How to recharge your electronic devices in the woods

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Whenever we go camping or backpacking, we have a couple of different ways that we recharge our electronic devices. Depending on how much wattage you will need in order to recharge the device, will dictate which method.

For small devices like a headlamp or Garmin GPS watch, our Biolite Stove works just fine; however, my Samsung S5 needs more amps/wattage and unfortunately does not recharge well from the stove.

I would suggest getting a solar fold-able solar charger like the below picture from Amazon. I got a Ravpower charger that I think is no longer available yet this one is very similar:

My Ravpower charger is a 15W solar charger and recharges my S5 in 60-90mins in full sun.

I was really impressed with how quickly it recharged my phone!! 

Another charger that I don’t leave at home is my Jackery lipstick battery. I like this little lipstick battery versus some others for two reasons:

  1. It has a LED bar on the battery to show me how full or depleted the battery is.
  2. It is lighter than some others. My husband has an Anker lipstick battery and that thing is like lead = heavy.

All in all, while being out in the woods and decompressing from the responsibilities of life or just being an adult, it is nice and a luxury to recharge your devices via the sun, fire or a recharged battery. I know I really like being my Kindle along for a good read in my hammock or a late night movie on our tablet (Yes, I admit it😦 I occasionally watch a movie while in the woods).

Pinterest Inspired Log Bench = Success!!

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After seeing this log bench on Pinterest (photo on left from 1001gardens.org/2015/06/15-diy-log-ideas-for-your-garden/), my husband took his chainsaw and built the same bench (see photo on right) at our property. It is a solid bench and recommend it to others who need a bench. We got the 3″x12″ wood beam from our neighbor who wanted to get rid of some scrap wood. The hubby cut openings in the wood at a slight angle, wedged the beam in and then used the back of his axe to hammer/wedge the beam into the stumps tightly. It worked!! And the bench is solid. Doesn’t wiggle, shake, etc. Also the nice part about the top of the stumps and the beam protruding from the stump, is that there is plenty of room to set down a drink. Love it! Pinterest success! 

Glamping in Santa Cruz, CA

One of our favorite spots to camp at is at New Brighton Beach in Capitola, CA. It’s very close to Santa Cruz and the campsite is right on the ocean bluffs. The sites are large and there is running water with coin operated hot showers, flushing toilets, and Capitola is about 10 minutes away by bike or less than 5 mins by car. Last year, my husband and I were lucky enough to book one of the campsites on the bluffs and we could hear the crashing of the waves at night. It sure beat any hotel you could stay at for only $35/night. This was our first time “glamping” as it was his birthday and I wanted to do something nice for us and we had so much fun!!! Sleeping on the Intex Pillow Rest Raised Airbed with Built-in Pillow and Electric Pump, Queen, Bed Height 16 1/2″ in our Kingdom 6 tent from REI was plenty of room and comfort for a couple of nights stay. I liked the double height of the air mattress as it felt more like a real bed since you don’t have to bend down all the way. This is what we got:

I also got an Intex Quick-Fill 12v-DC Electric Air Pump, Max. Air Flow 21.2CFM so I could blow up the air mattress from our car. It fully inflated in less than 5 minutes and it was easy to place inside out tent. (I was worried it wouldn’t get through the opening but it did.)

Some other things that I brought to make our trip fun were:

    • Sand Castle Supplies – Why not? have fun no matter your age
    • Bluetooth speaker for some music
    • French Press Coffee Maker – I got mine from REI and it’s insulated so it kept the coffee warm between cups.
    • Muffins for the morning with coffee
    • Glow in the Dark Rings – we passed these out to other campers for fun and to celebrate his birthday. You can find these cheaper at the Dollar Store or Wal-mart.
    • Playing Cards
    • Birthday Cake with candles
    • Birthday Decor – Yup, I went to the good ole Dollar Store for supplies and decorated our campsite so everyone knew it was his birthday🙂
    • Hammock – I highly recommend bringing a hammock. It was nice to take an afternoon nap or read a book in the shade while listening to the ocean waves. I did purchase this Ultimate, Compact, Single-person Adventure Hammock by Tribe Provisions (Orange) from Amazon and IT WAS SO MUCH CHEAPER THAN AN ENO!! I my husband has an ENO and we both think this one is more comfortable. Although, I do recommend getting the Eagles Nest Outfitters Atlas Polyester Hammock Hanging Straps for setting up the hammock. Paying the extra money for these straps are work it!!! The para-cord that comes with this hammock is not the best and stretch so ya eventually are touching the ground.😦

  • Bicycle – We found getting around town much easier with our bicycles than driving, especially because it’s a small town and parking was at a premium. Also if you go around Easter or Halloween, the community of Capitola normally does something on the beach (i.e. Easter Egg hunt on the beach for the kiddos).

Some of the fun places we like to visit Capitola are:

  1. Margaritaville – this place it right on the water with great staff and fresh ingredients. It’s a place were you can hang out all night with the view from almost every seat.photogrid_1448466080310.jpg
  2. Panache – or as we refer to it as the “Rubber Duckie Store.” This store has a TON of different rubber duckies from Einstein or Ben Franklin duckie, to Pink Flamingo duckie, Devil Duckie, and more. We couldn’t help ourselves bought this enormous rubber duckie for our bathroom, lol:Enormous Rubber Duckie
  3. Shadowbrook – is a really nice place for elegant, more fine dining. The location is romantic as it’s right on the canal and you even take a funicular down to the restaurant. Be aware that there is a dress code. Luckily they don’t enforce it too much if you are traveling and trying to make an effort of having nice clothes on. I wore a sweater dress with capris and my keen water sandals. I was worried about my sandals; however, I was unaware of the dress code before packing for this trip. Just wear some nice khakis, no rips/tears and nicer sandals and you should be fine. Luckily no one said anything to me….maybe because it was my shoes, no one really saw them under the table…..photogrid_1448465176866.jpg photogrid_1448465696739.jpg photogrid_1448465271736.jpg
  4. Exploring the town of Capitola – there are many little privately owned shops in Capitola so it was really nice to just park/lock up the bikes and walk around exploring. We even got a slice of pizza and just ate lunch on a beach bench taking our time and enjoying the breeze and scenery. But there is wine tasting and more in the area. I would go on TripAdvisor and see what activities may interest you before going as well. Also this campsite is about 30 minutes away from the Monterrey Aquarium if you wanted to do a day trip.

Here’s some other photos from our trip:

Our site all set up:

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A little skunk ate our Birthday Muffins. We locked up our food but the little bugger was able to get into the wooden locker with his little paws and then let his mark on our trunks (what we haul our gear in).

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Building Sand Castles after coffee (Thank you Dollar Store). We gave our bucket and shovel to a family with small children to play with afterwards.🙂

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Hope you enjoyed this post.

Cheers!!

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New Year’s Eve 2015 Party

For NYE, I like to do something but I never like having to worry about finding a cab let alone paying for a cab along with drinks, entrance fees, etc. All the things that normally go along with the typical NYE……so the hubby and I decided to stay in for NYE and I threw us a little shin-dig at home were we could chill, not have to worry about driving/finding that dang cab and honestly just go at our own pace. I planned different activities so we don’t get bored and worst-scenario, I have a fun movie on hand in case we are just tired.

So this year, I planned a couple of activities along with a little finger-food spread for us to enjoy:

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Glow in the dark ring toss

I turned our office into the “Lounge” or bar for making drinks and also put the party favors in there. I got my favors at the 99 cent store. Go before Christmas to get the the good stuff. Also I always buy streamers or other more simple decor is generic colors like gold, silver, black or white so I can reuse them again and again.

 

Also here are some photos from NYE 2012 for more ideas:

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Virtually Paint Your Room/House

So my husband and I wanted to paint our house completely different colors than the current blue and gray-blue. We wanted more neutral colors and I was really unsure if the colors that I was thinking in my mind would look good in real life. So I went to the Benjamin Moore website and found their virtual paint your room app and it helped me out immensely. Making my decision was easier as I was trying to decipher between having white posts/trim vs brown posts on our porch. It was also nice to sit with the pictures for a couple of days before committing to the decision. Especially because I’m such a visual person and sometimes thinking out an idea is just not enough for me. The other nice thing was we were able to use these pictures for the submission to our homeowners’ association for approval to make sure that there was no misunderstanding of what colors are going where and then we also used to this picture in order to show our painter. Hopefully this helps you out is well with your next project.

Virtual Paint:
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To decision time:
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Small House Living & Why I Like it!

Because it’s Eeeeeeeeeasy! Our house is around 1,000 sq. ft. (3 bedrooms, 2 bath). When I tell people that our house is around 1,000 sq ft which is smaller some of friend’s apartments, they would be astonished that the floor plan could even have a third bedroom. But it works. And yes , there are times like ANYONE you wish there was just little more space here and there but in the end, living on the smaller side of life has taught me so much about what I want out of life and how much easier it is to get it than what the American dream dictates.

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