Written by: Tami

Ever since we met and discovered that we both went to school in Arizona, Phil and I have been planning a trip to the desert. Although we are rivals (Go Sun Devils!),  we know how much our college towns mean to each other and when sharing stories really do have a lot in common. Phil is an avid college sports fan and keeps up with his teams (both football and basketball), so we knew there would have to be a game in our plan. I continued living in Phoenix for a total of ten years, and Arizona will always have a very special place in my heart. It was important to me to not only share my college experience with my husband and baby but to paint the full picture of my time living there as well as visit a few friends. We are truly “a house divided” and will say whenever we get the chance that the school our spouse went to is their only flaw (LOL), but I can say now that I have been properly introduced to Tucson … I get why he has so much pride for his alma mater! I hope Phil would say the same. I think we both had an amazing time showing each other around. For our own memories, and to provide a few tips for those of you planning a trip to AZ, I have broken this post down into three categories (for each of our college towns) … After all, what else is there besides a great place to stay, what to do and see, and delicious things to eat? Enjoy! 

By the way, did I mention we drove with an eight month old baby? Some may call us crazy, but I enjoyed having all of her stuff with us at all times (it was A LOT) and being able to go wherever / whenever we wanted. Road trip!

Tucson: Where to Stay

First stop on our travels was Phil’s college town … Tucson, Arizona home of the U of A Wildcats! We stayed right on campus in the middle of the action as we did not want to miss a thing! This allowed us to walk right out of our hotel and tour all of Phil’s most memorable spots …

… attend a football game …

… and even have a drink and some green fries at his favorite bar (Frog & Firkin)! 

Tucson: Where to Eat

Lunch spots in college are all the rage! My husband and I were reminiscing over those days and realized we didn’t make it out for breakfast hardly at all. The Hot Omar at Sausage Deli was one of his favorites. 

Another place he went often (so we of course had to go) was Bison Witches. The bread they use for their sandwiches and to house their chowders was beyond soft and amazing! I loved every second of this meal!

Chips, salsa, shredded beef tacos, and a chicken enchilada from Rosa’s! You really can’t go wrong with any Mexican food in this state!

One last stop on our way out of town … Eegee’s!

Tucson: What to Do / See

 

As I mentioned, the main attractions of this leg of the trip was our tour of the campus and going to the game. Right before leaving California, we both got brand new phones and were anxious to use the majorly updated cameras on this model. You can see why! Gates Pass was stunning, and anyone who says the desert is not beautiful is totally wrong! I am so happy we took this extra little drive and got our photo op!

Phoenix: Where to Stay

Old Town Scottsdale is centrally located and has so many fun shops, restaurants, and bars to visit. I love the mix of old southwestern flair and new local art you can find there. What a perfect location for us to stay! While walking around, we even came across this fun art installation for Dia de los Muertos. This piece was made all of plastic plates and utensils. So cool!

Phoenix: Where to Eat

One place I knew I had to take Phil while in Arizona was my favorite breakfast spot, US Egg. The food was just as amazing as I remembered!

I literally visited this sandwich shop weekly for a while when I lived in Arizona. Phil enjoyed Cheba Hut just as much as I did!

 

My all time favorite place to eat in Arizona and the number one meal I had to have was Oregano’s. Lawrence’s Original pizza, Alfredo the Dark pasta, and the original Pizzookie … To die for!

 

We decided to have a fancy meal out just for fun one night and chose The Mission for its ambiance, delicious tapas style dishes like these short rib barbacoa tacos, and glasses of homemade sangria.

Phoenix: What to Do / See

 

  

For me, the biggest attraction in this part of town was my alma mater … Arizona State home of the Sun Devils! I gave Phil a full tour of the campus complete with Palm Walk, the dorm I lived in, my place of work for three and a half years (the Student Recreation Complex), and one of my favorite bars (The Mill Cue Club).

A House Divided

I hope you have enjoyed this look into our family trip to Arizona. Although we are “a house divided” we both truly loved getting a feel for what the other experienced in their college town. We brought home some fun souvenirs for ourselves and for Joie too! Don’t worry (if you are an ASU fan) … I still vow to never put anything U of A ever on my body! If you find yourself in Tucson or Phoenix any time soon feel free to use my helpful tips for where to stay, eat, and what to do / see. 

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Written by: Tami

I cannot believe last week Phil and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary! Seriously, where has the time gone?! (For a look back on our beautiful Garden Glam wedding use these links: ceremony, reception, and photo shoot). In honor of one whole year as man and wife, we decided to plan a little getaway. When trying to choose the right location, we realized what was most important to us was to cut down on travel time, cost, and have great food. So adult of us, I know! Living in Los Angeles we have a wide variety of options of places to go that are close by and chose San Francisco as it is only one hour by flight away. We had a fabulous few days together in a really fun city … What else can you ask for on your first anniversary? For your convenience (if any of you are looking for a travel destination or have plans to visit San Fran soon), I have broken this post into three parts that I feel encompass all of your travel needs. After all, what else is there besides a great place to stay, what to do and see, and delicious things to eat? Here are my and Phil’s recommendations broken down into these three categories (with a few side tips along the way):

Where to Stay

I am not sure anything beats staying at a Ritz Carlton hotel, and this location on Nob Hill definitely did not disappoint. Their service is impeccable, the rooms a dream, and we quickly made friends with the concierge on staff who directed us towards all of our San Fran needs. As it was our anniversary, they left us a little treat (chocolate covered strawberries) and something small for our baby-to-be as well (an adorable Ritz Carlton bib and rubber duckie). We truly cannot give a higher recommendation to anyone considering staying here … Just remember, YOLO!

I should mention that the hotel was only a short cab, car ride, trolley (you name it) away from beautiful ocean views …

… and so close to China Town you could walk there in minutes!

Where to Eat

   

First things first, when you get off a plane and you are hungry (and pregnant), you must check out the local cuisine. We found a quick burger spot with great reviews (and a long line to show for it) called Super Duper Burger and knew we had to find out what all the hype was about. Their “Super Burger” and garlic fries were dee-lish!

Phil made a reservation for our official anniversary dinner at a really romantic Italian restaurant reminiscent of our honeymoon (as seen on our previous posts, Traveling T Side: Honeymoon in Italy Part 1 and Part 2). Seven Hills was the perfect place to chill and eat great food!

A snack on the wharf was what I was looking forward to most! You can’t go wrong with clam chowder in a fresh sourdough bread bowl.

The other stop we knew we had to make came highly recommended to us. The experience to come was not at all expected, however. You may be wondering where the photo of this meal is, and while I will admit there have been times (lots actually) where I get so excited to eat something that I completely forget to take a picture, that was not the case this time. After we sat down and ordered at Burma Superstar, the power went out and did not come back on. This did not in any way ruin our meal. Candle light is super romantic, and you must try their famous “Tea Leaf Salad”!

Last item to check off the list was a stop in China Town for Dim Sum. We had a really delicious meal at Yank Sing of all of our favorites; dumplings, pot stickers, and hot tea.

What to Do / See

The city of San Francisco is full of sights to see, so we thought what better way to get a new perspective than to hop on a boat and ride around the bay. Our audio guided tour taught us tons (Most of all that other tourists will do anything to ruin your shot, LOL). 

Here’s a good one of the city …

 

… and although Phil joked that he did not want to tour Alcatraz this time around because it was too ironic being at a jail on his first anniversary (ha ha), we got a great shot of that as well!

 

Being this close to the Golden Gate Bridge was breathtaking!

Other things to see / do: Pier 39 (where all the sea lions live), take a ride on the trolley (but hold on tight) …

… and walk down Lombard Street (the most crooked street in the world). What a great spot for a selfie!

 

A quick getaway is always appreciated, and I know that we will never forget spending this first anniversary together in such a special city! Happy one year to us! 

I hope you have enjoyed this look into our vacation, our tips, and will consider using all of this information the next time you visit San Francisco. If you have any tips of your own to share, we would love to start a dialogue below. Leave a comment by clicking the speech bubble icon. 

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Written by: Lauren

A week ago my husband Scott and I returned from an amazing vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico. Scott’s client was turning the big 4-0 and invited us along for the festivities. That’s simply not something you turn down! She had been planning her big birthday celebration for an entire year, and it showed in every detail. We were so impressed, and I just couldn’t help myself … I had to show all of you what we did! 

#MG40! Melissa created this logo for the weekend, and I loved how it popped up in so many unexpected ways.

She and her husband rented out the Cabo Surf Hotel, which was right on the beach, and absolutely gorgeous! This is where we spent almost the entire weekend. 

These welcome bags were waiting for us upon our arrival with lots of goodies inside. Each girl had pre-ordered a custom hat which kept us safe from the sun and made for some amazing photos.

We hardly had time to enjoy the view before the first event began! 

 

The welcome party took place in this amazing pool area. It was fun to meet the other guests, hear the mariachi band play, and enjoy drinks and appetizers!   

 

Our amazing hosts for the weekend! Can you believe they brought in their own DJ? Melissa had fun playing some tunes as well!

That night we got all dressed up for a little party on the beach. Dinner, dancing, karaoke … and an amazing fire dancing show! What else can you ask for?

 

During the day, there wasn’t much to do other than enjoying a drink or some relaxation by the pool. 

Scott and I took a little walk on the beach as well. It was the perfect way to spend the day. 

Melissa’s wardrobe changes were incredible. They deserve a shout out of their own!

Saturday night the group got dressed up and took buses to the Esperanza Hotel for an amazing dinner. 

I told you she used her hashtag in fun ways!

 

   

A delicious meal of surf and turf and unexpected (and not planned by them) fireworks made for the perfect evening.

We also had flash tattoos of the logo in our welcome bag. Here is the birthday girl modeling it for us!

 

Melissa had planned all along to get group photos with our custom hats, and I think they turned out Insta-worthy!

The last night, we said good-bye with an amazing white party complete with 80’s cover band and a pretty incredible fireworks show (This one was planned.)! We had so much fun dancing the night away.

We woke up early the next morning to this gorgeous sunrise and headed to the airport to return to our three girls (who by the way were on their best behavior per all of their incredible babysitters). Thank you Melissa and Dave for including us in such an amazing weekend, and thank you to all of our parents and Tami and Phil for watching our girls so we could relax a bit and make these awesome memories!

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Written by: Tami and Phil

In our previous post, Traveling T Side: Honeymoon in Italy Part 1, we explained that we would be breaking this fantastic trip into two parts as there is just so much to tell, and we shared the best things that we did, saw, and ate in our first stop … Rome. Today we will highlight the rest. Enjoy!

Positano: Best Things We Did / Saw

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Upon leaving Rome, we hired a driver from Rainbow Limos to take us from the train station in Naples to our hotel in Positano with one stop along the way. We were just dying to see the “buried city” of Pompeii.

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Can you believe this porter carried both of our heavy suitcases over his shoulder down about a hundred steps to where we would stay? What’s more unbelievable though was the view from our room at the Hotel Miramare. We don’t think we will ever really get over how beautiful Positano is!

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The concierge recommended that we check out the Seafood Festival our first night, and we are so glad that we did. The atmosphere was amazing, it was right on the beach, and we got to try a wide variety of seafood.

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Our favorite day was spent on a private boat on our way to the island of Capri. We loved getting some sun, relaxing, and hanging out with all the new friends we made. We got the chance to check out some different grottos, the beautiful coastline, and restaurants and shopping on the island itself.

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Although Positano is built into a hillside and has many stairs to walk up and down, we truly enjoyed just strolling through town.

Positano: Best Things We Ate

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One of the best things about our hotel was the beautiful breakfast room overlooking the ocean. They put out an amazing spread and we got up early each day to take advantage of the food and the view.

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Our favorite dinner in Positano was at Chez Black. It was right at the beach, had a great vibe, and exactly the food we were craving … a pasta full of shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari.

Florence: Best Things We Did / Saw

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Another bottle of champagne for this lucky couple … Can’t complain! We stayed at The Westin Excelsior in Florence which was conveniently located near the Ponte Vecchio and Il Duomo.

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We loved sightseeing in Florence! Our favorite experiences were taking selfies in front of the Ponte Vecchio, gazing up at the beautifully painted dome of the Duomo, visiting David at the Galleria dell’Accademia, and Phil imitating him …. Isn’t that fun?

Florence: Best Things We Ate

 

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By far the best meal of our trip and one that we will never forget was at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco. We polished off all of these dishes; a fresh porcini mushroom fettucini, a boar ragu, an arugula and parmesan salad, and a 1.3 kilogram Florentine steak, plus a bottle of their house Cianti. It was insane!

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We highly recommend signing up for a walking culinary tour on your next Florence trip. This opportunity opened our eyes to the many flavors of Florence; meat, wine, olive oil, baked goods, and gelato (just to name a few).

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Bonus tip: The best place to see a panoramic view of the city is from Michaelangelo Square.  At the base of the trail is a delicious gelato spot.

Bonus Location (Amsterdam): Best Things We Did / Saw

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A Tesla cab? Yes, please!

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The Hilton Amsterdam pulled out all the stops with their honeymoon decor and treats … No wonder Yoko Ono and John Lennon loved this hotel so much!

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During our day and a half visit in Amsterdam, we made sure to check out the flower mart, the Red Light District, Anne Frank house …

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… and the I AMsterdam sign!

Bonus Location (Amsterdam): Best Things We Ate

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Our favorite meal consisted of a large bowl of mussels, fish and chips (with mayo) and a couple Heinekens at The Seafood Bar! So good!

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Although we were sad to leave Europe behind, business class was calling our names! We flew in style home and will never forget the memories we made on our special trip together!

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Written by: Tami and Phil

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Last week, we shared the final photos from our wedding which means there’s only one thing left to talk about … our amazing honeymoon! We have broken this post into two parts as there is just too much to tell. We will begin by letting you in on a little secret … We began planning this vacation before any details had been locked down in our wedding preparation and even chose our wedding date based on the perfect time to honeymoon in Europe. We planned our departure for the Monday after our wedding, as we knew the break would be much needed. Please enjoy as we share only the highlights of the best things we did, saw, and ate in Italy.

Rome: Best Things We Did / Saw

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The Rome Cavilieri Hotel was the perfect place to stay. It overlooked the entire city, had beautiful grounds and a relaxing spa which we took advantage of the very first day, and the staff treated us like a king and queen.

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We enjoyed four full days of sight seeing and even got in about 20,000 steps per day (according to our iPhones). Some of our favorite spots were the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, and the Roman Forum. We loved wandering the streets of Rome. There’s just so much history and never a dull moment. It is said that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you will return someday. We hope this is true!

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It wouldn’t be a trip to Rome without visiting the Vatican. We were completely in awe of the grandness of the buildings and the sheer amount of artwork they possess. Saint Peter’s Basilica was larger than life and the Sistine Chapel was definitely a sight to see!

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Another one of our favorite moments was people watching in Piazza Navona. We spent hours in a little pizzeria eating, drinking, and really enjoying giving our feet a break. What a great way to spend our last day in Rome!

Rome: Best Things We Ate

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Food is really important to us, so we spent a lot of time preparing for this trip by quizzing all of our friends on where they ate while they were in Italy and consulting Trip Advisor. Thank you Michal and Aaron for sending us to Maccheroni where we ate our first Italian bolognese.

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Breakfasts in Rome are amazing! We loved starting our day with an Espresso and a fresh croissant. Phil insisted on getting his with whipped cream on top!

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Our dinner at Piccolo Abruzzo was insane! Basically, we sat down and the food started coming and didn’t stop until we were beyond full. We would highly recommend ordering the price fixed chef’s choice option which included a variety of starters, a couple delicious pasta dishes, a variety of Italian meats, desserts, and wine. Our waiter must have loved us because not only did he bring out the best foods for us to try, but he let Phil cut the prosciutto and Tami enjoyed her pasta straight from the pan.

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Ferrero Rocher gelato! Need we say more!?!

Stay tuned … Next week we will tell all about the other locations we visited and all that they had to offer in places to visit and Italian cuisine.

 

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