Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords: Step Up Your Style

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( February 27th, 2015 )

Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords top Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords back  Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords outfit

 

I’m feeling ready for Spring, and these Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords have a lot to do with it. I’ve paired them with a cuffed pair of Jolt jeans, a lace-trimmed ribbed tank by Tresics, a chic vest from KikaPaprika, and a stylish pair of Railto purple sunglasses from Tumi Eyewear. Also, they match my living room.

Here’s why I think the Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords make a fantastic warm-weather travel shoe.

Comfort

While most of the shoe is full grain leather, the heel feels more like what I think is neoprene and suede, making it soft and flexible where it meets your heel—great for wearing without socks, which is how I like to wear this shoe. There was almost no break-in time, as a result. They were immediately comfortable. The only part that needed a tiny bit of break-in was where the leather had to bend when I stood on my forefoot, and it only took a couple hours of wearing them around for that area to soften up.

Then there is the foot bed, which is made of memory foam. It’s a nice thin layer that feels soft to the touch but provides great support. It is glued in, but (trust me) you won’t want to swap them out.

Breezy

The full grain leather on these shoes is perforated, so they are very breezy inside. There is a nice draft through the whole foot area that ought to keep your feet from getting sweaty.

No Odor

These shoes have an Aegis® anti-microbial treated footbed to minimize odor-causing bacteria. Because I’m a bit of a nerd, I did some research to learn about how it works. The active ingredient forms a “colorless, odorless, positively charged polymer that molecularly bonds to the treated surface.” Unlike other antimicrobials, this one should last as long as the surface itself. Looks like Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords will be odorless for as long as they last. After a few weeks of wear, there is olfactory evidence that my foot has ever existed there.

Color

When I first received these shoes, I noticed the color did not appear quite the same in person as it did in the catalog (although it looks pretty accurate on Ahnu’s website now), so what looked light blue turned out to be a cool, almost purplish gray (they call it “Quarry”), and what looked creamy white turned out to be a light yellow. Even though they looked a bit different, I really enjoy they way they look. It seems like no matter what color you get, Ahnu color schemes are bound to turn heads.

Easy Style

It’s nice to have a shoe that can shine all by itself—a statement shoe, per se. Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords are just that. Just by wearing these shoes you will add flair to the simplest pieces.

Lightweight

Ahnu Emeryville Oxfords have an EVA midsole that makes them both lightweight and provides extra cushioning and shock absorption. EVA stands for Ethylene-vinyl acetate, a polymer with properties that resist stress and impact. The midsole is the tan part of the shoe between the upper and the outsole—which is yellow like the laces. Other shoes that often include EVA midsoles are basketball, running, and skateboarding—so you know this shoe is built for all kinds of activity.

Ethical & Generous

I’ll just have to point you to Ahnu’s website for this one. They are very transparent about their specific guidelines followed at each step of the supply chain. ”We believe that no business should ever be complicit in human rights abuses.” Amen.

On top of that, Ahnu makes a point to give back to organizations that make a difference. Since they began in 2007, they have given over $250,000.

 

I highly recommend this shoe for anyone traveling to a warm place—just make sure you get them in a color that will work with most of the pieces in your travel wardrobe. I’m very impressed with Ahnu’s design both visually and functionally. They strike a nearly perfect balance between style and performance. It’s nice to find a company where the details matter.

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Product Review: Baliloca Purse

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( February 20th, 2015 )

 

Baliloca purse under coat

Baliloca PurseBaliloca recently sent me their innovative handsfree purse. The leather part of the Baliloca purse is worn like a shoulder bag that goes under your left arm, and the attached strap goes around your right arm, so it’s a little bit like a backpack without the back bulk.

I am very excited about this purse. I was a bit skeptical about the concept—whether it would actually be a helpful innovation and not just a gimmick—but the very first time I left the house with it on, I experienced sheer joy. I felt like I was getting away with something, leaving the house totally prepared without any extra bulk. Here’s what I kept in my Baliloca purse: a wad of cash, a debit card, my license, and my iPhone. It could definitely hold more.

TBaliloca Purse with Seatbelthe dimensions of the bag are 10.5 inches tall and 6 inches wide. The top pocket is 6 inches deep, and the lower one is about 4 and a quarter inches across. I found that my money and cards were very accessible in the lower pocket, and I slid my iPhone 5c (with a fairly bulky case) into the top pocket with about a half inch of vertical space to spare.

When I stepped into the car, another wave of delight swept over me. The bag did not get in the way when I sat, nor when I buckled my seatbelt. The first time I used a public restroom while wearing it, I felt glad to not have to hang it on a hook or put it on the floor. It was safe right where it was. I wore it grocery shopping, I wore it on a date. It fits over a very bulky sweater or under my coat. You could even wear it under your clothes, if needed.

Baliloca Purse sideviewFrom their website I discovered that the creators of the Baliloca purse were in a hot hotel room in Bali, “trying to fill a non-Baliloca purse with travel essentials for a day trip.” It was then that they thought it sure would be great to have a purse that would stay close to your body as you move and keep your hands free, “a purse that could be worn jogging and then seamlessly on a night out or shopping.” I’m all about that versatility!

I decided to test out the jogging thesis by running up and down the hall in my apartment a few times. The verdict: you definitely could jog in it if you wanted to, though I’m not sure I would choose to. Should you need to run while you’re wearing your Baliloca purse, however, you can rest assured that it will stay right with you with minimal flapping. If running in it is something you really want to do, they come in neoprene as well as leather. I imagine that would be even more comfortable.

Baliloca Purse and PlaidThe thing I love most about the Baliloca purse is how fun the style is. I read another review of this bag—the jet black version—in which it is described as looking “a little Tomb Raider.” In the wild honey color, it seems like part of a chic leather vest. Its stylish but very unique design has definitely inspired me to experiment with my outfits since I started wearing it. You could probably have a lot of fun with the mint green color.

In case you really need another reason to buy this purse: People tend to notice things that are different, they ask questions, give compliments, strike up a conversation—a Mountain Gear employee noticed and wanted one just the other day as I was shopping. It’s a good way to break the ice and meet new people as you travel the world.

Baliloca Purse on a Date

Go in style!


Jacquelyn


 

 

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What to Wear in Vancouver, BC, in the Winter

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( February 16th, 2015 )

Two Styles of Waterproof Boots

I spent the last week visiting my best friend, Emilie who recently moved to British Colombia. Before I left, she briefed me on what to wear in Vancouver. Since there is such a huge population of immigrants, there is quite a melting pot as far as style is concerned. The key is to be true to your style and stay dry.

Emilie encouraged me to bring waterproof boots and a waterproof coat. Upon realizing that none of my boots were waterproof, I headed to REI and grabbed some waterproof Teva boots on clearance. While, I might have survived without these, I was very glad to have them along. They made me want to step in puddles on purpose. It was utterly delightful.

Teva Waterproof Boots

Even though I drove there and had plenty of room for more stuff than I could ever want, I followed my previously recommended procedure for avoiding “just in case” syndrome and packed a single duffel. I looked up the weather for that week: low to mid-fifties during the day, rain almost every day, 90% humidity, low wind. I listed my potential activities: indoor rock climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, neighborhood running, lounging, going to the movies, eating out, and walking around town. Then I filled out my “activity planner.” You will find the resulting packing list at the bottom of this post.

What to Wear in Vancouver

The above photograph was taken in Stanley Park. Although it rained hard during most of our walk, I stayed warm and dry in my trenchcoat and Goorin Brothers felt cloche hat. The tunic and scarf pictured were both acquired at a favorite Portland boutique (Ipnosi). They both have a gauzy, crinkled look about them, which means it makes little difference if they gain a few wrinkles in transit.

Emilie in Stanley Park

 

Emilie's earring

Emilie had a slightly different approach to city park walking attire. She went with tights, a skirt, and a t-shirt with an Arcteryx Gore-Tex coat over the top—both high tech and pricey. She also wore waterproof boots in a higher cut style and different texture. I thought the wood earrings and diagonal braid were a nice touch.

Lululemon Scarf Hood

As I mentioned in my last post on accessories for travel, I brought my Lululemon Scarf. I got a chance to wear it as a hood, infinity scarf, and even as a shirt! It was definitely a standout item in Vancouver—as I imagine it would be anywhere.

Wet Mountain Hike

If you ever plan to hike near Vancouver, bring some good hiking shoes; it’s wet, muddy, slippery and steep. I don’t think they have heard of switchbacks. Many of the hikes have gondolas at the top so you don’t have to climb down—but we did. For this, Em and I both wore zippered winter running tops and running tights with rain parkas, waterproof hiking boots, and gaiters. We were a little toasty, but prepared for the rain.

Road trip outfit

As I mentioned before, I drove to Vancouver. Driving somewhere always makes me feel a little disheveled. I like to fight it by remembering to put on my makeup and wearing clothes that are comfy but still cute. Here I paired my new Teva boots with tights, a great little collared denim dress I recently picked up at a local consignment shop (if you are ever in Spokane, definitely stop by Fringe & Fray), my husband’s sweater, and the aforementioned scarf. The only thing missing is a good pair of sunglasses—I forgot them.

 

What to Wear in Vancouver:

Layer 1 – Under layer

8 socks (1 pair hiking socks, 2 pairs running socks, 5 pairs casual wool socks)

8 boyshort underwear

1 sports bra

1 regular bra

3 camisoles (for wearing to bed and under clothes)

 

Layer 2 – Clothes

1 set winter running clothes (running tights–for running, hiking, climbing, and snowshoeing) and running top)

1 pair of jeans

1 neutral t-shirt

1 lounge pant

1 oversize sweater (for lounging or wearing over casual dress or tunic)

1 tunic

2 dresses (one casual, one for nice restaurant)

1 tank top (for the climbing gym)

 

Layer 3 – Outerwear

1 down mid-layer jacket

1 waterproof parka

1 trenchcoat

1 water-resistant hiking pant (to wear over running tights for snowshoeing)

 

Layer 4 – Extremities

1 pair gloves for snow

2 pairs shoes (flats, waterproof boots)

 

Layer 5 – Accessories

2 scarves (my Lulu lemon scarf for versatility, and a very lightweight one dressing up an outfit)

2 hats (one felt cloche, one ski hat)

2 pairs of earrings

 

Layer 6 – Gear

running shoes

snowshoes, hiking boots, and gaiters

climbing shoes, harness, chalk bag, ATC (tote to carry them in)

 

Other

1 pre-packed travel toiletry kit

1 journal and pen

1 book for pleasure reading

1 plastic bag for dirty clothes

 

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