Top Places We Visited in 2017 + Healthy Travel Tips

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walgreens. The opinions and text are all mine.

I was so thankful to be asked by Carusele to participate in a second #SimplyNice campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places in the US. When Walgreens asked me to write a second inspirational post about their new line of revamped Nice! snacks, I was elated! I love their new packaging and some of their treats even inspired me to start thinking about snacking healthier while we travel.

I love that I can find something that is always delicious at Walgreens, and since they’re located all across the country, it’s easy to shop for healthy Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination. Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination.

Since travel has become SUCH a huge part of our lives, one major goal for 2018 is to incorporate even more travel tips and healthy eating tips into this blog. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds! Here’s to a new year!

Nice! at Walgreens - Fun Travel Destinations

Travel can definitely take it out of you as well, so eating healthier while traveling, and drinking lots of water makes a huge difference in how smoothly any trip goes. Our first vacation of 2018 is here in Florida, so I definitely wanted to take the first part of the year to eat healthier and get ready for the beach! Walgreens actually makes it affordable and super convenient to eat healthier! You can even find a huge assortment of vegetarian and vegan baking ingredients like Raw Cashews, Pistachios, and many other nut varieties.

If you’re gluten free, try the AMAZING Organic White Cheddar Puffs – they’re life changing, and perfect for the road since they don’t get your hands (or car for that matter) too messy. Plus, they’re USDA Organic and Non-GMO, which I love.

Nice! products help you live a balanced life to stay on track and indulge without guilt by providing great tastes you can feel good about. Plus, the upfront, labeling and the shopping convenience of Walgreens make Nice! a win.

Below, you can see how we normally pack the car. We always travel with healthy snacks. I tend to get bored with snacks pretty quickly, so I find that if I bring a wider variety of goodies, I am not tempted to run into a gas station to grab something unhealthy.

Healthier Travel Snacks

Below is a list of the top places we visited in 2017, and what I’d recommend in each place. Thanks for following along on our adventures!

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are filled with all sorts of wonderful opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting a bit of exercise too. If you are staying in Key West, make it a goal to walk a few miles each day. It’s super easy to get in the miles in just a few hours, it’s definitely a walking city. Check out shops and restaurants on Duval Street (try Caroline’s Café for a big salad, The Porch for a refreshment, or The Butterfly House to mingle with butterflies, tropical flowers and plants.

If you’re looking for more action and adventure, the Keys offer lots of kayaking, boating, and excursions.

Kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

Me, kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

The dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Bobby and Cabbie sitting on dhe dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Key West
Kayaking on Summerland Key, FL

Our kayaks at the Sugarloaf Boat Launch

FL Keys

Cave Creek, AZ (Phoenix/Tucson)

I am so fortunate that my dad lives in such a beautiful location. If you’re visiting this area of Arizona, there are hiking trails, as well as tons of great restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities! Closer to Tucson, check out Saguaro National Park, Tap and Bottle, or walking around downtown! If you’re closer to Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Cave Creek, try spending the day walking around Old Town Scottsdale (their historic downtown area, with beautifully renovated buildings and a man riding a horse playing guitar). Cave Creek also has a fun downtown area where you can walk to almost every bar and restaurant, and on Saturdays and Sundays, even catch a rodeo! There is also a vibrant motorcycle culture there unlike anywhere else we have ever been.

Saguaro At Sunset

Saguaro At Sunset

Citrus fruit grows abundantly in Spring and into Summer. Adding a splash of lemon to your water will help you want to drink more water and stay healthy and hydrated! Arizona is very, very dry, so dehydration makes your body work harder to perform.

By walking around areas like Cave Creek, Downtown Scottsdale (both the historic districts and the Scottsdale Fashion Square will make for some amazing exercise)!!

There are lots of golf courses in the Phoenix area, which would be an excellent way to spend the day outdoors and get exercise!

And, if you are more for swimming, May-October would be perfect timing to swim! Our dogs are the only ones brave enough to get into the pool in March, though ☺

Chicago, IL

You will DEFINITELY get your miles in for the weekend when you shop in Chicago. The food culture is amazing in Chicago, and there are actually a ton of healthier restaurants that you can check out.

Chicago is also home to tons of breweries and enough public transportation to get to anywhere in the city. If you’re trying to avoid calories from drinking, try a sampler glass of beer at each one, it’s generally only a few ounces of liquid, and you will get a great taste of what flavors the breweries are all about! A few notable places we love to visit in Chicago include: Revolution Brewing, The Bean, Game At Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, Shopping on State Street (possibly better than Michigan Ave! It’s way less crowded than Michigan Avenue, and has some incredibly amazing stores.

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

The food and drink options are nearly limitless in Chicago!

Begyle Brewing in Chicago, IL

Beygle Brewing, which was also hosting an art show – another good excuse to walk around and explore a new location. Dovetail Brewing, which features 100% lager beers was also close by and super delicious!

Denver, CO Area

Some of our best friends live in the Denver area, and we love visiting them whenever we are in town! It’s always fun having a local tour guide, and they love showing us fun places to hike in the mountains, as well as where to visit in the actual city of Denver. It’s a gorgeous area of the country, and if you enjoy the outdoors, it’s a fun place to be. There are so many camp grounds and hiking trails, and many of them are either free or very reasonably priced. Taking along healthy snacks and TONS of water really does make a huge difference, since it is so arid and at a very high elevation.

CO

Hiking at Guanellas Pass

We love traveling with the dogs – they do encourage us to get outdoors and get active!

The dogs LOVE the endless fresh water, mountain fed streams all over the state.

Healthier food options are everywhere We love visiting a place called The Source, that houses restaurants, bars, gift shops and fine grocery markets.

Ennis, MT

Last but definitely not least, Ennis, Montana has stolen a big part of our hearts! We love the abundant mountain views, the fresh clean air, and the fact that you can hike, fish, four wheel, and visit a ghost town all in one day! We love the Madison Valley and hope to wind up there some day. It’s such an inspirational location, and there are SO many opportunities to get out, get active, and get healthy! Bring your snacks along on a hike and enjoy your day. You might even see a herd of Elk or even antelope – they’re quite majestic.

Nice! Healthier Snack Options

A great way to make sure you keep healthy and happy on your vacations is so stock up on snacks like the Fruit & Nut Trail Mix from Walgreens.

Ennis, MT

Our dogs love snow days more than anything in the world. 2017 provided the Madison Valley and surrounding areas with way more snow than other years, something we learned from the locals.

Lake Ennis in Winter

Lake Ennis is fun in the summertime, and almost more beautiful in winter. We explored the lake and the surrounding areas in late Fall, and ice washed up on shore in rhythmic patterns. The sound reminded me of being near the ocean.

While the area is remote, the beauty of the surrounding area is really all I’d need :)

The dogs in Ennis, MT
Willie's Distillery in Ennis, MT

Walking around down town Ennis, MT is great. The city has really done a wonderful job of preserving the past and offering updated bars restaurants, and shops for a huge influx of visitors in Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Ready to go again!

Remember, pack healthy snacks like Nice! From Walgreens, and always have plenty of water – you won’t want to reach for unhealthy options anymore!

Choose Nice! From Walgreens to stay on track with a healthy new year.

Happy adventuring!

Show Me Your Mumu

I have been following the brand, Show Me Your Mumu for a while now. I just love their aesthetic, and the overall boho vibe I get from their line of clothing. Check out Mumu on Pinterest

They feature lots of these beautiful Tunic Tops, one of which I wanted to share with you today!!! I got SO many compliments on this top. The Peta Tunic In Popsicle Python will definitely be my summer go-to, worn over a black tank top and cropped leggings, over a bathing suit, on a road trip, or at a music festival!

Show Me Your Mumu + LWG

Shown in this post, is the Peta Tunic, The Mumu Gold Bull Ring, and The Mucho Love Medium Notebook. This notebook has to be seen in person to understand just how detailed and beautiful it is. It looks completely hand painted, with lots of texture and even a bit of gold glitter paint mixed it.

Show Me Your Mumu + LWG

We shot these photos in Cave Creek, AZ, and also in Sedona, AZ. This tunic top is also great for warm weather, because it's breathable and lightweight, but not see-through. It does not wrinkle either!

Show Me Your Mumu + LWG

A very special thanks to Show Me Your Mumu for sending these products to me so I could share them with the world! 

Show Me Your Mumu + LWG
Show Me Your Mumu + LWG

This notebook is absolutely incredible! It would make an incredible gift for someone who loves to journal, or is an infinite list-maker :)

Show Me Your Mumu + LWG
Show Me Your Mumu + LWG
Show Me Your Mumu + LWG
Show Me Your Mumu + LWG
Show Me Your Mumu + LWG
Show Me Your Mumu + LWG

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. - Gilbert, AZ

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Arizona Wilderness was one of the places we had really been looking forward to. They have pretty rare beers, and even though mine was expensive (unexpectedly $10! oops!!), it was very good! The Rim Country Framboise Noir (5.5% ABV) - Sour Red aged in French oak w/ wild foraged blackberries from the Mogollon Rim! YUM!

Bobby's beer was only $3, so they DO have a good range of prices. We got lucky, it was Taco Tuesday, so we got Pork Tacos, which were very juicy, dripping in fact. They had a good spice to them, and I definitely needed some food at this point!

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

"WE ARE GILBERT’S FIRST BREWERY!

For years we've dreamed of bringing together our two loves: The beautiful and diverse state of Arizona together with hand crafted, artisanal ales. While backpacking the wondrous depths of Arizona we forged ideas that would one day become Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. Well, here we are! We will continue our endeavor into the remote beauties of both the Arizona Wilderness and Craft Beer.

Our belief is that beer is more than a beverage to guzzle on Sundays, just another beverage at the party, or cheap yellow fizzy stuff dad drank while wearing his dirty flannel shirts. Beer is culture and we have a true PASSION for this amazing beverage! Check out our food menu, as it was created to pair quite nicely with our fine ales. C’mon in and see what we are up to next!"

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
 
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Papago Brewing Co. - Scottsdale, AZ

Another stop on our quest for craft beer was Papago Brewing Co. 

LWG

We drove a little ways to get to this place, but it was really nice. We almost couldn't find it, because it was one of the few businesses still operating in this strip mall. Nonetheless, I am really happy we went! The food was decent too, not a huge menu but the Nachos with pork added were good, the Caprese Salad was fresh, and the Thai Chicken Wrap was great! 

Their food was a nice addition to the amazing beer selection! And, it is a bottle shop where you can have the bartender open any bottle in the cooler and drink it on sight! They also had quite a few beers on draught, including their own beers, 30 taps with various, rotating selections. I took a pick your 6 pack home. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

We tried the Transatlantic Kriek beer from New Belgium / Lips Of Faith. It was amazing!!! Love the tart cherry flavor and the beautiful red color of this beer. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

THE BEER

"We feature 30 beers on tap. And every time a keg runs out, a different one takes its place. You will never see the same lineup twice. We also offer over 500 different bottled beers to drink on site or to take home. We love beers from all over the world, and you can choose from a wide selection of Belgian, German, and English beers from our coolers and on tap. But our pride and our specialty is kick-ass American craft beer. We love to drink local, and we love to offer the best of the best from microbreweries around the country."

The Thai Chicken Wrap, Potato Salad, and a Pickle. 

The Thai Chicken Wrap, Potato Salad, and a Pickle. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

The nachos were also good. we added pork to them, and there were all sorts of good toppings. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

About This Beer: "In a never-ending quest to create new beers and defy category, New Belgium Brewing and Old Beersel of Belgium have partnered to create TRANSATLANTIQUE KRIEK, a spontaneously fermented lambic ale made with sour cherries. The 2016 edition of Transatlantique Kriek began life in the oaken vessels of Gert Christiaens’ Oud Beersel, a 130-year-old Belgian lambic brewery. After time spent aging in wood, Oud Beersel’s lambic was blended with tart cherries and shipped across the Atlantic to New Belgium. In concert with Oud Beersel’s cherry lambic, or kriek, we blended in a portion of our own sour Felix from our foeder forest, and created a golden brew to mix in, and round out, the engaging beer. The intense cherry nose leads to a pleasing tart, sweet flash across the palate. Crisp and effervescent, Transatlantique Kriek is a trip worth taking."

LWG
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

I thought it was really neat that families gathered here either before or after their kids' baseball games. I saw lots of families in Papago. 

5DB_0056 100.jpg
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Lemon Sorbet Recipe And Video

So, we are here in Arizona for March, and the lemon tree at my parent's house was just calling my name! I decided to make my first YouTube video about a wonderful lemon sorbet recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

- 2 Cups Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (About 12 Lemons)

- 2 Cups Water

- 1 - 1.5 Cups Sugar (White Sugar or Cane Sugar). I used 2 cups and it was too sweet. 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Juice lemons, and make sure there are no seeds. Set aside.

Heat water and sugar in a medium saucepan, until sugar has dissolved.

Add lemon juice to sugar water, and stir until combined.

Pour lemon juice mixture into a Pyres or container with a lid, and put into freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight. 

When frozen, scrape the sorbet with a fork, and then serve! This sorbet will stay good in the freezer for about 2 weeks. 

Enjoy!