Today’s tips are from Beth (and Sprocket) of 3Up AdventuresI met Beth and Sprocket in Salt Lake City a few years ago and she kicked my butt on a group hike. I live at sea level, there’s no way I can keep up with this wonder woman! She regularly checks mountain peaks off of her list…and some of them are 14ers!

Now that it is summer, I wanted to feature some tips for adventuring with your pet to encourage safe practices for both pet and pet owner. Since I don’t have a dog, Beth volunteered to share some tips.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on Outdoor Adventures - Campfire Chic

Beth, you document your adventures with your dog, Sprocket, on your blog and on social media. Can you tell us a bit about your life with Sprocket and the types of adventures you take?

Basically, Sprocket is the best adventure buddy I could ask for. He’s (fairly) understanding of the fact that I need to go to work as a teacher an only starts giving me pitiful “Is it the weekend?” eyes on Thursday and Friday. During the summer and on weekends though, we’re usually out exploring Colorado (and often, the rest of the Mountain West). Our favorite thing to do is hike to mountain peaks; Sprocket is well trained to know that we’re going to go up and then when there is no more up we’re going to go down. He’s so joyful on the trail that it always helps me really settle in to being in nature.

 

In the summer and on school vacations, I usually try to road trip somewhere and Sprocket can always be counted on to non-judgementally listen me sing terribly, be totally excited about random dirt road exploration, and to wait patiently while I do some internet work at coffee shops. When he was just 12 weeks old, he went on his first long road trip so his conception of home is probably the Jeep more than anywhere. Some people might consider me overly attached to my pup but all the time that I’ve spent with him has really helped him develop into a really well behaved dog who is super easy to travel with.

If somebody is new to taking their dog outdoors (long hikes, camping trips, etc.), what 3 tips would you share with them? 

Make sure your dog is ready for your adventure: Build up to mileage, elevation, and intensity: While you might have been going to the gym every day, was Fido’s exercise confined to a couple mile walk around the neighborhood? Another place I see dogs getting into trouble is sore paws; to go from asphalt or grass to mountain scree is a recipe for disaster. Slowly build your dog up to more miles on surfaces that can hurt tender cityslicker pup pads. My pup is really comfortable on anything Class 3 and possibly on some low Class 4 stuff but you have to know your pup! No one can tell you what they’re capable of.

You’re going to plan your day around your dog: Making sure that the temperature in your vehicle is okay for your pup is key when you’re taking creature comfort breaks at restaurants or coffee shops. I usually drive through a town scoping out a spot where I can sit outside since I usually hike in the cool morning hours to avoid high elevation afternoon thundershowers; this approach may or may not work for you depending on how your dog deals with people and other dogs. I’ve also push Sprocket’s evening meal back pretty late in the day so he knows that he’s going to get fed then and we’re not usually out on an adventure at dinner time; I get super hangry and while he’s way more chill than me I don’t want him to feel bad!
Spend lots of time with your dog, it makes all the difference: I feel really lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sprocket. When he joined my family as a tiny puppy, I was just finishing up grad school and he definitely spent some afternoons under my desk as I finished up my research project and then just a few weeks later we hit the road for a month long adventure. That road trip meant that I had TONS of time to hang out with him, start him out on short (<1 mile) hikes, walk him around towns, and get him used to people and time in the car. After that trip, he’s remained a really really central part of my life and I never leave him behind on adventures that he’s capable of. I truly believe that pays off in terms of his pretty awesome behavior on the trail, around town, and at home.

What is one piece of gear/clothing/equipment/food that Sprocket would consider an essential for his adventures?

Lots of water! Sometimes he’s just not interested in it but he’s a big black dog that uses evaporation to cool himself (aka panting). I usually carry between 2-3L of water for a good day hike (which for us is ~6-12 miles) and I probably get one of it!
Beth and Sprocket of 3UpAdventures share tips for taking your dog on adventures - Interview on Campfire Chic blog

What is one piece of gear/clothing/equipment/food that YOU would consider an essential for your adventures?

Always having food on hand is key for me! I tend to get hungry super quickly out hiking (see my hangry comment above) so I always carry a range of snacks on the trail. A lot of the time I don’t touch them but they’re sort of a security blanket to me when I’m out for a long day.

Any last words of wisdom for adventurous dog owners/pet parents?

Essentially, you’re going to get out of your dog what you put into him or her: they’re going to want to please you when you make their needs central to your activities and travels. Do your part to make sure that your pup is a good hiking citizen to better the situation for adventurous dogs everywhere.
You can follow Beth and Sprocket’s adventures on the 3Up Adventures blog, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

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in Adventure, Blog Friends, From a Beginner, Hiking, Interview

Roundup of helpful articles and blog posts to help get you blogging through the summer slump

If you read Campfire Chic a few years ago, you know I have quite a few blogging-specific blog posts in my archives. I haven’t posted about social media or growing a community in a while because there are plenty of other resources covering those topics. With summer upon us, it’s a good time to dial back a bit and focus on growing your blog and working on blogging through the summer slump.

If you’re not a blogger, don’t go away just yet. These posts may be directed toward bloggers, but many focus on themes like productivity, which may be exactly what you need right now.

This week’s essential reading:

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in Essential Reading

I’m tackling 16 projects in 2016. I originally posted my list in January, but I updated it recently to better reflect what I want out of this year. You can see the updated list here.

I started a new job in March and needed to upgrade my wardrobe to match the new position. Many of my work clothes have been in rotation for 5 years and I noticed I was wearing the same 8 items week in and week out. While a uniform sounds nice, I wasn’t feeling inspired by my options and I knew some of the items were on their last legs. It was time for a refresh!

I’m not great at shopping for myself unless I’m in the market for an oversized tank top and leggings, so I took the plunge and signed up for Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix Review - Building a Better Work Wardrobe - Campfire Chic

16 Projects in 2016: Build a Better Wardrobe

Stitch Fix is a subscription service that has been around for a few years. I remember when I ton of fashion/lifestyle/mommy bloggers were all blogging about it at the same time to the point where it was a bit of white noise in the blog world (kind of like when everybody was blogging about Blue Apron). I used a friend’s link to sign up so she would receive credit in her account for her next Fix (apparently when a box of clothes arrives at your house, you call it a Fix?) and followed all the directions…

It was super excited to receive my first Fix. I put a ton of stuff on Pinterest, I completed my style profile (a series of questions to help your stylist better understand your current style and what you’re hoping to get out of the service), and stalked the mail like a crazy person. The unboxing experience is fantastic. Your items are wrapped in white tissue paper and sealed with a giant teal sticker with the Stitch Fix logo, there’s a personalized note from your stylist with suggestions on how to wear the items in your Fix, images of each item and ideas on how to wear the item casually and how to wear it in a nicer way (think: from day to night), an envelope for returns, and the invoice.

Stitch Fix Review - Work Appropriate Wardrobe Building with Kam of Campfire Chic

My first Fix was disappointing, to say the least. I knew it may take a second or third Fix for things to really sync, but the box felt like it was packed for somebody else and it didn’t feel like my stylist read my style profile to get an idea of what I would be interested in seeing in my Fix.

Of the 5 items, I kept one –  a chino pencil skirt that I wouldn’t normally reach for when shopping, but it proved to be really cute with some of the tops I have in my closet already. One of the great things about Stitch Fix is you get to try on these pieces with items you already own…something you can’t do when you are in the dressing room at the mall.

I left plenty of feedback and was given a different stylist for my second shipment.

I was cautiously optimistic for my second fix, but I did a few things to better the odds of having a stellar box:

I added specific things to my Pinterest board

  • You can add a link to a Pinterest board to your Stitch Fix profile so your stylist can peek at it as she puts your Fix together. My board started it out with a broad range of outfits that are definitely my style, but I learned that loading up your board with something specific (say, a navy blazer) helps get the point across.
  • I also learned that adding items from the Stitch Fix account or images of things other women have received from Stitch Fix gives your Stylist the go-ahead to send that item (maybe in a different color?) your way.
  • And don’t be afraid to add something from a few months ago, I added a navy blouse from November to my board before my May Fix and that exact blouse showed up in my box! Checked the #stitchfix hashtag on Instagram to see what other women were receiving and Pinned those items

Updated my Style Profile

  • There is an extensive style profile for you to fill out when you sign up for Stitch Fix, and what I learned is to not hesitate to update the profile between Fixes to give my stylist a better idea of what I’m looking for (and, more importantly, what I’m not looking for!)
  • At the end of the style profile, there is a space where you can add more about your style, what you’re looking for in your Fixes, etc. I use this area to remind my stylist that I’m looking to build a wardrobe for my new job and that I prefer navy over black.
  • The Stitch Fix app allowed me to upload a photo of myself to give my stylist a better idea of what I look like and what may flatter me the most. I didn’t see an option to do this on the main website so I’m glad I saw I could download the app and add a full length photo of myself to my profile.

Was more specific in the note to my stylist

  • For my first Fix, I left a note for my stylist that I wanted to have clothes for work at my “business comfortable” workplace. The first Fix didn’t go well, so I was more specific in my note: I work for a government agency and need work-appropriate clothing for an executive assistant. That greatly helped my second Fix
  • I’m expecting my third fix in early July and requested some items I can wear for a bridesmaid brunch and rehearsal dinner I have coming up in late July. When you’re looking for clothes for a specific event, it’s a good idea to let your stylist know!

I opened my second Fix and it was a million times better. Alex asked me if I was able to select things on my own because every item in the box felt like something I would order on my own.

Stitch Fix for Business Attire - Campfire Chic

Of the 5 items in my Fix, I would’ve kept 4 this time around. The elephant blouse looked like pajamas on me, so it was an instant go-back. The black trousers were nice, but I don’t need black pants right now, and the grey blazer was a dream, but I have two blazers like it already (I asked my stylist to keep an eye out for a navy blazer, but I guess there wasn’t one available).

I ended up keeping the navy blouse and the crossbody bag. I have a similar blouse, but the structure of this one and the gold details made it different enough that I needed it in my closet. The purse is something I would pet lovingly at the store but not normally purchase — my bags are usually tan, brown, or black. I loaded up the bag with my wallet and few other things and decided it would be a great purse for work. The lining is a beautiful red and white pattern so things won’t get lost at the bottom, which is a nice bonus!

Style Ideas from Stitch Fix for Work Appropriate Outfits - Campfire Chic

I like that your Fix comes with these casual and dressed up suggestions for your items and my stylist knows what I kept from my previous Fix so she could include something in this Fix that would work well with the previous one…she suggested the navy blouse with the chino skirt from my first Fix, which I appreciate.

What is nice about Stitch Fix is you can set up the deliveries to fit your needs. For example, I don’t need a Fix this month, but like I mentioned earlier, I have special occasions coming up next month so I scheduled my Fix for early July.

If you’re looking to build your wardrobe, give Stitch Fix a try and see where they can take your style. My referral link is: http://bit.ly/StitchFixKam

I was contacted by Stitch Fix to join their Influencer program. I received a $20 credit for my first Fix and am using affiliate links in this post. I chose to hold off on sharing my Stitch Fix review and thoughts on the service until I was comfortable with the subscription and tried it more than once because I didn’t want to prematurely recommend something I wasn’t sure would benefit Campfire Chic readers. I am not a fashion blogger (ha!) and I do not plan on sharing reviews of each Stitch Fix box I receive here, but I may share that information on my Instagram, when appropriate. If you use the links in this post to create an account and request your first Fix, I will receive a commission. 

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in 16 Projects in 2016, About Kam, Review

Ali Edwards hosted Week in the Life May 9 – 15, 2016. I started my week on May 8th and ended on the 14th, which isn’t breaking any rules, Ali encourages you to make this project work for you. Some folks prefer to wait for a week that is ‘average’ but as I showed in my Week in the Life 2015 album, I don’t mind documenting a week with a special event (in that case: a vacation).

For this time around, I decided to make my project even easier than my 2015 album and went with 6×12 pocket pages to include in my 9×12 Project Life album. I haven’t shared any layouts from my Project Life album, but it exists! That album has one two-page layout for each month. These pages will fit in nicely in that album between the May layout pages.

Week in the Life 2016 - Sunday and Monday Pocket Pages

How does Week in the Life differ from week-by-week Project Life? For starters, it is only for one week. That helps give me the confidence that I can complete the project. One week is easier to document than 52 weeks!

This is similar to Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life challenge in that you are encouraged to document your everyday…your morning routine, your commute to work, preparing dinner with your family, whatever you normally do on the weekends. Like Day in the Life, some people focus on each hour of each day they are documenting, but I like setting alarms throughout the day to remind myself to take photos and screenshots.

Week in the Life 2016 - Tuesday and Wednesday

For this week, I wanted to make sure to get photos of my new cubicle, the things Alex and I do together, and one “outside” photo each day. I didn’t necessarily get each of those things each day but I did get at least five photos each day, which is good for me! I had to narrow down the photos in order to fit them into the pocket pages I had available, and I’m really happy with the variety.

One tip for Week in the Life or Day in the Life: Get yourself in the photos! For these photos, I relied on my two go-to favorites — mirrors and a self-timer on my phone. Don’t be afraid to hand your camera to somebody else and ask them to take a photo of you or to simply hold out your phone for a classic selfie.

Week in the Life 2016 - Thursday Friday and Saturday Pocket Pages

I printed out my photos using my canon selphy printer and made labels for most of the photos using some cardstock and a magic marker. The day of the week cards are from 6×6 paper pads and white foam Thickers.

It’s nice to have a simple project like this done and in the books!

These Week in the Life layouts are part of my 16 Projects in 2016 personal challenge.

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in 16 Projects in 2016, About Kam, Memory Keeping, Project Life, Scrapbooking

Roundup of helpful articles, blog posts, and videos from around the net

I’m going to dedicate this week’s post to all things summer!

This week’s Essential Reading

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in Essential Reading

In February, I met up with some of my longtime “internet friends” for a morning hike at Daley Ranch and burgers in Downtown Escondido, California.

Hike This: Daley Ranch in Escondido, California

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Photo courtesy of Alyx of Shoestring Adventures.

Alex and I met up with some of our friends from the SoCal Hiker Tweetup Camp Out for a 6 1/2ish mile hike in Daly Ranch. Daly Ranch is located in Escondido, with is in North County San Diego. We got to spend time with Josh of California Through My Lens, Jeff and Joan of SoCal Hiker, Chris of The Last Adventurer, Tracy of Walk Simply, Alyx of Shoestring Adventures, Derek of 100 Peaks, and other hikers on this fun microadventure.

It was a warm morning and some of us were lucky to get some parking in the medium sized parking lot at the trailhead. As we drove up the hill to the parking lot, we noticed about two dozen cars parked along the road, so we prepared ourselves for a full lot and a mini-hike to the trailhead. If you are planning on doing this hike on a weekend, get there early, or be prepared to add some extra mileage to your day with a hike up to the trailhead.

After a quick bathroom break (restrooms are located near the lake. Be careful as you cross the street and walk into the park) and group introductions, we headed out. The trails are very similar to other hiking trails in Southern California: wide fire roads with great views. There is very little shade on these trails, to be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses and carry plenty of water.

Jeff planned the outing and put together a loop that included Stanley Peak, the highest point in the ranch. We looped back to the trailhead and saw the historical buildings on the property and the private home that the Daly Family owns.

Alyx of Shoestring Adventures Hiking in San Diego California - Campfire Chic

Daley Ranch Hikes in San Diego - Campfire Chic

For information on this hike, I suggest checking out Derek of 100peaks’s blog post on it: Daly Ranch Hike

The best part of the hike?

The beautiful purple flowers covering the rolling hills. I’m not sure what plant this is, but it’s gorgeous and gave a soft look to the area as we moved higher and higher to the peak. We stopped to admire the beautiful views from time to time and paused at the peak to snack and enjoy the breeze.

Daly Ranch Trail System in Escondido California - Campfire Chic

Hikes in San Diego - Daly Ranch in Escondido California - Campfire Chic

Group photo courtesy of Alyx of Shoestring Adventures. I’m in the first row, third from the left. I’m wearing my go-to outfit of prAna cropped pants and a scoop neck top from Fabletics.

Okay, the actual best part?

Lunch at Burger Bench in downtown Escondido. Derek, of 100peaks, opened Burger Bench in December 2015, and a bunch of us have been dying to check out his restaurant. It was a fantastic post-hike option because we were able to enjoy the beautiful weather, eat great burgers and onion rings, and the beer selection is on point. What’s better than celebrating a great hike with good friends over great food? It’s also nice to be around people who aren’t making faces at you while you take pictures of your food!

Burger Bench in San Diego California - Campfire Chic

Burger Bench in Escondido California - Great Spot After Hiking in Daley Ranch - Campfire Chic

We ordered:

  • The Bench Burger – Thick smoked bacon, blue cheese, Monterey Jack, grilled mushrooms & onions, arugula, hickory BBQ sauce
  • Homemade Black Bean Burger – House-made vegetarian bean patty, grilled mushrooms & onions, arugula, tomato, Monterey Jack, house-made aioli
  • Beer-Battered Onion Rings
  • Modern Times Black House
  • Craft fountain sodas – Derek must be reading my diary, because he has IZZE orange soda in the soda fountain so obviously I need to just move in and live at Burger Bench until the end of time

If you’re in the Escondido area, or are on the hunt for a place with great burgers and beer, stop by Burger Bench. I wish it was around when I was in grad school and living in Oceanside. I know it would’ve been a nice place to meet friends or to at least escape for a few hours to watch a game between study sessions.

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in Active, Adventure, Blog Friends, California, Hiking, Microadventure

I mentioned having my nose buried in travel planning books in my review of A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook. I wanted to share those books with you today and give a few reasons why books are a part of my planning strategy in a digital age.

Travel Planning Books in a Digital Age

My dad is the kind of guy who goes to AAA and picks up travel books and maps when he catches wind of my adventures. His love for the outdoors and travel was passed down from my grandparents, who loaded their three young kids into the station wagon every year and spent time in the Sequoias, Yosemite, Tahoe, and (my personal favorite place) Mammoth Lakes. I bet my grandpa went to AAA for trip planning, just like my dad does now.

He passed the stop-at-AAA-before-a-trip gene down to me, because I was paying my car registration a few weeks ago and when I asked for maps of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, the woman helping me joked that younger members don’t usually ask for maps because we all have smartphones. She took a closer look at my membership card and smiled when she saw that I have been a loyal member for 51 years (I’m only 30!) so obviously my parents were the ones who taught me to always get maps.

The maps will be joining me on my #YourLead Van Adventure, but the books that really helped me get a better idea of the parks I’ll be visiting and their surrounding communities are the National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States (eighth edition) and a collection of park-specific books from Lonely Planet.

Travel Planning Books - National Geographic Guide to the National Parks Eighth Edition - Campfire Chic

National Geographic recently released the 8th Edition to the Guide to the National Parks of the United States, which includes updated information for travel planning including itineraries and directions and activities for the whole family. This is my third edition of the book, and so I know it’s a great resource to have on your bookshelf when considering a new-to-me park for a vacation.

Bonus: It’s a great coffee table book because your friends will want to thumb through the book to see what adventures you can go on together!

This guide is available in both Kindle and Paperback formats from Amazon.com.

Lonely Planet National Park Guidebooks are fantastic travel planning books - Campfire Chic

In April, Lonely Planet released a new full-color guide exploring the 59 American National Parks and other areas managed and protected within the national park system. The book includes photos, planning tools, maps, driving tours, itineraries and highlights of the best things to do within each national park. It’s a nice way to get an idea of the U.S. National Parks without going into too much detail on any one park.

Lonely Planet’s USA’s National Parks book is available on Kindle and in Paperback from Amazon.com.

Lonely Planet Guidebooks for Travel Planning - Campfire Chic

Lonely Planet also chose to highlight 11 of the most popular national parks in updated full-color guidebooks. These books include photos, maps, recommended clothing and equipment for different adventures, and more. I used the Banff, Jasper & Glacier (4th edition) and the Yellowstone & Grand Teton (4th edition) books for this trip. There are plenty more books, including ones for the Grand Canyon (4th edition), Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon (4th edition), and Zion & Bryce Canyon (3rd edition).

Why use books instead of relying on blog posts and review sites like Yelp? Because sometimes I don’t even know where to start, and these books help give me an idea of the typical things visitors do in each park. Unlike some bloggers, these books also include things to do in the surrounding area, ideas for places to stay (that may not show up on deal websites), and I know these maps will be available to me even if my phone loses connection or my battery dies.

I challenge you to pick up one of these books, or borrow them from your local library, the next time you plan a trip! Bloggers may not include the information you’re looking for and these resources give a wide variety of activities for visitors.

Thank you to Lonely Planet and National Geographic for sending review copies of these fantastic resources. Although I received these books for free, I am sharing them here because I know Campfire Chic readers may benefit from learning about these resources and because I use them for my own travel planning. The links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links and purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me. If you’re not into affiliate links, simply plug the titles of the books into your favorite search engine. Thank you for your continued support of Campfire Chic.

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in Adventure, Books