Fit and Free with Emily |

Howdy, friends!

It seems crazy to me that the topic of winter is already on my brain, but here in Iowa you just never know what mother nature will throw at you. We’re already in to 30deg mornings and last year our pipes froze THREE TIMES (-30 before windchill, thank you very much), sooo… luck favors the prepared. ;)

Columbia (via being a POPSUGAR Select Blogger) challenged me to come up with five ways to stay active this winter. And not just active, but active OUTSIDE. Honestly, this is an area I struggle with every year. Who wants to go out in the cold? I’ll take cocoa and a book, thank you! That might also have something to do with the fact that I haven’t had a proper winter coat or boots for the past five years or so. I know, I know. Believe me, I can hear your *tsktsks* from here.

Thankfully, my friends at Columbia solved that problem for me with this I-never-want-to-take-it-off jacket and these OMG TEAL boots. More on that below (pictures! reviews! oh my!). Let’s get on with the countdown, shall we? :)

5 Ways to Get Off Your BUTT and MOVE this Winter!

5 Ways to Stay Active this Winter - - Columbia Jacket + Boot Review!

1.) Get outside and play! Embrace your inner child and play outside. What’s stopping you from making some snow angels, building a fort, sledding until your cheeks burn, or challenging your significant other to a snowball fight? NOTHING! Some of my most favorite winter memories involve playing outside for hours on end; coming in when the sun going down and the promise of hot cocoa had lured us inside. Make a challenge out of finding the best sledding hill in your town, grab a $5 plastic sled, and have at it!


5 Ways to Stay Active this Winter - - Columbia Jacket + Boot Review!

2.) Go for a skate! I LOVE ice skating – truly! There’s a small pond in our backyard that the hubs and I have been dying to skate on. Pro tip – you can often find good deals on used ice skates at your local thrift stores or secondhand sporting good stores. There’s something about going to an ice skating rink that’s so romantic and nostalgic. Everyone’s falling, clinging onto each other, zooming around, and laughing. I’ve seen TWO proposals while ice skating! Not only can it be a fun date or family affair, but skating really engages your core muscles and glutes! Better to work out your butt than sit on it.


5 Ways to Stay Active this Winter - - Columbia Jacket + Boot Review!

3.) Hit the slopes! I bet you’re thinking this is pretty funny, coming from an Iowan. Hey, even we have some pretty cool winter parks (and giant hills) that offer skiing, snowboarding, and sledding – some even make their own snow when the weather doesn’t cooperate! Skiing (and the like) is a great full-body exercise, works your cardiovascular system like no other, and improves your coordination skills! I’ve never been to skilled on the latter – my attempts at skiing usually involve falling on my butt – those chair-lifts sure are nice! ;)



4.) Take a tour of the neighborhood! One of my favorite Christmas traditions is looking at all the beautiful lights in our neighborhood. Who says you have to take your car? Bundle up, grab something warm to drink, round up some friends (or your kids! dogs! etc!) and take in the gorgeous scenery on foot. You could even create a fun “I spy” game or “Holiday Light Bingo” card to keep the fun rolling for everyone. Once you start movin and groovin, you won’t even notice the cold.


5 Ways to Stay Active this Winter - - Columbia Jacket + Boot Review!

4.) Explore the trails! My personal favorite, and something I look forward to every fall/winter season. There’s something so peaceful about hiking in the winter. The fresh fallen snow, the cool and quiet air, the barren trees – it’s magical!

While we don’t have any snow yet here in Iowa, Harper and I hit the trails this past weekend to test out the gear Columbia was nice enough to send our way. It was a brisk 40 deg day with lots of leaf-gathering, caterpillar collecting (she loves the fuzzy ones), tree climbing, and creek stomping. We definitely earned our afternoon naps. :) We even saw a family of deer, but I wasn’t fast enough to catch them on my camera. I’m excited to head back out to this trail in the winter, when animals are a bit easier to see through the dense forest. I know my new coat and boots will be coming with me – they kept me insanely warm throughout our hike!

PicMonkey Collage

The Coat – Women’s Platinum 860 Turbodown Down Jacket

I am so in love with this jacket. Like I mentioned above, it’s been years since I’ve had a nice winter jacket. Truth time – I was pretty hesitant when picking out this style. I have never in my life wanted a puffy-style jacket. Being 300lbs … I’ve got enough “puff” of my own. ;) However, the Turbo Down insulation is SO thin and surprisingly very flattering on my shape. It hits me just below my lower belly (my biggest trouble spot) which is perfect. It covers what needs to be covered and kept me (extra) warm on our hike! My only minor complaint – no hood. Of course, Columbia does offer other jackets (a bit bulkier, it looks like) with hooded options.

Stat Roundup:

  • Size: 3x. I typically wear a 22/24 and am 5ft 7, and have lower belly bulk. This fits PERFECTLY and is super flattering.
  • Warmth: I’ve only been able to test it at the coldest of 30deg, but it’s kept me very warm, which surprised me. It’s so thin and lightweight!
  • Function/Style: No complaints. The pockets are zippered, the sleeves are slighly tapered with elastic bands near your wrists to help keep the elements out, and the zipper comes up enough to cover your whole neck. Everything is super streamlined in the design, and I love that it’s available in PURPLE, too!

PicMonkey Collage2

The Boots – Women’s Minx Mid II Omni-Heat Print Boot

I can’t even with these boots. Absolutely no one is surprised that I ordered these in teal, right? Okay, I might have chosen purple if that was an option. ;) I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a pair of real winter boots since I was a child. Between pinching pennies in college and not getting out much (due to no winter coat, as stated before. Again, I know.), A rockin’ pair of boots were definitely on my wishlist. The flexible tread soles were tough enough to grip onto slippery rocks and logs during our hike, but not too stiff – making it easy to twist (had to catch Harper from falling at one point) and climb. These would be an absolutely perfect gift for any serious hikers in your life!

Stat Roundup:

  • Size: 9.5 – I typically wear 9, but ordered up since I have slightly wider feet. They fit perfectly. Snug and supportive. I also have ENORMOUS calves (21 inches) and they fit just fine!
  • Warmth: Again, I haven’t been able to test in snow yet, but as for everyday fall hiking? Extremely warm. I can already tell they will hold up well to the winter elements. I was roasting – that faux fur really does its job!
  • Function/Style: I love that these aren’t your typical clunky winter boots. They’re fun and fashionable! If teal isn’t your deal – this particular style also comes in red and white.

These are the first Columbia products I’ve owned, and I now get the hype. The products are well constructed without looking bulky and warm without feeling heavy. I can’t wait for snow to come to Iowa – I feel prepared and ready to take on more outdoor activities! :)


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Columbia through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Columbia outerwear, all opinions are my own.

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