What to Wear Hiking in the Snow (in Missoula, Montana, in 20 degree weather)

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( March 3rd, 2015 )


What to wear hiking in the snow

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by escaping to Missoula, Montana, just a short and stunningly beautiful drive away from our home in Spokane.

You’ll be hearing more about Montana in future posts, but what I will focus on for now is trail style—what to wear hiking in the snow (in 20 degree weather). My favorite thing about getting dressed for the trail is that the criteria for what to wear hiking is preparedness, technology, comfort. You’ll fit in (and stand out in a good way) by wearing the best gear you can find.

We’ve been working on collecting some high-quality essentials lately, and it paid off on this recent getaway in the Bitterroot Mountains. We chose to hike up Big Creek. We probably went at least seven miles round trip, but it’s hard to gauge when you’re battling snow and ice, everything just goes a little slower. I was definitely more-than-seven-miles tired, but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be cured by a dip in the jacuzzi, a bit of Laphroaig scotch (pronounced “La-froyg,” but we have affectionately re-named it “Leapfrog”), and a few hours of napping.

Regarding my trail style, I was delighted to find that my shoes matched my coat, which complemented my other coat—both of which matched my hat. My husband took a more monochrome route: navy, gray, black. While my things happened to go together, don’t worry about matching on the trail. Like I said, shop for function and style will happen. That’s how it works in the great outdoors.


What to Wear Hiking in the Snow (what I wore, at least)

Underlayer: underwear (obviously), long underwear pants (I just used my thermal running pants), sports bra, Thorlo Women’s Wool/Silk Light Hiker Crew Socks.

Clothing: thermal running top (I really liked having the half zip, so on the rare occasions when I got a bit toasty, I could let some heat out), Outdoor Research water-resistant hiking/climbing pants (my husband has the men’s version—the specific pant is called Voodoo—and we both love them).

Outerwear: red/maroon North Face Gore-Tex Parka, bright green REI mid-layer synthetic down jacket (notice my use of complementary colors).

Extremities: polar fleece lined knit hat (the more colors in your hat, the more likely all your other gear will match it), fleece gloves

Gear: TUMI Rialto Polarized Sunglasses (TUMI’s brand is more on the business, luxury side of things, but a quality pair of sunglasses can be good for anything), Vasque Talus hiking boots (they are waterproof, had good traction and kept my feet plenty warm—my husband had actual winter hiking boots, Vasque Arrowhead Ultra Dry).


Tell me about your favorite winter trail gear in the comments!


Go in style,


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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.


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.


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 no olfactory evidence that my foot has ever existed there.


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.


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. If you’re interested, you can buy them here.


Go in style!



I received this product for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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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!




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