Oklahoma, Travel

Our Visit to Echo Canyon Spa and Resort in Sulpher, Oklahoma

EchoCanyon

Last year I decided I wanted my husband and me to have a romantic weekend getaway for our Anniversary.  I love visiting new places and wanted to do something just for us, since generally most things we do revolve around the kids.   I don’t remember how I discovered the resort, but I believe it was in one of those, “Only in Your State” posts.  I do know that you can find several articles on Echo Canyon Spa and Resort, plus they have been on Discover Oklahoma. The crew was actually there filming while we were visiting, though we never saw them.  One of the top reasons I wanted to go, besides the spa, was the food!  Lot’s of fabulous reviews, and it appeared to be delicious and perfect for both of our tastes.  The rooms were also very appealing, along with the atmosphere and surroundings.  It sounded like a perfect little anniversary getaway for us in mid-November in Oklahoma.  Make sure to make a reservation for dinner the nights you stay.

When we got there

We left early that morning with a stop in Oklahoma City for a doctor’s appointment.  We ate lunch and did a little shopping in the city before we headed to the spa.  I wish now we would have headed to the Spa & Resort earlier.  It was almost dark when we got there.  Everyone we met was very friendly, and I wish I would have remembered names!  The lady who walked us around and showed us our room, and where everything was, was very sweet.  I believe she was the concierge.  We stayed in the Merlot Canyon View.  She walked us into our room and showed us where everything was and how to use the jacuzzi tub.  The room smelled so clean and sweet.  There was a candle burning when we walked in to add to the romantic atmosphere and to leave a great scent to welcome us.

A few pictures of our room.  It was fabulous, and we had a great balcony with a beautiful view.

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Our Evening

That evening we had dinner in the Baron of Beef Restaurant.   The 4-course candlelight meal is served with three entrees and a great view of the canyon.   The setting was very romantic and service was fantastic.  You can check out their restaurant on their website for the menu.  It is different each night, so if we stayed Saturday we would have been served a different meal.  The food was delicious and so was the fresh Peach Hibiscus drink with champagne added.   We only had one issue and that was a couple at the neighboring table.  They were very condescending and dropped a lot of cuss words.  They kind of killed the romantic mood for us.  After we ate we went to the Bar, which is in a separate building.  It is very nice and filled with comfy seating.  We sat at the bar and visited with one of the owners.   He was very friendly, but a little pretentious.  He talked a little too much about himself and how well off he was, and how he could kick anyone out who misbehaved, referencing the rude couple we dined next to. I honestly thought the guy could have offered us a free drink after dealing with the too near dining companions, especially since he had so much money he could afford to kick them out.  Even after that, we still had a great evening and night.

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Breakfast and Massage

We got up the next morning and had breakfast in the restaurant and explored the beautiful property.  The food was delicious once again.  A little later I had a 30-minute Sweedish Massage scheduled in the Aloha Spa.  They offer several massages, facials, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures.  My massage was so relaxing and very much needed!  I loved it. Make sure to tip well.  You can also wait and tip everyone when you check out and sign your bill.

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Exploring other Areas

We checked out shortly after my massage and headed to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  There are so many places to pull over and hike and explore.  We went to the Niagra Falls area first.  It was a pretty cool day, in the 50s, but still pretty nice.  The sun was out and it wasn’t to bad to explore and hike in those temperatures.  We drove around and stopped at several other spots to walk around and take photos.  We also drove up to an overlook, I believe it was called Sulphur Overlook because you could see the town from the top.  It was beautiful with all the fall colors.  We got out and hiked around for awhile in the area.  It was a good way to work off our breakfast and make us hungry again, so we headed into Sulpher for lunch. We stopped at the Bedre Cafe which is near the Artesian Hotel, Spa, and Casino.  The Artesian looks like another fabulous place to stay in the area.   The Bedre Cafe serves sandwiches, soups, chips, ice cream, and shakes. They also have chocolate from their chocolate factory just a few miles from town near the interstate.  It is fashioned like an old time diner.  The food was excellent, and so was the service.  It was a great quick meal and hit the spot after hiking the Chickasaw area.  We headed out of town and towards home after we ate.  We made a stop at the Bedre Chocolate Factory right before we got on the interstate.  They give you a free sample of chocolate and they offer lots of chocolate to buy!  I love raspberry chocolate, so I got several of those.  Their chocolate is delicious and I have made a point to stop at the factory anytime we pass it on the interstate since our first visit, which is not often.

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Le Tote Review
Favorite Products

Review Le Tote Clothes Rental for Women

 

I’ve been using LeTote for just over a month now and decided I needed to write up a review of my experience so far.  First I want to say that I love Le Tote!  I have looked at other clothes rental options out there, but LeTote seemed to be the best one to fit my needs.  They have several rental plans.  My plan is the Classic Box.  I get  2 clothing items and 1 accessory out at a time.  To begin I created an account with my sizes and preferences.  They have many clothing and accessory options you can add to your virtual closet.  Once you have set up your account, a stylist will choose 2 pieces of clothing and one accessory.  You review each item, and then you can change out the items to something else, or keep them.  I have done both.  They will then process your items and ship them out to you.  My Tote box is $44 per month with insurance.  So far it has worked out to 8 pieces of clothing and 4 accessories a month.  I wear each piece at least once, then send it back. I average 1 tote box per week.  You pay nothing for shipping!  Once they receive notification that you have dropped your package at the post office (when they scan it) your next tote is prepared for you.  You then can exchange the items, or keep what the stylist chose.  It’s usually in the mail that same day.

Le Tote Review

**Get your first Tote free here!**

Here are the current options they offer

Classic
  • 3 clothing items + 2 accessories $64/month
  • 3 clothing items + 2 accesories$44/month, with one box per month
  • 4 clothing items $64/month
  • 2 clothing items + 1 accessory $44/month, excludes scarves and handbags (this is the one I do.  I do get handbags, but maybe I have limited options.)
  • 5 clothing items + 3 accessories $84/month
  • ****Update, I believe there have been price changes on these!  At this time I am unable to see the new prices since I am already a member. I beleive my subscription is no longer an option, but has been grandfathered for those who already had it.  Also, I have included insurance on the prices, which is $5 extra a month.  You can opt out of insurance. You should still check it out!****

Maternity

  • 3 clothing items + 2 accessories $74/month
  • 4 clothing items $74/month
  • 2 clothing items + 1 accessory $54/month, excludes scarves and handbags

Why I love Le Tote

  1. Something new to wear every week!
  2. The price is great!  I could easily spend $44 on one nice new blouse once a month.  With Le Tote, I can wear up to 8 new (to me) blouses in a month!
  3. They have a great selection!
  4. They have great brands!
  5. My clothes are always very clean and most look new when I receive them.
  6. You can purchase any items you want to keep at a discount price.
  7. They have sales for members!  With clearance prices.
  8. You can borrow any item again.  If you really like something but did not decide to purchase it, you can borrow it again.
  9. Everything fits.
  10. I’m excited each week to receive my new box.
  11. Fast shipping.
  12. You can pause your subscription if you need to.
  13. You can change up the items your stylist chooses.  This is great because I may not like what they chose, or I have a special occasion planned and need something specific to wear.  I can change my choices to accommodate me.
  14. If you keep your entire tote, you get your next month’s subscription free!

**Get your first Tote FREE  here!**

 Do you have a favorite subscription clothes site?  I would love to hear about it!

**Update**  I’m still using Le Tote a few months down the road.  I am loving it!   I’m not the best at remembering to take photos of my outfits, but I will post them below when I do!  Thanks for checking out my page!

 

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Cute little summer top from Le Tote.  We are in Galveston in this photo.  This was a great vacation for my family!

Here’s the tote I received, and I’m wearing the Olivia Culpo Tie Neck Floral Blouse.  I loved this blouse and received several compliments on it

I’m wearing the entire tote in this photo.  I loved it all!  I kind of wish I had kept the Ruffle Blouse, it is so cute!

These are my other Totes, and you can see me wearing some of them in the main photo at the top of this post.  If you click on the photos, you can see the items better.  I love the cold shoulder tops!

Favorite Products, Kid Approved

Fun Making Shrinky Dinks Jewelry

Shrinky Dinks I was looking for a shortcut, something easy, and not too expensive.  This seemed perfect!  I remembered doing Shrinky Dinks when I was a kid, and having so much fun with them.  I loved how they shrunk up and got thicker in the oven.  Even the colors were more vibrant after they baked.
Shrinky Dinks

Shrinky Dinks Jewelry

I came across a really cute Shrinky Dinks jewelry making set when I was searching Amazon for “Kids Craft Kits”.  I was looking for some fun projects my toddler could do when her big sister was babysitting her.  Something they could do together.  A lot of times our “projects” are from Pinterest and we use things we already have at home.  But, I was looking for a shortcut, something easy, and not too expensive.  This seemed perfect!  I remembered doing Shrinky Dinks when I was a kid, and having so much fun with them.  I loved how they shrunk up and got thicker in the oven.  Even the colors were more vibrant after they baked.

Buy Shrinky Dinks Kit Here

For Kids of all Ages

Since my daughter is only 4-years-old, this was a project we all three ended up working on.  My oldest ended up babysitting another child that day, along with her sister, so they did not work on the project that day.  My youngest was so excited about the project that we ended up working on it when I got home from work.

A Big Project to Keep Your Little One Busy

This was a pretty big project, and we started with half of the Shrinky Dinks.  You could easily divide this into 3-4 separate projects depending on how many kids are working on it and their ages.  My youngest enjoyed coloring each piece with the sharp bright pencils that came with the kit.  Have a sharpener on had to sharpen up the pencils as they become dull and worn.  Both girls loved watching their project shrink in the oven!  It was a new and neat experience for both of them.

The next day we made a bracelet for my youngest with our Shrinky Dinks jewelry kit.  My oldest is a teen, and this jewelry was a little young for her.  She did enjoy sitting and coloring with us the day before.  The beads that go with the jewelry are very tiny, the package is a bit misleading.  I struggled with putting the beads on the string.  My 4-year-old ended up putting most of the beads on herself.  Her vision is much better than mine.  I think this is a great activity for fine motor skills, concentration, and patience!  It took a while, but we finally got her bracelet completed, and she was super proud of it.  Showing it to her big sister and Daddy right away.  We also made 2 little hair clips.

Lots of Fun

We had so much fun making and using this Shrinky Dinks jewelry kit!  I just love projects that are made simple.

Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon (affiliate link):


Have you discovered a fun, cheap, and easy craft online?

Favorite Products, Free Stuff, Money Saver

Making Money with Swagbucks

Join Swagbucks!
You Can Get Free Gift Cards For Shopping, Searching and Discovering What’s Online at Swagbucks.com

Why I Prefer Swagbucks

I will have to admit when I first started out there were lots of ways to earn Swagbucks.  So, I built up some money in the beginning pretty quickly.  But about a week into it, I was struggling to make money.  I mostly did surveys, and you can get very discouraged when you don’t qualify for one survey after another.  If you are losing patience, just step away, either look at other ways to earn or leave the site altogether.  Knowing this, I still think Swagbucks is the best survey/shopping/and more site to earn money.

How to Earn Money on Swagbucks

There are several ways to earn money on Swagbucks, and going over their website is a good way to learn more about it.  But, I wanted to list some of my favorite ways to earn money on the site.

  1. Surveys.  Surveys are one of the most popular ways to earn money.  Though surveys can sometimes be frustrating, they can also be very rewarding.  I’ve earned $20 on some surveys, though that does not happen often.  Some surveys can also lead you to a new money making site, such as Panel Polls, one of my other favorite ways to make extra money.  There are plenty of other survey sites out there, but I’ve come down to using Swagbucks pretty exclusively.  I’ve earned $160.00 from surveys, plus more from links to outside sources like Panel Polls.
  2. Searching.  Set Swagbucks as your search engine and earn money for searching!  I earn money almost daily using their search engine.  I’ve earned up to 100 Swagbucks for one search, that’s $1.00 cash.
  3. Shopping. I wish I could always remember to use Swagbucks when I shop!  Sometimes I forget and use my phone to shop or book hotel rooms.  You can also set up the swagbar on your browser to automatically alert you to sites that earn you Swagbucks. Download the SwagButton Browser extension to be alerted  when you are on a website that earns you SB for your purchase  There are so many sites that earn you money for shopping, including hotels and other travel sites.   It’s even better than Ebates!  If you coupon you can earn money printing and using your coupons from Swagbucks.  I’ve earned almost $48.00 using Swagbucks to shop.
  4. Daily Poll.  You don’t earn much from this one, but I make it a habit to answer the Daily Poll every day that I log into Swagbucks.
  5. Discover.  This is a great way to try out new products while earning a few Swagbucks.  Sometimes you can earn $20 or more using this option on Swagbucks.  A few things I have discovered on Swagbucks including Stitch Fix, Nature Box, LeTote, Hello Fresh, Dollar Shave Club, Third Love (the best bras ever!) and several others.
  6. There are several other ways to earn money on Swagbucks, such as watching videos, playing games and completing tasks.  I’ve listed my favorite activities and what was most profitable to me.

What is your favorite way to make extra money?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Favorite Products, Free Stuff, Money Saver

Free Amazon Beauty Box

Free Stuff

I love finding free stuff!  I found out that Amazon Prime (you have to be a Prime member) has several boxes with samples that are free.  You pick the box you like, for example, the beauty box, then pay for it.  You will then have a credit to purchase future items that qualify for the credit.  I bought the Beauty Box and there are plenty of things that I can buy later with my credit.  Here’s what I got in my box.  This post contains affiliate links.

I love finding free stuff! I found out that Amazon Prime (you have to be a Prime member) has several boxes with samples that are free. You pick the box you like, for example, the beauty box, then pay for it. You will then have a credit to purchase future items that qualify for the credit. I bought the Beauty Box and there are plenty of things that I can buy later with my credit. Here's what I got in my box.
Beauty Sample Box, 10 or more items ($11.99 credit on select products with purchase)
Beauty Box $11.99

What I Liked Best

My favorite was the Crest White Strips.  I’ve wanted to try these for a long time, but have always hesitated to spend the money for several reasons.  This was my chance to try one out to see if I could tolerate it.  I don’t like my teeth messed with, I hate going to the dentist.  This was pretty painless, but I did have to leave them on for an hour, which was kind of hard.  At least now I know what to expect when I decide to purchase them later on to get the full whitening effect.

What I did with my Box

I used everything in the box, giving a couple of things to my teen daughter.  I think this is a great way to test some new products before your buy.  Check out the other boxes on Amazon.  Just click on the photo below to purchase this box.  You can also see other boxes available on Amazon.  You will also be able to scroll down to see other boxes available, or do a search for “sample boxes for Prime Members”.  Make sure to read the description closely, not all may offer a credit.

Tell me about something you have found for free on the world wide web that you love!

Free Stuff

Free Products with Smiley 360

Try products Free with Smiley 360

Smiley360 is an online community of influential consumers who try products and experiences for free and share their opinions with others, mostly on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  As a member, you will receive offers from the biggest brands and share your experience with that brand, as well as with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and other consumers like you. Yes, it’s true – being a Smiley member is absolutely free! Brands really want to know what you have to say.

What do you do to become a member of Smiley 360?

Go to Smiley360 and complete a personal profile, then answer all of the survey questions.  You will earn points and badges for each section you complete.  This will also set you up for new missions that fit your profile.

Products I Have Tested

  • Iams Dog Food
  • Centrum Vitamints
  • Culturelle Kids
  • Philosophy Anti-wrinkle Miracle Worker Moisturizer
  • Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Nasal Mist
  • L’Lil Critters™ Twisted Fruit Flavors Complete Multivitamin Gummies
  • Ester-C Effervescent Fizzy Drink Mix

What to Expect

After you complete your profile you may be selected for a new mission.  You will be alerted by email.  Spots fill up fast, so make sure to respond quickly!  I’ve missed a few good missions because I don’t check my email frequently sometimes.  I’ve been using Smiley for just over a year now and have completed the above missions.  A lot of it depends on your profile.  I’ve declined a few missions because I knew it was a product I would not use.

You will be asked to share your opinions on social media and sometimes have the opportunity to post a review on Amazon or the product’s website.  The more social sites you are a member of, the more opportunity to earn points to complete your mission and qualify for new missions.

Keep your surveys updated.  There will be surveys to complete in between missions, these can help you qualify for future missions.

What You Will Receive For Your Missions

What you will receive can vary.  Sometimes you will receive the actual product in the mail, and sometimes you will receive a coupon.

GummiesSimplySaline

 

 

Free Stuff, Kid Approved, Oklahoma

Digging for Selenite Crystals at Oklahoma’s Great Salt Plains

We love finding adventure not far from home! My husband’s son was visiting for the summer and we decided we needed to take a little adventure with him and our youngest daughter.  We decided to go to the Great Salt Plains for a fund geological digging adventure.  The Great Salt Plains dig area is about an hour and a half drive for us, perfect for a day trip.  It was June 2015 which can mean temperatures up into the 100s, so we started off early that morning.

 What are Selenite Crystals?

A little bit about Selenite Crystals and the dig area. The 11,000-square-mile Great Salt Plains are as white as salt, thanks to the saline deposits left over from an ancient sea that once drenched the area. Still flowing beneath the surface is a saline aquifer that replenishes the layer of salt when the underground water rises. Dig for hourglass selenite crystals here because they are found nowhere else in the world. It is the only place in the world where hourglass-shaped selenite crystals are found. Millions of years ago the area was covered by a large inland sea. The sea was eventually cut off and the water evaporated away, leaving behind thick layers of salt that were then covered by dirt and erosion from surrounding mountain ranges. As groundwater rose to the surface through the salt-saturated sand, it took salt along with it and deposited them on the surface as a thin crust. It was the concentrated saline solution combined with gypsum that promoted the growth of selenite, a crystalline form of gypsum. These crystals are found buried only a few feet below the surface.

Before you go.

Before we headed out, we had to take a few things with us to prepare for a warm day of digging.  We packed sunblock, bottled water, snacks, shovel, bucket and some towels to clean up with.  We also brought a change of clothes and wore old clothes to dig. Digging can get pretty messy and dirty!  You can also bring water, a sifter, and maybe smaller shovels to help find and clean the crystals.  We did not do this, but it is a good idea after the fact.  We’ve been digging before with our two older kids.

What to expect

This year they moved the dig area.  Dig areas are rotated every couple of years.  Wow!  Could we tell the difference!  We found so many crystals easily.  It is recommended to dig a hole two feet wide and about two feet deep.  After that, we dug without hands through the piles that we dug out, and in the hole.  We just used our fingers to sift through the dirt.  It is very easy to dig and sift through without extra tools (water, small shovels, and a sifter), but it sure would not hurt to bring those things.  The day was windy, and even though we started out in the morning, it got hot pretty quick.  Our youngest had a good time, but she had more fun wandering off from us.  We found so many great crystals!  After

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After digging for a couple of hours, we decided to visit the lake area and State Park.  You could easily make this a weekend trip and camp out at the park campground or rent a cabin.  There are a few hiking trails and a nice playground for the kids.  We let our youngest play on the playground, then we went for a very short hike.  It was afternoon and was very hot and humid out by then.  We will be back!  If you are going in the summer I recommend going in the morning before it gets hot.

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Free Stuff, Kid Approved, Travel

Garden of the Gods

We made our way to the Garden of the Gods after our visit to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Helen Hunt Falls.  Garden of the Gods is Beauty 360 degrees!  The red mountains and with the green trees and grass was stunning!  Garden of the Gods is also perfect for the budget because it is free!

 Visitors Center

 We stopped by the visitors center before we entered the park (that’s where my featured image was taken).  There is a great view of the park from there and you can get a map of the Garden of the Gods fromt there.  Of course there’s a gift shop too for all the fun memorbilia to take home with you.

The Drive

The drive alone is worth a visit!  There are winding roads throughout, so you can drive and see the beautiful sights without even getting out of your car.  

Hiking and More

Of cours we wanted to go for a short hike, that turned into a long hike.  The path was paved, and very easy to hike with an 18 month old. We were lucky there was nice cloud cover, which made for a cooler hike in the early evening. There were quite a few other people hiking and taking photos, but it was not too crowded.  There were a few rock climbers high up with their ropes and equipment.  They are pretty impresive, nothing that I’m willing to do. 

There is so much to see, so you should really make a good amount of time to explore the park especially if you like to hike.  We were pretty tired from our busy day, or we might have stayed longer.  We were also anxious to get back to our retreat and relax in the hot tub.

Where’s your favorite place to hike or explore in Colorado?

Free Stuff, Kid Approved, Travel

Helen Hunt Falls

After some time at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo we decided to go to Helen Hunt Falls.  A couple of years before we had been to Seven Falls, but I wanted to go somewhere different this time, plus Helen Hunt Falls is Free!  

Finding Helen Hunt Falls

I found out about Helen Hunt Falls through TripAdvisor.  TripAdvisor is a great app (or website) with information you sometimes can’t find normally.  A lot of reviewers leave great tips!  I’m not sure I would have known about Helen Hunt Falls if it had not been for searching for free things to do on TripAdvisor.  

We drove on a winding road to reach the falls through North Cheyenne Canon Park.  There were several picnic areas and people pulled over hiking, playing in the water, exploring, etc.  We had to park on the road and walk a little to reach the falls. We had a nice hike up the falls.  You really must climb to the top to get the full experience and spectacular views.  It’s not a bad hike and we had already been all over Cheyenne Mountain Zoo earlier in the day, so we were pretty tired.  Yes, it was hot and humid!  

Visitors Center

They also have a visitors center and everyone was very friendly. The falls were not crowded at all, especially for being later in the day, so that was very nice.  I don’t know that they have a website, but you can google for more information or search on TripAdvisor.  

Our next stop was The Garden of the Gods, then we headed back to our little retreat at the base of Pikes Peak for some time in the hot tub, some fresh cool mountain air, and a good nights sleep.

What’s your favorite free thing to do in Colorado Springs? 

Kid Approved, Travel

North Pole – Santa’s Workshop

While we were in Colorado Springs (July 2014) we visited the North Pole – Santa’s Workshop at Pike’s Peak.  I visited as I child, I think I was about 7 or 8-years-old.  I remember having a lot of fun as a youngster.  I was excited to take my kids, and hoped it was still as neat as I remembered.  

Go on a Weekday

Santa’s Workshop did not let us down!   It was great because the park was not crowded, no wait in line for rides, food or bathrooms.  We went on a Thursday, so I’m sure that helped to make it less crowded.  

What to Expect

The entire place is so quaint, friendly and clean. We really loved it! Our oldest (13-years-old) said this was her favorite place we visited in Colorado Springs.  There are rides for young and old.  You pay an entrance fee which covers all of the rides, then they give you a card and you charge everything else on it.  When you leave the park they total up your expences, and then you pay.  This can be a little dangerous!  We kind of lost track on what we were spending.  There are lots of good eats, and many cute little shops.  Everything is Christmas themed.  If you are a Christmas lover you must visit Santa’s Workshop.  They have a palethra of Christmas ornaments.  We ended up getting several custom ornaments.  There is a shop that will paint names on any ornament you want.  I got one for each of the girls, they picked their’s out.  I also got one for my Mom and put all of her grandkids names on it. 

 We headed to Meade, Colorado after we left to go visit and stay with friends.  Our plan was to visit Rocky Mountain National Park at least one of the next 2 days.

Have You been to Santa’a Workshop?  What did you enjoy most?