All of Our Best, All of the Time


January 2016

Crag Crest Trail in Grand Junction, Colorado

by Visit Grand Junction
The Crag's Crest trail in Grand Mesa is one of the area's most dramatic trails.

The Crag’s Crest trail in Grand Mesa is one of the area’s most dramatic trails.

 The spectacular Crag Crest Trail is literally atop the spine of Colorado’s Grand Mesa near Grand Junction. The Mesa, as locals call it, is a scenic beauty, a recreational paradise and a natural wonder.

At 350,000 acres, it is thought to be the world’s largest flat-topped mountain. The lowest point of the Mesa’s surface is at roughly 10,000 feet, with occasional pinnacles, spires and ridges soaring hundreds of feet higher. Dimpled with some 300 lakes, graced with deep forests of Colorado pine, spruce, fir and aspen and laced with trails, it is equally alluring to anglers, hikers and mountain bikers.

Just one paved road, Colorado Highway 65 (the Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway) crosses the Mesa between the eponymous hamlet of Mesa on the north and somewhat larger Cedaredge on the south. The Crag Crest Trail (FS Trail 711) near the southern end of the highway is a 10-mile loop, designated as a National Recreation Trail.

Looking down to the south...
“Looking down to the south over one of the many lakes below the Crag Crest Trail.”

You can hike the entire loop from trailheads at either end, the upper or lower section as an out-and-back hike, or just the 6.6-mile upper or 3.4-mile lower section one-way with a vehicle shuttle. The upper section is for foot and equestrian traffic only. Mountain bikes are permitted on the lower portion, but in truth, few people ride there.

The west trailhead is near mile marker 27. The east trailhead is at the Crag Crest Campground, off FS Road 121 (Trickle Park Road), one of many unpaved forest routes branching from CO 65. Short side trails also connect the lower trail with the Grand Mesa Visitor Center and the nearby Ward Lake and Cobbett Lake Campgrounds, which essentially means there is a third entry.

If you are camping, you will most likely start at the closest trailhead. If you are day hiking, the west trailhead is the most convenient. The rewards are almost immediate. After just a few hundred feet, the trail leaves the trees and crosses one of many wildflower-filled meadows. High above, to the left, are the rooster-comb cliff bands of the crest itself.

If you want to get the hard part over with while you are still fresh, make the Crest your morning goal. Hike one mile, and at the well-signed junction of the upper and lower parts of the loop, bear left (straight) up a lung-busting series of switchbacks for approximately one-half mile where the Cottonwood Lakes Trail FS comes in from the left. Continue straight across the meadow to the crest portion — call it the best portion — of the route.

Columbines near the summit.

For two miles, you will be hiking on a narrow ridge flanked by dizzying drop-offs on both sides and spectacular Colorado vistas all around. The San Miguel, La Plata and San Juan Mountain ranges are visible to the south. The West Elk Range spreads to the east. The stark and eroded Bookcliffs, Roan Plateau and Battlement Mesa spread panoramically across the northern horizon. Utah’s small LaSal Range can be seen to the west.

The ridge feels like the top of the world. The high point is at 11,189 feet, and at about 4.5 miles along, you will begin descending (sometimes steeply) past Bullfinch Reservoir Number 1, Upper Eggleston Lake and the east trailhead. Eggleston Lake is at the lowest point of the route. Continue along the gentler, lower section of the Crag Crest Trail (FS Trail 711-1A) that again meanders through forests and clearings to the west trailhead.

The usual Colorado cautions are in order. Carry plenty of water (drink regularly) and snacks. Use sunscreen, insect repellent and sunglasses. Start early so that you are off the highest, most exposed sections of the trail by afternoon when rain and, more significantly, thunderstorms are common. You really don’t want to be on the exposed ridge when lightning starts cracking.

The Forest Service discourages winter use but does not prohibit it. The upper trail is only suitable for parties of well-equipped and experienced winter mountaineers. The trailhead parking lots are not plowed, so park at the Visitor Center near mile marker 25. From there, a shorter loop comprising two connectors (746/747 and 749) and the western portion of the Crag Crest Trail is nicely “snowshoeable” but it is not marked. It’s better to stick to the adjacent marked and groomed Ward Lake winter trail system.

Crag Crest Trail No.711 Sign
by Visit Grand Junction

43 Insanely Cool Remodeling Ideas For Your Home

Can you get through this post without calling your contractor?

Created by – BuzzFeed Staff

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

1. Don’t just install any outdoor bathtub. Install THIS outdoor bathtub.

Don't just install any outdoor bathtub. Install THIS outdoor bathtub.

Like taking a bath in a tiny canyon, for crissakes.

2. Level up a window seat by adding a trundle bed.

Level up a window seat by adding a trundle bed.

Whether your child is having a sleepover or you’ve got some relatives in town, this extra bed has got you covered.

3. Lower your living room to create a conversation pit.

Lower your living room to create a conversation pit.

The bi-level living room will give your home an incredibly spacious yet cozy effect.

4. A platform in a storage/guestroom hides away all of your stuff while keeping the room usable.

A platform in a storage/guestroom hides away all of your stuff while keeping the room usable.

It’s also a great way to make a comfy nook room more functional.

5. Turn an attic nook into a pillow room.

What is life but one long, perpetual movie-night slumber party?

6. Display your book collection under the stairs.

7. Or use the space underneath for storage.

Or use the space underneath for storage.

Next-level wine collection not included, unfortunately.

8. Or use that space for a book nook.

So much cozy.

9. Dogs are people, too, which is why your dog should probably get his or her own little haven underneath the stairs.

10. And their own bathroom in the garage.

And their own bathroom in the garage.

They can argue amongst themselves over who gets the fluffy towel.

11. Make space for two dishwashers instead of one.

You can load one while the other washes. KitchenAid also makes a double drawer dishwasher.

12. Hide the entrance to a secret fallout shelter, wine cellar, or basement in your kitchen island.

Hide the entrance to a secret fallout shelter, wine cellar, or basement in your kitchen island.

13. If you’re doing a HUGE remodel, ask your contractor about tacking on a treehouse or guesthouse.

If you're doing a HUGE remodel, ask your contractor about tacking on a treehouse or guesthouse.

This add-on might cost less than you think.

14. Turn your shabby garden shed into a charming artist’s shed.

With big windows for lots of light and visual inspiration.

15. Install an in-wall pest control system.

Pest-tube installation means that all the exterminator has to do is inject some stuff into one end to keep insects and rodents away.

16. Maximize your space with baseboard drawers.

Maximize your space with baseboard drawers.

Especially in the kitchen and bathroom.

17. Consider a hidden room.

Consider a hidden room.

Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a bookcase to a door.

18. Make your walls MAGNETIC.

Make your walls MAGNETIC.

Magnektik makes large magnetic panels that are strong enough to hang anything, including shelves and TVs.

19. An S-shaped seat turns your shower or steam room into one you can LIE DOWN IN.

An S-shaped seat turns your shower or steam room into one you can LIE DOWN IN.

Insane in le bain.

20. A multi-directional steam shower would do your body good.

A multi-directional steam shower would do your body good.

21. Have an extra-tall ceiling? Stretch a ceiling hammock across it.

Have an extra-tall ceiling? Stretch a ceiling hammock across it.

22. A walk-in shower means NO GLASS TO CLEAN.

And they even fit into small bathroom spaces.

23. Install chutes in your kitchen for your trash and recycling.

Install chutes in your kitchen for your trash and recycling.

Funnel them straight into the garage.

24. Build a bar into your deck.

Build a bar into your deck.

25. Turn dead space above a staircase into a playroom.

26. Build a second mini-fridge in your kitchen island for BEER.

Build a second mini-fridge in your kitchen island for BEER.

Or really, anything you want.

27. How cool is this slide-out knife block??

How cool is this slide-out knife block??

Get that shizz off the counter!

28. Instead of typical cabinets, build a pull-out cabinet for instant counter space.

Instead of typical cabinets, build a pull-out cabinet for instant counter space.

29. Put a sink with jets in your laundry room so you have a convenient place to wash your delicates.

Put a sink with jets in your laundry room so you have a convenient place to wash your delicates.

30. Utilize dead space with a built-in wine rack.

Utilize dead space with a built-in wine rack.

Or build the wine rack directly into the kitchen island.

Or build the wine rack directly into the kitchen island.

31. Add recessed hallway or basement lights are a much more polished alternative to night lights.

Add recessed hallway or basement lights are a much more polished alternative to night lights.



This sorcery actually exists.

33. Kids will love having slumber parties in their bunkroom.

34. No guest room? No problem.

No guest room? No problem.

This hideaway trundle bed creates sleeping space when you need it.

35. Bring the outdoors IN with these accordion glass windows and doors.

It’s an epic way to open up your kitchen while entertaining.

36. Swap out your boring old ceiling for a star-gazing sunroof.

Swap out your boring old ceiling for a star-gazing sunroof.

37. Install a two-sided fireplace between the bathroom and the bedroom.

Install a two-sided fireplace between the bathroom and the bedroom.

Who needs heated tiles when you have a bathroom fireplace?

38. Add curtains to your deck or patio for a little privacy.

Add curtains to your deck or patio for a little privacy.

39. Add an outlet to your mantel — perfect for Christmas lights.

Add an outlet to your mantel — perfect for Christmas lights.

40. Get (just) your feet wet with a lounging platform for your pool.

Get (just) your feet wet with a lounging platform for your pool.

41. Frame your living room fireplace with built-in seating.

Frame your living room fireplace with built-in seating.

Fireplaceseat is the new windowseat.

42. Cut out “overlooks” for your second story.

Cut out "overlooks" for your second story.

It certainly gives a super Rapunzel-like fairy tale feel.

43. It’s never too soon to finally add that master bedroom balcony.

It's never too soon to finally add that master bedroom balcony.

You deserve a quiet, tranquil place to look out over your land.


4 Issues That Will Impact the 2016 Real Estate Market

After a record-breaking 2015, local experts look ahead to tell us what to watch for in Denver’s real estate market this year.

JANUARY 20 2016, 12:40 PM

—Courtesy of Shutterstock

The Denver real estate market posted a record-breaking 2015, with $20.16 billion in home sales for the year—an increase of 14.5 percent over 2014, according to a report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. “The Denver metro area continues to be the number one real estate market in the country,” says Anthony Rael, chairman of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors’ Market Trends committee.

With 55,509 total homes sold for the year, the median home price increased 14 percent to $314,000. Inventory grew slightly to 65,872 new listings, a six percent increase over 2014, although that number still isn’t enough to satisfy demand in the region. “Inventory was the big story in 2015,” says Rael. “A balanced market needs five to seven months of inventory, and in Denver, we’re looking at just a few weeks.”

Looking ahead to 2016, local real estate agents don’t expect a dramatic shift in the white-hot market. That said, the city sees movement toward a more balanced landscape. Here are four issues that are sure to come into play in 2016:


Supply of homes didn’t come close to market demands in 2015, especially in the city’s older neighborhoods. That meant homes were getting snapped up very quickly, often above asking price. In Denver, the luxury market—anything above $1 million—is especially tight, says Jill Schafer, a Denver-based real estate agent specializing in the luxury market and a member of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors’ Market Trends committee. “There are just not a lot of choices,” Schafer says. “It’s definitely a seller’s market unless you are willing to go to the suburbs.”


The Federal Reserve has already signaled that interest rates could increase—again—in 2016. Steve Blank, managing broker of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty‘s downtown office, says this will impact the market in two ways: First, when the rates start inching upwards, both buyers and sellers are motivated to take action. “People are afraid of timing the market wrong,” Blank says. “When the rates start to go up, they realize, ‘OK, now it’s really time to make a move.’” Blank believes the rate increase will spur consumer confidence, which took a hit during the recession, and encourage those sitting on the sidelines to take action (which could increase both supply and demand). That said, as rates increase, so will mortgage payments, which will certainly impact prices.


The legislation regulating the responsibility builders have to homeowners is currently in flux. Rael says this has discouraged new building development—especially in the condo market—further straining inventory levels. “Condos are very important to the market as a whole,” Rael says. “Young people can’t jump into single-home ownership, and right now there’s very little inventory in the starter condo market.” With the lack of statewide action on this complicated issue, many municipalities are moving forward with their own regulations for builders. Look for this issue to make headlines in 2016.


Licensing requirements have dramatically changed for appraisers, resulting in a shortage of the professionals. Closing timelines are impacted by the challenge of getting appraisers on-site. The result? Buyers are scheduling appraisals before inspections, which means paying for appraisals on deals that might not go forward. Schafer expects these types of professional hassles to impact the sales pipelines and advises buyers to prepare for bumps in the road.

Although our experts don’t expect major market shifts in 2016, the picture will become clearer once the buying season begins in late March. “Of course every market will change; the only constant is change,” Blank says. “But I see 2016 as a move toward a balanced, healthy market. The interest rates are a wild card, but we have nice job growth and a diversified economy, and we continue to attract millennials with college educations. That’s all good for the market.”


How to Stage Your Home for Living


“All journeys eventually end in the same place, home.” —Chris Geiger

I am 38 years old. And I have lived in 16 different homes.

Now, most of these moves took place when I was young. But since getting married to my wife 15 years ago, we have lived in 5 different homes. Needless to say, moving is something I have become accustomed to. And as a result, I have become familiar with the process of buying and selling houses.

Each time we have sold a home, we have been advised by our realtor to “stage our home for selling.”

So then, in the weeks prior to our house hitting the market, we spent numerous hours “staging our home” for the sale. We did the research describing what makes a home attractive to a potential buyer and put most of their recommendations into place. By the end, our house looked better than it ever had since moving in—and then we sold it to some lucky family.

Each time, I can’t help but be struck by the irony of the situation. We spend countless hours getting our home into its best possible condition, only to leave it? Most of the time while staging our home for sale, I wondered why we had never put in the effort to stage our home for living. You know, so we could have actually enjoyed it more while we called it home.

To not make the same mistake we did, consider setting aside a weekend to stage your house for living. The process will take some time, energy, and money. It will take some intentional effort. But in the end, your home just may look better than the day you bought it. And maybe, just maybe, it could be a little bit of fun too.

A Step-by-Step Process to Stage Your Home for Living.

Remove 1/3 of your possessions. Those who stage a home for sale will tell you to remove roughly 33% of your personal possessions from the property. Less stuff means your rooms/closets have room to breathe and feel more spacious. A decluttered home is calm and inviting.

This may be easier if you were actually moving (natural purging almost always takes place during transition), but if you wouldn’t take it with you when you moved, why let it take up space in your life today?

Grab some cardboard boxes and walk through your home room-by-room, closet-by-closet, and drawer-by-drawer. Collect all the stuff you no longer need or love. Donate it, sell it, or give it away.

If you need some added inspiration in this area, try our e-book, Simplify.

Find a home for everything. Walking again through your home, make note of the items that are stored in your field of vision (think countertops, toys, entertainment units). Why are those items stored out in the open? Are they in the wrong room? Are they too big to be stored out of sight? Is their proper home too crowded? Intentionally identify the visible clutter. Ask questions to identify the problem. And brainstorm a new solution.

Find new places to store these items out of sight. Visible clutter pulls at our attention and distracts us on an ongiong basis. On the other hand, clean, undistracted rooms promote relaxation and intentionality.

Declutter counter tops, cupboards, and drawers. Buyers always open cupboards, drawers, and closets. Unfortunately, storage spaces packed too tightly look small, unsightly, and counter-productive. Remove unneeded items from everyday storage spaces. This won’t be difficult. You have likely collected a number of items over the years that are no longer necessary. At this point, they are only taking up space in your storage areas. Discard them. As an added benefit, you just may realize you have had enough storage space all along.

Personalize your decorations. Realtors and professional home stagers will ask you to remove most of your personal decorations as it subtly communicates “I live here, not you,” to your potential buyer. And that is not a good aura to give the future residents of your home.

However, when staging your home for living, leave the personal decorations. Even better, capitalize on them! Rather than devaluing them,highlight them by removing some of the non-personal decorations in your home. As a result, the ones that make you unique will play a more pronounced role in your home.

Give your bathroom the attention it deserves. Put away personal hygiene products. Scrub bathtubs, toilets, and shower walls. Make clean and bright your goal. It’s not glamorous, but it sure makes getting ready every morning more enjoyable.

Consider curb appeal. Realtors will tell you that you can never spend too much attention on curb appeal. Your potential buyer will likely make their decision on your home within the first few minutes of entering. Therefore, first impressions are the most important. And the very first impression they receive is when they pull into your driveway.

If you have children, clean up their toys. If you have shrubs, prune them. Lay fresh mulch. Put some grass seed on the bare spots in your yard. Paint your foundation. Plant some flowers. After all, you pull into your driveway almost everyday of your life. Don’t you want to pull into something you’d like to purchase all over again?

Clean thoroughly. Clean the surface. Then, clean deeper. Give extra attention to corners and windows and hard-to-reach areas. Just like in the bathroom, make clean and bright your goal. If you’ve successfully removed a good portion of personal possessions, you’ll find this task far easier to complete.

Complete minor repairs. Take a notepad and create a to-do list of minor home repairs such as wall nicks, paint touch-ups, squeaky doors, running toilets, loose pieces, and burnt out light bulbs. Most of the minor repairs can be handled in less than 20 minutes for less than $15 and can be found with a simple Google search.

Eventually, the repairs need to happen. And if they have to be taken care of before you sell your house anyway, why not repair them when you can actually enjoy them too? The investment sure beats walking back into your bathroom to wiggle the handle on a running toilet 3 times a day.

Tackle a major repair. Roof about to go? Replace it. Leaky basement? Research your solutions. Kitchen appliances barely working? Go for it. These major repairs can be costly. And I’d never advise you to go into debt to stage your home for living. But if the time ever comes when your house does indeed need to be sold, an inspector/realtor will ask you to solve the problems. And if it gets to that, you’ll be paying for someone else to enjoy them rather than yourself.

Likely the hardest part of staging your home for living is finding the motivation to get started. I get it. Life gets busy. And without the potential for a future sale on the horizon, it can be difficult to get started. So you just may need to artificially create the momentum to get started in the process. That is, unless the simple fact that you live everyday in this home is motivation enough.




With the colder weather blowing in, fireplace season is about to spark up (see what I did there?). While not everyone has a working fireplace, they can still be fun to decorate and instantly add that cozy feel to any room. If you’ve got a mantel or an unused wood burning fireplace of your own, check out some of these awesome ideas for transforming it into something not only full of character, but also useful!

Your Own Personal Library

Try stacking that open fireplace full of books to add a little interest and organize your growing book collection. Placing them so that the paper edges are showing in front helps to neutralize the whole look. Turn them around to expose the book bindings for added colour!

Photo: Blue Eyed Yonder

Photo: At Home In Love

When in doubt, use logs!

Fireplaces and logs just go together. Why not fill that whole thing up with chopped wood for a more rustic feel? This look works well on modern and more contemporary mantel designs, so go on and give the room some warmth, without the fire.

Photo: The Rooster and The Hen

Indoor Plants

A super simple way to fill that empty hole is to drop in an indoor house plant. Choose a crate that suits the style of the room and adds some contrast against the backdrop of your fireplace.  Vases with some greenery can also do the same trick!

Photos: Beneath My Heart / Midwest Living

Flowers in front

When you have a monochrome colour scheme happening in your home, adding a touch of colour can do wonders. Set a simple vase or pitcher in front of your mantel filled with your favourite flowers to be reminded of sunnier days.

Photo: Happy Modern

Storage for days

If you don’t have a lot of storage space, being creative with your small quarters can be helpful. You can easily accomplish a look like this below by installing some wood shelving and filling it up with some organization baskets. No storage space will go untouched!

Photo: BHG

Get Festive

With Autumn just around the corner, pumpkins are in full swing. I love the idea of taking inspiration from festive decorating and incorporating that into your unused fireplace!

Photo: One Kings Lane

A Pet Haven

Pets need a special space too! If your fireplace allows, your pup might just find comfort  in this little space! Primping it with his favourite bed or eating bowls will make him feel oh-so appreciated. 😉

Photo: Dwell

13 Cold Weather Camping Hacks

by Vince Tuscano

Winter camping means having to deal with harsh elements and cold weather. The latter is perhaps the most outstanding feature of the winter camping experience. Cold weather can be a source of great discomfort for many, but for some survivalists, camping in the snow poses an exciting challenge and is a way to put your skills to the test. If you’re well prepared and know what you’re doing, winter camping can help you better understand your capabilities as well as your limits.

Get Prepared: This Awesome Stove Charges Your Phone and Cooks Your Food

Winter Camping Tips

While winter camping is not everyone’s idea of fun, it can still be made enjoyable and comfortable. The important thing is to be prepared as you will be needing more gear than you would while camping in the summer.

There are lots of benefits to be gained from winter camping. There are fewer campers, more space, and cheaper fees. You won’t be bothered by bugs. If you are properly equipped, you will enjoy a restful sleep. The campfire also becomes more enjoyable in the snow.

To make the most of your winter camping experience, you need the right gear, the right attitude and these tips that we have collected:

1. Prepare for winter camping.

To bug out or not becomes a critical decision when we are faced with an emergency, disaster or when SHTF. Winter is a season that involves a lot of preparations for everyone. But for preppers, winter preparations don’t just mean planning your winter wardrobe and arranging Christmas decorations. It should also involve carefully organizing a winter bug out kit just in case the unexpected occurs. Read more

2. Go to bed warm.

winter camping, camping exercise, prepper, snow camping tips, winter tent

Warmth originates from within, and any insulation from a sleeping bag or clothing is merely concerned with keeping it there. It’s pointless bedding down if you’re already freezing, so get warm by doing star-jumps before going to bed or performing sit-ups or press-ups in your sleeping bag. Click here for the full post.

3. Eat for warmth and energy.

winter camping, cold weather diet, preppers, camping skills, what to eat in winter

If you are expecting a cold night or period you should adapt your food to it. Your body basically burns sugars to create heat for itself. Therefore it is a good idea to add a bit more butter to your menu. Also pasta is a great energy source. These foods are long-term sugars. Your body will stock them in the form of fat and convert them to sugar when needed. Of course you should add short-term sugars too during the day to keep going. This is what I would eat on a day of winter-expeditioning. See more

4. Pack the snow.

winter camping, survival, winter camping tent, winter camping skills, best winter tent

Before set­ting up your tent, pack down your camp­site. If you have skis or snow­shoes, that means tramp­ing around hard until all the snow is packed.  If you’re shod only in boots this will take some time, but if you don’t do this, you run the risk of step­ping into a soft bit of snow in your tent and tear­ing the floor. Continue reading.

5. Stay dry.

If your inner layers get wet, you will be cold. Bring extra clothes that you can put on when you get wet (even if you don’t plan to use them). This also extends to your gear: if it starts raining, sleeting, or snowing, cover your gear with a waterproof layer or put it in your tent, the trailer, car, shelter, etc. When there is wet weather – stay out of your tent as much as possible. When we go in there unnecessarily we take a lot of ice/water with us into our tent and everything gets wet. If it’s wet it will be cold! When you pack your extra clothes in your backpack, put them in a plastic bag to help keep them dry. Read more

6. Start fall and winter trips early in the morning.

winter camping, survivallife, how to camp in the snow, best time for camping, safe camping

I will never forget the ski trip I did one November where we didn’t start quite early enough in the morning to reach our cabin before dark. We’d forgotten how early the sun goes down in November and we hadn’t budgeted enough time with the trail breaking we were doing in deep snow. We never did reach that cabin and it was a long ski back to the cars by headlamp as we finally arrived at the vehicles near midnight. Lesson learned! Short days require a very early start if you have many miles to cover before reaching camp. (And another reason to choose a trip that’s short and easy). To read the whole article, click here.

7. Snow is a variable matter and only rarely is one situation is like the next.

In soft snow you will have to dig down a little and tread the snow before you pitch your tent. Next time the snow may be rock hard and you set up your tent as you would in summer. It is desirable to get your tent somewhat lower into the snow, but never further than half the height of the tent. This way it is less exposed to the wind and it prevents the wind from getting under the tent. You can also support your tent by shoveling some snow against the sides. But do not dig your tent down too deep! Wind and snowfall may cover you tent altogether or at least block the entrances. See more….

8. Keep your matches in a metal, not plastic, container.

Plastic can break if frozen. Always pack way more than you think you’ll need. For the full list, click here.

9. Put boiling water in your water bottle and sleep with it at your feet.

winter camping, survivalist, cold weather camping, how to stay warm in winter, winter tents

Fill your water bottle with boiling water (make sure it’s able to withstand boiling temperatures, like a Nalgene) and put a sock around it. Keep it in your sleeping bag for extra warmth. In the morning, you’ll have non-frozen water to drink.Continue reading.

10. Don’t go alone.

You should always camp with someone else when the weather is cold, in case of emergencies. Always leave behind a detailed trip plan and do not deviate from that plan. Read more

11. Improve zipper pulls.

Most of the ones on jackets, pit zips, and leg vents aren’t necessarily designed to be used with big gloves or bulky mittens. I add pieces of lanyard roughly 3 inches long. – See more at:

12. Regulate your temperature on your hike.

winter camping, preparedness, winter camping tricks, layering, winter camp skill

It’s easier to stay warm than it is to re-warm. Don’t let yourself get chilled, or sweaty. Anticipate upcoming temperature and layering changes to stay ahead of them. For example, it’s smarter to layer up just before reaching a windy ridge top than it is to top out, get chilled, and then fight against the wind while layering up. Click here to read the whole article.

13. Don’t cook in the tent.

Cooking inside a tent can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning –ventilation is critical. Set up a cooking tarp with good ventilation. See more



It happens. You have a day off or some spare time and can’t think of a single thing to do. Sometimes I’ll think to myself  “hmm, what can I do today?” and can’t come up with anything. I’m one of those people who strives to be productive, so when I can’t think of anything to do, I get a little bummed out thinking that I wasted a day.

Whether you’re just bored and looking for something to do or if you’re like me and want to stay productive, here are some things you can do with your downtime to benefit yourself:

Organize something – There is always something that needs to be organized that you’ve put off for too long. Now is a great time to do it! You’ll be able to check that off your to-do list and won’t have to worry about it looming in the distance.

Schedule your month – Grab a planner and start marking things down. If you’re a blogger like me, doing this can help heaps when planning blog content. A little time is all it takes to feel like you’ve got your month prepared in advance (and trust me, that is a great feeling!).

Write down your weekly goals – With your notebook in hand, try to come up with a couple of realistic goals that you want to reach each week. If you can get started on that goal, even better!

Clean out your stuff – As the seasons change, so can the things you’ve accumulated. Now is a great time to clean out your closets and see if you have anything to donate. Get rid of things you haven’t used in 6 months to a year. I promise, a little de-cluttering is good for the soul! See also: 5 Ways To Make Some Extra Cash.

Take a course – Learning something new is always an awesome way to spend your day. Check out some of the classes on Skillshare to expand your knowledge about design, photography, art, business, or whatever else floats your boat. I wrote a post a little while ago about the best courses for creatives. (p.s. you can also sign up for my blogging course here!)

Prep some Instagram photos – I’m a big fan of taking handfuls of photos for Instagram all at once. It saves time posting during the week and helps you stay on top of growing your audience on there. Check out my post about re-imagining your Instagram profile for some inspiration! Oh, and feel free to follow me!

What are some things that you would add to this list?



2016 Bathroom Remodeling Trends


2016 Bathroom Remodeling Trends

When it comes to home remodeling projects, bath upgrades continue to dominate, even over kitchen renovations. With so many resources and choices out there, it can be overwhelming to sort through the different options and styles on your own, so I’ve researched the topic for you.

Transitional and contemporary style bathrooms are gaining steam over traditional designs. Modern style baths tend to be popular among homeowners who are remodeling because they offer eye-catching features that are sure to impress. See what’s trending in 2016 so you’re prepared the next time you want to buy a home or update your bathroom.

Emphasize A Focal Point

Make an intentional effort to create a focal point for the eye to be drawn to when you walk in the room. Walk-in showers and freestanding tubs are two examples of how you can master this trend. Think of your bathroom focal point as a statement piece of clothing you’d wear to generate a reaction.

Showers with frameless heavy-glass enclosures have a designer appearance and deliver a spa-like luxury to the bath. Color, hardware, vanities and tubs are all ways to you can emphasize a main focal point in your bathroom. Surprisingly, new tubs can be installedat a fairly reasonable price.


Modern Metallics

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, updating your hardware is an effortless way to add visual interest and style to any room. Oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel are two trendy metals that come in interesting and appealing colors and textures. Believe it or not, brass tones in a warm-colored copper are coming back to the bathroom scene.Updating your faucets and shower hardware will give you the look of a high-end bathroom at a low-end cost.

Light fixtures are no longer just for brightening up a room. They’re installed with the purpose of being seen. This includes pieces that are bold, large and full of personality. These days, you have a wide range of styles to choose from. We’re seeing anything from glamorous chandeliers made of crystals, to clusters of hand-blown globes or drum pendants made of metal. Ultimately, the decision is yours!


Modern Wall & Subway Tiles

Tile is in and it’s prettier than ever. Modern wall tiles in bright colors, with floral designs and creative shapes are entering bathrooms, and it’s a beautiful thing! This is your chance to use creativity and personal style to bring some energy to your bathroom.

Subway tiles are nothing new. They’ve been around for more than a century and are a demonstration of lasting elegance. Subway tiles are a perfect choice for the bathroom because they’re durable, attractive and water resistant.

As the styles and trends change, so do the tiles. There are a wide variety of modern appearances and colors available for your liking. The most popular subway tile colors have deemed to be winter white, cobalt blue and slate gray. Tile experts have been mixing tiles to create one-of-kind designs that remain timeless.


Raised Panel Cabinetry

Cabinets are an essential part of a bathroom remodel, both as a design element and budget line item. Raised panel doors are very popular among homeowners and will continue to be in 2016. Designer, Loretta J. Willis has laid out the top trends according to the different types of cabinet frames and doors that exist.

Bath or Vanity Cabinets – Type of Cabinet Frame

  1. Frameless (European Style)
  2. Face-framed (Traditional Style)

Bath or Vanity Cabinets – Type of Door

  1. Wood finish, raised panel in frame
  2. Wood finish, flat panel in frame
  3. Glass panel in wood frame


Heated Floors

Heated floors are definitely an added luxury, but they can be a life-changing upgrade in colder climates. The average reported cost to install bathroom floor heating for 100sf is $600. Installing heated floors is a great selling point for those considering listing a home.

Heated floors can also save homeowners money by allowing them to keep the temperature in their homes lower during the colder months of the year, without having to worry about their floors being cold. As far as material goes, ceramic and porcelain tiles are going to be big sellers in the days ahead.


Zen-Like Designs With A Contemporary Twist

One of the newer trends you’ll see in 2016 is a Zen-inspired bath design with contemporary features. Homeowners like to have their bathroom be a spot they can relax and rejuvenate, and this is why spa-like designs are gaining attention and popularity.

To achieve a modern Zen setting, you have to think outside the box and combine and pull design elements, colors and creativity from both styles. Large spa-like showers and ultra-clear glass adds luxury to a master bath by creating free-flowing light and an open, airy atmosphere.


Technology is not only evolving in our professional lives and our smartphones, but also in our bathrooms. Water-resistant music systems and streaming Bluetooth systems can be operated wirelessly, from smartphones and other various audio devices. New technology allows you to add a little fun to your morning routine!

And have you heard of this one, Optum VorMax, the new flush system technology developed for toilets? This new technology is being offered by American Standard. It not only gives a powerful flush to your toilet, but also scours and cleans the bowl at the same time! Why not let technology do the work for you!


There you have it, some of the leading bathroom trends of 2016. Take some of these ideas back to your bath and see what features you think might need a facelift. At the end of the day, it’s your home and your bath, so pick styles that suit you and your overall design.

Ready to remodel your bathroom? Let us help you. Click here to see our bathroom remodeling guide and receive up to four free quotes from pros in your area.


Blog at

Up ↑