For those of you who reached out asking about Raines’ Outward Bound experience…he had an absolutely epic adventure. And if you haven’t yet heard of Outward Bound, it’s a company that specializes in “wilderness expeditionary courses” and has been around since…the ’70s, I think. I first learned of Outward Bound because my Dad was totally enamored with the whole idea and would either threaten or tempt me with one (depending on his mood and my level of teenage attitude).
Outward Bound courses sound so badass and cool. “Pathfinder Colorado Alpine Backpacking” reads one course description, “Outer Banks Sea Kayaking” reads another. There are courses that involve whitewater rafting or rock climbing or sailing, all with a leadership development focus, and all require a decent amount of grit.
Truthfully, I probably would’ve loved Outward Bound. I don’t know if I never did one because of my own apprehension, or because of my Dad’s fear that something could happen to me. But it was an ongoing joke between us.
So it was with a chuckle when I asked Raines, several months ago, “what about Outward Bound?”
He and I had been talking about summer camps. I’m not a fan of sleepaway camps (I didn’t grow up doing them, and hate being without my kids for 2+ weeks), but there are several weeks every summer I need these boys out of the house. I had been researching which day camps had openings the weeks I needed coverage and made a list: tennis camp, soccer camp, basketball camp or dance camp.
Pick one, I said.
None, he said.
This was not unusual. Raines says ‘no’ to everything initially, even the things he now loves best (skiing, surfing). It’s an ongoing family joke. But when I filtered the Outward Bound course selection by age, week and location…an 8-day Appalachian Trail Backpacking and Rock Climbing expedition popped up, prompting my question, “what about Outward Bound?”
I think Raines surprised us both with a big, huge, YES.
Honestly, I booked it before either of us could change our minds.
And the kid that walked out of the woods, the day we picked him up from that exact 8-day Appalachian Trail Backpacking & Rock Climbing Expedition, was a pretty different kid than the one we dropped off. He was grinning a huge grin, came loping on over and picked me up, swinging me around in a hug. He seemed taller. He chatted with us for a few minutes, then walked over to say some last goodbyes. He’s a quietly confident kid anyway, but I was surprised by the easy way he had with his Outward Bound buddies and expedition leaders.
It turns out that this particular expedition was one for the books, even by Outward Bound standards. Not only did Raines carry a 55 lb. backpack every day, but he rock climbed and set up tarps and cooked over a fire and learned how to tie knots and the best way to go to the bathroom in the woods. He was the group navigator one day, group leader another. He is no longer squeamish about bugs — no matter how big. His group survived thunder and lightning storms, and even had to pack up camp in the middle of the night — in a torrential downpour no less — to seek shelter from a freaking tornado, and in the resulting scramble over downed trees…the entire group got poison ivy.
Raines gave the whole experience a 10 out of 10.
It was intense, though. So intense that when his expedition leader asked if he’d do it again, Raines…paused. She laughed at his silence (she probably gets it), and gave Raines a hug. But a few days later, after he was fed, showered, and had a few nights of sleep…Raines pulled me aside. “Mom,” he said. “I know you hate when I’m away at camp, but…I can’t stop thinking about it. Could I please do Outward Bound again next year?”
Somewhere out there, I can almost hear my Dad laughing.
Still looking for a swimsuit? My favorite one-piece of all time just got re-stocked in the prettiest colors. Fit is TTS (I wear a size small).
Chic Fleece. My North Face Cragmont Fleece jacket – the chicest North Face I’ve ever worn – is finally on sale in the cream color. I wear a size small.
I know we’re gearing up for NSale but….the designer sale going on at Saks is blowing our minds So much so that my entire contribution to our Weekly Sales Report is 100% Saks Fifth Ave. I didn’t, however, get a chance to browse the dresses until just now, but I’m currently craving something very swooshy and Grace Kelly: this one, or this one (100% silk) or maybe even this one (also 100% silk).
Oh geez – one more. My absolute favorite Tumi backpack OF ALL TIME is also on sale at Saks. For me, it’s all about the shoe compartment on the bottom, but the roomy upper (with just the right amount of pockets) doesn’t hurt either.
Still my fav beach tote. Three years running, this Nordstrom brand straw tote is still what I take to the beach (or city farmer’s market). Gives me all the Jane Birkin vibes, but with a more comfortable strap, and the included snap-on wallet is clutch for keeping phones, wallets and even sunscreens (face, lip) out of the sand.
Last bag, promise. In anticipation of those Clare V bags selling out in two hot seconds…I’ve been trying to investigate a fun replacement. There are always knock-offs, but none as good as this canvas one from Social Threads. I got mine today and am shocked by how much I LOVE it.
I just ordered these glasses. We’ve been looking for stemless wine glasses that won’t break in the dishwasher. The set I linked has over 1,000, 5-star reviews; they feel good in my hand (very sturdy, yet feel expensive;) and are a smidge bigger than I expected. Perfect.
Oh hiiii 1940. Can’t stop watching 100 years of men’s beauty on History Photographed. It’s very pretty. 😉
Can’t make this stuff up. When Sally Ride went into space back in 1983, NASA loaded her ship up with — I kid you not — one hundred tampons. For ONE WEEK. Happily, Marcia Sky wrote a song about it (sung by Christa Allen).
Panzanella recipe ideas. Obsessed with this fruit & veggie panzanella recipe on The Feed Feed. Lisa, the author, starts with a traditional panzanella base recipe, then offers customization suggestions based on what might be at your farmer’s market, based on time of year (or region). You can also see it on her IG, here.
Good advice from Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter. Now that many of us are back out and about, what is the proper etiquette for asking about vaccination status? Is that a rude question? The Atlantic has an article by Lizzie Post about 3 rules for politeness in this almost-post-pandemic world. I found it to be a thoughtful read.
Enjoy your weekend!
ps. Nordstrom sale craziness starts on Monday. If you want to be the first to see our try-on sessions, sign up for our newsletter here (and consider signing up for text alerts — we won’t be abusing them, promise).