(re)Connecting, Crowdfunding and Camino Wear

Hey friends, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, huh? I knew it had been over a month, but when I logged back in and found out that I’d not posted since the beginning of April my jaw dropped.

Oops.

There are two reasons – one purely fun, and one fun but practical!

Purely fun, is that (with the exception of the torrential rain and flooding for more than a week in May) summer has finally arrived! Boots and I have spent most weekends walking up and exploring some of the amazing mountains here. I am in awe of this country. Completely and truly. And feel so incredibly blessed that I am able to spend a piece of my life here. Here are a few faves from recent weeks…

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The fun, but practical reason is that….Boots and I are starting a wee company! Yup! As most of you know, Boots and I met in Spain walking the Camino de Santaigo and that is where we got the inspiration.

What is the idea you ask? It’s called Camino Wear – clothing and accessories that celebrate, and are inspired by Walking, Travel and Adventure.

It’s something that we are really excited and passionate about, but the thing is we just don’t have the cash to start it up yet.

Living in Austria so far has not been the most lucrative. Boots patiently works at his job while my savings diminish (read: disappear) and I try to find piecemeal work online and search for jobs (challenging with my embarrassingly bad German). As much as I gush about living here and walking up mountains and how beautiful it is and ”blah, blah shut-up already’…it’s actually been quite challenging.

But the thing is – we didn’t want NOT having money to stop us from putting Camino Wear into the world, so – we did what any logical self-starting business lacking funds would do and we have launched a campaign on Indiegogo.

And guys – I’m absolutely giddy about it! We’ve only been ‘live’ for four days and we’ve already reached 28% of our goal. We’ve got 27 days left and I’m feeling optimistic that we’ll meet our goal. And if we surpass it? Wow, there’s so much else that we’ll be able to do! More designs, a kick ass online shop, a decent amount of stock that we can actually sell – it would be SO exciting!

It’s also been a lot of work though – from learning how to shoot and edit a video, creating the campaign, trying to personally email every single person I’ve ever met (if you haven’t received an email from me yet, you will!) to reaching out to Camino and travel communities online…I’m learning so much.

But the greatest thing thus far? It’s been emailing everyone. I have a fair number of facebook friends…many of whom I’m in contact with regularly, the majority with whom I’m not, and a large number of people whom I haven’t spoken to in years. The emails I’m sending aren’t epic, they’re mostly just hello’s (plus a link to the Camino campaign)…but for each one I send I get to spend a moment thinking about why I know that individual and what they’ve meant in my life. And there’s something really special about that.

I’d actually recommend it. I wouldn’t recommend trying to email every single one of them in a week – that’s crazy making and sleep hindering…but why not a few every week, or once a month. You could go alphabetically, by time in your life, completely randomly, by who shows up on your facebook feed…whatever works for you – but I’d say give it a shot, reach out and reconnect.

And now – a final word on the Camino Wear campaign. Reaching (and hopefully surpassing) our goal is going to take a LOT more work and I need your help! What can you do? I’m so glad you asked!

  • If you can financially afford it – contribute a bit. One pound? A thousand? Every single bit helps us get closer to realizing our dream. And we have some really great perks for everyone that does.
  • Share the campaign with folks you know – on facebook, on twitter, in conversation, by personally reaching out to the outdoor/travel/cute-clothing-loving people in your life. The combined group of YOU, know a whole lot more people than singular ME.
  • Give me feedback. Do you have any thoughts about what would make the whole thing better? Things you really like, or really don’t? I’d love to know. Message me – through my blog, through facebook, through Indiegogo or via email if you’ve got my address. I’d love to hear from you!

So really – thank you friends! For reading my blog, for checking out the campaign, for being someone (regardless of how brief our interaction) who has made my world a better place! 🙂

Now – go watch our cheesy video and check out the campaign!

Experiments in Hair.

One advantage of being rather isolated these days is that I’ve been able to try something I’ve always wanted but never had the nerve to do, due to the sheer proximity to other people and having a job where I had to look semi-respectable most days. I’ve joined the No ‘Poo movement (albeit, I’m a little belated to the party).

That’s right, I’ve stopped washing my hair.

I’ve heard numerous stories of people over the years who gave up the Shampoo and Conditioner and after weeks or months of grease were blessed with gorgeous, soft, shiny locks. And oh, how I’ve wanted this. But I’ve just never taken the leap (or the opposite of leap, as you actually STOP doing something, not start….) until now.

And it’s been just over a month.

And is my hair the greatest thing ever now? Nope. Not so much. But is it the worst thing ever? Heavy with grease, smelly and gross? Nope. Not so much either. It’s in this strange in between place that although I don’t love, I’m willing to live with just a little bit longer.

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Pretty cat! Pretty fur!

So, why do this? Aside from the rumoured gorgeous hair affect,  there’s a logic to it that I really like. I was hanging out with the cat the other night and admiring her soft, shiny fur and wondered how it stayed so gorgeous – she obviously doesn’t shampoo.

So, I started Google-ing. The following points really stuck with me:

  • Shampoo is arelatively new product in our history – as in late 1900’s. Generations before us lived without it.
  • It strips away our natural oils, causing us to then produce more oil, which makes our hair greasier, which means we wash more, which makes it greasier, and so on in a vicious cycle.
  • It really is better for the environment. It’s not going to change the world, but it’s less waste and less chemicals being flushed into our water supply.
  • And lastly, it’s my little, personal protest to the beauty industry. I’m sick of being told about all the chemical laden products I have to use to be beautiful, and to get that ‘natural glow’. Natural glow? I’ll show ya ‘natural glow’.

So, one Sunday I got up and didn’t shampoo my hair in the shower, same the next, and the next, and before I knew it, it had been an entire week since I put shampoo in my hair. (note: I do still rinse it under water, massage my scalp and the like to rinse out dust and sweat)

Bad points: It was greasy.

Good points: It didn’t smell (at least, Boots promises me it doesn’t). It was softer. It didn’t tangle as much. It was thicker.

The grease was getting to me though, so I tried the following ‘no ‘poo’ methods.

Egg and Honey shampoo: Mix and egg with a teaspoon of honey in a bit of water. Apply like shampoo and wash out. With cold water. Seriously friends, you don’t want to leave the shower with cooked egg in your hair.

Rooibos Vanilla Tea conditioner:  Make tea. Steep for at least 20 minutes. Put in hair. Let sit. Wash out.

My hair smelt GREAT! But, it became dry and strangely static (think science center electric ball, Toronto peeps) So, I tried the next and most popular method.

Baking soda wash: Mix water and baking soda, rub into your hair and scalp. Wash out.

Apple Cider Vinegar conditioner: Mix a little ACV with water. Put in hair. Let sit. Wash out.

And the results? Still static-y, but much softer, and no smell at all.

And I brush. I brush, and I brush, and I brush my hair to pull the natural oils down from the scalp. And here’s how it’s looking:

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Now, granted I need a haircut (which incidentally I did, myself(!) today but that’s another post when I can upload the photos), but really, it’s not looking so bad if I do say so myself.

Some days are better than others, but on the really bad ones I toss it up in a ponytail and get on with it. But it’s truly getting softer, and shinier, and thicker. I’m going to give it another month, and see where I am at that point.

Would I recommend it? I think so. I’ll let you know in a month. But, if my hair keeps going in the direction I think it’s going, then it’ll be an absolute Hells to the Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy feet!

For the first time in my life I ordered boots online, and they arrived today (squeeeeel!!!)

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Why so excited you ask? Well, when I left Canada this summer I didn’t give much thought about where I was eventually going to settle down, so my packing ‘process’ went a bit like this;

‘it’s August, I have a two bag allowance for my flight and can’t afford to ship anything (not that I had anywhere at the time to send anything to), I’m going hiking and camping and it’s sunny right now. Dresses, hiking clothes and a few warmer layers in case the nights are cold sounds great!’

Fleeting thoughts of a possible/eventual fall/winter crossed my mind, but I let them go and hopped on the plane without a care in the world. Cue December and the move to Austria. Oh. It snows here. And it’s bloody cold. And I live on a mountain and need to walk at LEAST half an hour to get anywhere resembling civilization. Guess these (non-waterproof) hiking boots aren’t going to do the trick.

Now, if there’s anything I’ve learned from Boots (the boy, not the objects) it’s that quality really does make a difference so I didn’t just want to buy ANY pair of winter boots – I wanted pretty, I wanted waterproof, I wanted warm, I wanted practical…and I wanted inexpensive. Impossible, right?

Not so – I spent ages reading reviews of winter boots online and came across this review in the National Geographic adventure blog. Let me introduce you to: The Teva Vero Boot.

Testing out my new Teva Vero boots!

Testing out my new Teva Vero boots!

The first thing that sold me – it’s a review written by someone who writes for National Geographic. I’ve been crushing on NG since I was a child, so that equaled immediate trust in the reviewer. Second – Holy cute! Third – awfully practical sounding. But the price was a wee deterrent, $180 for a gal who’s not worked much this year would be a huge stretch. So, I did what any self-respecting shopper would do and went on Amazon.de and there they were, in my size, for less than half the price!

And the verdict? They’re positively fabulous.

  • Soft as slippers
  • Sturdy and supportive
  • Cozy warm and breathable (so no icky foot sweat)
  • Amazingly waterproof (as proved when my foot crashed through a foot-deep puddle that was frozen and hidden under layers of fluffy snow).
  • Great grip for icy roads

Now, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and go order yourself a pair immediately!