My top 5: Hiking Essentials

This week I want to change it up a bit. Instead of highlighting the top 5 things that I liked this week I want to highlight the top 5 things I always take on my hikes. I’ve mentioned this before, but I love getting outside! I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I’d put myself in the middle of the pack as an intermediate hiker. I can dig it when it comes to elevation gain, prefer if the distance is about 5 miles round trip, and like to have a view at the end hopefully involving some kind of water feature. In the past two weeks I’ve already talked about the hiking boots I can’t live without and the pants that I love to workout and move around in, so here are 5 other things that I always make sure to wear, bring or pack when hitting the trail.

  1. Keep on truckin’: the hat – If you know Tim, you know he’s most likely always wearing a Patagonia trucker hat. I never really understood the appeal of wearing trucker hats, I mean they were super big circa Ashton Kutcher in the early 2000s, but I didn’t really think they were for me. Finally, I was sucked into the trend almost two decades later and bought a Patagonia trucker hat because it had a picture of a bison on it. Now I won’t hike without one of these hats! It keeps my hair out of my face (a pretty big feat considering the massive amounts of hair I have), protects my head from the sun, is breathable and the snap back is adjustable depending on how unruly my hair is being that day.

  2. Lay(er) it on me: the base layer – I always start out a hike wearing a lightweight, breathable layer. You never know what the weather will be like on your Oregon hike and it’s good to bring layers in case the temperature drops or the weather shifts. I’ve used the Arc’teryx Phase AR zip-neck top for four years and it’s my absolute favorite. It’s comfortable, stretchy, washes well and doesn’t retain odors (sometimes hiking/workout gear can get a little funky!). Plus, it’s light enough to stuff in my pack or tie around my waist when I get too hot which inevitably always happens.

  3. Sock it up: the socks – The SmartWool Hiking Ultra-Light Mini Socks are my go to hiking socks. They keep my feet warm, dry and comfortable in my boots and they don’t itch! The sock is thin enough to fit in my hiking boot comfortably but thick enough to make walking around for a couple of miles on uneven terrain no biggie. I like the low profile of these socks which is just high enough for me to stuff the bottom of my leggings in but not too high where they feel restrictive.

  4. Get your drink on: the hydration – Tim introduced me to Hydro Flask water bottles in 2011 and I haven’t purchased a different brand of water bottle since. For hikes I use my beat up 21 ounce, standard mouth Hydro Flask because it’s lightweight and fits in my bag easily. For longer hikes I’ll use my Camelbak but I still prefer using the Hydro Flask. Why? Because it keeps your bevie ridiculously cold and bringing a water bottle means I have a perfect excuse to stop and take a casual break 😉 I recently purchased the 32 ounce, wide mouth Hydro Flask in mango and I can’t get enough of it. Seriously, go check out all the new colors they have! Plus, the new wide mouth tops have an easy to carry handle that is a definite upgrade from their old lids.

  5. The cat’s out of the bag: the pack – I am in love with my Timbuk2 bag, but when trying to find a link for this post, I couldn’t find anything because they apparently don’t make this bag anymore…whoops. It’s a smaller version of their classic messenger bag and I use it everyday as well as on hikes. This is the closest thing I could find. My second go to bag is the REI Flash 18 pack. It’s a lightweight, small and affordable pack that fits all the essentials. We took these packs as our carry-on bags to Puerto Rico last year and they were a life saver! I like this one for longer hikes since I can fit my Camelbak in the hydration compartment. There’s a small zipper pocket towards the top for anything you need to get to quickly and it has enough room to stuff a rain shell or puffy jacket inside, plus plenty of room for snacks! Because you should always hike with snacks.

Bonus: A selfie stick! I know this is silly and I will be the first one to admit how goofy it looks pulling this thing out of my bag while in the wilderness, but sometimes you just want to get a good selfie! Or groupie? Usie? What do people call it when it’s not just you in the pic? I don’t care. I bring this baby with me on every hike because it’s nice to have pictures of Tim and I together doing something we love and not have awkward chins or have to ask someone else to take our photo. Self sufficiency, ya dig?

So what are you waiting for? Get outside and have a great week!

Treat yourself

Disclaimer: If you don’t watch Fixer Upper on HGTV then you’re probably super confused about that creepy and botched Photoshop-like picture above. Do yourself a favor and go Netflix the first couple seasons because Chip and Joanna are a dynamic duo, house renovating power couple and are living the dream in Waco, TX!

I have to give myself a big ol’ pat on the back for how productive this past long weekend was and it makes me wonder who I have to bribe at work to let me work 4 x 10s. I’m a big advocate for taking time for yourself to let you know how important you are, to you. As the great, fictional role model Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” This is so important! This weekend and week were filled with little treats to myself and here are the ones I liked most:

  1. Treat, LLC – I’ve known Megan for 3 years and in that time she has evolved into an amazing lady boss of her very own waxing and skin care boutique, Treat. She is the epitome of dreaming big and making it happen and her hard work has definitely paid off. She has created a cozy space in NE Portland that I sometimes wish I could just hang out in (I feel like that would only be semi-creepy), and she always greets you with a La Croix and a smile. I love our monthly chats and catch ups and can’t recommend paying her a visit enough! I know sometimes the idea of waxing can be a little uncomfortable or daunting, I too was once a young woman unsure of how much it would hurt, but then my sister Amy told me about Megan and I’ve never looked back. She makes you feel comfortable and is so skilled at her craft that you hardly feel a thing! She’ll even serve you some wine or beer if you’re feeling extra nervous 🙂 Recently she expanded her studio and has brought on even more estheticians – she is unstoppable!! So go check out her website, book an appointment and get started on treating yourself to some pampering, don’t forget to let her know that you heard about her through Jess Likes. Summer is just around the corner!

  2. 20160529_115202Albina Press – I’m a little embarrassed to admit this since I not only live near Portland (a coffee lovin’ city) and worked in a coffee shop throughout college, but until about a year ago I did not drink coffee. I would get the occasional latte but could never really appreciate the rich, dark liquid that everyone is so crazed about. Well that’s all changed and I now will drink americanos and drip coffee (sometimes without any sugar or cream added! I’m pretty proud of that) like every other human adult. Which leads me to Albina Press, we found this little coffee shop in February with Tim’s family and made a point of visiting it again. This cozy coffee shop actually has a lot more room than what you initially think based on the outside, lots of natural light, comfy couches and plants everywhere. It’s a place you genuinely want to hang out and enjoy coffee at! I got an almond milk latte and it did not disappoint. They care about their coffee and their craft and it shows.

  3. The Rebuilding Center – After fueling up on some caffeine we finally made it to a stop on my DIY bucket list. I heard about The Rebuilding Center a few years back and didn’t have any projects that warranted a visit. Until now! Follow up post with the finished product coming soon 🙂 You guys. This place is unreal!!! I was giddy walking throughout the whole center and left feeling ready to take on a home remodel Chip and Joanna style! #chipandjojo4ever #fixerupperwannabe The Rebuild Center’s whole message is uplifting, why waste and throw away materials when you can create something beautiful and recycled? Yes it takes a little patience to find what you’re looking for and visualize your project, but that’s half the fun!

  4. Strawberry Oat Bars – This warm weather has got my mind on summertime and potlucks. I’m always looking for easy to make, portable dishes that can please a crowd at any BBQ. After last week’s jam making success I had this beautiful 12 ounces of jam that I wanted to incorporate into a recipe (even though all I really wanted to do was take a spoon and eat the whole jar of jam). Thanks to Texanerin’s jam recipe I found this Strawberry Oat Bar recipe on her site, too – she has not steered me wrong yet! Holy greatness. She says to let the bars cool and then refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting, which I understand because you need to let the bars set otherwise they’ll be a molten, gooey mess…but I may have been a little impatient and taste tested the bars before refrigerating them. Worth it. Fruit and crumbles just make sense and when the fruit is fresh picked, the jam homemade and the crumble super easy to make, it makes the end result so perfectly buttery (yeah, I used butter), tangy and sweet. Tim got to try one bar before he left for the week and I can honestly say that I will have to make this recipe again because there are no more left. I ain’t sorry.

  5. – I was introduced to yoga back in college and I fell in love. Yoga has faded in and out of my life over the past few years since college and I think I’ve finally found a way to bring it back in. I’ve struggled with finding the right instructor, price tag and time to commit to going to a yoga studio, so when I found out about I figured I’d give it a try. I’ve tried other apps and programs (free and paid) for home practice but they’ve felt impersonal and I would eventually give up, but that hasn’t happened yet with Oneoeight! is an online platform that offers yoga classes from a variety of instructors for different levels, body parts, durations and so much more. You can filter by time, guide, level, style, focus and feeling – it truly is about making sure your yoga experience is right for you at that moment! It’s $14 per month which is pretty decent compared to some of the other subscription services I’ve tried and you can start out with a 10 day free trial to see if it’s right for you. Lately, I’ve gotten up a little earlier each day to make time for some light stretching and breathing exercises to start my day out right and I’ve now incorporated that into my daily morning routine.

A bonus highlight from this week is that is finally up and running! Your support, encouragement and kind words mean the world to me. It’s scary putting yourself out there especially when it’s something you’re still learning how to do but care so much about. So thank you for all the love 🙂

Have a great week and don’t forget to treat yourself!

And I hope you like jammin’ too

Shout out to my talented cousin, Kellie Lannon, who helped me take photos for the blog this week. She is incredibly patient and taught me how to not look like a complete dork in pictures (or at least the ones you’ll see) 😛 Not only did she get some great pics, but we laughed our asses off, got a finger wag from a moto-cop and scored some sweet strawberries!

This week was filled with firsts! First berry picking adventure of the season, first time making jam, first time attempting crocheting…that will have to wait for another post, I need a bit more practice and first time announcing to the world that I’m creating a blog! This has been a glimmer of a dream in my mind for a while and I would always talk myself out of it. No such luck this time! I put it out there and now I have to deliver. So thanks for joining me on this journey! I have a lot to learn and a lot to discover but I’m excited to give this a shot. Here’s what I liked this week:

  1. Sea Level Bakery – A lazy, Sunday morning drive through Cannon Beach on our way home from Nehalem Bay State Park led us to the perfect cafe for a quick bite and coffee. The Sea Level Bakery is a cute, Stumptown serving bakery nestled in Cannon Beach on the edge of where it gets very touristy. Their pastries are made from scratch and are absolutely delicious. I had the jam biscuit and Tim had a cheesy, savory, perfectly flaky biscuit that I only got one bite of. The jam biscuit was like a snickerdoodle cookie mixed with a biscuit that had strawberry jam baked into the middle (Tim got no bites) and was heaven. Not only did they serve Stumptown coffee but they also had some Jacobsen Sea Salt candies! Love seeing local businesses supporting other local businesses 🙂

  2. Tofurky Sesame Garlic Tempeh – I’m always looking for new ways to get protein. I don’t mind eating meat but sometimes it just gets boring and you can only eat so much of it. One of my co-workers mentioned that she had made tempeh over the weekend and I thought she was talking about tempura (it’s not the same thing at all)…needless to say, I was intrigued. She suggested I start out with Tofurky’s tempeh and I found the sesame garlic flavor on sale at Fred Meyer – meant to be!! Tim and I sauteed it with some olive oil and after a few minutes on each side it was done. Served it up with quinoa, stir-fried veggies and some liquid aminos and we had a filling, low calorie Sunday dinner for two.

  3. Groveland Acres Strawberries – Kellie and I happened to see strawberry U-pick signs as we headed west on Helvetia Road to snap some pics and found Groveland Acres Strawberries – across the street from Roloff Farms. They’re incredibly friendly and have a beautiful piece of land with rows of perfectly, red, shuksan strawberries. They’re also conveniently located right past the Helvetia Tavern when you take exit 61B off of Highway 26. There’s something about fresh picked fruit that makes it feel like summer, hunting down the perfectly red, juicy berry, filling up your bucket and driving home with the windows up because that sweet strawberry scent fills the car. At $1.75 per pound it doesn’t get much better, they provide buckets for you to fill up but make sure to bring boxes so you can take your haul home. I went back again on Friday to get more (I ate all the ones I picked on Monday before making them into something), give them a call first to make sure they’re open that day, an automated message is updated daily.

  4. Jammin’ – What to do with all those strawberries…make jam!! I guess I had jam on the brain after eating that jam biscuit from Sea Level Bakery on Sunday – I’ve already told Tim we’re taking a day trip to go back just for that coffee shop. I wanted to try out making jam, but not just any kind of jam, I was on the hunt for a recipe that didn’t overdo the sugar and I really didn’t want to use pectin (I have no personal stance on not using pectin, to be honest I was too lazy to run out to the store). Fortunately, Pinterest led me to this recipe from Texanerin Baking and it was a perfect fit. Three ingredients? Done. My coworker gave me local honey (♥!) for my birthday so I was very excited to use that and you guys, this jam is perfect! I like tart things so this stuff is right up my alley, think strawberry lemonade in jam form. I really wanted to make a Tasty inspired video to show how I made the jam but I’m taking baby steps. Let’s figure out how to get this blog launched first and functioning before I go into video production, pace yourself girl. Anyway, instead you get a video of me stirring the jam. Enjoy! Ok, I’ll stop with the Bob Marley references now…


  5. La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoes – Our goal to hike and/or camp every weekend while Tim is in the Police Academy has been pretty successful! This week we tried out a hike in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness which meant a long road trip where Tim had to listen to me sing along to Bon Jovi and AC/DC for 2 hours, lucky guy. We didn’t anticipate all the snow that was on the trail and it was a little touch and go there for a bit while we tried to figure out where the trail even started, but ultimately the 4 mile round trip hike led us to an incredible view of Mt. Jefferson. I don’t think either of us will do the hike again, but I’ve got to tell you about my hiking boots. I’m not sure why all worthwhile hiking boots are determined to be kind of boring looking, but I’ll get over it because my La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoes are my favorite. I bought these babies in April of 2012 through and they’ve supported me on countless hikes, toe stubbing tumbles and stumbles since then. Tim and I are pretty moderate hikers and I can’t even count all the miles I’ve put on these shoes but the tread is still in great shape after 4 years and they’re as comfortable as ever.

Have a great week!

Without music, life would be a mistake

Friedrich Nietzsche knows what’s up. It was a music filled, life changing week that was topped off with a foggy hike and cozy camping weekend. With Tim being away during the week and only home on the weekends, we’ve been trying to get outside as much as possible regardless of the weather. So far we’ve been really lucky but this weekend probably wasn’t the best weekend to try and hike Neahkahnie Mountain. It was overcast and once we got to the top we couldn’t see a thing, however hiking along the coast has become one of our favorite things to do so I’m sure we’ll attempt it again further into the summer. Here’s what I liked this week:

  1. Liz Coffman & Vintner’s Cellar – Having talented friends is always fun. They get to share their passion with you and it’s inspiring to witness them doing the thing or things they truly love. Liz is one of those talented friends of mine and she sings the most beautiful, silky-smooth covers of songs (I’m serious, go listen!) Couple Liz, and her bud Chris Rubeo on guitar, with some amazing custom wines from Norm at Vintner’s Cellar and you have my kind of Friday night. Join me for their next performance on Friday, June 17th @ 8 pm.

  2. BEYONCÉ – The Queen Bey descended on the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday and it was pure magic. Setting: Seattle, Washington. CenturyLink Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks). Approximately 9:30 pm on Wednesday, May 18th. Her performance was like nothing I’ve ever witnessed and will go down as the best concert I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. My girl Beverly, (shout out to her for making my dream come true), her two friends and I damn near lost our minds throughout the whole show and have bonded on a whole new level. Highs: Formation, Partition, Freedom and her acapella Love on Top performance…there were some throwbacks mixed in with her new songs and she kept everyone on their feet. Her bodysuits were everything, dance moves were inspiring and none of my words can do her justice. Lows: Yeah right…we’re talking about Beyoncé. Thank you, Beyoncé for giving me one more reason to be proud to be a woman.

  3. Lululemon Speed Tight IV pants – Yes, I know. The price tag is enough to make a lot of people turn away. Spending $100+ dollars on workout gear is not something that I’m really in favor of (I always keep an eye out for these pants when they go on sale!) but to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been able to find running pants or crops quite like these. They have a deep pocket on both legs which is perfect for sliding my phone in and keeps it secure. They also have a zipper pocket in the back that’s perfect for throwing your house key and id in and off you go! I have a couple pairs of the Lulu running pants that have the low-bounce pockets, and absolutely love them! These cute and stylish workout pants help with half the battle *putting workout clothes on* and get me out the door. Found here.

  4. Big Wave Cafe – I knew after hiking Neahkahnie Mountain this weekend that we’d be passing through Manzanita around lunch time. I haven’t been to Manzanita in years but it’s always held a special place in my heart. I am so glad we stopped by Big Wave Cafe, conveniently located off of Highway 101, seriously you can’t miss it. We were both craving some clam chowder and they did not disappoint. We split the fried halibut sandwich and french dip (we are suckers for french dips) and were thrilled with every single thing we ate. They’ve got those extra crispy, delicious, totally worth it kind of french fries, too! The price is a little high but the quality, convenience and service are well worth the price tag. You never know what you’re going to stumble upon when checking out beach town restaurants and I can’t wait to go back to Big Wave Cafe.

  5. Nehalem Bay State Park – This was a new park for us and we weren’t really sure what to expect. We haven’t perfected the art of car camping without a reserved site, so after searching the web one night I found the Nehalem Bay State Park. I loved this park! Not only is it close to Manzanita and Canon Beach but it was clean, quiet, had plenty of trees and there wasn’t a bad spot to camp. I didn’t get a chance to walk over to the yurts, but there were plenty of people using campers, tents and VW Camper Vans *swoon*. I know everyone has their own preferences when it comes to camping but this place was perfect for us in so many ways and I can’t wait to go back!

Have a great week!

Watercolors, weavings & weights

Another week come and gone and so much crafting was had! I’ve been trying to stay focused on a handful of crafts and stick to those. This may not seem like a big deal but honestly, I have the shortest attention span when it comes to crafts. I have a grocery list on my phone and next to it is a craft supply list for all the projects I want to do and what I need to buy, is that just a me thing?? We need to move into a bigger place ASAP so I have more space to play with! Here’s what I liked this week:

  1. Watercolor cards – I’m fortunate to have some very incredible women in my life and it just so happens that a few of my closest girlfriends have birthdays in May! I’ve always been one to make cards for people and have joked for years that someday I’ll own a store and sell my homemade cards…you never know 🙂 Over the last year I’ve been dabbling in watercolors and found some awesome, on sale, watercolor pencils at Craft Warehouse. I tried them out for a bit and didn’t feel too inspired until this month. With Spring in the air, sunshine, flowers and so many vibrant colors, something finally clicked. I really enjoy using watercolor pencils because you have more control over the shapes and finer detail items that go into making floral designs. Take a look at the finished product featured in the above picture!

  2. 20160530_110445
    The finished product!

    Wall weaving – I’ve always been one to want to try doing it myself, anytime I see something on Instagram or Pinterest I want to try making it. Enter my attempts at creating wall weavings. Not only do I have a collection of yarn, roving, threads and twine but I’ve now started collecting sticks to hang my wall weavings from. While on the East side of the state visiting Tim’s family, I came across a wishbone-like stick in their front yard. It was love at first sight. I just knew I’d be able to create a kick-ass wall weaving around this stick. Well, almost 6 months later I finally decided to take it on. And I wanted to get funky. I incorporated the traditional yarn and roving but then I threw in some string I had, some embroidery floss and some beads. It’s my personal take on a diptych weaving inspired by this Eastern Oregon stick. Thanks to The Weaving Kind for their April/May challenge! P.S. that’s an awesome and inspiring Instagram account to follow if you’re interested in fiber art and artists and need a little nudge to start creating some wall weavings yourself.

  3. Kettlebell Tabatas – I am gradually falling in love with kettlebells. I would like to start off by saying you need to be incredibly careful with form and your movements – I’m no personal trainer! – when adding kettlebells to your workout but holy cow they’re fun to use. I’m currently using an 8 kg kettlebell which is just under 18 pounds. I don’t have a strong upper body and feel like the 8 kg weight is a good starting point for me. I also don’t have a lot of self discipline, can always find time to do something else and because I’m new to using kettlebells I don’t know what workouts to even do. That’s why kettlebell tabatas have become my new best friend. A quick, 25 minute work out that gets my heart rate up, my whole body engaged and mixes it up from the cardio heavy routine I have. I found this BodyFit by Amy video that not only showed me proper form, moves and tells me when to start and stop but she also packs it all in to 25 minutes!

  4. Smart Ass – We’re a board game household. Yahtzee, Cards Against Humanity, Farkle. We’re into it. However, our favorite board game has to be Smart Ass. It is by far the most fun, crowd pleasing, fast moving board game that we tend to bring out every time we have friends over. Your trivia minded friends may have a slight advantage to this game but it can be anyone’s game. A list of clues read off one at a time, everyone playing can only guess once per round, and the first thought that pops into your head may or may not be the right answer. Do you risk blurting it out? Or hold in your answer that you swear is right and then watch one of your friends steal the glory and say it first? So many conflicting emotions!!

  5. Veggie lasagna -There is something about veggie lasagna that I absolutely love. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat your standard, meat-filled lasagna anytime, but there is something about veggie lasagna that speaks to me. I found this recipe on Pinterest (surprise, surprise) and will continue to use it forever. The best part is that it’s open ended. What veggies do you have on hand? Great! Cut, shred, peel or whatever you need to do and throw them all in together because congratulations you just used up a bunch of random veggies you had in your crisper and they’re going to taste amazing together. I used some shredded zucchini, cauliflower and an orange bell pepper. Original recipe found here courtesy of Pinch of Yum (great recipe resource!).

Have a great week!