Hey girls, remember that one time when we went to Scottsdale?
Warming sun? Sip-tastic drinks? OMG food? Otherworldly spa experiences? Good conversations 24/7? Yeah, THAT time.
Since my grandparents winter in Arizona (how fun is it to use winter as a verb?), I’ve been in and around the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Sun City area many times in the last ten years. And literally every time I go there, I think to myself: WHY DO YOU NOT LIVE HERE.
The weather is absolutely perfect. P-e-r-f-e-c-t. It’s sunny and 60-ish most of the year and the air smells like orange blossoms and feels clean + dry dry dry. I love it so much. And about those hot summers – I don’t know, I really think I could handle them in exchange for such perfect weather the rest of the year. If we didn’t have any family and friends in Minnesota, you know I’d be PACKIN to ZONA.
This was the trip of a lifetime, which is probably exactly what I said / how I felt about our last girls trip together, which is reason enough for you to text your girlfriends right now and get a weekend on the calendar and start planning. I mean it.
These trips (which we are making an annual tradition out of!) are so restorative and so much more fun – er, different fun – than the trips that Bjork and I take together. Love you bb. I am a strong believer that trips with good friends, no matter where you go, can be one in a million type experiences.
To make this trip happen, we worked with the super wonderful Scottsdale CVB who helped set us up with a fun itinerary. I’m going to list out the highlights as an effort to not write 800 paragraphs about each of these experiences. Which will probably end up happening anyways. #wordlover
- “Wine Me Dine Me” dinner at Southwest Bistro: this is a restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, and the WMDM experience is just as delicious as it sounds. It involved sitting right across from the chefs and sampling all their wine and tequila pairings and watching them make your food and talk to them about all of it. I am STILL thinking about the cauliflower cotija soup that I basically chugged straight from the bowl. 100% life-changing.
- Hyatt Regency for the night.
- Brunch / Lunch / Pool at Hyatt Regency. Such an awesome pool. Loved it.
- Second hotel for the weekend – Royal Palms! We’ve been to Royal Palms before (–> this trip <–)and once again it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. This hotel is Joanna Gaines meets Scottsdale history meets all things beautiful on Pinterest. It’s intimate and so unique – there is good reason it was recognized as the #1 Resort in Phoenix by Travel + Leisure in 2015. I am normally not one to walk away from an experience with comments on the service, but you guys, the service here is just unparalleled. They are sophisticated and kind and attentive without being overbearing. I wanted to be friends with everyone, but I think they might have seen straight through my play-it-cool exterior. Just all-around such a silky smooth vibe for this resort.
- Dinner at T. Cook’s: this is the restaurant right in the resort and it was mind-blowingly delicious, as you probably remember from the epic snapchat story that overtook your feed that night. Sorry not sorry. The beet salad, the Mix Up Mule (a play on the Moscow Mule), and the brussels sprouts with ricotta and arugula ravioli which will be pictured somewhere in this lineup were ALL next level status.
- Aerial Hammock Yoga at the Well & Being Spa. Wait tho I just said AERIAL HAMMOCK YOGA. Google that right now. If you happened to see the snap story from this special time, please delete it from your mental hard drive. This experience falls in the category of things where how you THINK you look and how you ACTUALLY look end up being drastically different and a little depressing. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time doing this and we are continuing the aerial yoga tradition by taking up classes here in Minneapolis! Not a joke. We’re doing this again and I am so excited.
- Spa Treatment at the Well & Being Spa. I don’t even know if words can describe it. Those hot stones, the waterfalls, the endless supply of prickly pear lemonade… all of it was magically wonderful. We saw so many groups of girlfriends there – if you and your squad love the spa gig, this is your place. I repeat: THIS IS YOUR PLACE.
- Lunch at the Scottsdale Princess Well & Being Spa. At this point, we’ve completely moved in to the spa and have no plans to leave anytime in the next 5 years. Hello, delicious, healthy, fresh yummy food. Just go look at their menu and be inspired to make something delicious much less plan a vacation to Scottsdale solely for this experience. We tried the salmon bowl, the shrimp succotash, and the crab cakes. Seafood FTW.
- Dinner at Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain – if I could only ever eat one thing again in my whole life, it would be the fiery calamari that I had at this restaurant. It was crispy and spicy, loaded with pepperoncini and Thai basil and just the right amount of miso sauce. HOLY MOLY – there were stars. Let me just say this – the meal we had at Sanctuary probably makes it into my Top 5 Meals of All Time list. Every single dish was literal food heaven. Again, if you saw the snap story, you know. Things got a little food-cray in the best possible way.
- Leisurely morning walk around Scottsdale: got a little sun while drooling over all the houses at the base of Camelback Mountain.
- Pit stop for heavenly Thai Iced Tea at Black Cat Coffee.
- Brunched it up with all the pups outside on the patio at O.H.S.O.
- Embraced our pool rat tendencies and hung out by the pool as long as possible, including one last poolside meal of fish tacos, chips and guac, beet salad revisited, and prickly pear lemonades from the Royal Palms poolside bar.
Friends are precious. Friends are so, so precious. And I think the hard thing about the beauty of the internet is that we are also over-connected to too many friends in ways that aren’t real. Social media is not the same as spending a weekend with your real friends having real, inspiring, vulnerable, and laugh-till-you-ugly-cry conversations.
Bjork and I remind each other of this often: the only thing between a friends’ trip happening and not happening in your life is YOU sending that first text message or email invite.
Be the starter! I super-challenge you to invite your one best friend or a whole big group of peeps to a weekend away, even if that just means a weekend at your grandma’s cabin out in the middle-of-nowhere next to the run-down Dairy Queen and the abandoned railroad tracks. Seriously. This Scottsdale trip was amazing in all ways, but even if you can’t make a flight or ritzy dinners happen, you can still set aside time to reconnect with friends. I know from experience that reconnection over 5-star dinners is just as good as reconnection over cheap pizza. Although, I will say, 5-star dinners and spa treatments ARE pretty amazing.
Ready? DO IT RIGHT NOW. Send out the first group text.
If you plan something, or even if you just send out the invite to start the planning, send me a snap and tell me that you did. I’ll send a dorky excited snap back and we’ll geek out together.
Here are a few more pictures of our trip – I am feeling a little sad that I didn’t end up taking more pictures, but you know, pool time and deep conversations and ridiculous snap chats all while eating chips and guac – sometimes these things trump the camera.
(THE CALAMARI )
Here’s to friendships that last a lifetime! ️
Go make it happen.