FunSized Frolicking: Phoenix, Arizona Edition
I spent four years of my life living in Tempe, Arizona while attending Arizona State University. I tried my hardest to take advantage of everything the Valley had to offer while I was living there, in between getting an education, of course!
So here are my top 5 frolicking spots to check out when visiting the Phoenix area!
1. The Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Located in Northern Scottsdale, the Willow Stream Spa is the perfect escape for some R&R. I just went back there in February (after being away for almost a year) and they've gone under some major changes, which I can't say I've completed adjusted to yet, but it is still the best place to be. With a gym, a rooftop pool, amazing services and a bunch of other hidden gems, you'll just have to find out for yourself, why this is one of the best spas in the country! Make sure to check out their website before going to look into deals and Spa Week Specials!
(The rooftop pool at the Willow Stream)
2. Fort McDowell Adventures Horseback Riding & Fort McDowell Casino All You Can Eat Buffet
After a day of R&R, you'll be in need for some activity and I have just the place for you to go, Fort McDowell Adventures for their Horseback Riding trail. I have to say that this was one of the best trails I have been on. I originally found out about them through a friend who saw a deal on Groupon, and when I called them to confirm the price, they told me I didn't even need to use Groupon, they would honor the price. The next best thing is that it ended up being a private tour, just me, my guest and the guide! We rode through the desert, gorgeous landscapes, right under an eagle's nest, and then alongside a river and then IN THE RIVER (so cool!), and the ride was completed with seeing actual wild horses! It was so interesting seeing the horses stare at each other. It was such a magical ride! Nothing but positive things to say about this tour, two thumbs way, way up!
Once the ride is over, you'll probably be hungry. Well, less than five minutes down the road from Fort McDowell Adventures is the Fort McDowell Casino and they have a variety of fantastic all you can eat buffets, but my favorite is the snow crab leg buffet! If you join their player's club you get a discount on the meal, and during the week it's only $10 with your Fortune Club Card! Such a great deal especially if you love crab legs the way I do!
(The river on the trail ride; taken while on horseback)
Despite the heat that Phoenix is known for, they also have a great reputation for hiking! Regardless of what your level of hiking expertise may be, there is a mountain for you. The first place most people hear about is Camelback Mountain, and that is because at a distance the peaks of the mountains give the illusion of a camel's back! However, if you are not an avid hiker nor do you enjoy rock climbing, this is not the mountain for you. Stunning views and a work out is what you will get from Camelback. Some other options you can choose from are South Mountain, Squaw Peak, 'A' Mountain and many others, these are just the few I've tried out. I recently hiked Squaw Peak and really enjoyed it, not too difficult, plenty of rest stops and great views. There are different parts you can hike on South Mountain and there's even horseback riding there as well. 'A' Mountain is right by Arizona State's Tempe Campus and the famous Mill Ave District. A very easy hike and a great place to go to watch the sunset.
(View from a point on Squaw Peak)
4. Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright Home
Back in 1937, Frank Lloyd Wright began building his home in Arizona and today you can go there and tour his masterpiece. If you are a fan of architecture, history, or art this is a must-see place for you! This house is absolutely incredible and a definite tour to take! They even have tours that go beyond the house as well, so check out the website prior to going and you can choose which one suits you the best. This was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Arizona, definitely a tourist thing to do but sometimes it's mandatory to mix the native with the tourist!
(Taliesin West)5. Lake Powell
Lake Powell is a wonderful and scenic place to spend the day or a few days while visiting the Valley. It is a bit of a drive north from the main attractions in Phoenix but totally worth it. There's hiking, boating (if you don't have your own boat, you can rent one), fishing, the activities are endless. A great place to camp out if that's your thing! There's wildlife all around you to see... including some creatures to see in their gift shop. Depending on which area of the lake you go to will help determine which activities are at your disposal. It is just a wonderful place to spend the day frolicking outdoors and enjoying Mother Nature.
Depending on what the goal of your vacation to Phoenix, Arizona is, whether that'd be just getting some R&R, very active, or a mixture of the two, I hope my frolicking tips help you in planning your trip! Let me know how you ended up frolicking around one of the many places I call home, the Valley of the Sun.
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FunSized Frolicking: NYC Edition
Tourist or not, these are my five 5 favorite spots to frolic in New York City.
Since the park opened in 2009, it has continued to gain major recognition for its individuality and the uniqueness that comes with it. The High Line isn't like any other park in Manhattan and that is because it hovers above the crowded streets on what used to be freight train tracks.
It now extends from the Meatpacking District on Gansevoort Street all the way up to West 30th. Not only is each section of the High Line different, but with each step, you get an even more captivating view of New York and its surrounding area.
If you're looking for somewhere to relax, people-watch or just enjoy the sights of Manhattan the High Line is the perfect frolicking escape.
(10th Avenue Square Viewpoint on the High Line)
If you're looking for a great place to go shopping while in NYC, Soho is the place to go. All the newest and hippest stores are together in one place! My one recommendation is that the earlier you start, the better you are. Soho becomes extremely crowded; weekday or weekend, there's always a crowd.
After a long day of shopping, you'll probably need to sit down for a great meal. Good thing Chinatown is only steps away from Soho... just head east and cross over Canal Street and you're there. There's nothing like New York City Chinese food, so go ahead... indulge! Order a bunch of different platters; because you know what's even better than Chinese food... the left overs!
This is a great place to go during the warm weather months. Just hop on the FREE ferry ride from Battery Park and in minutes you're on the island. There are tours you can take, grab a bite to eat, go on the swings, or rent a bike! There are endless opportunities for things to do here while taking in the stunning views of Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Last summer, a friend and I rented bikes for the first time and it was a great way to spend an afternoon!
(View from Governor's Island of the Freedom Tower & Lower Manhattan)
I love art and I enjoy it even more when it is free! Friday afternoons from 4 to 8 pm tickets to the MoMA are absolutely free. It is a little extra crowded at this time, but you can always frolic out to their courtyard, grab a snack and enjoy the statues and outdoor art that is on display.
(A Must See: Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh)
I saved the best frolic for last! My absolute favorite place to frolic is Washington Square Park! This is a great place to go to collect your thoughts, relax, catch up with old friends, or people watch. There is always something going on at WSP; street performers putting on a show, musicians trying to make a buck, a television show or movie being filmed, people having a picnic or catching some rays on a summers day... the activities are limitless. This is what makes this park my favorite in New York City!
(Washington Square Park's Famous Arch)
There are so many things you can do while frolicking around New York City but these were just a few of my favorites! If you end up taking my advice, I hope you enjoy yourself! Let me know how you like to spend your time frolicking around NYC!
Museums on Us
This past weekend was "Museums on Us", from Bank of America and I finally decided to take advantage of this great deal!
The first weekend of every month, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch card holders get free admission to a handful of museums across the country. They have the full list of museums on their website.
I used this great offer in the City of Brotherly Love... Philadelphia! The first stop was to the Philadelphia Museum of Art which now has "Outsiders Art" Expo going on; which included this incredible work of art by Simon Sparrow...
Among the permanent collection, you can find one of my favorites, Sunflowers by Van Gogh.
My reasoning for going to the Philadelphia Art Museum(PAM) first was that regardless of BoA weekend, when you purchase a ticket to the PAM, you also gain entrance to the Perelman Building as well as the Rodin Museum. So, on top of all the free museums, thanks to BoA, you're getting two more for free! What a deal!
After frolicking around the PAM, it was time to head over to the Rodin Museum, which I've never been to before (in Philly at least). We hopped on the museum's free trolley which can be picked up at the West end of the PAM. Make sure to be aware of the times in advance so you can plan your frolicking time accordingly. The trolley dropped us off right in front of the Rodin Museum. The first thing you get to see is Rodin's famous sculpture The Thinker! The garden outside the museum is just as enjoyable as the inside! It may not be in France but it is just as magnifique! While inside the museum, look for Jennifer Parker, the Visitor Services Manager, she'll give you some great insights into the world of Rodin's art. I'm not going to share all the juicy details with you here, you are going to have to find her yourself!
What museums did you go to during Museums on Us weekend?
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Guest List Party @ The Jane Hotel
Last night was so FFC! Thanks to Guest of a Guest, I attended their 2012 NYC Innovators Guest List Party at The Jane Hotel. This was my first time going to The Jane Hotel which is located in the Meatpacking District, and I loved it. I have heard about the Jane before, but it definitely went above and beyond my expectations. The event took place within the ballroom which gave such a luxurious antique feel. There was a giant fireplace in the middle of the back wall, which had a rather large stuffed animal on it's mantel. All of the couches and chairs did not match in their color scheme but they were all made of vibrant colors and soft velvet fabrics. It gave off the perfect vibe for this party. The guests were sipping on Svedka and Heineken all night long as they grooved to the music.
To see photos from the event that were taken by the lovely, Wendy Ploger, look at this link here: http://guestofaguest.com/new-york/galleries/2012/december/2012-nyc-innovators-guest-list-party-sponsored-by-heineken/. See if you can spot me and my fabulous plus 1!
I look forward to going to The Jane Hotel sometime again in the future!
Art Gallery Openings
Before the devastation of Sandy hit the New York City area, I spent my Thursday night roaming around Chelsea going from art gallery opening to art gallery opening. Thursday nights in Manhattan are dedicated to art gallery openings, although it is possible to find a few others on a Friday or Saturday.
The first stop I made was at Stux for the opening reception for Sokari Douglas Camp, Dressed to the Nines. These sculptures were all made out of tin and were very interesting. Each sculpture was made with different materials for "accessories," if you will. This is a photo of my favorite one...
Afterwards, I stumbled next door to the Hanson Stern and Noho Galleries. The Hanson Stern gallery goers seemed to be more interested in the wine that was being served than the actual art that was being displayed. However, I did snap one photo which I thought was the most interesting piece there. It was fun trying to figure out who's facial feature was who's.
I liked the expo that was on display at the Noho Gallery more and that was partly because it was less crowded and you could actually see and appreciate the art. All of the pieces were created by Joy Saville and they were all colorful and made of fabric. This photo includes my friend, Daisy Holden, who is an artist as well. It was even more fun to go to these galleries with her because hearing her perspective of the art was so interesting to me. You can see Daisy's art by going to her website.
Have you been to any exciting galleries lately? The next gallery I want to go to is to see the Regarding Warhol Expo at The Met! I'll let you know how it is...I have until December 31st to get there!
Frolicking in the DMV
Last week I went down to the DMV, which stands for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia for a Fall-Frolic Getaway! I only went for four days but that was plenty of time to be fun, flirty and carefree while frolicking on the streets of our Nation's Capital.
To get there, I took the Bolt Bus from Newark Penn Station, NJ to Union Station, Washington D.C. Taking the bus is much more affordable than taking the train from NJ to DC. The Bolt Bus company has routes up and down the Northeast as well as the Pacific Northwest. If you are able to book your bus trip in advance sometimes you can get a $1 bus ride which always makes your frolicking even better!
On my first full day in D.C., I went to Georgetown to walk around on M Street and do some window shopping. M Street made me feel as if I was walking through an old village with all the brick and low buildings. They had all the shops you would ever need, too! Everything from Sephora, to American Apparel to even a Sprinkles Cupcakes (even though their competitor is Georgetown Cupcakes). You can see all the shops they have here: Georgetown Shopping.
One of the shops I went into on M Street was a Dean and DeLuca but it was not just your ordinary coffee shop; this one included a whole market inside! They had meats, fish, seasoning, wines, and most importantly pastries! I took this picture of the pastry display there. If I didn't have just eaten lunch prior to seeing the display, I would have bought one of everything!
Now I have been going down to D.C. since before I could walk and talk and I did something this time that I've never done before which was a boat ride on the Potomac River. I got very lucky because it was the last day of the season to take a boat ride, so if you ever plan on doing this in the month of October, check the dates because you don't want to miss out on this activity. It was really enjoyable seeing all of the monuments from being on the river which gave such a nice and different perspective. Here's one of my favorite photos that I took while being on the boat...
The following day I went to Meridian Hill Park to frolic around in the grass. It was a very pretty park with a gorgeous fountain in the middle of it. It would have been a perfect park to have a picnic in but I didn't plan for one!
After my morning in the park I decided to walk up 18th Street and I was in the Adams Morgan District of D.C. It was so cute! Plenty of cute vintage shops, bars and restaurants. It is definitely a young and hip area and draws a much larger crowd in the evenings. From there I found myself at the National Zoo which is FREE and I LOVE free things! Not all of the animals were out frolicking because it was getting chilly out but there were enough to see to make me happy!
I had a great time and I can't wait until Spring time comes and I can go back down there to see the flowers in bloom. Until then... have you been to D.C. lately or are you planning a trip? What are some of your must-sees/dos? Tell me about your plans and let's make sure you have the best fun, flirty, carefree time while frolicking in the DMV.