Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving and right now, I’m somewhere along 1-70, driving out west for the Second Annual Thanksgiving Hut Trip. There’s so much to be thankful for each and every day but, of course, today is the day we shout it out and share the feeling with friends and family. I’m not sure I’ve ever posted a Thanksgiving note but today, Internet friends, I am.

Green-Wilson/Tagert + Lindley Hut Trip // lgsmash.com

1. Family. I was lucky enough to spend a big chunk of my summer with my brother living in Boulder. And even more lucky that we were able to take a really awesome road trip together to visit our sister in August. Alex and I are lucky to have big families who support and celebrate our life choices and I am very thankful for that!

2. Friends who feel like family. And friends who, despite not seeing each other in a while, feel like no time has passed at all. And friends who just GET you. And friends who make you laugh till you cry. And friends who don’t live close but still remain close. And internet friends who are still ‘real friends’ even though we’ve never met in real life. Friends, I love you!

3. Life. Feels like a cop-out but I am thankful for life as it is in this moment. Sure, it’s not perfect but I am very thankful to be who I am, where I am. Happy, healthy, employed – what more can a gal ask for?

4. Colorado. Oh, Colorado. I am thankful for the endless playtime opportunities you afford me. Backpacking, trail running, skiing, winter camping, snowshoeing, patio dining, outdoor concerts and so much more. And the 300+ days of blue skies are just icing on the cake.

5. My husband. So cliché but it is true: I am so thankful to be married to the man who is my husband. He just gets me in a way I never imagined anyone could. I love the life we’ve created together and am so excited about the life we’re planning. No matter what happens in this world, as long as I’ve got my person, I know everything will be just fine.

(also, wine. I’m thankful for big glasses of wine.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yoga Thoughts

How is yoga always exactly what you need, every single time?

After a rough Monday, I need to get out of my head and let off some steam. A quick check of the Corepower Yoga schedule before I left work meant I could make the 7 p.m. class if I hustled and hustle I did. While I felt like I’d rather kick a punching bag or sprint hard at the park (for approximately 10 seconds), I knew yoga would cure both mind and body.

I don’t know how they do it but every Corepower class feels like it’s directed to me. The theme or idea the teacher presents always feels directly applicable to that moment in my life. Last night? Yoga teacher talked about how in the season of being thankful and showing gratitude, the people she encountered yesterday were not. That was me. Yesterday, I was frustrated, annoyed and not feeling very gracious – with myself or others. I knew it going into class and I spent the entire class focusing on what I AM grateful for.

At first, it was just that I carved out an hour to do yoga (win!). Then, that I had an able body that allowed me to do yoga (win! although, with much less flexibility than I remembered). And as class continued, I found it was easier to feel gratitude once I shifted my mindset.

It’s so easy to get swept up in little annoyances or big obstacles in the road. Choosing to change perspective and acknowledge the challenges but not let them rule our life and, instead, adopt an attitude of graciousness takes practice. And graciousness doesn’t just apply to us acting towards others; we also must be gracious with ourselves and our mistakes.

This class was the exact reminder I needed, not just ahead of Thanksgiving, but in life. Always.

Thank you, yoga, for always being exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.

 

On Non-Outdoors Adventures and Prioritizing Balance

Here on my blog, I like to post about my adventures. I prefer my adventures to be of the outdoor variety but in this moment of my life, adventure looks a little bit different and less outdoorsy – which explains the infrequent posting here. My last few posts have referenced working and my job, my latest adventure. To say this adventure has been life changing is an understatement.

Life Adventures Recently // lgsmash.com

(This is a long winded, journal-y type post that might not be interesting for you but is therapeutic for me. And I’m certain I’m not the only one who’s been in this situation.)

When people think of startups, they tend to ask, ‘Aren’t you afraid Ibotta will go under? That’s you’ll come to work and find Ibotta has closed?’ Fortunately for me right now, Ibotta is on an upward trajectory and on firm, solid footing. Our sales team continues to bring in great partnerships which, in turn, means the Account Management team (my peeps!) have more clients and campaigns on our plates. And ahead of the holidays and Black Friday? There’s been a TON of excitement and SO many client’s who’ve wanted to launch their offers before Thanksgiving. So…the past few weeks and months have been nutty. In a great way but in a holy-crap-there-aren’t-enough-hours kinda way. (I think I now have a small idea of what public accountants go through during Busy Season.)

It’s exciting and I truly love what I’m doing and the people I work with but I find myself with not much time (or mental capacity) for things outside of work recently. Including but not limited to: catching up on current events, working out, grocery shopping, packing lunches, reading, blogging.

(I know, I know. Excuses, right? There’s nothing that is so important that I can’t step away to run at lunch or stop at the store on my way home. While this is true, as anyone who’s been in this situation knows, it’s hard to just stop what you’re doing and leave when there are still items on the ‘to do’ list.)

In my previous job, I had the luxury of ‘turning it off’ when I left the office; this ‘more work than is possible to do in a day’ is new to me and I’m still learning how to navigate it. Suffice it to say that I’ve found myself eating out for lunches frequently (or rather, eating Jimmy John’s because they deliver) and dinners often (because it’s faster to have someone else make the food for me) and exercising much less (more important to sleep or crank out work than exercise).

So when I stepped on the scale this week for the first time in a long time, I was not surprised to see the number tick up. And while it’s not a significant up tick, it’s still an indication that I’m being less active and consuming more than I used to.

This week, I also logged back into MyFitnessPal for the first time in a long time and was (foolishly) astounded by the calories in some of the foods I’ve been eating. I’ve always considered myself a healthy eater and while I’m not downing cookies and sweets, Jimmy Johns sandwiches, bagel Fridays and a beer with dinner really quickly rack up the calorie count.

This past week was the turning point for me. I need to do a better job of taking care of ME. I need to know when to get my ass out of bed to workout in the morning, when to get myself to the grocery store to buy healthier foods and when to turn off the work when I’m at home and just be present for my husband.

It’s impossible to do every thing, every day. Instead, I need to do a better job prioritizing and making time for parts of my life outside my job that are important to me, too. It’s super hard but super necessary and I’m ready to figure it how to do it. A new adventure in itself!

Currently… (November)

currently - november / lgsmash.com

…traveling! (literally! Typing this en route to Pittsburgh!)

…chuckling at having to list an ‘emergency contact’ for my pup at the kennel.

…drinking my coffee black.

immersing myself in my job and loving it.

…understanding what ‘not enough hours in the day’ REALLY means.

…realizing that less free time means spending that free time doing exactly what I want to be doing with the people I want to be doing it with. #lifelessons

…learning to knit myself a hat.

…grimacing at the new season of The Walking Dead (and not making the mistake of eating dinner and watching an episode ever again).

…making time to work out, despite busy days and evenings.

…planning 2015 races and feeling really excited about having a big fitness goal again.

…looking forward Thanksgiving Hut Trip, round 2 in a couple of weeks!

Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable, Part 2

In recent weeks, I’ve been feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable, with sitting outside my comfort zone, with pushing my limits. I’ve realized that without being uncomfortable in a new role, city, hobby, etc, it’s hard to grow and get to the next level.

But late last week, I was feeling too uncomfortable. It’s one thing to feel challenged, it’s another to feel mentally exhausted and wiped out.

I realized that I’d spent a majority of my days in recent weeks working through lunch, staying late, sleeping through a morning workout because I needed that extra hour of sleep and generally doing a shitty job taking care of myself. I’d thrown myself into work – which I really enjoy! – but have been doing a terrible job balancing life things outside of work. Uncomfortable to the max.

It’s one thing to be uncomfortable but it’s quite another when uncomfortable becomes discomfortable.

So on Friday, I created a meeting invite for myself to get myself outside and run. No excuses, no impromptu meetings. 1 hour carved out just for me to get outside, clear my head and recharge.

Calendar Go Run! // lgsmash.com

For me, I know that when I don’t get exercise and when I don’t spend time in the sun and fresh air, I get grumpy, no matter how passionate I am about the work I’m doing inside a building. And in that hour outside where I didn’t have to field questions or think about strategy or what’s left on my to do list, my heart was happy. I smiled at the last of the fall leaves blowing on the ground. I stopped at the river rapids to just take in the moment. I noticed the sunshine warming my back and the cool breeze blowing around me. With each step on the path, I felt the discomfort shake off and my mind calmed. I returned back to work happier, healthier and ready to charge ahead.

So sometimes, being TOO uncomfortable can be a bad thing. Challenge yourself but don’t lose yourself. There has to be balance and some let-your-hair-down-chill-out-time too or the uncomfortableness becomes discomfortable and instead of growing and learning, you burn out.

Don’t burn out. Take care of you, too!

(and now, I’m off my teeny tiny soapbox.)

Local Product I Love: Stonewear Designs

Twitter is a beautiful thing. I’ve met a number of ‘real life’ friends through tweeting. I’ve learned about breaking news from my Twitter feed. I’ve followed along and nodded my head in agreement with thousands of my closest friends during episodes of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. And I’ve discovered really cool, smaller brands with big personality on Twitter. Stonewear Designs is one such brand.

I can’t remember how or when I first came upon Stonewear – it was somewhere between devouring tweets about other people’s recent adventures and tweeting about devouring Dominos Pizza on a Friday night, I’m sure. #RealLife

What I first loved about Stonewear was their mission: a women’s clothing company designing functional and cute athletic clothes that made a gal feel GOOD about what she’s wearing. Stonewear clothes have a flair of femininity that I didn’t realize I wanted in athletic clothes until I put it on. I mean, why CAN’T my running tights have a reflective strip that’s also a pretty detail? Why shouldn’t my zip up jacket flatter my body rather than feel like it is boxy and too wide? Everything is made with high-quality fabric that has retained it’s shape and fit through many workouts and weekend trips.

The fact that Stonewear is also based out of Colorado, just up the road from Denver in Louisville, is another win for me. I’ve always tried to support local small businesses when possible and now, after working at a small business and living the blood, sweat and tears that go into creating a successful business, I am even more a champion for shopping local. I love knowing Stonewear clothes are designed in Louisville and manufactured in the USA.

Local Product I Love: Stonewear Designs // lgsmash.com

You’ll be seeing a few product reviews in the future on some of my most favorite Stonewear items; right now, I’m totally in love with the hot yoga shorts. Super cute tie detail, no see-through fabric and withstands intense Corepower Yoga classes.

But don’t take my word for it! Head to Twitter tomorrow afternoon to discover a smaller, kick ass women’s clothing company, just like I did. Stonewear Designs is hosting a twitter party today at 11 a.m. MST where one lucky participant will win a Stonewear top or bottom. (If you win, I highly recommend the Sprinter Capri!). Just check in with @Stonewear and follow the #livestonewearadventures tag tomorrow to chat about solo adventures as a woman for your chance to win.

Catch ya on the Twitterz!

Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Citadel/Pettingell Traverse Climb // lgsmash.com

As I’ve gotten older, the lessons I learned in sports have come full circle to be applicable in my non-sport ‘real’ life. From years and years of playing volleyball, I’ve learned about fighting through the hard parts, supporting those around you, focusing only on what you can control.

Recently, another learned skill in sports has transpired into daily life: learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This past year, I’ve been learning how to rock climb. Truthfully, I did not enjoy rock climbing at the beginning. The exposure made me nervous – despite being tied in, secure and safe. The exposure and heights – both indoors and out – made me incredibly uncomfortable. I felt panicky. My mind raced. My heart pounded and my hands sweat. Not awesome side-effects when trying to grip a rock to avoid falling.

But as I continued to climb, I started to settle in and accept that if I wanted to get better, I had to put myself in uncomfortable situations and learn to calm down and get through it. Initially, there were lots of tears and it was really, really hard to not let my mind get the best of me. But as I kept at it, the uncomfortable situations are becoming a bit more comfortable.

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(Being in this situation would have made me cry 6 months ago. Now, no tears! #likeaboss)

In my new job, I’m uncomfortable everyday. I’m learning a new industry, working with new people and my company is navigating uncharted territory. For the first weeks, I felt panicky, like I was barely keeping my head above water in my work life and personal life. But just like rock climbing – as I’ve settled into my role, I know that growth doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable. Growth happens when you’re uncomfortable and working through new challenges and unexpected situations.

So settle into the uncomfortable and make yourself at home. Accepting that it’s going to be hard work to make progress, to reach the next milestone, to hit the next target opens a whole host of doors and new experiences. Whether it’s rock climbing, work, a creative pursuit or pretty much any other aspect of life, get uncomfortable. Grow. Thrive.

Showing My Momma A Colorado Weekend

This past weekend, my mom came to visit me and my brother. My brother, Chris, is only here for another couple of weeks before he and his girlfriend head back to Chicago. We jokingly asked if she wanted to try camping while she visited and, surprisingly, she enthusiastically said yes!

We planned to meet up with our friends, Lucas, Nancy and Justin, who spent Friday night in 11 Mile Canyon, a Colorado State Park 50ish miles west of Colorado Springs. We met up with them on Saturday morning at Elevenmile Dome in the canyon and harnessed up. We could not have asked for better weather – sunny, mild temps, slight breeze. We truly lucked out with another quintessential fall day in Colorado (see also: Boulder Canyon climbing!).

Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com

We climbed Moby Grape, a really fun dihedral rated at 5.7, and Happy Trails, an interesting and slabby route rated at 5.6 (but feels like it should be rated higher). Lucas is the only lead climber in our group so he lead both routes and set up top rope anchors for the rest of us.

Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com

Happy Trails

Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com

Happy Trails

 

Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com

Moby Grape

Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com

Late in the afternoon, we broke for lunch and to wait out the overcast clouds that had rolled in. Lucas, Nancy and Justin found a solid campsite the night before and, because we were car camping, we arrived to camping luxuries like a real campstove, extra chairs around the fire ring and chips and salsa waiting for us in a cooler.

Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.comClimbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com We spent the evening playing with the slingshot, throwing sticks to excited pups and sharing laughs over beers around the fire. My mom, who’d never been camping, was a real trooper and had a great time in the great outdoors. It was really special to show my mom how Alex and I (and Chris and Jenna!) like spending our Colorado weekends – she sees all of our adventure photos online but having the opportunity to share the adventure with her was priceless.
Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com In the morning, we iced the luxurious camping cake with pancakes, sausage and bacon for breakfast. Heavenly! More laughing in the cool October air over warm camp coffee was the perfect Sunday morning, in my book.
Climbing in 11 Mile Canyon // lgsmash.com We packed up camp and headed back down the canyon soon after breakfast. Lucas, Nancy and Justin opted to climb a multi-pitch route before heading back to town while my family and I headed back into Denver to spend the last few hours of my mom’s visit doing things she wanted to do – eating meals as a family, hanging out and spending precious quality time together.

As usually is the case, saying goodbye early Monday morning was really sad. Family trips seem to feel shorter as I get older; like they say, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. Or, at least, not living in the same city as you. Seeing my family less makes our visits that much more special to me and I savor the moments together.

Okay, sappy family stuff over, back to the canyon: I’m definitely a fan of 11 Mile Canyon and hope to get back soon for more climbing and camping. We just missed peak ‘leaf peeping’ season but I can only imagine how stunning the canyon is when it’s canvassed in golds and bright yellows.

Climbing in Boulder Canyon – Nip and Tuck

Boulder Canyon Climbing Nip Tuck // lgsmash.com

Saturday was a perfect morning for rock climbing – crisp, chilly air in the morning that warmed by lunch, yellow leaves shimmering in the breeze, not a cloud in the sky.

We piled in OsCar the Outback and navigated towards Boulder in the morning, meeting my brother, Chris, and his girlfriend, Jenna, to bring them along with us. Neither had been climbing outside before and wanted to do it before they move back to Chicago at the end of the month. Lucas scouted out a route that offered routes with varying difficulty where the first-timers could learn, the intermediate (me) could be challenged and the more advanced (Alex and Lucas) wouldn’t be too bored.

We ended up at Nip and Tuck, 10.5 miles into Boulder Canyon. It’s a popular crag situated in the sun very nicely in the morning.  We set up a couple of top ropes and Lucas led a couple different routes over the course of the day. We moved to a new section of the crag when the third pair of climbers popped in, wondering if they could climb when we were finished.

A couple more laps on a really fun final route ended our day as gray cloud cover rolled in overhead. Beers and burgers back in Boulder and a quick stop in Neptune Mountaineering’s gear swap before we pointed OsCar’s wheels back toward Denver.

If there ever was a perfect fall day in Colorado, this was it. Spending the day outside, in sunshine, with some of my favorite people having the best time learning, teaching and challenging ourselves on a giant rock. Filing this Saturday in the memory bank under: A for Awesome.

(Routes climbed: Surprising Slab, Hare Balls, Dan-D-Line, Old Dihedral, Doc’s Route, Finger Crack)

Sierra Trading Post Opened Colorado Stores!

Cue the backpack-shaped confetti! Sierra Trading Post has opened not one but TWO retail stores in Colorado!! You guys don’t even understand how excited this little mountaineer is!

This weekend, the Fort Collins store opened this week and a few weeks ago, the Denver/Greenwood Village store opened. It’s no secret that I love the deals Sierra Trading Post offers or the people behind the brand. So when they invited me to come help celebrate the grand opening of their Denver store, I battled traffic and met a fun group of local bloggers at the store in the Tech Center for party time!

Sierra Trading Post CO Store Grand Opening // lgsmash.com

The Social team – Heidi, Andy, Chris, Nick and Juliette – put together a really fun night for the night-before-the-grand-opening party. Heidi had split the group up into teams and were were tasked with 3 challenges: knot tying, gear shopping and tent pitching.

My group took on the knot tying first and quickly tied the 5 required knots.

Sierra Trading Post CO Store Grand Opening // lgsmash.com

We then headed to gear shopping where we had to find our 10 essentials for hiking and backpacking throughout the store. Also not a secret that the 10 essentials are my jam so it was fun to frantically shop with my group, making sure we had the best shopping basket in the shortest amount of time.

Sierra Trading Post CO Store Grand Opening // lgsmash.com

Then we moved to tent set up. Our mission? Set up and tear down a tent as quickly as possible. The group with the shortest time to complete got extra points so our team tried to buzz through our setup and tear down. Sierra Trading Post CO Store Grand Opening // lgsmash.com

At the end of the night, Heidi tallied up the scores and the winning team was awarded Sierra Trading Post gift cards. Much to my surprise, my group was announced the winners! I promptly turned around and spent my gift card money on a new OR long sleeve Echo Hoody.

So how does a Sierra Trading Post retail store work? Exactly like their online shop – they offer great, high-quality gear at discount prices. Prices mirror what the product retails for online…but no shipping fees! And you get to things on first! It’s awesome.

Since the Denver store opened, I’ve been back shopping 3 more times, despite the 20+ minute drive out of my way. The deals are worth it!

So – Denver and Fort Collins friends: stop into the new stores and say hey to the STP folks! The Fort Collins store is partying it up this weekend at there newest location. If you’re nearby, swing by and join the fun!