Katie Boué lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle. She is an ardent advocate for fresh air, muddy boots, and clean eating. After spending a 365 days living in a van during a yearlong climbing road trip, she continues to document and share the everyday adventures of life.

It’s Official: I’m a Speaker at the Peak’s Foundation Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit

Throughout my personal journey as female adventurer, there have been many moments of both empowerment and doubt. Am I really putting myself out there? Is my story something people really want to hear? Does this one-woman trek through life and the outdoors truly matter? Sometimes, the questioning is relentless – but every once in a while, there comes a moment that confirms to me that yes, it’s all worth it.

I am beyond proud to announce that I was asked by the Peaks Foundation to be a speaker at their annual Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit conference in Golden, CO on July 10-13th!

The WLAS ’14 event is an incredible weekend designed to bring 50 women together for three days of personally challenging adventure activities, engaging speaking sessions from 9 successful outdoor women, and building inspired connections with fellow females who seek adventures beyond four walls. There will be yoga in the mornings, cocktails in the evenings, and a jam-packed schedule that offers women a chance to experience their choice of climbing, trekking, fly-fishing, paddle-boarding, slacklining, and more. Womens summit-usa-print

My 45-minute speaking session has been dubbed The Year of The Van: Roadside Lessons on Personal Empowerment & Building a One-Woman Brand. I have so much work ahead to transform my presentation into a tool to motivate women to find their own adventure (both on the road and through social media), but here’s a quick overview: “Spending 365 days living in a van and traveling across the country on a climbing trip offers more than just insights on adventure – it gives us the experiences and tools necessary to inspire ourselves and others to reach higher towards success in all aspects of life.

Applications have officially opened for WLAS ’14, and I would love to see some of my readers at the event. Women are invited to apply now through June 1st, but only 50 women will be accepted to the summit – so APPLY NOW!

Homemade Oatmeal Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

No matter how “healthy” I try to eat, I always end up caving to overwhelming sweet tooth cravings. I never used to find myself with random bouts of an insatiable need to jam sugary treats into my pie-hole, but lately my confectionary cravings have become a problem – because I tend to satisfy those cravings with things like the expired whipped frosting I found in the back of the pantry last week (not cool, folks, not cool).

The solution? Trade questionable, processed sweets for something homemade. I won’t even try to pretend that a pile of cookies is healthy for me – but baking with wholesome, organic ingredients makes me less guitly when I wake up and eat a bunch for breakfast. My favorite little trick: I swapped the usual butter for coconut oil, yum! The result? A delicious, gooey homemade oatmeal coconut dark chocolate chip cookie recipe – that’s anyone can bake!

Coconut Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (with coconut oil!)The ingredients laid out for my homemade oatmeal coconut dark chocolate chip cookies recipe.• ingredients

+ 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
+ 1 cup coconut oil (softened)
+ ½ cup sugar in the raw
+ 2 eggs
+ 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
+ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
+ 1 ¾ cup flour
+ 1 tsp baking soda
+ 1 pinch sea salt
+ 3 cups rolled oats
+ 1 cup dark chocolate chips
+ 1 cup shredded coconut

Note: You can adjust the amount of coconut and dark chocolate chips to your taste – but I found this to be the perfect combination!

• instructions

+ preheat your oven to 375º.

+ make the cookie batter.

You’ll make a sugary base by mixing together the sugar and coconut oil. Once you have a nice mixture, add the eggs one by one, and then stir in the milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, blend the flour, baking soda, and salt – then add that to the cookie batter. Last, stir in the oats, coconut, and chocolate chips.

+ bake the cookies.

Plop small mounds of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. I like to moisten my hands with a little water before forming the cookie balls to keep the sugary dough from sticking to my fingers. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes at 375º.

+ enjoy!

Recipe yields about 4 dozen cookies.

I won’t lie and say that this can be excused as a totally healthy snack – but it sure beats devouring an entire box of Girl Scout cookies. For me, becoming a healthier person is all about taking it one step at a time, and slowly making better choices when it comes to what I put into my body. So an oatmeal coconut cookie instead of half a pint of ice cream is just one small victory in the battle towards wellness!

What’s YOUR ultimate sweet tooth weakness?

Bamboo Black Magic Leggings: tasc performance review

For the adventurous, sometimes dirtbagging, sometimes ladylike woman, there is one wardrobe staple that is a non-negotiable must: black leggings. It’s the one item in your closet (or dirty hamper in your van) that can effortlessly go from boulder fields to a downtown speakeasy. I’ve put holes in more pairs of cheap cotton leggings than I can count, so when tasc Performance contacted me with a challenge to test out their women’s apparel, I responded with an eager “game on!tasc Performance leggings.

Here’s the thing about tasc: Everything is made with bamboo. My NOLA crop leggings are made with fabric concocted from 55% organic cotton, 35% viscose from bamboo, and 10% elastane. In normal people terms, that translates to: insanely soft, ridiculously comfortable, and impossibly form-fitting. The design strikes a perfect balance between athletic performance and stylishness.

As a gal who often wears leggings for days (really, weeks) on end without washing them, my first priority was to see how long I could go wearing tasc leggings before the butt area fell victim to the dreaded saggy-butt syndrome. My typical leggings will last a maximum of three days before they lose their hip-hugging shape.

These. leggings. will. not. get. saggy.  Out on a hike with my tasc performance leggings.

During my first test, I wore the leggings for four days straight, then took a few days off before wearing them for two more days before they needed to be washed (because I use my pants as napkins). Then, I just started wearing them with reckless abandon – from hikes around Colorado to airport hopping in San Diego. Ten+ days of wearing these leggings and they fit as snug as they did when I first put them on.

Excerpts from my e-mails to tasc about the leggings include snippets like, “HOW DO THESE LEGGINGS NOT STRETCH OUT IN THE BUTT? It almost makes me mad that I can’t get them to get saggy.” Also, “y’all crafted up some black magic.” Ladies, it just doesn’t make sense.

What makes tasc Performance apparel seem like a voodoo trick is the bamboo technology they perfected. By ditching the usual polyester material used in athletic clothing, they solved major issues like skin irritation, breathability, odor, and that whole sagging issue I keep bringing up. The bamboo also offers UPF 50+ protection from the sun and moisture wicking.Rocking my tasc performance gear on a press trip to San Diego.

While I usually pay around $10 for leggings, the tasc leggings proved themselves worthy of the ~$50 investment. Their durability has taken me from climbing trips to city slicking without a single snag, and I am confident that I’ll have them in my closet for years.

Bonus points: tasc Performance make everything you need to stay cozy (and looking good) while adventuring. I also have the Intensity Sports Bra – which I liked, but didn’t totally love the style of, a pair of well-fitted socks that magically don’t make my feet stink, and a tank top (pictured above) that feels like I’m wrapped in a cloud every time I wear it. I’m currently coveting their grey Contour Fleece.

Disclosure: tasc Performance provided me with a complimentary package of clothing for gear-testing purposes – but as always, the opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Sunshine + Shorelines: San Diego Mini-Trip Report

If there’s one thing I love even more than the mountains, it’s the sea. I’ll always be a Miami gal, so when Honda offered to fly me out to San Diego for a press event a week after I moved to Colorado, the only acceptable answer was “YES PLEASE!

The purpose of the trip was to spend the weekend test driving the all-new 2015 Honda Fit – but I agreed to a media information embargo until April 9th, so I’ll have to keep the details about the car a secret for another week. Until then, here’s a little peek at what I did before, during, and after the actual test-driving adventures.

My view of San Diego coming in on my Southwest Airlines flight.The journey began with a quick two hour flight from Denver to San Diego. Y’all, this may be my favorite flight route of all time. It started with a crossing over the Rocky Mountains (holy turbulence!), before flying over dry desert landscapes, including the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park. After passing over the Salton Sea, we hit another ridge of green mountains before the Pacific Ocean came into view. Landing in San Diego was a riot – you literally fly through downtown. I felt like we were going to side-swipe a skyscraper at any moment.

I was scooped up at the airport – and totally giggled when I saw a dapper man in a suit holding a sign with my name on it. Is this real life? After checking into the stunning Andaz Hotel, I snuck away before the first press dinner to meet up with two of my favorite Californians for cocktails at a hip (but not offensively so) bar called Neighborhood. Alyssa and Paul are one of the coolest couples – they race triathalons, are total foodies, and have some killer projects up their sleeves.

Drinks at Neighborhood in San Diego.My lovely lady friend Alyssa! As soon as I got back to my hotel room, the weekend took off at full speed. It was a totally whirlwind of seafood, car specs, driving all over San Diego, and meeting fantastic people. I finally got to put faces-to-the-names of Jeff from SoCal Hiker, and one of my favorite lady bloggers of all time, Kam from Campfire Chic.

When it came time to get behind the wheel of a 2015 Honda Fit, we had to choose driving partners – so naturally I ran straight for my #omniten brother, Casey of Modern Hiker. He has proven himself many times as a worthy adventure partner, and he even let me pick which color Fit to drive around! Couldn’t resist the spice of the red color.

Casey (from ModernHiker.com) and I getting ready to test drive the 2015 Honda Fit in San Diego.
We spent the afternoon speeding around San Diego, cruising from the one-way streets in downtown to the rolling hills along the coastal highways. There was a surprise photo contest involved, so we even made a pit-stop at a local surf shop to convince the owner to let us “borrow” a few surfboards to toss into the hatchback. Casey entertained my craving for the ocean, so we stopped at Mission Beach and strolled along the shoreline for a bit before heading back to the Honda festivities.

I can’t imagine my life without mountains nearby, but traveling to San Diego made me realize how much I adore the ocean. Even though the Pacific chilled my toes the moment I dipped my feet into the water, just being near the salty air and sandy shores was instantly blissful.

Mission Beach in California. I adore the mountains, but the sea will always capture my soul.My view from lunch in San Diego!At the end of the day, we gathered at a local taco joint/cocktail bar to announce the winners of the day’s contests – and Casey and I both ended up victorious! Casey impressed everyone by getting 42 MPG during his test drive (the Fit is only advertised as getting up to 41!), and I won for my photo of us with the surfboards in our Fit. We both got $500 donated to the San Diego Special Olympics in our name, which was the icing on an already fantastic experience.

I’m already back in Colorado, but California is high on my radar for future adventure travels. I have an airline voucher I need to use before the summer ends – and I’m thinking another flight to the west coast is in my future! From the driving around Mission Beach to jamming to jazz music at a downtown speakeasy, San Diego knows what’s up.

Stay tuned for more from my adventure to San Diego with Honda! On April 9th I’ll be able to dish out all the details about what I thought of the car. If you’re curious for more, check out the #FitForYou hashtag on Instagram for more from the other folks on the trip! (Spoiler Alert: I’m already investigating ways to trade in my Scion.)

 

Embracing Everything Spring (and all the in-between)

This morning, I spotted my first potato beetle of the season. He was perched on the wooden railing on the porch of my new house in Denver – and even thought he didn’t make any sounds, his existence in that moment was screaming “SPRING!

The official start of everyone’s beloved post-winter season was officially on March 20th, but this entire month has been a spring reckoning for me. I experienced the signs of spring in places from my backyard in Miami to the trails of my favorite greenway system in Denver.

My first glimpse of spring was in Tallahassee. I woke up one morning, looked out my bedroom window – and there they were: branches and twigs crowded with fuscia blossoms. It was still cold enough outside to warrant sleeping with socks on, but the sight of blooming Japanese magnolias offered hope. Always the first flowers to boldly declare the promise of warmer weather, their purple petals made the final few weeks of living in Tallahassee a little brighter. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMornings in Tallahassee were pure perfection.
When I retreated south to Miami, the signs of spring were less obvious. Winter is nothing more than a few weeks of evening sweater weather so far south, but even the warmest part of Florida managed to deliver the kind of natural bliss that makes this year the most sanguine season. While the earth was already full of green, I spotted the kind of delicate growth that only the touch of spring can bring – dotted along the massive sea grape in my backyard were freshly hatched orchids, capitalizing on the perfect combination of sunshine, rain, and warmth.

Spring is everywhere, if you know where to look.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Here in Colorado, spring has a more erratic yet defined feel. One day, the ground is blanketed with late-season snow – and then the next, I’m wearing a tank top while hiking on perfectly dry trails. There’s something gratifying about the pronounced transition from cold to warm. I have absolutely no control or effect over the weather, yet it feels like I’ve somehow earned these days of sunshine after an afternoon of snow flurries.
photo92photo91

This spring has been a season of changes in my life that reach far beyond watching grass go from dry wintry straw to lively green growth. There is so much adjustment to adapt to as I settle into my new home, so many personal revelations to embrace, and a whole new world to explore. All of this change is putting me in the best place I’ve ever been in my life – and this is exactly the season to be experiencing it all in. Cheers to spring!

What does spring look like in YOUR neck of the woods?
Do you have any tell-tale signs of spring you wait all winter for?

*Note: This post is sponsored by Nature Valley. For more outdoor inspiration, check out their fantastic Nature Project Tumblr.

Misadventuring + Mistakes: You Can’t Go if You Can’t Get There

With as much time as I have spent out on adventures, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve made mistakes outdoors – a lot of them. When Sierra Trading Post asked me to share one of my biggest adventure mistakes for this week’s #STPlive topic, I had a hard time choosing which mishap to share. Like that time I wore heavy snow boots to hike in a rainforest? Or when my cohorts and I didn’t bring an extra pair of socks while backpacking and had to turn around a day early? There were many snafus to consider – but one topic shone more important than the rest: All the mistakes I made with my van during my yearlong trip.

Folks, you can’t go on adventures if you don’t have a way to get there.

When I bought my 2005 Dodge Sprinter, it was in bad shape – and I was a bit too frugal (read: cheap and stubborn) to fix a lot of its issues. Case in point: the van’s bum battery. It should have been replaced before I ever crossed the state lines out of Florida, but it wasn’t. And it wasn’t an issue – until it was a very big one.

Backpacking the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park was a road trip to-do that I couldn’t wait to tick off, and my city-dwelling buddy McGoo had flown out from Colorado to join the adventure. Supplies were purchased, gear was packed, and psyche was high. We mapped out a plan, drove into an area of National Forest where we could boondock for an evening, and woke up early to make the short drive to the trailhead.

But the van wouldn’t start. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We turned the key in the ignition over and over again, hoping that somehow it would jolt the van to life and we wouldn’t miss our early start on the trail – but to no avail. Luckily, I had insisted on spending the night somewhere with cell service – and AAA quickly arrived to rescue us. We arrived at the trailhead a few hours later than we hoped, but the mishap was forgotten the moment our boots hit the trail.

Remember my mention of forgetting extra socks while backpacking? Well, it belongs in this story too – after hiking 10 miles into the rainforest and spending a miserable night with three people packed into a one-man tent, we awoke the next day to realize that I was the only one with dry socks. Folks, hiking in wet socks is a special kind of hell – so we admitted defeat and trudged our blistered feet back to the park entrance.

Mcgoo and I on the Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park. One of many beautiful views enjoyed along the Hoh River Trail in the Olympic National Park.By the time I stomped, slipped, and sputtered my way back to the van, I was caked in sweat and craving a hot meal back in town. Our trio reconvened after splitting up during the hike, and readily agreed that we needed pizza immediately. We loaded our filthy packs into the van, and once again jammed the key into the ignition.

The battery was dead, again.

It was past the park’s closing hours, and there was no one to be found in the parking lot to give us a jump. And AAA? Not an option when you’re deep in the no-service zone. We wandered around until we found the ranger’s after-hours post, and begged for a jump – which we got, after the ranger heckled us a bit. It was clear that we needed to get a new battery. But we didn’t.

In fact, I didn’t replace the battery in my van until a few days later. It took being stranded five miles up a deserted National Forest road and waiting hours until two lumberjacks pulled over and offered us a jump in exchange for two beers that I finally relented and dropped the cash for a new battery.

The lesson here is: You can have all the gear ready, you can map out your trip, prepare your first aid kit, and have all the mental preparation necessary for a great adventure – but none of that matters if you don’t have a way to get there.

Got an adventure mishap to share?
Join the #STPlive chat with Sierra Trading Post on Thursday March 27th at 6:00 PM (Eastern) – and check out other adventurer’s mistakes here on the Sierra Social Hub.

Miami to Denver in 4 Days: Thoughts on Solo Adventure and New Beginnings

If living in a van for a year taught me anything, it’s how to adapt to change. Since the beginning of March, I’ve been rolling with life’s punches (a few of which were way more painful than I’d like to admit), and it’s brought me here: to my new life in Colorado.

But I digress.

First, there was Florida. Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of my transition from journeying with a partner for four years to adventuring as a single woman was the process of packing. Folks, it was just plain awkward at times – and incredibly stressful. The moment all my belongings and gear were stuffed into boxes, I jetted south (again, I had literally just returned to Tallahassee from Miami when sh*t hit the fan) for some spiritual rest in Miami. I soaked up one final week of empanada feasting, dog beach romping, and family festivities before making my final departure from the sunshine state.Soaking up the sun at the Virginia Key dog beach in Miami, FL.My two favorite pups in the whole world, Rusty and Amble.

I made the 2,106 mile road trip from Miami to Denver in four short days – but during those 96 hours, I learned a lifetime of lessons. I spent a lot of time making sacrifices – small ones, like not listening to the (admittedly terrible) music I love to jam to while driving; and big ones, like being with someone who doesn’t ever want to get married. When Niko ended things, he was really just setting me free. And I’m really grateful for that.

Suddenly, I found myself with an abundance of time and choices. Buy two new pairs of boots, just because? Sure. Sushi for dinner three nights in a row? Why not. I had this epiphany moment one morning when I was sitting in my parent’s kitchen and had this nagging feeling like I was supposed to be doing something or checking in with someone – and then it hit me: It’s just me now. Every choice, feeling, and action is my own decision to make. I can do whatever and be whoever I want.

I feel liberated. As Amble and I crossed over one of my favorite American landmarks, the Mississippi River, on our drive out to Colorado, I rolled down the windows and let out a little victory whoop. I was exactly where I wanted to be in that very moment. Crossing the mighty Mississippi River on my drive to Colorado.

My friend Mike said something to me this week that really resonated with me. He told me, “You said you were going to move to Colorado and you went out and did it. You wanted to live in a van, you did that too.” I think I put out a perception that I truly just do what I want and make my all of ambitions a reality – which wasn’t always true, but now it will be.

This year, I’m going to focus on myself. I’m going to become a better adventurer, a healthier woman, and a doer. And what I do won’t be for anyone but myself.

But before I get all me, me, me – I owe an enormous amount of gratitude to everyone who lent me their ears, hearts, and storage space these past few weeks. I wouldn’t be having this empowered personal moment without all of the support and love I’ve recieved. Even when you’re excited about being alone, it’s nice to know you never have to feel lonely.

PS: Consider this the official end of my little social media/writing hiatus. It was wonderful to take a break and reconnect with myself and really do some deep soul-searching – but I’m ready to hop back on the wagon and get these wheels turning.

Fresh Morning Monday: Florida Farewells, Adventures in Oil Pulling, and San Diego with Honda!

Who me? Back in Miami, again? After rolling with the punches during a very quick period of life changes, I’ve found myself tanning on the patio at my childhood home in Miami during my last week in Florida for the foreseeable future. As eager as I am to get out of this flat state and dive into the world of mountains and boulder fields, it has been great to relax and rejuvenate down here.

What makes Miami so wonderful? Here’s a peek:

photo4 photo3photo1

In a nutshell, my week is going to be full of playing in my backyard with Amble and Rusty, feasting on my mama’s outrageous homemade meals (crab legs, what!), exploring by the sea, and refreshing my spirit before my road trip from Florida to Colorado begins. Life is good, folks.

While I’ve been down here, I finally went to Costco and bought a giant tub of organic, cold-pressed coconut oil – and totally got lured into trying the whole oil pulling thing. What is oil pulling? It’s basically an old-school method of detoxifying and promoting oral health by swishing some coconut oil in your mouth for 2o minutes every day. I know a few ladies and gentlemen who are big fans of it, but I’m waiting at least two weeks before I decide if I think it’s worth it or not. I’d love to hear feedback from anyone else who has tried it!

Continuing with my new quest to be healthier and spend more time focusing on my body and wellbeing (because hey, single life has some perks – like all the time in the world to proritize you), I was stoked to arrive in Miami to a package from Skinourishment waiting on my bed. There were were a few great new products in the box that I can’t wait to review for y’all – starting with a big head-to-head-to-head climbing salve review I’ve been putting together for a few months. Stay tuned for more from Joshua Tree Organics, Giddy, and ClimbOn!

photo2
From Miami to Tallahassee and all the way to Denver, March is bringing a lot of travel and adventure my way – but the journey won’t stop once I arrive in Colorado. I’m really excited to share with y’all that at the end of March, Honda is flying me out to San Diego to test drive the new 2015 Fit! As someone who has experienced long cross-country road trips driving everything from Honda Pilots and Scion tCs to last year’s epic Dodge Sprinter, I know that it takes a special car to be an adventure-worthy vehicle. Can’t wait to share my thoughts on the 2015 Honda Fit, and put it to the road warrior test down in Southern California!

Do you have any big adventures on your March agenda?
Has anyone else ever tried oil-pulling?
And most importantly: Who wants to play with me in Miami?!

A Little Twist in Life’s Plot: I’m Moving to Denver (Like, Now!)

I’ve been teetering on the fence of whether or not this is something I really wanted to write publicly about – but after being bombarded with questions and messages and phone calls (y’all are the best!), I figured I really just needed to clear the air and let the cat out of the bag for good. Folks, I’m moving to Denver – like, within a few weeks.

I'm moving - to Denver, Colorado!
We can all agree that relocating to Colorado is probably the best decision I’ve made all year, and it’s going to open up a whole new world of adventure. I’m already planning coffee shop writing mornings at Cafe Europa, hiking my first 14-er in the summer, napping on the grass at Wash Park with Amble, and spending every weekend playing in the mountains. This new chapter in life surely won’t disappoint - and my sister is moving to Denver in August!

Here’s the band-aid that needs to get ripped off: all this joyful anticipation and excitement comes with a dash of sadness. After a year of traveling together, living in a van, and sharing a life of adventure, Niko and I have ended our four-year journey together. It was unexpected (and not my idea), but it is ultimately going to be really positive for both of us. He is such a wonderful person, and the best adventure companion I could have ever asked for – but it’s time for us to trek forth onto our own separate paths.

So there it is. There’s the reason I totally failed us all with the relaunch of the blog, why I’ve been kind of absent from the social media scene, and why I’ll continue to be a little off for the next few weeks. I considered taking a formal hiatus from the blog until I settle into life in Denver – but instead, I’m trusting y’all to forgive me if I just don’t post for a week or so. I’ll keep you posted, and can’t wait to share my new life in Colorado with everyone!

PS: Can I get a collective “UGH!” at the idea of packing everything I own and moving again after I just finished moving into our house in Tallahassee! So not fun.

Something Wicked (Awesome) This Way Comes to The Morning Fresh…

There are a lot of things that can be said about doors opening, new chapters being written, exploring new horizons, and all that metaphorical jazz about change. It’s part of an ever-ocurring evolution that all adventurers experience in their own capacities – and for me, the time has come. For what, you ask?

The Morning Fresh is getting spruced up + refreshed, and relaunching on March 3rd!The Morning Fresh is gettin' fresh on March 3rd - stay tuned!

Don’t worry, there won’t be any offensively radical changes that will force you to relearn how to navigate the site website, but I think y’all are going to really like what’s coming in these next few weeks. I’ve had so many reader requests for more content, so get ready for more healthy homemade recipes, weekly adventure stories and photo essays, lady dirtbag-approved gear reviews, and even a little training for climbers thrown into the mix.

Here are some of the things to look forward to: a sweet new logo, easier to navigate content, a fresh and consistent aesthetic, and a steady flow of ways to find inspiration for adventure and everyday life. I’m working with a fantastic graphic designer/all-around-crafty-queen/lovely old friend, Jania from The Secret Art Den – and I can’t wait to share her creations!

For more teasers and updates, be sure to follow me on
Instagram + Twitter + Facebook!