2018 Outdoorist Holiday Gift Guide

Ugh, yes, another gift guide. Are you really even a blogger if you don’t write one? Here’s the thing: the holiday season is my favorite time of year. Yes, even more than summer. The moment Halloween passes, I am dreaming of twinkle lights, Santa hats, wrapping presents for Spaghetti, and garnishing everything in sight with a candy cane.

But there’s always a mini mental backlash too when I see all the “SALE SALE SALE BUY IT NOW!” e-mails around Black Friday, the oh-so-tempting-but-wrong stacks of plastic holiday themed junk peddled to us in stores, the throes of consumerism and consumption. It’s easy to fall into the trap (yes, I bought Spaghetti a Santa hat at Target, and yes, I guiltily returned it the next day).

Far more rewarding, though, is committing to making the holidays meaningful again. Presents aren’t the problem, our mainstream mindset around the idea of gifting is. It’s about quality, not quantity. Gifts are an expression of how much we value a relationship, so let’s say “I care about you, and I care about the planet we both share, and this gift is something that adds value to all of it!” instead of “look, shiny! new! I spent money on you!”

And with that digression, I present to you my 2018 gift guide for people who want to make Christmas great again:

Things that aren’t things:

I love the concept of “gifting and giving” shared in She-Explores holiday guide. It’s a poignant reminder that we don’t need to rely on just material things to give our loved ones.

If you want to give to a higher purpose, or just can’t figure out a material gift idea for someone who really doesn’t need anything (coughDAD!cough), consider donating in their name. I have a list of causes and organizations here, but make your donation gift personal by finding an organization that’s unique to the person you’re donating on behalf of. Give to American Alpine Club for the climbers in your life, OUT There Adventures for your favorite outdoorsy queer, etc. Many organizations have great gift packs or holiday certificates you can wrap up and put under the tree, too.

Support your loved ones in their passions, mental healthcare, and creativity. Pay for a few months of a friend’s rock gym or yoga studio membership. Purchase an annual national parks or local state park pass. Gift acupuncture or wellness coaching sessions.

Things that are things, but are pretty damn cool:

Since December 1st, a pile of gifts has been growing underneath my Christmas tree. Buying things for the sake of things isn’t my thing, but buying thoughtful gifts that support good people making good things is what’s up. In a season of inevitable spending, use your dollars to support your values. Buy from artisan makers, support small businesses, source your gifts from local shops. 

Let’s talk about algae. And let’s talk about shoes. Put ’em both together, and we can talk about shoes made out of algae. Saola Shoes are my favorite footwear at the moment, because they combine fly style with a thorough commitment to sustainability. The shoe’s entire anatomy drips with sustainable materials: uppers made from recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton laces, uppers and insoles made from algae biomass, and every pair of shoes purchased gives back to environmental conservation efforts. And you look fresh as heck. Shop women’s here and men’s here. Get 15% off your order with the code Katie15!

While we’re talking about sustainable apparel made out of recycled plastic bottles, let’s talk about the ReNew fleece from Everlane. I practically live in mine (I went with the powder blue sweatshirt, Brody has the black one). It’s made nearly entirely from recycled plastic, except the zippers and trim which Everlane hasn’t been able to source recycled yet but says “We’re working on it!” In other news, basically everything made by Everlane is on my Christmas wishlist in case you were wondering. *winks*

Y’all know I am here for self-care and CBD. Let’s say you really want to help someone love on themselves. Here’s my recipe for the ultimate self-care holiday gift kit: 1. Start with Ursa Major skincare. For everyday care, I live and die by the face balm–but a nice treat is the 3-minute face mask. I love Ursa Major because the ingredients are things I can pronounce and the brand is constantly stepping up their sustainability game. 2. Get your CBD on with Alpen Organics This is by far the best CBD tincture I have ever used (and I tested a lot for my CBD guides). If you want 30% off, use KATIEBOUE at check out! 3. Combine self-care + CBD with a bathbomb from Life ElementsGo big and get the 200mg bomb, it’s like a full body massage in a bath–these little balls of bliss have changed the way I relax in the tub. You’re welcome.

Got a doggo in your life? Check out the Restcycle dog bed from Ruffwear. It’s made from recycled materials from the waterproof base to the synthetic down stuffing. Side note: I am way stoked to see Ruffwear starting to make sustainable products like this and hope to see more in 2019!

At the end of every year, I get a Sarah Uhl watercolor calendar to celebrate the coming new year. Here’s her 2019 Love Your Earth calendar. Sarah is one of my favorite artists, because she blends her talents with a passion for conservation advocacy. I just bought one of her mini kindness card packs too and am so excited to spread a little light with them.

Holiday sustainability hack: Every year, I hoard a small arsenal of recycled plain brown (cardboard-y) packing paper from all our packages and mail all year long. I fold up the paper, keep tissue and any gift-wrappy packaging I can scavenge, and by the time December rolls around I have all the materials we need to wrap all our gifts in reused paper. 

Other guides + gift ideas:

  • Cali Wolf wrote a great guide to supporting Native folx this holiday season. If anyone is wondering, why yes I would like literally anything made by B. Yellowtail thankyouverymuch.
  • I am obsessed with everything made by friends at WAAM Industries. I adore their waxed canvas lunch sacks and have one of their wooden milk crates bolted to my bike rack.
  • My dear friend Gretchen Powers makes the cutest handknit beanies on the planet and you should buy one for a lady in your life because it will make her joyous.
  • Another dear friend, Erin Outdoors, wrote this gift guide for travelers.
  • Here’s a gift guide for those #vanlife friends in your life.
  • Admittedly, the She-Explores book (!!!) doesn’t come out until April 2019, but you can pre-order it now here and I have a chapter in it along with 40 outdoor women who will inspire the heck outta anyone who picks this book up.
  • Speaking of book that aren’t out yet but you should buy anyways, you can also pre-order the Women Who Hike book by Heather Balogh Rochfort here – I wrote the foreword!
  • If you still need more ideas, you can check out my 2017 holiday gift guide on sustainability, self-care, and gifts-that-aren’t-things here

Full disclosure: Some of the products mentioned here are items I received for free over the last year, but as always, opinions are my own! There’s an affiliate link or two sprinkled in here too, but most are just straight to the products because I was too lazy to set up all the affiliates. Happy Holidays! 

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Happy Holidays from The Morning Fresh!

Happy Holidays, readers! I’m down in Miami, enjoying a warm winter vacation complete with ripe avocados from my backyard, sunbathing on the patio with my greyhound mutt, Rusty, and snacking on all the homemade goodies my beautiful mother creates. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday filled with celebrations, food and love.

This Christmas, may we give more than we receive, may we count our infinite blessings and may we all relish in the gracious company that surrounds us. As I get older, the holidays become less focused on gifts and money; the meaning of the holiday season has transformed into a collection of family memories, spreading cheer and drinking lots of beer with my relatives.

As this year draws to a close, reflect on your successes and mistakes from 2010 as you prepare for a brand new year. Upcoming posts will feature my new years resolutions, as well as plans for enormous progress with The Morning Fresh, including a serious refocusing on the art of climbing. Expect weekly videos from Tally Rock Gym, daily climbing photos and an overhaul of the site’s design. 2011 is going to be a big year, folks!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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On Holiday Potlucks, Cupcake Decorating and Climber Boys Who Do My Dishes.

Genuine friendship, mutual gratitude and warm hospitality are rare qualities to find collectively within a group of friends. I hosted a holiday pot luck, climber-style, at my house last night, and enjoyed a great evening of homestyle cooking, rowdy conversation, marshmallow roasting and even a mini-baking lesson – but let me digress.

I spent all afternoon preparing treats for my guests. I started off by baking about 20 cupcakes, then moved on to a batch of sugar cookies. Naturally, I  doused it all in creamy frosting. During my kitchen escapades, my housemate’s boyfriend wandered over to the smell of warm pastries. I was in the midst of putting colorful gel frosting on a cupcake when he offered to teach me a little trick. Check out my fabulous Seminoles cupcake!

After a few hours of furious baking and cooking, my personal pot luck spread consisted of chicken and ground turkey handmade dumplings, a pesto spread with loads of bread rounds,  frosted sugar cookies, decorated cupcakes and a bowl of dried fruit bits with nuts. Not too shabby, right? Well, I was quite upstaged by the buffet of treats contributed by my lovely guests. Our final selection included: spinach and artichoke dip, a phenomenal green been casserole, freshly baked crescent rolls, garlic mashed potatoes and a sweet potato with cinnamon apple casserole. Not to mention the enormous sampling of different beers, ranging from good ‘ole Pabst Blue Ribbon to the entire holiday line of Magic Hat brews.

Naturally, we made a huge mess of my kitchen, but I was hardly worried about the chaos in the midst of all my festive cheer. When I finally decided to tackle some of the dishes, I opened my dishwasher to a surprise – one of the climber boys had slyly filled it up with dirty plates and utensils. How often do you find a strong, burly hunk of man who will also clean your kitchen?

It was a wonderful evening spent munching on holiday foods and warming our fingertips by the fire.  The event reminded me how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to associate myself with the folks that make up our community at Tally Rock Gym. If you are looking for a simple way to celebrate the holidays with friends, I highly suggest a pot luck. Tell everyone to bring either food or booze, and you’ll see your kitchen become overloaded with delicious treats. I love this season!

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Weekend Plans – Tallahassee’s Jingle Jubilee Fashion/Shopping Extravaganza

Calling all Tallahassee fashionistas, merchandising majors, shopping addicts and every lady in between: this weekend, the Junior League of Tallahassee is hosting the ‘Jingle Jubilee — a Holiday Shopping Extravaganza.’ This weekend-long celebration of fashion will run from November 18 – 20th, and it loaded with excellent events and shopping opportunities.

The festivities commence with a fashion show inspired by “the runways of New York and Paris.” The event will be featuring local boutiques and coveted fashion accessories from top designers. For me, the most enticing part of Fashion Tallahassee is the cocktail reception, which starts before the runway event.

If runways and fancy drinks aren’t your cup of tea, head to the 3 day shopping haven that will be hosted inside of the Leon County Civic Center. Admission is cheap, and guests will be able to find everything on their holiday shopping list in one venue. Choose any day between Thursday the 18th and Saturday the 20th to stock up on apparel, handbags, houseware, holiday decorations and more. This is the event that I am highly recommending. What better way to get in the holiday spirit?

Football fanatics will be drawn to The First Touchdown Football Lounge held on Saturday. At this event, worn out shoppers and sports fans will converge to watch the Seminole’s football game while sampling beers from our local Tri-Eagle distribution company. Yes, I said free beer samples.

Don’t you worry, more adventure stories from Little Rock City are on the way! Until then, get yourself geared up for some fun holiday festivities. This year, I’m planning on fully embracing the holiday spirit. Last season was a bit of a bust, and I refuse to be overcome by bah-humbugs.

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