Take That, Makeup! I Don’t Need You!

Makeup Free Photo

Last week when Reg and I took our road trip, I spent five days without a shower and 11 days without makeup. It is without question the longest I’ve gone without those two things in over 10 years. While the shower experience I’d prefer not to repeat again (although I’ll have to in a couple weeks when I go rafting down the Grand Canyon), going over a week without makeup was a strangely liberating experience.

I’ve talked before about my beliefs and personal experiences around makeup before on this blog, but to sum it up, I think that you can be a feminist and pro-women’s freedom from patriarchal oppression while still choosing to don foundation and mascara every day. I also think that most of us still have a slightly unhealthy relationship with makeup despite that. Without question I prefer how I look with it on, and I often feel little choice about wearing it due to my absolutely hatred of my acne scars from those unfortunate teenage years.

But Reg and I were camping for so many days in a row, makeup would have been an absurd endeavor. First of all, I was mostly hanging out with my boyfriend of 6+ years who has seen me without makeup every day. But we were also hanging out in the dirt, constantly getting rained on, swimming, and doing a host of other activities that are just not eyeliner compatible.

I’ve gone without makeup before, but it’s usually on a Sunday where I’m home putting around the house. I’m not one of those people who needs to put on a full face for myself alone, so it feels like a lot of work if no one is going to see it. Besides, I figure my skin could use a little break from pastes and powders. But if I’m going to work or even out to dinner with friends or Reg, you bet your boots I’m putting it on.

So it was kind of wonderfully refreshing to wake up in our tent or car every morning, wipe myself off with a wet wipe, not look in the mirror once, and move on with my day. The fact that there were so few mirrors about certainly helped – I did relatively little thinking about my appearance at all and usually just elected to braid my hair simply and throw on jeans and a tattered sweatshirt. My entire body was meant for utility and function, driving the car through the rain or climbing a hill to see a waterfall.

And you know what, it honestly didn’t bother me. Part of camping is just getting into the spirit of not worrying about that kind of stuff, no matter how much I’m careful with my appearance on a typical workday. And when I did catch a glance of myself in a bathroom mirror at a ranger station or rest stop, I only thought to myself, “huh, look at that outdoorsy, badass lady who would fit right in on the wild west.” I have a certain amount of pride that I’m good at putting up a tent or building a fire, and my ability to leave behind the conventional beauty standards of normal society fit right into that.

Now that I’m back here in the real world, I’ve started putting on makeup again. But it’s refreshing to know that I really don’t I need it to feel good about myself. Heck, I now look back at all the adorable photos we took on our adventure, and I honestly like the way that I look in them, even though no one will ever mistake me for a picture perfect model.

Do you wear makeup every day? What’s the longest you’ve gone without wearing any?

(Kudos to Jenn for getting me thinking about this topic after I read her own post about makeup.)

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Seven Adorable Home Office Accessories

A few weeks ago when I decided to quit my social media marketing job and start doing freelance PR with my mom, I also gave my roommate the heads up that I’ll need him to move out in a few months. I felt terrible doing it, despite the fact that he sublets from me and we had a good run of over two years living together, but I am really looking forward to having the apartment just to ourselves (I’ve graciously decided to let my BF stay) and being able to take over his bedroom as a home office.

Adorable Home Office Accessories

What could possibly be more fun than decorating a new home office? I have a certain soft spot for “desk porn” (you can see my favorite looks on Pinterest), and I think the only thing I’m looking forward to more is having a big closet to store all of Reg’s and my camping supplies, costumes, and other knick-knacks we currently don’t have any place for.

Although a desk and office chair will be the main things I’ll need (here’s my favorite one so far), here’s some smaller home office accessories I thought were pretty darn adorable:

1. Ouji Board Mousepad – $12.86

2. Blue Wooden Creatures Rabbit Wall Clock – $30.00

3. Bicycle File Folders – $9.95

4. Owen Desk Organizer – $39.99

5. Alma Otter Tape Dispenser – $14.99

6. Meow You’re Organized Paper Clip Holder – $14.99

7. I Like You Rug – $28-$79

Which one of these do you think is the most “must have”? Do you have a home office or desk?

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Oregon Road Trip Recap

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I am so incredibly delighted to say that I’m baaaaack! I can’t even begin to express how wonderful and much needed this road trip vacation was. I was able to spend so much time out in nature, have lots of quality time in with the boyfriend, get away from my sometimes overwhelming real world responsibilities for a second, and see a whole lot of the beauty of Oregon. I’m feeling incredibly refreshed in a way that I haven’t felt in a while, and so ready to take on this new chapter of my life.

I’m really proud of the fact that I was pretty diligent about snapping photos along the way. I shared a good chunk to Instagram, but since we were often without cell phone reception in the wilderness, I’ve also saved a handful to just share here. It’s kind of remarkable how much easier it is to want to photograph things when you’re just seeing new and beautiful places all the time and not just the same old office and messy home, you know?

Let me fill you guys in on the trip in a bit more detail than my Instagram shares and break it up into a few separate parts – hopefully this isn’t too rambling!

imageimageimagePart One: Willow Lake in Lassen National Forest

We kicked off our adventure with two nights at one of our favorite spots just outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Willow Lake is a little hidden spot about two hours outside of my boyfriend’s home town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Conveniently, a number of our friends were there celebrating a birthday, and we had a wonderful time eating s’mores, shooting the shit, and having races on the bog. It was very windy with a bit of rain and hail, but Reg and I slept in the car and we were alright.

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Part Two: Crater Lake National Park

Reg and I didn’t have much of our trip planned out, but I knew that I wanted to see Crater Lake in Central Oregon, so we drove the four hours north to the Cascade Mountains through beautiful back country. It’s a special place because the lake is the result of a volcanic explosion nearly 8,000 years ago and it has no rivers or creeks flowing in or out, making it a completely uncontaminated body of water supported exclusively by snow. Because the west coast is in a drought right now, they opened the facilities a bit early and we were able to camp despite the snow still on the ground. Although the wood was a bit wet for starting a fire, Reg is Mr. Outdoors and we were even warm enough to sleep in our tent comfortably.

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Part Three: Deschutes National Forest and Umpqua National Forest in Central Oregon

We got a few recommendations from friends on where to check out after Crater Lake, so we started by going north near Bend to Little Lava Lake in the Deschutes National Forest. Although it was absolutely beautiful and we had the campgrounds basically to ourselves, it continuously poured rain and hail until all of our clothing was soaked. Still, we persevered and managed to not let it ruin the trip.

The saving grace was these incredible natural hot springs above the North Umpqua River that we were recommended by some locals. There were seven pools that had been carved our of the stone, each one a different temperature, and even Ru (who is deathly afraid of water) climbed in to relax. After we enjoyed the springs Tuesday morning, we checked out some of the incredible waterfalls along that stretch of highway. I have to say, although the rain was unpleasant, it sure does make the Oregon forests look incredibly green and lush.

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Part Four: Portland

Unfortunately this is the stretch of the trip I was the least diligent about photographing, but suffice it to say it was full of amazing food, adorable neighborhoods, and absolutely wonderful times with friends. It was my second time in Portland, and I continue to be in total awe of what a charming little city it is – alas, if only the job market were better, I’d be in a heartbeat! Our friends Adam and Claire, plus their furry pomeranian Chim, graciously put us up for three nights and showed us around the city. We went to Powell’s Books of course, a bookstore that takes up the entire city block, and went to some great restaurants that always had those incredibly affordable prices that Portland is famous for. If you ever get the chance to check out this city, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a foodie and hipster mecca.

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Part Five: The Oregon and California Coast, including Fort Bragg

We wrapped up our trip by taking the long way home along the Oregon coast instead of cutting straight down the 5. The highway along the ocean was absolutely breathtaking, with incredible views of the ocean and more lush forests. In California you even go through the Avenue of the Giants with enormous redwood trees. Unfortunately we did the entire trip in one day, since I was a bit tired of camping in the rain, but at the end we stayed with Reg’s family and a number of their friends at a house they were renting for his mom’s birthday just outside of Fort Bragg, a little ocean town three hours north of San Francisco. We spent the next day and a half drinking, playing bocce ball, and walking on the beach. Again, forgive my terrible failure to take pictures – I was pretty ready to veg after our big adventure.

imageNow I’m home with my two wonderful animals for the next couple of weeks while Reg heads back to Chico to pick up some manual labor work. Although vacation is unbeatable, I’m not really minding being able to sleep in my own bed and even going back to work. Of course, there’s only two more weeks and then I’m headed to the Grand Canyon, so maybe knowing there’s another outdoorsy adventure so close that makes it easy to get back to the grind.

Have you ever taken a road trip before? Do you like to camp, or do you normally stay in hotels?

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Life Updates Because Things Are Crazy

Okay, I feel like I owe you guys a little life update. I always feel weird writing these posts because in my head I’m always wondering if anyone actually cares. But the truth is so much has gone on lately.

Let’s start with the big news – Reg is home!! Actually, he’s been home for two weeks, but I’m only getting around to actually saying that on my blog now, haha. As you can imagine, we’ve been spending a lot of time together, part of the reason my posts have been a little sparse lately. In most ways, it feels like he was never gone. The biggest difference is he’s currently “fun-employeed,” which means he’s been meeting up with me at the office to share lunch or go on a walk. I’m not complaining!

Reg Beer

Last weekend was my “birthday weekend” as Reg calls it (he’s too good to me). On Friday I went out with my coworkers to my favorite spot, Honor Bar, to drink lots of fancy cocktails and eat bone marrow. It was way too much fun and I wish we could do it every day. On Saturday we took Ru to the park, saw our friend’s play Trailer Park Gods in SF, then went to another friend’s place for a housewarming BBQ. It was lovely to just sit outside drinking beers and chatting until midnight, when everyone surprised me with a round of the happy birthday song.

Reg and I got 1am thai food on the way home, then had a lazy morning of watching old episodes of Sherlock in bed until we finally dragged ourselves out to a different dog park and then up to Petaluma to get beers at the Lagunitas Brewing Company. It was the perfect afternoon of sampling eight of their seasonal brews, listening to live music, and hanging out on the deck while our drunk neighbors fed Ru peanuts to great delight. In the evening we drove back to eat burmese food at my favorite East Bay restaurant. All day long Reg showered me with a series of gifts including a bunch of South American jewelry, a leather purse, hand-painted shoes, and finally a Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings the Flood vinyl that I’ve been covoting for ages but is very hard to find. It was the perfect day.

Neko Case

This is also my first week just working part time at my social media marketing job. Mostly, it just feels surreal and like nothing has changed, you know? Of course I have moments of doubt, but I’m mostly just excited about starting this new chapter in my life. It’s hardest when I’m hanging out with my coworkers at happy hour, getting drunk and being goofy. But I’m reminding myself that we can still be friends even if I’m not there 9-6pm anymore. If we’re important to each other, we’ll still be friends and make hanging out a priority. When it comes to the actual work, I can’t wait to get started on my new PR-related responsibilities.

Cat and Ru Camping

On that note, Reg and I are taking a road trip for the next week and a half, and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to blog. If I had been planning it more, I would have scheduled out some posts or had a few blogger friends on hand for guest posts, but honestly, I’m just kind of flying by the seat of my pants, something that perfect planner Cat never gets to do – and it feels great! Reg and I are heading north into Oregon, car camping and hiking with Ru along the way. Maybe we’ll make it to Portland, maybe we won’t. But I can’t wait to get off the computer for a few days, even though I’ll miss you guys. I promise to try and be good about taking pictures, sharing updates on Instagram (where you can follow our adventures), and doing a little update here when I get back.

Thank you to everyone here, my dearest friends, for being patient with my limited posts lately. I hope you can understand that for the first time since I left college and got this job four years ago, my life has been a little crazy. I promise things will settle down soon, and that really, I’m not going anywhere. Well, I am, but you know what I mean!

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The Favorites Fix: Books

Favorites Fix_Books

It’s month two of the Favorites Fix with Coley and Cat! Today I’m talking to a bunch of bloggers about their favorite books, the ones they read over and over and recommend to everyone. I know that for me this was not an easy question to answer, and the reality is for most big readers, there’s no one real answer. How could you possibly be expected to pick? That being said, I asked them to try and they gave me some great responses.

Check out our favorite books below and don’t forget to head over to Coley’s blog to hear about favorite pieces of advice we’ve been given. Plus, leave your favorite book (or books) in the comments so we can collect even more recommendations.

Favorites_Books_RosieHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Eat, Read, Glam Blog | BloglovinTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Favorites_Books_KatyThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Little Miss Katy Blog | Bloglovin‘ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+YouTube

Favorites_Books_JennThe Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Hello Rigby Blog | Bloglovin‘ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Favorites_Books_OlyaThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

The Siberian American Blog | BloglovinTwitter | Facebook | Instagram

Favorites_Books_JohannaA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

 Our Joyful Home Blog | Bloglovin‘ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Favorites_Books_RandiHarry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Randi with an I Blog | Bloglovin‘ | Twitter | Facebook| Instagram | Pinterest

Favorites_Books_ColeyJohn Green Books

Coley’s Opinion Blog | Bloglovin‘ | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr

Favorites_Books_CatOryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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Stitch Fix May 2015

In rare fashion, this month’s Stitch Fix box was full of items that I could not decide between! In my previous months’ boxes, there was always one item I liked significantly more than the others. It just figures that right after I go on a budget, my box is full of a few really great picks, huh? (Also, for all of you who are totally calling me out for NOT canceling my Stitch Fix… I failed. First, I accidentally forgot to cancel this fix even though I did cancel my regular subscription. Second, I decided that since this is my favorite subscription product, maybe I’ll make it my big “fun fund” treat for the month.)

So I’m here to ask your guys’ help! I actually have to “check out” and make a selection today, so tell me quickly – which of my May box below do you think I should keep and which should I return? I’d really like to narrow it down to one selection.

To fill you in in case you’ve missed this massive blogger trend, Stitch Fix is a subscription box clothing service where for $20 a box, you receive a personal stylist who will send you a selection of clothes picked out specifically for you. Then, you keep what you want and return the rest, while the $20 down payment can be used as a discount against any clothes that you keep. Here’s what I received this month:

May 2015 Stitch Fix 1

Market & Spruce Aleah V-Neck Heathered Dolman Sleeve Shirt, Size Medium, $48 – Keep or Return?

I really wanted to like this the moment I pulled it out of the box. It’s incredibly soft and I love this sea green color. That being said, the style is a little weird. It’s got that “bat wing” flap under the arms, which I always find to be a bit strange, plus it’s loose around the middle and tight and stretchy on the bottom. I can’t tell, am I supposed to pull it down or have it up with fabric hanging lose around my stomach? This could also been the sort of top that I’d never wear or the sort of top I’d randomly find myself wearing constantly… who knows?!

May 2015 Stitch Fix 2

Kut From the Kloth Danya Skinny Jean, Size 6, $88 – Keep or Return?

I would have sworn that I would never like a pair of jeans that Stitch Fix sent me, not only because is it hard to find jeans that fit without trying them on, but because I’m weirdly picky when it comes to this item of clothing. That being said, I absolutely love these. They’re a little bit stretchy, very soft, and the little rolled ankles are an adorable twist on traditional skinny jeans. I wear jeans almost every day, so I know these would get a lot of use if I purchased them, but they are a bit pricy.

May 2015 Stitch Fix 3

Loveappella Amanda Twist Back Knit Top, Medium, $48 – Returned

This was a very pretty top, but just not for me. It is very soft and flowy, and I actually think it’s fairly flattering. That being said, cobalt isn’t exactly my favorite color on my body, and tank tops just don’t get a lot of wear in my closet. I wish I had taken a picture of the back, which had a pretty fabric hole around my shoulder blades. Like I said, pretty top – just not for me.

May 2015 Stitch Fix 4

Collective Concepts Mikoh Crochet Strap Top, Size Medium, $58 – Returned

Oof, no, this one is just not working. I see why my stylist picked it out, because it does have that flower-girl-boho look that I love, but I’m really not fond of the pattern and the cut is just not very flattering on me. This was a no-brainer return.

May 2015 Stitch Fix 5

Bay to Baubles Garner Stone and Feather Pendant Necklace, $34 – Keep or Return?

Stitch Fix has been absolutely killing it with their jewelry selection for me, and this necklace is no exception. I love the color, length, and entire style of this piece. The only reason I’m hesitating is that I’ve recently bought a fair amount of jewelry that’s similar to this – Free People / Lucky Brand looking necklaces, long in length, with little gems or dangles on the end. Plus, Reg has brought me back loads of jewelry from South America! That being said, it’s only another $14 after my styling fee, so it’s definitely the most budget-friendly option.

So tell me, what are you favorite pieces on me? Which one should I keep? I need help deciding!

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