7 Things I will NOT Forget Next Music Festival

This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life; I can’t believe I have waited this long to attend a weekend-long music festival. I wish I could go back this weekend but I guess I can settle for next year, even though I would prefer attending another one before the summer ends.

Camping was amazing, we met old friends and made new, enjoyed festie food and vendors, the venue decor and of course the ridiculous line-ups Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Although the experience is one that is difficult to explain due to its AMAZINGNESS, there are a few things I will do differently next time.

  1. WAGON. You need to bring a wagon to a festival you will be camping at. Seriously – if you want a camp worth hanging at for three days you will have a lot of crap and carrying it the few miles from the car to the entrance to your site (and back) will be a pain in the ass. Throwing all of our necessities into a wagon and pulling it would have been way more convenient than trekking it across dirt roads, grass, and other uneven terrain. Make sure you bring a wagon with durable wheels! You won’t regret it.
  2. HYDRATION PACK. My boyfriend brought his along and acted as my pack mule/servant whenever I needed to bring some items into the venue or needed water but I felt bad relying on him to carry my wallet, extra clothes, water and whatever else I needed. Vibedration packs were being sold at the venue and many festie goers had them! They sell them in multiple sizes and really sweet patterns for an affordable price. I will certainly be purchasing one before my next festival! This one was my favorite.
  3. A COT. We’re campers/backpackers and usually sleep in a hammock but at this particular festival, that was not quite an option. So we brought our tent and our friends shared their air mattress with us (which was super comfortable) but didn’t quite provide ample room in our tent for any organization. If you’re anything like me, you cannot function without a certain amount of organization. Our thoughts on this are the following: One, we had blades of grass poking through our ground tarp and tent bottom which would have easily deflate and ruin our mattress! A cot would solve that problem. Two, we would be able to put things under the cot like our large bags and/or food when we leave camp since we lock our tent for added security. Three, since you would be off the ground it might be significantly warmer to sleep since you won’t be absorbing any of the grounds frigidness.
  4. CAMP STOVE. We were not allowed to bring in any propane, white gas stove or grill. This made our food options and making food INCREDIBLY tough. As I’m sure you’re all aware, festie food is fairly expensive so I would have preferred to make all of my food and actually have not been hungry for most of the weekend. Bringing $4.00 Mountain Houses or mac and cheese/ramen would have been significantly cheaper, easier and would have left us way more full. What we did bring to eat if you’re in need of any ideas which don’t require cooking is hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, chips, applesauce, peanut butter, jelly, bread, Texas caviar (bean, corn, and veggie dip), single serving veggie platters and cookies.
  5. EXTRA TARP. We brought a ground tarp to put under our tent and tapestries to hang from our e-z up for identification and festie swag, however, with the wind we experienced we wish we would have brought an additional tarp. It would have been nice if this tarp was a little larger then our ground tarp to zip tie around our e-z up to prevent the wind from chilling us to the bone. This also would help in rainy situations to prevent rain from making its way into your sitting and/or sleeping area.
  6. SOLAR LIGHTS. A few different campsites were lined with solar lamps that were staked into the ground and others that hung from their e-z up tents. I think this would be really nice for post festie hang-outs, and identifying your site in the dark (either after returning from the venue or the bathroom). They certainly added a touch of luxury while still being useful.
  7. CHARGING DEVICE. I brought along a solar charger for my phone that wound up not working. I didn’t plan on being on it much, possibly for pictures and/or locating friends; I spent a whopping 30 minutes on it to figure out where friends were located, let my parents know I survived each night and to take a few pictures over the course of two days. My battery was at 20% by Sunday morning so I left it off for the drive home. Needless to say, I didn’t find my friends and I didn’t acquire many photos of the weekend. I also managed to make it home after my phone died halfway through our drive, but next time I might not be so lucky. Make sure you bring a charging device that will actually work! A festival is not the place for you to spend all of your time on the phone but I can promise you there will be certain moments when you wished it was functional.

 

We wound up being 8 people with this sweet set-up.  The seating area between the two tents proved useful each day as we jammed, met new people, ate together or just chilled. The e-z ups kept the sun from beating on us all day and kept the slight rain off our tents. We had an absolutely amazing time at MysterylandUSA in Woodstock and we hope to return! I will definitely be posting more on the festival in time.

Peace and Love

NeatPack, a review

I grabbed this 20L pack off of Amazon at a discounted price in exchange for an honest review. My first impression of the pack was that I found it ‘neat’. It comes wrapped up, in a pouch within itself, which in my opinion, already makes it a great day pack. Being an avid backcountry backpacker, I’ve come to realize it is much easier to leave your heavy, multi-day pack at the bottom of a tough ascent and throw the essentials in a quick day pack to summit. The most difficult part of this very simple task is finding a daypack that doesn’t waste precious space within your full pack but is still functional and structured enough to act as your day pack when you need it to be. I also like to take a smaller pack with me when I travel abroad; my 44L carry-on backpack will carry all of my belongings for any trip but I don’t want to lug that sucker around everywhere no matter how much I love it! I need a day pack for excursions. The 20L NeatPack is perfect for the job.

The first test in store for this pack was a short paddle boarding adventure on Lake Ontario. It held up great and carried all of my needs comfortably. There are many pockets within this small bag which makes it easy to organize your belongings. My sunblock, snacks, cover up, water bottle and GoPro accessories were all separated, well organized and easy to access in my NeatPack. Luckily, I did not fall in – although I came close – so there will be no review of its drying capabilities. However, the bag is made up of mesh and RipStop Nylon which in my previous experiences tends to dry fairly well. Your belongings stored inside are a completely different story.

NeatPack in a Cozy Cafe in Porvoo, Finland

Since my first excursion, this backpack has since made it across a 10 day Western Canada backpacking trip, through the cities of Sweden and Finland, from Sequoia to Kings Canyon to Yosemite National park, and on countless weekend trips to cities and forests alike. It has held up to the test this past year and a half with my only complaint being that I’ve torn a side water bottle pocket (my own fault, it got stuck to a sharp object on my overnight pack). It’s a great bag to bring along for any adventure!

 

The Specifics

18×10″ daypack, weighing a mear 9.8 ounces, folds up small into the included 8×8″ pocket for easy transport & space saving. This ‘included’ pocket is actually attached to the bag and folds into the main compartment as an additional small storage space.

There are unique security features: The zippers can be bound securely to the D-ring with a cable lock or carabiner to deter theft! Concealed bottom zip pocket is great for storing valuables on the go. I actually didn’t realize this pocket was here until I went to fold it back up.

It is well made. Lightweight, water-resistant nylon holds up to wear alongside 2-way, abrasion resistant SBS zippers with pulls. Lightly padded, adjustable shoulder straps are comfortable yet sturdy enough to support your needs.

2 D-rings are conveniently attached to the bag with reflective fabric safety loops. These are great for clip-on carabiners and other types of gear (fast-access convenience). The bag also has mesh pockets on each side which are great for water bottles and/or quick snacks.

Register your backpack on the NeatPack website to be eligible for the lifetime guarantee.

What Would I Change?

Honestly? not very much. The pack was comfortable and has all the necessary functions of an effective day pack. A few functions would make it even better though:

 

NeatPack at Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

 

  1. Sternum Strap. These help your pack to stay put while you hustle and bustle around and in my opinion, they’re incredibly useful. Buckle Gear sells a universal backpack sternum strap that might work for this pack though!
  2. Waist Strap. Also integral to backpack comfort. Again, Buckle Gear sells a universal backpack waist trap that fits many internal frames.
  3. Hydration Pack Pocket. Personally, I do not carry a hydration pack on my hikes or paddles but I know many people who do. These people would not be fond of the NeatPack considering their precious hydration packs would have nowhere to rest comfortably and be accessible.
  4. Color Choices. I’m fairly rough and tough but I love to add a feminine touch to my life, especially through my gear. I’d love a deep purple (which is kind of unisex) or a grey and pink bag! I like the black a lot, and functionality sure beats decoration but people can’t turn down a bag with a great color scheme.
  5. Caribeaner. The pack has two great D rings that are multi-purposeful. Include a sweet carabiner with purchase for people to attach items from their bag and/or use this to secure packed day pack to the outside of a large travel bag for additional space! I do this with the beaners I already own, but some might not think of it!

 I’ve really enjoyed all of my adventures with my 20L NeatPack! If you’d like to try it out for yourself you can grab one HERE !!

 

I will receive a small portion of your sale, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase from the link above! Thank you for your support!

Forever Young Swimwear, a review

Summer season is filled with sunshine, cold beverages and bikinis… yikes. I enjoy the summer months (although they aren’t my favorite) but DREAD ‘bikini season’. As comfortable as I am with my body and all its fabulous imperfections, I still want to look presentable in what I put on and bathing suits aren’t always the most flattering.

I’m an active person, so I need a bathing suit that can keep up with my every move; it’s rare to find me sitting still or relaxing. My absolute favorite suits for the season come from Forever Young Swimwear. With similar prices to Victoria’s Secret, and a significantly better fit and great craftsmanship, these suits are the real deal. All three bikinis I own from Forever Young Swimwear have held up great; considering I’m very active in and around the water, this is an amazing feat. They fit amazingly, I never have to worry about more showing than I had planned and I feel incredibly confident running around all day!

Specific things I love about Forever Young Swimwear.

  • A lot of their suits are REVERSIBLE, such as the one I am wearing in the photo above. This makes them even better for adventuring – two for one… two suits for the price of one and the packing space of one. Well technically, four for one – since you can mismatch the top and bottom if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • LOTS of different options. I don’t have the tightest, or nicest of bodies but I still really like to rock cheeky bottoms. If you prefer more or less coverage for your bottom half there are many options for you to choose from! There are many different styles of tops as well – including one piece. Almost every pattern is offered across a wide range of styles for both tops and bottoms so you can really handpick a suit -or three- that works best for your body type and what you plan to do while wearing it!
  • Price range is really great. They have bottoms and tops for as low as $10.00 and there are often different sales or promotions that give you even more bang for your buck. Don’t forget, if you buy reversible you are technically receiving two bathing suits for the price of one which is pretty gnarly.
  • And finally, Forever Young Swimwear is a proud partner of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. I like knowing that a company I support is passionate enough about a cause to advocate and contribute to its needs!
Wearing Coral Coast Classic Bottom – Reversible – Tropic Splash/Yellow Scrunch Butt in a size Large AND the Coral Coast Classic Wrap Top – Reversible – Tropic Splash/Yellow in a size Medium in all pictures!

HEAD TO THE WEBSITE  

I do not earn any commission off sales from this link.

Budapest, Hungary

I just finished up a new page which concludes the details of my Mama-daughter European adventure. It was in May, 4 years ago now, that we left (on mothers day) to explore two beautiful cities. If you were thinking about exploring Europe and were hoping to stray from the typical touristy locations such as London, Paris, and Barcelona (not to say they’re not great) then I suggest you take a look at my most recent two pages: Prague and Budapest.

 

If you’re looking for places to eat or things to see in Budapest you have come to the right place. There is plenty of adventure to be had between the bustling city of Pest and the quiet hills of Buda as long as you know where to look! Simply walking around the city can provide you with many Oohs and Ahs but there are a number of activities that are hidden just enough that you might miss them! If you don’t want to miss a night cruise on the Danube, a cozy wine tasting in the hills of Buda or an amazing indoor market full of great local food and gifts, check out my newest page: Best of Budapest. There you can find detailed information and/or links to each activity I’ve done along the way and pictures of all the amazing places and views we experienced.

Köszönöm, hogy elolvasta!

 

Start the Season Off in Shape

As a physical education teacher and a slightly washed-up collegiate athlete, I spend a significant amount of my day participating in, teaching or thinking about physical activity. Despite my gym membership and active lifestyle I still find the first few high elevation hikes of the season the toughest.

If you’re looking to get into your best mountain shape before the summer hiking season is in full swing, you have come to the right place. I’m going to share with you the top 5 exercises to help kick your butt into its best high elevation hiking shape!

  1. STRENGTHEN YOUR LOWER BODY. If you do nothing else to prepare for a serious season of hiking, do these: squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Please click the links to view a video of how to complete the exercises. The main muscles propelling you (and generally some kind of pack) higher and higher are your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius. The stronger these muscles are the easier you will find it to maneuver the uneven, vertical terrain. If you’re new to these exercises, begin using just your body weight. As this gets easier, first add repetitions and then add weight to create a greater challenge.
  2. DEVELOP A STRONG CORE. Your core holds the rest of your body together and is arguably one of the more important groups of muscles for any athletes success. A strong core does not necessarily mean you have a ripped 6 pack, although that would be nice. You spend a majority of your climb leaning forwards, for forward propulsion, balance, and stability purposes – often this motion is accompanied by a 10 to 40 point pack depending on your needs. Your midsection bares the brunt of this weight and needs to be conditioned to do so. Completing daily exercises for the lower back, obliques, and abdominals such as sit-ups, back extensions, Russian twists, leg raises, planks and side planks, and more will help to create a strong core!
  3. BASIC UPPER BODY STRENGTH. The back and shoulders carry a significant amount of weight over a long period of time while you’re hiking. Making sure the muscles associated with this region and prepared will prevent back pain and fatigue throughout your hike. Push-ups, shoulder press, bent over rows (barbell or dumbbell), reverse fly’s, lat pull-downs, face pull’s and high pulls, and their many variations, can all strengthen the upper body appropriately for carrying a few extra pounds up a mountain. You also never know when you might need a little help up those steeper rock faces; your upper body might be the only assistance for miles.
  4. ENDURANCE. Hikes involving elevation change tend to take a couple of hours – depending on where you’re starting from, they can also take a short 25-ish minutes – and although short breaks are a necessity, the more you stop the longer it takes to get to the summit. Also, depending on the hike or backpacking route you have planned you may or may not have the time to take so many breaks. Basic endurance is incredibly helpful in preparing yourself for a day of climbing. The easiest way this can be achieved, and probably the most relevant activity, is distance running. This can be done a variety of way and can be more or less challenging depending on your personal level of fitness as a runner. If anyone wants any personal endurance workout suggestions, please feel free to contact me and I can provide you with some suggestions (reminder: I have two degrees in this kind of stuff).
  5. SPECIFIC ENDURANCE. What sets mountain endurance apart from the rest is the nature of the climb. Using a stair master to practice endurance is probably the best way to embody the true nature of ascending a mountain. If this is not an option, throw a pack on and find a place with a lot of stairs (hotel tower, office building, etc.).  Vary your step length, pack weight and speed up and back down each flight to get the most out of your endurance training.

Being physically prepared for your hike is just as important as having the necessary equipment and supplies to complete the trip. A mountain hike is never easy but the more prepared your body is for the physical demands of the hike, the more enjoyable you will find it!

Thank you for reading! Please share your thoughts below!

DAKS During Mud Season

The Department of Environmental Conservation urges hikers to avoid higher elevations (3,000 feet an up!) between May and Mid-June due to ‘Mud Season’. This request is to prevent further trail erosion from hikers avoiding mud puddles, or icy rock slabs and veering off the trial. Despite my love for nature and appreciation for the DEC, I spent a weekend in Lake Placid and hiked a high elevation trail. I chose a trail that’s known for its good conditions during mud season, and made sure I carried all of the appropriate equipment!

With that being said, we spent a weekend in Lake Placid. We stayed at the Lake Placid Summit Hotel Resort and Suites. The hotel was adequate for our needs and currently under renovation. The rooms were clean and the staff was very friendly, however, there were some upgrades to the building in general that could certainly be made and it looks like they were working on it. We stayed in a double room overlooking Mirror Lake; the sunrise view alone was worth the price of our stay. Typically, we spend our nights in the DAKS between two trees, nestled in our hammock under the stars so for us, this was a lap of luxury.

We arrived late Friday night and ate at Players Sports Bar. Our waitstaff was friendly, our drinks cold and our food was delicious. If you’d like to see what other menus Lake Placid has to offer, visit Lake Placid Restaurants. We got an early start after a stop at High Peaks Cyclery, where you can find all of your outdoor needs (biking, hiking, skiing, climbing, etc.). We took route 73 from Lake Placid through Keene and into Keene Valley. Just past St Huberts the trail head for Giant Mountain can be found on your left. There are two approaches to this mountain within a short distance from each other; the other being past just Chapel Pond and on the left.

We ascended using one trail and decided to descend the other; there are two trails at lower elevation connecting the two. Our summit was long, and tough considering we are not in our best mountain hiking shape quite yet but the view was totally worth it!

We spent about an hour on top of Giant enjoying the view, chowing down, and making new friends (my favorite new friend had 4 legs and gave great kisses). At the summit we met and later descended with Tony Goodwin, the creator of the topographic Trails of the High Peaks Map from Adirondack Mountain Club; we highly recommend this map for any and all High Peaks explorers! Our decent down the trail for route 73 past Chapel Pond had many breathtaking views from open rock faces and was not at all icy or muddy. We crossed back over to our trail at the Washbowl, however, we could have chosen the Nubble trail which would provide us with an additional, bare rock view of Keene Valley.

We enjoyed our dinner at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. We love this grub stop for its laid-back, mountain town atmosphere and it’s delicious menu for both liquids and solids. There is often a wait but there is always a cozy fire or deck to enjoy a beverage by, and some yard games to keep you busy. After downing a plate of supreme nachos -DELICIOUS- we dug into our meals: a BBQ combo platter of ribs and brisket for the man and mahi-mahi tacos for the lady. We dined on the third floor thankfully because it’s the quietest of the three and provides the best views. Our server, Evan, was friendly, attentive, and down to earth. We highly suggest requesting him if you get the chance!

 We topped our night off with a sweet treat at Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery where we both enjoyed ice cream sundaes of various flavors, although we hear they’re known for their milkshakes. All of these places can be found within walking distance of the hotel and each other on Mirror Lake Drive. Lake Placid is such a great town and I can’t wait to return to its cozy feel again soon! If you have any additional questions about our stay or hiking in the Adirondacks I would love to answer them! Also, check out other mountainous adventures on my page devoted to the DAKS. Happy Hiking Everyone!

Shenandoah National Park, VA

Again, my apologies for the lack of posts! I’ve spent the last two Sundays, my blogging days, in the mountains. My most recent page and this post review an amazing mini-vacation to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Dining, lodging, and hiking are all covered with photo’s and helpful tips for anyone looking to spend an adventurous weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are many hikes I didn’t get to due to a forest fire in the southern district of the park and some trail maintenance; if you have hiked Old Rag, Black Rock or Whiteoak Canyon please share your experience in the comments! I hope my Spring Break adventures inspire you to get outside and enjoy nature wherever suits you best.

Click Here to get to the page!

Oahu Excursions

Last week I wrote a review of Disney’s Aulani and if you read it you would understand why it was tough to leave that paradise, however, we did sneak out a few times to explore the island. If you’re interested in where we decided to explore follow the link at the bottom of this post to my most recent Hawaiian Travel page! It includes everything from day trips to dinners and fun stops in between! Mahalo for reading loves.

Click Here!

Aulani Resort Review

If you love Disney and you want to experience Hawaii, the Aulani is the Resort for you. Not a single detail will go unnoticed and you will be pampered as a guest of the lovable Hawaiian Disney Characters, Lilo and Stitch, from the moment you step out of your rent-a-car or shuttle for the remainder of your stay.

In my newest page, I review the Aulani. I will forewarn you, I don’t have a single bad thing to say about the resort. It’s beautiful and magical no matter your age! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and ask. There were so many memorable experiences that I couldn’t possibly include them all. Please check it out!

Aulani Resort Review 

(Click Above!)