Why you should just take a rest day today.

When is the last time you took a real rest day? I’m talkin’ no agenda, no training, no trips. You woke up, and spent the rest of the day within a half mile of your bed. There may have been some whisky-spiked coffee involved. Mine usually include long socks and napping with pups. You know – a real, bonafide rest day.

Rest days seem pretty hard to come by.

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I find that outdoorsy people (climbers, I’m looking at you) seem to struggle with the idea of taking rest days. We’re always on, always planning, and constantly feeling like we need to maximize every opportunity to be out on an adventure. It’s a travesty to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon not on a trail or halfway up a cliff. But why? [Read more...]

Gear Review: SportRx Prescription Active Eyewear

I’ve never been blind – but I definitely don’t see as well as I should. In fact, my vision seems to be getting worse and worse. Throughout the years, I’ve amassed a collection of Ray-Bans eyeglasses that I wear whenever I’m going to be spending hours sitting in front of my computer meeting deadlines and writing stories.

But I never thought about expanding that to the world of sunglasses.

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Admittedly, wearing prescription lenses helps quite a bit with my vision when I’m driving, but that’s mostly at night. Plus, I have about a dozen cheap-o sunglasses from Outdoor Retailer swag bags and press trips – why invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses?

As Rob from SportRx puts it: “If you had to pick a sense to lose forever, it wouldn’t be vision – but it’s the first one people choose to compromise.[Read more...]

Getting older, getting weak, getting strong again – My Birthday Challenge Recap

Sometimes, the passage of time is a good thing – you become wiser, you get your shi*t together, and you figure yourself out. Sometimes, it’s not such a great thing – like when six months fly by and you can barely still call yourself a climber.

After falling out of love with climbing at the end of my yearlong road trip, I shifted my priorities around for a few months. Climbing took a backseat to other life “things” like moving to Colorado, freelancing, and hiking.

Before I knew it, my 26th birthday was approaching. I had been slowly dabbling back in my love affair with climbing, but with less than two weeks before my birthday, I decided to attempt whipping myself into shape for a proper birthday challenge with the lovely duo from The RV Project – who are going to turn this challenge in a kick-ass video for their birthday challenge series with EpicTV.

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The challenge was to climb 26 v-points in each of the main areas at Joe’s Valley (78 v-points total) within 26 hours. After picking up two new pairs of Five Ten shoes at the Food Ranch, I started the challenge at 5:45 PM on Wednesday, October 15th.

After warming up at the Mine Cart area, I started getting into my challenge at the Riverside Boulders in the Left Fork. Confession: I had never climbed one of the most iconic lines at Joe’s Valley – The Angler (V2). It’s a little tall, and I always wussed out last year when I spent the season there. Oops.

I somehow managed to send The Angler first go, and immediately felt confident about my challenge. Maybe all that trad Jason Gebauer has been making me climb helped my mental game for bouldering!

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Photo: The RV Project

The next morning, we got off to a fairly slow start (which will later come back to haunt me). I started the day on The Small Boulder, which was a goldmine of short, easy problems. After warming up and ticking off a large portion of my Right Fork points, we hiked over to a funky V5 called Blue Eyed. [Read more...]

#CouchToCrush: My 26th Birthday Climbing Challenge

My alarm was set for 6:00 AM, but by 5:43 I knew there was no point in trying to sleep any longer. I got dressed in the dark, caught a glimpse of my unwelcomed mouse roommate scurrying under my door, made a thermos of tea, and tossed my climbing gear into my hatchback before driving out to Denver Bouldering Club for a morning solo session.

You see, I’m in training mode. Big time.photo 2 2 1024x335 #CouchToCrush: My 26th Birthday Climbing Challenge

Last year while I was living on the road, my dear friends Vikki and Spenser teamed up with EpicTV to start a climbing birthday challenge video project. So far, they’ve featured Alex Johnson and Carlo Traversi, with birthday videos from Alex Honnold, Steve Edwards, and Spenser’s own 30-day birthday challenge in the pipeline too.

So much in my life has changed since the day they sealed the deal and returned to our dirtbag camp declaring “We’re going to do your birthday challenge next October!” – but the promise of a radical week reuniting in Joe’s Valley to film me making a fool of myself on some boulders has brought it all full circle. I may not have my van anymore, but dammit, I’ll always have Joe’s!

So, what’s my birthday challenge?16 #CouchToCrush: My 26th Birthday Climbing Challenge

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Chasing Summer: An Ode to Eventual Defeat

The air in Denver was still hot as I drove to the airport on the day of my first flight during my month dedicated to chasing summer. I always wear a sweater when flying, but the moment I stepped off the plane in San Juan, I was assaulted by sweet heat and humidity. I happily stripped off a layer as I waited for a taxi to whisk me away to the shores of Puerto Rico.

You see, I love summer. I love the way the sunshine burns my cheeks, the way my hair feels when its sticky with salt, how refreshing a cold glass of lemonade feels.

Winter terrifies me. Historically speaking, it’s the season in which I disappear. I slip into a deep hibernation where I shun the idea of going outside, rarely change out of my bathrobe, and shudder at the thought of trying to drive through snow. I’m from Miami – I’m just not built for the cold.IMG 3223 1024x1024 Chasing Summer: An Ode to Eventual Defeat

And so, I started chasing summer. First to Puerto Rico, where I spent five days swimming in the warm sea and following locals to secret street parties. I dug my toes in the sand while eating passion fruit frozen ice, bought a sarong, and cut my toes on sharp rocks along the coast.

When I flew back to Denver, I feared I would feel a chill upon my arrival. Thankfully, summer persevered – I was sweaty as I walked back to my boyfriend’s car at the airport. I was still safe from the impending winter.

Two days later, I flew across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain. I started chasing summer in Barcelona, where I feasted on tapas and explored famous landmarks. I spent an afternoon climbing at La Foixarda, an old tunnel transformed into an urban climbing crag with everything from bouldering traverses to bolted sport lines. It was so hot I could hardly keep my fingertips gripped on the humid holds.

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Chasing Summer: Puerto Rico

Every time I return to the sea, I am reminded how essential it is to my being. My short trip to Puerto Rico was no exception. From the moment I inhaled the sticky sweet island air, I was enamored.

Honestly, I accomplished pretty much nothing I intended to do while visiting Puerto Rico. There wasn’t any climbing, nor did I get my drink in a pineapple, nor did I even so much as set foot on a trail. But I had a wonderful trip.

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Chasing Summer: A Declaration

There’s somewhat of a war going on out there – and we all need to pick a side. I noticed the first battle cry last weekend while driving through the Colorado mountains on a mini road trip: a small army of Aspen trees defiantly emblazoned with leaves turning an unmistakable hue of gold. Little leaves fluttering in the wind, flashing a suspiciously yellow color.

We’re sitting on the cusp of seasonal change.

For some, this is a small hint towards victory. A promise that summer’s hot and humid occupation of the earth is coming to an end. It’s a first little outcry in the name of winter.

That’s why I’m flying 38,000 feet in the air right now, my suitcase full of bikinis and sandals stowed in the compartment above my seat. Summer is ending in Colorado – so I’m ditching the mountains and heading to the sea.

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I refuse to give up summer just yet.

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Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

A few months ago, photographer Jason Gebauer asked if I could play model for an afternoon so he could get some lifestyle photos for a local apparel brand, Mile High Clothing Co. I instantly fell in love. When MHCCO invited me and fellow lady adventurer Tiffiny Costello (you can read her take on our adventure here) to take a little road trip for a photoshoot to launch their new #ExplorerSeries project, I hopped on board without hesitation.

The original plan was to head to the Maroon Bells area, and summit a 14-er. A combination of sketchy weather and dreading the thought of sitting in I-70 holiday weekend traffic redirected our adventure towards Buena Vista. It’s a short 2.5-hour drive from the city, making it a perfect weekend escape.

Tiffiny and I loaded my hatchback with camping and climbing gear, then hit the road towards the mountains. We got a late start (two introverts + a lazy Saturday morning = slow going), and spent the first day scouting locations and exploring the area around Mt. Princeton and the Arkansas River.IMG 00281 1024x1024 Explorer Series adventures with Mile High Clothing

Our destination allowed us to avoid the major holiday traffic rush, but we didn’t quite plan the camping situation – every developed site was 100% full. Luckily, a very kind ranger drove us out to a spot called “Dan’s Land.” It’s quite literally this dude Dan’s land, where he allows primitive (read: no fires) camping for free.

The initial sentiment was that we were both ready to call it a night as soon as we got our tents pitched in the dark. Then we looked up, and the milky way beckoned us to bust out our cameras to play around with some night photography. We ended up staying up for hours, and took a lot of photos.

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The next morning we awoke to contend with another faux pas: we brought a stove, but forgot to pack the propane. Oops. The issue was quickly solved by tossing our firewood into a grill at a day use area back at the campground we had hoped to stay at the night before.

Nothin’ like making breakfast the old fashioned way, y’all! It took more than a few attempts to get the fire blazing, but eventually we had ourselves a little morning feast.

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We spent the rest of the day hopping from one beautiful outdoor location to the next. I am absolutely smitten with the area between Buena Vista and Salida, and can’t wait to return for more adventures. We hiked up rainy hillsides, did a little chossy bouldering, played by rivers, and got our fill of fresh air in our lungs before retreating back to city life.

Between both of our iPhones, Tiffiny’s Canon + GoPro, and my Nikon – we ended up with a massive pile of photos. Here’s a little taste of some of my favorite images we ended up with:

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PS: All photos of me were taken by the lovely Tiffiny Costello. Anything else featured in this post was taken by me.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Mile High Clothing on Instagram – you can see our photos from our #ExplorerSeries takeover. I had a fantastic time, and can’t wait to see what the project evolves into. Thanks for supporting our adventures, Mile High Clothing!

Why I Still Drink (Just One) Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

This morning, I woke up and it was suddenly autumn. An evening storm cooled the air down to a crisp breeze, and my open windows let the chill drift beneath my blankets. I’ve never been so excited to shiver. Something felt different – special somehow – but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I noticed that today is basically a national holiday: pumpkin spice lattes are back! I immediately put on a beanie, flannel shirt, and leather boots, then skipped my way to the nearest Starbucks.

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Here’s the thing: I know Starbucks isn’t the best. I am fully aware there’s no pumpkin in their lattes. I also understand that in lieu of pumpkin, they pump their flavored lattes with cancer-causing, questionable ingredients – but for the duration of this grande pumpkin spice latte I have in my hands, all bets are off. (After today, it’s back to my homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe, with real pumpkin).

So why did I spend $3.26 on a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks this morning?

[Read more...]

What’s in my pack? #FLtoCO Road Trip Edition

In exactly 12 hours from this very moment, I’ll be on a red-eye flight down to my hometown, Miami. I’m heading south for a few reasons: I am in desperate need of some sea-time, I’m celebrating my little sister’s graduation, and we’re embarking on a cross-country road trip to move her out to Denver! Instead of the usual two-day haul I usually struggle through during drives from Florida to Colorado, we decided to make an adventure out of it.

First, we’re heading up the Florida coast to Tallahassee to see my pup, Amble, and climb at Tallahassee Rock Gym. We’ll visit my sister’s friend in Atlanta before heading to Chattanooga for my favorite part of this trip: climbing at Stone Fort and a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium! Then we’ll jet westward, stopping to visit family friends in Kansas City and exploring along the way.

Since my sister will be bringing everything she owns in her little sedan, I’m trying to pack as light as possible. I’m only bringing my Topo Designs Klettersack, and my new Keen sling I picked up at Outdoor Retailer last week. Here’s a quick peek into my #FLtoCO road trip bag:

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