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Wind River Ranch 2018

A week before my parents and brother, Travis, were headed to Wind River Ranch for our family’s 21st year I decided to join them and I am so glad I did! I wasn’t planning on going this summer because Luke and I have both been really busy with work but Luke was so sweet and really encouraged me to go. Luke loves Wind River as much as I do!

My flight to Denver from Los Angeles was cancelled while I was staying at the gate so my sister in law (who was headed home after a fun weekend with us) and I made the quick decision for me to jump on a flight to Vegas and catch another Denver flight there. The Denver airport had been shut down due to weather and I arrived at midnight…yikes! Not my favorite travel day but I’m proud to say I stayed calm, cool and collected with the change of plans.

If you have known our family for very long you have probably already heard about Wind River Ranch. Our family has been going to this Christian Dude Ranch, just outside of Estes Park, CO, every summer for the last 20 years, it has truly become our home away from home.

 

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I’m so thankful to my parents for making this such a special place and bringing us kids year after year. Whitney and I have both introduced our husband’s to this sacred space and it’s been so wonderful to share WRR with Luke the past three summers.

This year was really sweet because I had so much one on one time with Travis, which is rare with our growing family. I am so impressed and inspired by him. He is so talented, handsome, thoughtful and kind. I am blessed to be his big sister. 🙂

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Having lived in Los Angeles for almost three years, I welcome the change in weather! We enjoyed beautiful light showers in the afternoons and it’s always fun to watch the rain come in over the mountains. You can see a wall of rain coming before it ever gets to you.

I loved tagging along with my parents. They are my biggest cheerleaders, best friends and role models. I love to see how God is continuing to use them in Dallas to further His kingdom. My mom is one of my best friends and we always have so much fun together. This year that included hiking Ouzel Falls, kayaking in Lily Lake and morning walks to find cell phone service.

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One of the coolest things about Wind River is that you get to know the other guests that are there and see them fall in love with it as much as we have. We made friends this year from all over the world, including the UK!

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This summer I truly embraced ranch life with some laidback looks I love to create year after year; I have a WRR wardrobe I pull out every summer. Like the above, hair by altitude :). On most trips, including this week long one, I travel with a carry on and a backpack.

Since returning from Wind River, we’ve been on another amazing trip, which I’ll write about shortly, but I always try to pull from my memories moments at the ranch that bring such peace to my day to day life. Like this one below, stopping for some water and a refreshing view on a 6 mile hike to Ouzel Falls. Life is good!

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Ouzel Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park

 

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Summer Skincare Tips

Summer is for long days outside. Whether it’s on the beach, playing tennis, at the lake or in the pool, more likely than not, your skin is more exposed during this season than any other, making the summer season the perfect time to revamp your skincare routine- or create one! *This article was originally posted on Madison McKinley Designs, In The Saddle. Written by: Emily Landers

Here are our favorite summer tips to help you create a perfect facial routine that can last all year round.

PASS THE SUNSCREEN

Mom usually knows best and when it comes to summer skincare tips, we’re resorting back to our younger years when lathering sunscreen on was a prerequisite for a beach day. Consider this an encouragement to lather up this summer, as there’s no greater reversal for skin damage than covering up BEFORE it happens. Try out Coola Sunscreen, they use as many natural and organic ingredients as possible to bring you the purest, most eco-conscious products.

 

Don’t forget your lips! This Coola lip balm will keep your lips soft and smooth during a dry summer.

 

COOL OFF WITH A MIST

Stash a bottle of face mist in your cooler so you can mist your face and body when you’re by the pool.

 

WEAR A WIDE-BRIM HAT

As much as we love baseball caps for a summer walk or lake day, they won’t protect your face from sun coming at an angle. Opt for a hat with a brim for full protection.

 

 

MAKE YOUR OWN BODY SCRUB

This DIY recipe makes use of firming caffeine, nourishing sesame oil, and purifying eucalyptus.

Beach Body Scrub
Makes 1 1/2 cups, three treatments
• 1/2 cup fine-grain sea salt
• 1/2 cup finely ground coffee beans
• 1/4 cup sesame oil
• 1/2 teaspoon (about 20 drops) eucalyptus essential oil

In a small bowl, mix the salt, coffee, and sesame and eucalyptus oils. Use the scrub in the shower, massaging it into damp skin. Rinse well.

 

 

KEEP YOUR PHONE CLEAN AND SKIN CLEAR

Surprised to see this one on the list? We were surprised to add it! Recent studies show because our phones are always on hand, they’re loaded with dirt, sweat and bacteria. So, if you’re like us and you’re constantly take calls, texting and scrolling through Instagram, you may find that your jaw and cheeks can break out from touching your phone to your face. Opt for earphones (so you can keep chatting), wash your hands regularly, and cleanse your skin as soon as you get home!

Malibu Weekend

Summertime is upon us and while most of us live where summer comes and goes, those lucky enough to call Malibu home, have a different approach on summer- it’s endless! Whether you are looking for a secluded beach to relax on, beautiful waves to surf, a delicious brunch with stunning views or a hike to get your heart rate up, you can find it all in The Bu.

DESTINATIONS/THINGS TO DO:
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If you’re planning a visit to Malibu, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. June is the perfect month to see vibrant hillside filled with wildflowers after ‘May Gray’ brings afternoon showers.
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Planning a lunch meeting in Malibu? Malibu Beach Inn’s menu will satisfy any craving! With ocean views and a picture perfect backdrop of Malibu’s famous pier, this lunch might last longer than you planned on.

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Head south to Marina Del Ray and take a catamaran north to see Malibu from the sea! We did this for a special and it’s still a trip our family talks about. Don’t forget your SPF.
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A day trip into the city isn’t complete without a stop at The Pink Palace, Beverly Hills Hotel that is! The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel is just a quick trip into the city from Malibu. If you’re looking to grab a bite, The Polo Lounge is the perfect option to get dressed up to see and be seen.
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Malibu Farm at sunrise. Explore the beaches of Malibu at dawn or dusk and prepare to be amazed at the movement in the water, surfers, dolphins, seals and even seasonal whales all come out to play. There is simply no better way to begin the day.
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Cozy overcast afternoons in Malibu are better at Surfrider! This is boutique hotel is the first of its kind in Malibu. It’s the perfect spot for a walk able vacation, just steps away from shopping on the pier, Aviator Nation and some of Malibu’s most famous beaches.

 

 

 

Whole30 Sweet Potato Toast

If you’re following me on Instagram you’ve probably seen me posting more recipes and food photos as a result of Luke and I diving into the Whole30 on January 1st! We’re on Day 21 today…wahoo! Wrapping it up 🙂

It’s been so fun to share recipes on Instagram because the feedback has been bananas, pun intended :). I’ve had so many people message me for this specific recipe and after I shared the above picture, many of my friends have since sent me pictures of theirs… and they all look delicious!

Without further ado, here is my Whole30 Sweet Potato Toast Recipe!

INGREDIENTS

• 1-2 Large sweet potatoes (thinly sliced)

• 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Avocado Oil

• Toppings very

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash potatoes and pat dry.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. Line a baking sheet.

4. Slice sweet potato lengthwise into 1/4″ an inch slices.

5. Coat both sides of sweet potato with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.

6. Cook for 30 minutes (Flip after 20 minutes).

7. Set oven to broil and continue to cook for one minute on each side, until toasty! (Just keep an eye on them, they can burn easily).

8. Add your favorite toast toppings.

 

TOPPINGS

Feel free to mix up your toppings! The images posted above include:

  • Grilled chicken, mashed avocado with olive oil and Everything but The Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s

You can also try:

  • Almond butter with blueberries, walnuts and honey
  • Almond butter with banana

Let me know what you think!

Emily’s Bulletproof Coffee

Earlier this year my husband and I tried bulletproof coffee for the first time. My main reason was to try and kick my french vanilla coffee creamer addiction and Luke’s reasoning was out of pure curiosity. To our surprise, we both loved it!

There are lots of different recipes for bulletproof coffees and ours has a few extras that make it just a tiny bit sweeter, and more latte like!

Why bulletproof coffee?

You’re probably wondering why were putting all these crazy things in our coffee. There’s a number reasons actually! And the biggest reason is energy. Not only are you benefiting from the caffeine in the coffee but you’re also getting an energy burst from the MCT oil, which is the fastest absorbed oil you can get your hands on, which makes it a perfect addition to coffee. Reason number two? This coffee is made to make you feel fuller longer. You’re energized and ready to take on the day!

What are the ingredients?

 

In it’s purest form bullet proof coffee is a combination of butter, coconut oil OR MCT oil in coffee. In recent years it’s basically any kind of coffee with lots of fat in it through a variety of sources like heavy cream, ghee, coconut milk etc. You’ll see my recipe has added a few things.

Begin with a cup of your favorite coffee and then add in these nutritional bonuses:

Ingredients

Then blend in a blender for a frothy delicious cup of coffee!

Georgia’s Wedding Weekend at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

This summer Luke and I attended the most amazing wedding of one of my best friends in Vail, Colorado at The Ritz Bachelor Gulch.

It was truly one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to with the most joyful, calm and sweetest bride. From our first breakfast (with THE bride) to the reception under the stars, Luke and I felt so honored to be apart of such a beautiful weekend.

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Luke and I flew LAX to Denver and the Denver to Eagle Airport. From Eagle we took a shuttle about 25/30 minutes to the insanely pretty Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch. We planned to arrive late on Friday night but ended up getting in around 1:30am due to mechanical issues with our plane from Denver to Eagle, so we missed the dramatic drive up to The Ritz but woke up filled with excitement to explore the stunning property and see our friends.

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Upon arrival we were greeted by friendly (and very awake) staff who welcomed us and proceeded to give us a short review of the hotel before sending us up to our room, with a butler just before us with our bags.

Our room was very stylish with cozy interiors but also masculine touches to connect with the mountains outside. It was the perfect mountain top escape. I loved our little kitchen in our room. This is always a bonus to me at hotels, I love being able to make and enjoy my coffee in my room before venturing out to explore.

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Arrival 2AM: Never too late for a bathroom selfie, or wait maybe it was? 🙂

Asprey was the amenity of choice in our bathroom, a favorite of The Ritz Hotels. We brought some home with us. It’s funny how memories can be attached to the smell of amenities.

Our bathroom was very spacious with stunning marble and a heavy door so those enjoying time in the other room didn’t need worry about an embarrassing incident.

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The morning of the wedding, Saturday, Luke and I woke up early to venture out and see what friends we could find, explore the property and get some breakfast. Lucky for us we ended up eating with the bride! This is one of my favorite memories from Georgia & Cody’s wedding weekend. Getting to have one of my best friends all to myself, for a moment… on her wedding day! 🙂

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Unfortunately for me, I decided now would be a good time to show Georgia an old picture of us, from middle school, the table behind us, aka troublemakers asked to see it and I was teased endlessly.

Luckily, we all agreed I’ve done pretty well for myself since then..ha! Friendship like this one truly come once in a lifetime. Georgia and I have been friends since third grade, the memories that come with that kind of friendship are endless and priceless.

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Breakfast: Avocado Toast & Fresh Juice

After breakfast we walked around the grounds and took in the fresh mountain air. It was then that I realized this resort was truly heaven on earth: It’s pet friendly! It seems they somehow only allow the most beautiful and well trained dogs here too. Wonder how they swing that? 🙂

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The grounds at The Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch are beautiful even in “off season”. I can’t imagine this place with snow- STUNNING!

The day continued with the bridal party getting ready together in one of the most amazing suites with the most spectacular views (!!!) shown above. Every detail and gift was perfectly placed so that everyone felt loved and thought of. Very much like Georgia to make sure everyone else felt like a princess on HER wedding day.

One of my favorite things about weddings as friends get older and marry guys they meet out of college is the postgrad friends you’re able to meet! It was such a joy to get to know two of Georgia’s closest friends, one I had met before but the other it was our first time meeting and I was reminded again how instant friendships happen when you all love the same people. It was a sweet reminder throughout the weekend.

From the suite we all piled into a party bus for pictures. In true Georgia style we kicked off pictures with an adventure! Only one way up, ski lift!

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Georgia and Tara

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The photos and stunning views were well worth it!

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From our mountain top photo shoot we went straight back to The Ritz to get ready for the ceremony which was decorated with beautiful jewel toned flowers that all perfectly fit the weekends mountainside look.

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I was reuinted with Luke and was happy to hear he had a full day without me. 🙂 He went on a hike, to the spa and then the gym. See? It can all be done at The Ritz!

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My beautiful bestie and her handsome groom.

After the ceremony the couple had arranged to take a few photos with the wedding party and some shots of just the two of them so once I was finished with wedding party pictures, Luke and I headed to the cocktail hour so I could introduce him to some of my best friends from High School. So fun!

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Reception under the stars!

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My handsome date!

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Georgia’s wedding reception was just as beautiful as the rest of the weekend had been. The flowers, food, and company were second to none. Her head table hosted friends from every season of life. Luke and I so enjoyed getting know so many of Cody’s friends as well as Georgia’s that I had only heard about or seen pictures of.

The love felt throughout the weekend was tangible.

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We love you Georgia and Cody! Thank you for the most amazing weekend! It’s one we won’t soon forget.

Four Seasons Westlake Village

This summer Luke and I stayed at The Four Seasons Westlake Village in celebration of his swearing in to The California Bar!

I had been there before for a friend’s bachelorette so to have Luke with me was different from my previous visit but all the more sweeter.

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I love this hotel because it’s really close to our house so it’s a great spot for a staycation and it’s super easy to get to from Calabasas or Thousand Oaks. One thing I find interesting though is that they really market towards Malibu and if I was coming to visit Malibu I would think this hotel is a little far, our house in Calabasas is closer than The Four Seasons.

My mother-in-law and I were so excited because our stay landed on global wellness day which had the whole hotel packed with delicious food and special workouts for guests. We participated in the food portion and opted for a spa day over any of the workout classes. I didn’t miss out on their gym though, I love their gym and I actually took a cycling class when I was there for the bachelorette weekend. Their cycling studio is really impressive! The gym is large and has pretty much anything you would need and then some (!!!) Most likely because The Four Seasons also hosts the California Institute for Health. You can always check with the concierge about special workouts they’re having or group hikes and even bike rides through Westlake. It’s one of the main reasons I love this hotel, all of the healthy lifestyle options they give guests.

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Upon arriving we were welcomed with beautiful oriental decor and their signature stunning chandelier directly in front of you as you enter. They never cease to amaze me with their flower arrangements either. During our stay it was a delicious bouquet of pink roses.

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This hotel is larger than some of my favorite boutique hotels but it still has many aspects that make guests feel as if they’re the only ones there! One of the ways they did so was the wake up call my husband received around 4:30 AM before his morning of fly fishing with my father-in-law. After sending Luke off and getting in a great morning work out I joined my mother-in-law for a beautiful breakfast with gorgeous views of their outdoor waterfalls and “backyard”. Since it was Global Wellness Day I opted for their special, egg whites, spinach and tomato omelette. Delicious!

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We then headed to the Calabasas Farmer’s Market as I had never been and we both knew we would have a lovely morning together there. I always enjoy time with my mother-in-law.

Once we arrived we stumbled across the darling shop ‘French‘ in Calabasas. Our helper, Emilie, was a charming French woman who has since become a friend of mine. I often say hello whenever I stop in.

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Don’t let the seemingly expensive materials and weaved baskets stop you from exploring ‘French’. Many of the items we found had completely reasonable price points and were all absolutely gorgeous!

After walking through the Farmer’s Market we met up with our guys to enjoy a spa day back at The Four Seasons. Again, I had experienced the spa during the bachelorette weekend but thoroughly enjoyed being back. It’s a large spa area with a sauna, steam room, hot tub and any amenity you would hope for in a spa. The locker rooms are large and very clean as are the bathrooms and showers for post spa pampering. My massage was as expected, so relaxing! It could not have come at a better time as spring was very challenging for me personally this year. I enjoyed every second.

To wind down after our massages that afternoon we all sat poolside and ordered guacamole with chips and cucumbers. Simply the best.

On the way to dinner that evening we had to swing back by our house to grab something and we realized that our home was flooded, the staycation could not have come at a better time! Ha! Brief update, all is well with our home and we didn’t have to pay for any damages and didn’t lose any furniture or clothing. 🙂

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On Sunday morning we enjoyed The Farmer’s Market Breakfast at The Four Seasons Westlake which comes complete with a create your own omelette bar, yogurt parfait area, every pastry you could possibly imagine and delicious hot meal options waiting for you upon arrival.

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I highly suggest it all!