Review: The North Face Banchee 50

10599202_10203799796067156_6684174597981859820_n  To make a long story short, I had one hell of a time finding a backpack. I am a thin, petite girl with little to no extra padding to protect me from the pressure of thick straps – supporting dozens of pounds of gear – digging into my shoulders and hips. I went through backpack after backpack, and each one left my collar and hip bones bruised, cut, and rubbed raw, and my back 10577199_10203799799987254_2709869136047403269_naching. Each time I would wear one of the other backpacks, I would be in pain  and close to tears after just a few minutes on the trail. It got so bad, and I had been through so many backpacks with no improvement, that I was about ready to give up backpacking all together. Which was a heartbreaking thought.

Then, my husband saved the day and found me the Banchee 50 from The North Face, and my backpacking days were saved! The Banchee 50 is comfortable and durable. My collar and hip bones remained bruise free. I was able to actually enjoy myself while trekking into the mountains with 20-30 pounds of gear on my back. I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off of my face during my first trip with the Ban10609624_10203799795827150_3038033195460950873_nchee 50. We were a match made in heaven.

My Recommendation: Ladies, TRY THIS PACK. I can’t rave about it enough. Comfortable, efficient, durable…what more could you ask for?The Banchee 50 ($199 at www.thenorthface.com)

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Review: Cura Coffee

10351908_312749935563347_5164899041931925577_nI love coffee. I love drinking coffee, smelling coffee – even rubbing coffee all over my body [see my review of Frank Coffee Scrub]. But what I love even more than coffee is coffee with a cause.

When I first heard about Cura Coffee Company, I was not only eager to try a cup of their direct trade coffee, but I was also beyond excited about what the company is doing to make a difference.

What It’s All About:  A dentist from San Diego named Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick had a dream. He saw a need for dental care in remote areas in Nicaragua. Dr. Fitzpatrick developed the idea for Cura Coffee Company as a means of raising the funds necessary to provide such care and services. Every purchase of Cura Coffee goes towards helping those in need of dental care. Read more about Cura Coffee’s mission here.

So, How’s the Coffee? Well, I am pleased to announce that Cura Coffee is not only doing good – it actually tastes good. Really good! If you’re like me, coffee is something you buy frequently anyways. But when you buy a bag of Cura Coffee, you are helping out a great cause, ie – making a difference.

That is something you can feel good about.

My Recommendation: Get some Cura Coffee! You wont regret it. It is fair-trade, super tasty coffee, AND purchasing a bag helps provide dental care to those in need. Win-win. Purchase a bag [or four] at www.curacoffee.com. Bags of coffee are just $15, and Keurig compatible cups are just $16 for a pack of 18.

And you get a toothbrush with your order. How cool is that?photo

Hike: Beehive Basin, Big Sky, MT

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The way up to Beehive Basin, Big Sky, MT

When I heard that Beehive Basin in Big Sky, Montana is considered, by some, to be one the world’s best hikes, I knew I had to check it out while I was in town. The reviews for the hike all said it was easy and suitable for all levels of hikers. At about 4.5 miles round trip I figured it would be an easy jaunt up a path to a nice view where I could enjoy a PB & J by the lake at the top. I hit the trail in running shoes and my day pack and was pretty much immediately blown away by the scenery.

Big Sky is breathtaking from the road, and even more so from the little cabin I’m staying in on one of the many ski slopes that have been abandoned for the summer. However, on foot, it is unreal.

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Due to a late melt off and an unusual amount of snow still on the ground, the wildflowers that I had read so much about were not out in full force as they should have been. As I got up higher, it quickly became apparent that running shoes were a bad choice (see the post ‘Rookie Mistakes’). There were some pretty big snow fields to be crossed, and the closer to the basin I got, the deeper the snow got. My running shoes kept getting sucked off my feet as I sunk into the snow up to my calves. Before long, my socks were soaked and my feet were freezing. About a half a mile from the top I had to call it quits – my pride hurts to admit it, but my feet thanked me. I snapped a few pictures before booking it back down the mountain. I will definitely be doing this hike again in better footwear, and hopefully when the wildflowers are all out. (I’m a sucker for flowers!)

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Recommendation: DO IT! Beehive Basin is a beautiful hike with incredible views. It’s fairly easy (I’m sure even more so when there isn’t so much snow) and it makes for a fun day in Big Sky. Just try to hit it when the majority of the snow is melted…and opt for hiking boots!

Review: Frank Coffee Scrub

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Let’s be frank about Frank: it’s even better than you’d think.

If you are on Instagram, chances are you have heard about Frank Coffee Scrub – pretty much the hottest skin-care product out there right now. Guys and gals alike are absolutely raving about Frank. Instagram is plastered with pictures of customers, covered in coffee scrub, lovingly clutching their pouches of Frank and professing their undying love for the product. Not to mention, Frank’s marketing is brilliant, [ just visit frankbody.com to see what I mean.] It got to the point that I couldn’t temper my curiosity any longer. I ordered a pouch of the Coconut & Grapeseed coffee scrub and anxiously awaited Frank’s arrival.

First of all, the packaging is beautiful and cool. Frank comes in a resealable paper pouch. Frank comes in three scents, original, cacao, and coconut & grapeseed, which is the one that I got. I’m a coconut fan, what can I say? The coconut & grapeseed coffee scrub smells a lot like coconut and a lot like coffee. Put simply, it smells pretty darn amazing. True to the warning on Frank’s label, the whole process is super messy. But, it’s easy to clean up, and totally worth it.

Here’s how it works: Hop in to your empty bath tub or shower, get yourself damp, then scrub your little heart out and  let the scrub sit for about 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Trust me, your skin will have never felt so smooth. It’s kind of amazing. Plus, Frank claims to help reduce cellulite, psoriasis, and stretch marks, so there’s that too.

My recommendation: Get your Frank on. As soon as possible. 100% worth it.

Best part? The original costs only $14.95, the cacao costs $16.95, and the coconut & grapeseed costs $17.95, so you wont break the bank and you can keep coming back for more. Get yours at frankbody.com

 

Review: Honey Girl Organics

Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for cosmetics and other products that are put onto your skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream? Scary. And gross. Especially when you consider the types of chemicals and “mystery” ingredients that are in most skin care products. The most startling part of that statistic, however, is that everything you put on your skin gets absorbed iImagen. When I heard that, I started paying more attention to the types of ingredients and chemicals that are in my makeup and lotions. It was terrifying. Such a large number of the ingredients are unnatural and man-made.

When I was in Haleiwa earlier this year, I discovered a skin care line based out of the North Shore of Oahu. The company is called Honey Girl Organics and their products are all natural, organic, and oh-so-good for your skin. Plus they smell amazing. Ingredients include honey, beeswax, and royal jelly, all from the company’s own Hawaiian grown bees. Since I’ve started using Honey Girl Organics products, my skin has never felt better.

Bottom line: I highly recommend giving this skin care line a try.

My favorite Honey Girl Organic product is the Face & Eye Cream [$30.99]. Check it out at www.honeygirlorganics.com.