The Ultimate Arizona Bucket List: Part 2 Food


With a lot of help, recommendations and personal experiences I bring you The Ultimate Arizona Bucket List. I am breaking the series into 3 parts because there is just so much!

Outdoor Adventures – Food – Entertainment 

I hope y’all can benefit from this and if you have any additions/changes please let me know so that we can all enjoy the great state of Arizona to its fullest!


Breakfast & Doughnuts:
The Breakfast Club – Scottsdale
Perk Eatery – Scottsdale
Morning Glory Cafe – The Farm at South Mountain (Phoenix)
The Breakfast Joynt – Scottsdale
Matt’s Big Breakfast – Phoenix
Lamar’s Donuts – Phoenix
Bosa Donuts
Fractured Prune Doughnuts – Westgate
Donutsville – Peoria
Rainbow Donuts
Karl’s Quality Bakery – Phoenix
Crave Waffles – Westgate

Sprinkles Cupcakes – Scottsdale
The Sugar Bowl – Scottsdale
Sweet Republic
Rock Springs Café (Pie)
Top That Frozen Yogurt – Glendale
Churn Ice Cream – Phoenix
Nothing Bundt Cake
Thriftee Ice Cream Shop – Pinnacle Peak & 39th
Napoleon Bakery – Phoenix
Sweet Cakes Café – Mesa
Bahama Bucks
Frost Gelato
BJ’s Pizookie

Rio Mirage Café Y Cantina – Surprise
Blanco Tacos
La Santisma
Tapas Papa Frita
Don Rubens
Rito Burrito
Plaza Bonita
Salsa Blanca
Café Rumba
Mi Familia
Los Reyos de Tortas
Casa Bonitas

La Piazza Al Forno
Babbo Italian Eatery
Pizzeria Bianco
Nostalgi’a Cancione e Vino
Humble Pie
Organ Stop Pizza
The Parlor

True Food Kitchen
Culinary Dropout
Arrogant Butcher
Olive & Ivy
The Henry
The Fry Bread House
Chop Shop
George & Son’s
Ghengis Grill
The Herb Box
Pho Avina – Vietnamese
Chelsea’s Kitchen
Bluewater Grill
Bobby Q
Betty’s Nosh
St. Francis
Liberty market
Teds Hot Dogs
Queen Creek Olive Mill
Short Leash Hot Dogs

enjoy, xoxo

The Ultimate Arizona Bucket List: Part 1 Outdoor Advetures


With a lot of help, recommendations and personal experiences I bring you The Ultimate Arizona Bucket List. I am breaking the series into 3 parts because there is just so much!

Outdoor Adventures – Food – Entertainment 

I hope y’all can benefit from this and if you have any additions/changes please let me know so that we can all enjoy the great state of Arizona to its fullest!

Outdoor Adventures

*part 1 includes hikes (by city), races & water activities*


Camp Verde:
Fossil Creek – Strawberry (between Camp Verde & Payson)
Montezuma Castle
West Clear Creek

Lava Tubes
Lake Mary
Lowell Observatory (not outside)
Mt. Humphrey
Sunset Crater

Grand Canyon:
Havasupi – Havasu Falls
River Raft the Colorado River

Coons Bluff – rappelling
Salt River Tubing

Antelope Canyon
Hoover Dam
Horseshoe Bend
Lake Powell

Fossil Creek – Strawberry (between Camp Verde & Payson)
Tonto Natural Bridge
Water Wheel

Phoenix Valley:
Camelback Mountain: Echo & Cholla Trails
Estrella Mountains
Hole in the Rock & Papago Park
Lake Pleasant – Peoria
Pinnacle Peak – Scottsdale
Salt River Tubing & Paddleboarding – Mesa
Salt River Canyon Scenic Drive – Globe
Thunderbird Mountain – Glendale
White Tanks Mountains – Surprise

Devil’s Bridge
Jeep Tour
Slide Rock

Chiricahua National Monument
Mt. Lemon
Saguaro National Park
Wonderland of Rock

Tubac, AZ
Kartchner Caverns – Benson
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Tumacacori National Historical Park
White House Ruins at Canyon de Chelly
Flat Iron Loop Gold Canyon by Apache Junction
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Petrified Forest National Park – Holbrook
Salome Jugs
Vulture Peak – Wickenburg


The Color Run (January)
Phoenix Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k – Boston Qualifier (February)
Ragnar Del Sol (February)
Vacation Races Grand Canyon Half Marathon (March)
Bubble Run (April)
Vacation Races Lake Powell Half Marathon (October)
Questival by Cotopaxi (November)
see more here


Lake Havasu & London Bridge
Fossil Creek – Strawberry
Lake Pleasant – Peoria
Lake Mary – Flagstaff
Lake Powell – Page
Slide Rock – Sedona
West Clear Creek – Camp Verde
Salt River Tubing – Mesa
Water Wheel – Payson
Surprise Pool
Wet N Wild
Foothills Aquatic Center
Hubbard Swim Schools
Sunrise Mountain Pool

Splash Pads:
Pioneer Park
Tempe Beach Park
Phoenix Zoo – Leapin’ Lagoon
Goodyear Community Park
Kierland Commons
Scottsdale Quarter
Marley Park – Surprise
Rio Vista Park
Desert Ridge Marketplace
Pioneer Park
Riverview Park – Mesa

enjoy, xoxo

Live Free and Don’t Die

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T-shirts: The Home T  c/o

I surprised Mr. Smith last weekend with an adventure of a lifetime… SKYDIVING! It was my second time; I went first with my Dad for our daddy/daughter bucket list about 4 years ago. I just knew that the Hubs was going to love it and scream just as loud as I would.

Unfortunately, I was the only one screaming and these crazy boys belly laughed at me till they cried. Apparently, Tim (the one that looks thrilled to be with me) has had over 16,000 dives and was on the world skydiving team, (WHAT!) He thought it would be HIL-arious to hang me out of the plane for a good 15 seconds while I screamed bloody murder. Did I lose my voice the rest of the weekend, no (shakes head yes).

My plan was to shake some adventurous spirit out of Cam.  Free his system of the need for danger if you will.  Live on the edge just a bit. Well the plan backfired. Now he wants to get his skydiving license and enroll to base jump and use squirrel suits. Oh lordy what have I created!? Hopefully we get good life insurance… (I joke, I joke) hashtag thegoodwife :)


Devil’s Bridge – Sedona, AZ




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(Mr. Smith) Top: Home T | Pants: Columbia | Shoes: Asics 

This weekend we took advantage of the amazing weather and drove up to Sedona, Arizona. One of our favorite ways to get away from the stress of life is to find beauty in nature. I love sleeping in a tent outside under the stars away from the city lights.  I enjoy taking a big deep breath of fresh air and most importantly away from technology and lists. It is easy for me to get wrapped up in our growing to-do lists and feel the anxiety of life. Sedona is gorgeous and if you get the opportunity to visit take advantage of it!

We went to hike Devil’s Bridge and took a 2 mile hike up to the site and then came the adventure. (side note, if you take your dogs, make sure they are well trained for some steep climbs towards the last .1 miles of the hike; our dogs did great but they hike often with us. Lot’s of other people couldn’t get their dogs up the cliff) When we were hiking back down to the car we must of taken a wrong turn at the end of the trail and added a good 4-5 miles to our return trip.  We didn’t recognize the scenery and we sat to check the map. As Cam was looking around, I saw a back of 5 or so coyotes running toward us. We usually let the dogs off leash to hike and we grabbed them close to put their leashes on. The coyotes saw us and stopped then quickly turned and went the other way. AGHH I was so scared! We decided to go back to a fork in the road and ran into another couple. We asked if we could tag along and once back to a different parking lot they drove us around the bend of the trail to our car. I am so thankful for meeting those sweet strangers and that they were willing to help us out! Overall, it was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to go back soon for a new (and safe) adventure :)


The Wild Life

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First off, I am in love with my new Express shirt so much so that I wore it two weekends in a row! But who cares, right :) Now if you need to know one thing about me is that I seriously GEEK out over animals. It doesn’t even matter what kind, I just want them all! So, hubs took me to the World Wildlife Zoo that is 10 minutes from our house. I can’t even explain how excited I was to find this living Africa in the middle of nowhere Arizona :) This happy girl was thrilled when a beautiful giraffe walked over and leaned down to lick my hand. I was like a little kid on Christmas! I also tried this three part pony tail to add some length to my hair since I am in the awkward phase of growing it back out and I loved how it turned out, apparently the little parrot above liked it too (:

Hope you have a wonderful weekend


Roma, Italia Day 3 & VIDEO DIARY

Day 3 in Rome we woke up to freezing rain and cold winds. We bundled up and left to tour the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.  We were lucky that we bought Roma Passes for bus/train/metro rides and entry into attractions because we got to skip the 2 hour wait into the Colosseum and walked right in. The city is restoring parts of the stage back which was neat in some ways but seemed wrong to disturb such an important historical monument. I loved seeing the different styles of pillars and columns that we had once studied in our history of creativity and design classes. I can hardly wrap my head around how people built such magnificent works of architecture with such little technology.  We walked over to the Forum and I love how they had laid out the pillars where they would have been originally.

About this point in the day I felt super sick. We had been rained on most the day and it was bone chilling cold. We went into a McDonald’s of all places to rest and I fell asleep and woke up to some crazy worker yelling at me that I couldn’t sleep there. I tell you the amount of times I got in trouble in Italy should set some kind of record. Then I fell asleep again. :/ We finally made it home and I ran for that warm shower. We ate a simple meal of meat, cheese, bread, and olive oil and I began to feel a little better. I went to bed and slept almost all of Saturday. I was sad that I was sick on our vacation but at one point I didn’t even care because I felt like death was coming for me right then.

Sunday we traveled back to Milan and got in very late. We had reserved a room through Airbnb for 3 nights. Our host was super nice and I began to feel much better. We went grocery shopping, toured the painting of The Last Supper (no pictures allowed and only 15-20 people at a time in the room) and went SHOPPING! We finished it off with Shockolat because what would the end of an Italian adventure be without GELATO!

*A few notes on traveling in Italy

-Pack clothes in a carry on just to be safe

-Exchange money in America first at your bank to avoid high exchange rate fees. We also could get cash from an ATM in Italy and we were only charge a $3 transaction fee from our home bank.

-You have to have your iphone unlocked to get an italian sim card

-Don’t use hotel phones, even for local calls

-Have a detailed map of each city ahead of time (we took pictures of some in a store)

-All the streets are cobblestone… wear appropriate shoes

-Buy water at a grocery store instead of cafe’s and restaurants (so much cheaper)

-Restaurants charge a cover or seating fee (eat where the locals eat, cheaper and better food)

-Buy a Roma pass for travel and you get 2 attractions free per pass and skip lines! (worth the money for your time). You cannot use it at Vatican City

-Validate train tickets before boarding to avoid fines up to $100

-Buying off street vendors  is sometimes illegal,  just be cautious

-Keep cash in a few different places

-I felt 100% safe in Italy all the time but Cameron also lived there for 2 years and speaks Italian fluently, just be smart and polite


Italy Video Diary

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Roma, Italia Day 2

Day 2 in Rome was my favorite! Cameron took me to all the big attractions and it was amazing! It really started to sink in how old the city was and the history that stood all around us. We started with a typical Italian breakfast of pastries and we grabbed some fresh juice too! We walked down to Piazza Del Popolo and saw the Twin Churches.

*A funny little salesman tried to give me a rose for “free” and I kept saying no and he kept following me saying it was a gift for the beautiful girl.  Well fine then. I took the rose, smiled and said “grazie” and walked off. He turned to Cameron looking for money and Cam just shrugged and shook his head no.  Meanwhile, I am halfway across the plaza with my “free gift.” The man chased me down snatched his rose back. Rude, you can’t take back a gift! Cameron was dying laughing at me and said he had never seen someone actually take it and not pay. No money. No rose. No creepy stalker guy anymore :)

After the Twin Churches Cameron walked me down some high end streets to look (key word ‘look’) at some beautiful designer stores. We both found our dream cars! (see below) Hardly anyone is on the street mainly because it was early and more likely because of the prices.  All of the sudden some lady bumps into me and keeps walking. “well that was rude.”  Cameron double takes and stops me and says,

“I think that was Jennifer Lopez…”

“Yeah, right. I would know if J Lo bumped into… Ohhmergosh! That is JENNIFER LOPEZ!”

I proceeded to have a minor crazy freak out that probably resembled a petite mal seizure. After, I composed myself and made a plan I casually walked over and struck up a convo with her very French PA. BONJOUR! I asked if I could take a picture with her and he turned me down flat. Not taking no for an answer, I explained how I am an American (like that gives me bonus points or something) and I love all her movies (great now I look like a stalker).  He radioed her very large very tall body guard who came out and talked with us.  He was from Brooklyn and told us that he would be nice and let us take a picture across the street but that the street was too busy for us to stop her and take a picture.  Literally, there are two people on the street with us. So confused and still freaking out, we walked across the street to wait for her to come out. As soon as her car pulled up ninja paparazzi appeared from no where! It was insane but I did snag a photo of my experience! I am now practically famous because J Lo touched my shoulder!

We left star stuck and walked to the Spanish Steps. Not my favorite attraction but still neat.  We rounded a corner and behold the Trevi Fountain! We grabbed lunch and watched how many people tried to jump in the fountain. Pretty entertaining if I do say so myself. We tossed in our coins to promise a return to Italy and were on our way.

Rounding yet another corner and BAM! The Pantheon sat in all its glory! That is seriously one of he most interesting built structures ever. Once the world’s larges unsupported dome, it also is held sacred and respected. They ask for silence while inside although a protest to save the whales was demonstrated outside.

We walked down to the Victor Emmanuel Monument and toured inside. It is HUGE and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. We didn’t have time today to do the Colosseum tour or the Forum so we decided to come back tomorrow but I had to snap a few pictures! Sadly, most of the Colosseum was under construction, so only a few outside parts were visible.

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Roma, Italia Day 1

After walking through the Cinque Terra all day we gave lots of love and thanks to Salvatore for being the best host ever and an even better friend and we hopped a midnight train to ROME!

We were staying in Rome from Wednesday (late late Tuesday night) until early Sunday morning because we knew there would be so much to see and do and we didn’t want to feel rushed.  We were staying with Cameron’s friend Pasquale who was just a nice and generous, insisting that we take his room for the week as well.  I sometimes still can’t believe how kind people were in Italy; I just loved it!

Wednesday morning, the Pope would be speaking in Vatican City and I had my heart set on attending! We woke up early and took a bus and stopped at the coolest underground pastry shop that you would have never known was there, but luckily Cameron knew Rome quite well! When we got into the Vatican (which is considered not part of Rome) I was shocked.  There were so many people it was like Disney World met New Year’s Eve in Time Square! Just lines and lines of people waiting to go into St. Peter’s Basilica and hopefully see the Pope.  He had already addressed the crowds but we wouldn’t of been able to see anything except the projections on the big screens, yes the big screens! Crazy! We decided to tour the Vatican Museums instead and spent the day looking at gorgeous statues, paintings, tapestries and murals. Of course we saw The Sistine Chapel and what felt like, and probably was, thousands of other famous art.

*A man yelled “NO PHOTO!” in the room with the painting of The Sistine Chapel, but I may have snapped a few (whoops!) You also aren’t allowed to sit on the steps of the floor :/ Yup, guilty as charged…

We left Vatican City and walked through Passeggiata Del Gianicolo which had absolutely breathtaking views of the city! There are these random water spickets everywhere and especially around the park, that are always flowing fresh cold water. Cam loves these and so we of course had to take a drink and it was worth it! We took our tie walking around, came across the set of some movie being filmed (no idea what), watched the sun set, then grabbed some life changing bruschetta for a snack.

*We later found out that every night at sunset thousands of birds flocked Rome! It was so beautiful, kind of scary, and really cool!

Nothing compares to the food I ate in Italy! We walked around an art square and listened to some live music and then headed in for the night! Great first day in ROME!

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Cinque Terre

Tuesday, we took a bus to Cinque Terre. There are 5 lands (as the name explains) too see and we ran short on time to see all 5. Oh well, guess we will have to go back! On the bus ride Cam talked to a little lady that lives in one of the towns. She was explaining how a few years ago a mudslide destroyed a few of the towns and they had to rebuild it over the years.  Well, I couldn’t tell a difference, it was beautiful either way!

I saw the most adorable couple when we arrived and we always talk about young love but their ‘old love’ made my cheesy chic flick heart skip a beat! We decided to hike to the highest point at our first stop. We literally did not see a person the whole hike. It was gorgeous and very steep, and as you can see below we were not exactly dressed for this climb… it was so worth it and the view was breathtaking! The ocean was vast and empty and waves gently rolled in. Flowers and vines bloomed all around us.  We hiked back down and headed over to the next  town.  We watch some boys play football (American Soccer) and they were freakin awesome! We toured an old WWII bunker and Cam was in war heaven.  It was trashed inside probably from bums and tourists but it was amazing to think about defending a land from that tiny stone hut.  We also saw some war grave sites and walked the ocean shore line.  Cameron showed me a statue of a man holding the city on his shoulders and we walked down to the water but I didn’t dare get in! Brrrr! We grabbed some yummy gelato and headed home. Such a relaxing day as we walked around like it was our home town.

We hopped a train back to La Spezia and grabbed our bags to head down south to ROME!

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Florence, Italy

After driving from La Spezia to Pisa, we took a train to Florence to tour the streets of this gorgeous city. We saw a replica of The David (the real one was closed-check for reservations!), toured inside the Duomo Baptistery, saw the bell tower and visited Ponte Vecchio. We also went shopping down some of the streets and picked up a scarf and some gorgeous silk ties for Cameron.  AND of course tasted the local cuisine and grabbed some delicious Florentine Waffles! Florence was pretty and had lots of fun shopping but it was winding and cold and started to rain late that night.  We took a train back to La Spezia for the night and crashed after a long long day!

Firenze (Florence) through my lens.

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