Leave only footprints


Making it Through the Holidays

The temperature is slowing dropping; some days there are even snowflakes falling down from the big gray clouds that loom overhead. The sun decides to go to bed earlier and earlier each night. It’s dark when you get up for work in the morning and it’s almost dark when you leave in the afternoon. One of the hardest things during this time of year is staying positive and upbeat. Seasonal depression is no joke. Too many people end their year in a bad mood because of the lack of sunlight and cabin fever caused by the chilling winds. Welcome to the holiday season!

Yes, the holiday season is upon us. The cheerful Christmas music is playing 24/7 on the radio to help the pangs of seasonal depression. Decorations and pretty lights help to illuminate the night sky that now starts at 4:30 in the afternoon. Yes, the holiday season may be “too commercial” but you have to admit, it is helping you get through one of the roughest times of the year so why not just jump right in and enjoy it?

First off you have Thanksgiving. This holiday is all about being with friends and family and eating until you explode. To help get through this feast of feasts without gaining 25 pounds, you’ll need a game-plan.

  • First: You don’t need to be eating all day. Just because you ate at one party doesn’t mean you need to have an entire meal again at a second or third party.
  • Second: Portion Control!!! Try using a smaller plate when you eat thanksgiving dinner. Take a little bit (1-2 bites) of everything that is available and when you are done with that, you can go back and have a little more of what you really enjoyed. The idea here is to eat slower than you normally would so that you end up finishing your plate around the same time as everyone else who is gorging themselves.
  • Third: Plan ahead. If you know that you will be attending multiple parties, eat less at each. You don’t need to deprive yourself from having a great time and this way you won’t be faced with questions about why you aren’t eating. Eat less, enjoy more.


After Thanksgiving you have the biggest holiday party stretch of the year. If you are like most Americans you will have a ton of holiday parties throughout the entire month on December. This is going to be the most stressful, yet enjoyable time of the year. When it comes to overeating you just follow the same suggestions as for Thanksgiving, but instead of having to portion yourself for multiple parties on one day you need to worry about multiple parties during the week. The concept stays the same. Try to eat less crap and choose healthier options at these parties. Don’t go diving into pies every night when you have the option to munch on a veggie tray. It’s the little things that make a difference when watching your weight during the holiday season.

When it comes to the high stress levels this time of year, remember, you don’t need to be a super hero. If you find that you cannot be at every party, politely decline. If you are hosting a party and you find yourself struggling to get it all put together, don’t be afraid to ask your friends for some help. That’s what they’re there for aren’t they? This is supposed to be a happy time, not a stressful one. So remember: Ask for help and don’t stress making it to everything, you still need your “Me Time”

If you find that amongst all of the shopping, holiday card sending, decorating, partying, eating, drinking, wrapping presents, working, etc, etc, etc, you are losing your mind. Force yourself to take some time for yourself. You can refer to the post about this Here.  Just do what you can to keep yourself in check this holiday season. Go ahead: eat, drink, be merry! Just don’t go overboard.

Who else is excited for Christmas?


Long days and pleasant nights,

Shoeless Joe




Winter Camping

I am way over due for a new post. I have been extremely busy these last 3 weeks. Wow…It’s been almost a month since my last post.

The Paleo challenge I have set for myself has had it’s ups and downs, but for the most part it has been a very Paleo diet. I must say that I enjoy eating Paleo and living this lifestyle. That is the main thing I have learned in the last month of doing this challenge. It has also driven me to dislike winter. Not hate it, just dislike it. If I didn’t have a snowboarding pass I would be chomping at the bit for spring to come. I miss being outside barefoot all the time, wearing shorts and just enjoying nature. I still enjoy nature, but it’s not the same.

Nicky and I went camping a month ago. Not cabin camping, not tent camping, TARP camping. We took a big blue tarp that we bought at Home Depot, some cooking supplies and some wood cutting supplies and we set out. We went to Phillips Creek in Allegany County NY. It’s a nice little area designed for hiking, snowshoeing and horseback riding. We didn’t want to walk far in case something happened and we needed to get back to the truck but we wanted to be far enough in that we couldn’t see the road. We ended up walking roughly 200 yards down the trail and went about  200 feet into the woods and began to set up camp.

The first thing we did was find an area that was large enough to accommodate the TeePee we planned on building. After we found a suitable area it was time to look for some sturdy poles. We lucked out. The area we chose had plenty of down trees that were just the right size for what we needed. We used a saw to cut 5 nice poles and then lashed 3 together and set the other 2 in place. After wrapping the tarp around the poles and staking it all down we found that we had a pretty nice living space.

The original plan was to have the fire inside the teepee with us but we found that it would be a little too crowded for our safety.

We placed our fire outside and had some nice meals, relaxed and enjoyed the company of some friends who stopped by to see us.

Overall I had a very nice day being away from civilization for a while. Being away from the hustle and bustle for a while can really relax you.

With it being winter the sun set early (around 5:00) and that meant that it was time for us to go to bed. We had set down more tarps to keep us dry inside the teepee. On these tarps we placed a blanket down then we had our sleeping bags with another blanket for extra warmth. Nicky was smart and purchased a bunch of hand/body warmers. We placed these inside the sleeping bags with us to keep us warm. They really worked out well. At one point I was actually too hot in the 5*F weather. Going to bathroom in the middle of the night is hard though. Getting out of the warm sleeping bag and stepping out into the cold night is a shock to the system. But it was all right. Falling back to sleep was no problem. But staying asleep was hard for me…

Around 4:30 am I started to hear the tree branches in the forest start to creak and crack under the bitter cold. It was frightening to hear large branches slamming into the ground nearby. After about an hour of this I heard the beeping of a truck backing up. I was afraid that it was a tow truck taking away my dads pickup. I decided to wake Nicky up and head out to the truck to warm up and await the sunrise. She was reluctant to say the least but I didn’t want to wait and find that our truck was gone or find a tree branch in the teepee with us. It turns out that it was just a snowplow turning around in an intersection nearby and we waited for morning in the truck.

When it was light enough to see without the aid of flashlights we went back to tear down camp and head home. After we loaded everything into the truck we met my parents at a nearby restaurant for breakfast. We ate like champions that morning. After conquering the great outdoors for a night in the middle of winter you are a champion. But a tired champion at that. When we got back to the great city of Buffalo we passed out…hard. For about another 3 hours. It is very physically draining being out in the cold. You don’t realize how much energy you burn just staying warm.

Overall it was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again. Being outside is essential to happiness no matter what season it may be.

photo from the NYSDEC website.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this extra long post today and I hope you try this sometime. Leave a comment if you have ever gone camping in the winter, or if you haven’t, what is the craziest thing you have ever done in the winter.

Long days and Pleasant nights,

Shoeless Joe

Camping Trip

It’s winter. It’s cold. I’m going camping. Today when Nicky gets out of work we are heading down to near the PA border and doing some fun winter camping. Of course we are not camping tonight at is it already getting dark and we have a 2 hour drive. We will be staying at my Parents house tonight and departing in the morning. Please check back for an update. Hopefully we will have some video of this trip!

Safe travels,

Shoeless (who will be wearing boots for this trip) Joe

Winter is Coming

There is no denying it anymore. Winter is right around the corner. With cold weather comes some barefoot issues. You can’t really walk around outside barefoot when there is 2 feet of snow everywhere. Don’t be afraid to wear boots this winter. You can’t be barefoot all year long when you live in Buffalo, NY. I do plan on purchasing a pair of Vibram Five Finger Flows for this upcoming winter. I know that they won’t keep my feet completely safe and warm but they should work better than the KSO’s I’ve been using this summer/fall.

This winter season expect to see posts about fighting cabin fever, more recipes and the adventures of Shoeless Joe.

Long days and pleasant nights,