Day 3 In Scottsdale

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Early Bird Catches The Desert Sunrise

Our final day in Scottsdale was an early one for me.  I booked a facial at Agave, The Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa.  My appointment was at 8am…sunrise was around 7:30am, so I decided to try to venture out a little early to see if I could get a beautiful sunrise picture.  I wasn’t positioned correctly from either the villas or the hotel to get the epic sunrise picture I so desperately wanted with the sun coming up behind the mountains…but I did get a couple of cool shots like the picture above and these two below.

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The colors in the sky that morning were beautiful.  This area really is pretty!  For me, it’s an unconventional pretty…as you’re there you start to seek out the massive saguaro cactus…seriuosly, they are massive!

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Cactus, mixed with palm trees, and mountains in the desert…it doesn’t even sound right trying to group all of those objects together…but add in some of THE MOST PERFECT weather, and somehow this beautiful hodge podge becomes soothing to your soul!  I am convinced that there is absolutely no way that someone could visit this area and not leave relaxed and refreshed.  Needless, to say…I’m a fan! And, I’ll be coming back!

Spa Time

As I stated earlier, I had an early facial on our last day in Scottsdale.  Agave, The Arizona Spa did not disappoint!  Y’all, this spa was beautiful!  From the high end robes you are given to wear while you’re there, to the super posh and comfy lounge room…this spa was impressive!  The staff was friendly and thorough.  The hot tub in center of the locker room was gorgeous and inviting.  There are wet and dry saunas, and the showers were roomy and spotless!  This was a spa that definitely fostered relaxation!

For reference, I get a facial on almost every vacation that I go on.  Massages are great, and I do love them, but I feel like you get a little more bang for your buck when you do a facial at a spa.  Massages vary greatly depending on who you get as a masseuse.  I’ve had some great ones, and I’ve had some not so great ones…and at the rate that you pay for a massage at a resort…it’s too much of a crap shoot for my taste.  A facial on the other hand…even if your esthetician is not the best, it’s more about the products that they use on your skin…that just feels like it levels the playing field a bit.  Plus, during most facials you get little mini massages in the “wait times” while the products work their magic on your skin.  So for example, during my facial I received a hand massage and treatment, a foot massage and treatment, and a neck, shoulder, and scalp massage…it was AMAZING!!!!  Almost felt like a 2 for 1.  The price for an 80 minute massage was the same price as my 80 minute facial.  That’s a win in my book.  At any rate, my facial was really good…to keep in theme for the weekend, I chose the Wellness Facial.  Honestly, I didn’t love the smells of some of the products, but I did love the way my skin looked and felt when my treatment was done!

Lazy Saturday Brunch

When my facial was finished, I went back to my room fully relaxed, face glowing, ready to tackle trying to repack my overstuffed suitcase.  Being in a little zen-like state made a huge difference in trying to tackle that task…much easier than state of panic I was in when I packed the suitcase for the trip out!  I hate packing!

Elizabeth and I packed our belongings, said goodbye to our beautiful home away from home for the last couple of days, and headed out to Old Town.  We had reservations for brunch at a place called Olive and Ivy   Ugh!  This place was soooo cool!!!!

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Olive and Ivy has the perfect weekend brunch patio and atmosphere!  The patio overlooks the river.  There were 20 somethings there celebrating birthdays, and snowbirds enjoying a late breakfast.  #BestFriendGoals  It was like one of those posh restaurants that any Real Housewife of _____________ (fill in the blank) would go to catch up, make up, or pick a fight with someone!  For me, eating at a restaurant is just as much about the atmosphere and the service as it is the food.  Think about the last time you went to your favorite restaurant but had terrible service…the food is the same…but your experience isn’t.  At any rate, Olive and Ivy had great atmosphere, great service and incredible food to boot!  Our waiter, Larsen, literally told us that he is not allowed to tell us NO to anything!  It’s a food allergy and picky eater’s dream!!  Larsen is pictured below…if you go make sure to ask for him…and tell him Girl You Tripping sent you!  We had lots of fun with him!

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Old Town

Olive and Ivy is in a part of Scottsdale called Old Town.  It’s literally old downtown Scottsdale, but it’s been revamped into a shopping and restaurant haven!  The area is filled with shops full of local southwestern art and jewelry, and quaint little fashion boutiques.  There are tons of great restaurants and watering holes.  It’s totally walkable, but Elizabeth and I opted for bikes!  The first ride is free…after that it’s only $1 an hour.  The bikes were super easy to rent…just download the app and follow the instructions printed on the bike.  It was super fun and a great way to get around Old Town!

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Old Town has a couple of different areas to it…all with walking distance…it’s just divided up a little.  The 5th Ave shopping district is literally the old downtown area…lots of southwestern art and jewelry shops dotted with the occasional super cute boutique.  Then there is Scottsdale Riverfront…this is more of the restaurant and bar area.  Lastly, just about a block away is Scottsdale Fashion Square.  It’s your traditional high end shopping mall…complete with Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Burberry, etc..for a full list of store available at this mall click here.  There is literally something for every kind of shopper in this area.   Visiting Old Town is the kind of experience you can only have in Scottsdale…which made it one of our favorite stops on our trip.  #BuyLocal

I want to leave you with this…Scottsdale is the type of place that you could visit over and over again and not have the same experience twice.  It’s easy to navigate, it’s not overly congested with traffic…if you’re an outdoorsy person, this is a great place to visit…if you’re a shopper, this is a great place to visit…if you’re a golfer, this is a great place to visit…if you’re into spa treatments, this is a great place to visit…if you just want to hang out at the pool, this is a great place to visit!  There truly is something for everyone here…including incredible weather in the winter!!!!

Are you a buy local kind of tourist?  Or do you love to hit up highend retailers when they are in the area?  I’d love to know!!!

Suggestions From Day 3

Agave The Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa was AMAZING!  One word for you…Relaxation!  So good!!!

Best Patio Brunch in town goes to Olive and Ivy.  The food is exceptional!  Everything is made in house.  The thing they are known for is their cinnamon rolls…don’t miss out on them!  They were over the top good!!!!  It’s just a great place to relax, have a slow meal, soak up the great weather,and spend time with your family or friends.  Olive and Ivy is a DO NOT MiSS!

And for shopping that is quintessentially Scottsdale…visit Old Town.  Window shop, ride a bike, or grab bite to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area…this is another DO NOT MISS kind of place!

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Happy Healthy New Year in Scottsdale

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Happy New Year

It’s January 9th.  Happy New Year!!  I can still say that, right?  It’s not just a phrase reserved for December 31st and January 1st…at least I hope it’s not.  Are you still plugging away at your New Year resolution or have you already puttered out???  Me…I’m not really sure.  I haven’t actually made a New Year resolution in many years.  I do, however, always try to strive to be some better version of myself…sometimes I hit the mark and sometimes I totally miss it, but the goal is there nonetheless.  Side note…the last time I gave myself a resolution it was to be better at sending out cards…you know, greeting cards, birthday cards, thank you’s, etc.  I’m terrible about it…better than I used to be, but still could use some work.

Back to the subject.  While not a resolution, I’m always on a quest for better health…my close friends can attest to this truth in my life.  So, I decided that the first trip for the blog and the New Year needed to be somewhere with healthy living and beautiful weather to soak up some Vitamin D!   So, like any traveler I start making a short list.  On the list…San Diego, Miami, Phoenix, Sedona, Denver sort of makes the list, but the weather isn’t what I want for this trip.  Then, one of two things happens for me…I either start looking at flights, or I check out hotels.  Those are typically your two biggest expenses on any trip.  From time to time, there are ways around those expenses with flight miles and loyalty point programs, a subject that hubs has mastered, and a subject that I’ll talk frequently about here.  Ever wonder how our family of 6 travels as often as we do for as long as we do…points!  The truth is most people do not know how to use them, so they seem to have little value to most…I hope that by following this blog that I’m able to change your mind about that a little.

Phoenix, Actually Scottsdale It Is

After a little research, I was able to find airline tickets on United Airlines for cheap.  The deal got even sweeter when I added frequent flyer miles to mix.  My round trip ticket ended up costing me $72!  I applied frequent flyer miles for the trip to Phoenix, and paid $72 for my return trip back home.  Now, $72 is crazy cheap, so cheap that I opted to save those precious miles on the return trip and pay “cash” for that part.

Here are a couple of other tips when looking and booking airline tickets…Tuesdays around midnight is the best time to book a flight…lots of people know that it’s generally cheaper to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.  What most people don’t know is that the cheapest time to book flights is around midnight on Tuesdays…experts say travelers save on average about 6%.  So, tuck that away in your memory, and the next time you need to book a flight…set an alarm and go to work!

Here’s my next big secret.  I haven’t paid for a room in 8 years.  Points, points, points!  In some way, shape, or form our family accrues or pays for points, but to actually pay cash or use a credit card to secure a room…hasn’t happened in 8 years!  With that being said, I only stay at Starwood Properties…Starwood is a parent company for Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, Le Meridian, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Aloft and Element…and in a merger last year it now also includes every Marriott hotel, including The Ritz Carlton properties. Without getting into to much detail right now…hubs made some smart vacation decisions for his family starting back about 10 years ago.  It’s a system that just works for our family, but that’s a completely different post or 2!

So, grand total for Scottsdale trip for airfare and room…a whopping $72.  No brainer…YEP, I’ll take it!  Last thing I need to secure is a car and a friend to go with me!IMG_2293

Car…check!  Friend…check!  And just to drive home that point value again.  Through Hertz, I’m able to take the points I earn from their Hertz Gold Rewards program and have them go into my United Airlines frequent flyer miles program.  See, all kinds of things that you can do with points if you know what your doing!  Plus, I got a deep discount and a class upgrade on the car from the vacation ownership program hubs bought into years ago.  Lots of people look down on these programs, but if I’m honest I can only think of 1 other person that could travel the way that our family travels…if she’s reading this I’m sure she knows I’m thinking about her.

So, for a grand total of less than $250 I’m on a girls trip with my person (if you don’t know what a “my person” is go watch Grey’s Anatomy), enjoying the most perfect weather and hoping to get in a couple of health activities to start this New Year off right!  Next post will be all about the Scottsdale, promise!  But today, I wanted to start opening eyes and educating people about the possibility that good travel can be affordable and fun!

What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten on travel?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!!!