So, I have this thing with wall murals. I drive around the city during the work day and love stumbling upon big, bright and colorful works of art. There are so many unique murals in St. Louis and it’s always a fun surprise to come across new ones. Here are some of my favorites along with where to find them next time you’re in the city in search of some great street art!

Peacock pianist 

The Grove.  Manchester Avenue St. Louis, MO

St. Louis wall mural in The Grove

Greetings from St Louis

The Garcia Properties building at 3537 Kingshighway St Louis Mo  63139

Greetings from St. Louis wall mural

 

Psychedelic vibes on Cherokee 

STyLe House Cherokee and Compton 3159 Cherokee St. St Louis Mo 63118

Colorful wall mural in St. Louis

This way to antiques

 The Little Shop Around the Corner 4474 Castleman  St Louis Mo 63110

Antiques in St. Louis

 

Color me happy

SOHA Art gallery 4915 Macklind Ave St Louis Mo 63109

Soarin’ in STL

Koho Boutique 5433 Hampton Ave St Louis MO 63109

Nashville wings in St. louis

Little birdie

The intersection of Macklind and Sutherland in SOHA neighborhood. 

A true triumph

In between The moto museum and Triumph Grill. 3441 Olive St. St Louis MO 63103

Pantone perfection

Right by SLU and FOX. Turn right down the alley before getting to The Best Steakhouse 516 N Grand Blvd.  63103

Catch ya later in the Lou!

Lou Realty Group, 4600 Loughborough Ave. 63116

I’ll keep you in the loop

The Loop.  Delmar Blvd, University City, MO 63130

 

Groovy murals in The Grove

Bwok Bwok Chicken Chicken, Grace Meat + Three

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Bye Bye Birdie, Sanctuaria

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Compassion wings, Urban Chestnut brewery

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There is no black and white situation, corner of Newstead and Manchester

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Rad robo

‘Nest’led in the grove

Bird mural in St. Louis

Cute cardinal 

Cardinal mural in the grove

Grab some grub in the groove

Life’s a beach

 

 

 

A nature and adventure trip to Colorado

 

My son Logan and I share a love for hiking, exploring, and appreciating all that nature has to offer for adventurers such as ourselves. We wanted to take one last trip before Logan went back to school, so we flew to Denver and based ourselves in Colorado Springs as a central location. Colorado seemed like the perfect place for outdoor lovers like us, even if it was just for a quick visit. We tried to maximize the four days we spent in this scenic area, and we were able to see some amazing sights. Here’s what we would recommend if you’re looking for an adventure filled getaway. 

 

What we did: 

The Garden of the Gods

The first stop we decided to make during our stay was The Garden of the Gods. This place is absolutely stunning with red rock formations, miles of trails to explore, and the best part is, it’s free! 

  • Tip: stop at the visitor’s center first for information and a map you can take with you of all the trails 

Garden of the Gods

If you don’t want to spend the entire day hiking (especially if it’s warmer outside), we recommend driving through the park and stopping at various spots to visit the sights. It’s a great way to see the park if you don’t have the entire day to spend here.

  • Tip: make sure to bring water bottles, sunscreen, a first aid kid, and a camera in case you do decide to get out and do a little hiking 

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Garden of the Gods

Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center

The Colorado Spring Olympic Training Center is a great attraction for anyone who has an appreciation for sports and athletes. We have a family friend who gave us a private tour, but you can take an hour long guided tour through the facility. At this center, you can see everything that goes into being an olympic athlete. It was a very inspirational experience for us, and we would recommend it to anyone who enjoys athletics. My favorite quote from the tour was from speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who said, “My mantra has always been to have zero regrets in life. Everything I do at one speed, I go all out.”  

Olympic Training Center

Olympic Training center

Olympic training center

Seven Falls

Seven Falls was by far my favorite place we visited. If you love nature and adventure, this is a must see spot. We parked at a parking lot which has a shuttle that takes you up to the falls. From there we hiked up the 224 steps to the top to see the waterfalls. It’s a pretty decent workout to get there, but totally worth breaking a sweat. The view is spectacular! 

  • Tip: If you’re afraid of heights, the hike up the stairs may not be for you 

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Seven Falls

Seven Falls

Santa’s Workshop

Santa’s Workshop is a fun little amusement park on the way to Pike’s Peak and is best suited for families with smaller kids. We didn’t stay for long, but if you need somewhere to spend a few hours it might be an option. 

Manitou Springs Colorado

This is an adorable little neighborhood with fun restaurants, shops to explore, ice cream, and our favorite, the penny arcade. Only a 20 minute drive from Colorado Springs, it’s a great town to spend an afternoon in. We had lunch and found some treats at a candy shop before hitting the penny arcade. This arcade is indoor and outdoor, and has tons of older arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man and Frogger. It was so fun to show Logan the kinds of games I used to play as a kid. The arcade has every game you could imagine and is fun for everyone, even adults. It was one of Logan’s favorite stops of the trip.

Penny arcade

We also visited a fun little Christmas shop while in town, Christmas in Manitou, where we picked out a white water rafting ornament as our souvenir of the trip. 

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The Royal Gorge Bridge

The Royal Gorge Bridge was about an hour and 20 minutes from Colorado Springs but it’s an easy drive. The photos simply do not do this place justice. It’s stunning. 

  • Tip: bring a printed map with you when heading out to this place. Because of its rural location, getting a GPS signal might be challenging

When we arrived, we got tickets for the bridge and the gondola. We did the gondola ride first, which was very slow and not at all scary. 

You can also walk across the bridge and get a spectacular view from up top. There are also other attractions here, such as a playground and carousel for smaller children, a beer garden and places to eat, and an amphitheater. 

The Royal Gorge

The Royal Gorge

The Royal Gorge

Echo Canyon Rafting

About 15 minutes away from the Royal Gorge was the rafting company, Echo Canyon Rafting. We chose to do the Bighorn Sheep tour which was slightly more advanced than the family tour but I knew Logan would love the faster rapids (category 2 and 3). There are several rafting experiences to choose from, making this great for kids of all ages.

  • Tip: Bring a cooler with food, snacks and drinks. There were not any quick food options in this rural area, but luckily we had some snacks in our bag to hold us over.  
  • Tip: For the rafting, bring water shoes, sunscreen, a waterproof case if you bring your phone on board, and a pair of cheap sunglasses or a lanyard to put on your sunglasses in case they get knocked off in the rapids.  

Photo tip: The rafts have go-pros mounted on the front so if you want a video tell your guide you want to sit in front, but be aware that this part of the raft sets the pace for the paddling and gets the most wet.  

White water rafting

Echo Canyon rafting

Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

If your kids are into dinosaurs we heard this was a fun place and it’s close to the rafting and Royal Gorge Bridge park, however, we did not have a chance to check it out.  

Other Activities that came highly recommended in the area:  

Red Rock Canyon 

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Cave of the winds

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 

Where we stayed:  

We flew into Denver and drove an hour and 1/2 (because of the construction on the road) to Colorado Springs.

We opted to stay at the Drury Inn and Suites Colorado Springs. We love staying at Drury hotels whenever possible because of the amazing value. I’m all about maximizing my travel budget and no other hotel compares to Drury with their friendly staff, modern and clean hotels, and loads of amenities.  

Why my boys love Drury hotels: Free hot breakfast, indoor-outdoor pool and hottub, free popcorn and drinks, and free Wii-fi for all the games they want to play.  

Drury indoor outdoor pool

Why I love staying at Drury hotels: Kickback hour with 3 free drinks per night and hot “snacks” which are a meal for my family. While we were staying here, snack options included chicken tenders, tacos, salads, hot dogs, etc. 

I also love staying in a suite when traveling with my family so we have separate bedrooms. This makes it easy for people who go to bed at different times, as well as having a more private space. 

Drury breakfast

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So if you are looking for a mini vacay for nature lovers and anyone who is up for an adventure, give Colorado Springs a visit! You won’t be disappointed.  

Garden of the Gods

For other fun trips ideas check out other posts here:  Flagstaff, Phoenix, Nashville, Memphis and St Louis.

Check out our Colorado Instagram stories here.

We partnered with Drury hotels for this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy travels, where are you off to next?

XOXO

Sarah~

 

Margaritaville

What do you picture when you think of the perfect summer getaway? Fun for the kids? Blue lake water lapping nearby? A margarita in one hand by the pool? If these check your boxes for a relaxing and fun-filled weekend, try booking a stay at Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake of the Ozarks! Margaritaville is known for its casual-luxe design feel and has recently undergone a huge renovation from the previous Tan Tara resort.

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Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

This is the first full-service lake resort for Margaritaville. With this recent addition, there are now 18 Margaritaville-branded lodging locations. Margaritaville is all about fun for the whole family!

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

Margaritaville has tons of amenities onsite, all within walking distance for a #nostressweekend! There is something for everyone at this resort, and we tried it all. Here are some of our favorite activities we did while at the resort that we highly recommend.

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

On property amenities:

  • Three outdoor pool complexes. One has a swim-up bar and another has a toddler splash pool and waterslide. My boys had a blast cannonballing, diving for rings, and splashing non-stop. They could not get enough of all the swimming areas!
    •  Mom tips: Save your luggage space because the resort offers towels!
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
  •  A fitness center, and basketball and tennis courts.
  •  Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park. This indoor water park has 600 feet of water slides, a lazy river
    for tube floating, a hot tub, water basketball, and a three-story beach house play area. This place is perfect for rainy or cooler days when the weather is unpredictable. There’s also a snack bar area on site. It’s $17 pp, 2 and under free, $5 observation fee to watch your kids if you don’t want to slide. Towels provided.

    • My boys had an absolute blast at the water park and we spent a good 4-5 hours here. It’s an awesome way to spend the day when the weather won’t cooperate.
    • Good news if you are not staying at Margaritaville, you can still come for the day to the waterpark.  Special fees apply.
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
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Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
  •  Fin City Arcade features state-of-the-art video games, classic favorites, and electronic simulators. I normally don’t let the boys spend too much time in arcades but for excellent behavior, my boys earned a video game card and they were in heaven!
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
  •  Fin City Bowling is the resort’s eight-lane bowling alley, which can be set up for bumper bowling and hosts cosmic bowling nights.
  •  Port of Indecision Marina offers watercraft rentals, such as wave runners, pontoon boats, ski boats, paddle boards, and paddle boats.
    • ○  If you want to rent a boat but have no clue how to drive one the marina suggested to Google “Lake of the Ozark Charters” and enquire to hire your own driver from the area.
    • ○  If you are under 36, you have to have a MO boaters license. If you are over 36, you just have to have a MO license.
    • We opted to cruise the lake in the paddle boats. The boys loved looking for the ducks, large carpe, and geese. Bring your quarters for fish food
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

●  On-site spa, call 573-348-3535 to schedule a spa appointment

●  Harbor Master Mini-Golf Course is the resort’s onsite mini-golf course and fun for the whole family!  As if my boys are not competitive enough, they wanted to play some mini golf! It was super fun, on-site and kept them busy.

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

●  Daily Scenic Cruises on the Tropic Island Yacht allows guests to get out on the water and enjoy picturesque views of the Lake of the Ozarks. For reservations call 573-348-0083. The boat leaves Tues-Sun at 3:00.

●  Horseback Riding gives guests the opportunity to explore the resort grounds in a unique way.  I’d recommend making the reservation in advance because they fill up fast. The ride is approx 1 hour in length. If your kids are small they have pony rides too!

Restaurants options on property:  

There are so many amazing restaurants on property.  I was impressed with the amazing food and atmosphere of them all.

●  LandShark Bar & Grill. This newly opened flagship waterfront restaurant features delicious classics like nachos, wings, and signature LandShark burgers. This restaurant overlooks the lake and has a swim-up pool bar for even more fun! There are approximately 40 slips (2 docks) open to boaters who wish to dock and dine at LandShark Bar & Grill. They’re available on a first come-first served basis.
FYI- Boaters welcome. If you are at the lake you can drive your boat over to enjoy eating at Landshark. We would highly recommend the fish tacos. They were absolutely amazing.

●  JB’s Boathouse Grill boasts classic nautical décor with bright blues and crisp whites and is the perfect spot for diners to enjoy breakfast fare, sandwiches, salads, steaks, drinks and more.

○ There is an additional package when you book your room where you can add the breakfast buffet, which features all kinds of fresh fruit, cereals, sausage, waffles, and more. You can also order off the menu for breakfast like I did. I opted for a tropical fruit parfait. Yum! This restaurant also has a stunning view of the lake and marina with an outdoor patio out front.

●  Frank & Lola’s Pizzeria. Pizza night is something my family can all agree on. This family-friendly casual dining option is ideal for families and friends looking to grab a fresh pie while enjoying a game of pool or darts. My boys went crazy for the dessert pizza. So yummy!

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●  Windrose Marker 26 Lakeside Dining is the resort’s beautiful lakeside restaurant, serving exceptional seafood, steaks and more.

●  License to Chill Bar & Grill is the resort’s lobby spot, immediately welcoming guests to paradise upon arrival. The perfect place to grab a margarita to start your trip off right.

Margaritaville

●  The Tiki Hut Pool Bar is located at the resort’s Lakeside Pool, offering tropical beverages for those enjoying fun in the sun. The kids can even get frozen smoothies. My boys would recommend the mango.

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●  Margaritaville Coffee Shop which is located in the lobby serves freshly brewed coffee from signature blends, as well as blended frappes, tea, smoothies and hot cocoa.

The shop also has breakfast pastries and breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit cups, and yogurt parfaits. I ordered a skinny vanilla latte and smoothies for the boys.

Quick Shop is a convenience store on site where you can get ice cream, fudge, wine/beer and all sorts of snacks.

Margaritaville felt like a true escape. With amazing restaurants, tons of fun amenities, and everything right at our fingertips, it was a no stress family weekend close to home. My boys had an absolute blast. Logan’s favorite thing was the Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park, while Mason’s was the arcade and the slide at the outdoor pool.  My favorite by far was that everything we needed was on property- swimming, entertainment, restaurants.  

Margaritaville is a state of mind, centered on fun and escapism. The brand adapts to a variety of locations and is sure to be fun for travelers of all ages! It embodies paradise in every way, whether that’s on the sandy beaches of Florida, or at the Lake of the Ozarks! Happy travels!

If you are looking for other Missouri getaways check out Branson, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, St. Charles.

Where are you off too this weekend?

As a busy working mom, if I don’t make my health and wellness a priority, who will? So when I find a hidden gem that not only can help me relax but has tons of benefits, I have to share it with all my friends. Radiance Float + Wellness offers so much for all of you ladies out there.

I started going to Radiance this winter because I’m always freezing! I work in and out of my car all day long, so during the long winter months I crave warmth. I discovered Radiance’s infrared sauna, and it is heaven. The sauna is a dry heat, making it easier to withstand the high temps of up to 140 degrees. It’s one of the only ways I feel like I can get warmed up after a long winter’s day.

The infrared light penetrates several inches into your body which creates heat, resulting in hyperthermia on a cellular level. This makes you sweat, but instead of the air around you being hot, your body is, allowing you to be more comfortable than in traditional steam saunas. If you have been wanting to give the sauna a try, book your appointment with code: 50Sarah for 50% off.

The sauna has many benefits, such as:

  • Weight loss. One hour in the sauna can burn up to 600 calories.
  • Detox. A session helps to rid your body naturally of harmful toxins.
  • Reduces pain.
  • Decongests. I used the sauna before I had an important flight. I was sick and congested and was worried about my ears hurting on the plane. The sauna totally helped me to decongest so I was ready for my flight.
  • Reduce stress. During a session you can read or simply relax with zero distractions.

Radiance also offers many other services for total body wellness. Some of my favorites are the relaxing salt room and the oxygen bar. I was recently congested and was taking a flight the next day so I opted to give these a try and what a difference they made. My ears were thanking me on that flight. The eucalyptus and peppermint scents are my favorite.

For the approaching summer months I decided to try the cryo-slimming to help me get a boost on losing some extra winter weight. I’m not proud of it but every winter when I go into hibernation mode. I put on a few extra pounds!

Cryo-slimming is a new service that was created in Paris, France which peaked my interest. It sounded like a great solution for those hard to treat places on your body you might need a little extra assistance with. So after some research and talking with people about it, I decided to try the cryo-slimming on my stomach.

Cryo-slimming uses thermal shock to cause the death of fat cells, without damage to your skin. The treatment takes 28 minutes, and begins with 4 minutes of heat at 104 degrees, followed by 24 minutes of cold at 17 degrees. The heat causes the fat cells to migrate towards the surface of your skin, where they are then blasted with the cold temperatures. The dead fat cells then exit your body naturally over the next two weeks.

Cryoslimming. What to expect: It’s a little bit of a process, although the procedure itself is quick. I started with the cryo-slimming, which you can do every two weeks. Then two days after, I would hit the sauna which helped my fat cells leave my body. Then in the third week, I would do the cryo-toning, which helps to tone the area. I lost one inch in my first session! #Hallelujah

cryoslimming

When I posted videos of this process I would get a lot of questions so I thought it would be helpful to list all the questions based on my experience below:

1. Is it miserably cold?  

No. I was nervous about this too, especially since I’m always cold but after a few minutes it numbs the area and you don’t feel much. I promise it was tolerable.  

2.  Did you see results?  

YES! I lost 1 inch in the first session alone and and once I was done with all of my sessions I was down 2 inches around my waist and below my belly button.  

This was in combination of a healthy diet and consistent exercise.

3.  Can you see results with one treatment?  

I think every person will be different.  For my goals I knew I would need more than one treatment and Radiance put together a package for me based on my needs.  If you don’t have a lot to lose one treatment may be enough but I’d consult with them first. You may want to try just the toning treatment if you just want to tone a certain area.  

4.  Is there down time?  

No. I was worried about this too and many days I would stop in on my lunch hour.  There is no down time. For the slimming treatment it takes 2 mins for the warming, 12 mins for the cooling on both sides of the stomach. Then you spend 10 mins on the total vibration machine and you’re done.  It is quick and painless.  

5.  What does it feel like?  

To me it felt like getting an ultrasound. Painless.

6.  What are the best body parts for the cryo-slimming?  

Stomach for me, but I also talked to people that had it done on arms, bra fat, and chin. They also have a cryofacial you can get for anti aging on your face.  

7.  Do you have to eat a certain diet?  

To maximize results I think you need to be trying to live a healthy lifestyle with eating and exercising.  They do recommend not eating carbs or sugar for 4 hours after the treatment and drinking lots of water to flush out your system.  

8.  How much does it cost?  

Depending on your needs they will create a package for you.  This is how my treatment worked.

Day 1: Cryo-slimming
2 days later infrared sauna session
Day 7: Cryo-toning
I repeated this schedule and had 3 cryo-slimming sessions.  

So your package may look different based on your needs but they are offering 25% off packages for the cryo so if you are interested I’d book quickly!

Overall, I loved my experience and got the results I needed to keep me motivated to getting summer and pool party ready.  

Have you heard of cryo-slimming or have places on your body that won’t get better no matter how many sit ups you do?  Tell me about your experience and feel free to send questions if you have them!

** I partnered with Radiance float and wellness on this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have heard many great things about Sedona, so we decided to explore the town and stay overnight. You could easily take a day trip to and from Flagstaff if you wanted. On the main street in the downtown area there were many places to explore, such as charming shops, restaurants, and the visitor center which featured different tour companies. We strolled up and down the streets but couldn’t leave without adding a new stuffed animal to the boys’ collection to remember Arizona! I also picked out a Christmas ornament, which is my favorite kind of souvenir to remember our trips together.

What We Did

Red Rock Magic Trolley

In Sedona, we took the Red Rock Magic Trolley, which is a great way to see all the red rock formations and to get acquainted with the downtown area. It’s also a super relaxing ride and they even give out cookies halfway through the tour (the boys favorite part)!

In the area there are also multiple hikes you can do. I recommend the Courthouse Vista Trailhead for kids. Although the city is famous for the Devil’s Bridge, I decided not to take the boys on this one due to the complexity of the hike but I’m dying to check this hike off my bucket list.  Another unique site in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  

Pink Jeep Tours

A Pink Jeep Tour was a must for Sedona. This turned out to be Logan, Mason, and Grandma’s favorite part of our trip! Our driver Sean was a fantastic tour guide, taking pictures of us and giving us lots of interesting information about the area. The tour took us off-roading down the gulch in a bright pink open jeep. Because it was a little chilly that day, they even provided us with blankets.

Sedona Airport Overlook

Our tour guide also told us that for amazing views and photo opportunities that we should drive up Airport Road. I would highly recommend this. They also have an overlook where you can pay $3 to get an ariel view. There’s even a restaurant if you want dinner with a view.

Where We Stayed

While in town, we booked an Air B&B and stayed right on the main strip at Sedona Uptown Suites. It was the perfect size and location for all of us, and was clean and updated with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Where We Ate

While you’re in town, I recommend grabbing a healthy lunch at Wildflower. They have tons of yummy choices to pick from. Or if you’re looking for a unique pitstop, give the famous Cowboy Club a try. They have grilled rattlesnake and cactus fries! If you still have room for dessert, indulge your sweet tooth at Sabrina’s ice cream.

Don’t miss our Phoenix and Flagstaff posts too. Have you been to Arizona? What’s your favorite part?

Flagstaff is a great place to stay in Arizona if you want to visit iconic attractions such as the Grand Canyon!

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Out of Africa

On the road trip from Phoenix to Flagstaff, we stopped at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde.

This park has a lot of exhibits and shows you can check out, but the African Bush Safari is a must-see! Visitors get to ride in a large open window bus where you can see tons of different kinds of animals, such as zebras and giraffes, roaming around.

They also have walking areas and free trams that go through the park where you can check out the exhibits. My boys love to see animals, so this place was a perfect stop on our way to Flagstaff.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Another potential stop at the same exit is the Montezuma Castle National Monument. It is an 800 year old building made of limestone, and it is the best preserved cliff dwelling in North America.

Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon

Horse Shoe Bend

As a homebase during this portion of the trip, we stayed at the Flagstaff Drury Inn and Suites. From there, day trips to Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon were an easy feat. Horseshoe Bend is an absolutely stunning view where the Colorado River bends into a horseshoe shape. There, they are currently building a parking lot for future travelers to park and walk to the bend, but in the meantime, we parked a distance away and a bus dropped us off. From there we walked half a mile over some sandy and rocky terrain where the best pictures can be snapped of the Bend.

*Mom Tip: If your kids are brave like mine, I’d keep tight reins on them or avoid this place. The rail for safety is pretty tiny. My heart was racing the whole time, worrying that my boys might get too close!

After we saw the Horseshoe Bend, we visited the Antelope Canyon. I cannot recommend enough Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. Our tour guide Raymond was phenomenal. He showed us all the good photo opps and even helped us set the camera to get the best shots.  We even got to see a velociraptor footprint at the end of the tour!

Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon

I’d recommend having reservations before you visit this canyon. We drove from Flagstaff, so I was devastated when I was turned away by some other tour companies. In addition, some other tour companies may not be the best pick for you and your family, so do some research before paying a visit. Upper canyon tours end early and don’t get as much light. Others don’t take cash or do not allow children.

From the office of the tour company, you can walk to the canyon and weave in and out of all the amazing rock formations. There were steps and ladders getting in and out of some places, but my boys didn’t have a problem.

Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon

The majestic beauty and sheer wonder of this canyon is indescribable. I have never seen anything like it! Mason and Logan loved the canyon as well, even pretending to be little Indiana Jones. Definitely make a visit to Antelope Canyon if you’re planning a trip to Arizona.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

From Flagstaff you can also take a day trip to The South Rim of The Grand Canyon, which speaks for itself and can’t be missed if you’re in the state. The spectacular geology will take your breath away, not to mention make for some pretty amazing photo ops. This was my third time to the Grand Canyon, and it is absolutely amazing.

The grand canyon

Once you are in the park there is a visitors center that can guide you to what you’d like to see. We opted to ride the shuttle around the park and hop on and off to eat lunch and check out different areas. We saw lots of wildlife eating alongside the road too. There are several hikes, biking, shopping and eating options.

The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon

Bearizona Wildlife Park

Bearizona

Another place we checked out on our way to the Grand Canyon was Bearizona Wildlife Park, which has wolves, birds of prey, barnyard animals, bison, and you guessed it, bears. They have an area where you can walk to see smaller critters, an area that you can drive through in your car, and a bus ride with open windows that goes through the bear area. They also have shows such as the birds of prey show. If you and your family love animals as much as we do, this place is definitely worth checking out.

Bearizona was the perfect stop to break up the driving from Flagstaff to The Grand Canyon.

Bearizona

Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

Drury Flagstaff

We stayed at Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff, located in the quaint downtown area of Flagstaff, which had tons of shops and restaurants to explore all within blocks of our hotel. Our room was a super cute double queen suite, that had a stunning view from the balcony of the San Francisco mountain peak. We absolutely loved staying in Flagstaff! This Drury was one of our favorites. The best part is we know what to expect when we are at a Drury hotel. Amazing locations, suite options for family space, free breakfast, free kickback hour (3 free drinks per parent), snacks, popcorn, a pool, laundry, Wi-fi, and friendly staff. I have not found this at other hotel chains so consistently!

Drury breakfast

Our next stop is Sedona, AZ. If you missed Phoenix, check it out here. Have you been to Arizona before with kids? If so, tell me what your family loved?

Click here to check out my other posts from Arizona!

Fun in the Valley of the Sun! We headed out west for some outdoor fun on Spring Break. When we first arrived in Arizona, we stayed in Phoenix for a few days.

Lost Dutchman State Park

While we were in Phoenix, our goal was to be outside as much as possible. First on the list was the Lost Dutchman State Park. My boys and I love hiking. The Superstition Mountains were highly recommended for having scenic views and being kid-friendly. There is an entrance fee of $7 and a map is provided upon arrival. The park has many hiking trails that cut through the spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert landscape. We decided on the Treasure Loop Trail, but it was more challenging and advanced than we had expected.

Take a pic of map

Logan’s tip: When hiking, take a photo on your phone of the map. I cannot tell you how many times we had to reference it. The last thing you want is to get off on the wrong trail with little hikers.

Suspicious mountains
Logan photos

Mom’s tip: Remember to always bring a First Aid Kit when you’re hiking with kids! Both of my boys wiped out on this trail. Thank goodness for the good Samaritans we met along the way. Also, be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water. Don’t forget sunscreen! All that being said, the trail was very beautiful and provided great views of the scenic Superstition Mountains.

Suspicious Mountains

Goldfield Ghost Town

Goldfield Ghost town
Goldfield Ghost town

We also visited the Goldfield Ghost Town, which is just minutes from the
Superstition Mountains. Built in 1893, this old mining town is a must destination for any kids interested in westerns. There are all kinds of shops and restaurants to explore, including a museum and a train ride. In its hay day, the town had three saloons, a brewery, a general store, a blacksmith, a boarding house, a school, and a meat market. Visitors can get a feel of what life was like in a boomtown in the wild west. Another fun thing this destination features is a live reenactment of gun fights, just like an old Western.

Desert Breeze Park

In Chandler, we visited Desert Breeze Park, which was near our Drury Hotel. This park has a lake with ducks, bathrooms, picnic tables, shaded pavilions, a huge playground, and even a little train that goes around the park that you can purchase tickets for. The kids had tons of fun running around here, getting all of their energy out. It was a great last stop.

Other Recommendations in the Phoenix Area

A couple of other places that were highly recommended in the Phoenix area that we didn’t get to visit were:

  • Odysea Aquarium
  • The Cactus League – If you are a baseball fan, you may want to check out spring training baseball games. We met tons of families checking out their favorite teams at spring training.

Drury Inn & Suites

Drury Chandler AZ

When we were in Phoenix, we stayed at Drury Inn & Suites in a friendly suburb in Chandler. As always, they have all the perks we are looking for when traveling with the family and looking to maximize our vacation budget. Free, hot, delicious breakfast before setting out every morning is a great bonus that they provide. They have pretty much every breakfast item under the sun, but Mason’s favorite is by far the lucky charms and powdered donuts!

Drury breakfast

They also offer the crowd pleaser Kickback Hour every night from 5:30 to 7 PM, which includes three free drinks for adults and tons of snacks, such as hot dogs, nachos, tacos, and more. For my family, the snacks are more like a meal and provide a cheap but tasty alternative to going out to a restaurant every night for dinner.

The hotel also has free Wi-Fi for all of your vacation needs, like downloading movies or audiobooks for the plane ride. Plus, their suites are the perfect way for my family to travel because you can close the doors of the separate bedrooms when it’s time for the kids’ bedtime.

Our next stop is Flagstaff, my personal favorite of the trip.  Stay tuned!

Bissinger’s chocolate and a party – two of my favorite things! If you know me, you know I’m practically obsessed with Bissinger’s chocolate. Bissinger’s is a premium chocolate company located right here in St. Louis, and I was excited about the opportunity to partner with them. They supplied several different types of chocolate for a tasting bar for our recent brunch. I was thrilled to be able to partner with such a great company. Plus, when you love chocolate sharing is caring. 🙂

The Tasting Bar

Bissinger's chocolate tasting

I wanted to come up with a super special way to display the chocolate tasting bar so it would stand out and be the highlight of the event. I commissioned Gladly Designs to create this beautiful “Chocolate Tasting” sign to display. Then, I labeled each type of chocolate on the platter with a marker.

Bissinger's chocolate tasting

Five Types of Chocolate

Bissinger's chocolate tasting

Bissinger’s supplied us with the following drool-worthy types of chocolate and, you guys, the experience was decadent. These descriptions were taken directly from my contact at Bissinger’s because there’s no way I could describe them any better! They are:

  • Coffee Toffee – Roasted coffee mingles with our signature 60% dark chocolate and topped with crunchy crumbles of almond toffee for a classic, robust coffee and chocolate flavor combination.
  • Strawberry Caramel & Peanut – Savor the sweet perfection of ripe California strawberries, delicately pureed in creamy caramel and surrounded by rich chocolate. We add a sprinkling of chopped, roasted peanuts for a sophisticated take on a classic flavor combination.
  • Caramelized Blood Orange Bar- While Bissinger’s has been crafting confections since the 1600s, we never stop innovating—and this decadent chocolate bar is a perfect example. The deep, dark blood orange caramel is perfectly balanced with a touch of rosemary to elevate the experience for a more sophisticated palate. Toasted hazelnuts and cocoa nibs add dimension and texture for a luxurious finish.
  • 38% Milk Chocolate Bar – A milk chocolate lover’s dream. Crafted by master Chocolatiers, our proprietary milk chocolate offers a full chocolate flavor because, unlike other European milk chocolate recipes that use 32% cacao, ours boasts a 38% level. It’s a luxuriously creamy taste with soft caramel nuances for a lush, round tasting experience.
  • Wine Grapes – Most wine grapes make their way into a bottle of wine, but a limited supply is reserved exclusively for this award-winning confection. Infused with Shiraz and covered in smooth, dark chocolate, each grape offers a burst of impeccable flavor: rich chocolate taste, accented by the finish of the smooth red wine.

Guests were invited to take notes on each type of chocolate as they tasted it, similar to a wine tasting.

Bissinger's chocolate tasting

Thank you to Bissinger’s for making this a sweet event. I had each person vote on their favorite chocolate, and the overwhelming crowd favorites were the Coffee Toffee and 38% Milk Chocolate Bar.

If you want to try any of these chocolates yourself or host your own tasting party, check them out online or head to one of their stores. You won’t be disappointed.

Did you know Bissinger’s also gives tours? They are so much fun, but make sure you reserve your spot.

For more party posts check them out here:
Brunch
Swag bag party (favorite things)
Selfie Scavenger Hunt


When it’s cold and dreary outside, all I want to do is pack my bags and head south. I think to get through the winter months we all need a little something to look forward to from time to time. To get out of this slump, this past long weekend, the boys, grandma and I hopped in the car and headed for Memphis, Tennessee. It was also my mom’s birthday weekend, and given that she went to business school in Memphis, we decided to surprise her with a little trip to a city that holds a special place in her heart.

We had an absolute blast exploring all the things Memphis had to offer. For any STL mom looking for a little vacation to a vibrant city full of kid-friendly haunts, good eats, and is only a short road trip away, then Memphis is a perfect weekend getaway.

I love Memphis
(more…)

There’s no better way to unwind and recharge than with a massage at Massage Envy at Webster Rock Hill. What you may not know is that Massage Envy also offers an array of services dedicated to total body health such as stretches, facials,  skincare products, and peels. What’s more is that Massage Envy features affordable prices and high quality service, so you always know you’re getting the best treatment. Their services are perfect for the busy mom looking for a refresh and a little pampering. I wanted to share with you a few tidbits you might not know about Massage Envy–and reasons why I love them!

  • The  Hydrafacial.   This is not your typical facial,  It is a multi-step process to rehydrate the skin.  The final step of this facial your skin becomes infused with ultra-hydrating serums.  If you’re planning on attending an event like a wedding, reunion, or special occasion it’ll have your skin looking and feeling its best.  J.Lo gets this facial.
Massage Envy Hydrafacial
  • Total body Stretch. Before I recently ran in a 5K, I decided to give it a try and was so happy that I did! They helped me stretch from head to toe.  I felt amazing afterward. The experts work with a large number of athletes, older clients, runners, golfers, etc. so I knew I was in the right hands.
Massage Envy Stretch
  • Customized facial. Taking care of your skin is important to feel radiant and rejuvenated. My favorite is the relaxing hand and arm massage that comes with it!
Massage Envy Facial
  • HSA Accounts: If you choose to get a Massage Envy membership, most HSA Accounts will allow you to pay for your body/skin services. Double check with your specific plan first, but what a deal!
Massage Envy HSA
  • Massage Envy offers Murad Skin care products. After your facial, your esthetician can consult you on a skin care treatment regime. All the products were created by a dermatologist and are customizable for your skin. I have a combo for anti-aging and adult acne.   
Massage Envy Murad Skincare
  • You can book appointments anytime, day or night through their app. Sometimes I get the urge in the early morning hours when I’m tired and groggy that I’m in need of some total body care. The app makes it easy to book or cancel your services anytime you want.
  • Peels. I love taking care of my skin, so once I was confident in Massage Envy’s skin care services, I decided I wanted to take action with my adult acne as well as promote anti-aging. After a consultation and some hand holding, I tried my first peel. The results were amazing! Afterwards, they sent me home with a post peel kit which featured products to enhance the service.
  • As I mentioned before, the services at Massage Envy are super affordable. Where else can you get your first facial or massage for just $50?  I’m all about maximizing my budget and I have loved all the services and results I have gotten from ME.
Massage Envy
  • Lastly, I will always give my business to places where the people are friendly, welcoming, and experts of their craft. Massage Envy has always made me feel welcome and relaxed.

Check out the photos from our fun event Massage Envy put together! All the attendees got to try out mini services and went home with SWAG from these great local businesses. If you are thinking about total body health services, check out Massage Envy in Rock Hill.  Use the code SarahOutandAbout for free enhancements to any service. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

Last year was filled with road trips for my family.  I have set a goal to get my boys to all 50 states by the time they graduate high school so we hit the road and created loads of family memories doing it.  

My parents were avid travelers so I learned at an early age there is so much to explore in this beautiful country and I want my boys to experience that as well.  One of my biggest passions is traveling and I am thrilled to share all the places we would recommend with you is to hopefully make your travel planning process easier.  

Here are the most popular travel destinations from last year.  Click the link below each pic for all the scoop on where we stayed, what we did and where we ate.  

Nashville mural
Nashville
Gulf Shores
Mobile AL
Gulf Shores, AL
Branson Road Trip with Kids #notyourgrandmasBranson! #
Branson, MO
Cape Girardeau MO
Cape Girardeau, MO
STL Staycation at the Ameristar
St. Charles, MO
St Louis Arch
St. Louis Arch Staycation
Echo Bluff
Echo Bluff
Echo Bluff State Park
Kozy Kaboose
Kozy Caboose, Eureka, MO
St Charles Christmas Traditions
St. Charles, Holiday Staycation

We had so much fun on all these trips. I want these trip posts to be a valuable resource for you because I know the time it takes to plan a vacation. Please let me know anything else you would like to see that would be helpful. I’d love to know where your traveling to this year.

XOXO Sarah~