Oof, you guys. This time of year… sometimes it really gets to me. Not only is it the busiest time of year for us bloggers, but it’s also the time of year when lots of feelings emerge within myself. I tend to get caught up in everything being perfect, which results in me losing sight of actually being present in the moment and enjoying it. And I really, really hate that this happens. Nothing makes me feel more frenzied, more stressed out than having to rush from one party to another event… on and on. When The Trust for Public Land reached out to me to partner on a blog post, I rushed to say yes — if anything as the perfect excuse to open up this conversation with you guys and share how vital being outdoors is to maintaining a clear head during the holidays.
As much as possible lately, I’ve been reminding myself to slowwwww down, take a breath… and get outside. It is not always easy to take the time for myself, but it’s entirely vital to my wellbeing. During my most recent trip visiting friends in San Francisco, I felt the stress welling up inside of me — to the point where it felt hard to focus on anything else. It’s moments like this where I drop everything and escape to the outdoors, in this instance I went to Lands End park. I felt totally inundating by social obligations, blog deadlines, an overflowing inbox. So I ditched the iPhone in my car and took to the trails with my camera to breathe in the air and clear my head.
When it comes to gift giving this year, I am way more inclined to focus on sharing an experience, rather than just giving a ‘thing.’ And I definitely want it to be something that falls more onto the ‘want list’ than the ‘need list.’ Recently, I teamed up with awesome gear and menswear shop Huckberry for the ultimate surprise for my boyfriend: a mini makeover for his adventure rig.
Sean bought his ’90 Isuzu Trooper for a song off of Craigslist and has worked his butt off turning into a reliable adventure rig. One of the main projects he undertook was the interior. He stripped out the backseats and installed a wooden platform with storage underneath — it makes for the perfect sheltered campsite, especially in the PNW rain.
We’ve taken Sean’s Trooper out for climbing and camping a ton this fall, but it’s always been a rig that feels barebones. With this makeover, I wanted it to feel more comfortable and maybe even a little bit romantic!
By now, you all know I’m a bit of a wanderer, right? I’ve got a deep love for road trips and hours spent in the car discovering amazing, new-to-me things. And don’t even get me started on discovering new delicious things to eat. When a Seattle-based Chevrolet dealership reached out about lending me a car, I knew I needed to do something cool. After much brainstorming, a coastal road trip was it — down to San Francisco and back in a week, with lots of climbing, camping, mountains, and dunes along the way!
Happy Friday, you guys! Not sure about the rest of the country, but here in Seattle fall has definitely arrived. I can feel that snap in the air and each day feels just a tiny bit shorter than the one before. With this in mind, I decided to take a quick impromptu climbing trip in the middle of the week to celebrate the gorgeous fall weather and get in as much outdoor time as possible before the rain starts. In other words… I played hooky! And it was totally glorious. I watch the sunset (and rise) over the North Cascades, which are referred to as the American Alps, and completed the longest, hardest climb I’ve ever undertaken. Now that I’m back in Seattle, I am so content and inspired by the trip.
In case you missed it, here’s what happened on the blog this week:
When it comes to natural ephemera, I’m a bit of a hoarder. We’re talking rocks, driftwood, bits of seaglass… anything that catches my eye during one of my many beach walks and hikes. I have jars and jars of these treasures, but they haven’t ever served a purpose in my life other than collecting dust. Well, that’s until now — today I’ve partnered with HP to share how to transform your special pieces of ephemera into functional drawer pulls for your home!
One of my favorite things about summer is being able to get out of the gym and exercise outdoors! Don’t get me wrong, I love getting in some quality treadmill time, but how can you beat running outside on a gorgeous summer day? While I love my gym wardrobe, sometimes strappy neon is not what I want to be jogging around the city in. That’s why I’m so excited about this week’s giveaway with Crane & Lion!
Crane & Lion is all about combining fashion and fitness for activewear that’s versatile enough to transition for any kind of day. It all looks like actual clothing! So instead of feeling super conspicuous on the walk to pilates, you’ll actually fit in and just be another part of the urban sidewalk flow.
I love how all the pieces in their fall line are made to mix and match. With one of the classiest color palates I’ve seen in fitness clothing, I could throw this whole collection into a suitcase and feel ready for a business meeting or yoga retreat.
Enter below for 7 chances to win. One winner will be chosen at random by Tuesday August 25 at 10:30 am PST. Open to US residents only. Winner will receive 1 $250 gift card to shop Crane & Lion. Good luck!
I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a long time, but after taking a bit of a tumble this weekend, I felt like it was a really good time to explain why I’m a rock climber…
So many people find it surprising that I’m a climber upon first meeting me, particularly when we’re meeting via the blog or social media. It’s pretty safe to say that the Jojotastic-version of Joanna is different than weekend-in-the-mountains Joanna… the latter version is much less girly, or as we call it in the climbing world, I’m a bit of a dirt bagger. I don’t mind eating an apple before it’s been washed (and after it’s taken a tumble down some rocks), I can go days without showering if I have to, and I really freaking love sleeping under the stars. I’ve always debated how much of that facet of my life to share in this space — I’m not exactly an outdoors blogger, nor do I want to be one. Mostly, I just want to share my store of how climbing fuels me as a person and as a creative.
The fact is that I feel vastly more creative when I’ve spent time outdoors. During my time in Philly, I really struggled with this because I was doing amazing design work, but not filling my tank at all. I didn’t have friends who wanted to go hiking or climbing, so I just sort of… stopped doing what I love. This coincided with some really painful emotional issues like major depression, too. Eventually, I reached a point where I was totally depleted and just could not produce anymore. I was running on empty and it was a bad scene. It felt like I had nothing. My move to California definitely helped in this regard — as soon as I relocated, I was hiking a lot, spending time at the beach, that sort of thing… but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t rock climbing. When I moved back to Seattle in March that I resumed my pattern of climbing 3-5 times a week. Now that I’m back in the climbing gym and going on outdoor trips every weekend, I feel incredible, like I can tackle freaking ANYTHING.
And that’s the thing…
Climbing makes me feel insanely powerful. The feeling is super straightforward: if I can go up there, I can do anything. This gives me a sense of power, not just in climbing, but in every facet of my life. I’m confident in business, my personal worth, relationships… I know that deep down, I’ve GOT this because I climb MOUNTAINS. Put another way, I feel so much more secure and confident with myself as a person when I’m climbing consistently. There’s almost this brute force, primal element to it, to be honest. Kinda feels a bit caveman-y, actually. And I love it. When I’m not climbing, I start to second-guess myself and my abilities, something that never feels good.
Then there’s my happiness level when I’m climbing consistently and regularly. It’s not even just happiness, but zen. The best way to describe it is a feeling similar to how runners describe their high post-run or how yoga practicers feel totally blissed out after a good session. And I’m not alone in this thinking; the NY Times recently shared this article about how even just walking in nature changes the brain. Lots of food for thought.
And lastly, I’ve never really thought of myself as a person who ‘needs’ that adrenaline rush, but when I really sit and think about it… I totally am. I crave adventure. My bones and my soul and my heart need it in a very pure way. Combine this with my need to always push myself to be better and climbing is just what I’ve always needed. My mantra is to always be pushing myself, always be reaching for more and more, never letting myself grow complacent. Ever.
So really, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all that I positively adore being a climber. Even now, as I sit here writing this with an ice pack on my knee and an MRI scheduled for Saturday, all I can think about is when I can get back out there. Yes, I took a big fall this weekend, but no, it’s not going to affect how or why I climb at all. If anything, this minor setback will fuel me to get back onto the rock stronger than ever before.