STAYcation: [vacation close to home]
My husband and I recently celebrated our nine year wedding anniversary with a STAYcation at one of our favorites! When you live in a state that offers some of the most beautiful resort options available, why leave town to have a good time!? As you already know from my previous posts, we are big fans of STAYcations and constantly promote the idea of staying nearby and enjoying all of the amenities that your city and state have to offer! We selected the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa because it holds a special place in our hearts and is filled with sweet memories over the last 9 years of our relationship. Plus, it is beyond fabulous!
The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona is simply stunning! From the second you walk in, you feel like you’re at a desert oasis. The pool area is magnificent with different areas to lounge and delight in their decadent drinks and poolside food. You can also jump on a raft and float along the lazy river. With several different pools to chose from, our personal favorite is the waterfall pool because you get an awesome experience of a tranquil waterfall with a nearby DJ providing musical glory!
The JW Marriott Desert Ridge offers a fabulous grand entrance, and the rooms are so accomodating; once you arrive, there is no reason to leave. They have everything you could possibly need, want or desire on site: an incredible spa, a full service Starbucks, a large store/souvenir shop, nightly live music, top notch restaurants, kids activities, golf course and unbelievable views in every direction you look.
Don’t just take my word for it, enjoy a few photos from our amazing weekend away and trust me you, too, will want to stay here!
We took our girls out to the woods of Prescott, Arizona for their first camping weekend as a family of four. To give you a little perspective, our girls are 4.5 and 2.5 years old and this was our first time all sleeping together in one small space… without a pack n’ play! My husband was raised camping and in the outdoors so he had been dreaming of the day that our girls would be old enough to enjoy a trip like this, and this was our first attempt. To say it went well is an understatement… much to my surprise it went great! But don’t get me wrong, with any trip you come across a few hiccups here and there. But, it was so much fun to take the girls off the grid, push everyday rules to the side and just let them enjoy being kids for the trip… and I know that we made memories as a family they will not forget.
If you are like me, and questioning whether or not your family is ready for a camping trip, I say go for it! You will never know until you try. And to help you out, here are a few of my ‘camping with kids’ recommendations. I hope these ideas help make your trip extra enjoyable for all – we all want happy campers!
This trip came at the perfect time. It’s amazing how you don’t realize you need a break from reality until you finally get one! My hubby had a work trip in Sedona, AZ, and so with the help of my parents, we were able to turn it into a kid-free getaway as well. April is a fabulous time to visit Sedona as it offers cooler temps and fabulous outdoor activities!
While my husband spent half days at a work conference, I was extremely blessed with a refreshing few days filled with beautiful hikes, relaxing pool-side quiet time and taking in the incredible 70° Sedona weather. I was also able to enjoy some much-appreciated pampering, quality time with my hubby, and time to reflect and work on me.
As you all requested here is the scoop on our trip, a little Sedona Recap for you! If you are planning an upcoming Sedona vacay you will love these recommendations!
One of the best parts about going on vacation is trying out new restaurants and not having to cook, can I get an AMEN?! But, when you are a visitor in a new city, it can be challenging to find the best restaurants. Thankfully we were in great hands at The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa, because of their incredible Concierge, Gordon. I seriously can’t say enough wonderful things about Gordon, he ensured a tasty success for every meal we ate on our San Diego family vacation. Thanks to his recommendations we were able to not just enjoy, but absolutely LOVE our dining experiences in San Diego! Gordon listened to our palatal aspirations and was able to provide us with family-friendly locations to eat and explore. He embraced the fact that we were foodies traveling with kids and provided us with unique and memorable dining experiences that were also family-friendly environments. Here is a recap of some of our favorite restaurants that we discovered on our San Diego family vacation.
Where do I even begin?!… Our day at SeaWorld San Diego truly was one of the most wonderful family days we have ever shared together. My husband and I surprised our two daughters with a long weekend getaway to San Diego and SeaWorld. My husband and I both LOVED visiting SeaWorld as a kid, so it was a no-brainer to take our girls as soon as the opportunity arose! Looking back on our day at SeaWorld, I wouldn’t have done anything different: we saw and did everything we wanted! So I thought it would be helpful to share our day of adventures below, plus 10 tips and tricks!
:: Our Day At SeaWorld: How to SEA it all in one day ::
My husband and I decided it was time for an official SeaWorld and San Diego vacation with our girls. We were both raised with great memories at Sea World and visiting the beach, so now that our girls are 4.5 and 1.5 years old, it was time to start making memories of our own. When I started researching San Diego hotels, I realized that not a lot of properties promoted luxury and a family friendly environment, until I discovered Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa. It is a gorgeous property on Misson Bay and it had everything we were looking for, not to mention it is less than a 5-minute drive from SeaWorld which was definitely a plus for us.
The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa is conveniently located on Mission Bay, and the views of the water are absolutely stunning. It is a 10-minute drive from the San Diego Airport or a quick 5.5-hour drive from Arizona.
When you live in the valley of the sun, escaping to the mountains is always a welcomed retreat. We were able to spend the weekend in Prescott, Arizona to get some much needed time in the great outdoors. Cooler weather and pine trees did not disappoint!
:: Here is a RECAP of our outdoorsy weekend escape to enjoy the fall in Prescott, Arizona ::
If you haven’t visited Sedona, Arizona … YOU MUST! As a Phoenician (aka – born and raised Phoenix, Arizona), I love exploring my fabulous state. Hands down, Sedona is one of my favorite cities… by a long shot! As a little girl, we vacationed in Sedona every summer to beat the Phoenix heat, so I have countless memories and happy moments forever engrained in my mind. Sedona was also the city in which my husband proposed to me, along the majestic Oak Creek to be exact. And now it is one of our favorite places to take our girls for a weekend getaway. Sedona is only about a 2 hour drive from our city life in Phoenix, so it makes for the perfect getaway location. The weather, the stunning beauty (famous for the red rocks) and the “small town” feel are just too fabulous not to visit.
On our last holiday weekend adventure, my husband and I decided it was time to take our 4 year old and 1 year old daughters on their first hike in the red rocks. We loaded up the girls in our fabulous backpack carriers, and off we went!
We wanted to show our girls the simple life on our first family vacation together as a family of four. We decided to take the girls out of the city and submerge them into the beautiful wilderness of Idaho. Our day-to-day life is filled with activities, places to go and people to see, so we really made it a point to relax, kickback and just have fun together. Our good friends invited us to come out and visit their home in Idaho Falls and it was the perfect opportunity to explore Idaho and show our little ladies a good time.
This vacation was filled with many firsts for us, not only was it our first real family vacation, but it was also our first family flight together. Flying with kids was definitely a new adventure for my husband… but thankfully all went great and so began our exciting adventure!