6 Tips For You First Camping Trip

Camping can be a beautiful experience, because you get to relax without expectations. Plus, it's a really cheap and attainable way to incorporate travel into your lifestyle. Casey and I decided to go camping on a whim at the end of the summer last year. Out of nowhere, she called me from work to say we should go camping. We didn't even own a tent. So the next day I bought a tent and some air mattresses and the next day we were camping. And just like that, we were hooked.

After a few trips I'd say we have really gotten the hang of it. By the end of the year we had learned a lot. We realized we could actually cook over a fire and we had to learn how to make a fire. (Hint: if you end up being somewhere between campers and glampers like us, just bring some fire starters with you. It'll make your life easier!) But that first time, we were clueless! We figured there were others out there who would benefit from some camping tips, just like we would've. So here are a few things we wish we had known from the beginning!

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1. Buy a tent that's big enough. This was the first mistake we made when we started camping. We weren't even sure if we would like camping so we bought a cheap 4-person tent. It was a good decision then because tents can get pricey. If you end up hating camping then you'd be in a pickle if you spent a good chunk of money on your equipment. Our problem is with that tent though is that we were camping with 3 dogs and 2 people.

When it comes to tents, you almost need to double the amount of people who will be camping. Especially if air mattresses are involved. We ended up upgrading to an 8-person tent after a few trips. Our old tent would've only fit 4 people if they were basically sleeping on top of each other. Our new one only takes a couple extra minutes to set up and is there perfect size for us and all the dogs! The point? When it comes to tents, size up.
2. Book the right campsite. I am writing a whole blog post about this, but really you just need to decide what kind of place you want to camp in and then find it. It can be overwhelming the first time you are looking for a campsite. For our first trip we came close to booking a primitive site that you had to hike a mile to. A mile isn't that far, but after our first trip we were so glad we didn't go that route. I can't imagine trying to get all our gear and 3 dogs a mile out and then possibly forgetting something in the car. For us, having the car right next to us is crucial and as of now we wouldn't have it any other way. Stay tuned to our next camping blog post to see exactly what we look for in a campsite and campground.
3. Decide what you need to be comfortable. This will be different for everybody. Casey and I both use air mattresses and like to have a fan- which means we need electricity. Some people are fine sleeping on a tiny camp pad. Neither is right or wrong, it's all up to you!

If you really need your memory foam pillow to sleep and it fits in the car, bring it. If you want to put makeup on everyday that you are camping- do it. If you want to wear the same clothes everyday- so be it. There is no right or wrong way to camp. If you want to be comfortable, figure out how to do just that.
4. Don't plan too much. One of the best things about camping is that there doesn't have to be an agenda. On a lot of our trips we just sit in hammocks and/or by a body of water and eat food. We don't plan it, but that's all that happens and it's great.

We accidentally went on a hike on one of our camping trips and definitely think that's a fun thing to do while you're camping. If you're an avid hiker, maybe you'll want to make sure you're staying near a nice place hike. But if you aren't into hiking, don't force yourself to do one. Just make sure that no matter what you decide to do on your trip you leave room for spontaneity!
5. Be prepared for all types of weather. When you are sleeping in nature, you really start to become involved in the weather. By the end of your first trip you will more than likely know more about humidity, sun, wind and nightly low temperatures than you ever wanted to. But you are out in that weather 24/7 and you are going to want be prepared.

We always carry an extra tarp and rope with us in case it rains. We, luckily, have NEVER dealt heavy rain while camping, and I'm sure it would be a nightmare. So an extra tarp is crucial to hang above your tent and keep it dry.

Another weather related note- even if it is the middle of summer, check the low temps and pack accordingly. Casey and I camped in Florida last year which was our favorite camping trip to date! But we never imagined that we might be cold there. It's Florida, after all. We went to the beach and were hot all day in the sun. But then one night it got down in the 50s and neither of us had the right clothing. Casey ended up driving into town to buy sweatpants.

6. Plan for no cell service. Most state parks are in areas where cell service is less than desirable And no surprise, there probably won't be wifi. However, most of the state parks have a lodge near the campground which usually has wifi. It's a good idea to figure out where the lodge is or how you will obtain cell service in the event of an emergency. If anything the lodge can let you use their phone, so just figure out where you'd go if you needed to make a call or use wifi.

We have a couple more camping posts coming to you soon, so check back regularly if you want to learn more about camping!

xo, Savannah

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18 Things You Need For Your Stock Tank Pool

Now that you have your stock tank pool all set up, you'll want some accessories to make your time in the sun even more enjoyable. Here is a list of things that we have bought for our pool area (and a few that we are eyeing).

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1. Tube Floats & Electric Air Pump / Floats may seem a little crazy given how small your pool is. If you have an 8 ft. stock tank pool like us, there is enough room for 2 floats. We have had the lounge floats and the tube floats and prefer the tube floats, hands down. They both will work in the pool but we had trouble keeping the layout ones clean. Also, do yourself a favor and get an electric pump. If you try to blow up the floats with your mouth, it will absolutely exhaust you.

2. DIY Bench or Pool Noodles / The edge of a stock tank isn't all that comfortable to sit on. You can take pool noodles and put them around the edge or you can build an even more comfortable bench.

3. Drink Floats / Don't want to hold your drink in the pool? Get some cute floats to hold them for you. Originally we had some pink flamingo drink floats, but they ended up being too small.

4. Chlorine Dispenser + Chlorine Tablets / Instead of having to drain your pool every now and then, get a chlorine dispenser and chlorine tablets. This will keep your water clean and clear.

6. Water Tester / And while you are at it, get a pool water tester too. This will allow you to see the ph level of your water. The ph needs to be in a certain range for the chlorine to work properly.

7. Pool Skimmer / Anything that can't fit through the drain should be skimmed out. For us this means taking out leaves and little twigs that fall from the trees.

5. Sunblock / Be safe and don't get sunburn while you are out there. Enough said.

8. Shade/ Giant Umbrella / If your pool sits right in the sun all day, you may want a large umbrella to shade it and keep the water cool.

9. Pool Thermometer / If you're curious about the temperature of the water, this is an easily way to tell!

10. Storage For Floats & Toys / With all the rain that we get here, a place to store the floats and supplies would be really helpful! Our floats tend to get pretty dirty by the end of the summer and they also fade in the sunshine. It can also look messy with all our supplies out in the open. This could be a nice addition to keep it looking clean by the pool.

11. Ambience Lighting / These string lights are great to hang around the pool area and in any backyard space. They make a big impact and create a great vibe.

12. Floating Disco Light / Okay this is just fun! And if you use the pool at night, you might want to see in the pool water.

13. Portable Speaker / If you want to create some chill and oasis-like vibe, you're going to want to play some music. And bonus, you can take the portable speaker anywhere with you.

14. Cute Towels / Dry off in style! If you're going to have to have towels, the might as well be cute, right?!

15. Pool Games / If you have kids or you like to host parties, pool games are a great way to take your stock tank pool up a notch.

16. Lounge Chairs / If you have a pool of any size, you need a place to lounge. We also have this DIY  if you want to take inexpensive lounge chairs and make them more fabulous.

17. Cute Drinkware / Y'all know we love drink ware. And you can't drink by the pool in boring drink ware. We love these copper pineapples to drink out of because they won't break and they are adorable!

18. Pool Cover/ Even though we filter our pool, there are still larger things-like hackberries- that won't filter out. A pool cover will keep a lot of debris out and make your job of keeping your pool clean a lot easier.
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The Best Way To Paint Your Stock Tank Pool

The number one comment and question we get about our stock tank pool always revolves around the pool rusting. Without question over time water + chlorine + metal = rust. With modifications a stock tank pool can last you for a very long time.

**Update May 2020** Before we get started, I want to tell you that Leak Seal is not recommended for use in areas where it will come in prolonged contact with water. We do not recommend your painting the inside of your pool with Leak Seal or any paint product at this time.

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This was our 3rd summer using the stock tank pool and we started the season with a little rust. You will see this in the video. We knew it was time to deal with this before the problem progressed. We've heard from several people that you can use rubberized sealant to combat this problem. So we coated the pool with Rustoleum Leak Seal in white. We used 21 spray cans. Which sounds crazy, I know. We went back and forth about using the kind where you can paint it on vs spraying it on and after a lot of research we decide to use the spray cans. Do yourself a favor and use one these whenever you are using a spray can. They make a HUGE difference and make using a spray paint can more comfortable.

The process was easy, but it did take A LOT of coats. However, if you used the clear you wouldn't have to use as many. We had to use that many cans because it was hard to get an even coat. Other things to note about this product- wear a mask when using this. It aint no joke. The fumes are intense- way more than spray paint. Also, it's really important to follow the directions and pay attention to cure times. There was an unexpected rain shower that caused our pool to get wet before it cured for a solid 24 hours. We are really hoping this doesn't become a problem. We are really pleased with the end result and somehow painting the inside white really makes it look more like a real pool.
To see the full process watch the video below!
And if you are wondering how we drain the pool, here is a quick little video for you about that.
If you found any of this info helpful, we'd love for you to pin the image below!

xo, Casey and Savannah
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5 Days In Lisbon, Portugal: 13 Must-Do Activities

When we planned our trip to The Azores for 2 weeks, we started looking for other places where we could travel to inexpensively. Traveling to Lisbon was actually less expensive than flying to any of the other Azores islands. We are so happy we chose Lisbon because it is such a colorful + beautiful city that is filled with such diversity + many things to do. You couldn't possible get bored being here. And this city has it all - beautiful architecture, beaches, food for days, shopping, good public transportation, museums, etc. I could go on and on. We loved Lisbon and I am so glad we added this on to our trip to the Azores!

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Let's talk about the things you must do while you are there:

1. Walk around the city with no agenda. This is how we spent most of our days because every corner you turn there is something beautiful to see. We loved just walking around and admiring the architecture and seeing what else the city had to offer. I don't think you could go wrong. We spent most of our time in Chiado and loved it. Definitely be sure to pack a few different pairs of comfy shoes. You will be walking a lot and there are more stairs than you could ever imagine. I'm not even kidding when I say, I feel like I should have trained a little before this trip. We were exhausted from all the walking and the stairs, but again we loved it.
2. Get Santini Gelato. The lemon flavor was my absolute favorite. You can get gelato every couple of  blocks in Lisbon, but Santini is kind of a big deal. It's popular for a reason -it's delicious! And those red stripes, swoon.
3. Visit Pink Street. This street is begging you to take a picture. Also, if you are a night owl and like to party, this is the place to be. We are grannies so we never appreciated all that Pink Street has to offer, but it is known for it's club scene.

4. Eat egg cups. So this may not sound appetizing but this is a traditional Portuguese dessert and it is so good. Our Airbnb hosts actually left us some to try when we arrived. Casey was fortunate enough to find a gluten-free egg cup at Zarzuela's, and it was one of her favorite things she ate in Lisbon. We tried to figure out how to take some home but it just wasn't possible.
5. Visit Time-Out Market. This place is really cool and we are so excited because something very similar is coming to Nashville! It's a huge place with around 60 restaurants. Any kind of food you can think of- it's there. Casey ate a phenomenal cod fish risotto and a gluten-free pumpkin ricotta flan. I had a mix of asian dishes- all very tasty. We often have a hard time deciding where to eat because we are both in the mood for different things. But at Time- Out everyone can get the food they want and still eat together.
6. Eat at a cafe/snack bar. These are everywhere and they are all adorable. I don't remember ever coming across a restaurant or cafe that wasn't aesthetically pleasing. After walking around all day, it's nice to just sit down, relax, and have a snack with coffee.
7. Go to the Alfama flea market. This happen every Tuesday, so we were thrilled we were there on a Tuesday because this was a  fun activity. If you happen to be in town on a Tuesday, I definitely recommend you go! The Alfama neighborhood has lots to offer too.  It's really cool to see what people sell in different places around the world. This market contained a lot of cheap knickknacks and a few local goods. There were a lot of cool pieces but we were traveling in a carry-on so we didn't have room for many extra goods.
8. Visit the rooftops. If you are looking on a map, you will see "Miradouro" in many different places. This means that there is lookout with a great view. The fun thing is that there is one in just about every neighborhood. You could also get the same experience on a rooftop bar. We went to a couple miradouros and Park Bar for a drink and a snack. We really enjoyed their view and atmosphere. This is a pretty popular place so try going earlier in the day. It's also pretty hard to find because it's at the top of a parking garage and there is no signage. Just put the location in your phone/GPS and then find the parking garage when you get there. Take the elevator to the top floor and you will be there!
9. Ride a tram (or just find one to see what all the hype is for). The trams are really cute and the most famous one is the 28. We never rode this because of how crowded it was. We also found it rather easy to get around by the combination of foot and subway. We did run across an almost empty 28 tram early one morning, but we weren't going anywhere at the moment. If you really want to ride, try the morning or late hours. Hold on to your belongings tightly though. Apparently people get pick-pocketed regularly there.

10. Stop and get coffee in the middle of the day- just because. Everyone else does it. Portguese people drink espresso alllll day, and I love them for it. When in Rome.... or Lisbon. Also, their coffee is so good. I would usually ask for espresso with milk and in the biggest cup they had. These people drink tiny espresso all day- not coffee like we do. But man it's good. I was really sad to come home and drink regular coffee. I'm probably going to get an espresso maker now.
11. Visit a museum. There are many museums you can visit in Lisbon, but we went to Museu Colecao Berardo. We chose this one because you can see a piece from Picasso, Mondrian, and Andy Warhol all in one place. It was a pretty cool space and you can walk through Belem while you are there. Belem was insanely busy but the museum was not.

12. Have a shot of Ginja. Casey had read about Ginja online before our trip, so we made sure to try some on our trip. It's a Portuguese sour cherry liqueur and it's often served in a chocolate cup. We saw a sign for Ginja in the window of a little cafe so we ran in to try some. Ours did not come in a chocolate cup- which is great for me as I'm not a fan of it. It was strong, but tasty. It isn't something I'd say I'd be eager to have again, but it was nice to know what it was like.
13. Drink wine. Wine is crazy cheap in Portugal and it's really really good. Our Airbnb hosts left us a bottle at check-in and it was my favorite wine we had there. We ended up buying another bottle of that same wine when we got back to the island. Sadly we didn't bring any back because we didn't have the luggage for it. But this would be a great time to bring some back! But even if you don't, drink it while you are there. You won't be sorry.

If you liked this post and would like to see more like it, please pin the image below!

xo, Savannah

P.S. If you've never stayed in an Airbnb before, don't forget you can get $40 off your first stay by clicking here.
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