A few weeks back I left the soggy lands of Portland to travel to red plains of Phoenix, AZ for a few days for work. Though my time there was primarily spent working, I did manage to take a day to do a little exploring and R&R.
Knowing little about Phoenix and being solo, I wanted to do something on foot that wouldn’t just involve going out to eat only. Being a big admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, I was very excited to remember that he had designed a building at ASU’s campus in Tempe, which was only a thirty minute light rail ride from my hotel.
From photos I have seen I knew what I was looking for, but when I finally came across it while walking the campus it was nothing like I had ever seen before, even for FLW. It looked like a giant copper cake from mars! Adorned with beautiful scalloped edges and layers, it glowed in the early desert sun. The doors were locked so I couldn’t venture in, but I could only imagine the burnt orange carpet that ran through it.
Another favorite was the H.B. Farmer Education Building. Again with the monotone burnt orange edges with the softness of the globe light and and pops of greenery. This building was definitely a blast from the past that hopefully never gets a modern renovation. As I left the campus I wondered if the students appreciated the architecture and it’s history. Probably not. But hopefully one day some will.
Since I was going to be in town for four nights I wanted to stay at a hotel that was a little outside of the general Downtown area and that stayed more alive post business hours. I booked my stay at the Found:Re, a boutique hotel in the Arts District. The layout and decor of the rooms reminded me a lot of the Ace DTLA with it’s floating bed and interactive shower.
My room had a nice view of the street and some restaurants so even though I could be up in my room binging on HGTV I didn’t feel isolated.
After my walk through ASU did a little self-care poolside with a vibrant cocktail. I actually cannot remember the last time I actually laid out and did nothing by a pool. And I forgot how relaxing it was. Must do again soon!
Being my last night there and making the most of my one day off like a vacation, I took myself out to dinner (rather than ordering room service) down to the hotel’s restaurant Match. So I confidently ordered myself the ribs and enjoyed a night out solo - something I do not do often. Best part, no one talked to me. Maybe it was the ribs. Either way, it was just how I wanted my evening to go.
Though Phoenix is still not on my top 10 destinations to visit, I was pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer during my short and busy stay. Until next time…
Also tbh, I meant to post this weeks ago but life. Enjoy!
ONE YEAR MARRIED!
Holy cow that went by fast! And again, what a year it has been! (married/dog/bought house/moved to new state)
To celebrate, we decided to take it easy and do a weekend roadtrip trip down the Oregon Coast to explore more of what this beautiful new state of ours has to offer.
Once I got home from work Friday evening, we piled into the van and set off west to Astoria! I've always wanted to go to Astoria - I mean because Kindergarten Cop and the Goonies, duh - but, also because I always hear about how cute it is. And well, yeah it was. I wanted to punch it a little. Steve was super excited to be back in VanLife.
We arrived just at dusk for dramtic views of the Astoria-Megler bridge which was literally next to our hotel! We stayed at this awesome, super cute place called the Atomic Motel which is as it sounds: Mid Century / Retro! Bonus: they even offer you free beer at check-in and there's a great little breakfast and coffee every morning. Would totally stay here again and would recommend! AND they are ESA pet friendly!
We didn't have much time in Astoria, but we made it to Fort George's Brewing, up to the Astoria column for some great 360 views, indulged in the most delicious fish 'n chips at the historic Bowpicker, and checked out Fort Stevens and the old ship wreckage. It was Steve's first time on the beach, so it was funny to see how he would act! It was so cute to see the sand between his toes! I think he liked it!
From Astoria we headed south to Cannon Beach, another Oregon Coast town I've been dying to visit, and to see the Haystack in real life. And wow, it's so impressive up close! I mean just look at the scale of Danny & Steve! Our friend, Rachel, referred to Steve as a mini haystack. The beach itself is very popular, full of families, dogs, kite flyers, and beach bums. You can probably sit here all day and people watch. The town itself is also a very cute, cozy little village filled with cafes, local artisans, and bed & breakfasts. It is definitely a place I want to revisit and stay at soon.
CAPE LOOKOUT POINT
From Cannon Beach, we traveled a little more south to an area near Tillamook and Netarts called Cape Lookout Point, which is a National Park/Beach with camping and hiking trails. They offer traditional tent camping spots as well as yurts and car/van/RV camping - so, we appropriately van camped because VanLife is the best life.
We BBQ'd, sipped wine and beer as we walked along the beach at golden hour, and made dark chocolate s'mores. It was kind of the best, and so low-key. It was exactly what we needed.
Since hiking is one of our favorite things to do together, we woke up early and tried out one of the many trails Cape Lookout has to offer. Although we did take a wrong turn and ended up on a longer trail (the Cape Trail instead of the South), it was a beautiful time with beautiful scenery, cool weather, and kind people. Steve joined us again in his little backpack and everyone loved it.
I kinda started to get all gushy and sappy on our anniversary - thinking back on the events of our wedding weekend and all the feelings. Getting married is such a special time. I know it's not for everyone and that's okay, but having all your friends and family around in one place at the same time for a few days is truly a dream come true.
It was a perfect first anniversary and I am so lucky to be married to this man.
Happy Anniversary, Husband. xo
Wedding photos by Even Keel Weddings.