Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hiking in style.


Since spring of 2008, Kaden and I have spent as many weekends as possible hiking in Washington's wilderness areas. We have seen some AMAZING THINGS. In Washington we are having this phenomenal Indian Summer right now and have been so lucky to go to two of the most beautiful places which ended up being my two favorite hikes ever in the past two weeks: Summerland Meadow at Mt. Rainier and Gothic Basin in the North Cascades.


I started out my hiking career in jeans & t-shirts & running shoes, but my hiking style & gear have improved greatly since then. I have become a stickler for moisture-wicking fabrics. Under Armour is my preferred brand (I'm a sucker!!!), though Champion has great cheap stuff at Target. I recently invested in a pair of $50 spandex pants. There is something I NEVER imagined I would do in my life! Since I wear them jogging, to yoga class, and hiking, they are totally worth it. I'm in love.



Bear Paw (Big 5). I had a pair of cheap boots that had more ankle support, but they literally felt like shackles, I couldn't wear them. I got these for only $20 and they have lasted me through 3 years of hiking. They are so comfortable, they feel like slippers. But, they aren't waterproof, and my fear of getting my feet wet caused me to sprain my foot trying to jump over a stream last January! I just purchased Merrell Siren Sport GORE-TEX boots from zappos, and I am really excited to try them out.

Shirt: Under Armour (REI). Love the color; love the collar. Wicks moisture! I consider $30 expensive, but totally worth it!

Backpack: North Face (North Face Outlet, Wisconsin). It's kind of a stupid size, a little too big for a day pack and a little too small for overnight backpacking. Plus it doesn't have padded hip straps. I need a new backpack.

Jacket: New Balance (Fred Meyer). I love this white track jacket. Wicks moisture! Really sturdy; I've worn it for over 2 years. Zips up to "turtleneck" for cooler weather. I always take many extra layers hiking because I tend to get cold easily & can't have a good time if I'm cold!

Leggings: Under Armour (Sports Authority). These are the best pants I've ever owned. They have a "yoga pants" type waistband that is soooooooo comfortable. They are tight around my knees which I love, since baggy knees are a problem I always have with leggings. They're a little long, but I like it that way.

Socks: Columbia (Fred Meyer). I wear these with a thin pair of "dress socks" underneath (Kaden read a recommendation to do this in one of his hiking guides & I love it!). I think it would look cooler if I left them inside my pant legs, but wearing them outside I get mud from my boots on the socks instead of the pants, and if I don't have to wash the pants after every hike they'll last longer.

I also always wear a bandana to keep my bangs out of my eyes - I cannot stand that when I'm outdoors. Not pictured, obviously, is my sports bra, but I stand by Champion brand from Target - totally comfortable, reasonably priced ($16.99 instead of $40 like Under Armour).

This great ensemble, with a rain coat & water proof pants stuffed in my bag, allows me to be ready for anything in the wilderness. I also feel really athletic & sexy in it, and that's an improvement on the cargo pants & muscle-t style moisture-wicking shirts I used to wear hiking. I highly recommend & endorse all of these items for ladies who enjoy outdoor excursions!


PARTY BONUS! A most excellent post on women's hiking attire by Mary Van Note, i heart vintage hiking!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Clutter Clearing.

Clutter clearing is something I have worked on, on & off, since 2005, when I read Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I have seen some incredible results in my life. I owe my job at Gorham Printing to my first clutter clearing session. We used to live with James on Milroy Street. There was a sunroom and my table was in there. I have this vague memory of it being completely covered in about a foot of stuff. I didn't know what was in that pile then, and I don't now. But I know I got rid of it, went on a roadtrip, came home and interviewed and got the hell out of food service. The following summer we had a garage sale, where we sold very little, and then carted 7 car loads of, again, I don't know what, to Goodwill.

When we moved to Bellingham, we put out piles of stuff on the curb for months. It all got taken away by people who walked or drove by! Putting out a free box is one of the big thrills in life, I think.

This past March, I got the book Clutter Busting. I always say the same thing about this book: the stories are mega-corny, but, for whatever reason, it lit a fire under my ass. Over a few weeks I went through just about everything in our apartment in Bellingham. I truly feel that it was one of the best periods of my life; I felt so invigorated. Kaden worried that I was freakin out, and also felt like I was neglecting our personal relationship, which surprised the hell out of me, because I felt so good I assumed he could see and feel it.

The concept of clutter clearing, for me & for many, is that letting go makes room for something better in your life.

I went through my file cabinet. My files are kinda precious to me. They are funny. I read so much of my old writing and I loved it. I got rid of every thing in my "High School" folder except my SAT scores. I had one unlabeled file - it would have been labeled with (and was in alphabetical order according to) the name of my ex-girlfriend from when I was 17. It was unlabeled because I didn't want it to seem creepy if Kaden ever happened to look in my file cabinet. Our relationship had ended very poorly and we had not really had contact in 9 years. Yet I had every card & letter she'd written me, drawings she had done, a copy of her resume, photos of us together, and dirty photos of us together. It took me a lot of thought and consideration, journal writing and even coaching from my BFF Cree to decide what to do with the contents of the folder. I finally recycled everything, tearing the nude photos into shreds for legal (not emotional) reasons. I held onto this cool drawing she did of The Need for a couple extra days, but finally let that go too.

Then we found out The Need were playing a reunion show. Just a couple days before the show, my ex-girlfriend added me to her facebook friends. We messaged back & forth & everything was cool! We hung out at the show! I was very pleased, also, to find myself completely NOT attracted to her, but enjoying her company. I let go of some pieces of paper and it healed that spot of confusion & regret that I had harbored so long.