Thursday, December 6, 2018

Bourbon Street and Beyond: A New Orleans Adventure

 A Memorable Weekend Getaway in the Big Easy

I was invited to a weekend getaway to the Big Easy with my niece and her boyfriend. I went down to conquer Bourbon Street and came back with so much more than I ever expected. New Orleans is an amazing place with a vibe that no words can describe, a vibe you can only experience. The city is immensely rich in history, one weekend isn't enough to take it all in.

Discovering the French Quarter's Hidden Treasures

Uncovering the History 


The French Quarter has so much more to offer than music and drinking. Like most cities in the South with many historic stories to be told, the stories New Orleans has to offer gave me chill bumps.

Haunted New Orleans


New Orleans is known to be the Most Haunted City in America. Knowing that, we took a Vampires and Ghosts Walking Tour and a St. Louis Cemetery Tour to explore the city's spooky side.

Bourbon Street: All-Day and All-Night Party


We spent most of our time exploring the French Quarter, New Orleans' oldest neighborhood. The nights were spent carousing up and down Bourbon Street dancing, drinking, and people watching. Plus, grabbing a string of beads or two. There is no other street like this in America. It's an all-day and night party with bars, jazz and blues clubs, restaurants, shops, and strip clubs lining the sidewalks.

New Orleans' Unique Culture and History

Known for its Mardi Gras party all year long, Bourbon Street is lined with jazz and blues clubs and "take-out" bars. You can party to the wee hours of the morning and drink in the streets, taking your drink from one bar to the next.

Sampling New Orleans' Iconic Drinks



During these jaunts up and down Bourbon Street, we made several stops to our favorite bars and, of course, tried out the several "must-try" drinks New Orleans has to offer.

Sugary Delights


First, we started our day at Fais Deaux Deaux, sharing a Fish Bowl, which is a sugary concoction of fruit punch, vodka, tequila, rum, and Everclear.

Haunted Adventures at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar



Our next stop was Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, a haunted venue on Bourbon Street. The Purple VooDoo Daiquiri was a must-try at this historic bar, the oldest bar in America.

Hand Grenades and Shark Attacks



Next was the Tropical Isle Bar for a Hand Grenade, a melon-flavored slushy. We made several stops at this bar and even had a surprise experience involving a Shark Attack.

The Famous Hurricane and Beyond

The Hurricane, one of New Orleans' most famous drinks, was on our list. We picked up Hurricanes at the VooDoo Lounge and enjoyed a buy one get one free deal.

Uncovering the Supernatural

Ghosts and Vampires Galore

We joined a ghosts and vampires walk and explored New Orleans' oldest cemetery, learning about the historical basis for the ghost stories and encountering tales of real-life vampire sightings.  To this day,  there have been many sightings of the Carter brothers, John and Wayne, even by the new owner of the apartment building where the Carter's once called home.  

Ghosts of the Andrew Jackson Hotel

You can even book a stay at local hotels and spend the night with ghosts like at the Andrew Jackson Hotel, where several boys died in a fire decades ago when it was an orphanage.

Ghosts of the French Quarter



New Orleans has a rich history of crime and murder, and some of the city's luxurious mansions are rumored to be haunted. 

Marie Laveau: The Queen of VooDoo



We took a walking tour to learn about Marie Laveau, the Queen of VooDoo, and the misunderstood nature of Louisiana VooDoo, a spiritual religion with roots in West Africa and Native American traditions.

VooDoo has a bad connotation, culturally we think of VooDoo as something evil. Hollywood has sensationalized VooDoo giving it a bad name.

Louisiana VooDoo is a spiritual religion brought to New Orleans from the slaves of West Africa along with traditions from the Native Americans using herbs, poisons, and ritual creation of charms and amulets intended to protect oneself.

Marie Laveau was dedicated to her practice but she couldn't read or write. When she saw her "patient" she would make a doll of them. She would then stick a pin in the doll of where the injury or pain was. New Orleans residents would walk by her shop and see the dolls then see the patient walking down the street looking sickly.

This is how the rumors started with VooDoo dolls. People would say she would stick the doll "in the knee" and the person would have knee pain. When it was just the opposite. 

Exploring the French Market

The French Market, originally a Native American trading post, now offers a bazaar-like atmosphere with food, music, and shopping.

Cafe Du Monde is known for its beignets, but my experience left me less than impressed. 


A relaxing trolley ride down St. Charles Avenue offered a different perspective of the city.


New Orleans is a city filled with history, culture, and unique experiences that go beyond Bourbon Street. From haunted tours to delicious drinks and hidden gems in the French Quarter, it's a place where a weekend isn't enough to explore everything. Swamp tours, plantations, riverboat cruises, the Old Abisnthe House, and Pirates Alley are just a few of the many other activities waiting to be discovered in this vibrant city. My next trip to New Orleans is already in the works to explore even more of what this remarkable city has to offer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Rust Removal Tips for Your Jeep

Steps to Keep Your Jeep Rust Free

When I started off-roading and doing off road post checks on my Jeep I began to notice scraps on the undercarriage. Those scraps turned into spots for rust growth. Living in a place that uses road salt on the road exasperates the growth of rust. 


Rust on My Skid Plates Under My Jeep


There were a lot of scratches, scrapes and dings from my time on the rocky trails. I decided to try some Do-It-Yourself products since at the time that's what fit my budget at the time. 



 If you are looking for a low cost solution this may work. I highly recommend getting a professional undercoating if you have a newer vehicle.

 
Permatex Heavy-Duty Rubberized Undercoating 👉 Buy Here

Permatex Rust Treatment  👉 Buy Here



This spray takes 24 hours to set. I decided to test out this rubberized undercoating.  At the time I didn't understand how this product worked. I now wish I would have used it on my bumpers and undercarriage. 

My front and rear bumpers were becoming a real rust infested problem. You could see the rust coming growing underneath the powdercoat. The best solution would be to sandblast the whole bumper and start over. It didn't fit my budget at the time. So I tried out POR-15.


When you expose bare metal to oxygen and moisture you create prime growing conditions for rust. I have dinged my front and rear bumpers a lot over the years while off-roading. 



I did my best keeping up with the maintenance of keeping the rust at bay. However, living out East where there is an unusually obscene amount of salt dumping on the road plays havoc with my bumper and the rust invaded. 


Rust Removal Steps 

That nasty, corrosive rust must be stopped. During my rust removal and prevention process I started with sanding. I used a wire brush and sanded away as much of the rust as I could. Then sprayed on a Permatex Rust Treatment and let it dry for 24 hours.



Final Step 

I used Krylon Rust Touch spray paint,  semi-flat black paint. I let it dry for about three hours, then I pulled off the tape and paper. 


Top 5 DIY Rust Removal Treatments  

Permatex Rust Treatment
Rustoleom Rust Remover 👉 Buy Here
Oshpo 👉 Buy Here
Corroseal 👉 Buy Here
Rust and paint stripper wheel



With each of the liquid products you must prepare the metal. Remove all flaking paint and rust dust. Rinse with water. Then the liquid products can be painted on. I also sanded the bumper as best I could. 





Out of those 5 products, I felt the Oshpo worked the best, but it still didn't prevent the old rust from coming back on my bumpers. It worked great on the rock rash on my sliders.




Rust Prevention Product


POR-15 was another product I tested out on my front & rear bumper.

Rust Prevention in 5 Easy Steps with POR-15 👉 Watch Here

POR-15 Rust Prevention Update 👉 Watch Here





Testing Out Another Product - POR-15


I tired the product POR-15, the rust prevention kit. It's a 3 step process. I have found in my rust treatments that prepping the metal is the key. I spent a lot of time sanding off the rust as best I could. 




Then it was on to the 3 step process of the POR-15 Kit. It's really very simple. Spray on the degreaser to clean the metal. The instructions stated to keep the metal wet for 15 minutes. During that time I used my wire brush to help remove that stubborn rust. After rinsing off the degreaser, the next step was the metal prep. This is a liquid that needs to remain on the metal for 15 minutes. 



After the Metal Prep is rinsed off the the bumper dries, the POR-15 can be painted on the bumper. POR-15 is a thick black paint. I used two coats. Once the POR-15 paint dried I sprayed on a black matte rust prevention spray paint. The POR-15 is sensitive to UV rays. 



After POR-15 was applied! 

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Be Yourself - Embracing a Fulfilling Life

Exploring Ways to Live Authentically and Maximizing Time




(Updated December 2023) As I get older, the significance of time has become increasingly apparent to me. It's a precious resource that requires mindful management. My goal is to be vigilant with my time. I'm dedicated to embracing my best life and ensuring each day is lived to its fullest potential. During my journey I began to see several areas where I squandered this precious commodity -- TIME.

Escaping the Trap of Seeking Approval

Living life to its fullest requires the avoidance of wasting time. Among the many ways I saw my time being wasted was seeking acceptance from friends, colleagues, and society. Those ways stood out prominently when I became more mindful of simplifying my life. 

The desire for approval is universal, yet excessive concern about others' opinions can lead to a sense of unworthiness. This has become so prevalent in our society today with the internet and social media. This preoccupation can spiral into an unhealthy, stressful endeavor, often without our awareness.

Striving for Individuality and Freedom


In my own journey, I've frequently found myself attempting to fit in at the cost of losing my true self. However, with age comes a newfound indifference towards the approval of others or conforming to any specific group.

Embracing Personal Authenticity

Time is the most valuable currency in our possession, irreversible once spent. I made a decision to stop squandering it by conforming to society's predefined molds.

This is my time—time to be authentically me, unconcerned about the validation of peers, friends, neighbors, colleagues, or society as long as I am doing the right thing and being a good person. 


How To Stop Trying to Fit In and Finally Belong 👉 Read Here

10 Ways to Live Your Life for You


Embrace your individuality: Understand that you are unique, and your life is your own. You don't have to conform to others' expectations or opinions.

Focus on your own goals and dreams: Instead of worrying about what others think, focus on what you want to achieve in life. Set goals and work towards them.

Develop self-confidence: Believe in yourself and your abilities. The more confident you are, the less you will care about what others think.

Surround yourself with positive people: Choose friends and acquaintances who support and encourage you, rather than those who bring you down.

Learn to let go: Don't dwell on the opinions of others. Instead, learn to let go of negative thoughts and focus on the present moment.

Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and understand that nobody is perfect. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend.

Be assertive: Learn to communicate your needs and desires clearly and assertively. This will help you to stand up for yourself and live your life on your own terms.

Develop a sense of humor: Being able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously can help you to stop caring about what others think.

Take risks: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. The more you experience in life, the less you will care about what others think.

Remember that you only live once: Life is too short to spend it worrying about what others think. Live your life to the fullest and make the most of every moment.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Top 5 Winter Jeep Accessories

Embracing Old Man Winter
Essential Aftermarket Accessories for Your Jeep




Welcoming Winter's Diverse Meanings for Jeepers

As Old Man Winter settles in, the Jeep community experiences a distinct shift in perspectives. While Southern Jeepers embrace topless adventures, the colder climate enthusiasts face an entirely different seasonal reality.

Challenges and Preparation for Colder Climate Jeepers

As the cold temperatures, snow, ice, sleet, road salt, and slushy mud mixture make their imminent approach, it's crucial to gear up your Jeep for the upcoming challenges. To conquer these hurdles, preparing your Jeep becomes an essential task.

Top 5 Winter Accessories 👉 Watch Here


My Top 5 Accessories to Make Winter More Tolerable

The Crucial Role of Snow Tires



Winter driving in icy and snowy conditions demands proficient skills, coupled with the right set of winter-specific tires. The relationship between effective winter driving and snow and ice tires is inseparable. Ensuring your tires are neither old nor bald is critical; worn-out tires significantly increase the risk of sliding on snow and ice, regardless of your cautious approach.


In regions prone to heavy snowfall, opting for snow tires with thicker treads or studded tires becomes imperative. These specialized tires offer enhanced traction for braking and acceleration, providing the necessary grip to navigate safely through challenging winter terrains.

Nexen Roadian MTX Tire Review 👉 Read More 



 
Grille Guard for Winter Protection


The function of a grille guard extends far beyond mere aesthetics; particularly during winter, there comes a point when driving your Jeep might lead to slipping and sliding. Whether it's a minor skid or an unexpected 360-degree twirl — occasionally a source of amusement — or witnessing another vehicle performing a slippery dance, a grille guard mounted on the front of your Jeep serves as a crucial protective barrier against front-end damage.




Whether you get an inch of snow or several feet it pays to be prepared. Don’t forget your emergency kit for your Jeep as well. Depending on where you live and what kind of weather you get will determine what to put in your kit. 

Emergency Kit Ideas 👉 Read More

  • Shovel
  • Emergency blanket
  • Hand warmers
  • Flashlight
  • Kitty litter for traction
  • Hat/gloves/extra socks
  • Extra food and water  


Floor Mats for a Mess-Free Jeep Maintenance



Floor mats are an absolute necessity, particularly during winter, as they play a crucial role in containing the slushy mess created by snow and salt, ensuring effortless cleanup. Opting for a high-quality set of floor liners is key to managing this mess effectively. Look for mats crafted from rubberized or molded plastic materials for superior performance.

These specialized liners typically feature deep grooves designed to contain mud, slush, or water, along with tall sides that prevent overflow into the carpeted areas of your Jeep. The added convenience comes from the ease of removing the liners for a quick and efficient cleaning when necessary.

Jeep Momma Rugged Ridge Floor Mat Review 👉 Read More

Lasfit Floor Mat Review 👉 Read More

Winter Wiper Blades 


There are different kinds of wiper blades. Some winters you could use your wiper blades more than in the summer. Not only will you want to keep that wiper fluid reservoir full you will also want to think about getting winter wiper blades. 

They are built with a protective rubber boot that helps keep snow and ice off the blade and use a high-grade rubber for superior performance in the wet winter weather.    

Wiper Blade Maintenance 👉 Read More


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tips for First Time Off-Roaders

Basic Jeep Off-Road Tips




When I first put my tires on those rocky gravel roads I had no basic background knowledge of off-roading. At the time I didn’t even realize how intense off-roading could be or what it was all about. I just thought it was gravel road driving with some mud thrown in here or there. 

There are a few techniques I wish I would have known those first few times I hit the trails. 

Off-Road Basics 👉 Watch Here


One of them was simultaneous brake/throttle operation otherwise known as “Two Footed Driving”. There are several off-road conditions that require this type of driving. When climbing rocks or stepped objects using light brake pressure with light throttle will keep the vehicle from jerking or lurching.



This technique should also be used when you need to stop and restart a vehicle on a steep incline. 



 Another important key for a successful off-road trip is controlling your vehicle. Each different terrain has a different effect on the steering which means you always need to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and maintain a good driving posture. 


Even when your Jeep goes off camber you need to keep your back parallel to the seat. You need to resist the urge to stay “upright” and go “off camber” in your seat with the Jeep. This will help you become familiar with what it feels like and give you a better feel for off camber situations to help you control your Jeep better. 


Airing down your tires is a must to give you a bigger footprint while you are out on the trails or in the sand or mud or snow.  When you do air down you need to be aware of your air pressure while you are off-road. Reduced tire pressures could cause tire unseating and total loss of air pressure. To reduce the risk of tire unseasting while at a reduced tire pressure, reduce your speed and avoid sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers. 


Off-Road Basics: Airing Down 👉 Read More



Slowing down in general is a good idea anyways. Take your time to traverse those obstacles and trails to prevent any damage or injury. Taking your time also allows you to enjoy nature and gives you a break from the busy everyday stresses of life.


Additional Tips

  • Never go off-road alone on the trails. 
  • Use a spotter if you don't feel confident going over obstacles.
  • Have a recovery kit and plan. 
  • Use the words passenger and driver instead of left and right when spotting. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Live Your Best Life

Crafting a Life You Don't Need to Escape From

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from. ~Seth Godin



(Updated December 2023) Ever since I bought my Jeep I have began looking at my life in a different way. The time we spend on this earth is limited and so very precious. More recently - when I was about to turn 50 - I decided I needed to make the most of this time. It was vital to my happiness to live my best life.

I believe the meaning behind this quote is rather than just enjoy life while on vacations or holidays, we should strive to make our every day lives the ones we want to be living —every day of the week.



The first step I took to Live My Best Life was to make time to live the life I could enjoy. I started to simplify my life with getting rid of the physical and mental clutter. 

Steps to Simplify Your Life 👉 Read More 

How to Declutter Your Life (My New Book) 👉 Click Here

By doing this it allows me to enjoy more of my time. However, it is so much more than a simple de-clutter. It is a process and it can take several years before you can perfect it. 

 

1. Make Relationships a Priority.
2. Remove Unneeded Possessions from Your Home and Life.
3. Make Your Work Your Job.
4. Or, See Your Job as Part of Your Work.
5. Guard Your Time.
6. Take Care of Yourself.
7. Appreciate Your Season in Life.
8. Understand the Reality of Trials in Life.
9. Find Happiness in Your Every Day.

It's all about discovering and recognizing happiness. If we get rid of the clutter we can see the happiness. It can be appreciated in the simple things in life. 

Changing our mindset and knowing where to focus the energy is required. It won't happen overnight as it takes a long time to really start feeling true happiness in the simple.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Women's Wheeling Day 2018

"At the end of the day it's not about what you have or even what you've accomplished. It's about who you've lifted up, who you've made better. It's about what you've given back" ~Denzel Washington 



My first off-road adventure I was welcomed into a community with open arms. I was given support and encouragement like I have never received before. My joy for a new passion began to grow from an incredibly positive environment while I was surrounded by other women in a new sport I was starting out in. This set an amazing foundation for a love that continues to this day. 


The sixth annual Women's Wheeling Day event at Rausch Creek Off Road Park was the largest all women's off road wheeling event in the United States.  


Green Trail B 👉 Watch Here

Green Trail S 👉 Watch Here

Jeep Girls First Time Off-Road 👉 Watch Here


An event with a vision of a day on the trails where women can be among their peers in a welcoming and supportive environment. This event grew from eight women wheelers that first year in 2013 to a couple of hundred this year. 




In 2014 I joined the event as a first time woman wheeler, and the past three years following I actively participated volunteering my time as a tail gunner. A tail gunner works with the trail guide to safely guide off-roaders through the trails.



I was the tail gunner for Group 13, a group of Jeepers new to the trails. All but one of the women had never laid a tire off-road with the exception of snow and sand. Some were nervous, some were excited but apprehensive not knowing what to expect. 




During our ride at one point we needed to turn around mid trail so I ended up being the trail guide for a small part of the day. I had the opportunity to guide these first time off-roaders up and over obstacles. They were able to gain confidence each time they successfully traversed the trails. 



It was an amazing day seeing the smiles and hearing the hooray's as we wheeled around the green trails at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park. To give back to a community that I call my family and have come to love fills my heart with so much joy. To help give these first timers the confidence to continue to take their Jeeps off-road is worth more than my joy of wheeling on the more difficult trails. 





I look forward to the day I can be a trail guide. These women have thanked me for the awesome day they had but I need to thank them for giving me the confidence to know I can trail guide. The confidence to know I can successfully spot a Jeeper through and obstacle.     


Steps to Start Living Your Best Life

Declutter your Stuff  Be purposeful about this. Go drawer by drawer, closet by closet. Then do it all again in a couple of months. Emotional...