I was looking forward to a night out with my sweetie (which of course, I always do) but this night had an even more special meaning. We were coming to see an icon... and one whose music played an emotional role in our tumultuous past. Sir Elton John.

Now even though I work in Spokane every day, I live quite a long way out of town. My 60 mile drive to the office is viewed through the lens of "commuter" rather than "tourist." But Friday was a different game.

Discussing our options before leaving home, we both agreed our first stop would be Nordstrom Rack at the Spokane Valley Mall. A really great store, we always find killer deals for me... but this trip saw my self-proclaimed hippie husband leave with some very sassy Lucky Brand jeans and a pair of Cole Hahn shoes. Who'd have thought?

Next, we continued into downtown Spokane where we checked in at the funky and fun Hotel Ruby. On the corner of Lincoln and 1st, Hotel Ruby is perfectly located to walk anywhere downtown! In its former life, this little gem was a 50's style, two-story, motor hotel. And in a way, that's still its personality. But savvy owners have spruced it up in super appealing fashion. Rooms are clean, large and painted in dramatic reds, tans and blacks. The walls, both interior and exterior, are adorned with the fabulous creations of Spokane artist Rick Gendron. Gendron says his works are influenced by graffiti, pop culture and Van Gogh. Whatever inspired them... the vivid colors and imagery kicked up my pulse and made me grin!

And there's more fun to come at Hotel Ruby! Right now renovations are underway for The Sapphire Lounge. Set to open in May, this restaurant already got a kick-start on success with Spokane super-chef Jeremy Hansen (owner of Santé Restaurant and Charcuterie) at the helm!

And speaking of great food, my sweetie and I headed downtown for dinner at Moxie. Chef Ian Wingate never disappoints and this night was no exception. As we watched the world walk by our window table, we had to chuckle as Wingate ran a nonstop marathon between Moxie and his second place on the corner, Agave Latin Bistro, a Mediterranean eatery. My paella was to die for and I snuck a bite or two of my date's peppercorn roasted duck. Topped off with a bottle of my very favorite Barrister Winery's Cabernet Franc, our meal couldn't have been better!

Then we were off to the Spokane Arena, a great venue that constantly surprises with world class concerts and events. Elton John banged out the classics that marked our young love in the 70's and we couldn't help but hold hands and occasionally smooch as we listened to some particularly memorable tunes. With no intermission, the concert went for two hours and 50 minutes straight!

As we called it a night, we both agreed our date night in Spokane was one we'll keep in our mental memory bank for a long, long time to come.