Walls are meant for climbing.

Walls are meant for climbing.

If you haven’t seen The North Face’s new campaign, click on the link above.

“SOME PEOPLE BUILD WALLS.
OTHER PEOPLE CLIMB THEM.
WE’RE DOING BOTH.

We’ve spent 50 years searching for walls to climb because, to us, they offer both challenge and opportunity and they fan the flames of our curiosity. Climbing has taught us to trust, to work together, to create safety in partnership and meaning out of hardship. We see walls as a place to unite our community, so we’re building walls that reflect the world we want to see.”

When I saw this campaign on social media this morning, it impacted me hard enough to write a blog post for two reasons.

As I scrolled through the page dedicated to this new campaign, it struck me that no matter who we are, we have walls in our lives. Sometimes they’re little garden walls, other times they’re maximum security prison type walls, but walls of all kinds exist in our lives. These walls are built by society, by our haters and sometimes even those that love us. These walls are more often than not, built by us (or if not built entirely, then heightened, razor-wire-added as our self-doubts pile on.)

I’m sure if you thought about it, there’s several walls present in your life right now. Maybe its the color of your skin or your gender making you feel like you can’t chase a job opportunity. Maybe its the number in your bank account or the people who depend on you making you feel like you can’t chase a dream. Hell, maybe its even the people in Washington D.C. making you feel like there’s something you can’t do.

As a climber, I look at a rock, a mountain or a fence keeping me out of a superb photo shoot location and think, “I should climb that.” If you’re not a climber, you might not get these crazy urges, but crazy as they may be, the views from the top, the feeling of accomplishment, the other side is always worth it.

If I’m willing to climb the physical walls that try to keep me on the ground, then what’s stopping me from climbing those metaphorical walls?

Walls, my friends, are meant to be climbed. It will be hard. You might bleed, or fall. There might be moves that have you screaming in frustration. But the top? The top is so worth it.

Once I pulled myself back on track and started scrolling farther down the page, I got this warm feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am so freakin’ proud of the outdoor community. Brands like The North Face could opt out of politics, of current events, and just sell outdoor gear and nobody would care. They have chosen instead to take a risk and stand for what they believe in. They are standing for inclusiveness, for protecting the environment and have spoken out against the current administration when its actions have challenged their beliefs. Working in Marketing, I see these stances and campaigns and I see the dollars that I am sure they have lost because of it.

I have so much admiration for The North Face for this campaign and sponsoring Protect Our Public Lands – An Open Letter. REI works hard to include women in the outdoor community and support public lands. Outdoor Research, Prana, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Backcountry, Columbia, Dakine and so many more have actively taken a stand to protect public lands and promote inclusiveness in the outdoor world. In 2017, that has meant taking a stand against our government.

These brands have won my heart and my business. The North Face Walls campaign is donating a million dollars to the Trust for Public Lands, sponsoring a free global day of climbing on August 19 and donating $50K to Paradox Sports to make climbing accessible to those with disabilities.

The great outdoors is a place where walls should be climbed, whether they are literal or figurative.

I want to hear what your walls are! Comment below and pledge to climb them with me and stop building new ones.

Thank you North Face, for inspiring people everywhere.

A cup of camp coffee.

I love camping because it’s a lot of work.

I know that sounds crazy, but I do. Camping is life in the most basic, primitive state and there is something so simply satisfying about the work that it takes to survive.

In a world where everything we need is at our fingertips, it’s incredibly refreshing to not have every little detail of life be so easy.

Continue reading “A cup of camp coffee.”

Nobody likes you when you’re 23.

It’s my birthday week (yay!) and I stopped to think for a moment today about turning 23.

I asked my dad last week if he’d ever imagined what my sister and I would be like when we grew up when we were kids.

It occurred to me that when I was younger, I never imagined what I’d be like when I was in my twenties. I never stopped to think about what I would like to do, or who I would be as a person.

When you’re a kid, your future is defined by what you want to be when you grow up. It’s the first question adults and teachers and your friends ask you.

The answer from the time we can formulate thoughts to the time we graduate college is very much the same.

It may go from an astronaut to an aerospace engineer, but we learn early on to define our beings, our intentions, by our careers. It defines everything from the toys we choose to play with, the people we choose to hang out with and the colleges we choose to apply for.

I’m about to turn 23 and I’m still struggling with the “what do I want to be when I grow up?” question.

Continue reading “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.”

Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Muddy, exhausted and with sore feet I gazed up at Mt. Bierstadt from the passenger seat of our Subaru this last weekend and thought,

Wow.

Our bodies are pretty freaking amazing.

I find myself continually in awe of the places our own two feet can take us. I love having my own car and all but swore off public transportation on my college graduation day. Because I love driving and I love the freedom to get anywhere I want fairly quickly, the concept that our bodies were designed to transport us long distances continually awes me.

Looking up at that huge mountain that I had just hauled my sorry butt up and back down, I found a new appreciation for my own two feet, for my lungs and heart, for my body.

I work out a few times a week and hike on the weekends, but my no means am I in excellent shape. Yet my body, which is very comfortable sitting on the couch watching Netflix with a bowl of mac n’ cheese, was able to carry me 14,000 feet into the sky.

Continue reading “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

Adventure is a Choice

While planning a wedding may not scream adventure to most, I’ve decided that the next fifteen months are going to be just that – an adventure.

We got engaged two months ago and having procrastinated for as long as humanly possibly, we’ve been begrudgingly starting to work on plans little by little. This week we found ourselves in the paint aisle at Home Depot, staring at a rainbow of chips and having a small meltdown. He was holding a fistful of navy blues and grays while I was picking out shades of wine and rose.

We ended up discarding everything in our hands and going to look at power tools, him fed-up and myself overwhelmed. It occurred to me while looking at belt sanders that it was sort of funny. I pointed out how the guy behind the paint counter must be witness to countless divorces and we both laughed and headed back to the paint aisle.

We settled on a joint color scheme (red wine, heather grey, cream, coral and sage for you curious few!) and right then and there I decided that this whole process is going to be an adventure. No matter how many things go wrong, how many stressful plans there are to make I am going to choose to laugh instead of let it affect me. Our feelings are choices each and every day and I choose to live in a spirit of adventure.

Its easy to get caught up in the mindset that adventure is relegated to the weekends, to hikes and camp trips and plane rides to exotic destinations. That adventure can’t occur every day. But to me, adventure is a mindset.

Adventure is choosing a new brand of protein bar at the grocery store. Adventure is stopping on the way home to take a picture of the sunset. Adventure is midnight milkshakes.

Continue reading “Adventure is a Choice”

Best of Denver: Tacos, Ice Cream and Cocktails

Best of Denver featuring street tacos, ice cream and mojitos.

I think its safe to say that here in Denver, summer is officially upon us. The temperature is soaring, the pool is open, the days are long.

While we may be first and foremost outdoor adventurers, we are also crazy foodies and have made it our mission to scout out the best dishes in Denver. Throughout the summer I’ll be sharing our best of list, for you to check out or challenge.

We figured we’d start with a few summer staples.

Best Street Taco
Carnitas – Tacos Tequila Whiskey

I’m a big street taco person, like, verging on an obsession lately. I’ve tried street tacos all over the Metro area and can say on good authority, that Tacos Tequila Whiskey is the place to go to get your taco fix. After sampling almost their entire menu over three visits in as many weeks (I mean, summer nights just scream tacos and a tequila soda…) we’ve settled on the carnitas as the favorite; there’s just something about those addictive pickled onions that pairs so perfectly with the crispy pork. Close runners up are the Asada, Barbacoa and Pescado. The queso cannot be missed, as well.

Best Ice Cream Flavor
Salted Oreo – Little Man Ice Cream

You will get endless pointed remarks in your direction while waiting the hour in line at Little Man Ice Cream, but those folks commenting, “I would never wait that long for ice cream” have never tried their Salted Oreo. Deliciously salty and creamy, peppered with Oreo bits, this flavor will make you crave that line. Even better in a waffle cone, when a jazz band is set up outside. Bring some friends and you won’t even notice the wait. (Don’t lame out and go to Milk Man, they don’t have Salted Oreo, despite serving Little Man Ice Cream)

Best Summer Cocktail and Place to Drink It
Coconut Mojito – Mynt

While best summer cocktail is one of those categories that I’m not sure anyone could possibly have authority on, Mynt’s Coconut Mojito is my personal favorite and mixed with its killer rooftop patio, I think I might be able to convince you. Share a pitcher with friends and pour liquid summer into glasses adorned with sugar cane. Enjoy the views on their rooftop patio and it’ll be the only memorable stop on your LoDo bar hop.
Happy Summer!

Why You Should Brunch Alone: Visiting Sqirl LA

I can’t decide if I’m more passionate about good food or adventure, but when they’re combined, its a match made in heaven.

I’m not normally a brunch person (ain’t got not time for that!) but travelling seems like the perfect excuse to forget breakfast in search of decent coffee and then decide to be starving between breakfast and lunch; hence brunch!

Last month I visited my friend in SoCal and had a morning to myself in LA while he was at a meeting. I have a confession to make; cities scare the crap out of me. There’s too many sounds and sights and smells and potentially sketchy people and one-way streets and bicycles; cities cause me a ton of anxiety and generally the only way I enjoy visiting them is when I can cling to Topher or hover close enough to a friend that I’m clinging-to-them-without-actually-touching-them.

Continue reading “Why You Should Brunch Alone: Visiting Sqirl LA”