Monday, July 28, 2014

Saturday Serenity: Community Yoga Class at Dave's Astanga Yoga

I wanted to support a local yogi over the weekend by taking her class at Dave's Astanga Yoga in Scottsdale. It was my first visit to the studio, which appears to be more about authenticity than looks. Denise, who led the class, was so warm and welcoming, and she gave lots of options throughout class. I'm sure she will make a great teacher when she graduates from teacher training — she is one now!

While I love my home studio, I enjoy practicing at other places from time to time to experience different sequences and teachers. I'll be back to Dave's for sure. 

On a related note, you can also find free yoga every Tuesday night at the Palomar Hotel in downtown Phoenix. The sessions are taught by different instructors each week. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Camping at Blue Ridge Reservoir

Last time we tried to camp at Blue Ridge Reservoir near Strawberry we were thwarted by road closures. Luckily, Graham and I were finally able to check it out last weekend. We didn't bring the canoe because this was a short camping trip, but next time it is a must. There is a ramp for boat loading, and most visitors had their kayaks and canoes in tow. This time we were content to let our dogs play in the water to cool off.

Taylor loves to fetch sticks thrown into the water.
The access road was popular with campers on Saturday. Typically we like to camp away from the forest road, but we found a decent spot just before the area where camping is prohibited. My only gripe was the abundance of mosquitoes. No amount of insect spray would keep them at bay, and I took home several bites, including one on my forehead. It was worth it for the quality relaxation time, though!

I love watching the changing light shining through the trees.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Foodie Friday

I've had some scrumptious meals at local restaurants recently. Hope these inspire you to dine at an independent eatery this weekend!

More details:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stormy Day at Saguaro Lake

Sunday at Butcher Jones Recreation Area turned into a weather-watching event. It started raining as soon as we arrived, so we watched from the lake's edge as the sprinkles hit the water. It didn't take long for the storm to make its way to the Valley. Then we headed out into the water on our rafts. By then the temperature had dropped enough that I was even a little cold!

Headed to Butcher Jones soon?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday Night Lunar Flow at the Clarendon Hotel

The supermoon is a time to reconnect to intentions set in the beginning of the year. It's time to hold myself accountable by asking, what steps have I taken to move closer to my goals? These thoughts were my motivations during yoga class Sunday night. Lunar Flow was invigorating — just what I needed to end a week and start a new one. And as a yoga teacher I was inspired by Mary Canisales' powerful sequencing. Have a great week!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Breakfast at Luci's Healthy Marketplace

Lazy Sundays are the highlight of my weekend. After I teach yoga, Graham and I decide where we want to get breakfast. Last weekend we chose Luci's Healthy Marketplace in our neighborhood.

I couldn't resist this burrito goodness: eggs, country spuds medley and Cheddar cheese (which can be substituted with vegan cheese). If you're a meat eater, you can choose from ham, turkey, sausage, bacon or natural chicken chorizo.

Graham enjoys sweet over savory. He got the Waffelicious: a large malted vanilla Belgian waffle topped with strawberries, homemade whipped cream and butter. Those were the best-tasting strawberries I've had in a while!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dolly Steamboat Cruise on Canyon Lake

Part of our anniversary weekend was cruising Canyon Lake on the Dolly Steamboat. As an outdoors enthusiast, I was excited about the possibility of seeing some animals along the 6-mile ride. It's quite a hike out to Apache Junction — it took an hour to get the the marina from central Phoenix — but it's worth the trip to check out another one of our state's gorgeous lakes. You'll drive through Apache Junction to get there, where you'll pass Lost Dutchman State Park and the Superstition Mountain Museum. As is expected in June, it was a hot day, but the steamboat has an air-conditioner, so you can still keep cool (at least if it's working). There's also that lake breeze that tickles your skin.

Canyon Lake was busier than I expected it to be, considering how far it is from the Valley.
You'll hear some tunes (including "Diamond in the Rough" by Rex Allen), Arizona history and details about the flora and fauna of Canyon Lake. You might see eagles and bighorn sheep, and you'll definitely spot Mormon Flat Dam and rock formations such as E.T and a mastadon. The captain points out some tree rings in the rock as well.

We sat toward the front, on the upper level, where we enjoyed this view:

Graham captured this little guy.

As we made our way back to the marina, we were beginning to think we wouldn't see any wildlife. Some people asked the crew what animals we might see and what sightings they've had recently. Just then the captain pointed out bighorn sheep to the right. It's a wonder he could spot them from so far away. It took the rest of us a few minutes to see the rams and ewes.

We shared the day with other couples, retirees and some families. Overall it's a nice little day trip.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sazon Bachata Restaurant

My mom recently wanted to try Sazon Bachata, a Dominican restaurant in south Phoenix. It's a family-run eatery with a menu that changes daily.

 I chose fried fish with white rice and red beans. The fish rests on a bed of peas and carrots, and the beans come in broth that was perfectly spiced. Spoon some beans onto the rice — you'll love it. Pair the meal with a soft drink in a mason jar.

Sides include salads and tostones (fried plantains). I couldn't get enough of the fried goodness.

My mom chose beef, also paired with rice and red beans. Each of our meals was less than $10.

Looking for a Dominican fix? Know that the diminutive restaurant has a tiny parking lot to match. So hurry in!

Staycation at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Graham and I have been together for 3 years! We wanted to celebrate, but a trip was not possible — we are trying to cut back on spending in preparation for our wedding.

So we did the next best thing: a staycation!

We booked a stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Neither of us had ever stayed there, and we were excited to spend a weekend at its pool. We were hoping it wouldn't be teeming with children, and it wasn't! Most of the kiddos were at the East Pool, which has two slides and a water ride.

And really, is there any better place to be on a hot Valley day?

The South Pool on a Sunday.

I sipped on a frozen Amaretto sunrise, worth every penny.

The sprawling property has retail shops, restaurants, a spa and multiple pools, but my favorite part was the bunnies scurrying about. If only they weren't so quick to run away when I tried to snap a photo. ...

Fireworks — held every Saturday night — helped us celebrate our special night.