Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer

Congratulations to commenter number 4, Mel, who is the winner of the $25 REI gift card!!  Thanks everyone for playing along. Happy Holidays!

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There are few places I’d rather be than in the woods on a quiet, muddy trail. Whether I’m hiking or taking a run, it’s the one place where I can clear my mind while feeding my body and soul. So if you are like me (or you’ve got a girl like me in your life) this post is for you. I thought I’d share some of my favorite trail gear with all of you lovely readers.  With the holiday season upon us, maybe you’ll be inspired with some gift ideas for the outdoorsy girl in your life.

HikerGifts

1. At the top we have the quick dry  Toaster Top and Liberty Pants from Stonewear Designs. Warning: these pieces of clothing are so awesome, functional and comfortable you will never want to take them off!  Stonewear Designs is a Colorado-based company comprised of a group of determined women who lead busy lives balancing time between family, friends, work, and play. They developed clothes that make women feel beautiful while performing under strenuous demands. They strive to fit and flatter every type of body with beautiful, durable clothing that will last for years. All Stonewear clothing is Made in the U.S.A.

2. Gypsum Mid Hiking Boots by KEEN.  The only brand of boots I wear on the trail! For years, KEEN has been keeping my feet happy and safe on the trail. ‘Nuff said.

3. SpeedCross 3 Trail Running shoes by Salomon.  I am in love with these awesome, lightweight but aggressive trail shoes that are perfect for muddy, mountainous terrain. I use these all the time and they are by far my faves!

4. I don’t own one of these battery-operated mobile power devices yet, but I really want to try one! They seem like a perfect gadget to have handy on a long hike or backpacking trip.  Especially if you are like me and snap photos on the trail with your iphone.

And since it’s the season to spread the love, I’m going to do another giveaway today. I’m going to give one lucky reader a $25 gift card to REI.  Oh yes I am!  All you have to do is…

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite outdoor activity and whether or not you’d be happy to receive any of these gifts above.

2. For one extra entry, go like my facebook page.  Come back here and leave another comment telling me you did so (or tell me if you already are a fan.)

3. For one more entry, tweet about the giveaway, including a link to this post and make sure to mention me, @hikemama. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.

sample tweet: Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer and a $25 gift card giveaway to REI! http://wp.me/phD5i-2jB @hikemama

That’s it!  Good luck and happy trails. One lucky reader will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 15.

psst–check out my other open giveaway here!

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Run for NYC

Run a virtual race for the victims of Hurricane Sandy….whether it’s a marathon, half marathon or 5K, sign up today to run and raise money for the recovery efforts during the week. 100% of the money raised goes to the Red Cross relief fund.

 

http://www.run4nyc.com/

Make Your Halloween Even Sweeter by Trick or Treating for UNICEF

I have a secret, a confession really, that I need to share with all of you.  On Halloween night, after the kids crash from their sugar highs and all is quiet throughout the house, I rummage through the mounds of candy and devour some of my favorite pieces.

I can’t be the only one, please tell me I’m not the only one……

It’s a sinfully delicious guilt that I carry around all year long.  But hey, a mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.  Besides, the kids won’t miss those few pieces of candy.

Now that you all know my little secret, here’s something else that  definitely needs to be shared.  You can make Halloween even sweeter this year by joining UNICEF’s Trick or Treat fundraising program.

For 62 years, UNICEF has been motivating children to become global citizens through this festive fundraising program.  It’s a great way to provide the entire family with an easy and fun way to help others.

  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF encourages kids of all ages to help raise funds for their peers in developing countries by going door-to-door on Halloween night or participating in other festive fundraising activities.
  • Through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, more than $167 million has been raised, providing children in 190 countries and territories with much-needed health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

Ready to get started??  It’s easy! You can order your free collection boxes today!  Click on the image below to find out how….

You can get creative with your fundraising efforts and you can even enter the Create a Character contest for a chance to design your very own collection box for next year.

Make Halloween a little bit sweeter this year with UNICEF, and let’s keep the candy stealing just between us, mkay?

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

My First Half Marathon

This morning I ran the Haunted Half Marathon on the lovely Cumberland Plateau located in Eastern Tennessee.  It was a beautiful day for a run!  The air was crisp and cool and the leaves were covered in the shades of autumn.  I was very pleased with my pace and run time as well.

And the best part of the entire race was that I got to cross the finish line with my boys!  I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see their smiling faces.

Today I ran on a team that benefitted Rising Above Ministries, an organization that supports families with special needs children.  I dedicated each mile to a child with a special needs today and it was the greatest motivation to keep me running strong when the hills got high.  What an awesome experience!

My First Trail Race

Today I ran my first ever trail race–8.2 steep, muddy miles through the forest.  The temps rose into the 80’s but luckily there was a nice breeze and enough cloud cover to keep things comfortable. All I can say is that those hills kicked my rear end!  This run was all about celebrating the beauty of our local state parks.  I enjoyed every moment of my time on the trail today, even those darn hills.  I really wished I could have taken some pictures of the gorgeous scenery, but you know, I was running and stuff.

Everyone thought it was hysterical that I was crossing the finish line with a huge smile on my face, but I was just happy to finally reach the end and not be dead last!

Don’t ask what this pose was about, I think I was a bit delirious and ready for a drink of water.  Even photo shop couldn’t make me look good after this run 😉

It wasn’t my best time, but at least I got out there and did it, right?  That’s got to count for something.  Now let’s hope I can shake these jello legs by tomorrow.  Right now I’m on the couch while the kids are running around  like crazy wondering why mama’s actually resting.    I think the laundry can wait until tomorrow, too.

Hope you all are enjoying your Saturday as well!

 

 

Aww shucks…..

I opened my email last night to find that my blog had been nominated for the Top 25 Health and Wellness Moms on Circle of Moms. I was stoked when I became a Top 25 Outdoorsy Mom awhile back, so I never thought I’d be nominated for anything else.  Whoever did think of nominating me, thank you very much!  I’m honored that someone would take the time to think of me and this blog.

I’m trying hard to take charge of my health and wellness, as well as the health and wellness of my family.  If you are already a regular reader you will see that we believe that nature not only heals the soul, but can play a powerful role in providing positive sensory input and problem solving skills for my child with Autism.  I can safely say that without so much time outdoors connecting with nature, we never would have seen such progress in Big Brother.  I hope to use this blog to inspire others to get out there and live a life of adventure….for your health and for your happiness!

And for myself, I have been working hard to train for my upcoming Half Marathon.  In fact, tomorrow morning I’m running a 7 mile trail race to get warmed up for the big event 🙂  Since I started my training a couple of months ago, I’ve lost over 12 pounds and have dropped my percentage of body fat by several points.  I am feeling more energized and happier already!  I am so excited about this new journey I’m on and I am happy to be sharing it with all of you.  If you feel like voting, you can click on the image below to do so.  I’m just excited that people find this blog as a place of encouragement and inspiration.  Thank you all!

I’ll let you know how my first ever trail race goes tomorrow, wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it!

Love and Hunger: Oxfam USA and World Food Day

Last night as I laid my five year-old son down to sleep, he hugged me and said the following…

“Mommy love you.  Mommy give you food.”

[by “you” he means “me.” ]  Although my son has special needs and cannot speak like a typical 5 year-old child, the above comments still serve as a stark reminder that so many people–so many children–around the globe go to bed hungry each night.

My son spent his first four years of life in an orphanage where going to bed hungry was not an isolated event.  When he came home nearly 2 years ago, he was clearly malnourished and would gorge and hoard food constantly.  His brother, who also spent time in an orphanage, was born malnourished as well.

Hunger is not a new topic in our house.  Our boys associate food with love and it’s kind of a big deal around here. But now that both boys are home and thriving and food is abundant, it is easy to overlook and forget about the fact that hunger is a global reality for so many.

That’s why I support Oxfam America and encourage you to join them on World Food Day (Tuesday, October 16) to get the conversation started about helping people make everyday choices that can improve our global food system.  They have outlined some  principles to help you do it, called the GROW METHOD.

Make sure to visit the link above to download a toolkit to use in your home.

On World Food Day, the boys and I will be visiting a farm as part of a class field trip.  I’m using this perfect opportunity to start the conversation about where our food comes from and how it gets to our table.  For dinner we will talk about the GROW METHOD and what we can do to ensure that no person on this planet has to go to bed hungry.

Startling stats and more info:

•    Our planet produces enough food for everyone, yet nearly one billion of us (1 in every 7 people) still go to bed hungry.

•    About a third of the food produced for our plates ends up lost or wasted between farm and fork.

•    One pound of ground beef for your family uses more than 28,000 cups of water to produce—that’s enough to fill 20 bathtubs to the brim, and then some!

While this may seem overwhelming, there are many ways that we, as individuals, can make simple changes in the way we grow, cook, eat and store our food to be more sustainable.  So, as a special way to celebrate World Food Day, we’re asking people to:

•     Sign up to host a World Food Day dinner discussion. Oxfam has tons of free materials including a discussion guide, placemats, and recipe ideas from acclaimed chefs Jamie Oliver, Mary Sue Milliken, and others. Everything can be found at www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday

•   Share GROW method recipes on Pinterest and we’ll add them to our GROW Method Cook Book (http://pinterest.com/oxfamgrowmethod)! Just tag your pin with #GROWmethod to add it.

•    Snap photos of your World Food Day meal on Instagram and tag them with #WFD2012, then check out our site (www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday) to see photos from all over the world.

So tell me, are you and your family going to participate?  Share your thoughts please!!

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

Global Team of 200: Social Media for Social Good

 

“Global Team of 200 is a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.”

I am so proud to announce that I am now a member of this amazing team!  I can’t wait to start using my voice even more to raise awareness regarding some of the most pressing social issues.  You can read my profile and motivations here.  Stay tuned, we have a lot to discuss….

Gear Review and Giveaway: Stonewear Designs (apparel for active women)

Giveaway Closed.  Congratulations to commenter number 3 for winning the headband! 

I’m not a world-renowned athlete and I’ve never led an exhilarating expedition to worlds unknown.  My ab muscles are strong but are by no means toned enough to resemble a six-pack.  I’m training for a half-marathon–words that I never imagined would fall from my lips. I don’t look like a supermodel and my curves sometimes annoy me.  But I’m proud of my body and all that it has allowed me to accomplish.

I believe fiercely that adventure and outdoor exploration are for all.  I strive to stay active, push my limits, try new things and inspire others to do the same. Staying active and fit are high on my priority list. I use all of my resources to not only help my son with special needs thrive outdoors, but to show others that adventure and the natural world are within everyone’s grasp. I believe in the power of nature to sooth the soul and nourish the body and mind.  I believe that everyone can benefit from being active outdoors.  And I don’t think that you must have the perfect body to do so.

That’s why I was so delighted to become a member of the Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team.  Stonewear clothing is designed to fit every type of body.  They empower women of all shapes and sizes to be active while stylishly supported.  So today, I thought I would share with you about some of my favorite Stonewear outfits that I was provided to test and use in my daily activities.  And I’ll be honest….I pretty much live in my Stonewear clothing now. It makes me feel beautiful, strong and comfortable all day long.  Their clothing is of very high quality (so it will last without showing wear) and is specifically designed to be tough enough to keep up with an active lifestyle.  

Lyra Top + Rockin’ Capri:

The Lyra Top is made of a very breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you cool and dry while hiking, running, kayaking, climbing or just wrangling kids.  This is my go to top for all of my activities.  Not only does it keep me cool and dry down here in the hot and humid southeast, but the support is phenomenal.  The Lyra Top has a built-in bra that keeps the girls nicely in place.  I sometimes pair this top with Stonewear’s cross back sports bra to give myself the maximum amount of support possible because I really like to keep everything in place 🙂  But the top alone provides great support.  The fit is extremely flattering as well.  The fabric skims the body and flatters without being clingy  (which is great if you are like me and your midsection is a little soft and round!)  If you are an active woman who is a bit heavy on top, then the Lyra Top is definitely for you.

The Rockin’ Capris (also referred to by me as the most awesome pair of capris to ever grace my legs) are the best thing that has ever happened to me from a clothing standpoint.  These flattering, moisture-wicking capris feel great, look great and hold up to creek crossings, muddy hikes, kayaking trips and hot trail runs. They also have a side zip pocket that is large enough to store a smart phone or keys. I practically live in these capris (as well as the pant version.)  Wash after wash these babies still look like new.  The Rockin’ Capris are the most rugged and beautifully constructed capris/pants I’ve ever owned.  They are certainly worth every penny.  I cannot stress enough how awesome these are!!  I will never hike in anything else again….seriously….they are that good.

Keep a lookout for an upcoming review of my other faves–the Olympia Top, Rockin’ Pants, Double Cross Back Top and Meridian Capris….

Want to see what other real women have to say about Stonewear Designs?  Check out this fabulous post that shows women of all shapes and sizes sharing their favorite pieces of clothing!

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Now, who wants to win a little something from Stonewear Designs? Enter to win a headband, here’s how:

1. Visit the Stonewear Designs website and take a look around, then come back and leave a comment below telling me what piece of clothing you think would be great to try and why.

2. For an extra, additional entry, you can like Stonewear Designs on Facebook.  Then come back here and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

3. For one more extra entry, you can like Hike.Blog.Love on Facebook (or tell me you already are a fan) and come back here and leave another comment.

That’s it!  Good luck, ladies (and men who would like to win some swag for their lady.)  The giveaway closes on Friday October 5th. The winner will recieve a headband in a random color.

Some of the Stonewear clothing shown in this post was provided to me free of charge as a member of the Grassroots Team.  Some clothing was purchased with my own money because I love the clothing so darn much.  All opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Run Hard, Do Good (earn money for charity through the app Charity Miles)

For the past few weeks, my RunKeeper log has looked like this.  I’m showing this to you 1) to prove that you don’t have to be the fastest and best runner in the world to train for a half-marathon, 2) that I’m really working hard to train for my half-marathon and 3) most importantly, I want to share a new app with you all called Charity Miles.

So why am I running?  You can go to the top of my blog and see that I’ve added a new page called Run, Mama, Run! that highlights the whys and whats of my running career (ha, I use that term loosely, folks!)

(Right now I’m training to run a half-Marathon that will benefit a minsitry for families of special needs families called Rising Above Ministries.  I will also be helping a special needs participant cross the finish line.  Part of my responsibility for participating in this half-marathon is so that I can help raise funds for Rising Above, and you can find the donation link here if you’d like to contribute. Just tell them Lauren sent ya.)

But even if you’re not running in a race like me, you can still raise funds for charity just by walking, running or biking!  Meet the new app called Charity Miles.  Here is the basic description of the app:

“…an iPhone/Android app that empowers you to earn corporate sponsorships for charity by walking, running or biking.

Just choose a charity and press start.  As you walk, run or bike, the app tracks your distance and you earn money for your charity.  Bikers earn 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile, all up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.

And this is just the beginning.  As you walk, run or bike with Charity Miles, you also help us attract more sponsors to increase our sponsorship pool for everyone.

So please join the movement.  And please invite your friends.  Because changing the world is a team sport!”

I just downloaded the app and can’t wait to get started. It’s free, so what are you waiting for?  Run (walk or bike) hard and do good.  It’s that easy!