I can't think of a better way to celebrate our 30th birthdays than in the absolutely breathtaking red rocks of Sedona, Arizona! I was thrilled to be able to fly out to Phoenix to spend some quality time with my best friend of 17 years! I couldn't wait to hug her and squeeze my nephew! Benson had made me a "Welcome back Aunt Jill" sign and was holding it up high when I walked through security!
Erica and I had planned out 5 days of fun between time in Phoenix, and a girls getaway in Sedona! We couldn't wait to get the party started!
I learned from my last trip to Arizona, that the West does not disappoint when it comes to food. Everything I ate out there last summer was amazing, and everything I ate this trip was amazing! After they picked me up at the airport, we went to a restaurant called Oregano's for lunch!
Their antipasto salad was delicious...
And after pizza, we split this deep dish cookie dough pie with ice cream. Amazing!!
After lunch, Benson opened up his card and gift from the boys. Carson had drawn him a big rocket ship, and each of the boys picked Benson out some fun little gifts. Benson loved everything! He is such a sweet little boy and instantly is my best bud everytime we're together.
One of the things I miss most about Erica's wonderful parents is their cooking! So they cooked us up a little Mexican fiesta for dinner.
Homemade salsa and chips! We snacked on this quite often while I was there!
The next morning, we did a little shopping. Phoenix has a second hand store called Savers that I just love! It's become a top favorite when I'm out there, and we drive around to several in the area looking for deals! I can always find something awesome for pennies. Benson and I had a little fun in the toy aisle while Erica did some shopping...
Erica and I have always shared in the obsession of "the big semi-annual sale" at Bath and Body Works since we were teenagers! We love their hand soaps and combined with a coupon, we stock up for the year at a minimal cost! It's another favorite when we get together. Making memories!
After a fun day of coffee, shopping, and lunch with Benson, Erica and I packed up and headed for Sedona for our girls weekend! Erica has friends from Daytona that were not going to use their timeshare out West this summer, and offered it up for her to use for free. We jumped at the chance to visit such a beautiful place together and celebrate our birthdays and friendship! We're off on the road and ready for a great weekend in Sedona!
The Wyndham, our home away from home for the weekend...
The timeshare was beautiful! It was a 1 bedroom apartment and it was perfect!
Erica's sweet Mama gave us this basket filled with snacks and candy for our birthday weekend. She is so thoughtful and wrote us each a card!
After unpacking our things, we were ready to explore this beautiful town! Here is the view driving into town. I remember saying over and over "I've never seen anything so beautiful!" The red rocks were breathtaking!
The main strip of shops and restaurants was so cute! We parked and walked the street, taking in the views, and just enjoyed being in such a pretty place.
We found a restaurant with a gorgeous view and enjoyed some good ole' southwestern chili in a bread bowl. It was delicious! I couldn't get over the mountains. Simply stunning!
After dinner, we hiked down a steep driveway (in dresses!) to see the canyon creek. Another beautiful sight to see. So serene!
A nice couple walking along the creek offered to take our picture.
After hiking back up, we stopped at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some yummy treats. We tried all sorts of things and took some goodies back to our room where we rented Footloose and had a fun girly night.
The next morning, Erica and I both were up fairly early. We're used to waking up early with our children and we just couldn't sleep in! We had massages scheduled later in the morning, but took advantage of the time we had and hit up Starbucks for some coffee and headed out on a scenic drive.
We took a 2 lane winding road up into the mountains. The views were gorgeous! There were high bridges over train tracks, steep cliffs, creeks, and more. It was truly one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen!
After our scenic drive, we couldn't wait for our 1 hour massages at Amara Resort and Spa. Amara is one of the top rated spas in the West, and afterwards we knew why. It was so relaxing, we didn't want it to end!
After our amazing massages, we walked across the street to a cute little Mexican restaurant.
We sat outside and enjoyed the views from the patio.
They sure know how to make Mexican food out there! I ate all of this! So good!
After lunch we walked off our enormous lunch by checking out all of the shops on the strip. There were so many fun stores to look in. We found a cute little coffee shop called the Pink Java Cafe and we stopped in there for a little pick me up. They had a mint chocolate iced mocha that was so good!
But the views sitting at the coffee shop tables was what made this cafe so amazing! Check out that view! You don't sip coffee looking at that everyday! So neat!
We were ready to do some sightseeing after our coffee kicked in. We bought tickets for a trolley ride to really be able to hear all that Sedona was about. It was awesome!
Our tour guide showed us where Lucille Ball used to have a vacation house.
Then we got to see the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross. It was beautiful! Love the big cross that goes in between two mountains.
The views at the top of the mountain were stunning. So much to look at!
Inside the Chapel of the Holy Cross...
After the trolley tour, we went back to our room to freshen up before heading to our birthday dinner. We went to the Hilton in Sedona and it was awesome! Can't beat the company, food, and breathtaking view...
My gorgeous best friend! Can't imagine my life without my soul sister. She is a beautiful person inside and out, and someone I can't thank God enough for!
The best part of our birthday dinner was dessert! Erica is gluten free, and the Hilton had a flourless chocolate cake! I got the creme brulee and both were so good!
We watched the sunset over the red rocks while we ate dinner and had a wonderful time!
The next morning, we went back to the Pink Java Cafe for more of their yummy coffee, and decided to take the second trolley tour that was offered. This tour took you up a different set of mountains.
Our tour guide had alot of fun facts to share. One of the things we learned was that Walt Disney used to vacation in Sedona, and came up with the name for the ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad after this mountain. Pretty neat fact!
After our trolley tour, we went to Tlaquepaque, a Mexican inspired art and shopping area in Sedona. We had a nice lunch outside at the Secret Garden Cafe.
We walked around the art galleries and shops.
Words really can't describe how special this trip was for me! We laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed! We've made so many memories over the past 17 years, and I can't wait to make so many more! Our friendship is a true gift, and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful best friend to share this life with. Thank you for everything Erica! You are an inspiration and my soul sister for life, thank you for showing me such a wonderful time and leaping into our 30's with so much fun!
And a big thank you to my mom and dad, sister, and awesome husband who held it all together while I was gone! The boys had so much fun with all of you! Matt brought them to the airport at 1am to pick me up. They surprised me at the gate with roses and cute signs!
Ready for my next trip to Arizona already!