Filed In: Travel

My Trip to Arizona with Visit Phoenix!


Hello and Happy Wednesday! So  excited to finally share my trip to Arizona with you! So, as some of you may know from Instagram and Instastories, two weeks ago I spent 4 nights in Arizona in the Phoenix area exploring, trying different restaurants, visiting different farms, checking out two different hotels, etc. It was such a fun trip and I’m so thankful I got to go on it with my mom 🙂 Also, super thankful for Visit Phoenix for setting everything up for us! It was such a treat!

This post is going to be set up a little bit differently than most, as I am going to intersperse pictures and writing so you can can see kind of a day to day of what we did.

We arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon and took an Uber to The Wigwam Resort. When we arrived at The Wigwam we were greeted by a super friendly staff who checked us in, gave us waters and helped us get to our room. We had a suite for our room which was really nice. As a blogger, you can only imagine how much stuff I travel with (insert grinning smiley face here) so it was so nice to have room to spread out and unpack all of our things.

The hotel itself is an adobe style hotel founded by The Goodyear Tire + Rubber exectuive Paul Litchfield back in 1929. This hotel is a sprawling resort with beautiful adobe architecture, amazing furniture, beautiful decor in general, and the grounds were perfectly kept with lots of grass and palm trees.

After we checked in and got settled we took another Uber to a town called Peoria about 25 minutes away for dinner at a restaurant called Revolu Taqueria. At Revolu, we met our amazing host Melissa who works for the city of Peoria and helps set up blogger events. The dinner was hosted by the owner and creative mind behind Revolu. This dinner was truly special to us because the owner, Jeremiah  spent a lot of time chatting with us about the restaurant, his vision for the amazing food, and even gave us the behind the scenes of the culture of the restaurant from where he was inspired to make a hot dog in a taco to the murals on the wall which were hand painted by his cousin. (See below!)


Having the one on one time with the owner, Jeremiah really made me feel like I was apart of something. He was over the top welcoming, hospitable and the food was beyond any mexican food I have ever had. The flavors were so unique. This restaurant is definitely not your “typical Mexican Restaurant.”

To start, we enjoyed this amazing street corn, nachos, and crispy fried brussel sprouts. All three were fab but my favorite thing was the street corn. The spices, the creaminess of the corn was unreal. I need to figure out how to recreate it at home! Then we had a platter of tacos…each different and each uniquely amazing and bursting with flavor. I swear, Jeremiah knows what’s up, because the flavors in his food were on point!! My favorite taco was the fried cheese and the homemade chorizo. Honestly, every taco was so good but I was already full at that point. LOL So then miraculously, I had room to eat an entire dessert. To be honest with you, this was one of the best desserts I’ve had in a longggg time.

We had a churro sandwich with homemade mexican chocolate ice cream (see above). Ok, let me just tell you, I don’t like churro’s. Honestly…I don’t really love those flavors together and if I’m going to eat dessert, it has to have chocolate so I never, ever, ever EVER order anything with the flavor profile of vanilla, cinnamon, or anything “boring” like that. SO when he told us he was bringing out churros I was like…ok, whatever I’ll taste it. HOLY SHIT. I’m sorry. excuse my french…but HOLY SHIT. This was so unbelievably good. He somehow managed to pipe the churro batter onto the cookie sheet and then bake it so the consistency was gooey and delicious (not raw tasting but just like the perfectly done cookie) and then he made the ice cream by shaving chocolate off a mexican chocolate block. LOL I meann….I would fly there for a weekend just to have that dessert again!! The other wonderful thing about Revolu was that they make all of their margaritas and drinks to order so everything is fresh. If you order a prickly pair margarita, they use fresh pear…nothing is made with syrup which if you know me…I LOVE THAT!


Also, to hear more about Revolu, make sure you listen to last week’s podcast where I shared a little more about the owner and his story. Tune in here!

The next day (Wednesday) we stayed at The Wigwam Resort all day which was so nice!! It was a great break after traveling the day before to just stay on the ground and enjoy the resort. So we started the day off with smoothies to go and headed out to the golf course. They have 3 golf courses on the property, and we played the Champion course.

It was challenging and fun, and we had a ball! After golf we had a quick lunch (I had a burger, mom had a salad) at the restaurant adjacent to the pool where they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (see above), and then we headed over to the Spa. The spa at The Wigwam is an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. I believe there are 17 (?) Red Door Spa’s around the country and this one was particularly beautiful and relaxing. It was a big spa with a gorgeous outdoor lap pool, sauna, steam room, showers, relaxing rooms, and a locker room. We enjoyed facials that were both excellent. After, I decided to get my haircut which was just an added plus of taking more time to relax and be pampered. I was not complaining! I got my hair cut which felt great, and we enjoyed taking advantage of the beautiful spa!

After that, we headed back to the room to change for dinner. We dined at the fine dining restaurant on grounds called Litchfield’s, named after the founder or the Wigwam, the former Good Year Tire executive and founded of the town Litchfield Park (where the hotel is located), Litchfield’s pays tribute to local farmers by presenting a farm to table culinary experience for it’s guests. We each had fabulous meals. I had a watermelon and jalepeno salad, while my mom had an heirloom tomato salad..both of which were excellent. Then, I had the scallops over black lentils which was seriously amazing and my mom had the halibut over a salad. We then may or may not have split a peach cobbler. 😉 See my outfit for dinner below!

On Thursday we packed up and said goodbye to the beautiful Wigwam and headed in an Uber to downtown Phoenix to meet the beautiful Trish who was our  host for the week. She set up all the hotels, the meals, the activities…everything for any and all media traveling to the Phoenix area. She was the one that set up the dinner at Revolu with Michelle! We met her at the Phoenix Public Market Cafe..oh man did I love this place!!

breakfast at the Phoenix Public Market Cafe

The atmosphere where a super cool, industrial vibes coffee shop with a restaurant. They had an amazing coffee bar where you could actually sit at the bar and order coffee, handmade pastries of all sorts (we had a homemade pop tart, a homemade almond flour bran muffin…seriously amazing…and homemade macaroons!) See the pic above! We then ordered breakfast and had a great time sitting, chatting, eating and taking pictures. The food was absolutely delicious. I had a frittata with potatoes and it did not disappoint! There coffee was also excellent which is always a huge plus in my book!!

From The Public Market Cafe we checked out a few murals on the city walls, and then drove 8 miles south of Phoenix to The Farm at South Mountain. This beautiful wedding venue also has two restaurants on the property, a working farm, chickens and a darling gift shop. We explored the farm and walked around taking pictures for a while before heading to the lunch spot where we took salads to go. The grounds themselves were beautiful which lots of lawn, a garden for kids, a fine dining restaurant (where apparently there was an episode of The Bachelor filmed!) and then this darling lunch spot called The Farm Kitchen. This lunch spot knew what was going on because they had great food packaged up to go, or to eat on their patio. They had handmade pies, brownies, cookies, and a beautiful selection of sandwiches and salads.

From The Farm, we headed to Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. If you follow me on social media, you may know by now why this place is so special to me…but if you don’t, my family and I used to travel to this exact hotel for 13 years in a row for Easter!! So, it was absolutely amazing being back. The hotel is beautiful, big and feels like you’re instantly on vacation when you arrive. The hotel has an extremely relaxed vibe which starts from the moment you get there. The lobby/entryway area has no doors, so it all open air that leads into the foyer, the reception area and then straight ahead to stairs that lead to a bar/lounge area, then grass and cactus, then a pool, then a golf course. So it’s a pretty phenomenal view when you first get there!! It’s like…woah, THIS is a resort! So we checked in, dropped off our things to our room and went to explore like old times. We kept commenting “remember this, and remember that!?” It was so fun being back! We walked around for a few minutes, checking out all 10 pools, the water slide, the adult pool area and then made our way to the spa.

The spa is called Spa Avania. I don’t know what that means, but I LOVE IT. I think we were in the spa for 3+ hours?! Maybe longer?! We did not want to leave. The spa was much bigger than the spa at the Wigwam, which was cool, but it also MUCH busier. Never did we feel crowded, but it was just busier! I think they had a conference going on there so all the ladies were treating themselves to the spa on their work trip :). We spent 30 minutes in the Himalyan salt room (see pic below). It was both of our first times seeing anything like this. It’s basically a meditation room covered in salt. Yes, the walls were covered in Himalyan salt rocks. It was beautiful. The salt room is a room that is equipped with basically a blower that blows small particles of Himalayan salt out into the room. So while you’re meditating, you breathe in the salt and it’s supposed to be really good for your respiratory system. We just enjoyed being in there for 30 minutes with no phones, laying on comfy recliners enjoying the glow of the salt room. After the salt room experience, we each got 60 minute massages. If you go, make sure you ask for Liz…she was awesome! We had great massages then got ready for dinner.

Picture from the salt room! 


Beautiful Cacti all around the hotel!

That night, we headed out to Blanco’s Tacos + Tequila for some delicious mexican food. The restaurant was PACKED and super loud and fun. Definitely a good place to take a loud party, birthday, have a date night, etc. Full of young people, a good bar scene, etc. We each started with a skinny margarita, and shared their famous guacamole (which was delicious!) and chips. We ordered carnitas tacos (Which they’re known for), and then a short rib enchilada. The enchilada was definitely the highlight because it was so unique! Instead of the traditional individually wrapped enchilada, this dish was served layered like a lasagna in a cast iron skillet. Man, it was good! See pics below! Cheesy, saucy, rich and delicious. This was the highlight of the meal for both of us!

My outift for dinner!

On Friday morning we were picked up by Emily from Visit Mesa (another adjacent but smaller town) and drove about an hour to the town of Mesa. There, we met Trish and explored this absolutely amazing Olive Mill, restaurant, shop and more called Queen Creek Olive Mill. This part of the trip was the highlight for me. I talked about this in last weeks podcast as well (episode 6). Queen Creek Olive Mill is a family owned and operated olive mill in Arizona. It’s actually the only olive mill in AZ which is kind of cool! The family is originally from Detroit and moved to Arizona in the early 200o’s for better weather and a different lifestyle. The parents planted olive tree’s as they’re Italian and wanted to see if they would grow. Turns out, they did. The mom (whom we met as well) had a hobby of making homemade soaps with olive oil. This passion has completely transformed and expanded into an entire skincare line of hand made products that she makes right there at the olive mill! It’s really cool, you can watch her work while you’re there buying food and goodies.




I think the best way for me to describe this Olive Mill is a big warehouse sized building that has a big market filled with handmade oils, tapenades, vinegars, jars of olives, pastas, sauces, you name it. Then, they also had a made to order deli for gourmet lunches where you could take it to eat on their trellis covered patio. Then they had a bakery with homemade olive oil cupcakes, and then a huge coffee bar with an old fashioned roaster, AND THEN the entire skincare/soap/lipbalm, section and area where you could watch the mom make her amazing products. I’ve never been to Chip and Joanna Gaine’s Silohs…but it reminded me of what I think that looks like in my head but really “down to earth”. I don’t even know how else to describe it!  They had recipe cards hanging next to every flavored olive oil that you could just take of the families favorite recipes using that specific oil..it was just so charming.

Anyway, so we had lunch there outside (see below). I had the kale “superfood” salad and it was delicious, and we split a bunch of bruschetta, had an olive oil tasting, and then went SHOPPING! My mom and I shipped a ton of stuff home which was amazing and so fun. We box got our boxes last week and have been using the oils this week. They’re seriously soooo good. You may have seen me open my box last week on my Insta Stories 🙂

After our afternoon at Queen Creek Olive Mill, we went to a place called Agritopia. Agritopia is is an organic farm, a bakery called The Coffee Shop, and shopping area created to provide community and a farm to a group of houses in an urban environment. Founded by a family by the name of Johnston, (one of the Johnston’s actually invented the Kitchen Aid Mixer!), this group of shops called Barnone is located inside a “Quonset Hut” made with metal from WWII from a nearby airforce base. It basically looked like a long rectangular airplane hanger with a bunch of shops inside (see photo below!). It was super cool, kind of hipster, and super craftsman like. On one side you saw a hair salon with leather chairs and cow hides on the floor, and the other side a guy was making signs by laser cutting pieces of leather…then they had a draft beer restaurant, a vegan restaurant, and a winery tasting room. Super random but super cool. We got to do a little wine tasting at Garage East, the local tasting room for one of the only Arizona wineries!


Out adorable and delicious cupcakes from The Bakery!

After our adventurous afternoon, we headed back to the hotel where we put our feet up for a few minutes and worked before heading to dinner at the Hyatt Regency.

We were lucky enough to attend a private dinner called “Wine Me, Dine Me.” If anyone ever asks if you want to do this, please do yourself a favor and just say yes! We had a chefs dinner at the counter overlooking the kitchen at SWB (South West Bistro). Every course was paired with a different alcohol which made it really fun! We had tequila with our perfectly cooked scallop appetizer, which was over the top, insanely delicious. The tequila was made for the Hyatt and only one barrel was ever made! We felt pretty special when we found that out! We had the tequila with smokey black salt and lime…to die for!

After our scallops and tequila we had a homemade pumpkin and sweet potato soup that was served in a white pumpkin. It was as adorable as it was delicious. So creamy and so “Fall!” We had a white wine with the soup which I was so surprised about because I always feel like Fall = red wine! It was surprisingly delicious with the soup so that was really fun to try something different!

After the soup we had our entree of pork chops paired with a pinot noir. Both were amazing and at this point I was getting so full! LOL To finish the dinner we had a mango mousse. I’m not a mango mousse girl, but it was still good..and beautifully presented! 



My mom and I loved sitting at the counter, talking to the chef, watching the kitchen work and learning about what we were eating. It was such a great way to spend our last night. After dinner we listened to live music in the bar area which was so fun! They Hyatt has live music every night and it’s seriously SUCH a treat to listen to. Don’t you just love live music?

On Saturday morning we woke up and really had the morning to ourselves. We explored the hotel, went for a walk, had a great breakfast at the same SWB restaurant, people watched, laid by the pool, and just enjoyed being there. It was really warm when we were there, it was in the 90’s during the day which felt really good! The entire hotel is so beautiful…we went to the pool for about an hour and reminisced about our family vacations there, my sister and I wearing matching dresses for the Easter egg hunt and for brunch, going to different churches or sometimes the same church on Easter year after year. It was so fun. Such great memories!!

We were so sad to see our trip come to an end. We really had the best time. I would recommend everything we did. If you have any questions about any part of this post, please leave them in the comments below and I’d gladly get back to you. Or, email me at stylemelauren@gmail.com 🙂

 

Travel Guide for Half Moon Bay

Heyyy guys! Happy Friday! Today’s post is a little different as I am going to start incorporating some travel into my blog! Last Friday in this post I mentioned I was heading to the Bay Area to visit family and I wanted to share with you a few favorite places to visit/eat.

We started off our day at The Peninsula Creamery in downtown Palo Alto. This restaurant is one of my favorite breakfast spots. I love the diner vibe, friendly service and down-home food. They make all of their bread and baked goods from scratch and they do not disappoint. I try to stay away from Gluten, but if you eat regular toast…man oh man their toast is insanely good. Their menu is large and in charge. You can basically have anything from cornflake crusted french toast to classic eggs benedict. They also have the best milkshakes in the world…seriously, in the world! So if you are in the area and need a sweet refreshing treat, I highly recommend their coffee milkshake!

After breakfast we loaded up and head across the hill to Half Moon Bay. HMB is a cute beach town that’s home to some amazing beaches, great seafood, and the annual Maverick surf competition that brings thousands every year. HMB also has a beautiful Ritz Carlton hotel, so if you’re in the mood to grab a cocktail with a view, I would highly recommend the Ritz! They also have a great golf course and of course their hotel in general is just amazing. I would recommend calling ahead and making a reservation if you do go…during peek times they won’t let you even drive in if the hotel is booked/busy. This happened to us one time and it was super disappointing…so definitely call ahead!

Our first stop was to Cowell Ranch Beach. There’s a beautiful 1/2 mile walk to the beach (pictured below) and then gorgeous views of the water and cliffs. They actually don’t allow dogs on this particular beach (we just snuck in to take a pic) so if you’re bringing your dog, I would recommend going to this beach which is pet friendly 🙂

Top, Similar | Jeans, similar (order one size down, runs big)| Shoes | Glasses | Earrings

After a beach walk, we went to our favorite lunch spot, Sam’s Chowder House. Sam’s is our favorite seafood spot! We enjoyed fried calamari (not pictured), oysters, ahi poke and a beet salad (see below!). They are famous for their Lobster Roll which is delicious if you’re looking for a super rich delicious lunch!

If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend taking an afternoon trip to Half Moon Bay! Hope you have a wonderful weekend guys! xo