Enchanted Rock

21752643_10101324182230815_669212014169554944_n

Before I had my daughter, Bob and I had been to Enchanted Rock many times.  It is a massive granite dome that is about 95 miles from Austin.  The trails are fairly limited so we prefer to make it a day trip to climb to the top of the dome then go down into the cave.  My daughter is finally big enough to do some spelunking so we set our sights again on Enchanted Rock for an overnight trip.

Any adventure requires some hiccups and uncomfortableness so the night before we left, I couldn’t sleep.  There is no good reason for this – my mind just decides sometimes that sleep is totally overrated and we should spend potential sleeping time thinking about everything under the sun.  I only slept 3 hours that night and drug myself through the day at work until I picked my daughter up from school after lunch.  The drive out to Enchanted Rock was fairly brutal because I was so tired and we finally stopped in Llano to get an energy drink to survive the hike to camp.

21752240_10101322820644445_1932129075126327868_n

Totally a fake smile

We opted to camp at Moss Lake because it’s a little farther hike so we thought it might not get as crowded.  My lack of sleep made me really irritable on the two mile hike to camp.  I tried to just shut up and keep moving my feet for fear that I’d take out my annoyance on my family unnecessarily.  Bob didn’t help his case by suggesting a short cut to the campsite (recipe for disaster).  I started to question his sanity when I realized how hard his shortcut was.  I finally persuaded him to turn around and we ran into some park rangers.  They told us that his way was shorter but that it was a class 3 scramble (especially fun with packs on).  I criticized his map reading skills as we worked our way to the longer but easier trail.

There isn’t a consistently good source for filtering water at the campsites at Enchanted Rock so we hauled in all of our water (so heavy).  Bob ended up with the brunt of it and was suffering so I eventually took his daypack and wore it on my front to help alleviate his load a bit.  My pack was 37.5 pounds but my Osprey Aura is amazing and the weight is really never a problem.

21463326_10101324465353435_7945592090353564487_n

Elegantly balancing on rocks

Once we finally got to Moss Lake we quickly picked a spot with a little bit of trees and a great view of Enchanted Rock (our campsite is the picture at the top of this post).  Once we got camp set up, we enjoyed chicken tacos and cauliflower rice (all shelf stable!) for dinner.  For the rest of the night, we just relaxed at camp while Quinn explored, jumped around and balanced on rocks.

Sleeping that night was bothersome because 1) it was really hot in the tent even with the vents and doors open 2) we ended up with only one neighbor but they were really noisy 3) my brain wouldn’t shut up.  We also heard a lot of coyotes but they are much less annoying to me than a laughing neighbor.  When I can’t sleep when camping, I tend to read (because what else can I do in a tent?).  One of the few luxuries that I allow myself while backpacking is my iPad for reading books.  I can easily read a book per night so it’s actually lighter for me than dragging actual books out with me (I finished 2 books on this trip).

21557632_10101324465458225_3269791927821726486_n

Taking a rest on one of many false summits

In the morning, we woke up slowly enjoying our Starbucks via and enjoying the still of the mornings.  I live for the mornings at a campsite.  It’s truly one of my life’s greatest joys.  For breakfast, we just had some of the breakfast sausage jerky, dried fruit and granola bars.  When we were finally motivated we armed ourselves with plenty of water headed out to summit Enchanted Rock.

Although Enchanted Rock is only 425

21558944_10101324465548045_3045559519762134124_n

feet up but you’ll be heading up most of the hike so it is fairly strenuous.  A lot of non-hikers do it each year but it is challenging.  Just take your time, take a break when you

need it and keep climbing to the top.  Once finally to the top, you can take in the 360 views of the Texas Hill Country.

Near the summit of Enchanted Rock is an entrance to a cave.  We like to head in here and cool off with a quick snack.  Considering how hot it was on the day that we went to Enchanted Rock, the cool in the cave felt glorious.  We put on our headlamps and explored the cave a bit (as far as Quinn was comfortable).

21751508_10101324466052035_2210630887452975009_n

Echo Canyon Trail

After the cave, we climbed down from Enchanted Rock and headed back to camp.  We opted to take Bob’s shortcut trail (Echo Canyon Trail) back.  It was a fun little hike with a lot of boulders.

Once we got back to camp, we laid around for a bit and ate some lunch (summer sausage and crackers).  Bob and I tried to lay down and take a nap but couldn’t really get comfortable in the heat.  Once we finally got up, we realized we were consuming a lot of water.  We were going to need to go refill it but decided instead to just pack up and head out.  The heat was starting to get to us and the prospect of hiking 4 miles roundtrip for water was less than appealing.  We packed up quickly and hiked out.

We took advantage of the showers so we could go have dinner in Fredericksburg.  The showers didn’t have doors which was shocking for Quinn but she quickly washed up anyway.

In Fredericksburg, we enjoyed dinner and a beer at the Hill Top Cafe.  All in all, an excellent trip.  21752897_10101324600332935_7406200665987541099_o

SaveSaveSaveSave

Advertisements

Homage to Pantone’s 2017 Colors

Every season, the Pantone Color Institute evaluates the colors show at New York Fashion Week and provides the top 10 colors for fashion in the upcoming season.  These are the colors for fall 2017.

Grenadine

de-la-renta-rf17-1548

Oscar De La Renta

 

Tawny Port

KOR0619

Michael Kors

 

Ballet Slipper

christian-siriano-nyfw-fall-2017-look-8

Christian Siriano

 

Butterrum

37508eb1d2bfedab5c407b8d9f01816d--ny-fashion-week-fashion-show

Marc Jacobs

 

Navy Peony

Jil-Sander-Navy-Fall-2017-Collection-Review-New-York-Fashion-Week-The-Dapifer-10

Jil Sander

 

Neutral Grey

elle-02-trend-50-shades-of-grey-nyfw-rtwf15

J Crew

 

Shaded Spruce

leanne-marshall-green-dress-ss16-new-york-fashion-week-show

Leanne Marshall

 

Golden Lime

810

Cushnie Et Ochs

 

Marina

fcc6613f83f85e443f67f6f0a6693163

Calvin Klein

 

Autumn Maple

akris-fall-2016-667x1000

Akris

Crockpot Recipe Roundup

When fall returns, so does my daughter’s crazy schedule.  She takes several hours of dance and gymnastics.  Not to mention school activities and my work schedule starts to get busier.  When we get home from a full schedule, my family is STARVING so I’ve tried to master the art of serving dinner in a few minutes.  The crockpot is fabulous for this but I’m not always a big fan of meals cooked in it.  I hate meals that end up being all one flavor and texture.  Here is a roundup of some of the things that I actually like from the crockpot.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Slow-Cooker-Sage-Butter-Short-Ribs-5

Slow cooker sage short ribs in a gorgonzola cream sauce

Sweet-and-Sticky-Drumsticks-2-sm

Slow cooker stick chicken drumsticks

Thai-Chicken-Soup-7

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Gnocchi-Soup-2

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

IMG_0872edit

Greek Potatoes

slow-cooker-cinnamon-rolls-3

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls

SaveSave

SaveSave

Social Media Creepers

greyson-joralemon-202589

I run several social media accounts (personal and public) so I get more than my fair share of social media creepers.  Some of these people are innocent but just terribly socially awkward.  Some of them are much more serious, unfortunately.  Here are my tips for dealing with these jerks.

  1. Ignore them

As I said, many of these people are just socially awkward and trying to connect.  Typically I will just ignore an initial message and this is enough for them to move on to creeping someone else.  If they persist, I’ll just tell them something like “I’m not interested”.  This honestly is fine for 90% of the weirdo messages that I receive.

2. Block Them

I sprinkle the block button around like glitter.  Life is too short to have to interact with idiots.

3. Delete the Public Messages

Don’t leave up weird comments on your public posts.  Delete them so that it doesn’t encourage like minded morons to leave their own creepy little gifts.

4. Trust Your Instincts

You are under no obligation to be polite to cretins.  If your instinct tells you that an interaction is off then you are probably right.  Even if you were originally talking to them and realized during a discussion that something was off.

To Cozumel, With Love

If you follow me on social media, it is no secret that I really love Cozumel, Mexico.  I visited three times this year alone.  When my feet hit the ground in Cozumel, I feel so happy and energetic.  I’m planning to blog about some of my favorite restaurants and activities in the upcoming posts but this post is some of my the reasons that I return again and again.

  1. The scenery is stunning. 

17951620_10101154478623205_508490875454161963_n

I’ve been to many areas in the Caribbean but I swear that the water is prettiest in Cozumel.  You can try to convince me otherwise but I absolutely love the water in Cozumel.  It feels like a painting.  The crystal clear waters, spectacular sunsets, and endless beaches make me fall in love over and over again.

Cozumel also has my husband’s favorite beaches.  He actually hates beaches. It’s a miracle that our relationship has survived this obvious character flaw.  His complaint about the beaches is the sand.  He hates how it gets all over everything and can be difficult to wash off (I know, he’s weird… for better or worse, you know).  BUT he doesn’t mind the sand in Cozumel.  Apparently it is magical sand that washes out more easily.

2. The incredible people

Almost all of the people that you encounter are so friendly.  The warmth and hospitality of the people in Cozumel  is amazing.  From the moment you arrive to the island you will feel the warmth of its people, because in Cozumel hospitality is not just a practice, it is a lifestyle.

I love to just hop in a taxi and ask for a restaurant, beach or activity recommendation.  The people love to talk and will recommend something perfect.

3. Safe

I realize that Mexico in general gets a bad reputation.  I also acknowledge that in many areas that reputation is unfortunately earned thanks to drug cartels and corrupt governments.  However, I’ve never felt unsafe in Cozumel.  I’ve been all over the island and never felt uncomfortable.  They even have tourist police walking around because they take safety extremely seriously.  I would suggest that you take similar precautions in Cozumel that you would take anywhere else though (maybe I should write a blog about this?).

4. Tons of adventures

A lot of people just bar hop in Cozumel and that is fine for them but there is SO much more to do.  The scuba, snorkeling and snuba in Cozumel are amazing.  Plenty of other water sports are also available.  There are opportunities to see and interact with wildlife.  Of course you could just be a beach bum.  You can try a lot of different foods and local cuisine.

My Fall Wardrobe Staples

I love summer (my favorite season) but I’m ready for fall already.  Given that I’m ready for fall and I’m a little overdue for a post on some of my seasonal wardrobe staples.  I love to have some really classic pieces that I can mix and match.  I’ll add in some trendy pieces and accessories to keep things fun.  This makes it super easy for me to get dressed and even pack for trips.

Disclaimer: It totally won’t be fall where I live (Austin) for at least two months but a gal can dream.

Copy of FIERCELY

In Defense of Exploration

20727896_1907025126214783_8429068218673924890_nThe other day, I posted this picture on my personal Facebook page.  I don’t typically repost inspirational quotes but I truly believe that exploring the world makes my life much richer.  I was immediately met with comments like “The Dalai Lama didn’t have to worry about money and PTO.”

I don’t really know what sort of workplace benefits are provided to the Dalai Lama but the sentiment is probably true.  I get that no everyone has the time or money to travel across the world or go on lavish vacations.  I understand that some people scrape every single day just to pay bills and buy food.

For many of my adult years I was either too broke or too much of a workaholic to travel much.  It was always sort of a calling in my heart but I couldn’t or didn’t listen to it.  The last few years, I have dedicated myself to making it a priority but I recognized that I have circumstances that allow me to do that.

My counter to this type of comment is that you don’t have to go far to go someplace you haven’t been before.  There are probably tons of small towns or nature areas that would be amazing for exploration.  For instance, where we live in Texas there is a lot of really good barbecue in these little towns.  Sometimes on Saturday mornings, we get up early and drive 45 minutes or more just to try some epic brisket in the middle of nowhere.  We have found a lot of cute towns and delicious food.

Even within your own city, I bet there are unexplored areas.  Become a tourist in your own town.  I think you might surprise yourself by what you find.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time to explore.

SaveSave