Staycation | The Dirty T Edition Part I
The Dirty T - which is the name of the town known by the people who either live there or go to the University of Arizona
Tucson - the actual name of the city
John and I had the opportunity, which we totally took advantage of, to go on a mini-staycation in our lovely state of Arizona, to visit a place we used to call home.
The Dirty T.
The Dirty T, is named such because, well.....er.... it's dirty. Especially by campus land.
Dirty as in areas that could be fixed up aren't. And by all means, it's a college town, so the need to have fancy + clean + nice store fronts, and plazas, and homes etc. is not really needed. Or probably not even appreciated? You can tell these are some of the things I can care about, cause I listed them here. I do have to say though, that this area of Tucson is highly unique, and definitely has it's own character. But it is better maintained near the Foothills/Catalina way, which is a local way to achieve that 'get-away' feeling from being near campus. Anyways, moving along.
We decided to take one night for our mini-staycation, which turned out perfect since John didn't have to take off work, and it was the weekend, so no time to R U S H.
Which, side note if I may - I've been working on this thing. This 'No Rush' thing. I did, at the beginning of the year, set intentions of what I would like to work on and grow from this year. Since 2 0 1 5 was me straight up being a #bossbabe and literally achieving allllll of the goals I had set out to do, it was really hard, while I am in the midst of experiencing what it is like to finally achieve big things, to create more big ticket items. Like 'Dream big, but take small steps' to get there sort of thing. I am still enjoying this sense of accomplishment (though no fear - I am still busting ass for more goal work). Which brings me to my intention setting. I began this year, with a set of intentions - no really end requirement or goal to stamp the mark of when something is done, but more so a list of themes to be mindful of as I set on the journey of this year. I knew before the year even started that this year will include lots and lots of changes. And transitions. So much so, that the OCD babe in me is straight up trying to plan everything to the dot of how it's going to go, while the undecided part of me is having a really hard time making decisions, and then there is the yogic me that is just trying to b e and go with the flow.
Okay, back to this staycation. This is the me that is aiming to go with the flow + take adventures. Once in Tucson, we went straight to Yoga Oasis | Central location for my favorite 10:00 AM Saturday yogahour class. This is the studio where I worked towards my 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and yogahour certifications last year. On Saturdays, I would always work the yoga for trade at the front desk, with just enough time to make it to this class, then head to work. I took this class every week. It was and still is awesome.
After the nice mildly sweaty - full of heart openers class, we went to our other go-to places : Raging Sage Coffee Roasters + Goodness. The coffee shop because well, I have family there. I worked full-time as a barista during my last year in Tucson, and it was at this small, unique coffee house. It seriously felt like a second home, not because I was there six days out of the week, but because the place is run in a way that you just become family with all of your co-workers. It was honestly a beautiful place to work after graduation. It was a supportive environment and a place to grow type of home. We went to say hi, grab a drink, and sit amongst the orange trees in the patio courtyard.
Then, we walked to Goodness to get our favorite Morning Bowl, which has the BEST spicy chipotle sauce ever. We paired it with The Goods smoothie to make sure we would be well nourished up until dinner time.
Now, where we stayed. This trip was the second time we stayed at Hotel Congress, located in Downtown Tucson. Which by all means, please go there. Hotel Congress is known for the live capturing of John Dillinger, who was really wanted back in his day for bank robbery, escape, and murder. True story here. Apparently, he was hiding out in the Dirty T, and just happened to stay at Hotel Congress, when they experienced the fire the caused the hotel to be rebuilt later on. After asking the firemen to obtain his luggage, which contained lots of cash, he was recognized and captured, to which he stated "Well, I'll be damned". Check out here for the full Hotel Congress recap of this historic event. But seriously, stay there. They even have haunted rooms! Even if you have never even considered traveling to Tucson, AZ because it's just not on your 'Top 100 Places to Visit' list, just go there, because it is well worth the character and fun you will experience. Trust me on this one.
I made the reservation for this specific weekend, and we ended up getting the ONLY hotel room with a bathtub. Like a full, legit, vintage bathtub. No curtain to catch the water sort of tub. It was cute. I still think I may have a photo on my phone. But with all the activities we had planned in a 24-hour time period, we wanted to be able to shower and dress nice for dinner and such.
So we definitely had our room switched. Pronto.
We ended up going from the ONLY room with a bathtub, to the room with scary-butcher vintage Halloween posters up on the wall. With a dark reddish curtain, kind of like blood colored? Though the room gave off the 'This is creepy just a bit' vibe, we stayed. What I love about Hotel Congress, in terms of sleeping here, is that once in the room, we can go straight downstairs to the bar, which we totally frequented during college, grab a citrus margarita (for me) and an old fashion (for him), bring it back up to our room, and get ready for the evening while drinking strong, mighty delicious drinks.
Afterwards, we walked to La Cocina, which is another place we like to frequent when we are in town. It is this open format restaurant that serves South-of-the-border type of food, with of course, unique twists that are specific to the land of Tucson. I absolutely lovveeeee the Southwestern Pot Roast because 1. I love pot roast and potatoes 2. It has southern flare i.e. the chili relleno 3. It feels fancy yet causal when I eat it. Also, if you ever go, I highly recommend, well one, that you go to this restaurant, but if you just go for drinks, sit outside, even if it's lightly drizzling out. Enjoy the turtles in the mini-pond in the center, the live music on stage, and the polenta fries.
Yup, you read that right. Polenta fries.
These are a total game changer for me. And John loves them. We sometimes debate ordering two orders of them cause we just don't want to share them! But order them. Please. For me, at least. They have shredded parmesan cheese, sliced basil leaves, and fresh lemon wedges. With yet again, a spicy chipotle sauce. So. Good.
I definitely had a photo shoot on the way to this restaurant, which will be another post!
Onward we went with our evening to scott & co. We met with some friends, and had many rounds of deliciously crafted cocktails. When I first went here, I ordered a Northern Belle, which if you picture an ice cold margarita-like tequila yumminess, stirred with a strawberry infused simple syrup and get this... sprayed with lavender essential oil. Um, what? Just stop for a second. I took one sip, and life for me was changed. It was such a refreshing, and relaxing cocktail, cause of course, lavender was literally in the mix. Since scott & co. operates on a seasonal list, every time after that first time I went there, they did not have the Northern Belle. But to this day, they still have ingredients to make a 'half-assed' one, according to the mixologist there. Which by all means, is still as delicious as ever.
This place is quite small, with high tabletops and chairs. It's the type of place where you want to cozy up with a yummy drink, like the Northern Belle, and good company. Which we did, and loved every minute of it.
The evening ended at Hotel Congress, back to the bar and outdoor dancing, with a DJ concert on the inside stage. What is so unique about Hotel Congress is how many different areas of entertainment they offer. I think overall, combining all of these areas is such a good business idea. They have an outdoor bar + outdoor area to dance in at night/park in during the day, with outdoor patio seating for eating times... This is actually where John + I had our first date, at Cup Cafe for brunching. But Congress also has a Bloody Mary, or I should say, Bloody Maria bar on Saturdays + Sundays for brunch, Opti Club for those #ThirstyThursday college days, and just an overall good vibe location, Oh, and you can also get your haircut here in their barber shop, or get married in their Copper Hall. This place has so much to offer. Just. So. Much.
Although this was only day one of our staycation, it was packed, fun, and relaxing at the same time. I cannot describe how nice it is to be able to take a break from everything, and go somewhere that not only lifts our spirits, but feeds our bellies, and comforts our souls.
Part II of Staycation | The Dirty T Edition will be posted later this week!