30 Hours in Sedona


Note: some of this post was written before the election, hence the dated references!

Wow, I’ve really been MIA on the blog this month! I started a new job at the beginning of October and since I’m currently working from the office most days (and doing a lot of writing), I haven’t really had the energy to write blog posts when I get home.

But I figured if I was going to blog about anything, it’d be my first overnight trip since October 2019. Yep, I’ve been mentioning it on the blog and Instagram all year long and finally got out of town for the first time in a year. And man, was it much needed! Even though it was a short 30-ish hour trip, it really refreshed and reset me and inspired me to plan more day and overnight trips (likely solo!) before the end of the year.

This recap is going to be mostly photos because I took 200+ over the course of Friday and Saturday (!) but I hope that’s ok because Sedona is absolutely gorgeous (especially this time of year) and I never get sick of the views.

Friday, Oct. 23

I “slept in” (til 7:30 am!) and took Honey for a walk and then did a quick 4 mile run in the neighborhood before hitting the road with my dad. Originally, I was supposed to spend a long weekend in Tucson with the fam but after a few snafus (we didn’t actually have a place to stay, my sister was supposed to go to LA for work and wouldn’t be able to make the trip and then she wound up getting sick — not COVID — and she and my mom had to stay home), my dad and I decided an overnight trip to Sedona would be cheaper and more doable, so we booked a hotel about a week and a half before and changed our itinerary. Fortunately, my dad and I are both more spontaneous people, so we’re good to go with the flow.

Our first stop — dropping off my ballot 🗳 Y’all, please VOTE! It’s so important, especially this year. It took me just a minute to walk in the polling place and drop off my ballot, and I was so encouraged to see several other people doing the same thing.

After that, we headed north. If you’re not from AZ, you probably don’t know the crapshoot that I-17 can be. It’s really the only convenient route from Phoenix to northern Arizona and with so much traffic (including lots of semis), there’s bound to be crashes. These often close the freeway for hours, since it’s mostly 2 lanes in each direction. This was my sixth or seventh time on I-17, and probably the best in terms of traffic. There were no crashes and minimal slowdowns so we made good time. I was very thankful for this, as my birthday trip to Sedona in 2018 was delayed by a 3 hour traffic jam 🙄

Once in Sedona (actually Oak Creek, where our hotel was), we tried to check in but it was still too early, so we just decided to go to the trailhead to start our hike. The GPS said it would take 45 minutes to get there (what?!) so we braced ourselves for lots of traffic. It was mostly the usual traffic in Uptown Sedona, plus some construction that closed down lanes but we finally made it to the trail around 2. We had to park about a quarter of a mile away on the road and hike over on a sketchy narrow trail alongside the highway, which was probably the hardest part of the hike!

Once we were officially on the West Fork trail, we immediately understood why it’s so popular, especially this time of year. The fall colors were unlike anything I’ve ever seen — so many bright shades of red, orange and yellow! It was seriously stunning, and I must have taken 100 photos in the nearly 5 miles we hiked.

Absolutely NO filter needed 😍

The trail was actually really interesting, because it was basically sand so it was very easy to navigate…until you got to the creek crossings. There were 13 (26 total if you did the whole trail since it’s an out and back), and we probably did 7 each way — we didn’t quite make it to the end but were sick of the crossings. Fortunately, the water level was low but the crossings really slowed you down and my shoes were soaked and mud-covered by the end, but it was totally worth it!

I was starving when we made it back to the car around 4:30, since I hadn’t eaten anything all day except a protein bar. We had a bunch of salty snacks like popcorn and nuts in the back that we noshed on before heading back to check in at the hotel.

After check-in, my dad and I cleaned the room with Clorox wipes (better safe than sorry) and then relaxed for a bit before deciding to pick up takeout. We originally wanted to grab food from Chocolatree, a vegan restaurant in West Sedona, but they weren’t doing takeout orders after 5 pm! So we settled on a nearby Thai place that had vegan options and grabbed dinner to-go. The food was pretty decent but it’s kind of hard to transport coconut curry dishes so our meals weren’t as good as they would have been if we had dined in. But we still don’t feel comfortable eating inside restaurants thanks to coronavirus so takeout was our best option!

The rest of the evening, we watched the local access channels and had fun making jokes about them. I had had a headache most of the day and it wasn’t subsiding so I called it a night around 11 pm.

Saturday, Oct. 24

I didn’t have the best night of sleep (headache, my dad snoring and uncomfortable hotel pillows) but I woke up around 7:30 am anyway, ready to start the day.

View from the hotel — not too shabby!

My dad dropped me off at the Bell Rock/Courthouse Butte trailhead, about a 5 minute drive from our hotel room, so I could do a trail run. I was super pumped to finally be able to run in Sedona!

I started off on the Bell Rock Pathway and took the Courthouse Butte trail when it split off. Despite a bad tumble in the first mile or so, it was a nice run. I wore a long sleeve and shorts since it was only in the 50s at the start but the sunshine made it feel much warmer and I got kinda hot.

I ended up looping all the way around Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock, for 6 miles. The last two miles or so weren’t as enjoyable since the Bell Rock Pathway trail was getting congested and people kept asking me if I was ok (because of the blood running down my knee from the fall). It was nice of them to be concerned but I just wanted to run without being judged. Overall though, it was a beautiful run!

My dad picked me up and I showered and got ready for the rest of the day, then we packed up our stuff and checked out. But our day didn’t end there!

We stopped in Uptown Sedona to grab Chipotle takeout for lunch and then drove to West Sedona to eat it at a park. Chipotle just hits different in Sedona 😍 I also hadn’t had Chipotle in more than a year, so it was extra good!

Then we headed further west for hike #2 of the weekend. We drove past a couple of crowded trailheads but lucked out by finding a parking spot at the TH we planned to start from. We set off on the Cockscomb Trail and saw no one except a solo biker and then a family of bikers who zoomed past us on the narrow singletrack. We were worried it would be a bunch of bikes, but once we branched off onto the Dawa Trail, we only encountered a couple hiking with their dog, and then we saw no one for a couple of miles!

Love the red dirt!

After some easy, flat-ish miles, we crossed a road and then entered the Canyon of Fools. We laughed about the name but then soon realized why it was called that — it was literally a dry wash with tall, narrow walls like a mini canyon! It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and weird in a cool way.

Once we left the “canyon”, the trail became a little rockier but still pretty mild. We finally got a few climbs and then found ourselves on a trail that’s basically slick rock on the side of Mescal Mountain. We had seen bikers riding up there and wondered if they were off-trail…nope, there’s really a trail on the edge of the rock formation! It was a bit scary for someone with a fear of heights (me!) but it was actually a pretty wide trail with no steep drop-offs, and the slick rock surface was easy to navigate.

Then we started making our way down some switchbacks, and this is where the trail became much more busy. We passed several groups of hikers as we went by a trailhead, and then after crossing the road again, we didn’t see anybody until we got back to the car. The last mile-ish seemed to last forever though and we were both ready to be done because our feet were sore. The hike ended up being about 5.6 miles and nearly 500 feet of elevation gain, which is pretty decent for a hike that was fairly easy.

Back at the car, we changed into “real” clothes and then headed straight for Page Springs Cellars in nearby Cornville to do some wine tasting. Except when we got there, it was PACKED with tons of people milling about outside. We didn’t feel comfortable with that in this COVID environment, so we drove up the road a bit to Oak Creek Vineyards, which was much less crowded.

We grabbed a table outside and got our tasting flights, which we enjoyed while watching the sunset. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend away!

I’m really grateful that I was able to enjoy a getaway this year, even if it was pretty short. The trip to Sedona was just what I needed to get a mental and physical reset after an unpredictable year. I didn’t think I’d get to travel at all in 2020, so this trip was very much appreciated. I’d still like to fit in a couple more quick weekend trips in this year if possible, but at least I had Sedona ❤️

Have you been able to travel this year? What’s the most beautiful hike/trail run you’ve ever done?

Running Recap: Sept 2020


Goodbye September, helloooo October! September was actually a pretty good month for me in terms of running, at least until the end. I’ll explain more in this recap!

Miles Run: 208.4

Total Runs: 30 (still keeping that streak going for now and approaching 180 days!)

Where I Ran:

As usual, I ran the most at Usery — 10 runs in September! I will always love the trails there because they’re a good mix of easy and technical.

I actually only ran in the McDowells once in September, on Labor Day when I did a half marathon! I remember it being hella hot that day but I felt accomplished. I’m hoping to get back to the McDowells soon for a weekend run.

Mid-run views 🙌🏼

I ran a couple times at Veterans Oasis Park, Riparian Preserve and Paseo Vista, as per usual.

I also did a lot of exploring of new-to-me trails! I ran part of the Lost Goldmine Trail in the Superstitions on September 5, then discovered the Hawes Trail System by accident on September 12, then made my way back to South Mountain for the first time since March on September 20, and rounded out the month with a fun adventure run in the Superstitions and another SoMo run with lots of vert.

It was cloudy but still beautiful!

I ran a few times at Bulldog Saddle/Wild Horse, which has become more people-y lately with the temps starting to cool down.

I even ran once in my own neighborhood for the first time since I think June (!) due to a monsoon storm that hit right as I was heading out for a run. I saw a bunch of downed trees but it felt good to run post-rain!

My Favorite Run

It’s hard to pick this month because I had a lot of great ones! I really enjoyed my one and only half marathon for the month, and my SoMo runs were fun and challenging, but I think my absolute favorite was the adventure run in the Supes. Yes it was very slow, yes my hip hurt a bit and yes I got a bit lost but it was great to explore new trails and see part of the Supes I’d never seen before.

The Supes always have my 💙

I haven’t had a run longer than 10 miles since early September and that may not change anytime soon thanks to hip pain that started in the last week or so of the month, but I’m designating at least one weekend run as an adventure run — running a new-to-me trail and not worrying about pace or distance at all but just enjoying the scenery.

Least Favorite Run

Again, hard to pick one but basically every run from September 19 on had some degree of hip pain. Not that these runs weren’t enjoyable but I didn’t love how the hip pain came on suddenly and plagued every run.

Most Memorable Run

My run on the Lost Goldmine Trail was pretty cool! I saw cactus blossoms (usually only in bloom in the spring) and also a pond filled with tadpoles.

Beauty in the desert 🌸

Favorite Photo From a Run

This is always tough to pick one, but I had a lot of wildlife sightings in September so I’m gonna cheat and use a video for this month.

I saw a cute little fox? coyote? on my adventure run in the Supes and wasn’t quick enough to get a photo but I did get a short video!

Look at this cutie 😍

Running Goals for October

The foreseeable future is not looking promising for lots of miles. My hip pain isn’t subsiding and I’m looking into seeing a sports PT to help me figure out what’s going on. It would be great if I could hit 200 miles but I doubt that’s gonna happen, and that’s fine. I ran 200+ mile months from May – September, and my body really needs a break, even if my mind wants to keep going.

My soft goal for October mileage is 40-45 miles per week. I hope to get in one half marathon, but it may not be doable (or smart) with my hip (edit: just completed a half marathon on new to me trails last weekend!)

I may need to end the run streak, which I’m coming to terms with. I had hoped to reach 200 days, but that’s the end of October and I have a few days I’ll be out of town and hiking instead of running. But as of now, I’m over 180 days, which is still awesome!

My main goal for October is more adventure runs. I just started a new job, which has limited my running time since I’m back to going in the office, but I’ve already explored a few new trails in just the first week in my new role. Even if I can’t run big miles, I can have fun exploring new trails and that’s why I run in the first place. My stretch goal for this is to run at least once outside the PHX metro. I’m hoping to make a day trip to Sedona or Payson to get in a trail run and get out of the city. But we’ll see!

My new pair of Nike Terra Kigers aren’t quite so new anymore — they have 100+ miles on them already! I just saw Nike released a new color way that’s absolutely gorgeous and I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need them…but I’ll probably buy them anyway 🙃 Hey, I’ll need to replace my current pair in a few months…

I don’t usually go for black shoes but the color accents on these are gorgeous!

How many miles did you run in September? Got any October running goals? Advice for dealing with hip pain?

Arizona Bucket List Part 1: Northern AZ


Hiya friends! I’m coming atcha today with a bit of a different post.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I occasionally post about my “Arizona Bucket List” in my Stories. It’s basically a list of the places I’m dying to visit in State 48, which is…well, a lot! The more I follow Arizona-related social media accounts and the more research I do on my own, the more places get added to the list — which happens to reside in the Notes app on my phone 🤓

If you’re an AZ resident like me who’s wanting to explore more of this amazing state we call home, orrrrrr you’re considering a trip to the Grand Canyon State, this list is for you! This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, and if you know of any other great places I need to add to my list, please share with me!

Today’s post is all about northern Arizona. This region is probably not what most people think of when they picture AZ — lush pine forests and towering peaks and yep, even snow in the winter. My next post will focus on western and central AZ (places that are a bit closer to Phoenix) and then finally, a post on southern AZ — a region that’s dear to my heart after living in Tucson for 2 years, but also one that I haven’t fully explored. I’ll also share some spots that I have already visited that I think are worthy (look for the asterisk to identify which places I’ve been to).

Grand Canyon

I mean, duh! How can you live in the Grand Canyon State without visiting one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World (and the only one in the U.S.)?

Technically, I have visited the GC once, but I was a baby and obviously don’t remember it. I cannot wait to experience the beauty of this place for myself after seeing thousands of photos of it.

Grand Canyon & the Colorado River below (photo from Unsplash).

My ultimate goal is to complete a R2R (rim to rim) or R2R2R (rim to rim to rim) run someday!


I’m so sad that I missed out on a conference in Flagstaff in June that I was supposed to attend for work, thanks to coronavirus and the world shutting down (but not really).

I actually considered attending Northern Arizona University but never actually applied, but I feel like I would have loved Flag and it wouldn’t have been a huge change after growing up in Colorado. After all, Flagstaff’s elevation is 6,909 feet — nearly 1,000 feet above the Colorado city I lived in!

Aspens are abundant in the Flagstaff area (photo from Unsplash).

From my research, there are lots of vegan/veg-friendly restaurants in this college town, which is always a perk for me when traveling.

Flagstaff is home to many trails and I would absolutely love to run there, as it would be so different from the desert trails I’m used to. I have a goal of summiting Humphreys (the highest peak in AZ at 12,633 feet) when I visit Flag.


Sedona is by far the most gorgeous place I’ve ever visited. There’s just something magical about those red rocks 😍

I’ve visited Sedona three times (once a quick day trip, once for a long weekend and once for a regular weekend) so I haven’t nearly even scratched the surface of Sedona’s beauty. I’m dying to get back and actually do some trail running because I’ve loved the hikes I’ve done, including:

Sugar Loaf TH: I actually can’t remember the specific trails my dad, sister and I hiked (we visited in July 2018), but I remember parking at this trailhead. I wouldn’t advise hiking at 4 pm in the summer as it was very hot, and the trail was longer than we thought, but the views are breathtaking.

Red rock views from the Sugar Loaf TH (photo by me, July 2018).

Airport Mesa: Did you know Sedona has an airport? It’s mostly for private planes but the cool thing is that it’s actually on top of a mesa! There’s a short trail starting at the top that takes you down to one of Sedona’s many vortexes and the views all along the trail can’t be beat!

Panoramic views from Airport Mesa (photo by me, June 2019).

As for non-hiking activities, there are plenty of those (but you gotta get some hikes/runs in for sure!):

Slide Rock State Park

This is basically a natural waterslide, and it’s pretty cool, but also slippery AF and in the summer, it can be pretty crowded. I’ve gone twice and I’m not in a huge hurry to get back, but it’s definitely worth the trip at least once, especially if you have kids who love the water!

Just a little snippet of what Slide Rock looks like (photo by me, July 2018).


This is a really neat arts & shopping village south of Uptown Sedona that’s authentically designed to look like a traditional Mexican village. It’s a beautiful place to walk around, shop and dine. I personally haven’t eaten at any of the restaurants here but they have quite a few, and a couple have vegan options!

So peaceful 😌 (photo by me, July 2018).

Uptown Sedona

This is the “main drag” of Sedona, with shops and restaurants lined up on both sides of the street. This is another great place to walk around and do some people watching, but with some great views of the red rocks.

Some cute and quirky javelina statues in Uptown Sedona (photo by me, July 2018).

Sedona Trolley

If you want to explore Sedona from the comfort of a covered vehicle, with a guide providing interesting tidbits about the area and its history, definitely take advantage of the trolley tours. My family and I went on one during our July 2018 visit and it was great to learn more about Sedona, and now we know to seek out hiking trails in West Sedona! You do get to get out of the trolley and walk around a bit and take photos.

Trolley tour views (photo by me, July 2018).

Pink Jeep Tours

These are definitely a lot more adventurous than the trolley tours, but totally worth it if you really want to see the backcountry.

My dad and I went on one of the more mild tours when we visited in June 2019, and it was not for those who get motion sickness easily. Our driver was an older guy who wasn’t afraid to bomb up and down the rockiest “roads” I’ve ever seen. I did have a headache by the end but it was completely worth it! I got to see a part of Sedona I probably wouldn’t otherwise (since the trails over there aren’t well-developed) and it was a lot of fun.

Bumpy, but definitely worth it (video by me, June 2019).

As far as restaurants, my two favorite spots are Chocolatree — a calm oasis with a beautiful, lush patio area and many vegan options (it’s technically a vegetarian restaurant) — and Local Juicery — a cute little spot with smoothies, healthy snacks and small bites and a rainbow wall of juices (there’s also a location in Flagstaff).

I wanted to try ALL of these (photo by me, June 2019).


This is a newer addition to my bucket list, but more than worthy of having a spot on it!

It’s in the heart of the White Mountains, at an elevation of 8,356 feet, surrounded by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Doesn’t this just look so quaint? (photo from TripAdvisor).

The Greer Lodge looks like a beautiful place to stay and there are plenty of outdoor activities to take part in.


Another spot in Arizona’s White Mountains that looks gorgeous! This is a popular summer getaway spot for Phoenicians looking to escape the heat.

Ugh I really need a mountain escape (photo from TripAdvisor).

There are lots of trails and lakes, which make this a great place for outdoorsy people like me!


I am dying to get a SUP (stand-up paddle board) so I can take it to Watson Lake in Prescott. I mean, doesn’t this look so cool?! 💙

Water AND rock formations! (photo from Unsplash).

Of course, there are also plenty of trails (I really want to run there too) and Prescott’s Whiskey Row is a historic block known for its bar scene since the Gold Rush era.

Monument Valley

Located right along the Arizona-Utah border, this looks like a scene straight out of an old Western movie!

Monument Valley panorama (photo from Unsplash).

Horseshoe Bend

This may not be quite as dramatic as the Grand Canyon, but the views seem pretty epic! I have a huge fear of falling so I might not get real close to the edge but it looks so cool!

Soooo cool (photo from Unsplash).

Antelope Canyon

This slot canyon east of Page is one of the most unique spots in AZ, and that’s saying a lot! You have to obtain a permit and go with a tour guide due to the canyon’s spiritual significance to the Navajo Nation.

Slot canyons are the coolest (photo from Unsplash).

Havasupai Falls

As with Antelope Canyon, you must obtain a permit to hike at these falls (and day trips aren’t allowed — you must camp or stay in the lodge) and every year on the day the lottery opens, permits sell out in less than an hour! But it’s worth it for these views!

An oasis in the desert (photo from Unsplash).

Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Park

Rocks are just too cool! It’s almost as if art comes to life in these two spots in the Four Corners region, with rocky badlands in every hue. This is probably the most remote place on the list but I know it would be worth the trek!

Almost like a painting (photo from Unsplash).

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

The desert has waves too! This is another surreal spot with unique rock formations that I cannot wait to see for myself.

So neat! (photo from TripAdvisor).

Verde Valley*

While this technically includes Sedona, I tend to think of this region as being just south of Sedona, as it seems very different.

I’ve actually visited this region a handful of times, and all for one reason — wine tasting 🍷. Yep, Arizona grows grapes for wine and has three wine regions — Verde Valley, Sonoita and Willcox (the latter two I’ll mention in my southern AZ bucket list post — I’ve visited and love both).

The wineries I’ve visited in the area include Page Springs Cellars in Cornville (probably the best patio for wine tasting), Javelina Leap and Oak Creek Vineyards (also in Cornville) and Alcantara Vineyards in Camp Verde. There are a few others, but they’re mostly tasting rooms in Cottonwood, not the actual winery.

Alcantara Vineyard in Camp Verde (photo by me, June 2019).

I can’t wait to get back up to the Verde Valley for more wine tasting, but also hiking/trail running and maybe even kayaking on the Verde River, which is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing river systems!

Whew that was a lot! Obviously I’m not an Arizona tourism expert and I’m sure there are many, many places I missed on my list but I’m always open to more suggestions!

Have you ever visited any of these spots? What’s the best National Park you’ve visited?

Friday Five #27

Food, Life

Happy (almost) weekend, friends! It’s a 3 day weekend for me because my work gives us off on Monday for Yom Kippur (there are a lot of Jewish families in the district I work for). I don’t really have any plans but it’ll be nice to have an extra day to sleep in a bit and just chill. I actually prefer having Mondays off as opposed to Fridays because the Sunday Scaries are real 🙈

1) endūr apparel Socks

Yep, starting this list of favs off with socks. I’m so cool 😂

Generally I’m not one to be really into socks, but these are for running, so you know I’m all about having great gear for my runs. I usually wear ankle socks, and the pairs I have are brightly colored (but solid) from Target. They work fine for me, but occasionally I get blisters when they slip down below my ankle, and I hate having to do laundry just to wash my socks, so I needed some more pairs.

I decided to try some crew socks after seeing a lot of runners on Instagram rocking some fun taller socks (I’m NOT into the compression knee high socks though). I found the brand endūr through Instagram ads and decided to give them a try. Y’all — they have some effing awesome socks. Think fun prints like animals, donuts, etc. I had a hard time picking just four pairs (actually, I just placed an order late last week for another 4 pairs).

I even shared about my new socks on Instagram #runnerd 🤓

They ship from Canada, so it’s not super fast but I was psyched when I finally got my socks about a week and a half later. I’ve put all of them to the test on at least one run and they are perfect. They don’t slide down so no blisters but they aren’t too thick so they won’t make my feet hot. Plus they’re just fun and make me smile and who doesn’t want that?

They’re pretty reasonably priced for high quality socks, with crew pairs going for $16 each, and they have some discounted styles that are $8-$12. And they have knee high and ankle socks for those who prefer those.

2) Rebbl Sparkling Prebiotic Tonic

Kombucha is a perennial favorite, and I also love all other similar drinks. Like this sparkling prebiotic tonic from Rebbl.

I actually tried it for the first time in August I think and loved it, but I’ve only ever seen it at Whole Foods, and I don’t shop there much. But I made a quick stop in on the way home from my trail run on Sunday, and grabbed a bottle.

Love something carbonated after a hot run!

It was a perfect post-run refreshment and now I’m wishing I had another one! It tastes like fruit punch but only has 6 grams of sugar and provides digestive support.

If you’re a booch fan like me, look for this at Whole Foods!

3) SoMo Sunday

I shared about this on IG, but I had a great run on Sunday at South Mountain. I hadn’t run there since March, even though it’s nearly as close as my go-to trails at Usery and even San Tan. The reason — the trails at the main TH are usually crowded, especially with aggressive mountain bikers. Also, the terrain tends to be rockier than I prefer, though I’ve been exploring more rocky trails lately (I just happen to trip and fall a lot when there are more rocks to catch my toes on). And there’s not as much vegetation at SoMo like there is on most of the trails I run, so I was never that thrilled to run there.

But I decided to explore a new-to-me area on the southwest side of the park, and I’m so glad I did. On a Sunday, mid-morning, I did encounter several hikers and a couple MTBs, but it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Pima Canyon TH. I took the Bursera trail, which starts off mild but quickly climbs switchbacks until you’re up nearly 2000 feet. The views of the nearby Sierra Estrella mountains are unmatched and the effort is totally worth the reward. Even though I fell (it wasn’t a major tumble, thankfully), and slipped and slid as I shuffled my way back down, I would totally run this trail again. It’s probably 70% runnable, and the rest you can power hike up/shuffle down like I did.

Can’t beat these views 😍

There are several other trails in the area that I’d love to go back and explore, after seeing them from atop this trail!

4) Lesser Evil Fiery Hot Paleo Puffs

Paleo Puffs are a vegan, grain free, healthier alternative to Cheetos, and the new fiery hot flavor is literally 🔥 I love the no cheese cheesiness flavor but this one is even better. As a spice fiend, I don’t think these are too hot, but just hot enough.

So spicy good!

You can pick these up at Whole Foods (and possibly Sprouts has them now?), along with Lesser Evil’s other yummy snacks (I love their popcorn too).

5) “White Wedding” (cover) by Queens of the Stone Age

QOTSA is one of my all time favorite bands, but I only heard this song for the first time last week! It’s a cover of the Billy Idol song, and I love their take on it. It’s a totally different vibe but I dig it. Give it a listen!

Socks — ankle, crew or knee, and patterned or plain? What’s your favorite song that’s a cover of another artist’s song?

Friday Five #26

Food, Life

We made it to another weekend 🙌🏼 I skipped posting last week due to the anniversary of 9/11 but I’m back with some favorites from the past two weeks!

1) Trader Joe’s Organic Almond Beverage Chocolate Bar

I find it funny that this bar has “beverage” in the name, but I know what they’re getting at — it’s a dairy-free version of milk chocolate, made with almond milk instead.

I’m generally a dark chocolate girl, especially because it tends to be vegan, while milk chocolate is obviously not (though it irks me that TJ’s has a lot of dark chocolate candy that actually has milk in it 🙄) but this bar is the exception. It’s very smooth and creamy, just like milk chocolate should be, but not overly sugary. Hopefully this will inspire Trader Joe’s to introduce new vegan chocolate products!

The packaging is fun too!

2) Surprise Cactus Blossoms

Y’all already know my love for cactus blossoms, but this is a whole new level of love 💗

For those who don’t know, cacti usually blossom in the spring. Each type of cactus blooms at a slightly different time. For example, prickly pears tend to blossom in March or April, while saguaro blossoms don’t peak until May. However, by the end of June, these flowers are gone as the heat has settled in and monsoon storms are around the corner.

I hadn’t seen a cactus blossom in months (since June) and suddenly, I saw them twice in one weekend!

The first — some gorgeous tiny pink blooms on some small type of hedgehog cactus. They caught my eye while trail running in the Superstitions on part of a trail I’d never been on before, and I had to stop to capture them in all their beauty.

Beauties 😍

The next day, on a trail run near Usery, I spotted a big yellow bloom on a barrel cactus. I honestly couldn’t believe that I’d seen cactus blossoms in September!

Hidden beauty in the desert 🌵

3) All The Tie-Dye

I remember when I was in 5th grade or so, I was obsessed with tie-dye. I had a few tie-dye t-shirts and just thought it was the coolest ever.

Well, flash forward 18-ish years (yikes, I’m really that old?! 😳) and the obsession has been reborn. But more sophisticated this time around!

I mean, tie-dye is back in fashion again, so that means there are lots of cute and grown-up pieces out there.

I recently ordered two tie-dye pieces that I can’t wait to wear when the weather cools a bit more (both are long-sleeved, and sweatshirt material).

Tie-dye is IN again!

4) “Cyr” by Smashing Pumpkins

I’m not really a Smashing Pumpkins fan, but this new song is really, really good! It honestly doesn’t sound like them to me and it’s just a great, upbeat song that gets me pumped when I’m running, which is always what I look for when I add new songs to my run playlists.

5) Pop & Bottle Oat Milk Lattes

I’m a big iced coffee fan but coffee often doesn’t agree with my stomach and too much caffeine leaves me feeling not so great (& does absolutely nothing for my energy levels — I just drink iced coffee for the taste).

So when I saw these (new?) oat milk lattes at Sprouts, I knew I had to try them out. First of all, they only have 80 mg of caffeine, which is less than a standard cup of coffee. And oat milk makes a very creamy latte without dairy, plus the Pop & Bottle lattes are made with antioxidants (coffeeberry & rosemary), adaptogens (maca & ashwagandha) and only sweetened with dates, so they actually have health benefits.

The mocha is good but I think the classic flavor is my fav!

I’ll definitely grab these when I’m craving an iced coffee without the caffeine hangover!

Tie-dye — yay or nay? If you’re a coffee drinker, how do you take yours? If I make it at home, I usually add a splash of almond milk or a flavored vegan creamer and some stevia — always iced though!

Running Recap: Aug 2020


Hi friends! I’m trying something new here — a monthly recap of my running, instead of a weekly post. I’ve been wanting to share more about my runs besides just on my IG Stories and I haven’t been inspired to write new Trail Tales posts lately (I promise they’ll be coming eventually!) so here we are!

Miles Run: 250.2

Total Runs: 31 (currently closing in on day 150 of my unintentional run streak)

Total Running Time: 47 hours, 18 minutes (almost 2 straight days of running!)

Where I Ran:

I ran the most at Usery, which is no surprise since A) I love the trails there and B) it’s probably the closest park with actual desert trails (about a 20-25 minute drive for me). I ran 8 times at Usery, including 3 times in the last full week of the month! It really never gets old, though.

Sunset views from a new-to-me trail at Usery.

August brought the return of running at two of my other go-to spots: Bulldog Saddle (which is actually just outside Usery) and the Superstitions (specifically the trails just outside Lost Dutchman State Park). These trails were closed all of July due to wildfire danger, and ironically, now many trails in the Supes are closed once again because of a lightning-sparked fire 😫 I ran 4 times at Bulldog Saddle (the best for hill repeats!) including two evening runs with gorgeous sunsets, and twice in the Supes for #superstitionsunday (I made that up but it’s a fun alliteration 😂).

Hello, Supes!

I ran 4 times in the McDowells (mostly the Regional Park but once in the Sonoran Preserve). The McDowell Mountains are where I tend to run my longest runs because of the abundance of trails, and I actually got in two half marathons in August, once at MMRP and then on the last day of the month at MSP.

I actually had two long runs in the McDowells during the same long weekend!

I also had three evening runs at San Tan Mountain Regional Park, and was treated to some gorgeous sunsets.

Beautiful sunset from the southside trails at San Tan.

Monday through Wednesday of most weeks, I kept my runs a bit closer to home with runs at Veterans Oasis Park, Riparian Preserve, Paseo Vista Recreation Area and Zanjero Park. These parks have great (albeit small) dirt path systems that help me avoid the pounding of running on pavement when I’m not running actual trails.

A bit of pavement running was required to get a shot of these sunflowers 🌻 at Zanjero.

My Favorite Run

Probably my half marathon on August 31 at McDowell Sonoran Preserve! I took the day as PTO and decided to take advantage of the “mild” (low 100s as the high) temps and get my long run of the week done on some further away trails.

These views never get old!

I had it in the back of my mind to attempt a half marathon, but as usual, I don’t go into any run telling myself I “have to” complete a certain distance. Being flexible actually means I’m more likely to run even further than planned, so it works for me!

Other than some mountain bikers I saw at the trailhead at the beginning and end, I had the trails to myself which was awesome. I also love the diversity of plant life and terrain at the Brown’s Ranch trailhead. There are sooooo many trail options that allow you to extend or shorten your run as needed, and you can stick to the smooth, rolling hills that most of the trails are, or up the ante by taking on the rocky, steep climb up Brown’s Mountain (which I did once, and honestly the descent was trickier).

The flattop mountain in the distance is Brown’s Mountain and it’s a good challenge!

It was one of those runs that felt good from beginning to end, which is saying a lot when your run takes over 2 1/2 hours to complete! I even had my hydration and playlist perfectly timed for this run!

My Least Favorite Run

I don’t think I can pick one run, but there was a week in mid-August that I tripped and fell, no joke, 4 times. And most of the falls weren’t even on rocky terrain 🤦🏻‍♀️ I’m no newb to falling (typically happens at least once a month, yes, even when I was running on pavement it happened) but this was a bit much.

Back on my bullshit 🙃

Most Memorable Run

Probably when I was finishing up a 10 miler at Veterans Oasis when a strong monsoon storm moved in. It made for beautiful skies but the heavy rain and wind driving home wasn’t so fun!

Storms make for stunning sunsets!

Favorite Photo from a Run

It’s hard to choose just one, but I love this one from my evening run at Bulldog Saddle on August 21! It’s just gorgeous 😍

My favorites in one photo: cacti, mountains, sunset.

Running Goals for September

I’m not sure I can reach 250 miles this month, but I’m hoping to reach 200, which would be an average of about 6.7 miles per run. That’s if I run all 30 days this month. I’ve been toying with the idea of ending my running streak and going to running just 6 days a week, with a day off for cross training on the elliptical or just walking. I really don’t want to get injured, because last summer I pushed through ankle pain and ended up having to cut back my mileage significantly through the fall. I still feel good on most runs, with some ankle stiffness/soreness present in the first mile or so, but I don’t want to exacerbate it.

I’m almost at 150 days of running in a row, which doesn’t seem like a ton, but is 5 months of running every day. And unlike many run streakers, I haven’t incorporated “rest days” (running only a mile or two to keep the streak alive). Most of my runs have been at least 6 miles, with a long run of 10+ miles pretty much weekly, if not twice in a week. So yeah, I may need to end the streak or start doing lower mileage days.

Running into September like…

I do have a goal to run a half marathon this month (gotta earn that Strava trophy 😉) but it will likely have to happen on a weekend as I don’t have any weekdays off work until the very end of the month. Hopefully the temps will cool again so I won’t die trying to run 13.1 miles! My first half in August was much more of a struggle than my second one, all thanks to the heat.

And finally, I ordered a new pair of Nike Terra Kigers to replace my beloved pink pair. I’ve been running in these since April, and they now have 800+ miles on them, which is way over the recommended mileage (most running stores suggest 300-500 miles, but I usually go a bit above that). The tread is still great but both shoes have developed decent-sized holes in the outer material, which is probably a sign they need to go. That makes me sad because I absolutely love these shoes! My new pair is en route to me, and even though they’re a different color, they’re still pretty and I hope to get just as much use out of them!

Sad to say these babies will be on their way out soon 😭

How many miles did you run in August? Got any fall running goals? How often do you replace your running shoes?

Friday Five #25

Beauty, Food, Life

Happy long weekend to my American friends who get off for Labor Day! Even though I had a 3 day weekend last week too, I’m so looking forward to an extra day off after a hectic week (fortunately less stressful than last week).

Also, can I just say how is it even possible that I’ve been posting these Friday Five posts for *25* weeks?! That’s over 6 months!

1) Spooky Szn Matching Outfits for Honey & Mika

It seems everyone’s getting into the fall spirit already, even though it’s still summer for a couple more weeks. And here in AZ, temps are still hot AF (we’re actually under an excessive heat warning through Monday evening, as temps are climbing to 112!) and it certainly doesn’t feel like fall, other than the sunset getting later, which I very much don’t like 😕

However, I am ready for fall fashion, whether it’s for me or for the dogs in my life! I recently ordered matching fall/Halloween dresses from Chewy for Honey and Mika and they just arrived.

Miss Honey looking cute in her new dress 🎃

Both girls look absolutely adorable in their dresses and I know that Honey gets really excited to get dressed up 🥰 Now I just need to get pictures of the girls in their dresses together

Little Mika loves her dress too 🧡

2) Dae Shampoo & Prickly Pear Hair Oil

I haven’t really bought much makeup this year since I’ve been WFH and don’t put on makeup most days. Coming from someone who loves makeup and getting glammed up, it’s actually been refreshing to not do this everyday.

However, I still need hair care products! I only wash my hair once a week because it’s better for the color so I don’t go through shampoo quickly but I recently ran low and decided to try a new shampoo.

Sephora just started stocking the brand Dae, and I was intrigued with their small line of hair care. Then I learned that they’re made in Arizona and inspired by the desert, and knew I needed to try them out. I ordered their shampoo and a bottle of the prickly pear hair oil because I’m a sucker for anything prickly pear.

The packaging is pretty too!

Let me just say that these are the best smelling hair products I’ve ever tried! The shampoo smells like orange blossoms which reminds me of spring in AZ!

I’ve only used the shampoo once but it left my hair feeling really soft and the hair oil has been great for enhancing my waves and adding shine. I highly recommend both and if you’re in the market for a new shampoo, definitely check out Dae at Sephora!

3) Viral Video of Cow & Chicken Friends

I follow an animal sanctuary called Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary in Queen Creek and they shared this week a video featuring a cow named Duke and chicken named Rex who are BFFs. Both animals have disabilities and they’re two different species, yet they love each other ❤️

They’re just too precious 🥰

The video has gone viral on Reddit (you can check it out here) and it’s just such a great example of acceptance AND a good reason to go vegan. How can you look at these cuties and think “dinner” instead of seeing two sweet, loving creatures who deserve to live?

4) Grilled Romaine

Ok, you may think this sounds crazy, but it’s actually a thing!

My mom recently bought a small tabletop grill that we can use to cook vegan things, since my fam uses the regular grill for meat. I decided to christen the new grill with some grilled romaine lettuce.

I just brushed a whole romaine heart with Italian dressing and cooked it on the grill over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. I could have left it for longer to get more of a char but it still had a great flavor and was still crisp!

Next time I would chop up the lettuce afterwards to make it easier to eat.

I dressed it with more Italian dressing, some vegan parm and croutons. It was a delicious, unique salad that I enjoyed alongside some leftover vegan pizza!

5) “Sea Sick” by Binki

Ending this post with a song I’ve been loving for the past few weeks. I first heard “Sea Sick” on SiriusXM Alt Nation on the new “Point of Origin” feature, where Young the Giant lead singer Sameer Gadhia highlights a musician of color. It’s a really cool feature and it’s introduced me to new artists.

Binki is originally from North Carolina and his sound straddles alt rock/funk/hip hop/indie pop. This song just makes me super happy and it’s a perfect late summer bop.

He has 3 other songs up online that I’m gonna check out, but in the meantime, give this one a listen!

Ready for fall, or not so much? How often do you wash your hair?

Friday Five #24

Food, Life

Fri-YAY! I’m actually writing this post on Friday, talk about procrastination 🙈

It’s been a bit of a rough week over here, namely because I found out that I’m basically gonna be forced to go back to work in the office after Labor Day, all because the district administration thinks it’s safe for students to return 🤦🏻‍♀️ I wish I were wrong, but I can almost guarantee they’ll be shutting down on-campus learning (and hopefully in-office working) by the end of September when cases inevitably go up again, and students or staff possibly get sick.

I really can’t believe how cavalier the leaders of not just my district but the state and the country are being about this virus. It really goes to show that people care more about “productivity” and profit over human life, which is just depressing.

Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on it too much because it gives me anxiety and I don’t want to think about that going into my weekend (I took Monday off as a mental health day, which I think will be much-needed).

1) Cherry Plums

I’m not a fan of plums, so I don’t know what inspired me to put these in my cart at Trader Joe’s, but I’m so glad I did because these are amazing!

They definitely taste more like a cherry to me, which is good because I prefer cherries to plums, but really, the flavor is hard to describe but really good.

They’re cute, too!

If you see these at the grocery store, GET THEM!

2) “Sabotage” by JAWNY

This song is a whole damn M O O D 🤘🏼JAWNY is fairly new on the music scene but I see big things coming from him, if this track is any indication.

3) Coyote Sightings

I do so much desert trail running, you’d think I’d encounter more animals than I do. I think I’ve only seen snakes 4 times (I see multiple lizards on every run) and deer occasionally, at least when I run at Usery.

I actually see coyotes a lot when I run at Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, which is surprising since it’s in more of a suburban area. I saw a cute little one on Monday during my long run, and he/she started following me for a bit!

Hi, cutie 🥰

I also saw a mama and baby coyote when I ran the trails at Usery on Tuesday, but they were too quick for me to get a picture of video!

4) Aerie Happy Henley Hoodie

Aerie is the place to shop for cozy fall essentials! They have the cutest sweaters, hoodies and joggers right now, and always seem to have a sale going on.

I ordered the Happy Henley Hoodie last weekend when they had 30% off sweatshirts and I know I’ll be living in it later this fall into the winter! Mine is the heather frost color, which is a nice faded camo and it’ll look really cute with some bike shorts and later, joggers. I ordered one size down to the XXS because it’s very oversized and it’s still very loose on me but not overly baggy, so I’d recommend sizing down at least one size.

I could almost wear this as a dress 😂

I also love Aerie because they’re so body positive and inclusive. Go give them a follow on Instagram for some feel-good photos and style inspo!

5) Strong Roots Cauliflower Hash Browns

I saw these on Instagram somewhere and knew I needed to find them! Luckily for me, my Sprouts stocked them in the frozen veggie section and I grabbed a bag last weekend.

The directions say to bake it, but ain’t no one got time for that, so I sautéed it in a pan and it turned out just fine. You could probably also air fry it, which I plan to try next time!

Go getcha a bag of these!

I enjoyed it alongside a Beyond breakfast sausage patty and some sautéed greens for a breakfast for dinner situation. I’d love to try it on a breakfast sandwich too!

The ingredients are super simple: cauliflower, potato, potato flakes, sunflower oil, water, cornstarch, onion, salt and black pepper. Yum!

What kinds of animals do you see on your runs/walks? I’m jealous of everyone who’s seen a chuckwalla or Gila monster in the desert! What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes? I love hash browns or (sweet potato) fries 🍟

What I Got in My Thrive Market Box: August 2020


The Thrive Market love is still going strong! This is the 4th order I’ve placed this year and honestly would order monthly if I had the $$ to do so.

Since I last wrote about Thrive Market (my first order of the year, back in April), orders are now being delivered in a more timely fashion and the store is fully open. However, there still are some minor stocking issues. I’ve tried to add a handful of products to my order only to have them go out of stock before I place my order…and then when they’re restocked, they sell out almost immediately. It’s frustrating but understandable, as many more people are utilizing online grocery shopping during the pandemic.

So there are a few items I would have loved to have included in this round-up of products but sadly, I wasn’t able to order them. Hopefully by the time I place my next order, they’ll be back in stock.

Perky Jerky Plant-Based Jerky

I first found this at Whole Foods and was hooked. It’s the best vegan jerky I’ve ever tried! But I don’t get over to Whole Foods more than once a month, and I can easily polish off a bag (they’re pretty small) in less than a week. So short of stocking up on several bags of this jerky (and it’s not cheap), I didn’t really have an option, until I realized Thrive Market carries it, too! And it’s also a bit cheaper, at $5.49 per bag. I ordered two of the Tasty Teriyaki flavor — hopefully it’ll last more than a week 😉

Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract-Infused Recovery Gummies

I think I shared about these in a Friday Five post, but I first ordered them back in May. I’ve tried a couple CBD gummies but these seem to give me the best results. They’re geared more towards athletic performance and helping aid recovery after workouts, which is why I like them. Plus the ginger flavor is on point! These are also pricey ($44.99 for a 30-day supply) but worth it if you exercise a lot and need help with muscle recovery.

Thrive Market Organic Seaweed Snacks

This is also a repeat purchase! I have an obsession with seaweed snacks, and the Korean Kalbi flavor is unique to the Thrive Market brand.

Amazing Grass Multivitamin Green Superfood Powder in Pineapple Lemongrass

I love taking greens powder in my water daily to boost my veggie intake! I always eat veggies in some form at lunch and dinner but I don’t always feel like I eat enough. Plus, I drink a lot of water throughout the day and it’s fun to mix it up and add some flavor to it.

Farmhouse Culture Kraut Krisps in Dill Pickle

Finally a new-to-me product! I loooooove pickles/sauerkraut/anything pickled and these sounded intriguing. And it’s cool to have probiotics in chips to make them gut-healthy!

PlantFusion Collagen Beauty in Strawberry Lemonade

I first ordered this in my Thrive Market box in July and recently ran out, so it was time to reorder. I know there’s benefits to collagen, but as a vegan, I don’t consume it so having a plant-based alternative is awesome, plus this tastes delicious and is another way to boost plain water!

Joolies Organic Medjool Date Blueberry Syrup

Dates are one of my favorite fruits, and make a great dessert paired with nut butter and chocolate chips! But I’ve never tried a syrup made with dates, so this intrigued me. I love blueberry syrup on waffles so I can’t wait to try this.

Aloha Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

These were a free gift with purchase and I’m so glad I got them in my box, because they’re incredible! They remind me a lot of the peanut butter chocolate chip Larabars, which is my fav Larabar flavor. But these bars have more protein than Larabars which makes them a great grab-and-go snack or mini meal.

If you’re a Thrive Market member, what’s usually in your shopping cart? What’s your favorite Larabar flavor?

Friday Five #23

Food, Life

It’s (almost) the weekend! I swear the weeks just fly by (even if some days just drag on) and I can’t believe we’re near the end of August. That means the holidays will be here before we know it 😱

I didn’t really think I had much to share for this week’s post but then when I looked back, I found a few gems that are share-worthy, so here we go!

1) Monsoon Storms

In case you didn’t know, Arizona has a monsoon season each summer in which we experience heavy (at times) rain, thunderstorms and dust storms. It’s something many Arizonans look forward to as it provides a brief break from the intense heat and makes sure we get enough rainfall to avoid drought and wildfires.

Well wouldn’t you know it, but this year’s monsoon has been mostly AWOL. Just like everything else in 2020 has been off. But finally this week we got a reprieve.

The storm rolling in!

It was awesome because I was hoping to be able to run in a monsoon storm, and my run on Monday was wrapping up just as the storm started brewing. I didn’t get rained on but it got really windy and there was a rainbow and the clouds turned beautiful shades of purple and pink. The drive home was intense with lots of lightning and heavy rain.

Storms make for gorgeous sunsets.

2) Ross COVID-19 Meme

I’m just loving these memes 😂 and I think these faces of Ross (from “Friends”) sum us all up right now!

Yep, pretty much!

3) MUSH Overnight Oats All Dressed Up

I’ve mentioned my love for MUSH overnight oats before, but I’m loving them even more now all dressed up.

I’m all about the toppings so adding a lil something extra to my oats takes them over the top.

My most recent addition — raspberries and birthday cake granola over vanilla bean MUSH. It made a great pre-run snack!

The birthday cake granola is BOMB!

4) MisterWives’ New Album

This album isn’t brand brand new (it came out July 24) but I’ve been listening to the songs as they were released all summer leading up to the album debut.

There are 19 tracks so it’s a lot but I love every song I’ve listened to, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. But I’m sharing the song “Superbloom” here because it’s just such a powerful anthem.

5) FitJoy Grain Free Honey Mustard Pretzels 🥨

Does anyone remember those honey mustard pretzel twists from childhood? We would have those, and the cheddar pretzel twists, as a snack option every so often and I loved the tangy flavor. I’ve always preferred mustard to ketchup!

Well, it’s been years since I’ve eaten those, but now there’s a plant-based, grain free option out there! And these pretzel twists are every bit as good, or better, than the original. They’re still tangy and crunchy, but not fake tasting or overly processed. They’re technically not vegan as they have honey in them, but I do consume honey and everything else in there is fully vegan.

I’ve almost finished the first bag in less than a week!

I think these are only available online for now (I ordered a two pack from Amazon) but fingers crossed 🤞🏼 they’ll start selling them in stores (ahem, Target and Sprouts).

Do you like summer storms? I much prefer them to snowstorms (which we don’t get in most of AZ, but growing up in Colorado, they were so common through winter and spring). Pretzels — honey mustard or cheddar?