Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tips for Hiking Devil's Bridge in Sedona, AZ | No. 04 Mo's Adventure List

SEDONA

Devil's Bridge in Sedona, AZ is a mild hike with an amazing view. If you ever find yourself in Northern Arizona with some time to spare, you must make your way to Sedona. You won't regret it. Sedona is such a magical, peaceful place.

The views are breathtaking. You won't believe me, or even understand fully until you see it for yourself. Pulling into Sedona I was in shock. I knew it was going to be beautiful, but WOW. It was amazing! Keep reading for my tips on hiking Devil's Bridge.

Sedona004
Looking out at Devil's Bridge.

About the Hike

The hike to Devil's Bridge was an overall mild and short one. For about 3/4 of the way, the trail is flat. The trail is about 2 miles long and only the last fourth of the hike is a challenge. At that point, you start hiking into the side of the mountain, where you begin to climb up some "stairs" to get up to the bridge.

Once you hit the stairs, you're almost there. The stairs are the only thing standing in the way between you and Devil's Bridge! I've read reviews of people bringing their dogs, children or older family. If you bring small children or animals, you'll definitely need to either carry them or help them up the stairs.


Sedona01

Sedona003
Taking a rest after hiking to the top, waiting our turn to get a photo on Devil's Bridge. 

This hike is extremely popular. Once you get up there, more than likely there will be someone else up there. The people are usually really friendly and took turns taking each other's photos on the bridge.

The bridge itself is smaller than it looks in pictures...BUT I will say it's also wider than it looks. As someone afraid of falling off mountains, I was able to walk across and stand in the middle for a photo. 


Sedona13

After hiking to the very top, we walked down the stairs to this landing to get more pictures without an audience. The view was just as amazing from that side. 

Sedona008

Sedona007

Sedona006


Tips For Hiking Devil's Bridge


Bring lots of water
Pretty the number one tip of every hike in Arizona. I carried a camelback backpack full of water, plus Brandon had put about a gallon water in his backpack. 

Go REALLY early
This hike is extremely popular. We started this hike at 8 in the morning on a cloudy and rainy morning. We got up there pretty quickly and only saw around 8 people up at Devil's Bridge. By the time we were coming back down at 9:30/10 there were over 50 people going up. This isn't an exaggeration. I read reviews of people saying the same thing and was still shocked. If you like sunset hikes, I hear it's dead in the afternoon.

Avoid bringing small children, animals or elderly
The hike is easy except for the last little bit. However, it's the last little bit that may be difficult for them. If you have some really spunky kids, animals or the like it may work out though!

Bring a four-wheeler (if you want a really easy hike)
The trail itself is about two miles long. I think of the first mile of the trail as a trail to the trail. If you have a truck or a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you can drive to the actual trail head. If can't, it's really no big deal. Just follow the signs for Devil's Bridge trail (not Chuck Wagon!).

Want a better idea of what it's like to hike Devil's Bridge? Watch my vlog below!


Have you ever been on a natural bridge? Are you afraid of heights? 


post signature

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Simple Skincare Foaming Cleanser Review




Adventures in the desert can get hot, sweaty and dirty real quick. After all the exploring is over, nothing feels better than getting squeaky clean from head to toe. After fellow blogger Esther of Local Adventurer linked me to an article explain how Cetaphil (my former cleanser) really wasn't that great of a cleanser I started looking into better options.

I'm by no means one of those people that needs something wholly organic and non-toxic with no carcinogens and blah-dee-blah. However, I thought this a great excuse to try out a new product. If I'm being honest, I don't usually have a skincare "routine" per say.

In the past, my skincare regimen meant using my Boots Expert Sensitive Cleansing Wipes to get my make up off before I passed out in bed. However, in my previous post I mentioned that whenever I had a small breakout (Which is pretty rare. My skin is good to me despite the fact that I'm not good to it) I reach for the travel-sized bottle of Cetaphil sitting in my medicine cabinet.

Since reading the article and chatting with Esther, I've tossed that product and removed my blog post singing praise about the product.

I'm currently testing out the Simple brand's Foaming Cleanser, said to be "kind to skin." 


MY SKIN TYPE:

Normal skin. Not prone to break-outs. Doesn't get dry. Doesn't get oily. I know. I'm lucky!

MY THOUGHTS 

  • It's easy to work with. It's a foam so you don't have to work hard to work it into your skin. When I do use cleansers, I like using them with my Olay Pro X brush (basically a cheaper version of the Clairisonic) but some thicker cleansers get stuck in the bristles if you're not careful. This does not.
  • It's gentle. It doesn't dry out my skin...or do much of anything to my skin other than clean it. Which I like! My biggest problem with cleansers is that they tend to throw off the balance of my skin. I have normal skin. Some cleansers dry it out while others, I've found, will make it oily over time. This is why I sometimes don't do anything to my skin but use wipes to get my make up off. However, this cleanser doesn't do anything but clean. I like!
  • Smells good. This is a big thing for any beauty product I use. If I can't stand the smell of it, how am I supposed to use it!? It's a gentle formula for sensitive skin, so there are no 
  • It scores a 4/10 (yellow) on the Think Dirty App. According to the app, there are 11 ingredients on the list and only one of the ingredients scores above a 3. For those who have never used the Think Dirty App, 0-3 means clean, 4-6 means "half n' half" and 7-10 means dirty/toxic. 
  • It's easy to find. I don't like buying products that are difficult to find. Products that I need to order online, at a specialty store, or is likely to be discontinued/something else. I like products that I know are going to be around because I don't like being heartbroken when a product I love magically disappears. 
Would I purchase this product again? Probably. It's simple. I like simple.

What kind of cleanser do you use, and is it considered "clean?"

post signature

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Signs it's Time For a Blog Rebrand + Why I Rebranded

When I first started my blog back in 2013, it was a free weebly site entitled The Adventures of Mo. 
After 3 years of creating videos on YouTube, I  wanted an outlet that took a little less effort than video production but allowed me to document and share one of the things I love doing most: eating my way through various locations.

The Adventures of Mo was meant to be a photo diary of all the places I've been and all the things I've eaten while I was there...and it was...for a while.

When I switched from Weebly to Blogger and bought my first domain name, I decided to change my blog's name to Ollivander Mo for "cohesiveness" between my channel and blog. And with the change in names, came the change(s) in direction.

I went from Food Adventure blog, to multimedia blog, to design blog to creatives blog to uncategorized...all under the name of Ollivander Mo. I lacked direction. I spent nearly two years going full-speed in one direction, then turning right back around and going full-speed in the other. Finally, I sat down and thought long and hard about my online identity.

These are the things I thought the most about...and why I decided to rebrand


Rebranding

5 SIGNS IT'S TIME FOR A REBRAND

1) PEOPLE DON'T GET YOUR NAME/IT'S HARD TO REMEMBER

Ollivander Mo was created by 18-year-old me who had a deep obsession withYouTube and Harry Potter and was blind to the world of blogging + blog branding and marketing. It was just a name created based on the idea that I was a descendant of wand-maker Garrick Ollivander.

Most of the people who saw my name online would misread it and assume my name was Olivia. And that's when I realized it was time for a change. None of my YouTube friends knew how to pronounce it (Ollie-van-durmo?) and in all honesty it had no connection to any of the "brands" I was trying to represent myself as.

I wanted people to know who I was immediately (Mo) and to not feel confused when they saw my name. I wanted people to remember me. Now my name is clear and my purpose is clear...all just from the name of the blog. I'm Mo and I Explore.

2) YOU CAN'T CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR GOALS

My goals weren't lining up because I wasn't sure what goals the name Ollivander Mo is supposed to represent. When people asked me what my blog was about, I didn't know what to say. "Oh, you know...a little bit of everything..?" 

If you don't have a definite goal behind your blog that you can stand behind, you may want to think about rebranding. It may take tons of trial and error (like me) but it'll come, in time. If things are right...if things are meant to be...you'll be able to define things clear as crystal.

3)  YOUR AUDIENCE IS CHANGING

After my long blog break, I came back and started visiting old friends' blogs and finding new ones that I could comment on and build friendships with. One of the biggest things that made me want to rebrand was the realization that the blogs I once used as inspiration were the blogs I no longer had much interest in reading.

So I took a look at who my "friends" and idols were in the blogosphere. They were all explorers to some extent. Kayli (Kayli Wanders), Justina (The Personal Geographic), Xandra (Heroine Training). They were all adventurers. Explorers. That's what I loved about reading their blogs. That's why we became such great friends.

Same goes for the bloggers I admired and looked up to; World of Wanderlust, Local Adventurers, Flying the Nest.

Commenting and building relationships with these types of bloggers meant that these were the people coming to view my site. The only thing was they weren't staying because they didn't see what they were expecting to see. I built friendships and relationships with people based on the fact that we both loved adventuring. However, my blog didn't reflect that.

Then, after taking a few adventures and road trips with Brandon it all came flooding back to me. I needed to go back to my roots. The whole reason I started my blog was the document my adventures. Though I've outgrown The Adventures of Mo, that didn't mean I couldn't take it's core and transform it into something new...so I did.

4) YOU FEEL BURNT OUT

Remember what I said about jumping from one purpose to another? Each time I would come up with a new mission, I would eventually experience burn-out. When I set out to help others make their blogs look polished and pretty I meant to stick to it. However, after a while I grew tired of it.

They say if you find something you love doing, you'll never work a day in your life. I clearly didn't find that in the different titles and missions I assigned myself. However, adventure is always something I've loved. It's something I started off doing. It only makes sense to go back to the beginning. Only I'll do things right this time.

5) YOU NEED SOMETHING YOU CAN GROW INTO 

I knew I wanted a complete rebrand. New name, new look, new mission. I also knew that I needed something that I could grow into, should my interests ever change. Mo Explores allows me to do that. Exploration is not just about physically getting out and exploring. It's about mental exploration and enlightenment. It's about learning.

Learning can happen with any subject. Beauty, blogging, video production, travel, astronomy. You can explore all these subjects. Which is why I chose to use the word "Explore" specifically. Not, "adventure" this time around. With just one little word, I've built myself a space in which I can grow. I've expanded my world instead of shrinking it.

If you're adding new things to your new brand and your name is holding you back, it may be time to consider rebranding.


MY EXPLORATION STORY

Finally, to those wondering where my "sudden" love for exploring came from; All I have to say is it isn't a sudden interest. It's something I've always been fascinated by.

I grew up on an island in Hawaii. When I was younger, I learned about this mysterious place called "the mainland" (what locals call the main 48 states) and knew I wanted to go there one day. When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to leave the little island I called home and see what was out there. I wanted to go. Anywhere. I just wanted to go.

I've always preferred spending money going places than buying things. When I was in high school I missed my prom because I was in San Diego. I traveled to Phoenix and Anaheim for a journalism convention. I visited Disneyland on our free day. I went to Las Vegas for a dance competition. Before I graduated, I made sure I didn't apply to any colleges in state because I didn't want any reason to stay.

In college I began traveling for Harry Potter conventions in Florida. Went to California for a make up convention. Traveled to Florida, Georgia, Texas, Washington...with and for boyfriends.

LOSING TOUCH WITH MY INNER EXPLORER...

Somewhere along the way I stopped exploring. In hindsight I can see exactly why I stopped. I entered a toxic relationship with a boy who managed to kill that side of me. I don't think he meant to, but it happened.

Every planned trip, every adventure, every hike, every camping trip...somehow always fell through because of circumstances or drama or problems we were having. Eventually, I gave up on even trying to plan anything. It was easier. It saved me the disappointment.

Fast forward to now. After I was able to heal, I started to rediscover myself. I remembered how much delight I took in traveling, exploring, adventuring, learning. I remembered how much I was able to better myself through all my experiences.

When I began exploring once again, I saw how much braver, how much stronger each adventure made me. And I wanted more. So, I decided to commit the next 1001 days to 101 adventures. And soon after, I decided to rebrand. And now, here we are.

Welcome to Mo Explores.

Comment below and tell me...what's the story behind your blog's brand? 


post signature

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Phoenix ComiCon - Adventure #50 | Ollivander Mo's Adventure List

PHX ComiCon 2015

Every summer Phoenix gears up for Comic Con! Cons are totally my thing so I decided to add it to my Adventure List to ensure that I would be going. I would like to say that Adventure #50 - Go to Phoenix Comic Con was a big huge CHECK!

AND...I managed to get Adventure #57 - Do a Haunted House out of the way at Comic Con as well. No pics for that unfortunately, because I had my eyes closed for the most of it.

After a quick breakfast at Postino's, Brandon and I headed to the Phoenix Convention Center where all the fun began.

ComicCon005

There were so many cute things at ComiCon! I seriously wanted this donut plush! But seriously, what am I supposed to do with that? lol.

ComicCon002

If I'm being honest, my favorite part of any con is always the vendor room, so it was no surprise that I wanted to spend majority of my time there. There's always a bunch of cool stuff to see in the vendor room. If I'm being honest, I usually don't go to cons for the panels--unless they're something I'm really into.

Basically Brandon and I spent the day wandering the different halls of the convention center, going through the haunted house, checking out all the cool merch in the vendor room and getting a caricature of us done! It was a blast.

ComicCon003

ComicCon004
I was thinking about buying this skirt (but I didn't)! How cute is it? Batman AND a bow! 

To see just how fun it was, watch my vlog below!


What are your favorite Conventions to go to?

post signature

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Gates Pass | Exploring Tucson, AZ

GatesPass04

This year I had planned to have a pool day with my two girl friends on Memorial Day. However, plans ended up falling through and I was left bored and restless. Brandon, being the good boyfriend that he is, suggested that we go do something but we were both out of ideas.

Without a plan, I jumped up out of bed, grabbed my keys and we both left my apartment. While we were driving Brandon started rattling off options. Barnes and Noble? Nope. Eat? Nope. Mall? Nope. It was too late and we were too tired for a hike. But yet I wanted to be outside.

It was a Monday and we had the day off. I wasn't going to waste it away inside. So when Brandon posed the question once more of what I wanted to do, I shot him a question back; "Can we just drive?"

So we did.

GatesPass03

We ended up driving west on some roads we've never been on before. We drove as close to the Tucson Mountains as we could get, going through some residential areas before we reached a dead end and had to turn around.

That's when we decided to follow the road to a place in Tucson called Gates Pass.

To get there: Follow Speedway Blvd out West as far as you can until it turns into Gates Pass Road. Be careful! There are only two lanes and the roads can get extremely windy.

GatesPass05

Gates Pass is a passage through the Tucson Mountains created in 1883 by Thomas Gates. There are a few scenic lookout points along the way where you can park your car and take photos.

There are a few hikes out here in the Tucson Mountains as well, though I've yet to look into them and where they are.

GatesPass01

Basically, Gates Pass is a great places to go when you're in the same situation as I was that Monday. Wanting to be outside, yet not having enough energy to actually go on a hike.

GatesPas02

From Gates Pass lookout, just a little ways away from the parking lot.

GatesPass07

We're a really awkward pair.


How do you get your outdoor fix on lazy days?

post signature

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Holbert Trail to Dobbin's Lookout, Adventure #46 | Phoenix, AZ Hikes

Dobbins_Lookout

Last weekend, since we were already up in Phoenix for Phoenix Comic Con, Brandon and I decided to commit our Sunday morning to checking Dobbin's Lookout (No. 46 on the list) off the list. When reading up on the hike, I got mixed reviews. Some said it was a difficult hike, others said it was easy to moderate, but all said the view at the end was well worth the journey.

Holbert Trail (to Dobbin's Lookout) is located in South Mountain Park. To get there, we just plugged South Mountain Park into Google Maps and voila! I found a tip on a hiking site that said to take your first left turn as soon as you get through the park gates and follow the road to the second to the last parking lot. It's a bit difficult to differentiate the parking lots but there are signs on the right hand side that label the trails, so just look for Holbert!

Dobbins_Lookout5
From the top of South Mountain

The hike took us about 2 hours to do overall (including rest time). I had to stop about halfway up to take a rest because while the hike isn't too difficult, it can get tiresome climbing up the rocky paths. That, and Brandon doesn't realize that my legs are shorter than his and I have to work twice as fast to keep up with his pace!

We started our hike around 6:15 in the morning, and by the time we got back down it was a little after 8:00 a.m. Not too terribly long!

When you get to about 1/3 ways up the mountain, you start to realize that the view is definitely going to be worth it. At half way up we thought we were already to the top because of the views! Definitely keep going though. There's a tiny little lookout house at the top where you can rest in the shade and cool down.

To watch my vlog on Adventure No. 46 - Dobbin's Lookout click below!


Hiking to Dobbins Lookout
  • Moderate hike (I'm way out of shape and I did it!)
  • Google Maps it to South Mountain Park and take an immediate (first) left into the parking lots after the gate.
  • Drive along the parking lots nearest to the mountains (which will be on the right) to follow the signs to Holbert Trail.
  • Bring lots of water, of course! You're hiking in Phoenix now. Be smart.
  • Summer temps in Phoenix can easily surpass 120 degrees F. Get an early start if hiking in the summer time! 
  • Regular shoes work fine, but if you have hiking shoes wear them! It's an extremely rocky and sandy climb. Some of the rocks are sharp too. 
  • Eat beforehand and bring snacks to enjoy at the top.

Dobbins_Lookout4
We saw a squirrel at the top! It's munching on some beef jerky Brandon gave it -__-

Dobbins_Lookout3
The view from the top was nice! It's definitely not a "quiet" spot though; there were about 10 other people up there.

Do you like hiking? What's your favorite hike to do?


post signature

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Healthy Breakfast Idea: Kale, Eggs + Sausage!

Breakfast01

Healthy breakfast ideas don't come to me easily by any means. I'm awful at eating healthy. In fact, I'm notorious around work for my snacking habits and inability to say 'no' to ice cream. However, I've been making a huge effort lately on changing my lifestyle. If I'm going to be a full-time adventurer, that means I'm going to need to take better care of my body. Proper nutrients and health is needed to conquer mountains and explore the world!

My friend Natalie actually gave me the idea for this amazing, healthy breakfast! I had stopped by her house one day to hang out before our scheduled appointment to get tattoos and she was kind enough to make us breakfast for lunch! Because she's a foodie like myself, I knew it was going to be good.

What she ended up making was steamed kale and spinach with a bit of grape tomatoes, soft boiled eggs and a bit of chicken. Lately I've been making variations of this same meal for my breakfast during the week!

Steaming the veggies are much healthier for you than cooking them in oil, and it's actually quite easy to do!

Breakfast03

To steam the veggies...

Chop your kale into the appropriate size. Be sure to trim the stems off your kale as well. The stems don't cook very well so you'll want to make sure you just have the leaves. Place the kale in a large pan. 

As I mentioned earlier, the tomatoes do a great job and sweetening up your kale! I like to cut my grape tomatoes in half then toss them in the pan as well.

Add a little bit of water to the pan, cover the pan with a lid and let steam on medium/high heat until tender.

Breakfast02

To make soft boiled eggs...

I usually make four eggs at a time. Soft boiled eggs are a little trickier than hard boiled, but after tons of trial and error, I've finally figured it out! 

First, fill a small pot with enough water to submerge your eggs completely in. Then place said pot on the stove and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat.

Once you have a good boil going, remove your large eggs from the fridge and use a large spoon or ladle to carefully place your eggs into the boiling water. 

Set your timer for 6 minutes. 

Once the 6 minutes is done, remove your pot from the stove and pour out the hot water. Run your eggs, in the pot under cold water for a bit, then peel and serve! 


Tell me what your favorite healthy breakfast recipes are in the comments below! 

I would love to try out some new ideas!

post signature