Adventuring | Hiking in Colorado

Mountain View - offbeat + inspired

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I had the chance to visit Colorado for an incredible vacation. Our mornings consisted of sleeping late, drinking coffee and reading books on our hotel deck.

View from the Creek - offbeat + inspired

Being in such a beautiful place, we couldn’t help but crave being in nature. After our relaxing mornings, we explored the area - and one of my favorite ways to do this was to hike.

Path - offbeat + inspired

Living in Illinois, I don’t see mountains very much. There’s a street by my house with an elevation change of about 50 feet. Needless to say, we made plenty of stops along the path so we could catch our breath enjoy the scenery.

Spider Web - offbeat + inspired

There was so much to see, hear and smell - birds chirping, the rush of a waterfall and fields of wildflowers. Even the spider webs were awe-inspiring.

Nature - offbeat + inspired

Flowers - offbeat + inspired

Colorado Flowers - offbeat + inspired

At each corner we turned, creation surprised us. As we wandered through aspen groves, the tall, looming trees with their snow-white bark made me feel like I had walked into a fairy tale or a Robert Frost poem.

Aspen - offbeat + inspired

Stream - offbeat + inspired

Creek - offbeat + inspired

Late snowfalls in that area caused the creeks to be full and swift.

Cooling Off - offbeat + inspired

It was the perfect place to give my tired feet a much-needed rest.

Waterfall - offbeat + inspired

The end of one hike rewarded us with the site of a rushing waterfall. The power of even a relatively small waterfall like this amazes me.

Over the Falls - offbeat + inspired

Each hike we embarked upon was full of reminders of a wonderfully creative God - One who thought to make both the smallest spider and the most grandiose mountain.

Flourishing Mountains - offbeat + inspired

What do you enjoy about nature? Do you have any favorite places to hike or explore?

Cookbooking: Plenty | Broccoli + Gorgonzola Pie

Cookbooking: Plenty | Broccoli + Gorgonzola Pie - offbeat + inspired

I’m a cookbook junkie. I have rows and stacks and piles of them all over the house. I’ve actually had to come up with ways to decorate with them because I lack sufficient shelf space. Thankfully, most cookbooks are pretty, so it wasn’t that difficult.

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Clean Eating | Cocoa Banana Almond Dairy Free “Ice Cream”

Clean Eating | Cocoa Banana Almond Dairy Free "Ice Cream" - offbeat + inspired

The transition from regular eating to clean eating was pretty rocky for me. My main issue in the beginning was that health food tasted like cardboard compared to everything I actually enjoyed. The problem, I came to realize, was that I didn’t know enough about how to use whole food flavors in my recipes, and that clean eating didn’t mean no longer utilizing my tastebuds.

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Mocha Granita

Mocha Granita - offbeat + inspired

Summer has officially arrived. Songs from ice cream trucks can be heard around my neighborhood, kids are cooling off in the mist of lawn sprinklers, the smoky aroma of charcoal grills fills the air and I find myself craving ice-cold afternoon treats.

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The Wake-Up Bar | Don’t Judge A Soap By Its Color

The Wake-Up Bar | Don't Judge A Soap By Its Color - offbeat + inspired

Over the last few years, I’ve watched plenty of food documentaries and read dozens of articles devoted to the study of things we put into and onto our bodies every day. These videos and articles were what originally inspired me to make my own soap. I wanted to undo some of the brainwashing that had me convinced that my shampoo had to smell like candy in order to get my scalp clean, and that if a cupcake tasted like banana, it had to be yellow. As nonsensical as it sounds, the mindset runs deep!

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Orange + Tea Tree Soap

Orange Tea Tree Soap 3

I have a hard time staying focused on one hobby at a time. I love dabbling in about 10 projects at once. I currently have soap curing, pallets in the garage waiting to become furniture, spray paint on hand for finishing my deck upcycle, and random ingredients (like Himalayan pink salt) in my pantry waiting to be featured in recipes I have yet to create.

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Vanilla Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt

Vanilla Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt - offbeat + inspired

Ice cream making is something that’s been sort of an unattainable goal for me. A bit lofty. Possible… yet, somehow… not. The culprit behind this defeatist attitude is probably the time I tried to make ice cream for some dinner guests (the day they were coming over).

I simmered the vanilla in the cream and sugar, I separated out the egg yolks, beat them into a frenzy, slowly added a tiny bit of hot cream to the eggs and whisked furiously to prevent the eggs from cooking. I thought I had done everything right, until I added the egg yolk/cream mixture to the rest of the hot cream (again, slowly with furious whisking) — and there they were. Bits of cooked egg having a big old pool party in the middle of my beautiful vanilla ice cream base.

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Dainty Necklaces + A Lovely Giveaway With Cat & Bot

A Lovely Giveaway With Cat&Bot - offbeat + inspired

A delicate necklace is something every girl should own. Statement pieces are great, and some days you just want to throw on a pair of sweats to run errands, but there’s something so sweet about a dainty little chain with a pretty charm to dress up an outfit.

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Simple Upcycled Hanging Planter

Simple Upcycled Hanging Planter - offbeat + inspired

As satisfying as it is to complete large scale DIY projects, sometimes simple and quick improvements are just what’s needed to transform the look of a space. This inexpensive container was left over from last season and I knew it would be an easy way to add a great pop of color to the rest of my deck. The best part? It took me less than 30 minutes of active time to finish this project!

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Our Video Project With Cake&Whiskey Magazine + Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and a VERY Sweet Contest!

WOW! I can’t believe I’m finally able to share this with you guys! I’ve been working on this video project with CAKE&WHISKEY Magazine and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for weeks now, and today it’s being shared for the first time! Yay!

If you haven’t watched it yet, please do!! I’m dying to know what you think! If you HAVE watched it, well then I guess I should explain how this all came about (with some behind-the-scenes iPhone pics of the Jeni’s shoot!).

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