Bestie Date: Pip’s Donuts and Puppy Snuggles


After my (Niki’s) return from a six week trip to Europe (pictures coming soon!) we were overdue for a bestie date. Long overdue. To remedy the situation, we drove to Pip’s Donuts, a place which Bekah discovered in my absence and couldn’t wait to show me. She was right, it’s pretty amazing! We ordered 12 mini donuts with a variety of toppings and the Chai Tasting Flight of 5 varieties of chai. A well-meaning woman walked by our table and asked us if we were going to eat “all those donuts?” Yes, ma’am. pipsdonuts1

The small size of the donut creates the perfect ratio of fried outside to soft inside, and all the toppings were delicious, even the bacon one. The chai flight was an interesting experience and we weren’t fond of all the flavors, but we were glad we tried them all for science.

After finishing our sinfully delicious donuts, we drove back to Bekah’s apartment to play with her sweet new corgi puppy, Dolly.bekahanddolly

Look at that face! 

dollyIsn’t she darling? We’re smitten!

-Niki and Bekah (and Dolly too!)usanddolly

The Quest for Non-Toxic Deodorant



Many moons ago I first heard about the dangers of deodorants that contain aluminum-based antiperspirants. It’s suspected that they can be linked to cancer and other illnesses. Whether or not these rumors are actually true, I like to avoid health hazards as much as possible, so I decided to go on the hunt for an all-natural deodorant. Since then, I’ve tried many different styles and brands. Some irritated my sensitive skin, some flat out didn’t work, and a few emerged victorious from amongst their brethren! Oh sorry, is my post about underarm hygiene getting too dramatic? I’ll try to tone it back…

Let’s talk about the misses first. The ones that absolutely failed in their appointed duties were the Crystal ones, both liquid and crystal, and the Fresh and Natural Deodorant Spray (couldn’t find a link, but I bought it at Marshalls.)

The mediocre category is comprised of the Jason Tea Tree Deodorant and the Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime. To be honest, I didn’t give the Jason one much of a try, because I wasn’t fond of the scent and my sister told me it didn’t work for her. I may go back and give this one another go at some point.

The Schmidt’s deodorant gets rave reviews from a lot of people, but it irritated my skin because of the high levels of baking soda and the firm, slightly gritty texture. The scent is fabulous and I wish I could get in a perfume. If you have less sensitive skin and don’t mind having to scoop it out of a jar and apply it with your hands, I think this is a great option!

On to the final four! The Nourish Organic deodorant in the scent Lavender Mint mostly makes it to this category for the pretty packaging and the delicious lavender, chocolate minty smell. What I dislike about this one is that it is pretty greasy and leaves oily patches on your clothes. Lame.

The Arm & Hammer Essentials is the first thing I tried in the semi-natural, non-antiperspirant realm. It does what it’s supposed to, and has a nice clean, citrus scent. It does contain baking soda, but not as much as the Schmidts.

The Tom’s Lavender deodorant is my second favorite. It’s a really gentle formula, but it still works really well. It smells like lavender, obviously.

My top pick, however, is the LaVanila Healthy Deodorant. I bought the travel sized version from Sephora in the Pure Vanilla scent and liked it enough to go back and buy a full size, but in the Vanilla Lemon scent. My advice is to skip the travel size. The texture was way more crumbly and made a huge mess of the inside of the tube. The full size is more expensive than your average deodorant, but it is the most effective all-natural option I have found. I mean, this stuff will keep me smelling fresh through a hot summers day or a work out, y’all. Also, both scents I’ve tried are amazing. The Pure Vanilla is warm, cozy and feminine, and the Vanilla Lemon is clean, bright, and a little more unisex/masculine, in the best way.

Do any of you have any suggestions for non-toxic deodorants? I’m always ready to try a new one in the name of science!

– Niki

Urban Herb Gardens

After moving into our own apartments, Niki and I started daydreaming about each of us having our own personal herb gardens. We spent nearly an hour , one afternoon, going on and on about what kind of plants we’d love to buy. Neither of us have our own yards ,at this point, but with ingenuity and thriftiness we came up with our own mini garden designs that would fit our homes.

Niki’s:                                                                                                                                                      herb 3herbs 1herbs 2

Bekah’s:IMG_0401 betterIMG_0403 betterIMG_0407 b etter

Railing planters from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, hanging basket from Target.

We’re a bit obsessed with our little gardens, and look forward to buying many more plants in the years to come. Hooray!

– Bekah and Niki

5 things I learned from being a Barista

IMG_2965 My first real job, besides babysitting and helping out friends, was at the local community college bookstore. About a year into my grand career there, I was transferred to the coffee shop within the store. That’s when I discovered one of my great passions in life: Coffee. It brings us together. It comforts us in our time of need. It tastes great with cake and it made me into the woman I am today. Wow, coffee does all that, you say? Yes, it does, let me explain. After working over 3 years as a barista, I learned a lot of things, from how to say “thank you” in sign language to the proper way to hold your hands if you’re taking up belly dancing. Seriously though, being a barista taught me so many things that I never would have learned in a classroom and I know will help me in my career and life in general.IMG_2968

1. Be willing to try new things. I didn’t like coffee before I was a barista. Shocking, I knowI used to turn up my nose whenever my dad brewed a cup and rolled my eyes when my mom said she “loved the smell of coffee”. I just didn’t get it. I was stuck in my naive ways. That changed when my manager insisted that I down fresh espresso shots as part of my first day initiation, and I got scheduled for the opening 6:45 am shift. I suddenly developed a taste for coffee! Then, earl grey tea. That’s right, the girl that was partly responsible for Earl grey tea ice cream didn’t like earl grey. I have my lovely friend Amy to thank for my developed tastes. We worked the morning shift together for several years and through much determination on her part, I learned to love Earl Grey tea. The point being, if I want to grow and change as a person, I can’t be afraid of new experiences and being a barista forced me to embrace that.

2. How to talk to anyone. It should take around 3 minutes to make a latte. That’s not very long, but it sure feels like an eternity if your customer is standing there awkwardly twiddling their coffee- greedy thumbs while you steam 2% milk. My mom has always been good at chatting with people, but it wasn’t one of my strengths until I became a barista. It’s amazing how just asking how someone’s day is going, or if they have anything fun planned for the weekend can get someone chatting. Before you know it, you know all about their upcoming vacation, their newborn, and their favorite muffin recipe.


3. How to remember someone. Chatting makes you and your customer feel less awkward in the moment, but you know what will make you feel really awkward? When they come back the next day, and you can’t remember them! After that happened to me a time or five, I started rehearsing people’s names and stories in my head after they walked away. I found that if I just focused on them for a minute, I could remember them later. One term, a girl named .’Whitney’ came in every other day. So after she left, I would say to myself “Whitney gets a white mocha”. This is such a helpful skill to have, and the repetition of being a barista definitely drilled it into me.

4. Everything is a show. This sounds so jaded when I say it, but it’s true. Life is a show. If you are confident, people will trust you. If your hand shakes as you pour the milk, or you stumble around looking for lids, your customer will doubt your ability to make good coffee. They might ask for a different barista next time, or stop coming to your coffee shop all together. On the other hand, if you know what your’re doing, can recommend your favorite drinks on the menu, know the prices, and tell them which drink has the most caffeine, they’ll start to think that you really do make the best coffee! Taking ownership doesn’t hurt either. Saying phrases like “Yes, I do have vanilla syrup.” or “I have another pot of decaf coming right up” makes your customer think you know whats up. Be confident. If you act like your great, other people will think so too!

5. How to Make Coffee. Lastly, the most important thing I learned from being a barista is how to make really good coffee. Knowing how to make good drinks is a wonderful skill that I’m sure will serve me well in the years to come.
icedcoffee2 icedcoffeeBeing a barista can be scary; you have to talk to a new person about every 4 minutes, and the happiness of their day  rests solely in your clumsy hands, but you learn to do it and eventually love it.

– Bekah

Bestie Date: The Rose Garden and Salt & Straw

nikibecky 1Picture this: You’re strolling in a sun-warmed garden amongst thousands of beautiful roses of all colors, shapes, sizes and scents. After snapping a bunch of pictures, you get back in your car and set out in search of ice cream. You find it. The best ice cream the world (Portland, at least, but probably the world) has to offer. Sweet and creamy in a crispy waffle cone, mmmm…Let’s move on before I start drooling on my keyboard!

If this sounds like the perfect afternoon, and you live in the Portland area, here are our suggestions for a bestie date!saladI met Bekah at her apartment, and we shared a really good salad and some iced tea. I made the salad with kale, avocado, strawberries and almonds with a balsamic vinaigrette. Yum! Feta or goat cheese would have been a perfect addition, but alas, I had none.

bekah 1After lunch, we drove out to the Portland International Rose Test Garden. We decided to dress up a little just for the fun of it! Bekah said to me at one point “We should dress like this more often. I feel more powerful and that people respect us more!” Bekah wore a vintage lace dress she found at Buffalo Exchange (another fun bestie date idea!), and some thrifted heels.

rose 2niki 2I wore a thrifted vintage skirt, a top from Loft and heels from Naturalizer.

salt and straw signAfter we’d had our fill of roses, we drove to Salt & Straw, our absolute most favoritist ice cream shop in the world! If you live anywhere near the Portland area and you’ve never been, drop what you’re doing, grab your GPS and go now! You won’t regret it! They have unique and delicious flavors that are well worth the line. They’re also generous with their samples, so you can taste a bunch of flavors before making your final decision.

ice cream We sat on a bench outside to eat our ice cream, and were treated to a most Portlandia-esque sight. A guy in boots, a gold cape and a gold mask was “singing” and slow dancing dramatically to music. He was accompanied by an enthusiastic friend who alternated between dancing, playing percussion and waving a plastic sword around. It was very…odd. The thing about Portland, is that no one was even fazed by it. They just walked right past. Bekah and I, though, thought it was quite bizarre…

raspberriesOur last stop on the way home was The Barn for some fresh produce, because we’re grown-ups with kitchens who get excited about boring grown-up things like fruits and vegetables.

rose 1 I’ll leave you with a rather melodramatic quote from Dale Carnegie.

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

So go on, stop and smell the roses! And eat ice cream…Let’s not forget the ice cream…

– Niki and Bekah

Our Summer Bucket Lists

haystack rockHere in the Pacific Northwest, it usually doesn’t start to feel like summer until after the 4th of July. But it’s 90 degrees  in Portland today, so I’ve finally realized that it’s time to get into that summery state of mind! Being a grown up, I no longer have a summer break to look forward to, but that won’t stop me from trying to make fun plans!  Here are some of the things I’m looking forward too this summer!

To Do:

Go to the beach! The Oregon Coast calls to me!

Make a stick biscuit. You haven’t truly experienced campfire cooking until you’ve wrapped canned biscuit dough around a large stick, roasted it to perfection and filled it with butter and jam. Yum! It’s a camping must!

Host a pool party, complete with cheesy but fun games (Marco Polo, anyone?) and a beach-y playlist!

To Read:

The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. I have a secret love for science fiction, and when it’s filled with deep theological meaning, well, what could be better?

To Decorate:

I have found my dream couch. It’s from Ikea, of all places. Now I just have to see if I can convince my room mate (AKA my brother) to go in on it with me. Maybe if I emphasize how much more comfortable it is than our current couch…To Wear:

I like to wear tank tops in the summer to avoid the whole farmer’s tan phenomenon. Currently, I’m contemplating this one (linen!) and this one (cheaper alternative!) from Everlane. Also drooling over this one from Anthropologie. Why must it be so expensive?

To Make:

There are so many sewing projects I want to work on, but this one is at the top of my list! I have visions of it being the perfect summer dress! I already bought the fabric (it’s a drapey black and white abstract print from Joanns) and now I just have to download the lovely pattern and actually sew it up!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

– Niki

This is summer is a lot of firsts for we Joneses! Our first full summer married, our first summer in our apartment, our first summer being awesome…oh, wait, no, we’ve always been awesome. Heh heh. With all of these firsts happening, it really makes me want to pack as many  special memories into every moment! Here is what’s at the top of my list:

To Do:

Going swimming, at least once a week is a must for this girl.

To Read:

I’m working on ‘The Hunger Games’ right now, which is remarkably better than I expected. I was afraid to jump on the ‘Hunger Games’ band wagon, mostly because I thought it’d be another tacky, tweenage fantasy. It’s not.

To Decorate:

I’m on the hunt for the perfect area rug for my living room! Something like these.

rug 2 rug 3

To Wear:

I love dresses. Is there anything more comfortable on hot summer days? I think not. This cute, simple dress looks like the easiest thing ever. I’m also loving this one.

To Make:

I’m working on creating a mismatched set of dining room chairs, all painted dark navy! I just need to find one more chair. Wish me luck!

– Bekah

A Weekend With Jane Austen


“My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’
‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion

Last spring, we, along with our good friend Aurora, planned a Jane Austen themed movie marathon. We hoped, dreamed, and schemed, but life took over and it seemed like our lofty goal of a weekend of tea, sweets, and our favorite historical author would never happen. Lo and behold, the husband was out of town for a few days, and the weather forecast was cloudy!


Our very loose schedule for a weekend of Jane Austen obsession:

Friday Evening:

7pm – Niki and Aurora arrive.

7:05 – Hug and squeal, and generally make the neighbors dread our happy nerdiness.

7:10 pm – We set up our tea hoard and the TV Aurora smuggled from her very generous parents. (we millenials apparently don’t have tv’s just yet, and Jane Austen is way to big a personality for a laptop)

7:30 pm – We dine on butternut squash soup and drink our first gallon of tea. * Note, we spent a good twenty minutes matching up the teacups to the saucers. Apparently ,that wasn’t very important to Hunter when he put them away on top of our cupboards. Heh heh…

8:00 pm – 3 am – Drank copious amounts of tea, while watching the best ever version of Pride and Prejudice (in Bekah’s opinion, at least), followed by Sense and Sensibility. Oh, and Lemon Bars! 

“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.” 

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Saturday Morning:

9:30 am – We woke up to clouds, rain, and a desire for even more 19th century romance with a touch of spunky wit and feminism!

10:00 am – We whipped up some amazing crepes and devoured  ate them with lemon curd, cardamom whipped cream, and strawberries. They were truly the bestest.

11:00 am – 4:00 pm We watched the most amazing version of Emma that has ever been, or ever will be, made. I’m pretty sure Miss Austen herself couldn’t find fault in it. “Because we are doing our best to find fault in you…”

5:00 pm – We drove to our local Salt and Straw for most delicious ice cream  around, and for some nearby thrift shopping, all while discussing how we would survive in a real version of ‘The Hunger Games’. Important stuff.

8:00 pm – 12:00 am – We watched half of a terrible version of Mansfield Park, (you’ve been warned!) and then gave it up in favor of discussing our favorite scenes in Austen Lit, and which Austen hero we would choose as our soul mate.  Oh, and we drank more tea.

tea table teacup

 We agreed that it was the most relaxing (if not sappy) weekend any of us have had in a long time. I think it was from all of the tea!

– Bekah and Niki

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.”
― Jane Austen

No Shampoo?


Every now and then I have to stop and seriously consider the question “Am I a hippie?” I asked myself this when I decided to stop using shampoo. I read a bunch of articles on the internet about the benefits of  giving up shampoo. People were boasting healthier, shinier locks that didn’t need to be washed as often, not to mention the monetary savings. That all sounded fabulous, so I decided to give it a go. I switched to using baking soda and vinegar to clean my hair. That’s right, the same ingredients as we’ve all used to make volcanoes in our homeschool science classes.  My hair is just as clean as it was when I was using shampoo and I’m keeping all the harsh chemicals in traditional shampoo away from my hair, which is good (in my opinion).

So how do you use baking soda as shampoo?  I like to put about a tablespoon in a plastic cup and then take that into the shower with me. I fill the cup with about a cup water and stir the baking soda in with my fingers then pour it over my head. I scrub my scalp then rinse. You can keep a bottle of vinegar (apple cider or white) in the shower as well. Mix about a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup or so of water then pour this over your hair. I pour some over the ends of my hair first, then pour the rest over my scalp. You can let this sit for a few minutes or rinse it out right away. If you rinse thoroughly, you shouldn’t notice any vinegar smell after your hair dries.

– Niki


I’m serious, guys,  Niki is a crazy hippie! Run for your lives!!!!!!! Ha ha….sigh…okay, I’m kidding. She’s not crazy, or even that much of a hippie….(a whole lot of hipster, though, don’t tell her I said that!) and she smells great…..I like to steal her perfume, but that’s a story for another day. Heh heh.

So, you can trust her, as I do. I am, admittedly, a little more of a loose cannon, but you can trust me too. (and THEY never heard from you again…dun dun dun) With that said…. I too jumped on the ‘no shampoo’ band wagon. Honestly, I’ve been a doubter for years. I gave it a weak, halfhearted attempt a few years ago, but at the time, I was washing my hair on a daily basis, which was not very healthy for me, or my hair. Since then, I’ve switched to washing my hair two to three times a week, using baking soda as shampoo, and apple cider vinegar as conditioner. I started just last week, but it’s already made a big difference. My hair is staying cleaner longer, which is a huge deal for me, and has more volume all the time (which, is my main goal for my thin hair). I still use this dry shampoo to touch up extra greasy spots on the days I don’t wash it, but not nearly as much as when I was using traditional shampoo.

So far, I’m loving all the benefits of this method, and would definitely recommend it!

–  Bekah

Till We Have Faces – A Book Review


I need to tell you about something. What is it you ask? Only the very best novel you’ve never read. Never fear, I’ve read it, and if I get my way, you will too. And you’ll cry, and write quotes from it all over your textbooks, arms, and post it notes…..oh wait, you’re not a tween girl anymore? And you say I’m not either? That’s not fair, I’m my own person! You can’t tell me how to live my life!!! Cough, ahem. I get myself worked up sometimes.

You, like me, probably read the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid and swiftly fell in love with it. The mysterious creatures, the compelling characters with all of their relatable , human flaws  and conflicting endings that leave you aching for just one more book. But I have good news for you! C.S. Lewis wrote books for grown ups, and not just the manual for Christian Apologetics, either. He wrote the Space Triology, which if you like sci-fi, mythology, and/or British humor, you should read immediately. But, my very favorite book he ever wrote (It was also his wife’s favorite, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien’s….so there, I’m pretty sophisticated, huh?) is ‘Till We Have Faces’. Definitely his greatest work in my opinion. Why, pray tell? Well, thanks for asking, let me get started.


As the subtext in the above picture says, ‘Till We Have Faces’ is a ‘Myth Retold’. The greek myth of Psyche and Cupid (I spent most of my middle school years reading greek myths instead of doing math, so, yeah….I was easily engrossed by this book) to be exact. Basically, the selfish king of Glome has three daughters, the oldest, Orual is our heroine. Orual raises her younger sisters, only to have her beloved baby sister, Pysche, the only person Orual truly loves, stolen from her by the gods. Orual eventually becomes an embittered, old, spinster warrior Queen, and not in a cool way like Boudica or the Amazons. At the end of  her long, tragic life, she writes her complaint to the gods so that other people can read it and know how evil the gods truly are, if they exist at all. She then crosses over the river Styx and into the underworld where she discovers the true meaning of her life and everything that happened to her. For more thorough plot summaries check out these articles:

Redeeming God – We Cannot See Till We Have Faces 

Be Thinking – Chronicles of Heaven Unshackled

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most… because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it… It almost hurt me, I felt like a bird in a cage when all the other birds of its kind are flying home… The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from… – my country, the place where I ought to have been born” 

― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces


The reason I love this story isn’t necessarily the plot, which admittedly, comes across as a bit of a downer, but by C.S. Lewis’ ability to overwhelm you with the story and get you to empathize with the main character. Not to mention, the unusual setting of a Greek Myth! Lewis’ love for philosophy and ancient history really shines in this novel. As Orual tells her story you start to relate to her. Her anger,insecurities, and prejudices are all justified, and you can’t help but to feel the same way she does. Yet, by the end of the story, Lewis turns it around and makes you question whether or not you were right or fair to relate to her. Did you let Orual’s judgements cloud your own?

If you love philosophy, mythology, C.S. Lewis, or are just looking for a really great novel, do yourself a favor, and check it out. Then we can talk for hours about it and bond.

Do you have a favorite novel that everyone should read?

– Bekah

“And for all I can tell, the only difference is that what many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream. But things that many see may have no taste or moment and things that are shown only to one may be spears and water-spouts of truth from the very depth of truth.” 
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces


“The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered. Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. Often when he was teaching me to write in Greek the Fox would say, ‘Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.’ A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

She Wore…Stripes and Florals

stripesandflorals1This edition of “She Wore” features stripes and florals, two of our favorite patterns.  Wearing two patterns at the same time isn’t as hard as it sounds.  Here’s what we came up with…

bekah3Bekah’s adorable blouse was the inspiration for this theme.  It has the whole stripes and florals thing built right into it.  How convenient!


Outfit Details: Top: thrifted. Skirt: Old Navy. niki2I wore my favorite striped shirt with floral Keds.  Sometimes pattern mixing is as easy as that.  Start simple, y’all.

niki1Outfit Details: Tee: thrifted.  Jeans: Old Navy.  Floral Keds: Ross.

stripesandflorals2We were all dressed up with no place to go, so we went for a walk in the woods and picked wildflowers.  We felt like a 21st century version of Anne Shirley and Diana Barry.  I mean, if they had lived in the modern era, they would totally go traipsing in the woods to take selfies, right?

– Niki and Bekah