30 Days of Lists - Creative Journaling Challenge for List Makers with Kam of Campfire Chic

 

30 Days of Lists returns December 1st and I want to announce that registration is now open

This creative journaling challenge is all about telling your ‘right now’ story by writing a quick list each day for one month.

We provide a list prompt each morning in an inspiration-filled email sent directly to your inbox! You will also see inspiration from other Listers in our private Facebook group, where we share lists and dive into the stories we’re telling during December.

You don’t need to be extra crafty to join this challenge. It’s all about you documenting your story with easy-to-tackle lists.

If you’re the scrapbooking/memory-keeping type, this project is the perfect complement to Ali Edwards’ December Daily challenge.

We do hope you take 5-10 minutes a day to focus on yourself and use this project to set aside some ‘me time’ for yourself during what may be your busiest month of the year. We think you deserve a break!

To learn more about this challenge and to register (it’s only $9 this time!) visit our main website at 30daysoflists.com

You can see my previous #30Lists projects here.

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in 30 Days of Lists

Cozy Backyard Party Ideas with Stanley PMI - Campfire Chic

Cozy Backyard Party Ideas

It’s hard to get a cozy Fall feeling in Southern California. It rained last week and then it got hot again so I’m having weather-trust issues…is it time to put away my flip flops? Should I go on my annual umbrella shopping trip?

To get into the spirit, some friends decided to host a party in the backyard and asked everybody to bring drinks, snacks, treats, and anything “Pinterest-worthy.” I got a little too into the request and brought along some decorations just in case the hostess forgot that Pinterest is all about the details. I’m terrible, I know.

The party was also a good opportunity for me to use a bunch of the Stanley PMI products I received recently for review and I loved that I would be able to prep some hot and cold beverages for the party without having to stress about hot drinks getting cold and cold drinks getting warm. Stanley products are known for their ability to keep drinks hot/cold/iced for hours and that is exactly what I needed for this party.

Stanley Brand Classic Wide Mouth Flask and Vacuum Stein for Parties on the go - Campfire Chic

I’m giving myself bonus points for finding a beer with a label that matches the classic Stanley green color! The other items in the basket are some shortbread cookies, a cute enamel mug, and some mulling spices to give the host and in case somebody brought wine for the party and wanted to get extra festive. The Instax camera and extra film (hidden) was a must since it’s a party!

The Classic Vacuum Stein had Night Owl pumpkin ale from Elysian Brewing in it so our friends could sample my favorite pumpkin beer. They know I’m obsessed (I won’t stop talking about this beer!), and I figured bringing 24 ounces of beer was enough to share some samples considering there would be a ton of other drinks to choose from at the party.

I filled our Classic Flask with vodka for mixed drinks. The wide mouth on the flask makes it easy to pour drinks from it quickly. I’m thinking the next time we bring some to a party we’re going to bring flavored vodka in this size (8 ounces) to try to perfect our cider mules (I talk about this further down in the post). I’m thinking caramel or cinnamon flavor may be best. Hindsight is 20/20!

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle to Keep Hot Beverages Hot for Your Parties - Campfire Chic

We set up on their back patio because the weather didn’t seem to want to decide between cloudy with a bit of sun peeking out and raining. We spread out some blankets and pillows to get comfortable and brought out the snacks and drinks on trays and milk cartons to (hopefully) keep things from getting knocked over and spilling.

Good thing the Stanley gear we brought are leak proof because I kept kicking them over as I reached for more cookies and treats…

I filled our Classic Vacuum Bottle (1 Liter) with hot water from the kettle to have ready at the tea station we put together. It’s easier to have the hot water next to the supplies rather than going back and forth between the stove and the table to put everything together.

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle's Insulated Lid Doubles as an 8 Ounce Cup - Campfire Chic

I brought a couple drop-in infusers to steep the loose leaf tea and the lid for the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle is the perfect size (8 ounces) for the infuser! I let the tea steep as I caught up with friends and sampled the treats they brought for the party.

I brought some lemon honey sticks and agave nectar sticks to share in case anybody wanted to sweeten their teas and my mom sent us a box of pineapple-shaped shortbread cookies in “fall flavors” and Alex thought it would be better to bring them instead of me attempting to bake something cute. He was totally right.

Stanley Brand Mountain Vacuum Switchback Mug - Campfire Chic

Alex and I were really interested in the black vacuum mug Stanley sent over and I think it may be my favorite piece out of the bunch. It’s called the Mountain Vacuum Switchback Mug and it’s 16 ounces of matte black awesomeness. It keeps drinks hot for 7 hours, cold for 9 hours, and iced beverages last for 36 hours. We have a road trip coming up soon and I know this bottle is coming with me! It fits into cup holders (the first thing I checked) and one of my favorite features is the “grit guard” that covers the mouth part while you’re out on adventures.

For the party, I filled it with some tea that I didn’t bring along in loose-leaf form because it was the last of my stash. I brewed the tea first thing in the morning so I wouldn’t have to rush around before heading out the door and it was steaming hot as I shared it with our friends.

Stanley Brand Nesting Steel Happy Hour System Makes Your Party Mobile - Campfire Chic

As for the cold stuff, we picked up some ginger brew (like ginger beer) from Trader Joe’s and brought along our Stanley nesting steel happy hour system in case somebody wanted to make some sort of Fall twist on a Moscow Mule. Everybody was busy catching up and trying to stay warm that we forgot about taking photos of the festivities! We tried to duplicate some of the cider mule recipes on Pinterest, but I think we need to read the ingredient lists before trying our own versions next time!

As we drank and snacked, we played some board games and talked about our holiday plans. We joked that with all the Stanley gear we should’ve planned a hike and tailgated in the parking lot after instead of having a party in the backyard. I’m just glad we were able to spend time together and catch up before the craziness of the holiday season kicks in.

Items featured in today’s post:

  • Mountain Vacuum Switchback Mug (shown in matte black, 16 ounces)
    • Leak proof
    • 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust; natural BPA-free
    • Double wall vacuum
    • Lifetime warranty
    • Trigger action
    • 7 hours hot
  • Classic Vacuum Stein (24 ounces)
    • Vacuum insulation keeps beer cold 9 hours
    • Latching lid keeps beer cold + carbonated longer
    • Steel inner lid – no plastic contact for your beer
    • 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust; naturally BPA-free
    • Dishwasher safe
  • Classic Vacuum Bottle (1.1 Quart)
    • Vacuum insulation keeps drinks hot or cold 24 hours or iced 120 hours
    • 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust; natural BPA-free
    • Insulated lid doubles as cup
    • Leak proof and fully packable
  • Classic Flask
    • 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust; BPA-free
    • Wide mouth for easy filling and pouring
    • Integrated lanyard – never lose your cap
    • Leak proof and fully packable
  • Nesting Steep Happy Hour System (serves four)
    • 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust; naturally BPA-free
    •  Double wall steel rocks glasses are durable + sweat-free
    • Dishwasher safe
    • 7-piece nesting system saves space when packing or storing

Stanley products are built for life. Whether it’s surviving another outdoor adventure or serving as a reliable must-have for tailgating season – Stanley provides top quality outdoor gear. Stanley has been a part of my life since I was a baby. I believe in these products and would use them even if I was not asked to participate in this sponsored post. I big thank you to Stanley Brand PMI for sponsoring today’s post.

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in Around Here., Microadventure, Review, Weekend

Backpacking Kitchen Essentials to stay comfortable in the backcountry. Great list for beginners! - Campfire Chic

My Backpacking Kitchen Essentials

On my last backpacking trip, I decided I am a “comfort backpacker.” That means I’m okay carrying a little extra weight in my backpack if that means I’m a little more comfortable while away from home.

If you’re an ultralight backpacker, you’re probably going to scoff at my list of things I enjoy having when cooking in the backcountry.

My basic backpacking kitchen gear:

  • Stove – I use a Jetboil Flash when backpacking and keep it handy when car camping because it’s nice to have boiling hot water in a short amount of time. You can backpack without a stove to save the weight, but what is nicer than getting into camp after a long day knowing you get to have a hot dinner before bed? I like our Flash because the accessories and small fuel canister fit inside the pot portion of the stove.
  • Collapsible Cup and Bowl – We carry Sea to Summit collapsible cups and bowls for easy packing and storage. I did find a small hole in the bottom of my bowl after only two uses, but I’m hoping it’s from something in my pack stabbing through the material and not from a bad product. I plan on picking up a new one before our next trip, so I’ll report back if I have more issues. It may be cuter to carry those classic enamel mugs and bowls, but those weigh even more and hot water + enamel cup = sitting around waiting for the mug to cool down enough to not burn the heck out of your mouth. Cut isn’t worth a burned mouth!
  • Long Spoon – What happens when you forget to bring a spork and you have a deep bag of freeze dried lasagna that needs to be stirred? You find some other campers who are willing to let you borrow a spoon and get blessed with a long handled spoon! It’s amazing and we are guilty of keeping the spoon in our kitchen year-round. I could try to come up with another reason to have a long handled spoon with you, but reaching the bottom of a bag of food is reason enough for me.
  • Sporks – It is a small right of passage to pick out your first (of probably many) spork for your life of adventure. There are titanium sporks, which weigh next to nothing, but I have a habit of either losing my sporks or lending them out and not getting them back. With that in mind, I like Light my Fire brand sporks. They are BPA free and include a knife portion. They come in a variety of colors, are sturdy, and are not too expensive that I get emotional when one goes missing. Other lightweight cutlery: chopsticks and Yogurtland’s spoons!
  • Small Nalgene bottle – In addition to your usual 32 ounce water bottle, I suggest bringing a smaller bottle (like this 16 ounce bottle) for coffee or other flavored beverages. I like to keep my bottles separate if drinking more than water. These bottles are great for electrolyte drinks like Nuun.

As for what I like to have in my stash food-wise:

  • Tea Bags – I mentioned this tip in my trail report for the Waterwheel Falls in Yosemite National Park. I bring black tea for breakfast, ginger tea for during the day (in case there are tummy aches!), and sleepy tea for the evening. Tea bags are nice and light so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice to bring some along for a hike.
  • Tuna packets – Tuna is an easy source of protein for the trail and comes in easy-to-carry packets. There is no “tuna juice” to drain and the packets flatten easily so it’s easy to pack out at the end of of your trip.
  • Condiment packets – I am guilty of snagging a few extra packets of relish, hot sauce, and soy sauce. Relish is great for adding to tuna for some added flavor, hot sauce (especially Tapatio, which apparently also comes in powder form!) is great with anything, and soy sauce is for the ramen noodles you’re bound to eat at one point on a trip.
  • Tortillas – You’ll read about tortillas a lot while researching backpacking food. If you are in bear country and required to bring a bear vault, tortillas are easier to carry than bread (we carry pita bread during day hikes instead). Tortillas give you around 100 extra calories a day and turn your food into a burrito, which is pretty magical, if you ask me.

You can get by with less and you could probably be even more comfortable with a few more items (like an insulated mug for your coffee to keep it warm all day). This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, it is just the basics to get you started.

I posted a quick question on Twitter recently asking for backpacking cooking must-haves and got some great responses.

 

 What do you include in your kitchen kit when backpacking?

 

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means purchases made through the links in this post will result in a small commission for me at no extra cost for you. If you do not wish to shop through affiliate links, simply search for the items listed in your favorite search engine. Commissions made through these links help me buy gear for adventures.

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in Adventure, Backpacking, Camping

Book Review - Sixty Meters to Anywhere - Campfire Chic

I finished Brendan Leonard’s Sixty Meters to Anywhere while on a flight to Portland two weekends ago and I’m still thinking about it.

This isn’t a long book, so savor the time you get to spend learning about Brendan’s past. Brendan has a degree in journalism, which is refreshing after reading several outdoor-related books and stories over the years that aren’t written by professional writers. The pacing keeps you wanting to continue reading long after you told yourself you needed to go to bed. While the book is not overly emotional, he had me tearing up while reading about the end of his relationship and my heart bursting with a mix of pride and excitement as he described his mom taking up rock climbing.

To save you time, go ahead and order this book right away or put a hold on it at your local library.

Don’t read this book if you’re looking for tales of daring adventures in the mountains. This is an origin story of sorts for Brendan, so he is focused on where it all began: recovery, hiking up his first mountain, and learning how to live without alcohol.

Don’t read this book if you’re not interested in reading about finding a version of rock bottom and working your way out of it. But you stick with this book, you’ll be rooting for Brendan then entire time.

Read this book if you’ve ever read anything by Brendan Leonard. If you subscribe to semi-rad.com, follow him on Instagram, read Funny Shit in the Woods, or The New American Road Trip Mix Tape, you’ll want to pick this one up.

Read this book if you think you’re too old to start your outdoor adventures. I assume any “big” person in the outdoor industry started climbing (or whatever their activity) since birth. It was nice to learn that starting later doesn’t mean you’re starting too late. Brendan learns how to pitch a tent and takes rock climbing classes while in graduate school, and like I mentioned earlier, his mom takes up rock climbing! It’s never too late.

Buy Sixty Meters to Anywhere on Amazon

Want more adventure? Check out my Fall Reading List and my Adventure Books page.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may result in a commission for me at no extra cost for you! This helps me buy more books to review, products to test out, and buy scrapbooking supplies. If you’re not into affiliate links, feel free to search the title of the book using year favorite search engine. 

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in Adventure, Books, Review

Waterwheel Falls Hike in Yosemite National Park - Campfire Chic

Waterwheel Falls Hike in Yosemite National Park

Amie, Alex, Josh, and I tackled the 7.5 mile Waterwheel Falls hike during our recent Glen Aulin backpacking trip.

A ranger at the backpackers’ campground let us know we should keep our expectations in check for Waterwheel Falls (the water levels are low in late summer when there isn’t a good snowpack earlier in the year), but encouraged us to go on the six mile hike because everywhere in Yosemite is beautiful.

After a great breakfast, we packed snacks and lunch and headed out. The trail took us from the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, over a great spot to watch the sunset, and down into the canyon. Josh navigated us from the Glen Aulin backpackers’ campground into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Hiking the Grand Canyon of Tuolumne - Kam Campfire Chic

Hiking Through Yosemite Backcountry - Grand Canyon of Tuolumne with Kam of Campfire Chic

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Hike to Waterwheel - Campfire Chic

We checked out out California Falls and LeConte Falls and took a ton of photos as we slowly made our way to Waterwheel Falls.

Hiking Through Yosemite Backcountry - Waterwheel Falls Hike with Kam of Campfire Chic

Waterfalls in Yosemite - Campfire Chic

I wanted to start heading back to camp before a thunderstorm started, so Alex and I did not make it all the way to Waterwheel Falls. To learn more about the actual hike, read Josh’s Hiking to the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne & Waterwheel Falls in Yosemite National Park.

Tip: Bring tea bags on your next adventure.

Tea bags weigh next to nothing and it’s nice to have something warm in your system after a long day. The bonus was having tea after getting caught in the thunderstorm! I brewed ginger tea for Amie and I to warm up after getting caught in the thunderstorm. Alex and I also split a hot chocolate. Hot chocolate packets weigh more than tea bags, but if you need to add some calories to you day, I say it’s worth the weight!

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in Active, Adventure, California, Hiking, National Park, National Parks