Monday, September 30, 2013

Rhody Goes West: Yellowstone - Part 3

Back in vacation land, with only one more stop left on our itinerary for Yellowstone National Park, we woke up early on Friday morning, checked out of the hotel, packed up the car, and made our way to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  

Morning Sunrise on the River - Yellowstone National Park, USA

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is a large canyon in the middle of the park, where the river has run through creating a valley in the middle, and making gorgeous waterfalls over the rock structures.  It's really beautiful, and is surrounded by these amazing cliffs that have pine trees growing out of the sides.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park, USA

There are a few different spots that you can get out of your vehicle and walk along the side of the canyon to get a good look at the waterfalls.  Waterfalls are not something that we really have much of in Rhode Island, never mind waterfalls of this size, so seeing these was incredible.  Even being that far away from them, you could hear the water running down the rocks.  

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park, USA

You can only take so many pictures of the canyon before things become repetitive and boring, so when we saw a large tour group coming, we took that as a hint, and decided our time here was done. 

Because we left the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone earlier than anticipated, we ended up with a little extra time on our hands before we had to exit the park, so I requested that we go back to one of the sights we had seen previously.  Can you guess which one?

If you guessed Grand Prismatic, you would be correct!  As you know, I was so disappointed that we were unable to see what it truly looks like since it was so cold out that morning, so with the temperatures in the air getting into the 60s at this point, I was really hoping that the steam wouldn't be as dense coming off of the water and we would be able to see the colors on the hot spring.  

As we got to that area of the park again, we were able to see the small bacteria waterfall that is created by the run off of all the hot springs that are situated on top of the sulfur plateau.  Like the bacteria at Lonestar Geyser, this bacteria was orange, and the hot water ran into a cold water river. 

Midway Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park, USA

We walked up the boardwalk towards the hot springs, and it was like we were at a completely different place than we were at a few days prior.  You could actually see!  And the first thing that was saw was Excelsior Crater, which had the most amazing turquoise color and water that was so clear you could see the bottom.  

Excelsior Crater - Yellowstone National Park, USA

We followed the boardwalk around the hot springs, but this time, we went the opposite direction so that we would hit Grand Prismatic Spring first instead of last. But, when we rounded the corner and got up the slight incline, what we saw was incredible.  There was so little steam coming off the water that we could see all the colors. The orange bacteria was on the outside, followed by the yellow, then the green, and finally the blue with the slightest hint of purple in the center and just below the surface of the water.  

Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park, USA

I could not be happier that I requested to revisit this part of the park. The weather was beautiful and cooperative, and seeing the natural colors of the water was gorgeous.  Even the other smaller hot springs had much better colors than a few days prior, and those were not only smaller, but closer to us.  

Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park, USA


Opal Pool - Yellowstone National Park, USA

With that last stop out of the way, it was finally time to leave Yellowstone National Park to make our way into the Grand Tetons and down to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  I do, however, have one last Yellowstone post for you, though, so stay tuned, because this one may be the most fun!

What do you think my last post on Yellowstone is about? Have you noticed anything in my recaps that has been missing?  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Flash Sale Friday: A Bedroom for Relaxing

It's time for another...


Each week, I will be featuring some of the week's best picks from my favorite Flash Sale sites and creating a room inspiration board for all of you to enjoy!  If you have a room that needs decorating and you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to email me what you are looking for, and I'll see what I can come up with for you, and you will be featured in a future Flash Sale Friday post!

If you would like to become a member to one of the sites featured in this Flash Sale Friday post, feel free to create an account from the links I have provided below.

Fab

One of my favorite color pairings is green and blue, so when I saw this week's flash sales, I knew that was the color combination I wanted to use.  I started looking through all of the sales and fell in love with the bed frame I posted below. I have a weakness for tufting, and a big upholstered headboard is just so luxurious looking.  The gray was a neutral, so I knew I could pair it with the green and blue, and thus began the working of this bedroom.  

I found two different area rugs - one for around the bed and one for around the sitting area, because that chair?! Wow, I just want to buy two of them and not have a place to put them in my house! And then when I came across the ottoman, I thought that those two pieces put together would be great for a little sitting area in a master bedroom.  This room has a lot of different patterns going on, but they all seem to complement each other, and for the most part, things all go back to stripes.  There are stripes on the gray rug, stripes on the lampshade, on the chair, and even on the bedding!  

1. Silk Fleece Throw in Green Tea via One Kings Lane  2. Bellino Cosmopolitan Sheet Set via Rue La La  3. Safavieh Chatham Hand-Tufted Rug via Rue La La  4. Possini Euro Organza 16" Ceiling Light via 55 Downing Street  5. Sophisticated Wardrobe Storage 20-Pocket Faux Jute Shoe Organizer in Gray via Hautelook  6. Sophisticated Wardrobe Storage 6-Shelf Faux Jute Sweater Organizer in Gray via Hautelook  7. Sophisticated Wardrobe Storage 10-Shelf Faux Jute Shoe Organizer in Gray via Hautelook  8. Winter White Bold Stripe Ovo Table Lamp via 55 Downing Street  9. Byron Hand-Knotted Bamboo Silk Rug via Gilt  10. Caravaggio Sideboard via Joss & Main  11. Tufted Linen Wingback Bed in Gray via Wayfair  12. Safavieh Toby End Table via Gilt  13. Safavieh Easton Linen Club Chair via Rue La La  14. Safavieh Tanisha Shoe Ottoman via Rue La La  15. Ritz Duvet Cover Set in Sapphire via MyHabit  16. Jojo Pillow via Joss & Main

I would love to have this room in my house. It just looks so comfortable, and since the colors are very simple and traditional, you could play around with other patterns to make it a little more modern.  

I really enjoy making these inspiration boards. I wish there was a way for me to actually see the rooms in real life. I think they would end up looking so good!

What do you think of this color combination? Are blues and greens together one of your favorites too?  What pattern would you add in with the stripes? Paisley? Ikat? Chevron?

Please Note: All of the images in this post have been used with permission. Images were not modified or altered to fit in this inspiration board. Flash Sale invitation links may provide me with rewards if items are purchased by a new member.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DIY: IKEA MALM Occasional Table

For a really long time now, I have been obsessed with the IKEA MALM Occasional Table. I think it's absolutely genius for using over the bed, and it's also almost the perfect size to use as one of those behind-the-couch tables.  But the $129 price tag? Outrageous. Especially since it still needs to be assembled once purchased, like 99% of IKEA items.  

Being a DIY guru, I decided that I would make my own, for a whopping $40.  It couldn't be that hard, right? Actually, right.  

In all reality, it was so easy! And the awesome thing about mine compared to the one from IKEA is that mine is solid wood, not particle board.  


So I'm here to show you how you too can save about $100 dollars and make your own MALM Occasional Table!

Step 1 - Measure the size of your bed/sofa

If you are going to build your table to go over the sides of your bed, you will need to measure the width of your bed to make sure that you make the table larger so that it will fit over comfortably.  Make sure that you also measure the height of your bed.  You will want your table to be at least 6" higher than the highest point of your bed, which will either be the footboard or the mattress.  Then, sitting in your bed, you should measure how far off the ground it would be for you, and anyone else that you share a bed with, to sit comfortably with a table over your lap.  If that height is more than the height of your bed plus 6", then use that height as the basis for your table, otherwise, don't add any additional height.

If you are making this table for the back of your sofa, measure the height of your sofa, and then subtract anywhere from 1-6", depending on your personal preference of how high you want the table to be.  


Step 2 - Buy your materials

With your measurements in hand, take a trip to your local hardware store and gather your materials.  You will need the following:

Wood - $15
L-Brackets (4) - $10 for 4
Rigid Casters (4) - $12 for 4
Wood Screws - $6.50/box of 50
Sandpaper - $3.50




Wood: I used White Fir, and bought a 2"x12"x12', which I had cut to the sizes that I needed at Lowe's.  Lowe's and Home Depot have the capability of cutting the wood to size for you, granted that their saw is in working order, so you should take advantage of this if you don't have a way to transport a 12' board, or if you don't own a saw.  




You may not need or want to use White Fir, but this is the only type of wood that was available in the size that I wanted.  My wood is untreated, which is important if you plan on staining or painting your table.  




L-Brackets: I bought four 4" L-Brackets from the hardware aisle.  You can use any size bracket that you want, but the larger ones are typically stronger and help with sturdiness, especially on a project like this.

Rigid Casters: If you are making this table for your bed, you will want to purchase 4 rigid casters, which are the ones that are bi-directional.  These will allow the table to slide back and forth over your bed in a straight line and not sideways, versus trying to direct the table with swivel casters, which would allow the table to go in all directions while trying to use it.

Wood Screws:  I bought a box of #12 1.5" wood screws to attach the L-Brackets and the Casters to the wood pieces.  To save money, I made sure that the head of the screw fit into both the brackets and the casters, that way I didn't have to buy two different size screws.  A box of screws usually contains 50 screws, which is more than enough for this project, since this will require 32 screws - 4 on each caster, and 4 on each bracket.  

Sandpaper: You will need a medium-grit sandpaper to remove any splintering pieces of wood from your boards.  If you already have a rough-grit or fine-grit sandpaper on hand, you can probably save some money by not purchasing a medium-grit sandpaper, although you may need to sand a little harder or softer based on what type of grit you have.  


Step 3 -  Sand down your boards

Using your sandpaper, sand down all of the sides of the boards, including the ends.  Make sure that when sanding, you go in the direction of the grain of the wood.  Going against the grain of the wood will result in scratches that will show through stain and thin layers of paint.  

When you have finished sanding, wipe off your boards with a dry cloth, then vacuum or brush the rest of the dust off using a shop-vac or small hand brush.  This step is extremely important if you will be staining or painting your boards, since you will not want any small pieces of dust ruining the finish on your table.  

Step 4 - Prime, paint, and protect your boards

This step is optional, but it will really help your table last longer and be protected from sweating cups, food spills, and anything else that can possibly ruin raw wood.  For me, I used a sample can of paint that I bought a few weeks ago for the small bedroom on the first floor, which will be my craft room.  I put two coats of primer on the wood first, let that dry, then I followed that up with two coats of Sherwin-Williams Summit Gray paint.






Once the paint dries, you are ready to add an optional protective coat onto the boards.  I decided to use a spray-polyurethane to protect the paint on the boards, that way wet cups and spills wouldn't ruin the wood and would make clean up so much easier.  I actually waited overnight to start the polyurethane since I started the project after work one day, but if you start this project early enough in the day, you could actually just wait a few hours for the paint to completely dry before moving on.  If you choose to use polyurethane, follow the directions on the packaging to allow for enough drying time between coats.  


Step 5 - Mark, drill, and attach your L-Brackets

Once you have finished priming, painting, and the optional step of protecting your boards, it is time to attach your hardware.  


On your leg boards, measure how far inside you want your L-Brackets to be, and using a pencil, mark inside the screw holes so you know where to drill your pilot holes.  I attached my L-Brackets 2" from the long sides of the boards, and made sure that the bend in the bracket was flush with the short side of the board.  




Once you have the holes marked on both the leg boards, use a drill bit that is smaller than the size of the wood screws that you bought and drill pilot holes where you marked the screw holes with the pencil.  This step is important because not only will it help make sure that your screws go into the exact location that you want them to go, but it will also help them go in easier.  Once your pilot holes are drilled, screw the L-Brackets into the leg boards using your wood screws.




Next, line up your short boards on the end of your long board, making sure that both boards meet perfectly, creating a 90 degree angle.  Using a pencil, mark where the L-Bracket screw holes are, then using your drill, drill in your pilot holes.  


Step 6 - Attach your Casters

On the bottom of your leg boards, measure how far inside you want your casters to be, and using a pencil, mark inside the screw holes so you know where to drill your pilot holes.  


I attached my Casters 1/2" from the edge of the short side of the board, giving the legs the most stability.  Once you have all the holes marked on both the leg boards, use a drill bit that is smaller than the size of the wood screws that you bought and drill pilot holes where you marked the screw holes with the pencil.  This step is important because not only will it help make sure that your screws go into the exact location that you want them to go, but it will also help them go in easier.  Once your pilot holes are drilled, screw the Casters into the leg boards using your wood screws.







Step 7 - Assemble your table

Depending on where you will be using your table, it may be easier to attach the top of the table to the legs once you have it in the space it will be in.  For me, this was the case not only because I was working by myself and without someone else to help me transport it, but because our bedroom is upstairs via an L-shaped staircase, which would have made it annoying to try to transport assembled.  


When you are ready to assemble the table, lay the table top on the floor, with the pilot holes facing upward.  Line your table legs up with the edge of the table top, and line up the pilot holes with the holes in the L-Bracket.  Attach your table legs to the table top using the wood screws.  


Once you have the legs and top attached, you are ready to use your table!  Flip it over onto the casters, or onto the bottom of the legs if you chose to forgo the casters and use this behind a sofa, and you are good to go!




Have I inspired you to take more chances and to try building your own furniture? This is literally one of the easiest projects, plus it's completely customizable.  

So, when are you going to the hardware store to get your supplies?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So, I Grew a Tree

I'm taking a time-out from my vacation recaps just to show you something awesome.

When I left for vacation in early August, the Avocado pit that I planted back in May had finally begun to sprout, and was about an inch tall.  Having forgot about it just after we returned, since we were trying to get back into routine, my mom asked me one day after work if I had seen it since I returned. I answered no, and she took me by the hand and brought me into the other room, where I had placed the glass vase on the fireplace mantle.  Walking in, it was dark, so I couldn't see it right away, but when she turned on the lights, I saw how much it had grown.




Yes, it was that big! I couldn't believe it! It grew over an inch a day in the time that I was gone!  Plus, the leaves weren't small - they were really big! I didn't think I would have this kind of growth for months, never mind it happening essentially in ten days!


I started doing research on how to care for am adolescent avocado tree, and everything that I read talked about pinching.  Initially, I was confused by the term "pinching," but I figured out that what they meant is to cut off the top of the plant to begin the growth of new branches. By pinching off the top set of leaves, it tricks the plant to begin a new sub-stem, which just ends up being a branch that will grow leaves, instead of only having leaves coming off of the main branch.




I just recently did this, after waiting for a few more leaves to show up, so I'm not a part of the waiting game for the tree to start its new branches. I'm really hoping that this works, because having a nice full tree would be great!

I also read that you can try to put the leaf and bud into a small glass of water to see if it starts to sprout roots, so I did that and we'll see what happens. I doubt that it will survive and start to grow, but it can't hurt to try, right?






And now that I know that I can grow a tree from an avocado pit, I may just start a few more just so I have some nice green in the home. After all, I do have eleven more of those vases leftover from the wedding centerpieces, so I may as well just put them to use!

Have you successfully grown an avocado tree? What did you do to help it branch out?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Flash Sale Friday: Elegant Formal Living Room

It's time for another...


Each week, I will be featuring some of the week's best picks from my favorite Flash Sale sites and creating a room inspiration board for all of you to enjoy!  If you have a room that needs decorating and you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to email me what you are looking for, and I'll see what I can come up with for you, and you will be featured in a future Flash Sale Friday post!

If you would like to become a member to one of the sites featured in this Flash Sale Friday post, feel free to create an account from the links I have provided below.

Fab

Unlike last week, I found so many things that I loved on the Flash Sale sites this week. I really wanted to be able to use more of the items for sale, but I couldn't come up with a good design for a room with everything that I fell in love with.  However, I think that this week's room that I designed for you is absolutely stunning! With the transition into fall, I have been loving dark yet still vivid colors, like purple and teal, and those two colors go together very well.  They are very saturated colors, so I decided to add in a bright neutral, bringing in silver tones to even out the color palette.  But, don't worry, because if silver isn't your color, gold or even copper would go very well in this space too.  

One of my favorite items in this room, other than the rug, of course, is the wallpaper. I love the dark teal color that is under the silver pattern, and I think that putting that on a feature wall would look incredible! The other great thing about that wallpaper is that it's not permanent, so this would work perfectly in a rental space, or even in a property you own - yet it's so simple to just take down and replace with another pattern.  

1. Lounge Eggplant Velvet Sofa via 55 Downing Street  2. 5-Piece Modern Plant Stand Set via Joss & Main  3. Lyla Table Lamp via Joss & Main  4. Crosby Console in White via One Kings Lane  5. Neptune Sisal-Blend Rug in Silver via One Kings Lane  6. Carolina Pillow in Peacock Blue via Joss & Main  7. 9-Piece Abbott Ball Decor Set via Joss & Main  8. Mathilde Accent Chair via Joss & Main  9. Assortment of 2 Essentials Lanterns in Blue via One Kings Lane  10. Arturo Bench via Joss & Main  11. Ultra-Removable Eco Eclipse Light Blue Diamond Geometric Wallpaper via Hautelook  12. My Purple Rain Wall Art via Joss & Main  13. Waterwave Cashmere Throw via Gilt

Doesn't this room just scream elegance and luxury?!  I love the way that the teal and the purple look together, and the color on the walls is just so soft, yet helps the other colors really pop and stand out without being too bright.  

Would you pair these colors together in your home? What piece from this collection do you want the most?  Are you daring enough to put purple on the walls in your home - and not in a child's bedroom?

Please Note: All of the images in this post have been used with permission. Images were not modified or altered to fit in this inspiration board. Flash Sale invitation links may provide me with rewards if items are purchased by a new member.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rhody Goes West: Yellowstone - Part 2

Our second day in Yellowstone, we drove to the North Entrance of the Park, which is technically in Montana.  Up in this area of the park is Mammoth Hot Springs, one of the places that I suggested that we go, even though the drive up there from the hotel is over an hour and a half.  It's crazy to think that this park is larger than the entire State of Rhode Island.  In fact, the road that makes a circle in the center of the park just to the Northwest of Lake Yellowstone is only 40 miles shorter than the perimeter of Rhode Island.

On our way up to Mammoth Hot Springs, we stopped at Mud Volcano, to see Dragon's Mouth, which is a cave that has boiling water coming out of it.  When the original settlers of the area came upon this cave, they had thought that there was a Dragon that lived inside, because of the steam coming out of it and the roaring noise that the boiling water was making as it was coming out.

Dragon's Mouth - Yellowstone National Park, USA

The cave was very neat to see, but once again, with the morning temperature being in the low 40s, it was difficult to see the actual cave with all of the steam coming out of it, but the actual concept of the cave was very cool. It's just amazing that boiling water can come out of the Earth, naturally.

In that same area of the park are some other hot springs, some of which are really large and others that are on the small side.  From the top of the hill in that area, you could see the steam from all of the hot springs because it was so cold outside, and it was a really neat view with the mountains in the background.

Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park, USA

The hot springs that were smaller were much more interesting to me than the large ones were, mostly because they were surrounded by beautifully colored grasses that I was surprised could survive near the hot sulfur-infused water.

Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park, USA


Also in this area were the Mud Volcanoes, which instead of just water boiling, these are mud ponds that boil.  Seeing mud boil was actually a really weird thing to see. You don't really think about boiling things with the consistency of mud, at least I don't, so actually seeing it boil is a strange occurrence.  The cool thing about it, though, is that the boiling seems to be slow, and not as rapid, which means that when you take pictures, you can actually see the ripples and the bubbles in the boil.

Mud Volcanoes - Yellowstone National Park, USA


Boiling Mud Volcanoes - Yellowstone National Park, USA

Next, we finally arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs, where we saw some geysers, similar to the ones in the Old Faithful area of the park, and the hot springs, which over thousands of years, have formed a large sulfur mountain.  Like the sulfur in the geysers, there is also a lot of sulfur in the water in the hot springs, and as the water boils, a buildup of sulfur is created, making the white-faced mountain that you see in the picture below.  From far away, it looks like it was snow covered mountain, which I thought could be possible considering that it was getting so cold at night, but I was proved very wrong when we got closer.

Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park, USA

This mountain of sulfur was created from some of the larger hot springs, and the sulfur has actually killed the nature that is around that area.  Small grasses are able to survive, but trees that once stood with green leaves and branches are now just dead sticks that are being held up by the hardened sulfur around the trunks.

Sulfur Tree Forest - Yellowstone National Park, USA

It's actually a really interesting thing to see, and makes the hot springs just seem a little more ominous.  Over time, as long as these trees stay standing, they will likely petrify because of the acids and the minerals in the water.  It will take millions of years for this to occur, however, so unless technology really advances in the next fifty years or so, we will never live to see it happen.  

Trees at Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park, USA

After spending the morning and early afternoon at Mammoth Hot Springs, we started our trek back to the hotel, stopping on our way to see the Petrified Tree.  This tree is over 40 million years old, and at one point there were three of them this size that were all situated next to each other on this hillside of Specimen Ridge.  The other two trees were more accessible than this one, and tourists were picking them apart, taking pieces of the petrified wood as souvenirs.  This led to the park association fencing in the last remaining tree to preserve it.  It was a beautiful landmark, but it was difficult to get a good view of it, as you can kind of tell from the picture below - it's situated on the side of a ridge, and there is a small walkway that allows you to see it, although it is a little further up the hill, making for difficult photo taking.

Petrified Tree - Yellowstone National Park, USA

We hit some road construction on the way back to the hotel, which ended up delaying us slightly for our dinner reservation, and we didn't get much of a chance to do some hiking.  Instead, we got cleaned up and had dinner, just in time to watch the gorgeous sunset over Lake Yellowstone.  

Sunset over Lake Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park, USA

It was the perfect ending to a great day in the park, and our last night there as well, but the recaps of Yellowstone aren't over yet.  In fact, stay tuned for two more posts about Yellowstone, one of which is my absolute favorite part of the park, and then we travel to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Grand Tetons for a few days.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flash Sale Friday: Wood Furniture and Decor

It's time for another...


Each week, I will be featuring some of the week's best picks from my favorite Flash Sale sites and creating a room inspiration board for all of you to enjoy!  If you have a room that needs decorating and you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to email me what you are looking for, and I'll see what I can come up with for you, and you will be featured in a future Flash Sale Friday post!

If you would like to become a member to one of the sites featured in this Flash Sale Friday post, feel free to create an account from the links I have provided below.

Fab

I'm going to honest with you this week. I had a really hard time and very little motivation in this week's Flash Sale Friday. It wasn't because I don't enjoy blogging or making up this post for you all every week - it's because I really didn't like all that much on the flash sale sites this week.  Nothing really spoke to me, and I couldn't even really find different pieces that I wanted to incorporate into a room for you.  So I came up with something different.

The one similarity that I found with a few of the pieces on the flash sale sites is wood.  The pieces of wood don't necessarily all go together, but I figured I would show you how you can incorporate something natural looking and made of wood into your space.  There are a bunch of different options in terms of tables, chairs that are upholstered but have just a hint of wood on them, and even lamps for a side table or bureau.  


I really hope that you find something in this week's Flash Sale Friday that you like, and I'm really hoping that there are some great pieces for me to feature for you next week.  

What traditional or non-traditional ways have you used wood in your home decor?

Please Note: All of the images in this post have been used with permission. Images were not modified or altered to fit in this inspiration board. Flash Sale invitation links may provide me with rewards if items are purchased by a new member.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rhody Goes West: Yellowstone - Part 1

Our time in Yellowstone National Park was great.  We ended up spending just about three days in the park, and while that wasn't enough time to do some of the long hikes, we were able to see almost all of the touristy attractions.

Welcome to Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park, USA

We entered the park from the West Entrance, and followed the main road until we reached Madison Junction, where we began our drive South towards Old Faithful.  The plan was to hit up all of the attractions along the West side of the park on our way to the hotel in Lake Village.


The first place along the road that we stopped was the Midway Geyser Basin, which is where Grand Prismatic Spring is.  D and I were so excited to see this because the pictures that are available online of this basin are incredible, as you will see below, in the picture by National Geographic.


Well, we weren't going to be able to see how beautiful it was. You see, when we woke up that morning to enter the park, it was a whopping 38 degrees outside. Yes, you read that correctly - 38 degrees. After having just spent a few days in temperatures over 90 degrees, that was quite the shock to our systems.  But, you may be wondering what this has to do with not being able to see the beauty of Grand Prismatic Spring.  Well, the water that's in the spring is averaging about 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it very, very warm. When the temperature in the air is cold, let's say under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the steam that rises off of the warm water blocks the view of the spring, and you can't really see much at all.  And since it was so freaking cold that morning and the sun hadn't yet broken through the early morning fog and mist, we essentially couldn't see anything.

Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park, USA

Honestly, I was devastated. Grand Prismatic Spring was probably the top touristy attraction that I wanted to see, and the weather was completely ruining it.  And I may have thrown a little fit. Just kidding...

But, since there wasn't too much to see, we decided to keep on going, and our next stop was the Old Faithful area of the park.  With Old Faithful being pretty predictable, we were able to spend some time walking around the boardwalks to see the other geysers before we made our way back to the main attraction.  Before going to Yellowstone, I didn't realize how many other geysers there actually are in the area, so we spent a lot of time walking around, enjoying the area, and thinking we were going to see every geyser go off - and spoiler alert - we didn't see a single one.  Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of activity, but the only one that we saw actually erupt was Old Faithful.

Castle Geyser in Old Faithful Area - Yellowstone National Park, USA


Old Faithful Eruption - Yellowstone National Park, USA

After watching Old Faithful, we made our way out of the area and over to Kepler Cascades, which is just an overlook to an amazingly beautiful waterfall.  We actually ate lunch here, and when we finished up, we walked over to a hidden gem just around the corner, Lonestar Geyser.

Kepler Cascades - Yellowstone National Park, USA

The walk out to Lonestar is about 2.5 miles, one-way, but well worth it. I actually enjoyed Lonestar more than I enjoyed Old Faithful, and it was definitely the highlight of the day for me.  We were able to get really close to the geyser, even when it was erupting, and there were no where near as many people there as there were at Old Faithful.

Lonestar Geyser - Yellowstone National Park, USA

What you're actually seeing in the second picture with the orange color is bacteria.  Since the water is so hot coming out of the geyser, bacteria grows and lives in the warm pools of water that form. The bacteria is the color that you are seeing.  If we had a clear day at Grand Prismatic Spring, you would have also seen the different colored bacteria, but you know how that went...

Lonestar Geyser - Yellowstone National Park, USA

Also, the spout that it looks like the hot water is coming out of was actually formed over years and years of the geyser erupting.  Since the hot water comes from inside the earth, it contains a lot of sulfur, and when it erupts, the sulfur leaves behind small particles from the water run off, and over time, the sulfur builds up and forms that spout around the opening in the ground.  You'll see a lot more of this in pictures as my vacation recap continues, but this actually wrapped up our tour of the West side of the park.

Stay tuned as we continue our vacation in Yellowstone and explore some of the other awesome parts of the park.

Have you ever seen Old Faithful? Is Yellowstone National park on your bucket list?
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