How To: Mermaid Braid

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One of my favorite hairstyles has to be the easier-than-it-looks Mermaid Braid. It’s actually really simple to do, and it looks super cool. It’s a great style for keeping your hair out of the way and tied back, but it’s a little more interesting than your typical braid. It’s great for a day of hiking, a day at the beach, or a day in the office. Follow this quick tutorial and you’ll be Mermaid-braiding in no time!

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Step 1: Using a hair tie, loosely tie your hair into a low, side pony-tail.

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Step 2: Separate the pony-tail into two equal sections.

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Step 3: Take a small section of hair from one side, and wrap it over, adding it to the opposite side.

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Step 4: Repeat this by taking a new small section of hair from the side that you just added the first small section to, and wrapping that over to add it to the side that you took the first small section from.

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Step 5: Continue taking a small section of hair from one side, wrapping it over the top of the section that you took it from and adding it to the other section. Do this all the way down the split pony-tail.

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Step 6: Once you’ve gotten to the end of your pony-tail, gently slide the hair tie down the braid to the bottom, and secure it tightly.

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And there you have it! Easy-peasy, and just like that you look like a mermaid! *wink* This style is meant to look a little loose and undone, so don’t worry about keeping the braid super tight or neat looking! Just go with the messy vibe! You are heading out for an adventure, after-all!

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I’d love to see pictures of your Mermaid Braid! Tag me in your Mermaid Braid pictures on Instagram: @annamcohen

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Wild Eats: Healthy Shamrock Smoothie

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a tasty, HEALTHY,  dose of green goodness for you to whip up!

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Ingredients:

1 banana

1 avacadoFullSizeRender copy

2/3cup Strawberry Greek Yogurt

2/3cup Vanilla Almond Milk

1 bowl full of spinach

A few drops of mint extract

A couple leaves of fresh mint

A handful of ice cubes

Here’s what you do:

Mix all ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

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Once you’ve made this, leave me a comment below and let me know how it turned out!

 

 

 

 

That Certain Something About the Outdoors

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Spot the girl. Extra points if you spot the dog!

There’s just something about being outside, I mean really outside, away from crowds and man-made things,  that is hard to pin point. It’s best described as something that eases the mind, awakens the soul, and refreshes the body. In other words, it does a lot of good in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s the fresh, crisp air, or the untrampled, somewhat unexplored ground beneath one’s feet. Maybe it’s the views that are unlike anything ever made by man. Maybe it’s the sounds, or lack thereof, or the wildlife that is just as curious about you as you are of it. Maybe it’s the smells – the pine needles, the wild flowers, the sweet grasses, the dry dirt… Maybe it’s the sense of solitude, or self-sufficiency or a necessity for survival – some primitive instinct that begins to emerge when one is far from civilization.

Whatever it is, it’s something that I like and something that I genuinely believe is a good something. It’s not always realistic to get outside – really outside – all that often. With our fast paced, packed schedules and obligations it can be a challenge to get out into nature even one weekend a month.

So I’ve set out to try to pinpoint some ways in which we can try to capture that something and infuse it into our daily lives. A feeble attempt to bring a little of that certain something about the outdoors home to tie us over and stimulate the senses until our next grand adventure when life allows us a chunk of time in which to get lost in nature.

Here goes:

1. Sight: The outdoors are full of beautiful, pure, natural sights and breathtaking views.

Try this! Decorate your home with landscape pictures, natural colors, and accents that bring aspects of the outside in. Check out Trekking Photography’s work.

TrekkingPhotography.com

TrekkingPhotography.com

2. Sound: The sound of the wind rustling through the grass and rustling through the trees. The sound of birds chirping and a stream gurgling…the sound of silence.

Try this! Leave your windows open and let the fresh air and the breeze in. Find a nice Pandora station that plays nature sounds.

3. Smell: In the outdoors your nose is met with natural scents of wild foliage and places untouched by man. They are pure and simple and interesting.

Try this! Bring the scent of the great outdoors inside with Juniper Ridge Wilderness Perfume. Cabin Spray: $40

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4. Mind and Soul: Outside, you can unplug and slow things down. There’s no rush and there’s too much to do, see, smell, and hear to even think about updating your Twitter. It’s just you, your thoughts, and your senses.

Try this! Unplug for a bit. Stow away your electronics for a night or a weekend. Take time to just think and to be aware of your surroundings and engage your senses. Take some of the time that you would normally spend on your phone or computer and instead try meditating. Or do something to care for yourself, such as a nice relaxing bath or a yoga class or reading a book you’ve been meaning to get to. Capture some of that slow-paced, quiet, reflection that being outside gives you.

When I’m outside I feel relaxed, happy, curious, and in awe. I think those are good things to feel. So my goal is to try to mimic what I feel when I’m outside in my daily life, even when I’m stuck inside.

11070515_10205339766405452_3832441715362798048_nLet me know what you do to bring that something about the outdoors into YOUR daily life in the comments!

Working Out to Get Out: Fitness Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast

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Spring is right around the corner, can you feel it? Depending on where you are in the country right now, you can probably feel it a bit more than others. Well here in sunny Northern California it feels like Spring is really starting to blossom. With the coming of Spring, I find the motivation to kick my workouts into high gear in anticipation of little dresses, short shorts, and, more importantly, backpacking in the mountains.

The countdown to warm weather and outdoor activities is on. The mountain roads and trails are opening up in just a few short weeks. Now is the time to commit to getting in your best shape so that you can fully enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer. Because if you hit the trail after a winter of hanging out on your couch without training first, you will be in for a less than stellar surprise.

10359155_10205203339274859_8055588343266801736_nHere are some tips to help you get in shape for your quickly approaching outdoor adventures:

1.  Give your stairs some lovin’.  If you have stairs in your house, use them to your own benefit. Walking or running up and down stairs is great training for hiking. It’s also just a great workout in general. Do enough stairs a11000056_10205164531464688_1503326286543275879_nt a fast enough pace and you can get a good cardio session in. Plus, stairs are great for your booty.

2. Walk or jog. Now that the weather is going to be warming up it is a great opportunity to get outside in your neighborhood and go for a quick walk or jog. Just getting your body moving is important, and the fresh air wont hurt either. If the weather’s not so nice where you are, get your steps in on a treadmill. If you don’t have a treadmill, head to your local gym. No excuses! Walk instead of drive, park farther away from the door when going to the grocery store…find little ways to get yourself moving.

3. Work Out in Your Living Room. Find a fun workout that you can do in your living room before or after work. There are so many online that you can choose from. An online workout, or a fitness DVD, make it easy to fit in a workout without having to commit the time it takes to get to and from where you are going. Just turn on the workout and get to it. (My favorites: www.toneitup.com, barre3 workout DVDs or MyBarre3 online, and Ballet Beautiful. I do 10391415_10205235803006432_9078270789625860469_none or more of these types of workouts every day in preparation for hiking and backpacking.)

4. Rock Your Backpack. A really great (albeit, nerdy) way to train for backpacking is to wear your backpack around the house or out for your walk or jog. You can start out with it empty and gradually add weight to it to build up your strength. It’s amazing how heavy your backpack can feel when you haven’t worn it for a few months. Best to startil_570xN.674740473_5sw6 wearing it ahead of time to get reacquainted.

5. Squat It Out. Squats are something that you can do anywhere. They will build up your leg strength which is so important for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, fly fishing, trail running…just about any outdoor activity you can think of. The benefits of squats are unlimited. So do them. Check out this link to make sure that your form is correct. Then, get yourself this amazing tank top.

 

 

The Adventure of a Big Move

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Bring it on, 2015!

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Where will the road of life take you?

2015 is off to one heck of a start. It has already brought about some huge changes. My husband and I made the move from Washington to Northern California, and the prepping and planning of the move has kept us crazy busy for the past few months. Big moves, or any big life change for that matter, can be stressful, exciting, and a bit sad too. California is very different from Washington, and while my husband and I had spent some time living in the southern part of the state several years ago, we were fairly unfamiliar with the northern half.

We tackled this move with good attitudes, ready for whatever it might bring. The name of the game is adventure: the adventure of moving to a new place, of leaving things and people behind and of forging ahead to create a new life; the adventure of not knowing what lies ahead; the adventure of discovering new areas to play and roam in; and seeking out adventure wherever it can be found. Our free time has been spent exploring and getting to know our new surroundings. For us, being outdoors and spending time climbing in the mountains and fly fishing on creeks and rivers is of the utmost importance. So the first thing we did on our first weekend off in our new home was to hop in our car and scope out our surroundings. Together, with our little dog in the back seat, we sought out new places to get out in the wild.

Lucky for us, we didn’t have to search very long or far. The Sierras are just a quick drive away. Yosemite is right there too, and we plan on spending most of our free days getting lost in those mountains. (Read, a high volume of blog posts documenting our adventures in these places coming your way!)

As anyone who has ever moved knows, it’s hard. Here are a few things that I have learned about how to make a big move a little 10996995_10205199781505917_3536395246963317470_neasier:

1. Keep a good attitude and embrace the experience for the adventure that it is. (Having an amazing partner who is right there with you every step of the way doesn’t hurt either.) *wink* 

2. Seek out places and things that you love. Get acquainted with the new areas in which you will spend your time and can live out your passions in.

3. Establish a new routine.

4. Find the beauty around you. Find the adventure around you. Explore.

Autumn Transitions

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Sometimes it seems like the end of summer comes so abruptly. One day you are wearing your cutoffs, summer dresses, and tank tops, and the very next day you are bundling up in wool sweaters and scarves. The arrival of Autumn can be sudden and extreme, and it can be hard to cope with the fact that it is now officially time to rotate out your wardrobe in preparation for the colder months ahead. Especially for the outdoor adventurer, the end of summer can be a somewhat gloomy prospect. It marks the end of carefree, dry, summer explorations, and promises less predictable and sometimes less pleasant weather that can tend to feel like it will inhibit all outside activities. But never fear! The arrival of Autumn does not need to mean the end of your adventures!

Here are some ways to help with your transition out of summer and into the colder weather that awaits us:

  • Beef Up Your Cold Weather Inventory! Just because the weather is turning, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get outside and have the time of your life. But it does mean that you need to make some changes to the gear you bring along. Take inventory of your cold weather gear. Make sure you have adequate rain accommodations, like waterproof clothing, gaiters, and shelter. Switch your light weight quilt out for your 0 degree sleeping bag. Stock up on a Merino Wool hat, base layers, and socks. And be sure to throw in hand warmers, instant coffee, and some Mountain House meals – because nothing beats a hot meal on a cold night in the backcountry. If done right, a cool Autumn night spent under the stars can be an unbeatable experience. The key is preparedness.
  • Commit To Your Adventures. The thing is, in the summer time it is easy to go camping on a whim, or throw your fly rod in the back seat and head out to the river for the day. The sun is shining, the weather is great, and the cold isn’t a factor. As the seasons turn though, it can be harder to find the motivation to step into the river or head up into the mountains when it’s chilly out. So, the solution is to make solid plans for your adventures, pack up all of your cold weather gear (that you have already taken inventory of and ensured that you have), and -this is the important part- DO IT! Just do it. No excuses. A little cold is certainly worth the memories you will make. Mark your adventures on your calendar so that it is harder for you to back out. Commit to getting outside, even in the colder months. As long as you have the right gear, you will be comfortable and have a great time.
  • Find Motivation In the Season. Autumn can be one of the most beautiful times of the year to get out into nature. With the changing colors and crisp, clear air, you will find scenery that you wont get in the Summer. Autumn is an excellent time to hit the river for fly fishing. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that with the end of Summer, it is time to store your fly rod. The view from the middle of a river surrounded by yellow Aspens is something that you just have to see to believe. And you wont see it if you don’t get out there. So find motivation in those seasonal sights and go explore!

Don’t let the cooler days get you down. Prepare, plan, and then go have some bright, fall-colored, brisk, cool-weather adventures!

How To Relax This Evening

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Let yourself be quiet and thankful.

As a society, we tend to run on high speed, fueled by packed schedules and deadlines. Stress is a norm in many of our lives. But it is well known that stress is really really bad for you. Stress can have many serious consequences such as stomach aches, headaches, acne, and even life threatening heart issues. It’s important to give your body a break from all of the stress and give it time to decompress and relax. So, tonight, I encourage you to take some time for yourself. Here are few ways to relax this evening:

1. Go for a walk. Exercise is a great stress reducer. Going for a nice walk will expose you to fresh air and a little dose of the great outdoors. It will calm your nerves and ease your mind and give you time to think and enjoy the sights.

2. Do something easy and tasty for dinner. Tonight is about relaxing and being happy. Order a pizza, get Chinese takeout, or make something quick and fun that you love. Don’t get caught up with carbs or diets – tonight is your night to enjoy yourself, so have at it!

3. Watch the sunset. Sit out on your porch and watch the sunset. Just let your mind be quiet as you take in the sounds, smells, and sights. Allow yourself to just be. Be still. Be quiet. And most of all, be peaceful. Try to think about everything you are thankful for. Try to appreciate the moment and be present.

4. Soak your worries away. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. Light a candle, turn off the lights, and just relax. Breathe in the hot vapors and let go of the stress and bustle of daily life. Take this time to just be quiet and to listen to your breath and to enjoy the moment. Soak for about twenty minutes to let the Epsom salts and oils do their thing.

5. Give yourself a facial. Find a face mask in the store. St. Ives has a nice oatmeal one, and Freeman has an avocado oatmeal one as well. Or you can make one yourself. There are lots of recipes for home-made facials. I have used one made up of bananas, olive oil, and coconut oil. It sounds weird, but feels nice. Play around with different recipes and find one that works for your skin. The process of making a face mask can be fun and relaxing in and of itself!

6. Read a good book. Let yourself get swept away. Reading is an excellent way to relax and to get your mind off of the million and four things that you have to do. Plus, reading before bed is a much healthier option than scrolling through your Instagram and Twitter feeds. The artificial light from your screen stimulates your brain making it harder for you to fall asleep, whereas reading a book is calming and great for making you sleepy at bed time.

7. Sleep. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for stress. Making sure your mind and body have the right amount of time to heal themselves and rejuvenate is extremely important. Try to go to sleep early tonight. Being well rested helps you to cope with stress better, it makes you look better [bye bye under-eye bags!], and it will help you to feel bright and ready to take on the next day.

What do you do to relax? Please share in the comments below!

 

Summer Time Beauty Hacks

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Summer time is all about effortless, carefree, easy, light beauty. It’s about sun-drenched days, and heat that permeates all through the night. It’s about going barefoot, living in a bikini [or whatever type of swimsuit floats your boat], and being easy-breezy.

But summer time can do a number on different parts of your body. Here are some ways to keep yourself looking fresh, low-maintenance, and beautiful all summer long.

1. Skin: In the summer time, the heat and the constant cycle of being wet, then dry, wet, then dry can do a real number on your skin. Not only can your skin become dried out, but constantly being wet from swimming can wipe off important good bacterias that live on your skin.

Try this: Since none of us are going to even consider giving up long dunks in the lake or mermaid time in the sea, instead, try shortening your showers a bit. Try to keep the water temperature as cool as you can handle it. Also, find a moisturizer that works for you! My favorites are St. Ives and Ponds. I also have an amazing home made balm that mixes coconut oil, beeswax, vanilla, and a few other natural things to create a creamy, moisturizing dream.

2. Face: Tend to break out more in the summer? That can happen. No worries, there are some things you can try.

Try this: Try eliminating your moisturizer a night or two a week. Or, if you’re like me and you can’t even imagine not moisturizing every night, then try just limiting your moisturizer to areas of your face that feel particularly dry. Also, try to only wash your face in the evenings. Instead of giving it a good scrub in the mornings, just lightly rinse it with warm water to freshen up before starting your morning beauty routine. Also, make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day to stay hydrated! There is no better way to make your skin glow!

3. Makeup: Summer time makeup should be easy, natural, effortless, glowy… basically you want to look like you just rolled off of the beach – but still put together. Leave the heavy eyeliner and cakey foundation for the office. As soon as you get home from the office, wipe your face clean with a cleansing wipe, [I like Yes to Cucumbers wipes, available in drug stores], and get your summer face on.

Try this: Start with a clean slate. Then apply a moisturizer with SPF [at least SPF 20, if you ask me]. Next, rub on a thin, moisturizing BB cream. The BB cream offers additional sunscreen benefits, as well as giving you additional moisture, AND acting as a bit of a concealer. It smooths out your complexion and hides any blemishes. Next, add a bid of cream blush to your cheeks and the bridge of your nose. Brush on a bit of bronzer if that’s your thing. Swipe on some waterproof mascara, a bit of lip balm, and you’re good to go. This should only take about two minutes to do, and you’ll look natural, dewy, glowing, and like you’re having one heck of a summer. Which you are.

4. Feet: Living barefoot and in sandals all summer can make your feet a bit… less than pretty. Your heels can get cracked and dry, which isn’t cute. Keep your tootsies nice a smooth with these tips…

Try this: Whenever possible, try to wear socks and sneakers. Hey, wearing them with cut-off shorts is cute and summery. Or you can rock the “just got back from the gym” look and wear running shoes and yoga clothes. Comfy, cool, AND your feet are safely sheathed in soft socky-barriers. Moisturize your feet at night and try soaking them in Epsom salts or another kind of foot soak that works well for you. Use a foot scraper to remove dead, dry skin every once in awhile. Or get a pedicure.

5. Hair: Hair is exposed to so much sunshine [UV rays], salt, heat, and water during the summer. This can be harsh on your strands.

Try this: Wear a hat whenever possible when you are in the sun. This will protect your hair from harmful UV rays. Also, if you have highlights, guarding your hair from the sun will help to make the highlights last longer. Try washing your hair less – every other day will do. Just use a dry shampoo if your hair starts looking a little greasy. Use a deep conditioning treatment every now and then on your hair to help it stay hydrated and soft. A nice Moroccan oil is my favorite. It keeps the ends of my hair glossy. Also, try to avoid using a hair dryer [because who needs one in the summer time, right?], straightener, or curling iron [rock the touseled, natural mermaid waves], or any other tools that may expose your hair to additional heat.

6. Body: Most importantly, protect your WHOLE body from harmful UV rays and cover up with sunblock any time you will be outside. No one wants wrinkles. Or skin cancer.

Wild Eats: Frittata

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Easy, healthy, and tasty!

 

This is a super easy, healthy, and TASTY frittata recipe. It takes about twenty-five minutes, including prep time, and you can keep it in your fridge and grab a slice to munch on the go throughout the week.

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs

4 egg whites

1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt

1 cup spinach

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped yellow onions

2 slices of cooked bacon, cut up into small little pieces

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Before...

Before…

 

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray – I like to use coconut spray oil.

Combine the eggs, egg whites, and yogurt in a bowl. Mix well until they are a creamy, fluffy consistency. Then add in the other ingredients and stir well. Pour into casserole dish and bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove, and enjoy!

 

After!

After!

 

 

Love What You’ve Got: A Reminder About Social Media

Do what you love.

Do what you love.

With the rise of social media, we are constantly being bombarded with images and stories of people doing cool stuff, and of new things to lust after. When you spend time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you will see the parts of peoples’ lives that they choose to share with the world. What does this mean? It means that those happy pictures and epic adventures that you see on social media are not the whole story. Rarely do people share their not-so-fine moments, their hardships, or their failures. You will probably not see too many pictures of things that are not brand new and exciting and impressive. People tend to share the most interesting, ground-breaking, and envy-inspiring parts of their lives, and it is important to keep this in mind when you feel yourself starting to feel inadequate or jealous.

We, as a part of today’s society, tend to want more. We want more money, more vacations, more adventures, more peace, more clothes, more house, more cars, more hours in each day, more friends, more love, more admiration… We are constantly stressing over changing and improving ourselves – over our perceived inadequacy in comparison to the parts of peoples’ lives to which we are privy through social media. We yearn to be thinner, more fit, taller, better-looking… to go on more adventures and climb bigger mountains and hike further and surf bigger waves. After awhile, it becomes difficult to just stop all of the “wanting” and think, for a moment, about all of the amazing aspects of your life; about the impressive things that you have accomplished and about all of the beautiful things for which you have to be thankful.

Social Media can be a wonderful thing in so many ways. It is great for businesses to promote their services. It can be a source of inspiration with which to look at people doing things that make them happy and that encourage you to do what makes you happy. It can be a catalyst that makes you want to try something new. It can be a platform for news, and a means of keeping in touch with people. It can be a way to learn about new gear, new products, and new trends. It can show you ways to pursue and live a healthier lifestyle. Social Media has such positive potential.

Just keep in mind what parts of peoples’ lives you are seeing and realize that it is not the whole picture. Take inspiration from what you can and allow yourself to be motivated and to strive to better yourself. But also, remember who you are and remember all of the amazing things that you have done and that you will do. Keep in mind the wonderful things that you have and be thankful for them. That is a sure-fire way to a satisfied life. Don’t stress about the cool new things that your friend just bought and wrote about on facebook that you can’t afford, or the incredible, awe-inspiring climb another friend did in Glacier National Park. Appreciate the motivation that such posts can give you and work on achieving your own sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Be proud of the life you live, and love what you’ve got.