Christmas Ideas for the Hiker in Your Life

I've started Christmas shopping and am about halfway done with my list. Planned gift giving isn't my love language, it stresses me out, but if you're looking for a few gift ideas to get the hiker in your life, check out the items below! I have or want most of them!

How to Layer Clothes for Hiking


When you're hiking, you want to layer so you can shed layers, or add them, as you need to. You don't want to be stuck with one heavy layer that's too warm as you're going uphill.

You want to have a synthetic, moisture wicking base-layer. I have one from Costco that does the job, but I'm looking at getting something like this REI Co-op shirt when it's time for a new one. In the summer I'm usually fine in a loose synthetic running tank top I have.

My next layer is a fleece mid-layer. I use my Patagonia Better Sweater, but there are lots of different types of fleece options out there. I looked at a few brands, Columbia, Arc'teryx, and The North Face, but Patagonia fit me best.

If it's cold enough, I'll even have another insulating layer. For now I've been using The North Face Summit Series jacket. I have a version that's about four years old but here's the current The North Face Summit L3 Down Jacket. I'd really like to get The North Face ThermoBall Insulated Full-Zip Jacket.

And on the outside, I have my water-resistant hard shell. This is usually my Arc'teryx Beta Lt. Hybrid Rain Jacket. It's a pretty great jacket and I love it for backpacking and hiking. And it's on sale as of this post being published! I really wanted my jacket to be made of Gore-Tex® and I loved that this had a detached collar so I could have the collar up but not the hood on, when I needed it. And you want to make sure you size this so you can fit your other layers under it.

For my other "layers" I have my wool running socks. I actually don't think I've ever used them for running, but I use them for every hike I go on. While my favorite running socks are the Balega Hidden Comfort ones, they're too short for me for hiking as mud and rocks will get in them. So my wool Smartwool and Feetures socks work better because they're higher.

My next sock purchase will be these Darn Tough socks. A friend of mine raves about the brand and because I'd like a higher pair of wool socks, I'm planning on getting these next so I can try them out and see if they're worth the hype.

You also want wool or synthetic underwear, and not cotton.

As you can tell, all of my technical layers are upperbody. I have some wool thermal pants I wear under a pair of running pants on cold days, but I do need a pair of water-resistant or waterproof hiking pants for winter and rainy hikes. When it's warm enough, I'm usually just in running pants or capris.

And remember to size your layers so you can fit other things under them if you need to.

Do you have any layering suggestions?

Should You Buy A Buff?

Northwest Pearls: Mima Falls Now, you may be asking like I did the first time, "What is a Buff?"

Well, it's a neck-wrap, and a balaclava, and a headband, sweatband, pony-tail holder, and more.

My favorite thing it does, and why I bought it, is for the neckband/scarf. You can see me wearing it above on our hike to Mima Falls. I had used a scarf for snowshoeing and got frustrated at the ends constantly flapping around. I needed something to keep my neck warm but not annoy me.

A friend of mine had bought a Buff for snowshoeing, mostly because he couldn't find the other two or three he already owned. I greatly envied it so before my next hike, I researched them.

I'd decided I wanted a wool one because I anticipate using it mostly when it's cold. I've never wanted something like this in warmer weather, even though people do use them in all weather. The company makes an Original BuffHigh UV Protection BuffUV Insect Shield Buff, Wool BuffPolar Reversible Buff, and a Windproof Buff.

I love my wool one; I don't think it's itchy and neither do any of the reviews I read. I'd debated getting the Polar Reversible Buff, but decided that I didn't need that level of warmth. And I debated getting the Original Buff too, but wanted a little bit more warmth than that. It was a great purchase, and I'd recommend getting one. If I get another I might try the Original Buff.

So the answer to "Should you get a Buff?" If you're wanting something to keep your neck warm, or do so many other things, it's "yes."

How to Remove Scuffs from Patent Leather Shoes

Northwest Pearls: Patent Leather Shoe Scuffs
Northwest Pearls: Patent Leather Shoe Scuffs

I have a nice pair of nude/beige patent leather shoes that have recently gotten really scuffed. So I looked around online to figure out how I can remove the scuffs and below is what I found. But be careful, spot-test if you can!

Try all of the below, except number one, with a soft cloth, cotton swab, or paper towel and try rubbing to see if the scuff marks go away.

  1. A microfiber cloth or gum eraser
  2. A water dampened paper towel or cotton swab
  3. Windex
  4. Petroleum jelly
  5. Isopropyl alcohol
  6. Nail polish remover

What have you found has the most luck getting rid of scuff marks?

My Favorite Skincare Brand Ever

Northwest Pearls: Avene Review I've tried a lot of different moisturizers and cleansers. My skin has switched from being severely oily to severely dry. At my current drier-than-the-desert state, I am in love with Avene and I don't anticipate finding anything better for a while.

I use their Clean-Ac Cleanser, Clean-Ac Hydrating Cream, Thermal Spring Water, and their Cold Cream Lip Cream. I use their cleanser and moisturizer twice a day and go between using the spring water multiple times per day to every few days. I've got the largest spring water bottle for home, and the smallest for my purse.

The only thing I wish they'd do was make their Clean-AC Hydrating Cream in a larger container. This is my favorite product by far and I use it twice a day so it'd be great to not have to buy it every two months. I know that sounds lazy, but the brand isn't available at most stores so it can be hard to get without ordering online.

With how much I love the brand I've been wanting to try some of their other products, like their sunscreen. I did get some mini-samples of the sunscreen and found that it didn't layer well with my makeup, but that was the body and face sunscreen, the just face kind may work better with makeup.

Have you tried any of their products?

Winter Wedding Attire

Northwest Pearls: Winter Wedding AttireI hope you all have had a Merry Christmas or just Happy Holidays! I spent it with my family and had a great time with them! Recently I attended a winter wedding in a barn, so while it was going to be heated, I wanted to dress warmly and sensibly for the packed dirt floor. So I wore this dress from Nordstrom that I bought a few years ago, and my AGL flats.

Northwest Pearls: Winter Wedding Attire

The barn was a little chilly, so I actually never took off my peacoat, but it was still a fun and beautiful event.

Have you been to many winter weddings this year?

Waiting for the Leaves to Turn

Since the weather turned I've been turning (no pun intended) to this skirt and tights. I usually pair it with my Frye Melissa Button boots, but for days when I want to be taller, go with these booties instead. It's funny how we all go through phases of outfits. I have so many clothes but really only wear like five things. Then I'll turn to a completely different five things and wear only those in rotation for a while. Anyone else relate to that problem? Northwest Pearls: Red and Khaki

What have you been wearing a lot of lately?

Warmer Shades

I was a bit sad to put away my summer clothes, but I do love that I can wear boots again! I bought this pair of booties on sale from Nordstrom about two years ago but I'm not very creative with what to wear these with so I usually pair them with maxi skirts or jeans and rarely with a shorter dress. How do you like to style booties?

Northwest Pearls: Pink OOTD

Date Night with Blue

One of my favorite shirts is this cerulean blue one from Target. It's a couple of years old, so while you can get the same color now, the cut isn't as flattering, at least not to me. To dress up the high neckline, I like to add a statement necklace I got from Anthropologie. It makes a cute date outfit! Northwest Pearls: Blue OOTD