Happy Friday, Friends! I hope you are staying warm on a chilly January day!The weather forecast in the midwest is calling for quite a bit of snow this weekend and into next week. So we are stocking up and getting ready! There is always a bit of excitement in the air when a snowstorm is coming. Kids hope for getting a day off of school, and sledding adventures. Some hope to hit the slopes with their snowboards. Some people dread it. I’m one that actually likes the snow! So I’m good with it! It wouldn’t be a Michigan winter without some snow!
How would you like to feel fresh and new and full of energy? Come join our women’s exercise Facebook Group called Sizzlers Challenge.
You don’t need to have any experience at all – we have every fitness level in our group! You are the perfect addition whether you haven’t intentionally exercised in 20 years or if you are training for a triathlon!
It’s Free! It’s Motivational! It’s Fun! And it’s no pressure all encouragement all the time!
We just want to live a little healthier, and have lots of fun and community doing it! This helps me by hearing all the other ladies share their stories and we really do inspire one another to get out there and take a walk or swim or do some form of exercise and that makes you feel so much better! If you would like to check it out, Click Here: Sizzlers Challenge
Pinterest fans– Now my blog has the Pinterest app on it, so you should be able to hover over pictures in the blog and “Pin It”.
The sales are dripping with low price temptation as retailers are trying to unload what remains of the fall/winter merchandise. This is great for me because our winter will last through March and well into April!
Ann Taylor – 40% off select full price styles, use code WEARNOW; 60% off sale styles!
Anthropologie – 20% off clothing, shoes and accessories! Woop! Woop!
Banana Republic – 50% off sale styles! 40% off regular priced items. No code necessary.
Chicos – 30% off your purchase, use code 25751 (some exclusions apply)
Clarks Winter clearance up to 60% off
Dick’s Sporting Goods – End of season sale. Up to 75% off select apparel, 25%-50% off select outerwear, $20 off select footwear.
DSW – Free 3 piece collapsible organizer set with $49 purchase, use code 3PIECE (this set looks really cute and functional)
Evereve – Annual Denim sale, 15% off all denim.
Gap – 40% off everything. Use code COOL. (their workout wear is totes adorbs!)
Gap Factory – Up to 75% off almost everything! Plus an extra 20% off, use code FRESH
JC Penney – Instore and Online 20% off use code USHOP2 Or extra 25% off $100 or more, or 30% off select home items
JCrew – Extra 70% off select sale styles, and 25% off full price- use code GOFORIT
JCrew Factory – 50% off everything! Plus, extra 60% off clearance, use code CLEAROUT
JJill – Extra 50% off sale styles.
Kohls – Kohls cash- $10 for every $50 you spend; huge sale on Carter’s Baby Clothes, and $10 off on all baby clothes, shoes, accessories and maternity when you spend $30 or more use code BABY10
Loft – 50% off your purchase! Use code WANT
Lord & Taylor – Charity Days Sale! Donate $5 (click on tab) and get 30% off full price items and 15% off most beauty. 100% of donations benefit the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
Luckybrand – up to 75% off clearance
Macy’s – 48 hour sale- 118,391 items included in this special! Wowza!
Nine West -Extra 30% off sale for up to 75% off. Use code NEWYEAR
Old Navy – up to 60% off storewide, and clearance up to 75% off!
Pier 1 – MLK holiday sale- Save $15 when you spend $100+, Save $40 when you spend $200+, Save $100 when you spend $500+. Use code SAVEMORE
Talbots – 50% off markdowns, but get an additional 20% off the markdowns when you use code JAN.
Target – Up to 25% off Home items. Add an additional 10% off bedding, bath and storage with code HOME
White House Black Market – 30% off full price purchase. Use code 71653 . 50% off sale styles.
This week on the blog:
My son Jake had a great idea a few weeks ago, he suggested that occasionally I switch my Friday focus to Fitness, since it is something I am working on. And if you remember I shared last week that I had taken an interest in Hiking.
I began to think about hiking after connecting with an absolutely inspiring lady through the FierceCon conference I went to last fall. Her name is Patricia Rubel, and she has an amazing blog and Instagram called The Patrish Pages. She is so nice and so much fun! I was truly inspired by her blog, and that led me to want to try hiking!
Well, another dear friend of mine was being moved in a similar direction from Patricia Rubel as well, though I think she had a little more experience than me (I had zero!). That is my friend Loretta Sayers who runs another fantastic blog, Loretta’s Countdown to 60. She is also discovering a love of hiking. All of this just fuels my passion, as I feel we are kindred spirits! I sincerely hope to one day hike with both of these incredible women!
So it was my turn to take that step.
It started when I researched for groups in Michigan that hike. I found this fabulous group, Women Who Hike (they have groups all over the map)
And they have a group specific to Michigan- Women Who Hike Michigan. They have a Facebook group. So I joined it! And of course Michigan is a big state and there are hikers from all over. But I was “hungry” for a hike, so I looked for one that had a hike coming up. And sure enough there was one for last Friday!
This would be at the Bundy Hill Trails which was quite a drive from my house (over 2 hours).
But anyone who knows me knows I am not afraid of a drive… in fact I love it! So I bought some boots for hiking in winter. I went to REI and asked the very kind lady to show me what she had in my size but I wanted to keep it under $125. I want them to be good boots but not blow the budget. So she brought me 3 pair.
I tried them all on, they all fit comfortably and all were within $5-$10 dollars of each other. But the brown boot was definitely the most comfortable. The clerk helped me pick out some socks as well. She said if you are on the trail for a few days you can simply wash them out and dry them. She said that is what she does. She also showed me the day packs which are for shorter hikes to carry water, snacks, maybe extra layer of warmth or to hold a layer if you get too warm and want to take one off. We selected the REI brand because it was economical and cute! You can find my boots here. You can find my socks here. You can find my daypack here.
So at home, I broke the boots in. I walk about 2 miles a day, so I wore the boots to be sure nothing would bother me. They didn’t. They were totally comfortable from the getgo!
So the day of the big hike came. I was so excited! I loaded up in the car to head north.
I had my phone so I could connect with the ladies I was meeting. Traffic put me a little behind but it all worked out. When I got there, the parking area was super icy. And I thought, hmmm this might be tricky. Well, I met the ladies, Sandy and Debby, and I waited in their car for our last hiker. Debby says, “I have an extra pair of YakTrax if anyone wants to borrow them.”
“YakTrax? What are YakTrax?”, I said. “They fit on your boot and help give you traction so you don’t slip.”, said Debby.
There was Sandy who had left her YakTrax at home, and me who had never heard of them. So we decided we would each use one YakTrax. Hallelujah! YakTrax were my best friend! I am sure they saved me from about 25 falls!
Another car pulled in at the same time our friend Michelle messaged that her horse had gotten out so she wouldn’t be able to join us. Sandy went up to the car and asked the young lady if she wanted to hike with us. She said yes! Her first name was Kennedy (easy for me to remember!) And off we went on our hike. We learned that Kennedy actually helped build the trails we were hiking! She knew the trails extremely well and had stopped by wanting to get a hike in! How fun!
It was so quiet! No road noise! Lots of uphill and downhill.
Honestly the other women were cruising at a good clip, and I was huffing and puffing behind, trying not to slip and fall. But I kept up!
We stopped at this bench. I imagined the many hikers who stopped to rest and take it all in.
We reached the Summit, and Kennedy took a photo of us with Sandy’s camera.
And then we did a selfie to get us all in!
Kennedy is holding the camera to the left, at the top is my friend Sandy Doud who provided most of the beautiful pictures, Debby is next to her, she shared her Yak Trax with us, and had a pack on in case of emergency. She also set the pace for our group. And that is me in the lower right. My hat says “Pizza”, they had a sale at REI and I couldn’t resist. Yes, I really like Pizza!
We traversed all over, you would have laughed at me trying to figure the best path in so many places where the trail was super icy… was it better to stay to the left? Or to the right? I made it but I did have a few of those near misses where you feel your feet going out from under you.
Debby pointed out the trees that looked like a buck had scraped them with their horns.
If you look closely through these trees, there is a little cabin down there. You can see the white roof.
We had so much fun getting to know this trail, and each other! And it seemed to fly to when they led us back to our cars. My lungs, my eyes, my heart and soul felt more open than they had in a very long time! What a thrill!
Sandy shared with us that she joined a group called 52 Hike Challenge.
The goal is to try and get in 52 hikes in 2019! They keep it really simple so there are no obstacles. Anyone at any hiking level could participate. Guess who signed up?
This girl! A long drive and so many wonderful memories now forever in my heart! And when I got home, we ordered pizza! And it tasted so good!
When I came home, I promptly ordered some Yak Trax! You can see they stretch over the bottom of the boot and give you some additional traction.
Honestly I had so much fun! I can’t wait till I can connect with these ladies again! And I learned something. Yes at my age or any age, I can try something totally new and fall in love with it! The thrill of the adventure, of researching and educating beforehand, of meeting new people who have already walked down this path and are kind enough to take you under their wing and show you the way… all of it just reaffirms what a precious gift this life is.
If its been a long time since you dreamed a new dream, it is never too late. You can start today! A friend of mine just took up painting! Another friend took up horseback riding! Another got her real estate license. It could be a new interest in antiques or gardening or yoga or travel. I have a friend learning Spanish. I have a few friends who just took up modeling, and one also started in acting. There is literally no retirement policy on what you can do! The point is to get out there and try something wonderful and new! It feels so good to breathe the air of new adventures!
I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
I’ll be back Tuesday with another Tasty Tuesday!
“Your off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” ~Dr. Seuss
Hi Amy! I’m so happy to hear you had so much fun on your first hike. Big Rich and I do a lot of hiking! We enjoy the opportunity to chat and embrace whatever turn the trails and conversation may take. Sometimes it is only the huffing and puffing that’s audible but we find the whole experience so therapeutic. I’m not much good in the heat, though, so I will get out while I can before summer returns in the Southwest. Big hugs to you! Love Barbie xo
Thank you so much, Barbie! It sounds like you have some great memories from hiking! How awesome! I don’t do well in the heat either but I’m hoping it improves! Have a great weekend!
Amy…what a great adventure this was, not only physically, but mentally!! I’m so proud of you!!
Thank you, Jodie! It was a lot of fun, and even the planning was fun!
I love to take nice strolls and hike when I can. But I’m not sure I can do that in snow. I’m a Florida girl and we stay away from the snow, lol. It’s so beautiful to look at, but we dread when we have to be in it.
You have such a beautiful state and so much to enjoy in Florida! I don’t blame you one bit!
Amy – I love this so much. I would love to find a hiking group here in Texas. I’m sure there are some. I love seeing women trying new things in midlife. Way to go!
It is lovely! That group I joined “Women Who Hike Michigan” is part of a national group, and there is a Facebook group for Women Who Hike Texas (I just looked it up, they have 2.5k members!) I so agree about women trying new things! It’s just so fun!
It looks like such a fun day, Amy! I love your hat, by the way. Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!
Thank you so much, Katie! I couldn’t resist the hat! Yes we are being clobbered with snow today so we are staying put. Have a great weekend!
I love hiking, but have not done it for a few years, though I do walk about 5 k most days. Your post has made me think about getting out there again. We have some fab trails only an hour away.
That sounds so lovely! I am about the same walking every day. What is your weather like right now?
This hike looks so lovely!! I’m in AZ so the snow and trees all look divine! Thank you for posting all the sales too! I need to get shopping. Happy weekend Amy!
Thank you so much! I’m looking at those sales too! Arizona is a beautiful state!
I salute you courage in going solo on this venture and finding your tribe to persevere. Good on you for getting some Me Time with a difference.
Thank you so much! It really was so much fun and just felt so good to be out there!
I am so thrilled that you love hiking!!! Good for you for making it happen…and in the winter!
I am also doing the 52 hike challenge! Number 4 is this weekend.
Thank you Amy for the shout out too…I so appreciate that. Oh and I also started learning how to play the piano…at almost 60! It’s never too late…
Oh how awesome! You are on hike #4! That is fantastic! And how lovely to play the piano!
What an inspiration you are, Amy!
Oh my goodness, Thank you so much, Alison!