Arizona.

Up in the north, past the rolling hills of Black Canyon, and across the fertile Verde Valley, a proud monolith stands. In the shadow of the San Fransisco Peaks, lies a little gem of a town called Flagstaff. Flagstaff is home to some of the heaviest snow in the country during the winter, some of the slowest drivers in the state, and some of the most gorgeous views for miles.

[The San Fransisco Peaks]

And now, it's home to me.

I have lived in Arizona my entire life. I'm sad to say that I haven't always loved Arizona....but now I'm proud to call myself an AZ native. I've always loved the mountains, so when I moved to Flag to go to school, I loved it almost instantly. And in moving away, I also learned to recognize the more subtle beauty of the desert I grew up in. I suppose you could say that my eyes have been opened to the diverse beauty that surrounds me here. 
[The Grand Canyon. Only an hour and a half away from Flag.]

I definitely still feel at home in the Valley (which is what Flagstaffians call the greater Phoenix area), especially my hometown, Mesa. However, Flagstaff has won my heart. I walk outside and literally every day marvel at the beauty that surrounds me. It's one of the only places in Arizona when you DO have to wear coats in the wintertime (but if you're a true Flagstaffian, you walk around wearing flip-flops in the snow).
[The snowstorm that cancelled finals in winter 2009. Yes, we get SNOWDAYS.]

Even though we have cold winters, and sometimes the snow may get old (especially when it turns into blackish slush on the sidewalks), we have the BEST summers ever. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year in Flagstaff. I can't get enough of it. Here are some highlights from our summer in Flag.

[When the Monsoon Season hits Flagstaff, we actually get rain. And it is glorious.]

[This is probably one of our favorite spots in Flagstaff:  Lake Mary. This is the place where TJ asked me to be his girlfriend, and later, his wife.]

[TJ absolutely loves wakeboarding. And looks dang hot doing it.]

[And now, so do I. Even if I don't look nearly as cool.]

[We really enjoyed taking Sunday walks after dinner, right at sunset. This particular walk was especially gorgeous.]

 
[One night, for a date, we ate Chipotle in the park, and then walked around the residential side of downtown, just so I could take pictures. I loved this super cool old truck.]

[He just LOVES it when I take his picture. Or at least, that's what I tell myself.]

[Just another spot downtown.]

 [Arizona's sunsets are better than Hawaii's. Or so I've heard. I've never been to Hawaii. Lame.]

[There are trees everywhere in Arizona's mountains. And they are grand.]

[Flagstaff rocks because we don't suffer from the Heat of Death that most of the state suffers from. So we're cool and get to have wildflowers. I took this on a cloudy Saturday run. It was awesomely beautiful.]

[A couple of weeks ago, we rode TJ's motorcylce out to Lake Mary. Like I said, it's one of our favorite spots.]



 

[Arizona has some amazing local restaurants. And it's my humble opinion that Flagstaff has some of the best. Beaver Street Brewery is one of our absolute favorites. Except not for the house-brewed beer. Because we don't drink beer. This is the amazing El Gordo pizza. We had it with a "Bowl of Goodness" aka, sweet potato fries with a black pepper and capers aioli. Yum.]

Oh my goodness. I could go on and on and on about Flagstaff. If you love the outdoors and great community, Flagstaff is perfect. There are so many things to do, see, eat, and explore. And basically, it is my favorite part of Arizona. Oh it has it's faults, but I love it through them.

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