Anniversary Trip: Part 1

Last month we celebrated our first anniversary! Since it was our first, we celebrated a bit more than we probably will in the future but it was a memorable first anniversary. Part 1 here will cover our first, shorter trip and Part 2 covers our longer, more vacation-y trip to the same mountain getaway town that we went to for our honeymoon.

On our actual anniversary, July 23rd, Donovan took me on a surprise trip to Phoenix, AZ. We go to Phoenix quite often since we live within a few hours from the metro area, but this time we did something new and different. Our first stop was a pizza grill called Fired Pie for lunch. I love fresh, fire grilled pizzas!

Then we went to a Diamondbacks game with awesome seats! I had never seen an MLB game, so while baseball isn’t one of my favorite sports, it’s still something I’ve been wanting to do. Donovan on the other hand LOVES baseball. Looking back, he wishes he would have pursued a career in baseball rather than football.

Flashing the apple watch he gifted me with that morning

The game wasn’t the best game. It was quite slow; the Dbacks pitcher was not doing too well, so that really slowed down the whole game. However, my favorite part was the experience of America’s favorite pastime – the dedicated, involved fans, the organ cheering on with chords, and the whole crowd singing along to God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. There was so much patriotism in the arena during God Bless America, it was touching! They also took quite a bit of time to recognize veterans and people who have served our country. I loved the traditional part of baseball. Although one tradition I still don’t understand are Cracker Jacks.. what is all the hype about?!?

After the baseball game, we went to K1 Speed. K1 Speed is an indoor go-kart racetrack that allows you to race up to speeds of 45 mph. They take racing very seriously there! You wear a legit head sock that covers everything but your eyes, a big ole’ helmet, and receive a race analyzation form at the end with each racers’ stats with each lap. Again, Donovan had been to K1 (at other locations) and it was all new to me!

We then checked into our hotel and got ready for dinner. We went to the same place that I took Donovan for his birthday earlier this year. The restaurant, Compass Arizona Grill, is in downtown Phoenix on the 24th floor of the Hyatt Regency. This top floor has entire wall to wall windows and the actual floor spins 360°, giving you the perfect scenic dinner with views of the Phoenix valley. Every several feet or so, there is a informational plaque on the window about a building in that exact, current view from where you are sitting at that moment. For example, it would say ASU Sun Devils Stadium, x miles away or Talking Stick Resort Arena – where the Phoenix Suns NBA team plays, 0.5 miles away. It’s such a neat way to tour the valley. It’s the only revolving roof top restaurant in Arizona, and we absolutely love it! We always go at sunset and it’s beautiful to watch the transition from a dusk covered, quiet city to the dark city lit up by the active nightlife.

Please excuse my post go-kart, stuffed in a strange head sock, mixed with the wind hair

We each ordered the Compass Bacon Cheeseburger and Bacon Blue Mac n Cheese (to die for) with Creme Brulee for dessert. The food, service, and view is always incredible and we highly recommend it. The view this particular night was especially amazing. After the sun set, a summer monsoon storm came rolling in. We were 24 floors up in the middle of a rain and lighting storm that lit up the restaurant with each strike. It was gorgeous beyond words to be up in the clouds and inside of the storm..

The storm continued through the night and was still raining the next morning. We ate breakfast at our hotel to the sound of rain and I considered it 100% blissful. We wanted to go to a waterpark that morning, but because of the rain chose to go shopping and to the aquarium instead.

We ended up at the Biltmore Fashion Park shopping center since we hadn’t been to that particular one. It was much nicer and fancier than we expected. A lot of the stores, like Ralph Lauren and Saks 5th Avenue, we went in, walked around just long enough to not make it awkward, and walked right back out. They were so high-class and way out of our element (& budget!). We quickly felt like we had no place being there, haha. We checked a few price tags out of curiosity and were shocked. It still blows my mind what people will pay for a brand name and a stitched on logo! Besides the upper-class stores, we did enjoy browsing through Pottery Barn, Macy’s, and one of my favorites, Williams Sonoma.

There was also this adorable Paris-themed crepe restaurant called the Crepe Club. We eyed it the whole time and stopped for some crepes on our way out. They had sweet and savory crepes, but we were both in the sweet mood. We shared a strawberry, cookie butter, and cream crepe and a smores one. Sooo good! They were the best crepes I’ve had since living in Idaho. There was a little crepe shop on campus and it is still the best crepes I’ve ever had, but for now, these crepes hit the spot!

That afternoon we went to the new(ish) aquarium in Scottsdale, OdySea Aquarium. Double-again, going to an aquarium was something Donovan had done but I hadn’t! We walked in and the attendant at the desk told us we had to go to the bathroom to start. We were both like okay… Thinking we had to actually use the restroom, we were surprised to see a huge water tank view of the sharks right above the sinks. It was cool, but still weird to be surrounded with a bunch of people taking pictures inside of a bathroom.


The aquarium reminded me of SeaWorld in some parts because there was a pool with stingray that we could touch as they swam by. There was also a mini coral reef with starfish and sea urchin that we also were able to touch. The best part of the aquarium was very discreet, hidden off in a corner and most people missed it – we nearly did! The path naturally flowed into a different room but we noticed 2 big double doors with a small, red light up sign that said “Carousel” and a time clock counting down. There was about 5 minutes left on the clock, so we went into the next room and figured we’d come back to see what the “Carousel” was. We were so glad we went back to check! It ended up being like the inside pit/core of all of the large tanks, that spun in 5 minute increments. It was set up like movie theater seating, and there were different rooms on each side that people could hop onto the carousel. As it spun, you spent about 5 minutes in each section at a different tank where you learned about that particular animal. What was so cool about it was that these were the largest views of the tanks in the whole aquarium, and we were completely submerged in the water! Some of the tanks included sea turtles, sharks, and playful sea otters.

The view of the tank from the Carousel

We both had such a good time and as always, were ready to go home when the time came. We stopped at In-n-Out Burger for dinner, one of Donovan’s absolute favorites, before driving home. Our first anniversary was so special and we enjoyed our quick trip. I’m so thankful to Donovan for planning it and surprising me with it! I’m also a lucky girl that we got to spread out our anniversary to keep on celebrating with another trip to the mountains 2 weeks later.


—How did you celebrate your first anniversary with your spouse or significant other?—

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