Sunday, November 1, 2015

Almost Heaven: Dolly Sods West Virginia #hiking #travel

I know I am late in sharing this. I haven't been blogging  much at all. I have been so busy with the kids and volunteer work that I had to prioritize! But, I do really want to share about our camping trip to West Virginia this year. It was an absolutely AMAZING trip. And, knowing that I might not get around to sharing everything about the trip, I am going to start with my favorite place we hiked.

We camped in Canaan Valley (pronounced Ka Nane), located in Tucker County, WV. This is the second least populated county in the state and located in the Allegheny Mountains. While there, we hiked the Blackwater Falls area, Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob, Canaan Valley Wilderness and Dolly Sods Wilderness.

Dolly Sods hiking
By far, Dolly Sods Wilderness was my favorite area. It is located in the Allegheny Mountains and is part of the Monongahela National Forest. It is the highest plateau of its type east of the Mississippi River. This rocky area has meadow lands, grassy plains, boulders, forests, sphagnum bogs and incredible vistas. In fact, you really don't have to do much hiking to see some of the vistas.

Dolly Sods, WV hiking
Driving through the Dolly Sods area can be tricky. The roads are gravel forest roads and not always clearly marked, so make sure you get a map before you go. We actually had to turn around because there was a recently fallen tree blocking the road. I have also started taking pictures like the one above on my phone when I hike. They can be a great point of reference.

Also, we did see some cars there, but be warned, some of the roads are not in good shape. There are lots of sink holes in the road so you will need to take it slowly. Also, I have Verizon Wireless service and had very limited service and mainly only texting. So, before you venture out, be prepared in case you get stuck. And I have been told the weather can quickly change, so be aware and be prepared!

All that being said, it was well worth the time it took to get there. I wished that we could have done more hiking there and definitely plan to go back.

The north end is an area known as Bear Rocks Preserve and the views here were stunning! These were just short walks from the parking area.

Dolly Sods, WV

Dolly Sods, WV

These are some photos from our hike on Bear Rocks Trail. Hiking books are a must as the trail is very rocky in places!

The area is full of blueberry, huckleberry and cranberry bushes. From what I read, you can pick as much as you can carry!

Dolly Sods, WV

Dolly Sods, WV

Dolly Sods, WV

Dolly Sods, WV

Dolly Sods, WV

Dolly Sods, WV

We saw rain all around, but fortunately, we managed to skirt past it!

Dolly Sods, WV

This will give you a bit of an idea about the roads. Some areas are not wide enough to pass, so if you see a car coming and can pull over, it is a good idea to do right away, even if you have to wait.

Dolly Sods, WV
We were at Dolly Sods in June and the temperatures were a perfect 70-ish degrees. I don't know that it ever gets really hot there. Every thing was beautiful, but this is also an area that I think would be amazing every season of the year.

Review: Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating System #hairthatmoves

As a member of Influenster, I was selected to try the new Nexxus hair care products in exchange for my honest opinion. I used to use Nexxus years ago. I don't really want to say how many years ago, but obviously, Nexxus figured that one out as they sent me the Youth Renewal Rejuvenating System. I think those are words for old hair. Their claim is that it rejuvenates and reinvigorates for youthful volume and shine. Okay, I have to admit, my hair has seen better days, so I was excited to try it.

Per Nexxus, the Youth Renewal Rejuvenating System:

the shampoo:

  • Rebuilds broken protein bonds in the hair
  • Detangles without excessive residue
the conditioner:
  • Restores the protective barrier of the hair
  • Seals in nourishment and smooths
the reviving elixir:
  • combats 8 visible signs of aging hair: volume reduction, loss of shine, dullness, unruliness, breakage, brittleness, roughness and loss of color vibrancy

My first impression was not a good one. The shampoo scent was soooo strong I could taste it. And to me, it smelled like old lady perfume. I am old, but come on, not that old! The conditioner did not smell as strong. Both rinsed easily and my hair felt clean without buildup. Then, I used the Nexus Youth Renewal Reviving Elixir. It seals in nourishment and smooths hair.

First time I used the system, I wasn't impressed that it was any better than what I was currently using. I also felt like I could taste that shampoo for the entire first day. That might just be me, though. My family did not think it smelled really strong, nor bad. But to be fair, I knew I needed to use the product more than once. The second time I used it, I liked it better, but the shampoo still seemed to smell strong. I decided to uncap the bottle and see if the smell could escape before I used it again. I think it worked because by the third time I used it, it didn't smell too strong at all.

Results--I definitely have volume and shine! Even my hairdresser noticed how shiny my hair color was when I went in last week for highlights. My hair looks and feels healthier. The only thing is that my hair tangles a bit more than normal. I am hopeful that this, too, will improve once my hair gets more used to the system. I almost sort of feel like my hair had to get rid of gunk the first couple times I used this product--maybe I had buildup and didn't really realize it.

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for my honest opinions. In fact, I wasn't even required to blog, but chose to.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Need Ideas for Kid Fun this Summer?

magazine cover

If you are in need of ideas for fun things to do with your kids over the summer and throughout the year, Family Fun magazine is always a great resource. You can get a free, no-strings attached, subscription for it right now by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Celebrate National Donut Day with These Printables

Who doesn't love donuts? My personal favorite, outside the ones I make, are the chocolate covered, cream filled (not custard, ick!) donuts. Yummy!

I found these cute donut box printables over at In the Playroom and fell in love with them. With National Donut Day this Friday, isn't this a sweet way to give someone a treat? Trust me, they will love you forever!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Surprise Visitor #birds #birdwatching

Bird watching has long been a pastime of mine. Their songs always let me know spring is here, even though it may not feel like it. It is also fun to watch how the birds interact at the feeders and with each other. I have seen birds courting each other with elaborate dances. I have learned that some birds are nest robbers and bad parents--dropping their eggs and flying off into the sunset. One thing that thrills any bird watcher is spying a new bird, especially in their backyard.

Over the past couple weeks I have spied an Indigo Bunting in my past yard, and today, managed to get a decent photo. Although this is not my first sighting of this bird, seeing one in my backyard is quite unusual, and needless to say, I am thrilled to have this beautiful bird visit and hope he stays all summer.

Indigo Bunting

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One Thing You Can Do to Make Parenting Easier

Parenting is difficult. There really isn't an instruction manual. We aren't required to get a license. We don't always know what to do. My advice when it comes to parenting is to read and learn all you can from others. Then decide what approach is best for you and be flexible. One great resource for parents is Parents magazine. Right now, you can get a free subscription--NO STRINGS ATTACHED--compliments of  Click HERE to get your subscription.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gym Bag Necessities

Disclosure: I received sample products so that I could share my unbiased opinions. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links.

Spring is flying by and before you know it, summer will be here. I know for many women, they are hitting the gym hard to get their workouts in before bathing suit season. I have reviewed must have necessities for your gym bag.

The first, and my favorite, is Burt's Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser with Daisy Extract. I am a huge fan of Burt's Bees skin care products, and there are no exceptions with this one. I admit, I am lazy when it comes to removing make up. I hate having multi-steps to clean my face. By the end of the day, I want to wash it and go to bed, so using a makeup remover before washing is out of the question. This product allows me to skip that step and just wash. It easily removes makeup along with dirt and oil. It is soft and silky to use and my face feels great afterwards. It claims to even skin tone (when used as part of a regimen with other Burt's Bees products) and create a brighter, more luminous complexion.

Scunci Everyday and Active Reversible Stretch Headwrap is cute and functional. And not only can it be worn to the gym, but for every day. It's unique design includes a back braid. I also love that it is reversible, making it two headbands in one. This headband also did not slip on my hair like so many do. Completely adorable!

 KMS California HairPlay Makeover Spray is a must-have! Don't have time to wash your hair? Use the HairPlay Makeover Spray to dry clean for a quick fix. My hair felt fresh and clean. Or did you just wash and hair is to silky to hold your style? Use the spray all over to increase texture and bulk. Kms California Hair Play Makeover Spray is great for all hair types, especially fine or limp hair. I can't live without dry shampoo (especially when camping).

Rimmel Wonderful Wonderlash Waterproof Mascara is a must-have for the summer months.  Love the fine brush on the wand--it really separates your lashes for a nice, thickening coverage.  Formulated with Argan Oil, this waterproof mascara is clump free. I do still prefer my department store mascara a bit better, however, it is not waterproof. Retails for $5-$10.

NYC Smooth Skin BB Cream Instant Matte refines your skin instantly. This long-wearing creme has a matte finish. I like BB cremes over traditional foundations because they generally feel much lighter on your skin. the NYC BB creme has great coverage and reduces shine. It feels a bit heavier than my current BB creme, but does a nice job. Retails on Amazon for $17.46 for a 3 pack!

You definitely want a spot for Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths in your gym bag. There are days that I need to make a quick stop at the grocery before I go home and shower. The Ban cloths are perfect to freshen up with. I also love to carry these when I am out an about, say at a festival or other outdoor activity when it is hot and sweaty out. A quick wipe with a cloth and you feel cool and refreshed. They are even safe to use on your face.

You know what is in my gym bag. Now, what is in yours?

Disclosure: I received sample products so that I could share my unbiased opinions. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links.

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