The One Item You Need For Your Next Snow Trip

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[I could stare at this view of the Grand Tetons allllll day…]

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I have gone on many snowy trips with boots and snow coats and gloves and scarves…but there’s one accessory I discovered this trip that I can’t believe I’ve gone without all these years. If you’re visiting the snow this season or in the future, this item is a must have.

Boot Grippers (aka boot cleats) turn any boot into safe, good-gripping ones. It’s equivalent to putting chains on your tires when driving on icy roads. Even the grippiest rubber snow boots are only so good until you walk on ice. These provide amazing traction and made for a much safer hike when I had to climb a few very icy spots last week. They’re great for making your not-so-snowy boots or shoes safe to wear.

I got these ones (below) but you have make sure to pull the front up over the toe, or else they may come off. I initially just pulled them to the front and, after hiking in some deep snow, realized I had lost them a few minutes back. After I pulled them over the toe, they stayed on the rest of the way. A better design (in my opinion) would be these ones that have an extra strap over the top.

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^ This is the waterfall we climbed on! So glad I had the boot grippers.

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Our First Airbnb in Malibu

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Have you used Airbnb before? I’ve wanted to for some time, and finally got the chance at a weekend getaway with friends. It was my friend Anna who booked the place, and we all fell in love with it. It was tucked away in Woodland Hills near Malibu, Ca. We spent the daytime at the beach in the hot sun and the cool water, hiked, and rock climbed while some went to the Getty Villa. We spent our evenings outdoors on the patio of a Mexican restaurant or barbecuing on their gorgeous back yard patio. The nights were topped off with singing and playing guitar together, and soaking in the hot tub.

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We can hardly wait to use Airbnb again. Where have you stayed with Airbnb? I’d love some recommendations.

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Weekend Road Trip to Southern Utah

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California is so close to so many beautiful states – one of them is Utah. Especially southern Utah, where we went last weekend. Since this is a public blog, and since most people value their privacy more than me (I’m an over-sharer, I know…), and because I prefer pictures with people in them, then this will be a semi-narcissistic post with mostly pictures of me. Sorry about that.

PS – We recently got a GoPro, and filmed lots of awesome down-hill riding, it was awesome to re-watch! These pictures are a mixture from our GoPro and my phone.

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Mountain biking is amazing for so many reasons. My favorite: it takes you off the road (why do people road bike again?). And, we get to wear really cool looking butt-pads that make our butts look even bigger than they already are.

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Can you spend summertime at a cabin without watermelon? I think not. Also, as many of you saw on insta, this is how you dress for Sunday church in the country:

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A little bee, mid flight ^^

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Until next time, Utah.

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My Guide to Summer & Savory Eats in So-Cal

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Summer is slipping away, and I have this song on repeat (ohh uh oh those summer niiights).  We’ve had a lot going on these past few months, some good things, some sad. Saying farewell to loved ones, planning our future life (after grad school…does it ever end??), getting sick (really, does there need to be a summer flu? It’s going around…), and spending most weekends at the beach. And yes, I misspelled ‘summer’ in the sand. I just can’t spell without auto-correct anymore…

I’ve collected a few of my favorite eats from this summer (I take pics of all my food). These are all from my phone so bare with me…

CollagesFrom left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Hollywood Bowl has everything from rock concerts to classical ones. Fireworks too! Runs all summer long.
  2. Some bomb fried squid/calamari from Banana Bay
  3. Enjoying the Hollywood Bowl with my boy
  4. Happy face because I’m getting so full on healthy, sustainable, fresh food at True Foods Kitchen – and yeah, no post-food-coma guilt here!
  5. Newport Beach as seen from the Pier. We rode bikes all the way to the end of Balboa Island on our beach cruisers. Hot sun, cool breeze, swimsuits and sweating. Then we jumped into the ocean that was a cool 70 degrees. #dreamlife
  6. Ok, this one’s from our quick trip to the mormon motherland = Utah. This here is the Pork Salad from Cafe Rio, I get it every time I visit. But when I need my fix, they have Cafe Rio in So Cal too.
  7. Mmm Vegan spicy tuna dragon roll from Golden Mean in Santa Monica.
  8. Family home on the lake in Idaho.
  9. Trying on everything on the sale rack at Madewell in Old Town Pasadena. I always go shopping by myself, and when I don’t, I usually regret what I buy…isn’t that funny?
  10. Summer skies….how I love these long days.
  11. Okay, next time you go to Newport Beach or Balboa Island, you need to stop at this taco place. It’s like street tacos should always be: fresh and cheap. Try the shrimp tacos.
  12. I wanted to buy this Tommy Bahama – Bahama luggage set soooo badly. AKG was not as enthusiastic with the Bahama print as I was. It is still sitting at Nordstrom Rack, all alone, waiting for me to come back and buy it…

 

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Mini Stories: Shoes From Florence

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Once upon a time I spent a summer in Florence, Italy.

It was the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year in college. It was a blissful time in my life: no boyfriend, no decided major yet, no job, and a wide open summer schedule. I had considered moving to Hawaii to do a few semesters at BYU-Hawaii, but when my mother called to say she was moving to Italy for the summer (perks of being a teacher–summers off), it was an easy decision. I packed a suitcase, a few books for the train rides, walking shoes, and of course my camera. Back then I had a humble Cannon point-and-shoot with a full screen on back, and I loved that thing. This was when iPhones had come out but only a few friends had those. Most of us still had Razor’s, Sidekicks, or slider phones.

We rented an apartment near the heart of Florence, and made that our home base. We were then able to take several-days-long trips all over Italy. We had been to other countries in Europe before, and wanted to spend our summer really getting to know just one country. Every time we came back from Venice or Rome, Florence welcomed us with warm summer evenings and beautiful sunsets. We came to know those who lived on our street, our favorite bakeries, and singing at Marco Square.1929137_507470847369_5725_n

One evening we were walking from the train station to our apartment after a few days of traveling to the south. We were always too cheap to pay for a taxi ride so instead would walk several miles, passing through the square where many shops were located, back to our apartment. It was late at night and most everything was closed or closing. We were passing a small store that was wedged in between two buildings of flats (apartments) that had shoes and a few pieces of clothing. The owner was an old, mostly bald man, who was smoking a cigarette out front. I had walked past this shop several times before, but this time something caught my eye.

Those shoes.

They were the perfect height, just a few inches. I loved them because they resembled wood, and I loved the strap in the back. I was so tired, but am I ever too tired to shop? I tried them on. They were only about $5 US. They were perfect. I bought them.

For several years after returning, I wore them constantly. Each time I did, I would remember that little shop in Florence. When people would compliment me and ask where I got them I would tell them this short story and remember my summer in Italy.

They were not high quality slip-ons, but I was still surprised to find one Sunday at church that the sides were ripping from the sole. I was so sad. My little Italian shoes could not be worn anymore. A few years passed, and all they’ve done is sit on my shoe shelf. I’ve lugged them around between moves, and just haven’t been able to part with them.

I recently finished a life changing book (that I’ll post about soon) that has helped me say to the items in my life, “Thank you for coming into my life.” And then, fighting my inner pack-rat, let them go.

Thank you, Stella Land shoes, for being comfy, cute, and for lasting as long as you did. I will never forget all the streets I walked in your shoes.

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