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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough

Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough

To be completely honest, I did not want to share this post for a long time. When I set a goal, I achieve it and my in-race injuries prevented that. However, I have come to terms with what took place and recognized it as a humbling experience. The most important lesson from my injury: practice self-love. 

Tucson Marathon– December 2017
Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough

A year ago, I finished my second marathon and was injured during the race at mile 10. I was devastated as I had worked so hard the entire year to sustain my Boston qualifying pace of 8min/mi. My knee injury at mile 10 slowed me down which resulted in compensating my body weight to the opposite leg for the remaining 16.2mi, and well, that resulted in a foot injury.

As my pace-group ran ahead, I limped down 
the pavement with the sun beating down on me.

I felt inadequate and wanted to quit, but I decided to buckle down and tough it out even though that meant I would no longer be running with my pace group to qualify for Boston. As my pace group ran ahead, I limped down the pavement with the sun beating down on me. Eventually, as more and more people passed me, I heard,

"Is that Natalie?!"

The familiar voice caused me to turn around and there was Chelsee, my sister-in-law. Running alongside her was my father-in-law. Thanks to them, I was able to push through the pain and finish. Having them by my side encouraged me to move forward.

What made the race worth finishing was the fact that I had the rare opportunity to cross the finish line with my family. I will always treasure that moment!


Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough

Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough


Post Tucson Marathon 2017
Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough

Despite finishing my second marathon, I still felt bad for not finishing at the time I had sought out. People would congratulate me and I would smile with thanks, but I was still beating myself up over the incident. In 2017, I also did my first 70.3 Ironman, ran my second half-marathon and biked up to Mount Lemmon for the first time. I should have celebrated what I was able to achieve in 2017 while working a full-time PR job, holding office as vice president on two nonprofit boards and actively growing my blog. Instead, I let my poor finish in the Tucson marathon weigh me down.

I felt extremely anxious that I was unable to 
do my regular triathlon and marathon workouts.

Much more came from not being able to workout regularly over the next few weeks. My foot was injured to the point where I couldn't even cycle because pushing down on the pedal was too painful. My weekly endorphins had changed dramatically. I went from doing 125-150mi of cycling and 50-60mi of running per week down to nothing. I felt extremely anxious that I was unable to do my regular triathlon and marathon workouts. My orthopedist told me to take off three months from running. To further add to my frustration, I had my wedding in less than two months (February 2018) and I had no idea what I was suppose to do to stay in shape.

Barre3 Tucson 
Tucson Marathon Recap: You Are Enough
Photo Credit: Tara Leinen

I quickly thought what low-impact workouts I could do. Barre3 came up because I had a few friends who were in incredible shape who used that as their main workout. I saw a special on the "Mind and Body" app for first-time clients for $99 which included unlimited classes for a month.

Barre3 ended up being a much more invigorating workout than I had previously anticipated. For those of you who aren't familiar with barre3, it is an aerobic and strength-training class that pulls concepts from yoga, ballet and Pilates.

With barre3, I found myself mentally at ease in the same way I found when cycling or running. I was able to focus on my breath and give it my all. I found peace through the workouts. What I loved about the workouts was how they were completely different than my regular triathlon and gym workouts. With barre3, intricate muscles were targeted and I was able to see myself develop strength in new ways. I found my health to be balanced physically and mentally.

Later in 2018, I came to the realization that completing my second marathon was a great achievement and that it was already enough. I didn't need to be so harsh on myself. 2019 is a year I promise to practice greater self-love and I look forward to sharing more with you.

I am here to tell you that you are more 
than enough. You are always enough. 

The end of the year is often when we reflect. For those of you who are reflecting on your year as a failure due to health, job and/or relationships, I am here to tell you that you are more than enough. You are always enough.

With barre3, I am excited to announce my partnership for their January challenge! The challenge, includes:
  • Unlimited barre3 classes (online or in-studio)
  • One month of free access to Headspace
  • An exclusive barre3xHeadspace mindfulness plan
Headspace is an app that includes daily meditations and mindfulness plans with the goal of improving health and happiness around the world.

To sign up for the January Challenge with barre3, go here, or call barre3 Tucson at 520-299-1287.

I would recommend practicing most of your classes in-studio, and relying on the online classes only when you're on the go or short on time. Please feel free to email me or DM me on Instagram if you have any questions about barre3!


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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Gingham Year-Round

Gingham Year-Round

Earlier this month, I had a girls weekend in Southern California to celebrate the 30th birthday of one of my best friends. We leisurely sailed down through the Naples Canal and sipped on bubbles while enjoying bites from the French-bistro, Moulin. It was the perfect weekend away with my girls.

Anyways, I've worn this outfit a good 3-4 times and was always left empty-handed when it came to photos. Well finally I can share the look with you! The main feature are my high-waisted, gingham pants because I believe in utilizing most of my wardrobe year-round. To make the summer print more appropriate for a December ensemble, I styled it with a cool-toned, pink sweater and a pair of statement earrings.




With the slight breeze, I opted for an off-shoulder sweater (similar from A&F) from H&M that I found earlier this fall. It's extremely rare for me to wear pants because I will on most occasions pick a skirt or a dress over pants. However, the style and comfort of the gingham pants made these pants a wardrobe staple for me.

Gingham Year-Round

Gingham Year-Round

On the entire internet, Bloomingdales was the only place I could find who had any pairs of my pants and it's size large– get them here. I 100% recommend getting them if they are your size. I always get compliments on them! BONUS: They're 70% off right now which brings them to an affordable price of $26.33! Since I'm 5'0" the pants hit me at the end of my ankle instead of my lower calf.

If you're not a large, I included similar styles I found on Revolve: try here and here. Also included are my all-time favorite earrings of the year, Kendra Scott's Fabia Statement Gold Earrings. My sunglasses were a pair I borrowed from Sam because I accidentally left mine at home. The cross-body handbag is a Louis Vuitton I bought for my birthday over the summer... can you believe the first time I brought it out was in November?! Since then, I've been taking it out with me and absolutely love it for a non-traditional looking LV bag. I'll create a post just for that later on.

Gingham Year-Round

Gingham Year-Round

Gingham Year-Round

 LIKEtoKNOW.it / rewardStyle
Transparency is important to me, and I recently was accepted to joined LIKEtoKNOW.it/rewardStyle. What this means is I will receive a small commission from your purchase when you shop using most links in this blog post. If you see a watermark like the one below on my Instagram or Facebook photo, then that means you can shop the look by downloading the LIKEtoKNOW.it app (LTK)! I put in much effort into my craft and I truly appreciate it if you decide to make a purchase through those links!

Gingham Year-Round

As I go into the new year, I want to bring fashion back into my blog on a regular basis because I've noticed more questions on Instagram when I post clothes. I hope my new partnership with LTK can serve as a valuable resource for you!


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockabilly and Blues BBQ

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Alex and I were invited by Loews Ventana Canyon Resort to experience their first annual Rockabilly and Blues BBQ! To provide a little bit more detail, the Rockabilly and Blues BBQ is an evening under the beautiful stars of the Sonoran desert, featuring a variety of live bands, Harley Davidson motorcycles, hotrods, local craft beer, desserts and incredible BBQ.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Bonus! If you're a parent who needs a date night and don't want to deal with other people's kids in public, rest assured this is a 21+ event. Parents definitely deserve their share of fun! 

The food alone is enough for me to want to attend again! Here's a few reasons why:

1. Local Vendors
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is committed to incorporating the Flavor by Loews campaign nationally to showcase a destination's best local artisans in the food and beverage industry. I will always be one to vouch for the extraordinary culinary options Tucson offers and this does not only extend to restaurants. Tops Knot Farms once again impressed me and I am still food-dreaming about their chicken they largely smoked over a mesquite fire and covered with a variety of spices: bay leaf, sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary. The secret to what made the chicken tender and moist? I was told they sous vide the chicken prior to the smoking.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

A new meat company I encountered this evening is one I plan to keep on my radar: E&R Pork. They brought an entire hog that was roasted over an open pit! I have never tasted such juicy pork. E&R Pork brought IPA pickles with them which gave a unique taste I was drawn to. The pickles utilized the local Dragoon IPA as the base.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

All local vendors Loews used on this evening included: Tucson Tamale Company, Barrio Bread, Dragoon Brewing Company, Whiskey Del Bac, Top Knot Farms, Sleeping Frog Farms, E&R Pork and Pivot Produce. For something fun and T-Loc, Loews also made spiked lemon Eeegee's with your choice of dark or light Whiskey Del Bac.


2. Something for Everyone
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

From the vegan to the meat lover, there was truly something for everyone. While there were copious amounts of savory meats, there was an equal amount of veggies and farm-to-table greens to choose from. They also had my favorite green chile corn bread from the Flying V Restaurant that I tasted during our sponsored staycation with Loews on Memorial Day weekend! For the roasted veggies, they had several fall favorites that included beets, Brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes and more!

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ


3. Desserts by Pastry Chef Krista Owens
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Any dessert from Loews Ventana Canyon's own Krista Owens is always unforgettable! At this point I was getting pretty full and only had room for a few. Her dessert station featured classic snack cakes and spiked milkshakes incorporating set liquor choices, one which included Whiskey Del Bac. My husband, Alex, went for the spiked milkshakes while I dove headfirst into the snack cake replicas of Twinkies, Ho-Hos and other delicious options. The chocolate cupcake was for sure my favorite!

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: First Annual Rockability and Blues BBQ

I would also definitely recommend staying the night since they do offer a bundle deal for a room and their award-winning Blues, Brews & BBQ Brunch! Alex and I stayed the night and it was the perfect way to wind down after the fun-filled evening. A staycation is never a bad idea with Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Thank you to Loews for a fantastic evening!


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Monday, November 12, 2018

My Next Walk of Faith

My Next Walk of Faith

Holding onto my hat for the next adventure He has planned for me!

For the first time everything is uncertain and not planned out. This new journey will be based on my faith and realigning what my true values are. ⠀

Since my last post in October, I found myself doing some soul searching and made adjustments where they were needed. The biggest adjustment I wanted to make was to stop being so focused on the future. It's good to think about the future to an extent but not to the point of missing out on the present.

What made me re-evaluate life was after I listened to a sermon by one of my friends. She was talking about the value we place on things in life and how that can often misguide us. This past Sunday, I ended up listening to a very similar sermon by Alex's dad. I feel those two sermons being the same was not a coincidence.

Again, I'm not sure where I'm meant to go next but I have faith in Him.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

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Monday, October 15, 2018

My Own Struggle With Mental Health

My Own Struggle With Mental Health

This past year my mental health has been affected in a way I have never experienced before. It’s hard for me to find enjoyment in the things I used to love to do. I have to put forth a much greater effort to accomplish tasks. I have had to essentially force myself to do a lot of things. Last week at work, I even had to take a day for personal time off (PTO) because I needed a mental health day to recharge. I’ve never taken a PTO day for this type of thing but I felt I truly needed it to find my balance, which I did, thankfully.

Despite the struggles I have encountered in life, I have always been able to find the “brighter side” of things. I would do my best to be positive and find out what I was able to control in a situation. In high school, it meant embracing my individuality and using my drive to get ahead. In college, it meant managing my finances and finding leadership opportunities without letting my financial circumstances be a disadvantage to me. In New York, it meant using my network to find opportunities to work with various designers for New York Fashion Week. This year the “brighter side” has certainly become more hard to find.

This year I’ve felt a huge attack towards my confidence which previously, I honestly never had problems with.. I use my confidence to aid my ambition which then results in accomplishing my goals. Now, however I have had this constant voice telling me I’m not good enough and everything I am pursuing is pointless.

People who truly know me know that, since high school, I have found joy in having a jam-packed schedule. It was always the way I functioned best. In 2018, I have had multiple urges to drop it all and isolate myself from anything and everything. I felt like I didn’t want to care about everything I was passionate about and had worked so hard to build– with Happily Pink as one of the many examples.

I have had multiple days where I didn’t even want to get out of bed or leave my house. I just wanted to be alone. This year also marks the most breakdowns I have ever had. Each year I would have maybe one breakdown, but I have now had more than 10. It has gotten to the point where I feel like I need to talk to my doctor. I am tired of feeling upset and having a lack of energy. It is so irregular and new to me and I want things to go back to how they used to be.

While I am having my ups and downs, I’m trying so hard to focus on the good. I try to encourage people to be positive instead of negative because I feel the energy of others around you can be detrimental to your health. I experienced such a positive energy from the Commit Campaign. The campaign is focused on breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and wants to create awareness for suicide prevention programs.

For the past two years I have participated in their fashion show and have found the courage to speak up because my struggles may help someone realize they're not alone. I will definitely touch base more on the Commit Campaign in upcoming posts as I plan to write more on the topic of mental health.

I am working on solutions and figuring out how to get things turned around. My husband is definitely my biggest anchor and he is worried to see me change so drastically in less than a year. I have spoken to friends who are diagnosed with mental health illnesses and they have encouraged me to acknowledge something is wrong and to seek out help. After all, we can only find solutions when we recognize there may not be a brighter side to something because it needs to be changed.

When I started my blog, the number one goal was to encourage others to seek out what makes them happiest in life. I need to make sure I am following that goal myself. I will keep you posted.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Goodness New Menu Items

Goodness New Menu Items

Goodness has been on my radar for at least three years since I first discovered the restaurant as a college student. My love for Goodness originally began as a result of not being able to find healthy options on campus. Naturally I was thrilled when one of my favorite eateries invited me to taste some of their new menu items. To all of the University of Arizona kids back on campus– you need to check out the updated menu! Goodness crafted additional healthy options but also looked into how they could make veggies and lean meats indulgent.

Avo Toast
Goodness New Menu Items

I don't care what people say about millennials who eat avocado toast– this is delicious and great for when it's time to eat but you're not overly hungry. When I first saw the dish, it didn't seem like too much avocado spread on the sourdough bread but I was pleasantly surprised with not only the amount but the flavor it added to the toppings. The pickled onions with baby heirloom tomatoes tasted incredible coupled with the creamy goat cheese!


Mediterranean Bowl
Goodness New Menu Items

I was talking to the manager and chef, EJ Marx, and he said the thought process of creating the Mediterranean bowl was based off adding greater variety to the existing menu of the Asian and Mexican bowls. The hummus is def worth trying with the assortment of veggies. You can get your carbs in with the rice or substitute for quinoa. They scrapped their noodles off of their menu and as another effort to be conscious of dietary restrictions, all bowls come with the option to add-on a protein. Since making this change, Marx has noticed considerable positive feedback.


The Veg
Goodness New Menu Items

Alright this one was definitely the holy grail of the visit! The French roll was so soft and tasted fantastic with the contents of the sandwich. Butternut squash and roasted peppers are loaded onto a hummus-filled roll then topped with sautéed-garlic kale and a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze.

Marx said he crafted this sandwich with the pure intention of making it messy to eat. He envisioned French dips as something messy and fun to eat and didn't want vegans missing out on the fun! Prior to the addition of this sandwich, the only vegan sandwich options vegans could get was the grilled cheese. However both vegans and non-vegans will be found ordering this!

Bonus! All sandwiches will now come with the option to pick from chips or the fresh salad of the day. During my tasting, I had a broccoli and corn medley.


Goodness New Menu Items

Thank you for having me Goodness! I truly enjoyed being there and can't wait to come back– the Veg is at the top of my list.


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Monday, June 25, 2018

Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

As you probably know by now, I'm a huge fan of Maynards Market & Kitchen! You can usually see me there for board meetings with Ad 2 in their Market, or enjoying a gourmet dinner from their Kitchen. So, when they invited me to preview their new summer menu for Maynards Kitchen, I immediately jumped onboard with excitement.

One of the things I love about Maynards is how their menu currently consists of 65% local heritage ingredients with the goal to increase that to 90% by the end of next year! Aside from their own organic garden, Maynards Executive Chef Brian Smith utilizes local vendors like Barrio Bread and Top Knot Farms. Continue to scroll below for the details on my personalized menu!


Cocktail
Bee in the Garden
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Maynards distilled their own gin through the help of Three Wells Distillery Company. They crafted the "East End" gin, using botanicals that are pulled directly from Maynards' organic garden. I definitely enjoyed the Bee in the Garden as their take on a Bees Knees.

Starters
Strawberry Beet Salad
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

This salad is a new "favorite" for me at Maynards because I love anything with beets! The sweetness of the strawberries paired well with the creamy, feta cheese mousse. The crunch of the kohlrabi and sunflower seeds were other nice features of the colorful starter. Maynards then used their own garden basil to pull everything together.

Wheat Berry Salad
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Since Alex was my plus one, I was able to take advantage of trying even more food! He ended up selecting the wheat berry salad which was also served in an aesthetically pleasing array of colors. Peaches are such a summer taste to the palette and I loved its use in the salad. The bitterness of the arugula is countered with the subtle honey cues of the tajin vinaigrette.

Entrée
Seared Duck
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Duck is definitely my go-to when I visit restaurants, which is why I was in culinary heaven when I went to Paris over a year ago and was able to indulge in duck on a regular basis! While I unfortunately won't be able to revisit Paris anytime soon, I do love that Maynards offers a duck a l'orange entrée. The Top Knot Farms poultry dish is served with a kale salad that tossed in a duck fat vinaigrette to balance the the dish. A rich, savoriness is achieved with the orange-plum purée that accompanied the pan-seared duck.

Dessert Trio
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Prickly Pear White Chocolate Torte
The sweetness of this dessert finds the perfect happy-medium with the decadence of the white chocolate mousse and tanginess of the the prickly pear.
 
Ricotta Pie
The fluffiness of the ricotta definitely makes this a light dessert, and the pine nuts add to the buttery flavor.

Mango Chili Sorbetto
This was my favorite! Maynards brought one of my favorite chili mango candies to life in the form of a gourmet dessert. The smooth sorbetto tasted identical to that of a refreshing mango– it reminded me of the sorbet quality I had in the small town of Orvieto (Italy) where they used only homemade fruit purée to achieve their flavor. The garnish of crushed chiltepin biscuits and Mexican candy made it a top dessert.


I look forward to returning to Maynards for my favorites and also to try out some of the other dishes that caught my eye– I'm looking at you, sweet-pea risotto! Thank you again to Maynards for inviting me, well done to Chef Brian and his team. An additional congrats to Chef Brian on being named the Tucson's Iron Chef over the weekend!!


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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon

This Memorial Day Weekend, I was fortunate to receive a sponsored staycation at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort! Alex and I enjoyed our time to fully relax, which mainly included eating incredible food at this luxury resort ahaha.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Food First
I figured I would start with the priorities: food. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort provides various eateries on-site where you won't want to leave! These range anywhere from a $3 street taco to a $150 dinner for two. What's most notable about the culinary options is how the resort incorporates the Flavor by Loews campaign nationally to showcase a destination's best local artisans in the food and beverage industry. To highlight the flavor of Tucson, Loews Ventana Canyon includes the following: Barrio Bread, Dragoon Brewing Co. and Tucson Tamale.

Pastries
Anyone who knows me knows of my giant sweet tooth. Well upon arriving, we received an adorable welcome treat of macarons built into the shape of a prickly-pear cactus! The macaron cactus was crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Krista Owens and her team. We also a bottle of their watermelon, prickly pear water. It was the sweetest welcome!

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon

Vista Barista
After a morning hike at the resort, I wanted a snack since our brunch reservation wasn't until three hours later. I swung by Vista Barista and had a delicious almond croissant. The almond paste wasn't too sweet, as most are, and the croissant I was suppose to share ended up not seeing Alex that morning hahaha.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Sugar Cookie Station
Out by the pool was a sugar cookie decorating station where the pastry team had several sugar cookies ready to be decorated with their in-house icing. Call me a kid at heart, but things like this never get old for me!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Flying V Bar & Grill
Twice for dinner, we decided on the Flying V Bar & Grill. The Flying V is highly recommended and involved in local Tucson events like the annual food and wine festival, SAVOR at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Executive Chef and Food Network's Chopped champion, Ken Harvey, crafted a fantastic menu and looks to localize much of the ingredients to create an authentic Tucsonan experience.

Before we could decide what cocktail to order, we were greeted with warm, green chile and cheese cornbread paired fantastically with an agave honey chile butter. The sweetness and spice complemented each other well. The server also brought out sesame lavosh which was well flavored but the umami of green chile bread combo was too much for me to take my attention to anything else in that moment. Seriously so good!!

Loews Ventana Canyon

For drinks I usually go for a bold red wine, or a Belvedere extra-dirty martini, but since the Flying V has over 70 tequilas I figured a margarita would be the better choice. I picked the refreshing cucumber margarita since I planned to have fish for dinner.

Loews Ventana Canyon

I read a few news stories that considered the table-side guacamole to be quite the experience since the guacamoliere customizes the flavor to your personal tastes. This experience is a must and I enjoyed tasting and adjusting the guacamole as needed. Note the photo below is Alex's hand and not my own ha.

Loews Ventana Canyon

For dinner, I had Ahi Tuna on a spread of horseradish pomme purée garnished with seaweed and a tangy citrus salsa. I particularly loved how flavorful the ahi tuna's blackening spice was! Alex ordered their juicy California Prime NY Strip Steak coated with mop sauce and topped with watercress pesto (we agreed the pesto was incredible!) with the sides of a twice-baked potato and local oven-roasted vegetables. Alex and I both agreed we cannot wait to come back to dinner here.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Blues, Brews and BBQ
From all over Tucson, I heard such a large hype about the renown brunch at Loews in their Canyon Café and I finally tried it! Since the brunch is buffet style, you want to be strategic in what you eat to make sure you're picking what you personally will truly enjoy– whatever that may be. I also made sure I wore a dress I could eat to my heart's content ahaha. Get my brunch outfit details here.

Gen Z Yellow

The stations are broken down into four categories: traditional breakfast, BBQ, seafood and dessert. I took a look around at everything and knew I unfortunately would not be able to comfortably eat everything in sight especially with the bottomless mimosas, so I passed up on the traditional breakfast and focused on the other three stations. If you do love a good ol' traditional breakfast then be sure to check out their omelette station or grab the lox.

BBQ
The outdoor grill features a colorful array of grilled fruits and veggies which immediately caught my eye. Conveniently next to it was prime rib and baby-back ribs. The prime rib is quite tasty and if you love ribs with sauce then you will love these! I was also happy to see delicious BBQ sides like the green chile and cheese cornbread, bacon beans and macaroni cheese. My favorite from this station would be the grilled veggies and fruits!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Seafood
The seafood selection was impressive. I immediately fell in love with the Kumamoto oysters and grabbed about five. Also tasty was the ceviche. For those who want something more simple, you will find happiness with the shrimp cocktail.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Dessert
As I was going through and deciding what I wanted from the two large tables of dessert, I overheard a father tell his daughter to only pick three items. That seemed like a good rule to follow to prevent overeating. After careful evaluation, I picked: banana mousse, berry bread pudding and baked s'mores. I also snuck a bite from Alex's crème brûlée. The best choice? The bread pudding! It was rich and melted in the mouth. I asked the server for a small dish of ice cream to go with the pudding and it made me realize I could eat this dessert every day!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Bills Grill
$3 street tacos are challenging to pass up on. During Memorial Day Weekend they were serving these tacos for two hours in the afternoon and the marinated chicken was delicious. 

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Canyon Café
Our last meal of our staycation was at the Canyon Café: Carnitas Benedict and Huevos Rancheros. This was definitely one of my favorite meals from our trip!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

While both breakfast choices were tasty, I am a huge advocate of the carnitas benedict! The Green chile and cheese biscuit was flaky and light to prevent a dense dish. The savory carnitas were cooked to perfection and I fell the cotija cheese was a great pairing.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Alex is obsessed with Huevos Rancheros and loves to try them anytime we go somewhere new. He loved the rancheros sauce and also enjoyed how much the dish itself varied from the traditional recipe.

Loews Ventana Canyon


What To Do
What I loved about Loews is there's so much to do!! Our room offered a beautiful view of the large Koi Pond and Catalina Mountains. We relaxed and enjoyed the view from outside. Below are some things to check out while you're staying at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort



Koi Pond
This pond has some of the largest koi I have seen and it brought back Japanese honeymoon nostalgia while we admired the fish. To prevent guests from feeding the koi something harmful, the resort provides fish food guests can access to feed the koi.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort



Hike
On a crisp morning, I woke up to catch the sunrise against the Catalina Mountains and decided to do some work for Kendra Scott while Alex slept in. The air was crisp and started at 50 degrees Fahrenheit surprisingly enough! The previous evening I ran into my friend Rachel so we decided to do a hike together. We strolled through the path around the resort that led to a natural waterfall on the resort. It was brief, however, I didn't mind because I had done a large leg day workout and 7mi hike the previous hike.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Outfit Details
Danskin Crop (similar) | Lululemon Visor (similar), Tights (same) | Apple Watch Series 2 (same)


Observation Tower
With all the food we indulged in, Alex and I walked our full bellies off by exploring the resort. We learned there was a observation tower and checked it out. The top of the tower opened up to a beautiful view of Tucson and Loews Ventana Canyon's golf course.

Loews Ventana Canyon



Mt. Lemmon Stargazing Center
Southern Arizona is a well-recognized astronomy hub, and Tucson in particular enforces the Tucson and Pima County Outdoor Light Ordinance throughout the city to prevent blue light pollution. This enables beautiful stargazing in the desert. During our stay, Alex and I spotted Jupiter, Vega, Arcturus and many more beautiful celestial objects. We located the stars with the help of one of the specialists, a retired University of Arizona professor, from the Mt. Lemmon Stargazing Center. The specialist was absolutely engaging and he captivated the interest of everyone.

Loews Ventana Canyon



Poolside
Loews offers two pools, with the main one being the center of the resort with the Catalina Mountains as the backdrop. Bill's Grill is the a food option where food attendants will ask you what you would like to eat and drink. It's full relaxation as you have the Sonoran sun beaming on you!

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Outfit Details
Target Xhilaration Swimsuit (same, runs small) | Kendra Scott Julie Bracelets (same), Elisa Necklace (same), Olive Necklace (same), Kristin Earrings (same) | Ted Baker Sunglasses (similar) | Michael Kors Chunky Sandals (similar) | Straw Tote from Cancún (similar) | Maison Margiela - Replica Beach Walk Fragrance (same) | Sephora Lip Stain (same)


Thank you to Loews Ventana Canyon for this fantastic stay that left us with full bellies! Alex and I can't wait to comeback.


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