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!


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.


Help a Mama Out!

You may recall that I did a review not too long ago regarding Stonewear Designs–a clothing company that designs hiking, fitness, yoga and travel clothing for women. I snagged some of their Meridian yoga capris on sale and then splurged on one of their Kaia halter tops. And can I just say that I am in love? Truly.

Here I am in the backyard, doing yoga with the kids and sporting my new Stonewear finds….thanks Little Man for playing photographer!

The fit, the support, the look….it’s all perfect. I applied to be an ambassador for Stonewear Designs and would be honored to represent a company that I wholeheartedly love. Part of the application process is using social media to show support for the applicants. If you support me as a good choice as an ambassador, please give me a shout out through Stonewears’s twitter or fb pages:



Let them know that Lauren (Hiking Mama) sent you. And even if you don’t feel up to it, or I don’t get chosen, I will still continue to support this great clothing company and encourage you to check ’em out. Their apparel does not disappoint. I’m just so glad that I have finally found great clothing to support my active lifestyle!

Yoga for All: the whys and hows of yoga for children and those with special needs

You guys already know that I am a firm believer in nature for all based on my last few posts. Nature has provided more than just a good time or fun escape for my kids, it has provided a place of healing and acceptance. I could write a novel about our experience over this past year of nature being the ultimate therapy for my son with autism. But that is for another time. For now, I want to bring to light another activity that offers benefits for children, especially those with special needs. The best part is that this activity can go hand-in-hand with nature!

Now let’s talk yoga…

Why Yoga?

I think by now most people in our society are familiar with the benefits of yoga–for both adults and kids. For those who may not be, here are some interesting facts…

Yoga originated 4,000 or 5,000 years ago in what is now India. …The yoga practices that arose out of these systems of thought were designed to facilitate development and integration of the human body, mind, and breath to produce structural, physiological, and psychological effects. The aims of yoga are the development of the following: 1) a strong and flexible body free of pain; 2) a balanced autonomic nervous system with all physiological systems, e.g., digestion, respiration, endocrine, functioning optimally; and 3) a calm, clear, and tranquil mind. Beyond these specific outcomes, yoga practices are intended to facilitate self transformation at every level of functioning, with the goal of improving the overall quality of life.” (1)

There has been some clinical research done on the true medical benefits of yoga and now the National Institute of Health categorizes yoga as an alternative medical treatment in the mind-body category. Although I haven’t performed a thorough search of the medical literature, I know first-hand in my own life that the benefits of yoga are real, which is good enough for me. So a few weeks ago, it dawned on me…..why hadn’t I introduced my children to yoga, especially my son with significant special needs? Yoga therapy has been used frequently with children on the autism spectrum and it seems to be growing in popularity. I’ve also noticed lots of other families around me getting their kids involved in yoga. So we took the plunge.

Yoga as Therapy?

Admittedly, there hasn’t been a lot of scientific research done on the effects of yoga on those with autism spectrum disorders. I found a couple of journal articles (see the end of the post) that highlight the use of yoga as an alternative therapy and they are certainly worth a read if you are interested.

In 2008 a report on alternative therapies stated that “yoga is a mind-body approach that enjoys popular practice for increasing the sense of well being and control with the potential to decrease anxiety. A trial of yoga for symptoms of ADHD was underpowered to demonstrate effect, but suggested some benefit in children on medication. Relaxation therapy decreased symptoms of anxiety in patients with anxiety on a child psychiatry service and in children with mental retardation. No studies have yet been published related to symptoms of autism and response to yoga techniques.” (3)

A couple of years later, it was found that yoga therapy “may offer benefits as an effective tool to increase imitation, cognitive skills and social-communicative behaviors in children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. In addition, children exhibited increased skills in eye contact, sitting tolerance, non-verbal communication and receptive skills to verbal commands related to spatial relationship.” (2)

Still, very little research has been done in this area. But as a mom to a child on the spectrum, it doesn’t really matter if I have medical evidence to back me up. Here is what I know for sure. Yoga (or “goga” as Big Brother calls it) is helping my son with autism in the following areas:

gross motor skills
spatial awareness and body control
listening skills
anxiety reduction
bonding with me

I’m sure the benefits will continue to rack up as we move forward, and I’m hoping that all of this will benefit Little Man as well. But I am so excited for Big Brother. Not only does yoga provide him with some great results, it does something even more important–it gives him a fun way to be active and have a sense of achievement. Yoga has been the only activity (besides hiking) we’ve found so far that Big Brother really enjoys and is motivated to do. His focus and attention span are extremely short, but when it comes to yoga, he can easily sit and perform for a good ten minutes, which is incredible for him. I’m pretty sure he could go even longer and we are working our way up.

Regardless of all the jibber-jabber you just read (surely someone, anyone is reading??), I’d do the nightly yoga just for a chance to see this cuteness every evening.


How to Get Started

Want to help your kids get started? I found some fun apps that can help get the ball rolling. My kids especially love the first one pictured–Super Stretch. Big Brother also likes My First Yoga, but it is a really simplified version of yoga geared for young kids. Both are great ones to try. The third app pictured is also good, but my kids seem to like it the least.


Also, you can find videos to purchase, like this one:


You can also check with your local yoga instructors, as many now offer classes for children. For now, I know that Big Brother wouldn’t be able to handle a classroom full of kids, but maybe someday. So we will practice together at home and use that time together to bond.

What do you think? Do your kids do yoga or would you consider it now?



1. Yoga as a Complementary Therapy for Children and Adolescents

2. Application of integrated yoga therapy to increase imitation skills in children with autism spectrum disorder.

3. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

*I might have been a scientist in my previous life (aka before children) but I am not, and have never been, a medical health professional. In this post are my opinions and tips from my own experience that I wanted to share. For real advice, please consult a professional!