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Annette Murano

Annette Murano

Annette Murano's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Climbing

Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on August 24, 2015

Go carbon fiber and never look back
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I had been using my Werner Skagit paddle since I got my kayak back in 2010. It served it's purpose. Then I was lucky enough to win an award at work that came with a lovely cash bonus. I tried to think of all kinds of things I'd love to get but would never spend that kind of money on myself for. Then it hit me: a new fancy paddle!

I did some research on bent vs. straight shaft, women's specific designs, etc. Then I saw this paddle, liked the specs, saw good reviews in some other places and decided to take the plunge. As soon as it arrived, I giggled with delight. I couldn't believe how light it was! Almost half the weight of my old paddle! I already knew I would be saving tons of energy by using this. My suspicions were correct. I can paddle for hours with no fatigue because it's like holding nothing at all. Only once in a great while will I notice any flutter. I did have to adjust my stroke a bit and go to a lower-angle, but it was a natural transition. I'm often in choppy waters and windy conditions and this blade handles it flawlessly. I often insist people try it when I paddle with friends so they can know what they're missing out on >:-D I can definitely spend more time on the water now, and that's always a good thing. It's been over a year now and my paddle is holding up great. Only one or two scratches, seems to be better in that regard than the Skagit. Also love that the blade angle numbers are etched into the shaft rather than the sticker (which eventually fell off) the Skagit had. No more trial and error to get the fit just right.

Yes, the price tag is steep, but aside from the boat, this is the single most important piece to kayaking, so why not get the best tool you can? Especially when it can increase your comfort level. Do it.

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on August 22, 2015

My feet are grateful
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 1"
Size Purchased: 38

First off, many thanks to Dansko and Backcountry for selecting me to give a feet-on review of these clogs. A little about me: Though I spend my days at a desk, I work a second job on the weekends making pizza on a portable oven. That means long hours on my feet, many times on asphalt. To say my feet hurt at the end of the day would be a major understatement. So I was super excited when these arrived.

I have always heard of Dansko as a high quality brand, and always associated them with comfort as I always saw nurses and other people that spend long hours on their feet wearing them. Once I started the pizza gig, I realized my beat up shoes were not cutting it for support or comfort.

The first time I wore these, I found them to be a bit tight across the top of my foot. I'm typically a 7.5 or 38 euro, so that's what I got in these. I agree with the previous reviewer that these seem to stretch a little, as now I no longer feel the tightness over my foot. These are the XP series, so they have an extra padded insert in them that can be removed, which would also provide more room.

With my old shoes, at the end of a 4 hour shift, my feet would be sore. After 6-8 hours, I could barely stand and my back was also aching. With these, I noticed a huge difference in comfort. Sure, 8 hours on pavement will still leave me achy, but not crippled. My back hurts less or not at all and my feet have noticed a massive decline in pain both that day and the next morning.

I will say, I prefer the way they feel with socks. I found that wearing them barefoot I developed hot spots and almost blisters. Maybe for just getting around that would work, but for long hours on your feet I recommend socks. Yes, it looks a little silly, particularly with shorts on, but I don't think you buy these for fashion. That said, the floral design is a nice touch, and these look nice with jeans or pants.

I have to say, I was a little skeptical of the price of these shoes at first. But, having worn them several times for long stretches, I think they're worth it. The comfort level is there and they're clearly well-made with high quality materials. If you spend long hours on your feet, these are the shoes for you!

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on June 14, 2015

"More gummies!"
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Thank you to Backcountry and Honey Stinger for the opportunity to review these for the community! This was my first time trying their products, but I will definitely be getting more!

My test subject was a finicky two year old. The first time I tried to give him these, he said "No want this!" and walked away. This time I got him out on the trail and after 30 minutes (of me carrying him) he was ready for a snack.

He was very excited to hear there were gummies. "I like gummies!" He started chowing down right away. I asked if he liked them and got an emphatic yes. He happily sat and checked out the scenery while enjoying his gummies. I also tried them and thought they were tasty. Not overly sweet and not too chewy. Like they're not stick in your teeth chewy. I would totally get them for myself! They must have given him energy, because he walked over a mile by himself!

When we got back to the car, he spotted the box and asked for more. He's such a picky eater I was happy to oblige. These are definitely a winner!

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on June 14, 2015

"I like this."
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Listen, it's hard to get a 2 year old to eat anything, let alone something organic. But these he greedily devoured. I couldn't really get a review from him as his mouth was too full of honey waffle. But he did manage to tell me that he liked them and was very excited when I told him there were more snacks. This from a kid that only eats bacon when we go out. I also tried one and thought it was pretty tasty. Not too sweet, nice and soft. I know they're for kids, but I think they could be a little larger.

Thank you to Backcountry and Honey Stinger for the opportunity to review this. I'm glad I found a snack to keep in stock when my nephew comes over. I'm tempted to try the adult ones for my bikes rides now!

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on February 24, 2015

So cute!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I just have to take a second to thank Backcountry and Joules for the opportunity to review this shirt. I was so excited to receive this as I've always wanted a proper Breton shirt.

First of all, the weight of this shirt is great. It's not a t-shirt light cotton, but a nice heavy cotton. Like heavy enough that a patterned bra doesn't show through. I received the navy cream stripe and love the brightness. The stripes are just right, not too fat.

This is a proper 3/4 sleeve shirt. Some so-called 3/4 sleeve shirts barely come to my elbows, but these come mid-forearm. There's a cute little bunny embroidered on the lower right of the shirt, I think that must be their logo because it also appears on my Marsha sweater (see my other review).

One of my favorite things about this shirt is that it's actually a number size, not just small, medium, large. I think this allows you to get a much more accurate fit and I wish more companies would do this.

I haven't washed this shirt yet but I have no doubt it will hold up just fine. While Joules is a new company to the US, if this is an indication of the quality of their clothing, I'll definitely be getting more items!

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on February 24, 2015

Nerdy chic
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 1"
Size Purchased: Medium

First off, I'd like to thank Backcountry and Joules for the opportunity to review this sweater. I was really excited when I saw Joules' product line, and this sweater did not disappoint!

Overall, the response has been positive. A lot of people think the design is cute, although there were a few that didn't think they could pull it off. For some reason I just picture this look in an autumn field in the British countryside. I also kind of like that it's called "Beagle in a Breton" and he's wearing an adorable shirt, which Joules also offers (see my other review).

At first I thought it was kind of strange that there was only one cuff in a hot pink, but oddly, it's bothered me less than I thought it would. And no one has commented on it other than to say it's cool. The pink detail also runs on the inside of the collar. Speaking of the collar, it's really neat, in a shape I've never seen before. Almost a boatneck, with nice, thick seams.

It's a lightweight cotton, but at the same time, it's plenty warm. I've been wearing it the last few weeks in the ice box that's been New England this February and I've been comfortable. Some sweaters are so light that I need a scarf to keep me warm, but not so with this (plus, who would want to cover up the beagle?).

Overall I'm really happy with my adorable sweater. I took one star off because I've noticed a little pilling under the arms already, but not a major amount. I haven't washed it yet, but I feel like it will hold up well. The garment overall has a very high quality feel to it and should last.

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on February 20, 2015

Kind of disappointing
3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 1"
Size Purchased: Medium

I fell in love with the owl design as soon as I saw it in the fall. I waited and it finally went on sale so I pounced. Sadly, it does not live up to my expectations. The sleeves are slim, so it's a little hard to layer over another shirt. Worse, they're sheer, so whatever you have under this will show through. Thankfully the mid-section of this sweater is double-knit, so it's less see-through, but not completely. The materialis niceand soft, butI worry about the durability of this sweater. It's not up to what I would consider Woolrich standards.

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on February 7, 2015

Get them outside!
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Don't let a little snow cut down on your trail time with the kids. Strap these on them and get outside! I was able to fit them on a 2 year old and a 4 year old with room to spare, so we should get several years of use out of these. The 2 year old didn't like having stuff strapped to his feet, but the 4 year old took to it like a pro. They seemed light enough that she didn't have trouble walking and she stayed right on top of the snow. They also have little crampons to provide some traction, as well. The little lights are cute, the kids liked playing with them. The only mark against them ate the back straps, same as on my Tubbs. They're just hard to get them to clasp, even more so with a squirming kid.That said, I think these will be a good way to get them outside in the winter and spend some time together.

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on January 18, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I got these to replace an older pair of Vasques that always left my toes bruised despite sizing up. I was between these and the Salomon Conquests, but was told these were better for year round hiking. Despite my reservations, I got the same size as my last pair (8, up from my usual 7.5). So far, zero complaints!

Broke them in on a 5 mile hike and my feet felt great. Ankles are supported nicely, and the padding keeps them comfy. The sole is pretty rigid, which doesn't make the lightest shoe, but allows you to cover rougher terrain. The sole is also shaped to kind of guide you through heel-to-toe movement. I wore these strapped into my snowshoes and was comfortable and dry. Since it's winter, I've been wearing these with my thicker socks, and my toes are happy. I think the toe box is wider and more structured than my last pair, which is why the same size feels better. Seem really well constructed. I'll be interested to see how breathable they are in the summer, but so far I'm very pleased with these.

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on January 18, 2015

Solid beginner shoes
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Sadly, since I bought these, we haven't had much in the way of snow. I did just bring these to upstate NY, but even there I couldn't find much powder. Still, these made hiking around a lot easier. Distributes your weight so you don't sink in too much. Even did a decent job gripping going up and down hills. I'm not running in these or logging crazy miles. I just want to be able to walk a trail after a snowfall, and I think these will be adequate for the job.

I'm 5'-1", 145, and I have the 25" set. I took off a star for the heel strap issue the other reviewers mentioned. I can get it to lock in, but only after much tugging and struggling.

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Annette Murano

Annette Muranowrote a review of on January 18, 2015

My new go-to layer
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I saw this and almost didn't get it, certain I had enough layers for winter activities. But something about it called to me and I couldn't resist. Now I don't go outside without it.

It's lightweight and slim, so you get warmth without bulk. There's just enough room for a shirt underneath. I've been wearing my Patagonia Capilene 3 tops under it and have needed nothing else. Last week I wore this on a 3 hour hike in 20° temps and was warm while moving without overheating. This weekend I was at a cabin and wore this every day. Perfect for outdoor adventures or hanging around. And when it's really cold and I throw my Ama Dablam jacket over this, I can feel the warmth from the insulated core.

I'm sure I'll get plenty of use from this in the spring and fall, but for now I'm super happy with my purchase.

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