Are these Climbing Pants Five Stars?

Pros: durability, mobility

Cons: lack of breathability, small pockets

Price: $79 USD (according to REI and Black Diamond)

Rating: 7/10

The world of climbing gear can be intimidating; there seems to be a special (and more expensive) “climbing” version of every normal product. This specialization also extends to apparel, especially pants. I normally climb in regular athletic leggings that I also use for weightlifting and running. I’ve been researching distinct “climbing pants” and decided to test out a pair to see if the hype (and price) were justified. Since Black Diamond is one the of the biggest, oldest, and best climbing outfitters around, I gave their Notion Pants a shot. The pants come in sizes XS-XL, and I tested out…


Coming to Terms with Oneself

CW: ED Behaviors

PC: Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash

I struggled with a binge eating disorder from the age of 18 to 23 without seeking help or telling a single soul. This behavior not only often made me feel sick, nauseous, and exhausted, but also pushed my naturally introverted nature to a new extreme. I shied away from going out to dinners with friends because I didn’t want to set off a new binge. I was so uncomfortable with myself and my body that the idea of dating was ludicrous.

As a college student, I put on a great performance. I seemed like a dedicated, busy…


Delicious, Plant-based Food to Power Your Life

PC: Khloe Arledge on Unsplash

In an ideal world, we would all have the time to cook everything for ourselves. I aspire to be the kind of person who makes their own granola and energy bars, but that will never be the case. When reality and busy, hectic schedules hit, protein bars and drinks are convenient, nutritious options. The first time I tried whey protein powder, I became seriously ill. I soon discovered that I was allergic to milk. As an active rock climber and weightlifter, I searched for vegan options for these easy, grab & go foods. …


The Best Darn Socks You Can Buy

Pros: durability, comfort, wicking property

Cons: odor, loss of cushioning over time

Price: $23.00/pair

Rating: 9/10

Darn Tough is a family owned, Vermont-based sock manufacturer. Their company offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee; if you can wear out a pair of their socks, they will replace them free of charge. Darn Tough makes socks for a variety of activities, including hiking, climbing, biking, and mountaineering, as well as socks with varying levels of cushion, compression, and length. The Hiker Micro Crew Cushion lays firmly in the middle of these categories: it has mid-level cushion and goes just above the top of a standard hiking boot. This review focuses on the women’s version, but Darn Tough also makes…


Mixing intuitive eating with efficiency

Photo by S'well on Unsplash

Meal prep, or cooking large batches of food for the week at once, is highly efficient. It saves me time during hectic weeknights; I know that dinner is already waiting in the fridge.

However, this technique definitely has its drawbacks. By day four, I find myself sick and tired of eating the same dish over and over again. I do not want to waste the food I’ve made, but I can only eat chicken, broccoli, and rice for dinner so many days in a row. Making myself eat what I’ve cooked, even though I do not really want to eat…


How to get started

The first few times I went rock climbing, I rented my gear from the gym. I didn’t want to commit to buying expensive gear until I knew I really wanted to pursue this hobby. About a month in, once I knew I was hooked on the sport, I started researching the best shoes and other items to buy. The climbing marketplace is huge, and can be very confusing; what type of shoe is best for a beginner? What kind of belay device should I buy? The price of many of these items was also intimidating; shoes can run from eighty…


The harm of “What I Eat in a Day” videos

Photo credit: Food Network

About a week ago, a video popped up in my YouTube suggestions: it was a day in the life of a pro rock climber. Since rock climbing is one of my passions, I watched it. It focused mainly on the climber’s training, but also mentioned her diet.

Since then, my YouTube feed has been inundated with “what I eat in a day” videos.

The premise of these videos is very simple: people, often celebrities, athletes, or fitness influencers, document with painstaking detail everything they eat in a day. There is even a sub-genre of videos: dieticians react to so and…


Equip yourself for success

Of all of the new hobbies people have adopted during COVID lock-downs and quarantines, I would venture a non-scientific guess that baking is in the top five. Remember when recipes for banana bread blew up? Beginning to bake is an exciting prospect: so many new recipes to try out, so many delicious treats to eat! When I first started regularly baking a few years ago, initially, I was confused as to what equipment I should buy. It seemed like each new recipe required a different type of pan or tin! I did not want to shell…


Living well for the body and the mind

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

As 2021 begins, so does the annual push to get us consumers to buy into fad diets or fancy workout programs. The amount of ads I have seen for these products on social media is incredibly high, but not surprising: as a new year dawns, so does the all familiar call to “get fit” and “lose weight.”

In my early 20s, I tried every diet under the sun to help me lose weight, which I believed was the solution to all my problems. Of course, none of them stuck and none of them helped me resolve my deeper lying issues…


Advice

How to use money wisely on your furry friends

Photo by Flouffy on Unsplash

A walk through any pet store will tell you one thing: there is an astonishing amount of pet products marketed to dog owners: clothes, treats, food, training, safety, etc. And of course, many of these products don’t come cheap! When I first adopted my two rescues, Olive and Bailey, I found myself overwhelmed on my first trip to Petco. I understood I needed the basics: leash, collar, food, bed. Yet, beyond these essentials, I was unsure of what I needed. After a series of trial and error purchases for two dogs with very different personalities, I have devised a way…

Mary Andino

Historian, writer, and enthusiastic home-cook

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