The Trails of Salt Lake City

By August 28, 2015 Running, Trail Running, Travels
Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

I’ve written about my trips to Outdoor Retailer before and what a magical place it is for outdoor lovers. I feel like I’m a kid in a candy store all week with all the colors and sounds and sights and things to eat and new gear to touch. I love every bit of it!

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Late-night OR antics

However, it does get a bit overwhelming. By lunch on Friday, everyone has that end-of-OR glazed-over look. So it’s equally important to me to be able to spend some time in the mountains and escape all the madness. This time around, I got to spend a good amount of time out of the city and on the trails, which was pure bliss.

So here’s the “wilder” part of OR—set high above Salt Lake in the Wasatch Mountains:

Early Tuesday morning (I’m talking 3:30 here), my friend Logan tested my sanity and fitness level by taking me on an “easier” peak run to the summit of Mount Raymond. We are constantly talking SEC smack to each other and I try to never show weakness, but I was pretty sure I’d die from lack of oxygen, falling off the mountain, or a moose attack and vocalized my impending doom. But it was worth every lung-searing step to watch the sun rise over the mountain range.

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Magic happens while the world sleeps

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

The summit looks so close, yet so far…

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

“This way is more fun than the trail!”

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Why we have life insurance, right?

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Salt Lake City glittering below

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Queen of the mountain

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Fields of gold

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Hurdles

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Who said single track is easy? Wildflowers and bushes made it almost impossible to see your footing

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Moose bed

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B

Apsen jungle

On Saturday morning, I joined my work Twitter pals for the #hikerchat adventure hosted by Teton Sports. Our meet-ups are always one of my favorite parts of OR, because I get to meet people I talk to online and hang out with old friends. We did a short but sweet hike with killer views and a hidden waterfall, then tumbled down the mountain to eat and wrap up the show.

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Playing the “match the Twitter handle to the real live person” game

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Talking ultra running strategy with Heidi Roo

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

#hikerchat brought to life

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Girls living on the edge

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Summit selfies

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Ridge walk

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Because we’re four

I had a few hours before my flight on Sunday morning, so I laced up my shoes and went off in search of a trail system that is supposedly downtown. I was so busy gawking at the gorgeous Mormon Mothership, admiring the sunrise, and avoiding the accusatory stares of everyone driving to said Mothership that I got lost in a neighborhood. But I found a baby trail in someone’s yard, which led to an even better trail than the one I had originally intended to run. Win!

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Temple Square at dawn

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Utah sure does like pretty architecture. And beehives.

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Sat down to enjoy the peace and quiet, and got a cactus in my ass

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Easy like Sunday morning

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

All this is just two short (and steep!) miles from the craziness of OR down below

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

That single track, though

See you againin a few months, Utah! Stay pretty!

Wasatch, Mount Raymond, Outdoor Retailer, trail running, ultra running, Salt Lake City, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Mill B, #hikerchat, Teton Sports

Bye, Salt Lake City!

The Time Alpha Phi Broke the Internet for Women

By August 17, 2015 Ramblings
Alpha Phi recruitment video, University of Alabama, sorority, Like A Girl campaign, Strong is the New Pretty, Kate Parker Photography

If you haven’t seen the University of Alabama Alpha Phi’s recruitment video yet, drop everything and go watch it now. Is the video even real? No, really—please tell me it’s an SNL spoof or something.

I try my best (I said try) to keep my opinions to myself about the Greek system, because I’m fully aware that I’d offend, oh, just about every one of my friends. But this is now getting national media attention, so I consider it fair game.

Holy shit. It’s disgusting. It’s degrading. It’s nothing new, but still. It’s an embarrassment to the school, the state, the sorority, and the women.

Alpha Phi recruitment video, University of Alabama, sorority, Like A Girl campaign, Strong is the New Pretty, Kate Parker Photography

Oh hey there, diversity

It’s not like this was something filmed with an iPhone as a fun, weekend activity. This shit was planned and produced as a real recruitment video! Someone actually went out and bought the glitter and blew up the Tootsie Roll (yes, pun very much intended) and selected the blondest and skinniest girls to be the stars.

Alpha Phi recruitment video, University of Alabama, sorority,  Like A Girl campaign, Strong is the New Pretty, Kate Parker Photography

Wut.

But let’s say the women filmed this recruitment video to actually recruit new members instead of making a College Girls Gone Wild commercial. Really? Piggyback rides, football, and bathing suits are your strengths? Because man, if there was one thing I loved about college, it was prancing around in a bikini with other women. Sign me up, Alpha Phi!

Last I checked, college was for getting an education. You know, so that you can adult properly when you graduate. And be a contributing member of society. I’m not saying that these women aren’t intelligent, but they’re not exactly shouting, “Look at our collective GPA! Join our sorority!”

Women should get to college and confidently walk into an engineering or tech class, not feel like they need to dress up and get bid on like a show pig. Because remember, if you want to be a part of the Glitter-Blower’s Club, you need to be chosen.

Alpha Phi recruitment video, University of Alabama, sorority,  Like A Girl campaign, Strong is the New Pretty, Kate Parker Photography

You must have a particular lung capacity to be an Alpha Phi

What are we teaching our children? That girls need to be skinny and blonde and pretty and white to have a good college experience? That an MRS degree is totally acceptable because a wealthy fraternity brother will whisk you away into the sunset in his white BMW?

No. Shit like this needs to fall off the face of the planet. Forever. It needs to be replaced with campaigns like Strong Is the New Pretty and Like a Girl.

Take a look at Kate Parker Photography, for example. She created the photo series called Strong Is the New Pretty and does a phenomenal job photographing her daughters looking their strongest. And the result is incredible. These girls are grimy and athletic and pouty and beautiful beyond words.

Alpha Phi recruitment video, University of Alabama, sorority,  Like A Girl campaign, Strong is the New Pretty, Kate Parker Photography

This. This is what we need our kids to be exposed to.

And then you may remember the Like a Girl campaign from last year’s Super Bowl. How can you not watch this video and get all the feels?

Alpha Phi recruitment video, University of Alabama, sorority,  Like A Girl campaign, Strong is the New Pretty, Kate Parker Photography

Also this.

This is what we need to be teaching our future generations. It’s beautiful to be seen as smart and messy and goofy and strong. It’s important to be seen for the person you are, not as a sex object. You are worth way more than the sorority you pledge.

I hope girls everywhere pay attention to these campaigns and look at the videos and photos and think yes, we can look this way and feel confident. I hope that women continue to push back against being objectified. And I really hope that the girls in the Alpha Phi video look back and think, “Hey, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. We’re better than that.”

Full disclosure—I’m writing this with a strong anti-Greek system bias. I went to the University of Alabama, so I experienced this madness firsthand. Or rather, secondhand. I wouldn’t have dreamed of rushing, nor would any sorority have let me cross the threshold of its sacred fortress. I was called a GDI (Goddamn Independent) (Damn right I was!) and was told I couldn’t hang out with Greek classmates outside of class or go study with friends in their sorority house. And if you’re wondering, no I’m not bitter at all. I think the whole thing is laughable and sad.

What Is a Diva Cup and Why You Need One

By June 24, 2015 Products, Ramblings
Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

Alright girls, grab a drink, gather round, and let’s talk Diva Cups. This is the time to ask every question you ever wanted to ask but were too nervous to ask. Don’t be shy, we’re all friends here.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

Here’s Moose. If you start to feel faint, look at Moose.

My friend and blogging idea-bouncer-offer Rachel told me to password protect this post with “vaginal discharge,” because what guy would actually want to type that in? But I figured that was too much effort on my part. After all, this post doesn’t faze me one bit. It’s you I’m worried about.

Fellas, consider this your one and only warning. See the X in the top right corner of your screen? Click it now. Now. …now. If you choose to continue to read, I am not responsible for any vomiting, fainting, or ill feelings about me.

The Diva Cup got a bad rap in this HuffPo article a few weeks back. It was hilarious and got people talking about this weird product, but I disagreed with every word and wanted to write a post singing the praises of the Diva Cup.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

It’s like being vegan – you have to tell everyone about it

So here we go. Let me introduce you to the Diva Cup:

What is a Diva Cup? It’s a feminine product. Like a tampon. Or a pad. More like a tampon. But in a cup shape.

Should I use a Diva Cup? Do you have a period? Are you tired of looking like Carrie? Do you want to take a “set it and forget it” approach to the most-hated week of the month? Are you comfortable touching your business? Then yes, you should use a Diva Cup.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

You know you can relate

However. If you are squeamish, prudish, or a borderline hypochondriac, then this won’t be your cup of raspberry tea. You have to be cool with seeing your blood. And touching yourself. I think the correlation of Diva Cup users to masturbaters is probably pretty high. But honestly, if you’re a self-love virgin then I think you have some other life choices to work on before trying a Diva Cup.

Will my cup runneth over? Probably, if you don’t do it right. But it will take far longer (up to 12 hours) than it takes for your other feminine products to fail you, so you have ample time to get yourself to a restroom.

How do I use this contraption? I could describe it to you, but I don’t think I’d do it justice. I could tell you to follow the directions on the package, but I did and failed quite a few times. So just watch this video.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

And then come back and look at Koda

How gross is it really? Again, if you’re squeamish then this probably isn’t for you. There will be blood. But really, what girl hasn’t committed a crime scene or two in her post-puberty years? Plus, it’s your body doing its anti-baby thang, and you have to give it credit for that.

Can you feel the cup? Just like a tampon, if you insert it wrong then your vag will shout at you. But if done correctly, you totally forget it’s there. Which is wonderful. Like a non-period. Only it doesn’t eliminate the shank-a-bitch PMS emotions.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

See? It’s not that scary!

Can you have sex? Technically speaking, since the cup is up by your cervix and leaves your vaginal canal open, you can still eagerly participate in sexual escapades. Can you use a finger? Yes. A penis? Probably not comfortably. Unless you play “Just the Tip.”

Is it worth the cost? $40 for a fucking dixie cup that catches blood? Outrageous, you may say. But if you think about it, at $6 per box of tampons, the Diva Cup will pay for itself quickly.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

If you didn’t groan and laugh, you’re dead inside

Will Mother Earth love me more? Yes! So much yes. Think about how much cotton and plastic and junk you’ll dispose of throughout the span of your baby-making years. Whereas a Diva Cup is the gift that keeps on giving—er, getting.

Does it smell? One of the biggest complaints in this Reddit post (which is also hilarious, BTW) was that the cup smells. I have two things to say about this. One, have you ever kept a tampon in too long? Two, why the fuck are you smelling your cup anyway?

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

Sasha’s a total diva every day of her life

Don’t want to be a Diva? There are quite a few other brands out there that may fit your…shape better.

See now, that wasn’t that bad, was it? The Diva Cup has become mainstream in the backpacking and trail running communities, and now it’s time for all women to know how spectacular it is.

If you’re a male and you’re still reading, congrats. You asked for this.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

But here are some cookies for you. You deserve cookies.

Confessions of a Dirty Runner

By June 23, 2015 Ramblings, Running
http://wp.me/p4dARa-1ws

Runners. We’re not the cleanest, prettiest, best-smelling flowers in the bunch. But we’re sure as hell the most fun!

We all have strange quirks that our fellow runners understand and embrace, but would never fly in the real world. Since we’re all friends here, let’s share some of them. I’ll start:

I sing out loud to my music when I run alone

I get satisfaction when the shower water runs black with dirt and mud and blood

dirty runner, running confessions

Why yes, I did splash in that puddle on purpose

I still wear sports bras I bought freshman year of college

I have no shame picking up food I dropped on the ground at an aid station and eating it—dirt is good for you

dirty runner, running confessions

I also eat berries I find on walks downtown

I have been known to blow snot rockets even when I’m not running

I don’t always shave my thighs if I’m in a hurry pre-run

dirty runner, running confessions

We decided that shaving is often overrated

I don’t mind the way that some runners smell, but others make me gag 

I wear my ultra shirts all.the.time. to feel like a badass, even though they hang to my knees

dirty runner, running confessions

My first 50k will always be one of my favorites!

I take pleasure in pulling spiderwebs from my eyelashes

I run to eat (but honestly, who doesn’t?)

dirty runner, running confessions

Who loves orange soda? Tanya loves orange soda!

Alright, your turn! What are some of your dirty runner confessions?

Suburbia Gets Lofty – 2015 Parade of Homes

By June 4, 2015 Birmingham
DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned working with B Metro Magazine for the 2015 Parade of Homes? Well, I came, I paraded, and I fell in love.

I headed to the Parade of Homes (organized by the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders) excited to immerse myself back in suburbia. And I did, kind of. After seeing a few of the homes, I noticed something interesting. I felt very comfortable, very stylish. Very…at home. These brand new, stunning houses shared a lot of similarities with my 1920s converted warehouse loft.

Gone were the white picket fences, the formal dining rooms, the identical bedrooms with 2.4 kids and a Golden Retriever running around. These houses were hip! As in, let me pack my bags and move out here, STAT. Look out world, Millenials are growing up and taking over the neighborhood!

I made mental notes of all the ways these houses were like my lofty loft. Here they are, as told roughly by song lyrics. Because doesn’t everyone need a song in their heart?

Brick house—I am a sucker for exposed brick, and will be heartbroken the day I have to leave my Birmingham-made brick walls. So imagine my delight when I saw that a major design element of some of the homes was brick! Brick bathrooms, brick accent walls, and did I mention brick bathrooms? Point – house.

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Why yes, I will write here! DR Horton Rockingham

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Hello brick accent wall! Signature Homes Freeman

Wide open spaces—Another thing I’ve grown to adore about my loft is the lack of walls. Literally. So again, I was pleased when I stepped into some of these homes and saw open floor plans. Living spaces flowed into kitchen spaces, which flowed outdoors. So much room for activities! Or, if you’re more of an introvert and don’t fancy large party spaces, so much less room to hide clutter!

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Does it get more lofty than a loft space overlooking the living room? Signature Homes Freeman

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Seamless transition from kitchen to my mouth… Wright Homes

And the green grass grows—One thing I miss about an actual house is having a yard with lush green grass. My three fur babies would agree. These homes had front yards, backyards, side yards to store your recycling and garbage cans (huge deal for me!). I refrained, but I really wanted to roll around on the front lawns and make grass angels.

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Front yards are meant for picnics and gymnastics! Wright Homes

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Is this a backyard or a resort? Wright Homes

Open door—Another thing that I hadn’t realized I miss is doors! I know you need walls to have doors, which contradicts my previous point, but still. These houses had an abundance of doors, specifically leading into master bedrooms and bathrooms. I feel like you’ve made it when you can say, “I am retiring to my master suite for the evening.”

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Would you like some tea and crumpets in my Master sitting room? DR Horton Rockingham

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

This bathroom has DOORS! And BRICK! Signature Homes Freeman

So what am I really getting at? If you’re a twenty- (or thirty!) something like me and are debating between a bustling downtown life with a hip abode but no peace and quiet or a “dull” house in a quiet neighborhood, have no fear. New construction homes are not the boxy cookie-cutter things that we grew up in. These are gorgeous, modern, and sure to impress even your downtown-dwelling friends!

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