Our weekend in King's Canyon National park

My husband and I are still working through our list of national parks in California. Last weekend we checked out King's Canyon and it (by far) exceeded my expectations. I hadn't looked up any details, I just had a visual of what I thought it would be like..  my mental picture didn't even come close. This park was so grand! There were hardly any other visitors, it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We chose to do the mist falls hike and were beside a beautiful green, clear river almost the entire day! There were also a few gorgeous waterfalls just off of the roads to pull over and see. Overall it was a very easy park to explore and navigate. Well worth the drive from Pleasanton.

There is this strong connection with water that I (and my family) have. We grew up going to our cottage in Caseville, MI on Lake Huron. Boating was always my Dad's favorite activity and so of course my siblings and I have all done our fair share of that. After I graduated from high school my family moved to Northern Michigan, and had easy access to several lakes, we were only a 30 minute drive from Lake Michigan. On my days off while I was in nursing school, I would head to the beach or take a hike in the upper peninsula where there are so many water features, it is like a playground! I watched a movie (one from the chronicles of narnia series) years ago where I saw a scene with the most beautiful blue water flowing between canyons. A quick google search led me to find out that New Zealand is quite gorgeous, and has some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. I made a commitment to myself, at a young age, to go and see that glacier water! Years later, my husband and I actually got engaged in NZ! I even have tiny, blue/green stones "hidden" in my engagement ring, because he understood my lifelong love for that aspect of nature. 

My love for water is difficult to explain,  But it is something that I feel so deeply. The reflective details on the surface, the many different hues of blue and green, the bodies of water all over the world that are so life giving. The way that it continually pushes up on the shore and then pulls back, with loud swooshing white noise that could calm me in any situation. The way that it carves out valleys, and canyons  like the one in this National park. The way that it guided us along our hike,  and continued to flow from its origin while we soaked up its beauty.

I was so grateful for this trip, our views, and that river. This was some much needed quality time with my sweetheart <3


Clean eating while camping

A weekend meal plan for two. 

Riley and I love to get away on the weekends. He has those two (precious) days off, and a lot of times we decide to use them to see a new place and enjoy the great outdoors. We have done this enough lately to realize that we loosely follow the same meal plan for these short trips. It is an easy, fast, affordable way with minimal prepping and minimal cooking to stay on track with your clean eating. 

We have found that packing our own food is essential, if we don't, the options are fast food and gas station junk. We are usually on the road pretty late by the time he gets out of work, and that leaves little to no hope for finding anything decent that's open on the way. 

I have dinner ready for us before we leave, usually something like a red lentil pasta bake with marinara sauce and basil or a pesto chicken salad. This past weekend I had a chicken, kale, olive, and mushroom skillet prepared with plenty of lemon juice and garlic. Eating well before and during travel has made all of the difference for me. My sleep, energy levels, mood etc are all affected by food, so I am happy to bring my favorite meals along with us. 

Day 1

Breakfast: Granola with kefir and fruit (Berries are the easiest but I have also prepped and cut mangos and watermelon ahead of time and that makes for a better breakfast bowl), coffee 

Snacks while hiking: Grass fed beef jerky sticks and lara bars. 

Lunch: lettuce wraps with turkey or chicken (I use leftover from home) tomato, onion, hummus

Dinner: Tuna burgers  (options for turkey or beef burgers) with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, condiments of choice. Chips, salsa, and coleslaw. 

Dessert: Put the leftover fruit in a foil packet with bits of granola and break up a dark chocolate bar, heat it over the fire and enjoy! 

Day 2

Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs, with avocado toast and "everything but the bagel" seasoning from Trader Joes, coffee. 

Snacks while hiking: Apples and oranges 

Lunch: Turkey or chicken, hummus, peppers, cucumbers. You could also use the leftover lettuce to make this into a salad 

Dinner: Chicken tacos (with leftover chicken from home) with black beans, corn and salsa 

Optional, stop for dinner on the way home and opt out of prepping this meal. 

What you will need to bring:

  • Silverware
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • French press ( we definitely qualify this as a "need")
  • Tin foil
  • Skillet (depending on whether you will have access to a grill or not)
  • Spatula
  • Cooler
  • To drink: we bring at least a few gallons of filtered berkey water from home, and kombucha. 

What you will need to prep:

  • Hard boil eggs at home
  • Cook or bring leftover chicken/turkey from home


There is so much to be said for getting away, having a weekend outside, and feeling unplugged from the crazy world that we live in. Eating well while we are out there, just makes it that much better for our bodies. When we plan longer trips, the cooking gets a bit more involved. We also love breakfast skillets in the morning, but these quick trips with limited time are perfect for this meal plan above. Try it out and let me know what you think <3

I wish you wellness.




A weekend in the PNW

Riley and I spent Memorial weekend up in Seattle and Mount Rainier National park. He had found a good deal on tickets a few weeks ago and booked them for us right away. We are really living out here to see and experience as much as possible, and up in Washington, there is even more to see than I could possibly hope for. I have driven through WA but never stayed, so I was really excited! 

We are embracing a "no excuses" guide to life. Want to go on an adventure? Then go. Want to move somewhere new? Make it happen. Want a different life and future then you are on track for? Time to get to work. It is empowering to take a "my life is in my hands" approach and to see your life actually change. We are so happy and excited about everything that life has to offer, because we know that we are our own keys to happiness and success. This was just a small weekend trip, but it symbolizes everything that we live by. Don't pass up any opportunities for something as silly as doubt or the comfort of staying home. Just go. 

I love traveling with my husband because we are almost always on the same page for things that we want to see and do, we make a really good team. We decided to stay closer to Mount Rainier National Park the first night so that we could wake up and get an early start. We found a B&B about 40 minutes from the entrance to the park, which was good enough. This place was so unique! It was a straw bail construction with exposed beams, concrete walls, and beautiful gardens surrounding the home. I feel it is fair to call the owners "quirky" because they were a self proclaimed "weird and unique" couple. They were so kind and cooked us an organic breakfast with coffee, toast, eggs, and grapefruit before we started our day. We walked through the gardens listening to the birds chirp, watching the bees and hummingbirds, and the cat hunting some unknown prey. What I noticed the most was the smell. That fresh air, cool morning, woodsy scent. But this time, it was different. The area and climate breed a different type of forest than I am used to; I had never smelled this before. It was so rich, so awakening, and absolutely amazing. The owner showed us a few of the rocks he had collected and gave us one that had little crystal formations inside of it. With that, he sent us on our way.


We drove to Mount Rainier and entered the park pretty early in the morning. No line to get in, no traffic, it was really enjoyable. We pulled over everywhere that we could to see the forest, waterfalls, go on hikes, and take in all of the sights and sounds of this park. The weather changed fast, with some light rain in the morning and fog that got pretty heavy throughout the afternoon. We actually didn't get views of the mountain but really appreciated our time hiking and exploring. We also love a good excuse to have to come back! 

My favorite part of the day was one short walk through the woods. There was no one around and we silently searched for our favorite elements. Riley loves the grandeur of nature. Mountains, tall trees, large open spaces. I tend to get lost in the little things. Leaves, ferns, tiny details, and dewdrops on plants. I call them "natures jewelry" and think it is the most gorgeous thing to witness after rainfall. 

We drove as far as we could on the roads that were opened (some are seasonal). We saw a lot of snow at the end of the drive but the fog was so thick I just stopped taking pictures. It is always a comfort to see snow! It reminds us of home. 


After exiting the park we drove by a huge line, at least five miles long of cars trying to get into Mount Rainier! We couldn't believe how backed up it was and we were so grateful that we were able to come earlier in the day. 

The drive into Seattle was really easy! We checked into our air B&B which was a studio apartment in Capital Hill. It had a lot of charm, old creaking wood floors, views of the city including the iconic space needle, and everything that we needed to stay and explore. After checking in we walked around, grabbed dinner, made sure to get a water view while the sun was setting, and went out for a glass of wine. We found one really cozy bar with friendly staff and stayed there for a while talking about what we liked so far, and what we wanted to do the next day. 


The next day we woke up with a few things on our wish list: coffee and experiencing classic Seattle. We are pretty easy to please. We chose to walk to see everything and had an entire day full of good eats, awesome coffee, amazing views, and a pretty good taste of what the city has to offer. 

We started at Pike place market, a colorful, loud, and exciting marketplace with everything you could possibly need! The flowers there blew me away, so many different colors of the most perfect roses and peonies. There was everything from fresh seafood, to local honey, hand made knifes, organic soaps,  and a stand selling cbd oil.. I mean everything. It was locally sourced art. SO many merchants coming together to share their goods with customers. The different trades blended together into one big, amazing, must see market. 

We walked across the street where there was plenty of food, saw the first starbucks, and a french restaurant that we wandered into for brunch. The food was delicious, and the European portion sizes were so much more appropriate than ours, ha! 

We walked everywhere, to the pier, the business district, the Columbia center for views of the entire city, a lunch spot for oysters and seafood soup, then back to the waterfront to get on a ferry to Bainbridge Island. We found a cool winery there where we split a tasting, and then found a brick oven pizza place that was just like pizza in Italy. That thin crust, margarita pizza with giant pieces of basil and a few slices of mozzarella. I don't normally eat gluten or dairy, but with those real ingredients, it did not upset my stomach at all! Small victories! 

When we arrived back in downtown Seattle, we looked up a speakeasy called "needle and thread" that sounded really fun. We found the bar that it was inside of after a long but amazing walk through the city. There is a phone on the back wall that you pick up and it automatically calls up to the speakeasy. The girl on the other end said they didn't have room for us but to call back later. We enjoyed a snack at the bar until I decided to call again, this time they had room. The vault door next to the phone clicked, and it was unlocked, we walked up a dark passageway to a small attic space bar. The lighting was dim, and the energy was so calm and relaxed. People were paired off, sitting in cozy vintage chairs around small worn pieces of furniture. We were placed in a communal area just a step down from the main bar area. There was a large ottoman, some really unique pieces of art on the walls, and an overall feeling of stepping back in time. The waitress came around and told us that there were no menus. You only need to say what characteristics you liked in a beverage and the bartender would make you your own drink. How cool! My descriptive words were "citrus" and "floral." A small, classic champagne glass showed up with the most delicious raspberry & lemon flavored cocktail. I don't drink often, but when I do it's usually a ridiculously expensive cocktail for the experience of it all. This was just that. We had so much fun sipping our drinks, looking around, and talking about how we came to be so far from home in this trendy little drinking attic from the prohibition days. Life seems so random sometimes, and is so amazing. 

After the speakeasy, we walked home, which was another glorious stroll through the city.  So much going on, so many people out having a drink or a late night bite to eat. Social hour for some, but definitely bedtime for me. We arrived back, crashed into bed after an awesome day and what seemed like ten or more miles walked. Seattle, you were definitely a charmer.

We really enjoyed our time there and already want to go back! 




Learn to love mornings

I wasn't a morning person. I remember sleeping in until 11am on weekends, having a hard time getting out of bed, feeling unmotivated to do anything but eat breakfast and then plop down on the couch. By the time I felt like I could get out and do something, it was already early afternoon, a decent part of my day was just gone

We all need a day off here and there, a day to just relax, to do nothing.  My old habits were much different than that. They were lazy. This was before I worked night shift for two years, and that made things much worse. To "prep" for my next shift I would stay up until about 3 or 4am and then wake up in the afternoon.  I felt terrible any time that I was up in the morning, I never enjoyed that time. I missed out.

The other day I was thinking about life, how quickly our days pass, and how those days are numbered. I have a choice, to get up and live, or to lay around watching tv and sitting on my couch. The thought of looking back when you are nearing your end, and seeing a life lived after 12pm every day.. honestly it scares me. What a sad waste of time. 

I am so grateful that I have switched things around, I have broken old habits, and I have been steady with it for over a year now. I love my mornings. I love the dreamy light peeking over the hills, and then pouring through my windows. I love my warm coffee, I love diffusing oils that wake me up and make me happy. I love reading my daily devotional book alone. I love the quiet, calm energy before everyone rushes off to work. I love going places because mornings can turn any place (even in the Bay Area!) into a ghost town. I love seeing who else is out, running, riding their bikes, breathing that cool air. I love seeing those that love their mornings as much as I do. 

Photographers often refer to the time around the sunrise as the "golden hour." They are definitely referring to the lighting, but I call it the golden hour for many other reasons. It is the best time of the day! 

If waking up early is something that is hard for you, but you want to be a morning person, I understand. Here are a few tips for you to improve your morning game, to wake up and live.

  • Sleep training. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at at the same time in the morning. This takes discipline, but I promise it works. When I am not able to do this, I wake up so much more tired.
  • A warm drink. Whatever it is, hot lemon water, tea, coffee. Make it special, use your favorite mug, set it all up the night before so all you have to do is heat your water and enjoy. Life's little pleasures are what it is all about.
  • Peppermint oil. This is a go to almost every morning for me. I smell it straight from the bottle, or put some on my neck, or a drop on my thumb pressed to the roof of my mouth. Peppermint is a great wake up oil!
  • Be grateful. If you think about life in a positive way, if you are grateful to be given the gift of another day, you'll be more willing to launch yourself out of bed when you wake up in the am. I say in my head or out loud "thank you" several times. I just woke up, I am alive. What a gift! 
  • Dream. I don't mean while you are sleeping. Do you have dreams for you life? Or did you, and life has buried them?  Don't be afraid to dream. I think of the life that I want for my husband and future children, and I have to work for that. That dream, that image in my head instantly fuels me with the motivation to peel the covers back and get up. 
  • Make it comfy. We don't want to leave our beds because we are soo comfortable. I get that, so when I am reading, or having coffee, I am wrapped up in an oversized robe. And if I head out into that amazing but chilly morning air, I am bundled up in sweats and a hat. The thought of leaving your bed becomes less daunting when you are headed for warm clothes or blankets with your cozy drink of choice.
  • Watch your productivity. Nothing makes me more excited than seeing how productive I am when I enjoy my early mornings. I am able to relax, read, have grateful thoughts, and then start working. Without the rush of flying off to work or feeling stressed, I get so much more done. Try it for a week or two and watch how much more you are able to accomplish, and all before 12pm! 

Here are a few pictures of my favorite golden hours, that time that I have learned to love so much.