For a few weeks, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a bi-weekly post sharing some of my favorite finds – in life, in my belly, online, and on the trail. The plan is to write these with a Friday Favorites theme, if you will, but I ended up so tormented by the idea of creating the perfect inaugural post that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it until today. We’ll call it a mulligan.
This inaugural “A Few of My Favorite Things” post explores some of my new favorite gear finds, sweet treats, and social media musings. It’s a summation of all the good stuff I’m currently into. I’m excited to watch this evolve as the weeks go on – so feel free to comment with any suggestions of things you’d like to see more of, thing you’re not diggin’, etc. Without further adieu, here’s what has been tickling my fancy lately:
EATS & EDIBLES
Jaipur Avenue Chai Tea Mix
Here’s the thing: I always hated chai tea. When my hitchhiking gal pal Josephine gifted us a few packets of Jaipur Avenue Chai Tea Mix, I relinquished them to Niko – and immediately regretted it when he made the first batch. Where most chai tea I’ve tasted is painfully spiced, overwhelming, and irritating to my taste buds, Jaipur Avenue’s product is smooth, creamy, and sweetly flavorful. I’ve been on a major chai tea kick ever since, and have yet to find anything as delicious as Jaipur Avenue’s varieties.
The best part? These chai tea mix packets are perfect for life on the road. All you have to do is add hot water, and you’ll have a steamy mug full of milky chai goodness. The worst part? Choosing between flavors like cardamom, saffron, and vanilla. The fact that Jaipur Avenue is only distributed in Washington and a handful of shops in the northeast is quite troubling too – I’ve just run out, and am getting desperate!
Good Future bars
I’ve never followed dietary trends like veganism, raw food culture, or the currently booming gluten-free movement, but Good Future bars hits the nail on the head by offering a healthy energy bar that any adventurer can enjoy. I probably wouldn’t have thought to try a raw, vegan, paleo bar on my own – but when my old friend Shunit told me about her new company, I had to have a taste. The bars come in enticing flavors like chocolate coconut, cashew fruit crunch, and apple cinnamon (which has big chunks of dried apple, my favorite).
I brought a few bars with me on my recent trip to climb at Rocky Mountain National Park, and totally wish I had an entire box with me – they’re such a refreshing take on the usual dense energy bars. They’re a bit smaller than the usual energy bar I’m used to, but I like that, because it gives me the opportunity to pack two different flavors in my pack instead of just one.
Pinterest Picks for the Kitchen:
For more edible temptations, healthy recipes, and tasty lookin’ food, follow my For The Foodies board on Pinterest!
GEAR & GOODS
Kühl Java dress
I recently started partnering with Kühl to do a few gear reviews and contribute content to their blog – and the first pieces of apparel I wanted to test out were their more feminine products. The Java Dress is cute with crossed back straps, but suitable for my outdoor lifestyle with UPF 50 sun protection and a hardy fabric – which is made from recycled coffee grounds!
The not-so-deep v-neck left me feeling a little self-conscious at first, but when Niko came home after a day of climbing, he looked at me and said “Whoa, where did you get that? I really like that, it looks great on you!” And if you know Niko, you know he doesn’t just dish out compliments for no reason.
Topo Designs Klettersack Pack
When you live in a van, in the dirt, outside all the time, it’s easy to lose your sense of style. My van is loaded with fantastic packs, but they’re all technical and built for the outdoors – I got some pretty funny looks while walking through downtown New York City with my fresh-off-the-mountain hiking pack. There was a big void in my city slickin’ wardrobe, until Topo Designs stepped in with a backpack that combines function with fashion.
Topo Designs is an all-American based out of Denver, Colorado. I’ve been following them on social media since Colin from Wicked+ gifted me a few of their accessory bags. I just got my hands on a Kelly green Klettersack, and can’t wait to give it a proper review once I’ve put it through the dirtbag ringer for a few weeks.
- Are wi-fi hotspots, boosted cell signal, and improved RV amenities the key to helping National Parks stay afloat? This article from Outside Magazine explores the issue.
- New to hiking? Heather from JustaColoradoGal.com offers advice about the gear you really need to get started. No fuss, no frills, just the basics.
- This post from Idaho Pursuit gives a good review, about reviews. The piece, along with a recent question posed by a company about how I operate my gear reviews, has sparked a post that I’ll share next week.
- After reading an article claiming I needed to make $75,000 to achieve optimal happiness, I got pretty pissed, and wrote a post declaring that a salary can’t define happiness. What do you think?
- Looking for some new gear? The Active Junky rounds up the best innovative packs coming out in 2014. I’m really into the Outdoor Research Rangefinder series. I’m all about gear that achieves outdoor function while still being able to transition into city life.
There you have it folks, a condensed version of the stuff that’s jiving well with me. Pausing for a few weeks in Denver has been a great experience thus far, letting me unwind and catch up on writing while taking a little break from van life. There’s so much to love about this city, like climbing sessions at the Denver Boulder Club, salted butterscotch ice cream from Sweet Action, walking to Washington Park, and driving out to the mountains. What’s on YOUR favorites list this week?