Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"How to Start Hunting"

One of the things I get asked the most is: "I want to start hunting my own meat like you do, but I have no idea where to start, no one in my family hunts and I don't know what to do. How do I start?" I come from a family of non-hunters as well! Luckily, I have my husband to help me and teach me but if you don't have that type of person in your life- what do you do, how do you start?? I hope this blog helps shed some light on what I personally would recommend to begin bowhunting (obviously these tips would help for gun hunters as well, we just strictly use bows)

Step 1: Take A Hunter Safety Course

Safety should always be #1 when you are a hunter! In order to buy licenses, tags, and permits in the US, you need to be certified in Hunter Education. Here, you can find a list of requirements by state: You will need about a week to dedicate to your safety course but it is the most important thing you need to do before you ever step foot in the field. Your hunter education certificate is valid in all 50 states (you don't have to get one in each state if you do out of state hunting). Some states allow an "apprenticeship program" which would allow you to hunt with a "mentor" without having your hunter safety course. But its best if you just get your certificate, considering every state is different.

Step 2: Decide What Type of Hunting You Would Like to Do

Majority of the states in the US have 1 breed of turkey (there are four types in the United States), some form of deer (there are four different types in North America), and waterfowl. The type of animals you hunt usually depends on the weapon of choice. Waterfowl would be very difficult (although not impossible) with a bow. Josh and I hunt whitetail deer, mule deer, all four breeds of turkey (Eastern, Merriam, Rio, and Osceola), elk, antelope, and we bow fish in the summer. We usually travel to 5-6 different states each year to hunt the variety of animals that we do. We also travel abroad to New Zealand and South Africa.

I would highly suggest watching some hunting YouTube channels (hint hint: to determine what animals you want to hunt and what type of hunting you want to do (spot and stalk, tree stand, ground blind, etc). This will determine the gear that you will need! Personally, I like ground blind hunting and spot and stalk!

Step 3: Shadow Someone / Get in the Field

While taking your hunter safety course- let the entire class know that you are new! You would be surprised at how many people will be willing to help you in your new endeavors, especially if you don't have any friends or family to help! The most ideal situation would be to shadow someone on one of their hunts. This allows you to experience everything from scent control to reading the wind to how to walk in to your spot as quietly as possible. A lot of these tips can also be found on YouTube but there's nothing like a hands on experience. I recommend shadowing someone before you ever buy any sort of equipment. You will learn very, very quickly if you are cut out to be a hunter just by sitting with someone (also- offer to film them, this will allow them to have their hunt filmed and will allow you to go out and sit with them).

If you don't meet anyone during your course, you might meet someone at your local Archery Pro Shop. There are also hundreds of different chapters of wildlife organizations throughout the country. I have listed several below, go to a chapter meeting- you would honestly be surprised at how willing people will be to help:
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
Whitetails Unlimited
Mule Deer Foundation
Ducks Unlimited

If you absolutely cannot find someone to shadow and you are having trouble learning via YouTube, I would recommend enlisting the help of an outfitter. Please note- this should be your last resort as they are expensive, BUT you will have access to spots that are already set up for you and you would have a resource that you could learn from while visiting their lodge!

Step 4: Visit A Pro Shop / Buy Gear

Depending on how Step 3 goes- you will probably need to visit a pro shop to get some camo and gear before heading out into the woods. That being said- you don't have to spend $1,500 on clothing. Depending on the state and type of hunting you will be doing- your camo will vary. We have 3 main set ups: turkey gear, early season gear, and late season gear. When I first started out, I bought the gear that I could afford for the season that I was starting in (turkeys) and then added to my collection the longer I hunted. We wear Nomad camo, it's the warmest stuff I've ever worn, super high quality, and won't cost you an arm and a leg: The color of camo will be very important as well and that is something your pro shop will be able to help with.

Ok, so what is a pro shop?? A pro shop is where you can find one on one advice from trained professionals who hunt and fish.  You can find this at a big box store like Cabalas; however, most of their employees do not have the training a person at an Archery Pro Shop would have. In order to find a pro shop in your area- simply search "archery pro shop" or visit this website: Hoyt only sells their bows at pro shops (it's also what we shoot), so if you enter your zip code, you will be directed to all the Hoyt dealers in your area. Those are the shops I would go to first.

Once you have located your pro shop, dedicate about 3 hours to visit and shoot as many bows as you can! The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is that you will only be as good as your equipment is! I would personally recommend looking to spend roughly $2,000 on your first round of equipment needed to start hunting between your bow,  arrow rest, quiver, arrows, broadheads, camo, and treestand/ground blind etc! Here is a list of everything we use:

Josh and I shoot Hoyt! However, you can't go wrong with any of the bows that are currently on the market. Find a bow that you like (color, grip, price range, etc)! Your pro shop will also be able to help you with the correct arrows and broadheads for your bow poundage and draw length. Make sure your pro shop also paper tunes your bow- that is vital for accuracy with archery. Just remember, you get what you pay for in this industry.

Step 5: Know the Laws

Natural resources and wildlife are extremely protected- as they should be. Every state has an annual handbook that comes with seasons, dates, times, bag limits, rules, regulations, public land boundaries, etc that every single hunter needs to follow to a T. Failure to do so can result in fines, loss of hunting privileges, and even jail time. There are online versions for these wildlife law handbooks and every hunter should review them every season to ensure they are following the most up to date laws and bag limits. If you are traveling to hunt out of state- ensure that you are reviewing their laws in the state you are traveling to!

Step 6: Practice, Practice, Practice

Taking a life is a very serious matter and should be taken very, very seriously. You need to be as proficient as you can be with your weapon! I recommend shooting at least 2-3 dozen arrows a day at various yardages. If you don't have room at your home or apartment to practice, find a local archery range (indoor or outdoor) to practice at! You should also practice in the gear that you will be hunting in- it's very different to shoot with late season gear on compared to shorts and a tank top. Obviously you don't always have to practice like that but at least once or twice before you go into the woods.

Step 7: Get Hunting

By now- you should be ready! Whether you are tree stand hunting on private ground, spot and stalk on public land, going with an outfitter, whatever the case may be- everything should be all set up! Obviously you will always improve as hunter with every single hunt you go on. I improve on stuff every time I am in the woods. The most important thing to remember is that you are entering the animal's world. They have been bred to survive and beat predators and other hunters. If you do have a shot at one, make sure you are calm, collected, and make the best possible shot on that animal that you can- because that is what they deserve. They don't deserve to suffer. They don't deserve to be wounded. Yes, it happens to all of us but please take all measures to ensure that it doesn't happen to you. Be as prepared as possible! Watch as many shows and YouTube videos as you can. Confidence will develop over time and soon- you will have fresh, wild game in the freezer! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

How Much Cardio Should I Be Doing?

The age old question. The thing I get asked more than anything on the planet.

A few things:
Cardio is not magical
Cardio should not be abused and should not act as a form of punishment if you overeat or binge

Let's start at the beginning....

You burn calories 24/7. Even when you are sleeping. You burn calories while you eat. You burn calories petting your cat (not a lot, but you ARE ALWAYS BURNING CALORIES).

You are comprised of two magical numbers when determining how much cardio you should be doing. Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and TDEE (total daily energy expenditure).

We are all so different and so are our BMR and TDEE. Someone who is 5'3, 135lbs, and 15% body fat has a MUCH different BMR than someone who is 5'3, 135lbs, and 35% body fat. Same goes for TDEE because the more muscle you have- the more calories you will burn throughout the day.

There are a multitude of ways to determine these numbers. There are many free online calculators but those are sometimes hit or miss as everyone uses different calculations. I'm not saying you have to buy a meal plan from us but we are certified nutrition professionals and our meal plans have helped over 12,000 customers. IF you are interested, they are available at

Back to cardio

Your TDEE encompasses your sleeping, eating, moving, breathing, petting of the cats, showering, lifting, and cardio, etc, etc. Every movement. Everything you burn throughout the day. Your BMR is what your body burns at rest aka laying in bed all day long.

Obviously, these are 2 different numbers. When factoring your TDEE, the calculation you use (hint hint, ours) will ask you to determine how many hours of activity you perform throughout the week. If you are a nurse on your feet for hours on ends and lift weights, your TDEE activity level number will be vastly different than someone with a desk job who maybe does some walking at lunch.

The amount of cardio you do should be calculated into your TDEE. So, if you are determining your numbers and you aren't doing cardio, you might be at 12 active hours per week. So your caloric intake will be based on 12 hours. If you want to start adding in cardio, let's say 4 30 minute sessions a week, your active hours just went from 12 to 14 and your calories will GO UP because you are MOVING MORE.

I try to do cardio 3-4 times a week, duration depends on my current goal. How much cardio you do is up to you but you need to be logging in and factoring in all of the cardio that you are doing. I personally do 3-4 40 minute sessions a week if I am wanting to cut (I like to eat a lot so I am willing to do more cardio). 2-3 15 minute sessions a week if I am wanting to maintain or bulk (to keep my heart and lungs healthy). I would NEVER recommend doing more than 45 minutes per session, if you do more than 50 minutes- you will absolutely put your body in a catabolic state (aka consuming your own muscle for energy). I personally do steady state cardio but it is easier on my joints. I do incorporate HIIT from time to time in the form of crossfit. Please don't do what I do if you are not eating enough to do what I do.


Ok, let's take a breath.

Ok, back to it.

I ALWAYS RECOMMEND that anyone trying to lose weight should also be weight lifting because the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn- as it takes more energy to move muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your BMR will become because it takes more energy to move a 200lb person that is solid muscle compared to a 200lb person that is solid fat (obviously no one is 100% anything)

If you want to lose weight: eat less than you burn aka TDEE
If you want to maintain weight, eat what you burn aka TDEE
If you want to "bulk", eat more than you burn aka TDEE

A good rule of thumb is to never eat below your BMR

Specific macros, calories, etc should not be set in stone either. Adjust. Make changes. Track what your body is doing. We always recommend our clients update their stats every 2 weeks to ensure the most accurate macro and caloric totals for their current bodies.

Ok, I hope this helped. Please provide feedback on instagram if it did!

Monday, August 7, 2017

72 Hours in Cape Town

Africa is something that gets in your blood. I can't really explain it until you visit. But I want to come back every single year for the rest of my life. We have been to South Africa twice now and Cape Town was absolutely magical.

Before reading this, I wanted to point out that we paid for ALL of these activities, hotel, and excursions. No one is paying us to say any of these things or post their links. I simply am doing it because I know it's expensive to travel half way around the world and if someone can give someone else a helpful recommendation- it's worth it!

Day 1: We landed in Cape Town at around 11:30am. Directly from the airport, I had arranged for our private tour guide to meet us in order to get the day started immediately so no time was wasted. We did not go to the hotel beforehand so we made sure we were wearing the outfits we wanted to be wearing for the day on our last flight. For months, I had been planning on what we should do and what we should see, so I had my list ready. Most tour guides will make suggestions along the way but I had very specific points of interest that I wanted to experience.

Our first stop was the colored houses on the beach in Muizenberg. We enjoyed the beach for a short while, got coffee at a local restaurant called Knead, and were on our way to see the penguins at Boulder Beach.

As soon as we got to the beach, it started pouring rain (so it was quite empty, which was extremely nice to experience the penguins without a ton of people around). We stayed there for about an hour until the rain got too heavy. We had an absolute blast with the penguins and getting to see them and their babies up close in that environment was amazing.

After we left the penguins, we made our way to Cape of Good Hope. Along the way, we saw a ton of animals, including baboons, ostrich, eland, and antelope.

The rain really started to pick up for the afternoon and the sun sets around 6pm during the winter Africa months so we drove down Chapman's Peak before the sun went down. It was the most beautiful drive and scenery I have ever seen. It was absolutely magical!

After the drive, we went out for a wonderful seafood dinner downtown Cape Town. We got to our boutique hotel, unpacked, and got everything ready for the next morning.

Guide Service:
(Both booked through Expedia, which I would highly recommend)

Day 2: The day started off extremely early. Our driver picked us up at 5:15am and we headed off the cage dive with great white sharks! We met everyone at the office, signed our paperwork, and off we went. We enjoyed the sunrise from the boat as we headed towards Seal Island. On the way, we ran into about 350 dolphin that were swimming along the boat for about 25 minutes. It was an extremely magical experience. We then also saw a few large whales on our way to the shark spot!

We were on the boat for about 5 hours and unfortunately did not see any sharks. We heard a report for another ship that a whale had died in the harbor so we think all of the sharks were there instead of the island where we were. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time getting to watch the whales and the dolphins!

Cage Diving Excursion:

After our driver dropped us back off at our hotel, we grabbed a quick nap, changed into hiking gear, grabbed some lunch at our hotel, and met our hiking guide for our sunset hike up Lion's Head!

We started our evening hike around 5pm and made it to the top just as the sun was setting. It was absolutely breathtaking to view Cape Town from that peak and watch the sun go down. It took about an hour as well to get down in the dark (our headlamps saved us, so please- make sure you pack one if you are planning a hike)

We got back to our hotel room around 8pm (our guide took us to run a few errands that we needed to do), we ordered a pizza and got to bed early again because the next morning, we were hiking up Table Mountain.


Day 3: Our third morning started around 6am when our guide picked us up from our hotel and we headed to Table Mountain. We began the hike up the India Venster trail. It was not easy. It was not for a beginner. We had to scale rocks and climb ledges and walk very small, small paths. But 5 hours later, it was all worth it for the incredible views. We watched the sunrise from the side of the mountain!

Words can't describe it and it's something that I hope all of you experience in person, I truly do!

Normally, there are cable cars working that would have taken us back down the mountain (you can also take them up but we would have hiked regardless). Unfortunately for us, they were undergoing scheduled maintenance so we took another path down that took roughly 2 hours.

It was around 1pm and we headed about an hour away to sand surf in the dunes! Yes, it's a real thing and it was AMAZING! We had such a wonderful time on the dunes and luckily we were the only ones on the dunes. We had an incredible few hours of sand surfing! It's definitely something I would recommend for all adventure seekers!

Sand Surfing Excursion:

We arrived back to our hotel room around 7pm and we were EXHAUSTED! We order sushi and stayed in the for the night! We unfortunately were leaving early the next morning so we got everything packed up to be ready in the morning. We had a very short time in Cape Town and I wish we had several more days but we got to experience so much and I wouldn't change it for the world

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Ultimate Alaska Cruise

My husband (Josh) and I absolutely love cruising, it's our favorite way to vacation! This was my sixth cruise and Josh's fifth. We have been fortunate to take a lot of warm cruises (Bahamas, Western and Eastern Caribbean, etc) so for this trip- we decided to switch things up. We have always wanted to go to Alaska and what better way to experience it than with a cruise! 

Day 1: Seattle, WA

We live in Columbus, OH so the morning of our cruise, we had a 4am flight to make it to Seattle by noon. Our boat left the dock at 4pm and I have always wanted to visit the troll that lives under the bridge in Seattle- luckily our Uber driver was super cool and took us to see it before taking us to port

Once we made it through customs, check in, baggage scan, etc- we were on board! The first night on board is also super chill- we booked our spas and treatments for the week*, got unpacked and got our room organized, set up our wifi, met our cabin steward, and enjoyed a beautiful dinner with the most gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean

*We like cruising Carnival because it is a more affordable cruise line which just allows us more flexibility with on board activities like spa treatments, room upgrades, more expensive excursions, etc. Carnival is a great line to cruise, the staff will learn your name on the first day, remember your orders for dinner, etc- it's a great way to cruise and I would highly recommend them for any cruiser! 

Day 2: Full Day at Sea

Typically on a warm cruise, a full day at sea is pretty boring. There's nothing to look at except the ocean and finding 2 lounge chairs next to each other is a Hunger Games scenario (unless you volunteer someone from your group to go save chairs at 5am, it's highly unlikely you will get to lay out next to one another). On this cruise- it was the complete opposite. There are less people on board but our ship had a ton of lounge huts on board in the adult only section of the deck. We also had something to look at on this cruise instead of just water. You are only about 100 miles off shore the entire cruise so you get to see snow capped mountains in the distance the entire time you are on the boat! We spent our second day in the huts and also getting some spa treatments done (we had a couples seaweed and hot stone massage and Josh had a men's facial with a shave while I had my first teeth whitening procedure ever)! 

The day at sea was also the first elegant night- which always means lobster at dinner! We prefer to do the "any time" dining and that allows us to not be confined by a reservation each night. We also sat in the same seat though right by the window with the same servers each night. 

Day 3: Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord

Our third day on the ship was breathtaking. We went to the gym, each had a facial, enjoyed breakfast, and then got situated in our hut on the deck as we entered the Tracy Arm Fjord at around noon. We cruised about 1/4 mile off the coast and everyone had viewing on either side (this was a concern of mine going into this cruise that only 1/2 the boat would see coast and the other would see water but there was things to view the entire time of either side of the boat). We saw so many frozen waterfalls, snow capped mountains, glaciers with seals sun bathing, and the bluest water I have ever seen in my life. We cruised through the Fjord until about 8pm! 

Day 4: Skagway, Alaska

We arrived in Skagway at 7am and had until 8pm to enjoy the city. Our first excursion of the day was a helicopter ride to a dog sled mushing camp. I can't even put into words how magnificent the scenery was from a helicopter! The weather was also the best they have had all year and it was so clear we could see a mountain that was over 90 miles away! We landed in musher camp, got to ride on a sled with 8 dogs over 2 miles, we were able to pet the dogs and also play with the six week old puppies that were in camp.

I asked a ton of questions when we were there and learned so much about the sport while we were there. There were 240 dogs at camp. The camp was on top of a glacier so they sometimes have to move if the snow starts to melt (there's usually 4 feet of snow on top of the glacier). The mushers use the summer camp as training for the dogs. When they run the Iditarod, they usually pull the sled, musher, and 100lbs of supplies. In camp- they pull the sled, musher, and 2-4 others (people like us). This is great strength training for the dogs and allows the mushers to generate income for the coming months of the race. 

The front dogs are usually females as they are smarter and less distracted and the males are typically in the back for strength purposes. The puppies were also the cutest things in the entire world!!! 

We arrived back at the helicopter base camp a little before 11pm and our zip-lining adventure didn't start until 2pm so we had some time to explore the town of Skagway: we enjoyed locally brewed root beer, ate the freshest seafood lunch I've ever had, and explored the shops and sites that the tiny town has to offer. 

We arrived to our zip-lining excursion and had the best time! We were in the world's second largest rainforest and went down 11 lines (it took about 2 hours with a 35 minute drive to and from port). We also were able to enjoy fresh glacier water at the end of the excursion before heading back to town

Day 5: Juneau, Alaska

We woke up in Juneau to quite a bit of rain and fog. We had a 4 hour whale watching tour and salmon bake that was going to take up the entire day (which ended up working out due to the weather). The bus tour took us through the town and we were able to stay dry while also experiencing the country's largest capital (by area). We arrived on the boat tour (which was covered and heated, thank goodness) and had the best time! The boat had complimentary coffee, tea, donut holes, and salmon with crackers for sampling! The naturalist was incredible and so passionate about whales and educating everyone on board. There was a second and third open deck where we all went to once a whale was spotted and we were able to watch a pod of orcas for about an hour and then spotted a humpback and a few sea lions as well. We docked at the Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island where we enjoyed a salmon bake and the best brownies I've ever had! 

Day 6: Ketchikan, Alaska

Our last stop in Alaska was an island off the main land called Ketchikan. There's about 12,000 people that live on the island year round. We went halibut fishing for about five hours! The fishing started off slow and we had to move to a few spots before we started to have any luck. I caught a very small cod that we used as fresh bait and as soon as we switched our bait from salmon to the cod, everything changed. I hooked into a huge halibut and had about a 15 minute struggle to reel him into the boat (they live at 200+ feet so that's a lot of line to reel in). I got him in the boat and measured him (you can only keep them if they are under 44inches or above 80 inches) and mine ended up being 43.5 inches! You can only keep 1 per person so I started fishing for cod and flounder while Josh kept fishing for halibut (he ended up catching 3 and releasing 2). Lucky for us- the filets were sent home to our house for us to enjoy halibut for weeks to come!

The evening of the sixth day was extremely special for us as well. Carnival really took care of us on this trip (I would like to mention that we paid for the entire cruise, excursions, travel, and spa treatments on the boat but they did hook us up with priority check in, free wifi, an upgraded dinner, and a few surprises in our room each night that were above and beyond from past cruises). We enjoyed crab cakes, lobster bisque, surf and turf, and some incredible cheesecake for dessert. It was an amazing 2 hour meal for us and we had so much fun on top of th boat, by ourselves, enjoying each others company. 

Day 7: Victoria, Canada

Our last full day on the boat was so relaxing. We went to the sea day brunch that is always held on the last full day, spent about 5 hours on the deck reading, writing this blog, and enjoying the magnificent views. We then went to he gym (we have been going to the gym and doing 20-30 minutes of cardio and sitting in the sauna each day) and then packed up, got ready to explore Victoria, BC, and headed off the boat. 

We didn't get to Victoria until 730pm which is why we wanted to have our entire room packed up since we planned on staying in port until 1130pm. We enjoyed dinner at Red Fish Blue Fish, walked around downtown, and enjoyed dessert at the Emperor Hotel! 

Day 8: Seattle, WA

We are back in the lower 48! Before we left to head back to Columbus, we enjoyed a local breakfast and then met our friends at the airport for some coffee and laughs before heading through security. Cheyann is a 24 year old who is battling (and winning) ovarian cancer and is one of the most motivational women I know. I am so grateful for this beautiful soul

Companies/excursions we used (we paid for everything, this is not a promotion or ad for any company):
Dog sledding and helicopter ride:
Whale watching: 
Halibut fishing: 


Helpful what to pack website:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Travel Bucket List

I have compiled a work-in-progress list of all the items on my Travel Bucket List. I have also included all of the items we have already ticked off the list (I say we as in Josh and me, there were a lot of trips taken as a family when I was growing up but I wanted to only include items from married life). Some items are more generic than others and some are oddly specific. I will continually add to this list as new ideas arise! Comment your bucket list ideas if you wish!

Ticked Off The List

  • Drink Luwack Coffee In Bali
  • Learn to Surf- Bali
  • Trek Mt Batur- Bali
  • Spearfish- Naples
  • Catch Mahi Mahi in Aruba
  • Climb the Sydney Bridge- Australia
  • Zip Line in Honduras
  • Catch a Wahoo In Australia
  • New Zealand (All Of It)
  • Kayak Down The Chevon River- Dominican Republic
  • Visit Wall Drug- South Dakota
  • Visit Mt Rushmore
  • Las Vegas (6 Times)
  • Hike to the Y In Utah
  • Cave Tube in Belize
  • Feed Monkeys in Belize
  • Feed Monkeys in Bali
  • Snorkel in the Grand Cayman Islands
  • See the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Take A Selfie with a Wallaby- Australia
  • Go Fishing in New Brunswick
  • Snorkel In Curacao
  • Spend Two Weeks In South Africa
  • Take A Selfie With Big Ben
  • Ride Horses Through Mountains in Montana
  • Get A Doyle Whip from Disney World
  • Cedar Point (12 Times)
  • Take a Selfie with a Sea Turtle
  • Visit the Troll in Seattle
  • Catch a Halibut in Alaska
  • Dog Sled in Alaska

  • Capitano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver
  • Eat a Rainbow Bagel in NYC
  • 100 Mile Horse Ride through Montana
  • European Cruise
  • Hawaii
  • Greece
  • Hike Mt Kilimanjaro
  • Tokyo
  • Visit All Disney Parks (Orland and Anaheim Complete)
  • Kayak Down the Nile
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  • Flathead Lake in Montana
  • Volcano Descent in Iceland
  • Swim in the Devils Swimming Pool
  • Visit Dubai
  • Swim with Penguins in South Africa
  • Para Gliding in Turkey
  • Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico
  • Climb the Great Wall of China
  • Climb Machu Picchu
  • Hang Glide over Rio De Janeiro
  • Rainbow Mounts in Peru
  • Barcelona Stairs to Heaven
  • Swim with Sharks- Maldives
  • Glow in the Dark Beach- Maldives
  • See the Pyramids- Egypt
  • Visit the Redwood Forest
  • Raft through the Grand Canyon
  • Canyoning in Arenal Volcano- Costa Rica