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 :)


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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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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La Spezia

Saturday night we took a train to La Spezia and I was so excited to meet some of Cameron’s friends from his mission when he lived in Italy. He had spent almost 10 and a half months in this city and loved the people very much.  Salvatore and his daughter Rita picked us up at the train station and we drove back to their house.  We met 3 more of their friends

“Are you hungry?”

“Oh, a little. But we’re okay.”

That just doesn’t cut it in Italy! He made us a delicious dinner from scratch including pasta with a red sauce, frittata, fresh bread, and crostatta for dessert all at 11pm!

We stayed up all night talking and I loved hearing them get so excited and seeing them use their hands to talk. I later asked Cameron a question that night and he responded in Italy and never realized it. He’s stinkin adorable I tell you!

We went to church the next morning in a tiny little rented out room of a building met all 30 members of the branch. We were running a little late, NOT because of me this time, thank you very much… and they had already started the opening song. Everyone got excited when Cam walked through the door and they stopped the meeting. The Branch President got off the bench and came and sat with us as did the missionaries and a few little old ladies got up to come kiss us. Talk about feeling welcomed! I was also really tall compared to most people which surprised me since I am 5’2.  They later asked Cam to bear his testimony and I have never felt the Spirit so strong in my life.  I could barely make out words but I know my husband enough to know that his faith in the gospel was reinforced in tiny little rooms like these on his mission. Simple people and simple faith built Cam into the greatest man I know. I conversed pretty well and people were excited that I knew some Italian. You say a few sentences and they break out at rapid speeds with hands flying! Salvatore had never come to church in the almost 11 months Cam served there but that day he came. It meant so much to Cameron and I saw that 19 year old boy come to life in his 25 year old eyes.

After church we went out and got A TON of pizza and gelato and Rita taught me how to shop the Italian way! I am pretty sure she is my Italian soul sister! Then, we were invited to the branch president’s house for a 6 course meal for dinner.  Buono! I even got to help grate the cheese! Sister Margaretti made red pasta, fish pasta (with octopus in it! Ahhh!!) grilled chicken, bread, fruit, and dessert! Whoo talk about full! It was too delicious to describe!

Monday, Salvatore set out the best little breakfast for me.  Italians, usually just have a pastry and cafe but he went and got me corn flakes, milk, and Bravo (a fruit juice). Just the hospitality alone made me fall in love with his family! He drove us to Pisa and then we took a train to Florence for the day. That night Salvatore took us to dinner at Ristorante D’Angelo were I ate the best pasta of my life!

Tuesday we toured Cinque Terre and then we were off to Rome!  Before we left Cameron took me by La Pia and ate delicious farinata pizza! So so SOOOO amazing! We stayed Saturday night through Tuesday night  and had so much fun with everyone!

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Saturday we checked out of our hotel in Milan and took a train to Venice for the day. The hotel was awesome and let us keep our luggage in a locked room for the day but we brought all our most valuables with us of course.

Venice was BY FAR my favorite city. When we go back to Italy, I would spend much more time here!  It was clean, not a ton of tourists, GREAT food, romantic, inspiring and just relaxing. We were so scared it would be freezing cold and even flood that we were planning on buying rain boots after our train arrived, but we stepped off and it was gorgeous.  Bright & beautiful!

We took a boat through the grand canal to Basilica di San Marco to see the square and tour the Cathedral. The boat ride was nice but after sitting on a train you just want to explore, not sit and wait more.  We wished we had just walked to the church, seen more, and saved money. It probably would have taken the same amount of time. Although, romantically appealing, gondola rides are super expensive and I think I would rather walk the city!

The Cathedral and square were both gorgeous and the line to view the church was pretty manageable. You can’t bring in book bags or purses and there is a place to check them but Cameron wasn’t to thrilled with the idea. The ceiling is all gold and just breathtaking. Afterwards, we ate the BEST panini of our lives, then walked around, got lost and embraced the city.  We poked our heads in and out of  some small stores, ate a huge chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips and topped the day off with our first of many gelato stops! Do you see how important eating is yet? :)

Here are some of my favorite moments.

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My next few posts will be from our world wind crazy trip to Italy! We started and ended our Italy trip and Milan.  It was gorgeous, full of history, fashion, and architecture!

Even before we got married, Cameron and I talked about traveling the world.  He said that when we got married I could visit a country every year. Selling point, am I right!?  We talked a lot about visiting Italy since Cameron had served his two year mission for the church there.  We floated around with the idea of traveling back with his family or taking an adventure on our own.  With the announcement of the Rome Temple, we also thought of visiting for the dedication.  We had purchased a lot of flight in the past and joined every skymiles program out there to get points and around October we realized I had enough for a free round trip ticket and he had enough for half.  Well, his brain went into what I call ‘Italian Mode’ and one night I came home from work and he had been looking at tickets all evening and found some great deals, I half jokingly said, “well book them already!” and he did! After jumping up and down on the bed we went into making plans and finding contacts to stay with and making our ITALY BUCKET LIST!  I loved the spontaneity of the trip and the adventure in our lives.  I am pretty type a and like to have a plan set but I was okay with just diving in headfirst. It was liberating!

We left during Cameron’s semester break and flew from Phoenix to New York and then on to Rome. We tried to get on a good sleeping schedule on the plane and luckily had entire rows each to ourselves to spread out and sleep. We flew Delta, had amazing food and great flight staff.  I was rather impressed! We woke up in Milan Friday morning and after going through customs and all that jazz we walked out to a cold brisk air. We exchanged some money -p.s. do this in the U.S. first to avoid fees- and grabbed a bus to the main train station. From there we researched a hotel for the night and thank heavens that boy speaks fluent Italian.  I never would have made it on looks alone ;) Just kidding, but really having my own personal tour guide was pretty sweet! We grabbed some -too pretty to eat pastries- at Pasticceria Caffetteria for breakfast, can you say food porn?! Cameron was so excited by the fresh water fountains that are everywhere and I am pretty sure it was the first thing he did after stepping foot outside the station!

We stayed at a pretty nice hotel we found online and we thought we weren’t even that tired but would shut our eyes for a little bit and then hit some sights. FAIL! We woke up at 7:00pm that night hungry as ever and ready to go! We grabbed some delicious pizza in a plaza and toured the Duomo di Milano. Absolutely gorgeous and HUGE! You aren’t suppose to take pictures inside and there I was the ignorant American snapping away. Whoops! Just FYI some cathedrals do allow photos but most don’t out of respect. Makes sense to me. We walked around the rest of the night and one of my favorite moments was this tiny little bookstore that I wanted to spend the rest of my life in. Just look below, so quaint!



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The Ultimate Utah Bucket List


I lived in Utah for  4 years during college and started thinking about all the fun and adventures I had!. Utah really was a wonderful place to live and go to school and as it got closer to moving day  I decided to make a list of some of the activities I enjoyed that are native or well known to the Beehive State!

Top 10 Outdoor Adventures:

1. Festival of Colors – Hare Krishna in Spanish Fork
2. Zion’s National Park
3. Paragliding Point of the Mountain
4. Hiking The ‘Y’ – Provo
5. Young Living Lavender Run – 5K
6. Mona Rope Swing
7. Arches National Park
8. Soldier Hollow Snow Tubing
9. Brighton Ski Resort
10. Natural Hot Springs

Top 10 Activities:

1. LDS Conference & Temple Square
2. City Creek Shopping Center
3. The Great Salt Lake Salt Flats
4. Park City Film Festival
5. 7 Peaks
6. Thanksgiving Point
7. Summer Movies in the Park
8. BYU Sports
9. Provo July 4th Parade
10. Alpine Coaster

Top 10 Must Eats:

1. J Dawgs
2. The Chocolate
3. Terra Mia
4. The Mayan
5. Cafe Rio
6. The Sweet Tooth Fairy
7. Blue Lemon
8. Brick Oven
9. BYU Creamery
10. Swig