Reducing Our Environmental Impact

Kansas Driving //

Recently, I wrote a post for Trail Sisters about how we – as Trail Sisters and humans alike – can help reduce our environmental impact with a few tiny changes to our days. Things like: riding a bike or sharing a ride vs. driving, bringing your own coffee mug and more.

And then, this weekend as I was sidelined thanks to lower back pain (again, ugh!), I watched Before The Flood and it really drove home the impact global warming/climate change is having on the earth, society and our collective future. This documentary is 90 minutes long and is free through 11/7 (tonight!) on Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, OnDemand and several other places. I highly encourage you to watch it!

There are SO many easy and tiny changes we can make to our day that can make a difference. Things like:

  • Eat less beef
  • Recycle
  • Compost leftovers
  • Plant a garden to grow veggies
  • Join a CSA (community supported agriculture)
  • Use Tupperware/plastic containers vs. plastic baggies
  • Use a Diva Cup vs. tampons
  • Use a refillable water bottle
  • Use a push mover vs. gas mower
  • Reduce air travel
  • Ride a bike
  • Ride a bus
  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs
  • Upgrade to energy efficient windows
  • Choose energy efficient appliances
  • Turn down/off the thermostat
  • Unplug electronics when not in use
  • Wash dishes by hand vs. dishwasher
  • Reduce/eliminate paper towels
  • Use an air dryer vs. paper towels in public restrooms
  • Air dry laundry
  • Take a shorter shower
  • Choose shampoos/soaps/cleaners with environmentally friendly ingredients
  • Shop local this holiday season
  • Wrap gifts in recycled wrapping paper (or even a paper grocery bag)
  • Support companies whose values and actions align with reducing environmental impact where possible
  • Vote for candidates who believe climate change is real and will work with other world leaders to make big changes

I’ll admit that some of these ideas are easier for me to implement than others (I often choose paper towels over cloth towels when cleaning at home – old habits die hard) but being aware of my options and making a conscious effort to change my actions will hopefully inspire others to do the same.

In past generations, caring about our impact and the environment might have fallen more in the Counter Culture bucket but these days, it needs to be top of mind for ALL of us if we’re going to turn this climate change ship around and preserve this beautiful Earth we love and life for future generations.

I’d love to hear additional tactics you like to help reduce your environmental impact in the comments below!

Intentional Goal Setting for November

Intentional Goal Setting, Nov 2016 //

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve dedicated time to this little blog! I have so many posts swirling in my head but after a busy work day, I often choose to decompress and close my laptop in the evenings. But I miss blogging and the creative outlet it provides.

Since moving back to Denver 6 weeks ago, I’ve found myself in a weekday routine that centers around biking to/from work, working and making myself dinner for 1. Not much variation and, now that I’m settled in my routine, I’m ready to create space in my days to be creative or feel inspired – something I haven’t done since the beginning of the Summer of Chaos.

In ‘the old days’, when my husband and I didn’t live this unconventional, long distance life, we would set 2-4 mini goals for the month, write it on a piece of printer paper and post it on the fridge to serve as a daily reminder/inspiration. We each set our own goals and mine included things like: read a book, don’t buy kombucha, do 1 creative thing, mail 4 letters, go to OrangeTheory or yoga 3x each week. Simple and tangible.

So this month, I’m bringing the mini-goals back into my life! In November, I will aim to:

  • Take the stairs (at work, airports, whenever possible)
  • Dedicate time to meditation/reflection at least 3x per week
  • Eat out less + focus on more healthy/homemade meals
  • Read 1 book

I’ll be splitting the month between Denver and Pittsburgh/Cincinnati so I intentionally chose achievable goals that are location agnostic.

To keep these goals top of mind, I have them posted both at my desk at work and in my room at home. I’m excited to make time to feel inspired and work towards personal goals that should make my mind and body happy.

Snapshot: Day in the Life, October 2016

Day in Life Oct 2016 //

From time to time, I like to chronicle a day in my current moment of life. The past few years have been full of finite moments and big transitions so pausing to take inventory of what is happening in this chapter. This chapter is particularly unique.

This post captures a fairly regular Tuesday. I’ve been watching pups through (I miss Philly!) so on this morning, Gertie and I woke up early to walk around the neighborhood before breakfast (I’ve been spoiling myself with homemade breakfast tacos!), before biking to work.

Day in Life Oct 2016 //

Work consisted of internal meetings, client calls, emails and projects. I caught up with a friend over lunch and took a brief walk around downtown for some fresh air afterward. I headed home a bit early on my bike to let the dogs out for a potty break.

Day in Life Oct 2016 //

After feeding the dogs and grabbing myself a snack, I hopped in the car and headed back to work to watch a screening of the documentary, CODE, Debugging the Gender Gap. It was really interesting and, while I wish we were at a point in society where we didn’t have to have conversations or films about gender equality, I so appreciate that my company IS talking about it and promoting equality and diversity in tech, in the workplace, in the America.

Day in Life Oct 2016 //

After the film, Gertie and I went out for another brisk walk around the ‘hood before cranking out a few last emails and heading to bed. For the days that she stayed with me, my fuzzy pal Gertie snoozed right next to me like a giant, living teddy bear. It was the best.

And today, in this moment right now, my husband is traveling across the country to plant himself in Denver for 10 days and I can hardly contain my excitement – this will be the longest we’ve been together since May! It makes me so happy to know I get to have conversations in real life, share dinner and snuggle next to my favorite person every day for the next week and a half.

How’s life in this moment of your world?

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women’s Tantrum Hooded Jacket

Outdoor Research Women's Tantrum Jacket Review //

DISCLAIMER: As a participant in Outdoor Research’s #ORInsightLab, I am offered the opportunity to test seasonal gear in exchange for my honest review. This post is not sponsored but I did receive the gear for free.

The second jacket I tested this summer was the Outdoor Research Women’s Tantrum Hooded Jacket, a lightweight, wind-resistant shell.

Over the summer, this jacket was a great layer for early morning backpacking starts and trail running in higher elevations. As with the Helium II, I didn’t encounter much adverse weather this summer (yay!) but as summer has wound down and temps are dropping, I find myself reaching for this jacket for biking to/from work in the cool air.

Similar to the Helium II, OR cut weight by dropping hip pockets and, instead added a pocket in the back. The pocket contains an elastic band so when the jacket is packed down into the pocket, you can strap the elastic around your waist for easy carrying. Because I wear the jacket when I have a pack close by, I used the pocket to store things (namely, keys and chapstick).

Outdoor Research Women's Tantrum Jacket Review //

What I love most about this jacket is that it keeps me warm when I need it, stretching with me as I move while still being breathable and lightweight. The thumb holes to keep the sleeves where I want them as I’m running or hiking and the jacket feels like a second skin, almost, during highly-aerobic activities.

Clocking in at 4.4 oz, the Tantrum is one of the lightest jackets I own which makes is a no-brainer to pack down and toss in a pack.

Great for spring, summer and fall pursuits in windy, rainy or a little bit chilly weather, the Outdoor Research Women’s Tantrum Jacket has quickly become a staple item in my backpacking and trail-running kit.


Outdoor Research Women’s Tantrum Jacket, $110

Sizing: I am 5’11” and am wearing a medium; jacket runs true to size.

Life In Denver, Again

Cross Country Drive //

More than a week ago, I packed most of my things into the back of OsCar the Outback and drove myself back to Denver. I drove 5 hours to Cincinnati on Thursday night, 5 hours to St. Louis Friday night and 12 hours to Denver on Saturday.

I moved into a duplex house with a roommate – my first roommate in 7+ years – and, surprisingly, the arrangement is going very well. We get along fabulously and spent the weekend doing very roommate-y things: making homemade pizzas on Friday night, watched a movie and YouTube videos Saturday night and Sunday, ran our own errands but caught up later in the evening.

My roommate has a little dachshund, Schnapps, who is a gentle and goofy old man of a dog. His signature move is to run up to anyone who has food and sit up on his hind legs, like a kangaroo.

I send so many snaps of this strange pose because it makes me so happy. I miss Philly a lot and it’s nice to have a little pup running around so I can get a few furry snuggles at the end of a work day.

Living just 3 miles from work, I’m biking to/from again like I did this summer. In fact, I’ve only driven my car a handful of times the past week (mostly to get furniture/items from Target for my new room) and I’m excited to continue biking or riding transportation regularly. Of course, the whole reason I drove the car back out is to maximize mountain time and now that I’ve situated myself in my new room, I’m looking forward to fall and winter mountain adventures!

Like this!
Like this!

When we left Denver last year, Alex and I talked about how whenever we did/do find our way back, it would never be the same as when we left. I agreed at the time and never really expected that I’d be back in Denver, without him, so soon after we left. It’s certainly not the life we left behind but I’m excited about it all the same. Work, travel, building new friendships, making time for hobbies, sleeping on both sides of the bed. 😉

I find myself missing Alex and Philly the most in the quiet moments in the evening, when I’m hunkered down in my basement room for the night. And in every moment of my weekend which has been such treasured time over the past year when I’d get more than a few minutes of time with my husband. Now, I’m figuring out new routines to keep myself happy and occupied during those times, as is he.

It’s emotionally hard to be separated and not feel left out when he’s hanging out with our friends or I’m at our favorite football hangout without him. But we both remind ourselves and each other that this long distance is a fleeting moment in the story of our lives. And the benefits outweigh the sacrifice. I know this to be true and I’m not wishing away the time, but I am looking forward to when Denver is OUR city again.

Heading West, Again

welcome to //

It’s a gorgeous fall day in Pittsburgh; humidity is low, temperatures have dipped and the sun is shining brightly. The kind of day that makes me appreciate spending time in the midwest for this moment in my life, yearning for the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as I walk Philly around our neighborhood, snuggling under a blanket with my husband in the evenings in our poorly-insulated old apartment.

But this is likely my first and last midwest fall day this season because, today, I begin a drive west to move back to Colorado.

Earlier this summer while working in Denver, I knew spending this upcoming year working remotely would not be the best decision for me, professional or personally. Truthfully, I knew this the moment I left Colorado last July.

Working from Home //

Being the sole remote person on my team was challenging; I missed interacting with my coworkers and I felt really isolated. Growing and leading a team remotely is extremely challenging and, this summer alone, I added 4 new members to my team and currently have open several open positions for my territory. Things at Ibotta are moving so fast and it’s such an exciting time to be part of this company that I don’t want to miss out on the unique opportunities and experience in front of me.

Alex immediately supported the move; he’s always encouraged me to find and follow what’s important to me in a career. After many thoughtful conversations, we made a game plan and I found a short term apartment in Denver before I left at the end of the summer. I will be spending most of my time in Denver and ‘reverse remote working’ where I’ll work remotely for a week in Pittsburgh every few weeks so I’m able to still spend time with Alex.

I’m as excited to move as I am sad to leave. 

For much of the past couple of years, I’ve felt like I’m in the passenger’s seat, figuring out how to fit my plans into my husband’s school schedule. This, though, is me taking the driver seat (literally) and making a decision about what’s best for me, a decision that sets me up for current and future success and is a decision I feel really good about. I’m excited to continue to grow in my career and be in the office as the next months unfold.

Of course, it’s not without it’s tradeoff. I’ve cried many tears about leaving Alex and Philly. About the life experiences Alex and I will have separately from each other. About missing out on the precious little time I have left with our Pittsburgh friends before graduation in May. About not living a short drive from Cincinnati.

It’s going to be hard and exciting and lonely and rewarding, all a the same time. In the end, these 10 months of long distance will fly by and be an interesting story in this ‘unconventional’ moment of our lives. (And after 2.5 years of long distance dating, 10 months feels like the blink of an eye!)

Moving to Denver // lynnepetre

See you soon, Denver. Just 1500 miles to go.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium II Review //

DISCLAIMER: As a participant in Outdoor Research’s #ORInsightLab, I am offered the opportunity to test seasonal gear in exchange for my honest review. This post is not sponsored but I did receive the gear for free.

This summer, I tested out 2 jackets from Outdoor Research as part of their #ORInsightLab team and I’ll be profiling them this week and next. First up, the Helium II Women’s Jacket!

This jacket has been heavily praised, winning awards like ‘Best Waterproof Running Jacket Winter’ from Runner’s World or ‘Top Pick Award Winner 2015’ from Outdoor Gear Lab so I was pretty pumped to pack this jacket for my summer adventures.

Unfortunately, my summer adventures were mostly hot and dry so I didn’t get much of a chance to put the waterproofness to the test too often but will be doing so this fall during rainy season in Pittsburgh.

But I will speak to the breathability and packability because both are excellent attributes of this jacket because both are outstanding. I’ve brought my Helium II jacket with me on every single hike and trip in the past several months and have worn it frequently when it’s windy and as a layer when the sun starts to sink lower in the sky and the air cools down in the mountains.

On cool morning hikes in Idaho, this jacket was the perfect layer over my shirt to keep me warm from the light breeze but, because of the breathability, I never felt uncomfortable, even when hiking up steep grades.

And as it relates to packability, can’t be beat with this one. It’s extremely lightweight, clocking in at 5.5 oz (less than half the weight of my Clairvoyant jacket) and packs down such that I can hold the entire jacket in my fist. It’s extremely easy to stuff into a 65L backpack for an overnight trip or a small trail running pack without giving up much/almost any retail space.

The tradeoff with lightweight is that there aren’t any exterior hip pockets. (There is an exterior chest pocket, though.) This did take adjusting on my part because I so frequently jam my hands, phone or snacks in the exterior pockets of my jacket that it felt strange to not have them. But after a few wears, my brain figured it out and I found alternatives.

Two additional features I really like about the Helium II jacket are the internal pocket and the drawcord hem to cinch the waist.
Outdoor Research Helium II Review //

As I adjusted to the loss of external pockets, I quickly found the internal pocket to be useful in carrying snacks or my ID/credit card. Again, not my first instinct so reach inside my jacket for key items but it was nice to have a place to put small items that I wanted on my person. This pocket also doubles as a stuff sack with a carabiner loop – great for clipping to a climbing harness! Most of my adventures kept my feet on the ground but the Helium II would be a great addition to any climbing trip.

Outdoor Research Helium II Review //

The drawcord hem is a feature I’ve really come to appreciate in my active jackets. When the temperatures dip or the rain is pouring, I like being able to cinch down my outerlayers to preserve warmth and keep moisture out.

Overall, really loved the lightweight and breathable Outdoor Research Helium II Women’s jacket. There’s no question that it will be a tagalong on outdoor adventures of all varieties for many, many years to come.


Outdoor Research Helium II Women’s Jacket, $159

Sizing: I am 5’11” and am wearing a medium; jacket runs true to size.

So Long, Summer Break

Stanley Idaho Sunrise //

Truthfully, I am as relieved as I am sad the summer has come to an end. This summer was full of life and excitement; I rarely had a down minute to focus on anything besides what I was doing that exact moment and what I needed to be doing the next moment.

I’m currently back in Pittsburgh and it feels SO GOOD to be in one place for more than a few days, to be back in an apartment with my husband and dog, to have some semblance of ‘normal’ for a little bit.

Since I last checked in, I moved out of my ‘summer home’ and then flew to Boise to road trip across ID + OR with Heidi. Coincidentally, my trip overlapped with Alex’s trip to Bend so it was a treat to spend ~12 hours together with our friends. I then returned to Denver where I bounced around lodging arrangements, 5 nights with a friend in Wash Park, 5 nights house/dog sitting for a friend in the Highlands.

Smiley Creek Overlook in Idaho
Smiley Creek Overlook in Idaho

10 days after leaving Portland, I got on a plane to head BACK to Portland (hi again, Oregon) to run 15.5+ miles of the Hood To Coast relay with a super fun team. I left the race early and boarded a bus from Seaside, OR to PDX just as my team was crossing the finish line (official time: 28:46:46, 30th in our category!) to catch a red-eye flight to Pittsburgh by way of Chicago. Tired yet? 🙂

Finishing my last leg at Hood To Coast! Can you tell our team theme was neon?
Finishing my last leg at Hood To Coast! Can you tell our team theme was neon?

After landing in Pittsburgh Sunday morning and sleeping most of the day, I worked remotely for one day before boarding ANOTHER flight on Tuesday for Denver for in-person work meetings. On Friday afternoon, I flew back to Pittsburgh and packed my backpack for our Labor Day backpacking trip in West Virginia.

Backpacking in West Virginia #tepperlife
Backpacking in West Virginia #tepperlife

All of this to say…I’ve more than enjoyed my summer of chaos but I’m really happy to be in one place for a little bit. While talking to my dad earlier this week, he commented, ‘Well, you guys certainly are unconventional!’ and I don’t think a truer statement could be made about this moment in this Petre family’s life.

This week, though, I’ve spent my time doing very conventional things: working (albeit, remotely), eating meals with my husband, catching up with Pittsburgh friends, bonding with my pup, exercising, getting more than a few hours of sleep a night, reflecting.

Savoring these moments of calm before the next round of sustained chaos, rapidly approaching.


Trip Report: Backpacking to Lower Crystal Lake with Colorado Mountain Club


When I decided to come back to Denver for the summer, my coworker and good friend, Courtney, mentioned she was signing up for backpacking school with the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) and I should join her. Sold! I feel very comfortable with my backpacking skills but I was not passing up an opportunity to have a few guaranteed trips built into my summer with the chance to meet new people who like getting outside (and who could teach me a new trick or two along the way).

The goal of backpacking school is to teach students about gear and how to pack for backpacking, how to navigate and route find and, most importantly, how to stay comfortable and enjoy the trip. Backpacking school follows the same format as all CMC schools: mandatory classroom sessions paired with ‘field’ sessions. In our instance, there were 3 classrooms sessions, held the the American Mountaineering Center in Golden (CMC HQ) and 3 overnights (2 single night, 1 multi-night).

For our first overnight, we ventured outside Breckenridge, CO, to the Spruce Creek Trailhead, destination Lower Crystal Lake.

Lower Crystal Lake Route, Breckenridge CO //

Full map here. The flag = camp.

We left the CMC early Saturday morning to carpool to the trailhead as we knew parking would be tight. Plus, less cars driving = less Sunday highway traffic and less environmental impact. Winning!

When we arrived at the trailhead, we were very surprised to find the small parking lot completely full and parking along the road full for at least 1/2 a mile; it was popular weekend in the Arapaho National Forest!

Lower Crystal Lake is a great overnight backpacking trip with easy access to water, a short but steep hike in and stunning views. Our CMC instructors had outlined our route and expected campsite in a classroom session but on Saturday at the trailhead, it was up to we students to ensure we navigated ourselves correctly to our meadow campsite. Fortunately, our route was on a clearly defined trail with only one tricky turn.

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

The trek in was approximately 2 miles and we reached our campsite destination just east of Lower Crystal Lake around lunch time, delighted to find no other backpackers had found the beautiful meadow before us.

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

Because this was many students first ever backpacking experience, our instructors outlined how the afternoon and weekend would be structured: first, lunch/setting up camp, then a field trip to the nearby stream to refill water, followed by navigation exercises and finally, dinner and s’mores around a campfire.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: typically campfires are not a thing for backpacking. This meadow had a clearly defined fire ring and the county/forest was not under an open fire ban. When in doubt, check with the ranger station where you’ll be camping to see if fires are allowed and where.)

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //
credit: Joe, instructor

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

credit: Steve, student
credit: Steve, student

We ended our evening with stargazing the clear sky above before retiring to our tents for the night.

Honestly, I was excited for this part: in all my years, I have always shared a tent but this night would be my first solo-tent experience. In fact, this whole trip was the first time I was 100% self-sustaining and it was incredibly liberating. All of my previous backpacking trips have been with Alex and we have always split the tent and shared gear but in backpacking school, I would be carrying all of my own stuff.

Turns out, sleeping in a 2 person tent alone makes for a slightly cooler night but nothing adding an additional layer and sleeping in my rain pants to keep my body warmth in couldn’t fix.

credit: Chris, student
credit: Chris, student

Sunday morning dawned as our group roused, sleepily making our way to the ‘kitchen’ for breakfasts. Sunday’s objective was to hike the mile(ish) to Lower Crystal Lake for more navigation practice before returning and breaking down camp and hiking back out.

credit: Joe, instructor
credit: Joe, instructor

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //

Lower Crystal Lake Backpacking Trip //
credit: Chris, student

The weather was on our side all weekend; no rain and barely a cloud in the sky. After breaking down camp, we enjoyed a leisurely snack before trekking out; we reached the cars just after 2p and were on our way back to Denver shortly after.

In total, we hiked ~6ish miles for the weekend, 4 of which with heavy packs on our back. All students and instructors had fun (surprisingly, our group hit it off incredibly well and laughed the entire trip – rare for a group of 10 people who just met!) Not too shabby!


How Is It Already August?!


For the first weekend since my first weekend in Denver, I am IN Denver with NO plans. For the past 8 weekends, I have either traveled, backpacked or had friends in town and, while I’ve loved every single minute of it, it feels really decadent to have a down weekend…before the next round of madness.

This weekend, I am packing up the room of my ‘summer home’ in preparation for the next, full-time tenant who moves in next weekend. On Tuesday, I leave Denver to meet up with Heidi for a wild west road trip through Idaho and Oregon in the #YourLead van. When I return, I move in (very temporarily) to a friend’s basement until I shift to another friend’s house where I’ll be house/dog sitting while they’re out of town. From THERE, I’ll fly to *back* to Portland, OR, to run with Paula, Katie, Heidi and others in Hood To Coast. From THERE, I’ll red-eye myself to Pittsburgh to spend a (probably exhausted) day with my husband before he starts his second and final year of grad school the next day. Aug Updates //

The past few weeks have brought roller-coaster emotions, from the very high (Alex surprising me with a ticket to spend a weekend in Vegas with him) to pretty low (finding out important but scary family health news). I backpacked in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness for my final backpacking school overnight. I spent a final weekend in Los Angeles with Alex before he ends his internship this coming Friday. My brother and his girlfriend visited this past week and we went to Red Rocks Amphitheater for LCD Soundsystem (which was AMAZING!). And as work goes, I feel as passionate as ever and am very excited about what the next months hold.

I’m honestly flabbergasted that the summer is already coming to a close. And while it feels like I just arrived, I also packed so many great experiences into these past 11 weeks.

It’s hard sometimes for me and Alex to see the forest for the trees of this season of life. We can get so laser focused on how much we miss each other, how much we miss ‘real life’ together in the same city (with two incomes!) and forgetting this chapter is a finite moment.

The past year has brought so many interesting and important adventures into our life that we otherwise would never have experienced. Never in my life was Los Angeles on my radar or in my consideration set for a place to visit or consider living. We’ve road tripped across the country multiple times (and will do so a few more times before this season ends). And this summer, I’ve rediscovered my self-reliance in so many facets of life and have been humbled by the outreach and willingness of friends to loan a car or ride or, most importantly, an ear.

Alex and I have grown so much as a married couple, as individuals and as professionals this summer and past year that, without taking a step back to reflect, it’s easy to forge ahead and not appreciate what we’ve learned and who we’ve become, together and separately. And I’m pretty damn proud of who we are and where we’re headed.

With a few more weeks of summer chaos, I’m excited for the last adventures each of us has on our schedules but more excited to reunite in Pittsburgh at the end of the month. Less than 3 weeks till our little family is reunited!