Gals weekend in Texas

Spent this past weekend in Dallas with some college friends. We explored, Waco, Fort Worth, and Deep Ellum in Dallas. It was short and fast but I'm so excited we were all able to make it work!
First up we drove to Waco to visit Magnolia Market. We drank watermelon chunks out of whole watermelons, sat around in the sun, chatted ourselves in circles, bought zebra stripe gum, and pet a kitty in a hot vintage store surrounded by cacti.
That night we got all dressed up and spent a really long time putting on metallic temporary tattoos and wore blinking led rings. Kayla had a little glitter sash, she just got married! Stopped at multiple bars- some with music, some with beet juice cocktails, some with rooftop bars. We ended the night with hot dogs and french fries and a guy named Rob that randomly ended up with us.

photo from Laura

The next day was sadly cloudy and cold. We wandered around an art fair in Fort Worth and the Stockyards which looked like they belonged in a cowboy movie. We lazied around a bit and all gathered back up to have bbq for dinner.

Happy all these ladies took time out of their lives to make this happen. I had a really great time and loved chatting with them for a whole weekend. I even got to share a bed with my sister :)

The first night we were there the ladies
came home with this monster of a pizza.
We ate it all but 2 pieces!
-photo by Laura


Easter Cake

I had a request for a gluten free cake with bunnies. I was teetering on how to make the bunnies when I stumbled upon these ridiculously cute, high quality, marzipan bunnies. I had to have them! Then I found licorice strips in this happy yellow that screamed "cut me into flowers," and I obeyed. I love the way this cake turned out, and I love that the bunny on top always appears to be looking up at whoever is looking at the cake.

Also I had enough cake left over, I doubled the recipe, to make a one layer cake to bring in to share with my GF coworkers. They are going to love me :)

Gluten-free chocolate cake
from here

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I use King Arthur Gluten-free multi-purpose flour)
1 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
2/3 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1   preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2 - 8" cake pans
2   in a large bowl whisk together eggs, oil and water
3   in another bowl mix sugar, flour, cocoa, powder, salt, xanthan gum
4   beat dry ingredients into egg mixture 1 cup at a time
5   add in vanilla and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds
6   pour into cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes, toothpick should come out clean

filled the cake with this caramel frosting
iced it in a vanilla rum buttercream
decorated it with white chocolate, marzipan bunnies, and a licorice I cut up to look like flowers

I snuck a duck on the back of the cake


Mt. Hood snowshoe

Our last Mt. Hood adventure was snowshoeing the White River trail. (White river trail is where the river begins before it gets to the falls we saw the other day.) We finally got to get up close to Mt. Hood, we'd only ever seen it while driving and never explored around it. Since it was early in the morning we got to define our own path. There's something fun about being the first one to put footprints into a large expanse of snow. Definitely enjoyed the emptiness of Oregon's trails too! Not to be diminished is that Joshua finally got prescription sunglasses and wasn't blinded by the white snow.

That evening we explored Mt. Hood. We went to dinner, walked along the water, stopped at a few breweries, saw a rainbow, and Joshua licked my face in a photo booth. The next day we headed on home.

Exploring Mt. Hood wilderness

Our first day around Hood river we decided to do some low key exploring. We stopped at White River falls which is a large stunning waterfall cutting through beautiful warm rock faces and shock green patches. An element we loved about this waterfall was the freedom. There were hardly any people around, no guardrails and roped off paths. We got to jump on things, walk onto the rocks and feel the power of the waterfall, and explore any way our curiosity pulled us. There were the 1900's remains of a hydroelectric power plant that provided plenty of curiosity and exploring.

We also did a leisurely flat hike through Cottonwood Canyon park. It was a simple park running along the John Day river. The sun peaked out for us and again we saw almost no one. The transition of being outside but in a still, quite, relaxing way was a nice transition from the busy Smith Rock climbing.

We caught the beginning of spring flowers and starred at the textured, crumbly rock face walls and meandered along the river until we felt like turning around. Oregon has definitely grown on us this trip.


Smith Rock climbing

Finally in Bend we headed for Smith Rock to get in a few climbs before dinner. Joshua and I really wanted to do the 5 gallon buckets climb while no one was around, a really popular climb. The holds are extremely fun. You climb into these large holes in the side of the rock and can even get your whole arm through some of the holes. Both of us got a chance to lead climb this one.

The next day Joshua was on fire and did a bunch of lead climbs. I was feeling a little timid and decided to work on cleaning/repelling instead. We let our friends put up some good hard 5.10 routes that we got to top rope. I was really excited by how well we climbed these.

The weather was not as fabulous as last year. It was chilly and we had a crazy wind storm on Friday. The others took that day off but we headed into the crag to do a few simple climbs since we were leaving that afternoon. Finally  being self reliant enough to put up the climbs and use all our own gear was really satisfying.

Rex the team mascot


Oregon Road Trip Pit Stop

We started our 5 day with a 6 hour drive. About half way through we needed a good shake out and stopped a the Mitchell Point Overlook. We lucked out and hiked up it while the sun was shining and got a good view of the Columbia River gorge. Even got a peak at some early spring flowers. Then it was back in the car to read more Dune and 3 more hours to Bend.