Friday Favorites (3): Amazon Finds

Hey party people! How are ya?

I can’t believe it’s 4th of July weekend, that just doesn’t even seem possible. Growing up in a small town in Vermont meant that everyone went to watch the 4th of July parade and you knew everyone who was walking in it. Our town’s fireworks were held that night and it was an important rite of passage to be able to watch them with your friends as a teenager. Speaking of watching fireworks with friends, I hope my best friend Meredith (aka my only blog reader) knows how much I miss her and despite my utter hatred for fireworks wish we could be in the “Lew Spot” watching them this year! Per usual I would only be coming for the company and the Ben & Jerry’s cart though 😉

My family was fortunate enough to have a pool in our backyard… yes in Vermont and yes we actually had warm enough summers to actually swim in it! Part of having a pool meant for my family anyway hosting the annual 4th of July party! In true Irish Catholic tradition my dad is one of 13 kids so anytime family gatherings happened it meant hundreds of humans! I remember vividly watching my mom make lists of people to invite, who was bringing what, what Costco runs we still had to do which is probably where I got my love of list making. Every year my dad would throw on a Hawaiian shirt and start the grill, our front yard would be covered in cars, the pool filled with kids and the kitchen overflowing with delicious food. Cousin Jane if you are reading this send me some taco salad!

While my 4th of July plans look quite different this year I am always happy when I get to think back on all of those fun memories of the holiday.

I suppose I should get to the purpose for today’s post which is linking up some of my favorite Amazon finds from this past few months… I’d say these are more summer/travel items but it’s also kind of a hodgepodge of items. Everything on this list is under $25!

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This Foldable Fedora makes for the perfect summer sun protection. This may be my favorite thing I’ve ordered in a long time! I think I first saw it on Lauren from Lauren McBride Blog and I’m so happy it caught my eye. This hat is incredibly packable! I’ve traveled with it a few times now rolling it into the corner of my suitcase and every time I pull it out it snaps back into shape perfectly! I love how many different color options they have, I personally have the Khaki color. $22.99

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This Silicon Make up Brush Cleaning Mat that does wonders for quickly and easily getting all of that bacteria off of my makeup brushes. I HATE cleaning my makeup brushes so anything that makes it easier for me is a big win in my book. This is a smaller mat which I actually prefer because that means it doesn’t take up much space which in my life on the road is a necessity. I’ve actually liked it so much that I bought a second one for my paint brushes. $5.99

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These PEDS Cotton Unseen Liner Socks that ACTUALLY don’t show. These socks are a game changer! I am not a big fan of no-show socks, they never seem to actually be low enough or very comfortable but let me tell you, I love these things! They have a little gel piece at the heel and over the toes and are low enough for even a brand like Ked’s or slides like Vans.  They come in a pack of 6 for $12.97.

I had been looking for a cute Boho Lumbar Pillow to go with an accent chair I bought (and built myself insert arm flex emoji here) so I ordered this one and absolutely love it! I love the color and the texture of it, plus the tassels at the sides are such an adorable addition. My style is very Boho/Mid-Century Modern and lots of natural colors so I know this will work even beyond using it on this chair. It is $14.99 but I do want to note that this is just the cover, you will need to purchase the pillow insert separately. I bought this pillow insert also on Prime for $9.99.

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If there is one thing flight attendants are proud of it’s their nails. If you ever see a flight attendant with a band-aid on their finger its because one of their nails broke and they haven’t been able to get to a salon to fix it yet. This is a fact! I’m virtually the 1% who does their own nails thus more likely to chip and look shitty pretty quickly. I’m not exactly going to carry around a bottle of acetone in my bag so I rely on these individual nail polish remover pads. I keep them in my bags so that even if I remember on my way to the airport that I never took my nail polish off I can do it quickly in the employee lot. They come in a pack of 50 for $12.95.

If there is one thing you buy off of this list (besides the fedora that should already be in your cart) let it be this glorious Scalp Massager! Men, women, children, pets, everyone loves this thing and for good reason. I use it when I’m washing my hair which not only feels great while applying my shampoo it also makes my scalp feel like I actually cleaned it. I’ve also used it on dry hair just to give myself a head massage or get rid of a headache and it makes me so happy. Seriously, if you need a little treat for yourself get this! Get it for your mom, your dad, your fella- it’s that good! It’s like a little salon in a $6.99 package.

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Who doesn’t love a good bathing suit cover up? This adorable Pom Pom Kaftan is the perfect piece for summer. I loved the embroidery down the front in addition to the pom-pom details. It covers well but doesn’t look boxy or shapeless like some can. I bought it for a Puerto Rico trip that didn’t happen (wear a mask people) so I’ve only worn it once and can’t speak to the quality over a long period of time but I will say the reviews make it seem like it holds up! I hand washed it/hung it up to dry. I bought a medium and I think it fits TTS plus the length in the front and back is good which is what I always look for in a cover up. I love how many colors there are to choose from and it’s only $20.99.

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I love this little Pill Box for storing my vitamins while I travel. I’m certainly not going to carry around 4 different bottles of vitamins every where I go so for awhile I was just dumping a bunch into a plastic bag which looked… suspect at best haha. This little guy is a fun solution to that problem plus it’s an obnoxious blue so I can’t forget to take them when I open my makeup bag every morning. It’s on the small side which is fine because it still fits about 2 weeks of daily vitamins in each slot and I’m not usually gone longer than that. It’s $5.99.

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Speaking of travel items this mini Jewelry Box is one of my favorite purchases of the last few months. I love how dainty it is but it still fits a bunch of my earrings, necklaces etc without them getting tangled up with each other. If you travel with a lot of jewelry this will not work for you! It is definitely small but it works for what I usually travel with. I do wish it came in other colors as it is just this pink but for the price/quality I’m happy with it. It’s $11.99.

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I’m finishing up this list with one of my favorite quarantine purchases, these Oalka Yoga Capri Pants. These are AMAZING! Where do I even start? I love high rise pants because anything that tucks the tummy in is a win for me. The material isn’t too thick that it feels so tight you can’t breathe (you know the type) but it’s still squat proof! I love the length of the capri, it fits in the perfect spot. I’ve run in them, done a HIIT class, hiked and yoga and they’ve held up every time with little movement. I’m not saying I’ve never had to yank them up mid-workout but not much which is A+ in workout pants.  They have a little pocket on the waist for your phone, a key, etc. I bought the long version as well which I also love, they hit the same spot on my waist but I do have to roll them at the ankle which is pretty normal for me and would be great for people with longer legs! I’ve washed them with no issues and they don’t expand as the day goes on. These are great people, you should buy them! The Capris & the Pants are both $19.99 and they come in a ton of patterns/colors. I’m on the larger side of a medium in pants but I usually get Medium for workout pants and they are perfect so I’d say TTS.

Okay I’ve babbled enough for one post, I hope wherever you are you have a safe, happy and healthy long weekend!

Is anyone going anywhere?

What are some of your favorite Amazon finds?

Love, Kari

My Favorite Hikes in Idaho

Heyyyyyy youuuuu guyyyyyssssss (said like Sloth from the Goonies obviously).

Ah what a great movie, it’s actually my favorite of all time fun fact. If you haven’t seen it you must stop what you are doing and go watch it because honestly we can’t even be friends if you haven’t.

Okay today’s post is another Idaho adventure planning one for you guys because well it’s my blog and I’ll post whatever I want to… and because it’s basically the only place I’ve been outside of my bedroom since March.

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I’m one of those people who both loves and loathes hiking. I like the idea of it, I like when I’m done and can say woah I did that but the whole middle of actually doing it is quite hard for me. I love using AllTrails because I can get a better idea of all the levels of hikers using the different trails I research. Plus it’s great that nearly every time the map takes you right to the trail heads. I actually may like researching hikes on AllTrails more than I like the hiking… kidding, but not really.  I promise my reviews are always brutally honest so without further ado let me present some of my favorite hikes in the Boise/McCall area…

Cervidae Peak: Boise, Idaho

4.5 Miles Out/Back

“Alex asked “have you come up with your AllTrails review yet?

And I said “Yes, they say there are rattlesnakes on the trial. At first you’re scared but eventually you start hoping one comes along and puts you out of your misery.”

Just kidding. Kind of.”

Woof. This b#$%@. This is the hardest hike I’ve done in Boise and maybe one of the toughest I’ve done ever. You gain a little less than 2,000 feet of elevation and follow a ridge up and down a pretty narrow path overlooking Lucky Peak Reservoir and multiple other mountains in the distance. Every single step is more gorgeous than the last and no matter what direction you look there is a beautiful view that makes it hard to believe the trail head is less than 20 miles from downtown Boise. It is incredibly steep and much of it is loose gravel which makes for a tough hike up but what makes it truly one of the hardest I’ve done is going back down. I highly recommend trekking poles for balance and to maintain footing. There is literally NO shade so if you’re going in the summer go early and bring lots of water! I wouldn’t do this hike if it was more than 80 degrees out because you truly are exposed. It does get windy up there though so bring an extra layer! We did it on a week day so I don’t know how busy it gets on the weekends but the parking lot is not very big so keep that in mind.

It was the first hike in a long time where I finished it and literally couldn’t believe I got to the top, it was incredibly rewarding! I would highly recommend but I would probably go on a few hikes before you do this one to prepare haha

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Adelmann Mine Trail: Boise, Idaho

4.7 Miles Out/Back

“It was 90 degrees and everyone else was boating but we don’t have a boat so we had to go hiking (not my logic).

The crickets and beetles were bigger than my hands which swelled up so bad I couldn’t get my rings off for hours. 

Absolutely no shade so if fine Irish skin is involved, beware! 

Would only recommend if you are promised ice cream after.”

I started with the hard but now we move onto a more moderate option for hiking in the Boise area. This hike is in the same Lucky Peak Reservoir area about 20 miles from downtown but it’s trail head is very deceiving. It looks like a private driveway with a big gate and everything but that’s the parking lot. Maybe only 5 spaces so not many people on the trail at any given time which is nice. There isn’t much shade so I wouldn’t go on a 90 degree day like we did nor would I go past 10/11 am on a summer day but we are dumb. The first mile isn’t too steep but it definitely starts getting steep after that. This hike has 1,4000 feet of elevation gain so I’d put it on the harder side of moderate. I will admit I didn’t make it all the way to the mine because I was overheating but it did look really cool over that way and starts to be more of a tree-lined forest the closer you get. The views are pretty spectacular but not nearly as beautiful as Cervidae Peak if I’m being honest.

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Table Rock Trail: Boise, Idaho

3.7 Miles Out/Back

“I don’t really like this one.” 

Table Rock Trail is okay. I’m keeping it on the list because it’s the only one that’s truly not far from downtown Boise and I think it’s the most accessible for different levels of hikers that could be visiting. The reason I don’t love it is I think it’s super crowded, no shade but also not enough views to feel worth it. It takes a little over an hour to get to the top and is still a moderately steep trail but it isn’t terribly hard with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain. If you want to hike in Boise to say you did, do this one. If you’ve got a car and time- do one of the first two I mentioned.

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Box Lake Trail: McCall, Idaho

7.1 Miles Out/Back

“At one point I thought I was having a heart attack and then I found out I had only hiked a single mile.”

Once again starting with the hardest one I’ve done in the McCall area of Idaho but man was Box Lake beautiful. At 2,247 feet of elevation gain this beast is not an easy hike by any means. It’s actually listed as “hard” on AllTrails which you know means they aren’t lying. I swear some people are out here reviewing hikes like “17 miles, 90 degrees of steepness and no shade- easy 20 minute hike that I do every morning while carrying my 3 children and cooking a lasagna.” But I digress…

Box Lake is a tough first couple of miles of steep and then it flattens out a bit into this gorgeous meadow that makes you want to Julie Andrews on through it. Tons of wild flowers and beautiful mountain peaks to view along the way but once you see Box Lake itself the whole hike is worth it. We went last July and there wasn’t any snow but I do know they got a shit ton of snow this season so I’ve read the meadow is a big snowfield currently. Bring lots of water and a few snacks, we wish we would have brought a picnic lunch to have at the top so next time that’s definitely our plan. Trekking poles wouldn’t hurt but I didn’t personally use them so I don’t think you’d need them. The road up to the trail head is quite bendy and filled with pot holes, my little Civic would have been murdered so just keep that in mind when you go. I absolutely recommend this hike, it’s hard but it is beyond worth it when you get to the top.

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Louie Lake Trail: McCall, Idaho

2.6 Miles Out/Back

“Louie, Louie, oh no, you take me where you gotta go, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah, baby”

Ah Louie Lake, such a fun little hike. This one is definitely used for lots of different activities like fishing and camping because you can drive up part of it to cut some of the hike off of if you’re carrying a bunch of stuff but we started at the first trail head each time we’ve done it. It’s not a very difficult hike at 813 feet of elevation gain though there are some parts more steep than others. It’s a wide trail in most places so it’s good for a larger group with mixed levels of ability. Once you get up to the lake it’s the most gorgeous clear blue water you’ve ever seen. We’ve done the hike in the dead of summer and in October when the snow started to fall and both were absolutely beautiful. If you want to do a shorter hike and are visiting the McCall area I would give this a 10/10 every single time. It’s one of my favorites of anywhere I’ve been!

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I plan on updating this post as I complete more hikes in Idaho but I truly hope you add a few of these should your travels take you to the Boise/McCall area.

Hiking has been such a difficult, rewarding, and most importantly fun hobby for me to get into over the last few years. Especially now when we all could use a little getting out of the house safely it’s been amazing for me to be able to hop on the trails and forget about how hard these last few months have been.

I’m also in the market for new hiking boots because I don’t love mine, not enough ankle support for these gams of mine so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments!

Happy Trails, Friends!

Love, Kari

 

5 Things to Do in: Boise, Idaho

Okay so let me preface this post by acknowledging how weird it is to post a “travel” type blog post in the midst of a pandemic. I understand that unless you are living around Boise, Idaho you are probably not rushing to get there anytime soon HOWEVER I cannot tell you how many people have asked for Idaho related posts and how dear to my heart it is. SO if you do live in Idaho maybe I give you an idea of something to do and if you don’t maybe this is inspiration for your future non-COVID related travels.

I spend a lot of time in Idaho because my fella’s parents live there. For the longest time while A and I have been long distance it was a mid-station for us (though from South Carolina to Northern California I’m not sure how much “mid” there was). To be honest it was basically it was a place to stay, explore and fall in love with in every season.

There is so much I love about Boise and Idaho in general that I’m going to need to break this shit up so take this as a first post but most definitely not the last centered around this hidden Gem (of a) State.

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With incredible hiking, golfing, and floating down the river on a hot summer day to snow tubing in the winter. Throw in it’s amazing restuartants, tons of shopping, and just generally interacting with the super nice Idahumans, my Boise suggestions list is a mile long but let’s just start with these 5 things.

1. Explore the Oregon Trial

While the Oregon Trail computer game (circa 1999 for me) was beyond brutal this walk is actually amazing. It’s a 2.8 mile trail set along the ridge to the east of the Boise Airport and provides amazing views of the foothills. It includes multiple overlooks and is very flat for anyone trying to get a little exercise while also learning about the history of the Oregon Trail and how it fits into Boise history. Visit the Oregon Trail Reserve here.

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2. Eat Boozy Ice Cream at The STIL.

Wait you have to card me? For ice cream? Where do I sign up? If you feel me on this let me lead you right to The STIL! With fun flavors like Licking the Spoon which lays heavy on brownie batter to Idaho Wilderness with lavender and berries (Idaho is known for it’s huckleberry flavored things) this place has a little bit of everything and let me just tell you, everything is delicious! We bought the Ed & Carl Take Reno which is a boozy honey bourbon option for the 21+ crew and it was amazing! Rich, creamy and yet not too strong that a non-bourbon lover like myself is still very happy with it. They also have ice cream flights with beer/wine pairings which I did not know when we went so I must return immediately to experience. The STIL has two open locations (one quite conveniently located not too far from the Oregon Trail Reserve mentioned above) and one downtown which both make for an excellent stop on your Boise adventure.

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3. Bike The Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is 25 miles long and covers SO MUCH OF THE CITY! It starts a little beyond the Oregon Trail Reserve, winding right through downtown and Boise State University’s campus (including the famous blue field) and all the way over to Garden City. This trail includes what’s called the “Ribbon of Jewels” which are parks named for various incredible women and their impact on the community. On a hot summer day you will find so many people wading in the water, floating the river and otherwise just enjoying the casual toe dip. Should you start over by the Oregon Trail Reserve you can take the trail for about 8-10 miles and bike right in front of the Capital building and into the vibrant downtown of Boise.

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4. Brewery Hop

Downtown Boise is filled with shops, restaurants and my some of the most beautiful murals by local artists. It’s also a little brewery haven and if you’ve just biked all this way you are probably ready for a cold brew or two. Disclaimer: there will never be a time where I don’t admit to the fact that I am a beer snob so let me be the first to say that Boise, Idaho CAN HANG. It’s actually hard to put this in one little paragraph because I have so many suggestions for breweries so I’m making this just a downtown specific post about 3 breweries. What a problem to have, narrowing it down to just 3 fun breweries within a mile and a half to spend a day at… I’m truly not sorry for us.

Boise Brewing is a community owned brewery which is pretty cool to learn about and how the brewery came to be so check that out on their website. If you go you have to taste their Jillijuice & Broad Street Blonde! Jillijuice is so delicious on draft, I get it pretty much anytime I see it.

Payette Brewing has probably my favorite tap room on this list, the space is big with both outdoor and indoor seating. They have an awesome partnership with local food trucks and of course the beers are amazing. Their Rustler IPA has the perfect amount of citrus that makes it perfect for a hot day!

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Cloud 9 Brewery is a bit further than the other two and located in a strip mall but don’t let that fool you, these beers are legit. I love the Double IPA which is so crisp and hoppy but maybe a bit too easy to drink. The Lemon Ginger Wheat is a fun summer drink to enjoy on their patio. Cloud 9 also has an awesome food menu if you need to fuel up after all this brewery hopping.

5. Shop at Mixed Greens

Did you even go to Boise if you didn’t bring back a souvenir?

I found this adorable little boutique on my first visit to Boise about 3 years ago and I go back every. single. time. I’m in town. It’s an awesome blend of local Idaho creatives and constantly rotating inventory that is in my opinion one of the best collections of curated pieces out there. From prints to jewelry, postcards to candles, home goods and lotions this boutique has a little bit of everything. Whenever I travel I look for these kinds of shops and honestly they are rarely as wonderful as Mixed Greens, it’s just the best.

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Shop This Card Here

 

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Shop this ‘Ho Mug Here
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Shop This Adorable Boise Print Here.

 

So there you have it, the first 5 things you absolutely must do in Boise, Idaho. If you still aren’t convinced that it must be part of your future travels wait til I post my restaurant and hiking guides.

Have you been to Boise?

Love, Kari