National Parks of The USA Map

Regarding my most recent Instagram post: Many of you have been asking for this map that I found online. This map (which has now been printed and is hanging up in my cubicle at work with pins all over it), shows all the 59 National Parks in the USA. It’s been a wonderful tool in helping me visualize the National Parks I’ve visited, and which ones I have yet to see. I hope you, too, can print it out and enjoy it 🙂 Please scroll below to retrieve the link!

Attribution: By Mwierschkec (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Please click here: National Park Map

 

 

Continue Reading

The Most Underrated Cities in the U.S.

Good Morning everyone!

I am excited to announce: Aarti with TourYard has just published my guest post on their blog!

This post, The Most Underrated Cities in the U.S., goes into detail about 10 of my favorite cities in the states with many beautiful photos and a few ideas of where to go in each of those places.

Cities include: Rochester, Lancaster, Knoxville, Beaufort, Cape Coral, Albuquerque, Palm Desert, Florence, Rapid City, and Minneapolis. All these cities are put together in the order they are for the perfect road trip to hit them all.

Enjoy reading and leave some comments for Aarti and I to see!

Continue Reading

My Paleo Experience with Thrive Market

It’s like Christmas morning!

So, I have to admit – I have a new obsession… ThriveMarket.com. At least it’s a healthy obsession, right?!

Image result for thrive market

Thrive Market is an online grocery store where you can purchase organic and non-gmo products 25%-50% off the regular retail price you may find in physical grocery stores. Not only do they carry organic products, but you can shop by values too such as Paleo, Vegan, or Raw. They have pre-packaged snacks, ingredients, health and beauty products, and even pet products. This membership online community has opened up my world!

You can try Thrive Market one month for FREE! You can shop all you want and don’t worry, you will be addicted in no time. Once your free month is up, they will charge you a membership fee. Now the membership fee is about $60 for a whole year. I was unsure if this was the right move for me because it does sound expensive, but once you see how much your saving per week or per order, you notice that you really are saving money. Your membership fee will also feed a low income family which makes me feel even better about my choice.

Image result for thrive market

As many of you know, I am Paleo. Shopping in regular grocery stores is always a struggle because I can never seem to find products that are paleo friendly unless if I make everything from scratch which I don’t have time for. So, when I go to regular grocery stores I usually end up spending my money on things that aren’t as healthy for me. Thrive Market makes it so easy to find paleo friendly pre-packaged foods and helps me stay on track with my diet during my busy work weeks. It has truly been a lifesaver for me.

A few of my favorite paleo Thrive Market buys:

Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil + Butter Oil Blend

Thrive Market Brand Ghee

Simple Mills Cookies (The Chocolate ones are amazing!)

Thrive Market Brand Bone Broth

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour

Thrive Market Coconut Oil

Not convinced? I don’t want to sound too much like an info-mercial, but I want to share with you how thrilled I am to be talking about this service. Every week to every other week I order ingredients and snacks from Thrive Market. When I shop in physical stores all I need to focus on now is buying fresh ingredients such as meat, fruit, and veggies. It’s made shopping so much easier and the bulk of it gets delivered straight to my door. If you aren’t paleo, no worries. They carry vegan, gluten-free, and raw items to focus on living a healthy life.

Show me your finds at Thrive Market. I find new items every week! Follow me on Instagram to see some of my foodie posts from time to time using ingredients from Thrive Market.

XoXo,

Crystal

Continue Reading

Boho Beautiful Positive Movement Tour Stop – Rochester, NY

For over a year now, I’ve been watching Boho Beautiful’s every move on YouTube. I have envied and admired the couple wishing I could be just like them. They get to live outside of the box, leave the 9-5, do yoga while traveling the world – one YouTube video at a time.

Early Spring, I discovered on their blog that they were looking for people to submit ideas for where to travel within the United States. They wanted to put together a tour that would help benefit local animal shelters in those cities. I decided to send them an email, telling them that Rochester should be one of their stops and to benefit my friends’ animal rescue. Little did I know, 2 months later they’d accept my invitation.

Juliana and Mark of Boho Beautiful conduct yoga classes all over the world and put DIY yoga videos on their blog and YouTube channel. In order to make this 9000 mile trip around the United States, they sell merchandise and get donations via patreon.com. They are currently living out of a van after selling their house and all their belongings to travel. They are free souls – something I wish I could be.Image result for boho beautiful patreon

They told me a date to shoot for on their tour and I was off to find a studio to use for a 2 hour yoga class. After some searching, I came upon Neutral Yoga – a studio that just opened a few months prior. Annie, one of the owners of the studio was such a sweet person to let us use her studio as well as help us promote/sell tickets. Something I would have struggled with by myself otherwise.

Image result for neutral yoga studio rochester n

Fast forward to last weekend – October 14th, Boho Beautiful arrived in Rochester for our event. We knew a rough estimate of about 20 people that had already purchased tickets online. As the event was about to start, we had a line out the door. Some of them were walk-ins who didn’t pre-purchase a ticket, which we were more than happy to let them in. We moved yoga mats around in the room to fit more people and before we knew it, we were maxed out at 38 people. We couldn’t have fit another living soul in that room even if we tried. It was so exciting to see the number of people who came out to help support Janine and to meet the Boho Beautiful duo.

 

Juliana took us through a nice vinyasa yoga flow for about an hour and a half. We then had a meet and greet with both her and Mark at the end. From the ticket sales and in person monetary donations, we raised $600 for Janine the Bean Rescue! It was certainly a successful event and we raised more than I thought was possible.

 

 

Juliana and Mark are beautiful, selfless people. We are so lucky to have been graced with their presence. They helped the rescue in a huge way, bigger than we thought was possible. I do hope we can meet again one day.

Love & Light,

Crystal

Continue Reading

Boho Beautiful Positive Movement Tour

As some of you may already know, I am so thrilled and excited to finally announce Boho Beautiful’s Positive Movement Tour is coming to Rochester, NY (because of me). Their charity tour stop in Rochester will be taking place at Neutral Yoga to benefit Janine the Bean Rescue.

It all began a little over a year ago, when I was so stressed with my last job that I needed an outlet. Yoga became that escape. Searching on YouTube for DIY yoga videos, I discovered Boho Beautiful. A wonderful YouTube channel that opened up my mind even more to health, mindfulness, and wanderlust. Little did I know, yoga would soon become a huge part of my life AND I would eventually get to meet my idols of Boho Beautiful.

Late Spring, Boho Beautiful announced on their blog of a charity tour to take place in the United States and they were wanting suggestions for where to go. I sent in a submission for them to put Rochester on their map, little did I know they would actually accept. So, here we are in late summer and just locked in the final details of our event and I am still in shock!

The event will be taking place at Neutral Yoga on Dewey Ave October 14th 11am – 12:30pm. All proceeds made from the event will be given to my co-worker, Janine the Bean Rescue, who rescues and feeds stray cats within the city of Rochester. The event will include a meet & greet and an hour yoga class!

Tickets may be purchased online: www.neutralyoga.com

For more information please visit:

www.janinethebeanrescue.org

www.bohobeautiful.life

 

Continue Reading

Colorado – Looking for Recommendations

To all our readers out there:

We’ve been thinking for months about where our “winter road trip” should be.
Disney & Cape Coral? (It was so great last year we want to do it all over again).
Southern Ireland? (Cheap flights during the winter).

After a lot of talking, brainstorming, and of course a little arguing – we’ve come upon the decision to take a road trip to Colorado!!!


Colorado, being one of the states I have never been to, I am both excited and clueless as to where to see first. Especially in December/January! We know that by driving from New York to Colorado we would like to stay on the East side of Colorado. We will also be staying in St. Louis, MO overnight as it is our halfway stop. Our top two activities we would like to do in Colorado includes seeing the Rocky Mountains National Park as well as relaxing in a hot spring. Not just any hot spring, but a hot spring in a cave would be the dream.

So I am reaching out to all of you other travelers and dreamers out there, where in Colorado would you like to see us visit? Leave some comments below and we will notify you as our trip plans progress to show where we’ve decided.

Dream on xoxo

Crystal

Continue Reading

Our move: Nashville, TN –> Rochester, NY

No matter your situation, moving is ALWAYS stressful. I, myself since graduating high school have moved 11 times… 11 TIMES! You would think I would be a pro by now.
Since our decision to move to Rochester, NY in November wasn’t at all expected, we put my things into storage and left it in Nashville. We bounced from house to house staying with family and wound up getting jobs in Rochester as we’d hoped. We bought a house and have since settled down with only the essentials.


Here we are 8 months later and we finally took the trek to retrieve my things that I’ve been missing. We booked our plane tickets, reserved a moving truck, and a hotel during 4th of July weekend as to not take too much time off for work. What was expected to be a stressful trip ended up being the “vacation” I’ve been needing – despite us throwing our existing 4th of July party plans out the window.


We flew into Nashville early Sunday morning and instantly asked ourselves, what food have we been missing? As soon as we picked up our Budget moving truck, we headed for Edley’s BBQ. Oh how I missed their brisket plates and banana bread pudding! If you want to eat BBQ in Nashville – we highly suggest this place. I’ve been to multiple Edley’s BBQ joints and each one has a great atmosphere, so no matter what area of Nashville you may be in, have no doubts.

Photo credit: https://hugginsgroupblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/edleys-bbq.jpg

We packed up my stuff from the storage unit with no problem and then we made it to our sleazy, but cheap hotel before getting ready for a night out in the city. Since I picked Edley’s for lunch, Shane picked Clyde’s on Church for dinner. We’ve always loved the easy going vibe of this bar restaurant with it’s ping pong tables, shuffleboard, and laidback seating. We met up with some of my friends and had some candy shots (a popular Clyde’s favorite) and played ping pong of course!

Photo credit: http://nashvilleguru.com/officialwebsite/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Clydes-on-Church-Nashville-42.jpg

Before heading back to the hotel, we had to go to our favorite park for a stroll before crashing – we had been up since 3am! We walked from Clyde’s to Centennial Park which boasts the ah-inspiring Parthenon. I love this building in Nashville – it was my first park I ever visited when I moved to the city and after this night, it was the last. (Read more about the Parthenon in one of my previous posts here: http://datesinthestates.com/2016/12/11/nashville-tn-parthenon/)


To tour and eat our way through a little bit of Nashville in one day was a fun experience. The next day, we rolled out of bed and took off to Knoxville – a pit stop on our way back to Rochester to see friends. Knoxville has been a popular stop for us passing through – it really is a neat city to visit with it’s “Old City” and it’s “New.”


For our friends birthday – a little bar hopping was on the agenda. We ate dinner for the first time at Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe – their veggie gyro was delicious. We made our way to downtown for a drink at The Library – my favorite speakeasy bar in Knoxville. (Read more about The Library in one of my previous posts here: http://datesinthestates.com/2017/02/12/super-fun-day-trips-knoxville/).

The menu – an old encyclopedia
A fake fireplace surrounded by books and creepy old-time photos

 

 

 

 

The entrance

There are no signs for this bar so you must walk down an alley way near The Oliver Hotel and enter through the door with a red light above it. May seem sketchy at first, but inside you will find a hidden gem.

After having a few drinks at The Library, we then hopped to the next bar in the same building, The Oliver Royale (part of The Oliver Hotel). Both bars feature one of a kind, fancy drinks so be ready to pay a pretty penny. Try a Grendel at The Library or a Friend of a Friend at the Oliver Royale.

Photo credit: https://i0.wp.com/www.kandradventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Oliver-Royale-Knoxville-Restaurant-Review.jpg

Tuesday, on the 4th of July, we made our way back to Rochester. After our 12 hour + drive we quickly greeted the animals and went out for a walk in our neighborhood to see fireworks. Every year for the 4th of July I would be somewhere watching fireworks whether it was in Conesus, NY or Millville, PA – I never missed them! So I was damned if I was going to miss them this year. We went to the lookout near our house and watched fireworks in the surrounding towns circling the bay. We walked through smoke and watched our surrounding neighbors light off fireworks one at a time. Even though it wasn’t spectacular, it was good enough for me.

Continue Reading

A Dog Named Blu

We are so excited to announce a new addition to our family – Blu.

Blu is a rescued senior Coonhound mix who lived in a neglected home. He’s been through a lot, but he has adjusted to us very quickly.
His previous home consisted of living outdoors his whole life in a wooden dog house with holes in the floor boards and the roof, a 10 foot long chain wrapped around his neck so tight he had sores, and stagnant water. His owner was an elderly lady who just couldn’t take care of him, so we approached her and pitched the idea of taking him. Happily she accepted.

Shane trying to fix his coop to make him comfortable

He was located in Pennsylvania, so as soon as we closed on our new home in New York, we drove down and picked him up. Before making the four hour drive to our new home, we of course took him to the groomer! He was one smelly dog and as you can see – very overweight! The groomer did an amazing job and he did very well for his first time. He also did very well in the car – no accidents!

When we first picked him up to take him to the groomer.

When we arrived at our new house, he was so ecstatic. It was as if a new dog had already emerged. For people who don’t believe dogs smile, he will change your mind! Seeing his face when he was tied to the chain and then looking at him now – it’s incredible.

His first day at his new home.

He now has a fenced in yard to run around (chain free), a new doggie friend – Nova, a safe and clean dog house, and always clean water and fresh food.  He also has love, something he had never experienced before. We take him for daily walks and play with him. He is pretty clueless when we try to play, but he is catching on. He’s learning a lot from Nova as well as us teaching him how to sit and stay. Who said an old dog can’t learn new tricks?! We’ve had him for about 4 weeks now and has been losing weight – getting down to a healthy size.
Recently, we took him for his first trip to the vet. The vet was very understanding and courteous. As we are unsure if he had ever been to a vet, she treated him as a puppy. He received his vaccines, a puppy health check, heartworm tests, and a few others I lost track of! He also had a cyst under his belly that we had to take a sample of to make sure it wasn’t cancerous. Thankfully, it seems to be benign. He tested Lyme positive, had a few different kinds of worms such as whipworm, and his physical exam showed stiffness in his legs – which may be from the Lyme. He doesn’t have a lot of strength in his legs either; both of which may be caused from being on a chain his whole life and not getting proper exercise. When he breathes he snorts, this may be caused by the chain being wrapped around his neck causing a collapsed trachea. His teeth showed that he may be younger than we think (10 years). Unable to determine what type of Coonhound he may be, she called him a mutant beagle (because he’s 102 lbs!).

After his vet visit, we took him to Petsaver (his first pet shop trip!). We self groomed him in their wash room which he didn’t seem to mind. It was our first time using one of these rooms, too and we actually had fun! They supply everything and clean up the mess after. So much better than using your own bathtub. Another plus – he got to go shopping after!

He loves getting any kind of attention! Look at that smile!

Currently, we are treating him for the worms and Lyme disease. Hoping he will make a successful recovery to live on to be a happy old man. Stay tuned for more updates as we will be going back to the vet for a follow up in the next few weeks!

I set up a GoFundMe account in his name to help us with his vet bills and care – please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/dog-named-blu

Thank you everyone for your support.

Continue Reading

BIG NEWS!

First off – we want to apologize that we have not been posting as much as we’d like.

Life has gotten away from us this month in the best kind of way. We’ve begun a new adventure and I am so excited to see where it takes us. Since graduating high school, I’ve never stayed in one place for too long. I was living in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Pennsylvania again, and Tennessee while he was living in Texas and Montana. Finally, we are beginning to plant our roots in New York – certainly a new experience for us both.

Continue Reading

Plant & Sip Event

Surely, a lot of you have probably attended a paint and wine event – but have you ever attended a Plant & Sip event? As many paint and wine events popularity are slowly declining, businesses are looking for more and more ways to bring customers in and build relationships. For a local floral and wine gift shop, Stoney Acres, I pitched an idea of a Plant & Sip event and we all ran with it. With about a month of planning, we were able to come up with a unique idea that only few across the nation have done before and it was a hit!

Stoney Acres’ Plant & Sip Event – Feat. Elk Mountain Winery

The Plant & Sip event consisted of a creative afternoon making a tabletop terrarium garden while tasting Elk Mountain wines. It was such a blast to see how popular the event became with mostly word of mouth, tickets sold out in a snap. Events such as this is a great date idea to do in your local hometown. It is also a great idea to do while traveling so you may act as a local and meet people. The people you meet may also help you discover what else in their town you should see and do.

A lot of events like these I tend to find on Facebook Events. I love looking up in the city I’m in to see what may interest me. You can find anything from free to cheap events such as local festivals, yoga classes, and small release parties. Instead of looking for a tourist activity to do, why not look for a local event to do? They tend to be cheaper and more fun anyways!

Side note: – “Facebook Events also helped me find a face painting event for

dia de los muertos at The Flwr Shop in Nashville!” See photo below, post to come soon.

Continue Reading