Essential Reading Posts from Campfire Chic - Articles, Blog Posts, and Videos from Around the Web

 

No pressure or anything, but there are less than 70 days left in 2014.

That’s only a few weeks left to finish projects…but I’m okay with that because that permission I gave myself a few weeks ago is going pretty strong. I recently gave myself permission to go to bed early instead of working on a new landing page. I gave myself permission to spend a little longer at the climbing gym than I originally planned instead of getting home to vacuum during a decent hour (I hate being that neighbor who thinks it’s ok to vacuum at 9:00 pm). Telling myself that it’s ok for me to take more time for myself rather than crossing things off of my to do list has been great. It’s also keeping me motivated to work on projects instead of getting burned out from forcing myself to work on a project when I know I could be doing something else.

So give yourself permission to spend a little more time on yourself this weekend.

This week’s Essential Reading:

P.S. If you’re hoping to get a ton of blog posts done before you head out on vacation or to get a jump on the craziness of the holidays, my simple iOS app Write365 can help. It contains about 400 writing prompts that are perfect for your next blog post. Find it here.

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in Essential Reading

The September 2014 edition of 30 Days of Lists ended on September 30th. It was a great round of lists and the new Listers really jumped into the challenge head first. The returning Listers (some have been participating since March 2011!) seemed to enjoy the challenge, as well. It’s a nice warmup for the creative projects that seem to pop up during Fall and Winter!

My lists from the September 2014 #30Lists challenge:

30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 1 - 5 by Campfire Chic
30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 6 - 15 by Campfire Chic
30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 16 - 25 by Campfire Chic
30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 26 - 30 by Campfire Chic

 

I shared most of the things I used in my album in this post, but I added a handful of embellishments from a Freckled Fawn monthly kit. It was my first kit from Freckled Fawn and I adored everything that came in the kit. In fact, placed an order for the Very Merry Embellishment kit from Freckled Fawn in the middle of writing this post (I added red doilies, gold glitter washi, and some red arrows to my purchase…all of which can be found here).

While working with the smaller sized pockets was fun and interesting, it’s probably not something I’ll do again. Pockets are nice and the look was cohesive throughout the project, but the tiny space wasn’t jelling with my usually giant handwriting. I think I’ll switch to a different format for future projects like this.

If you’re interested in getting updates about future challenges, subscribe to the 30 Days of Lists mailing list.

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in 30 Days of Lists, What I Made

Tips for Camping Comfortably - Campfire Chic

Camping isn’t for everybody.

When I’m camping, I’m not interested in “roughing it” for the sake of having a story to tell. I’d rather be reasonably comfortable to the point where I can get a few hours of sleep and am not in tears because I’m frustrated/pissed/hungry/cold/wet. I just need someplace relatively comfortable and maybe something warm to eat…maybe. Thankfully, t’s easier to have a few extra comforts when “car camping” than when backpacking (an extra blanket would be nice in the backcountry, but I’m not willing to carry one!). After a very comfortable beach camping experience last month, I wanted to share a few quick tips that will make your next camping trip a little cozier.

3 Ways to Stay Comfortable While Camping

Pack an extra blanket

When I go camping (car camping, not backpacking) I like to bring an extra blanket (or two!) along “just in case”. I like to be comfortable and knowing I have an extra blanket in the car sets me at ease. I can drape the blanket over me while I sit around the campfire, I can put it underneath my sleeping bag for extra comfort, or I can sit on it at the top of a hill as we set ourselves up to watch the sunset. The Henry David Throw from Ticla is on my wish list right now…I chatted with Rich (the founder of Ticla) at Outdoor Retailer in August and the design of this throw is simple but genius and the fun designs that Ticla is known for will really spice things up around my otherwise-boring camping supplies. And yes, Ticla DM’d that photo with the Walden filter after some joking. Our current blankets are a gas station blanket Alex picked up outside of Zion a few years ago and this yoga blanket from Hugger Mugger (ours came in red).

If you’re not a blanket person, maybe you need to pack an extra pair of socks to feel comfortable. Or an extra pillow. If you have room in your car, pack that one item you’re having a nagging feeling about. I’m sure you’ll survive the night without it but if it makes you feel more comfortable to have it handy, then why not toss it in the backseat?

Bring your favorite coffee or tea

I have a love/hate relationship with early mornings and camping. It’s cold outside, I look like I was up all night devouring souls, and a warm breakfast isn’t going to make itself. But it’s also peaceful and it’s easier to understand the “each day is a new start” sentiment when you’re brushing a layer of dew off of your camp stove and there is coffee brewing over the campfire. Don’t ruin the morning with crappy coffee that’s just going to put you in a foul mood…bring beans, a small grinder (we use this one), and an aeropress or portable pour-over method (which is what I used in this photo and demonstrate how to use in this photo/gif) to make what may be the best cup of coffee you can remember (everything tastes better outside!). If you’re a tea drinker (like me most days) make sure to bring a bag of your favorite tea along for the trip. Careful: you may over steep your tea as you gaze at your surroundings! Doesn’t starting your day with a mug of something warm as you walk along the beach or sit on a log overlooking a meadow sound really nice right now?

The same is true for any road trip snacks you enjoy! We’re big fans of dates, maui onion flavored kettle chips, and fresh fruit.

Keep your (part of) your routine

If you wash your face every night before bed and cannot image going one night without your routine, go ahead and pack the face wash, toner, and moisturizer…but only if you have the facilities to use those products without hurting the environment. That means you should be at a campground with a proper washroom with a sink. Using soap and other cleaners in lakes, rivers, and streams is bad for the environment (and um…fish poop). If you can hold off on your full routine for a night, bring baby wipes to give yourself a quick wipe down before bed. Sticking to a few pieces of your normal routine will help you relax and you’ll sleep better.

If you listen to music to help you fall asleep, you better make sure your music player has enough battery life left and don’t forget the headphones! Keeping routines at home make us feel more in control of what is going on and sometimes we need to keep up at least part of those routines when we are away from home…why should camping be any different? Wash your face and listen to music if you want to!

What advice would you give to new campers?

Are you new to camping?

The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. I earn a small commission from the purchases made through these links. I appreciate your support. The Melitta cone linked above was sent to me for a review on Instagram, which can be viewed here. Opinions are my own. 

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in Camping, From a Beginner

Currently List Rukristin - Campfire Chic

My favorite thing to add to my Project Life layouts is a little recap of the week on a 3×4 card. When I first started Project Life in 2012, I wrote 1 thing I was thankful for each day of the week on a single card and it was great. I was having a rough time at work and I wasn’t thrilled going each day but reminding myself that I have awesome work friends and a loving partner (and sometimes-loving cat) waiting for me at home at the end of each day kept me on track. Last year, I got out of the habit and noticed a major decrease in the amount of journaling included in my weekly layouts. This year, the Currently challenge from Kristin (of rukristin) has changed everything! Not only am I able to look back on the things that I’m thankful for each week, but I can look back and see what I was watching/reading/listening to throughout the year.

I plan on using the Currently supplies available in Kristin’s shop during the Week in the Life™ challenge by Ali Edwards at the end of this month. I currently have the classic cards in various colors, the sticky notes (which are AWESOME), the mounted wood stamp, and the clear stamp set.

Today, I’m going digital. 

Around Here Project - Campfire Chic

Watching: Torchwood, Suits, and Flash

Reading: Landing page case studies, ways to work with the recent changes to Facebook feeds, and the Dungeon Master Handbook

Listening: My October 2014 playlist, the washing machine on its third load of laundry for the day, and Hozier, Vancy Joy, and Meghan Trainor on repeat

Making: A mini-album for some random Instax photos taken over the last year, my Halloween costume/cosplay outfit for the end of the month, apply cider vinegar hair  rinse

Feeling: Sore from climbing a few days a week, like a trip to the donation center is very much overdue, and that Fall may be finally arriving in Southern California

Planning: A micro-adventure with Amy for next month, volunteering for a trail restoration project, an awesome challenge with some folks to raise money for our favorite outdoor charities

Loving: My new canvas print* hanging above my nightstand, playing Dungeons & Dragons at work during our lunch hour (I’m the Dungeon Master!), and spending weekend mornings at the beach

I haven’t done too much planning for Week in the Life™, but I’m hoping to keep up with things and take a handful of photos each day. I’m not interested in doing an hour-by-hour type of documentation, that’s too much detail for a relatively boring work week. I would like to make either an insert for my Project Life binder or a small mini-album similar to the album I made using the Collect photo app.

*The canvas print in the top photo is from Canvas Champ, who contacted me to do a review of one of their products. A few years ago, Alex printed out the first Instagram I ever took using CanvasPop and I wrote about the ordering and unboxing of that print here. Canvas Champ is a similar company and they offer a lot of different sizes and the starting prices are lower than CanvasPop (a 12×12 canvas print from Canvas Champ starts at about $20 while CanvasPop starts closer to $40). The shipping was quick with Canvas Champ, the overall experience was positive, and they offer more than canvas prints if you’re looking for a variety of printing options from one website. While they gave me this print to review, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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in Around Here., Currently List

Point Mugu State Beach Campground - Thronhill Broome by Campfire Chic

Last month, we went on a quick family camping trip just north of Los Angeles at the Thornhill Brome campground, which is part of Point Mugu State Beach.

I made our reservations online a few months prior using ReserveAmerica.com, which I use for majority of the campsites we book ahead of time. I like that the site lets me check availability at different campgrounds and sometimes you can even see photos of each campsite! It was a great when I was booking a campsite in Yosemite last year for our camping trip with Amy and her husband. This campground, however, does not have photos and you are assigned your camping spot as you arrive.

After a scenic drive up Pacific Coast Highway, we were assigned our camping spot…right between the port-a-potties and the camp host’s giant RV. I wasn’t thrilled at first and was ready to be a total grouch, but the spot turned out to be an excellent location. You couldn’t smell the porta-potties at all (surprising!) and other than a carload of young women thinking they could park at our site for day-use parking, we weren’t bothered by anybody at all. There was a water spigot and outdoor shower nearby. The dumpster was also next to our spot but I wouldn’t have guessed it was there (unlike when you camp in bear country and people insist on slamming the damn dumpster closed at all hours). You can see our campsite in the bottom left of the collage above.

PROS:

  • Plenty of beach to go around
  • Price of park entry (for one car) is included in the cost of the reservation
  • Wildlife viewing is fantastic! We spotted pelicans, sea lions, and woke up to dolphins swimming by our site
  • Easy to reserve
  • You can buy firewood from the Camp Host
  • The firepit is large and comes with a grate so you can cook on it if you wish
  • Not too far from “civilization” if somebody gets homesick or there is an emergency

CONS:

  • The beach to the left of the entrance is great for the views and for getting your toes wet, but I wouldn’t recommend getting into the water. There are a ton of rocks (like, actual rocks not pebbles) in the surf and the waves pretty much pelt them at you as the water is coming in. It sounds like thunder as the rocks crash onto the shore and then move back out with the waves.
  • The porta-potties were getting a little full
  • Directions are a little wonky. This campground is past the first signs for Point Mugu State Park…keep heading north until you see the campground signs

We didn’t encounter wind the way the Yelp reviews for the campground warned about, so I’m not sure if it was just a good time of the year or if I was so tired that I didn’t notice the gusts. We bought a sunshade (which sounds ridiculous but it was an awesome purchase) and stored some of our items inside it overnight just in case the winds did pick up. If you’re looking for a shade for trips to the beach or the park, this one from Coleman is a good option and cheaper than a lot of the other options available.

Thornhill Broome Campground in Malibu California - Campfire Chic

My favorite part of the weekend was trying out some new toys! I was able to walk around the the GoPro on a “selfie-stick” and play with the different modes as I hung out near the water. It was the first time I got to sleep in our Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 2 tent and I snuggled into my Teton Sports Celsius sleeping bag which is comfier than my other sleeping bag…how can I say otherwise when this sleeping bag is lined with brushed flannel? It reminded me of that first night in winter when you have flannel sheets on your bed instead of your regular sheets and everything just seems a million times cozier. The tent is larger than our REI tent, which has served us well and was at the campsite with us but being borrowed by family. The tent is pretty much all mesh, which will be fantastic when we go backpacking next and can enjoy the views without getting eaten alive by mosquitos. I’m looking forward to using both items again.

One item I was interested in bringing with us on our quick overnight trip was the LuminAID, which I heard about at Outdoor Retailer but did not get to see in person. The awesome folks from Eartheasy sent over the LuminAID for me to check out and I’m already planning on getting a handful for friends and family for Christmas. It’s not your typical lantern…it is a solar-powered inflatable light that is lightweight, doesn’t blind you, and floats! I find myself blocking our regular Coleman lantern (this is the more rugged version of ours) with a jug of water when we’re moving around camp at night because the light is just too hard on our eyes. The LuminAID has what is best described as a frosted exterior so the light is gentle on the eyes and doesn’t “hippie mace” you when you look at it. There are two modes to the lantern that I like to call “bright” and “less bright”. When fully charged, the lantern will last between 8 – 10 hours at the “bright” setting and can be stored for up to 3 months with a full charge…which makes me want to get a few of these for emergency kits for the car and home. You can buy 2 through Amazon (and it’s Prime eligible!) or go directly through the Eartheasy site to buy just one. This would make for a good stocking stuffer for the campers and preppers in your life. I’m hoping to do some night paddleboarding soon and am planning on bringing this lantern with me.

The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. Purchases made through those links support Campfire Chic with a small commission. I received the tent and sleeping bag from Teton Sports as part of my partnership with them and the Mountain Adventurers. Eartheasy sent me the lantern in exchange for a possible review. The opinions expressed in this post and across other social media channels are my own. 

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in Adventure, California, Camping, Weekend

Aspen Grove in San Gorgonio Wilderness - Campfire Chic

Fall in Southern California is a bit of a mystery. The calendar says it is Autumn and the shorter days are clearly a sign that it is no longer summer…but the weather didn’t get the memo. My Instagram feed is filling up with photos of apple picking while wearing flannel and boots, I’m over here planning my day around free air conditioning and living in shorts and tank tops. It seems like October is deciding to stage an endless summer (if only it would stay light out longer!) and while it is nice that I was able to spend the day at the beach yesterday, the fall wreath on my front door is mocking me…palm trees don’t change color and I needed to find some signs of Fall before stores start playing Christmas music.

So, in an effort to catch up to the rest of the country and catch a glimpse of fall, I joined Jeff from SoCalHiker.net (and his wife, Joan) for a quick hike to Aspen Grove in the San Bernardino National Forest. I heard about this small patch of Aspens tucked away in our local mountains but haven’t braved the dirt road to get out there (it is the same road we would take to the trailhead for one of the highest peaks in the area, which is good to know for future hikes).

Aspen Grove in San Bernardino National Forest

I saw a photo of what the area looked like the weekend of 10/4 and was excited to see the golden leaves. Apparently the peak season only lasted a week because most of the leaves were off of the branches in the lower grove and the leaves were taking on a deeper (but still beautiful) golden tone than the rich yellow the trees are known for.

The walk to the grove is pretty straight forward and short enough that young children were able to make the walk from the parking lot to the first grove without much difficulty. This is not a wheelchair-friendly trail, nor is the road very sedan-friendly, but people drove it anyway. I knew I didn’t need a ton of water or supplies so I packed a few snacks and 1L of water in my Teton Sports Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Pack and wore my KEEN light hikers so I wouldn’t get tired from wearing heavy boots (like my hiking boots, which are no longer available). Being comfortable on the trail is really important to me because  otherwise I’m focused on how I’m feeling (uncomfortable, itchy, chaffy, etc.) instead of enjoying my surroundings.

For a trail guide and information about getting to Aspen Grove, check out Jeff’s post here. You can find hikes all over Southern California using this great interactive map on SoCalHiker.net.

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in Adventure, California

Just a quick note to mention that I updated the SHOP section of this site. It was a mess for over a year and didn’t fully capture what I have available.

You can click on the images below to learn more about each product. If you have questions, feel free to email me or leave a question in the comments section.

I’m also looking for feedback on the landing pages…I’m not a professional landing page creator so I’m interested to hear what you think should be added/improved/removed from the different pages. I appreciate your support over the years and hope you enjoyed any previous purchases. If you own any of the products below and would like to contribute a testimonial, please let me know.

I do not have any specific plans for new products, but I do plan on updating the Spark Ecourse before the new year.

Campfire Chic Shop - About You Guide to Writing About Yourself

Campfire Chic Shop - Blog Post Ideas for Bloggers and Writers

Campfire Chic Shop - Creative Writing Prompt App for iOS and Apple

Campfire Chic Shop - Blogging Jumpstart Ecourse to Find Your Spark

 

I want to thank Kara from Kara Haupt Designs for designing the cover for the Three Sixty-Five ebook and the Write365 iOS app logo. And a big thank you to Allie of Alexandra Rae Design for designing the cover for About You and the logo for the Spark ecourse.

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in 2014, Announcement