September 30, 2022


My 4 yo just called skinny dipping, nakedy dipping, and I will never call it anything else.

Rachel Sobel | @whinecheezits

trail tip

Soup season is upon us. And you don’t want to screw up those soups. Here’s how to make sure they’re not just edible, but delicious.

trail talk

It’s no surprise, and no big change, that global politics are a bit tumultuous of late. But many of those responsible for shaking things up in the last few days are women, which means, of course, that over here at iksplor, we’ve been paying a lot of attention.

To that end we bring you, first, a few stories about the protests roiling in Iran. They all started after the arrest, and death in custody about two weeks ago, of a young Kurdish Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, 22. Iran’s morality police detained her for not wearing her headscarf correctly. Her family claims she was then beaten to death. In response, thousands of Iranians—of all ages, genders and classes; from urban and rural areas alike—have taken to the streets in dozens of cities. Many of the women protestors are tearing off their own headscarves and burning them publicly. It’s been a stunning display of unity, and opposition, against an autocratic regime. Their chant? “Woman, Life, Freedom.” Authorities are cracking down violently. For more on the bravery of these women, and the crucial role they have long played in Iran’s street politics, check out this story from Vox. And, to understand why these protests mean so much more than just a headscarf, you might also read this New York Times story. As the author writes, “with the explosion of protests, the conversation has moved beyond the hijab to the system itself.” The Times podcast, The Daily, also ran an episode dedicated to the protests, which would be the perfect audio accompaniment to all your reading.

Another woman making waves is Italy’s incoming prime minister—the first woman to ever take the post. But that’s not the only reason Giorgia Meloni is in the news. It’s also because the 45-year-old is the founder of a far-right political party, the Brothers of Italy, with ties to the neo-fascist movement that developed after World War II, according to a recent story from NPR. Although an expert in this Vox article explains that it wouldn’t be accurate to actually call the party “neo-fascist,” Meloni hasn’t done a lot to distance herself from the group that helped form many of her views, the Italian Social Movement, established by a former minister in Mussolini’s government, nor has she explicitly condemned fascism. And she does support a tough stance on immigration policy and may try to roll back abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights and migrant rights, too. Of course, it’s too soon to really know how she will govern, since she hasn’t before. As one detractor put it, “I am afraid of incompetence, not the fascist threat.” Finally, if you’re eyes are tired, take five minutes and watch this PBS Newshour clip about Meloni, her past and what to expect as she takes Italy’s helm.

Lastly, another great lady shaking things up: Lizzo! This time she’s making history cool again by visiting the Library of Congress and playing a 209-year-old crystal flute once owned by President James Madison, you know, the guy who helped write the US Constitution. NBD.

trail matters

Climate change and a warming planet leads to more extreme weather. And that weather—storms, hurricanes, wildfires, etc—can have devastating impacts on the individuals affected. But a new study showed that children can be harmed even while still in utero. The study, published this month in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that children born to women who were pregnant and exposed to superstorm Sandy, which hit New York and New Jersey in October 2012, had significantly increased risks for depression, anxiety and attention deficit and disruptive behavior disorders. Girls, the researchers found, were more likely to develop anxiety and depression while boys were more likely to suffer from attention deficit and disruptive behaviors. One expert in the piece explained that the study highlights the links between maternal health, and stressors, and overall population health. And, another said, better understanding how this actually happened, the “mechanisms that brought this about,” will also help all of us better “navigate a rapidly changing environment.”

Now, we could have waited until the next newsletter, when we have the Trail Magic section again, to post about this next piece. That’s where we share good environmental news. But this story seemed simply too important, to pass up: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is creating a new national office of environmental justice. The move is an official recognition of the disproportionate burdens low-income communities and people of color bear from pollution and climate change. EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, the first Black man to hold the post, said all new air, water and chemical safety regulations would now include measures to minimize the environmental harms poor and minority populations have long suffered. This new office will combine three smaller ones—those of environmental justice, civil rights and conflict prevention and resolution—into one with a budget of $100 million.

In following our “women in the news” theme this week, here’s a story from The 19th about Dollie Burwell. Now 74, she is known as the mother of the environmental justice movement. The EPA’s announcement has created an opportunity for Burwell to reflect back on her role in that movement, as well as the role, more broadly, of her community of Black women who have long been pioneers in the fight against environmental racism.

trail treasures

Last week, we were fortunate enough to be in California as one of nine finalists presenting during the Title Nine Outdoors Pitchfest. It’s kind of like shark tank, but for women’s outdoor apparel and gear. Sounds fun? It was!! While we weren’t ultimately one of the three winners guaranteed a purchase order, we were thrilled for the opportunity and the exposure. Not to mention, we met some pretty rad female founders while we were there. Want to meet them too? Thought so. Here ya go! (P.S. those with a star were the winners—figured you’d want to know!)

AVYN: fashionable, functional, comfortable nursing bras

Bivo: Carbon-neutral, stainless steel, water bottles for cycling and sports with a great flowrate and no need to squeeze**

Comfortable Adventures: “low impact, high comfort hemp clothing”

Lume Six: next gen sports bras made from recycled material. Supportive, not-restrictive, lightweight, breathable and faster drying**

OBSERVAMÉ: athletic apparel with built-in watch openings so you can easily track your performance

Ride Force: inclusively sized, gender-neutral, mountain biking apparel

Toddy: cold brew coffee solutions for homes and businesses

iksplor: You know us already!! Check out all the new goods

WhitePaws RunMitts: convertible, thumbless mittens with handwarmer pockets to keep you toasty on the run**