Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Roll With Me: Chronicles of a Mountain Biking Trip

"Get a bicycle. You won't regret it if you live." -Mark Twain

My first experience mountain biking was quite a trip. See, I'm not a mountain biker. The thought scared me to death! But hey, "do one thing every day that scares you", right?
 So my boyfriend, Anthony, and I headed over to the closest state park, which happened to have some fantastic mountain biking trails. We started out on an easy one, a trail called "homestead" and someone how got just a little lost and ended up doing a loop that wasn't prepared for. It may have been called Granny's Garden, but apparently Granny was a bad*** with no sense of self-preservation. We ended up following routes with names like "no fear chute" and "deliverance" instead of the original route on trails with names like "1st and 2nd stream". 
Even so, we each only fell a few times (but I may or may not have walked some of the more challenging obstacles- but come on, I'm a newbie.)

As for a little glimpse into what we each brought along. 
Anthony's Pack: Osprey Raptor- 14 liter
Bike lock, shoes, earbuds, helmet, multitool, bike tool, head lamp, gloves, ipod, bandana, skoal, lighter (No pictured: hydration bladder, which was in the pack)
Katie's Pack: Osprey Manta- 20 liter
Helmet, Keys, Carabiner, Ipod, Sunglasses, Trash bag, Hydration Bladder, Bathing suit, Deodorant, knife, bug balm, hair balm, sunscreen, tissues, allergy medication, Aspirin, banana, tampon, camera/case, shoes.

As you can see, I've got a little more than him, but we were debating jumping in the lake after our ride, hence the extras. 
Also, we each through in a sandwich from a local food co-op that we stopped at on our way to the park. 
The photos don't do these trails justice at all. They look so much more frightening in person!
After getting of track for quite awhile we stopped by the lake for lunch. 
Check out the second to last ingredient. Yeah. It says "love". 
Aw :)

If injuries bother you, skip this next photo.
I chickened out coming up to a obstacle, and decided a dead stop was better. Anthony ran into me, and his bike ran into him. Hopefully that will teach him to not follow so close!

We even joked about co-writing a "how our relationship survived mountain biking" post!

I'm a firm believer that being active together will either strengthen or end your relationship. I mean, they call tandem kayaks "couples councillors" at the boat shop near our house. Each adventure teaches us something new about ourselves, each other, and our relationship. We barely survived this trip, and loved every minute of it. Now I'm off to work on my skills and try it again!

What's the most frightening thing you've done this week?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bring on the Backpacks

He's come around here before, and you've loved him. 

Meet Dozer
If you've been following along for awhile, you've seen him around. He's a Doberdore (Doberman/labrador hybrid) that loves long walks on the trails, midnight trips to the beach, farmers market cookies, and his mommy (aw!).

  Today he's here to help introduce a mini series of Hiking nonsense.
You may have noticed the blog name, and wondered when it would come into play. 
This series will showcase a couple packs (One of which being Dozer's very own!) You'll also get a peek into our suitcases, packs, cars, and see what we bring on every kind of adventure. 
-Backpacking, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Camping, Kayaking, to the Beach, etc-  
As a special treat, Backpacks and Belly Button Rings will have a few appearances from these guys. 
Hope your as excited as we are for our little adventure! 

What would you like to see in this series?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Favorites Link Up

Hey there, Gorgeous! 
Today's post was a fun little treat for me, as I'm doing my first link up post ! 
Here's some of my favorites this week for my your enjoyment 

Favorite Moment(s)
Who doesn't love hugs? This was the one my puppy gave me this morning... that's right, he hugs people. 

Favorite Accessories
We've been loving the friendship bracelets around here lately! They're so easy to make, and a new favorite road trip time waster.

Favorite Accent
Here's a little candle from Target, but it looks just like the old Anthropologie ones! This one is called Island Moonlight and lists the notes as "ruby cassis, valencia orange, and sandalwood" That's not what I would have guessed, it's pretty floral, which I generally wouldn't go for, but it smells so lovely and is adorable. 

Favorite Activity
The farmers market this week was so much fun! We bought nearly two POUNDS of basil for two dollars. Who buys pounds of basil? I do apparently. 
I put some in vases in the kitchen and dining room, and it looks like it just belongs, and leaves the room smelling so fresh. 

Favorite Drink
We always have wine on our girls nights. This one is beach friendly and so summery! Its a chardonnay by Bandit, and even lists the reasons you should love it on the back, which include:
#3. Perfect for camping
#4. 1 truckload of bandit cartons= 26 truckloads of empty glass (wow!)
#6. It floats!
#10. 33% more wine 
But mostly, its not glass, so you can take it camping, to the beach, concerts, and other places glass isn't allowed! 

Thanks to Lindsey of the Bargain Blonde for creating this link up, go check her out!

What's topping your favorites list this week?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Best Banana Muffins Ever

I've reached 100 followers, and I've made you muffins! 
Well... I've made 12. First come first serve ;)
As you may have guessed, I've come to share a recipe post with you. 

This recipe was given to me by my lovely mother. We have been making this very recipe together since I was little. I have no idea where she got it from, but  if you've seen it before feel free to share your source. 

*To give you an idea of how amazing these muffins are, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I'm writing this post before the muffins are even out of the oven. The need to share this recipe was so great, I haven't even taken the "final product" photo. Don't fret, they should be done before I hit publish. 
This is one of those recipes that is so simple, someone with a decent memory could probably memorize it. I am not that person, and have the recipe displayed on my fridge. If you're capable of such a superhuman activity as memorization, you may want to consider using that power for this recipe. You won't regret it. 
The apple sauce really helps keep these muffins moist, and those little apple sauce cups you get in packs are exactly half a cup!

P.s. I add another tspn of vanilla... don't tell. Oh, and two-three extra bananas. Depending on how long I let them sit, and how shriveled they've become.
Two bowls. 
Wet ingredients (bananas, vanilla, etc) in one, Dry ingredients (flour, sugar, etc) in the other. 
Combine slowly. 
That easy!
The secret to this recipe is letting the bananas ripen to a point of mushy that-doesn't-even-look-like-a-banana.ness. 
Its a lifestyle choice, actually. Every time I by bananas, I let the last one sit around on the counter for awhile. My roommates start asking when I'll throw it away. Friends start questioning my cleaning habits, and staging interventions. That's usually the point I hide it behind the fruit bowl. Then I'll throw it in the freezer. Once I've got 4-5, its baking time!
I threw in a pretty fresh banana too... the black ones were a little small.
I used whole grain baking flour. Yummy!
These pictures are incredibly unattractive. It's really one of those "you have to taste it cause it's not pretty" foods.
Pick your poison, and grease the pan. I've used Pam here, because it was the first thing I saw in the cabinet, but your welcome to use whatever makes you happy, or least unhappy. These muffins are notoriously sticky things when baking, and the grease helps with the whole removal-in-one-piece process.
Yes. There was wine with baking... It's 93 degrees in my house, and its midnight. Sometimes you need wine.
But back to the glorious muffins. The black bananas make these babies pretty sweet. If sweet isn't what your going for tone down the ripe.

Is there anything you would brave the oven for this scorching summer? Share the recipe!

Friday, July 13, 2012

My House is Crooked and What It Taught Me

If you've been following along, you've seen a few peeks of my remodeling projects. 

Well long story short, while working on these projects, we realized the house was crooked. Like who built this thing and how has it lasted 105 years crooked. Nothing was lining up how it should, and we were left with more than a few spots that had us wondering how to hide the imperfection

Now of course, I am generally an "as long as your happy" person- pretty easy going, and an overall optimist. 
Secretly, though, I'm a closet perfectionist. 
All these "mistakes" were driving me crazy. 

My co-projectors got me to thinking. These weren't mistakes I had made. The house is crooked and I haven't been working out near enough to pick it up and set it straight. 

I was going to have to deal with it. 

So does hiding a "mistake" make it go away? Or can we learn to live with imperfection, and maybe even enjoy the stories behind them. 

Two years ago, we mistakenly "ruined" another room in our home. It was never fixed, and to this day there is a patch in the tile that is glaringly a different color than the rest of the floor. Each time in walk into this room, I can't help but laugh remembering the good times we had making that "mistake". 

Had I not been so worried about perfection, I just may have found myself enjoying the journey to almost perfect- or at least to "better than it was". 

So what exactly did my crooked house teach me?
Just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it isn't good. You have only made a mistake if you have failed to enjoy the journey, left your little piece of the world in worse condition than before your touch, or learned nothing from what life throws at you.

*Because I have no pretty pictures pertaining to this story, you get to see a glimpse of my summer*
The trunk of my car: Beer, fireworks, ammunition, gas for the boats, a tent, and some camping essentials.

What is your favorite imperfection?
Have you started/completed your summer bucket list?

Friday, July 6, 2012

You asked, and here it is.
A little "get to know me" session. 

I'm not sure why, maybe curiosity, to increase credibility, or to figure out where it all went wrong, I've been asked to tell a little about myself.
It may not be very interesting, and it may not be pretty, but here are five things you didn't know before:

1. My boyfriend and I have a Doberdore (Doberman/lab hybrid) puppy named Dozer.
I have a couple hundred cell phone pictures of him.

2. Every year, for the past four years, I've spent 10 days backpacking with a group of high school seniors, sleeping under a tarp named "Big Blue".

3. I am a firm believer that Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce from Costco may just be the best thing to happen to the world. Screw modern medicine. 

4. This is a Dolphin fish. 
I have been lovingly smacked with one of these.

5. I take awkward pictures of feet. Like all the time. A way to remember where I've been, I suppose.

Have a "get to know me" post? Leave the link below!
If not, tell me something about you

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Picking Pretty Paint

My home is a disaster. 
We've been working on some minor remodeling projects, and for quite some time I couldn't picture my home whole again. 
While it's still not done, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Keeping with the remodeling spirit, I've decided to share with you a fun little idea we had for our living room. I love it, but it seems that many are on the fence about our decision.

Now I'm a firm believer that paint can completely transform a house. Many times no remodeling is required, and a simple can of paint can give you that much needed update for a fraction of the cost. 

Well my house is over a hundred years old, 
and needed more than paint.
The carpet wasn't in the best shape. Granted, it wasn't bad (this is in the midst of removal), it just wasn't adding anything to the room. 
I've lived in this house for a while now, and the walls were painted this color shortly after I moved in. 
Carpet Removed. 
Millions of carpet staples pulled from the floor. 
Now here was the "big" decision. 
We were looking for a cheap, effective way to brighten up the room- 
make it a little more lively. 
As you can see, the walls are a sort of taupe color. 
And now the baseboards are a bright peach. 
The change cost about $10, but changed the room completely. 
The floors cost a little more than that, but it doesn't look like the same house anymore (which is a good thing). 
Even without making major changes, a can of paint can alter the look and feel of a room without the investment or permanence of a home remodel. 
Even painting accent pieces, trim, or things such as picture frames can give you the effect you're looking for. 

What do you do when you need an update on the cheap?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Motivation Monday: Understanding Love

Pretty pictures and lovely words can say a lot. 
I know most weeks my motivation mondays come with lovely pictures- many times of gorgeous vacation spots. 
This week, you get my living room- and a little lesson I'm working on learning.

This is my absolutely amazing boyfriend. He's staining my living room floors. 
My living room is huge- like, unreasonably large.
He helped, because he's that guy. 

Well, sometimes I'm a little hard on the guy. He's absolutely amazing, but I'm a perfectionist. 
Sometimes I forget that he's not me, he can't read my mind, and he really is doing the best he can. 
Last night, he asked me to come to his apartment. His friends were over and they were watching a movie. I didn't like they way he asked me. (in my defense, I was exhausted, and it wasn't very nice, but he didn't intend it to be). We argued and he went home. After he left I got to thinking. How many guys invite their girlfriends to boys night? How many would work on their girlfriends house?

He may not say or do all the right things, but he tries. He loves me, and while I may prefer he says it through dinner instead of sandpaper or flowers instead of floor stain. He says it in everything he does. 

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want, doesn't mean they don't love you with everything they have.

How do you say "I love you" to those in your life? 
Challenge: Have your actions tell the people in your life you love and appreciate them today.