I am very new to QGIS. I am working from work so there is extra security which is why I think I have problems accessing OpenLayers plugins. The only one that seems to load is Google Maps. Google maps has too many features. I really just need the outlines to some northwest states. Ideas? recommendations?
Cartographic Boundary Shapefiles should be what you want and they should load faster than a web-based layer. Also you can delete any states you don't want.
There is also the Tiger/Line Shapefile database you can choose which products you want to download.
Since you are new to QGIS the steps would be to 1) download and extract the files 2) add the .shp file as a layer in QGIS by pressing Ctrl+Shift+V and browsing to the file.