lobster Shack. 

 

Once we got back to Boston, the wedding festivities began! My brother is just 18 months younger than we, so we oscillate between hating each other and being best friends. His now wife, Skyler, is absolutely wonderful - between her and Scott's sisters, I've seriously lucked out in the sister-in-law department! Everyone who was in town that Thursday met up at Harpoon Brewery, then our huge group went to the Barking Crab for dinner. Fried clam roll for me - no such thing as enough seafood when in New England!

My newest seester!

The next day we slept in a bit and after a late brunch at Paris Creperie, where all the crepes have pop culture references (see below), we took a long walk across the river to Harvard. It was graduation weekend so the campus was bustling. We decided to play a game we called "Smart Kid, Family, or Regular Bostonian." We'd like to think people thought we were Harvard grads and not tourists ;)

Top: thyme mashed sweet potato, pesto, avocado, goat cheese and red onion. Bottom: sharp cheddar, avocado, broccoli, asparagus and spinach

Too much

Doing my best Haaaavad impression

After the rehearsal, we had a HUGE family style Italian meal for the rehearsal dinner at La Famiglia Giorgio's followed by a late night at a nearby bar. It was a small wedding so it was great to catch up with family, Skyler's friends who I met at the bachelorette, my brother friends I've known since elementary school. Even my grand little from my sorority at Clemson was there after her fiance and my brother randomly became close friends in law school!

All rehearsed and ready to get hitched!

On Saturday, we had a good bit of time before the wedding so we snagged brunch with my friend Kara (aka The Foodie Dietitian) and her fiance at Zaftigs, a Jewish deli. We met as roommates at Blog Brulee almost two (!!!) years ago and have kept in touch ever since. It was so great catching up!

Lox and potato cakes with dill cream

Blog Brulee roomie love!

After brunch, Scott and I walked down to the Gardner Museum, an art museum founded by the socialite and art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner in a mansion she designed to display her collection to the public. It was probably the most unique museum I've ever been to. It felt like we were sneaking around a rich person's house! Plus it was really neat learning about Gardner, who was kind of a bad ass. There's one story they tell about how she threatened an art collector with a knife to get him to sell a piece that she wanted - can you imagine a wealthy woman in the early 1900s doing such a thing?

Inside the courtyard of the Gardner museum

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally came the big event! They got married in a cute little park in their neighborhood with perfect weather and a really sweet ceremony officiated by a close friend. I read an poem during the ceremony and tried really hard not to laugh because I had been threatening to do it in an accent. The reception was held at Mistral where we had an incredible meal. It was really the perfect night for the two of them!

IMG_7108 2-1

Salmon with clams and bacon

Hope you enjoyed getting a peek into our travels! Any other Boston recommendations? I'll be going back for the Clemson vs. Boston College game and our national dietetics conference in the fall, so I could use more recommendations of things to do and of course places to eat! Feel free to share in the comments!

 

Phoenix, Sedona and Grand Canyon Recap

A recap of our impromptu trip to Arizona for the college football national championship game, complete with stops at a snow covered Grand Canyon, hiking in Sedona and lots of yummy Mexican food! 

Grand Canyon in winter
Grand Canyon in winter

Okay, so I promise this is the last travel recap you'll see for awhile! We really weren't planning on going anywhere after our string of travel this fall....but then Clemson made it into the national championships for the first time in 30 something years, so, we decided to make a trip of it!

We took an early morning flight out of Columbia and arrived in Phoenix around lunchtime. Lucky us, the in flight magazine had an article about new Phoenix restaurants, so we took notes and decided to check out DoSoto Central Market, an indoor dining hall. It's a really neat concept if you haven't been to one. I was in the mood for Asian so I got steamed buns from Adobo Dragon, a latin-asian fusion stand. I ordered one with green curry carnitas and another with roasted mushrooms and soy-adobo. They were good, but not great - a little disappointing for how tasty the ingredients looked! Scott definitely won the meal with his roasted pork dip from the larder and the delta. Normally a sandwich piled high with meat and no veggies just isn't my thing, but his was filled with perfectly cooked pork and the most incredible relish.

Steamed buns from Adobo Dragon
Steamed buns from Adobo Dragon
Sandwich from the larder and the delta
Sandwich from the larder and the delta

With full bellies, we hit the road for a 3 hour drive to the Grand Canyon. A 3 hour drive after a long day of travel normally wouldn't be something to write home about, but the drive was gorgeous! The highway took us through deserts of saguaro cacti, then all of a sudden, we were in forests freshly covered with over a foot of snow. It was so gorgeous I couldn't stop taking pictures out the window!

Sagauru Cactus
Sagauru Cactus
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
IMG_5638-1
IMG_5638-1

It was dark by the time we got to Grand Canyon, so we just checked into our hotel and set out for food. Everything looked really touristy (why oh WHY don't national parks ever have good food??), so we were excited to stumble upon Sophie's Mexican Kitchen with a giant sign exclaiming 'VEGETARIAN FOOD!" We ordered $1.50 craft beers (yes really) and a massive vegetarian feast - a vegetarian taco on Indian fry bread with green chili sauce for me and a vegetable and black bean bowl for Scott. I don't think I'll ever eat a non-fry bread taco ever again.

IMG_5642-1
IMG_5642-1

The next day we woke up (not so bright) and early to meet with our friends from Clemson and watch sunrise at the Grand Canyon. The sunrise itself wasn't memorable since there weren't a lot of colors in the cloudy sky, but what WAS memorable was just how cold it was! Our car thermometer registered at 3 degrees! There was actually a point where I was concerned my toe may have fallen off! But it was totally worth it to see the Grand Canyon freshly covered in a layer of snow. Really, there are no words. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, so I'll just let the pictures do the talking for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After warming up and grabbing a quick pizza lunch, we took the scenic route down to Sedona. I still couldn't get over all the snow, so it was another long drive with my camera glued to the window, stopping at every overpass we could find.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once in Sedona, we all went out to eat at Mariposa, a latin restaurant with the most incredible sunset view of the red rocks. Since it was early, we all split tapas and a bottle of wine. Wish I took pictures of the food because it was pretty incredible - fried avocados with pimento aioli, corn and queso empanadas, picadillo empanadas, shrimp ceviche with spicy popcorn, and yuca fries.

After that, we went to Oak Creek Brewery for local beers before heading to El Rincon for dinner. I was pretty full from tapas, so I just ordered a corn tamale with green chili sauce - so yummy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next day, all of us went hiking at Cathedral rock. If you've never been to Sedona, it's surrounded by all these incredible red rock buttes. Cathedral rock with it's four massive spires is one of the most famous. The trail is a steep scramble up the rock face - my old rock climbing skills definitely came in handy!

Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock
sunrise at cathedral rock
sunrise at cathedral rock
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
920658_10102363329550558_1560296420098198238_o
920658_10102363329550558_1560296420098198238_o

For breakfast, we refueled with a hearty meal at Red Rock Cafe. I had blue corn tortillas chilaquiles in green chili sauce (are you sensing a green chili sauce trend?) with the crispiest hash browns and an extra side of vegetables.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the rest of the group went down to Phoenix, Scott and I went on one more hike to the top of Bell Rock. If the hike to Cathedral rock was crazy, this one was insane! Parts of it were really steep with hardly any footholds. There was one part that we literally just slid down because there was no traction whatsoever! But again, the danger was well worth the view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Obligatory yoga pic
Obligatory yoga pic
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We came. We saw. We conquered.
We came. We saw. We conquered.

From there, we headed off to Phoenix for all the Clemson fun! We stayed at a condo right by the stadium with Scott's family and it was so much fun to be immersed in everything Clemson. Our fans have so much pride, even when we don't have a national championship team. I mean, I know everyone loves their college, but ours is actually the greatest. I think it's official. Or at least it's what I think, so that's as good as official :)

I hope you got a chance to watch the game because it was truly one of the best national championship games of all time (and that one's not just my opinion!). Even though we lost, there was so much energy and passion in that stadium, and I truly believe if we played that game 10 times, we would have won 6 or 7 of them. Can't wait for the natty next year in Tampa, cause you better believe we'll be there!

IMG_5746-1
IMG_5746-1
IMG_5750-1
IMG_5750-1

The next morning we woke up a little sad so we drove out to Scottsdale to drown our sorrows in the worlds best English muffins at La Grande Orange. I am so mad at myself for not picking up a bag to freeze! We also split an heirloom brown rice and quinoa bowl with greens, black beans, pistachios, feta, a fried egg and harissa. If I lived in Scottsdale, I really think I would eat here every day!

IMG_5772-1
IMG_5772-1

After brunch, we went out to meet up with friends at Desert Botanical Garden. It was really pretty fascinating to learn all about desert biology. After wandering the garden and taking a break to check into our hotels, a few of us went to Craft 64 for local beer and the most delicious fig, ricotta and arugula pizza.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I found the perfect cactus!
I found the perfect cactus!
IMG_5779-1
IMG_5779-1

From there, we wandered around old town Scottsdale with our friends Todd and Tara. It was kinda of a touristy town, but we had a fun time exploring it regardless. For dinner, we stopped at Bandera after the guys spotted them roasting whole chickens in a giant woodfire oven. I tried a few bites of Scott's, but I was in the mood for lotsa veggies, so I ordered the vegetable plate, which came with the most incredible green pepper salad, sauteed red cabbage with goat cheese, roasted red peppers with feta and kale salad. We also split their cornbread, which comes overflowing from it's own cast iron skillet. The perfect way to cap off our trip!

We had such a great time in Arizona, we definitely want to go back and spend more time there. Have you been to Arizona? If so, would love to hear your travel tips and recommendations!