Hiking Tips For Beginners

Hiking not only gets you closer to nature. It also benefits your health in many ways. Once you start on your trek, you separate yourself from the noise and the zippy routines that you have in the city. Eventually, you will enter a placid scene where it is you who will set the pacing and most of what happens and how you will enjoy the coming hours will depend much on you.

I didn’t say all, but much, as nature has its way to either change your route thoroughly or deter you from getting to your destination. There may be bugs along the way, or a tough climb, a slippery or jagged road that may derail you from where you first intended to go. The uphill climb may be too exhausting that you will need to stop to catch your breath, freshen up, or to energize. Yet you are not stopping. It is a good thing that  you bring one of the best water bottles for hiking as you can take a sip every few minutes or so. This will make it a lot easier to go back to the route and reach your final destination.

Blisters  and bruises may also just be part of the hike. If you do not have the necessary gears, it will take longer than necessary to reach the right spot. To the experienced hiker, he knows that all it needs is the right preparation. Keeping the essentials in the right place will make it easier for you to access all that will be needed should an emergency arise.

Benefits of hiking

Many have come to love this great low-impact workout. Regularly engaging in this activity provides a number of benefits to one’s health and personal growth. Hiking is a great way to stay fit. A study published on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health indicates that your body uses 28% more energy hiking on an uneven terrain as compared to walking on a flat ground.

There are also studies, like this one conducted in 2015 from the Stanford University, showing that the more time that a person spends in natural environments  reduces anxiety as it allows the brain to engage in more calming activities. It also reduces the probability of the brain allowing negative or self-focused patterns of thought to cloud the mind. As a result, the mind and the body are continuously engaged and focused on things and thoughts that create a more pleasant or positive body and mental attitude.

Unlike walking on a plain or paved ground or on a treadmill, hiking involves several, even unpredictable, variables. Well, those unpredictable variables are what makes this activity even more fun. If you follow the following hiking tips, you will find the trek a lot more enjoyable. There will be lesser stress (we know for certain that only nature can tell what will happen throughout your trek) and you, and those whom you tagged along, will find the journey something that should be done more often.

Hiking Tips For Beginners

Hiking Tips For Beginners

Choose the appropriate trail for your fitness level

Plan to go on a hike where you will not force yourself beyond your limit. Schedule a track that will require a shorter distance than you regularly walk on a level surface. Once you have been on the route for a couple of times, it will be easier for you to determine the distance and the elevation changes that will suit you. For a first hike, opt for a small one. This could give you a greater chance to do and enjoy more while on the track and even after you reached your destination.

Have a correct understanding of the trail

Once you have decided where you will go for a hike, you need to familiarize yourself with it. Get a map and find review and related data about the place. Look for alternate routes. Take note if the trail is a loop, if you need to retrace your track, and so on.

Once you have selected a trail, obtain a map of the area and review reports and data. There are some excellent online resources available. Find out if the trail is a loop, or if you’ll have to retrace your steps, and so on. You should also take note of any intersecting trails. This could be a danger zone if you make a wrong turn. Look for some good dining spots as well which could give you the best view.

Double check the weather

Don’t just rely on your guts or tell how the day will look by simply looking up the sky. You will need verifiable data that will tell you exactly what the weather will be. This will help you determine what kind of clothing and things that you will include in your backpack.

Let others know where you are

This is one of the good reasons why you should go to social media or use your device so you could let others know where exactly you are on your hike. This will also lessen any worries that any changes on your itinerary will create on those whom you have informed about your whereabouts.

If you can bring with you a SPOT tracker, which will help you call emergency assistance by satellite, the better.

Do not forget the essential items

These items are what should always be in your backpack no matter what the level of a hike you plan to have.

  • Navigation tools (map and compass)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  • Insulation (extra clothing)
  • Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  • Multi-functional tools (repair kit/tool)
  • Nutrition (extra food)
  • Hydration (extra water). Make sure you bring the best water bottle for hiking.
  • Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)

Wear the right footwear

Invest in quality hiking footwear. Whether you are planning a short or a long hike, it is always necessary that you wear the right shoes and socks. Buy synthetic or wool socks as these materials won’t keep moisture close to your skin. Your first-aid kit should also have some dressings and other quick medication for blisters and bruises.

Pack light

Find the lightest item to pack even while considering bringing all the hiking essentials mentioned earlier. The lighter the pack, the easier for you to walk and carry your things while hiking.

Pick a pace that you can maintain

Don’t be in such a hurry to reach the destination or you’ll soon be too exhausted to reach your destination. Save your energy for more challenging turns and climbs.

Take care of the natural space

Leave no trail and let others who will trek the same track enjoy nature at its best. Don’t leave behind your trash or anything that will alter the natural beauty of the place.

Conclusion

Do you have plans for the weekend? Where do you plan to go?LET GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Pregnancy

Protecting the skin from the harmful rays of the sun is extremely important, especially for pregnant women. Choosing the right sunscreen for pregnancy that will not only keep your skin but your baby as well is not as easy as it might seem.

Pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes are active beyond usual during pregnancy. This overproduction makes the skin more susceptible to discoloration. That is how those freckles, melasma, and other skin imperfections start to form when the skin is exposed to UV rays. Pregnancy also affects the immune system which, in turn, makes the skin susceptible to skin cancer. It is, therefore, vital to protect your body’s first line of defense from the harmful rays of the sun.

Choosing The Right Sunscreen For Pregnancy

Though there are clothing options that can help lessen the probability of the rays of the sun directly hitting your skin, it can be quite cumbersome and obtrusive at times. You may put on a hat or wear long-sleeved tops, skirts or pants. They may not be practical all the time, however. Pregnant women feel a lot hotter than normal. Putting on accessories like a hat or wearing something that will cover the skin may not be helpful at all.

Your best option would then be applying some sunscreen to your skin every two to three hours when you have to spend long hours outside of an uncovered space.

But how do you decide which sunscreen would be the best for your skin? Here are some tips you may need to consider when looking for the best sunscreen for pregnancy.

  • Choose a formula that can effectively guard against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper than UVB and are known to cause significant damage to the outermost skin layer or the epidermis. UVB rays, on the other hand, cause skin reddening and sunburn.
  • Opt for a sunscreen product that does not contain retinyl palmitate. This ingredient is a topical form of vitamin A that the skin changes to retinoids (a compound that is also found in some acne medications). It is said that this ingredient is known to increase the risk of birth defects. Note that retinyl palmitate may also be indicated in product labels as vitamin A palmitate, retinol palmitate, and retinol hexadecanoate.
  • Look for a water-resistant or a sweat-resistant sunscreen for a longer and more effective application of the product.
  • Opt for a sunscreen product that does not contain PABA (a short form of an anti-oxidant known as Para-AminoBenzoic Acid or 4-Aminobenzoic acid). It is sometimes called Vitamin Bx, but it is not actually a true vitamin. It is said that this substance can cause skin allergies, vitiligo, as well as liver toxicity.

It is essential to protect the skin from the damaging foreign elements, including those that are emitted by the sun. Apply the right sunscreen product generously on all parts of the skin that may be exposed to the sun. Make sure also that you re-apply the formula after at least every two hours to ensure that your skin will be well-protected while you are out enjoying the sun.

 

 

Beach Volleyball: Two Blocks Away

Volleyball is my sport. I joined the JV team my freshman year of high school and I was absolutely terrible. I did it because my best friend was on the team and her mom was the coach and I sure as heck wanted to be a part of something when entering the dark ages (aka high school).

I picked it up. By the next season, I was serving overhand (and in bounds!) without a flinch, could dig rather well, and was working on being an outside hitter. I had found my sport.

I liked that it wasn’t a contact sport, that communication and everyone being a team player was key, and that my right upper trap was a little stronger than my left thanks to finally getting decent at spiking at the net 😉

In college, I played volleyball intramurals and continued to get better, even though it was more just for fun. It was a great way to meet more people, and what else was I going to do a 9pm on a school night, study??

While court volleyball isn’t really an option anymore, I have found a passion for sand volleyball! And the best part… its something my husband enjoys as well. To me, there is nothing better than finding a hobby you and your spouse have fun doing together. Sure I enjoy running solo, as its my personal escape, and hubs has his own things he prefers to do sans wife, but when we come together and are able to release our competitiveness a little, this is a win all around.

There is an adult sports league in our area that offers all sorts of sports for people to play. (Who knew you could still have fun like that after college!?) We previously played on an ultimate Frisbee team when we first got married and looked forward to our once-a-week nightly game. So when one of his coworkers asked if he was interested in getting a team together to play beach volleyball, we were all in.

With its convenient location and fun atmosphere, we had a blast each week hitting the ball around with friends. We signed up in the “recreation” league since the four of us hadn’t played together and we weren’t so sure about the competition. While some of the games were a bit of an easy win, we had some challenges and I think recreation is just where we needed to start 🙂

We played 8 games total, but only 3 of them had our whole team there! It seemed every week one of us had a work obligation to attend to. However, even with a 3-man team we won all games but one.

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In playoffs, we were to play the two hardest teams. If we won the first game, we would make it to the championship, woop! The first team gave us a run for our money but we were able to beat them in 2 games (its best 2 out of 3, playing to 21 points, rally scoring). The championship started 30 minutes later. Our team rested and watched in awe of the team we were to play warming up. Like… we literally stood semi-circle on our side of the net and watched them pepper the ball. Winners.

Don’t ask how it happened. But we beat them in two games. The rules were a lot more strict for the playoffs/championship, and I think that threw off their game a bit. They had 6 players total that they had to rotate in and the ref was calling every little thing you could think of. Somehow this landed to our advantage and before we knew it championship glasses were being forced in our hands and we huddled together to take our winners’ pic.

champs(No, we didn’t wear bikinis. It was freezing almost every game. Oh, and also we would just never do that!)

20140227_180055Parental support at almost every game! Any game that started before 8pm (haha) my parents would make the drive to come watch.

IMG_0440Always a nice view when we played!

These winners can’t get enough. We’ve recruited more people and we plan on playing next season! Stay tuned!

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What sport did you play in high school/college? Do you still play it for fun/for serious??

Tell me one active thing you enjoy doing with your significant other?!

Ketchikan, Alaska

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May 14, 2014

Sunrise 4:37am, Sunset 9:01pm

High 53, Low 43

“chance of rain”

*Fun fact*: Ketchikan is an Indian name meaning “thundering wings of an eagle”. From the vantage point of Deer Mountain, the town sprawls out in the perfect shape of an eagle in flight. Nifty, huh!

Another fun/*dreary* fact: It rains an average total of 13 FEET of rain per year in Ketchikan. To compare, in Tampa there is a total average of 47 inches (four-ish ft) per year. Holy water drops, Ketch!

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We had an excursion planned for the day, but we didn’t have to meet till noon. In fact, we didn’t even port till 10am so it was a nice, easy morning, no feeling of having to rush off the boat!

To kill time before our chosen excursion, we found a gift shop. (Which wasn’t hard there were like 10 gift shops in a town of 12 shops). We bought a couple of knick-knacks and then found a bar that was recommended to us by the couple we hung out with in Juneau! It was home of the “happy bears” and you can probably tell why.

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This was a very small bar, nothing special, but drinking a beer around 11am while on vacation should have no complaints attached to it 🙂 We hung out here a bit watching the rain … this was one dreary day! I don’t mind the cold and I don’t mind rain (when I’m in bed sleeping hehe) but together this was not a fun combo.

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Soon enough, we were ready to head out for our adventure that day. We chose to do a jeep ride and canoe combo. We took a bus to the place we would get our jeeps and this was not fun… our bus driver got lost. Womp. Which would’ve been fine, except I felt like once we got to the jeep place we were rushed and didn’t get to drive the jeeps to all the places we could have. But, oh well! I’m in Alaska and not working so whatever 🙂

Something else that wasn’t my fave was that it was 4 to a jeep. I was hoping it would be just me and Ryan, however the couple we were with went to college in our hometown, so at least we had a conversation topic.

I was the first driver in our jeep, and thank GOODNESS because it was the smoothest area of our route. While I do pride myself in being an excellent driver on any terrain (Ryan is rolling his eyes as he reads this) I was glad to have the “easy” portion since 2 lives of which I didn’t know were in my hands, ha!

We drove the jeep to a beautiful lake where we would all get into a canoe. The darn weather prevented us from probably an even better view, but it was still a pretty sight. We geared up and all piled into one of two canoes.

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We canoed across the lake to an area where they made a spread of snacks for us. It included hot chocolate (2 cups, please and thank you), yummy clam chowder, goldfish, bread, and salmon! Can you tell I love to eat! Ha.

After enjoying our snacks and trying our best to stay warm, we headed off for a mini-hike with our group guide. I don’t remember a darn thing he said because I was shivering, wet, and cold, but at least we were moving!

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We soon hopped back into our canoes to head back for more jeeping. The guides decided we should have a race, and duh our boat won 😉

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The REAL exciting part came when we started our jeep riding again and one jeep didn’t quite stay on tracks.

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Everyone was fine. But it was pretty funny. In the guides’ defense, we were instructed to go OVER the potholes and not avoid them, which seems wrong, but ya gotta listen to the pros!

20140514_160023 (1)At one of the stops …. beautiful view! (Couldn’t find the pic of the view, but there’s us looking our best)

Overall, it was a fun adventure! Some things could’ve gone better, but we did enjoy trying something new. Once back, we hit up those happy bears for another drink before hopping back onto our ship.

20140514_171732 (1)Sorry it just makes me laugh and I’m 5.

Headed to dinner!

20140514_202249Formal dinner night #2

That evening after dinner was the Cirque du Soleil-style show on Solstice. I LOVE anything dance/acrobatics/their-spines-aren’t-real kind of stuff, so I was pretty pumped about the show. It didn’t disappoint! We only made it to a couple shows on board (this one plus a comedian..we love comedians) and I’m glad we didn’t miss it. I loved how there is always something to see… to your right, left, above you and in front! Great entertainment if you ask me.

Towel art cracked me up each night.

Last Day: At Sea

Our last day at sea we embraced vacation and lazied it up ALL DAY. This meant sleeping in, eating lots, working out (okay not lazy), ice cream, napping, chilling on our balcony, wonderful.

20140515_192855Last night on our cruise ship. We were fighting tears.

Tell me…

Have you ever seen a Cirque du Soleil show? Which one??

Who reading can do a cartwheel?!

One more post from our vacation coming your way!

Icy Straight Point & Our 3 Year Anniversary

20140513_102249May 13, 2014

Sunrise: 4:41am Sunset: 9:17pm

High: 62 Low: 47

*Fun fact*: We got married on Friday the 13th! May sound like a sketchy move, but hey we celebrate our “anniversary” a few times a year 🙂 After an exhausting day in Skagway, we were more than happy that we had ZERO plans for the next day. This day also just so happened to be our anniversary. We spoiled ourselves a bit and purchased the “Deluxe Romance Package” on the cruise ship to enjoy on our special day. It included: breakfast in bed including mimosas, a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and rose petal turndown service. Could there BE a more perfect way to spend a lazy day?!20140513_124257After breakfast in bed, we headed off the ship and onto a tender boat to get to the town of Icy Point Straight.20140513_100720Guys, I don’t think there could be a smaller town! They had the essentials (like beer and a killer view) but not too much else. We still had some fun exploring on our own though, and appreciated the “relaxing” aspect of vacation on this day.20140513_10084020140513_101949

20140513_103712Love my bear.

We happened upon a neat nature trail that led us to a beach …20140513_14485720140513_10403620140513_10411520140513_104627IMG_1664

20140513_145527Skipping rocks. He’s tried to teach me on multiple occasions how to skip a rock along, and my record is one solid plop into the water.

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Afterwards, we split a pitcher of Alaska Summer Ale (our fave from the taste testing back in Juneau) while sitting by a fire.

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Once back on board, we took a nice long nap while movies played on our TV. Then, we got dolled up for the evening. This wasn’t a “formal night”, but it was for us 🙂20140513_190537

20140513_201516Acoustic Image Trio …personally, my favorite band on the ship.

20140513_200239Bailey’s over ice for me, please 🙂

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After dinner, we received a “Happy Anniversary” song from our waiters and split the brownie dessert they brought out for us. This was in addition to the dessert we already ordered and ate. And the 3 entrees we each downed. Cruise ships!

At a table catty-corner to ours was a group of 2 couples that had travelled together. Shortly after our anniversary song, they shuffled over to their table and sang the same thing to one of the couples .. they were also celebrating May 13!

We were so blessed to be able to spend our anniversary aboard an amazing cruise ship to an even more amazing place. Love you Ryan 🙂

20140513_214313Deluxe, son, deluxe!

Pick one…

Breakfast in bed  or “just because” flowers ??

(Food > petals for this girl any day)

Skagway, Alaska

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May 12, 2014

Sunrise 4:35am, Sunset 9:24pm

High 68, Low 44

Skagway was my personal favorite of our stops in Alaska and I’ve been most excited to write this post, so let’s get to it!! 🙂

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We arose eeearly this morning to step off the boat right at 7am (dock time) to meet for our first excursion at 7:15! We made our way down the path to where all the excursion guides were waiting with signs of what they had to offer. We already booked our excursion through our cruiseline, so we were set.

We find a group of 4 mountain-men-lookin’ guys, and one of them mutters they look like adventurous people, I bet they’re with us! Dang right mister!

Our chosen adventure that day: snow shoeing. From Celebrity’s website: “Begin your shore excursion with a train ride aboard Skagway’s White Pass and Yukon Route Railway, followed by a wilderness snow shoe trek through the Alaskan wilderness. You’ll gear up at Glacier Station and begin your 3-5 mile guided snowshoe adventure over Skagway’s snow-covered glacial landscapes..”

Packer Expeditions was the company in charge of the excursion and as you will soon find out, they are amazing!! This is the specific adventure we chose for the day, and Ryan and I highly recommend!

There ended up being ten of us excursion-ers, all couples, ready to tackle the day’s journey. One guide briefly told us the day’s order of events, including the 1/4 mile walk to the train: a pass or fail test to see if we could handle what was to come. He said if you’re out of breath during this 1% incline, then this may not be the excursion for you. Ha!

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The train ride itself was part of the paid excursion. It offered amazing views on our way!

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IMG_1599Standing out on the platform during the train ride

While on the train, the guides had laid out quite a spread of food for the day … this was a huge concern of mine given that this excursion was labeled things like “strenuous” and “8-hour.” Molly’s first thoughts on anything lasting more than 1.5 hours is where/when I will be getting food 🙂

We made sandwiches to put in our packs for the “lunch break” we’d have somewhere along the trail. Inside those packs were also a bunch of other snacks including 2 water bottles and CANDY BARS. Yep, we had picked the right excursion. We got off on our stop and put on snow pants and boots. The snow shoes would come on later, we were told.

IMG_1614This man can sport a fanny pack better than anyone I know

IMG_1615Our gear! Just kidding, the guides were the ones that had to carry those beasts. Although with all the extra candy bars I snagged, my fanny pack did get a bit heavy

Before we set off, one guide asked Ryan to pick a song, to which he chose “Don’t Stop Believin’”. Our guide told us should we encounter a bear, our group would huddle up close together and all start singing Don’t Stop Believin’ as loud as we could to scare it off. (Spoiler alert: that song was never sung!)

And we were off! The 4 guides dispersed themselves among us so there’d be no man left behind. And since our group was small, if we had any questions, there was always a guide super close by to answer! They made everything fun and funny and well worth the “strenuous” day 🙂

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Everyone in our group was fairly fit, which I’m sure our guides were more than thankful for, so we all stayed pretty close during the hike. We would stop at any points along the way where a guide wanted to point something out to teach us about. Ryan and I really appreciate a good guided tour … being in a new place, learning interesting facts about a new place, and doing something adventurous in a new place … right up our alley!

Fun fact: when you sweat, you can wipe the oil off your nose to lubricate your lips! I was told this fun kinda-gross fact by a guide while scrambling for my chapstick during the hike.

20140512_093553We were one of the first tour groups to be taken out on the trail (our excursion is seasonal..we went in May). The guides had headed out a few days prior to pave the way for us!

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20140512_124500Our snow shoes! We wore “creepers” on our shoes up to this point. The creepers allowed for a better grip on the trail. Once we hit snow, we threw on our snowshoes to trek on out!

IMG_1620Filling up his water bottle with fresh water! It was delicious and coooold.

IMG_1621And oh-so thirst quenching 🙂

IMG_1622A tang snowball!! We were given strict instructions: Dig your hand down and scoop up some fresh snow. Hold it out in front of you. Think back to your childhood. And then he came around and sprinkled Tang mix onto our snowball. It was soooo good! (Does anyone remember Tang?!) Pretty fun, plus now we can say yeah we’ve eaten a Tang snowball while snowshoeing in Alaska, you?

20140512_111946May not look like it, but this was a brutal uphill.

Halfway through our hike, it was time for lunch! We each found a rock to sit on and chowed down on our pre-made sandwiches. One of the guides brought a thermos full of hot chocolate, so yum! It was nice to take a break from focusing on the path we were on, to look around at the scenery around us. Unreal. It is crazy to think that not many people have stood in our exact spot and took in that exact beauty surrounding us. I want to see it all 🙂

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During lunch, we spotted a mountain goat and also listened to some poetry read by the guides. Too fun!

IMG_1636This was taken full-zoom, ha! But hey, a mountain goat!

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After lunch (and a porta-potty break taken by all … yes thank goodness they had actually installed a porta-potty way out there) we took some pictures with the Alaska state flag before starting our hike back.

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Our hike back was a little bit challenging, given that there was a lot of downhill. Unless you are a snowshoe pro, you will fall. I think everyone in our group had somewhat of a wipeout, and it was pretty funny! There was also a part where we each had to squat down and sit on our snowshoes (while wearing them) and slide down a small hill. No lie. Ryan even got video but I can’t figure out how to get video on this thing….

IMG_1618Deciding on the safest route back. Take your time fellas.

20140512_122206Check out that awkward waddle walk I’ve got going! Snowshoes are difficulty to walk in, k?

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Once our hike was through, we ended back at the train “station” (aka a platform in the middle of nowhere). We finished off the day’s trip back on the train for more great views!

20140512_153438You guys KNOW I wouldn’t let my last candy bar go to waste. I’m not me when I’m hungry. I’m also in love with this picture. (Ryan….rude)

Views from the train….

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This was such a fun, but exhausting day! We found and hit up the Skagway Brew Co that was recommended to us by our guides before getting back on the ship, where we crashed.

20140512_175227The town of Skagway! (Is small)

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I don’t think we took any “dinner pic #6″ pics but we did manage to hit up the outdoor hot tub to soothe our muscles that night! What a day!

Tell me…

Have you ever tried snowshoeing?!

Ever seen a bear? Where?!

Juneau, Alaska

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Sunrise: 4:40am, Sunset: 9:10pm

Weather: High 64, Low 44

Rise n shine! Time to venture off the boat and into a new (to us) land! 🙂

Our first port was the capital of Alaska: Juneau. We had no plans for Juneau, didn’t book an excursion or anything, so here we planned on simply wandering around. It was a mile from the ship to the town, and while most people paid $10 (a piece!) to get there, we opted to use our working legs and take a walk!

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First stop: coffee. Always coffee. We sipped away while strolling down the street looking in different shops.

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We happened upon the Alaska Brewery Co store where we noticed a group of people sitting around waiting for…something, so we asked what was going on. Oh, they’ve signed up for the brew tour, would you two like to join? Um, yes!!

We’ve done one other brew tour in Tampa and really enjoyed it, so why not give one a go in Alaska! It left about 10 mins after we signed up, and all of us (10 maybe?) crowded in a van to take a mini-tour of Juneau before stopping at the brewery. This wasn’t the typical sketchy van you climb in to on a Caribbean excursion, something I definitely liked about the uniqueness of our cruise destination! 😉

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Our driver guide shared facts about Juneau while we took in the small-town scenery around us. *Fun fact: there is a pelican statue in front of the capital building. There is not one pelican in the land or sea of Alaska. It was mistakenly sent to Jueau instead of Tallahassee, where you will find a statue of an eagle! Whoops! Nobody switched it correctly and during my 4 years at Florida State I thought nothing odd of that eagle 🙂

Once at the Alaskan Brewing Company, we were handed a glass and told we could sample 6 of their different beers. Instructions I can follow.

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My favorites were the White and Summer ales. Our tour guide kept encouraging us to all try the Smoked Porter beer….it smelled like bacon and was a tad strong for me, but at least we gave it a go!

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We met a couple who are from Ryan’s hometown and were FSU fans (and were 70+ years old but we don’t discriminate), and then we also made our-age friends that we ended up spending the rest of the day with!

After the brew tour, we went to the Red Dog Saloon with our new friends where our buzz continued for a little while longer before we all decided to explore a nearby glacier.

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At this point I was very glad with the decision I made to wear rain boots. At first I felt a little silly in them since no one else seemed to have them on, but they came in handy when I wanted to cross the water! 🙂

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IMG_1570Ryan grabbed this floating beast from the water.

IMG_1562We tried telling people they could take a pic with the mini-glacier for $5. We made no money and now we actually owe ourselves $5

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There were different excursions to choose from that involved the Mendenhall Glacier however we were both happy we went our own route to see this beauty!

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It was crazy windy and cold, but amazing!! We had so much fun walking around this area and trying not to get soaked.

We had a great time with our self-made excursions in Juneau and meeting new people. Unfortunately they were from a different boat, so we didn’t get to hang at any other time, but they were a lot of fun to explore Juneau with!

20140511_201926Dinner pic #4

Tell me…

Ever done a brew tour? 

Other spectrum, but has anybody gone to Martha’s Vineyard??  That’s another bucket-lister for me! 🙂

Off To Alaska!

All Aboard!

After our short Vancouver trip we were all aboard Celebrity Solstice!

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We were greeted onto the ship with a glass of champagne. Yespleaseandthankyou.

We spoiled ourselves a bit and got a room with a balcony! We had one for our honeymoon, and loved the romantic touch it added to our vacation. Had we gone with friends on this trip, we probably would’ve saved our dollars and opted for an inside  room, but when it’s just the two of ya, it is a really nice plus to your vacation!

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We roamed around the ship a bit and hit up the buffet. Oh, cruises. You know how to offer overindulgence with a small side of guilt, don’t ya!? 😉

We opted for the late dining each night, which we are both happy we chose since you didn’t feel rushed to get ready as soon as you board the ship at each port!

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As you will notice with the remainder of my upcoming posts, this is the first of the “bad dinner pictures that no one of any demographic can seem to take” series. Each night we would find random people to take our pic before dinner, and neither young nor old, Asian nor American (our boat was like 90% Asian), sober nor drunk could take a solid pic of us. But we thought it was pretty funny and oh well you’re here to see pics of ALASKA anyway 🙂

Day At Sea

On this day, we really embraced the concept of vacation. We slept in, we ate plenty, watched a movie, relaxed on the balcony, and napped. Yep, that screams vacation 🙂

We did make it to a hot glass show. It was outside and since it was really cold we grabbed some hot chocolates to enjoy while watching the pros make nifty stuff with glass! And we also went to the gym where I took a spin class! I’m not a member of a gym so I’ve missed the spin atmosphere.

20140509_202810Dinner pic #2 (Formal night #1). I don’t think any other pictures were taken that day. We were just that lazy! 😉

Tracy Arm Fjord

We woke up the next morning and we were inching closer and closer to mountains! These Floridians get a wee excited when we see something other than sand and flatness! 🙂

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The captain came over the intercom when we were entering the fjord, and told us things to look out for such as bears and whales! Now let me give you a lil background on Molly Rose when it comes to whales: I cried every time I watched Free Willy. I was like 9. I had this huge passion for whales, and I still do to this day! Their gargantuan and beautiful in my eyes 🙂

We got lucky and did get to see some bears and whales!

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20140510_163828I think this is our “picture of the whale”. Can’t see it? Yah it’s because they breeched every 10 mins or so making it hard to prepare to snap a pic and we only really saw the tail HA! But I did see a whale in wildlife, so I am satisfied 🙂

20140510_131119Seriously…. amazing

20140510_170143Frozen yogurt + balcony + the ocean + beautiful weather + mountains = heaven. This has to be what heaven’s like.

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Vancouver, BC

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My husband and I are all about traveling and exploring. We are pretty settled in where we live, but we don’t want that to keep us from seeing all there is out there and experiencing God’s beauty!

When it came to our “big trip for the year” we knew we wanted it to be around the time of our anniversary and we wanted a change of climate. End result: Alaskan cruise!

I plan to break up this vacation into a few different posts so that I can focus in on the detail of each place we went and to also keep you engaged. I wouldn’t want you to suffer through reading 3 hours worth of page-turning material all at once (although you would totally get through it for me, right?) 🙂

Our trip began with a flight into Seattle where we rented a car and drove to Vancouver (where our ship would eventually be departing from).

20140507_155253We drove a Chevy Spark around town. Ryan drove it like the true playa he is.

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We didn’t have too much time in Vancouver, but we knew one thing we wanted to do that would allow us to see different parts of the city: a self-guided tour of the show Smallville’s “set”. We were able to google the farm, school, and coffee shop, printed it all out (can’t use our phones in Canada, eh!) and went on a hunt for the iconic places of one of our favorite shows! Yes, I know, we are special.

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20140507_205743My own Clark Kent in front of the farm! 😉

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20140507_183711In front of the “Talon” which was the coffee shop in the show where lots of drama occurred 😉

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20140507_191855And last but not least, Smallville High! This part of town in real life is real weird. We cheered on the Crows then got the heck out 🙂

*Fun fact: we were married on the exact day of the SERIES finale of Smallville. As big time fans of the show, this was a pretty sweet coincidence!*

After we geeked out enough over seeing Smallville, we headed to the downtown area. This place was called the Seawall and was beautiful, especially for the time of day we were there!

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We were super tired from the travel so when we got to our hotel we crashed. Like we even skipped dinner and that is a first for me. (Let’s be real, I’ll never let that happen again).

The next morning we woke up ready to explore more of Vancouver. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we had heard good things about the suspension bridge in town and wanted to see what it was all about!

20140508_090635 Breka Bakery had good reviews, and we both loved it too!

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20140508_101221Nothing wrong with some totem love

20140508_101630View from the bridge

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It was a hidden gem! Lots of walking and beautiful views. I highly recommend taking some time exploring this place if you’re ever in the area.

20140508_142028We finished by splitting some salmon jerky and beer… all before noon!

Around lunchtime we headed to the port to board our cruise! We went on a cruise for our honeymoon and also went on a 2-night cruise with some good friends, but we knew this one would be very different than cruises past!

Tell me…..

Ever been to Canada? 

What is a show that you secretly love(d) that you’re a tad embarrassed admitting??

VEGAS


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So this is what happened in Vegas…..

It was like we personally lived the story of The Hangover and I don’t remember a THING so I have no blog post for you. I kid. It was nothing like the Hangover aside from Ryan losing a tooth 😉

After making it back from the Grand Canyon, we checked in to possibly the NICEST hotel Ryan or I will ever stay in. We stayed in a penthouse suite at The Signature and could not hide our awe when we walked in. 2 bathrooms, huge balcony, huge tub, 2 flatscreens (one of which arose from the dresser in front of our bed), and muchos more.

20131104_113602From our balcony

20131104_114618That kind of luxe just is for us 😉

We didn’t really have plans for Vegas, just to try and see it all. Ryan has been in the past, but this was my first visit. We’re not gamblers, but it was still fun to see all the casinos and all the people throwing their money away people. We did get rebellious and hit up the penny slots a few times. I won a dollar at one and cashed the heck out. What a winning! (Remember my experience in Atlantic City?)

Each hotel is unique and fun in its own special way. We got a little touristy and started snapping pics of everything. Hey at least we used our phones and not an iPad 😉

20131104_123202I know what you’re wondering, and yes, I was the model for that sculpture.

20131104_125043Pink beer>any other beer 🙂

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IMAG1475He was REAL! 🙂

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Later that evening we met back up with our canyon friends (who reside in Vegas) and went to dinner at Aria before going to see a Cirque du Soleil show! Back when I was in high school I saw La Nouba with my family and fell in love. I used to dance, and I love gymnastics, and I like people doing weird things, so this type of entertainment is right up my ally. (I still regret not taking the Circus class at FSU!). Anyway, we saw Zarkana.

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‘Zarkana’ is a fantastically bizarre world where we follow the adventures of Zark, a magician who has lost his love and, with her, his powers. As he cries and begs for her return he is plunged into a world inhabited by surreal creatures.” – NY Times

IMAG1513Pregaming for Zarkana 😉

It was definitely bizzare but good entertainment for sure. We were sleepy from the wine consumed pre-show so it made the show itself a little scary at times 😉

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The next day started off atop the Stratosphere. Great views of Vegas! There’s a ride up there that like lurches you out over the city or something silly like that. We just took in the view with our feet planted.

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IMAG1514The Stratosphere at night

Later was more “sight-seeing” and enjoying the Vegas atmosphere. We went to the Bellagio for their lunch buffet and YUM is all I have to say.

20131105_122401Some midday circus entertainment.

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After she got off work, JRae met up with us at Margaritaville to have fun at the penny slots and… drink margaritas! (This is something we are very good at).

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After, we all went out to dinner, then watched the volcano erupt at The Mirage and the fountain show at the Bellagio….I loved this! The fountains were choreographed to One Singular Sensation, and it was unbelievable! I could definitely stand around and watch all the shows (they do them every night for a couple hours).

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Vegas is definitely not like any other place I’ve been. There is always something to do and see … it’s impossible to get bored! And the fact that you can walk around while drinking guarantees it is a place I WILL return 🙂

Ever been to Vegas?

Favorite movie centered around Vegas?
-What Happens in Vegas