Loop Hike, Death Valley National Park in Golden Canyon

I have been visiting Nevada for quite some time but never had I made the effort to make the trip to Death Valley National Park. First and foremost, Death Valley is known for being the hottest location within the United States year round. And Death Valley is the largest National Park in the US, coming in at 3.4 million acres.

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When doing some reattach for my visit, I decided I would do the loop hike located at the Golden Canyon entrance which takes you face up to the popular Zabriskie Point and out through Golden Gulch. Most people view Zabriskie from the other side from a well traveled ‘view point’ but the truth is, the Point is only less than 2 miles in on the trail. It is truly a sight to see. The colors around you along this hike are breath taking. It’s like you’re in an alternate universe.

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The trail is VERY well marked and you can do some alternate exploring down the several canyons along your way back to the Golden Canyon parking lot.

The hike is just under 6.5 miles and goes by quickly since there is so much to see. All different color rock formations and even some slot canyons towards the end.

Thanks to Modern Hiker for the detailed write up on this hike, which can be found HERE

DIY, Create Rice Facial Cleanser

New Year, New You. Going natural in both the kitchen and the bathroom is easier than you think. For years, rice cleanser has been a secret go to for Asian cultures for generations. If you happen to shop at any natural or wellness markets you will see them on the shelves as well.

To make your own, start with a jasmine rice and distilled water. I prefer to use bottled to avoid the struggle of hard or soft water that can hinder your complexion. I use two cups of water and one cup of rice and bring the combination to a slight and short boil on the stovetop, just under a minute.

Transfer the contents in the pan to a bowl and leave sitting for 15 minutes. Pour the liquid into any air tight container that works for you, I find that a standard size mason jar is the perfect size. Store in refrigerator.

Using rice water as a facial cleanser is as simple as splashing a bit onto your face and gently massaging it into your skin for about a minute. That’s all there is to it! After just one application, you’ll notice your skin feeling soft, tight, and young.

My 52 Hike Challenge

Those who know me well or follow me through social media know that I am an avid outdoors woman. Whether the destination be close or far, the journey be long or short, I take adventure  wherever and whenever I can get it.

Towards the end of last year, a hashtag popped up throughout social media called #52hikechallenge. But this hashtag was far more than just uniting one another through a common interest or getting yourself found on instagram, this hashtag was about joining in and engaging in a movement, for yourself and with others both like and much unalike you.

The 52 Hike Challenge was started by a couple, Karla and Philip. Both who happen to live near me in Southern California. So, about midway through last year I jumped on board as an ambassador and curator promoting both my experience and their movement through instagram.

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I still remember my first day of social media takeover. I was so inspired, so elated and so proud to be a part of this movement that was changing people in both small and big ways. People have used the challenge to bring them peace and clarity while some use it to get fit and others have found at the end they have healed a hurt or overcome a hurdle in life.

Throughout my 52 Hikes I came to different points in my journey when I said, ‘OK, this is going to be my testimony’. But at different points, my testimony changed. I thought I would write about how the challenge saved my relationship with my fiance, or how I finally adjusted to California living, or how I became less of a control freak and more laid back in my everyday life… But when I was done with hike 52 at the Palos Verdes Bluffs, all I could think about was how I finally just did something for myself that didn’t rely upon anyone else’s schedule, allowance, blessing, approval or happiness. I am a self professed people pleaser. I love being there for others, love stepping in to help anyone whether it be my family, friends or work. And this was something all my own. And it was simple… and quite freeing.

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When I finished my challenge I felt incredibly accomplished. I felt like for the first time in my life I started using my time to do something that was just for me. It’s easy, especially as a woman to get caught in the people pleasing trap. I enjoy pleasing other people but it’s so important to also do the things that please yourself.

I must say that the biggest accomplishment comes after you finish. Since finishing my challenge I have done and decided to do so many things I would’ve said no to in the past.

This challenge CAN do so many things for you besides getting ‘fit’. It can heal you. It can empower you… It can make you push yourself and reach higher than you ever thought possible.

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Info On The 52 Hike Challenge

Snowshoeing Tumalo Mountain In Bend Oregon

We recently traveled to the beautiful, wonderful and snowy Bend Oregon over Christmas Vacation. Given that Oregon is my home state and I am an avid hiker, I had a short list of things I wanted to see and do while in town. Those of you who follow the news know that Oregon has gotten more than their fare share of snow which made some of these places on my ‘list’ impossible to do.

Luckily, I was able to snag a spot at the base of Tumalo Mountain which happens to be right across from the Mt Bachelor Ski Resort. I dropped off my crew in the morning and waited out a spot and went!

Now, I haven’t snowshoed in quite some time but truth be told, there’s nothing to it. You just strap on your boots and go. I opt to not hike with poles because that would mean two less hands to hold my drink and my camera.

The scenery all the way up is stunning, so there is never a dull moment. Those who decide to go up the mountain know to dress warm and prepare for some stifling wind in the last mile or so. Thankfully, this is a hot spot for cross country skiing as well, so the trail is extremely well groomed even after a fresh dump of snow.

The view from the top is absolutely stunning, especially on a bluebird day.

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The Best French Toast Ever

Don’t roll your eyes at the title of this blog post. Because I promise you that after you follow and prepare this recipe for french toast, you will never ever make french toast in a basic way ever again.

This is like the kind of french toast you had at brunch one day somewhere fabulous that you can never really forget about and that you think you could never duplicate at home… but it can be done!

The classic french toast mixture in the recipe calls for 3 whisked eggs combined with a cup of half and half (don’t you dare try and substitute milk for this, it won’t be the same, I promise you) 2 tablespoons of warmed honey and a few dashes of sea salt.

As for the bread, do not use pre sliced store bought bread. Buy a loaf that you can cut up yourself because every great french toast is thick and decadent. I like to use a loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread, from a nearby local market but Challah also works great or any white loaf you can slice up. Your slices should be about an inch or so in thickness, but do as you like here.

When dipping the bread in the egg mixture, let it SIT. Don’t just drop and dab and turn and repeat. Let the bread SOAK up the egg mixture until borderline soggy.

Next, use a saute pan or skillet and melt a tablespoon of butter per slice. I prefer to cook my slices one at a time.

Next, put each ‘done’ slice in the oven on the rack and bake at 375 for 5 or so minutes.

Finish with desired toppings, syrup.

What I Wore, Free People Holiday Vibes

This is my first mentionable outfit worn for a holiday themed occasion. This boyfriend style blazer is a rich velvet and perfect for dressing up or down and pulling an outfit together with just a hint to red without looking like Mrs. Claus. I also lust for the occasion to wear an over the knee sock that makes an outfit feel both cozy and sexy.

Jacket By Free People

Explore Dana Point Beaches

I’ve never been that interested in the beach but when you live so close, you come to force yourself to get out that way every once in a while. Every time I do, its worth every second and I continually ask myself… “why don’t I come here more often.”

My favorite beach is a small stretch of sand between two bluffs in Dana Point. It is actually two beaches, Salt Creek and Strands. These beaches are located directly below the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, so rest assured this is prime beach real estate that stays unusually under trafficked when compared to other beaches like Laguna and San Clemente.

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Denim Top By Rails LA & Bikini By Mara Hoffman

Baja Blanket From Urban Outfitters

Hiking Los Pinos Peak, Orange County

I am an avid hiker and am always researching new places to venture out in Orange County. Most of the great hikes around here are throughout Los Angeles or San Diego County which force me to take an entire day off. I frequently visit the Cleveland National Forest around the Silverado and Trabuco areas so I ventured off my normal path and ended up in Lake Elsinore to hike Los Pinos Peak which is a 4,500 peak that overlooks nearly all three counties here in Southern California.

Getting to the official trailhead is a little tricky and I know that people get lost trying to find it. Luckily, Los Pinos is not heavily trafficked and you park where the pavement ends just before the left turn which leads you into Blue Jay Campground.

To get to the peak, you hike up a wide fire road which leads you to a three way junction with blue pipe barriers. I chose to go straight up to the peak but if elevation gain is not your thing, continue to the right which also takes you to the summit but is less steep and a bit longer of a hike.

Once you’re at the summit, there is geological markers and a wood peak marker just off to the left of the trail. There is also a geocaching style box with notebooks to record your summit.

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What I Wore, Zara Embroidered Jacket

The perfect sorta fall, sorta spring jacket. The beading and stitching on this jacket is all done by hand and the results can really only be appreciated in person. I love this piece because of the 3/4 sleeve and the versatility of being able to dress it up or down, day or night.

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