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


30 Days of Lists is my life right now. And so is paddleboarding/kayaking. And carbs…but carbs are kind of always my life.

Some things coming up: Project Life® posts — I finally put in a giant order of photos and I’m ready to roll! Mini-albums. Personal posts — like things that I’m making and our micro-adventures. More books to feed your wanderlust…and probably a few jokes about Dungeons & Dragons as I get started on two different campaigns (one of which I will be DMing, so there’s that).


  • If you’re looking for cute and inexpensive workout clothes that also flatter your body, check out Fabletics. I have a TON of their clothes, so feel free to ask questions about specific pieces…if I don’t own it, I’ll find somebody who does and get you an answer. I’m also an ambassador for Fabletics, so I’ll get credit (for more clothes and bragging rights) if you use that link to sign up for the site.
  • I’m Pinning everything mini-album related lately and this post and this post are just fueling this strange fire
  • Each year I get behind on Project Life and my biggest challenge seems to be printing photos — it may be time to order a photo printer. Kelly Purkey’s recent travel album post has me convinced that the SELPHY may be the best option for me (no space, easy to use)
  • It is this kind of post that has me making huge messes in the living room lately
  • Heather shared some backpacking tips for beginners
  • If you’re thinking of trying canyoneering for the first time, read up on these 10 tips 
  • It’s a bit of a read, but Neil Patel (so you know it’s a good read) wrote a blog post for Buffer on how to safe time each week on social media
  • 24 packing tips — because I have cabin fever and need to book a trip ASAP

What I’m reading:

I’m slowly making my way through Four Boots, One Journey: A Story of Survival, Awareness, and Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail by Jeff Altwhich was sent to me for review in July. The book follows a newly married couple as they make their way along the 218-mile John Muir Trail in California. The trail goes through three national parks and includes Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Jeff thinks the hike will do Beth some good following the tragic passing of her brother. Beth is the hot shower and warm bed kind of gal so taking her out for a big backpacking trip with mountain lions and food shortages is a little out of her comfort zone.

I emailed the author’s wife, Beth, to see what she thought of the idea of hiking the JMT and she responded,

Jeff showed me brilliant pictures of the Sierra lakes and the mountain views.  He knew how much I love water and beaches. He carefully left out the word “glacial” though. He knew I didn’t like the cold. He also said there would be a resort half-way. What he didn’t fully explain to me was that to qualify as a resort in the backcountry simply requires cold beer, hot food, and a shower. There were no massages or chocolates on the pillows. The rooms were rundown, the mattress was as if a boulder dropped off the cliff and landed on the bed leaving a pit in the center of the mattress for us to roll in. But, the staff was great, the food was good, and the beer was cold and we had the option of sleeping in our tent if we didn’t like the rooms. It all worked out (Ha ha).”

When asked what she brought with her on the trail to stay comfortable, she let me know that travel wipes, hand sanitizer, and plenty of toilet paper are essential to comfort.Beth also recommends that adventurers find a comfortable backpack, synthetic undies (the unsung hero of all outdoor adventures!), lightweight boots and wool socks.

I think my favorite part of our chat was about the memory-keeping aspect of Beth’s journey:

“Journaling gave me emotional comfort. Walking in the mountains surrounded by raw beauty combined with the euphoric state from the workout conjures up inspiring thoughts to savor by writing them down.”

I’m looking forward to finishing this book and learning more about the John Muir Trail…who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough to look into getting permits for next summer!

I was contacted by the author’s publicist to do a review of the book. I received a digital copy of the book and requested a short interview to share with Campfire Chic readers. All opinions are my own.


in Essential Reading, Review

Explore Your Hometown Through Food


Last weekend, Alex and I joined forces with some friends (another couple who love to try new things — especially when it comes to good food!) to embark on a self-prescribed food tour through Los Angeles. Why a food tour? Because exploring your city through the food is something amazing…you’re seeing what the locals are creating, you’re trying new things, and seeing your city through new eyes.

This micro-adventure has been in the works for a few months and I’m glad we finally found a weekend that would work for us! While a few of the places we hit were on the list for months, Iris (the same girlfriend from the sushi class earlier this year) and I planned the tour just days before heading into LA. We even came up with a few extra places in case we were hungry or needed a Plan B if a line was too long to wait.

On our food-related itinerary:

LA Food Tour Blue Jam Cafe and Ramen


We started out with breakfast at Blu Jam Cafe — 2 orders of eggs benedict and an order of their house special: crunchy french toast with two sunny side eggs on the side. Let’s just talk about the french toast…it’s amazing and we all thought about the french toast for the rest of the day. They use brioche bread and cover the dredged bread with corn flakes and then fry them. Instead of syrup (peasant food!) you are given a portion of warm vanilla bean sauce to drizzle over your perfect french toast with strawberries and blueberries.

The line can get long for Blu Jam, which we witnessed as we walked out of the restaurant. We didn’t wait at all, so I’ll say getting to the restaurant before 9:00 a.m. is a good bet.

The black and white photo is from our dinner in Little Tokyo. The ramen was nice after a long day of walking and taking in the sights, we just wish there was a vegetarian option for a certain boyfriend. Alex is a team player and ate a ton of avocado and cucumber rolls as the three of us chowed down on our ramen bowls. (Don’t worry, Alex was got veggie ramen the following night, I’m not that terrible of a girlfriend).

LA Food Tour Salt and Straw and Sprinkles ATM


Before heading downtown for the rest of the day, we made the short trip from Blu Jam Cafe to Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. We have Sprinkles (and Sprinkles Ice Cream) in Orange County, but this trip was special: The Beverly Hills location has the Cupcake ATM outside! It was pink and beautiful and perfectly set up for photos…in fact, the photo above shows the door closing while Iris’ cupcake was still inside! Have no fear, the machine will reopen the door so you can grab your treat without rushing your photos.

Alex and I opted for juices at Kreation next door to Sprinkles. The juice place also has an ATM but it was out of stock. Next time we’re in the area, I hope to capture one person getting juice from the machine while another is getting a cupcake.

Yes, it’s true: Salt and Straw landed in Los Angeles! Truth be told, we had no idea the truck existed so this was not part of our original plan, but after lunch at Wurstküche (for a similar experience in Orange County, go to Linx near the Orange Circle. You’ll probably see us there since we seem to go once a week), we wanted something cold and decadent. We got three cones: two Stumptown coffee with “love nuts” (we don’t know and we didn’t want to ask) and one salted caramel. Alex picked up a cold brew coffee from Blacktop Coffee and tasted some of my ice cream cone (above).

LA Food Tour - ACE Hotel Rooftop Bar


It was super warm and we needed a place to relax and have a cold drink so we headed over to ACE hotel (cheap parking is hard to come by so be prepared to valet or circle the block a few times) and check out the rooftop bar. We have some friends who go up there pretty often and I would be a terrible blogger if I didn’t at least peek inside the hotel a bit. The upstairs was crowded but the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. The pool area was cramped so we stayed closer to the elevator and found some seating near the windows so we could look out over the city while we cooled off a bit. If you enjoy people watching, grab a drink and stay a while.

We didn’t eat at Grand Central Market, but we wanted to walk through to see some of the new stalls (including McConnel’s fine ice cream from Santa Barbara with a cult-following) and to show our friends where EggSlut and Sarita’s Pupusaria are located. Both places are great…I’m craving the Fairfax sandwich from Eggslut right now.

After dinner, we headed back to the same area as Wurstküche/Salt and Straw/Blacktop Coffee to have dessert at The Pie Hole. We ordered the banana cream, vegan blackberry crumble, and a chocolate crostata. Everything was delicious.

Other places we would like to visit: Milk, Bottega Louie, Standard Hotel’s rooftop bar, and anywhere mentioned on Best Thing I Ever Ate/Diners Drive-ins and Dives/etc. because, why not?

My challenge to you this week is to try someplace new in your hometown. Something that you can’t find elsewhere. Something that may seem ridiculous (we want to go to Cafe Gratitude just for the pretentious way you order food) but, in the end, will make for a great story. Who knows, maybe you’ll have guests in town soon and they’ll want to try something new and different!


in Adventure, California, Weekend

S14 Pinterest image for 30 Days of Lists

30 Days of Lists starts today — a big thank you to those of you who are participating in this challenge, we love seeing the community develop. It’s not too late to join in on the fun — click here to learn more about 30 Days of Lists and register.


in 30 Days of Lists

August has been an awesome month.

…a month full of interesting tan lines, meeting internet friends, trying new things, spontaneous meetups with friends, lots of reading, plenty of chips and salsa…

…not enough Project Life (ordering photos is seriously the biggest hassle), a ton of TV watching, and maybe a few too many things in the “I guess it can wait until later” category.

I think what I liked most about this month is that it felt like it was a LONG month. With the end of the year looming, I can’t help but worry about the days going by too quickly and that feeling that October through December are going to fly by.

Let’s take it slow, September.

From photos from my side of the screen:

Teton Sports Hike in Utah AH Floating in Newport Back Bay AH BUILD ecourse virtual retreat AH Dungeons and Dragons Prep

This month was for Outdoor Retailer and meeting more of the Mountain Adventurers…I hope to spend more time with them as soon as possible. They’re such a cool bunch.

This month was for spending a ton of time on the water. Our friend Chelsea has a membership to a local aquatic center and we’ve been going with her on the weekends to hang out and kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Orange County can be pretty beautiful, especially as you’re floating through an ecological reserve full of interesting birds and watching sting rays cruise below your board.

The BUILD ecourse virtual retreat was this past weekend (all the Q&A videos were recorded and are available on the course site – learn more about the course here) and while I was without my folder with a chunk of the work I planned to tackle, I did get a few things off of my plate! I updated my About page, double-checked that I had a 404 page solution, backed up my site, built a landing page, wrote an email to my mailing list, and blogged for the week. I’m learning to roll with the punches a little easier.

The biggest thing this month has to be the release the of 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Alex and I paired up with some friends from my work to start a campaign…we’re totally new to D&D and I’m having the best time coming up with my character and developing her story. I won’t chat much about our RPG adventures here, but I may post some photos from game nights on Instagram.

Expert Spotlight_Kam Altar

August was also awesome because I am finally able to announce that I was invited to be a Sport Chalet Expert Ambassador. More specifically, I am a Sport Chalet Expert Ambassador for the brand’s Outdoors community! It’s pretty neat, but I do have to admit that when I was first invited to be a part of the program, I emailed the coordinator that, “I’m not expert…except when it comes to trying new things.” There are some familiar faces in the Sport Chalet Expert Ambassador group, which is great to see, and many more folks that I started following — I can’t help following people who inspire me to get outdoors and try new things.

What does this mean? I’ll be hosting a pretty rad giveaway in a few weeks, so be sure to subscribe and follow me on Twitter so you’ll know when the giveaway goes live. This also means you may see me using the #WildernessWanderer hashtag on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook — If you post photos (including #selfies!) of your outdoor adventures, Sport Chalet may feature your photo on their Instagram and Pinterest accounts. I’ll be connected to more outdoors folks, so if there are some activities you’d like me to research (or try first hand so I can give a heads up about what beginners should know before starting) something or just want to find more outdoorsy bloggers/social media people, let me know!


in About Kam, Around Here.

30 Days of Lists Blog Hop - September 2014 on Campfire Chic


Today is the 30 Days of Lists blog hop! It’s our opportunity to get our Listing-juices flowing before the start of the next edition of #30Lists and a good opportunity to discover some truly creative folks who love to make lists.

While September’s challenge does not start until next week, Amy and I invited our entire #30Lists mailing list to join us in today’s Blog Hop! You’re welcome to play along, if you would like…simply visit the March 2011 30 Days of Lists challenge (it’s FREE) and select a list from this post…make your list and post it online! Use #30Lists on Twitter and Instagram so we can see them, and check back later today for a link to where you can link up with others (I’m at work so I can’t edit this post to include the link, sorry)

I selected: Today’s To Do List

M11 List 30

That’s my originally list from 3 years ago…I love the photo because it shows the different colors and layers in that original album. I love that album.

Reading the list…well…it’s a little too twee for me right now, but it shows how I was really influenced by the blogs I was reading at the time…I was also only working part time and fed up with joining creative challenges and either getting behind in the prompts or feeling really left out because only the “pretty” creations were being featured. It’s the time that I realized that others felt the same way and something had to be done (cue #30Lists).

Today’s list would read:

  • Hit 10,000 steps with my Fitbit
  • Drink 2L of water
  • Finish Weekly Report (for my freelance stuff)
  • Order those damn photos for Project Life
  • Consider vacuuming
  • Water plants
  • Sleep in car at lunch
  • Avoid Netflix/Amazon Prime
  • Empty dishwasher

Yep, that’s more like 2014 Kam: Boring and practical…but properly hydrated!

Do you love to make lists? Find out more about the 30 Days of Lists challenge & register here.

If you are visiting Campfire Chic for the first time, you may be interested in other creative posts like how to make your own day book,  a DIY Smashbook, and my 30 Days of Lists archives. In addition to email and RSS, you can subscribe to this site via Bloglovin’.


in 30 Days of Lists