Monday, April 29, 2013

The Rivet & Sway Way, Part I

Remember the Girls with Glasses Event? Well one eyewear brand that they recommend is Rivet and Sway. They have adorable glasses with fun names. All designer frames exclusively for women. I love them! So I thought, why not pick out a new pair of frames! It's been a while and I wear my glasses often enough to own two pairs.

Here is my current pair of glasses:

I actually really love these glasses! They are readers from Foster Grant. I just picked them up at Barnes and Noble one day for $15! I love the shape and the classic tortoise frame. (Don't these pictures make you think my face is heart shaped?)

The first step to finding a pair of Rivet and Sway glasses is to use their online Style Advice Resources. This helps you determine your face shape. I'm still unsure. Perhaps it is because I am between shapes.

Then you can fill out a survey and send in a picture of yourself and the stylist Ritzy will write you back with her recommendations. Here is the picture that I sent her. Now my face looks like an oval...


She sent me three frame recommendations in several colors: 1)Core Strength in 'Confetti', 2) Je Ne Sais Quoi in 'Water Lily' and 3) 'Amber Glow', and 4) Six Shooter in 'Copper Penny' and 5) 'St. Tropez'.



Photo Credit: Rivet & Sway

I narrowed it down a little by deciding that I don't really care for Je Ne Sais Quoi in 'Amber Glow' or the Six Shooter frames at all.

The email also contained three more frame recommendations: 1) Rizzo in 'Crushed Velvet', 2) Ruby Red in 'Heartthrob', and 3) Spitfire in 'Galapagos Green'. 


Photo Credit: Rivet & Sway

I really like all three! I had looked at the Spitfire before and love the pop of green, plus a larger frame could be really cool. Then again, it could look strange on my face. I never would have chosen the Rizzo or the Ruby Red on my own, so I liked those recommendations! I really love the Rizzo, the pinks are great! The Ruby Red is hard to see.. but it is a red-er tortoise.

I also have my eye on Punchline in 'Neapolitan' which I tried on at the GWG event with Brooke White. Here is the image.


Photo Credit: Rivet & Sway

I like the vintage shape and the fact that it is half tortoise-y, and half brightly colored. Kyle said I looked good in them, but I couldn't see very well because Brooke's prescription is pretty strong! :)

 The next step is to order a free at home try-on kit. In the kit you can try up to three pairs for free. The problem, as you can see above, is that I want to try six! What are your suggestions? I thought about automatically weeding out number 1 in the first set and number 2 in the second set since they are pretty standard tortoise, like the pair I currently wear. But that still leaves me with one too many! - maybe I can do two free try-ons?

I would love to hear what you guys think!

In the last step you can choose to order frames, or not. Each pair is $199 and includes prescription lenses, frames and coatings. Shipping is free!

I'm anxious to order a set of three to try on and post pictures for you guys to see!

Leave me your feedback!

All for now,

Alexandra

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Girls with Glasses Event // Phoenix // March 2013

Soon after we decided on the Southwest for our vacation, I saw a tweet from The Girls with Glasses saying that they were doing an event in Phoenix while we were there.


If you haven't heard of Girls with Glasses, visit their blog through the link above. It is hands down one of my favorite blogs.. ever. It is a compilation of Brooke White (singer/songwriter, former Idol contestant) and Summer Bellessa (Eliza magazine Editor, former model). On the blog they cover many lifestyle topics like fashion, home d├ęcor, entertaining, music, movies and shopping. All things I love.

Most of their posts are in the form of videos. Always cute and fun. Recently they have started to talk about glasses because they had received a lot of questions about finding the right glasses for your face shape and coloring. So they added segments in response!

When I saw that they were having an event in Phoenix I was really excited! I have been a fan of Brooke's music ever since her idol days, and I obviously am very inspired by the GWG blog. When we found out that we would be in the area we bought tickets right away.

We drove in to Phoenix the night of the event and grabbed dinner. The event was in Biltmore Fashion Park's new area called Union. It is full of fun and unique shops which is a nice contrast to the rest of the shopping center (think Vera Bradley, Brooks Brothers, Macy's and the like). For all of you KC people the Biltmore area is very Country Club Plaza.

The group of people actually ended up being really small. Maybe 20 people. Sadly, most of the people at the event did not know who GWG were, and didn't give them a courteous amount of attention. I thought that was really too bad, but appreciated that Brooke and Summer were really flexible and went on with their presentation very gracefully.





























After the presentation we had the opportunity to talk to Brooke and Summer and have them help us with our face shapes and finding glasses that worked for us. Summer had to run back to check on her kids, so I worked with Brooke. She was super sweet and thought that I had a round/heart shaped face. She showed me a few pairs that would work for me, including her own pair of Rivet and Sway's 'Punchline' in Neapolitan. After talking with her, I told her that I was a big fan and asked if she would take a picture with me. I told her that she was my favorite on idol and that I was so sad when she got voted off. I felt so silly with things just coming out of my mouth, but she was so cool about it and took a picture with me anyway! :)

I was so grateful that we got a chance to see GWG speak, and for the tips that they shared about finding the right glasses for your face. Check out their blog for video tips about finding your own glasses. It was a fun event, and clearly meant to be!

I am so excited to find a pair of frames for myself in the next coming weeks. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

What do you guys think about my face shape? I usually think it looks more heart shaped, especially in pictures where I am smiling. It's hard to tell! :)

All for now,

Alexandra

Coming Up Next: The last stop of our trip and my glasses recommendations from Rivet and Sway.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Snapshots of Amarillo and Tyler's Barbeque // Spring Break // March 2013

On our Southwest road trip we stopped in Amarillo twice. Once on the way down and once on the way back up.

On the way down we got in late and ordered a pizza in our room. The pizza was not impressive and neither was the hotel. No wifi is a sad thing on a road trip.


On the way back up, we stopped again after a long day of driving (11 hours!). We got in late again but decided to stop for dinner at Trip Advisor's number one rated restaurant, Tyler's Barbeque.



We walked in about 10 minutes before closing time and were worried that we were too late. We walked in hesitantly and Tyler himself said, "Come on in! We're gonna be here for a while!" Instantly I felt at home. After traveling through very west-coasty Phoenix where drivers are rude and people aren't much better... Tyler was the perfect person to meet! Thank you for your hospitality!

He immediately commented on Kyle's Jayhawk shirt and asked us about Kansas and being on spring break. You really miss that friendliness when you leave the Midwest, but don't usually notice it until you return!


We each picked some yummy barbeque. I loved the chicken! The potato salad was great!

The BBQ sauce and baked beans were a little spicy for us, but we were so hungry and tired that it didn't matter too much!


The atmosphere was great as well. Very country but vintage-y. Lots of hats and signs, mismatched furniture. It was really nice!

Plus, the prices were good!

I highly recommend visiting Tyler's if you happen to be in Amarillo.

Up next: Snapshots of Garland Texas and Bethany Dillon.

All for now,

Alexandra

12 Easy Ways to Go Green for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

For those of you that know me, you know that I am very into making our lives and our environment healthier.
Going green can seem really daunting at first, so I have made a list of 12 easy ways that you can go green this Earth Day (and after!)Pick one or two, or all twelve! I hope you find them helpful!

1) Use a reusable bag


Don't own one? Most stores carry them near the check outs and usually cost about $1. Bonus: Most stores give you a $0.05 discount per bag used on a given shopping trip! Want a fancy one? Check out Envirosax! Here is my review.

2) Carpool


Ride with your friends or family members to your location rather than meeting them there. This saves on gas and gives you more time to connect with the ones you love! Funny things always happen in carpooling situations! Take turns driving.

3) Visit the library


Checking out books, music and videos rather than buying each one new really cuts down on paper use! Also, you don't end up with a pile of books that weren't as great as you thought they would be!

4) Sign up for online bill paying

This saves a lot of paper! Plus often-times paying bills online is faster and harder to forget for those of us who check our emails often.

5) Ask your employer about direct deposit checks

 Many already use this, but when you think of a small business with a handful of employees, that is quite a bit of paper saved over a year!

6) Take a walk (in your cute shoes)


We live relatively close to a book store that we frequent, so sometimes we like to take a walk there rather than driving. Try it tonight, walk to somewhere you want to visit, or just take a walk around your neighborhood and appreciate your environment.

7) Buy and sell used items


If you have any unwanted items in your home box them up by category (media and books, clothing, furniture etc.) and take them to your local resale, consignment and thrift stores. That way someone else can enjoy the book you bought again. You make a little cash, and you gain a lot of room in your home! Buying used is also great! I can typically find great books, DVDs and CDs that I am looking for, for much less than the new price! Anything left over? Have a garage sale or donate it to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army store. Ask for a receipt and you can write the donation off on your taxes next year!

8) Download your music
I know that CD's can be fun to buy, and I still buy them for select bands or artists, but downloading them is much greener. Think about it: less plastic, less paper and less shipping cross-country involved! Plus, if your computer has a problem or you get a new one, you don't have to take the time to re-upload all of your CDs.

9) Have a meatless meal


Meat processing takes a TON of energy, not to mention the shipping energy to get it to your table. For this reason cutting out meat every once in a while can be a great way to be greener! Meatless Mondays are a trend right now, where people just cut out meat on Mondays. I think even one meal would be great! To do this you don't have to eat anything crazy or strange! Just think simple! Mexican food with black beans and veggies as the meat replacement, pasta with veggies in the sauce, grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner! When you think of it this way, you don't even notice that you are going without meat! I promise, my husband was a BIG carnivore and he has started saying things like, "I like this, but I don't know that it really needs meat.." - woah!

10) Replace one product


Out of shampoo? Instead of running to the store and grabbing a new one, check with the health food store or health food section of your normal grocery store for a great alternative. Look for something that is paraben, sulfate, and artificial fragrance free. This goes for anything you are out of, chapstick, dish soap, mascara, toothpaste, sponges... you name it! I've been doing this as I run out of things for years and I am getting so close to having ALL healthy products! When you do it gradually, it doesn't create a big expense!

11) Recycle something


Even if you normally don't. Research places in your town to recycle. Many Walmart stores have recycling centers even if your town doesn't have an independent one. Often times schools will have large bins by their dumpsters where you can recycle everything but glass without even sorting! Plus the school is often rewarded with money or other gifts for their recycling efforts! Help out your local schools!

Already Recycle? Consider thinking outside of the box. What else can you recycle? Batteries, Electronics, old cell phones etc. What can you safely dispose that you hadn't thought of? Nail Polish, Light Bulbs, Paint.. Dig deeper!

12) Unplug Electronics

Not using your blender right now? Done with your TV, DVD, game systems for the night? Did you know that most electronics use electricity even when not in use? This means that they are wasting energy AND hiking up your electrical bills! Avoiding this is simple, unplug items when they aren't in use, and utilize power strips. Plugging all of your TV related items into a power strip and turning it off at night is really quick way to be green and save green.

One thing I am doing today:


One thing I am doing today is reading this fantastic book The Honest Life, by Jessica Alba. It has some amazing tips, recommendations and facts about greening your life. Her perspective is parental, so she did her research! Can't wait to share more about it with you later! (Read My Review Here.)

What are you doing to become greener today?

All for now,

Alexandra

Want more eco-info? Check out my #green tab above!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Liebster Award

liebster
Recently my blog was nominated for the Liebster Award by my friend Amanda over at On the Square!!  She has so many great posts where she shares some great fashion and beauty pictures and reviews among other things. She's extremely cool and she loves to read... so obviously her blog is going to be amazing! I really love her recent review on the Too Faced Romantic Eye Palette! So gorgeous! We actually met at our KU orientation back in 2008! Thanks so much for nominating me! :)

The Rules of the Award

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

11 Facts about Me
  1. I get real nerdy with board games. Seriously, Clue, Blokus, Farkle, Risk, Ticket to Ride... you name it.
  2. I am a major foodie. I love to cook. I like trying unusual combinations like chicken and apricot. I also love to cook with wine. It adds so much depth to dishes!
  3. I have some major wanderlust. It started early. So much I want to see. Being a travel blogger.. would be a dream job.
  4. I have a magazine problem. It gets better from time to time. But I can't resist buying them!
  5. I married my high school sweetheart and best friend. I'm not sure how we got so lucky at such a young age.. but I'm not questioning it!
  6. I love love love hunting for vintage treasures. Brooches, handbags, pitchers, records... the list goes on.
  7.  I am extremely goal-oriented. I am currently finishing up my list of 100 goals for the next 10 years. Check my goal setting tab for specific posts.
  8. S'mores are my favorite food ever. And I'm a foodie. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to S'mores recipes.
  9. I'm really into making the world  a greener place. I know that it's healthier for myself and for the earth. I love finding great new products and methods of doing things.
  10. I love winter! I know that most people hate the cold, and don't enjoy the snow... but I do! I love the winter. It's beautiful, sparkly and serene. Plus I love all of the things that come with winter, cocoa, Christmas, scarves, cuddling. It's all good.
  11. I LOVE Gilmore Girls. I live tweet it.. quote it at home.. it's the best show ever. It's witty and cute. I can't get enough.
Questions to answer from On the Square
  1. Where are you from? - A tiny little town called Perry, Kansas. Now I call Lawrence home.
  2. What was the last thing you bought? - I did a 3 store mini shopping spree. Here's what I bought: The Hobbit on DVD ($10, run to Target!), Daphne Oz's new book Relish, Jessica Alba's new book The Honest Life, Black slim velvet hangers, a full circle eco friendly dish wand, A clearance eco-friendly journal, Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company's White Cheddar Popcorn.
  3. What do you do for a living? If you don’t work, what do you want to do for a living? - I just graduated in December, so for now I am subbing at the pre-school where I did my internship. My goal would be to work for a heath related non-profit where I am always on my toes, own my own business, or make a living doing part-time things that I love, like blogging and teaching yoga.
  4. Name the last book you read, and did you like it? - I have 2 categories of books that I keep track of, classics and everything else. My last classic was Anna Karenina. I loved it! So much going on, it felt so great to finish such a huge book on my list right before graduation. My other book was The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. I started reading her books during our Midwestern snow storms and that was the last one that I finished. I really like her style of writing. It has magical touches added to the plot that really makes it so much more interesting than your average novel.
  5. If you could have a meal/drink with anyone, living or dead, who would it be with and what would you eat/drink? - I would love to have dinner with Elizabeth Miller Watkins. She gave money to develop a lot of Lawrence and she founded my scholarship hall on campus. I would love to hear about her life from her, not just from stories. She ran away, married an older man, gave money to the town and built homes for women who were studying at the university so that they could succeed. Such a great woman!
  6. Why did you start your blog? - I guess I just felt like I had a lot to say. I am really interested in the environment among other things and I wanted to share some of my beliefs on here.  This allows me to promote things I believe in, share inspiration and keep a record of my life for myself.
  7. In three words, describe what springtime was for you in your childhood. - Floral, Kitten-filled, and Tea Parties.
  8. Favorite scents? - Gosh, I'm a sucker for scents! I have become passionate about "green beauty" and therefore have been hunting for things free of artificial fragrance. It's hard to do! So currently I am in love with anything containing sweet orange, coconut and rose essential oils! :)
  9. What was your favorite subject in school? - I was an artsy girl all the way! Literature was definitely a close second though. I love to read, and a lot of my Lit teachers were great.
  10. Favorite decade? - Oh I love it all! I grew up on the American Girls books and other historical fiction. So it all fascinates me. I guess I would say right now that the 1940's have piqued my interest.
  11. If you can escape anywhere, where would you go? - My wanderlust is insatiable. Too many to choose from. But right now, I'm thinking Ireland. Castles, green as far as the eye can see, cliffs near the ocean...
Questions for my nominated blogs
  1. What is the best book you've read in the last year? All time favorite?
  2. If you could visit any place in the world, all expenses paid. Where would you choose and why?
  3. What is your favorite way to be "greener"?
  4. What is your favorite food?
  5. Would you rather instantly learn a language or how to play an instrument? Why?
  6. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Any holiday.
  7. What is a blogging tip that you have picked up that you want to share with other bloggers?
  8. What is your favorite item that you have bough second-hand or vintage?
  9. What TV show re-run do you love to watch?
  10. What is your dream job?
  11. What is your shopping weakness?
Nominated Blogs

I don't have 11 blogs to nominate, but I picked a few that have quality over quantity! I love following them and reading their posts! I definitely think that both of these blogs are on a higher caliber than mine! But I'm making big changes and improving it little by little, check out their blogs, linked below!

I nominate:
Natalie @ Good Girl Style
Sarah @ [ad-ven-cher]

Please follow me back! :)

I am pretty new to the networking part of blogging, so if you have tips or would like to collaborate... or if you want me to check out your blog leave a comment!

Thanks or reading!

All for now,

Alexandra

Brand New Look!

This blog has an updated look!

For the last few weeks, Kyle and I have been brainstorming, testing, re-testing and making edits to this blog. 

Kyle is definitely the brains behind the operation. He has all of the computer skills, HTML skills, and patience for that part of the job. I just add the vision and design element, picking fonts, color palettes and figuring out what types of gadgets I want to add. Thank you darling for all of the editing expertise, and for putting up with me changing my mind over and over again. I love you!


Anyhow, take a little tour. You might notice some new features (exciting!) like links to my social media profiles, pictures from my instagram feed, tweets from my twitter feed etc. One especially exciting little addition is that when you hover over my pictures a little "pin it" button pops up that allows you pin it to pinterest! 

We also created the fancy-schmancy, official looking header that you see above. Looks a lot more cohesive huh?!?

What do you think?

Looking forward to lots more blogging, readers and changes continuing soon!

Thanks for reading!

Alexandra

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Snapshots of Snowbird Land, The Greater Phoenix Area // Spring Break // March 2013

Is anybody else out there just absolutely crazy about their families?

Gosh I love mine.


I really think that grandparents {in my case, grandmothers}are the thread that keeps the family quilted together.

So I did what typical 22 year olds rarely do, spent my spring break with my grandma and her boyfriend on their "RV Resort" in Arizona.

.. and you know what? I think it was the best trip that I have had in a long while!

We got there and grandma and bob took us out for pizza in Mesa. After that we went back to the trailer and got ready for a night playing bingo.


I have to tell you, that bingo is a total workout for the brain! Especially when you have been driving for hours and days through two time zones. We played a bunch of different games, each with a different pattern to win like (sevens, floating chevron, blackout, regular bingo, T's etc). We also had these fancy bingo blotters that stamped the color on the space that was filled. 

Pretty nifty! We didn't win anything but we had fun!

All of the people near us were really nice and rooting for us to win, which was sweet. Most of them had adorable northern/Canadian accent too. It was nice to see grandma and Bob around their friends and looking so happy!

I kept the 'boards' because they get thrown away and I wanted them for memories/because they look neat. One lady suggested that I laminate them and turn them into placemats! Who knows, but I'm excited to find out!

That was the end of our first day with grandma and Bob.

On further exploration of the resort we found a small library, a heated swimming pool, a room with pool tables and a room filled to the brim with puzzles. Tons and tons of puzzles. So not only do they have a full social calendar between family and friends, they have plenty to do on their own time too! :)


On day two, we went to Goldfield Ghost Town for a day of Old West fun. It had a gorgeous view of the Superstition Mountains!


We shopped on the main street of the ghost town and I found a great pottery store. The man who makes the pieces was there and very nice. He even gave us a free small piece of pottery! The prices were right and the goods were legitimate, not touristy which was refreshing. We bought this magnet for our fridge! It is a Zuni bear, which upon further research symbolizes being a protector, and possessing courage, physical strength and leadership. I love the colors, and I always love learning about symbolism and other cultures!


I had never seen large cacti up close, check out how huge these things are! We did several desert units throughout my school days, but seeing these giants in person was amazing. They also vary a lot in shape. I started imitating ones I passed, Kyle caught this one on camera. :)

This one seemed to be the biggest here though! Photo credit to Kyle.

After than we spent some time panning for gold. This wasn't actually panning for gold, but it was still fun. You get a pre-filled pan with sand and added small polished semi-precious stones in it (rather than scooping up dirt and panning it), and are taught how to pan for gems and gold.

It took a long time and was fun. I found some pretty polished stones but I don't think any of my golden pieces are actually gold. You get a tube to put your pieces in, but once it is full you have to pay for a bigger one. So I say, bring a Ziploc and save your $1-$3 extra per person!

There were many other attractions in the Ghost Town (a reptile exhibit, acted out shootouts, a mystery shack, a train, horseback riding, and a mine tour) but we kept it simple. We had a really nice picnic lunch with grandma and Bob before we left, complete with ice cream.

Then we drove around the superstition mountains, which are beautiful and then stopped at the Superstition Mountain Museum.

The museum itself was not quite what we had in mind. It had a lot of interesting information ranging from geological to the history of the superstitions behind the superstition mountains. However, some parts of it seem a little dated or underdeveloped. For those of you who watch Gilmore Girls, it reminded me of the Star's Hollow Museum. For major history buffs or Elvis Fans (a chapel from one of his movie sets is there) it would be a very interesting place to visit.

That night we had dinner with my family that lives in Arizona year-round and played Farkle. Have you ever played it? It's a fun and simple dice game. I ended up winning, which is pretty unusual for me!

The next day Bob was sick, so grandma was taking care of him while we drove around Mesa and Apache Junction. We stopped in some antique and second hand stores to look for treasures. Their second hand stores are MUCH nicer than the ones we have here in town! They are huge and filled with TONS of good stuff! I found these two pieces at the Goodwill and they were just $2 each. Apparently I was on a red and white kick! Not sure how I will use them yet, but I really like them!

We went to the famous In N' Out Burger for lunch. It was PACKED! No seats inside or out even at 1:00. So we ate in the car. It was indeed fast like the name suggests, but the food wasn't anything all that special for us. It was ok. Certainly better than McDonald's or Wendy's or something... but not better than 5 Guys, which is our favorite fast food burger place. The shake was the oddest thing. It wasn't even cold, so we are guessing it's made with some kind of mix and milk rather than soft serve or ice cream. Again we told my grandma where we had gone and she agreed that it wasn't anything special for her either.

Then Kyle had some time to himself while Bob rested and grandma and I did a bit more shopping. We ran to places that she needed to go and also stopped by a Christian bookstore. I got a copy of a resource guide called Women of the Bible for some at home study. Then we went to Kohl's and I ended up finding some shoes on sale. With my grandma's senior discount it ended up being about $80 for two nice pairs. (Disclaimer: I am not a shoe person. I rarely buy them and I stick to the ones I love on a regular basis, so it seemed justifiable to buy a few new pairs!)

It's fair to say that I have an obsession with gold sandals... and the glitter makes it all the better for me. Luckily it was warm enough in Arizona to wear them! I also got these Nike's. I bought my last pair of tennis shoes in 2008... so it was time! :)

We spent more time with family. We saw their homes and they invited us to dinner. We heard old stories of family and war, Vernon fought in WWII and earned a purple heart as well as a silver star! We also met their furry friend Diva. She was a funny little dog. Very energetic but very sweet. She and Kyle had a rousing game of chase.

The next day my second cousin Judy took grandma and I to thrift and consignment shops in the area and I came out with lots of loot! This will have to be a separate post, so stay tuned!

We took our time while we were with my family. We swam in the pool, played games, went to a pancake breakfast and met grandma and Bob's friends. It was really nice to relax for several days after so much driving and sight seeing. Kyle and I played lots of Blokus To Go in our downtime, which was really nice.

One of our last meals out was a yummy Starbucks breakfast with grandma on a swanky outdoor patio. I have never seen a Starbucks with such a patio! It had long cushioned couches and ottomans, tables with umbrellas and chairs.. I was searching for the fire pit!

As you can see, we had a great time relaxing and "rooting around" with grandma and Bob. Grandma got to know Kyle better, I got to know Bob better. We did some great thrifting and some major recreation and relaxing. It was definitely a nice middle portion of our trip!


What has been your best family vacation? What is your favorite way to spend time with your family?

All for now,

Alexandra

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Snapshots of Sedona // Spring Break // March 2013

In the planning stages of our trip (you know.. like a week before..) we had read and heard so many wonderful things about Sedona.

So of course, we were curious. We knew we wouldn't have long to stay, but we wanted to see the scenery and to take some time to shop. That second part was pretty much just me...

We drove through the Coconino National Forest to get to Sedona. It was GORGEOUS! But the driving was killing me and I wasn't even driving. Nothing but windy mountain roads decreasing in elevation rapidly as we drove through. The view was gorgeous, but the roads were windy and narrow. I was glad to be out more-or-less once we made it to Sedona. Sadly, the light was too dim and my pictures of this area really didn't turn out. This one is ok, the spot on the top is a bug on the windshield.. ick.


Once we got to Sedona we were immediately out of the beautiful mountains and into and equally beautiful city surrounded by red rocks. Seriously, pick a direction to look in Sedona, and you've got an incredible view!

View from the car.

View from the street.


We got out and explored some of the shops. There were plenty of places filled with handmade items specifically from the Southwest. There were also a handful of touristy stores, but the most populous was the new age type store. We passed about six or seven shops where you could buy crystals, have your aura read or photographed, etc. Apparently people believe that since Sedona is so beautiful, the strange landscape leads to pockets of mystical energy called vortexes. This is an interesting theory, but I don't know how I feel about it yet. No matter what you believe the scenes are breathtaking.

There was a beautiful sculpture on the street with all of the shops. Maybe it's just my girly nature, but I was such a fan of this piece. It featured two dancers and it spun around to music. I thought it was beautiful!


After stopping at some shops we went to Wildflower Bread Company for dinner. Which is basically a west-coasty version of Panera bread. The food is a little more unique and quite a bit healthier, at least in spirit. I got the tuna salad and veggie minestrone and Kyle got potato soup and the continental chicken sandwich. It was good and relaxed, which is what we were looking for after a lot more driving.


We picked a hotel last minute which was strange for us, but worked out just fine. We slept in a little and enjoyed how bright the sun was in the morning. It's much easier to wake up that way! We didn't plan to do much more in Sedona since we had limited time, so we grabbed breakfast at Wildflower (again) which was great. I got banana walnut pancakes and Kyle got the egg breakfast. The potatoes on his plate were AMAZING! And my pancakes were really good!


After breakfast we headed to The Chapel of the Holy Cross. This is a beautiful chapel that is built into the gorgeous red rock landscape. We waited until about lunchtime to avoid crowds, but it was still very busy! (Take note: no public restrooms!)

The drive was slow while we waited for parking, but the view was gorgeous so we didn't mind too much.

We parked and walked up the ramp to the tiny chapel. Inside it was nice and many visitors were lighting prayer candles or stopping to say a prayer. It was a little different for us since we aren't Catholic, but the beauty and symbolism was the same.

Some people who reviewed this place on trip advisor (follow me for reviews and specifics!) were making an interesting point that since they don't have mass there or perform weddings on the property, it is really more of a tourist destination. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that yet, but I am glad that we visited. It was such a unique and beautiful destination to add to our trip.

In the basement is a gift shop which contained lots of typical gifts: rosary beads, post cards, books, bibles and angel figurines. I wasn't in the market for those items, but instantly fell in love with this little votive candle holder. It was handmade in Sedona by a local artist.

Here is a little more of the Sedona landscape to end this post.

What is the most scenic destination you've visited?


All for now,

Alexandra