Overcoming the “Winter Blues” with Nature 🏔🍂

This post is sponsored by Backcountry. Thank you for supporting, Simply Taralynn!

After four consecutive days of rain and cold weather last week, all I wanted to do was get outside. I needed to feel the warmth from the sun, breath in the fresh air, and connect with nature as I do every day. When the seasons change, I start to feel less energetic and a bit gloomy. I’ve heard of a lot of people telling me that they could relate to these changes as soon as the darker days and colder weather strikes. The best way to beat these “winter blues” is to acknowledge it, and create a game plan to lift our spirits during the winter.

I try to soak up as much outdoor time as I possibly can during the colder months. Being active outside during the day helps me sleep better at night, it lightens up my mood, and it simply makes me feel better. I don’t let the winter stop me from walking my dogs three miles a day, or hiking my favorite trails on the weekends. I’m so excited to be partnering up with Backcountry today to share some of my favorite products for keeping warm and comfortable while staying active outside this season. The holidays are right around the corner, and I’ll be stocking up on some warm hats, gloves, and sweaters for my family members. Don’t forget to use the code: TARALYNN15 for 15% off your first purchase!
One of our favorite things to do on the weekend is taking the dogs to local trails. Last year, I blogged about the six-month training program we participated in with our dogs. We put in many hours towards helping our dogs (and us) feel comfortable and confident enough to be around other animals and people. Leo was on the shy side and afraid of everything, while Grumples showed leash-aggression towards other dogs. After putting in the work, we can finally enjoy a walk together without having to leave the dogs at home. It broke my heart because I knew they loved walking trails, but they didn’t know how to behave. Nowadays, it finally feels right. These moments together are what I live for the most. They are no doubt my GOATworthy moments. These trail walks are what brightens my day and keep me happy during the colder months. And with warmer coats, hats, and gloves, we can incorporate more of them into our winter routine. 

On Saturday morning, we headed 45-minutes north to one of our favorite hiking spots. It was a pretty cold morning, but I didn’t mind because I was excited to wear my new Backcountry gear. Sometimes the colder mornings put me in a “stay inside and eat pancakes” type of mood, but I always feel so much better once I’ve spent time out in nature. 
We are still experiencing the beautiful changing of the leaves in the Carolinas. Some trees are completely bare, while some are just now starting to change. It’s a shame to miss out on trail hikes this time of year because of how beautiful it is.

Wearing layers is key when it comes to hiking. It always starts out really cold and then get’s warmer as we get deeper into the trail. Kyle and I both wore extremely warm coats from Backcountry. If you are looking for the perfect winter coat to gift this holiday season to your dad, boyfriend, brother, or whomever, you will want to check out this Patagonia Isthmus Jacket for men. To be honest, Kyle is extremely picky with styles and what he will and won’t wear. I surprised him with this pick, and I was shocked at how much he loved it. It was a little warmer this morning, but he still put it on to go to work knowing it wasn’t cold enough for a big thick jacket. He was like a little kid excited to go to school in his new coat. I thought it was the cutest (I’m sure he’ll appreciate me sharing this embarrassing moment with you all.) The men’s Isthmus jacket is made from sturdy wind and water resistant material. This is why I’ve added the coat to my dad’s holiday gift list. He does so much woodwork outside, and this is the perfect coat that’ll hold up without all the wear and tear. I think it’s pretty cool that the insulation is eco-friendly and made with recycled material.
I have had a black Patagonia jacket on my wishlist for so long. I love that it’s lightweight so I can wear thick sweaters underneath. The insulation helps you stay warm during the brutally cold winter days. When you’re hiking, it’s always annoying to walk through unexpected sharp thorns grabby branches that easily rip your coat. The Patagonia Nano Puff jacket has recycled ripstop exterior to prevent those rips and tears! It’s like they’ve thought of everything. There are two external and internal pockets for gloves, dog treats, doggy waste bags, and more. I kept my vlogging camera in one of the pockets while hiking on Saturday. This jacket comes in ten colors! I think this coat looks good with a pair of jeans or leggings. It’s almost unbelievable that a jacket this lightweight can keep you so warm. I’m extremely excited about this one!
Underneath my coat, I had the softest Stoic Popcorn Knit pullover on. The last time I ordered a Stoic top from Backcountry, I fell in love! This time was no different. I know I’ll be spending many cozy nights in this pullover. The fabric is thick and so soft. After reading all of the reviews, I knew I had to have it. I love how proactive customers are when it comes to leaving reviews on the products. It helps when it comes to picking out sizes and colors. I would normally wear a medium, but after reading the reviews I ordered a small, and it fit perfectly. If you’re a lover of good quality comfort, this pullover has your name all over it.
We are constantly outside with the dogs each day, so keeping a stash of gloves and hats in the closet is crucial. My day doesn’t start until the dogs have been walked, and this time of year, that requires putting on warm socks, warm gloves, hats, and a big coat. Winter accessories like this are always a great stocking stuffer. I think my main frustration with gloves in the winter is finding ones that aren’t bulky and actually keep your hands warm. The only gloves that have ever met my requirements are the Smartwool gloves. I’m already a fan of their warm socks, but their gloves are lifesavers in the winter! I think these Smartwool Striped Liner gloves are absolutely adorable, and they are everything you could dream of in a glove. Warm? Check! Soft? Check! Functional? Check! They come in a few different colors, and I have a feeling they’ll be in my stocking this year.  Another great thing about Backcountry is that they can ship out your order over $50 within 2-days for free. This is so convenient when it comes to last-minute plans (especially for last-minute holiday shoppers.)

Kyle used to steal all my winter beanies, so I’m so excited that he has a few of his own now. These are always a great gift idea for men! I picked out the Backcountry Watch Beanie for him, and I was so happy with the quality. It was thick, warm, and durable. I loved all the neutral colors it came in but went with the olive color.

If I don’t wear beanies while being outside in the cold, I get extreme earaches. I’ve been like that since a kid, so I’m always looking for warm beanies. I’ve been trying to find one with a pom on the top and fell in love with this Backcountry Solstice Pom beanie as soon as I saw it. This beanie is so thick and warm. Not an ounce of wind or cool air made its way through the hat, and I’ll always appreciate a beanie that does the job right.

It’s true that Backcountry carries the best outdoor brands and products that are both technical and stylish. I’ve discovered so many new brands that I plan to purchase more from. I love the variety of my favorite items. If you do find something you love on Backcountry, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute at checkout to Backcountry and The Nature Conservancy to help support its mission of protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends. Backcountry has been a partner with The Nature Conservancy since 2008. 
One of my goals for getting myself outside this winter is to attempt picking up running again. I’m a little nervous after my post-half marathon injury, but it’s something I’ve been craving and a great excuse to get myself outside. Of course, I’m going to start small. The first step into picking up where I left off was finding a new pair of running shoes. Backcountry has so many great running shoes to select from, and I was really excited to try out these new Brooks Ricochet Running Shoes this winter. One of the cool things about Leo is that he loves running with me. Whenever I do a mile run around my neighborhood, he comes along with, so he may be my partner in crime as I work up my mileage again. I did a few tests runs with these new running shoes, and I was pretty impressed with how comfortable and light they were. It’s scary switching brands after running with the same shoe for so many years, but I think this a smart move. If you’re in the market for a new pair of running shoes, you may want to check these out. 
When we hike with the dogs, we make sure to always pack their treats, extra water, bowls, a doggy first aid kit, and wipes in a backpack. This Patagonia Arbor 20L Daypack is adorable, and light for trail walks. It comes in six different colors, but I’m all about purple right now! Not only is it great for the trail, but it’s great for traveling. I plan on taking this bag with me as my carryon during our Thanksgiving travels. The material is thick and sturdy with so many useful pockets. The design is made up of recycled polyester that provides durability and weather resistance for rainy days. When we were at Disney World a few weeks ago, we got caught in the rain but were so lucky because all of our things were safe and dry inside the Patagonia backpack. It really does hold up well. The straps are also comfortable, which made me forget I was wearing the bag half of the time. 

Reach out to Backcountry’s gearheads if you don’t know what to pack on your next big adventure. All of Backcountry’s gearheads are experts in their fields, whether it’s mountain climbing, yoga, running, skiing, and so on! The gearheads have tons of knowledge about what gear you’ll need for your next adventure. One of my family members loves to ski, and I’ll be relying on one of the Backcountry gearheads to help me choose some items for them this holiday season.

I’ve talked about these Ruffwear Hi & Light Harness and leashes before, but we are still so in love with them. The harness comes in different sizes, colors, and has a pocket on the top to store things like keys, treats, doggy bags, or an emergency kit. If you’re a dog owner, you’ll be impressed with the dog-selection Backcountry has. We use the long Knot-A-Leash for Leo, and I love that it matches the harness. I like this leash because Leo isn’t a “puller” so it allows him to have some lead and feel like he’s roaming free without being off leash. The quality of the rope is fantastic, and it’s made well and built to last for years. This is the perfect leash when we run together.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I like to hike in leggings. If you’re also a leggings girl, you’ll fall in love with the selection of leggings that Backcountry carries. The leggings I wore out hiking on Saturday were unbelievable. The last two leggings I have received from Backcountry have both blew me away. The leggings I wore are the Beyond Yoga Spacedye High Waisted (YES PLEASE) midi legging. The word “soft” is an understatement for these. When you read the reviews for these leggings, you’ll understand why I’m obsessed! Be right back while I order the rest of the colors because I plan on living in these all winter long.
Just in case you’reinterested in the items featured in this post, I provided a chart to make it easier for you! All of the links are below.
1. Backcountry x Hydro Flask Medallion Water Bottle 32 oz
2. Brooks Ricochet Running Shoes
3. Beyond Yoga Spacedye High Waisted Midi Legging
4. Smartwool Striped Liner Glove
5. Patagonia Arbor 20L Daypack
6. Backcountry Solstice Pom Beanie
7. Patagonia Isthmus Jacket
8. Backcountry Watch Beanie
9. Ruffwear Knot-A-Leash
10. Ruffwear Hi & Light Harness
11. Stoic Popcorn Knit Pullover
12. Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Jacket

Don’t forget to use code TARALYNN15 for 15% off your first Backcountry order!

Questions for you!

  1. How do you beat the “winter blues?”
  2. What is one item from Backcountry you’d like to add to your wish list this year?

Thank you guys so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

This post was sponsored by Backcountry, and ALL opinions are my own. 

Comments

  • Anonymous

    What size did you order your patagonia coat

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Carly T

    Hi Hello Again –

    I’ve fallen out of the blog world for far too long so I’ve been reading all your most recent posts for the past two cups of coffee and one of tea. I nearly forgot how much I love your blog’s voice, dogs, and food. Consider me back on the bandwagon as a reader/commenter!

    My bank account may not love that I re-discovered this post because I’m officially OBSESSED with Back Country! Take my money! ha! New gear is the perfect excuse to get me outside with my pup Moose to soak up the winter sun!

    Time to go bake up a storm with all of your new (to me) recipes! 🙂

    Reply to Carly T
  • Jessica Nuttall

    I like to beat the winter blues by bundling up and spending time with my horses, whether its riding or just hanging out in the barn with them. There’s just something so peaceful about being around them!

    I’d love to try some of the wool gloves you mentioned! My hands are always FREEZING!!

    Reply to Jessica Nuttall
  • Tonya

    What size did you order for Kyle? I am thinking about grabbing one for my husband.

    Reply to Tonya
  • Ken

    nice

    Reply to Ken
  • Quin

    I love my new Patagonia Jacket! Thanks for the code Tara!

    Reply to Quin
  • Alissa @ PositiviTEA

    Love this and love the colors the most!! It gets brutally cold here and almost everywhere we love to hike, but walking and getting into nature during the winter is the GREATEST form of happiness!! There’s not many feelings like the warm sun on you after a freezing day!!

    Xo, Alissa @ PositiviTEA

    Reply to Alissa @ PositiviTEA
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Alissa!

      Thanks so much, 😊 It’s a perfect time of year!!

      I’m glad you tough out the colder months to get out on the trails! ❤️ ☀️

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amy

    I love those Smartwool gloves!

    Reply to Amy
  • Rachel

    Do you still love your Danner boots?

    Reply to Rachel
  • Anonymous

    hey what trail is this

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Meghan

    Obsessed with that Patagonia jacket! That is number one on my wishlist. I’ve also gotten back into running, so I”m really looking for gear that will allow me to keep running through the winter because it seems like I always end up stopping during the winter months because I just don’t have the right gear and I can’t stand running on the treadmill. Those Brooks shoes are super cute too, I’ve been using the Brooks Ghost 11 and I love them! I was a die hard Nike fan until I tried Brooks at a local running store and fell in love. Hope your transition back into running goes well & that you had a great Thanksgiving!

    Reply to Meghan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Meghan!

      I love it too! Yes, I can see why it’s so easy to stop during the colder months. & totally agree about the treadmill!

      I have done two (two-mile) runs on the Brooks so far and I love them. It’s the first timer running with Brooks because I always ran with Asics.

      Thanks for reading! xoxoxoxo Hope you get that Patagonia Jacket! They have some awesome online sales right now!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    what trail is this

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Ashton Jury

    Hiking is definitely one of the ways I love beating the winter blues! However I live in California so we don’t have much of a winter. But we do have some great trails down by the beach and in the mountains. I am absolutely in love with that Stoic Popcorn Knit pullover and the hydro flask with the awesome Backcountry Logo. I just dropped mine and it has a huge dent! Hope you’re having a fun Thanksgiving!

    Reply to Ashton Jury
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Ashton!!

      For sure 😊 Living in California is nice in the winter. You guys do have some amazing hiking spots!! The Stoic Popcorn Knit Pullover (which I’M WEARING RIGHT NOW lol) is on super sale today!!!

      Happy Thanksgiving!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooklyn Murtaugh

    Your hair looks amazing! Whenever I’m hiking, my hair gets so frizzy and gross haha.
    And these photos are such good quality, I love them!

    I love all the beanies!And the shoes look so comfy for a hike.

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    Reply to Brooklyn Murtaugh
  • Amanda

    I beat the winter blues the same way, getting out in nature and getting active! This is my first winter on Vancouver Island and I am continually in awe of all the beauty around me on the hiking trails. Rain or shine, I’m out there!

    My big ticket wishlist item is a new Patagonia fleece. I have been dying for one since I finally got out of the plus sizes on my weight loss journey! Unfortunately Backcountry doesn’t ship Patagonia to Canada :(. But I’m totally gonna look into ordering some Smartwool for my feets and hands, girls gotta keep warm and dry! lol

    Reply to Amanda
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Amanda!

      Seriously the best way. I can’t imagine how gorgeous it is around you. I need to make a trip out that way asap.

      Congrats on your weight loss journey. You’re going to NEEEEEEED those smartwool socks!! & glovess!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Tanya

    I’d love to hear about you getting back to running as well as I took a bit of a break from it and tried to start up again in the cold, but I think I’ll stick to hiking for now. Happy Thanksgiving Taralynn!

    Reply to Tanya
  • Emma

    I would love to hear about your journey getting back into running! I had a very similar experience where I was very into running for awhile but then an injury forced me to stop. I’m just now getting back into it as well! Definitely a process, but I’m excited to get back into the swing of it.

    Reply to Emma
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Emma!

      I will definitely continue to blog about it. It’s in the VERY beginning stages right now. I just don’t want to get injured and then never be able to play tennis lol But I’m taking it very slow. I have a two-mile run scheduled for this afternoon, so I’m hoping it all goes well.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Linda

    What size did you order the black jacket in? How tall are you? I am going to purchase this for my daughter.

    Reply to Linda
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Getting out in nature always lifts my mood – I need to do it more often! I like to beat the winter blues by spending time with my loved ones and snuggling up to a nice hot cup of tea! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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