The Summer Reset – The Fjällräven Classic





About a month ago, B and I went on an beautiful, memorable, challenging, and downright epic 42 mile backpacking trip here in Colorado. About a week after we got back from Europe, we set out to start our trip on the Fjällräven Classic.  The Classic in the USA is a 3 day trek through the mountains with about 200 like minded people from all over the world organized and facilitated by the Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven. Here is more info on the story behind the Classic, and info on the USA Classic.

The Fjällräven Classic concept is simple: to encourage and enable more people to get out and enjoy trekking.

You can read more about B and I on the trek here on B’s Blog.













I’ve been backpacking before, so between B and I, we already have the necessary gear. With everything I needed, my pack rang in at just around 30 pounds, give or take a few with/without water. I use B’s hand-me-down pack, an Osprey Aether 70 which fits me really well even though (or because) it’s a men’s pack. For sleeping, I have an REI bag that is rated down to 20˚F and a air pad that frankly is not thick enough. I can never sleep well camping. I wake up ever 20 min or so with aching hips, so I end up tossing and turning all night, every night, no matter how exhausted I am. B and I share a Big Agnes tent, and a Jet Boil stove, and the rest is pretty standard. I have old Keen hiking boots that have never once given me a blister, and I wore light weight Arcteryx hiking pants with sweat wicking t-shirts from Costco. The one and only new thing for me on this trip was trekking poles. They helped propel me up steep grades, tempered steep downslopes, and I’m very, very glad I had them for this type long distance climb. My poles came off of a snowshoeing kit I bought at Costco over the winter, so they’re are not fancy at all, but definitely useful.












We bought tickets back in April, and I quickly realized that I would very seriously need to start training. The route description even gave B pause, so I took a brutally honest evaluation of my fitness level and started planning out my training routine.  To ease me into exercising, I started yoga once or twice a week at my neighborhood studio, The Yoga Mat. Prior to this, my exercise came strictly from sporadic 7 minute workouts at home, snowboarding, and walks. To prep my weak and injury prone low back for the weight of a backpack, I started pilates once a week at my neighborhood pilates studio, Manna Pilates and signed up for 3 private lessons spaced out over 3 months. Gradually, I added in running (a mile at a time – I loathe running) once or twice a week, and supplementing my yoga and pilates classes with the Nike Fit App workouts at home. In May, my friend Melissa introduced me to spinning classes at Endorphin. We both bought a 3 month unlimited package, and I started going to their classes 2-3 times a week to work on my cardio endurance, which has always been non-existent. To train for the elevation and just the realities of the trek, B and I went on training hikes every weekend with fully loaded packs in the mountains close to Denver. By the time the classic came around, I felt ready. My cardio endurance was 5 times better than it was, I had stronger core strength, and I knew I could make at least 10 mile hikes with no problems.






B and I are planning to do this same trip again next summer, and we will probably rope some of our friends and family in to join us. The price is a bit steep – as is essentially everything Fjällräven branded –  but I really think you get your money’s worth and more.If you’re curious for more, check out the tag #fjallravenclassicusa on Instagram, and Fjällräven’s Facebook page.


All the photos here were taken by B and I, with the exception of the very last one, which was taken by Ali Vagnini.

The Summer Reset – London


Many months ago, in the dead of winter, B mentioned to me that during June, he would have to take a work trip to Paris for WordCamp Europe. B travels quite a bit for work, and I always stay home with the dog. Teacher vacations are pretty much set in stone and our schedules aren’t exactly flexible. But this time…it was during summer vacation.


Paris and London have been at the top of my travel list for some time now. In high school (the 90’s) I would listen obsessively to Brit pop bands like Blur, Pulp, and Elastica, and dream of how cool it would be to be British. I would picture drinking at pubs, cute boys with accents, running into Damon Albarn casually, and wearing DocMartins every day. Teenage daydreams, right? So, when B told me about Paris, I immediately invited myself along, and stuck on a London trip for both of us – boom, summer vacation trip!

B and I have a system that works well for us when we travel to large cities like London and Paris. We do a bit of research on things to see, do, and eat, then make a large list. Then we divvy the list up into days depending on the location. We usually end up checking off 3-4 items off each day, which makes for long days and lots of steps on the Fitbit since we always stick to walking first and public transport second. Our system is simple, and probably the same thing everyone does, but it works really well for us and keeps the arguing contained to how early we are waking up in the morning (I love sleep too much).

Day 1: Arrival in the morning, Big Ben, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, St. James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, dinner at Dishoom in Covent Garden for great Indian food.











Day 2: London bridge, Borough Market (closed from the terror attacks still, so we ended up stopping into a random pub for a full English Breakfast), Tower Bridge, Tower of London, pub stops, and dinner in Chinatown for Sichuan Food (nothing to call home about).













Day 3: Westminster Abbey (Charles Darwin’s grave!), Afternoon Tea at the Covent Garden Hotel, The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, and dinner at Mahdi for Persian food














Day 4: Shopping at Oliver Bonas for clothes, Full English Breakfast (again) at Kensington Square Kitchen, Kensington Palace Gardens, Hyde Park, Notting Hill, shopping at Superdrug for British beauty brands, and dinner near our hotel at The George IV with sticky toffee pudding.






Day 5: Portobello Markets, neighborhood strolling through Bayswater, Paddington, Mayfair, Belgravia, back to Kensington for Sunday Roast at The Scarsdale Tavern, then all the way to Chiswick – Pub crawling the whole time. It was a very long day on the feet.











We ended up staying at the Clayton Hotel in Chiswick, which is a few underground stops outside of central London (which meant that is was relatively cheap). In hindsight, we should have forked over the extra money to be closer to the center of town, and for a better hotel. It was an average of a 30 min tube ride one to and from London, so the money we saved went directly towards public transport costs. Also, our hotel had plumbing issues and a smell that I couldn’t get out of my nose for days afterwards. In the grand scheme of things through, these were minor issues. Mind the gap!


Next up is Paris!

A Don Henley Summer

It’s been HOT in Denver lately, with temps in the mid 90’s every day. There was never much of a summer growing up in the San Francisco fog, so I’ll never get used to the thick sweat/sunscreen coat I end up wearing everyday. Plus, now that I’m older, my feet swell in the heat. YAY. Who really cares though, when there is so much fun to be had in Colorado during the summer. B and I have been hiking, working on the garden, grillin, and riding bikes to breweries. We are heading on a 3 day canoe/camping trip in western Colorado this Thursday. Don Henley’s been playing in the background all summer, and I’ve been obsessed with 80’s/90’s soft rock. But seriously, how awesome is this song?

I went shopping the other day and J.Crew was having a 50% off sale items sale. This dress was long enough, and fit well, so I picked it up on a whim. It was a hit with everyone, even random strangers on the street. As I was photographing this in the backyard, B commented that it looked like a hippie wedding dress. I can live with that.

jcrew white eyelet dressjcrew white eyelet midi dressjcrew tiered eyelet midi dressjcrew eyelet midi dress

dress: jcrew – clogs: mia via nordstrom rack – sunnies: swag via b

The Mountains Are Calling

A couple weeks ago B and I went to the Denver Flea, where I picked up this gem of a t-shirt from Mile High Clothing Co. I love craft fairs/flea markets for finding t-shirts, and this one has quickly become my new favorite. John Muir is one of my favorite naturalists, second only to Charles Darwin.

The mountains are calling and I must go. I have been so antsy for summer. In two and a half weeks, we will be administering final exams for our 9-11th graders. Summer is calling my name, loudly.

mile high clothing mountains

the mountains are calling and i must go

cardigan: jcrew – tshirt: mile high clothing co – belt: banana republic – jeans: mother denim – sandals: mossimo

summer uniform

New York is HOT.  Today it was like 100˚F out (it’s now 11pm, and it’s 83˚ outside).  I’m used to 50˚-65˚F weather every single day in SF.  This whole summer/fall/winter/spring weather thing was foreign to me, till now.  So now I have a summer uniform.  Every morning, I throw on one of two pairs of denim cut-offs, a tank, sunnies, and I’m done. Granted it’s not very exciting, but it’s functional on my bike, maximizes ventilation, and provides enough surface area for sweat evaporation without making me feel like I’m a stripper too naked.

These jeans used to belong to B till I saved them from the Goodwill pile and chopped the legs off.  There is a hole in the back pocket created from years of packing his “daily carry” knife, so I almost lost my current favorite lipbalm the other day.  I’m planning on stealing patiently waiting for B to get rid of another pair of jeans so I can stop wearing these everyday.  

sunnies: f21 – tank: h&m – shorts: levis 501’s from b – bag: freitag – sandals: dv by dolce vita – watch: marc by marc