Mar 15, 2015

Staying Cool During the Hot Months is Possible and Here’s How to Do it

It's already starting to heat up in Arizona! This past weekend it has been in the high 80's and I'm definitely feeling the heat! Let's stay cool as the temperatures continue to warm up during the spring and summer. Enjoy this guest post: 

The price of gas may be going down but electricity prices always seem to be on the rise. While you may like the idea of spending all summer long floating in the lake -- who wouldn't? -- unfortunately there are always errands to run and home chores to do that move us out of the cool water and into the heat of the day. But staying cool during the hot months is possible and doesn't need to cost you an arm or a leg if you plan ahead and follow these four tips!

1. Invest in an Efficient AC Cooling System

Did you know that as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling?! This price increases if your AC cooling system is over 10 years old, so installing a good quality system can have a big effect on your utility bills. Whether you choose central cooling, a ductless AC system, or even a heat pump (yes, these systems cool things down as efficiently as warming them up!) having a professional upgrade to your old system will save you money, be greener for the planet and keep everyone in cool comfort this upcoming summer. 

Not sure if your AC Cooling System is running efficiently? Check out the EPA home assessment test to see if you are due for an upgrade. 

2. The Early Bird Catches the Worm

When the temperatures are soaring make like a bird and complete all of your outside jobs early in the day. Whether this is exercising, gardening or running errands, try to beat the heat by getting these commitments done before noon. You may be inclined to catch a few extra winks of sleep, but putting outside chores off until after work is not the best solution. Just because the sun is sinking doesn't mean the heat will too; consider that the pavement has been absorbing heat all day long and will continue to emanate that warmth for hours. Next time you are questioning the merits of a productive morning, visualize the cool glass of lemonade you can sip while putting your feet up after a busy day!

3. Stay Hydrated

We lose a lot of additional water through perspiration during the warmer months. Make sure that you and your family are hydrating adequately by drinking water, eating fresh fruit and vegetables or following great ideas to keep the kids slurping (read some excellent tips on If you have a habit of forgetting to drink throughout the day, try setting the alarm on your phone for 60 minute intervals and drink up when it sounds. 

4. Redirect the Sun

Your house might feel like a summer temple with those big windows allowing the sunshine to pour through, but during a sweltering Northern summer the natural light isn't always your friend! Allow the morning sun to stream in and brighten up your day, but minimize ruining your cool sanctuary by blocking out the afternoon rays that can quickly overheat rooms, even those with an efficient AC cooling system. Keep the sun outside where it belongs by lowering your blinds between noon and 4pm.

Mar 9, 2015

2 Santa Barbara Hiking Adventures I Hope to Go on Soon

Now that I've almost gone on most of the hikes in San Luis Obispo, California (which everyone calls SLO), I'm dying to go on some hiking adventures in Santa Barbara. Here are some that I'll hopefully be going on soon:

1. Gaviota Peak

via Meetup


6.5 miles

Instructions from Hikespeak

"Turn left up the fire road toward Gaviota Peak and Gaviota Hot Springs. After a short distance, the road crosses a creek and comes to a junction with a single-track on the right that heads up to the hot springs, reaching it after 0.1 miles. Gaviota Peak Trail continues past the junction. The road finds shade and passes through a metal gate, 0.9 miles from the start. Continue up Gaviota Peak Trail, which passes in and out of shade as it unrelentingly picks up elevation. After ascending a thousand feet over the first 1.6 miles, the trail enters Los Padres National Forest."

"A sliver of the Pacific Ocean comes into view to the west beyond the hills of Lompoc as the road continues to climb, putting on another thousand feet over the next 1.4 miles, coming to a T at the saddle northeast of Gaviota Peak. The junction greets hikers with a grand view down the other side of the ridge over a stunning stretch of coastline spanning east toward Santa Barbara. This should propel you on to the panoramic views at the summit. Turn right and finish the ascent, tackling the final 0.17 miles to the top of Gaviota Peak. The 2,458-foot Gaviota Peak rises mightily over a beautiful region of California!"

Option: "Those descending on Trespass Trail will find it completely different from the ascent. Trespass Trail is narrow, overgrown, and unmaintained. Definitely wear long pants if you trek this way or your legs will get scraped! Pick up the single-track heading southwest off the summit and prepare for sensational views. The landscape surrounding this trail is so pristine and wild, it is hard to believe you are just a couple miles from a major freeway."


"From Santa Barbara, drive 30 miles west on the 101 Freeway. When the freeway turns inland, pass the Gaviota Rest Area and drive 1.5 miles to the next exit (132) labeled California One (Lompoc / Vandenberg AFB). At the top of the ramp, turn right and make another immediate right on the unnamed Gaviota Park Boundary Road. Continue 1/3 of a mile to the cul-de-sac at road’s end.

From Buellton to the north, take the 101 South for 8 miles to the exit for California One. Turn left across the freeway and make a right on the frontage road to the trailhead."

Trailhead address: Gaviota Park Boundary Road, Goleta, CA 93117

2. Gaviota Wind Caves Trail


2.5 miles round trip

Instructions via Hikespeak: 

"From the trailhead, start north on the paved trail running parallel to the 101 and Gaviota Beach Road. Just after the road bends to the right, make a left turn on to a narrow dirt path breaking off through high grasses, about an 1/8 of a mile before the end of the pavement. Look up and you can trace the trail over the ridge to the west toward the visible wind caves.  After gaining the ridge, turn left toward the exposed pocked sandstone. There are a few other paths in this area, so follow the most worn trail straight up to the wind caves."


"Take the Gaviota Campground exit (just before the rest area and the Gaviota Tunnel en route to Los Olivos). Just before the campground entrance, take Hollister Ranch Road up the hill to the right. Almost immediately, Gaviota Beach Road turns to the right and there are gravel turnouts on both sides of the road. Park here. The trailhead is on the right next to a mountain lion warning sign."

Trailhead address: Hollister Ranch Road, Gaviota State Park, Goleta, CA 93117

These hikes are about 2 hours away from SLO. BK said I should go for it, so next time I'm back in SLO I'm going to head out on these hikes. I can't wait and soon (below) this will be me!