Gift Guide #4 – Warm and Rugged

Today, I wrote one op-ed from scratch, sent it out, and fleshed out the game plan for two, maybe four, articles for another outlet. I’m “worded out”, so let me post a gift guide. Remember — a click on a Amazon product gives me a kickback on whatever you buy in the next 24 hours. Support a blogger!

One of the silver linings of this whole pandemic is that I’ve broken my reliance on gyms and have embraced the great outdoors. I take a 30-minute walk every morning, and then often another one in the afternoon. My friends and I have been running three times a week at the hiking trail in town. This weekend, we bundled up and ran three miles in sub-30 degree weather. It was actually really fun!

We’re still eating outside, too. It’s the only way to see my parents and extended family. At some point, it will be too uncomfortable, but we’re still hacking it with the support of heat lamps and fire pits.

Honestly, I’m enjoying the morning hike and chilly jogs so much that I don’t think I’ll ever join a gym ever again. I’m a convert to fresh air. And this change in perspective is influencing my purchases for myself and others.

I’m calculating my steps obsessively on a Fitbit and apps on my cellphone. I just got a new watchband for Fitbit and upgraded Steve’s three year old device.

Footwear is super important. I haven’t worn a pair of heels since February. Instead, I’ve got walking sneakers, running sneakers, boots for when I want to feel cute when shopping in the supermarket, and slides for outdoor dining at restaurants in town.

Warm coats have become more important than ever before, now that I am actually outside for longer than a three-second walk between the front door and the car. Here’s where I’m thinking about an upgrade. Steve’s has a waxed coat from Barbour, which he uses extensively. Steve might be buying me one for Christmas this year. I’m a huge fan of the Barbour brand — think old money British folks tromping through the highlands — and their cute gift guides.

I’ve been running with leggings, sweats, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, and headbands. And listening to Spotify on my iPhone, which is strapped to my arm. (I really do enjoy athletic gear.)

Need inspiration? How about some books?

5 thoughts on “Gift Guide #4 – Warm and Rugged

  1. Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter nur ungeeignete Kleidung, as they say Here.

    Books? I only have about 100 on my current wish list and about four years’ height in Mt TBR, but yes please, more books.

    Ten most recent additions to the wish list:
    Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynee (more on Comanchchería)
    Red Notice by Bill Browder (Russia and kleptocracy)
    The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt (I like the whole series)
    Rosewater by Tade Thompson (have heard good things)
    Knight Watch (have forgotten how this got on the list)
    Invisible China by Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell (presumably does what it says on the tin)
    The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (irresistible title)
    The Worlds of JRR Tolkien by John Garth (pretty)
    A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (big fan of her work)

    My blog’s “fabulous ones” tag:


  2. I’ve had a tough time reading during the pandemic/quarantine — some form of habit scrolling seems to win out at commanding my attention. But here are a few books I’ve finished, all light fluff.

    Murder Goes to Market Paperback – by Daisy Bateman [what I’m calling “artisanal” mysteries with young[ish] women as the detective]]

    Blanche on the Lam — by Barbara Neeley: [mystery, detective is a Black woman who also talks about race]

    A Beautiful Blue Death: The First Charles Lenox Mystery (Charles Lenox Mysteries, 1) – by Charles Finch [mystery plotting is only OK, but nice for London/Oxford/Upper class brit color]

    A Promised Land – by Barack Obama [Child is devouring the Obama book; we also got the audiobook, which Obama reads].


    1. bj said, “I’ve had a tough time reading during the pandemic/quarantine — some form of habit scrolling seems to win out at commanding my attention. But here are a few books I’ve finished, all light fluff.”

      I’ve had the worst time reading fiction for a while.

      I’ve started this, though, and it’s got me hooked!

      That’s Pictures from an Institution (1954) by Randal Jerrell. It’s a slice of life from a 1950s US college. A sharp-tongued novelist-between-novels has just arrived at Benton, and the feathers are about to fly.

      The Good Reads reviews suggest that it’s not very plot-y, but so far, I’m really enjoying the scenery.


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