This is Why I'm Happy

These pictures were just too cute not to share. Oh, these two. I am one happy lady.

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend with those you love.

Braided Crown 3 Ways: The Criss-Cross Applesauce

I am so excited to share my first hair tutorial with you guys! And because it is my first tutorial, I wanted to do something extra special. But also something that I actually do wear myself regularly. I of course immediately thought sharing a braided crown would be perfect. I soon also realized I wear a braided crown an assortment of ways. So, lucky you, I am actually doing three tutorials. That means it will be coming to you in three parts.

Braided crowns are a go-to of mine these days. I remember when the style was first becoming popular in my neck of the woods and wanting desperately to join in, but my hair was still a little to short at the time. But I kept trying; I'd put little bow were the braid ended or gather the end in a bun instead of wrapping it all the way around. When my hair was finally long enough to wrap my whole head braided, I may have jumped for joy a bit! And by that time I had plenty of practice and had the braided crown look down a number of ways. This has come in handy lately as the weather here has sure gotten unbearably hot fast and I have a whole lot of hair that I'm still not sure what to do with. I've probably mentioned it before, but this is the longest my hair has ever been (and I have to convince myself everyday to not take scissors to it). I am happy that it now seems to be long enough to allow me to do any kind of style I can think of (except cute, short ones of course). So I've been getting it off my neck and getting creative with it to.

This braided crown, which I love to call The Criss-Cross Applesauce, is most likely the easiest of the three braided crowns I will show you. As such, it is the one I wear the most. It takes a matter of minutes, two normal braids, and some bobby pins to pull it off. It is, in my opinion, a perfect combination of sophistication and casual. You are bound to get compliments on this hair-do. I'll leave it at your discretion as to whether or not you want to share how easy the look is to achieve :) Plus, you may be able to pull this off with shoulder-length hair, so long as you don't have a ton of layers.

1. Begin by combing any tangles out of your hair and then gathering your hair into two sections.
2. Apply a tiny bit of coconut oil with the tips of you fingers to each gather section. Braid one section and secure it with a small rubber-band (the closer to your hair color, the better). Do this to the other section as well. I like to hold my hair outward as I am braiding it, versus braiding downward,  allowing the base of the braid to be a little looser. This will help your braids sit better around your ears as you pull them up.
3. Take one of the braids and cross it over the top of your head. Adjust as needed, to get the braid to lay flat around the ear. Using bobby pins, pin the braid in place on the top of your head, paying extra attention to the end of the braid and making it lay flat. I like to imagine placing it where a headband would rest. Once pinned, loosen the braid up a bit carefully with your fingers to make it look more natural.
4. Do the same with the other braid. Cross it over the top of your head and the braid already pinned in place, tucking the end of it into to the other braid. Pin in place. Add as many bobby pins as needed for the braids to feel secure.
5. Tuck in any unwanted flyways and tuck your bangs back if preferred.

See, super simple. It just looks like you spent a lot of time on it. Plus, braided crowns are perfect for dirty, summer hair. And a HUGE thank you to my sister, Bee, for taking all the pictures for me. And for not thinking I was weird when I asked you to come over and take pictures of me doing my hair :)

- you can see The Upside Down and Around here
- and The Bohemian Wrap is here now too!

Adventure Wishlist

1. Ariel 75 / 2. Keen Hiking Boots / 3. Canon Rebel / 4. Rain Jacket / 5. Hubba Hubba / 6. Kiyra Pant / 7. Run Short / 8. Run Top

Summer is finally in full swing around here. We had a few days or weeks where it was uncommonly chilly and rainy for Boise, which I enjoyed quite a bit. But now we are into the super hots (it is forecast to be 102 tomorrow!), and so of course I am only daydreaming about escaping the heat in the mountains or even along the coast. Will and I are really itching to take a long backpacking trip this summer and I am in need of a few things to do so. I'd love a new pack (I am smitten with Osprey packs) and a new pair of boots. We don't necessarily need a new tent, but one that has a gear shed would be super nice. Especially if we take a trip along the Olympic Peninsula; that may have to wait for now. I am also in dire need of some new workout clothes. And by dire need I of course mean that I am lazy and hate having to do laundry as often as I am now due to the fact that I run out of things to wear to workout quickly. And of course, I am still envying all of you with your DSLRs. I think the little Canon Rebel is so cute, and it would be perfect (not too big or heavy) for backpacking trips.

Do any of you enjoy camping/backpacking/hiking/etc.? And have you gotten out yet this summer?

Learning to Trust Myself: A Quick Revolt Check-In Week 8

I am going to leave this Revolt check-in pretty short, as I am already late in posting it and will be posting an update for week 9 at the end of the week (with more progress pictures!). But I did still wanted to touch base real quick and let you know how I'm feeling.

^An old picture, I know, but it seemed fitting. And this wasn't too long ago but my arms already look thinner/more toned!^

Last week you may remember me not feeling too excited or motivated about Revolt or workouts in general. I'm happy to say my fitness mood is much better as of late. How did I accomplish this? I gave myself a frakkin break. I think I had all these expectations that as I continued with Revolt and once I reached a certain level things would suddenly be easy. That I wouldn't really have to work at it is as much. That I would be stronger, and thus better able to do everything. And yes, my endurance has improved exponentially and I am a million times stronger than when I began. But guess what? It is still hard work. And that is how it should be. I should always be pushing myself; there is always room for improvement. I mean, seriously, it isn't called a workout for nothing.

You may also remember last week that I am not going to post measurements anymore. I am going to stick to that, as I am not even taking them anymore. I will post my final measurements after 12 weeks, and I will include progress pictures from time to time. But I do not feel comfortable sharing measurements anymore for the reason that I became obsessive over them. I'd weigh myself multiple time a day, everyday, and stare at myself in the mirror before a shower nitpicking every little thing I still wanted to change. Which is ridiculous! Because I was seeing great results. Healthy results. I've been learning how to live healthier, but I've really got to learn how to think healthy too. I want a positive body image just as much as a super awesome strong toned body!

So now I am learning to really trust myself and my body. My workouts have improved greatly because of it. I know my strengths and when to push myself. But I also know when to give myself a little break, even if it means taking a workout easy or even pushing a workout back a day. Listening to my body will not halt or slow my progress; I wish I wasn't slow in realizing this. And I am realizing that as I have increased my fitness level, physical activity has become a normal part of my day. I am wanting to get out so much more. Don't get me wrong, I love relaxing days (or weekends) at home, but they now make me feel restless.

I hope you understand why I have made this change in my check-in posts. And I'll have some progress pictures for you at the end of this week. I hope you lovelies are all feeling happy and healthy!

P.s. The food is soooo good this week. I don't even know.

Disclaimer: I was chosen as a Revolt Fitness Program blogger and received free membership to try the fitness program. All results are real and my own. All opinions expressed are my own

Film vs Digital

I've been a little old picture crazy lately. I dug through a few boxes of old pictures that my parents have laying around last week to find a picture for this post and now I can't stop. I've been scanning picture after picture up to my computer for safe keeping.

There is something a little more memorable about having pictures printed versus just saved to your hard drive. Nothing quite beats spending an afternoon sitting on the floor with a cup of tea and a shoe box full of old photos to sift through. I love my digital camera (and even my iPod camera) and I would love to save up to buy myself a brand new fancy Digital SLR, but I still really miss the days of film. Film, to me, had some mystery and so much realness to it. I remember taking rolls and rolls of film to the store with my mom to get developed and being so excited when she would let me fill out the order forms or get the first peek at the prints when they were done.

And maybe we have the best of both now. With digital you're never saving those last few shots on the roll for something special. You can capture real, everyday moments freely, discarding what isn't needed (like pictures of the carpet?) and saving what turned out special. All while never fearing running out of film or space. And you do still have the option to print when wanted. But honestly, how many of us do that on a regular basis?

Maybe all of the pictures didn't turn out perfectly with film, but there is still something I love about that. Even those imperfect, out of focus, poor lighting shots say something.

When searching through old pictures, I also happened upon an old scrapbook that I made myself when I was younger (probably ages 10-12). I mean, it was super cheesy and laughable at best, but I loved it. I miss printing pictures and saving them in this way. My mom had been working at a scrapbook store near my elementary school at the time I created it and I can remember going there after school and spending hours creating pages for my picture book. I think it helped me appreciate memory keeping so much. I'd love to take that up again. I think making a small scrapbook each year or two would really encourage me to get more pictures printed and to save our memories in a tangible way.

I'd also love to go back to shooting a bit with film too. If for nothing else, I think it'd be fun. If you follow me on instagram, you may know that I recently acquired TWO old film cameras!

Will found them in an electronics/computer recycle bin at work. They are old Fish and Game cameras that they were just going to get rid of, as they had no need for them anymore. I am so excited to get some batteries in them (especially that Olympus SLR) and see what they can do.

Do any of you still shoot film? Or do you have a good memory storing system (like creating scrapbooks)?

P.s. If there are any hiccups as you look around the blog today (and possibly tomorrow), please excuse them. I am updating a few things!

Vegan Fajita Salad with Fresh Black Bean Salsa

I am all about salads this time of year. There is nothing more refreshing on a hot day than fresh food, especially with so many fresh garden vegetables slowly becoming available. This salad is all the right kinds of good. I made a fresh black bean salsa (deviating a bit from a Texas Caviar recipe I had) that is light and crisp and just a bit tangy/zesty. I was eating it by the spoonful. That salsa paired with some grilled fajita vegetables and yummy grilled tofu (totally optional) makes such a pretty combination that I'll be having food dreams for days. In fact, it's so good that I'm going to have it for dinner again tonight. And the night after that. And the night after that. And then I'm going to lick the salsa bowl clean. And cuddle it to sleep.

Too much?

For the Salsa (loosely adapted from a Revolt recipe, Texas Caviar):

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 4 oz can green chilies
1/2 of a large red onion
1/4 of a red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 of a green bell pepper, finely diced
3 to 4 large garden tomatoes (I used the kind sold on the vine), diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
2 limes, squeezed
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 oz Italian dressing (I used Wishbone Robusto Italian)

Directions: Rinse and drain your beans and combine them in a bowl with the green chilies. Set aside. Chop your bell peppers (save what remains for the fajita salad!) and onions and combine with the beans and chilies. Dice your tomatoes and pour into the bowl with the other ingredients (get all those yummy juices in there!). For the cilantro, I like to rinse it, remove as many of the stems as possible, kind of roll it all up into a ball, and chop it up finely using kitchen shears. Add it, and the rest of the spices, to the salsa. Then, using a small citrus juicer, squeeze the limes and add their juice to the salsa, giving everything a really good stir. Finally pour 8 oz (usually half of a store bought bottle) of Italian dressing over the salsa and stir it together. Refrigerate until serving.

This salsa can be made in advance; in fact, I recommend it. Letting it sit allows all those flavors to meld together. I like to make it in the morning and then store in the fridge until dinner time. It seems to get better after sitting for a day or two and can be kept in the fridge for a week (if it lasts that long).

If you'd like to add tofu to your salad, I marinated one 12.3 oz package extra-firm Tofu in about 4 oz of Italian dressing (leftover from the salsa). I recommend these tips for marinating tofu to perfection. I know, it sounds like a strange combination, tofu in Italian dressing to top a fajita salad, but something about all those flavors together is perfect. Tofu is not necessary here, I find this perfectly tasty with just the salsa and veggies atop the leafy greens. Tofu does give it some extra umpf, though. If you're a meat eater, try pairing this with white fish, grilled chicken, or slices of steak.

Vegan Fajita Salad, serves 4:

3/4 of a red bell pepper (leftover from the salsa), sliced
1/2 of a green bell pepper (leftover from the salsa), sliced
1/2 of a red onion (leftover from the salsa), thinly sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil

12.3 oz package extra-firm Tofu, marinated in 4 oz Italian dressing, optional

8 cups leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce and spinach

Directions: Slice the leftover vegetables  (red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion) you saved from making the salsa and a zucchini. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium high heat and add all the vegetables. Cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Once tender add all the seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes, reducing the heat slightly. While the vegetables are cooking, grill up the marinated tofu in a separate pan until crispy and golden brown.

Once the vegetables and tofu are fully cooked, place 2 cups of leafy greens (per person) in a bowl and top with 1/4 of the vegetables and tofu. Also top with 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of salsa (or as much as you want!).

Don't be surprised if you eat half of that bowl of salsa, with chips, in one sitting. Or if you want to eat this salad again and again and again.


DIY Gift for Him: (25) Reasons Why I Love You

Monday I talked about Will's birthday (which was last Friday) and how we celebrated it. He turned 25, or how I like to think of it, he's been alive now for a quarter of a century! I'm the sentimental type and those dear to me tend to be as well. I always mull over gift ideas for weeks before holidays because I do really like to give things that have meaning. Because of this I tend to be a gift maker. I even handmade every single gift I gifted last Christmas! Handmade things just pack so much meaning, personality, and creativeness into a gift. Plus they are great for people, like me, who are on a tight budget but still want to show someone some love.

Ideally, if I had the cash to blow, I would have bought a whole slew of new backpacking gear for Will for his birthday. I know he loved my homemade things though. I thought it would also be a great idea to do a little booklet of sorts instead of a card. Since he was turning 25, I titled it 25 Reason Why I Love You. See below how I created this simple little booklet for him.

How to Make a Card Booklet

What you'll need: To create a booklet similar to mine you'll need some card-stock paper, cardboard (or another sturdy material) for the cover, foam stamps, paint, a paint brush, small letter stamps, ink, various pens and markers, other embellishments (stickers, die-cuts, etc) optional, a hole punch,  and twine.


  1. Begin by creating the cover for your booklet. I chose a thin cardboard like material that was already cut to a small size. Create the title for your booklet. I decided on {25} Reasons Why I Love You because it was Will's 25th birthday. I used foam stamps for the 25 (apply paint using a paint brush and stamp onto your surface) and regular letter stamps to write the title and then used some stickers as accents. I distressed the edges by rubbing them on the ink pad.
  2. Measure the size of the cover and cut pieces of card-stock into smaller pieces that will fit into your booklet. My cover measured 4.5 square inches, so I cut each page in to 4.25 inch squares. Cut as many pages as you need, and number them by stamping them with the same foam stamps you used on the cover.
  3. Allow any paint to dry and then make sure all pages of your booklet align. I rounded the corners of my pages to match the cover. This is not necessary, just an extra little touch. Punch holes in each of the pages and the cover to ensure you will be able to bind your booklet together. A good way to make sure all of your hole punches line up: Begin by marking where you want the holes to go on the front cover and punch them out. Then align different pages, one or two at a time, (centered) with the top of the front cover and punch through the holes you have already made.
  4. Go through and personalize each page of your booklet. Do this before binding it together! If you make a mistake you can make a new page without having to unbind everything. Get create with each page, writing and stamping with different fonts. Add pictures, stickers, different embellishments, or print out everything and adhere it to your pages. I chose to keep it pretty simple. Then bind your booklet together by feeding twine through the holes.
Here's a little peek inside my booklet!

The design/concept is simple for this little booklet, but you could make it so many different ways. Some other ideas for little personal booklets:

  • An anniversary gift, using the number of years you've been together to share things you love about that person. 
  • Highlights from the year (maybe one for each month), including pictures and things you did.
  • A trip highlight, including your favorite stories and places visited.
  • A collection of instagram photos printed out. How cute would this be?!
  • A booklet featuring highlights and monthly pictures from the first year of a baby's life.

Happy memory keeping!

One Day at a Time: Revolt Check-In Week 7

The past few days have gone a little something like this...

Saturday: End of the week! I don't know how I made it through all those Tabatas. I should do my Revolt check-in post today...
Sunday: Okay, well, I should do that post today! I don't really want to take measurements though. Yawn.
Monday: And now it's the start of a new week; I really need to get that post in.
Tuesday: Blargh.
Wednesday: Okay...

I've been struggling a lot lately with finding motivation for workouts. It is always easy for me to stick with the food, although I did slip up just a little this weekend due to so many celebrations (oops), but I have a tendency to fall into these ruts after awhile. As you know, I suffer deeply with anxiety, but you might not know that I also suffer from depression. It is something I work at daily to control, but it does still affect every aspect of my life, sadly my health/fitness/workouts are no exception.

I'm still doing the workouts but I am not facing them from the frame of mind I would like to (how I was before). It may take me all day to convince myself that I should workout, only to then do it out of spite and not enjoy a minute of it. When I workout from a place of anger my workouts are lacking and I leave exhausted and frustrated. I'm missing that feeling of elation I use to get from Revolt workouts when I faced them all head on, as a challenge to myself, with strength and confidence.

And it is silly. Because I know that I am getting better and stronger and seeing the results I want. But there is still this part of me that feels like I haven't made any progress at all, or maybe not fast enough. I look in the mirror with disgust and hate measuring/weighing myself.

Taking each day as a new one has helped with this a bit. So has taking time to really just focus on my needs and really relaxing. I've been getting outside as much as possible. It's lovely and rainy today; I even took the dogs out and walked around in it a bit.

I've also been taking the time to really remind myself why I am doing Revolt and improving my health in the first place. I want to be strong and uninhibited about my real strengths. I want to feel capable of anything. I want to feel stronger physically so I can feel stronger mentally. I want to be healthy and fit and never afraid of participating in something active. I want to go backpacking for a week in the Sawtooths or along the Pacific coast and feel great. I want to really get into climbing. I want to feel confident in anything I wear. I want my confidence to shine through more than anything.

Because I really want to focus on how I am feeling and the reasons why I am getting fit, I may refrain from sharing measurements for a bit. I created a little motivational board for myself yesterday. Cheesy? Yes. But helpful.

stretch / inner strength / change / backpacking / kickboxing / mountain top / progress / canoeing / sweat

See more inspiration and fitness tips on my healthy body pinterest board. I hope you are all feeling strong and confident and beautiful.

Disclaimer: I was chosen as a Revolt Fitness Program blogger and received free membership to try the fitness program. All results are real and my own. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Will's Birthday Celebrations

This weekend was filled with celebration. In addition to Father's Day, Will had a birthday on Friday. He and I are similar in that we both don't care too much for celebrating our own birthdays. But I still like to show him how much I love him and that I love that he was born! So we had a get together (of sorts) anyway!

Friday night we had dinner over at his parents' place, and well, he just got spoiled well.

His parents were lovely and cooked up a feast, featuring some of Will's favorites. We munched on yummy cheeses and veggies and wine. At one point we decided to open a bottle of champagne that was as old as Will. It was not good, haha. Dinner included giant oysters, fresh salmon, steaks, and red potatoes. A food coma ensued, of course.

^food coma faces^

I winged a whole wheat, egg-free, and butter-free chocolate cake and Will's mama prepared a chocolate frozen greek yogurt for dessert.

We all settled down at the end of the night to watch Tremors 2, at which point I took the opportunity to pass out on the couch until we were ready to go home :) I was so tired! Saturday we celebrated a bit more and went shopping for a felt hat (which Will looks so classy in) and had some Cafe Rio.

Not a bad way to spend a birthday, if you ask me. Tomorrow I'll share a little something I made and gifted to Will.

Dad Day

Happy Father's Day, yesterday!

I am one lucky little lady to have such a fantastic father. We don't get to choose our parents, but I'd like to think if I was given the chance I'd still go with mine every time. As I grew up I also saw my parents grow so much as people. And I love that. I was taught such valuable lessons in courage and openness because of that. I get my sense of humor from my father. My dark hair, pale skin, big brown eyes, and introverted tendencies as well. He taught me the value of learning, the thrill of adventure, and how to be a great, loving listener. He is the best bear huger in the world and a perfect father to four crazy, unique, now grown-up kids.

My dad spent his father's day pretty well, I'd say. Jenica took him out for a hike early in the morning and then we had breakfast together.

Later in the day my brother Aaron took over grill duty and cooked up some pesto salmon, habaƱero pineapple chicken, brats, and grilled veggies. I made potatoes rustica and a green salad. My sister Bee made some delicious Texas sheet cake for dessert. We were all rightfully stuffed after.

I hope you all had a great day celebrating the good fathers in your lives.