post-title Checking In: Camping at Clear Lake, a New Book, and a Shrimp Pesto Salad Recipe

Checking In: Camping at Clear Lake, a New Book, and a Shrimp Pesto Salad Recipe

Checking In: Camping at Clear Lake, a New Book, and a Shrimp Pesto Salad Recipe
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Major snack action while camping at Clear Lake

It’s been about a week since we got home from camping at Clear Lake, and I think I’ve *finally* recovered. HA HA HA HA! I know. You would think that sitting outside, like, making s’mores, playing Go Fish, parking your butt in a chair and reading for two hours straight (DREAMY) would be totally relaxing, but…no, not really. I learned a lot from this trip, including that camping can be kind of exhausting, especially if you have to plan the trip and parent a young person at the same time. I mommed SO HARD, you don’t even know!

Why is eating a hot dog outside so fun?!
The path to the swimming area at Clear Lake
Relaxing after a couple hours at the beach

Camping as a parent is waaaaay harder

Honestly, I did not realize how tiring parenting while camping was until now. Most of my previous experiences with camping were trips where I just showed up with a sleeping bag and a box of Frosted Flakes, because every summer in high school, my best friend Jen’s extended family would pack up all the gear and the kids and the food and drive out to a lake somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where we’d spend a few days camping. I didn’t appreciate all of the work involved in the planning and the food prep and the packing.

I was crazy exhausted when we got home, but happy because we left with lots of good memories that I hope get tucked away into Connor’s memories like those trips with Jen’s family are tucked away in mine (like the time my friend Cindy and I unknowingly pitched our tent on a slight downhill grade, so we spent the entire night slowly sliding down the hill in our sleeping bags, HA HA HA!).

Yes, I’m on a cot.

Thumbs up to Clear Lake

By the way, Clear Lake State Park is lovely. 100% recommended. It’s about two hours north of Marin County, and it’s a beautiful place to camp because there’s a lot of trees and life surrounding the like, so there’s lots of animals and plants and places to hike, fish and swim.

There are three campgrounds within the park, and we stayed at the Kelsey Creek one in site 88, which was perfect for us because it was a little further from the main strip of campsites and consequently quieter. It also had lots of trees for shade. The only downside was that it’s a bit far from the swimming and fishing areas, about a 15-20 minute walk, so if you have little ones, you might want to ride bikes or drive your car out to those places. Yes, you can totally walk there (and there are beautiful, easy trails), but it takes some time.

The creek next to our campsite
Fishing in a tutu, because that’s the way to do it
Baby’s first camp s’mores!

Now, how clear was Clear Lake? Well, it was a little murky, to be honest! In the swimming area, the lake itself is nice and warm for swimming, which was nice, but there were a ton of plants floating on the surface near the water’s edge, so you won’t be able to look down and see your feet like you can in Lake Tahoe. Connor was a little bothered by the plants at first, but after I told her that they were “mermaid jewelry” and made some lake grass into bracelets, she got into it.

Also, there’s an outdoor shower close to the swimming area, so you can easily rinse off before returning to your camp.

A view of the lake!

A new book!

When we weren’t swimming, sitting around or snacking (THERE WERE A LOT OF SNACKS), I was reading. I started a book I’ve had on Audible for ages, The Silent Patient, a New York Times Best Seller.

Super scary, man

It’s a fictional thriller about a woman who allegedly murders her husband and then refuses to speak. She gets a new therapist who starts playing detective to get to the root of the murder, and chaos ensues. It’s suspenseful and scary, so I wouldn’t call it relaxing, but if you like a story that doesn’t let up, you’ll probably enjoy it. I am so far.

Speaking of reading, don’t laugh, but I just added Mariah Carey’s memoir to my reading list. Her book is coming out in September, and I think I’m going to pre-order it as I love me some Mimi.

I hope she talks about the making of her Butterfly album, which is my favorite MC album because it has a lot of her best songs, most of which are underrated, IMHO — The Roof and Breakdown (with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) are easily in my top 5.

Mimi’s makeup!

Yet another eternal source of ’90s makeup inspiration

Oh, and ohmigosh! — I recently fell through a Wikipedia black hole (you know how it is) and found out that Bizzy Bone, one of the members of Bone Thugs, does a lot of advocacy for children who are abducted because he was kidnapped as a child. A babysitter saw a picture of him on America’s Most Wanted, and that’s how he got rescued from his abductors.

Did you know this?? I had no idea.

Abrupt transition ahead

Alright. On a lighter and completely unrelated note, I’ve been making this quick lunch salad lately and loving it — pesto shrimp salad with pear gorgonzola vinaigrette.

It’s super easy. Start by defrosting a handful of frozen shrimp in the fridge overnight. Then, next day at lunch, remove the shells and tails, and stir in a few spoonfuls of pre-made pesto.

A TJ’s staple, Genova Pesto

Next, in a big bowl, add 2 cups spinach, 1-2 cups sliced cucumbers and bell peppers, and dress with two tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Pear Gorgonzola Vinaigrette (it’s in the refrigerated section with the pre-cut, bagged salad).


Add the shrimp to your greens, and you’re done!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,