Winter Face Oil

The cold and dry air of winter has a way of wreaking havoc on our skin and nails. Our remedies include drinking plenty of water and creating barriers to moisture loss.

For our hands, we’re a huge fan of balms. Most of ours are made at home with a combination of beeswax, moisturizing carrier oils, and nourishing extracts and essential oils (think calendula, lavender, comfrey).

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We won’t shy away from using a balm on our cheeks if we’re heading out for a day in the elements, but for everyday use, we want some thing a touch lighter than. And that’s when we grab a DIY face oil.

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Deer Mountain Trail

Want to see more hiking posts? Click here. The only thing you’ll regret is the time spent in front of the screen instead of outside ;-).

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Today we’re sharing some photographs and info about our hike to the top of Deer Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you want even more info when planning a visit, leave us a comment, check out this post about winter camping in the park, or pick up this hiking guide (it’s super detailed and our favorite).

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Best Scary, Dark, Horror, and Halloween T.V. and Movies on Netflix

It’s scary movie time! Even if you’re a horror hater, you must watch at least one creepy flick this month. I recently watched The Houses October Built with a few of my friends and I was so surprised at how well done it was, more on that below. I decided to compile a list of my favorite Netflix shows and movies that veer towards the dark side. There are a few I haven’t watched, but are on the list, I’ll denote them with an asterisk* Happy haunting!

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The Fall – This is a Netflix original T.V. show and like the rest, it’s amazing. The Fall is about a detective trying to track down a serial killer.  This show is disturbing on a few levels. The serial killer is an attractive, unassuming family man, and the violence portrayed against women is pretty graphic. Maybe don’t watch this one if you’re a single lady living alone.

The Killing – Another Netflix original T.V. show, The Killing is based on the investigation that takes place after the murder of teen Rosie Larsen. I watched the first two seasons and then I faded out, but initially, it is a nail-biter.

*Mindhunter – I haven’t watched this one yet, but it sounds super interesting. Yet again, another Netflix original (they obviously know what viewers want) it’s about two FBI agents in the seventies who look at the psychology of murderers.

Hostel – I saw this movie in 2005 before I had ever traveled anywhere. I didn’t even realize what a hostel was or that this concept for shared bunk rooms was prevalent in most countries besides America, where there are surprisingly few. Eeeek, travel and horror, this one hits close to home.

Saw – All the Saws are on Netflix right now, but if you haven’t seen the first one, it’s by far my favorite. Saw is the type of movie that horrifies me because I didn’t even know such dark thoughts were possible. You’re a real freak, James Wan. Thanks for having a healthy outlet for your dark thoughts.

*Gerald’s Game – I haven’t seen this, but it has a rating of 9.1 on IMDB, which is unheard of for a horror film. Here’s the synopsis: while trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame. I think the movie delves into the darker side of one’s psyche.

Gremlins – A classic and actually a lot freakier than I remember it being. Basically, a new pet turns into a thousand new mischevious little monsters that wreak havoc all over town.

The Babadook – A dark movie with an interesting theme. I really enjoyed how vague The Babadook was at times, but how evident it was during the final few scenes. A satisfying watch.

The Houses October Built – I thought the premise of this scary movie was sooo spookey. It’s about five friends on a road trip looking for the ultimate haunted house. They travel around looking for bigger and better scares until it seems like it’s being taken too far or is it all part of the haunt? Who knows?!

 

Hopefully you have a friend or at least a pet to watch these flicks with, if not, you may want to stick to the Gremlins. Good luck!

*And if you want to make a witch silhouette for your window, more on that in this post.
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Fall Hikes with Kids

Navigate our links above to see more of our hiking and camping adventures (or if you’re a lazy bum, click here).

If you’ve been following the blog or our Instgram feed for any length of time, then you know that we love a good hike. Just put us outside with a good pair of boots, a snack, and a hat, and we are ready to go!

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Some of my most memorable hikes have happened in the fall. Of course, the brisk weather and colorful foliage make for beautiful memories. But there’s also something about the shorter days anticipation of a long, cold winter indoors that makes the need to get outside even more urgent at this time of year.

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Field Trip : Botanic Gardens

Have you ever been to a botanic garden? If not, it’s time to find one in your neck of the woods. You may be lucky enough to have one in your city or town, or you may want to visit one the next time you’re on vacation. Trust us, this is a field trip that’s equally entertaining for both adults and kiddos.

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iNaturalist

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed making observations and participating in citizen scientist projects. Check out our first phenology post! And if you know a little bug lover, then this post is for you. And definitely this one.

Are you using iNaturalist yet? We’ve mentioned the app a few times in other posts, but thought that a formal introduction was in order.

iNaturalist provides both app and website forums for sharing your wildlife observations. These observations can be seen by other wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, and scientists. Basically, it’s creating an amazing forum for collecting data about wildlife across the world, and the best part is that you don’t have to be an expert to contribute data. This is citizen science at its finest!

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Having many observations across a wide geographic area and over a number of years help scientists track data about the location, movement, and timing of biological activity. For example: is the range of a species changing? are they migrating earlier or later in the season? is the timing of plant budding out/flowering/fruiting changing? Simple observations across a large group of people help to collect the data that will answer these questions.

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Backpacking on the Ozette Loop

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Hey there! In July, I hiked the Ozette Loop in Olympic National Park in Washington. Although I completed the loop as an overnight backpacking trip, the Ozette Loop would also make a nice day hike.  The nine-ish mile loop starts in a coastal forest environment, forks right and winds its way across boardwalks until it dips slightly to the coast. Walking along the beach is the more challenging section, but only because you’re trudging through sand. Eventually, you reach Sand Point, a gorgeous outcropping with a large rock that you can climb atop of. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and the ease of the return trip makes it possible to hike back during twilight and even as darkness falls if you’re not keen on camping. Over the course of the loop, the elevation change is less than 500 feet and beside the beach, most of the trail is on a wooden boardwalk. It’s nearly impossible to get lost and while you should always take a map, you shouldn’t need to consult it even once.

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I found the Ozette Loop to be equal parts easy and exciting. As I mentioned, there’s not much elevation change and much of the trail takes place on a wooden boardwalk through coastal forests. While hiking on a boardwalk can be a bit boring, it gives your brain a chance to focus on your surroundings instead of your next steps. Walking amongst giant hemlock and cedar trees and seeing beautiful ferns and moss dripping with moisture had me thinking about ancient reptiles, sea creatures, and dinosaurs (turns out the first dino bone discovered in Washington happened just a couple years ago).

After about three miles, you’ll shuffle down a short and steep section (there’s a rope to aid in your decent) that spits you out on the sand. At this point, my hiking partner and I took off our shoes and shirts, found an enormous downed tree and had a quick snack and snooze. Then it was time to march on along the beach. Looking out towards the sea stacks we thought about the expanse of the Pacific. Was the trash on the beach from Japan? Some of it seemed so.

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I opted to hike the two beautiful miles along the beach in Chacos. I tried bare feet for a few moments, but the sand was a bit too coarse for comfort. There was also a fair amount of sharp debris, kelp piles, driftwood and rocks covered in barnacles underfoot. Depending on the changing tide, there will be a few impassable headlands. You’ll have to scramble up over a big boulder or two (apparently there are ropes to assist, but we didn’t see or use them) or hike into the woods to navigate around them. These areas are evident and I found them to be easy enough to manage with an overnight pack. I thought that navigating around the series of downed trees was more exhausting, mostly because I’m short and those tree trunks are huuuge.

As you make your way around the headlands, be on the lookout for the Wedding Rocks petroglyphs. I’m sure I would have missed them if my friend hadn’t pointed them out to me. They are so amazing we thought that they might be fake, but a quick google search proved us wrong. I had seen petroglyphs in Mesa Verde, Colorado, but these were radically different not only in style (obviously) but also in size and definition. Thinking back, I wish I would have prepared myself for that moment because I would have stayed and enjoyed them longer instead of thinking I was being duped. I had expected to see small paintings, not large rock carvings. The petroglyphs were carved by the ancestors of the Makah tribe using tools made of rock and bone.

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Soon enough you’ll reach Sand Point and a whole host of campsites. We wandered around for a good bit trying to find a site that was semi-secluded, which proved to be tough since we rolled in late on a Friday evening. Although we could see other tents from our site, once the sun went down I truly forgot that anyone else was around. There was also the option to camp on the beach, but we liked the sheltered feel of the forest. If you do camp on the beach, know where the high tide line falls or you’ll wake up soaking wet. The next morning, bask in the sun and eat your breakfast on the beach before hiking the 4ish miles back to the trailhead.

Know before you go :

  • As always, Leave No Trace.
  • No pets, use of weapons, or wheeled devices on the trail.
  • Reservations and permits are required for overnight camping between May 1 and September 30 & must be made no more than 48 hours in advance. (The website said 72, but we were told 48 at the station. It may depend on the month)
  • Campfires are prohibited between the headland north of Yellow Banks and the headland at Wedding Rocks including Sand Point.
  • Only use driftwood for fires. Don’t gather firewood from the forested areas. Use existing fire rings or build fires on the beach to prevent damage to tree roots.
  • All food, garbage, and scented items must be stored in a park-approved bear canister. Bear canisters are available to rent when you pick up your permit.
  • Max group size of 12 people.

Water & waste :

  • There is a creek at Sand Point and Cape Alava, but beware that Cryptosporidium and Giardia are present in coastal streams and rivers. Bring a purification system or boil your water. Iodine is ineffective against cryptosporidium. I didn’t know that until this trip. I’ve been using iodine all my life. I ended up purchasing these chlorine dioxide tablets, which treat both Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
  • Pit toilets are available at Sand Point and Cape Alava. Elsewhere you must bury your waste and paper six or more inches deep and seventy steps from water sources and your campsite. LADIES! Always take your used toilet paper with you after you pee. It’s offensive to see it on the ground. I carry a plastic ziplock that I put all used toilet paper in. It’s that easy.

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What to pack for a day trip :

If I’m day hiking, sometimes I like to be extravagant. Wine with dinner while watching a sunset, anyone?

  • Apply sunscreen + bug spray before you leave
  • Water
  • Purifying tablets
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Knife
  • Snacks
  • Lunch or Dinner
  • Wine?
  • Sunglasses
  • Pullover
  • Rain jacket
  • Chacos
  • Camera
  • Hammock + straps
  • Headlamp

What to pack for an overnight trip :

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The food we packed :

We started later in the day after we ate lunch so we packed snacks, dinner, and breakfast for our overnighter. And wine. And weed. Relax, it’s legal in Washington.

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Reconnect Retreat in Tulum, Mexico

Happy Monday babies! Last night I finally bought my flight to Mexico. I’m hosting a meditation and movement retreat in Tulum from Oct 19-24th.  I’m heading there a few days early and staying through Los Día de Muertos and initially, I had this hesitation about missing Halloween (my favorite holiday!), but how often will I get the chance to celebrate Dia de Muertos in Mexico, ya know? I made the right choice, right?

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After I bought the ticket, I had this insatiable urge to know everything there is to know about Tulum. I’m arriving three days early, but I’ll want to get a good headstart on all the eats, shopping, sipping, and such so I can give my guests great recommendations. As a seasoned traveler, I know this notion of knowing where to go ahead of time is ridiculous. There’s no possible way to know exactly where to go, what to eat, and what to do, but I gave it the old college try and so here I sit, three hours later at nearly 5 am still reading about Tulum. I’ve found what I always find when researching a destination, an endless hamster wheel of the same exact recommendations from bloggers. Either these places are the tops OR everyone reads the same blogs and constantly recycles recommendations, never straying from what was introduced to them on the internet. Ah, the traps of travel in the twenty-first century.

After seeing the same restaurant pop up on every list, I made a mental note to look into the back story after all my general Tulum researchin’ had commenced. Funny thing, the very next Pinterest image I clicked on was actually a Conde Nast photo story about the American couple who runs said restaurant. Maybe I’ll go, wait in the two-hour line and report back, but maybe I’ll opt for a nameless cart on the roadside that’s been around for decades before all the tourists (and NY expats) flocked to Tulum to open restaurants. Depends on how hangry I am, but I’ll report back on that.

Besides all the restaurant recs, I’ve read up on biking Tulum, visiting ruins and cenotes, and of course SHOPPING! For the past few hours, I’ve imagined wandering around Tulum town with my sweet little retreat guest as we fill our bags with colorful handmade goodies. I’ve pictured us waking up early to salute the sun before heading off to the ruins, followed by a dip in the sea and a barefoot wander down the jungle beach road. I see us all with hands full of tacos and smiles on our faces. Laying on the sand and in colorful hammocks and poolside with midday cocktails. I see the beauty and balance that comes when we decide to take a moment to care for ourselves like we’re the most important people on the planet if only for a few days. Then we can get back to the emails, texts, phone calls and favors, but for retreat week, we’ll have to slow down, forget the wifi password, and work on reconnecting with the ones sitting on the beach beside us.

Here’s a link to my Tulum, Mexico Pinterest board if you want to see all the tasty taco stands I want to try out during my trip & here’s a link to the Rest + Reconnect Retreat that I’ll be hosting. We have a couple spots left if you need an October getaway!

*Photos by my sweet & savvy travelin’ friend Erin.
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Teachable Moments : Beach Reads

Teachable Moments is a relatively new series on the blog, you can find the archive here. You can learn more about Saxis in this selection of posts, and here are more beach book recommendations for adults and kids. If you’d like to see our favorite sun gear for toddlers, click here.

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When we start planning for our time at the beach, my mind immediately turns to the books I’ll read. Hours sitting on the beach provide the uninterrupted reading time that we just don’t seem to find elsewhere in life. Wait, if you’re a parent reading this, that statement is laughable. Who sits still on the beach with two kids? And to that, I say, touché. That’s when you teach your kids about the joys of the beach nap.

But in all seriousness, as the boys have grown, I’ve started to think more intentionally about their beach reads. These boys love a good adventure, and when we’re traveling I find that they fully immerse themselves in the new environment. They aren’t sitting around thinking about Colorado and the mountains; instead, they’re exploring!  And what better way could there be to teach them about the place they’re visiting, and the animals and people that live there, than to read books?

I’ve made an effort over the years to stock the beach house with good ocean and bay-related books for the kids. It’s nice to have these books there rather than at home because the stories really come alive when they’re reading about animals that they just saw on the beach and in the marsh. And I know that they can relate to crabbing and fishing adventures when they’ve just spent the afternoon on Poppop’s boat putting bait in the crab pots and casting out their finishing lines.

Below is a list of our current favorites (for reference, the boys are 2 and 4). Admittedly, I’m particularly smitten with books written and illustrated by local artists, so you’ll see quite a few on the list. They add an intimate feel in their descriptions of the place that could never be achieved in a generic book about ocean/beach life.

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The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library

I know opinions can vary when it comes to Dr. Seuss. The wording can be awkward and leave you tongue-tied, which is not the best for reading aloud. But it rhymes, and I’m a sucker for a good rhyming text, especially one that’s educational.  Each book flows really well after one or two readings.

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