PHX – LAX – LAX – LAX – Are we ever leaving LA?

Our flights were re-booked to take us through LAX. We tried everything to fix this, but there were no more direct flights going from PHX to JFK – We even tried reaching out on twitter, but everything was over booked. (Travel tip – when having airline issues, reach out over twitter – the airlines assist twitter handle was a HUGE help) When we landed at LAX, we booked it to our gate, but ended up being re-booked again on a flight leaving the next day at 4:30pm. The airline, was nice enough, and put us up for the night, but we decided to not waste the day, and had a mini-day in LA.

Good Morning LA!

We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Pier and walked in the sand, and put our feet in the water. It’s so pretty there!

Caaalliiifoorrnnniia!!

We tried to get a cup of coffee, but everything was closed, so we headed across the street to the Malibu Inn. I assumed that this was a hotel – with a restaurant, but it’s actually just a restaurant .

doesn't this look like a cheap-o motel?

We walked in and saw that they were shooting some sort of commercial or tv show there, but ignored it and got a table. We were exhausted, wearing the same clothes as the day before (due to our checked luggage already being in New York), and just trying to kill some time so we tried to ignore them looking at us, but clearly our “celebrity” (or stinky day old clothes stench) brought them over and they asked us to be extras on the show Million Dollar Listing on Bravo. So, we said, why not? It’s not every day that you get stuck in LA, and get to be on a national show right? Welcome to Hollywood, indeed! (ps They promised us our scene would not end up being cut. Are we destined to be stars, I think so!)

stinky mc stink star power!

On our way back through the PCH, we grabbed a 20 minute lunch with my friend Michael.  We used to go to yearbook and newspaper camps together in high school, (yes we were those kids) and it was cool to get caught up!

Interesting. A pacemaker is an electronic device like headphones, that can always be used on a plane....

Over 24 hours later, we’re now safely back in NYC. Woohoo! Time to show off the bling and celebrate with our family and friends on this coast! J

Have you ever gotten stuck at an airport?

We’re engaged!!!

The Proposal!

Yes, I know I gave away zinger in the headline, but I can’t help myself, I’m so excited! (As one of Adam’s cousins screamed on the phone – insert a thick NY accent here – “Youuu’rrrreee eennaggggeedd to beee marrrrriiieeeeeeddd!!!!!)

We booked our trip to Arizona months ago, and from the start Adam asked me to make Saturday, our “date day.” I left on Tuesday and his plan was to meet me out there for the long weekend  – Our 2 year dating anniversary fell on Wednesday, so we’d be a apart for the day, but planned to celebrate on our “date day.”

 

Remember the flowers Adam sent me for our date-iversary?

Adam’s a complete romantic (we’re lucky that one of us is, because I have the romantic inklings of a paper bag) and would not give me any details about our DD. My friends all predicted that he would propose – and I adamantly denied it. The boy had promised that he’d give me a heads up so my nails could be properly manicured (I mean, a city girl has to have her priorities straight – good ring nail color is a big one!)

Saturday, started out great. We woke up at the Arizona Biltmore. We stayed over that night in their Ocotillo rooms as part of my freelance piece on AZ Spa Resorts. They are just amazing, the rooms are gorgeous, and the staff is unbelievable. Here are some highlights, you’ll get to see more, when my story comes out!

Ocotillo's private pool. Lovely!

 

Kids would love it here!

LOVED this room!

truffles in a chocolate box - LOVE this hotel!

 

We went to Over Easy, a little breakfast nook in Phoenix featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. We do a lot of traveling and have made it a tradition to try out some of restaurants featured on Triple D! They’re always unique, yummy, have lots of (healthy and unhealthier) options, and are not over priced.  Over Easy was not an exception. I asked the waitress what she recommended and before I knew it – I had chicken fried steak. I’ve NEVER eaten or ordered that before in my life, and I’m not sure how it happened – literally, but it was amazing. I shared it with Adam, and had an amazing ice coffee. Their iced coffee is made with evaporated milk, and has hints of cinnamon and mint. It’s a GREAT treat for a hot Phoenix morning!

Delicious!

Next, Adam went to CVS and packed up a cooler with water, ice, and snacks. He’d had warned me to bring a bathing suit, so I thought we were going to a water park of some sort. That idea soon changed when we ended up on the Apache Trail, headed towards Roosevelt Lake and Dam. My parents used to take my fam on this drive as kids – but I do not remember it being nearly as scary – clearly, my worry wart attitude has increased with age – the drive starts out as a winding paved road riding up steep inclines and back down into the canyon, as if not scary enough, it soon turns into a single lane dirt road (for both directions) going up, down and around mountains without guard rails. It was like a real life rodeo – so fun!

Doesn't it look like you're surrounded by no one?

We ended up parking at Roosevelt Lake, and walking to the Marina – where I saw that my boyfriend had taken a boating course and gotten his boating license. (Read: He did a very good job of hiding a 16 hour course from me – maybe my journalistic skills need to be sharpened ;))

Captain Adam K!

 

We got into the boat – let me say, for not having EVER driven a boat before, that Adam is one fine captain. He’s a natural.

He maneuvered us over to a little cove, and tried to drop the anchor, but the steep drop off of the mountain, meant deep waters, and it wouldn’t catch. We were rebels and decided to drift a bit. Adam asked me if I wanted my present for our anniversary. I said yes, of course. Duh, who doesn’t want presents? He told me that he got me something to help me with my writing and pulled out a fancy shmancy Droid Tablet and said he put some blogging software. I was shocked. That’s a BIG anniversary gift.

I couldn’t see the software though, because of the glare (love the hot AZ sun!) and Adam started getting nervous – which was odd and just hit play on the tablet. It started playing our song – Phil Vassar’s version of My Next 30 years and was a video montage of photos. He called it our “top ten” moments – think David Letterman, but a lot more mushy. Number 9, was our first Halloween together, number 2 was our first date (Which he noted had no photos, because it would be creeptastic to take a photo with a girl on the first date) and number one had a picture of the lake, and asked the question Why?  At this point, I was still clueless. He told me the tablet wasn’t my real gift and got down and one knee and proposed.

 

he could not have done better - just what I wanted!

Cry-Laugh-Cry-Laugh - Smile for Picture - Cry - Laugh - Cry - Laugh

 

I was cry-laughing. He was not sure if I was happy, sad, or seasick, and the boat started ramming into the rocky cliffs (remember we decided to drift … ) It was amazingly hysterical. As he put the ring on, the AZ boat patrol came over to try and help. We yelled that he just proposed and that we were fine.  Happy, not sad. Distracted, not stuck. Adam got out the paddles and pushed us away from the rocks.

Rocks, don't you understand that someone is getting engaged? Please don't hurt the boat. Thanks, Shosh

I found out that he had talked to my sister earlier in the week, and got her “permission” as well as my father the night before. I do not think I can gush enough about how much effort he put into this. He really wanted to make this happen in Arizona so I could celebrate with my closest friends and celebrate with my parents. It was perfect.

After we started calling people, everyone wanted to know the same thing:

  1. How did it happen? See above
  2. What is the ring like? He had a jeweler design the band for me, using a stone passed down from his great grandmother, to his grandmother and then to his mom.
  3. When’s the wedding?  No clue! We’re taking a few months to be pumped about our engagement and then we’ll figure out more details.
  4. Where’s the wedding going to be? Since we live in New York, but my family is Phoenix, and we both have fam all over – this is a hot button issue (just like immigration) – the answer is the same as above. We’re not sure yet

We finished up the night by getting snazzied up and heading to dinner at the Top of the Rock. We were staying at the Buttes Resort in Tempe, and coincidently their restaurant is one of the most romantic in the city. Adam, of course, being him, had already made a reservation and let them know that we’d just gotten engaged. The resort sent up chocolate ice cream and champagne, and the chef cooked us a special dessert, it was absolutely gorgeous (Top of the Rock mini-review: Top of the Rock is a great romantic date spot because of the view, but A and I both agreed that we’ve definitely had tastier food for the price).

bubbles!

Summer Salad!

 

Cheers to us! 🙂

salmon with geek yogurt sauce

Thanks Top of the Rock Chef for this yummy dessert!

Such a wonderful day, with a wonderful person!

 

Heat Advisory

It is hot! That is a understatment, it’s really, really, really hot. The weather app on my phone says it’s 109.  When I planned my vacation to my great home state of Arizona, I did not count on there being a heat advisory in September – but there is. Luckily, the state has a lot of other things going for it! I’m on strike with mother nature, an earthquake, a hurricane and a heat advisory in less than a week is a bit too much for this city girl!

Hello Phoenix! Skyline view from my airplane window

 

When I landed, the first thing my parents did was take me to an amazing Asian Buffet. I hate to admit it, but I’m a fan of a good (clean and fresh) Asian buffet. I know buffets have a very bad rap, and encourage unhealthy eating – and overeating, but as someone is constantly watching what I eat, I actually think there are some healthy ways to “pick” at these types of places.

Plate O' Veggies! (And a little Tofu!)

Here are some of my healthy Chinese Buffet Rules:

  1. Do not eat anything fried.
  2. Load up on Fresh Veggies – if there is a Mongolian Grill, go there first for a plate full of veggies – the sauces are usually water based, so they are not as toxic as the ones on the hot plates.
  3. Look for sushi – We only go to places with fresh Sushi options, so my “main” meal is a couple veggie rolls
  4. Get a bowl of soup – As long is it’s not cream based, soups are dense and fill you up, so you’re not as tempted to dig into the sesame chicken.

We went to Hong Kong Gourmet Buffet in the Phoenix area, and you can order sushi as part of the meal  – and they make it fresh for you. I loved it!

freshly made sushi for the table to share!

 

 

I then came home and slept off my early flight and the time difference (two hours in the winter I can do easy – three hours in the summer, not so easy – For those of you that do not know how crazy Arizona is – the state does not participate in day light savings time) in time to meet up with my friend Chris for a fun Mexican dinner. Chris and I studied journalism at the George Washington University and I don’t think I would have made it through some of those classes without him. Good friends are the best!

Eating out Mexican food is always a struggle for me – my tummy usually wants the most greasy nachos on the menu, but my head knows better. Fajitas are usually a good option because you can control the amount of cheese, sour cream, guac (you know the stuff that makes Mexican food so yummy!) and corn tortillas are lot fewer calories than flour.I chose the veggie fajitas. Chris and I went to Valle Luna which has a ton of healthy options (and my mom had a buy one get one free dinner coupon – score!) The sizzling plate of veggies, was paired with some rice, beans, guac on a corn tortilla for a tasty dinner. Growing up in Arizona, I’m definitely a Mexican food snob, and this meal was amazing!

 

Sizzling Veggies!Fajita Fix'ins!

 

It’s always so fun to come home and see people who I haven’t seen in a long time – Can’t wait to catch up more!