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Tales of the Traveling Totes: Seaside, Scottsdale, and Sedona

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Happy December, My Lovelies! It's time for another Tales of the Traveling Totes post!

We traveled to three of my favorite places in the world this past quarter:  Seaside, Florida, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Sedona, Arizona.  

Our first stop was Seaside during Shanley Belle's Fall Break.  Unfortunately our girls' fall breaks did not coincide, but Shelley was able to drive down for the weekend and meet us.  

La Countess du Monet loves to ride bikes, and so do I!  Seaside is a bike lover's paradise.  It's fun looking at the architecture, shopping, and visiting the Seaside Airstream Trailer Food Trucks!

Mr. Sketchy Reader and I have considered retiring to Seaside, but we've taken it off the list of possibilities because the red tide was in while we were there!  It was my first experience with the airborne menace, and I have asthma.  It was horrible for a couple of days, but we did have a few good days, too!

Shelley is cooling off in one of the fountains at Watercolor.  It was very hot while we were there, and I loved it!  Our girls have very different personalities!

Boathouse at Watercolor

Western Lake

Of course while we were there Shanley Belle and I had to visit one of our favorite Indie bookstores, Sundog Books.

I bought these books, and Shanley Belle and I went to Lisa Patton's book signing for her new book, Rush.  I haven't read it yet (and I'm dying to do so) because I've been either sick, traveling, or reading books I'm obligated to read for publishers.  

I love the architecture at Seaside.  This is Truman's house from the movie The Truman Show.

We attended the Farmers' Market on Saturday.  I loved the selection of heirloom pumpkins!

Next, we visited Scottsdale during Thanksgiving.  We lived in Scottsdale in the early 90s.  Shanley Belle was born there, and I love it.  Although I love Alabama, and I grew-up here, Scottsdale is the home of my heart.  I would move back there so fast it would make your head spin!  I've always wanted to take both girls and show them why I love it so much.  I'm so blessed we were able to go.  However, the red tide situation from Seaside eventually caused me to get bronchitis, and we left for Scottsdale the day after I finished my second round of antibiotics.  I felt a little better after a day or two in Scottsdale, but I did not take as many photos as I wish I had, but the rest of the family took some good pictures.

La Countess du Monet loves Scottsdale, too.  This is our home away from home for the week: the Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch.

I love Gainey Ranch for its location.  We almost bought a house in Gainey Ranch when we moved there. It's the first time I've ever stayed there (usually we stay either at the Scottsdale Princess or The Phoenician).

This is Maggie.  She's a rescued Great Horned Owl, the largest owl inhabiting Arizona.  The Hyatt invites these rescue birds of prey to visit during the daytime to keep the birds away from guests (and their food) while dining alfresco.  What a great idea because other hotels and restaurants we visited didn't have the predators keeping the birds at bay!

It was fun having breakfast with Maggie!

We spent a lot of our time in the car showing the girls around.  Some of the places (like the original Chuck Box in Tempe) aren't very photogenic.  We took the girls to see our house, my favorite parks, shops, our former church where Shanley was dedicated, etc...

The two photos above are from the General Store in Pinnacle Peak.  We lived not very far from here, and it was our favorite place to have breakfast while living in Scottsdale.  This is the outside plaza where I like to eat.  Shelley loved it!  It hasn't changed much at all except that they've opened a new coffee shop recently in the store.

We took Shanley to visit ASU which was like a ghost town because the students were out for the Thanksgiving Break.  I wanted to see what she missed by not going to ASU for their doctoral program and choosing LSU instead.  Yes, I admit that I'm that petty!  I sure am!!!  Maybe she can join their neuro-lab once she's finished her post doc!  *tee hee*  She loved the campus, by the way.

We also visited Old Town Scottsdale because we enjoyed going there a lot when we lived there.  Of course we had to go to The Sugar Bowl for ice cream.  

The seasonal flavor is peppermint, and it's my favorite!

On Thanksgiving Day we had dinner at the Arizona Biltmore.  

Perhaps the highlight of our trip was the Holiday Tea at The Phoenician.  It was probably one of the best High Teas I've had anywhere. Ever.  It was the best!

Shelley in the lobby at the Phoenician after we enjoyed our tea.  She said she enjoyed Arizona, but Alabama's home!  She's a funny bird!!!

Next stop:  Sedona!

We wanted the girls to visit the beautiful red rocks of Sedona.  It's such a beautiful part of Arizona, and we had a blast!  Below are a few of the highlights.

The red rock formations truly are spectacular!

Each time I visit Sedona I hike up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  It is so beautiful!

We enjoyed the art, food, shopping, and Christmas spirit at Tlaquepaque. 

I love how this fountain is decorated for Christmas!

La Countess du Monet and I are tired!  We need to recover, so we're spending Christmas at home, hopefully outside by the fire watching Hallmark movies!

What are your Christmas plans?

Please visit the other ladies and see where their travels have led them.   Jackie is hosting a lovely giveaway, so make sure to leave a comment at the Purple Chocolat Home for a chance to win a MacKenzie-Childs tote!

The Traveling Tote bloggers would love for you to visit.  

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs @ The French Hutch
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Ricki Jill with Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolate Home  (enter to win here)
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women (She's new!  Welcome, ladies!)
Jenna with Miss Coquille @ The Painted Apron

Join us for our next adventures March1, 2019!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. I love your trips with the Countess this quarter, Ricki Jill! We've been to each and all of the noted places. I'm so sorry Red Tide was at Seaside and resulted in your getting sick. I would really love to visit the FL coast again, but honestly, that algae was a factor in why we haven't been back.
    AZ is a wonderful state as is UT. I haven't been to the specific locations you noted but that Holy Cross looks fascinating. That fountain was gorgeous - so southern!
    Cheers to the holiday season, and I hope you enjoy it all.

  2. oh RJ, I am so sorry the red tide made you ill! I had no idea it was an airborne problem, I thought it just affected the skin if you swam in it...Seaside is lovely, especially in the fall when it's not so crowded...It makes me sad to think of you moving out of Bham, but Arizona is gorgeous. When I lived in Calif we went to Scottsdale several times and I loved it...HOT in the summer though! I know you had fun showing your girls the sights and your favorite places! Sedona is so stunning! Your girls are adorable, and I LOVE the decorated fountain! I hope we can get together with Emily in a few weeks! Happy December!

  3. RJ, I think the travel bug bit you this fall! Wow, what a whirlwind of fun to some of my favorite places as well. You know how I love Seaside with it's charming little towns and shops, not to mention the beaches. Yikes, glad I missed that tide and did it ever do a number on you. Sun Dogs, my all time favorite!!! We've been to Scottsdale and Sedona and loved AZ. We were there during winter months so thankfully didn't have to deal with the killer heat. Loved the pics of the girls, so nice for you to round them up for such special family travel. Feel better soon. Happy December........

  4. What a fun getaway. I am so sorry to hear you became ill because of the red tide. Your travels look exciting. We love Sedona, we visited there a few years back and loved seeing the red rocks. Have a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

  5. I heard the red tide was at its worst this year - what a strange phenomenon! I have never been to Arizona, so I enjoyed your photos.....and you know how much I want to visit Seaside!! Your girls are lovely and how nice that you get to spend vacations with them. Have a great holiday season!!

  6. Wow, Seaside, Scottsdale and Sedona - all so fabulous!
    Yes the red tide sounds scary. I have asthma too and it can be frightening. Guess no retiring there - yuck!
    But it sure is beautiful. Sedona is drop dead gorgeous too. The Countess is one lucky traveler. So fun to see your girls and the fun they were having. I always love meeting family!

  7. RJ, you traveled to some lovely destinations. I've only been to the Flordia Gulf once some years ago, but I was in San Destin, not Seaside. It is beautiful there. I grew up on the TX Gulf, and have to say it isn't beautiful. Sorry you had to experience the Red Tide. My husband has family in Tuscon, so we've been to AZ several times. The blue skies are amazing. I'll have to remember the tea at the Phoenician, That would be high on my list. Hope you are feeling better. Happy Holidays!

  8. Not to Self: Cancel any and all reservations is Red Tide is predicted. I too have asthma, and although I manage very well, I don't see any point in shooting myself in the foot, if avoidable. Thank you for the tidbit. I hope that you are fully recovered. We spent about 10 days at the Arizona Biltmore last February. Scottsdale is wonderful, and I've been an advocate for Old Scottsdale since I was a child. It has changed so much over the years. You've had some wonderful adventures in the past few months. Tales of the Traveling Tote is the perfect spot to share your wonderful experiences. Thanks for taking us along on your marvelous journeys. Cherry Kay

  9. Oh RJ, you have been on the road these last month. Yes, I can see why Seaside may have lost its appeal after that and so sorry it messed up Scottsdale a bit. Your photos are just wonderful though -- everywhere.

  10. I am really sorry that you had so many health issues visiting Seaside. We love it there but the red tide is a horrible thing. It happened a few years ago, too.

    Arizona looks like a lovely trip for you and the girls. I know the feeling of being in one place that is home and having another place be the "home of your heart". That is the way I feel about Florida!!!

    I have tried to buy a traveling tote but they are not making them anymore-but I will keep checking back, I guess, in hopes that they make them again. I have tried eBay,too...not a MC tote in sight! sigh....

    Hope you have a good Christmas. We will be surrounded with grandkids and kids for the Holidays.

    Have a good week, Ricki Jill- xo Diana

  11. Oh's no fun being sick on vacation. I'm sorry that you had to deal with it on your trip. It looks like you had a great time though...and I know you were thrilled to spend time with your family!! Feel good!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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