Beauty Products Review: URSA Major



In my Safe Skincare Brands post, I listed a brand called URSA Major.

Side Note: I’m not an affiliate nor gain any money or products from this brand.

On their webpage there is a link called Try The Line; I purchased the Clear, Healthy Skin Trial Kit which has a two-week supply of their “award-winning face care favorites” for $20.

URSA Major

The kit includes:

  • Fantastic Face Wash
  • 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic Spray
  • Fortifying Face Balm
  • Essential Face Wipes (3 singles)


I recommend everyone buy this kit and try these products for yourself. I really like them! I was super surprised at the high-performance of these products. They did what they said they would do.

The best part for me is the affordability of this brand and products. You get a lot of bang for your bucks!

Should you choose to purchase products from URSA Major you will be supporting a U.S.A. company out of Vermont. The quality is of the highest! With 98.6 – 100% naturally-derived, no chemicals (“no petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, color, glycols, silicones, or PEGs”), gluten-free, and not tested on animals. You can feel good about putting these products on your skin (ultimately in your body).

I purchased from their webpage, but they do have retailers. You can find the nearest you using their Store Locator on their webpage.

My Review

Fantastic Face Wash – The two best things about the face wash is: 1) A little goes a long way; I know people say that about products a lot and it tends to not really be true. I am a professed “over user” when it comes to products, BUT this one it is true…..a little really does go a long way! 2) My face as never been so clean. My pours….cleaned out! Shock and Awe!! It has built-in exfoliating properties (not gritty ones, but through alpha hydroxyl acids). It has antioxidants, moisturizers, and soothers also built in for healthy looking and feeling skin. I love this product!

4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic Spray – It took me a little while to realize that this spray isn’t just a toner….it is an active tonic. It works as hard as the face wash! I was pleasantly surprised to find that this tonic made my face feel smooth, hydrated, and evened out my skin tone by calming redness. I seriously love this tonic!

Fortifying Face Balm – This product is ultimate! It goes on smooth and weightless. It actually absorbs into the skin (instead of sitting on top of the skin) and makes my face feel hydrated and firm. This is a perfect product for under make-up, because it absorbs into the skin and leaves a matte finish. In love!

Essential Face Wipes – As far as face wipes go, these worked fine. I was not a big fan of the material the wipes were made of; they weren’t very soft. I’m generally not a huge fan of face wipes. I honestly could take them or leave them.

3 out of 4 LOVES is pretty dang good!

URSA Major offers more products than these 4; check them all out here.

The two products that I’m looking forward to trying next are:

Force Field Daily Defense Lotion with SPF 18 – Boasts a 3-in-1 formula that nourishes and protects

Golden Hour Recovery Cream – Boasts intense hydration, anti-aging, soothing effects

I hope you give URSA Major’s products a try; they are affordable, high-preforming, and safe quality skincare.


Our Summer Vacation 2018 – South Lake Tahoe (Part 5 of 5)


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  • Check out Part 1 on picking where to go and picking lodging.
  • Check out Part 2 on Food and Activities.
  • Check out Part 3 on Packing List
  • Check out Part 4 on Last Week To-Dos & Packing
  • Check out my post on Vacation Training

Trip Recap & Experience

Lodging Review

I booked our lodging using I did also purchase travel insurance through the site, since we booked it 6 months in advance.

We stayed at Aston Lakeland Village Beath & Mountain Resort while in South Lake Tahoe, CA. This property is a mix of permanent residence, vacation condos, private owners who rent out their properties (which is what we stayed in #105), and rooms that are managed like a hotel.

Lake Land Village

Check out my first post in this series for more details and pictures of the property.

Location, location, location….this property is located in an ideal spot in South Lake Tahoe. Many places are walkable, bike-able or scooter-able (via LimeBike) from the property. The property has a shuttle service that will drop you off and pick you up within a 2 mile radius of the property until 10:00p PT at night.

The property has a private beach, pier, two pools and hot tubs (one overlooking the lake). The amenities we didn’t use was the laundry facility, kids wading pool, sauna, fitness facility, tennis court, grills, volleyball courts, nor the beachside bistro. I also think that they offer kayak and paddleboat rentals.

The privately owned unit we stayed in had a view of the parking lot, so we didn’t spend any time on the patio. It was well equipped: large closet with hangers, dresser, bathroom, full kitchen with full size appliances (including a traditional coffee pot), dining table, sitting area, king size bed, a flat screen TV with remotes and channel guide, a gas fireplace (we didn’t use), A/C unit, and an oscillating fan. Because it is privately owned, we were not able to use the “hotel” services, but it really wasn’t an issue for us; there were plenty of towels. However, we did purchase our own higher quality toilet paper.

We received a parking pass for while we were there, that is to be kept in the dash board when parked in the lot.


The Negatives:

  • They offer free Wi-Fi, but you have to enter a password every 24 hours and the Wi-Fi is not that great, but better than the cell service in the area.
  • The bathroom vanity has an electrical short in it, if you close the drawers just right the lights above the mirror would flicker or go out.
  • While the mattress was comfortable and we had no issues sleeping on each side of the bed separately, this was achieved by each individual sleeping on their side of the bed in the pre-existing divot/hole that was in the mattress on each side. I really do suggest that the owners replace it.

We were there through a major holiday, when the masses descend upon the lake. On the 4th of July our parking lot was so full that there were vehicles parked in every nook and cranny on the property. We had to park between a tree and a bush between the driveway and a walkway. It was crazy, I wish they had warned us!

The evening of 4th of July we and long with everyone staying there (plus some it looked like) went down to the private beach and dock to watch the fireworks show put on by the casinos and coordinated with music from the local radio station. They had a local radio station DJ on-site playing music before and after the show.


Generally speaking and overall we were pleased with our accommodations and would probably stay there again.

Restaurant Reviews

I will be posting reviews of all the restaurants that we visited at my sister site: Restaurant Reviews – ByCandace in the coming weeks, which will probably slow down my posting on this page.

Activity Reviews

Reno Arch: Overrated idea, but we got a picture.

Reno Arch

Hiking Eagle Falls:

The Eagle Falls trailhead is approximately 12 miles and 20-30 minute drive from the location of our lodging. It was a breathtaking drive.

Thankfully we had spoken to a family the day before at the pool about this hike and they suggested we arrive early, because the parking lot is small and it is a very popular hike.


We arrived at the trailhead parking lot at about 8:30 a.m. local time and the parking lot was already full. We went just past the trailhead parking lot (on the left side of the road) to another parking lot 100 yards or so up on the right side of the road. This lot was ideal because it is larger, they have Porta Potties, and a beautiful scenic outlook to take pictures from. This is a pay-to-park lot; put the ticket on your dashboard. There is a walking trail down the side of the road to the Eagle Falls trailhead.

Warning: if you miss the second lot, there is no place to turn around, the road is two lanes, narrow, and you are high up on the mountain.

These are pictures of the falls across the road and just below the trailhead parking lot.

Thankfully the trailhead also has bathrooms; we ladies really appreciate this. Read the maps before you start heading up! There are different directions you are hike.

The upper Eagle Falls hike is short and fairly easy. There were lots of kids on this trail.

We decided to hike up past the falls to a lake, which was another 30-40 minutes up. Someone said it was 15-20 minutes further, but it took us longer. It was worth the time and effort to get to. Do this! Kids were doing this hike as well. People had their young children in back carriers, hiking up with them.

On the way to the lake….

The reward….the lake!


If you are even more ambitious and more prepared than we were (food, more water, and toilet paper). There is a second lake that is another 3-5 miles up past the first lake. We did not do this.

There is also a hike path that is “the loop” that is a very long hike. We also did not do this.

I’d love to go back and hike this again and maybe even go up to the second lake.

I cannot speak highly enough about this hike. It was beautiful!

Fishing Excursion:

I researched fishing guides for my husband to do 1 or 2 ½-day fishing excursions while there. Boy was his experience different than what we had expected based on the reviews and research I did. Out of the two companies that I had narrowed it down to, we picked the first one (Mile High Fishing Charters) because it presented as though he’d receive more personal attention because it was a little smaller outfit.

  1. Mile High Fishing
  2. Tahoe Sport Fishing

My husband spoke with the ower-operator, Joby, two moths out, twice for about 20 minutes each time in May 2018 (trip was July 2018). Joby said that he didn’t want to take payment that far in advance. He said the schedule was wide open and he’d put my husband down for those two dates and to call him back when we arrived in town to confirm what time of day my husband could go. The plan disused was to do a morning trip on Tuesday, 07/03 and then maybe again on Friday, 07/06.

My husband and I drove over to the marina on Sunday, 07/01 in attempts to perhaps drop in and speak to Joby in-person. On the way into the marina area, BAM! Momma bear and two babies (one of the little bears is towards the back right side of the tree) on the side of the road. Apparently, she forages trash cans for leftover fish parts. Generally pretty dangerous for people riding their bikes and walking down that road behind us and in the nearby neighborhood.

I’ve never been this close to a bear before, it was sooooo cool, but I was very thankful to be inside my vehicle and not riding a bicycle.

We had a difficult time finding their place of operation, as there are multiple businesses out of this marina; we didn’t see any signs. We called Joby and he was out on the boat. A brief conversation was had that reviled to us that he didn’t remember my husband nor having two conversations with him two months prior. We were told that once he got back on dry land he’d call my husband back to disucss; he never called. My husband had to keep calling him. Once my husband was able to speak with him again, we were told that my husband wasn’t on his schedule for Tuesday and was on for “maybe Friday”, this after he was reminded again of the previous conversations. Needless to say, the hubby was frustrated and mad.

Talk about unprofessional! To compound the issues, the communications between the fishing guide and my husband was like pulling teeth. We’d be told he’d call him back or email him information and my husband would continually have to call him back to get information.

Also, Joby gave my husband’s phone number to another local guide without tell him. We received a phone call from the other guide saying that he got his number and wanted to touch base about a trip out on his boat, but he was booked solid and could do a trip for his 5 people. My husband is only 1 person! All the facts relayed were wrong.

Surprisingly, Joby called my husband and said that he could get him on his boat on Wednesday, 07/04 morning with 5 other people. My husband said ok and went. The boat can really only hold 4 fishermen comfortably and he was squished up in an awkward corner of the boat the whole time.

Joby was on his phone the majority of the time and not paying attention to the fish finder. The boat would be “off” the fish schools for upwards of 15 minutes at a time. Joby also kept the boat in a small area of the lake the entire time.

Only 3 of the 6 people on the boat caught fish (those on the back of the boat). For $150 per person you’d think they’d be motivated to make sure people caught at least one fish during the 4 hours on the boat.

The whole experience was underwhelming to say the least. As an avid fisherman, my husband didn’t understand how anyone with this business could charge $150 a head and provide such a poor experience and lack of production for their customers. He will never do this again and would advise the same to anyone.

Heavenly Resort – Gondola and Zip Lining:

Call ahead and make a reservation (775-586-7000) for the activities (time) and purchase your tickets ahead of time. This is a very popular spot in the area and it is quite busy and full.

The Gondola ride was a mind-blowing view and so cool. There is a stop halfway up the mountain you get-off at and there is a platform for viewing and pictures. There are real bathroom at the stop and tables for hanging out.

These pictures are unclear, because of the nearby California fire smoke getting sucked into the Lake Tahoe Area.

Gondola Mid-Stop

At the top of the mountain there is a large lodge with wifi, real bathrooms, food and beverages, including a bar. There are tables inside and outside to sit.

There are a number of activities to do while up there, some geared towards various age children and some towards adults.

  • Gondola
  • Mountian Coaster
  • Tubing
  • Ropes Courses
  • Zip Line
  • Climbing Wall
  • Gemstone Panning

From the lodge area, we checked in at the Blue Streak tent, was provided an orientation and then took a ski lift up to the beginning of the zip line and the line ended in the area of the lodge and all the other stuff.

The Blue Streak Zip Line was fun, but is short-lived. I probably wouldn’t do this activity again.

Timber Cove Marina – 1,000 ft Parasailing:

The older lady that runs the office, I’m not sure if she owns the business or not, but she was not friendly. She was brash. I was not a fan.

Super cool experience over this huge lake surrounded by mountains. I’d totally do it again, even though it seemed like an overall short ride. The people who took us out were friendly, professional, and we had confidence in their abilities.

Bonus: On our way back to dock, my cap flew off and they were nice enough to circle back and we fished my cap out of the water. I can’t believe I spotted it in the water! And it was super nice for them to turn around for it. I am still incredibly grateful, since it was one of my most favorite caps.

The Cork & More:

My husband agreed to stop by a shop called The Cork & More, which is an artesian store, deli, wine tasting and shop. I picked up some spices and a new coffee mug! It is a cute little store.

Tahoe Coffee Mug

Markleeville & Grover Hot Springs:

On one of the days that we didn’t have dinner reservations we decided to take a trip to Markleeville, CA, which is approximately a 30 minute drive south of South Lake Tahoe. The drive was purdy.

There is NO cell service nor data signal in this area. We had to stop at the visitor center twice in the short time we were there.

Just outside of town is Grover Hot Springs.  We paid $10 per person to enter the pool area (this is a day rate). They have locker rooms to change and rise off in. There are outside cubby holes to put your stuff in by the hot spring pool. We were told to lock all your valuables in your car. While we did remember to pack swim suits and sunscreen, we didn’t remember to bring towels. I drip dried and then changed back into my real clothes, so it was really no big deal.

After about an hour in the hot spring pool, we changed and went back into town to eat at a local spot called Wolf Creek Restaurant and the Cutthroat Saloon. It was one of….I think….three places to eat in town. It is a historic building built in the 1800’s that originally was a hotel and brothel (so we were told by the locals) in Markleeville.

The official restaurant review will be posted at my sister site: Restaurant Reviews – ByCandace. Once the post is up, I’ll link to the post here.

Genoa Bar & Saloon:

We had no plans to drive to Genoa City, NV that day, but two locals from the Wolf Creek Restaurant and the Cutthroat Saloon told us that instead of going back the same way we came in we should go back through Nevada and Genoa City to hit up the first settlement in NV and the oldest thirst parlor and “gentleman’s saloon” in Nevada. Naturally we couldn’t resist checking it out.

Genoa 13

We drove approximately 26 miles and 30 minutes through a beautiful valley with cattle ranches everywhere to get from Markleeville, CA to Genoa, NV. Totally worth the drive. Genoa City is a quaint town with a historic hotel, mom-and-pop shops, and the main attraction Genoa Bar & Saloon. Pretty cool spot! If you are ever near here, I recommend you put this on the to-do list.

To get back to South Lake Tahoe from Genoa was approximately 19 miles and 35 minute drive. It was through a mountain pass which eventually winded down to the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe.

Elements Day Spa:

I chose this spa, because originally my husband was supposed to be off fishing while I went to the spa and this one is within walking distance from our lodging location.

Don’t let the old building and make-shift spa deter you. I was originally disappointed and apprehensive. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into when I first saw the building and spa quarters.

They have private bathrooms with keyed lockers to keep your clothes and valuables. They provide comfy robes. They have a little side room called the tea room, where you can make and sip a variety of teas in between services (if you have time). They offer a variety of product in their main waiting room as well.

The people and their skills were amazing! Everyone was very courteous, friendly, accommodating, and professional.

I’ve had A LOT of massages in my life and honestly it was the best massage I can remember. My massage therapist was Sage Salonga; she was fan-dang-tastic! My husband was able to schedule a last minute massage that morning as well and said that his girl did a really good job too.

My Esthetician was Sandy O’Donnell and again, super great!

When and if I make it back to South Lake Tahoe, I’ll be seeking them both out for services.

Overall South Lake Tahoe Experience

Overall we really enjoyed our time in South Lake Tahoe. It is a beautiful place to visit! I hope one day I am fortunate enough to be able to go back again and do some of the activities we didn’t get to do this time.

Activities for Next Time

If we are able to make it back for another trip, we’d probably go in the off-season to avoid the large numbers of people, in October or late April/early May time frames. We may also consider staying at a more remote location, instead of in the middle of it all….who knows….we’ll see.

I hope you found this series helpful and enjoyable.



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At first glance, wearing Spanx seems relatively benign, but it’s not.  Spanx are to the 21st century what corsets were to the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries. Notice how long that is?? I tend to add braziers and waist-trainers (which is a whole other rant) into this subject as well.

The point is that the idea of women needing to smooth out their lovely lady bumps by wearing compression gear is ridiculous! Thousands of women squeeze themselves into Spanx like sausages on a daily basis.

Confession: I worse Spanx on my wedding day. That was the first and only time I’ve put them on.

Along this line, I wrote a post called What’s the Point that I hope you read.

The women’s body image movement is hitting pretty strong these days and hitting a good stride. Here are a couple of podcasts that touch on these subjects that recently aired that I hope you take a little time to listen to.

  1. Balanced Bites Podcast #352 – Your Body is Awesome Because IT’s AWESOME
  2. Stupid Easy Paleo’s – Harder to Kill Radio – #108 Cellulite + Confidence: Fierce Love Friday


Do You Have GRIT?


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The human experience is not easy. We must gird-up our loins to get through the less than ideal times that we experience throughout our lifetimes in this fallen world. Know this, you are not alone. The people that have come before us, since the beginning of time, have been through much worse than we. We are living in a very fortunate time in history.

What is Grit?

If you Google the term grit you find a definition of “courage and resolve; strength of character”.

Let’s break this down further…..what is the definition of……courage “strength in the face of pain or grief”, resolve “firm determination to do something”, determination “firmness of purpose”, strength “the quality or state of being strong, in particular”, strong “able to withstand great force or pressure”, character “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.

So according to these definitions grit is: a quality or state of being able to withstand great force or pressure in the face of pain or grief and a firmness of purpose to do something; a quality or state of being able to withstand great force or pressure in the face of pain or grief that reflect the individual’s mental and moral qualities.

Nurture or Nature

Grit is not like common sense; grit is learned and developed through experiences. It can also be modeled to others and likely taught to others. It does get a little sticky around the “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”, as this is a key component to grit and one’s character is very much dependent on the nurture factor as well as the nature. Common sense is an innate (inborn or natural) quality that people have or don’t have. Ironically or not maybe not so ironic, I find that people with grit also have common sense.

In the post Your Power, Your Control, Your Responsibility, I touch on how some folks believe that life just happens to them, having a victim mentality and not taking responsibility for their choices’ this also plays into the mental state of those who lack grit.

In the post called Do You Need Motivation?, I touched on the topic of discipline. In my opinion, discipline is a component of grit.

Your Beliefs

Rene Descartes said “I think therefore I am”. When it comes to the human brain and shifting our thinking you cannot speak to yourself in negatives. Your brain doesn’t understand negatives. It understands positive reinforcement, like Pavlov’s Dog. You tell yourself/brain what you do want, not what you don’t. What you think about and what you believe about yourself and your circumstance will dictate your results.

I spoke about “a firmness of purpose to do something”. Also, in the post Do You Need Motivation?,  I touched on finding your why. The reason you need to find your why is so that you have intrinsic motivation, you have a purpose for doing something.

Your belief about yourself and your purpose on this planet will drive the amount of grit you have.

I’ve read and heard on multiple occasions that people with the belief in God are much more able to overcome hard times, because they have a purpose and an identity outside of whatever their current circumstances are.

Your beliefs are the foundation of grit.

Other quotes I like:

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”—Confucius

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt

“We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us.”—William J. Brennan, Jr.

“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet.”—William Frederick Halsey, Jr.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” —Aristotle Onassis

Do You Have Grit?

When thinking about sayings like “survival of the fittest” or “only the strong survive”, this is the result of grit! Other piffy sayings that I think of when I think of grit are: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” and “failure is not an option” —Ed Harris from Apollo 13.

Allow me to ask you a scary question…..who is the fittest? who are the strong? are you? will you survive? will your children?

Do you have the ability to “withstand great force or pressure in the face of pain or grief and a firmness of purpose to do something”?

Do you have courage, resolve, purpose, initiative, determination, resilience, discipline, strength, instinct, and tenacity?

If you do not and you want them, I suggest you start working on it. Start reading biographies, autobiographies, and the Bible. Surround yourself with people who have the qualities you want. Soak up every ounce of wisdom you can from them. This type of shift is mental and requires dedication, practice, and time.

Put in the work, be gritty!

Vacation Training


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Summer Vacation

I hope that you’ve seen my posts about planning for my summer vacation. If you have not, please check out my blog series, so far.

  • Part 1 on picking Where to Go and Picking Lodging
  • Part 2 on Food and Activities
  • Part 3 on Packing List
  • Part 4 on the Last Week To-Do’s

Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

As I hope you also know, I’ve also been posting a blog series about my Lifting Weights / Resistance Training.

Part 1 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training post where I covered:

  • Why lifting weights is important to me
  • Misconceptions women make about lifting weights
  • Things to-do
  • Lifting program weeks 1 – 5

Part 2 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training where I covered:

  • My workouts for weeks 6 – 10
  • Articles that discuss general guidelines about training and the menstrual cycle

Part 3 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training where I covered:

  • My workouts for weeks 11 – 15
  • Switching-up Workout Style
  • Rest Week & Life

Part 4 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training where I covered:

  • Life Happens
  • My workouts for weeks 16 – 21
  • Full Body Workouts – Mostly Large Compound Lifts

These two blog series converge at my vacation!

Vacation Training

I did research on local gyms around where we are going to be staying, however most of them are private clubs (personal training or group classes only) or Cross-fit Gyms. The couple of big-box-gyms I found are a little far from where we are staying.

This is a good time to switch things up for a week. Who wants to go on vacation and do the same types of movement and lifting as when they are at home? I’m loving the idea of breaking-up the monotony.

My plan for vacation is to continue to put forth a consistent effort to still get in movement each day by doing some hiking, swimming, and or kayaking.

I want to take this time to do a plug for a lady I love and follow on YouTube, Jen Heward, who has a Home Workout Kit that will also travel well. I’d love to purchase this to use while on vacation, but if I decide not to spend my money on this now, I will in the future for sure.

I’m still kicking around the idea of taking my traditional resistance bands with me. I’ve not decided yet.

I also have not decided how much or little I will train while on vacation. To be prepared, I have some body-weight circuit style workouts that are perfect for vacation or training at home.

6 Days of Body-Weight Workouts

Day 1 (Repeat 1 – 5x) 

Day 2 (Repeat 1 – 5x) 

  • 10-15 Push-ups
  • 12 (per leg) Walking Lunges
  • 15 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 sec. Plank
  • 8 Hand Walkouts
  • 15 Air Squats
  • 18 Slow Mountain Climbers
  • 10 Glute Bridge

Day 3 (Repeat 1 – 5x) 

Day 4 (Repeat 1 – 5x) 

Day 5 (Repeat 1 – 5x) 

  • Dips
  • 15 Air Squats
  • 15 Jumping Jacks
  • 15 Push-ups
  • 12 (per leg) Single Leg Deadlifts
  • 6 Side-to-Side Hand Walkouts
  • 12 (per leg) Alternating Reverse Lunges
  • 45 sec Plank
  • 12 Single-leg Glute Bridges

Day 6 (Repeat 1 – 5x) 

  • 12 Single-leg Glute Bridges
  • 45 secs of Jumping Jacks
  • 30 sec Side Plank
  • 15 (per leg) Forward Lunges
  • 10 Hand Walkouts
  • 20 Air Squats
  • 60 sec Plank
  • 15 Push-ups

When I return, I’ll be starting Weeks 23 – 27 of my regularly scheduled training; to be shared in Part 5 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training coming in August.


U.S. Independence Day


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The United States of America celebrates our birth as an independent nation on July 4th every year and in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence.

If it has been since middle school or junior high since you’ve read it, now is a good time to read it (click on the link above), and remember where we came from, see where we are, and envision where we are headed.

Modern-Day Celebration

The celebration of this holiday has evolved quite a bit since the late 1700’s and 1800’s. Now days, most of the nation celebrates the national holiday with family and friends near a body of water and most certainly around lots of yummy food and cold beverages.

We are currently near the body of water of Lake Tahoe for our Independence Day celebration.

Beautiful large colorful fireworks display with unrecognizable crowd people watching

Summer Time Celebration Food

When I think of summer holidays, I think of foods and recipes like these:

Check-out 2 of My Pinterest Boards

  1. Food Stuffs – Grilling
  2. Party Drinks

I wish for you all a fun, safe, and delicious Independence Day!

Part 4 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training


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Previous Posts – Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

Part 1 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Why lifting weights is important to me
  • Misconceptions women make about lifting weights
  • Things to-do
  • Lifting program weeks 1 – 5

Part 2 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 6 – 10
  • Articles that discuss general guidelines about training and the menstrual cycle

Part 3 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 11 – 15
  • Circuit Style
  • Rest Week & Life

I completed the three workout programs linked above with modifications each week on number of sets, reps, and or weight so that each workout continued to challenge my body to adapt (aka: change).

Lift Weights Faster

The accomplishment of consistency feels so good.

My next 6 week of life and 5 weeks of workouts (weeks 16 – 21) are now complete, check them out below.

Week 16

Life Happens

It is important to be flexible to accommodate things like seeing your cousin for dinner who you haven’t seen in almost 4 years, so I didn’t work out on Tuesday this week. I was going to work out on Monday instead, but I was still really sore from Saturday….so no biggie.

I woke up Thursday morning to a car that wouldn’t start, so my husband drove me to work and he went to work. So, after work….instead of going to the gym….we are going to figure out what is wrong with my vehicle.

This week I made sure to get my steps in, which is super important movement each day. Over the weekend I did some kayaking with my sister.

Week 17

Tuesday – Full Body Workout

I left town on Thursday evening, so wasn’t able to get in a second day of lifting this week.

Week 18

Friday – Full Body Workout

Sunday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute Warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Lat Stretcher w/ Narrow-Grip – 50 lbs
  • Wide-stance Squat – 50 lb dumbbell
  • Rear Delt Cable Face Pulls – 25 lbs
  • Bulgarian Split Squat – Bodyweight
  • Neutral Grip Chin-Up – Bodyweight
  • Traditional Leg Press – 100 lbs
  • 10 minute Cool-down – Treadmill Walk

Week 19

Tuesday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute Warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Feet Elevated Glute Bridge (Single Leg) – Bodyweight
  • Seated Neutral Grip Row – 50 lbs
  • Traditional Deadlift – 50 lb bar
  • Reverse Lunge – 30 lb front loaded barbell
  • Overhead Press – 40 lb barbell
  • Smith Back Squat – Bar +25 lbs

Thursday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute Warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Lat Stretcher w/ Narrow-Grip – 65 lbs (I think something is off on this cable weight)
  • Wide-stance Squat – 50 lb dumbbell
  • Neutral Grip Chin-Up – Bodyweight
  • Traditional Leg Press – 100 lbs
  • Rear Delt Cable Face Pulls – 30 lbs
  • Bulgarian Split Squat – Bodyweight
  • Overhead Palloff Press w/ Oblique Twist – 10 lb Cable

Week 20

Thursday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute Warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Seated Leg Press – 120, 130, 140, 150 lbs
  • Seated Neutral Grip Row – 50 lbs
  • Traditional Deadlift – 50 lb bar
  • Bent Over Row, Under-Hand Grip – 50 lb barbell
  • Smith Back Squat – Bar +20 lbs
  • Overhead Press – 40 lb barbell
  • Bicep Curl – 30 lb barbell
  • Triceps Extensions – 10 lb dumbbell

Week 21  

Tuesday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute Warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Lat Stretcher w/ Narrow-Grip – 65 lbs
  • Reverse Lunge – Bodyweight
  • Rear Delt Cable Face Pulls – 25 lbs
  • Bulgarian Split Squat – Bodyweight
  • Traditional Leg Press – 100 lbs
  • Bicep Curl – 30 lb barbell
  • Triceps Extensions – 10 lb dumbbell

Thursday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute Warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Wide-stance Squat – 50 lb dumbbell
  • Seated Neutral Grip Row – 50 lbs
  • Romanian Deadlift – 50 lb bar
  • Upright Row – 30 lb barbell
  • Reverse Lunge – 30 lb front loaded barbell
  • Overhead Press – 40 lb barbell
  • Smith Back Squat – Bar +25 lbs
  • Overhead Palloff Press w/ Oblique Twist – 10 lb Cable

Stay tuned… week, I’ll be sharing my vacation body-weight workouts.

Here are some of my other blog posts that discuss exercise.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment on this post and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

Planning Our Summer Vacation 2018 – South Lake Tahoe (Part 4 of 5)



  • Check out Part 1 on picking where to go and picking lodging.
  • Check out Part 2 on Food and Activities.
  • Check out Part 3 on Packing List

Last Week To-Dos

The last week before a trip can be nerve-wracking for some. That is why planning ahead of time is so useful.

Avoiding Altitude Sickness

Since we are traveling to the mountains (aprox. 6,225 ft) from basically sea-level (124 ft), taking some precautions against altitude sickness is advised. Even though they say most altitude sickness occurs when over 10,000 ft. The week before and particularly the 3 day prior to leaving it is important to be hydrated. The use of electrolyte tabs (pictured below) before and during the trip is helpful. I will also have Sea Bands and essential oils to help with nausea, if needed. Making sure that you are not anemic before traveling to the mountains is helpful, since red blood cells carry oxygen in the body; eat red meat, fish, take B-vitamin complex and folate. I purchased a chlorophyll product to also help with altitude acclimation and increased oxygen for the body (pictured below). Oxygen is key to feeling good when in the mountains, breathe deeply, eat lemons, watermelon, berries, mango, grapes, blueberries, chlorophyll (all the green foods), and vitamin A.

Ziploc Bags

Early in the week purchase a box of gallon sized Ziploc bags for all toiletries; the pressure on the plane can make them open or explode in your suit case. I like to put like items with like items, aka: face cleansing products all in one, hair products in one, shampoo and container in one, lotion and sunscreen in one, hair ties and brush in one….etc. This technique is also very helpful for when you arrive, because all the stuff you need is together in one place and easy to grab and find what you are looking for. The zip-lock bag concept is super helpful for your carry-ons (backpack or purse) and going through security; pull out the zip-lock bag(s), go through, put them back in, and walk-on!

Speaking of walking-on……

Airport / Plane Outfit & Shoes

I frequently see the media posting about a celebrities cute travel outfit. I’m not sure that most of these are reasonable for the average person.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone through airport security and regretted my shoe choice.

Since we are still required to remove our shoes going through security, despite the invasive full body scan, I think that it is important to wear some sort of sock, so that bare feet are not touching the floor….cause yuck! However, the shoe should still be able to slip-on and off quickly so that a long untying and tying process is not required….and comfortable.

  • A comfortable slip-on shoe that can be worn with a sock
  • Or a pair of socks to put on when going through security

Slip-on Shoes

I have been known to bring a pair of socks with me in my purse to put on my feet to go through security and then take back off afterwards. This is a viable option. They are also good to have in case your feet get cold on the plane.

Since there is a lot of moving around and also sitting in tight spaces, I like to wear comfy loose or stretchy pants with a draw string or elastic in the waist (aka: workout pants). I typically go for a soft cotton t-shirt or longer flowing top and have a jacket, if I get cool.

Side Note: While this post is really about the week leading up to leaving, I suggest two weeks prior to leaving that you try on the clothing items you are planning to take, but don’t wear very often to make sure they still fit well and they still have seems and buttons with no stains or holes etc. If you find that they don’t fit well or developed some defect you have time to change outfits or purchase new items to fill those gaps or get them fixed before leaving. Also, take any needed clothes to the dry cleaners so they are picked-up and ready to pack.

Hair, Skin & Nails Prep

I like to wait until just before I leave for a trip to get a manicure and pedicure, certainly the week of the trip. I book my appointment a few weeks out for lunch time the day before we leave.

If you want a fresh color or cut it is also a good idea to do this one or two week before you leave. In both cases, because of the short time line, I suggest using the same people you always use and use the same colors you already know looks good on you.  Now is not the time to “try something new”, because if you don’t like it you’ll be stuck with it (in pictures) until you get back from vacation and or stress yourself out during the last week before you leave trying to fit in a fix, which is no fun.

This week is the week to remember to use your favorite organic sulfur mask to maintain blemish-free skin on vacation. It is also a good time to do a deep conditioning treatment on your hair before you leave.

Travel Foods & Vitamins/Medicines

One day after work, either my husband or I will swing by the store and pick-up the snacks on my list (from my previous post), that I don’t already have from ordering from Thrive Market. It is a great idea to place an order from Thrive Market a couple of weeks ahead of time, to get the benefit of the discounts and having it delivered to your door.

The night before we leave, I’ll stock our pill boxes to put in our suite cases and make sure all medicines are in our carry-on bags.


Zoey 1

Our fur-baby Zoey will be staying at our home during the trip with our fabulous pet-sitter. I will have an updated document for her and have it printed out for her on all things Zoey, since the last time she watched Zoey for us. Before we leave we will make sure to have plenty of baked sweet potato for her to take her medicine in, dental chews, plenty of her medicine, plenty of her food, washed blankets, and washed Zoey. It is important to remember to leave the pet-sitter a key to the house and mailbox, to the alarm system, garage code, along with her money, which requires getting cash out ahead of time.


It is a good idea to make sure that the house-keeper is not scheduled to come during the vacation week. Clean out your refrigerator by week’s end, so you do not come home to rotting stinky food.

Before leaving for a trip it is beneficial to let your banks and credit card companies know that you are traveling that that charges from a specific place will be coming across your accounts, so that they do not cut off your funds thinking there is fraud on the accounts.

If you are traveling internationally, which we aren’t, making sure your phone and data plans cover your travel destination is also a good idea to avoid super large bills or no service.

For safety sake, you may want to consider emailing your itinerary and trip details to a loved one in case of emergency. I know we have the constant contact ability of cell phones, but in cases of real emergencies where a cell phone can get lost or removed (aka: plane crash, car crash, terrorist attack) this extra step can come in handy.

Put cash in your wallet. Only take credit cards you need and will be using. Do not take extra or what you typically keep in your wallet, just in case you lose it or someone takes it.

Night Before You Leave

It probably goes without saying that it is ideal to wash your hair and shave your legs the night before you leave, so you are ret-to-go the next morning with all toiletries and hair dryer etc. packed.

The night before you leave make sure to print multiple copies of your boarding passes. I keep one copy in my pocket and one copy in my backpack. I print multiple copies of my Word document with all the vacation information on it; copies in suit cases and backpacks. Packed bags by the door and clothes laid out for the travel morning.

You need to calculate what time you need to leave the house to allow for plenty of time for transit to the airport, parking (drop a pin where you park and take pictures), check-bags, go through security, get breakfast, and be at the gate by or before boarding time.

The goal is to have a stress-free morning; get up, have coffee, kiss the little dog good-bye, and head to the airport.

Part 5 on the Trip Recap & Experience – Coming Soon!

I will do restaurant reviews and post them on my other site called: Restaurant Reviews – ByCandace.

How-to: Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree (Part 3)


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Where we left off…..

A friend of mine and my cousin told me that I’d have to graft them in to another plant, because their root systems on their own aren’t strong enough.



The research began…..

  • The best time to graft lemons is between November and April.
  • Meyer lemons can be propagated easily from cuttings, or grafted to sweet orange or rough lemon rootstock.

I initially grew 8 plants from seed. Once they started getting big enough to continually go into bigger and bigger pots, I decided to pick the 4 strongest plants and repot them into the latest larger pots. I now have 4 strong plants that are about 1.5 years old. From what I’ve read this is about the time that they need to be grafted.

I think at this point, I’m going to have to find a professional to graft these trees for me or give them away to someone who can do it and grow these plants into fruit producing trees.

Out of My Depth

UPDATE: I was recently told that they do not need to be grafted, just planted in the ground. I’m not sure if my current house and backyard is an ideal location for lemon trees??

Perhaps I’ll do both….I am going to give two of my trees to my step-mother who is already experienced and has producing Meyer lemon trees. And maybe go ahead and plant the other two in my yard….?

While this started as an experiment that has been somewhat successful, I’m out of my depth on this…..I guess we’ll see how it goes….


Citrus Plant Fertilizers

How-To Articles


To Track or Not To Track, That is the Question


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As with most nutrition questions the answer is “it depends”…..blink blink….seriously though, it depends on the individual.

I personally despise the time and effort it takes to track calories and macros. However, I have found it helpful to do in short duration to see if I’m eating enough protein and to do periodic check-ins to make sure I’m eating enough calories. If I decide to actually do a shift in number of fat or carbs or cycle then I usually have to track for a few week to a month to get in a good groove.

When Not to Track

If you are the type of person who has dieted most of their life and has unhealthy relationship with food and diets, I suggest NOT tracking. It can make people neurotic and extreme and generally unhappy. I advise not tracking for the purpose of “staying under a certain calorie level” for the purpose of restriction.

For more information on this topic, please check out the posts listed below.

For these folks I recommend doing a “portion size” approach. Meaning, protein the size of the palm of your hand, all the veggies you can fit in, starchy carbs the size of the front of your closed fist (more if you are super active), added fat the size of your thumb. Or on a normal size plate, ½ the plate of veggies, ¼ protein, ¼ starchy carbohydrates, and 1 tablespoon of added fat. Eat it all.

When to Track

I think that for most women it is important to track when there is a suspicion that you are not eating enough calories or enough protein. Both of these are super common among women specifically. Thanks to the pressure of societal standards many women under eat. Stop that! Eat the food!

The point of tracking isn’t to see if you were “good” or “bad”; food doesn’t have morality. It is to obtain data to see if you need to make adjustments to reach your goals. Like seeing how many M&Ms or in my case Margaritas are sneaking into your week.

I find that when I track, I put forth more effort to eat more protein and less sugar. I want to make sure that I’m eat enough calories to sustain my life and activities. To make sure I’m eating lots of veggies and not just chips, salsa, and cheese for dinner. I know you feel me! Not that there is anything wrong with that….clearly I do this with some frequency to bring it up.

It can be a good way to stay accountable to yourself and your health goals. It is also a good way to do periodic check-in to make sure, over time, you are still eating enough calories and protein.

Side Note: It goes without saying that if you are a physique, bikini or bodybuilder competitor you will track.

Tracking Isn’t a Way to Live

If you have never tracked your food, I think you should try it. Even if it isn’t in an AP with calories and macros, just write down everything you eat in a day for a month and then review it at the end of each week. You will see trends and where you can make better choices towards better health.

Tracking isn’t something that I recommend people do long-term. Again, it is time consuming and can drive you to an unhealthy extreme mindset.

Eat the food! All the food! Just eat!