Thursday, June 19, 2014

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

Sometimes my work life can get pretty stressful - worrying about clients who pay invoices late, realizing that I didn't set aside enough money for taxes, wondering when my next regular gig will come, so on and so blah - but then there are those moments that help me to remember why I do what I do. Like earlier this month, when I got to gather some of my favorite bloggers for a few days in one of my favorite places.

I helped Experience Scottsdale plan their first-ever blogger trip. It's a project that was a couple years in the making, so I was so happy (and nervous!) to see it come to fruition. And, honestly, I still can't believe how smoothly it went and how much fun it was!

Aviators and a Camera (Kirsten Alana), The Expeditioner (Matt Stabile), Nicolette Mason (Erm, well, Nicolette Mason), Table for Two (Julie Wampler) and I each covered a different Scottsdale story - everything from farm-to-table and culinary (Julie and Kirsten), to architecture and adventure (Matt), arts & culture and shopping (Nicolette) and hotels and spas (me).

In the coming days, I'll share some more in-depth posts of my favorite highlights. But today, I'll keep things simple with a brief photo tour of my first day.

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

When I asked the lady at the Hertz rental counter for "something smaller," I had no idea they'd stick me in this tiny beauty. Admittedly, my Euro self was thrilled when she said the word "Fiat." Sure, it was slow to accelerate and I'm pretty sure I got some sideways looks on the freeway and at stoplights from Arizona's notoriously fast drivers, but I loved every moment behind the wheel of this guy. We bonded. That is all.

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

My first stop was at the Phoenix Art Museum, where the Hollywood Costume Exhibit is on display through July 6. If you're anywhere near the area between now and then, you must go! It's one of the coolest exhibits I've ever seen...and I'm pretty sure I've publicly admitted many times that I don't always "get" art.

It's on loan from London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and showcases the most iconic outfits, shoes and accessories from some of our favorite films. I especially loved displays like the one above (Fight Club) where the curator (costume designer and historian Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis) illustrated how the looks went from drawing to actuality.

(Side note: Hollywood's top actresses are even tinier than you think and...so are the men.)

I geeked out over costumes from Casino, Braveheart and Harry Potter, and then hightailed it out of there in order to meet an old friend, Kate, at Biltmore Fashion Park.

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

I was there to check out UNION, which is a fashion incubator of sorts where local designers, boutiques and specialty shops get their start before moving on to bigger, more permanent spots. UNION opened just as I was making the move to New York City, so I never got the chance to visit until now.

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

(Want these.)

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

I love everything that Biltmore Fashion Park is doing with UNION. There's only a handful of stores, but each one is so unique. Arizona-grown olives and olive oil, all-natural beauty products at Citrine, modern home goods from For the People - all local or independently owned.

Photo Tour: Roaming Free in Scottsdale

So, Kate and I finished off our afternoon with champagne and a chocolate tasting at Julia Baker Confections. Julia's flagship shop at the Biltmore is small and adorable, and there's a bar at the back where you can order tastings of her famous truffles - French caramel, hazelnut ganache, almost anything you can dream of. Her boxed chocolates make great gifts, too!

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