Dog days 

***Edit: The next series of posts are VERY TARDY!! I started this July based post in early August and am just finishing up this evening. Oof! Expect a couple other August posts! I have been so busy this summer (a good thing!) So catch up on what I have been up to if ya wish. Here we go!

Why is it called dog days? Well I just looked it up and it’s interesting at least! Ironically, this post is about our trip to Florida which officially began on July 22 – the start of the “dog days of summer.”

Right now I’m lying in my living room, resisting the urge to light fall scented candles as my windows are open and I can hear cicada calling. It’s already beginning to get dark a little earlier than the week before. It’s only the beginning of August but it sure is feeling September-y. False advertisement!

This nice weather is looking like it will be sticking around for Babes in Motoland 3 (here’s my post on BIM2 from last summer!) which I will be attending again this year with M & K. Looking forward to another fun weekend up north with some good craft beer and fun ladies!

Let’s get on the roadtrip to Florida track!

We left Thursday, July 20th (my 33rd birthday!) around 6pm. My mother in law got me the PCT book I’ve been wanting! We drove about 3 hours to Calvert City, Kentucky  and spent the night, getting an early start Friday morning and driving to the very bottom of Georgia where we stayed in Lake Park, GA.

A couple pics from Friday:Right next to our hotel was a little restaurant called Cowboys Firepit & Grill. We ate and listened to some live music and had a laid back evening after a super long drive. I slept amazing that night. The next stretch of driving was 3 hours to our condo. Off we went!We got to the resort at 10am and checkin wasn’t until 3 or 4. So we just chilled by the pool and I started Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart and enjoyed some fruity drinks. After we got settled into the condo we met up for dinner with the rest of B’s family and called it an early night.

Sunday was my lazy day. B got up to golf (first of three days) at 5am and I slept in, read my book in bed and watched some HGtv. Fascinating – I know! B got back around 1 and we went to one of the pools we hadn’t seen yet and walked around. We again met for dinner and drinks that evening.Monday me and B woke up super early and went for an hour and a half drive up to Paynes Prairie State Park and then hit Ocala National Forest on the way back. It was so hot! But what a different hiking experience!img_5204img_5227img_5190After we left Payne’s Prairie we drove to Ocala to check out Juniper Springs. Such an interesting place – so different from our Midwest parks! The springs are crystal clear and accented with the most beautiful blues and turquoise. AND ALLIGATORS!Turtles!The rest of the week was filled with sun, some Daytona sand, family and spent poolside with a lot of fruity drinks!Florida sunsets will never get old.

Forever grateful for our opportunities to travel and getting to spend our time doing what we love!

J

A different kind

All last night I couldn’t sleep. It was a good “can’t sleep” though. Scheduled for today was the first group hike for my local chapter of Mountain Chicks that I had planned a couple weeks ago. I am sitting here now, 13 long hours after my alarm has gone off for the day. Thinking about how happy I am and how incredible this morning and afternoon was. I stepped outside of my box and I think it was the best thing I could have ever done.

Being mostly an introvert; group outings can be daunting and overwhelming for me. However, this was a different kind of gathering. It wasn’t for something I didn’t want to do. It wasn’t an obligation. It was something I volunteered for; something that I chose to do to challenge my ever-changing-self. Meet up with a bunch of strangers (outside of the safety of my phone or computer) and hike around the forest.

Let me just tell you, after we left our late lunch and said our goodbyes this afternoon, I couldn’t wipe the dorky smile off of my face. There wasn’t one lady today that I didn’t connect with for a brief time. Each individual brought an element to the table that made for the perfect first group meeting. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN.

Aside from the very first moments when we nervously introduced ourselves and recognized faces, we all got comfortable fairly quickly and were joking and sharing stories in no time. After all, we all came here to do the same thing. To be outside and to meet other women who love and appreciate hiking on a hot Midwestern day, just the same.

I learned so much today! We talked openly about the struggles of trying to play it cool when really, you’re breathing as heavy as Fernando, Sara’s GIANT Mastiff-Lab mix, and trying to hide it.

Image may contain: dog

We discussed future goals and our bucket list locations (JMT 2019!) We shared water purification and carrying preferences. Talked about gear with people who actually care and understand your obsession. Wireless headphones or wired headphones?! (Heather!!!) Excitement for our overnight backpacking trip in October. It was truly, just a wonderful experience for the first time I have ever hiked with more than one person besides myself or B. It was a relaxed day. There were no expectations and we just enjoyed our walk in the woods; in the company of each other. Pics or it didn’t happen: I have a feeling that great new friendships built on a passion for the outdoors will be born from this, distant adventure dreams will soon become realities, and seeing as how we can talk about bodily functions and fluids with nobody flinching…lots of camping trips and weekends well spent.

Stepping outside of my comfort zone has never been more satisfying. This month has by far contained the the most incredible and rewarding things. Everything is falling into place and I am so grateful to be given the opportunities that are in my hands right now. Being a representative for THREE (yes, you read that right – I have another announcement) great organizations, running my business at max capacity (and voted best salon in the county…unreal!), having a seamless and liveable schedule, and starting my new Monat business…I am thoroughly hashtag blessed. Thank you to every person that supports me in any way. By reading, by following, by being a client, by being a friend, or even by being just a quiet observer.

With that being said, here is my NEW news! I was accepted by Madera Outdoor to be a brand ambassador! This company is changing lives, people. For every hammock purchased, they plant TWO trees (#hammocksneedtrees). “With our support in developing garden forests, Madera provides farming families within the countries of Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cameroon with sustainable sources of food, livestock fodder, fuel, and forest products to consume and sell at nearby markets.”

IMG_5004.PNGAnd my gift to you for supporting Madera when you purchase a hammock + straps (sold separately!) is 30% off of your order using the code JPTT30 at checkout! If you have been thinking of buying a hammock, now is your chance! Treat yourself, and help people at the same time.

Can you even handle all of the good things?! I cannot!

I am going to sleep well tonight, and look so forward to the events to come!

J

 

 

100

This number will signify a few things in this post. Firstly – my Facebook page has ONE HUNDRED followers! How cool is that. Thanks so much!!

Secondly – besides the last couple days, the Midwest weather has felt like 100+ degrees. Ugh. Is it fall yet?

Lastly, and the most important thing I have to say – is my hair has been 100% AMAZING the last month. Because of MoNat.

YES – ANOTHER HAIR POST! This is my third hair post in the year I’ve been blogging. (If you’re new here, I am a hairstylist and I make the occasional beauty post for those of us outdoorsy women looking for natural fixes for hair tricks.) I try to stick with my nature theme here – even in my non-hiking/traveling posts. 

The first post was a guide to No ‘Poo. A habit I picked up after suffering from crunchy dry and brittle hair for a stretch. I stuck with No ‘Poo long enough to do a follow up post a handful of months later and up until 4 weeks ago – I had No ‘Pooed for 9 solid months. Until MoNat hit my radar.

*Stop reading if you want bad hair.*

Carry on if you want a great change.

I had seen MoNat being plastered all over social media. My first thought was “Great, another gimmick. “ItWorks” in hair form.” Wrong. I reluctantly took a sample and was wowed in one wash. Here’s why I decided to try it though after committing to no chemicals for so long…

MoNat is a botanical and essential oil based line of hair care. Non-toxic and vegan (cruelty free!) and designed by scientists. It is an independent company that will never sell out to diversion – your shampoo will be delivered to your door and will never be watered down. All drugstore and even salon shampoos and conditioners are 80% water and 20% actual product. MoNat is 60% product and 40% reverse osmosis water that contain zero contaminants such as heavy minerals and pesticides. MoNat is made in small batches, guaranteeing you a fresh product, which also comes with a shelf life. 

It is the ONLY hair care product that is proven to reverse split ends and aging on your strands. I have been doing hair for 13 years and I have not seen or used products that do what MoNat does. I have had my hardest to please clients won over. I don’t even have to TRY to sell these products. They legitimately sell themselves! 

I am just excited to share my newfound love of products that encourage new hair growth, strengthen hair from the inside out, keep blondes from turning brassy, help give body and life to fine, limp hair…spring those dry curls into a shiny ringlet! It is possible to have hair you love. Let me show you!This is my sister 3 weeks into MoNat Balance System. Her fine, thick but limp hair just hangs when she was using cheap shampoo. The after photo is Monat, DAY 2! She used to wash her hair daily and is now going 2-3 days. Her hair is fuller, shinier and so much healthier.This is my husband after 2 weeks of MoNat’s Classic Confidence System. Look at all of his new hair growth!! Black and white so you can see the new dark hair coming in.This little lady has super curly, free spirit hair. She was the flower girl in my wedding! Her mom is a friend of mine and she has tried EVERYTHING on her curly girl. MoNat gave her these shiny and defined curls in one wash. One. Wash. Top before – bottom after.These photos are MY people. I know their hair. They are not an ad or stock photo. These are real results. They wowed me! 

Here is MY before and current. No ‘Poo on the left, last Thursday on the right. Notice the split ends and brittleness in my before photo, and the full, shiny fresh ends in the after. I have not cut my hair since February.How ’bout that!

I want to see your before and after. Please if you have any questions feel free to comment! If you’d like to order MoNat – visit my distributor site at http://www.jenpotts.mymonat.com – if you are interested in being a market partner let me know! It’s an incredible opportunity.

With a 30 day money back guarantee…you can’t go wrong trying it for a month to see how your hair works with MoNat.
J

June and Hawn State Park (and Rocks)

It definitely feels like summer, but it’s not yet officially. This week started out at 90+ degrees and will carry on until the weekend. Sunday B and I planned on hiking at Hawn State Park and my friend K joined us! We left our house at 8am and made it to the trailhead at 9:45. We had all intentions of keeping it relatively easy since it was going to be hot so we chose White Oaks Trail, an easy to moderate 3.75 mile trail. When we got there however it was pleasantly breezy, not humid and surprisingly not at all crowded for such a popular park. We changed our plans last minute because who doesn’t want to walk along a creek on a hot day?

We started on the Pickle Creek Trail, walking northwest until the .70 mile trail came to a junction. We set off south on white trail connector 1 and got onto Whispering Pines. We did the southwest portion of that trail and hopped on the white trail connector 3, and looped back up on to Pickle Creek to get back to the parking lot. We ended up hiking 7.3 miles total. It didn’t feel like it at all! 

Except for that end part where you climb and scramble about an eighth of a mile’s worth of boulders and “watermelon sized rocks” that really tested out my weak ankles in a pair of mid-boots (success!). I didn’t notice the rocks and boulders going in – and I think it’s because I was mesmerized by the trickling creek and the serene, shadowy beauty. Large flat stones crossing the entire creek, making crossing if you had to a breeze. When we were leaving there were families enjoying swimming in the deeper spots. 

We saw 3 ticks and B found 3 turtles!There were a couple of moments I had that really put into perspective how much work I have to do the next three months to prep for 8-9 mile hikes every day for a week. There are muscles in my back and calves I haven’t used in too long that came out to yell at me and new tiny blisters developing on my pinky toes. I was only carrying about 6lbs on my back and I hurt much worse after that hike than I do when we take overnight trips carrying 25 pounds. 

I blame the rocks.

When we got done, we stopped at a little winery called Watertower Winery in Ste. Genevieve for some sangria and to take in the scenery of the beautiful Missouri countryside. 

Hawn State Park is highly recommended! We plan to come back this fall and spend a couple nights at the campground with Hank and the dogs. I miss fall and winter van camping. I am not a summer person!

Today marks exactly 3.5 months until we head out to Virginia for our Shenandoah section hike! Yesterday marked day one of training for it. Ugh.
Training for me includes eating more protein and less carbs and sugar, hiking more when I can, walking more, wearing my boots to work, doing lots of squats, and using a stair stepper with a 30lb backpack on. 

Lots to do! *ugly cry face*

My entry later this week will be another hair post! After nearly a year I have ventured away from No ‘Poo. I have found an incredible, all natural product. Stay tuned!


J

Oh what a whirlwind.

The last 4 weeks have gone by so quickly and here we are in June. JUNE! So much has happened and I really have missed making my weekly posts. How can I possibly catch everything up?!

Goodness. My last in depth post was April 30th. May was a blur. We adventured in California, hit snow in Oregon, and played in Washington. If you’d like an actual “here’s what went down on our trip” play by play, check out our video diary!

Yosemite and Beyond Adventure Vlog!

Here are a few of my favorite photos from our epic roadtrip:


That was a hard to detach from vacation. I spent a good week or more bummed out that I didn’t actually live in the PNW. My favorite area hands down was Cascade Locks and the Columbia River Gorge. Absolutely stunning!

We got back on Monday, May 8th, and I had a root canal procedure the very next morning. Welcome home! That was the first of 2. The second one I had done on the 24th. All went well. Now I am in the process of getting my crowns done and some fillings. Gah. Teeth.

(Also in between all of that, M and C had their baby!!! He’s the cutest little guy. I am so happy for my best friends!)

Memorial Day weekend, B and I left for a backpacking trip down in Southern Illinois on the River to River Trail. We had every intention of hiking all 27 miles from Garden of the Gods to Lusk Creek trailhead…but were greeted with severe storms and what I thought was a stomach bug. It turns out, I am lactose intolerant. Let’s just say I was grateful to not be trapped in a tent during an intense thunderstorm during that discovery. =)

You can also catch that video diary here:

River to River Trail Section Hike

Not everything we do will be documented and shared on YouTube; I will still be utilizing this blog for local dayhikes and such! YouTube channel will be more for our bigger outings.

Another great and exciting event that has happened is my acceptance as Midwest Chapter Ambassador for MtnChicks! Check it here:

Summer Update!
You can also find links on my sidebar here on this page to the website, and through the website a link to the Midwest Mountain Chicks Facebook group. 

This is going a be a crazy busy summer between planning events and prepping for some other stuff. We still have a 10 day trip to Florida coming up and a weekend at Mammoth Cave soon. 

I’ve been missing this outlet. I’m not done here. I will be back!

J