Old Town Scottsdale Food Tour

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

On Saturday Adam and I went on our January date (for our Year of Dates). This month’s date was a food tour of Old Town Scottsdale! Food tours are one of my favorite things to do when traveling (you can read about our Pike Place Market Seattle food tour here), but they are also a fun way to play tourist in your own town. Plus if there’s a restaurant you love, you can go back anytime! I’ve actually been on this tour before, like eight years ago with a friend, but most of the restaurants have changed, so it was a new experience for me too.

I booked the Taste of Old Town Scottsdale Lunch Tour with Arizona Food Tours, but they also have a progressive dinner tour, sips and samples tour, and a Downtown Tempe happy hour tour. I definitely want to try another one of their tours sometime! Although we definitely need to do it before summer hits or wait until next winter. I can’t image walking around in the summer heat. Anyway, we met our group and guide a little before 11 (perfect for a lunch tour) and headed off to our first restaurant.

Our first stop was The Rusty Spur Saloon, the oldest saloon in Old Town Scottsdale. When you picture an old western bar, this is it. There was even live country music while we were there! At this stop we sampled the South of the Border Burger. I forgot to take a picture, but I’m sure you can picture a slider with green chilies, bacon, and cheese. Adam said it was his favorite food of the day.

Our next stop, AZ88, was a complete contrast to The Rusty Spur. It’s bright, modern and definitely more stereotypical Scottsdale. There we sampled the shrimp ceviche and gallettes (flat bread with bacon, caramelized onions, black olives, and parmesan). I’m not a huge fan of black olives (and I LOVE seafood), so I definitely preferred the ceviche.

The next restaurant we visited was Malee’s Thai Bistro. At this stop we tried the Tom Ka Gai soup and a spring roll. We also got our choice of a beer or glass of wine. This was the one restaurant that was also on the tour last time I went, but the soup is delicious so I didn’t mind going again.

From there we headed to Cowboy Ciao to try their famous Stetson chopped salad. The picture doesn’t look that appetizing, but this was probably my favorite of the day. I loved the combination of everything and the recipe is actually available online, so I’m going to try to make it at home one day.

Our last stop was dessert at Super Chunk Sweets and Treats. We tried three of their cookies and they were all delicious! We tried their famous Mesquite chocolate chip cookie, the oatmeal rye cookie (which sounds boring, but is amazing) and the cowpuncher cookie (made with Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper). Mmmm cookies! OK, maybe this was my favorite stop…


We had such a fun afternoon trying new restaurants and learning about Scottsdale. The people on our tour were all very friendly and we really enjoyed talking with everyone at the different stops. I can’t recommend food tours enough when traveling or even playing tourist in your home town. They are such a fun way to experience a city and meet new people. I’m already looking up food tours in Nashville for our trip in April!



January 2017 vs. January 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Every January for the past few years I’ve taken pictures of the main living areas and compared them to the previous year. It’s fun to look back at all of the changes over the years. 2013 to 2014 was the most dramatic (new sectional, painting the china hutch), but I love the gallery wall update in 2014 vs. 2015. Two years ago the dining room got a makeover. Last year I only made a few small changes, like new curtains in the living room and different artwork in the dining room.

This year we got a new coffee table and rug for the living room. Other than that, there weren’t a lot of changes. Unrelated to decorating, we also got a new dog last year. I love that Jelly is in one of the living room pictures. She’s definitely my favorite change from the past year!

January 2017

January 2018

January 2017

January 2018

January 2017

January 2018

January 2017

January 2018

January 2017

January 2018

There’s still plenty of updates I want to make to these rooms, but I’m happy with the progress so far. I hope next year there will be even more changes to share!

Friday Five: January 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

1 | Tile Mate

My mom got me a Tile Mate for Christmas and I love it! If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a small device that helps you find your keys, phone, wallet, etc. I always forget where I set down my phone, so it’s perfect for me. You just double tap the gray button and it’ll ring…even if it’s on vibrate! I always keep my keys in the same spot, so I keep mine on my key ring, but it could be kept anywhere. It’s seriously SO handy!

*This post contains some affiliate links. I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no additional cost to you.

2 | Pete Souza

Last Saturday Adam and I went to see Pete Souza speak at the Mesa Arts Center. Pete Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama. He was also a White House photographer for President Reagan (you’ve probably seen his picture of Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta or this one of the Reagans with Michael Jackson). Anyway, he recently published a book of pictures he took during Obama’s presidency and now he’s doing a book tour. His Instagram account is one of my favorites, so when I saw that he was coming to Phoenix I had to buy tickets.

The presentation was full of pictures and Pete shared the stories behind them. I laughed, I cried (when he was discussing Sandy Hook), and left feeling totally inspired. Adam and I both agreed it was an amazing afternoon.

3 | Dog Beds

When we were at my parents’ house over Christmas we noticed that Jelly was obsessed with their dog beds. She camped out on the one in the living room for most of our stay. So of course we had to buy her a dog bed as soon as we got home. We checked PetsMart, but didn’t love any of the options. My mom said she thought she bought on of hers at Costco so we checked there and found the perfect bed. It’s large, has bolsters on two sides, and was only $42! Similar beds were WAY more at PetsMart.

Of course once we bought the one bed, Ringo and Abby decided they also like sleeping on dog beds…despite the fact that they never used the one we used to have. SO, we bought a second one during our next Costco trip. They still prefer the couch and our bed, so I don’t think we need a third one. They seem to just switch off sleeping in different places. Anyway, this is just my PSA that Costco has amazing dog beds and they are reasonably priced.

4 | I, Tonya

Adam and I saw I, Tonya over the holiday break and both really liked it. We ended up going on a Tonya Harding binge and watched the 30 for 30 episode “The Price of Gold” that same night. Tonya Harding’s story is SUPER interesting (and crazy) so both were a really good watch. The movie made her into more of a sympathetic character, but the 30 for 30 really reminded you that Nancy Kerrigan was the victim in the whole story.

I have very conflicting emotions regarding how I feel about Tonya Harding and her story. On one hand, it’s hard not to be sympathetic about her childhood, abusive marriage and the fact the skating community discriminated against her for being poor, white-trash. On the other hand, she was her own worst enemy and wasted so many opportunities. Props for being authentic, BUT if you know your choice of music and blue nail polish is losing you points from the judges…I feel like those are easy changes to make for the sake of your career. I understand not having money for the expensive outfits, but those other changes are free. From the movie and the 30 for 30 special, it also sounds like she showed up for both Olympics out of shape and unprepared (partying instead of training). I also find it really hard to believe that she knew nothing about the planned attack on Nancy Kerrigan. Maybe she didn’t know the exact details, but she definitely knew something was going on. BUT, she did get banned from skating for life and has had to live the past 20 years in the shadow of her crazy ex-husband's deed, so it probably is time to give her a break and move on.

5 | Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

I finished my first book of 2018! One of my goals for the year is to read more (18 books specifically), so I’m happy to report that I’m still on track for at least one of my goals.

I finished Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris last night and I really enjoyed it. We saw him during his book tour in November (it was amazing and hilarious), so Adam got me this book for Christmas. Before I read this I would have said that I’m not a big fan of books of short stories, but I actually really enjoyed being able to finish a single story (or more) in one sitting. I didn’t have to think back about what happened in previous chapters.  His books are probably not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it and a couple of the stories had me laughing out loud.

What do you all have planned this weekend? My friend Michelle and I are having our monthly craft night on Saturday. We’re making wood letter blocks like this. Our subdivision is also hosting their big neighborhood garage sale this weekend, so I might check that out Saturday morning.

Linking Up With:

Navy + Artichoke Garage Entry

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Disclaimer – I was provided product for review courtesy of CSI Wall Panels. Thoughts and opinions are my own. You can see my full disclosure statement here.

New year, new door color! 

During our garage makeover last spring I painted the door leading into the house the same red color as our front door. I love the color on our front door and I liked the red in the garage at first, but it quickly became too much. I think it works so much better on the front door because of the trim color and plants on the porch. In the garage it’s just all white and then a bright red door right in yo’ face. 

Over the weekend I decided to re-paint the door navy. I used leftover paint from
our master bedroom, so this refresh only cost a few dollars for a new roller and tray. The paint color is Parisian Nights by Dunn-Edwards and it’s seriously the perfect navy! I’m not even exaggerating, if you’re looking for the perfect shade of navy, this is it! 

I also added this artichoke wreath from Silk Plants Direct courtesy of CSI Wall Panels. I think this wreath is so unique looking and works for pretty much every season. The quality is great too. The artichoke and leaves look real and not fake-y plastic like some I’ve seen. Anyway, I used a clear Command hook to hang the wreath, so it took less than a minute to hang. I love how it looks and I love seeing it every day when I pull into the garage. The navy and artichoke wreath combination seriously makes me so happy. I know some might think that it seems a little frivolous to decorate the garage, but this is the first space we see when we come home every day. Why wouldn’t we want it to be welcoming?  

The rug (Home Depot) and the hooks (Target) are the same as before, but I just love them so much more with the new door color and wreath. The colors in the rug look so good with the navy door! If we’re being honest, those hooks are usually stuffed with our reusable bags, but I cleaned them up for the pictures. I still want to add a sign or some artwork above the hooks, but I haven’t found the perfect thing yet. We also added a white board on the other side of the door, so Adam can track our cars’ maintenance schedules. 

The rest of the garage is still in work, but we made so much progress over the break. We hung the second light, mounted the pegboard over the workbench, brought shelving units back in the garage and started organizing. We only have a little organizing left before we’re ready to call this project done. I hope to share some final pics and details soon!

2017 Recap + 2018 Goals

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy 2018!

I hope you all had a fun New Years! We went to a Phoenix Suns basketball game and then to a friend’s house for New Year’s Eve game night. I won most of the games, so I started 2018 feeling pretty smug. New Year’s Day we stayed home and cooked filet mignon and lobster tails for dinner. Growing up my mom cooked whatever we wanted for dinner on New Year’s Day (I always picked shrimp scampi). She thought it was a fun way to start the year and I’ve continued the tradition since moving out.

With the start of a new year, it’s the perfect time to set some goals and create a project list. Before I get into my goals for 2018, I want to take a moment to review my 2017 goals.

Overall I’d say I did OK, but I definitely didn’t achieve what I wanted to last year. Anyway, let’s start on a high note –

One of my goals last year was to blog more consistently and I feel like I achieved that. I wrote 17 more posts in 2017 than in 2016…including 8 posts in December vs. 0 in 2016! I also feel like none of it was filler content like I might have wrote in years past.

I was also successful with my goal to eat less meat. I wanted to plan at least 2 meatless dinners a week and I’m happy to say I did it! I missed a few weeks here and there because of various reasons, but other than that, I really stuck with this goal. We found some great recipes over the past year that we’ll definitely keep in rotation.

Now let’s talk about the half-ass goals and flops. I started strong with my decluttering goal, but totally fell off after a couple months. I cleaned out the master bathroom and closet, but I think that’s as far as I got. This one is going on my 2018 list.

Also, half-assed in 2017 and carrying into 2018 is my goal to read more. Technically I did read more this year because I read 10 books in 2017 and only 7 in 2016, but my goal was 24 books. I think that might have been a little too lofty, but I definitely don’t feel like I read enough this year in general, so I can’t use that as an excuse.

And lastly, I wanted to finish a room in the house and I didn’t do that. I don’t really have an excuse, I just feel like the year got away from me and I wasted a lot of weekends doing nothing productive. Such is life.

OK, let’s move on to my 2018 goals!

1 | Take More Pictures
I only have 12 pictures of Adam and me from last year…and 4 of those were taken around Thanksgiving once I noticed a lack of pictures. With cell phones, I feel like there’s no excuse not to take a lot of pictures. I even bought a new camera last year! So I seriously have no excuse. And it’s not just Adam and me…it’s everyone. We went to Las Vegas for his nephew’s birthday party in March and I only took 3 pictures – none of them are of him and his nephew. So this year, I’m taking more pictures! Friends and family, be prepared!

2 | Read More
As I mentioned above, I’m carrying over this goal from last year because I love to read, but I don’t do it enough. In 2015 I read 53 books, but only read 7 in 2016 and 10 in 2017. My goal for 2018 is to read 18 books. It’s definitely an increase from the past 2 years, but I think it’s manageable. It equals out to a book and a half per month, plus 18 in 2018 just seems fitting.

3 | Clear the Clutter
This one is also a carryover from last year and something I desperately need to do. If you’re a fan of Gretchen Rubin or have listened to the Happier podcast, you’ve probably heard her say “Outer order contributes to inner calm” and for me, that’s 100% accurate. I feel more stressed when the house is mess, so I really just need to purge and clean for my own sanity. The kitchen cabinet with our glasses and coffee mugs is overflowing and every time I open it or try to put something away it stresses me out. And that’s just one example, so for 2018 my goal is to declutter/organize a room every month. I think setting a timeline and manageable goal like that will really help me stay on track.

4 | Be More Active
You can’t have a list of New Year’s goals without one being related to living a healthier life. Instead of the cliché goal to exercise more, I’m just trying to move more in general. I work at a desk all day, so I live more of a sedentary life than I’d like. I can’t change the fact that I work at a desk without completely changing careers, but I can be better about getting up and moving throughout the day. I can easily start using the bathroom or filling up my water bottle on a different floor or just walk a quick lap around the floor. I’m going to start wearing my FitBit again and work on upping my steps.

I also want to drink more water and lose 15 pounds #kiddingnotkidding

5 | Finish Two Rooms
Last year we switched around the extra bed rooms to make space for an exercise bike and treadmill. With that move, both rooms went from being almost finished to disarray. That said, I don’t think it would take that much time/effort/money to get them put together and crossed off my list. I’m also so close to finishing the laundry room, master bedroom, and getting the garage completely organized. So I’m stepping up my game this year and changing the goal from finish one room to finish two. We’ll see how that goes…

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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