Archive for the ‘Life as I know it’ Category

Review: The North Face Etip gloves

November 19th, 2011 No comments

Get OutdoorsYes, being a blogger and a social media slave means I always want to stay connected (go ahead and groan, we all have our flaws!) But my hands get cold in the fall and winter and regular gloves will not work on my iPhone. So what’s a girl to do but get technology-friendly gloves.

I recently bought The North Face’s Etip gloves and I have to say, they are pretty sweet. I usually wear a lightweight stretchy glove in all but the coldest weather, so instead of buying Mountain Wear’s Power Stretch Gloves or Outdoor Research’s PL 150 Gloves, like I have in the past, I invested in the Etips. They are bit heavier, thus warmer, which I like, but still give me the dexterity I need. Yet, the best part is I can text or Tweet with them on. And I have to say, I can actually do a better job at touching the correct character because the pointer finger tip has a bit of an edge on it so actually allows me to be more precise than bare handed; this I did not expect.

They also have little grippy dots on the fingers and palms which I think would be good for holding a rope while on belay when ice climbing. This I have not tried yet, but hope to this winter.

I bought the Deep Water Blue because I like color, but they also come in TNF Black and Moonlit Ivory for women and Graphite Grey, TNF Black, and Deep Water Blue for men.

At $40 a pair, it is a bit of an investment, but so far totally worth it. I can keep my hands covered at all times and still stay connected with my children, friends, and business colleagues.

For more information check out TNF.

Rosie’s Toesies Review

November 9th, 2011 2 comments

Rosie's Toesies great for climbers!I have a weakness for body care products, especially high quality ones; I am my mother’s daughter in this respect! I recently had the chance to try an amazing product that I think a lot of readers who climb would like to know about. It’s made by Riveting Skincare and it’s called Rosie’s Toesies. I think it is probably the best foot creme I have ever tried.

My feet get pretty calloused from jamming them into my climbing shoes and then playing on rocks, but after injuring my ankle and not be able to even get my foot wet for 6 weeks, the amount of dry skin and callouses accumulated was, well, disgusting!

I started using Rosie’s Toesies twice a day, beginning the first day I received the ok from my doctor to resume my normal hygienic routine. The first thing I noticed about it was that it was not greasy or sticky when applied. It also smelled amazing, I am a sucker for products scented with essential oils, Peppermint and Rosemary are the primary oils in this product which both have anti-fungal properties. However, these two attributes alone would mean nothing if the product didn’t perform, but it did!

After using it for 1 week, I saw great improvement and by 2 weeks my feet were soft and smooth and callous free! This is because Rosie’s Toesies has fruit acids in it which help exfoliate dead skin. I usually use Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme, which is a thick nighttime balm, but I have never gotten results as quickly with it.

Another cool thing about the company is it is owned by a police officer, Sarah Mackesey. Sarah found there were few choices for hard working women, who at the end of the day, still wanted to look feminine. Wearing heavy police boots everyday put her feet through the paces; I think outdoorsy women go through the same thing in pursuit of of our passions!

So whether it is your career, hobby, or just life that toughens your feet, Rosie’s Toesies is just the TLC they need!

2 Weekends, 3 Great Lakes

October 27th, 2011 No comments

Freedom! After spending about two months at home healing, I couldn’t wait to take a road trip, so I took two.

My ankle is still not completely healed, I am able to walk ~ slowly and was prescribed to ride a bike by my doctor, Dr. Kadakia (aka Dr Awesome!) My boyfriend and I decided to take two weekend trips and explore areas of Michigan that I have never been before.

Our first trip was an overnighter in Tawas which is on the shore of Lake Huron. I have spent a lot of time up north on the west side of the state, but never the east side. Tawas was a pleasant surprise. We were car camping at the Tawas State Park because of my inability to backpack, but there is nothing like sleeping outside! The weather was blustery with 50 mph winds and overcast sky, but we didn’t care.

The park has a beautiful beach with a lighthouse on it and lucky for us, they were giving night tours to the top of it that weekend. They only offer this once a year, it was pretty cool to see the lights from Port Huron, which is a good three hours away, from the top.

The next day we stopped at the local gear shop, Nordic Sports to poke around and met Gary, the owner who started a non-profit group to maintain winter X-country and snowshoe trails in the Huron Forest. He gave us some great maps full of hiking and winter trails and told us about a hidden treasure in that area that I am going to keep to myself (Sorry!) Regrettably, we didn’t have time to hike any of the trails, but plan on going back this winter, it was that enticing.

We spent the following weekend on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. We spent a night on Mackinac Island, a place I have always wanted to go, but had never been. It was the last weekend they were open for the season. The island is beautiful and is famous for having the historic Grand Hotel and for being automobile free; bikes are the transportation of choice. We rented bikes on the island and spent the afternoon pedaling along the coast, which was magnificent. Seriously what the doctor ordered! We had perfect fall weather and both agreed the ride was the highlight of the trip.

After a night on the island we drove up to Tahquamenon Falls. Again we car camped, but luckily we were virtually the only people there, so it felt more like “real” camping than Tawas did. We spent the two days there light hiking to see the upper and lower falls. The falls have an orange tinge as they spill over the rocks; the color is a result of tannins leached from a cedar swamp that feeds into the river. During peak season there is a brewery at the upper falls, but they were closed for the season when we were there.

Tahquamenon Upper Falls

Gitchi GumiWe also drove over to Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior for my first glimpse of Gitchi Gumi. Whitefish Bay is where the Edmund Fitzgerald was shipwrecked and they have a Shipwreck museum there, but we were too cheap to pay the $18 per person admission fee. The beach was gorgeous; white sand, a splattering of rocks and the deep blue of largest fresh water lake in the world = awesome.

It is trips like this that make me appreciate the state I live in. Seems a shame I am not more into water sports though. Oh well, so many outdoor interests, so little time!

A word about being phony

September 26th, 2011 6 comments

My high school reunion recently happened.  I am not saying which one, or how many years, no sense in you trying to trick me! I had mixed feelings about going, I kept vacillating,  but in the end, I had a conflict that weekend and couldn’t go.

The reason I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not was because the thought of high school brought up a lot of old feelings for me.  I was always “trying” to be “somebody”.  After graduation, I didn’t really keep in contact with anyone.  And it’s not because they weren’t good people, in fact, Facebook has brought some of those people back into my life, which is awesome.  It was more me.  It was exhausting for me to try to keep up with the silly pretenses I had set for myself.

Thankfully, this is no longer the case and hasn’t been for a while.  I am not trying to “be” anyone or anything.  I am just me.  I am the happiest I have ever been.  And what may seem ironic, is that I feel my true calling is marketing through social media.  One may assume a marketer has to be a “spin doctor” or not be authentic to sell.  But that is the beauty of social media marketing.  It only works if you ARE authentic.  You can spot a phony in this field from a mile away.  I think this is why I am so drawn to it.

There has been some online conversations about the Internet, and if it is indeed the great equalizer or not.  In a way, I think it is, and let me explain.  It is an equalizer in the sense that I can, right now, become of a part of a large community without having to be exclusively invited.  Whether I am accepted is up to me, my behavior, authenticity, and values.  At no other time could this have happened.  Sure, I have a four-year degree, but so does just about everyone else.  This doesn’t make me stand out to potential employers or business contacts.  What does make me stand out is me: My end of the conversation, my ability to give and to support others, and my ability to receive with integrity.

I no longer feel inadequate like I did at 16 (and, honestly for a good chunk of my 20′s).  It may have taken me a while but I finally learned just to be.  I think the next time I will go to my reunion, no matter what, and I will challenge myself to be grateful to that 16 year-old-girl, because without her I wouldn’t be where I am am right now, which is a really amazing place to be.

More about positive thinking

September 20th, 2011 6 comments

Since my injury, my computer has become my best friend.  To say I’ve had a lot of down time is an understatement.  Besides my loving family and friends, what has been seeing me through is my positive attitude and social media.  Let me explain.

At the suggestion of by both my real estate-guru friend, and one of my favorite co-worker’s, I began reading a lot of books on positive thinking and the laws of attraction (like attracts like). I can’t say any of the concepts were new to me, just somewhat pushed aside or forgotten.  This post may be sounding awfully like some of my other recent posts, but forgive me, I feel the need to shout-out the benefits I am reaping!

Since opening myself up to opportunity and monitoring my thoughts (and more importantly my mood) so many great things have been streaming my way.  Four guest post slots, including one that is live today on Mark Schaefer’s Blog {Grow} which is my first guest post not on the outdoors, but social media, my other passion.  And then late last night I received a call about a new opportunity that I don’t want to go into just yet, but is very exciting as well.

Even my children are noticing a difference in my attitude.  My daughter pointed out to me that I seem happier a few days ago.  Seems kind of ironic seeing as how I have an external fixture on my leg that is mostly painful; yet it is true, I feel happy and grateful for every good thing in my life and apparently, it’s showing!

What I’ve been up to

September 12th, 2011 5 comments

I have been a bit quiet lately with my blog.  I am still sitting with my foot elevated with a metal frame embedded into my calf.  I have never been this inactive in my life.  Getting up to go to the bathroom has become my daily exercise!  A far cry from my usual life.  But don’t worry dear readers, I have been keeping my spirits up!

I have been reading books on marketing, positive thinking and positive thinking in marketing.  They have been so helpful!  Just before my bouldering accident, I was feeling my career was in a rut and was feeling down and helpless about it. I have been using this time to reclaim my once optimistic outlook and have succeeded.  I have always used visualization and goal-setting to manifest what I want in life, such as my truck, travel (I have recently gone to Puerto Rico and Paris), the time for pursing my hobbies, and having a terrific partner in my life that loves me and my kids. I have attracted all of these gifts into my life.  My career has been the only slow spot in my list of desires, so I have taken this unexpected pause as a sort of gift to focus on my professional life.

The only thing I have been slow on is writing.  I have two guest posts I have been working on, but have been feeling a bit blocked.  So my goal for this week is to finish both of those posts!  In the mean time, enjoy A New Independence  a guest post I wrote about living life on my terms for Vertical Girl, a women’s climbing clothing company.

An unexpected pause

August 25th, 2011 8 comments

An unexpected pause, it is different than a pregnant pause.  Or maybe it isn’t in this case.

I recently dislocated my ankle in five places.  It was not broken, thankfully (I attribute that to my diligent consumption of calcium) but it was so badly dislocated after resetting it the doctor had to place metal screws and pins to keep it from shifting back.  I am now on crutches, cannot put any weight on it, and have to keep it elevated for about six weeks.  After that I will have to wear a cast.

The strangest thing to me is how it happened.  I was bouldering, which I am not very good at, and don’t often do.  However, I was climbing pretty good that day.  I was one move away from sending it.  It was a move where I was horizontal to the ground and had to reach back for the last move.  I didn’t think I could do it, so I decided to jump down and try again in a few minutes.  I jumped down, and landed perfectly on my feet, my knees slightly bending to absorb the shock, when suddenly, in my head I felt searing pain and felt my ankle buckle under in a really not-natural kind of way.  I then dropped to the floor and then sat up.  My friends asked if I was ok and very quietly I said no, that I wasn’t ok and I was pretty sure I needed to go to the hospital.

My boyfriend sat behind me while preparations were being made to transport me there.  For a minute, the pain was so bad I didn’t know how I would cope, I thought I might pass out.  But I didn’t.  I didn’ t scream, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get bossy or mean.  In crisis I tend to get really focused and calm.

As soon as we got to the hospital the attendant that helped wheel me in told the nurses at the receiving desk we needed a room right away; that there wasn’t time to admit me.  The bone had not poked through my skin, but it was wanting to something fierce.  The skin above it was white and transparent.

After taking some x-rays the team of doctors decided to put me under anesthesia and do the procedure right away even though I hadn’t been fasting.

So fast forward to me, here, on my living room couch, living as an invalid for the next few weeks.

But the whole thing is so weird to me because it was such a random thing.  I honestly, 100%, think my descent was spot on.  So was my landing, yet my ankle says Fail.  Another weird thing that happened the same day, was a person I had been dying to do a guest post for emailed that day and asked me if I was interested.  Yes please! I can’t help but think this is the calm before some storm.  Like the universe is forcing me to relax because change is in the wind and it’s gonna get crazy.  I feel like everything I have been working toward is culminating.

I don’t know, maybe it is just me that is crazy (probably).  All that I know is that I am maximizing every minute I have off of work to write, read, goal-set, visualize and connect.

Dirtbag climbing: Family style

July 23rd, 2011 8 comments

Mt Rushmore

Taking my kids on their first road trip out West may have left me broke, but it was so worth it. Not only was it their first time west, but also their first time outdoor climbing and first time dirtbagging it.  We took I-90 out to Lander Wyoming and hit all of the attractions like Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Wall Drug then rounded it out with a (too short of a stint) through the Tetons and Yellowstone.

Being a single mom who doesn’t make a whole lot of money, I knew deciding to take them on a trip like that would be a stretch.  My plan? Do it as cheaply as possible!  Which meant choices like: cereal with milk on the back of the tailgate in the mornings in parking lots for breakfast.  The first morning of this my 12 year old showed her disdain by rolling her eyes and scrunching up her nose, “Really mom?”  Yes, really, my little diva!  We also lived on Nutella, PBJ, and other simple foods.

My son eating breakfast

Other dirtbagging tricks were on the way out sleeping in my truck.  My son was short enough to lie down in the backseat and my daughter and I reclined the front seats.  It was really pretty comfortable.  When we arrived to our destination, the International Climber’s Festival, we opted for the free camping, took $2 showers at NOLS, and I volunteered to offset the cost of my admission.

By the middle of the trip they pretty much embraced our hippie ways.  One of the funniest things was when we stopped at a truck stop in Rapid City for a shower.  My daughter was like, we can’t stop here, it is full of “burly men!”  I told her to trust me, it was perfectly legit.  My days from following the Dead taught me many tricks of living on the road.  She calmed down when she saw it was in fact clean and not at all sketch.  This trip reminded me of how much fun I used to have in the summers living like a hippie, I fully embraced it and had a great time, my attitude wore off on them and they started to relax and have fun with it too.

My daughter crushin' it at the Ok Corral

Road tripping out West is the quintessential American experience.  I am really grateful I was able to do this trip with my kids.  It is something they will always remember.  I giggle when I think of them at my age talking about it to each other, saying something like, “Remember when our crazy mom took us out West when we were kids and we lived like dirtbags?  That was so cool!”

Don’t miss my guest post on PembaServes detailing the International Climber’s Festival.


How Stella can cure a girl’s blues


Girls and trucks

I have secretly wanted an International Scout or a beat up old Ford pick-up truck ever since I can remember. But, seeing as how these vehicles aren’t very practical, I have been driving around in my mid-sized car and making it somewhat of a habit to date guys with badass, sexy trucks to get my fix; my favorites being of the Toyota family.

Now I know this will sound very stereotypical, but it seems to me that the quintessential outdoor vehicle for chicks is a Jeep, and for dudes, it is a truck. So for a long time it never really occurred to me to have my own truck. I was content to date guys that had trucks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t exactly criteria, but it definitely helped their case.

I was also content to use other people’s rope and quickdraws when sport climbing. I told myself, naw, I don’t need to buy my own, I’ll just date guys that have all of the gear I’ll need.
So you see my flaw. I had made myself dependant on other people, usually men, to: 1. Climb anywhere outside. 2. Access remote climbing areas. I’ll admit, I may be slow at times, but I usually come around to reason and I now see that this is totally wack.

I pride myself on my independence. I love having my own place and am not eager to jump into a relationship just because a hot guy looks my way. Oh no, I am really picky and if the earth doesn’t move, it’s not worth it to me. So this behavior just did not fit me at all. I have been told by guys that I am intimidating. I don’t try to be. I am just me and know what I want. If they can’t keep up, or are insecure, it’s not my problem. So what was my problem? Why was I acting like Climber-Chick-Cinderella waiting for her knight to ride up in his Shining-Toyota-Armor to escort her to the crag? Ick. Things had to change and fast.

Rest assured this botched up fairy tale does have a happy ending. I am now the proud owner of a Petzl Nomad rope, half a dozen Black Diamond Hotwire draws, and, my pride and joy, Stella Blue. That’s right; I bought a 2008 Toyota Tacoma, who is so sexy and badass! But, most importantly: Mine. All, mine.

Puerto Rico mas fina

Ahhhh. Yes, indubitably  that was a sigh.  I just spent 5 glorious days on the Island of Puerto Rico where I pretty much didn’t have to do anything.  It was wonderful.

I accompanied a friend of mine, who won an all-expense paid trip through his job with  Best Buy;  and here is a shout-out to you, you are one of my new favorite retailers!

I cannot tell you how heavenly it was to be awake and lying in front of the ocean by 8am, only to be interrupted to eat breakfast at 11am, and not feel the least bit guilty!  I mean, seriously, if I attempt to go to the lake to catch some rays while at home, my mind is always reminding me of the millions of things I should be doing instead.  Or I am with my kids and want to be making fun memories for them instead of indulging myself.

The highlight of the trip was an excursion we took to the bio-luminescent bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico.  Biobay is one of the few places on earth where the water actually glows green when you touch it.  We took a guided tour at night and paddling a kayak into a protected cove, through a canopy of trees, in the pitch-black night.  When you get far enough in, if you place your hand under water and swish it around, it emits a green glowing color.  If you lift up a handful, your hand is sparkling with green diamonds.  It was so amazing.  The quiet darkness, the serene water, the glow of the ocean, was truly magical.  Our guide explained the why the water does that but, I can’t remember exactly why, and honestly, I don’t care.  I am happy to think of it as a magical wonder of the world.

Photo Credit: Neall Dollhopf