resources for microadventure from Kam of Campfire Chic

Daylight Savings Time has me excited for more after work microadventures and weekend trips around Southern California.

Here are some resources to get you excited to plan your next hometown tour or weekend staycation:

I’m looking forward to using the extra daylight to spend more time doing things like geocaching, after-work hikes, and finding new places to eat! I’m always on the hunt for the perfect pre-adventure cold brew coffee and post-hike burrito.


in Adventure, Microadventure

Campfire Chic - Lead Climbing

Just a quick update today.

I got back into climbing regularly in October and was really nervous about starting again…more like scared.

A month later, I was excited about climbing again. I was climbing harder routes, trying new things, and even showing Alex up on some routes!

5 months later and I’m now back to scared…with a dash of excitement. Alex wanted to try lead climbing in the gym and signed us up for classes to get certified to climbing at our gym. This is the type of climbing where you bring the rope up the wall with you and clipping into the protection on the wall as you go. It’s different than top rope climbing because top rope climbing has the rope already on the wall with an anchor set at the top…it’s like somebody’s done the job for you (top roping) versus doing the work yourself (lead climbing).

What’s so scary about that?

The falling. 

I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of the falling. I hate that stomach dropping feeling that happens on roller coasters or even when there’s a dip in the road so falling 10 feet (in the case where I climb past my anchor on the way to the next one and fall off the wall) is my nightmare. The first time I took a fall during class I screamed so loudly that the entire gym stopped. Embarrassing is an understatement.

I froze up during my test when I was required to take a big fall because the night before I saw somebody flip upside-down as he fell off of an overhand (so so so scary!) and a woman injure her foot really badly during her lead climbing test (she was belaying without shoes on and ended up hitting the wall because her climbing partner is heavier than her…she sliced her foot open on a climbing hold and there was so much blood).

I passed the test and ended up re-taking the test to help a friend from the climbing class pass his test. Alex asked me to partner with the other guy so I could practice taking another fall…I refused at first but knew he was right that I needed to take another fall in order to (slowly) get over my aversion for it :)

Next up: Learning to lead trad climb and sport climbing outdoors at Red Rocks Rendezvous at the end of the month! I’m also hoping to sneak away to Joshua Tree in April for some bouldering in the quiet desert.


in About Kam, Active, Climbing

Dungeons and Dragons from a Beginner


Did you know that I started playing Dungeons & Dragons? I mentioned it casually a few times and shared a few photos on Instagram but I haven’t talked much about why I decided to start playing, what I’ve learned from playing, and how it’s helping me not be such a workaholic.

The newest edition of Dungeons & Dragons (some call it Next or 5e) was released last year and my coworkers and I were joking about starting a campaign only to find out that one of them has been playing for…well, nearly two decades! So we started following the launch of the new edition, ordered our player handbooks, playing mats, miniatures, and plenty of dice to hold us over.

One thing I love about videogames like Sims and Skyrim is the character creation aspect…deciding how your character looks, her motivations, his background, what really makes that character tick…and Dungeons & Dragons really feeds that love.

For our first campaign, I created a Tiefling rouge named Enox Eremara (think of a young female version of Hellboy) who is on the run from her Thieves’ Guild after witnessing her brother (the leader of the guild at the time) slain by his second in command. She’s motivated by gold and safety so a life of adventuring suits her and she’s not afraid to take matters into her own hands when it comes to interrogations.  I helped Alex create his Forest Gnome Druid (named Adokis Silental) but ended up playing the character (in addition to Enox) when schedules kept us from meeting regularly and the group deciding to move our gaming to our lunch hour at work. I am working on two new characters: Half-Elf Warlock named Raven Oakvale and Wood Elf Monk named Selene Mahina for another campaign we’re starting. I also have a Human Bard for a campaign that I’m currently running…yes, I got so into D&D that I am now a Dungeon Master…which sounds a lot sexier than it actually is.

If you’re interested in trying Dungeons & Dragons for the first time, here are some tips I have to share:

  • Have fun creating a character! You’ll be role playing as a character within the adventure and you don’t want to be stuck with a character that doesn’t interest you at all. You can create a female wizard with bushy brown hair and a habit of spewing out facts if you think playing Hermione would be easy for you. You can create a female ranger who favors a bow and arrow and has a big heart for the underdog if you think playing Katniss would be fun. Let your creativity flow!
  • Take a few minutes to read your Player Handbook. It sound boring, but the player handbook really helps break down how the game will start and how players take turns advancing the story. You’ll also learn that there are more things you can do when you meet a bad guy than pulling your weapon and attacking.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to your Dungeon Master/Game Master before the campaign begins to flesh out your character and to ask any questions you may have about his or her expectations during gameplay. I usually forget what bonus actions I’m allowed and how much damage my character can inflict on a bad guy if she hits him with a crowbar.
  • Use this as an excuse to watch the Lord of the Rings Triology, play Skyrim, or binge watch Game of Thrones…and those two episodes of Community where they play D&D. Honestly, it was the Community episodes (here and here) that got me really excited to start playing because it helps make the whole process much more relatable and doesn’t get hung up on miniatures and checking facts. And really, any excuse to do any of these things is a good excuse! You may even find inspiration for your character!
  • Embrace the storytelling! D&D a game of storytelling, which makes this a great game for creatives (like you!) to try at least once. It’s not just about fighting and killing, you may find yourself solving mysterious in a small hamlet or helping to reunite a small child with his extended family. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure game where the players drive what goes on and the Dungeon Master/Game Master can try to force the players to adhere to a pre-written adventure or roll with the punches and see where the adventure goes as the players role play.

I’m really looking forward to attending conventions this year so I can keep an eye out for some miniatures, special dice, or even a funny mug that is D&D related. I already bought myself a shirt.

If you play and have suggestions/tips for me, please share!



in About Kam, From a Beginner, Geekery

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

30 Days of Lists begins on Sunday! I’m hunkering down and getting some work done for the awesome group of Listers we have participating this round. If you’re interested in joining this creative journaling challenge, you can find out more (and register!) here.

This week’s Essential Reading:


in Essential Reading

Things may come to those who wait Abraham Lincoln quote - Campfire Chic

I took a photo of this quote printed inside my copy of #GIRLBOSS a few months ago. I’m the type of person has a hard time just sitting and watching TV and I’m not very good at just resting when I’m sick. I have a cold that kicked my butt last week and I’m still trying to get over it. I’m trying to take better care of myself and enjoy some down time before 30 Days of Lists officially starts this weekend. I’m reading through the virtual pile of newsletters that are filling my inbox from awesome bloggers and entrepreneurs. I’m reading up on how to be a better Dungeon Master. I’m purging a few belongings. I’m making notes of updates I want to make to the Spark ecourse.

I’m obviously terrible at just resting.

Instead of stressing about resting, I’m re-thinking my hustle like approach to my to do list.

For those of you caught between waiting and hustling: put your mile-long to do list aside for the day and think about the three things that you would like to complete by the time you go to bed. Only three things. If you’re able to tackle additional tasks that come your way, that’s fine, but I want you to focus on those three things.

My three things for today:

  1. Clear out the unread newsletters from my inbox. There are 111 unread emails in my ‘newsletters’ folder in my inbox and today I’d like to tackle this number. I’m going to plow through these emails pretty quickly because I can easily delete the ones with time-sensitive sounding subject lines or subject lines that just don’t interest me and read the others that look good to me. This really shouldn’t take me more than an hour.
  2. Clean out my car. There are jackets, shoes, empty water bottles, and goodness knows what else floating around my car and it’s high time I clean it out. I try to do this once a week and today is as good of a day as any. I hope this doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare for tomorrow. I have work tomorrow so I would like to spend a few minutes before bed tonight making sure I have something picked out to wear, my bag is in order, I know where my ID badge is, and maybe make a snack for myself. It’s so nice to leave the house on time without feeling rushed or stressed when I take the time to prepare the night before. This should take about 30 minutes.

My three things for today are super boring and I’m okay with that. I need an uneventful evening where I can stream old episodes of Grimm in the background while I make heads-or-tails of a pile of papers sitting on my tiny desk. I need boring and I need easy.

How do you approach your to do list? What are your three things for today?



in Better Blogging

m15 30lists blog hop

Welcome to the 30 Days of Lists blog hop!

We couldn’t hold onto our listing excitement until March 1st so the #30Lists team, Ambassadors, Sponsors are holding a blog hop to show off some lists as well as introduce you all to the challenge. If you haven’t participated in 30 Days of Lists in the past, you’re in for a treat…this is the first time Amy and I are hosting a #30Lists challenge during March!

I selected “What I love about ___” from the March 2011 challenge for today’s blog hop. I decided to write about Southern California “winters”

M15 Blog Hop What I love about

My list reads:

  • Layering = a jean jacket over my tank top
  • Ice cream dates are a year-round thing
  • I’m not sure if I own an umbrella
  • I have an excuse to no[t] pack away my shorts!

Yep, typo and all :)

It’s not too late to register for the March 2015 edition of 30 Days of Lists – simply click here and you’re a few clicks away from accessing the private site and getting into the private Facebook group!

So what’s this about a blog hop? What does that mean? There are a few other people sharing lists of their own today. Amy and I asked the #30Lists ambassadors, sponsors, and participants to select a list from March 2011’s free edition of 30 Days of Lists for the blog hop today. You’ll find find links to those posts on our 30 Days of Lists Facebook page…you may just find your new favorite blog to read or get inspired to share a list of your own.

Check out other lists from some of my favorite Listers:


in 30 Days of Lists

Weekend Escape to Portland Oregon - Voodoo Doughnuts


Alex and I spent a long weekend in Portland, Oregon a couple of weeks ago to visit some friends. Our previous trips (2013 and 2014) included beautiful weather so we were treated to some rainy weather to give us more of a Portland experience this time around.

The biggest reason for this trip? There was a killer deal for flights on Cyber Monday and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to spend a few days away. That’s kind of how we plan most of our trips…we look online to see what deals are available, we select a city, and go.

Weekend Escape to Portland Oregon

What we ate: Voodoo Doughnut to help me sober up after Spanish coffee and Manhattans from Huber’s Cafe. Biscuits and mushroom gravy, cornmeal pancakes, and an amazing fried chicken breakfast biscuit from Pine State Biscuits. Mexican hot chocolate doughnut from Blue Star Donuts. We had a quiet lunch at Laurelhurst Cafe (dog-friendly outdoor seating!) where we shared a big salad and the Wallace panini. We ate at the food carts, at KEEN Footwear’s Headquarters (they have an on-site cafe), and Shandong.

Keen Footwear Headquarters in Portland Oregon

Something new to us: KEEN Footwear’s headquarters and store is just up the street from one of our favorite breakfast places and a few blocks from REI so I’m really surprised we didn’t stop in on our previous trips. Being from Southern California, I didn’t have proper shoes to deal with the rain so I picked up these boots in grey/black (I donated the heavy leather hiking boots I was wearing to a shelter). Alex and I got a short tour of the headquarters and learned more about the efforts KEEN took to have a low impact on the environment when they moved into the building a few years ago. They challenged themselves to only use one big dumpster during the remodel so they got to be extra creative with how they reused the materials found in the building. Left: Of course I had to take a #shoeselfie with the PDX carpet that is being removed and replaced.

Waterfalls in Oregon

The great outdoors: We borrowed a car to cruise through the wilder parts of Oregon outside of the city and ended up seeing several very tall waterfalls including the famous Multnomah Falls. It was a drizzly day so the drive was beautiful and peaceful. It was nice to stop and see the sights we only got to peek at on our way to and from the wedding last summer. It was also a nice change of weather for us since Southern California has been having a very summer-like winter this year.

Even though the trip was short, the slow pace we decided to take was nice. We’ve done a few touristy things in the past so we didn’t need to worry about being anywhere at a specific time and we were able to see more of what life is like in Portland…who knows, maybe we’ll end up there someday.


in Adventure, Travel., Weekend