our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Happy Monday, friends! 

I super love writing favorites posts, because I get to share a little piece of what I have been loving.  My standard favorites posts from back in the day (click here for examples) would have me all up in my personal day-to-day, and you know I have been getting down with some T-Swift and Gilmore Girls these days, but what I want to share with you today are four things we have loved the most so far in Arizona!

#1—The food!

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

My new life goal is to only eat Mexican food for the rest of our time in Arizona.

No but seriously, the tacos are out of this world.  My parents grew up in southern California, I have lived in San Diego, and have been to Mexico twice.  I am well versed in consuming authentic Mexican food.  Any time I move somewhere far away from the border, I get a little sad about leaving the legit carnitas tacos and sopapillas behind!  

When Will and I found out we were temporarily relocating to Arizona, the FIRST thing I got excited for was Mexican food.  My first taco that I bit into was pork and pineapple and I never ever want to eat anything else ever again.

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Okay well… maybe I’ll make an exception for In-N-Out, because their animal style burger satisfies my soul, and I cannot get away with a trip to this iconic California dining experience without one of their chocolate shakes.  It may stick to my hips temporarily, but it will live in my heart forever.

#2—The storms

the drive home

We are dead in the middle of monsoon season, and it is to die for.  Every roll of thunder, every crash of lightning, every gust of wind has me running to the window or outside my suite to get a peek at the incredible weather sweeping across the desert valley that we are blessed to call home.  

The air quality is so exquisite that as you drive across the plains, you can see the billows of clouds for miles and miles.  You can see a rain storm from a great distance because it looks like a great black cloud has been smudged down to earth.  

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

There is lightning almost every day, whether near by or far off, and it slices through the sky and clouds with an incredible ferocity.  Unlike Florida’s typical afternoon storms that make you feel like you need to get indoors immediately otherwise you will be drenched and electrocuted, the monsoons here are more of a spectator’s storm.  Usually.

#3—The mountains

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Mountains vs. Beach.

I PICK MOUNTAINS!  Everywhere you go, they are different.  Will grew up in a Utah valley and I was born in Nevada, in the shadow of the Carson and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.  The desert mountains have their own unique beauty and characteristics that just scream home for us.  We both love camping, hiking, national parks, and lakes.  Mountains are just home.

our 4 favorite things in Arizona our 4 favorite things in Arizona

There are some great mountains right around us here on the Arizona-Mexico border.  We had the blessing to explore Ramsey Canyon a couple weeks ago, but we also have a great mountain right behind our hotel that we love to climb in the evenings at golden hour. 

#4—The friendly neighborhood dinosaur

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Last but certainly not least, is this dinosaur we discovered one day as we were driving home from Tucson.  He lives outside a McDonalds in Benson and we pulled over immediately upon seeing him so that we could introduce ourselves.

According to the internet, this ravenous raptor is not the only prehistoric dino that lives at Arizona McDonalds across the state.  Apparently there is a T-Rex at a Tucson location and he has lived there since 1994, shortly after Jurassic Park came out.  I definitely think he deserves a visit next time we go to Tucson!

If there’s anything to love about Arizona, it is that the state appears to share my love for dinosaurs.  


As Will and I marvel at how fast our time in the desert is slipping by, we are definitely trying to take advantage of this opportunity to explore a new place.  There’s so much to love here!  If you have been to southern Arizona, let us know what your favorite things are!  

If you enjoyed this post, give it a like or leave us a comment about what you would like to see next.  Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already and we’ll see you next time!

Jamie out.

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

living it up in arizona—part I | learning to live in & love a new home

Will and I have been in Arizona for a little over a month now, and let me tell you—the adventuring is real.  In this month we have tried three churches and settled on one.   We have visited three neighboring towns and road tripped to Utah.  We have climbed a couple mountains, watched some 4th of July fireworks in a park while munching on shave ice, started a Bible study group going through Colossians, and explored local staples like the farmer’s market and La Casitas Mexican restaurant.  

living it up in arizona | part I

The #SuiteLifeofWillandJamie

We have met a lot of new people, through work and through the community, and have found that this temporary home is pretty great.  We have been put up in a hotel for the four months we anticipate being in Arizona, and while there have been some sacrifices made for hotel life, it isn’t all bad.  

living it up in arizona | part I

The rooms were first come, first serve, so we arrived a few days early and were able to snag a suite.  We have a tiny kitchenette, but unlike other rooms, we actually have a stove top, large working desk, a couple couches, and a separate bedroom with in-suite bathroom.  As I spend many of the week days at home, I’m grateful for the extra room.

living it up in arizona | part I

Not only am I grateful to not have to use the communal kitchen, but I am also grateful for coffee and tea in the lobby, complimentary breakfasts every morning, and the sweet staff who clean our room and supply me with anything we need.  Even though the laundry is upstairs, most people here work during the day, so I don’t have any issues with snagging a washer or dryer during the week.  I could get used to this!

living it up in arizona | part I

Among other highlights, I got to take a quick visit to urgent care early on to talk to a doctor about fluid that has been hanging out behind my eardrum.  We also arrived in Arizona just in time for monsoon season.  The rain and lightning storms are intense, and as a girl who loves to watch the wind whip through the trees, I’m all about it.

living it up in arizona | part I

Getting out of the hotel often looks like a run to the grocery store or Target.  Maybe a dash to the gas station Red Box.  We’ve already seen at least three movies in theaters.  These are all great things, but my favorite thing we have started making a habit of is going on evening walks together.  Will works all day, and I’m at home a lot, so getting outside and moving our bodies is super healthy.  We also get to climb mountains, explore the area, and learn more about one another.  It isn’t exactly date night, but I’m not knocking it—I really enjoy it!

 

The 4th of July

On the 4th of July, Will had the day off from work.  We drove up to Tucson for the day where we hit the mall and took advantage of holiday sales.

living it up in arizona | part I

Really we were just there to get our annual festive shirts from Old Navy, but ended up discovering a universal truth—there will always be great sales on or around holidays and to pass up $4 shirts and $10 jeans is just lunacy.  

living it up in arizona | part I

After purchasing more than the intended 4th of July tank tops, we found ourselves at (aka intentionally headed for) REI, which is an outdoors recreational equipment and clothing store.  From water filtration systems to maps of all the areas one could possibly adventure to in the great outdoors, we wandered around drooling over Osprey backpacking packs and Yeti coolers.  We marveled at a map comparing the west coast to the east coast (#westcoastbestcoast) and how many parks and trails we haven’t seen yet.

I then explained to Will that everyone in my family loves their Yeti Rambler Tumblers and that they brag about their Yetis to me all the time.  I mean, they all bought each other the Yetis as gifts.  So one might say, “Jamie, if your family bought each other Yetis as gifts, you must have one as well!”  Aha, that’s where you would be wrong.  As my family brags about their coffee never getting cold or their iced tea never getting warm, I sit in sorrow as my run-of-the-mill tumblers just can’t measure up.  And no, I am not bitter at all that they gifted each other Yetis.

I gifted my own dang self a Yeti while we were at REI.

living it up in arizona | part I

The biggest reason we drove to Tucson, believe it or not, was not for Old Navy tank tops or REI adventures.  It was, in fact, to reunite these two West Coast lovers with a staple that we pine over while living our lives in the east.  It is none other than the delectable delights of one In-N-Out Burger.

living it up in arizona | part I

No visit is complete without an animal style burger and a chocolate shake, in my opinion.  If you have ever seen the drive-through line at a North Carolina Chick-Fil-A, then you know exactly the kind of love and dedication that we are talking about here.  The double lanes at the drive-through, the efficiency of the workers, and at peak hours, the brave souls who stand outside to take everyone’s orders because it’s just that much faster.  That is what In-N-Out on the west coast is like.  It is LIFE.

And side note, I also picked up a 49ers hat at the mall because no fan apparel life is complete without a ball cap on game day.  #49ersFaithful

living it up in arizona | part I

We came, we saw, we devoured our burgers, and then drove home to change into our new appropriately festive Independence Day attire.  We headed to a park in town to meet up with some new friends who had been whiling away the afternoon by playing Spike Ball (it’s legit, follow this link to find it on Amazon).  After Will and I BARELY lost, we headed over to peruse the food truck selection and chose to cool off with some authentic Hawaiian shave ice.  

living it up in arizona | part I

Pineapple, blue raspberry, and mango.  It was a monstrosity, and super soul satisfying.  You can tell because Will appears to be having a great time.  Just look at that smile.

living it up in arizona | part I

Will and I were the old farts who remembered to bring camp chairs to the shindig.  We set up on a grassy spot by a tree, but then discovered we couldn’t see a thing so we all moved to the other side of the tree.  The fireworks got going… or so we thought.  We’re not sure just what happened but the show seemed to be missing a middle, so we spent most of the evening talking to people instead of watching fireworks.  Meh—you win some, you lose some.

living it up in arizona | part I

The rest of the month we spent adventuring, or I spent holed up in our room constructing this blog.  I picked up a side gig to be a Digital Marketing Manager and will be doing that part time.  I have also been disciplining myself to get serious about fitness.  My main goal is to reach a level of fitness that allows for hiking and other active exploits on the weekends with Will.  

Will, who works out for more than an hour most days.  Will, who runs a 6 minute mile.  Will, who could crush me with his pinky.  

Yo, I’m just trying not to huff and puff in his wake as we climb a simple mountain trail.  So I’m dedicated to making it through 80 Day Obsession (a Beach Body program) while we’re in Arizona.  I am doing great!  I just finished phase one this week and started on phase two.  Booty day is my favorite day!  

In an effort not to inundate you with information about our lives, I will end Part I here and instead treat you to some bonus posts this month.  If you liked this post, let me know by liking or commenting, and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already!

Until next time,
Jamie out 

More posts
Moving to Arizona Month 2 in Arizona

living it up in arizona | part I

moving to Arizona

Moving to AZ 2018

Moving was a huge part of my life growing up.  I have lived in six states and two countries.  For most of my life I have called the west coast home.  From the deserts of Nevada, to the valleys and greenery of the Pacific Northwest, with the beach life of SoCal, I have experienced my fair share of American cultures.  

In 2014 I moved from San Diego to North Carolina, where my guy Will moved in 2015.  Will, unlike me, has not lived a lot of places.  He grew up in Utah, went to school in Utah, and spent a few months in Colorado after completing his undergrad.  

We met, we dated, we married, and just two months later, we packed up all of our belongings, put almost everything in storage, and moved to Arizona.  (By the way, that adorable baby on the bed is my nephew James—Will and I have not procreated yet)

Moving to AZ 2018

God bless my family for all of their help.  My entire immediate family lives in North Carolina currently, which has been a huge blessing.  One of the things I am missing most in Arizona is Sunday evenings at my parents’ house with the family.  They were an immense help in getting us ready to move and my mom and dad put their many moves worth of experience to work in helping us pack, move everything to storage, and clean the apartment before we handed in our keys.  They even let us crash at their place the night before we took off into the sunrise!

Moving to AZ 2018

Will and I didn’t live together before we were married, and we knew that we would be moving right away so Will moved into my tiny apartment with me.  It was definitely a challenge figuring out where to store things, and our second bedroom turned into a storage room/Will’s closet for a couple months.  It was a relief to get everything out of there.

Moving to AZ 2018 Moving to AZ 2018

Day 1—Wednesday.

We were determined to make really good time on our drive.  We had decided to bring both of our cars so we both drove all day every day—and my little Mazda doesn’t have cruise control!  Our first 14 hour day was a real treat, I tell ya!  

Moving to AZ 2018

We listened to several chapters in The Hobbit and I definitely utilized Podcasts as, for the first time in my life, I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to hours and hours of music while on the road.  I found some good marriage podcasts, and decided after one go at it to leave the political podcasts to someone else.

Moving to AZ 2018

We drove all the way to Jackson, MS and discovered that a convention was happening in the area and almost every hotel was completely booked.  We sat in the parking lot of our second attempted hotel and called almost everyone in the area before we found possibly the last available room in Jackson.  We were so tired and delirious and just ready to crash, but we celebrated finding a room in a hotel with a pool and a complimentary breakfast.  It’s the little things!  Plus we had a sweet water view from our window, which we entered right at golden hour so the sunset was stunning.

Moving to AZ 2018

Day 2—Thursday.

We didn’t push quite so far this day, as it was our two-monthiversary and Will picked a specific restaurant for us to celebrate at that evening.  

Did I mention that we used walkie talkies the whole drive?  Because we did.  I was Raptor One and Will was Captain America.  It made logistics super easy, and it also made the drive a lot less lonely.

Moving to AZ 2018

No road trip is complete without tiny donuts, and I have discovered that it is specifically Hostess chocolate donuts.  I’m partially blaming my newlywed-fifteen on these tiny donuts.  (Did anyone else IMMEDIATELY start putting on the pounds once they got married?  Because I’ve gone from a size 2 to a size 6 in three months.) 

Moving to AZ 2018

Day 3—Friday.

We made plans with my friend for dinner this day so our destination was set, and a good thing that was.  We arrived at our hotel earlier than expected and crashed for almost two hours.  We were absolutely exhausted.  I was so tired on this trip that I never even pulled out my real camera—I just took a few iPhone photos and videos here and there!  

Moving to AZ 2018

We had a delicious steak dinner with my friend Regina and her husband and talked the night away.  It was incredible getting to catch up with such a beautiful and generous soul who used to be such a light for me in North Carolina until she moved.  

 

Day 4—Saturday.

Our shortest day, and thank goodness.  We were excited, and exhausted, and nervous to see the hotel we would be living in for the next four months.  Also, we had been driving across Texas for DAYS and finally seeing another state was a sight for sore eyes.  The mountains rose around us and the desert heat came in waves.  

As two humans who grew up on the west coast, were born in desert environments and small cities surrounded by mountains, we got very very excited when we finally pulled up to our new digs.

Moving to AZ 2018

There is a pond, and trails up the mountain right behind us.  There are cacti and free coffee in the lobby.  There are sweet maids who deep clean our rooms and give us towels and pillow mints.  There is a complimentary breakfast every morning, and a pool to dip in during the hot days and nights.  And there is monsoon season—OH is there monsoon season!  

Moving to AZ 2018
We have a cute little suite (#SuiteLifeofWillandJamie) with couches and a kitchenette and a cute double bed that Will likes to hog.  I have a little cabinet to put all of my workout stuff in and Will has a huge desk he can spread out on and work at to his heart’s content.  There are big windows I can open to listen to the rain and the laundry is up one flight of stairs, which is only inconvenient if I choose to do laundry after leg day.

We are super happy and are having a blast on this little adventure of ours!  I’ll let you know what we got up to in July pretty soon here, so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and comment to let me know what you would like to see from us next!

Until next time,
Jamie out ❤

To read about our first month in Arizona, click here.

Moving to AZ 2018

Nice to meet you!

Hey, I’m Jamie!  That good looking man in the photo below is my husband Will (get it…  Will and Jamie… Wamie?).  I’m going to be running our blog, so mostly it’s going to be my voice sharing our adventures with you, but Will is super on board and excited about this blog too!

Utah.8.17

I have been running blogs and YouTube channels for years!  I ran a couple YouTube channels very seriously from 2013-2015, but after going through a really tough life transition, I found the healing process too difficult to do while being a YouTube creator.  That’s when I dove headfirst into blogging.  If you want to check out my old posts, follow this link to my Jamie Daily blog.  What I have always loved about the online world is the community that is built, the lives that are changed, and the stories that are heard.  I love writing, photography, and meeting people.  

Will, on the other hand, never ever posts things online.  He has posted two photos on his Instagram since we got married in April, whereas I have lost count of how many I have posted.  However, he loves learning, music, The Hobbit, and running.  He ALSO loves camping and backpacking so you know this girl is totally happy with that!

One of the things I love most about photography is freezing a moment in time so that a memory can last forever.  I have always been fascinated with documenting, which is exactly what Will and I would love to do!  We have been married for a little over three months, have moved across the country, and will be moving back in just a few months!  We want to capture the memories of newlywed life, share the highs of our highs and the lessons of our lows, and we want to grow in the online blogging community!

Right now, my intention is to post five posts this week (hooray blog launch!) and every Monday after that.  

Please let me know what topics you would like to hear about from us!  If you enjoyed this post, make sure to like, comment, and subscribe so that you don’t miss anything we put out in the future!

Until next time,

Jamie out. ❤