Saturday, February 18, 2017

Finding Comfort in hotter® Shoes: Review

Product received at no charge to facilitate an honest review.

I'm at the point in my life where comfort is the most important thing in my footwear. I'll gladly pay a premium price for shoes that support my flat foot and keep them from having pain. Hiking and running puts a lot strain on my feet. I'm constantly battling heel spurs and achilles tendon pain. I know I will never find a pair of shoes that will cure my problems but I'm always on the lookout for shoes that will keep my pain from getting worse. 

I've heard of hotter® Shoes and have wanted to try them ever since. Usually red is not my first choice for shoe color but I'm getting tired of the dreary dark days of winter and decided to go bold now that spring is inching closer. Plus with the many shirts I own that go with red shoes, I chose colorful instead of the safe browns and blacks I usually wear. The Nirvana Style looks stylish. I rarely receive compliments on my shoes but every time I've worn these I've received a compliment. My sisters all want a pair. They look great with pants and are perfect for everyday wear.

As much as I like the way my Nirvana hotter® Shoes look, I like the way they feel even more. They are lightweight and breathable for hot days. Best of all, they are comfortable enough to wear all day and never hurt my feet even when I do a lot of walking. The only drawback I had was with the sizing. I was sent a half size too big. I would not recommend sizing up as the hotter® Shoes seem true to size. The half size up was too much for me which means they slip off when I walk fast. However, the company does offer free returns so I'm sure there wouldn't be a problem returning a pair and exchanging them for another size. 

At first I wasn't sure I would be willing to spend the money on the Nirvana shoes but after trying a pair, I would buy another style and color. With the company offering plenty of sales and free shipping, the shoes don't end up being more expensive than they are worth. Like I said before, I don't mind paying a premium price for shoes if they are comfortable and hotter® Shoes offer plenty of comfort that makes them worth the price. I'm impressed that the company is the UK's biggest shoe manufacturer and I think they have well thought out designs that are truly more comfortable and flexible than the shoes I own made in Asia.

I've already got my sights set for the blue Shake Shoes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Adventure Travel in Puerto Rico: El Salto Waterfall Hiking and Zipline Tour

I admit, cruises aren't my favorite way to vacation. I would rather explore foreign countries than lounge on a ship. One of our summer vacations during 2016 included a family reunion cruise. I wanted at least one excursion that would get us off the ship to see the country not just the port. I spent a lot of time researching tours and finally settled on the El Salto Waterfall and Zipline Tour offered through Rocaliza Adventure Tours. I was not disappointed. I'm sure all six of our group would agree the tour was the highlight of our trip. 

Our tour guides picked us up near the cruise ship. We walked about two blocks to the pick up area. After an approximately 45 minute drive we arrived in the town of Caguas for our hike. The tour company requires that participants not weigh more than a set amount and be in relatively good physical condition. Just the hike up the road is a challenge as it is steep so I agree with the requirements. Closed toe sandals that can get wet like the ones HERE are a must for this hike and flip flops won't work. Most of the hike is in the water on slippery rocks. The guides were awesome in explaining how important it is to stay low so our arms could brace us.

The waterfalls at the top are amazing and it was fun to get in the pools by the falls. The rain forest vegetation ensures that the hike is beautiful along the way.

While we didn't have time to do the rappelling the tour group offers, we did have time for the zip line.  We loved that there were several platforms with various distances. I've done enough zip lines that I'm getting good at approaches and breaking.

Our group would have been satisfied with the tour if we had stopped at the zip line but we were lucky enough to have a home cooked Puerto Rican meal with chicken, rice, and banana flan for dessert. I'm not usually a fan of flan but the banana flan was the best I've ever had. It didn't take much for me to get it all down. I loved that one of the locals cooked our meal for us and had a seating area inside the local neighborhood. 

Our group loved the tour. The guides were awesome and we had a lot of fun. This is a great tour for teenagers but keep in mind, children younger than ten are not allowed. I would recommend this to anyone traveling to Puerto Rico as a great way to see the country and have fun while doing so.

Tour Rating ★★★★★

** Not a sponsored post though post contains affiliate links.**

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Baskets-N-Beyond Giveaway Ends 2/28

Welcome to the Baskets-n-Beyond Giveaway

Sponsored by Savvy Sweeper's Tidbits

Baskets-n-Beyond is a NJ based basket company that ships beautiful baskets for any occasion, all over the USA.  Many of their baskets ship from NJ or Missouri.
(Coming soon:  Wine baskets from California)

I have known Michele for many years, have visited her shop and ordered baskets from her.  Her baskets are beautiful and stuffed full of great items that the recipient will love!

Baskets are the perfect gift for any occasion.

There are baskets for everyone in you life~!

The Sports Lovers

The One Who Loves To Be Pampered

The Chocolate Lover

The Cookie Monster!

There are baskets for every occasion!

Breast cancer awareness

Valentine's Day

and so many more~

Here are all of the categories to choose from! Check out all of the beautiful baskets Michele has to offer!


Visit Baskets-n-Beyond for all of your gift basket needs!

Enter to win a basket of your choice, worth up to $50!

I'm teaming up with the sponsor to share with my readers.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

This giveaway is being sponsored by Savvy Sweeper's Tidbits.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hiking Bell Rock In Sedona, Arizona

To many, hiking to Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona is a chance for spiritual renewal and energy. For those unfamiliar with the New Age movement, Bell Rock is one of the vortexes that surround the Sedona area. I had never heard of a vortex before arriving in Sedona, By the time I left, I learned that many consider a vortex an area of concentrated energy rising from the earth. Whether or not you believe in the metaphysical, there is no denying that these vortexes possess a beauty that can't be denied.

The hike to Bell Rock is well marked and relatively easy to climb. To go directly to Bell Rock, stay left when the Bell Rock Pathway intercepts with the Courthouse Butte Loop. Cairns mark the easiest way to the halfway point of Bell Rock which is about as high as you can safely climb. However, even without following the cairns, it's easy to find a path.

Halfway up, there are a few spots to relax and feel the energy. The views of the surrounding areas are amazing.


After we hiked up Bell Rock, we did the 4.5 mile Courthouse Butte Loop which circles Bell Rock. Though some guides rate the trail easy to moderate, I thought it was easy. The most difficult part was the climb to Bell Rock but even that wasn't bad.

Getting there

South of Sedona take Highway 89A to the Y at Highway 179. Take Highway 179 south about 6.4 miles. Parking lot is on the left just before Bell Rock Boulevard and the trailhead is on the north end of the parking lot. Be prepared to pay a small daily fee at the kiosk in the parking lot.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Must Try Simple Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show 2017

Who knows where my next adventure will take me. One thing I do know is that it takes the right gear to get me there.

A few weeks ago, I attended the Outdoor Retailer Show for the first time. Since it is held in my hometown, I have always wanted to get an entrance pass. Luckily, having an outdoor blog gave me the credentials I needed to get in. 

I have to admit, I was overwhelmed with what I saw. I had no idea what I would write about and have had to spend the last few weeks sorting through all of the literature I gathered. In the end, all I could think about were a few of the products I would use on a regular basis. Sure, an air filled bag that might save my life in an avalanche on a backcountry adventure sounds amazing but I realized those adventures are few and far in between. What I really wanted were those things I would use on my weekly hikes.

Kahtoola Gaiters

Not surprisingly, the top item on my list for winter hiking were the new Kahtoola Gaiters. The awesome thing about the gaiters is that they have clips that I can attach to my Kahtoola Microspikes. That way, I can unzip the gaiters but leave them attached to my microspikes when not in use. The fabric feels like it would do well in the snow. As soon as I purchase a pair, I will be sure to review them. I can't wait until they are available.

Abisko Trekking Tights by Fjällräven

Since I started incorporating trail running with my hiking, I like wearing tights to make movement easier. I love the idea behind the Fjällräven Trekking Tights. They have built in knee and butt waterproof pads so I can sit or kneel in the snow. Always nice for those times I want to stop for a snack or a quick rest. I love that they are women's specific. The only drawback is that I couldn't buy a pair at the show.

Icebug Studded Boots

I spent a lot of time at the Icebug booth. I got to try a pair of the studded boots on a block of ice. It's not the same as using them hiking so I can't say how well the studs work in a real life situation. However, I loved the idea behind the Icebug Studded Boots. They have built in retractable studs. This means I wouldn't have to take off my spikes on the exposed rocky parts of winter trails and wouldn't have to worry about the studs wearing down on hard surfaces. Definitely on my want list.

Bottle Bright by HydraPak

The winner of my simple but most useful items is the Bottle Bright by Hydrapak. I've been looking for something that would clean my hydration bladders. For those who use hydration bladders, you know how stale they can get inside which greatly impacts the taste of water. The Bottle Bright comes in easy to use tablets that you put inside of the bladder. Add water and it cleans. I was lucky enough to snag a sample so I will be reviewing it on my blog soon. The Bottle Bright is available to purchase on Amazon or on the company website.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My Favorite Outdoor Gadgets of CES 2017

Solos Smartglasses

For those who have never been to the Consumer Electronics Show, I can't begin to tell you how overwhelming it is. With the entire Las Vegas Convention Center to cover as well as exhibits at the Venetian Hotel, it is nearly impossible to see everything. This is my third year attending the CES show and I love the wearable technology which means I spend most of my time at the Venetian.

I love to share with other outdoor enthusiasts the awesome finds at the CES show. It's so hard to choose favorites but it always boils down to what I would actually use. This means I look for both innovative and practical products. To the left, I'm wearing my favorite innovative gadget of the show, the Solos Smart glasses.

     For the Cyclist

Solos Smart Glasses 

One of the things about seeing products at CES is that I never know if they will really work in a practical environment. I have high hopes for Solos Smart glasses for cycling. When paired with a smartphone, the glasses have a display right on the lens that show how fast I'm going on my bike. The best thing is that it does this without obstructing my vision of the road. The only drawback I see with this is that the glasses felt like they were squeezing enough that I worry about wearing them too long. These are not available yet to the general public but I hope the company seriously considers comfort along with the cool technology.

 Linx Smart Cycling Helmet by Coros

Okay runners and swimmers, I'm not ignoring you this show but two favorite gadgets fell in the cycling department. The Linx Smart Cycling Helmet by Coros finally has it figured out in the music department. The built in earbuds work through bone conduction technology so you don't have to put an earbud in your ear and can still hear the traffic coming up behind you during a ride. I rarely if ever listen to music while biking as my life is more important than my music. I would love to try this helmet on a ride. Not only are the earphones integrated but the helmet comes with an app to manage GPS ride details. It will also integrate with other riding apps. I can also hear my navigation through the headphones. I want one of these for my next ride.

For the Skier

My Core Heated Jacket

One of the cool things about wearable technology is the ability to add heating coils inside of clothing.  Some ski days, I get so cold, I have to leave early. The My Core Heated Women's Jacket could solve my problem. With heating coils near the pulse point of the wrist, the theory is that it could keep an core warm. I have no idea if it works but it sure is enticing and the best thing is that it's already available on Amazon.

For the Runner

AiQ Smart Clothing

Wearable technology works for so many sports. AiQ Smart Clothing integrates electronics with clothing fibers so runners and other athletes will be able keep track of heart rate and other metrics just by wearing athletic clothing. While still in development, I can't wait to see how it will work.

For the Hiker and Backpacker

re-fuel PowerBiner 

For those who follow my blog, you already know I love to hike. I do a lot of solo hiking which means I rely on my phone for emergencies. If it dies, I'm in trouble. I usually carry an extra battery charger with me but the idea of having a carabiner and charger in one with the re-fuel PowerBiner is awesome. No hiker or backpacker likes to carry extra weight so any gadget that is multipurpose is a bonus. The rechargeable power bank has 3000mAh of power. That is usually enough power to charge my Samsung Galaxy once.

TomTom Adventurer GPS Outdoor Watch
The TomTom Adventurer GPS Outdoor Watch is really a multi-sport outdoor watch as it tracks heart rate, speed, distance, and even altitude. What's most appealing is the idea of starting it at the beginning of my hike and having the navigation ability to get me back to my car. It can also show me  a route so I can discover new trails. It will definitely be on my next gift list.

For the Adventure Traveler

JamBag Backpack 

I travel enough that I keep a backpack ready at all times. I love the idea of the JamBag Backpack. It has an internal battery pack so I can keep my devices charged while on the go. It also has built in Bluetooth speakers for those who like music. I like the pocket for my tablet with extra padding for protection. The best part of the bag is the security pocket along the back. I can put my money and valuables in the pocket and when I put the backpack on, it sits along my back so a thief can't reach in and grab it like the outside pockets. I'm excited that this is already available on Amazon and will soon be in office supply stores.

Not a sponsored post though post contains affiliate links.