Category: Life + Style

5 Lessons Learned from a Women’s Adventure Travel Group

By ryanscavo on January 15th 2020

Em-pow-er: to make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

If there is one thing I have learned in my 33 years on this big ball of fire, rock and water, it’s that confidence doesn’t come easily for everyone – especially in outdoor pursuits or backcountry situations. While some arrive Earth-side with an innate go-and-get-it drive, others take their time becoming the confident backcountry traveler they are meant to be.

Personally, my confidence in the outdoors comes from experiences, especially experiences that include being surrounded by women pushing themselves and pursuing the things that make them happiest.

This winter, I had the opportunity to join a group of women on a yurt trip in the southern San Juan mountains of Colorado. We lived simply during those 36 hours together, scooting around on boards and skis and surviving with only what we carried on our backs. We indulged in gorgeous weather, delicious food, fresh Colorado powder and eye-opening, inspiring conversation.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about female empowerment by joining women-led backcountry adventures:

Practice the mantra “mind over matter” because we are stronger than we think.

Your legs might be screaming, your head might be full of doubt, but if the little voice in your mind repeats “I’m ok. I can do this. I’m strong. My determination to succeed is greater than the elements against me”, you might make it to the top a little easier than you expected. I have also found that the motivation from a “yeah, you got this!” or “whoop whoop!” hollered from ahead can have a profound impact on a person. While other women can be that for you, try to be that for them, too.

Trial and error can be your best friends.

How do we know what we are capable of accomplishing if we don’t try? When I feel like I’m reaching my limits, I like to ask myself, “If I don’t ask the question, how will I ever know the answer?”. If you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, learn from the experience, tweak your process, and try again. In my case, the biggest question on this trip was, “that run is sleep, but what if the snow conditions are life-changing?!”. I skied, I fell, I got up and tried again and guess what? They were.

When self-doubt creeps in, push back twice as hard.

For every negative thought that crosses your mind while pursing something in the outdoors, tell yourself two positives. Personally, I worry about my telemark turns. When I think I’m not balancing right, my skis are going to cross and I’m going down hard. I counter it with my balance is solid, my form is tight, my skis are aligned…and I come out of it with a clearer vision and the mental attitude I need to succeed. You’ve got this ladies; trust yourself.

It’s ok to say no.

If you’re not up for something, don’t do it. The slope may be too steep or your energy level might be too low. Whatever the circumstances, sometimes whatever challenge is presenting itself is just too far outside our comfort zone or skill set and saying no is the best option. Knowing it’s ok to say no and surrounding yourself with people that are receptive to that answer means you are in a supportive and healthy environment.

Manifestation gives you power.

If you tell yourself you can do it, you will. It’s one thing to go through life being the best version of yourself, it’s another to actively will yourself to where you want to be (as a person, as an athlete, etc.). While skinning to the top of a run in this little slice of heaven with these women, I worried about how tight the trees were, the steepness of the terrain, and whether my ski legs were under me yet for the season. In the end, I told myself I could, pushed through my comfort zone into my growth zone, tried my best, and I feel as though I succeeded.

Empowerment comes easy when you surround yourself with a fun group of rad women that offer up an endless supply of “woohoos!”, high-fives and positive reinforcement. If you get the opportunity to try it for yourself, do it!

A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado.

Photography by Ryan Scavo.

 

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

By dweb247 on December 30th 2019

We at Toad subscribe to the “more” philosophy of New Year’s Resolutions – Instead of “less meals out,” we say “more butter!” Instead of “become a morning person,” we say “more sunrises!” Thinking in terms of more vs. less is the glass half full approach that makes us feel like we’re achieving rather than failing (look it up, it’s science). Here are some more of our New Year’s resolutions and tips for turning them into good habits for 2020!

  • More oysters
  • Explore a new town (bonus points for taking public transit)
  • Sleep outside once/month (well, try to…)
  • Pet more dogs
  • Re-use ziplock bags
  • Adopt a vinyl habit
  • Become obsessed with your reusable coffee thermos
  • Compost!!
  • Play hooky
  • Hug a tree (yes, hug it, and thank it for its years of service)
  • Try a new food
  • Volunteer 12 hours (that’s just 1/hr month!)
  • Stretch while brushing your teeth
  • Switch to reef-safe sunscreen
  • Buy something from a local store (*see “Adopt a vinyl habit” for inspiration)
  • More sunrises and more sunsets
  • Plant something and watch it grow
  • Send a letter (whoa…. letters??)
  • Get your photos developed (locally, if you can)
  • Sharpen your kitchen knives
  • Re-read your favorite book from high school
  • Find a theme song (if none come to mind, use “Eye of the Tiger”)
  • DIY hot sauce
  • Drink more water
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff

 

Happy 2020 from the Toads!

The Ultimate Aprés Guide

By dweb247 on December 19th 2019

Who says the aprés life is only for skiing? Sure there’s skiing and snowboarding and cross country, but snow bocce, curling, and Winter ‘Minton deserve their rightful place at the aprés counter. Here’s our guide to winter’s aprés alternatives.

Ski Ballet& Champagne on Ice

A favorite sport from the 1970s, ski ballet is everything you love about ballet (the jumps, the drama, the sophistication), just on skis. Get your interpretive dance on then pop some bottles.

Polar Bear Plunge & Hot Toddies

Seems self exlpantory. Take the plunge, then warm up as fast as you can.

Yukigassen & Shotskis

The Japanese art of epic snowball fights. Two teams, seven players each, 90 snow balls, one flag on each side. It’s capture the flag meets dodgeball meets snowballs – better wear your helmets. Shake hands and share a shotski when you’re done.

Bandy & Brandy

Though it never officially made it into the Olympics, Bandy is a hugely popular winter sport because it’s just like ice hockey but instead of a puck, it’s a ball. Brandy, is a hugely popular winter spirit. The two seem to go hand in hand.

Wok Races & Sake Bombs

Like sledding, but with greased up woks. (The pros swear by it). Follow it up with a round of sake bombs. Ichi, ni, san!

Kite Skiing & Eggnog Coladas

Trade the surfboards for skis and you’ve got kite skiing. Same goes for the seasonal change-up in the eggnog colada. Bonus points for following-up with karaoke…. “If you like eggnog coladas, and getting caught in the rain…”

Winter Minton & Whiskey Smash

Like summer badminton, but, you guessed it, in snow. A match consists of the best of 3 games of 21 points. After every match, recoup with a Whiskey Smash (Like a Whiskey Sour but with clementine and cinnamon. YUM).

via GIPHY

Need leisure sport wear? Shop our Men’s and Women’s winter styles.

Don’t Let the Cold Stop You: Get Outside With These Winter Family Activities

By ryanscavo on December 13th 2019

Staying active in the winter months can be tough; from an individual standpoint is one thing, but throw some kids and a couple of pooches in the mix and it can seem downright impossible. We all have our “excuses”: It’s too cold! There’s too much snow! I have so much to do! But maybe it’s time to change our perspectives.

Whether it’s the bitterly cold temperatures or dumping snow that once deterred your outdoor activity, the gloomy, grey skies and uninspiring lack of sunshine, or the business of the season – we get it, there’s holiday shopping, holiday office parties, kids’ holiday concerts…holiday burnout – we have a few winter activities for kids and the whole family that’ll keep you moving all season long.

Plan ahead

We know it’s cold out there, so planning ahead is a great way to set yourself (and kids) up for success. In our family, it’s easy to get the kids outside. The bigger challenge at times is keeping them outside. For us, layers are the answer!

Go for a base layer (natural fibers like hemp will help wick away any sweat or moisture), a zip-up or half-zip like Toad’s Telluride Sherpa Pullover (to easily dump extra heat), and then a jacket (to keep them dry).

Then, accessorize. Little fingers and noses can get cold! So find the gloves, hats and scarves/neck tubes your child is willing to keep on – and keep them in a designated location (so they don’t get lost!). We have dedicated “winter accessories” basket in our kids’ bedroom for easy access. To add a little more fun to the mix, consider letting the little one(s) pick the accessories they want to wear for that outing – having the opportunity to choose their favorite hat can help inspire them to get outside!

Remember to keep yourself cozy, too. If you’re cold and uncomfortable, it will be significantly more difficult to keep the kids happy. Layering and fun accessorizing isn’t just for kids!

Just keep moving

The prep to get outside might take you 45 minutes or more (no shame here), but once that’s done, the hard part is over!

If you live in town, walk or bike around the neighborhood to check out the holiday lights and decorations. If you live in a rural area, explore your own property or the side roads on foot (we also love using a wagon and each kid shares pulling the others!). And if you’re lucky enough to have trails right outside your door – use those!

If you need to keep the kids engaged, challenge them to fun games or have enticing destinations in mind. Playing “I spy” along the walk/ride is a great way to heighten their awareness (and distract them from saying “are we there yet?” ten thousand times). We also enjoy spotting and counting birds or other critters. And if the locale fits, plan a mid-walk break at a cafe (did someone say hot chocolate?) or the library to pick out a new book.

And remember, even a short walk will do your body and mind some good. Staying active is a big part of staying healthy during the colder months!

Make snowpeople

You’d be surprised just how much work it takes to build a snowman. Seriously, if you don’t break a sweat rolling snowballs, I’m impressed! Whether there’s 2 inches or 2 feet on the ground, take advantage of the fresh snow and get in it!

This is also a great time to play in-snow games like tracking critter prints, and make other snow creations like snow angels.

Get crafty

While arts and crafts are usually sedentary activities, it’s easy to shake them up a bit by taking them outside! In fact, many of our favorite craft days are nature-inspired.

Whether we’re making pine cone bird feeders, driftwood/tree branch picture frames or rock “art”, each craft starts with a hike to gather our supplies (cones, sticks, rocks).

It’s also fun to bring along a warm snack or beverage to share with the kiddos. Cracking open our insulated thermos and pouring hot (warm) chocolate or sharing a tasty soup into trail-ready mugs is never a bad thing!

Tweak old & start new traditions

From the foods we make during the holiday season to the way we share gifts, traditions are important to so many of us. But how can we take these family-honored traditions outside to help us stay more active? For us, it is a no-brainer. Our family goes Christmas tree “hunting” every year, but rather than driving the truck up to a tree, we choose to bike it out of the woods!

If you have access to national forest lands (or state lands in some places), you can do it too! Or, if you live in the city, grocery stores, corner lots and hardware stores all carry cut trees this time of year. Grab your bike and a trailer (or borrow one from a friend), plan ahead and make a family adventure of it!

Get the gear

And finally, while you don’t need all the gear, adding a few pieces to your winter kit can help boost activity levels. From skiing to biking to hiking, our family has gathered gear from second hand shops, borrowed from friends and bought new over the course of the years, and it has definitely helped us diversify our winter activities. The gear you pick depends on the activities you really want to pursue. And when you’re looking for things to do with kids in winter, the gear can definitely help.

For us, there are three must-haves in winter: adventure-ready stroller, bike accessories, and a trail-ready sled.

First, using an enclosed stroller helps get everyone in our family outside (and keeps our crawler cozy). We chose one with ski and bike attachments so our youngest could come along no matter the activity.

Second, for our skiing-loving, bikeaholic child, we picked up a pair of ski attachments for a balance-style bike. Biking is an easy-access activity for us; in our family, if we’re not walking, we’re pedaling. With the “bike skis”, he can push and slide along when we take the fat bikes or cross country skis on snowy trails!

Third, when all else fails, attach a sled! We use our pulk/sled while fat biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s a great option because its fun, both of our kids (and lunch/extra gear) fit in it, and it’s lightweight!

A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado.

Photography by Ryan Scavo and Sam Scavo.

How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

By dweb247 on December 5th 2019

Blame it on the weather, but the holidays can be stressful (like when you plan a dinner for 10 and it turns into 16…or your flight gets delayed AGAIN…or you have to make 60 cookies for the holiday class party). But remember: every day (even the trying ones) is an adventure! Here are 7 tips for how to stay sane during the holidays—and beyond.

HYDRATE

Staying hydrated will do wonders for your mind and body. Keep a reusable bottle on hand and never forget the party rule: for every libation, chug a glass of water.

PEOPLE WATCH

Stuck at the airport or standing in the longest check-out line of your life? Avoid the temptation to look at your phone and watch your fellow human beings. It’ll restore your faith in humanity…or at least be entertaining.

BREATHE

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. When you’ve just about had it to HERE, close your eyes and take 3 or 4 deep, slow breaths. The rush of oxygen triggers a dopamine release in your brain which makes you calmer.

FORGET THE PRESENTS

Ah, gift anxiety—not knowing what size to get, dealing with shipping, dealing with timing, spending lots of money—just don’t do it. Instead you can donate to causes in people’s names, write poems or heartfelt letters, or commit to an adventure in the spring. It really is the thought that counts.

RE-GIFT

Okay okay, we just said don’t do presents. But if you must, feel free to re-gift wine you’ve gotten, jewelry you’ve never worn, your own personal copy of a book that you love… no shame in taking the sustainable route (PS—if you need to wrap, here’s how to avoid the wrapping paper)!

WALK IT OFF

We can’t stress this enough: Exercise makes you happy. Get your blood pumping at least a few times a week and you’ll be happy every day (trust us, we are scientists). Stuck inside? Turn on your favorite tunes and dance it out. If you need a playlist, here’s our Rock the Holidays playlist.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

The key word is PRACTICE. It’s easy to give thanks when things are going well. It’s when things have fallen apart—the pies burned, the traffic is horrendous, you’re on your second hour of the annual Smith Family political debate—that’s when you practice gratitude and find something (ANYTHING!) to be grateful for. You’ll find that it is, indeed, an imperfect but happy holiday!