Stay Happy & Hydrated!

Happy Wednesday friends! It is officially summer over here in the dusty, dry desert(at least it feels like it). Thankfully Arizona is easing us into summer this year. Instead of blasting us with mid 100’s all day, we at least still have some cool mornings and cooler evenings to keep us sane!

Never the less a few weeks ago I started feeling dry. What do I mean by “dry”? To start, I was super tired… all the time. No matter how much sleep I got I was waking up groggy and going to bed earlier and earlier. My lips felt chapped and my head felt foggy. I was so unmotivated to do anything after work because all I wanted to do was hit the couch and relax. On top of this, I would get random occurrences of nausea and my muscles felt achey and tight. I knew immediately that I wasn’t hydrating myself well because this also happened to me shortly after moving to Arizona.

Summer months in the desert are HARD! It is almost harder with having a little relief in the mornings and late evenings because it makes me more inclined to spend time outdoors when I can. The dry air sucks every little bit of moisture out of my skin, hair, and makes it extra difficult to hydrate before and after a run. Because of these reasons, I have to really push myself to hydrate more often throughout the day. I always prided myself on drinking a lot of water, but even with my good habits I still feel I need to push myself a little harder!

Here are a few of my tips on how to stay well hydrated. These tips don’t just apply to me… staying hydrated is beneficial in general to pretty much everyone! Hope you enjoy, and happy hydration!

  1. Carry a large water bottle — ditch the plastic minis! The bigger the bottle, the better for me. I like physically seeing that I am making progress on my water goals. It gives me a way to measure how well I’m doing throughout the day or if I need to step up my game. I prefer water bottles or flasks that are 24 oz or more!
  2. Switch it up! I have shared before how much I enjoy bubbly, flavored waters such as La Croix. When I open up a La Croix, I can down it within 15 minutes because the bubble and hint of flavor is so enjoyable and refreshing to me on a hot day. Drinks such as La Croix are also typically caffeine and sugar free. Caffeine tends to be dehydrating (it makes you pee a lot!), and because I’m such a coffee addict I try to stay away from all other caffeinated beverages as much as possible!
  3. Take advantage of summer fruit! Some fruit such as watermelon or honey dew actually have a fairly high water content. Snacking on these fruits can actually provide a source of hydration all on its own. Of course… you still need to drink fluid, but this is a great way to snack and hydrate at the same time without even thinking about it!
  4. Choose water during your commute. On average, my drive to work is anywhere from 30-40 minutes. During this time, I always grab a water bottle or a carbonated water to sip on the drive. I use to drink coffee on my commute but found that I usually wanted coffee anyways once I arrived at work. Swapping the car ride coffee for water was easy knowing I would have a cup as soon as I settled in at my destination. It is almost like a game… I have to finish this bottle or can before I pull into the parking garage!
  5. Utilize different flavors as needed. I use to flavor my water a lot more with fresh fruit such as strawberries or lemon. I occasionally would slice up a cucumber and add a few pieces to my water in the morning if I wanted a flavor that was less sweet or tangy. I don’t do this as often now, but it is definitely a way to please your palate and give yourself a little variety!

Prescott, AZ , We will be back!

Good morning and happy Sunday everyone! Life has finally slowed down, and I’m loving the extra free time that we have to relax, settle into our home, and truly enjoy time together (referring to Jeff, Eddie, and I!).

Yesterday, Jeff and I took a little drive to Prescott, Arizona to do some site seeing and enjoy the quaint and charming activities and attractions the city has to offer. We wanted the day to be simple and relaxing and it definitely checked both of those boxes!

Prescott is about an hour and 15 minutes away from our home as you head north on the I-17. Moving a little farther north has definitely been a change for us, but with beautiful mountains surrounding our home and family 15 minutes away, it was definitely worth the choice of leaving some of our favorite restaurants and attractions behind! While we thought it was a little chilly already, Prescott was about 50 degrees (20 degrees cooler than Phoenix!) with a light breeze and bright blue skies. What made this city different from where we already are? TREES! Trees, grass, water… it was like a little taste of Ohio, which I was happy to see!

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The first place that we stopped was recommend to us by a few different friends and alone made the trip worthwhile. Watson Lake was breathtakingly beautiful with trails surrounding the entire lake and gorgeous blue water for miles. The lake was surrounded by rock and boulders, which had pathways to follow and get closer to water if desired. Jeff and I hiked and of course took pictures along the way. We were in awe of the beautiful scenery that is tucked away so timidly, you wouldn’t know its there unless you were looking. While we didn’t bring Eddie this time, we will definitely have him join our next trip! We were happy to find two golden retrievers moseying along with their owners, excited to be outdoors in the cool weather!

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This hike can be as simple or as difficult as you make it, so if you are an avid hiker or someone just looking for a leisurely walk, this beautiful spot is appropriate for you! Just to the right of this gorgeous lake and where we parked was a second lake surrounded by more greenery and trees, but still beautiful and peaceful as ever.

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After time spent relaxing in this serene location, we headed to downtown Prescott or “the square” to grab a bite to eat and walk around the charming streets of this small, yet popular city. We were pleasantly surprised by the quantity of people out doing the same, enjoying the weather, and visiting the shops and attractions which downtown had to offer. If I’m being completely honest, the surplus of dogs out with their owners definitely added to my attraction of this quaint and eclectic square (I’ve never seen more Goldens in one city!).

Our first stop was at Prescott Brewing Company, where we grabbed a bite to eat and some locally brewed beer. It definitely hit the spot and refueled us for the afternoon! To eat, I got a hot bowl of tomato and mushroom bisque with a side of beer bread which I’m happy to say was one of the best bowls of soup I’ve ever had at a restaurant! Jeff got a big bowl of chili and we shared pretzels with beer cheese and a side of tangy mustard (this is our go to app at breweries!). We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and our beers. I would definitely recommend this spot if visiting the area!

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After lunch we enjoyed walking around the square and stopping in a few antique shops along the way. Don’t worry, I most definitely was not leaving without an item for home! We stopped at a few more places and another local restaurant before getting back into the car to head home.

On our way back to Phoenix, we had one more very important stop to make! Rock Springs, famous for daily homemade pies at Rock Springs Cafe, is about 25 minutes from our home and houses the most decadent and delicious pies for miles. We stopped to have a quick slice (Jeff got chocolate and I had blueberry) which was the perfect topper to a perfect afternoon on the road. I highly suggest picked up a pie to bring home the next time you are in the area!


La Grande Orange Grocery

Ok, I know I skipped a few weeks but it is time for another local eats post! Today I’m talking a little about La Grande Orange, which is one of my favorite brunch and/or lunch spots!

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Located on 40th St. and Campbell in the center of Arcadia, this quirky and unique “grocery” is fill with eclectic grocery and decorative items to purchase, fun and funky desserts, and a variety of sandwiches, salads, and fun breakfast dishes. Don’t worry, they also have pizza if you aren’t in the mood for a salad!

Every time I have a guest or visitor from out of town, I always want to take them by this spot! The grocery part of the restaurant has so many fun items to look through, such as unique cook books, specialty birthday or holiday cards, jewelry and clothing from local designers, a variety of wine and beer, and other unique items that can serve as fun gifts or conversation pieces.

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Every time my mom is in town, she loves to go through and pick up a few items to take back with her. We also can’t help but grab a few of the desserts to share with our family. If you are a dessert lover or have special dietary needs, there are also gluten-free options if needed!

What are my favorite items at La Grande Orange? If I am coming for brunch, I almost always get the Heriloom Brown Rice Bowl which is made with quinoa, black beans, pistachios, feta, greens, a fried egg, and harissa. It is filling, super flavorful, and perfect after an early morning hike! I am also a big fan of the Vegetarian Sandwich filled with fresh veggies, herbed goat cheese, and havarti.

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I owe a lot of my favorite local finds to one of my good friends who also shares my love of food and eating local! When I first moved to Phoenix, she was the first fried to really help me feel at home and get me involved in all that Arizona has to offer in terms of food and fitness! Because of her, I also love to hike and explore new trails throughout Arizona. There is so much that this wonderful state has to offer, all you have to emerse yourself in the culture of Phoenix and enjoy!

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OHSO Brewery & Distillery

Time for another local eats review! I can truly say hub and I have tested this one out thoroughly. OHSO Brewery & Distillery is just a few blocks down from our home and is dog friendly, so when we are looking to take out our pup, this is our spot!

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The back of the restaurant has an indoor/outdoor atmosphere with space for kids (or dogs!) to run around, play, and test out different games such as corn hole or ping pong! If you are a dog lover, this is definitely a spot your want to check out!

With a variety of local and seasonal brews, this spot is great to have a cold beer on a sunny afternoon or refreshing cocktail made from locally distilled vodkas. There are a variety of fun and funky food options as well as small bites that are perfect for sharing! OHSO offers brunch, lunch, and dinner and has 2 happy hours that run during normal afternoon hours and late at night for those who want to stay out a bit later.

If you enjoy a good burger or sandwich, I can definitely give you a few recommendations! My favorites are The Gobbler (a turkey burger topped with pear compote, spring mix, bacon and tomato; usually pair this with sweet potato fries) and the Grilled Cheese (a cheese combinations of gouda, mozzarella, prosciutto, and tomato jam; usually pair this with a side salad and citrus vinaigrette).

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If you’re curious what I look for in a restaurant before checking it out, here are a few things that tends to spark my interest…

  1. It’s not a chain! — This is within reason. A few of my favorite places to eat, such as True Foods, aren’t necessarily chains but have a few locations out here on the west coast/mid west. If its a place that you can’t find off any highway or in any state, I am definitely interested!
  2. Unique menu — I love something that is a little different. I am also a big fan of small bites, so if I can try a variety of things on your menu in small portions I am definitely going to go check it out! Local beer or wine list? Even better!
  3. There’s a healthy twist — By this I mean a few things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “healthy restaurant” or a restaurant that is know for serving lots of vegetables or only gluten-free foods. If there are options or ways to tailor foods to specific diets, I consider that a healthy twist. Of course, a big old plate of roasted veggies doesn’t hurt either 🙂
  4. Local ingredients — I’ve already explained that I love eating local and supporting local farms, orchards, you name it! If there is a place that locally sources ingredients, you can sign me up!

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Postino Wine Cafe

Ok my foodie friends! Time for another one of my FAVORITE local eats. Today I’m going to talk a little about Postino Wine Cafe. If you are wanting a little fun and funky atmosphere, some amazing small bites or unique and fresh entree options, and of course a glass of wine or two… this is your spot!

While this brand is growing and more locations are popping up throughout the valley, my favorite is still the Arcadia branch, located on Campbell and 44th Street. I think the reason I tend to go to this location is because it truly has the local, quaint feel that I love in a restaurant. With an indoor/outdoor vibe, wine bottles throughout the seating area, and a unique menu that has a little something for everyone, I could spend hours here people watching and enjoying a local, fresh bite to eat.

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Now, what makes their menu so unique? Besides the fact that there are plenty of healthy gluten-free, vegetarian, or health conscious options, their pick-4 bruschetta board can truly make anyone get excited for their food to come. Talk about options! I remember the first time I sat down with a friend and she asked if I wanted to split the board, I couldn’t understand why she was so excited? Now, having tried a variety of their choices I see why she had the reaction she did.

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Each flavor combination is better than the next…. seriously! With options like Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jam with Goat Cheese, Ricotta with Dates & Pistacios, and not to mention the variety of seasonal options available, how are you supposed to choose just four?! If you choose to check out this local favorite, I beg you to try this board. I promise (well… I am 99.9% sure) that you will fall in love with the unique flavors that this cafe has been able to create.

If you enjoy a glass of wine, obviously they offer a variety of choices, as well as a few local and craft beers. This is a charming and cute spot for a relaxed date night or just a night out with the girlfriends! I brought a friend here during her visit last month, and I think she was entirely pleased!

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I just want to leave this post with something a little personal about me and my transition through “healthy eating”. When it comes to eating out, I thoroughly enjoy trying new things and new places. Obviously I love eating local, but something that has changed a lot with me over the past few years is the types of foods that I “allow” myself to eat. I quote that, because over the past few years I have adapted a better concept of being “balanced” with my eating. I have learned that if I want to try something that may have a few more calories than my typical salad or bun-less veggie or turkey burger, I should not hesitate to do it!

It is OK to enjoy the experience of trying new foods or eating out at one of your favorite restaurants. One special meal will not ruin your health efforts! Something that I do to help me moderate my portions when we are eating a special meal or trying something a little more calorie dense is split the meal with my husband. Bless his soul that he has become more open to doing this with me so that we can enjoy these experiences together and both get to try something new! If he really doesn’t want to split something (there are those times when his appetite is bigger than I can keep up with!), I will usually stop eating the second I feel sensations of fullness and box up the rest of my meal for leftovers. It is that simple! I hope you can use some of these tips to help you do the same and enjoy your experiences with eating out and trying new foods!