Chihuly in the Forest

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

You may have read my original post on Chihuly at Crystal Bridges and wondered why I’m posting about it again. I just can’t get enough of the beautiful artwork–I’ve been back to Chihuly in the Forest twice now. Plus, I’m partnering with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art  to get the word out that this magical art in the forest will disappear at the stroke of 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 27. That means you only have today and tomorrow to view the exhibition before it goes!

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

You may remember from my post that I particularly enjoyed the Chihuly in the Forest installations. It just makes sense for this nature-inspired art to be on display in a natural, outdoor setting. The natural light and forest surroundings give life to these works in a way that no other setting could. Seeing it through different seasons has been fun because each time I go it’s like it’s a completely new exhibition.

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

“I’m always inspired to exhibit my work in various types of environments, from museums and gardens around the world, to unique indoor settings. I’m always looking to push the boundaries of the medium of glass in terms of color, form, scale, and light, all of which are essential elements of my work.” -Dale Chihuly

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

I recently went back to view the exhibition with my family and took advantage of the opportunity to not only show the artwork to my family, but to get them outdoors for a 10K Women Trail Project hike! Two birds, one stone, er, ticket. This holiday weekend is the perfect time to go see these breathtaking works of glass!

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

Until the Chihuly in the Forest exhibition closes, a ticket is required to access the North Forest Trail. The price of admission is $10 for adults, but children age 18 and under are admitted for free. Once the exhibition closes, the trail will be opened back up for all to access and will link back to the Razorback Greenway as before. If you are not able make it to the exhibition before Monday, 11/27, don’t worry, there is still a lot of wonderful art to see and experience along the outdoor trails. One of my favorites is the Fly’s Eye Dome on the North Lawn Trail.

Fly's Eye Dome on view at Crystal Bridges

Fly's Eye Dome on view at Crystal Bridges

Have you been to see the Chihuly exhibition? Let me know what you think! If you haven’t, go today and then come back and tell me your impressions!

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A Year of Adventure {10K Women Trail Project}

Hike More, Smile More! Register for the 10K Women Trail Project

I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected as a Trailblazer for the 10K Women Trail Project! The 10K Women Trail Project is an initiative through Hike it Baby and is made possible by a Force of Nature grant from REI. What is the 10K Women Trail Project all about? Our main goal is to get more women and girls out hiking all over the United States.

Sunset Hike at Hobbs State Park
We kicked off the project with a sunset hike at Hobbs State Park!
Hike More, Smile More

If you are in Northwest Arkansas or any of the surrounding areas, I would love for you to come hike with me! The project kicked off on November 1 and continues through September of 2018, so if you can’t come on a hike right away there’s plenty of time to get outdoors and join in on the project. I will be hosting at least one hike per month.

10K Women Trail Project Tulip Tree Trail Hike
Second hike of the project, exploring the grounds around Crystal Bridges

Look for all of my planned hikes on my Facebook page or in my new Facebook group, Ozark Women Blazing Trails. I look forward to meeting other hiking enthusiasts. While the project focuses on getting women out to hike, men and boys are welcome to come along!

The first *official* hike of the 10K Women Trail Project at Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
The first *official* hike of the project at Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
Not from Northwest Arkansas?

You can still register for the 10K Women Trail Project and start hiking with your girlfriends! Once you’ve registered you can start logging hikes in which at least one other woman or girl accompanies you. Register here. Be sure to use the following hashtags when you post to social media: #forceofnature #hikeitbaby #10kwomentrailproject #togetherwehike

Who will you inspire to get out on the trails? Tell me in the comments or share you favorite trail to hike!

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Chocolate & One Cool Cat {Halloween 2017}

This Halloween we took Coen trick or treating for the first time. This amounted to bribing him with the promise of going home and changing into his costume in order to get him to leave his beloved preschool for the day. Then, once we got home, we had to bribe him with chocolate in order to get him to put on his costume (This really shouldn’t be at all surprising if you read this post). Three-year-olds are so much fun.

Before I picked Coen up I got a text from Jeremy’s cousin’s wife, Chelsea. She asked if he was a fan of Frozen and suggested we come by her dad’s house where they were dressed up as the characters from the movie. I talked it up while we drove home, but even telling him we were going to see Chelsea didn’t convince him to put on his cute cat costume for trick or treating. Somehow, after a lot of coaxing and a little dark chocolate, we still made it over there right around when they were starting. It was a good thing too because by the time we left there was a line of trick or treaters waiting for photos and a traffic jam in front of the house! My little cat wasn’t feeling the photo op though and all we got out of him was this sly half-smile. It really was the purr-fect expression considering the temperament of most cats!

A frozen themed house set up just for Halloween!

We ended up going around the block to trick or treat at the rest of the homes in the neighborhood. By the time we made it back around our little kitty was hungry and ready for a cat nap so we headed home. I’m still not sure what we are going to do with all the candy we brought home. I was considering starting a Switch Witch tradition, but surprisingly Coen hasn’t been asking for any of it! We may just wait until next year for that. Plus, shhh, don’t tell, but I already ate quite a bit of it anyway. My favorites are the Reese’s!

How was your Halloween?

Last Minute DIY Kids Cat Costume

Need a last minute kids Halloween costume? This DIY cat costume is simple and cute!

This Halloween was all about taking the easy road. So why the DIY costume you may ask. Why not hightail it to the nearest Walmart and purchase a costume and be done with it? THAT would be easy, right? It’s true, I can’t think of anything easier. The thing is, I already had this costume made from last year. I know, I know, not everyone has an unused DIY costume to reach for, but I swear, I whipped this one together super last minute last year. Only, my kid flat-out refused to wear a costume last year. I wasn’t going to just let my handiwork go to waste! Okay, I did last year, but that was only because I knew that it would still work this year.

Now, last year I thought I would blog about how to make the costume and I even remember taking step-by-step photos for the post. However, those photos are nowhere to be found. In fact, I may have just imagined doing that. Luckily, I still had this inspiration post pinned on a Pinterest board, waiting for me. The costume can be done with absolutely no sewing, but I did do a tiny bit of sewing.

We started with a base of a black turtleneck and black leggings (I couldn’t find what I wanted in the boys’ section, so I just picked up a pair from the girls’ section at Walmart). Then I used an oversized (big boys size small) crewneck sweatshirt and cut off the sleeves. If you can find one that is not raglan sleeves it will probably be easier, but this worked just fine. Then, I turned the edge in and glued it with fabric glue. I am sure you could skip the sweatshirt if you want to, but we were glad we had it when the weather for Halloween festival at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks ended up being chilly and wet.

A few things I did differently:

Ears: The post I linked to says to use some of the leftover sweatshirt sleeve material to make the ears. I tried this, but felt like it was too droopy. Especially if you add some of the marabou to it as they suggest. The glue only helps so much. Instead, I cut triangles out of felt and glued them to the headband.

Looking for an easy last-minute costume idea for Halloween? This kid's cat costume is super simple and cute!

Tail: They suggested to glue the tail to the back of the sweatshirt, but when I had it pinned with a safety pin to figure out where to glue it my child was able to easily rip the tail off. This prompted me to sew it in place instead of using glue. You could probably do glue and see how it holds up, then if it doesn’t seem to hold well you could always still put some stitches in it to reinforce it. We also wrapped some electrical tape around the end of the wire hanger so that it wouldn’t poke through.

Looking for a last-minute DIY costume for Halloween? This no-sew cat costume is super simple and cute!

Whiskers: I knew there was no way my kid was going to let me put floral wire on his face for whiskers so I skipped this step and drew some on with face paint. Simple.

Looking for an easy last-minute costume idea for Halloween? This kid's cat costume is super simple and cute!

I think it turned out super cute, if I do say so myself. That ridiculously good-looking kid has something to do with the cuteness factor, but I take credit for him too!

I’m linking this post up on my friend Lacie‘s Funtastic Friday Link Party and her fabulous Halloween Blog Hop (Check it out, there’s a giveaway, too!)

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Okay, fine. I’ll wear leggings.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today is a crisp, fall day. Usually that would be followed with exclamation points and the stars emoji, but I’m just not feeling it today. Instead I’m feeling grumbly. I have to go to a follow up appointment, and as usual, it’s one of those appointments. It’s 54 degrees outside, but I still had to shave my legs. Well, I guess I didn’t have to, but I felt the need to in order to not be judged by some ridiculous beauty/womanhood standard. Even while recovering from surgery. I may still be bold and rock the no bra look I’ve adopted the last week and a half though.

It’s not what I am not going to wear that is really getting me down however, instead it’s “WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?” I know, go ahead and put me back in that typical woman box now. I am usually so excited about sweaters and layers and boots and pants, but pants are SO not my friend after this surgery. I mean, not any that I really consider to be pants. I am still firmly in the “leggings are not pants” camp. I was hoping the trend would just go away, but apparently it’s here for awhile. I am left with the option of wearing a dress or a skirt that will leave me feeling cold, and frankly, just not practical when you have an appointment with a gynecologist, or comfy, stretchy, non-pants like leggings.

Karl Lagerfeld is reported to have said “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” Well, I’m admitting defeat. I’m not going to say that I’ve never worn leggings out of the house because I did when I was pregnant. However, I was never truly comfortable in them no matter how long the top. I’m grumbly because I have to wear leggings in public. Something that many women would deem worthy of exclamation points and the stars emoji.

I started to think that maybe I could get away with wearing a trench over a not so flattering outfit just to get me out the door to my appointment, a la Lorelai Gilmore. Although, instead of cutoffs I’d be hiding leggings and a not quite long enough top. The thought of being able to wear the trench my mom had brought me when I had surgery did lift my spirits and gave me enough energy to try and “make it work.” After trying top after top, and even reaching into my husband’s closet to find something with a more ample hemline, I settled on a dress over leggings. Done. And then I collapsed back into bed because getting dressed is really all it takes to wear me out these days. Now, don’t feel sorry for me. That just gives more time to watch clips of my favorite moments from Gilmore Girls, like this one. Enjoy!

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7 Socially Conscious Backpacks

The weather is cooling off (68 degrees for my run this morning!), my Facebook feed is filling up with pictures of freshly bathed and smartly dressed children holding “First Day of School” signs, and the parents behind the cameras (er, phones) are collectively exhaling, both in relief and anxiousness, on this Monday morning. In short–it’s Back to School time in Arkansas. It’s the time of year that makes me think of bouquets of newly sharpened pencils, composition books, trapper keepers (yeah, I know I’m dating myself), and school supplies in general.

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. -Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail

Last month, I volunteered with the United Way of Northwest Arkansas for their Fill The Bus initiative. We collected school supplies at Walmart locations in Benton, Madison and Washington counties to help children in NWA start their school year off on the right foot. After my 2-hour stint in the Arkansas heat, I wanted more. Well, maybe not more of the Arkansas heat, but I wanted to know what else I could do to help send children to school armed with both confidence and the tools for their success. I was secretly hoping this would not include more standing in the hot July sun, but I was ready to roll up my sleeves regardless.

In my search, I stumbled upon Backpacks with a Purpose, or B-WaP. By now, we’re all familiar with socially conscious companies with a one for one business model (think Toms, Warby Parker, Tacos4Life, etc.), but B-WaP takes it one step further by giving TWO backpacks for every one purchased. I was so excited to see that this company is based in a state that is a close neighbor to those of us here in Northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma. So cool! I think the bags from B-WaP are great, but I also know that kids like to have a bag that shows a little of their personality and individuality, so I decided to dig around for other companies selling backpacks with similar missions. I think I rounded up the best–there are some seriously awesome companies with equally awesome missions and products out there. I hope you agree!

  1. Backpacks With a Purpose/B-WaP
Purchase a B-WaP bag and they will donate 2 bags to children in need.
Purchase a B-WaP bag and they will donate 2 bags to children in need.

As if giving two backpacks for every one backpack purchased wasn’t awesome enough, B-WaP allows you, the consumer, to have a say in where the backpacks are given. During checkout you can select “Domestic” or “International” to have 2 bags sent to either the Regional Foodbank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program, or to The Maisha Project in Kenya, Africa. Read more about BWaP’s partners here.

2. STATE Backpacks

For each backpack sold, a STATE bag packed with essential tools for success is delivered to an American child in need.
For each backpack sold, a STATE bag packed with essential tools for success is delivered to an American child in need.

STATE bags are incredibly stylish (check out this sweet swan backpack), durable, and full of functional storage. On top of that, for each backpack you purchase, STATE hand-delivers a STATE backpack packed with the tools for success to an American child in need. This socially conscious company doesn’t stop there though. Their bag drop events are motivational rallies intended to leave the kids receiving backpacks with a renewed spirit and belief in themselves. Side note: How appropriate is it that this week is Gray Week in their Colors of Summer Instagram series?

3. Bixby

For each backpack purchase, Bixby will donate a schoolbag with supplies to a kid in need around the world.
For each backpack purchase, Bixby will donate a schoolbag with supplies to a kid in need around the world.

Bixby backpacks have a kid-friendly, whimsical style. Whether your kid is into sparkle, animals, things that fly, or even emoticons, they will find a bag that will suit them, while also sending one full of supplies to a kid in need with Bixby’s “One Here. One There.” donation model. Read more about Bixby’s mission to donate bags around the world here.

4. Esperos

Every Esperos product sold helps fund one year of education for a child in the developing world.
Every Esperos product sold helps fund one year of education for a child in the developing world.

Esperos bags are plain Jane, and they’re okay with that. When you open the website you are met with the tagline, “No frills. No Gimmicks. Just really good bags.” Instead of focusing on frills, they focus on functionality and funding education around the world. They accomplish their mission through giving 10% of their profits to The Nobelity Project, an Austin, TX nonprofit that works to bridge gaps in information and infrastructure to ensure education for all.

5. Stone & Cloth

Each Stone & Cloth purchase helps provide scholarships for students in need.
Each Stone & Cloth purchase helps provide scholarships for students in need.

The sophisticated style of the Stone & Cloth backpacks will likely appeal more to older students, or even adults.  Through a partnership with the Knock Foundation to ensure scholarship opportunities for children in Tanzania, a Stone & Cloth backpack purchase provides 25 hours of classroom learning to a child in need.

6. Krochet Kids

The Ridgeview is a bag that does more. The Krochet Kids program empowers women with the resources to rise above poverty. Forever.
The Ridgeview is a bag that does more. The Krochet Kids program empowers women with the resources to rise above poverty. Forever.

Can a backpack be a tool for lifting women out of poverty? It can when it’s a backpack like the Ridgeview, made by women in Peru as a part of the Krochet Kids Cut & Sew empowerment project. “The production of each of our items offers jobs, education, and mentorship to impoverished individuals. Your purchase connects you with the maker through a hand-signed label.” Learn more about the project here.

7. Jatalo

For every bag Jatalo sells, they donate one year’s worth of textbooks to a child in need.
For every bag Jatalo sells, they donate one year’s worth of textbooks to a child in need.

Not only does Jatalo draw inspiration from global design trends, they also give back in a global way. When you buy a backpack from Jatalo, they give a year’s worth of textbooks to a child in need.

Since today is the first day of school that means that school supplies have already been purchased round these parts. However, is it really ever too late to snag a backpack that will spread some good to others? Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment and let me know!

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