Travel Diary: Sedona, Arizona

I swear time moves faster when you’re on vacation! My time in Sedona, Arizona has already come & gone & I am super sad that it is already over. Continue reading to check out my trip!

A bit of holiday traffic slowed us down from getting into Sedona; but once we arrived into town we were sure to stop in to one of my families frequent pizza stops. Pisa Lisa is a great spot in town & luckily for me they have gluten-free crust. The food was incredible & it was nice to get a drink in after the long flight! After filling up on pizza we stopped at the groceries to get supplies for the week, then back out to a local winery, Vino Di Sedona, for a bit more wine & cheese. We sat outside as the sun started to lower & enjoyed live music while we snacked on some cheeses; it was a perfect ending for the first night.

As Sunday came along, we decided to keep it relaxing & explore more of our favorite spots in Sedona. We grabbed breakfast at the Pump House Station Urban Eatery; my mom & I ordered the smashed avocado toast & the salmon toast & split it between us. Both meals were so delicious, something I would definitely order again! After exploring more a bit in Sedona we stopped by the Mariposa, which is a Latin grill. They have amazing views of the red rocks surrounding the area. My family & I sat outside (I had my mom take part in a mini-photo shoot) & enjoyed the views with a glass of wine. We stopped for dinner in the Tlaquepaque shopping area, which is beautiful by itself. There are so many different boutiques & many cute places to take some pictures! We had dinner at El Rincon which is a Mexican restaurant with some amazing guacamole; if you go there you have to order it, as well as the Prickly Pear Margarita, that I became obsessed with over the trip.

Monday or Memorial Day, was another day spent relaxing. My mother, Aunt, & I spent the morning getting massages at the Page Springs Winery. That massage was much needed, my shoulders were so tense even the masseuse noted on it! After the massage, we stayed for some wine, I mean we were already there! Just down the road was another winery called Javelina Leap Vineyard. We decided that we would spend the day Winery hopping & it was the perfect way to spend Memorial day! For the evening we stopped by the Airport Mesa in Sedona to check out the amazing sunset. It was absolutely gorgeous over the red rocks.

Tuesday was the day that we decided to start our hikes. We started the day at the Coffee Pot Restaurant, named after the rock formation that is located behind it. Every time I have eaten there it is always good & they are known for their many omelettes. After a protein filled breakfast we hiked the Devil’s Bridge Trail. We started the hike a little later in the day so it became very hot very quick. Other than the heat, the hike was very enjoyable & the view at the end was incredible! Once we came back from the hike we visited a town nearby Sedona called Jermone. Jermone is located up on a hill & the views are so cool. We stopped by a restaurant called The Haunted Hamburger known for their amazing Bloody Mary’s. My mom ordered one & said it was incredible, I of course, stuck with my Prickly Pear Margarita. The food was amazing as well, & to my luck they had these delicious gluten-free buns!

Wednesday was a full day! One of the hottest days of our trip we decided to visit a popular spot known as Slide Rock. Slide rock is a natural water slide located in one of the  parks & it was so much fun! I took my Go-Pro down & looking over the videos is just so cool! After sliding down the rocks in freezing cold water we decided to grab some drinks at the Indian Gardens Cafe & Market. We had some wine & sat outside & we even saw a snake in the garden! All the water sliding tired us out, so after a nap we decided to walk around the shops on Sedona’s main street. I bought a cute touristy shirt & we stopped by a Mexican restaurant downtown called Oaxaca. Again, they have amazing guacamole & Prickly Pear Margaritas, also an amazing view of my favorite rock formation, Snoopy Rock.

Thursday started off with another one of our favorite hikes, Cathedral Rock. Though it does have one portion that is a little tricky, those parts are always my favorite. One part of the climb is a little tight & I always say that I feel like Spider-man when I am climbing up. The top has amazing views of the valley below & it feels so relaxing once you’re finally at the top. Once we made our round trip we stopped by the Enchantment Resort for more views & Prickly Pear margaritas! I have become so obsessed with Prickly Pear I had to buy some prickly pear candy! The night was completed with our trip to the Blazin’ M Ranch. The ranch has a little town built where guests can learn to lasso, shoot, ride a tractor, & buy some drinks. Dinner is involved, which included these amazing ribs & baked potato. After dinner there was a show that featured some comedy & country music. It was very family friendly & a lot of fun as well!

Friday was our last day in Sedona so we had to make it a good one! Another day meant another hike & this time we were trying a new one. We went on the Soldier’s Pass Trail, which features the Seven Sacred Pools. The hike did not feature any high climbs which was nice in the heat. Once again the hike parched us, which meant it was time for another drink! We stopped at the SaltRock Southwest Kitchen for a relaxing lunch. Everywhere you go in Sedona has amazing views & outdoor seating is always the way to go.  We ending the night eating all of our collective left overs & having a talk on the patio.

Once again another amazing vacation is over way too soon. Sedona is such a relaxing & beautiful area I definitely recommend it; through visiting with my mother it has totally grown on me!

So where are some of your favorite places to visit in the States?

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What’s in my Carry-on?

Hi all!

Sedona, Arizona is now one day away & I couldn’t be more excited! Today I am going to share with you what I normally have in my carry-on for my trips!

1. A Book

Every time I go on a trip I always make sure to have the current book that I am reading. Even though I don’t exactly read on the plane, because I get motion-sick when I do, I have it for when I am waiting around to board the flight. Currently I am reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by. Stieg Larsson. It’s the third book in a very popular series & I couldn’t recommend them more, especially if you’re into crime novels!

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2. Water Bottle

Keeping hydrated is KEY especially when traveling! I always have a water bottle in my carry-on, I empty it before I pack it so I can make it through security with no problem. Once I make it through I buy a bottle of water & fill my water bottle up. I personally like using my own water bottle & I am not a fan of drinking out of plastic bottles!

3. Glasses & Contacts 

If I wear my contacts on a long flight my eyes completely dry out! So I always make sure to pack my glasses case, contact case, & a travel size contact solution so I am able to change into my contacts after the flight!

4. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks 

I am a lover of all snacks. I always make sure to have at least 2 snacks with me on a flight. I usually go for some kind of cracker snack, like cheez-its, goldfish, or even popcorn, & then trail mix is a go-to as well. Trail Mix is super easy to take especially if you are traveling with family because you can buy a large container & split them up into smaller bags among the family!

5. Ginger & Lavender

All of a sudden this turned into a grocery list but hear me out. I bring along these Ginger snacks called Ginger Candy that have become my saving grace. As I said I deal with motion sickness, whether it be in the back of a car, on a boat, or if I am looking around too much on a plane I start to feel nauseous. Ginger is amazing for nausea, so I always make sure I pack 5-6 of these ginger snacks to suck on incase I start to feel a little sick.

We have essential oils all over the house, lavender being one of the favorites. My mom got me into bring a little bottle of lavender essential oil & a wash cloth on the flight. Either on flight you can add a few drops to the wash cloth & breathe it in, it helps you relax; or you can use the lavender for after the flight, by going into the bathroom, wetting the cloth a little & adding a few drops to the cloth. I like to wipe my face with it, the smell of the lavender seems cleansing to me so after a long flight I find it to be rejuvenating. Also, I have this super cute pineapple themed bag that I keep all my beauty stuff in!

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6. My phone/Audible & Podcasts/Headphones 

Bringing my phone along with me seems pretty obvious on a flight, but I use it for more than just my plane ticket & keeping in contact with others. Since I find it very hard to read on a plane I fill my phone up with my favorite Podcasts & Audio books. Audible is such an amazing platform if you enjoy reading but don’t have the time to sit down & read a book. Instead you can do what you need to do but listen to someone read it to you instead! On my Audible account I have Outlander by. Diana Gabaldon downloaded. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time now; since it is a larger book it’s much easier to have it downloaded on my phone. I also have all sorts of episodes from my favorite Podcasts downloaded. I am very into true crime so my all time favorite podcast is Last Podcast on the LeftI am just such a huge fan so I always make sure I have the new episode downloaded as well as my favorite episodes to re-listen to on the flight.

Thanks for stopping by!

What are some of your favorite things to bring on your carry on?

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Road-Trip Playlist

Hi all!

With my trip to Sedona, Arizona coming up next week I’m starting my planning early (usually I’m last minute with everything)! I love adding music to just about everything I do, I have so many playlists made for the most random things, so of course I made one for this trip!

This playlist has the most random mix of songs that I’ve ever seen together! Songs from all different genre’s, but they all remind me of driving along an open road, with all the windows down, just total summer time vibes! Songs that everyone can belt their heart out to!

So please feel free to follow my new playlist! I’d also love to hear some recommendations from you! What are your favourite open-road jams?

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
Hannah

 

 

 

Tattoo Stories

Tattoos are very personal and permanent works of art. Though it seems the world has a love/hate relationship with them, I can’t seem to get enough of tattoos.  I currently have two tattoos, which I got both within the year. Even though I have been in love with the idea of tattoos, it took me 21 years to get my first one. Not every tattoo needs to have a story behind it, as long as it’s special to you that’s what matters; my tattoos do have a few meanings that I wanted to share with the rest of you.

My first tattoo is the world on my ankle. Though it may be a bit cliche, I choose this as my first tattoo because I love to travel. It has always been something that I loved to do and I feel as though it is a large part of me. In the tattoo you can see both the East coast of the USA as well as parts of Europe, most importantly England. I wanted this view because I wanted to be able to have both of my ‘homes’ seen in the tattoo. Many people may find the tattoo cheesy, but as a first I love it and I often use it as a motivator as well. Before I left for my internship in Australia, I was terrified, but I thought, you have the world at your feet now, you have to do this!

Do your Tattoos Tell Tales?

 

My second tattoo is a shark tooth on the inside of my right arm. At first glance many people are like ‘oh wow, you just have a shark tooth on your arm’. Which is true, I do, but instead of explaining a long story I just tell them sharks are my favorite animal, which they are. However, the tattoo does have a little bit more meaning to it.  I got the tattoo while I was completing my internship in Australia, whenever I look at it I remember all the fun I had while adventuring. Not only that but I envision sharks as powerful, strong & beautiful creatures; a few of my family members face mental illness, while overall I have been unaffected by these illnesses I feel that it is my job to stay strong for the family & keep everyone together. It is a reminder to be strong, loyal, and above all else be like a shark… never sinking & always moving forward.

Whether it has a deep meaning or not, tattoos are wonderful works of art, & a fantastic way for an individual to express themselves. I’d love to hear your tattoo stories!

Cheers,

Hannah

Chilling in Cairns

At the end of my internship my mother came to spend a little time with me in Australia. We decided to travel around Australia a bit ourselves before we went back home to the States.  One place I think everyone should have on their bucket list is the Great Barrier Reef.  I mean it’s incredible in every photo I’ve seen, and now since I am in Australia I know I have to make the trip up to Cairns to go see it.  So my mom picked me up from my lodging and off we went!

The flight was about 3 hours from Sydney to Cairns, which isn’t bad at all. Since I was there in the winter months the 80 degree weather in Cairns was a BIG difference from the 50-60 degree weather we had in Newcastle.  We spent our first day relaxing in the sun, getting to know the area we were staying in.  We were about a 20 minute walk from the Esplanade, which was so cool! So many restaurants and little places to stop and shop, and so many dogs!

I’m a lover of gardens and flowers so when I saw that there was a botanical gardens close by we had to go! Everything in the gardens were blooming and colorful, it just made you happy to be there.  There was also a greenhouse with butterflies everywhere, some that I had never even seen before! Even though it was a little bit too hot for me it was definitely worth the walk around. They even had their own rainforest and bamboo walk. Totally scenic for lots of photos.  We made it an early night because our boat for the Great Barrier Reef left pretty early in the morning.

I get sea sick very easily, so I had to wear a sea sickness patch that did work for me the most part of the trip.  The trip out to the reef was little over an hour on the boat, we snorkeled in two different locations and it had to have been one of the greatest things I’ve seen in my life! I mean so many colorful fish and coral, I even saw a reef shark! I even saw a little nemo in his home too. It was a great experience and if you ever are in Australia this has to be one of the top things that you do!

One other little trip my mom and I went on while in Cairns is taking a ride to Paronella Park.  The Park houses a so called ‘castle’ built by a man who had been poor his whole life, but had a dream to build himself a castle.  He worked hard, and was able to make his dream a reality.  The park is beautiful, even though some of it is in ruins from a hurricane. We were able to see the park in both day and night, which gave us a lot of different views. By the end of the night we were stargazing and even able to see the milky way! Absolutely incredible!

We also spent a lot of time admiring the trees and drinking beer, I mean we are on vacation right!? The food was excellent everywhere we went, and the outdoor seating couldn’t have gotten better. Cairns was a great experience, relaxing and tropical area.  There’s also so much more to do in the surrounding areas we didn’t even get the chance to see half of what is available. I will definitely be going back whenever I get the chance!

Cheers,

Hannah

Surf’s Up

Bondi Beach is a very popular tourist destination, but the Sydney locals also love the area.  The beach is beautiful, there are also amazing restaurants lining the shore.  Through TEAN Abroad we were gifted a free surf lesson.  I have never surfed one day in my life.  I was so excited, but I was still a little scared.  I mean what if a wave just knocked me out, or what if I got stung by a Jellyfish (for the third time)?  I will be happy to report that none of those happened.  I mean I did get knocked by a few waves, but that’s unavoidable, and it was all part of the lesson! Waking up at 5am to take a 3 hour train into Sydney, squeezing into a drysuit, and carrying a surf board three times my size was all bit of a challenge.  However, the biggest challenge was trying to stand up on the surf board.  The instructors give you a mini-lession while on land, but let me tell you, it is not comparable to when you are in the water trying to actually catch a wave.  I fell more than a few times, and managed to stand up once, but for a first timer, I will take that as a victory.  After trying surfing for myself I totally understand why so many people take it up, it had to have been one of the most fun things I have ever done.  I mean who doesn’t want to just ride a wave, it feels like you’re just floating. Also be sure to check out one of the many restaurants in the surrounding area, trust me after surfing you will need a full meal!

Also you will get the chance to take photos where you look less like a model and more like you just got smacked by a wave. IMG_3231

If you have the chance, GO SURFING! Take a lesson, trust me you will love it!

Go find your adventure out there

Cheers,

Hannah

Sydney Vivid 2017

Living in Newcastle you get a city setting without all the towering buildings and massive crowds.  Newcastle is also set around 3 beautiful beaches, and easy access to Sydney, just 3 hours by train.  I know 3 hours seems a bit extreme, but trust me with a good playlist it flies by!  This weekend the girls & I decided to travel to Sydney for the day to experience the last day of the Vivid light festival. Sydney takes part in the festival every year, which includes light installations all over the harbors.

With a couple of bumps in the road, we just made the 9:33am train into Sydney getting us there at noon, the perfect time! We enjoyed lunch on Darling Harbor, and decided to visit the aquarium.  If you know anything about me, it should be that I am in love with the ocean, the animals, reefs, just everything about it, so if there is an aquarium near by, you will totally see me there.IMG_3035

After the aquarium, we indulged in a few drinks, it was happy hour we couldn’t resist! Then we took on the lights. The Opera House was lit up with moving pictures of coral and all sorts of other things.  There were interactive installations, such as blowing on the dandelion will cause them to change colors. I could stare at the lights all night, however my stomach was getting the best of me.

I have a strong love for Indian food, but the other girls had never tried it before. I’m an IMG_3085adventurous eater & to be able to introduce others to food I love is one of my favorite things. We found a restaurant called ‘The Spice Rack” in Sydney.  I was very nervous to see what they thought, & they loved it! I had goat curry while my friend tried Chicken Tikka Masala for the first time, it had to be one of the best meals I’ve had!

 

 

try anything, enjoy whats around you