Saturday, April 30, 2016

Things to Do In Lake Havasu, Arizona: Paddle Boarding

Me with London Bridge in the background.
To really see Lake Havasu, Arizona it's best to go by boat but I think it's more fun to paddle board. We own a blow up paddle board but didn't want to pack it on our road trip. Instead, we found a shop right on along the lake that rents the more stable non-inflatable boards.


 Southwest  Kayaks rents both kayaks and paddle boards and offers great customer service. The employees were friendly and helpful and Bob Nielsen, the owner, really seems to enjoy his work. 
My son, Caden, on the water.

What I like about paddle boarding.

The learning curve is short on a paddle board. The hardest thing to learn is getting on and off. It's really a matter of learning where to my feet and making sure to weight them evenly. Slowly stand up straight and voila, we're ready to go. One thing I've learned is leaning back while trying to stand up can propel the board forward. Once one the paddle board, it's just a matter of performing a few strokes on one side and then switching sides. Back and forth like that keeps me straight. To turn around, I just put my paddle in the water and push it the opposite way. When I get hot, I sit on the paddle board and dangle my legs over the edge. It's a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors.

For an even better workout, Southwest Kayaks now rents and sells the Hobie Mirage® Eclipse. This is a leg powered paddle board, kind of like a stair stepper on water. We just missed trying them out as Bob was getting his shipment in the weeks after we left Lake Havasu.


Another great way to see the lake is to try a kayak. While I have kayaked before, I wanted to paddle board. Either way, the staff from Southwest Kayaks meets you at the water and assists in making sure you get on your paddle board or kayak without tumbling into the water. 

We had a great time at Lake Havasu, Arizona. I don't know when we'll go back but when we do, I'll head down to rent one of those new leg powered paddle boards.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

For The Bike: BeetleBag Review


Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

While I live close to mountain bike trails, it's usually a drive to my favorite. That means I have to hook up the bike rack for my adventure. It's hard enough taking everything I might need. I've had enough crashes and flat tires on the trails that I don't dare leave without a small bike pump, an extra tube, tools to change a tire, a small first aid kit and of course food and plenty of water. While I usually wear a small hydration pack when I go for mountain bike rides, it's sometimes too hot to carry one one my back. I can't always fit everything I need in my bike jersey.

It's nice to have the option of an on bike bag like the BeetleBag.



The BeetleBag attaches easily to the front of my bike and gives me the option of keeping my extra items off my back on a hot day. Several different compartments means I can keep my bars and gels separated from my tools and tubes. I also have a place to keep keys. The thing I really like about the BeetleBag is the holder for a water bottle. That way I can carry a bottle in one of my cages and one in my BeetleBag. It's a lot less scary to grab it from the bag than it is to reach down to pull it out of my cages. However, it is harder to put back into the holder than it is a cage so I still have mixed feelings about the water placement.

The biggest drawback about the BeetleBag is that it doesn't work as well on small bike frames. I can't use it on my road bike at all because it doesn't sit far enough forward to keep my legs from hitting it as I pedal. It does work better on my mountain bike with the dropped bar. This angles it enough to keep my legs from hitting it.
The BeetleBag is well made and has a great design.



My absolute favorite feature of the BeetleBag is that it also converts to a backpack. That way it gives me the option of wearing it on my back if it bugs me on the front of my bike. This functional design, means I can ride my bike all over, including the store to pick up small items, and take it inside with me. I don't have to worry about the bag or the things inside getting stolen. It also leaves me with a hands free option while shopping. I like that I can wear it on my back until I get too hot and sweaty and then I have the option of moving it. I have to admit, I was only going to give the bag a 3 star rating based on how poorly it fit on my road bike until I tried the backpack option. Just the design itself makes it worthy of a 5 star. The design gives me the added functionality I need when switching from road biking to mountain biking.
Rating ★★★


Check out BeetleBag on Facebook and Twitter.





Monday, April 18, 2016

Falling in Love with PrAna Sustainable Clothing Again: Review and Giveaway #MMwearsprana

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
I come from a family of all girls, most of whom love to shop. I'm the odd one of the bunch. I'd rather be on my bike or on the trail than in the mall. When I do finally get around to shopping, the mall is NOT the place for me. My sisters still try to convince me I would look cute in the clothes they love. My mom finally gets me and buys me gift certificates to REI or some other outdoor store for my birthday so I can get the clothes I love and not the ones my sisters love. I want comfortable clothing that fits my lifestyle. High heels and dresses don't do it for me. A few years ago, I discovered the PrAna line of clothing at REI and immediately fell in love with it. Not only is PrAna clothing comfortable, it's versatile too. I have shirts I wear around town while running errands that also work well for hiking. That way if I have an extra hour in my day where I'm close to a favorite hiking trail, I already have on the right clothing.


I could hardly wait to get my PrAna review clothing in the mail. The Garland Tee is everything I hoped it would be. I love that it's made with organic cotton which makes it soft. I'm impressed that it also incorporates recycled polyester so not only is the top made with sustainable materials, it looks great pulling it right from the dryer. It's lightweight and fits my active lifestyle. I also like the color and design combination. I can wear the top with jeans or with other colored pants. I can also wear it with my hiking pants and the lightweight fabric keeps me from getting overheated while I'm on the trail. I even like to wear the shirt to the indoor climbing gym. It's long enough to keep my whole backside covered. No sharing of unwanted crack.

The top sells for $55.00 which might seem expensive at first but I have never minded paying more for PrAna clothes. They last longer than some of the less expensive brands and they're well made. In fact, Garland Tee is made
in the U.S.A. which means I'm helping keep jobs at home.



The fabric mix in the Kara Jean makes for an absolutely amazing pair of pants. Made with 79% organic cotton, 19% polyester and 2% spandex, the Kara Jean stretches well on my large legs and provides plenty of comfort even though they are form fitting. I do have short legs so the jeans are too long for me but with the tapered fit, they look great cuffed at the bottom.  I do get worried with my body shape that the fitted jeans will show every roll but I've been pleasantly surprised at how they look. The best part of the Kara Jean is the array of colors to choose from. With ten different colors, I am excited to order another pair and get something a little more trendy and fun. I think the $89 price tag for the Kara Jean is worth it. I plan on wearing these while I travel since they are so comfortable. While the Kara Jeans aren't made in the U.S.A. like the Garland Tee, at least I know the clothing is made from sustainable materials and that PrAna supports Fair Trade.

Thanks to PrAna and Moms Meet for letting me take part in this review. I'm excited to add to my current PrAna wardrobe.

Overal Rating: ★★★★★

15% off at prAna.com with code MMS16 

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

Giveaway Details

One of my lucky readers will win the same PrAna outfit I had the honor of reviewing (ARV $144). Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 5/6/2016 at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 15, 2016

E-Hydrate Makes a Great Hiking Companion: Review and Giveaway

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

My regular readers know how much I love hiking and trail running (ok, I admit it's just jogging). I face a couple of challenges when I go too long. The first challenge is keeping fueled along the way. When I hike, I don't mind carrying a larger pack but when I trail run, I like to wear my running belt with my refillable water bottles. This doesn't leave me much room to take anything extra. Even when I hike, I want to keep the weight in my pack to a minimum.

I'm thrilled at the the opportunity to try the the E-hydrate products.

My only regret is that I had tried them sooner. The Protein On-the-GO instantly solved my dilemma of how to fuel on the go. I have a hard time swallowing dry bars when I'm hiking or trail running. Sometimes gels and other energy products are too sweet or are too heavy on the carbohydrates and don't contain any protein. The Protein On-the-Go pouches make a great recovery option for my post-workout recovery or work well for taking with on longer runs and hikes. The protein comes in a easy to use pouch without liquid so they're light weight. I can fold the packet and have it fit inside my running belt with no problem. If I decide I don't need it, no big deal. I don't notice the extra weight. 


I used the chocolate pouch at the end of my workout and I am impressed with the taste. I added water and waited for it to dissolve and had a nice recovery drink at the bottom of the trail. The only drawback; I didn't follow the instructions well of only filling half way to let it dissolve before adding the rest of the water. I tried to add the water all at once and had a lumpy drink. I didn't make the same mistake a few days later when trying the vanilla flavor.

The Protein On-the-Go has 25 grams or protein which is perfect for the recovery of my tired muscles. Best of all, it's only 150 calories so I don't feel like I sabotaged my 6 mile workout with too many calories at the end. Also, with no artificial sweeteners, I don't have to worry about what I'm putting into my body.






The other problem I have while working out is that I sweat a lot. In fact, I can't think of anyone that sweats as much as I do. I literally end my work outs with salt on my face. I have a hard time keeping my electrolyte balance in check.

Thank goodness I also got to try the E-hydrate hydration and energy packs. I have to admit, I liked these even more than the Protein On-the-Go packs. Maybe it's because they're more useful to me and super easy to carry. I usually carry two refillable bottles of water and end up drinking both of them during a trail run. I like that I can take the small hydrate packets with me and use one instead of water only if really needed. The packets are easier than taking a heavier bottle of pre-mixed drink. Also, I've never been a huge fan of sports drinks. They're either too syrupy or I don't like the artificial sweeteners of the lower calorie versions. The E-hydrate hydration packets aren't icky sweet. They're sweetened with the natural sweetener, Stevia, and still low in calories with only four per packet. They do have caffeine in them so I use only one during a hike. However, the children's version doesn't have any caffeine and makes a great alternative for adults who want to avoid the it. I wish there were more than four flavors. I don't love the lemon lime flavor but the orange, grape and red berry are good. I would love to see some exotic flavors like mango and strawberry kiwi.

Word of caution: I drank down a little water before I added a packet to my 16 oz. water bottle. I needed to drink down more than I did. The mix fizzes over the top if you don't drink it down far enough. Luckily, I just make a mess all over a rock at the bottom of the trail and not all over my cupboard. It only took one time for me not to do it again.

I saw these at my local Target and I'm planning on buying some next time I'm there. I'm thrilled to find a product that's lightweight and tastes good. The best part is the amount of electrolytes in one pack is enough to get me feeling back to normal after a run and to take care of the salt craving I get from sweating it all out.
Ratings
  Protein On-the-Go ★★★★☆
   Hydration Energy Packs ★★★★

Want to try E-hydrate. My readers will get 20% off their first order with coupon code 
  1. MOMSMEET at E-hydrate.com
I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

                                      Giveaway Details



One of my lucky readers will win 2 E-hydrate Sample Packs worth $25 ARV each ($50 ARV) Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 4/29/2016 at 11:59 EST.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Eco-Friendly Laundry and Home Care Solutions with Grab Green: REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
Three years ago, my then 22 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Ever since, I have become more concerned with every day environmental toxins that might lead to poor health and a cancer diagnosis. As a parent, I can't help but wonder if there was something I used or something in our home that may have contributed to Kalina's illness. In reality, I doubt it can be pinned on anything I did or didn't do, I still like the idea of slowly replacing home chemicals with less toxic alternatives.
Grab Green helps me in my journey. I love being a member of Moms Meet so I can try products like Grab Green.

In The Kitchen

I'm starting with my favorite product. The Grab Green Dishwashing Pods work as well as my current pods and aren't any more expensive. They cut through the grime and leave my dishes clean without spots on my glasses. Best of all, they are free of dyes, chlorine and phosphates. I can't wait to find these at my local Target. We really liked them and they even take off the stuck on food in my silverware.





Grab Green Garbage Disposal Freshener and Cleaner

I rarely think about my sink disposal until it really smells. Then I try to shove a lemon or lime rind down it and hope it grinds up. It doesn't always work. The garbage disposal pods always work and keep my sink from smelling. They also loosen grime which helps prevent clogging and does it without dyes and phosphates. This is one of those products I didn't know I needed until I actually tried it. Now I plan on keeping a bag under my sink and using one every week or more often if needed.


In the Laundry Room


3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Pods

The laundry detergent pods come unscented and in a gardenia scent. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of the gardenia scent. However, the smell does not linger on my clothing and I don't have an allergic reaction to it like I do other brands of detergent with floral smells. I will purchase the unscented in the future. I do think they work as well as my current laundry detergent in keeping my clothes clean and bright. I like the remeasured pods and put them directly in my front loading washer. They don't dissolve well in the detergent drawer. Both my husband and I have had skin reactions to many detergents but this one does not cause and allergic reaction. That is a big plus for us.

Bleach Alternative Pods

I'm more likely to use the bleach alternative pods than I am the laundry detergent pods. The biggest reason is I hate when I drop a little bleach on my pants or shirt and ruin them with white stains. With the pods, I can put one directly in the washer and it works well. I haven't noticed that they work better at getting out stains than my current products but I like that they are better for the environment. These can be used to clean grout but I haven't tried them yet so can't attest to how well they work for grout.

Overall, I liked the Grab Green products. I will definitely consider replacing my current kitchen products with the Grab Green but I'm still unsure as to whether or not I will replace my current laundry products. If we continue to have no reactions and they keep our clothes clean then I am more likely.

Overall Product Line Rating ★★★★★

Special Offer
Shop at Target to save 10% on Grab Green but hurry offer expires 4/23 (no coupon code required. Want to save another 50%? If you email a copy of your Target receipt to support@GrabGreenHome.com, they will send you 50% coupon to be used on www.GrabGreenHome.com. 


I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 
Giveaway Details

I'm so excited! Grab Green is offering one of my lucky readers an identical kit to the one I received (a $35 value). Just use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. ENDS 4/23/2016 at 11:59 EST

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Time for New Spring Wardrobe with Orvis: Review

I received complimentary product from Orvis for this review.


I love Spring!
It's that time of year when I can hardly wait to get outside. It's also a time when I love to clean out my closet and refresh my wardrobe. As much as I like to hike, bike and run, I can't live in my sweaty work out clothes. Dressing up for me is literally putting on a button up shirt with a pair of jeans. My casual style is who I am and I like clothes that reflect that. Orvis Spring Line has so many pieces I love that it was hard to pick just two.

From the Botanical Print Bush Shirt that reflects my love of wildflowers to the Stretch Twill Hiking Shorts that would be perfect for warm weather hiking. I would totally take a few hours to clean out my closet to make room for a new wardrobe from the spring line.



The Orvis new spring line features functional fun gear for all kinds of weather and has key pieces that I can use with my existing wardrobe.

The Stretch Denim Boyfriend Jeans are one of those key pieces. It's been a long time since I have found a pair of jeans that feel like real denim as well as fits and looks good. These jeans are perfect on every point. I like that they are a little looser which makes them more comfortable for traveling. With the numerous road trips we take to enjoy our favorite outdoor activities, the Boyfriend Jeans make a perfect traveling companion. Not only do I enjoy the comfort, but I can use them for every outfit, thus reducing the amount of clothing I need to pack. I love the distressed look and the high quality of the construction and fabric. I usually spend
a lot less on jeans but after trying these, I'm convinced that spending a little more will save me money in the long run as these higher quality jeans will last longer than my current brand.


Since I travel a lot, I want clothing that is made with sturdy fabric that I can just wash and go on my next adventure. I don't have time to pull out an iron nor do I always have access to one when I'm traveling. The Mixed-Block Print Shirt will definitely go with me on my trips. The denim color goes great with my new boyfriend jeans and I like the sturdy fabric that comes out of the dryer decent enough that I can wear it without ironing. I've already taken it on one weekend trip and I like that I can pull it out of my suitcase and not worry about what it looks like. Even with a few suitcase wrinkles, once I put in on there were no noticeable wrinkles.

I have never tried clothing from Orvis before and I'm most impressed with the quality of the fabrics of the pieces I tried. I will definitely order again and already have several items picked out. Next are the twill hiking shorts I need to look good for my spring and summer hikes.

Rating ★★★★★

How do you plan to build your wardrobe around your outdoor activities? Let me know in the comments section.


Giveaway Details

Want to win a $100 gift code for your favorite Orvis product? 
Click on the link to enter but hurry. Contest ends May 2, 2016. After entering, come back and tell me how you plan to build your wardrobe around your outdoor activities.


I-C will randomly select 10 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes. 

My readers will receive a $25 discount with a $50 purchase with code ICSPRING at ORVIS. Offer ends 9/30/2016



Sunday, April 3, 2016

Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona

Post contains affiliate links.
Epic generational selfie at Desert Botanical Gardens

Recently, I traveled to Mesa, Arizona with my daughter to visit my sweet grandmother. I wanted to take her on what may be her last outdoor adventures. At 94 years old, I'm not sure how much longer she'll be around and the more memories I can build now, the more treasures I'll have to remember  when she's gone.

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix was our first adventure of the weekend For those who love learning about the local flora, this is the place. We got to see a dazzling array of cacti, amazing agave plants, and even found some flowers in bloom. I was surprised at how big some of the Cardon and Saguaro cacti can get.

 I didn't expect to see colors like purple on the cactus plant below.


The Botanical Gardens are set up in five loop trails and each has a different emphasis. The Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail introduced us to how people of the past lived in the desert. We even got to go inside a hut and escape the heat for a moment. The Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail gave us a glimpse of the vibrant colors found in the desert.


The entrance fee is $22 per person with student and senior discounts we were able to utilize. We were only able to stay about three hours before my sweet grandmother was worn out so it seemed a little bit expensive. In the end it was worth it just to see Grandma happy to be outside. 
While there is a restaurant on the premise, the cost was more than we wanted to pay for lunch. We found the Patio Cafe, a less expensive option, with window ordering and pickup. I don't know if it was just a bad day for the employee who helped us but she was really grumpy and impatient with us. If I were to ever go back, I wouldn't eat there again and would not recommend it. The food wasn't much better than the service. 







We enjoyed the rest on the patio while we ate and we made a new friend. He enjoyed the food crumbs more than we did. We tried not to feed up but he literally tried to take a piece of food right from my grandmother's hand. He's pretty cute, don't you think? 
It turned out to be a great day and I'm glad we discovered a new place. My grandmother has lived in the Phoenix are for twelve years and has always wanted to see the Desert Botanical Garden. It was fun to take her there for her first time.