Phoenix, Arizona: Great Winter Getaway

#Arizona #travel #blog #travelblog #Scottsdale

It’s mid-December and getting cold in most of the U.S., but not in Phoenix. Southern Arizona has a great warm winter that makes it the perfect destination for a trip to escape the cold. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area has so much to offer from fun hikes, shopping, great restaurants, art walks, and more.

#Arizona #travel #blog #travelblog #Scottsdale

Scottsdale is the town just East of Phoenix and recently revamped their tourism with the Experience Scottsdale media push, check out their website, it has awesome city walk guides.

While it’s great to write about my trip, I realized I can offer more than just text and pictures! I found a way to share my Google maps for everyone to download. This is a great resource to help everyone start planning a trip. You can add the Google maps to your phone and make edits to customize the trip. It lets you have all your addresses in one place to get a better idea of the city layout. Planning a trip can be time-consuming so hopefully this helps. Let me know if you have any edits or feedback to make the Google maps even better! read more

Simple Royal Icing Cookies

#cookies #royalicing #blog #royalicing

I’ve always loved sugar cookies but thought royal icing cookies were difficult to make. Turns out, making royal icing sugar cookies is obtainable if you find a simple recipe! Read below for the cookie and icing recipe that I love using for the holidays. Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here.

Baking Gadgets

Before you start your baking adventure you’ll need a few handy tools. I linked my favorite baking tools below:

  • Icing coloring kit  – Don’t skip and using food coloring from the grocery store. This concentrated color kit is perfect for baking and comes with 12 colors!
  •  Hand mixer – Or if you already have one:  Kitchen aid mixer
  • Wilton squeeze bottles  – These are the best squeeze bottles for royal icing. Don’t try to create the icing bags… that will create a mess fast.
  • Cookie cutters  –  I linked my favorite set of cookie cutters. I know.. it’s 101 cookie cutters, which sounds like a lot, but it has the whole alphabet, all the numbers, and cookie cutters for every holiday. I went ahead and bought it to avoid buying extra sets later.
  • Cookie bags– You’ll want these for after the cookies are completed- they make a nice finishing touch.
  • And some of the more basic baking items- cookie sheets, rolling pin… etc.

Besides these products, it’s not necessary for beginner bakers to get all the bells and whistles. Believe me, after reading many royal icing recipes online I could have bought a hundred product like a brush set or scribe tool. Stick to the basics for your first time making royal icing cookies and then expand as needed. read more

Gift Guide: Travel Deals

Gift Guide #gift #travel

Here is a Gift Guide for your favorite traveler… or yourself 😉 There are so many great discounts this weekend, but stay focused on your shopping list and gifts for others! This blog post covers 9 gifts for any traveler. Some of them are on sale this weekend:

  1. HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO. – Little America Backpack

Sale Price: $47.98 until 11/27
Regular Price: $120.00
Store: Nordstrom

Why I like this item: Super cute and a great deal!

  1.  Catch all clutch

Sale Price: $67.20 with code FRIENDS// 20% off + Free shipping
Regular Price: $129.00
Store: Mark and Graham

Why I like this item: I love to stay organized while traveling and this clutch is perfect for all your essential travel documents and electronics. read more

New Orleans: Top 5 Things to do

New Orleans Bourbon St. #NewOrleans #bourbonst

I’ve been to New Orleans multiple times but wanted to go back for a day to capture the city for the blog. For this trip, I traveled with my friend Sarah Kelly. Sarah is a fellow co-worker at Southwest Airlines and also an amazing photographer, check out her website. We flew there Saturday morning and returned Saturday night. With little time to spare we headed straight to the French Quarter.

Here are the highlights:

Cafe Du Monde
Jackson Square
The Carousel Bar
Pat O’Brien’s
Bourbon Street

read more

10 days in Portugal [Part 2]

Here’s the follow-up post to the “10 Days in Portugal [Part 1]“. There was just so much to write about that I split it into two posts! For the second half of the trip, we drove from Lisbon to the Algarve region of Portugal. The Algarve is the southern part of Portugal known for their beaches. Here’s what we did:

Day 5

We took the country roads to this new hotel nestled in the hillside of Santiago do Cacém, Portugal. The hotel, Santiago Hotel Cooking & Nature, is one I’ll never forget. It had only been open for a month so everything was brand new. The hotel’s focus on cooking sparked the interest of my boyfriend, Justin, who loves to cook. In the hotel dining room, there are large TV’s so you can see how the chef’s are preparing everything. On top of the amazing food is the hotel pool- check out the photos: read more

4 Things I won’t fly without

Be prepared for the next time you fly with these four things:
Disclosure for this post.

1) TSA Pre-check

TSA pre-check is a time saver! If you don’t already have it click here to apply.  It’s $85 for 5 years and certain credit cards and rewards programs cover the fee- check here to see if you’re eligible.

Another way to get TSA pre-check is through Global Entry. Global Entry is $15 more, costing $100, but gives you access to quicker lines when flying internationally. Find out more about Global entry here. read more

24 Hours in St. Louis, MO

24 Hours in St. Louis, MO was the perfect amount of time to explore the city for a girls weekend!

I traveled with two friends, Katie and Kate. We debated between getting Uber’s whole time or renting a car. Ultimately we decided that renting a car would actually be cheaper and allow us the flexibility to drive around to multiple locations.

I booked the hotel with points, which is always nice, and we stayed right downtown at the Hyatt Regency. The hotel was in a great location and even walking distance to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium. The only downside to the hotel was parking. The lot was full when we arrived and had to park a block over. read more