Monday, September 29, 2014

Monty Monday

Monty met a new friend this weekend while camping. They romped around, chased tennis balls, sunbathed, ate too many graham crackers, shared water bowls and got a little too close to the fire. Meet Bukka (pronounced book-a). We couldn't manage to get them in a photo together without one of them being a blur, so I opted for a photo of each. Isn't that two-tone nose amazing?! 

Side note, Monty has to have a minor surgery tomorrow. He has a very tiny cyst on his head that needs to be removed and sent to the lab. It started as what looked like a bug bite or small cut, but in two months, it still hasn't healed. I took him to the vet this afternoon and decided to take their advice. Monty is only one week away from his 5th birthday and we want him around for 10 more birthdays. Wait, I mean forever. Dogs live that long, right?

Say a prayer for our goofy boy. We're going to snuggle him a little extra tonight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bores Backpack Europe: Wengen, Switzerland

Traveling from Lucerne to Wengen included a few quick train transfers, an overpaid 1st class train ticket, a little motion sickness, amazing scenic views, and an entire platter of cheese for just the two of us. Cue the Will Smith lyrics.

Lungern, Swizterland / Seen from the train

Upon arrival into Wengen, we learned from the locals, that Wengen is pronounced with a "V" not a "W". #german101 It's a relatively small village, that is only accessible by train. And it's car-less, which was half the appeal - you will see a few electric cars strolling the streets, but they're used to transport goods, merchandise and visitors willing to pay a fee. Although Wengen sounded low key and off the beaten path, we discovered it's a relatively popular town that most tourists have already discovered. Nonetheless, it was still a great city to explore, even along side thousands of others all trying to enjoy the same view. 

When we stepped off the train in Wengen, after a 14 minute uphill ride, we both squealed. Okay, I was the one who squealed - Mr. B just grabbed his camera. The view of Jungfrau Mountain - try pronouncing that - made you stop in mid stride. It was so majestic.

We relied on trip advisor to find the best place to stay. Hotel Edelweiss had the best reviews (for our budget!) so that's where we set up camp. The room d├ęcor was straight out of the 80's, but totally livable. The balcony, however, was the best part, providing us a full time view of Jungfrau. Mr. B was not complaining.

Unfortunately, the day we arrived was the only day we saw the sun, which meant it was the only day it was clear enough to actually see our amazing view. Overcast skies and rain greeted us for the days following.

We weren't going to let cloudy skies ruin our time in Wengen, so what did we do? We drank. We met a bartender at the local wine bar and learned quite a bit about their way of life. You know, life in town with a population of only 1,300 and your feet being the only mode of transportation - is way different than the way of life we lead. Turns out, he and his wife do own a car, but it's parked in a town that requires a 40 minute train ride with 2 stops to actually get to. In fact, they recently had a baby, which required said train hopping in addition to a car ride to the hospital. Could you imagine being in labor while sitting on a train with thousands of tourists? #nothankyou

In addition to drinking, we walked and hiked. Have I mentioned how much we walked in Switzerland? I swear it was miles and miles and miles per day. Had I known, I would have purchased one of those fancy-fuel-band-pedometer-thingy-majigs so I actually knew how many miles we clocked. My guess is 10 miles a day. No exaggeration. To some, you may be laughing. To the nonathletic-Bores couple, that's a lot.

Wengen had several trails that were literally dug into the mountain side, and that's where we explored. How farmers raise their cattle and goats on the steep hills that lead directly to the Lauterbrunnen valley, I'll never know. I could barely walk the trails, let alone live on such a steep piece of property. My luck, I'd walk out my front door and tumble the whole way down.

All of that walking meant we could eat all the fondue we wanted, right? After having one too many beverages, I convinced Mr. B to take me out for some authentic Swiss fondue. He isn't a swiss cheese fan, which is why I had to twist his arm. It was 50CHF per person, for the fondue only. Let's just say it wasn't a cheap date. We devoured a basket of bread with it and then had belly aches for days to come. Doesn't he look thrilled?

Wengen turned out to be a lovely stop in the middle of our week in Switzerland. Although we never made it to the top of Jungfrau as planned (due to weather), we met locals instead, drank the best cappuccino, ate Swiss food, and enjoyed the views, even if it meant looking into the valley instead of up towards the mountains. It honestly doesn't get much prettier than Wengen.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monty Monday

"Hello, my name is Monty and I am obsessed with stuffed animals."

After Monty stole my St. Bernard pup last week, I decided to "steal" him a new one at my work conference a few days ago. There was another vendor giving away these cute (now deformed) stuffed dogs as a tchotchke. But only to hospital folks, not to other vendors. When she wasn't looking, I grabbed stole one and quickly threw it under our table. My heart was beating fast. So fast.

The following day my name was called in a drawing for a Go Pro 3+ camera. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the room to receive it so they gave it away to someone else. #karma

Hope it was worth it Monty. Your dad certainly doesn't!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hocus Pocus: What are Essential Oils

Curious oil friends, this one is for you. A lot of you have been reaching out, curious about what oils are, why I am using them and asking if you should. The answer is, "Of course you should!" But I am going to let you decide for yourself. This is a post full of all the juicy oily details. Give them a try, ladies and gents.

What are Essential Oils (EO)?
Let's start with this amazing fact first: The Bible contains 188 references to the use of essential oils or the plants from which they are derived. Awesome, huh? These oils are the aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plants and have been around for A LONG TIME, guys. These are not new, despite the recent craze. We are just finally catching up to what's been available to us all these years. The essential oil is actually obtained from the seeds, roots, and entire shrub, flowers, leaves and trees. The specific part of the plant in which the oil comes from, varies per oil.
I was never really skeptical (mostly curious), but most people are, so I totally understand if you're one of them. Scott refers to me as a hippy-wanna-be. But guess what? I think I am okay with that. Half the reason I jumped on board is because I trusted my friends and believed the results they were having with the oils. Now I have some of my own success stories.
Here is a great article for those of you still needing that extra boost. It's long, but keep reading, the disclosure at the end is my favorite part.
How am I using them?
I am relatively new to oils. I bought my starter kit in July, so I don't have a wide range of testimonials, but I am finding uses for ALL of the oils I own and now I want SO many others. Some examples (all mentioned below come in the starter kit):

  • Frankincense: I mix ONE drop of this EO with a quarter size of Sweet Almond Oil and use it as a face cleanser every night. Smells good and is keeping my recent "teenage-acne" at bay.
  • Purification: I use this to zap zits and blemishes. I even have Scott using this one. This is also a good one for dog ear infections. Monty is prone to ear infections in his one ear, so I've been putting one drop on the outside flap of his ear a couple of times a week and his ear has been less red and irritated!
  • Peppermint: MY FAVORITE OIL. I have used this to relieve headaches, by putting a drop on my thumb and pressing it to the roof of my mouth and back of my neck. I also mixed this with PanAway and Joy and it CURED my period cramps. That was one of the first recipes I tried and what made me a believer in oils. This is also amazing to diffuse and helps wake me up in the morning.
  • Lemon: I put a drop in my water every day to help detox and cleanse my insides. Helps reduce bloating and is good for a hangover too :)
  • Thieves: This is an great defense for a weak immune system and kills airborne bacteria. I've been using this in the diffuser a lot to kill germs. It's a great one to put on the bottom of your feet when you are feeling under the weather. Or on your throat when your getting a sore throat. I also mixed this up with some Vitamin E oil and rubbed it on our sheets while we were away on our trip. This is a great oil, for all you germ-a-phobes out there.
  • Lavender, Peace and Calming and Valor: This is a great sleepy time combination. Putting this in the diffuser makes my house smell like a spa and it makes both of us extra sleepy. I also mixed these up with Vitamin E oil and put it on my feet before bed. 
  • Stress Away: this comes with a roller ball, so I just roll it on my wrists and neck when I am feeling anxious. I used this one a lot on my travels through Europe. Cramped planes and rushed mornings make me uneasy, so it really was a life saver. Scott yelled at me on the plane and said it stunk, but I personally think it smells delish.

I have been using my oils for SO many other things, but wanted to give you a few real life examples.
Another reason I purchased the oils (aside from my own curiosity) was to help relieve Scott's migraine pain. He has been on so many preventative medications, which seem to only last a year before he's trying a new combination. Fortunately, he hasn't had a migraine since I got my oils, but I am ready to go with Peppermint, PanAway and M-Grain when he does get one. I will report back on the results!
Regardless if you suffer from minor or major ailments, there are HUNDREDS of testimonials out there that you can research. Several of my friends turned to oils to treat allergies, eczema, scars, sleep issues, infections, colds, etc. and the oils are working. It's amazing what they are doing for people. Keep in mind, what works for some, may not work for you. So I always encourage: Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!! That's half the fun.
How do you get some? 
What I started with and what I recommend to people is the Premium Starter Kit for $160. It comes with 11 of the most popular oils (one being Frankincense, which is one of the MOST expensive oils out there), but you get a bunch of sample packets and a DIFFUSER too! That's probably my favorite part. The diffuser alone is $95, so really the starter kit is the best bang for your buck. And is a great way to start experimenting with essential oils.
I am going to leave you the detailed instructions on getting yourself the kit:

1. Click here for the sign-up page.

2. Select "Sign Up As: Young Living Wholesale Member" - which means you will get 24% off all future oils orders. Forever. As long as you spend $50 annually - that's easy to do. Promise.

3. The "Enroller ID" and "Sponsor ID" boxes should already be filled in for you. If they aren't, my ID is 1937143, and you can fill in both boxes with this number.

4. Fill out your name, billing address, shipping address, and contact info. (The reason you are asked for your SSN is for tax purposed; if you make over $600/year selling Young Living products, you will receive a 1099 form in the mail, as is required by law. Young Living never shares this info with anyone.)

5. Create your password and pin which you will use to log into your account and order your oils.

6. Select your enrollment order. This is where you can specify which starter kit you would like. You must sign up with one of these kits to become a Wholesale Member. I recommend the Premium Starter Kit with the Aroma Diffuser ($160). That's what I got and I love my diffuser. The Home Diffuser is nearly the same only it doesn't have a timer and the mist covers less of a radius than the Aroma one.

7. Set up your option Essential Rewards Program. Buying of the ER kits is NOT a requirement to sign up ad a Wholesale Member! This is a rewards program you can opt into to start earning money back to help pay for your oils. At this point, you can skip this step by selecting, "No, Thank you. I plan on enrolling in the Essential Rewards Program later." If one of the ER kits looks valuable to you, then go for it in addition to your starter kit.

8. Agree to Terms and Conditions.

9. CONFIRM YOUR ORDER. Some folks miss this step and end up not fully checking out. To confirm, the tool with log you in and it will show you your order again and it will make you enter in your payment information again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


"This is it. I give up. I am done being a beekeeper!" Yes, I said that yesterday.

Shall we backtrack?

We harvested honey this weekend. That part was amazing. Detailed post, coming soon. However, when honey harvest is over, you're left with several sticky frames of honeycomb. I had 10 to be exact. So in order to clean it entirely, it is suggested you put that box (super) of frames back on the hive and the bees will "clean" it out. Within 24 hours, you can return, remove the said box and store it for the winter. Who knew bees were such good housekeepers.

Well I had that box of sticky frames sitting in the bed of Mr. B's truck with intentions of dropping it off at the hive on my lunch break. The bees had other intentions. In fact, the bees (not my bees, random bees) beat me to it. 

When I opened the door to walk outside, I found THOUSANDS of bees surrounding that box and the truck. They were literally fighting over the remaining honey inside. And I was the moron beek who left it out in the open where they had access to it. #lessonlearned

I shut the door and yelled obscenities. Then I called Mr. B and said, "What do I do?" And to think I am supposed to be the experienced beek in this family!

He said, "Just get in the car and drive. When you're going 70mph on the interstate they will all fly out." That sounded good enough to me. So I ran to the garage, grabbed my bee suit, put it on and ran to the truck - trying to get as little bees as possible in the front seat with me. 

As I drove, I was losing bees, but not enough. When I arrived at my hives, I was greeted by the hundreds of bees still in the bed of the truck. 

Fortunately, my bee mentor, talked me through what to do over the phone and I followed his instructions. I got as many of the "foreign" bees out with my bee brush and put the super box back on my hive where it belonged. 

My job at the hive was done, so I left. There were still hundreds thousands of dead bees lying in the truck - they were dead, because other bees killed them in the fight for honey - but majority of the live ones had flown away. So I gathered my things and headed back home. 

The result of bee fights = a pile of dead bees

The worst part was over right? And I survived. 

Wrong. Survived, yes. Worst part, no.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monty Monday

After falling head over heels in love with a true Swiss St. Bernard pup in Switzerland, I asked Mr. B to get me one for my birthday. He delivered, with a stuffed one. It even had the whiskey barrel around the neck and a Swiss flag emblem. 

It wasn't mine for long. Monty stole him off my desk while I ran errands one day. He snuggled him, licked him, and treated him like a pup of his very own. 

That only lasted a few hours. 

He's now missing both ears, the whiskey barrel, nose and is about to lose a leg. 

Yet, he still snuggles him. #bipolardog

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hocus Pocus Oils: Lip Scrub

Recipe borrowed and tweaked from In Honor of Design
Experimenting with my Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO) has become one of my new favorite hobbies. As if I don't have enough of those. Anyway, I was anxiously awaiting my brand new bottle of Lavender (it's one of those bottles you use a lot) and when it arrived today, I was all set to make my new lip scrub.
If you know the Bores, you know we love chapstick. We have probably 15 laying around at all times - in the junk drawer, in the bathroom, in our nightstands, in my purse, in Mr. B's jean pocket, in the consoles of our cars, in the washer, etc.
My lips are usually smooth, but in this dry climate of ours, I sometimes need a little more than chapstick. Like a lip mask to freshen them up! So I mixed up a little scrub and my lips are already feeling smoother and softer.
Mix the following ingredients in a bowl.
  • 1/3 cup of Raw sugar (I got this big bag at Sprouts for $2.00)
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 3 Drops of Lavender YLEO
The original recipe suggested 1/4 cup of sugar, but I found my mixture was too oily, so I added more sugar! I also added 2 drops of Elemi, which is a new YLEO to me and one that is great for your skin. Not necessary for this recipe, but I had it on hand, so I used it! 
This recipe makes 4oz of lip scrub. It would take me 3 lifetimes to use this amount, so I actually plan to get smaller tins and share with friends! They would make great favors or gifts.
Lavender comes in the YLEO Premium Starter Kit. If interested, visit the bottom of this post for step by step instructions on getting started with some oils of your own. The recipes are SO fun!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bores Backpack Europe: Lucerne, Switzerland

Two spellings, same city. Luzern is the German spelling and Lucerne is the French spelling. Confusing much? Yes, especially when you're two clueless Americans.

While in Lucerne, we stayed at The Bed and Breakfast. It was the only place on our entire vacation where I got a decent night sleep. The people were so kind and friendly. They had a window that I could hang my head out of. It was clean. The bed was comfy. The bathroom was only steps away from our room. The breakfast included bread, cheese and jam. And the location was only a quick bus ride from the train station. We didn't know about that said bus on the day we arrived. So we walked. I stopped 19 times along the way to give my back a break from my too-heavy-backpack and to bitch at Mr. B for not getting me a taxi. #iblamethejetlag
Maybe this is where I should mention, all queen beds in Switzerland are really two twin beds pushed together. You even get your own blanket! Canoodling or spooning means someone will be laying on the crack - where the two beds meet - and no one enjoys that. So if you're looking for a romantic vacation full of snuggling, Switzerland may not be for you. On the positive side, your husband won't be a blanket hog!

Lucerne is the one place in Switzerland we both wish we had spent more time. Since we hiked the Alps the previous day and ventured across a too high bridge, we didn't have much time to explore Lucerne. Although, we weren't leaving without doing a 2 hour crash course of the city.

Few words, mostly photos.

Mr. B enjoying the view
Hof Church
Dying Lion Monument
And again
Swiss Architecture / makes my heart swoon
Chapel Bridge and Watertower
A stroll across Chapel Bridge
View from Chapel Bridge / Town Hall is the one with the tower
Jesuit Church
Early morning champagne on the River
If my husband had the patience, I would have loved to browse some of the great shops Lucerne had to offer. Then again, I wouldn't have been able to fit anything in my backpack, even if I wanted to bring something home. #winwin The city also had these amazing little coffee shops and bakeries tucked in between the streets. I could have easily gotten lost in this city. Ya know, lost, in the good kind of way.

All packed up and ready for our travels to Wengen! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bores Backpack Europe: Triftbahn, Switzerland

The Bores Backpack Europe trip came to an end on Monday (Labor Day) at around 1:31AM. It was an excruciatingly long flight back, especially when you're exhausted, hungover, homesick, and cranky.

Nonetheless, when we woke up Monday morning at approximately 7AM with 5.5 hours of sleep, Mr. B rolled over, looked at me and said, "I am ready to go camping!" If I had the energy, I would have smacked him. Hard!

We were lacking energy all week. I suppose it takes awhile for your body to adjust after such a long [amazing] trip. As much as I love to travel, I realized on this trip, I love home twice as much.

I've thought about how to document our travels, our stories, and our experiences and still haven't quite figured out how I am going to organize my thoughts. But I do plan to capture them on this plain white screen over the next few weeks.

One thing, I do know, is our first day in Switzerland deserves a post all on it's own.

* * *
We literally waited until the VERY last minute to plan an agenda for our trip. Two days before departure we googled "Top 10 Best Things to Do in Switzerland" and found a variety of articles, blogs, and websites. The one consistent excursion was "Trift Bridge."

It was going to be an inconvenience for us to get to. It's not really near a major/common city. It's nestled in the middle of the Alps and kind of off the beaten path. Which gave us even more incentive to find a way to get there.

It required an early rise (5:30AM), a bus ride to the train station, a train ride to Meiringen, a short walk to the Meiringen, Bahnhof bus station, and another bus ride to Nessental, Triftbahn. Let's just say it was a quick way to get us accustomed to European travel. By 9:30AM we were standing at the Triftbahn cable car station and being told we had to wait 2 hours for the next available cable car. You see, when the bus let's you off at the station, you aren't necessarily at the trail head. You have to take an 8 minute cable car ride to get you there. So we waited.

I read. Mr. B took photos.

When Mr. B was bored 15 minutes later he tried to convince me to hike to the trail head and skip the cable car. I contemplated, but that adds 2 more hours to the already 90 minute one-way-hike we had ahead of us. We were still adjusting to the time zone and I really wasn't sure I could hike 2 hours, then another 90 minutes, cross the bridge, and then hike back another 90 minutes. Thankfully Mr. B listened to me and we waited for the cable car. The level of difficulty for the hike was listed as Medium. Well guess what, I'd list that sucker as EXTREMELY difficult. We were literally climbing the Alps and I was totally unprepared. No one told me I needed to train for this vacation. I mean we only packed one bottle of water each and a handful of snacks. Guess what, I needed a case of water and an entire aisle at the grocery store to give me enough energy to put one foot in front of the other. You will laugh when you hear how long the hike was, 1.7miles. Go ahead, laugh. But let me watch you climb, what felt like 5000ft of vertical, and then see if you're laughing. Mr. B doesn't complain when he hikes. Somehow this kid was born conditioned for strenuous outdoor activities, even though he hasn't been to a gym...ever. But even he was complaining.

Somehow, we made it. I think seeing wild sheep along the way helped give me a boost of energy. As for Mr. B, well the excitement of crossing the bridge, gave him all the motivation he needed.

I introduce, Trift Bridge - 328 feet high, 557 feet long, and overlooking the Trift Glacier. It is one of the longest and highest pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps. Originally it was built for climbers to access the Swiss Alpine Club, but has since been turned into a tourist destination. Guess what, you can add Mr. and Mrs. B to that tourist club.


Triftbahn Station / Cable Car Tickets
Ride on the Cable Car
Trailhead / Bar
Trail Options
Time is given, not distance
Break / Trift Bridge is behind us
Trift Bridge
Trift Bridge
Trift Bridge Details
Trift Bridge Selfie
Well Earned Biers
I introduce, The Swiss Alps!

For those of you planning to visit Trift Bridge, I had the hardest time finding information online regarding the best way to get there and purchasing tickets. So I leave you with a few tips! 
  • Visit SBB for route details. Type in your departure city (ours was Lucerne) and then your arrival city as "Nessental Triftbahn." More than likely it will include a train ride and a bus or two! We purchased our tickets directly from the site so we didn't have to worry about purchasing that day. 
  • The bus will drop you off directly at the cable car station. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase cable car tickets in advance, so I would advise getting there as early as possible. As I mentioned, we had a two hour wait and we arrived around 9:30AM. The cars only hold 8 people at a time it runs every 16 minutes. 
  • We were there on a Sunday, so a weekday may be a better option. 
  • Good luck, have fun and pack water!

[All photography by The Bores]
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