CA to CT Road Trip… Days 1 and 2

Well friends, a lot has changed since we last spoke. This summer has been noting short of a rollercoaster ride. For starters I moved! Yes, I left sunny California to be with the people I care about the most… my family and friends. Secondly, I moved alone. That’s right, I definitely entered back into a season of life I am not sure I was really ready for, but I did and I absolutely made the most of my single summer. Third, my sister, best friend (both named Michelle), and I took an epic cross country road trip at the beginning of the summer and I haven’t stopped since. (oh and I’m saying things like epic now… insert eye rolling emoji here.)

Michelle and Michelle flew out to Los Angeles on a Friday night. They passed out on my couch for a few hours and on Saturday morning we started our journey home. We made a few stops along the way, ate a lot of food, and even threw in an old school sleep over night while we recovered from a crazy night out in Nashville.

Friend Michelle (as I will have to refer to her since they have the same middle name also…) and I made a pact back in freshman year of high school that after graduation, or when we became millionaires, whichever came first, we would take a cross country road trip. Well we graduated and this little thing called college got in the way. Ironically, that’s the same thing that got in the way of being millionaires so currently we are 0 for 0. So when I decided I was going to move home and I wanted to make a road trip out of it, I knew exactly who to call!

Sister Michelle has an awesome job as a night Labor and Delivery nurse that gives her amazing flexibility and well, my new roomie wasn’t about to miss out. So we packed up my little Nissan Sentra and headed back home.

Day 1 Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico

Day one had one mission: get as far out of California as you can! No but in all seriousness I was absolutely prepared for our first day of driving through the southwest to be one of the more boring days. We took Route 40 straight across and there’s not too much between here and well… Nashville. Or so I thought.

Friend Michelle is a crazy diligent researcher.. for literally everything we do. So she had found a gas station (yes, gas station) off of Route 66 that we just HAD to stop at. We got off in Needles, CA just before we entered into Arizona to get gas and head up into Old Route 66. Just before we got to this famous gas station we were #blessed to find the amazing town of Oatman, AZ.

Let me paint the picture for you. We had been driving for about 15 miles with nothing around us and barely any cars coming from the opposite direction. Literally the most exciting thing we were seeing were the rock formations people had left along the side of the road. But then we saw a sign that said donkey crossing. We noticed it and laughed as we pulled up to a cute small little old western town, which had wild donkeys everywhere. It was the most absurd thing we had seen. People were just walking around this little town, in and out of the shops, on this one single dirt road, with wild donkeys wandering right next to them. We stopped and talked to one of the shop owners who told us there are about 15 donkeys that come down from the mountains every day to be fed by tourists passing through town. Now keep in mind, when I say town I mean this one road that is about two football fields long. Max. It was amazing.

After we got over the shock of the donkey welcome to Arizona we got out and walked around a little. There’s really not much to Oatman, we only spent about 10 minutes there but it was good to get out of the car and take some photos of the old buildings.

From Oatman it was still a while until we got to our first stop in Albuquerque and we got into New Mexico after dark. New Mexico actually has quite a bit of things we wanted to check out like a teepee village, White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns.


Day 2: Albuquerque to Ft. Smith, Arkansas

So day two we left New Mexico, and headed through the panhandle of Texas, through Oklahoma and into the first town in Arkansas. Just outside of Amarillo we stopped at Cadillac Ranch, which previously all I knew of this was there were a lot of country bars named after it. What I didn’t know was it is an amazingly cool piece of art in the middle of Texas. Remember this from last year? We had stopped just outside of Vegas in awe of these amazing neon colored rocks? Think the same thing but it’s actual cars in the ground. I don’t think you’re actually supposed to spray paint them but there are paint cans everywhere and of course, Friend Michelle got a can from some other visitors and made our stay known. It was really crazy to see these old cars in the middle of a field and what years and years of paint and weather had done to them. Lucky for us it was just off of Route 40 and we hopped back on and headed into Oklahoma.

**Just a little warning, fill up in Amarillo. There’s not much of anything between Amarillo, TX and the Oklahoma boarder. Very little gas stations, fast food, exits or even radio stations so be prepared. And while you’re at it, grab some coffee to keep you awake.

We headed through Oklahoma and stopped in OKC at a great brewery. OKC is such a cute little city right in the heart of cow country, it was a perfect place to make a stop and grab a bite to eat and a beer. It actually has a pretty good craft brewery scene so we stopped at Twisted Spike Brewing Company and it was amazing. A good selection of beers from smooth and light to heavy and hoppy. Parking isn’t the best here so be on the lookout for street parking. We did have to go a little out of our way to get here, but navigating the OKC highways were pretty easy and it was just off of an exit.

From here we ended out night in Arkansas and let me tell you, this little gem of a town was amazing to wake up to, but more on that on Friday.

Weekend in Scottsdale, AZ


New Year celebration has looked very different for Chris and I over the past few years. We have rang in the New Year at clubs, at big house parties we have thrown and in the past few years, quietly with a few close friends. This year though, we had no idea what we were going to do. Honestly we wanted to keep it quiet, but take advantage of the long weekend that we were both given from work so we headed on a road trip to Scottsdale.

Where to Stay

Courtyard Scottsdale North

We picked a Courtyard Marriott in North Scottsdale mainly because it was a Marriott and it seemed to be in a nice area. It was a perfect pick. The hotel was right on Scottsdale Rd. and just down the street from pretty much everywhere we went. And on New Year’s Eve we were just a $20 Lyft ride from all of the restaurants and bars.

Where to Eat and Drink

Two Brothers Artisan Brewing

Holy New Year’s Eve dinner! We had an amazing four course dinner with beer pairing and let me tell you, I could not finish any of it. I turned down a whole beer and barely was able to finish my dessert because the amount of amazing food was out of control. My dinner was balsamic glazed Brussel sprouts for an appetizer, delicious mushroom bisque, chimichurri sauce over flank steak and the biggest scoop of ice cream ontop a peanut butter cookie and huge brownie. Amazing. Chris completely skipped the soup and we both just picked at our dessert. Each course was paired with a beer. My favorite was the Eible’s Weiss… their Weiss beer. YUM!

Gordon Biersch Brewing Company

We have two Gordon Biersch in the LA area but we haven’t been to one yet so when Chris noticed there was one just up the street from our hotel I knew that was going to be one of our stops. We ate lunch here on New Year’s Day. We both got much needed oversized salad but we started off with bratwursts sliders that were absolutely amazing and the perfect size.




After walking through Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons all day Sunday, and running in and out of stores, hiding from the rain, we worked up quite the appetite for a little happy hour and we stumbled upon Postino. A cute little wine bar, with a super small food menu, but we were totally happy with what we chose. Postino has a pretty big bruschetta menu on top of gluten free bread and, well… yum! My favorite was a tossup between the brie and the mozzarella.


Diego Pops

Nine years ago I went to Tuscan with my best friend and I was introduced to my first prickly pear margarita. I always am keeping my eyes open for the same drink on menus, and I’ve even looked at the grocery store for actual fruit, but nothing. So when I saw a prickly pear margarita on the menu I knew I needed to have it. It was absolutely amazing and a perfect pairing to their cod taco and shrimp tacos. I am a sucker for seafood tacos and Diego Pops did not disappoint. Oh and their salsa was pretty good too.


What to Do

Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons

Holy cuteness. These two outdoor shopping areas straddle Scottsdale Road have a ton of great shops of all sizes and fantastic restaurants. We spent a lot of New Year’s Day strolling in and out of home goods and furniture stores, and stopping into Postino for wine and bruschetta. I’m not sure which we enjoyed more. The stores or the wine.

Desert Botanical Garden

New Year’s Eve we didn’t have any plans and were kind of going to wing it, but with the weather taking a turn, and being the grandma and grandpa that we are, we thought it would be cool to stop by the Desert Botanical Garden and see their Las Noches de Las Luminarias. It was a really cool showcase of the botanical garden at night, light up by thousands of candles, with a dozen different performances of local artists and musicians. I wasn’t super excited for this, but by the time 9 o’clock came around I was sad we had to leave. It was such a cool experience and a beautiful presentation of art and music. There were Spanish guitar players and flamenco dancers, Native American storytellers, and a violinist that look like he has had been around the world with nothing but his violin case. It was beautiful. Skip the wine tastings… not the best, but defiantly something to check out next holiday season.

Chaparral Park

This was one of our first stops when we woke up in Scottsdale on New Year’s Eve and it has amazing views of Camelback Mountain. This cute area of Scottsdale was full of families, couples, power walkers and their puppies. I was super excited we were able to stop here and snap a few pictures before we set off exploring the city. The views of the Mountain were absolutely stunning.dsc01467




We’ve always talked about doing spring training in Scottsdale one year, and this trip just made me more excited for when we finally have the time one March to watch baseball and drink beers in the desert. This was a much needed getaway that was just long enough to take us