Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hiking Kennesaw Mountain

Stephen and I will be taking a trip with our friends, Samantha and Tim, our parallel couple.  (Their relationship/life/likes and dislikes are very similar to ours, we even have two black dogs.)  For a few months we've been talking about heading out to Yosemite National Park to hike Half Dome.

Source:  Wikipedia

The hike is 8 miles one way with a 4,800 ft gain.  Yes, in one trip we'll hike 16 miles.  And climb up to the top of that giant rock.

To get ready for this trip Stephen and I have started to hike here in Atlanta.  We don't have anything near as dramatic as Half Dome here in Georgia, but we have two small mountains, Kennesaw Mountain and Stone Mountain, that we can hike to get our legs ready for steep inclines for miles at a time.

Kennesaw Mountain.  Source: Atlanta Outdoor Club
The hike up Kennesaw Mountain has some pretty steep parts of the trail which is nice while we train.  The path to the top of the mountain rises about 800 feet.  So we're about 4,000 feet short of Half Dome.  At least we'll be ready for some of the big hike.

What's great about Kennesaw Mountain is that it's free.  Yep, Atlanta still has something to do for free. The mountain played a huge part in the Civil War and the fall of Atlanta and along the way up to the summit you'll pass historical markets with stories of the battles that took place at the mountain.  You can also bring your dog on the hike.  It's been great to take Goose with us the past two days.  We haven't taken Mabel because she's a barker and none of the other dogs along the trail are barkers and she'd interrupt the peacefulness of the hike.  Goose has been great and having a sleepy dog at home this weekend has been wonderful.

If you're going to hike Kennesaw Mountain I recommend good, sturdy hiking shoes, a bottle of water and some bug spray.  It's best to get there early because the close parking lot fills up pretty fast.  There aren't any bathrooms along the trail, so stop at the Visitors Center before you start the hike if you have to use the restroom often.

I've also joined a gym to get ready for this hike.  I'll be doing a lot of cardio to get my heart and lungs ready and I'm going to focus on my legs, a lot.  Like all of the time.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Vistaprint Christmas Cards: Review

I'm a dork, I love sending out Christmas cards and I run to the mailbox every evening to see if one of our friends has sent us a card.  I love them.  I love displaying them in the house so I have smiling family and friends around me for a few weeks.

Our Christmas Card display from 2011
While I was decorating the house this year I went back to the 2011 cards that we received, yes, I kept them, and it was a fun trip down memory lane.  So many couples now have babies who didn't last year and the kids that were in the photos last year have grown so much in just one year.  That's why I love Christmas Cards.

This year I ordered our cards off of after seeing a deal on Groupon.  I spent one evening on Thanksgiving weekend playing around with the 900+ card options they have on the site and finally decided on one of them, using one of our favorite wedding pictures as our main image.  It took a while for me to decide on our card, there are so many great ones to choose from.  I know there are a ton of sites out there, even Etsy, where you can create your own card and I think the best advice I can give when picking your cards, pick a site and stick to it.  If you jump around to multiple sites to compare cards, you'll drive yourself nuts.  With the deal we had, it was a no-brainer, we were using Vistaprint.  When comparing prices, they were on the lower end of the scale, too.  Once we found 3 or 4 cards we really liked I picked 4 or 5 photo options and played around with them to see which combination I liked the most.

The ordering process was very simple and the cards were delivered faster than they had quoted.  Love that! I was a little nervous that the cards wouldn't be top quality but they are great - exactly what I was looking for.  The image is clear, the type is clear on the front and the back and the paper weight feels like it's a nice quality paper.  I couldn't be happier.

If you haven't ordered your Christmas cards yet, or are planning on sending them out next year, I highly recommend Vistaprint.