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Friday, May 24, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #21

We made it to Friday!  This was a long one.  The Mr came back to a shizzshow at work which will quickly suck the zen out of any vacation mode you were in.  I came back to a note from my new(ish) gynie recommended by my old gynie that she was shutting her doors because old gynie swooped in and talked her into the same teaching position that took old gynie away from me.  Yeah, I only need birth control and my appointment was in 3 weeks.  *cue frantic researching/calling and finally nailing someone down only 2 1/2 weeks later than my previous appointment that left me drained*  On the upside, it'll give me 2 1/2 extra weeks to hopefully get more vacation weight off of the permanent keg I'm sporting.

But enough about our vacation mellow sucking lives, let's get to...

A Common Preservative in Cheese and Bread Could Negatively Affect Our Metabolism, Study Finds  (Courtesy of the Mr and he was happy to hear none of our bread or cheese had it.)

Healthy Smoothies Require WAY Less Fruit Than You're Probably Using  (Make sure you're not going nutso on raw flaxseed)

When, Exactly, to Schedule Your Workouts  (Beh.  As long as you do them, it doesn't matter when but yes, this does make sense and I've found it to be true for me personally.)

50 Ways To Live On Your Own Terms  (Tell everyone else to blow it out their @ss?)

It Doesn't Matter When You Eat  (It's different for everyone.)

A Cluttered House Is a Cluttered Mind  (So true.  Everywhere I look I get overwhelmed and feel like the only answer is a dumpster and shaking your house out like an old rug.)

It Can’t Rain All the Time: How The Crow Captured the Angst of a Generation  (I was obsessed with this movie when it came out.  RIP Brandon and no, it should never be rebooted.  A man lost his life making it and it's his legacy.)

I Thought I Understood Facebook. Then My Dad Died   (Don't assume you know how people use it.)

How to Document Your Child’s Life Without Plastering It All over Social Media  (The internet is forever, no matter how much you think you've locked it down.  I've seen SO many inappropriate shares from people that I had to hide them for good.)

12 Vacations That Get Cheaper in Summer   (My guess is because they are humid, stink boxes by then except Colorado.)

Dog Won't Let Postman Deliver Mail — Unless He Plays Soccer With Him  (He's pretty good!)

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and I know the Mr needs it for sure.  I got some flowers planted yesterday and will plant the rest of them out front today since perennials have made it abundantly clear they refuse to come back in that bed.  Now, I just have to remember to water them.

Anyone got any plans?

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Our Longest Road Trip Yet

This year was the year we decided to conquer a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  We weren't going to wuss out either, we were going to drive it.  I turned the park planning over to the Mr (a first for him on our big vacays), and I focused on side trips and getting us out there without ending up with DVT.  Because we're big fans of National Lampoon's Vacation (and that the Mr's first cross country road trip with a sibling resulted in ZERO stops), I wanted to fit in some Griswold style stops for us to stretch our legs.

Pinkie the elephant in Wisconsin as we hit the last snowstorm of the season.  The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, and yes, that mural in the middle is made of ears of corn.  The Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, MN, and the Dignity Statue at a rest stop in Chamberlain, SD.

Our first major stop that didn't involve a stop off for gas or bathrooms was Badlands National Park.  It was cool to see all of the layers in the formations.

According to the NPS website, the layers are composed of tiny grains of sediments such as sand, silt, and clay that have been cemented together into sedimentary rocks. The sedimentary rock layers of Badlands National Park were deposited during the late Cretaceous Period (67 to 75 million years ago) throughout the Late Eocene (34 to 37 million years ago) and Oligocene Epochs (26 to 34 million years ago).   So yeah, they old.

You may have heard of the famous Wall Drug Store if you're a fan of travel shows.  The Mr was itching to get here, and I was looking forward to the "backyard" which is where pic props and such are for good photo ops.

I have to say, the store(s) itself is nothing special.  Lots of souvenirs but nothing I would say are unique souvenirs so if you drive by it and are totally bummed it was closed for store purposes only.  Don't be.  But the stuff out back is fun to pose with and be hokey.

We stayed 2 nights in Rapid City, SD and spent our full day going to see Mount Rushmore and a glance at Crazy Horse.

We also went to Custer State Park, which was gorgeous.  The Needles Highway is amazing to drive, and you can see some awesome scenery, including Sylvan Lake.

You can also see some majestic wildlife like bison...

...blacktail deer and pronghorn.

On our way west, we hit Sundance Wyoming and Devil's Tower, which was one of the Mr's favorite stops on the trip.  We almost didn't think we were going to go because we hit our second snowstorm and it was quite apparent Wyoming doesn't get around to plowing roads until noon.

It was a great stop with a trading post out front where you can actually get some great pics without having to pay to go in the park if you don't have the time.  But if you do, there are some prairies with some adorable, fluffy prairie dogs in their natural habitat.

We stayed in Montana as our home base for the first week.  I am SUPER picky when it comes to home rentals and found what was as close to perfect, aesthetically, as I could get.  That's the cabin in the middle of the top left pic.

We had marmots that visited on the regular along with deer, turkeys, magpies, some elk in the mountains and had trout to feed in the pond.  We enjoyed a few fires inside with the woodburning fireplace and spent our anniversary roasting weenies and eating smores.

Then it was on to Yellowstone National Park.  We broke it up over several days and enjoyed being immediately greeted with wildlife just past the Roosevelt Arch.

The Mammoth Springs area was cool to see the stair step formations, but we both agree the Norris Geyser Basin was our favorite.  I think that had a lot to do with us getting there very early and had it almost to ourselves, but the brilliance of the pools and colors around them from the bacteria were awesome.

Obviously, we saw Old Faithful and some of the other major sites like the famous falls, Grand Prismatic Spring and spring is baby season, and we were more than happy to see them.

There are a ton of wildlife viewing opportunities almost everywhere in the park (even outside of it) like bison taking a rest in the middle of town, bighorn sheep, elk, cranes, and frolicking babies.

The second half of our vacation was the Grand Tetons and the south portion of Yellowstone since it didn't open until later in the trip.  But first, we made a point to road trip to Idaho, which was close to the border of where we were staying.  We drove 2 hours into Idaho Falls, and it was actually a beautiful state!

I'm sure most Idahoans don't want me spilling the beans on how beautiful it is there, but even after doing the Griswold-ish potato museum (with a great cafe attached), there was plenty to see.  We drove around potato farms, visited Hell's Half Acre, which are lava fields that look like the Big Island of Hawaii and of course, we had to visit the manmade Idaho Falls.

Our new digs were in Jackson, Wyoming, and chosen specifically because it had the most opportunities for moose sightings.  We've been dying to see a moose for years ever since we saw our first moose crossing sign in Maine.  Our place didn't disappoint on that front.

As we were getting ready to do our workout, the Mr spotted a large animal out of the cheesecloth like closed blinds.  Thinking it was a horse, he opened the window and noticed Marty.  We spent the next 15-20 minutes watching him from a respectable distance as he ate twigs, leaves and pine cones.  I just sat there and cried.  It was a pleasure watching him, and we were treated to another moose on the property a few days later just chillin'.  Both came back in the evening on the days we saw them and then several moose in the park as well.

Speaking of the park, Grand Teton National Park could not be more beautiful.  The star of the show is really the mountain range and all of the different angles to view them from.  Obviously, you can go to more famous spots like Mormon Row for pics of the barn which everyone's seen a zillion times (so I didn't show it), but there are other spots like Menor's Ferry and the chapel that are worth a stop as well.

We made our way back to Yellowstone via the south entrance and saw West Thumb, Yellowstone Lake, and the mud volcano area.  Some of the roads were still closed so there are things we didn't get to see but glad for the things we could.

We stayed a 10-minute drive from Jackson which is not to be confused with Jackson Hole.  Jackson is the town while Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley.  It's famous for its antler arches made with elk antlers that they shed every year.

While there wasn't as much wildlife as Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the surrounding Elk Refuge had some amazing viewing opportunities.

It still makes us shake our head that some tourists have asked employees what they do with the animals at night.  Seriously?

And for those of you noticing an absence and wondering...

While it would've been nice to see some...from a distance...I was terrified to run into one, especially on a trail since they're just waking up and searching for good food sources of which I would make an excellent one.  I'm sure we'll see one sometime but not this go round.

We put close to 6000 miles on the new car so it's a good thing it'll be coming to me when he's done with it.  We broke up driving to and fro with stops on the way there at attractions, and since there wasn't much by way of attractions on the drive back through Nebraska and the plains, we made that drive go fast with two audiobooks.  Richard Blade: World in My Eyes which is a must read if you grew up in the '80s and even better if you do the audiobook and Olivia Newton John's Don't Stop Believin' which is also a must for any Livvy fan.  I would also recommend the audiobook version for hers because she is so animated reading it and gets very emotional and you couldn't get that from just a read on your own.

It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and we had more downtime on this trip than ever before, but it was planned that way.  We do wish it had been less windy some days because the winds made it impossible to soak in any warmer temps, but it was still good.  It was the wildlife that made it so special and of course, the person I shared the road with.  We had no idea what to expect, and you just hope a trip that long doesn't end in disappointment, and I'll be honest, we had some.  We started with wipers that needed replaced 7 hours into the trip and 3 hours into the trek back, our wiper fluid pump had a leak, and we had no fluid going through the heart of bug country.  It was hard not to barf until the next pull off to squeegee off the death at a gas station.  That has been fixed, but something is also wrong with the A/C that we're 90% sure the dealer won't be able to replicate so yeah.  Thankfully, it didn't give out or anything, but it's making weird noises and given we returned to 90-degree temps, my fear is until it craps out on the random is when they'll take it seriously.

Have you been to Yellowstone and/or Grand Teton National Parks?

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Is It Summer Yet?

I know that's the question on a lot of kid's minds as they anxiously bounce their knee, clockwatch, and dream of summer break.  We think of our childhoods, thankfully, before the internet was a thing and how they were full of riding bikes, catching lightning bugs in jars with holes in the lid, blanket forts with friends and what kids today would call "boring."  I'm good with that.

How did you spend your summers as a kid?  How do your kids or grandkids spend their summers these days?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Food Review: CauliPower Veggie Pizza

When we bought the Daiya Supreme Pizza a month ago, we also bought this one at the same time.  They were both on sale, and that's about my criteria to try something new these days.  I've heard about cauliflower crust for years but never considered it because I'd also heard of some serious fails on the cauli-crust front.  I threw caution to the wind and picked this up.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info.  You could actually eat the whole thing if you wanted to.

Since they didn't list the ingredients right under the nutritional info, it's as follows:  Cauliflower, Tomato Sauce (Tomatoes, Garlic, Oregano, Sea Salt), Mozzarella White Cheddar Cheese Blend (Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Brown Rice Flour, Corn Starch, Bell Peppers, Water, Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sugar, Egg, Xanthan Gum, Yeast, Salt, Vinegar, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Basil. CONTAINS: Milk, Eggs

Apparently, they have five other offerings as well.

I baked it for 15 minutes, and it was all bubbly and ready for my (pizza) piehole.

The crust looked like a typical cracker crust pizza, and it cut easily.

But how did it taste?

I have to say, the Mr and I were impressed.  He does not like cauliflower on its own and this didn't taste like it at all.  You could totally fool someone into thinking it was just a healthier pizza, not necessarily a veggie crust pizza.  (I'm pretty hard to fool on that too, so that's saying something.)  I do wish there was more sauce on there, but it was adequate.  It was well seasoned, and we both agreed we'd get it again.  Matter of fact, the Mr said we could get this and the other supreme Daiya pizza and mix and match.  I would be up for that especially if we get a hankerin' for pizza and want to keep the sodium more manageable.  The sodium is usually what makes me put a frozen pizza back in the case if I ever consider one.  While these are a little higher than I think it should be based on flavor, they're the smarter choice and one I think you guys would like too!

Have you had or made cauliflower crust pizza before?

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?

I know we are used to people upselling us on everything and travel insurance easily gets lumped in as something we'll never need.  Kind of like how they tell you never to get the insurance through the rental car company because your regular insurance covers you.  Well, that's not actually the case because it doesn't cover damage due to loss of use.  What the heck does that mean?  It means for as long as that car isn't able to be rented, you will pay the equivalent of the daily rate until they are able to rent it again.  In 2002, our car got hit in our condo parking lot, and we did not get the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), and it was not something we could've hidden from the company.  We lost a whole day's vacation (half of one day, half of the other) dealing with calls to the insurance company where they explained what could happen and urged us to get the dent out ourselves.  We got an old school plunger in the parking lot of Star Market on Maui, and the Mr was plunging that thing for all it was worth, and it only got it half out.  We had to drive to the other side of the island to Walmart in Kahului and got something else to help with it, and we finally were able to pop it out.  You've never seen three people hold their breath like we did during a rental car drop off and high five on the shuttle to the airport when we got the sign-off.  Never again.  We've always gotten the LDW when we rent, and we got hit again a few years later and called the company, and they were like "eh, you've got the LDW, you could literally roll it ovah one cliff, and we'd give you a new cah."

I love the locals.

Car insurance may be one thing, but you might be asking yourself...

So what about it?  Well, for us it's a matter of how far are we traveling and how much are we spending or more to the point, willing to lose?  For us, $1000 is that number.  Anything over $1000 and we're insuring it, and we've had to use it a few times too.  The first time we got it was the year my FIL's health was failing, and though we tried many times to cancel it, he didn't hear of it.  (I really kind of wish we had but we didn't want him to think we thought he was going to die which is how he read it every time we said we could cancel.)  When it was clear he wasn't going to make it when we were halfway through we called the insurance company.  Because it was due to death, they did everything to reroute us the fastest possible way home and said that by the time we came back from traveling for the funeral, we would have a check for the unused portion of the trip that is covered under "trip interruption."  This didn't include what the travel company refunded us for the accommodations we didn't use on Kauai.

We also had to file a claim a few years ago when our flight got canceled very last minute leaving Kauai.  We were put into a crappy hotel with no way to leave the property but rent a car that they had on site.  We had to stay two extra days which sounds fun, but it was not given the Mr had to be on the phone for almost 7 hours total trying to line up all of our flights back.  Just when we thought they were settled, they weren't, or something was wrong, and we ended up even going to the airport the next night to speak to an actual human because no one else gave a crap.  It took forever to get reimbursed from the airlines for the difference we paid for first class that we didn't get on the way back.  But our travel insurance gave us $1750 which covered the leg of the flight we didn't get what we paid for as well as trip interruption insurance as well as a missed flight fee because that airline is stupid and didn't have their crap together when booking us.   Thank God we got it because I spent that exact amount to fix the compartment syndrome I got for almost a full year afterward with physical therapy, dry needling, and chiropractic care.

We insured our vacation this year, and it basically ends up being the cost of an extra night at a hotel to make sure that you are covered for all kinds of occurrences.  Here's an example of what is covered under our current policy.  (Please note this is an example and may not be the coverage you get should you purchase it.)

Insurance Coverages Provided

Trip Cancellation  $4,000.00
($2,000.00 per person (pp) )

Trip Interruption  $7,000.00
$3500 per person (pp) )

Travel Delay ($300 per person daily limit applies)
$1,000.00 pp

Missed Connection $1,000.00 pp

Baggage Coverage $2,000.00 pp

Baggage Delay $500.00 pp

Sporting Equipment Coverage $2,000.00 pp

Sporting Equipment Delay Coverage $500.00 pp

Medical and Dental Coverage $250,000.00 pp

Emergency Assistance and Transportation ($10,000 limit applies for Companion Hospitality Expenses) $1,000,000.00 pp

Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Travel Accident $50,000.00 pp

Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Air Flight Accident $100,000.00 pp

Obviously, some of those things don't apply since we drove, but it has saved us enough times that it gives us tremendous peace of mind.  The first thing I do after purchasing it is put the claims number in our phone, so we have it if God forbid we need it.  I also print a copy to keep in the carry on so we can reference what is covered and what isn't and what claims we may qualify for in case we are in a power outage situation or our phone is occupied making calls to people.  This kind of insurance is especially needed if you are traveling while someone is ill and you may need to cut your trip short. 

For us, anything over $1000 is worth protecting especially for things that your credit card company and/or airlines do not cover.  It's never been an ongoing feud to get what we were insured for and for that, we're eternally grateful.  Anyone knows if you're in a situation to file a claim, it's already stressful enough.

Do you buy travel insurance?  Have you ever had to file a claim?

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Friday, May 17, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #20

Happy Friday everybody!  I hope the week treated you well, and you can chill on into the weekend.  We just got home this week from the longest road trip of our lives which I'll update y'all on next week.

Until then let's trip on into...

The Stretches You Should Do Based on Your Favorite Workout  (Some good ones in there!)

Why Sleep Is the Key to a Better Body and How to Get More of It  (I know, I know, but I can never get past 6 hours no matter how early I go to bed!)

16 Foods You Should Never Keep in the Freezer  (But just a note, you can mix potatoes, milk, and cream cheese for the BEST mashed potatoes ever and they freeze beautifully!)

Hilarious Tweets That Sum Up Shopping At Whole Foods  (Truth)

A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Myofascial Massage  (Trust me, if you exercise, you need to do it!)

Dementia study links your risk with your fitness level  (In case you need another reason to exercise.)

How to tell when your body needs a break  (What if this is all you feel all the time?)

7 Dream Races to Put on Your Bucket List  (Jeff- in case you want to do some domestic ones!)

Destinations Where Your Dollar Will Go Really Far in 2019  (Hmm)

How to Use Sleep Aids to Avoid Jet Lag  (Because jet lag is the WORST)

Travel buddies for life  (Soo adorable!)

How Generation X Ruined Movies  (Hint:  They Didn't)

We are probably going to collapse, foam roll and eat and repeat all weekend.  I'm going to pretend we don't need to go to the grocery stores this weekend.  *twitch*

How are you spending this wonderful weekend?

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Lazy Girl's Skincare Routine

It should come as no shock to you that I half-ass my skincare just as much as I half-ass everything else. You can know you need to do something but doing it and sticking with it are two different things, as with anything in life.

So here's a nice tongue in cheek infographic for you.

Seriously though, there are a few brands that I really like, and I'll share those with you.  I have gone all natural with my skincare for about 5 years now, and these are the brands I've stuck with because they work.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Cleansing Foam

I bought this because it's for sensitive skin but also because the light rose scent reminds me of my great grandma.  I use this mostly for the showers after workouts.  It's a gentle cleanser that gets all of the sweat and hate from my pores after my butt has been thoroughly handed to me.  If you like a beachy scent, their Quench line is also really gentle but kind of coconutty smelling without smelling fake.  I've only found that at Andalou Naturals online.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Toner

While I joked about toner, it is nice to use when I remember to do so.  I have to say the best use I've found for this is to stick it in the fridge.   When you come in from outside, and it's a sweatbox of humidity and flop sweat, a spritz of this will make you feel instantly cooled down and fresh.

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

I LOVE this stuff.  It's not too harsh, and you shouldn't dig it in there when you're exfoliating but the smell is really nice (to me), and my skin always feels super soft after using it.  When I'm done rubbing it around on my face, I use the excess on my arms and elbows.  If you use self-tanners, this is perfect to use to exfoliate before applying.

Aztec Clay Facial and Body Mask

When I do use a facial mask, it's this powder.  You mix it with either water or 100% Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother (like Bragg's or Trader Joe's) according to the directions.  Slather it on your face, and you wait for it to dry completely.  It will pulsate toward the end and get really tight.  Don't freak out, it's normal.  When you wash it off, your face will actually be red for about 10-15 minutes, but it goes away.  I wouldn't do it right before you need to go anywhere.  This is like all natural ProActive.  Amazon's customer images are pretty impressive.

Organic Rosehip Oil

If you are over 30, get in the habit of using this stuff ASAP!  It helps with sun damage (it faded a sunspot I got on vacation by about 70%!), is nature's version of retinol (but not actual retinol.)  Rosehip oil is less aggravating to most people's skin than prescribed retinol but know that you may go through a "transition period" around the hairline with a few zits.  It scares the younger ones away but if you hang in there for a week or so, it balances out should you have one.  It helps with the healing of your skin and is especially good to use for wound healing. It's the first thing I reach for after a burn.  It's helped reduce years of 80's/90's baby oil benders at the beach.

Andalou Naturals CC Cream Nude

This serves as a sheer foundation as well as an SPF 30 to protect your skin.  I always put too much on so just go in knowing you won't need a ton of it.  They have nude and tan and don't forget to get your neck too.  No one wants to look like a harlequin clown.

Andalou Natural Daily Defense SPF 18

If you aren't feeling the color portion of the CC cream, the Daily Defense is a nice, light SPF 18 lotion with no color.  Just a good moisturizer that protects insanely well.  I wore it to an event in New York, forgot to reapply and was in the sun for 8 hours and got sunburned everywhere except my face.  While I don't suggest you do that, it's what sold me on staying Andalou loyal.

(And happy birthday Grandma.  😇)

What are your skincare routine and favorite products?

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