Vasque Blur : Comfort at Any Speed
Out of the box and onto my feet, the Blur felt like a well-worn house slipper instead of a technical piece of footwear... more...


Merrell Quick Parka : Bright as a Spring Tulip

Getting my cardinal red Merrell Quick Parka was a bright spot in an otherwise dreary winter. I lacerated my Achilles tendon at the end of January, effectively ending my ski season for the year.

Surprisingly, I still managed to get outside and take advantage of my colorful new jacket. I also learned that I can work up a good sweat walking with crutches. The Quick proved it's breathable, and when I'm moving faster, the pit zips will come in very handy. This jacket had a feature I haven't had in a similar parka before--a mesh lining, which helps wick moisture away from my skin. Nice.

Living in Seattle, I got to test the Quick's waterproof claim on countless outings. I stayed nice and dry wearing this parka, which shed water like a duck in a pond. Despite it's trim cut and relatively short length (I'm 5'2", and the hem hit at my hip), this parka feels substantial. I'll definitely wear it as an outer layer when I head back to the slopes. I like that it's also light enough for spring and summer hiking.

Since I'm always stashing keys, lip balm, and other necessities in my jackets, I appreciate the Quick's numerous secure (i.e., zippered) inner and outer pockets. Actually, the other day I just discovered another pocket down near the bottom hem that I didn't know was there! My favorite feature of this all-season jacket is the chamois-like soft, inner lining along the front zipper and hood that brushes against my face. Hmmm.

Bottom Line: I've always been a fan of Merrell footwear, so I was impressed with the quality and performance of the Quick parka from Merrell's new apparel line.--J.I. (April 08)

Price: $129

BUY ONLINE : Sierra Trading Post,

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Worldwide there are more than 12,000 species of ferns. In New Zealand, the silver fern is the national symbol. According to Maori culture,the unfurling tip of the fern, called a "koru," represents the cycle of life and death. This image is often used in art and jewelry.

Source: 100% New Zealand, The Official Site for New Zealand Travel

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