Archive for the ‘TWG’ Category

Friday Finds: 10/18/13

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Ever find something on your trip down the internet rabbit-hole that you just have to share with the world? The Wilderness Girls do! Every week we will link you to our favorite bits of the internet right here on Friday Finds. Click the links below to check out this week’s selections!

Help Davion Find His Family: WG Jenny shared this with me and ever since I read it I just can’t get this amazing Florida kid out of my mind. He makes me wish that I was emotionally and financially ready to parent a teenager. Someone out there will be the perfect parent(s) for Davion and I’m sharing the link to his story and Heart Gallery page in hopes that they find him sooner rather than later.

12 Uses for Disposable Chopsticks: My favorite? #2: Eat Cheetos without getting cheesy fingers. I love Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (guilty) but hate the red stains they leave behind. There will no longer be evidence of my Flamin’ Hot addiction!

Cher’s Signature Style: Recently, Jenny introduced me to Cher’s loony Twitter-ing. And lately, I can’t get enough of her! What a life she’s had. Always outspoken and fearless with fashion. I stumbled upon this article where she reminisces on many of her most infamous outfits.

Don’t Call Them Body Guards Anymore. Say “Protection Services”: While the whole pust is great, you MUST read the story she tells about Mat Hoffman about half-way down. I want to paste it up in places I can see it…everywhere.

Satiregram: Hysterical Instagram account made up of words depicting photos that we are guilty of posting on Instagram (mostly me).

Look at this Instagram: Started out as a lemon tart. Now it’s art. (Song parody.)

Bedtime: A recent study indicates that irregular bedtimes have a greater effect on kids’ behavior than how much sleep they get. Parents, here’s a compelling reason to stick to the bedtime routine!

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.

Fall Foliage 2013: Where We Ate

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The Wilderness Girls pride ourselves on being localvores (someone who eats/shops/does business locally, to use it in the broadest sense), and that holds true for our Fall Foliage trips as well!

It’s really easy to go to a chain that you know and are familiar with, but it’s so much more beneficial to the community you visit if you dine at a locally-owned restaurant and you often get better food quality and service to boot.

This year we had a good mix of 2012 favorites and new 2013 picks. Check out our restaurants of choice below.

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Beeline Café (Payson, AZ)
Located on the Beeline Highway is a little diner-style spot called Beeline Café. This has become our annual “kicking off the trip” breakfast spot that we hit before our first hike. The menu includes stick-to-your-ribs classics like biscuits and gravy, hearty omelets, oatmeal, as well as sweet creations like Cinnamon Roll French Toast (they use sliced cinnamon rolls instead of bread). The food is classic comfort and the people are genuinely nice (especially when asked for multiple photos of your group in various locations in the restaurant).

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Photo credit – Beer Search Party

Beaver Street Brewery (Flagstaff, AZ)
Right in the heart of the historic section of Flagstaff, and near the Northern Arizona University campus, this microbrewery/restaurant serves up great beer and American classics like pizza, burgers, chicken pot pie and sausage/brat platters. Our favorite item off the menu was the Beaver Street Brewery Fondue – cheddar cheese, onions and beer, with bread and veggies to dip. I would recommend getting a couple of fondues, or a fondue and side salads. We all agreed that after the fondue, we were not sure we could finish our meals.

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Photo credit – Yelp user Farrah. J.

The Sweet Shoppe & Nut House (Flagstaff, AZ)
After a long day of hiking, we stopped back in old town Flagstaff to browse the shops, and after walking by The Sweet Shoppe and getting a whiff of the chocolate inside, we were drawn in like moths to a flame. Since we were inside, we all decided we would get “just a piece of something.” It was well worth the splurge. In addition to a huge assortment of fudges and chocolates, they have chocolate covered potato chips, Oreos, pretzel rods, as well as huge caramel-covered apples and a gelato stand.

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Northern Pines (Flagstaff, AZ)
Just like The Beeline Café has become our first day of the trip breakfast spot, Northern Pines has become our last day of the trip breakfast spot. You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. We have sampled everything from their multiple benedicts, to tamales and eggs, to pancakes and French toast and it’s all delicious. They even have a chicken fried steak burrito, which looked amazing when we saw another guest receive it, even though it was easily the size of her forearm. It’s a popular spot too, so get there early!

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Rock Springs Café (Black Canyon City, AZ)
Rock Springs Café, hands-down, has the best pie in the world. And you would never guess it, as it’s a small building/restaurant along the side of the I-17 going back to Phoenix. You can either stop in the bakery section and pick up a piece of (or whole) pie to go, or you can do like we do, and sit a spell in the café, and enjoy some comfort food, a piece of pie, and then order another for the road (and for each of The Wilderness Hubs). They have sandwiches, burgers, chili, green chili mac & cheese and fried pickles on the regular menu. And the pies run the gamut from fruit (both full crust and crumble), to cream pies, to meringues, to their signature pie – Jack Daniels pecan. It’s not too far from Phoenix, so it’s worth a day trip.

What are your favorite places to eat in Flagstaff, Sedona, or on the way? Share them in the comments below! We are always looking for new options for our next Fall Foliage trip!

Hungry for more fall foliage photos? Check out our photostream on Flickr.

Fall Foliage 2013: Where We Hiked

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Our Fall Foliage adventure this year took us from meandering forest creek beds to colorful and quaking aspens and the beautiful and warm red rock of Sedona.

Wildcat Spring Trail
We started our trip heading down one of the nicest forest roads I’ve ever been on in Arizona that took us to the Pivot Canyon campground. Most of the guides available say the campground is unsigned, but when we got to it, there was in fact a sign. The trail meanders along a creek bed that was currently dry in the fall weather. The going was easy and the weather was perfect. The lush ferns this trail is known for had started to retreat with the cold but there were still patches of gorgeous wildflowers here and there. The patches of shimmering limestone were particularly beautiful along the trail and we even had a little hawk buddy come and perch on a branch to see what we were up to. We ran into very few people along the trail so I would hike this one with a buddy. I would love to visit this area in the spring or summer and repeat the Wildcat Spring Trail as well as the other two trails that start at the campground.

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Lamar Haines Wildlife Area/Veit Springs Trail
The Veit Springs Trail is right off Snowbowl Rd and is probably the easiest hike you are going to get in the area. The coolest thing about it is the variety of trees and trail that you get. There are beautiful groves of Aspen intermingled with the other trees, which is a little unusual, as on most of the other trails the Aspen seem to grow on their own. The quaking of Aspen leaves in the breeze could be heard throughout the entire journey. There is also a cabin from 1892 but be prepared as even relatively recent photos don’t show the recent reclamation by time of the cabin. As legend goes some bandits hid in the cabin with their loot and a bit of mystery still surrounds the place. Pictographs on rocks and symbols carved into the Aspens near the cabin deepen the mystery surrounding the area. The hike itself was fun but in order to find all the attractions you basically have to go on your own treasure hunt a little off trail.

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Slide Rock State Park
I love our Arizona state parks and the little gems of beauty they hold and Slide Rock is no exception. Slide Rock is on the property of an old apple orchard and is so named because the water from Oak Creek running over the rocks create a natural waterslide that is a most popular attraction in the Arizona summer heat. Visiting in the fall was great as the apples are in season and you can purchase one or a whole bunch to try. The trail above the rocks is more of a walk than a hike, but you are surrounded by red Sedona cliffs in the distance and this definitely feels like a magical place. The walk down at the creek is amazing and even in the cooler fall temps was filled with tourists and brave children jumping into the icy cold water. I had seen many pictures and video of Slide Rock but there is something that can’t be captured that makes it worth experiencing in person.

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Want to see more fall foliage photos? Check out our photostream on Flickr.

Fall Foliage 2013: Where We Stayed

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Finding the perfect cabin for a Wilderness Weekend can be a tough job. We like to feel as if we are somewhere remote and secluded but we don’t want to be too far from town for shopping and dining options. We get excited about a rustic “cabin-y” feel but we’re pretty attached to electricity and running water. We want to be cozy but still have plenty of sitting room so we can hang out together and we need good light for the inevitable crafting that will occur. A fireplace or fire pit for s’mores is an absolute necessity and Jenny loves bunk beds so we can have a sleepover.

Last year we stayed at Seed Tree Ranch which we thought had it all. It was just a few minutes off the highway, had ample land for hiking and elk-watching and there were bunk beds. We had such a good time there last year that we would have gladly stayed again except for the fact that it is enormous. There are so many beds and bedrooms that it is best suited for a large group. If your wilderness crew is 8 -10 people it would be perfect but for only 4 ladies it is less affordable than many of the other options. So began Christie’s quest to find us a different cabin.

This year Christie scored a major find with the Flying Horse Get Away. This property has so much to offer. The location is ideal in that it feels remote but the highway is right there and Flagstaff is just a few minutes’ drive. The land is adjacent to the national forest and scenic walking trails so lovely that you really don’t ever have to leave the property to have a wilderness experience.

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Flying Horse Get Away

Inside, the cabin has some rustic details like the lovely exposed wood railing to the 2nd floor and the flagstone fireplace but there are all of the modern conveniences as well. The full kitchen was well stocked with all the gadgets we needed and we were able to eat in for a few meals to save money and enjoy some great recipes we love to share like Christina’s delightful chicken chili blanco and Jenny’s mulled wine. The master bedroom on the first floor ended up being our “luggage suite” because it is next to the full bath.

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First floor, from kitchen

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Jenny in the kitchen

We slept upstairs because the enormous second floor room had enough beds that we could all sleep together just like a sleepover. The bathrooms were updated and linens were provided. The living room was well stocked with fire wood. There were books and board games and we brought our favorite DVD’s (Pitch Perfect and Troop Beverly Hills) but if you want it Direct TV and wireless internet are available. For cell phone service Verizon seemed to work pretty well but AT&T struggled to connect so we had to wait to get into town to upload some of our social media pics.

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Panoramic view of 2nd floor bedroom

The house itself is a duplex. The rental property is on the left and the owner’s residence is on the right. At no point did we feel crowded or infringed upon in any way. True, it is not the same as not being unable to see another home for miles, but owner Valerie Hannemann is incredibly accommodating, goes out of her way to make sure her guests are comfortable and is quick with a suggestion for a good restaurant or local activity. We saw her a few times during our stay and really enjoyed conversation with her. It is easy to see that she’s alright by her love for animals and by how obviously they love her back — a dog is a good judge of character.

If you want to bring your pets — cats, dogs, goats, horses, etc. — they’re all welcome at Flying Horse Get Away. If you leave your friends at home Valerie’s hounds Dixie and Lucy and her corgi Katie will help keep you from being too homesick. During our visit there were four horses on property. Valerie’s guys Kidd and Cowboy had their friend Caliente staying in the paddock and her girl Leo was in the other paddock. The horses were very friendly and excited every time we arrived at the gate to pet them feed them carrots.

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Jenny and Rachael take a walk with the dogs

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Caliente the horse

Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this cabin home has several sustainable features built in. All of the light fixtures were lit by energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s). The cabin is heated by clean burning propane and has a programmable thermostat with a reminder to please lower the heating set point when you leave the building or go to bed. Outside, Valerie is considering converting the barn to solar power for lights and water trough warmers. She’s already made great sustainable progress by installing two 2500 gallon cisterns to catch all of the water from the barn roof. This summer alone they’ve each filled twice and she hasn’t had to buy a drop of water to care for the animals on property. Where there are horses there is manure and Valerie is using that to create mulch and fertilizer which she uses to reclaim some abandoned roadways. Patches of land that used to be muddy tire ruts are now lush green areas of growth.

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Rain water cistern and barn

If you’re thinking about a wilderness weekend of your own and want a great place to stay with your best friends and family members you can’t do much better than Flying Horse Get Away in Flagstaff, AZ. What are some of the things you look for in a great vacation property? Have you ever vacation rented before? What tips and tricks do you have for people who are doing their first vacation rental?

Want more fall foliage photos? Check out our photostream on Flickr.

Friday Finds: 10/11/13

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Ever find something on your trip down the internet rabbit-hole that you just have to share with the world? The Wilderness Girls do! Every week we will link you to our favorite bits of the internet right here on Friday Finds. Click the links below to check out this week’s selections!

My vacation in a closed national park: Interesting account of trying to hike through a closed national park. They should have read my post on finding alternatives.

Find a Man Who Loves Pink: Laura, my favorite Hollywood Housewife wrote a lovely, honest recap of her sixth year married to The Gorilla.

15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee: From my favorite comic site, this chart has some fun historical facts about coffee, including the origin of the “Americano.”

Hunger In Our Schools: October is Hunger Action Month and this infographic tells the story of hunger in US public schools.

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.

Friday Finds: 10/4/13

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Ever find something on your trip down the internet rabbit-hole that you just have to share with the world? The Wilderness Girls do! Every week we will link you to our favorite bits of the internet right here on Friday Finds. Click the links below to check out this week’s selections!

Kitty CATure: Picture worth a thousand words.

The Chronicles of Lunchboxia: Calling all Mommas! And, Poppas too. I loved reading this article from Rebecca of Girls Gone Child about how she feeds her four unique kiddos. Mostly I loved this article because I often skip lunch simply because I can’t decide what to pack. You can bet that my lunches next week will probably look like they were packed for a first grader.

X-Wing Fighter from Office Supplies: Challenge accepted!

Illustrator Draws Faces, Lets 4 Year-Old Draw Bodies: The name of this article speaks for itself, and the end result is a cool and quirky piece of art. I think I might need to commission one of myself.

Ghoulishly Good Adult Halloween Party Ideas & Tips: Now that Octobers is finally here, I’m dreaming of a grown-up Halloween party.

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.

Friday Finds: 9/27/13

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Ever find something on your trip down the internet rabbit-hole that you just have to share with the world? The Wilderness Girls do! Every week we will link you to our favorite bits of the internet right here on Friday Finds. Click the links below to check out this week’s selections!

Honey Launderers: A story of greed and honey. This terrified me in so many ways: the callous greed, the antibiotics snuck into my food and the slap on the hand for the soulless people who would treat our food so carelessly. I’m ready to run for my local honey stand at the farmer’s market this weekend.

Brooklyn Nine Nine: I know that everyone has their own taste in TV but I adore this show so much after just two episodes that I’m worried it will fall to the Fox ax. It’s quirky, funny and endearing right from the first episode. The only problem is that it may encourage my husband to wear a brightly colored speedo at this job.

Can We Gain Strength from Shame?: Are you listening to the TED Radio Hour? It’s a new addition to our local NPR station. I’m in love. I was blessed by this talk from Brene Brown. I hope you are too.

How to Read a Recipe: The holidays are just around the corner, and in my house, that means the baking season is about to begin! Joy the Baker (a blog I discovered thanks to fellow Wilderness Girl, and baker extraordinaire, Christie) lays out some basics on reading a recipe that will help you achieve success in your baking adventures.

DIY Crochet Rug With Yarn & Old T-Shirts: Ack! Someone save me from myself! I feel another craft project coming on!

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.

Friday Finds: 9/20/13

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Ever find something on your trip down the internet rabbit-hole that you just have to share with the world? The Wilderness Girls do! Every week we will link you to our favorite bits of the internet right here on Friday Finds. Click the links below to check out this week’s selections!

Thirty Days of Honesty: Sometimes applying a good idea to fit into a business model is tough. Thirty Days of Honesty is being written by the co-founders of Dabble (dabble.co) who have a successful business in many ways except really the key one: profit. I love their idea, I love their honesty and I’m rooting for them.

How to Re-Make a Vintage Dress Using a Pattern: I only discovered this wonderful blog a few weeks before I started the sewing class I’m currently taking. So, I can’t wait for the day when I can actually use this tutorial to re-make one of my vintage dresses! I’ve got big plans for an eBay find that was poorly constructed using the most amazing fabric.

Samantha Lee’s Instagram: Bento art is starting to get more and more notoriety. Check out this mother’s Instagram site for a great example of this artform. She covers everything from London tourist attractions to Lady Gaga.

Who Died?: I love movies + I love infographics. This one shows which actors have racked up the most death scenes in their movies. What more can a gal ask for?

The Most Influential Sci-Fi Movies: Empire? The Fifth Element? In an infographic? LOVE!

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.

Friday Finds: 9/13/13

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Ever find something on your trip down the internet rabbit-hole that you just have to share with the world? The Wilderness Girls do! Every week we will link you to our favorite bits of the internet right here on Friday Finds. Click the links below to check out this week’s selections!

Origin of the Poodle Skirt: I’m currently having a re-obsession with cirlcle skirts and came across this fabulous interview with Juli Lynne Charlot the creator of the original poodle skirt.

Multitasking:There’s an App for That: Looking for an app (or 12) that will solve all your problems? I’m guilty. Jeff DeGraff makes a strong arguement to stop multitasking already!

Awkward Years Project: Remember those years between when you were a kid and your now awesome self? This site is a great reminder that we have all been awkward at one point, and it’s ok!

A Tiny House: This guy built a tiny house out of a dumpster. It has all the basic needs and some pretty crafty engineering. I’m not looking to move in, but it is pretty interesting.

More Tiny Houses: The dumpster house is one-of-a-kind but it is not the only one. Check out these beautiful teenie tiny houses.

And a few Tree Houses: Some big, some small, some short some tall – check out these fascinating tree houses from around the world. Many are constructed of recycled or reclaimed materials and have minimal impact on the trees so inhabitants can truly celebrate nature and keep their footprint light.

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.

Friday Finds: Football Party Snacks

Friday, September 6th, 2013

We don’t know about you, but for the Wilderness Girls, the best part of football season is the good eats! Today, we’re featuring links to a few healthy and not so healthy recipes that will keep you and your sports FANatics happy.

Baked Chili Cheese Fries: My mother used to make the best pan fried potatoes I’ve ever had in my life. She would make them a small batch at a time and dump them onto paper towels for us to quickly salt. Take it easy on yourself and bake these fries but keep maximum flavor with some chili and cheese.

Fried Guacamole: This is the most interesting use of guacamole I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced that Joy must be an evil genius.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing: Love the taste of buffalo wings but don’t want heavy fried food? Try this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Salad with homemade Blue Cheese Dressing. It’s crunchy, filling and has all the delicious flavors you get with an order of wings but not the stomach ache and guilt. This salad is so good that even Scott will make a meal out of it.

Restaurant Style Queso-Blanco: Who doesn’t love queso?

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos: These taquitos are always a hit in my house; I think they’re tastier than the fried version. And, they freeze great, so make up a big batch and easily feed your Monday Night Football guests for the next couple months.

Greek Seven-Layer Dip: One of my FAVORITE food bloggers, Sweet Peas & Pumpkins, came up with this twist on the classic seven-layer dip. Instead of the classic beans/salsa combo, she goes Greek with hummus, olives, and veggies. I made this for a happy hour and it was a huge hit. Pair it up with pita or pita chips, tortilla chips, or your favorite veggies. The best part? It’s incredibly simple and quick to put together.

Roasted Chickpeas: Want an alternative to roasted peanuts? This is the recipe for you. Roasted chickpeas have a great crispy texture and are super filling. This recipe features curry, but you can play up whatever seasonings you want, sweet or savory.

Classic Guacamole: My family’s favorite football party snack is guacamole. This quick stop motion video has a great recipe, even though I would skip the tomato.

Good Eats Swedish Meatballs: A recipe poem: Meatballs are perfect football food. Alton’s recipes sing to my inner nerd. For there’s real science behind his treats. That’s why his dishes are such Good Eats.

Don’t forget to check out our blogroll in the menu bar to see more sites that we are addicted to. Find something that you would like to see shared on Friday Finds? Send us an e-mail at editor@thewildernessgirls.com and you could be featured on TheWildernessGirls.com.