It’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts! I put a few of my adventure must-haves on this list. Happy Shopping!
Pack it Down Coat: This particular coat is my favorite and I’ve blogged about it before. This coat keeps me warm all winter long and is versatile for all of my different adventures. It packs down small and is lightweight making it the perfect adventure coat. Another perk is the fact that Lululemon guarentees their coats. My zipper broke last year and they repaired it at no cost, even though I’ve had the coat for three years.
Garmin GPS Mini: This garmin trackes your miles, allows you to send text messages and location to your contacts even when you don’t have service. This garmin also has a SOS feature where if you ever get into trouble you can send out a message and the authorities will be notified. This is the biggest security tool you can bring along on adventures.
Columbia Packable Rain Jacket: I never hike without this jacket. It’s waterproof, warm, and lightweight design packs into the hand pocket for convenience and it is the perfect jacket when a coat is too much. I use mine ALL the time! Mountains require you to be prepared for anything. Even on a summer day.
Backpacking Sleeping Bag: This is my favorite sleeping bag. It is ultra-lightweight, sized for women, and keeps me extremely warm. With a temperature rating that goes down to 15-degrees I found myself warm each night only sleeping in my sports bra and shorts.
LuLuLemon Beanie: This is the warmest beanie I have ever felt. I will never live another winter without it. It is absolutely amazing and worth every penny! Don’t talk yourself out of this one. You need it!
Jet Boil: A jet boil is defiantly something to save up for and purchase if you like to spend significant time outside. It boils water in one minute and is perfect for meals, hot chocolate, etc. Light and small this is a necessary backpacking item. Also, a great emergency prepardness item to keep at home.
This week Laura shares her story of overcoming an eating disorder and using her knowledge to help thousands of other women do the same. Laura is a gem. She is one of those people you could talk to forever because you instantly feel connected to her. I’m honored to know her and have personally benefitted from her gratitude journals. I use mine every single morning. Go check them out on her website Remarkable Now.
I am so excited to share my story here on Brittany’s blog! When I found out about Brittany’s mission to connect and empower women through getting out in nature and finding common ground with each other, I immediately felt connected to her. Connection and nature are two of the most healing tools we have on this earth and have played a major role in my life.
About seven years ago, I recovered from a 16 yr long battle with an eating disorder. Through six of my seven children, I struggled with this disorder that left me feeling alone, broken, and un-fixable. I never wanted to talk about it with other people, because I felt like I was the only woman in the world who struggled like I did. I just knew there was something wrong with me, and worried that despite all my best efforts, I would never find true peace with my body.
After the birth of my sixth child, I ended up with a severe thyroid condition that forced me to finally give up control, since I literally had no control. It was the hardest and BEST thing that ever happened to me…as most challenges in life are. In an attempt to figure out who I really was (seperate from my disorder) I focused on one thing and one thing only. Gratitude. Every morning and every evening I would write five things I was grateful for. That was it. Day in and day out, that was the ONLY thing I did. Seems so simple, and it is…but it changed my life. Gratitude changed my life. Over the course of the next year, gratitude for everything else around me turned into gratitude for myself and gratitude for the gifts God blessed me with and my eyes opened to who I was and what I was meant to do.
During my recovery, nature became a sanctuary for me, a sacred place to go to connect with my spirit and to God. There was one hike I would go on 2-3x/week, and I would grab a rock at the bottom of the hike and make that rock the concern or burden I was carrying that day, and then take that rock to the very top and then unload it. I would leave that burden at the top of the highest mountain, and every single time, I felt peace. There is something about nature that speaks to our souls, to our very spirits, and that kind of connection was exactly what I needed. I needed to connect my spirit and my body and find alignment again. I found that on my mountain.
When I finally got the courage to speak about my struggle…literally tearing up and shaking as I wrote my very first post to tell my story, the most beautiful thing happened. Connection. Turns out, every single one of us is broken in some beautiful way. Turns out, I wasn’t different from everyone else, but actually just like everyone else. The truth that we all hurt, we all struggle, we are all human and broken is what saved me and continues to save me.
What I LOVE about what Britanny is doing with Get Out There Girl is that she is combining two powerful forces of change. Connection and Nature. The combination can be life-changing. Putting yourself in an environment where you can feel your spirit speak to you, and then having the opportunity to connect with other remarkable woman who also struggle and also hurt, but also give and also love is truly a gift. When we connect with other women, we connect with our power. The power to change the world in our homes and in our communities, the power to truly see our gifts and our strengths, and ultimately the power to heal.
Ronda was my next-door neighbor in Virginia. She and her husband bought their home shortly after we bought ours. Our oldest two kids are the same ages and in fact, both of our 12-year-old’s are redheads. So fun! Ronda was the best neighbor. She always invited us over for holidays and other events. She and her husband Jason are such good people. Here’s the deal though, I never got to know Ronda on a deep level. I was so wrapped up in my busy life of two little kids etc. that I never asked her deeper questions. I never took the time to really get to know Ronda. I regret that. I’ve changed a lot since my struggle with depression etc. I value relationships more. I’m grateful Ronda and I still keep in touch through social media and I’m so so grateful she was willing to share her story of finding peace in herself and with God.
Hi, my name is Ronda. I am a wife, mother of 3 wild boys, and work in the SPED department at a local high school. I am originally from California, but have my current residence in northern Virginia. I have a big heart, and I am a people pleaser. As I get older (almost 45-years-old now) I am re-learning my worth. Also, since late in my teen years, I have longed for a place that felt like home. Can anyone relate?
I was raised in a what seemed like a perfect Christian home. I went to church with my family and went to private school until 6th grade. I never thought divorce would occur in my family. Fast forward to when I was about 19, and yep, my parents divorced. The only place that seemed normal was Grandma’s house. She and her home were exactly the same. It was safe and warm. Comfort at its finest.
I decided when I was 24, I needed a new start, and moved to Louisiana. This is where my mom moved after the divorce and where my mother’s side of family lived. I thought for sure home will be there. Nope, not a fit. Wonderful people, but not a place for me.
Fast forward a few years, and I move back to California. Met my husband and had our firstborn son. He got a call for a new job in Northern Virginia, and off into the sunset we went. As I sit here today, I cannot say Virginia has been bad. In fact, we have had 2 more sons, bought a house, and we both have fabulous jobs. Being in a new place and having young children I yearned for friends, other moms to hang out with and understand me, a place to feel my worth and to feel validated. So, I joined our elementary school PTO. I even eventually, became the PTO President. I am shaking my head at this right now. If you are looking to feel validated and worthy, the PTO is NOT where you will find it! I am in no way saying volunteering for PTO, or any organization is bad. In fact, I feel is necessary. Just not to the point of giving yourself away, to exhaustion. I really wanted to just share my time and talents. However, with the good comes the bad, and my people pleasing was in the forefront. I did learn and grow during this time and my PTO board and I were very successful, despite the heavy criticism. We worked our tushes off! The only good thing to come from that experience was the close bonds of sisterhood I developed with three ladies, Becky, Amanda, and Letitia and the support we helped provide our children’s school. I already had about a handful of friends in another city 15 minutes south, but having sister like friendships 5 minutes from home was what I like to say was a divine intervention. God sent them to me.
While I was PTO President, as I said above, I had severely depleted myself, in every way possible. I gave it all away and had nothing left for myself. With the help of my sisters and husband, I realized I was in desperate shape. January 2018, I made a change in my exercise and diet and realized I was worthy of better! And I then reached out to my step-sister in Utah. I needed an adventure! Nature was calling.
A few years ago, my husband, my boys, and I got a Groupon for a cabin in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The Smoky Mountains look and smell like Heaven on earth! I have never felt so much peace in my life! It felt like I was home! We have since been back twice. Once for our 10-year Anniversary and again with my father and family for Thanksgiving. Every time, it felt like home. If you want to make me happy, take me to the mountains. I never knew this about myself! Ronda, a mountain girl!
So, after I finished my duties in 2018 as PTO President, I knew I needed mountains. I traveled to Utah, Idaho, and Yellowstone, and visited with family and friends. I went white water rafting in Yellowstone. I went trap shooting with my dad in Yellowstone. I was home once again! Side note, I went without my kids or hubby. I needed time to be me. It is not selfish, it was necessary.
Long story short, I found my home in GOD! He gave me the friends my soul desired. He gave me the family that I needed. He has built this beautiful land for us to restore ourselves! He shows us we are worthy. We never need to question that! When we seek the worlds approval (PTO, friends or family who gossip, bad jobs, keeping up with the Jones’s, just to name a few), we will never find that validation. We will never find peace. You will never find your home.
God never asks us to give more than we can give. We take that on ourselves. If we sit patiently, and we are rested for His work and needs, we will never be put out or tired. In fact, I know it is from God when I am full of joy and peace.
We are worthy and loved. He will supply all our needs. He will restore you! God is our home. Our comfort and peace. He will send you His best in friends. Most times, when God sends these special friends, they become family. You find comfort and understanding. You never have to fight for their attention. You never have to worry for their approval or if they will talk behind your back. When God sends his best, know your soul will feel complete. He will send you that perfect job! He did for me, and that is a whole other story!
And mommas, or daddies, when you need a moment to yourself. Go for that drive! Go to your place of peace. Smell that open air. You are worth it! You need that peace to be a complete and healthy person. You need time rest and restoration. You need HIM!
I met Shanan through GOTG. Shocking I know. 😉 After meeting at a rock climbing activity I found out Shanan doesn’t live far from me and we have done several things together since. Always fun. Always. That is one of the things I love about Shanan. She is always up for a good time. She loves adventuring and being outdoors. You will see in her story that she grew up being active outdoors. Mom life took it’s toll and now Shanan is fighting to gain that piece of her back. I’m so grateful Shanan was willing to share her story. I think a lot of us can relate to her.
Hi, I’m Shanan! I’ve lived in Utah my whole life. I Grew up in Southern Utah with amazing parents and siblings. My parents always took us camping, hiking, Rappeling, boating, snow skiing, riding horses, 4-wheeling & dirt biking. We were always outdoors having fun! I met the love of my life and got married right out of high school. We moved up to Utah county about 8 years ago. I have a wonderful, handsome, hardworking husband and 5 sweet kids that I adore! I got married young and was either pregnant or had a new baby for 12 years. I loved this time of my life, and could just snuggle a newborn all day!! During this busy time in life, I kinda forgot about things I liked to do and any hobbies got put on the back burner. I’ve started to get back into some of them in the last couple of years and am loving it! I love going on little adventures with our crew and see my older kids develop a love for those activities too!
I am no longer a lover of camping, but I do really like Glamping!! Some of my favorite adventures I’ve been able to get back into are hiking, canyoneering, snowboarding, & kayaking. When I’m out in this beautiful world that God has created it brings me peace and so much Joy! It helps me to be able to take a break from the stresses and trials of everyday life. It renews my soul and helps me be a better me! I feel genuinely happy when I’m outdoors doing these things and connecting with others! Women need Women. I’ve developed some close friendships during my adult life, but I am constantly yearning for belonging and more QUALITY friendships. People who love me for me. I love meeting new friends and it’s so nice when you meet someone that you just jive with and could talk to for hours on end. I’ve met some amazing women who have become great friends through adventuring, and I am so grateful for that.
I feel like I’m entering a new phase of life where I am able to explore and learn about myself through the outdoors and truly find things that I love for me. I’ve been in mom mode for so long and focused on such young kids that it’s been difficult to get to know myself well. Now that my baby is almost 3, I have a little more time to try new things and learn more about myself. I’m so thankful for such a wonderful and supportive husband who lets me have time for myself. My goal is to get him and my kids into all of these outdoor activities so that we can do them as a family as our kids continue to grow!
If your family is like mine then you have some kids that love the snow and some kids that hate the snow. Our ratio is 5:1 but that one kid can make things miserable for the rest of us on family adventures.
One of the winter traditions that all 6 of us enjoy is to go tubing as a family. We have gone tubing at Soldier Hollow in Midway and Woodward Park in Park City. Both are fantastic places that include a conveyor belt to take you to the top of the hill. It makes life a lot easier. Dragging multiple tubes up the hill all while holding little kids hands etc is NOT EASY!
The convenience of these hills does come at a price. Tickets for a 2 hour time period can run up to $34 a person. However, Groupon does deals every year and makes the experience much more affordable. Make sure you check for deals before you go.
This is one of our favorite winter adventures as a family. Ben and I have as much fun as the kids!
So what do you think? Want to try speed tubing with a no effort climb?
It might be obvious that hiking in the winter is different than the summer, but I’m going to point it out anyway. Winter hiking requires you to pack your bag differently and think twice about which trails you hike.
Here are 5 tips for having a great experience hiking during the cold months.
Leave a trip itinerary with a friend who knows who to call if you are late in returning
It gets dark earlier. Plan to hike earlier in the day and always bring a headlamp.
Wear layers and proper footwear. Invest in waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Plan ahead and know whether you might need snowshoes or yaktrax. Dressing in layers makes it possible to shed layers (to avoid sweating) when hiking and add layers when stopping to rest.
Eat and drink frequently. Dehydration hastens the onset of hypothermia. Do not underestimate the amount of food and water that you’ll need. Snowshoeing, for example, burns about 600 calories an hour.
Check avalanche conditions at https://utahavalanchecenter.org/ The trails you do regularly in the summer are different in the winter. The direction the slope is facing, the type of snow pack, wind etc are all conditions that affect avalanches. Always check the website before you go.