Monday, September 29, 2014

Mountain Bike Teams: Fun High School Sports Addition

Could mountain bike racing be the best addition to high school sports in the last few years? 
I think so. 
It's one of those sports where every person on the team competes. There are no bench warmers and boys and girls have equal opportunities.

My son is in his second year of racing for his high school team. I love that he gets a good aerobic workout in practice and at races. Even better, he has fun and learns a sport he will use for the rest of his life. It doesn't stop when he graduates like so many other team sports. It's also become a family affair. We all load our mountain bikes onto our rack for his practice and ride the trails too. Sure, I can't keep up with any of the high school boys or girls but I don't care. It's much more fun than sitting on the sidelines or dropping him off and picking him up later.

Mountain Biking is relatively new on the high school scene. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) was founded just five short years ago in 2009. My home state of Utah formed its league in 2012 and with over 600 riders, has quickly become the largest league in the nation.

Not surprising, with the abundance of trails within minutes of the most densely populated cities in the state. In fact, many Utah riders compete nationally and internationally, though we haven't made it to that level.

While riders wait for their age group to race, they build camaraderie with their team members and those of other schools while they hang out in the "Pit Zone" where team tents stand side by side. It's also a place to fuel and recover from races and parents gladly volunteer behind camp stoves to feed the riders and their families.

The "Pit Zone" is also a great place to meet the awesome companies who sponsor the races and to find out about new gear. A ton of new sponsors came on board this year. I e got to hob nob with the guys at, one of the places I shop for outdoor gear. They were nice enough to let my family load up on their famous goat stickers and even provided cow bells for us to clang at the finish line.

Riders can head to the Specialized sponsor tent to have their bikes checked and adjusted before the race.

If the race isn't fun enough, the Utah National Guard provides a climbing wall to keep bored siblings occupied.

While high schools usually don't approve mountain biking as an official sanctioned sport, they do recognize it as a club sport. At our high school just being on the mountain bike team elevates you to the status of "cool." And if you do happen to get injured while riding, the broken wrist or leg gash serves as a "badge of honor."

Want to join a league or start one in your state? 
Check out NICA Leagues.

Not a sponsored post though post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Arla Dofino Gouda Cheese

Product received at no charge to facilitate my review.

I miss cheese. 
Growing up, it was always one of my favorite foods. As a teenager, I worked in a deli and loved trying new types of cheese. My favorites were gouda and muenster. After I discovered I was lactose intolerant, I cut back considerably on my dairy intake. Cheese was the hardest to give up.
Now, I can take medicine that provides an enzyme to help me digest the cheese I miss so much

I have had a hard time finding gouda cheese at the stores near me. I was thrilled to find the Arla Dofino gouda cheese. Just having one piece was like finding an old friend again. 
Besides the awesome taste, I like that Dorfino cheese does not have added hormones and is made from natural ingredients. 

Though gouda cheese is great in recipes, I like eating it plain or on crackers. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a free sample to try as a Bzzagent and was free to pick the flavor. Comments are based upon actual experience

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fulcrum Gallery Canvas Art Review

FTC Disclosure: I received art at no charge in order to facilitate an honest review.

So many beautiful outdoor scenes to choose from.

I was lucky enough to be asked to choose a beautiful art print from the Fulcrum Gallery. There were literally hundreds of prints to choose from, it was so hard to decide!! I narrowed it down to seven....and finally after a lot of internal debate settled on one. I wanted a print that was whimsical and fun, a little bit modern, but would go in any house. Since I'm just renting a place right now, I wanted something I was going to like in 6 months and in a couple of years.

I ended up choosing a beautiful piece of fantasy art art titled "No One Would Ever Believe Her"

It is a picture of a young girl hiding behind a tree watching a unicorn drink from a misty pond beneath a sliver of moonlight.

You can choose to have your print framed, gallery or museum wrapped. I chose the museum wrap. I'm not a big fan of frames, plus its hard to find a frame to match your current decor. And as I'm not in a permanent home I wanted something that would be more versatile. You can also choose to have brushstrokes on the print or not. I chose standard size brush strokes so it would look more like an actual painting. The last thing you can choose if you are getting a wrap is the depth and side color. I got a deep depth and chose black for my side color because it matched the painting best.

When my canvas arrived I was not disappointed. It is slightly bigger than a folder (for those of you like me that can't picture how big 13x11 is). I love the size. Big enough to be noticed, but not so big that it takes up a whole wall or is too in your face. The brushstrokes add a nice authentic feel. It is tightly and securely wrapped on a nice wood frame. It is a very high quality, sturdy feeling canvas.

I love the picture too. It tells a little story and captivates the audience. It is whimsical and classic. I have it hanging in my bedroom as a reminder to never lose curiosity and wonder in the world. I'm so excited to own such a nice piece of art. I would absolutely recommend them to anybody looking for high end artwork for their home. With the incredible range of variety and styles to chose from, there is something for everyone. The customer service is excellent and I received my artwork quickly but most importantly, packed with care. I don't have anything about the artwork I didn't like.

I have a new favorite wall decoration.

Available at Fulcrum Gallery.

Review by Kalina Zufelt

Friday, September 19, 2014

AYL USB Charging Cable Review

Product received at no charge to facilitate my review.

My cell phone charging cables constantly disappear. From carelessness of leaving them in hotel rooms when I travel to teenagers who think what's mine is theirs. Sometimes I find my cords in my son's room conveniently charging his electronic devices and swearing it is his.

It's no surprise that I have to find replacement cables. It's hard to find third part accessories that will work with my Apple products. It's even harder to find accessories that are better than the original. The Accessorise Your Life (AYL) Lightning Cable is one of those rare certified Apple accessories that is by far better than the standard Apple cable.

My two favorite things about the AYL cable is the length and the quality. At six feet, it is about double the length of the original lightning cable that came with my iPhone 5. It is also much thicker than other cables. The high quality makes it easy to grip and I don't have to worry about it coming apart. I've used the AYL Lightning Cable in both my iPhone 5 and my iPad and I have never received an error message. 

I highly recommend the AYL cable for those who like a longer cord.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jewelry for the Outdoor Enthusiast Giveaway

We are thrilled to announce our new products page on our blog and introduce our readers to our outdoor jewelry line. We have teamed up with some awesome designers to bring our outdoor readers jewelry that fits their personality. Right now, we are accepting payment through Paypal but hope to add more options as our shop grows. 

Check out our shop HERE.

We have sterling silver jewelry for the hiker and biker and our fabulous designer is working on one for our runner friends too. Check back soon for new designs.

Tree of Life Leather Bracelet $9.00
Check out our leather bracelets too. 

Giveaway Details

We are giving away three of our most popular bracelets ($39 ARV) to one of our lucky winners. Check them out.

To enter: Use the Rafflecopter form. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest open to U.S. and Canada and ends 10/3/2014 at 11:59 EST. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Try Something New: Stand Up Paddleboarding

I sometimes feel like one of the few parents who is sad when summer comes to an end. I hate sending my son back to school. That means we have to buckle down and get back to normal. With our summer days behind us, I can't help but think about all of the fun things we try throughout the summer.

A few years ago, we found an inflatable stand up paddleboard at the end of the season on sale for a good price. Since we would be dragging it to our annual Lake Powell trip, we decided an inflatable one would be easier to pack. While it is easier, it is not one I would take too far away.

In the few years we have had the paddleboard, we have had a great time on it and the inflatable has been surprisingly durable. What I really like about it is that is stable. It was super easy for me, a middle age woman, to learn and I'm not particularly gifted.  Our dogs even feel safe on it and jump on it every time they see us go out.

Stand up paddeboards are also a fun way to burn a few calories. I'm a firm believer that exercise should never feel like work. All it takes is one long paddle and a few strokes at a time alternating on each side propel the board straight through the water. We like buying our sporting goods equipment at the end of each season so we can find better prices. It doesn't matter if it is last year's model or not when we use them to have fun and not to compete.
What are you waiting for? Give stand up paddleboarding a try!

**This post contains affiliate links.**

+LIFEGUARD MINI 1 Portable Charger Review

I hate it when I need my cell phone and it dies.
While I have a car charger, it's rare that I'm in my car when my battery decides to quit on me. Instead, I'm usually running errands and nowhere near an outlet. I've been on the lookout for a portable battery charger that is compact enough to carry in my purse or pocket but powerful enough to give me a full phone charge while I'm running errands or traveling.

The +LIFEGUARD MINI 1 ended up being the perfect portable charger. It is powerful enough to give my phone a full charge and even have a bit leftover for a partial charge until I can get it plugged in again. It charged my phone from 30% to 100% in about two hours or less.  The best part is that it easily fits in my pocket with my phone so I don't have to worry about carrying extra bulk. This works out even better for traveling. When I travel, I don't use a full size purse for security reasons. The +LIFEGUARD MINI 1 also fits easily in my travel wallet with my cell phone in the special phone compartment. No more getting to the airport and not having enough battery power to call my ride.

When it comes to electronics, I am more concerned about function than style but I have to admit, I love the bright pink of the +LIFEGUARD MINI 1. With my teenage son and husband always trying to stake a claim on my electronics, having a pink charger screams that it is not theirs. They can't even pretend like they don't know it belongs to Mom.

At less than $25.00, the price is reasonable and I love that it comes with an Apple compatible lightening charger. I'm always losing mine or leaving them in the hotel, so it's great to have an extra and it does work on my iPhone 5c. While it doesn't come with a charger for other cell phones, it is compatible with many other brands. I also like that the company offers an eighteen month money back warranty. I'll probably lose mine before it dies on me but it's nice to know that the company stands behind its product.

I couldn't find anything about the Lifeguard charger I didn't like.

What I love about the +LIFEGUARD MINI 1
  • Compact - fits in purse or pocket
  • Charges quickly
  • One full plus one partial charge
  • Price
  • Stylish
  • Color
  • Comes with lightening cord
  • 18 month money back guarantee
What I don't like
  • Nothing - I couldn't find anything to improve upon
Product Rating: ★★★★★

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mountain Biking in Utah: Temple Quarry Trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon

For mountain bike enthusiasts, trails abound along the Wasatch Front. Temple Quarry Trail, a favorite among locals, is easily accessible with close proximity to the nearby Wasatch Front cities. The trailhead sits at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon at a right before the stop sign before turning up the canyon.
A view of the quarry
The Temple Quarry Trail is aptly named after the history that took place there. The granite knocked loose from the nearby cliffs provided the perfect stone for the building of the Salt Lake Temple. In 1862, John Livingston began quarrying the rocks for the temple for the Mormon settlers. In 1872 a railroad was built up the canyon to transport the granite boulders 20 miles to the temple site. Mining and lumbering took place along the trail as well through the early 1900's. Many small towns dotted the trail but have since disappeared, leaving evidence of the once bustling area. For those who want to stop along the way, marks on the rock from the quarrying activities is still evident.

The Little Cottonwood Trail also referred to as Quarry Trail starts on a wide gravel gentle uphill climb. Also a popular hiking trail, be alert for hikers. The Little Cottonwood Trail continues up the canyon for several miles and is the trail bikers follow. Bikers should stay off the paved area of adjacent Temple Quarry Trail that was made wheelchair accessible for all to enjoy.

As the trail climbs it gets rocky and steep in parts. As it follows the Little Cottonwood Creek up the canyon, it is shaded with many different kinds of trees including spruce, maple and oak.

While the trail does narrow in sections, it stays wide enough to pass slower bikers. Be sure to use a bell or call out when passing. The trail sees heavy use as soon as the snow melts and into the fall on weekends and weeknights. The best time to go is in the middle of the day but even then, don't expect to be the only one on a bike.

The trail ends at three and a half miles right across from an old ruin. Do the world a favor and leave the spray paint at home. So sad to see all of the beautiful boulders along the trail tagged with somebody's idea of street art. Careful with the ride down, especially in the gravel.

Little Cottonwood Creek

**Not a sponsored post though post may contain affiliate links**

Bike Like a Girl Necklace
Bike Like a Girl Bracelet

 Check out my new jewelry line for the outdoor enthusiast HERE.

 - Where Great Rides Begin

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MUV Proband Armband Review

Product received at no charge to facilitate my review

Whether I'm running or on my road or mountain bike, I always take my iPhone 5 with me. There are so many apps that keep track of my distance that it has practically eliminated the need for extra gadgets on my bike. However, it is challenging to find an armband that keeps my cell phone safe, is comfortable and will last through continued use. I am happy that I found the MUV Proband Armband

I've gone through a couple of different brands of armbands and MUV stands out as higher quality one. The red stitching is even and tight. I love that the armband has a place for my car key. This comes in handy when I have to drive my car to the mountains and don't want to lose my key on a rugged trail. Since I sweat a lot, I like that the neoprene keeps my phone from getting wet and ruined. The touchscreen protector works well and it's nice not to have to take my phone out of the armband every time I want to look at the screen.

The first time I used the MUV armband, I was impressed that I didn't slip once, even on a rocky mountain bike trail. I usually have to stop and adjust my armband but I never had to with this one. Though I don't usually bike with headphones, I do like the extra holes in the back to use them while running. I also like the reflective border so when I get caught on the road after dark, drivers can see me.

What I like about the MUV Armband

  • Comfortable
  • Fits iPhone 5 safe and snug
  • Waterproof and Sweatproof
  • Soft, high quality velcro
  • Well made
  • Doesn't slip while working out
  • Key holder
  • Soft Neoprene
  • Touch screen protector
What I didn't like about the MUV Armband
  • Felt sweaty underneath
I like way more things that I don't like and would definitely feel comfortable recommending the MUV Armband to my readers.

The MUV Armband can be purchased on Amazon.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.