My Favorite Natural Products


I have always struggled with acne. I've been to dermatologists, received skin peels, tried every product under the sun, you name it. It wasn't until I took an active step towards using all natural products (or as close to it as I can get) that I started to see a difference. Not to be dramatic or anything, but, my life has been changed.

I've been meaning to put together a post with all my favorite for a while but I don't know if  you've noticed or not (lol) but I've been a bit MIA. I started my full-time job in August and life has been crazy. But! Sharing my favorite products was important to me so I've making the time for this post. :)

Let's start by FACE:

1. I've been using this charcoal soap from this brand for at least a year now. I keep it in the shower and use it to wash my face. The smell is amazing and you feel so clean afterwards! It can be pretty drying though so make sure to put lotion on immediately after.

2. Honest face moisturizer is the most expensive face moisturizer I've ever bought (though that's not saying much) but you only need a little bit to cover a big area. They last quite a while and smell so clean and fresh. Plus the branding is great. :)

3. Beauty Counter face oil for skin clarity (or #3) is the jam. Beauty Counter uses all clean products and this little baby will last me a long time. You use just a bit and mix it with your moisturizer and you feel like a thousand bucks. 

4. Beauty Counter charcoal face mask is terrifying to put on but makes my skin feel AMAZING after. I know it seems like I am obsessed with charcoal but I really swear by it. Charcoal products are good for acne-prone skin!

5. My #1 love is Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. Holy smokes I could go on about this soap FOREVER. No, seriously. I've used it for the strangest of things (like getting out stains, etc.) and it works but it REALLY works on my face. This was the biggest game changer for me. Not only do they smell amazing (thanks essential oils) but you feel like your face it the cleanest its ever been. I've gotten several people hooked on it and my favorite thing is when people tell me success stories about other ways they've used this soap. You can also use it to clean your body!!

Now for TEETH:

1. I love Toms toothpaste. Technically it still has some things  in it that don't make it 100% clean but I love the taste, the feel, and I think it does a nice job. 

2. My friend got my into this charcoal teeth cleaner and whitener. It (like the charcoal face mask) is absolutely terrifying to apply (it makes your teeth black...) but your teeth feel like you just got back from the dentist after. You apply a little of the powder to your hand and then rub your wet toothbrush in it. Definitely one of those things that are great for us single folks haha


1. I like Trader Joe's Tea Tree Oil body wash. It smells like heaven. Enough said. 

2. I was given a free sample of Maple Holistic's Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and have really liked it so far. Shampoo and conditioner is the one area that I've waited the longest to switch over because it's so hard to find a good product. I love that all their products are 100% clean. 

3. Alba Conditioner smells amazing. When I scanned it with my clean app it still had some things that weren't 100% clean about it so I'm not sold on the product but I do love the smell and it's at least a bit better than your run-of-the-mill conditioners. 

What do you swear by and love? I love trying out new products. 
I'm still looking for a good deodorant. I need heavy duty and the natural ones just don't work for me. I've tried Native, Soapwalla, homemade, Ursa Major, Schmidt's, Tom's, and Lavanilla. Someone help!! 

My Guide to Portland

I've tried to write a recommendations post about Portland for so long and each time I do, I get overwhelmed by all that I want to say. So now I am going to extend myself some grace and say that I could not possibly include EVERYTHING I love in Portland so these are the go-to's. Phew.
Ok. Here we go.

First off, Portland is divided into 4 sections. There is SW (downtown, Portland State, Goose Hollow), NW (The Pearl, Alphabet District, Slabtown), NE (Alberta, Mississippi, N Portland, etc.), and SE (Division, Hawthorne, Laurelhurst, etc.). The Willamette river divides east and west and Burnside street divides north and south! Downtown and The Pearl district divide at Burnside (as a general spot) near Powell's Book Store. Highway 405 divides The Pearl and the Alphabet District. 

So now that we are all situated...

T I M E   T O   E A T
1. Tasty & Alder- go for cocktails or dinner but you NEED to go for brunch. Also their radicchio salad is in my top 10 favorite things I've ever eaten list. 

2. Kiva- delicious acai bowls and smoothies (pictured above)

3. Ava Gene's- an amazing culinary experience every time I go. It's Italian. That should say enough.

4. Tilt- delicious burgers and tator tots. Definitely a good low key spot.

5. Bamboo sushi- super fresh and delicious!

6. 23 Hoyt- I like their brunch but dinner is also good!

7. Food carts- I love whole bowl

8. Ken's Artisan Pizza- AMAZING! 

9. Tusk- delicious middle eastern fare and the decor is 100%

10. Grassa- handmade pasta!

11. Matador- a chain but great for street tacos

12. Por Que No?- a classic but I do love their tacos and aqua frescas

13. Produce Row- fun happy hour place. Sit on the patio!

14. Sweedeedee- go for brunch! It's small but worth it!

15. Please Louise- delicious pizza!

16. Pine Street Market- like an adult cafeteria. You have to go for lunch. Don't forget Wiz Bang Bar (that's Salt & Straw soft serve for ya!)

17. Pip's Original Doughnuts- YOU HAVE TO GO HERE. This is my favorite doughnut spot hands down. Sure, go to Blue Star, do what you want, but you HAVE to go here.  

18. Guero- delicious Mexican tortas

19. Vivienne Kitchen and Pantry- go for brunch!

20. Olympia Provisions- love their brunch. 

21. Podnah's- their bacon is the best of all time. Now you have to go just to see if I'm right. 

22. Prost- a German bar and restaurant that has a large selection of only German beers.

T I M E   F O R   A   D R I N K

 1. The Rambler- my favorite bar on Mississippi. It's in a house and they have a killer back patio and fire pits out front. 

2. Multnomah Whiskey Library- worth the wait! Put your name in then go explore downtown.

3. Departure- rooftop bar!! It's part of The Nines hotel.

4. 10 Barrel Brewing- delicious beer and they have a rooftop patio.

5. Bar Bar- also on Mississippi. This is a part of Mississippi Studios so there are usually concerts happening right next store. Maybe you can snag a ticket!

6. Dig a Pony- I love the feel of this place.

7. Bit House- one of the oldest bars in Oregon! Right across from Dig a Pony too!

8. Vault- I've made every friend in town meet me here for a drink. I love their Habanero martini!! Also best happy hour!!

9. Pope House- also in a old house!

10. Church- there's a photobooth!

11. Eastburn Public House- they have swings!

12. Kask- tiny & intimate.

13. Irving St. Kitchen- They have a really good happy hour and a delicious drink called the Berry Blast.

14. Rontoms- one of the best happy hours and a really fun spot.

 (Friends at EastBurn)

D O N T   F O R G E T   C O F F E E
 1. Heart Coffee Roasters- my favorite. Hands down. They do cupping classes and different brewing methods that are fun for the coffee addict!

2. Upper Left Roasters- great spot to sit down for a while and their coffee is 100%

3. Never Coffee

4. Barista- my favorite is the one on NW 23rd

5. Tea Bar- obviously a tea place but you have to go

6. Sisters Coffee- the cutest and coziest

7. Chai at Pips' Original Doughnuts- my favorite is heart of gold

8. Coava Coffee Roasters

9. Ristretto Roasters- go to the one in Schoolhouse Electric and shop around!

10. If you have to go to Stumptown, go to the one in the Ace Hotel.

11. Water Ave. Coffee

12. Cathedral Coffee

13. Good Coffee- big influence on giving back

14. Kainos Coffee

T H I N G S   T O   D O

1. Walk the waterfront. I recommend going over the Tilikum bridge. I like walking on the east side of the river (opposite of downtown).

2. Visit the rose garden in Washington Park

3. Catch a concert at the Doug Fir Lounge or Mississippi Studios

4. Walk up and down Alberta St., Mississippi St., Hawthorne, and/or Division. 

5. Walk around NW 23rd. Stop at Salt & Straw.

6. Go hike the Gorge. I like taking people to Multnomah Falls then Horsetail and climbing the upper Horsetail. If you are feeling like a longer, more intense hike, do Tunnel Falls.

7. Hike around Forest Park.

8. Beach day on Sauvie Island in the summer. In the fall visit the pumpkin patch there!

9. Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley. See THIS post.

10. Explore Hood River. Drive the fruit loop and taste delicious ciders. You can do this after the gorge!

11. Do a brewery tour- you could go to 10 Barrel, Rogue, Deschutes, Fat Heads, and Bridgeport all in one afternoon and they are all right next to each other.

12. Visit the Grotto. 

13. Relax in Laurelhurst Park. Bring a frisbee.

14. Go to the beach! I love Cannon Beach and Pacific City!

15. Drive up to Mount Hood. Tell him I say hello. Eat something at the historic Timberline Lodge.

16. Catch a movie at the Living Room Theaters

17. Shop in downtown & the pearl- I love Tender Loving Empire, Poler, Ecru, Boys Fort, Porchlight, Made in PDX, Bridge & Burn, Work/Shop, Union Way, and Alder & Co. Oh, and get lost in Powell's!

18. Saturday Market in Downtown

19. Portland Farmers Market on the Portland State campus

20. See if there is a '90's night at the Crystal Ballroom. If so, GO.

21. Pack a picnic or get food to go at Pine Street Market and sit by the waterfront

22. Relax in Cathedral Park.

23. Go to Mt. Tabor, Rocky Butte, or Pittock Mansion for some pretty views!

24. Buy a distillery row passport and try out some of the amazing, local distilleries!

W H E R E   T O   S T A Y

I recommend staying in downtown or NW for easy transportation and use of the streetcar and the MAX (our modes of transportation out here). If you are planning on renting a car, then maybe an AirBnB on the east side would be a good idea! You can rent bikes at any of the Nike Biketown locations for easy access to bikes and another mode of transportation other than walking (they are bright orange and you can't miss them!). 

I've had friends and family stay at the Residence Inn in the Pearl (great location), The Nines (in downtown), and an AirBnB on the east side. Most everyone else has just stayed with me so I'm not incredibly helpful with recommending a place to stay. If you need something cheap and are willing to be more adventurous, there is a nice hostel in the Alphabet District that was just redone! 

Phew!! That was a lot. You still with me?
With this list, you are bound to have a good time in Portland. Send me pictures!

Why Knot Explore:: Charleston

Going to Charleston has been a dream of mine for quite some time. If you look back to THIS post (hello 2013), you'll see that I've always felt that Charleston was a kindred spirit kind of city. For my sister and I's graduation trips, we spent 8 days around Charleston. Our home base was with our cousin on Seabrook Island just south of Charleston and we took day trips into Charleston, around the greater Charleston area, and to Savannah. I'll do another one day guide for Savannah but for now I want to share with you my little guide to Charleston. 

I had done a LOT of research prior to our trip on where I wanted to eat, shop, drink, and walk around. So that's how I'll break this down! This is going to be a guide for the greater Charleston area since we spent a decent amount of time not specifically within the city of Charleston. :)

T I M E   T O   E A T!
(obstinate daughter!)
 1. Minero- delicious Mexican food!!
2. The Ordinary- best oysters of my life. Pricey but worth it for HH oysters!
3. Cru Cafe- delicious, fresh food that was a HUGE crowd pleaser
4. Obstinate Daughter- on Sullivan's Island and 100% worth it. I got the Lieutenant Dan pizza!
5. Beardcat's Sweet Shop- yummy gelato right below Obstinate Daughter!
6. Monza- amazing pizza 
7. The Daily- their breakfast tacos were unlike anything I'd had before.

(the ordinary- in an old bank!)

W H E N   Y O U   N E E D   A   D R I N K

1. The Watch- rooftop bar!
2. The Ordinary- they specialize in rum based cocktails!
3. The Living Room- at The Dewberry hotel and the people that work there are THE BEST
4. 48 Wine Bar- on Kiawah Island and they let you taste so many different wines all at your own pace! 
5. Rise Coffee Bar- so cute and they had some delicious latte flavors
6. Firefly Distillery-  on Wadmalaw island and they have a sweet tea flavored vodka and 1000 other delicious flavors.
(Rise coffee bar)
** there were so many more places I wanted to try but my sister is still underage and we didn't want the whole trip to be centered around alcohol and cool bars ya know?**
   T I M E   T O   E X P L O R E

(Boone Hall Plantation)
 1. South of Broad- the CUTEST homes. I could walk around there for hours.
2. King Street- shopping!
3. Boone Hall Plantation- loved the tours and the grounds were un.real.
4. Angel Oak- so cool
5. Sullivan's Island- the beach as well as eating at Obstinate Daughter!
6. Cannon Street- walk down Cannon St. and go inside the cute shops. I liked Cannonborough Collective (the shop owner was SO sweet), mac & murphy, and Sugar Bakeshop. 

** we also toured the Calhoun Mansion and were NOT impressed. I would not recommend paying the money to tour the house. I ADORE touring old homes and plantations but this looked like a hoarders dream and our tour guide was pretty rude. The new owners have JAM PACKED the place with old artifacts. Just an FYI.**

Overall, Charleston was a dream. As I mentioned before, we spent a decent amount of time on Seabrook Island (the beach is pictured above) but I also saw so much of Charleston and totally get why people love it! I can't wait to go back with a group of girlfriends sometime. 

A Change of Plans

As of a month ago, Portland was going to be my forever  home. I've built the 20-something life of my dreams over the past 2 years, so how could I leave? But while applying for clinical fellowship's this semester, I kept hearing people mentioning, "Why don't you relocate?" "You could live anywhere, you should go on an adventure!" And my heart kept saying, "no, no, no. I don't want to leave. I'm too invested here. I LOVE it here!" 

Well God had something else in mind. 

Once I handed over the fellowship process to God and really listened to what He had to say to me, it was very clear what I had to do. And I didn't 100% like it. But I didn't absolutely hate it either. Basically he said:
 You're moving to California. And not only that, but you're moving back to Sacramento. You've got things to do there and people to see. Get going. 

Well shoot.

And guess what? The minute I applied within the area, I'm not even kidding you, the next day I got an interview and within the next few days I received a job offer. Now that's when you know you've been listening to the holy spirit. 

When I was trying to fight to stay in Portland, I kept hitting road blocks and found myself frustrated, beat down, and overwhelmed. Once I gave up control and really listened to the path He has for me (which took probably about a month tbh), the path became so clear and everything opened up. 

When I envisioned the summer ahead, I never saw definitive plans or imagined myself in Portland, strangely enough. But I didn't really think much of it. Now I know he was preparing my mind to move this summer back to the place I, honestly, said I would never move back to. 

Funny how that works. 

While leaving this place will be extremely hard, I feel incredibly blessed that it IS hard and that I've made such amazing friends, found a home church, invested in community, and really loved on this place. I will probably cry buckets of tears as I drive down I-5 but I know Portland is just a hop, skip, and a plane ride away. 

So there it is! Today was my last day of my full time externship, I graduate with my masters on May 20th, and I start my clinical fellowship this summer! Holy cow!! 


All of this to say, don't forget to take a minute everyday to sit and listen to what God has to say. He definitely wants to sit and talk with us and I bet you He has some big, important things to say to ya. :) 

*All photos by my friend Carson*

what is it about spring?

I adore Spring. Team Spring for life. 
But man, Spring loves throwing me for a doozy every. single. year. 

Maybe it is just being in my early 20's. Maybe it's because I went straight to grad school. 
Who knows.

Spring 2015: waiting to hear back from grad schools, insecure, living back at home, trying to figure out what my next steps would be, enjoying family time, making some money, etc.

Spring 2016: friend drama, tough classes and my first clinical placement, feeling unsure if I can do this whole speech thing, making great new friends, loving Portland, etc. 

Spring 2017: no classes only work, friends leave and friends stay, took on more volunteer roles, studied for comps, passed comps, applying to all the jobs, unsure of my next steps, etc. 

Somehow springtime always feels like this giant cliff edge. Come May there is the opportunity to jump off and skip to the next ledge or stay where you are and set up camp. This is where I'm at right now. 

I'm desperately trying to stop and listen to God because I know He always delivers. But my silly type-A personality always wants me to push harder, apply to more, be better, etc. I don't want to live a life based off of fear. So each day is a fun adventure in giving it up, handing it over to God, and sitting patiently. Then repeat the whole phase again because I wake up back in my anxious state. 

I don't know why I'm writing all this. I haven't written a post since February. I think this platform has always been a good mirror for me. Kind of a, "see Allie! Look how worried you were." 

Because here's the thing. I KNOW come sometime soon I will look back on this and laugh. I KNOW there's a plan. I KNOW I am in trusted hands. 

Oh Spring, you beautiful, flower filled season of uncertainty. Never change.

New Motivation


Several weeks ago I was talking to my friend about turning 24 and she made the comment that 24 was when she felt her body slow down and she had to actively work out more consistently. Now I don't know if it's because she said that or because it is really happening, but I feel like my body is slowing down. (honestly, I'm probably just thinking about it way more)

I've been really lucky all my life (and due to my athletic past) in that I've only had to worry about weight after I studied abroad in Italy and gained a few pounds. But now I feel this new urgency to be more intentional about how much I exercise and what I eat. (In case you're wondering, I'm still eating like a 12 year old with my constant treats and lunchable lunches. :) ) 

All of this to say, I am a Blacktag member at Core Power Yoga (the best!! kicks my butt all the time!) and partially because I feel I need to get my money's worth and partially because I feel sluggish more now than ever before, I'm trying to go 3 x a week. And normally my 23 year old year would say "ok perfect. that's all the exercise i'll do for the week!" but my 24 year old self feels the need to do more. So on Tuesday I went on a jog (my lungs started burning and I felt like I wanted to die but hey, I did it) and the last 2 days I've gone to yoga with plans to go tonight and on Saturday I'm snowshoeing! All of a sudden I look at myself and go "WHO AM I? 5 days of exercise??" 

And then at yoga last night the instructor walked us through the hurdler pose and the competitive part of me was all "YEAH! LET'S DO THIS! I CAN DO THAT!" so I tried it out. Let's just say it was a total fail haha. My teeny little arms could not hold up my body and I had to stop before I hurt myself. But instead of becoming discouraged or looking around and thinking "well all of them can do it, why can't I?" I just thought, "Guess I just need to work harder on my arm strength!" 
Guys. That's progress.

 (here's the hurdler pose for context. my face did not look like hers)

So what am I rambling on about? 
While I still wouldn't say I LOVE exercising in a forced way (take me on a hike, snowshoeing, long walk, roller blading etc. and I'm good!) I'm realizing how important it is and how much I want to be strong! I don't even want to focus on the weight part. I want to do the hurdler pose and not break my arms and I want to do a head stand consistently and I want to run without feeling like I am dying. 

What's motivating you? Why do you work out?

Looking Back on 2016

If 2015 was the year of change than 2016 was the year of travel and contentment. This was one of the best years yet. I went to a new country (Hey Canada!), spent time in 6 different states, visited 1 new state, fully dived into my career, made some amazing new friends, invested more in my church, and finished my last few classes that I'll ever have to take! 
Let's review:


My sister came to visit at the very beginning of the month, I celebrated my birthday in the city, some friends and I drove to Bend, I explored new trails in Portland, and I started my first clinical placement at a preschool and elementary school! Quite the eventful month.

Felt like Cinderella up in the snow, explored more parks in the city, went to Seattle with my parents for the first of 3 trips, and enjoyed the sunny days. 


March was busy with school but I did manage to sneak in a spring break trip to Tucson and see my best friends (the best!!) and admire my pretty campus on sunny days. 


April was beautiful! I indulged in some Pip's (my favorite!), ran my first 10k in tulip fields (!!!), hiked some more, and was a basic Portlander.


In May my best friend came to visit, my dad flew out to watch the Warriors vs. Trailblazers in a playoff game, finished my spring clinical placement, ran a 5k in the pouring rain, went to Yosemite with my family, celebrated 1 year of grad school being completed, watched my sister graduate and finally ended the month with some friends visiting and a trip to SF. Phew. What a month.


In June I went to the coast with my friend, watched the Rose Parade and the whole city was a rosy hue, explored some fun Portland activities, and my mom flew out to go wine tasting in the Willamette valley. Such a fun month. I also began my summer classes and my summer clinical placement this month.


July was another goodie! It started off with a road trip to the Painted Hills, some lake time, one of my oldest friends coming to visit, joining my family in Mendocino for my grammie's 80th, and some delicious wine tasting with friends!


August was possibly the best month! It started off with the end of my summer classes and clinical placement, a quick trip to the coast, a camping trip, 2 trips to Seattle, a road trip to Canada seeing Vancouver Island and Vancouver, an epic hike in the gorge, and the beginning of fall classes/ my fall placement. Holy moly.


September started off epic with a road trip to Crater Lake National Park and camping at Diamond Lake and then was filled with school, getting used to my clinic placement and lots of fun nights out with friends.


October started off with a spontaneous trip to Vegas to celebrate my sister's 21st, an amazing retreat with my church, lots of leaf pictures (this fall was unreal!!), and pretending I was eleven for Halloween. :)


I took more leaf pictures as fall was winding down, I went to Philadelphia for the first time for the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association conference, died over all of the cute Philly doorways, and went home for Thanksgiving to see the family. We ran a 5k the morning per tradition. :)


December was bittersweet and great. I finished up my last set of classes ever but also had to say goodbye to some friends until graduation. But I also got to attend some Christmas parties and spend time with my Portland family before I drove home for Christmas.

For some I know 2016 was a rough year but, at least on my end, when I look at these pictures all I can think is how blessed I was and how many amazing opportunities were placed in my path. I see no signs of any of this stopping in 2017.

I sincerely hope the beginning of 2017 has been restful and contemplative for you as well. Let's all show more love and give endless grace every day. On today, inauguration day, I really want to stress how crucial it is to be loving, caring, accepting, and gracious today and tomorrow.
Happy Friday!

Song Recommendation:
Berlin- Bears Den