May 29, 2019

Barton Springs Pool- Austin Texas Zilker Park



“This post has been sponsored by Sparkling Ice®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Each travel guide, I love to link the full #TravelinTexan bucket list so y'all can see the entire list. Nap under an oak in Zilker Park crosses number 87 off the list. Shall we get into this quick little trip?

We loaded the car with all the camera gear and Sparkling Ice® we’d bought from Albertsons and were ready for a day trip. We enjoyed seein' the many Sparkling Ice® flavors on the shelf. We were to spend the mornin’ on the outskirts of Austin, lappin’ up all the BBQ our hearts could desire. Bekah had come to visit for the weekend and wanted to spend a day in Austin as she’d never been. A short three-hour drive from my house in Dallas and wantin’ to cross items off the Texas Bucket List, I was more than happy to oblige.

BBQ and catchin’ up with friends warmed our soul and by mid-afternoon, we were ready for the real reason we came to Austin: Zilker Park Barton Springs Pool. Perfect for a spring or summer day with family.

We drove the short distance to Zilker Park, laughin’ all the way while trying to guess the newest Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor. I chuckled, “I wonder if I’ll guess the Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor like I did last year when I took Sparkling Ice and drove to Blanco Texas for the 'Lavender Festival.'” With 16 different flavors of the zero sugar, zero calories drinks and the JUST4U offer updating weekly with new flavors, I didn’t have much hope that I would guess the correct flavors again. But, it was fun to try. Bekah joked, that she thought the Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor tasted like a candy she often ate.

Check out mystery offers and recipe ideas here


We arrived at Barton Springs Pool just as the afternoon Texas breeze began to stir. I’d always heard that the Barton Springs Pool in the 358 acres of Zilker Park was the premier jewel of Austin, measuring three acres and up to 18 feet in depth. And upon the first arrival, it did not disappoint. With a year-round temperature of 69-70 degrees from the underground springs, Barton Springs Pool is perfect for year-round swimming. We couldn’t contain our excitement as we paid the nine dollars non-resident fee. If only we were from Austin, we thought. Would have only cost us five bucks. We hoped we’d see the endangered Barton Springs Salamander since the springs are not only their habitat but federally protected. We opted for the hand stamp so that if we got hungry, we could come and go and eat our food waitin’ in the car at one of the many park benches.





We walked around the pool, scoopin’ the best place set up our picnic spot. I picked an overgrown oak tree perfect for nappin’.
Bekah immediately rushed to the lukewarm water as I began to assess our surroundings. I noticed that parts of the pool were slippery, and life jackets were only allowed on the shallow half of the pool. A majority of the lifeguards sat in stands on the deeper sider where you needed to be able to swim independently to use. I smiled as a crowd cheered on a little girl as she jumped from the diving board, proud of her accomplishments.  Bekah had already begun to swim around and gotten acclimated to the 68-degree water as I slowly decided which entrance I wanted to use. I’d noted that the beach entrance on the west side of the pool was shallow but slippery, and the stairs near the ramp entrance were less slippery but crowded. I opted for the ramp and shuddered as the lukewarm water hit my skin. I giggled like the children around me as tadpoles and salamanders pooled around my feet.

We quickly grew tired of swimmin’ and took our spot under the large oak tree we had scoped out earlier. We spent a lot of time people watchin’ and snappin’ pictures. “A fine blog post this would make,” I lamented.  

I read on a local blog that near the Barton Springs Pool gate boasted the Zilker Zephyr train, the indoor Splash! Exhibit, the Zilker Snack Bar, Zilker Hillside Theater, and the free wading area of Barton Creek. I'd mentioned them to Bekah, but she was content to lounge with our Sparkling Ice. With just the right amount of fizz and full flavor, we noted that it made a great treat for a day trip.



The sun began to fade as we dried off in the showers. I found myself readin’ all the signs, makin’ note to add the information in the blog post:
Barton Springs Pool
2201 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
  • Barton Springs Hotline (512-867-3080) to make sure the pool is open, especially after a rainstorm
  • Closed Thursdays from 9am - 7pm for cleaning
  • Free for children under the age of one.
  • Children 1-11 residents $2 and nonresidents $4.
  • 12-17 years of age $3 for resident and $5 for nonresident
  • 18-62 $5 for resident and $9 for nonresident
  • 62 and older $2 for resident and $5 for nonresident

We made our way to the car; a three-hour drive awaited us. She tossed me a Sparkling Ice I’d gotten at my local Albertsons for convenience as I hollered, “Chez Stop. We’ll get gas at Chez Stop so you can try the famous kolaches. I make you a Texan Yet." She chuckled before grimacing, "What is up with Texans and their love of gas station food?”
Click to learn the Mystery Offers Sparkling Ice has for you today—each week a new offer is revealed!






May 28, 2019

5 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites

Greek Gods sponsored this post, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own, and the frozen yogurt bites are fresh easy to make, kid-friendly, great for your next local day hike and contain only five ingredients.
5 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites
                                                                Pin these frozen yogurt bites for later.

Is it as hot where you are as it is here in Texas? Y'all already know the past few weekends I was away campin' and goodness I can't even explain to Y'all how hot it was. I always chuckle when summer starts to roll around and all the campin' season hashtags begin to sprout.

Here in Texas, whole sections of the state are so hot that it isn't advised to camp or hike in the summer. For Example, one of our National Parks Big Bend takes down the online registration to detour visitors because the entire park sits in a mountainous desert that gets upwards of 110+ on a chilly day. Nevertheless, we camp and hike anyway. Usually, you'll find me doin' day hikes at local places or near the beach. The Texas heat always calls for a cool and refreshin' snack after a long day.

These 5 Ingredient homemade Frozen Yogurt Bites are the perfect Summer treat. And they're a healthier option to boot, Y'all.

5 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites
I love anything that has granola and peanut butter in it so I welcome the chance to eat them any chance I get. The filling is blended with Honey Vanilla Greek Gods® Yogurt.

The silky smooth texture, mixed with the honey makes Greek Gods® Greek-Style Yogurt not only flavorful but free of the traditional tartness most greek yogurts have.

Here's how to make the delicious Five-Ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites

5 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites

  1. Granola crust:

  • You'll need your favorite granola brand and some unsalted peanut butter. Blend the peanut butter and granola in a high-speed blender until the texture is smooth and all the chunks are gone. I used about three cups of granola to one cup of peanut butter.  Once your crust is blended, spread them out evenly in greased cupcake liner making sure to leave room for layers. Place your cupcake trays in the freezer so that the crust starts to Harden.

Greek yogurt filling:  

  • In your same high-speed blender, blend blueberries, Honey Vanilla Greek Gods® Yogurt  and lemon juice. Since you want the mixture to be thick, you will only need about two tablespoons of lemon juice. I used three cups of blueberries and continued to add Honey Vanilla Greek Gods® Yogurt as I blended slowly.  Add the blueberry yogurt mixture on top of the crust and freeze again until the mixture hardens. Repeat the same steps with the strawberries as you did with the blueberries and then freeze that final layer.


5 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites

5 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Bites




Enjoy

Mar 25, 2019

Ten Reasons you Should Become an REI Member

My favorite store REI sponsored this post!

Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member

Picture this: A few weeks ago I’m shoppin’, and a sales associate comes up to me and wants to know if I  need part-time work. He jokes that I always come in with a smile on my face and seem genuinely excited to be there. Y’all already know I was in my favorite store. Sometimes I imagine people think I’m puttin’ on for the blog when I talk about my REI obsession, but this actually happened to me the other day while shoppin’ with my best friend preparing for our upcoming campin’ trip to Caprock State Park. And it turns out the sales associate and I are in the same local outdoor group!
If you couldn’t tell by now REI is my favorite store which brings me to my favorite topic; REI or more specific:


Ten Reasons why you Should Become an REI Member.




How the REI Membership Works




An REI Membership is $20 and lasts a lifetime. Yes, I did say that the membership lasts a lifetime.  As an REI Member, members enjoy some great rewards.


Here’s an example of the current rewards that members can take advantage of; REI Members Save 20% on one full-price item, and an extra 20% off one REI Outlet Item plus REI Members get an additional 10% back (2 times your dividend) when you spend $50 or more on REI co-op brand items until April 8th like this REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Jacket, REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Shorts or even the REI Co-op Women Trailsmith Anarok.

Currently, I have my promotional code sittin' on the nightstand next to my dividend card ready to purchase an outdoor tripod for my camera.
REI Co-op Women Trailsmith Anarok

REI Co-op Women Trailsmith Anarok

REI Co-op Women Trailsmith Anarok



Get 10% Back On All Your Purchases: AKA The REI Dividend



Havin' an REI Membership allows you to get 10% back on every purchase as long as that item isn't on clearance or sale. Spend more than $200, and the membership will pay for itself. The 10% earned off each purchase is then given back to you in a dividend that you can either donate or spend. Last year I was in REI and a lady was bragging about how she was going to donate her dividend back, and I laughed when I joked, "that's nice. I'm about to purchase this waterproof outdoor camera with mine.”

That brings me to the third reason you should become an REI Member.
REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Shorts

REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Shorts



Member-Only Garage Sales



Last weekend was the semi-annual REI Garage Sale at my local REI, and I saw this quote on Reddit about the sale: "Give someone who loves to be outdoors discounts on gently used and returned gear to make their outdoor experience better and you have the REI Garage Sale." The REI Garage Sale is where returned items go and allow members  to benefit from 50%+ off the original prices at these semi-annual events. At my local location, people love to camp out so make sure you ask your local associate when is the best time to arrive.
REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Jacket

REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Jacket

REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Jacket

REI Co-op Women’s Trailsmith Jacket

REI’s One Year Return Policy

The fourth reason you should get an REI Membership is for the generous return policy. REI allows returns up to one year even if the item has been worn or used. Members and Non-Members are allowed this return policy, but if you are a member, you do not have to hassle with keepin' up with a receipt because your purchases are tracked under your membership.    
Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member

Discounts on REI Classes and Trips


I know Y'all know about the classes REI has because every time I attend one and post on my Instagram story Y'all message me jokin' that REI should sponsor me or charge me rent. I guess we'll have to settle for the sponsorship. But, did you know REI leads local and international trips, and members enjoy discounts on these trips?


REI Member Only Coupons

Members get access to exclusive coupons like I mentioned previously. Members can use coupon code: MEMPERK2019 at check-out for 20% off

REI Member Only Events


Members only get-togethers and events at local places.


REI Membership gives back to the outdoors

Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member
REI gives back 70% of its profits each year and to date has given over $77 million to non-profits and partners they support. As a member not only are you helping give back but you get a say in how the company is run such as voting on board members and the annual meetin'. You can read more here.

Force of Nature




My favorite and the ninth reason to become an REI Member is the Force of Nature campaign. In 2017 REI created the Force of Nature campaign that focused on women and minorities in the outdoor space. The goal is to diversify public lands and make them accessible to all. It wasn't until I got older and started writin' this blog that I realized my experiences in nature were few and far between. Through the Force of Nature campaign not only did women become the focus but one million dollars was donated!, and many brands began to design gear for women that resulted in a 20% sale increase.

And the final reason you should get an REI Membership


Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member

Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member

Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member
Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member
Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member
Ten Reason you Should Become an REI Member


So you can make memories in the outdoors "because we believe the outdoors is—and should always be—the world’s largest level playing field"- REI


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