Sensible Stylista: travel
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

The BAMF Suitcase You Needed Yesterday

Holy freaking crap, guys.  I can't WAIT to tell you all about my new suitcase!  I'm not gonna lie, when I first saw the price tag, I kind of flipped the eff out, but now that I've experienced the magic that is Raden, I'd happily dole out more $$$ for another.  After lugging around heavy cases for years, this baby was a godsend.  Like, I don't even know how this is real.  It's ridiculously light yet hella strong, and I love that it glides effortlessly.  My model's an A28 check, but the A22 carry is also available for purchase.  
...the A28 check is (obviously) luggage you check, and the A22 carry is an carry on.  I know that's basic, but hey, gotta cover all my bases just in case.  Anywho, my beautiful case is bronze, and it only weighs 13lbs (!!!!)  The silver, gold and bronze cases are more expensive at $445, but the others (there are 7 additional colors available) are $395.  You can get them in either gloss or matte!
The A22 only weighs 8.4lbs and is available in 12 colors total!  Like the A28, the gold, silver and bronze hues cost more ($345), while the other shades are priced at $295.  I know it's a hefty sum, but think about it this way, you'll be using this for years - and I mean YEARS - to come.  Plus, it's built with kickass tech that'll do you good + give you so much peace of mind.   
Once you get your case, you sync it up with Raden's phone app where you can locate your case with bluetooth technology.  You literally NEVER have to worry about it getting lost because you'll be able to track it wherever you go.  You'll also be able to weigh it with its ergonomic handles, which is all kinds of awesome.  You guys have no idea how many times I've had to unpack my sh*t and stuff clothing into my carry on in front of Southwest's ticketing booth in order to avoid getting charged a ridonkulous amount of cash for my heavy @$$ bag.  On top of that, this baby CHARGES YOUR PHONE (!!!!) Soooo, lesson of the day:  go out and purchase a Raden suitcase because this will seriously improve the quality of your life.'re welcome in advance.
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you about my OOTD!  My top's from Marled Clothing, my white skinnies are from Stitch Fix, and my adorable headphones are from Ankit.  I'm always cold on planes so I make sure to bundle up, even during the summertime.  Anywho, that's it for today! I hope you enjoyed my latest.  A huge thanks to Sung Shin for taking awesome photos like always!

The Life of a Fashion Blogger + Pianist: the NYC Edition, Part 2

Alright guys, it's time for part 2 of my NY diary - click here if you want to read part 1.  Day 2 was extra cray so you're in for a doozy!  I started the day off with a hot cup of joe, taking in the view from above.  I was staying on the 19th floor at Hotel Le Soleil so nights were hella pretty!  It was super rainy and cold so I wasn't looking forward to frolicking around, but hey, business calls.  I had a long day of meetings and shenanigans ahead of me so I got ready quickly before running out the door.

All my meetings were (very conveniently) located on Fashion Avenue, but I still found myself running around like a crazy person.  I started my hectic day off at Violet Ray, and they too, like Alison Brod PR, had a ridiculously cute showroom.  I seriously felt like I was in handbag heaven! They had at least a hundred bags and accessories on display, and I loved each and every one.  I can pretty much guarantee that you'll find something you like on their site because they carry a variety of different styles from classic to fashion-forward.  I left with two adorable mini-backpacks and a fabulous shoulder bag!  I'll be styling them on here soon so keep an eye out.  
I didn't want to lug around an extra bag so I dropped my goodies off in my hotel and hit up Trademark, the cafe next door, for a nom breakfast.  I wanted to try their smashed beet toast, but they were out of it so I went with a yummy bacon-egg-cheese sandwich instead.  I wanted to list the price so I yelped the joint, but I didn't see their cafe on there (only their restaurant)? I think the prices are different out front since you're not sitting down to eat. Anywho, it came with a small coffee and the total was $7 - super cheap for NYC standards, and it was a sizable amount of food!

Almost Famous Clothing.

After resting my feet for a bit, I walked over to the Almost Famous Showroom for my noon meeting. I visited their office a while back so it was my second time there, and just like before, I had a blast browsing their designs.  They pulled pieces for me that they thought I'd like, and I seriously loved everything they chose.  Their dresses and tops are seriously goals, and they're so good at staying on top of current trends.  I've been super into pastels and statement sleeves as of late so you guys will see more of them in the next couple of months.
Shark-Tanking it Up.  

Then, I rushed off to the Shark Group's office to tour their facilities and meet with Keith Perrin and Daymond John. You guys may recognize Daymond from Shark Tank, but Keith is just as much of a powerhouse.  They've been partners for years; in fact, they were co-CEOs of FUBU - I used to wear their clothing back in the day so I was thrilled to find out that a relaunch was in the works.  After checking out their office and talking to them about their upcoming projects, they hooked me up with some FUBU gear and enough Bombas socks to last me a lifetime. They also invited me to attend a huge event later in the evening, BUT I had a performance so I couldn't go.  Le sigh!  Oh well, next time. 
Coffee with Frands. 

I needed a breather after everything so I met up with the WONDERFUL Markus Brück for coffee at Culture Espresso.  He's in town to play Faninal in the Met's production of Der Rosenkavalier - no big deal, ha - so we got together.  I was super happy I got to catch him in the city because he's in Europe most of the time!  I was bummed I didn't get to see him perform, but hopefully I'll see him again soon.  

If you live in the NY/NJ area, I highly recommend going.  The Met's amazing, like, I promise whatever production you see will blow you away.  I saw my first live opera there, and it was life-changing.  I know that sounds over-the-top, but I mean it - if you know me well, you know that I don't bullshit.  I say it was life-changing because it actually WAS life-changing.  I went to see Tosca with my then boyfriend, and I couldn't stop tearing up.  The orchestra was obscenely good, the singing was incredible, and the production was straight up magnificent.  It'll be worth every penny so GO!

My Two Worlds Merge.

I hit up my girl, Natalie Draper, and we met up to rehearse for her concert/competition later that evening.  She composed a kickass song for piano and soprano called, 'Postlude' based on Shakepeare's Tempest, and I was really excited to premiere it because 1, she one of my closest friends, and 2, she's a ridiculously amazing composer.  We rehearsed for a bit before heading to Here Theater in SOHO for sound check.  
We had time to kill before the show so she generously treated us to dinner!  It was disgusting out so we decided to go to Mooncake Foods because it was close and had solid reviews.  I ended up getting the Shanghai Pork & Shrimp Wonton soup with egg noodles, and it was so nomtastic.  The dumplings had pork, shrimp, shitake mushrooms, and watercress in 'em and were served in a savory chicken broth that hit the spot.  The egg noodles were an additional $2 or so? Maybe $1, I don't remember. They were such a good call though because they were perfectly cooked and added to the texture of the soup!  Plus, I'm a sucker for all carbs so there's that.
We sat and talked for a while before heading back to the performance space.  I felt a little on edge from the cray day I had so I got a glass of red to unwind a bit.  We ended up finishing errthang quickly because SongSLAM was only an hour long - 12 groups premiered songs and then ballots were passed out to the audience.  We didn't end up winning, but we were fine with it because it was audience choice - we figured we wouldn't walk away with a prize when we saw the hoards of frands others brought, ha.  No hard feelings though! I had a ton of fun playing, and I'm PUMPED that Nat's piece got to be heard by a sold-out crowd.

Afterwards, I wanted to get Nat drinks to celebrate so we hit up Ginger Man again before heading home!  By the time I got back, it was 1ish, and I had to catch a train at 6:30 so I packed up all my stuffs before getting some shut eye.  Andddd that's a wrap folks!  I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my trip to NYC.  I've been traveling a TON lately, and although it's been fun, it's been taxing, too.  I'm actually super sick at the moment!  These 20-21 hour workdays are definitely taking a toll on me, and I'm sure as hell not wearing the hours as well as I used to.  Hugs and kisses!  

A Quick 2-Day Trip to the Big Apple: Part 1

I'm beyond excited to recap my NY trip for you all today on SS.  If you're following me on instagram, you already know that I visited the Big Apple via stories, but I'm not sure the rest of you do?  [Insert shameless plug: if you're NOT following me there yet, make sure to do so here] Anywho, I'll be writing about everything in great detail today so there will be no FOMO up in this beezy.  See how good I am with the current lingo? Ha.  Ok, I'm going to stop embarrassing myself and get to it!

I arrived in NYC at 11:15, which was 30 minutes later than I was supposed to.  I was hella pissed because I had a meeting at 10:45 at Alison Brod PR, and I don't do late.  I seriously can't think of anything more unprofessional.  I ran out of Penn Station and ordered an UberBLACK, and it was the longest 5 minute wait I've ever experienced, ha.  It took me a good 15 minutes to get to location, but it all ended up being fine because they were super flexible and understanding!

Shopping Alison Brod PR's Showroom!

I can't even begin to tell you guys how cute their showroom was.  Before I left, I got to "shop" their goodie closet, which was a freaking dream come true.  It was like beauty heaven - they had everything from powders to masks and everything in between.  They basically let me have anything I wanted to try so I pulled a bunch of products from Erno Laszlo, June Jacobs, Kerastase, Urban Decay, SkinCeuticals, and more!  Suffice it to say, I have enough swag to last me all year.  I'll be reviewing everything and featuring my favorites on SS very soon so keep an eye out.

I had to run to a shoot - with the wonderful Dennis Christians - right after so I changed in the Starbucks next door like a hobo.  The bathroom was seriously DISGUSTING, but I manned up and did my hair there...or tried to.  I didn't get to finish because someone started BANGING ON THE DOOR.  I was only in there for 5 minutes, but whatever.  I frantically packed up my stuff and took a seat in the lounge area to finish straightening my hair.
Cursed by a Homeless Man?

Now, onto the BEST part. I stepped outside to hail a cab, and a homeless man approached me.  I didn't have any cash on me (like, I actually didn't for real) so I told him that I was sorry and walked away!  He didn't believe me and chased after me for a good block or two screaming that he had placed a gypsy curse on me because I was a "lying whore."  
Only in New York, ha.  I felt reallllly weird about it all.  I don't believe in those kinds of things, but it was still a cray experience.  I grabbed a cab and trekked over to Gay Street to shoot with Dennis.  He was crunched for time so we had to crank out 2 sets in 30 minutes or so.  If you want to see the shots we took for our Revlon collab, click here! I share tips and tricks on how to apply mascara like a boss!

Re-connecting with Old Friends + Korean Food!

I was STARVING after the hectic morning I had, so I subway-ed it to 125th to meet up with a few old friends from Juilliard.  I had an hour to kill so I ordered a turkey burger at their apartment and did some blog work before heading to Hotel Le Soleil to check in.  I unpacked quickly and walked over to K-town to grab dinner with another buddy from school.
We hit up Kunjip for dinner and ordered wayyyyy too much.  We got the Jeyuk Tofu Kimchi (spicy pan-fried pork and kimchi with tofu), Kimchi Pa Jun (giant kimchi pancake), and Sulung Tang (ox bone soup with sliced beef and noodle). Their banchan (free Korean side dishes) was really yummy, too.  I forgot how good their food was. Next time I'm here, I want to get BBQ! I'm thinking about trying Miss Korea or Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong?  Who here's tried their grub?

After noms, I wanted to get dessert, but we were running late for Sleep No More so we flagged down a taxi and cabbed it down.  I was annoyed because the line was ridiculously long, but it was SO worth the wait + money ($100).  Bags and coats aren't allowed so you have to check them before you enter ($4 per locker).  Once inside the Manderley Bar, you wait for your card to be called while sipping on drinks.  

Sleep No More.

Before entering the McKittrick Hotel, you're given a mask, and you're supposed to wear it at all times.  Verbal communication is also forbidden.  They recommend that you experience the "show" solo, but my friend and I stuck together.  The whole experience was a total mindf*ck, and I mean that in the best possible way.  The evening was 3 hours long and each character performed one hour loops. There were 5 visitable floors total, and it was immersive theatre so we saw all the actors and actresses close up.  The "play" was based off of Macbeth so read it before coming if possible.  

Everything's SO well done - the setting, acting, special effects, all legit.  A few things though, if you have sensitive hearing, bring ear plugs.  Music's playing pretty much everywhere, and it can get a bit loud at times so just giving you guys a heads up.  Also, make eye contact with the actors for possible 1:1s. I followed Lady Macbeth around while she was going mad and managed to get her attention twice! She whispered quotes from the play into my ear, and it was both creepy and awesome at the same time, ha.  

The most memorable scene for me though was the orgiastic rave with the 3 witches + Macbeth.  Holy crap, the music was pounding, there was hella fog, and the flashing lights had my heart pumping like no other.  I want to go back because I feel like I missed a lot of key parts all the murders, ha.  I know it's a pricy ticket, but I've found that spending money on experiences is always worth the $$$.  

The Best Cocktail I've Ever Had.

After we exited, we wanted to decompress and talk about the play so we headed to Ginger Man, a really cute and cozy bar near my hotel, to get cocktails.  I ordered the Ginger Mule, and it was hands down, the BEST drink I've ever gotten.  If you're a fan of ginger anything, I guarantee that you'll love this!  After a round, I walked back to my hotel to get my work on - always hustling to achieve my dreams.

Alright guys, I hope you liked my recap!  Day 2's even CRAZIER so make sure you stay tuned.  It'll go live this Thursday so make sure you check back to read all about it.  Sending so much love - have a beautiful day, everyone.

Tearing up Phoenix: Part 2

Alright guys, it's time for part 2 of my Phoenix recap - if you missed segment one and want to catch up, clicky here.  Now, it's been a while, but if I remember correctly the aforementioned post ended with me, Mel and Diana passing out at Hotel Valley Ho after a long but very fun day.  We were all exhausted, but we woke up hella early anyways because we wanted to take photos around our suite and eat breakfast before hitting up Usery Mountain Regional Park.  

We ordered a TON of room service and shot a kickass flat lay in bed!  In case you're wondering, we got a fruit smoothie, a yogurt parfait, a vat of coffee, Belgian waffles, red velvet waffles, and a mushroom omelette with toast and taters.  I'm not gonna lie, by the time we shot everything the noms were straight up cold...but luckily still delicious.  We were laughing our asses off while styling this shot (see it on insta here) because we tied Diana's camera to the chandelier to get the best angle possible.  Hashtag creative blogger solutions.  

After scarfing down brekkie, we changed quickly and checked out.  Tai from Boss Transportation was waiting for us out front to take us to Usery.  Anddddd let's just take a time out to talk about Tai for a quick sec.  If you're in AZ and need a ride, hit him up STAT.  He epitomizes professionalism and is cool as hell - he'll get you wherever you need to go on time all day, every day with max comfort. You'll seriously feel like an a-lister riding in the back of his whip.

Anywho, it took us about 20-30 minutes to get to Usery, and I was amped during the entire drive.  I'm a huge fan of hiking, and I had no doubt the views would be ridiculously amazing so I was pumped. Usery Park's located on the valley's east side and takes in 3,648 acres set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains.  We hiked Wind Cave trail and ended up 2,840 feet off the ground (!!!) It took us a bit longer than expected and we ended up being hella late, but it was worth every minute because the view was spectacular up top!  

Here's a shot of us resting in the wind "cave" - I say "cave" because it's more of a scar-like depression in the rock.  Definitely worth checking out regardless!  Pro tip aka common sense tip: don't go around flipping random rocks and stay on the main trail.  This is the desert after all, and you don't want to piss off the critters (rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc.) that live there.  It's honestly fine, and I don't want to scare anyone, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right? I didn't see anything other than a cute chipmunk and hummingbird, but one of the guides told us she saw a snake on the main path a while back so just be attentive...and smart.
After our hike, Tai drove us to Queen Creek Olive Mill for a tour + tasting.  We got there and were greeted by the most beautiful spread of tapenades, sandwiches, charcuterie, and sweets.  I wasn't super hungry (shocking I know) so I decided to just chill and munch on a cupcake while chatting with my new blogger friends.  They were raving about the food so I'm assuming it was delish - I'm actually kind of bummed that I passed on noms now, but I guess that just means I'll have to go back.  

Diana and I finished quickly so we decided to explore.  We walked inside and sampled rows of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I can't even begin to tell you guys how good everything tasted.  I would've TOTALLY purchased several bottles to go, but I didn't have space inside my suitcase so I had to pass - such a bummer. Their cheese stuffed olives and gelato though? So much yasssss.
The different bruschettas that were waiting for us: Caprese with roasted garlic olive oil, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil, and robus EVOO.  Honey mascarphone, grapes, fig balsamic reduction, and balanced EVOO.  Then a pear one that I can't remember? I think it was seasonal!
Delish cupcakes that were to die for good.
Then we went off to our second lunch, ha.  I was SUPER excited to go to Agritopia because I saw that we were eating at Joe's Farm Grill - it was featured on Guy Fieri's show, "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives."  After studying the menu for a solid 15 minutes, I decided to get two dishes that were featured on the show:  the Fontina Burger (made with roasted red pepper, grilled mushrooms, field greens, farm-made pecan pesto, and imported fontina cheese) and Onion Rings (hand-breaded in rosemary-dill panko).

I enjoyed the burger's flavor profile, but for me, the star of the show was def. the onion rings.  They were crispy morsels of perfection, and I just couldn't get enough.  Oh, and did I mention that Agritopia sells same-day harvested produce at The Farm Stand (in their community) in addition to providing fresh ingredients for the diner?  Oh hell yes.
My noms - my presh noms.
After eating aka experiencing mad food coma, Tai escorted us to The Scott Resort where we checked in.  Once again, we were blown away by the facilities, and they made us feel super welcome with cute gift bags!  Mel and I had spa treatments scheduled at 3:30 so we unpacked quickly and power-walked to Jurlique.  She chose to get a resurfacing enzyme facial, while I got a Vichy Nirvana massage (as did Diana).  

This may have quite possibly been one of the best experiences I've ever had, like, in my life. My therapist gave me a medium pressure full body massage while immersing my bod under their vichy shower, and I seriously felt like I was melting...and I mean that in the best way possible.  I came out totally relaxed, but wished it was 90 minutes long instead of 60, ha.  I'd honestly go back to Phoenix just to get pampered at Jurlique again.
Post-spa chilling in my Amiclubwear shoot!
...splashing water because I'm hella playful...
A huge thanks to Brooklyn Hat Company & Lipton PR for sending me this adorable hat!  I wore it EVERY day in AZ because I thought it was the cutest. I still can't get over how adorbs the design is - it has little pom poms (!!!!) See a shot of it here on my instagram.  
Anywho, after chillaxing and shooting pics, we rushed back to our room to get ready for happy hour + a fab culinary reception hosted by The Scott's culinary team.  They hired a new chef recently so they were super excited for us to taste their food - they're apparently revamping the menu and also renovating the resort throughout 2017.  After tasting their noms, I'm kind of sad I didn't get to try their actual dinner menu.  The food and cocktails were so on point!  The girls and I totally "mmmmm-ed" out loud as we sampled everything.  After chatting with the manager for a bit, we ubered to SumoMaya for dinner...

...and died from multiple foodgasms.  Who knew Phoenix was foodie heaven? I've seriously had some of the most amazing food I've ever had in my LIFE in AZ.  SumoMaya's a Mexican/Asian fusion restaurant featuring delish tapas that'll leave you ridiculously satisfied.  We got two different kinds of sangria (rose + red) to start and browsed the menu leisurely before deciding on the following: Spinach + Bacon Salad, the Lobster Mango Roll, Rainbow Ceviche, Rock Shrimp Tempura, Korean Beef Tacos, Pescado Dorado Tacos, Seared Scallops, and Mexican Street Corn.  

The grub was out of this world. If heaven was a food, it'd probably taste like SumoMaya.  As many of you know, I don't eat fish so I skipped the Ceviche and Fish tacos, but everything else was game.  The spinach + bacon salad came with baby spinach, warm bacon, togarashi, walnuts, raisins, asian pear, and pickled egg topped with a champagne vinaigrette.  Everything was fresh, and the flavors complemented each other beautifully.

The roll featured main lobster, crab, mango, okinawa, potato and piquillo chimichurri - super flavorful so no soy sauce necessary IMO.  The korean tacos were seasoned with yakiniku sauce and served with pickled veggies + kimchee - def. one of my faves from the night!  Althoughhhh, it's a tough call between them and the seared scallops.  The latter was seared perfectly and served in a citrus coconut plantain sauce + smoked bacon fufu.  I mean, I can't even. I'm still salivating at the thought of it all.  And the mexican street corn? Made with cotija, spicy mayo and lime, it was a total party in my mouth.  We ended the meal on an extra high note with different kinds of mochi ice cream + chocolate cake & caramel gelato.  
With our bellies full of food, Mel and I concluded that we desperately needed to work out so we powered through Tabata Strength (from the Insanity Max 30 workout) to burn calories before passing out.  Fast forward to day 4: we woke up bright and early again to check out the Desert Botanical Garden.  We had the option of sleeping in, but why do that when there's more to see?  

Tai picked us up and we got our browse on for a good 1.5 hours.  The garden was HUGE (140 acres to be exact) so we only got to see a small portion of it, but everything we saw looked gorg.  Some impressive stats for you guys, it houses 50k+ plants and averages 633k+ visitors yearly.  For those of you interested in visiting, tickets are $24.95 per adult, $12.95 for kids age 3-17, and free for members and children under 3.
Afterwards, we met up with everyone at Phoenix Public Market Cafe for breakfast.  I ordered a latte and a housemade juice ($6.50) to start - it was called the Hulk, and it had spinach, kale, cucumber, apple, parsley, lemon, and celery.  For my entree, I wanted something healthy so I went with their Quinoa Bowl, served with poached eggs, market vegetables (sourced directly from the adjacent farmer's market), quinoa, and pesto ($10.25).  
Management also brought out a platter of housemade pastries for us to share, and it was all super nom.  See that flaky goodness that's topped with strawberry frosting? That's their obscenely tasty homemade pop-tart.  I was half tempted to purchase a few to go, but I resisted my urges (self control FTW).  
Anddd that's a wrap guys!  I hope you enjoyed reading all about my trip to Phoenix.  If you're looking for a fab place to vacation, definitely consider AZ.  The food is phenomenal, the attractions are really interesting, and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, shoot me a message! I'm here for you all.  Before I leave, I want to thank Visit Phoenix for hosting me and my beautiful frands.  A special thanks to Trish Lanteigne for making it all possible.

Touring Phoenix: A Quick Press Trip to the Valley of the Sun

Oh man, these past few days have been super cray.  If you've been following me via instastories, you already know that I was in Phoenix, AZ with two of my blogger besties, La Belle Mel and Queen Horsfall.  I've been flooding my IG with content from my trip, but I'll be recapping everything for you guys in more detail today + the next post!  
Now, let's start at the very beginning.  I left for the airport around 11 to catch my flight but skipped lunch because I was in a rush.  Luckily, the line for security was short so I was able to get something there. BWI's pretty big so there were a lot of options, but I decided to go with Pinkberry because their froyo's pretty much the best thing ever.  I usually get plain with no toppings but went with pomegranate, mochi, and mango bubbles this time around.

The flight was long but it went by quickly because I slept for the majority of it.  When I landed, I quickly gathered my luggage and headed to Hotel Valley Ho.  When I got there, Diana was already settled!  I've known her for quite a while (we've been instafriends for years now) so I was pumped to finally hang in person.
Our suite was SUPER cute, and I can honestly say that Hotel Valley Ho was one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at!  With a giant kitchen, living room area, two showers + bathrooms, walk-in closet, ginormous deck, and washer + dryer, it felt more like a fancy schmancy condo than hotel.  The decor was SO on point, too.  There was beautiful artwork everywhere, and it was SO clean that you could literally eat off the floors.  A huge thanks to them for hosting me and my frands!  They even gave us adorable gift bags + a nomtastic fruit platter to make us feel extra welcome.
After unpacking, Diana and I decided to get dinner because we were hangry - Mel was getting in late so she told us not to wait!  We were seated quickly and started our meal off with fresh squeezed orange juice + piping hot bread.  
We didn't know what to get, but the waitress was super helpful and gave us some awesome recommendations. We started with the roasted tomato + goat cheese casserole ($13).  Baked in an iron pot with spinach, red peppers, tomato, and goat cheese, this yum dish came with grilled noble bread.  For my main dish, I decided to go with the Filet Mignon ($34).  It was cooked to perfection and came with mashed potatoes, crisp brussels sprouts and yuzu hollandaise.  So much yas - the meat legit melted in my mouth!
What meal would be complete without dessert? To finish things off, we got a chocolate mousse to share between the two of us.  It came with cookie crumbles and a sorbet of some sort (I think it may have been cherry but don't quote me on that).  Whatever, the important thing is that it was delish!  A solid meal from start to finish.
After dinner, we headed back to our room for R&R!  I felt fat from my meal so I squeezed in a quick workout before prepping outfits for the next day.  I completed "Cardio Challenge" from Insanity Max 30 and then called it a day because I had to get up at 3:30 the next morning to get my hot air balloon on.
Fast forward 4 hours later...
We met our guide from Hot Air Expeditions outside at around 4:30 and drove down to the Sonoran Desert together to catch the sunrise!  I have a crippling fear of heights so I was afraid I'd freak the eff out, but I actually did pretty well.  The whole experience was super chill - the ride was extremely smooth, and I got killer views of the desert terrain and mountain ranges which was all kinds of awesome.  

We were only supposed to be there for an hour, but we ended up staying for 2+ hours.  Our balloon landed somewhere totally random so the flight crew had to fish us out, ha - definitely an unforgettable experience on various different levels.  Afterwards, we had a lovely catered breakfast with fresh juice, champagne (I made a mimosa with mine), a veggie quiche, babybel cheese, and a croissant. 
We needed to be at Hotel Valley Ho by 10:15 to depart for our tour at Taliesin West, but we were running super late so we ended up missing it.  Luckily, the kind peeps there were able to squeeze us in for a short 30-minute tour so we still got to see everything.  Before leaving for TW, the girls and I quickly changed because it was getting really hot.  I threw on a cute summer dress from Charlotte Russe + comfy sneakers because I didn't want to walk in heels.

Touring Taliesin West was so much fun - I'm so glad we got to go!  Built by Frank Lloyd Wright and his students in the 1930s, it was expanded and modified until his death in 1959.  They built the estate out of the desert, gathering rocks and sand from the washes to keep everything in balance with the surrounding environment.  The site was one of Wright's greatest masterpieces, and it served as his personal home, studio and workspace.  In the photo below, I'm sitting in one of his famous origami chairs located in the Garden Room.  He hosted fabulous get-togethers there so his students could practice sharpening their communication skills for future dealings with clients.  He was also a fairly accomplished pianist so he enjoyed reading chamber works with his apprentices.
Anywho, after our tour, we went to Farm & Craft in Scottsdale to grab lunch.  The food was ah-maaaa-zing! I ordered their Tocoa Steak Bowl ($15), and it came with grass-fed steak, organic farro, fresh corn, baby heirloom tomato, sweet potato, black beans, caramelized onions, cilantro vegan slaw, and avocado.  For my drank, I got a fresh pressed juice called Carrot Cleanse - made of carrot, orange, turmeric, lemon & ginger.  So much deliciousness for realz guys.  In fact, I'm STILL drooling from the thought of this magical bowl.  Who knew healthy food could taste so good?
After lunch, we spent a good hour or two exploring Old Town Scottsdale with the girls.  We hit up Saba's Western Wear to check out their cowboy boots, Fashion by Robert Black to browse their vintage garb, and a cute souvenir shop to purchase gifts for frands and family back home. Afterwards, we went to Aridus Wine Company to sample a bunch of their wines! Their Rosé and Syrah were to die for delish.  Then we headed back to Valley Ho to get ready for Happy Hour at Zuzu + dinner at Mountain Shadows.
We all decided to get cocktails!  Mel doesn't drink so she got a virgin piña colada, but Diana and I got Hibina Coladas with donQ coconut rum, sweetened milk, pineapple and hibiscus triple sec - definitely one of the best drinks I've ever had.  While sipping dranks, we met 3 new bloggers - the beautiful Sarah & Lindsey from Compass + Twine and the gorgeous Shaheen from Lows to Luxe - and got our chill on before heading to dinner.
Andddd oh my gosh, dinner at Mountain Shadow was crazy good.  We started the night off by touring the resort and enjoying the killer view of Camelback Mountain.  The weather beautiful so we decided to grab a table outside.  I ordered yet another fab drink to sip - the Cherry Bomb, made with effen black cherry vodka white port, lime juice, activated charcoal, and egg white - on while browsing the dinner menu.
Everything looked ridiculously yum so I had a hard time deciding on noms, but I eventually went with the heirloom tomato salad (fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, smoked maldon salt, and aged balsamic vinegar), Moroccan spiced rack of lamb, and charred young broccoli.  Everything was uber delish....but I was SO exhausted that I almost fell asleep at the table.  We were all pretty tired + stuffed so we skipped dessert and headed back!  
Mel wanted to work out, but I was dealing with a migraine all day so I decided to get some shut eye! Anywhoooo, that's it for today!  I hope you guys had fun reading about my adventure.  I'll be blasting part 2 soon so make sure you all keep an eye out.