Gear Review: Columbia PFG Armadale Ankle Pant

This spring, I’d been looking for a way to bring some spring color to my wardrobe and decided to order a pair of Columbia Sportswear PFG Armadale ankle pants. I had a sneaking suspicion that the pants would be more like capris on my long legs than ankle pants (and they are) but I really like them!

Columbia PFG Armadale Pant

These pants are made of a great nylon blend that Columbia calls “Summiteer Lite.” They’re Omni-Shield (water and stain repellent) and Omni-Shade (UV protection). Most importantly, they’re incredibly comfortable and look awesomely stylish.

I wore these to school several times and got compliments from teachers and students alike. They’re probably a bit too casual for many work places but they really do seem to dress up well! In addition to looking great, they’re very functional. Yesterday, my mom and I went kayaking and I was really easily able to get in and out of the kayak, move around easily in the boat, and they dried super quickly once I got out of the kayak. (And in the places that didn’t get soaked you can see how the water beaded up in the photo below!)

Columbia Sportswear #omniten

I currently have these in harbor blue and realllllly think I need to order them in navy and foxglove because they’re super awesome.

 

Also pictured by Columbia Sportswear: Lighten The Mood tunic in Sunnyside and Vulc N Vent Lace canvas shoe in Corange and Flint Grey. I am a member of Columbia’s #omniten program but all opinions are my own.

Gear Review: Columbia Back Beauty Capris

I have a ton of awesome summer clothing that needs to be shared! Unfortunately, my philosophy is that I want to put in some serious time with a piece of clothing or gear so sometimes it’s almost out of season (or worse, out of stock!) before I feel like I can offer a real opinion on things. As spring arrives in most of the country, I’m working through some warm season gear I tried out last year that is still available. Hope you enjoy!

Columbia’s Back Beauty Capris have become a staple in my outdoor wardrobe because they just fit. The Back Beauty comes not only in capri length, but in a long (knee length) short, a boot cut pant, a skinny pant, and a straight leg pant (which is on sale so it might not last long!). I’m thinking by the end of summer I’ll have added one of the pants to my closet so I can keep wearing them into fall!

The absolute best thing about these capris is the waist. They just fit. With a mid-rise and a really flattering cut they don’t dig into my waist, show my butt crack, or ride up where they don’t need to be (you know what I mean…).

Beth on Mexico-US Border

The material is thicker than most tight, legging like pants and so far seems pretty robust. I think mine might have a snag or two in them but I’ve also worn them in some pretty atrocious cat’s claw and scrub oak (and my lower legs have gotten the scratches to match). They’re Omni-Shield which means that they’re water and stain repellent; this is awesome since I constantly am spilling things on myself… As I mentioned, I wear these all the time and they’re not stained! (Although my grey ones have a little bit of caulk on them because I didn’t think to change before starting a little #damselNOTindistress project…)

I’ve worn them hiking, traveling, eating, relaxing, and even to a serious set-up wedding day/wedding rehearsal:

Stacia and Dre Wedding Rehearsal

Now that I’m looking at photos of myself in them, I also really like the length. They’re short enough on my long legs that they don’t just look like really long shorts!

If you’re looking for a comfortable pant or capri to adventure in this summer, check out the Back Beauty line. I think it’s a real winner.

 

These capris were provided to 3Up Adventures for review and use by Columbia Sportswear. All opinions, however are my own.

Gear Review: Columbia Endless Trail Short

Last year, when I was getting ready to go to Jordan with Columbia Sportswear’s #omniten, there were two pairs of Endless Trail shorts in my travel wardrobe. Aside from a couple minor issues, they’ve become an absolute staple in my wardrobe and I was really excited to receive another pair in red hibiscus this spring.

Columbia Endless Trail Short

The absolute best thing about these shorts is the material. They dry SO QUICKLY. I’ve always been a little bit jealous of guys swim trunks because they’re dry in minutes while girls walk around with wet butts and chests under our shorts and t-shirts because swimming suits take forever to dry. When we were in Jordan, we spent a decent amount of time in the water and I fell in love with not staying soaked forever.

Beth in Jordan

I think Caleb even enjoyed them a bit during our Red Sea cruise.  😉

Caleb and Beth on the Red Sea
Photo courtesy Seth Yates

 

They do tend to ride up a bit when I’m being really active. They’re fine for most hikes but I don’t tend to wear them running since they want to end up around my waist and up in places they don’t belong… I also think a slightly higher side slit would be nice for hiking when stepping over logs or scrambling is involved. It would allow for a little more more maneuverability. That being said, I wore them on some fantastic hikes in Jordan and had no real issues so it’s just a wish list sort of thing. (Columbia did just come out with these running style shorts that I’m super anxious to try.)

Photo Courtesy Justin Lukasavige
Photo Courtesy Justin Lukasavige

They’re also a great length–I like my shorts to be short enough to show off my legs (sorry not sorry) and these are perfect. Sometimes I wear the waistband rolled over sorority girl style and sometimes I don’t. They look great both ways.

As far as an active pair of shorts goes, you won’t go long in the summer without seeing me in these!

These shorts were provided to me for use and review as part of Columbia’s #omniten program. All opinions are my own!

Gear Review: Heather Hills Dress

So “gear review” might be stretching it a little here but I’m just going to go with it…

When I started teaching in September I quickly realized that I did not have enough clothing that was even close to teacher appropriate, especially as fall began to draw near. Layers over yoga and running tanks was only going to take me so far! (Same went for my collection of shorts and running pants.)

I was having way too much fun hiking and enjoying September in the San Juans to want to spend my time driving to Grand Junction or Durango to spend hours in a Ross or TJ Maxx attempting to find anything I liked. So instead, I turned to the Internet and Columbia.

I found two dresses that I thought would work well for school, the Wear It Everywhere dress (no longer available online, although it was too short anyway) and the Heather Hills dress.

Heather Hills dress ($60):

DSC_0021

Columbia Heather Hills dress

I love this dress so much that I’m thinking about ordering it in another color. It’s super comfy. I wish that it came in an XXS (mine is an XS) since it is still a little bit baggier than I’d like through the chest and waist but it’s probably perfect for school. (It also seems to have shrunk a bit with washing and fits awesome now.) The Hyper Purple is a super fun color (my next one will probably be the also adorable Deep Blush). I’ve been complemented by several of my very cool dressing upperclass students so I’m calling it a total win. (I mean, there was one time one of my sophomores called it a “sweatshirt dress” but I don’t think they know enough about the 80s for that to have been an insult).

These dresses were purchased by me through Columbia’s #omniten ambassador program however all opinions are my own.

“I Am #OMNITEN” Online Premiere

The documentary of the #omniten adventures in Jordan is going to premiere via Google+ on Thursday, September 18th at 4pm Pacific! Our whole crew will be on hand on Google Hangout On Air to answer questions and just be ourselves.

Please join us on Thursday! I’m so excited to be able to share our #TryingStuffInJordan journey with you!

For more information, check out Columbia’s blog and then RSVP to join us on Google+!

#TryingStuffInJordan, Part 3

Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my #TryingStuffInJordan adventure!

Day 7

After breakfast, we headed south from Petra and soon found ourselves in Wadi Rum loading into trucks for another 4×4 adventure. As we headed out into the desert, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the American Southwest. It all looked so familiar and so different all at the same time. After we looked at some awesome petroglyphs (seriously, they were petroglyphs with camels), we stopped at tent for some Bedouin tea. Before we sat down to tea, however, Mohammed told us that everything was harder in the desert and that we should run up a near by sand dune so that we’d understand. A handful of us lined up to run the dune. I certainly knew that running a dune wasn’t easy but I was going to give it a shot. Ow.

Photo Courtesy TheActiveExplorer.com
Photo Courtesy TheActiveExplorer.com

Wadi Rum

We stopped for lunch and were given two options for the afternoon: we could either go on a scramble to a rock arch or ride to a longer arch with less of a climb. I opted to join the scrambling group. Our guide lead us swiftly up the mountain to a gorgeous rock arch. After our hike we drove to a camp in the middle of the desert. We spent the remainder of the evening scrambling to the tops of rocks for sunset and bidding Heather adieu. (She was headed off to Bali for a friends wedding!) We capped off the night with a delicious dinner and some dancing with the Bedouins around the campfire. Some of us went for a moonlight walk and then slept under the stars.

Bedouin camp

Wadi Rum Sunset

Captains Camp Wadi Rum

Day 8

First thing in the morning, we loaded our stuff back into the trucks. The #omniten, however, hopped on to camels for a ride back to breakfast and the bus. I must admit that riding a camel wasn’t the most comfortable experience but it was one that I would not pass up when in Wadi Rum.

Camel

Wadi Rum camels

From Wadi Rum, we drove to Aqaba where we immediately boarded a boat for some water fun on the Red Sea. After jumping off the boat some of us did some snorkeling over the reef. It was really nice to be out on the salt water enjoying the sunshine! After dinner, it was time to say goodbye to Seth’s beard. Mohammed, our guide, took us to a barbershop where Seth (plus a few others) got their hair trimmed.

Boat time

Beth

Jordanian Flag

Day 9

After breakfast, we started our day with a drive from Aqaba up to the Dead Sea. After glimpsing it earlier in the trip, we finally got a chance to stand at the lowest point on earth: -1,400′ below sea level! We floated in the sea and basked in the sunshine.

Mariott Dead Sea pool

Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo @Calebfarro
Photo Caleb Farro

Day 10

After having floated in the Dead Sea I was out of ideas on what there was to do in Jordan! As we should have expected, Columbia and the Jordan Tourism Board had one more awesome adventure cooked up for us: canyoneering in Wadi Muijb. Although the water was just a little bit chilly it was a blast to float the water, scramble up waterfalls, and enjoy the big waterfall at the end.

Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates

Day 11

After all the fun of the previous ten days, it was time to head back to the airport in Amman. The thirteen hour flight to Chicago seemed longer than the flight to Jordan, mainly because I didn’t sleep on the flight. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone in Chicago: my favorite part of both of my Columbia trips has been getting to adventure with so many awesome people. I miss you all!

Photo courtesy Caleb Farro
Photo courtesy Caleb Farro

Thanks so much to Columbia Sportswear for another amazing #omniten opportunity. Thanks also to the Jordan Tourism Board for your hospitality!

#TryingStuffInJordan, Part 2

In case you missed it, the first part of my #TryingStuffInJordan recap is available here. In Part 2, I pick up the story as I woke up at the Feynan Ecolodge:

Day 4

We started our day with a delicious breakfast at the Ecolodge before starting out on a hike through Wadi Ghwayr in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from our canyon hike other than that we were warned we’d be getting wet…

Wadi Ghwayr

Beth in Wadi Ghwayr
Photo Courtesy @Lukasavige

Wadi Ghwayr

The hike was so much fun. The wadi, Arabic for valley, was absolutely gorgeous: the water was crystal clear, the sandstone had beautiful swirl patterns, there were palm trees overhanging the canyon, and there was plenty of fun scrambling and waterfall scaling. I’ve been on lots of wonderful hikes but I really do count this as one of the top 10 most beautiful ones in my life. Bedouin tea breaks and a sand bread snack (literally bread baked in the sand) were only icing on the cake.

Wadi Ghwayr Sandstone

At the end of the hike, we climbed into vans and were off the next destination: Dana’s Rummana Campsite. When we arrived, it was chilly so we immediately layered up and headed for dinner. After the long hike, I was pretty tired so called it an early night—after a couple post-dinner cups of Bedouin tea of course.

Day 5

The morning was brilliant and sunny giving us some beautiful views of our campsite. After breakfast we did a little bit of hiking and scrambling around: my favorite way to explore!

Dana Biosphere Reserve

Dana Biosphere Reserve

Leaving the nature preserve, we drove to the town of Petra. After a nice relaxing afternoon at the hotel, we headed out for dinner. We all had an idea of what might be in store for us that night and were all delighted to hear that our guess was correct: we were going to see Petra at night.

Wandering down the candle lit path through the Siq was a really neat experience. The tall canyon walls were just barely illuminated by the moon giving only hints of the grandeur surrounding us. Suddenly, the Treasury appeared illuminated by the light of hundreds of candles. My photo definitely doesn’t do the beauty of the scene justice.

Petra at night

Day 6

After being given a glimpse of Petra at the Treasury, we were all excited to go see more. Our guide Mohammed took us all over the ancient city telling us the history beginning with the Nabataeans and then the Romans and the Byzantines. The large tombs carved out of the solid sandstone cliffs were absolutely huge (plus there was lots more of the gorgeous swirled sandstone).

Treasury

Petra

Petra

After lunch, we continued on to the Monastery and then to a view point beyond. At the viewpoint, we were told that we’d be meeting at 7:45 back at the hotel but we were on our own before that. Earlier in the day, Mohammed had mentioned hiking behind the Kings Tomb to a high viewpoint to the Treasury. Justin and I soon decided that we would use our free time to head that way, Seth soon caught up to us and away we went. Our added route took us by some additional tombs, up a huge flight of stairs to a really amazing overlook of the Treasury. It was definitely time well spent. As a bonus, we even got a nice quiet walk out the Siq with just enough time to shower before dinner.

Beth and Jordanian girls

Petra

Justin, Beth, and Seth

#TryingStuffInJordan, Part 1

Jordan.

I’ve been procrastinating on writing about my trip with Columbia Sportswear and the Jordan Tourism Board since returning to the States because I still sort of can’t believe that whole thing happened.

Day -1

My whole trip began with boarding my first flight out of Montrose Regional Airport. I fell in love with the cute airport when I found out that security only opens an hour before the flight (the free wifi doesn’t hurt either). After I landed in Chicago, I headed to baggage claim where I simply grabbed the big blue Columbia bag coming around the baggage carousel… and discovered it belonged to Justin! The Dream Team had been reunited by United.

Montrose Airport

Jon and Justin

Justin and I made our way to the international departures terminal at O’Hare where the #OmniTen reunion was happening—seeing everyone was awesome. As passed through security, ate dinner, and then prepared to board the plane, excitement was definitely building. (Although, if I’m honest, meeting up with friends at the airport felt totally normal.) It had been a really long time since I’d been on a trans-Atlantic flight so I was a tad apprehensive about the long flight but while most of the guys started watching Frozen I promptly fell asleep and woke up somewhere over the Alps.

Chicago to Amman

Royal Jordanian flight over the Alps

Day 1

As the plane began its descent into Amman, the fact that we were arriving in Jordan suddenly became real. Feeling that perfect mixture of travel exhaustion and excitement, we filed off the plane, got our visas, waited for our luggage, then boarded the bus for our hotel. In the bus, we met Pedro & the rest of the film crew. (The film crew was awesome, I walked around feeling like a superstar the whole trip.)

Our first dinner was at Wild Jordan where we dined on delicious local organic food and continued our bonding experience as an #omniten group. In what would become a regular feature of dinner, we received a “here is how to dress tomorrow” statement but no real clue as to what the day’s activities would include.

View from Wild Jordan

Day 2

Pool at Grand Hyatt Amman

Our second day adventure was touring the ruins of the ancient Roman city Gerasha in Jerash. Walking around the ruins were really impressive although my favorite memories of this day will definitely be taking photos with the Jordanian school girls. Heather, Erika, and I were absolutely swarmed!

Gerasha

After Gerasha, we had a huge lunch spread at the house of a family in Ajloun. Their hospitality was absolutely wonderful and the food was delicious. Returning to Amman, we visited the Citadel where we saw Hercules Temple, a mosque, and more.

Tile mosaic, c. 4th century

After leaving the Citadel, we made time for a quick run to the Columbia store in the mall. Although perhaps not a crazy outdoor #tryingstuff adventure, it was really fun to see some of the European products (besides, I think we made the salespeoples’ day). We were able to grab quick showers at the hotel before heading out again to eat at Sufra. This was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. Served family style, we got to try tons of traditional Jordanian food all while watching our bread being made.

Day 3

We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to Royal Jordanian Airlines headquarters. We had a chance to talk with the marketing director about their upcoming Dreamliner deliveries and other destinations served by Royal Jordanian. Leaving the Royal Jordanian headquarters, we took a trip through the Suq eating green almonds, dates, and knafeh and feasting our eyes on all the other goods in the market.

Amman Suq

Street dessert

After the suq, we went to Madaba and ate a delicious lunch at Haret Jdoudna. Our afternoon bus ride took us down to the shores of the Dead Sea and then to a “reception center” just outside a very small village. At the reception center we loaded up into some of Jordan’s ubiquitous Toyota Hilux pickups for a sunset ride.

Jordanian Desert

After a stunning sunset, we arrived at the Feynan Ecolodge. The lodge is totally off-grid and conserves its solar produced energy by only putting electricity at the front desk, the kitchen, and a light in each bathroom. Greeted with a cool drink and a hot towel in the quiet candlelit lodge I was instantly enchanted. Our delicious dinner and stargazing with Bedouin tea only made the evening better.

© Feynan Ecolodge
© Feynan Ecolodge

Gear Review: Columbia Omniheat Baselayers

While I was in Park City with Columbia Sportswear and the #omniten, I was pretty much always wearing one of the Omniheat baselayers. After leaving Park City, I was too far south to need the warmth of Omniheat (although sometimes I wore the tops on chilly mornings for running).

When we moved north of Phoenix, I started wearing the tops over camisoles because it seemed like the right weight for the cool high Arizona spring weather. One afternoon, I set out for a hike wearing my 1/2 Zip Midweight long sleeve top. When the hike unexpectedly turned in to a bushwack I initially freaked out, I was going to shred this top. After a minute I realized I could give up, or I could decide that I’d been given this top in the spirit of #tryingstuff and I could continue. I decided to continue and put the shirt through some abuse. It came out totally unscathed.

Since then, we’ve found ourselves in the colder temperatures of high elevation New Mexico and I’ve relied in them more as baselayers. They’ve worked awesome. I actually #omniOVERheated snowshoing in just the baselayer at 45 here in Colorado last week.

Both the tops and the bottoms are really comfortable. I have a long torso and often have issues with baselayers like UnderArmor riding up around my waist rather than staying down over my hips. I haven’t had any of those issues with the Columbia Omniheat. I have also been caught wearing the tights as pants. Sorry, not sorry.

Photo Courtesy Anne Carney Photography
#Omniten member models the shiny side of Omniheat Baselayers. Photo Courtesy Anne Carney Photography