Archives for August 2017

08.21.17

Bridge Bay Campground In Yellowstone

So unfortunately I can’t say the best things about this campground. We had issues from the start. There is only one full hookup campground in Yellowstone park called Fishing Bridge. We weren’t allowed to camp there though because it’s for hard walled campers only. Since we have a hybrid we have tent sides like a pop up. We booked Bridge Bay a year in advance. We expected to have a campground in the wooded area, but unfortunately that whole area was fenced off still. We went to Yellowstone in early June. That’s early enough that there is still snow melting on the ground, which is why the wooded campsites were still blocked off. I guess the snow melt was causing some mud issues back there since the sun can’t melt the snow quickly enough. So everyone was put in the meadow wah wah. I am glad we were in a camper though because I would have been a lot more upset about the meadow if we were tent camping. There is NO privacy or shade. In the evening was the worst because the sun was slanted. No matter where you sat you would be in the sun. But if you are in Yellowstone you spend very little time at the campground and more time out exploring. We were pretty annoyed when we arrived though. They put us in a spot that was too small for us. After setting up they told us we would have to move!!!! So we had to pack things up and move to another spot in the meadow. We asked for a spot in the shade but they told us we were too large. The spots are the length of the camper plus tow vehicle so our Suburban and 23 ft trailer were too long together.

The bathrooms were nice and close by. They had running water, cold water. There was a dish washing station and a water fill up area. The bathrooms were heated which was a pleasant surprise. I wish the water was too. It was ice cold. This campground does not have showers or laundry. You need to drive to one of the other campgrounds to use the amenities. You are right on the lake though so you have access to a marina. There is also a dumping station on the way out. Since we had no hookups we were able to use our generator during generator hours. Unfortunately during our stay our propane pilot kept going out because it did not like the elevation. It was a pain. Our refrigerator would shut off at random time and we were constantly having to re light the pilot. We stayed in this campground for 5 nights and that was a good amount of time. We were so ready to go by the end of it. Dry camping with 5 kids is tough. Loved Yellowstone but not this campground. I give it a 2 out of 5.


08.18.17

Colter Bay Campground At The Grand Tetons

This is my review for the Colter Bay Campground in The Grand Tetons. It is a huge campground right on the lake. You’ll have everything you need in this campground. There is a laundromat, wifi, gas station, showers, gift shop, grocery store, and a marina. This campground is very large and it accommodates all types of campers . They have cabins, full hookup sites, and dry camping. We stayed in the full hookup spots and I regret it. Next time I want to camp in the dry area because you aren’t allowed to have a campfire in the full hookup area. The full hookup area was also very crowded compared to the other sites. The plus side was that it was situated close to all the shops and the lake. You could walk to everything whereas the other campgrounds were further out. Don’t get me wrong, we love full hookup camping but we love sitting around our campfire more. And since there are showers and other amenities in the campground we don’t need the full hookups.

I would rate this campground 4 out of 5. I almost feel bad rating it less than perfect. The Tetons are just gorgeous but not being able to have a camp fire really bummed us out. The only option to have a campfire would mean giving up our hookups which would be a con also. I hope we get to go back soon though. The Tetons are amazing and I highly HIGHLY recommend them.

08.14.17

Microblading 101

I recently went to my microblading touch up session a few days ago. I want to share the whole experience with you guys because I know this thing has the potential to go south. My mom got microblading first. My sister and I bought it for her Christmas gift. My sister found someone through word of mouth (her friend recommended her cousin). It was a disaster. I didn’t meet this girl but I saw the botched results. My poor mom. This girl made my moms eyebrows like a thin V on her face. But that was only the first visit! My mom ended up scabbing really bad and her skin peeled. From what I was told by my artist, that was a bad sign that the girl who did the microblading had no idea what she was doing. Then on my moms touch up visit she asked for them thicker and the girl made one thick and one thin! Can you believe it! Now they are so uneven and painfully obvious. My mom has to fill them in every day. I’m upset about this whole thing and I want my mom to go back and demand the artist to fix them, but that could do more harm than good. I don’t know if I’d trust this lady with a microblading tool again.

So after that disaster I was a little apprehensive about getting mine done. Microblading is a temporary tattoo. It lasts for months to years! They don’t go as deep as a real tattoo so it fades much quicker, but a year is still a long time to have something on your face. I started by looking at reviews for local artists on YELP. It was a good start, but I was shocked at how expensive it was. I started looking at Groupon to see if there were any deals near me. Groupon has been hit or miss in the beauty department for me. I’ve had the best beauty services and the worst through Groupon. I found a place near me that I drive by a lot. It looked like a really nice salon and the reviews on the microblading were all good. The Groupon was $249 but Groupon was having a 20% off sale with a code so I paid $199.20. BUT WAIT – I also went through Ebates which saved me an additional 8%. So in the end I paid $183 for the first session AND touch up. The touch up was 4 weeks after the initial session. I did tip 20% on the non discount price, which I recommend if you are happy with your service.

I went in to the salon and we started by taking measurements of my eyebrows. Then my artist drew on my new eyebrow shape and asked me if I liked it. Once we came up with a nice shape she cleaned up the hair. My shape was close to the natural shape of my eyebrows but we made the arch higher up. I had no idea you could just create the shape you wanted even if your hair didn’t naturally grow that way. Then she applied the topical anesthetic cream and I had to wait another 45 minutes for the cream to kick in. When we started the microblading I was shocked at first because it was more painful than I expected. It wasn’t bad but it was more than I thought it would be. The worst part for me was the tugging you felt on the skin as the blade cut through. It was like nails on a chalkboard. My artist would work on one eyebrow then move to the other. She would alternate eyebrows then rub ink in the skin, wipe it up and resume. It started getting pretty painful by the 5th or 6th pass because she was going over cuts she already made to add detail strokes. But that was basically the end of it. She cleaned up the ink then put medicated ointment on my eyebrows. She went over the rules of care and I was done. This picture is after I healed completely from the first session. My brows look good, but there are some bald spots that need to be filled.

After my initial session I couldn’t get my eyebrows wet for 7 days. It was a lot harder than I expected. They were really dark for the first 3-4 days. Tom said I looked angry because all you saw were my eyebrows lol. I just wore a hat whenever I left the house. I washed my face but I worked around my eyebrows. By the end of the week I had stopped washing my forehead because I didn’t want to take any chances. My brows healed quickly. They did keep the pigment good – or so I was told. During the healing process they did get itchy and you aren’t supposed to touch them. The 4 weeks after my first appointment were amazing! I fell more and more in love with my brows daily. I loved waking up and looking great. I loved not having to do my brows. I loved my new brow shape. I loved how low maintenance they were. I just loved them.

My touch up appointment was a lot faster than the initial one. I arrived and she put on the cream. After waiting the 45 minutes we got started. It was a lot faster because she was just filling in the bald spots on my brows. It was still painful, but it wasn’t as long of a session so it was better. It’s been 2 days since I had my touch up appointment and I’m trying to keep them dry. They are itching more than the first session right now though. I can’t wait until they heal and I’m done! My artist said the pigment worked really well with my skin so I probably wouldn’t need another touch up for a year. A YEAR!!!!! Can you believe that! Here are my brows 2 days after my touch up.

Although my mom had a horrible experience I think it would have been easily avoided if they went to someone with good reviews. Unfortunately they trusted the word of a friend and that doesn’t always work out well. My experience was great though. I had no idea the possibilities you had with microblading. Apparently there are different levels of microblade artists as well. My artist was working to become a master so she was pretty high up. She was telling me about all the things they can do, not just eyebrows. I’m definitely in love with my eyebrows and I’ll be getting my touch ups to maintain them.

Tips for choosing a good artist:

-Look at Yelp and Google reviews. Try to find as many as you can.
-Make sure the Salon is nice. My mom had hers in the back room of a dumpy nail salon – probably not a good sign. My salon was clean and designed nicely. If the salon is beautifully designed they probably take pride in their reputation and their employees.
-Don’t be scared to ask your artist how long shes been doing it and what level she’s at.
-Don’t be scared to ask for a mirror and check the shape and design during the process. Its YOU who will have to deal with the eyebrow shape so make sure you are getting what you want.

Make sure you check Groupon and Ebates for deals in your area. Groupon has local deals almost every other week and Ebates has great cash back options.

Once my brows are completely healed I’ll post another update.

08.14.17

Yellowstone National Park

Hey ya’ll. This post had been delayed so much. We’ve had a busy busy summer, but how can we not with 5 kids. But now things are settling down since school is starting up again. In June we took a long family vacation to the Tetons and Yellowstone. It was a great trip. These two parks are so close together. It makes the most sense to just see both while you’re in the area. The Tetons are majestic to say the least. Yellowstone is also amazing, but in a cool eruptive kind of way lol. Yellowstone is a giant national park. There are many many places to stay in the park and you spend a lot of time driving from one site to another. We stayed at Bridge Bay Campground on Lake Yellowstone. It’s relatively centered in the park so there isn’t too much of a drive to see the sights. We stayed for 5 nights in Yellowstone and for our family, it was a good chunk of time. It was the beginning of June so the weather is unpredictable. We had a day that was cold and rainy, but then there were nice sunny days too. Our timing was perfect actually because the day we left it ended up snowing 4 inches!!! I am SO glad we missed that. I love snow, but not when I’m camping.

We went and saw as much as we could. Tom and I took the older three kids there one summer 5 years ago. This time we added Audrey and Elliot to the group. Since I can’t list everything we saw there because the list would be too long, I’ll just tell you the highlights. We saw the Falls and The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone the first day. It was beautiful! There are several hikes to take down and around that area. We didn’t hike too much because we had 3 – 4 year olds and a baby lol. Audrey made sure we knew SHE WAS ALLERGIC TO HIKING! If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone you know that there are hundreds of geysers and springs right off the road. We stopped at many of those too. One day we went to see Old Faithful and walked around that geyser basin. It was so cool to see them all again. Old Faithful is just old now haha. Not too faithful since we waited forever for it to erupt. It did finally erupt so that was good. By the end of that day though the storm clouds had rolled in and it was pouring. We had a nice buffet dinner in the lodge there to celebrate Tom’s birthday. That was a treat because we weren’t too excited to drive back to the campsite to freeze our butts off. I felt so bad for my sister and her kids. They were tent camping next to use and their camp was flooded. They ended up coming into our camper until 11pm that evening because everything was cold and wet. We turned the heater on and enjoyed each others company until it stopped pouring. Well everyone except me of course lol. Elliot made sure I was in bed with him by 8pm. So I just got to hear everyone else socializing haha. The next day we went to see Grand Prismatic and some mud pots. It was SO windy! People were losing hats all over the geysers. You can’t just walk out and pick them up without risking your life so they just stayed there. I’m sure the rangers have a tool to pick them up but there were at least 20! It was very crowded but we got to see a lot. The wind was not pleasant though. We enjoyed the evening with everyone coming to our campground to eat dinner with us and hang out. Bridge Bay could have been a nice place to stay, but not on this visit. I’ll review the campgrounds separately on my blog though. On the last day we drove to West Yellowstone to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and on our way we saw a wild Grizzly bear in the woods! There is nothing so cool as to see these giant bears in the wild! We saw one last time we were in Yellowstone too, 2 for 2! But seeing them up close at the Discovery Center was really cool too. We learned a lot there. It was a cold rainy day so I’m glad we decided to go there and walk around the town a bit. We loved the gift shops. It was our last night there with everyone so we had dinner back in the park with Tom’s parents. Then we headed back to camp for our last evening in the park.

The next morning we woke up and packed up. We knew snow was rolling in and we wanted to get out of there. Thank you Lord for providing good weather to pack up in. The weather report said it would be cold and rainy but it was sunny until we started driving out. We stopped one last time at the gift shop on the way out to taste the delicious Huckleberry ice cream. Everything there was Huckleberry! It tasted like half blueberry and half strawberry. Funny enough the color looked like a strawberry and blueberry mashed together too! Then we were off back to Texas. We planned a long extended drive back to give Elliot only a few hours in the car (he hated the car). Our first stop through the dark clouds and wind was Casper WY. We stayed at a Hampton Inn and boy were we happy to see running water, heat, and electricity! Did I mention we had to dry camp in Yellowstone? It was tough with 7 people, but we did it! We had a generator that we ran and then propane. Not having sewer or running water was challenging but they had bathrooms with running water.

It was a great trip. Definitely a trip we will remember for the rest of our lives. It’s such a blessing we were able to go with Tom’s family and my family together. Camping trips are very special for families. There is something so great about taking everyone out into nature and having some distance from all the technology that so easily runs our lives. The kids were reluctant at first, but by the end of the trip they had embraced the camper life.