The Outside Millennial Holiday Gift Guide

We’ve put together our ultimate gift-guide for the Outside Millennial this holiday season.


By Mikaela and Topher Yanagihara

We’ve put together our ultimate gift-guide for the Outside Millennial this holiday season.

While this gift guide is written by outdoorsy millennials, for outdoorsy millennials, we are strong believers that there is a little bit of the Outside Millennial in everyone. Who doesn’t love fresh air and new experiences, after all?


Gigi Pip Felt Adventure Hats – $36 – $84
Whether I’m at the office or strolling the streets of Kyoto, felt adventure hats are my go-to look. Gigi Pip has a ton of drool-worthy styles and colors, and you’re supporting small business when you purchase!

REI Women’s Lightweight Base Layer – $39.50
I practically live in this base layer all year long. It’s wicking and lightweight enough to wear on chilly mornings at camp, or to stick in your pack in case it gets cold above timberline, but it’s warm enough to act as a great base layer for skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Farm to Feet Socks – $21
Remember when you were a kid and getting socks was like, the worst gift ever? Yeah, not anymore. Socks are pure gold! Especially these Farm to Feet merino wool socks, made in the USA, in all sorts of thicknesses – the perfect stocking stuffer. There’s all sorts of cute patterns, but I’m pretty partial to the foxes.

Parker Jotter – ~$7.00
Whether I’m journaling, goal setting in my planner or taking notes at work, the Parker Jotter is my go-to pen. It’s a classic ballpoint that feels good in the hand and is stylish enough that I’m always getting compliments on it. True story, the cleaning people at my work even swipe it if I don’t put it in my drawer at the end of the day.

Ab’Asanas Ebook – $14.99
I’m all about quick workouts that WORK and Morgan Tyler’s Ab’Asanas ebook is my favorite. I’ve got it downloaded on my phone so I can get a quick workout in when I’m traveling, before I hop into bed, or while camping. These core workouts have their base in yoga, so are right up my alley.


Picture credit: Coldiron Photography

Benchmade Mini Griptilian about $100
I truly believe everyone should carry a pocket knife. From opening packages to spreading butter on toast when everyone stole the knives in the office kitchen, the number of things I use a knife for on a daily basis can’t be counted. And when it comes to knives, as all things, I prefer a quality item that will last a lifetime over cheap junk you will replace several times over. Made in the USA and so nice I bought it twice, you can’t go wrong with Benchmade’s classic Mini Griptilian. Blade HQ always has the best prices.–Benchmade-Mini-Griptilian–1721

KZ ZST In-ear Headphones about $20
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has headphones. Most people have the crappy ones that came with their phone, or spent $300 for the really crappy ones with the “b” on the side. Get some headphones that exist to sound good, not to tell other people how much money you have to spend. Regarded as some of the best sounding headphones at this price point, and maybe even quite a bit above that, these KZ’s sound phenomenal and are cheap enough to get a few pairs. You might not have ever heard of the brand, but that’s not really the point of a pair of headphones, is it?

Rhodia Webnotebook about $20
I have a bad memory. Like a really bad memory. I may not be as diligent as I would like, but writing down my thoughts or just keeping a journal at the end of they day helps heaps in trying to keep my scattered mind from blowing away in the wind. Another quality product from a quality brand, Rhodia notebooks are made of quality materials that will hold up to use and feel great to write in with any implement.

Work Sharp Field Sharpener – $30
Everyone who’s home I’ve ever visited is full of dull knives. Everyone’s pocket who contains a pocket knife probably contains a dull one. Fix that. Made in the USA right up in Oregon, Work Sharp does one thing. And they do it pretty well. I bring this guy camping, use it to sharpen knives at home, you name it. Everyone should learn how to maintain their knives, it makes them safer and easier to use.–Work-Sharp-Guided-Field-Sharpener–32825

Columbia Ascender Softshell – $70
If you live in Colorado or anywhere with inclement weather, you know of the utility of a midweight jacket. Warm enough for excursions to and fro and, at least in Colorado, totally work appropriate, a softshell jacket is a great add to the hall closet. I’m a huge proponent of value. Making your hard earned money work just as hard. Cheap junk is bad value because it doesn’t work and will need replacing and top shelf is bad value because after a point its diminishing returns. That’s why I love this jacket, and Columbia as a brand in general. 95% the performance of North Face at 40% the cost, yes please.


Maldon Sea Salt – $5.49
Can one be obsessed with salt? If the answer is yes, then this is the one. It’s texture is superb. It’s luxuriously flaky and is perfect atop avocado toast (don’t @ me, it’s not a trend, it’s a lifestyle), pasta and honestly, eaten straight out of the box, which is also beautiful.

Subscription to Bon Appetit Magazine – $10
While print may be dying, especially among millennials, there’s something I just can’t shake about this monthly magazine subscription. I’ve been cooking out of Bon Appetit since college and love the poignant writing, beautiful photography and recipes that I trust to turn out well 99% of the time. This is a must for the foodies in your life. 

Merf’s Hot Sauce – $5
We discovered Merf’s at our local farmer’s market a few years ago and have been obsessed ever since. We bulk ordered for wedding favors, and our friends ask for bottles from our secret stash every time they come over. It’s that good. Create a hot sauce sampler by buying a few bottles or stick to the classics and gift the Hand Grenade Sriracha.

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch $35-$40
A good knife in the kitchen makes all the difference. One that is sharp, handles well, and won’t break the bank. A tried and true brand, Victorinox has been making knives since 1884. I’ve spent my time working in and around professional kitchens and you never see fancy show knives, just knives that need to get a job done just like this guy. Skip the Cutco Pyramid scheme and get yourself a new kitchen best friend.


Picture credit: Coldiron Photography

Telluride Clothing Company Dog Bed – $49.99
When Kenzie dog got back home from her two week stint with our parents while we were in Japan, she refused to leave her favorite bed for two days straight. It’s got her paw of approval all over it. And, mom loves it because it’s Buffalo Plaid. Duh!×27~p~275wf/?filterString=dog-beds-and-crate-mats~d~50%2Ftelluride~b~33441%2F

Cabella’s Kid’s Sleeping Bag – $39.99
Kenzie used to love camping…right up until it was time for bed and the temperature dropped and she was hardcore cuddling with our feet. So, we bought her a kid’s sized sleeping bag and it’s her favorite thing in the entire world. We also love it because it keeps her dirty paws and marshmallow-matted fur contained to her own space.

REI Wallace Lake Bandana – $4.95
Red. Hem. Must we say more? We die.


Let’s get real, one of our defining qualities as millennials is valuing experiences over stuff, so this section is where the real gems are.

National Park Trip Media’s Photography Workshops
I may be a little biased, because I do work these events, but honestly these workshops were some of my favorite experiences of the year. If you want to take your photography up a notch, these workshops are a great place to start; especially if night sky photography has been eluding you.

The Lady Alliance Trips
Kieren, the founder of The Lady Alliance, is such an amazing human and curates the sweetest trips for badass ladies. Whether you join her to surf in Tofino or trek in Peru, you won’t be disappointed.

Copper Mountain’s Moonlight Dine and Ski
This was a favorite experience of 2018 for us for sure. Copper Mountain hosts Moonlight Dine and Ski events a few times a season, where you eat dinner at Solitude Station and ski down the slopes in the moonlight. It’s pure magic.

Denver Passport Book – $25
One of our favorite ways to be a tourist in our hometown is trying new restaurants, coffee shops and bars. We’ll usually push ourselves to get out and try new places by working our way through a “top” list, but the Denver Passport Book is a great way to drink your way through Denver, offering 2-for-1 drinks at 64 locations. Many of our favorite restaurants, breweries and coffee shops make the list, along with many on our bucket list!

Carbon Footprint Offsets
Balancing travel and adventure with eco-friendliness is an internal struggle we battle all the time. While not nearly a direct substitute for avoiding travel all together, offsets give back to the environment and help to bring consciousness to travelling. I like CarbonFund, because it allows you to purchase offsets in the form of planting trees at the end of the calculator.  


Stanley French Press – $57.50
Coffee is where I draw the line at roughin’ it. There must be coffee, it must be good and hot and there must be plenty of it. Those are my stipulations. This camping French press is on the pricey side, bit it’s so worth it. It’s durable, it keeps your coffee warm and it holds four servings, so you can double up without breaking the stove back out, or share with your friends who are nursing their instant coffee. Win.

REI 18L Ruckpack – $64.95
These 18L packs are the perfect size for day hikes. They easily fit a hydration bladder, lunch, a camera and some layers, are comfortable, affordable and cute. They come in plenty of colors, so you and bae can match without being too matchy matchy. In a pinch, you could even live out of one. I did for three days inn-to-inn hiking in Japan!

Krieg Chalk Bag – $26
A chalk bag should be a direct reflection of your personality and with Krieg, you can find a chalk bag to suite any of your climbing friends. Topher’s personally a rainbow unicorn type of guy while Mikaela goes for the feathers.


Happy Holidays!
Xx, Mikaela and Topher

Restaurant Review: Concourse, A Wow Moment

Concourse Restaurante Modern
Neighborhood: Stapleton

As I get older and we try more restaurants and more dishes, I think what I’m in search for are those wow moments. I love good experiences, outings where every dish is great, but what really sets a restaurant apart are those moments of shock and awe.

Concourse, ChoLon Concepts third restaurant, was the only restaurant that we tried in 2017 that provided that wow moment. It was named one of 5280’s 25 Best Restaurants in Denver, and rightfully so.

Situated in Denver’s newly hip Stapleton neighborhood*, Concourse visually impresses on entrance with it’s incredible wave shaped wooden ceiling, eliciting a feeling of movement.

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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

Continue reading “Best of Denver: Tacos, Ice Cream and Cocktails”

How to Be a Tourist in Your Hometown

A step-by-step guide to avoid cabin fever

If you’re a wanderluster at heart like me, you start getting cabin fever within two weeks of getting home from your last trip.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be a permanent adventurer, your heart will never be truly satisfied with the ho-hum of every day life. I can’t take off and travel whenever I get a wild hair and although we do a good job of planning day trips and road trips, sometimes I need a closer-to-home solution.

I give you; how to be a tourist in your hometown, a step-by-step guide to fighting cabin fever.

Step 1: Find adventure buddies. Like your family. They may not be up for driving all night to Moab, but they will certainly be up for a two hour adventure across town.

Step 2: Calendar it so nobody has any excuses. Text your dad the day before because he never accepts calendar appointments.

Step 3: Choose a part of your city or town that you’re not familiar with and do some research (if you live in a small town, find another nearby town)

Step 4: Pick a food venue and an activity that will simultaneously satisfy your wild sister and not send your parents rolling their eyes (your parents are probably up for being more adventurous than you think; mine were surprisingly up for black light yoga and wandering alleys to look at graffiti)

Make sure you pick a really good restaurant or coffee shop so that if your activity totally flops, at least the food will be good.

Step 6: Dress up, take lots of pictures. Let your fiance insult you for being the cause of gentrification when you insult alley stank.

Step 7: Leave as soon as everybody feels over-enlightened and starts to get grumpy. The great thing about stay-cations is that you can go back to your own house and avoid drama that always comes with being too close to your relations for too long!

My current favorite place to be a tourist in Denver is the River North District, aka, RiNO. Last year’s Colorado Crush festival released tons of street artists on the former warehouse district to turn every wall and alley into a masterpiece. Check out RiNO Yoga Social for the coolest black light yoga and Stowaway Coffee and Kitchen for breakfast/brunch that will make you go all heart-eyes emoji.

Questival by Cotopaxi

You may have seen my blog post from last weekend about the Questival we were participating in hosted by Cotopaxi. Now that I’ve sort of caught up on sleep, I wanted to share our experience with you and encourage you to sign up for a future Questival in a town near you!

Cotopaxi is a really amazing outdoor brand that I actually discovered on Instagram. They have a really cool philosophy, make unique and functional outdoor products and are very engaged with their customers. I am a total convert!

They host adventure weekends all over the country that are part scavenger hunt, part adventure race and 100% crazy fun. Last weekend, Topher, his sister, her boyfriend, Kenzie dog and I participated in Denver’s Questival.

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Our Year in Coffee: 2016

Need some coffee inspirations? We worked our way through 303 Magazine’s list of best coffee shops in Denver. Check out our thoughts!

Mikaela: Right around last New Year’s I read an article by 303magazine, “Best of 303: Denver Coffee Shops, 2015 Edition”. As one of my personal resolutions was to spend less money on Starbucks; we made it our 2016 new year’s resolution to visit all 16 on the list and we sipped our last latte of the year at the last coffee shop on the list Saturday morning, New Year’s Eve. (I still drank way too much Starbucks in 2016)

So, what did we think?

Mikaela’s Top 3
1. Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen
2. Bellwether
3. Allegro Coffee

Topher’s Top 3
1. The Molecule Effect
2. Bellwether
3. Maria Empanada

Continue reading “Our Year in Coffee: 2016”