vacation, part 2

A few weeks ago I posted some of our roadtrip photos with some tips for going on a camping roadtrip. I also promised to post the rest of our vacation photos soon. I’m finally getting around to it now.

…Better late than never?

So for those of you who love other people’s vacation photos, for those of you who read the last post and were like, “where the heck are the recommendations?” and for those of you who are Chris’s friends who got to this through Facebook (because for everything I post and tag him in, I get about 3 likes from his friends for every 1 of mine), here they are:


cannon beach oregon sunset

sunset at cannon beach oregon

sunset at cannon beach oregon

beach in oregon rocks

oregon scenery

oregon beach waves

trees and pacific ocean from oregon

sand dunes in florence oregon

bunny at cannon beach oregon

trees in cannon beach oregon

crater lake oregon

crater lake oregon


Sleepy Monk Coffee – Cannon Beach
Siuslaw National Forrest, Sutton Campgrounds – 3 miles north of Florence
Powell’s Books – Portland. Always and forever.

powell's city of books portland oregon


redwood trees in california redwood national park

handstands on the beach in california

view of san francisco and boats from tiburon california

california bay area sunset

ice cream in tiburon san francisco california

california driving scenery

yellow bellied marmot in yosemite national park california

tree at yosemite national park

lake at yosemite national park california

half dome yosemite national park

stop hot death valley


Everett and Jones BBQ – Oakland
The Waffle Roost (Food Truck) – Oakland and surrounds
Sam’s Anchor Cafe – Tiburon. I recommend the eggs benny, but not the waffles.
Powderface – Oakland. Don’t fall for it when someone asks you to smell the beignets. (I did.)
Yosemite National Park White Wolf Campground

death valley


No recommendations.

We basically drove straight through Nevada, but there was a beautiful lake (and an awesome neon sign that I didn’t take a photo of) in Hawthorne.

Tonopah, Nevada was the place where I felt simultaneously the best and worst I’d ever felt about myself. I was waiting in line to pay at a grocery store, when the girl behind me explained that it was so busy that day because food stamps had just been given out.

nevada scenery


seattle space needle and elephant ear from bumbershoot 2015


Pho Hiho – Seattle
Smarty Pants – Seattle

dog in the backseat of the car

when the stars (don’t) align

paleo strawberry shortcake

You didn’t think I’d make it through this diet thing without at least attempting a compliant dessert, did you?

paleo strawberry shortcake batter

My brain is all sorts of all over the place and all I really want is to make (eat) tiramisu. Unfortunately, the Whole Life Challenge, and also it’s already that time of year when it gets dark too early and I can never seem to find a spare hour to bake before the natural light is gone.

paleo strawberry shortcake in muffin tin

Today I was also informed that Mercury is in retrograde. That has nothing to do with the light disappearing, (or anything, actually, since I generally don’t believe in astrology) but according to some, it’s the reason I’m currently an insomniac / disorganized mess.

Apparently virgos are particularly sensitive to Mercury’s retrograde – and “virgo magazine editors” are to be affected worst of all.

Did I mention I’m back in school now, taking editing?

baked paleo shortcake

Anyway, this cake turned out surprisingly well for being WLC compliant, and the cropped and filtered photos also turned out, well, okay considering the lack of light.

If only Mercury would go back to heading forward, maybe my blog posts would be more interesting and make more sense.

In the meantime, all I have to offer is cake.

paleo strawberry shortcake with tea

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Even though it’s paleo / gluten free / refined sugar free, I have to say, it’s really good. The banana flavour comes through a bit more than I’d like, but the alternative is honey, in which case I would lose a WLC point, in which case I’d just be eating tiramisu.


  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • strawberries
  • whipped cream (or coconut cream, depending on your dietary restrictions)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, rapidly whisk eggs, vanilla, and mashed banana. Add dry ingredients (flours through baking powder) and whisk some more. Because there’s no gluten, there’s no risk of over-mixing! (It’s the little things in life.)
  3. Pour in butter and coconut oil, and mix some more. Let it sit for a minute or two while the flours absorb the liquid – don’t panic and add more flour or it’ll end up too dry.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool for a while before turning out of the pan – the cooler the muffins the easier this will be.
  5. Cut the cupcakes in half and fill with whipped cream and strawberries.

happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday!

(My actual birthday, not my blog birthday, which I also celebrate, because I believe in celebrating the small stuff.)

oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies

(I actually kind of celebrate everything. I celebrate when I’m in bed before midnight. I celebrate when I cook chicken and it isn’t raw in the middle. I celebrate when a song I love comes on my Songza playlist. I should start celebrating when I make it through 15% of my dance choreography correctly.)

oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies unbaked on baking sheet

Anyway, even though it’s my birthday, I made you cookies, because I’m super nice. But you’ll have to come get them, because I don’t know where you live.

oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies unbaked on baking sheet with french bulldog sniffing them

I thought about supplying a list of things that I would like for my birthday, because I wrote a post about my vacation last week and a bunch of people I’m Facebook friends with read it, so maybe they would read this, and because they know me, maybe they’d buy me birthday presents. Or even though you don’t know me, you’d read this and buy me presents anyway. (And in return, I would give you cookies. Seems fair.)

Unfortunately for you, I ate all the cookies, because they were delicious. So I’m not providing a birthday wish list, and you can make cookies for yourself.

oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups bread flour (all-purpose is fine if you don’t want to buy bread flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease lightly) and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix a bit more.
  3. Dump in all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). Mix some more. I didn’t fuss too much about sifting because I was feeling lazy (it’s my birthday; I can do what I want).
  4. Remove from the stand mixer, and stir in oats, raisins, and chocolate chips by hand.
  5. Spoon into rounds on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1.5-2 inches between cookies – they’ll spread.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden and middles aren’t wet anymore. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

25 was traumatic. Here’s to being 26!

the end is nigh

rice krispie squares

The Whole Life Challenge has crept up on me again (I know, I know), which meant not, as some would assume, that I spent the last week practicing healthy habits so that when the Challenge started it was less of a culture shock. What it actually meant was that it was time to stuff my face with all of the delicious things that I am no longer allowed.

browned butter

Over the past couple of days, I ate pancakes (with sprinkles in them!), macaroni and cheese, ice cream sandwiches, pizza, buttered scones, and rice krispie squares, along with a heaping side of guilt and regret.

rice krispie squares in pan

But not that much regret. I have the next eight weeks to exercise self control.

rice krispie squares

Rice Krispie Squares

Lightly adapted from the original


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 40 large marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 cups rice krispies


  1. Line a 9×13″ pan with tin foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Then keep stirring it over the heat until it’s brown – it’ll start to foam a little and separate, and then you’ll get tiny caramelized bits. It’ll smell slightly nutty.
  3. Decrease the heat to low and add in the marshmallows. Keep stirring until they’re all melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Add in the rice krispies and stir until everything is evenly mixed.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the prepared 9×13″ pan, press flat, and smooth the top. Cool completely before cutting into squares.


10 Tips for Planning a Camping Road Trip

Four weeks ago, my boyfriend and I took off on a last minute three-week roadtrip, camping and couch-surfing our way down from Vancouver, Canada, to Death Valley, California. Here, I’ve rounded up some of the biggest lessons we learned – I hope they’ll help and inspire anyone thinking about getting away from the rat race and experiencing nature and new places, even if just for a little bit.

sideview mirror reflection photo on roadtrip

1. Bring more money than you think you’ll need

The best piece of advice I got for the trip (thanks Huckberry!) was to take my budget and double it. It didn’t cost me quite that much, but there were definitely things I didn’t account for in my initial plan, like propane tanks, drinks at every gas station I wanted to use the bathroom at, and a night at a motel when it was dark and cold and there appeared to be no campsites on the upcoming road for hours.

redwood national park, california

2. Be flexible with your route

I should caveat my lack of proper budgeting in the initial plan with: because I didn’t really have a plan, or at least not a set in stone plan – mostly because we decided to go less than a week prior to leaving. A couple days before we left, I plotted a general route, but I didn’t pick out any campsites or look at park fees ahead of time. On the way back we changed our route entirely, and then ventured hours out of the way of that route in search of a campground. There we stumbled upon Crater Lake, which was my favourite place of the whole trip.

crater lake national park, oregon

3. Bring warm clothes

Not having camped in about ten years (and even that was a only for a couple nights, and the last time I went camping before that was another ten years prior with my mom), I wasn’t prepared for how cold nights and mornings would be. We left in mid-August when it was hot and sunny every day, and returned in a much cooler mid-September. I was able to layer sweatpants over leggings and multiple shirts under a hoodie, but my boyfriend wasn’t so lucky. There were a few nights where we woke up to the dogs’ bowl of water frozen solid – there wasn’t a lot we wouldn’t have done for cabin socks, gloves, toques, and some of those hand warmer packets.

misty mountains in yosemite from controlled forest fire smoke

4. Get an audiobook or two for the car

I listen to a lot of pop and country music, and my boyfriend listens to mostly rock and hip hop. Before we left, I went to the library and borrowed two audiobooks (I had to pay a couple days of late fees because of how long we were gone, but it was still cheaper than buying them). The books were often a welcome change from music (though the Agatha Christie novel read in a British accent faking an Afghani accent was at times a little hard to take).

coyote in death valley national park, california

5. Don’t be afraid to bring the dogs

We had initially planned to leave our dogs with my mom while we were away, but she was traveling for part of it and couldn’t take them so we brought them along. Having them with us was great- while we couldn’t do some of the hikes that we could have without them, they were allowed at every campsite, were great company, forced us to stop and get out of the car every couple hours, and were additional sources of warmth at night (see number 3).

I’d like to say they also deterred bears, but that’s probably not true.

running through sand dunes with dogs in Florence Oregon

6. Don’t stress about how much time you have (or don’t have)

A lot of the roadtrip / camping blogs I read before we left were by people who were traveling all over the U.S. for months at a time. Because we spent a few days in certain cities with friends, we only actually spent 12 days on the road. Though I wouldn’t have minded an extra day or two (an extra night in Crater Lake would have been nice, and I can never get enough of Portland), we still saw a lot and were more than ready to get back to life with a real bed and a real shower.

roadtrip map

7. Stop often to take photos

At the beginning of the trip, I was too excited to get where we were going to want to stop at any lookouts and take photos. As soon as we got to Cannon Beach, I regretted not stopping to photograph the Washington coast, especially since we wouldn’t be returning the same way. Towards the end of the trip, tired and exhausted and unable to find a campsite, I didn’t ask to stop the car to take a photo of the neon Hawthorne sign in downtown Hawthorne, Nevada. I may never end up back there. Photos are free, and, with digital cameras these days, there is no excuse not to take as many as possible. The 528 photos from this trip that I did take will be sources of happy memories for a long time.

half dome, yosemite, california

8. Bigger is better

Buy the jumbo marshmallows, not just the usual large ones.

So. Much. Better.

s'more in front of campfire

9. Always have snacks on hand

Speaking of food…

I’m not the only person to get incredibly grouchy when I’m hungry (there’s a reason “hangry” is a thing). When you’re in a car for days on end with only one other person for company (and they’re around you 24/7 whether you like it or not), sometimes little things (like how soon you really need to get gas) can become a big deal. I found that often when we would start to get slightly snippy with each other, it was mostly because we were tired or hungry. We swapped out driving duty a couple times for naps, and I made sure to always have snacks (such as these homemade granola bars) in the front seat.

golden gate bridge fog, san francisco, california

10. Pick a good travel buddy

Despite one or two small hiccups, we traveled well together – there’s nothing like a camping roadtrip for finding out whether or not you can make it as a couple. We saw each other tired, hungry, freezing cold, and covered in dirt – day after day after day. But we both put in the work to get the tent set up and taken down, meals cooked, dishes washed, and dogs walked. And throughout it all, we kept each other laughing.


Still looking for more? Next week I’ll be posting specific recommendations (campsites and restaurants) from our route, along with more photos (in case you’re like me and have a weird obsession with other people’s vacation photos). Subscribe at the top right of the page so you don’t miss it!

decisions, decisions


Well hello there, civilization – I’m back from the wilderness!


I apologize for the past couple weeks off the grid (but not really, because they were so completely incredible). My boyfriend and I were off on a roadtrip, our two dogs in tow, from Vancouver, Canada to Death Valley, California.

(Yes, I will post photos soon – once I’ve managed to sort through the 500+ that we took.)


The best and weirdest thing about the roadtrip was not having phone service or wifi for almost all of it. Anyone who’s following along on Instagram (join the bandwagon, which is actually much more like a small Radio Flyerhere) may have caught a few photos, but I’ve been largely disconnected.


In the few instances where we did have internet, I wondered about what to share. How perfect does an ice cream cone need to be before it’s worthy of posting? If I filter and publish all my pictures of trees, will people get bored? If I don’t post 800 photos of my boyfriend and myself, will the internet think we aren’t super in love and therefore basically assume that I am (or, more worryingly, that he is) single? My dog is always a safe choice, right? How many hashtags are appropriate?


These are complicated things to worry about. Less complicated? Snacks. We were all over these homemade granola bars.


Chocolate Chip Raisin Granola Bars

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Note: I know that a collective groan arises whenever kitchen scales are mentioned in America, but I promise, they make everything so much easier. All you need to do is put a large bowl on the scale, and tare it between every measurement. More precision; less dirty dishes.


  • 240g old-fashioned rolled oats, separated
  • 120g medium shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 130g wheat germ (the original recipe, linked above, offers alternatives if you need to make these gluten-free)
  • 5g (1 tsp) sea salt
  • 2g (a few shakes) cinnamon
  • a small shake of nutmeg
  • 140g raisins
  • 140g mixed dried fruit (I used a tropical dried fruit mix from the bulk section of the grocery store)
  • 150g chocolate chips
  • 130g nut butter (I used a macadamia and cashew mix because of peanut allergies, but feel free to use whatever)
  • 105g coconut oil, liquified
  • 85g honey
  • 85g corn syrup (you can also use more honey, or maple syrup. I was just using up what I had at home)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse 40g of the oats until they become a flour consistency.
  3. Place a large bowl on a kitchen scale. Add all of the ingredients, resetting the scale between each addition.
  4. Stir really well.
  5. Scoop into the prepared pan, and smooth everything out evenly. Then press everything down as flat as you can get it. I rinsed my hands before doing this so the mixture wouldn’t stick to me as much. You can also use a piece of parchment paper on top of the granola before pressing it down.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the centre is golden and the edges are starting to darken.
  7. Set on the counter to cool for about an hour, then put in the fridge. Remove from pan and slice after about another hour. (The colder it is, the easier it will be to slice.) I brought the entire batch on the roadtrip and they did fine through the hot and cold temperatures, but if you have the option (because, for example, you’re the best parent ever and are making them for back to school snacks) I would suggest storing them in the freezer.


sad day

chocolate french macaron

This week, my plan was to share a few photos of French macarons with you.

Chocolate macarons, with a white chocolate raspberry filling.

Instead, while I tried to finally download the 4,000+ photos off of my camera because my memory card finally couldn’t take any more, the card got a little lot confused and deleted everything.

While most of the 4,000 are already on the blog or filed away safely on an external hard drive, the last few weeks no longer exist in jpeg form. I’m a little devastated.

Luckily, I posted one photo on Instagram, and I’ve still got a few macarons left to cheer myself up.

White Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream Icing

Recipe for the chocolate macaron shells from David Lebovitz.


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks (or 6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • Cream (amount will vary)


  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and raspberries together, stirring slowly to prevent the bottom from burning. Once all of the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and icing sugar (and vanilla powder, if using) until well combined. Pour in white chocolate raspberry mixture, and continue mixing. Slowly add cream until you reach the consistency you’re aiming for (for the macarons, I just spread the icing on with a butter knife rather than piping it, so I went for a thicker icing and didn’t use any cream).

Store any extra icing in an airtight container in the fridge.

In other news, I’m taking a few weeks off the blog to wind down these last few weeks of summer in style. I’ll see you back here after Labour Day, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!