Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

CONTENT

Filtering by Category: lifestyle

Be Kind // Stella Marina

Zachary Kilgas

Be Kind. 


Kindness in its essence is a trait sometimes undervalued and often forgotten.  
Yet a few words carefully selected, or simply left unspoken can mean the difference between a smile and a tear.  We speak of intention, of gratitude and karma, but a simple act of selfless kindness is all it can take to brighten or soften the days of at least two people. 

 

It is present in babies when they are born, no child comes into this world with a preconceived idea of malice or hatred, we arrive with the capacity to love unconditionally, yet slowly that capability becomes ground down and chipped away over the years. In some minds, the potential for love, charity or altruism becomes crystallised, growing in new forms, in others a sort of calcification takes place, a smooth, hardened shell presents itself to the world.
 I might like to add here, that I do not write this from some rose-tinted cloud of kindness and empathy. I write this from my kitchen table, where I am slumped. I dragged myself here across the carpet because today I had a panic attack and I had to leave work.  I have felt the rumblings of one for the past week or so, but some loose-lipped words this morning sent me over the edge, and as I lay on my bed in that hazy aftermath where you feel completely empty and a little bit numb. I decided that the best thing to do was something constructive with this feeling (I also had to stop the day from feeling wasted).  
 

To draw us back to my favourite analogy, life on a boat actually offers up a wonderful platform for kindness. 

To be at sea grants us a condensed version of the outside world, yes it is archaic and often patriarchal, but it relies on wanting to keep one another alive. We depend on one another, knowing that the task ahead would be so much harder if not impossible alone. That self-reliant entity that is your ship, allows you to shed the skin of daily life, removing all other roles and responsibilities aside from sailing, eating, sleeping and how you will progress from A to B. Each change of direction is predetermined by a greater force, you cannot fight the wind, you can only harness it in order to move forward. Maybe this applies to our emotions, to anger or frustration? Bottling them up inside will rarely relinquish them, you may only harness that energy in order to move forward. Then there are the consequences of careless harsh words in an environment fuelled by broken sleeping patterns and constant movement. Not only are those words magnified but there is no easy exit, you are with those people for better or for worse, so please let's be kind. These words are easy to write, the thoughts are easy to form. The hard part is in the heat of the moment when you are distracted or angry. I do not claim that it is possible to constantly check yourself for thoughts of anger. The freedom to express our thoughts, ideas and emotions in any way that we like is a human luxury, we must try only not to exploit it. If you are granted words, please use them kindly. If you are granted authority, please use it wisely.

A Look at Chernobyl // Barbara Arcuschin

Zachary Kilgas

Photographer Barbara Arcuschin submitted these eerie photos of Chernobyl.

It’s been over 32 years since the catastrophe, and less than 10 since the site was opened for tourism. The area surrounding the former power plant won’t be safe for human habitation for the next 20,000 years.

“Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There’s nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.” 
― Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl

35 mm and Marrakech

Zachary Kilgas

Katie Bird is a photographer with a passion for traveling. She sent this mini series of a single stop on her 18 month trip throughout Asia, and Australia. She captures life with vivid simplicity.  

Alex and the American Kids

Ben Ashby

image.jpg

Photographer Alex McDonald has shared dozens of photo essays with us over the years. This one was a few years ago and remains one of our favorites. 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Alex and the Red Hair

Ben Ashby

image.jpg

Photographer Alex McDonald has shared dozens of photo essays with us over the years. This one was a few years ago and remains one of our favorites. 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Alex and the Boy with Flowers

Ben Ashby

image.jpg

Photographer Alex McDonald has shared dozens of photo essays with us over the years. This one was a few years ago and remains one of our favorites. 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Candied Violets

Ben Ashby

Candied violets are perfect for spring. They are perfect for cake toppers, fruit salads, or beautiful garnish when creating a platescape. They also couldn't be more simple to create and to master.

Simply take clean, organic, violet blooms. Place on a flat surface. Make sure they are dry. In a bowl mix together one egg white and two tablespoons of fine white sugar. With a small brush. I use a paint brush. Paint the egg white and sugar mixture very carefully on each bloom. Allow to air dry for several hours. Then you're ready to decorate cakes, plates, and more with these beautiful sweet petite moments. 

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Ben Ashby

Ever wanted to dye your easter eggs with all natural dyes? Learn how! Gorgeous indigo blue eggs have never been so easy to create! The aesthetic is naturally authentic. 

Read More

Risks Lead to Lessons | Adventure with Yoni Gill

Ben Ashby

i-HPmdqpt-XL.jpg

 

YONI GILL

RISKS LEAD TO LESSONS

 

Paige first introduced me to Yoni a couple of years ago as we were driving across the US. Yoni, a recent college graduate was still in school in Nebraska. He met up with out group and took us to what I think was a bison range. I'm not super sure, nor am I sure we even saw any wildlife. It was cold, dark, and we were less than halfway across the US. For years I had assumed, like most Americas that Nebraska was simply a fly-over state. In that short chilly afternoon Yoni introduced us to the wide open beauty of the plaines. As a photographer Yoni travels the globe shooting portraits and weddings, for me, I was eager to learn more about how Yoni made it from Israel to Nebraska and how that altered his world view.....

 


 

Why do you adventure? It's in my blood, my father is a man of great adventure, I grew up listening to his stories of places he's been. When he met my mom (She met my dad while traveling the Sinai desert, while backpacking through Europe.), those adventures just doubled. They have boxes and boxes of photos they took from all of their travels, beautiful old school film. They can tell me the story of each photograph. That's probably the single most intense drive I have for adventuring and traveling.

 

Why do you explore? It’s the only time I ever truly feel like myself. I get restless easily, if I don't go on a trip often I start to lose my mind.

 

20160811-DSCF5815 (1).jpg

 

Why take risks in life? In the words of Ash Ketchum, “nothing in life is a waste of time.” Plus risks lead to lessons.

 

Where are you from? I was born in Israel, I moved to Papillion, Nebraska when I was 10. My mom's side of the family is from western Nebraska, so they all lived there. That's why I went from the desert to the icy winters of the Midwest.

 

What is your 9-5? Is that slang for job? I photograph humans, my dog, and landscapes on occasion. I just finished my degree in advertising at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

When on a trip it's more like a 5-midnight, because you almost always want that sunrise shot?

 

20160812-DSCF6039.jpg

 

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? I actually really wanted to be a mechanical engineer. I wanted to design car engines. My Dad is a private car dealer (that's a title hard to explain) I grew up around cars my whole life. Then I realized in college how terrible I was at Chemistry, that's how I ended up picking up photography.

 

Favorite place you've visited? There was this lake, outside Mammoth, California. Convict Lake, it's kinda famous. I went there with my friends Greg Balkin, and Taylor Burk. We stayed with another friend Josh Wray, who runs some advertising for mammoth. Anyway we woke up super early one morning and went out to this lake, in November of 2015. It was cold, like 6o, and Greg & Taylor needed to shoot for Oru Kayak. Being the only one not working for them, it was my job to be the guy in the kayak. I got in and almost fell in the lake, but I caught myself by plunging my right arm into the lake. Then I had to kayak for 25ish minutes with a freezing arm. I almost passed out getting back to the car. Not sure why but it's one of my most fond memories, maybe it's because I felt really courageous after that, or maybe it's because we went to a diner and I got chocolate chip pancakes.

 

20160818-DSCF7451.jpg

 

Place you most desperately want to visit? I NEED TO GO AFRICA. I went as a kid but I don't remember any of it. I have a huge passion for animals. The bigger the better, and my heart aches daily for the ivory poaching that happens on that continent. I want to photograph some rhinos and elephants before I can't.

 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? In high school I was on a trip to Poland with 150 other Jewish teens from around the country, we had a holocaust survivor with us. Just the cutest tiniest lady named Trudy, we were walking through Majdanek (the most "put together" death camp still in existence). Anyway I hadn't gotten more than a hundred yards through this place, with Trudy by side when she grabs my hand. At first I thought she might need my support, then I realized I was the one crying my eyes out. The human heart is an exceptional piece of understanding.

 

2017021218002923-IMG_0072.jpg

 

What has changed about you because of your travels? I feel that I grow a bit each time I get on a plane, I've learned most from meeting other people, and the farther away they are the more I seem to learn.

 

Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? Dallas Clayton, he writes children's books.

 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? This question really stumped me until I saw "or in present" I would love to go on a trip with Obama, which I know sounds like a super lame cop-out answer, but it's not for political reasons, I just think he would love to hangout with some elephants as much as I do.

 

2017021218020316-IMG_3150.jpg

 

Must haves for travel? Stuff you should always pack?
Underwear. Everything else you can just buy, unless you don't have any money, then you should make sure you packed it. I always make a packing list, even if it's common sense stuff, you don't want to be at the airport and realize you forgot all of your t-shirts on the bed.

 

 

Give us some travel tips: You will learn to hate sitting in the back of the plane, not because of the comfort, but because of how long it takes to get off when you get somewhere you really want to go. Buy a car you can set up to sleep in comfortably. I suggest a Subaru Forester, mine's named Humphrey, he's really rad.

Buy a camera, even if you're not a photographer, you don't need to be, just take photos of everything you see, the market, the hotel, the car you're in, the views you see, the people you meet. We don't have perfect memories, we do forget, and those things you don't want to forget,

 

...trust me. Print the photos, keep them in a shoe box.

One day you might show these pictures to your kids.

 

Also be stupidly kind to the people who work in travel, you never know when you'll get an upgrade or a perk for being nice even when everything has gone wrong.

 

2017021218074834-IMG_4448.jpg

 

Give us a story any kind of story from one of your trips that was impactful: It's okay to travel alone, even for a day, the world is not out to get you. Sometimes I get the most out of a trip when I take a day to explore alone. Recently I walked 13 miles through Seattle in one day and when I got to the space needle, I just sat there and soaked it all in. Then I got some tacos. - always get tacos. It doesn’t always have to be a whole day alone, if you're not like that. I got to Granby Colorado for a wedding weekend in August, I got there an hour before the sunset, and I knew I had to get some photos before I met up with everyone. I went on a trail run and ran out of light before I got to the meadow I was trying to get to, I thought it was going to be a total flop. On the drive back, I found a group of elk that just came off the mountain, they were so graceful, I stood out of the sunroof of my car and observed. I remembered to snag a picture before I left, it’s kinda blurry but I love it.

 

yonigill.com-3819.jpg

 

Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger Make flights cheaper, make borders more transparent. We need to meet each other. More accessible tacos.

 

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? Adventure isn't on top of a mountain, it's not the beautiful waterfalls or cliffs. It's everywhere, you've travelled before, I can almost guarantee it. You just didn't know you were.

 

2017021218340514-IMG_4450.jpg

 

What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? How different they're not.

 

yonigill.com-2793.jpg

 

When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? I can't sleep in tents, I was backpacking with my brother once in the mountains of Colorado, and we had a little incident with a moose, it's a fairly long story but it got me good, and now I can't sleep in tents. Put me in a tent and you'll have a very uncomfortable Yoni.

This might lead you to the question:
"How do you sleep when you camp then?" I don't, or I just sleep in my car.

The greatest lesson I've learned from this: you CAN overcome challenges, no matter how impossible they might seem, you just have to think out of the box, and accept some situations but you have to try first.

 

untitled-0232 (1).jpg

 

What would you say to your former self? "Hey thanks for everything you tried to do, don't worry we figured it out, also one day you'll become lactose intolerant so please binge on ice cream, you can lose weight later"

 

What gives you hope? I'm a lame hopeless romantic, I've yet to meet a person that has made me completely lose hope in humanity. Then again, I haven’t met Trump in person yet.

 

yonigill.com-2501.jpg

 

Where to next? California to Yeah Field Trip! After that some more domestic trips, then hopefully somewhere new.

 

Is flannel always in season? If it's not, you can always get flannel boxers and just not tell anyone you're wearing them.

@YoniLiveOnce || YoniGill.com

yonigill.com-2568.jpg

Thats What Traveling is All About! Meet John Thatcher

Ben Ashby

We've known photographer John Thatcher for years. We've been constantly inspired by his images of California and the life out west. We felt it was time to finally sit down and learn about the man behind the camera. 

21427535_10213875799068403_1449474078220498360_o.jpg

Why do you adventure? I adventure and explore so that I can prove to myself that more is out there than what I can see on a screen or magazine. I need to find out how finding these new places or trying new things feels. I already know what it looks like.


Why take risks in life? Life is about takings risks. Whats the point of living if you only live one way for your whole life?

132A0779.jpg


Where are you from? I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area.


What is your 9-5? I'm a fashion and lifestyle photographer for a day job and a songwriter for my non day job.

DSC03622.jpg


When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? Growing up I wanted to be a professional skateboarder. I was pretty close to almost kind of sorta doing it.


What is the favorite place you've visited? My favorite place I've visited was the Saguaro Cactus Reserve. I love me some cacti.

DSC04640.jpg


Place you most desperately want to visit? 

The place I want to visit the most is probably France. The whole country, but mostly the parts where there are wine and cheese.

DSC04800.jpg



What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? The single greatest moment of humanity that Ive ever experienced while traveling was in Denver when a waitress gave me and my girlfriend a free pancake because she knew we needed to try it. I almost cried. 
 


What has changed about you because of your travels? I think the thing that has changed most about me is how I feel about material things. Since traveling more, I care about that and less about having stuff. Stuff can be replaced, but experiences cannot.



 

DSC06435.jpg


 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I would travel with John Muir or Ansel Adams for obvious reasons.

 


Give us a travel tip: Most essential travel tip is definitely ask for a hand check when going through airport security for your film. Don't let them x-ray it! EVER!
 


Give us a story: When you're traveling, you meet tons of different people and more importantly...dogs. I once was at a little camp near Yosemite and I met a man and his basset hound named Chopper. Years later a friend went to Japan and texted me a photo of a basset hound she met. I asked if it was Chopper and it was! What a crazy coincidence. Thats what traveling is all about!
 

DSC06642.jpg

 


Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger? The most needed improvement for humanity is cheaper living. If more people were able to get out and do what makes them happy more often, then people would lead better lives and pass on their better moods to everyone else. For a lot of people, money is the route of their problems and if we fixed that, we could change the human experience. Also, puppies. People need more puppies.



What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? If you've never traveled before...go get in the car or on a plane now for no other reason than to just try something new. Its about the journey, not the destination. Go anywhere for any reason.

 


 

DSC06660.jpg

 


What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? I've learned that everyone feels differently about everything. Just because you have the same experience as someone else, it doesn't mean you both feel the same. It's too easy to argue with someone over how they feel and you can never win that argument. The lesson is just accept other peoples feelings and move on.



When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? I never really feel out of my comfort zone. I have an ability to kind of adjust to any situation. I've never been to a third world country before. I think that would be hard for me. 
 

 

DSC06821.jpg

 


What would you say to your former self? I would tell my former self to travel more often earlier. I thought I shouldn't travel because it was expensive and I could use that money for things that will last longer than a trip, so I never really went anywhere until a few years ago. I wish now that I had started when I was younger. 
 


What gives you hope? A sunrise and fresh morning gives me the most hope. New day and new possibilities.


 

DSC07016.jpg

 


Where to next? Not sure where I'll go next. Hopefully France! Need some wine real bad.
 


Is flannel always in season? FLANNEL IS ALWAYS IN SEASON.

 

— John Thatcher

A Handmade Holiday

Ben Ashby

A Handmade Holiday

The History + Art Behind Vintage Valentines

BY JEN O'CONNOR || EARTH ANGELS STUDIOS

Valentine-2856.jpg

 

Valentine’s Day is a decidedly handmade celebration. How can it not be when love is so personal, friendships so treasured, and the traditions of the holiday so old, that a simple love note penned from the hand seems a most apropos gesture of the heart?

 

At one point or another, we’ve all ventured to fashion a Valentine card. Bits of construction paper, the frill of a doily, markers, crayons…these are the things of school days’ crafting that have survived memory and time. They’re still present at the most technologically advanced of today’s grammar schools and likewise, in our habits of dashing off a love note festooned with a doodled “heart” or an “x” and an “o”…or two.

 

Valentine-2872.jpg

 

We learned early on, the gesture of a simple card is perfect, if the sentiment is true. Valentine’s Day is best celebrated when we're given the excuse to express sweet feelings in a few, well-chosen words, or with the help of a more-clever writer’s imprinted ditty or eloquent dedication.

 

And while there are a legions of commercially produced Valentines onto which you can add that personal flourish, something given by hand – however simple, charms the recipient. Indeed since Valentine cards predate postal service by centuries, those most traditional among us still hand deliver cards – a gift in themselves -- with envelopes unsealed, simply tucked in as etiquette dictates all hand-delivered correspondence should be.

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

A Peek at the Sweetest Holiday’s History

 

While there is little reliable information to confirm one Saint Valentine, the most common of histories describe him as a Roman priest imprisoned and killed for marrying Christian couples. That said, we have acknowledged February 14 as the feast day of “Saint Valentine” since the 1400s. This feast day has grown in fact and fable, history and tale, and has long been associated with the declaration of courtly love.

 

The first statements of love in honor of Saint Valentine’s Day, were said to be sung or recited and are referred to as poetical or amorous addresses. Handwritten notes emerged in the 1400s with the very first written Valentines attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415. During his time of confinement in the Tower of London, the besotted young Duke passed time writing romantic verses for his wife, far off in France. More than 60 of his heartfelt poems have survived and are preserved among the treasures of the British Museum.

 

Valentine-2849.jpg

 

So how did Valentine greetings become tradition in a time when reading and writing, paper and pens were not the things for the common man or woman? Love finds a way.

 

The tradition of putting forth heartfelt sentiments continued as it could among Western Europeans and by the Eighteenth Century exchanging written Valentines was in vogue among the educated and wealthy, and an emerging tradition among those with less means.

 

Valentine-2874.jpg

Bedding by the Sea

Ben Ashby

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

BEDDING BY THE SEA

BEDDING BY MACY'S CHARTER CLUB DAMASK COLLECTION

 

I've been shooting product photography for years…but I stepped back at the beginning of this year to look at my past work, and I  realized I wanted to challenge myself to create more elaborate and elevated images. Last month while standing on the banks of the Pacific in La Push, Washington I could visually see this very cinematic moment of a bed on the beach with the waves crashing around it and the cliffs in the background. The sky would be grey and the bedding would be shades of the nature sounding the bed. When I returned home I discovered Macy’s American grown damask collection and I knew this was the bedding fit for the ideas I had filling my head. 

 

Macy’s Charter Club Damask Bedding and Sheets are made of Supima cotton grown in the US. The bedding and sheets come in a crazy broad variety of colors, but for this set I stuck with the charcoals, greys, and navy from the solids and stripes collection. I loved that I could mix and match the solids and stripes and still feel like I had a cohesive look. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

For the shoot that ended up in the images I hopped from La Push, Washington on the Pacific over to Montauk, New York on the Atlantic. I had events in New York City that prevented me from flying back to the Pacific Northwest and after seeing images from friends of Montauk I knew I could easily create my original vision down by the lighthouse at the very end of Long Island. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Whether you’re styling a photoshoot by the ocean or putting together a cozy and inviting bedroom space I have some tips that I, as a bedding hoarder, have learned over the years. 

 

  1. Give Supima cotton a try. It is deliciously soft and smooth. 
  2. Never be afraid to mix and match. The Charter Club Damask collection thrives when the colors and textures vary. Keep top sheets and bottom sheets the same color, but be open to having different colors and patterns of pillow cases and pillow shams. Nothing is more boring that bedding that is all the same and same color. 
  3. Incorporate natural elements into every room. Keep plants or fresh flowers in every space to provide a freshness and breathability to the space. They help encourage positive energy within the space. Use rocks and driftwoods as additional elements. 
  4. Think seasonally. I change my bedding out with the seasons, not just because of the temperature change, but to help brighten the mood during the long and dark winter months. I am drawn to lights and brights during the winter while drawn to neutrals and calming colors during the summer.
  5. Make your space uniquely you. For me I always mix super modern new elements, like the grey and navy of the Charter Club Damask bedding with antique and vintage elements. I like a space to have a narrative and share a story. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Paul Tellefsen | Adventure Lessons

Ben Ashby

IMG_1254.jpg

 

We've known Texas based photographer Paul Tellefsen for years. We are always inspired by his spirit of community and for adventure. We sat down with him to learn more about what he has learned from years of criss crossing the globe as a full time photographer. 

Why do you adventure? To push myself into uncomfortable, out of rhythm experiences to see what I’m really made of.

Why do you explore? Because I believe we were made to.

 

 

Detail&Texture.jpg

 

 

Why take risks in life? What is life without risks? Boring.

Where are you from: Born and raised in Dallas, TX

What is your 9-5: I quit the 9-5 and am a full time commercial photographer and work with @socality.

 

 

IMG_0814.jpg

 

 

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? I wanted to be a doctor for a long time because my mom said I had a good bed side manner. Then for a short time a chef and an architect. But I knew early on I was gifted at creative mediums like design and photography. It came naturally. So that’s what I ended up pursuing.

Favorite place you've visited? 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. It was a lifelong dream to visit Australia. And this place took my breath away.

 

 

Photo Sep 02, 9 54 07 PM.jpg

 

 

Place you most desperately want to visit? Northern Norway. My dad is the first generation in America from Norway. So our family still lives in Southern Norway. We went back this Summer after 18 years and I was in awe. Flights from there are super cheap up North too.

 

 

Photo Sep 28, 11 47 18 AM.jpg

 

 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling?

New York City with Cubby Graham. I was flying to NYC for my first big photo gig with Cadillac and didn’t know who I was going to stay with or what I was gonna do. At the last minute, while I was at baggage claim, Cubby’s house opened up. Then the airline lost my bag. I spent two full days with no clothes or toiletries.

But Cubby showed one of the greatest moments of hospitality and care in my life. He offered to buy me clothes, borrow clothes, go back and wait on the baggage truck, by the way which never showed up), he gave up his bed. The list goes on. I’ve never felt so loved, but basically then a stranger. It changed my life.

 

 

Photo Sep 30, 3 22 47 PM.jpg

 

 

What has changed about you because of your travels? My capacity to love. I’ve grown to love more and judge less.

Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? Scott Bakken. Hands down probably. He’s one of the most dynamic people I’ve ever met and now have the chance to work with. His ideas on topics inspire and challenge me relentlessly. I’m forever marked by the time I’ve spent serving underneath his leadership.

 

 

Photo Sep 28, 1 01 30 PM.jpg

 

 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I would pick Tanner Wendell Stewart (@tannerwendellstewart). I travelled with him a lot this year and just really enjoy seeing the world through his eyes. Highly respect his creative gift and his passion for nature. If you ever get the chance, travel with him and his wife!

 

 

Photo Sep 06, 7 13 59 PM.jpg

 

Must Haves for Travel:

  • Away Luggage
  • My weird looking, but awesome neck pillow
  • Mobile charger
  • Good book
  • Journal
  • Camera with one variable lens
  • Bathing Suit cause you never know

 

Give us Some Travel Tips:

  • Always take the window seat. The view is worth it. I’m 6’4” and I always scrunch to do it.
  • Travel Solo at least once.
  • It’s not about the city you travel to, it’s about who you experience it with. 
  • As part of your journaling while you travel, pick a flower or piece of a plant and put it into the journal to remember the trip.
  • On long flights take NyQuil. Make a game of trying to sleep the entire flight.
  • Wear your heaviest shoes onto the plane to save weight

 

 

Photo Sep 06, 2 44 05 PM.jpg

 

 

Give us a story any kind of story from one of your trips: This summer I travelled to Norway to see my family and part of me expected to get these epic, crazy photos that you see from there. Now we did take one day of the two weeks we were there to drive to an amazing fjord, but most of the time was with family on our farm.

What I learned on this trip is to embrace the purpose of the trip you are on. If it’s to travel and drive all day to get the shot then enjoy it, but if it’s to be with family then be with family and enjoy that too. 

 

 

Photo Sep 05, 8 48 45 AM.jpg

 

 

Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger: A desire to gain understanding of people different than us.

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? GO! Save up. Getting outside of your normal bubble is the best thing I ever did.

The location doesn’t make the trip, the people do. I’ve travelled to some incredible places, but no matter how beautiful or EPIC the place is, if you are with the wrong people it will ruin the trip. Be thoughtful on who you bring with you.

 

 

Photo Sep 05, 8 10 33 PM.jpg

 

 

What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? To not seek to prove someone right or wrong, but seek to understand. I use the phrase “Help me understand” a lot these days.

When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? It’s honestly more of the same for me. We can’t judge someone regardless of their background or beliefs or what not. All we can do is have a heart of compassion towards all people. Seeking to care and not fix people different than us.

 

 

Photo Sep 04, 8 53 31 PM.jpg

 

 

What would you say to your former self? Calm down. Take a deep breath. You don’t need to be perfect.

What gives you hope? Jesus. period. I know that’s super Sunday school. But in my life it’s truth.

 

 

Photo Sep 03, 8 06 10 PM.jpg

 

 

Where to next? I’m actually writing this right now on a plane to Nashville to work with Tennessee Tourism.

Is flannel always in season? Yep. I have some packed away in my suitcase.

 

— @technopaul

 

 

Photo Sep 03, 3 53 38 PM.jpg

Hands Dyed Blue

Zachary Kilgas

IMG_5106.JPG

“Having an indigo vat is like babysitting a sleeping baby who sleeps through almost anything, but when you do wake it up you have to keep it warm, fed, and any movement you make could agitate it. Oh, did I mention that baby reeks of ammonia?” Alyx Jacobs said.

Alyx, in the simplest terms, has a kind face. The curves of her cheeks are soft and her dimples give the impression that she’s the type of person who’s always smiling. (I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for years and know this to be the case.) Her arms and legs are decorated with all sorts of tattoos — from a rendition of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” that sits tucked away on her inner bicep to a large mum that descends intricately down her thigh and calf.

Since I’ve known her, I’ve marked Alyx in my mind as one of those people who seems to ooze a creative sense of self. After almost a year without seeing each other, we reconnected over coffee and she told me about a new obsession — indigo dyeing and quilting.

When I first met her she was still a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. She’s since graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design major + in Fiber.

“In the graphic design department, I was creating simple, yet intricate designs. Then I went down a path of taking sustainable clothing classes, which led to the natural dyeing. Kim-Eichler Messmer, my quilting teacher, is the one who introduced me to natural dyeing and quilting. I was lucky enough to show my quilts with her after I graduated,” she said.

Over time, Alyx explained she was drawn to the tactile nature of quilting.

“I always found a way to integrate thread and yarn into my paintings,” Alyx said. “My mom was so surprised when I chose graphic design as my major because she assumed I would always be working in the computer. Which wasn't completely true, but I did need more variation in my education. I signed up for a quilting elective somewhat randomly.”

Quilting, and natural dyeing lead Alyx to Athens, Georgia to study with an indigo farmer.

IMG_5210.JPG

“I wasn't sure what to expect. Donna picked me up in her little Mazda 3, with her indigo tattoo proudly displayed on her wrist. Her house was simple and tucked back into the woods off of this road about two hours away from the airport.”

All week long, indigo was the core of all activities.

IMG_5124.JPG

“Every day, we would wake up early to get the vats ready, whether it was making concentrated indigo to start a new vat or heating up the vats so that we could use them later in the day, indigo was always our first priority.”

Her experience in Georgia exposed her to more than just dyeing.

“The whole experience was an introduction into this beautiful, simple, wholesome life. Donna had a garden where she grows medicinal herbs for homemade tinctures and veggies. I fell in love with the lifestyle.”

IMG_5100.JPG

Indigo dyeing is something Alyx spoke about fondly.

“Indigo dyeing is definitely a labor of love,” she said. “It really forces you to take a moment to stop and think — to be mindful of the process and how much time and effort you're putting into one piece of fabric. It is really easy to take advantage of going to a fabric store and buying any color of fabric that you desire without even batting an eyelash, but when you have to dip, wait, let oxidize, dip, wait, let oxidize, fully dry, wait more, etc. to build up color, you really appreciate the colors that you're getting because you've spent the time with each dip.”

When I look at Alyx’s quilts, I see modernity, but her hand-stitch shows a more delicate nature. Alyx’s choice of hand stitching is a tribute to the slow nature of indigo dyeing, and the long history of indigo. The traditional style of Japanese quilting she practices is called Sashiko. Sashiko is a traditional way Japanese farmers would mend their work jackets. Indigo is also traditionally used to overdye fabrics throughout time in the Japanese culture. Her deliberate use of these small white stitches takes time and love to hold the layers of indigo-dyed linen fabric together.

Alyx does add a touch of modern to her quilts. During her time with Donna, she explored a new idea: screen-printing with indigo dye — an art that hasn’t been fully explored.

I asked her what was next; what were her long term plans? With her dimples showing in full force, she smiled about a recent wedding proposal and a new last name, telling me not to worry that he fully supports her blue-dyed hands. Beyond that, she was happy not to have an answer.

“This is always an interesting question,” she said. “I didn't know the answer to it when I was a lost high schooler going into art school, and now that I've graduated from college, I still don't necessarily know. People have responded very well to my quilts and it makes me so happy to just have people interested in them. I am currently working as an admissions counselor for KCAI. In this position, I get to travel the country and talk to young artists about their future in art, and that is what I love to be doing. Luckily, quilts are very easy projects to travel with!”

See more of Alyx's work at here.

IMG_5192.JPG

Gum Tree / Hermosa Beach

Emily Im

GUM TREE

A LOOK INSIDE SOUTH BAY'S HIDDEN GEM + THE ORIGIN STORY

 


 

Nestled in between the calming beach and the busy streets of Pacific Coast Highway, Gum Tree is a hidden gem of a restaurant-shop hybrid that offers more than what is on the outside. Southern California and its long extension of the summer season continues to invite people to this quaint beach cottage.

We spoke with Lori Ford, the owner and boss lady of Gum Tree, to tell us more about the amazing ventures of creating a cafe-shop in South Bay.

 


2016_Pressey_GumTree_071.jpg

 

 

We understand that you and your husband created Gum Tree together (so lovely!). What prompted the two of you to start a cafe + shop hybrid specializing in Australian goods?

We were living in New York City, my husband had an Aussie restaurant and bar there, I was working on product development for an accessories company, and our lifestyle was intense and wonderful and everything NY should be when you’re young, and then we got married and had a baby!  Everything changed of course, and we decided to come home to the South Bay and settle down.  The shop was a long time dream of mine, and my husband was supposed to get to take a break from the restaurant biz and help me achieve it.  But then we found the house!

 

How did you guys come across this location?

I grew up in Manhattan Beach, and always wanted this little house in Hermosa on Pier Ave.  The dream was a home store in an old house, with each room filled with things you’d have in that room, a cozy couch full of pillows in the living room, cookbooks and serving pieces in the dining room, etc.  We were still in New York hatching our moving plans when a girlfriend of mine called to let me know my dream house was up for sale.  I flew in to take a look the next day.  The space felt too big to be only a shop, but with the garden out front and the natural division of space, it lent itself perfectly to a little cafe/shop combo.  And since my husband had the restaurant know how, and I had the desire on the shop side, that’s what we decided to do.  May I just say that my husband is a saint for agreeing to my never ending stream of ideas.

 

2016_Pressey_GumTree_095.jpg
2016_Pressey_GumTree_138.jpg

 

 

What was the origin of the name Gum Tree? 

I was trying to come up with a name that worked for both a restaurant and shop, something that sounded natural, evoked a feeling of calm and community.  I hit a wall and asked my husband to give me some good old Aussie slang, and after at least a dozen ridiculous Aussie words, (wally, sheila, wanker) out popped Gum Tree and right away we knew.  I saw the logo in my head and the rest is history.  

 

How did you manage to keep Gum Tree so successful? 

A lot of hard work!  We both spent every day in there for the first couple of years at least.  We met everyone in town, got involved in our community, went to every networking event there ever was…  It’s our family business, there is no other hidden income, so we had to make it work.  Will is the driving force behind the cafe, and he’s always coming up with delicious and healthy new menu ideas.  I’m obsessive about always finding something new for the shops, and I think that keeps them fresh and our customers coming in to discover new things all the time.  We know that people have so many options, so we do our best to hire the friendliest staff, and create the most welcoming environment we can.  

 

Your favorite dish from Gum Tree!

I eat the avocado toast with chili flakes, a side of berries and an iced latte almost every morning.  But, I also love a good old fashioned meat pie once in a while!  Our lentil soup is made from scratch daily and is out of this world.

2016_Pressey_GumTree_124 copy.jpg
2016_Pressey_GumTree_026 copy.jpg

 

What was the biggest struggle that you guys have come across?

As a small business owner the work never stops, I feel like I could always be doing more to grow the business, keep it relevant, and bring in new customers.  On the positive side, it can be very rewarding, especially when you get feedback that people love what you do, it’s just the best feeling.  And we love to be part of the community, watch the local kids grow, really know our customers, that’s the best part.

 

What do you hope to accomplish with Gum Tree in the future?

 For us it’s not about opening X number of stores in the next 5 years, it’s finding the work/life balance.  We hope that Gum Tree continues to thrive so that we can support our family and raise happy healthy kids!  We want to be happy in our work life, we want to travel, learn, give our kids the very best opportunities, engage with our community.  So as long as we continue to love what we do, we have accomplished everything. 

 

 

Could you name some of your favorite brands and items that you carry in your shop? (If you could provide photos, that would be great!)

Oh gosh, I love everything we carry, that’s the criteria I use for buying every single thing.  Do I love it, is it pretty, is it useful, funny, great quality, does it make me happy, would I give it as a gift? I love buying cookbooks, and pillows, and jewelry!  The kids shop is so easy to buy for because there are just so many adorable things out there.  Some stand out brands we have carried forever are Bla Bla, Chan Luu, Zoe Chicco, House of Cindy, Hat Attack, Rifle Paper.  But I love to constantly change things up, and I love to discover new up and coming designers.

 

2016_Pressey_GumTree_143 copy.jpg

 

If you find yourself in sunny Southern California, check out Gum Tree in Hermosa Beach! Or check out their Instagram (@gumtree_la) to take a peek at their California Lifestyle. 

The Farmhouse New Paltz

Ben Ashby

NP (9 of 31).jpg

 

 

THE FARM HOUSE NEW PALTZ

A VISIT TO A QUAINT FARMHOUSE IN THE HUDSON VALLEY

 

We recently made a trip up the Hudson Valley to see a taste of autumn. During our visit we stopped by a delightful farmhouse rental property outside the college town of New Paltz. We sat down with the owners to learn a bit more about the town, the Hudson Valley, and this charming rural escape. 


Why did you settle in New Paltz? We went to college here, moved to Brooklyn and just kept dreaming of moving back.  We have the Wallkill River go through town.  There is a local adage that says, once you visit a North flowing river; you will always return.  

 

Why did you decide to open the farmhouse? We opened the Farmhouse because we wanted to make a space where people could come with their pets and relax.  When we did live in Brooklyn, we traveled a lot upstate.  We would always search for a place where we could cook and bring our dogs.  Now its a lot easier with Airbnb, but back then, there were no options.  So the Farmhouse and Cottage are spaces where you can rest, relax and bring the whole family, even the four-legged members.

 

NP (3 of 31).jpg

 

Why did you pick this specific farmhouse? We picked this beauty from the 1890s because the energy spoke to us.  When you go inside the house it is sort of like having an energetic massage.  Most guests and visitors comment on this!  The house sort of hugs you.  And the floors.  The floors were made locally from nearby pine trees in the 1890s.  They have so much character and warmth, they are simply irresistible .  

 

Where are you originally from? It's a popular New Paltz song: "We are from Long Island".  Many people who move to this town are originally from Long Island, it is usually the University that brings them here, as it did us.

 

 

How long have you been in New Paltz? We have been upstate for two and 1/2 years now.

 

How long have you had the farmhouse? We are coming up to our one year anniversary with The Farmhouse this September.  We are now looking to expand our design projects.  We are interested in designing and constructing homes locally.  Our goal will be to make fully curated living spaces for people in and around New Paltz.  We love looking for pieces of furniture from local antique shops, Sweetpea in Stone Ridge NY and Ron Sharkey's Black Barn in High Falls are among some of our favorites.  You really can't go wrong visiting the two antique stores in Water Street Market in New Paltz.  We are excited about finding new gems like The Farmhouse, and reviving them so others can cherish them for many years to come.  So stay tuned to our Instagram for updates!

 

 

 

What are your favorite spots to visit in the area? For hiking we love The Railtrail and Minnewaska State Park.  For dining we adore Rosendale Cafe and Huckleberry.  For drinks, Jar'd is a must see in New Paltz and Brooklyn Cider House (New Paltz apples y'all!) honestly has the best cider around.  

 

Why is Fall so magical in the Hudson Valley? Okay, so good question.  Remember that one time really great you went apple picking with your family, epic Halloween, or that one really great Thanksgiving? If you roll all of those feelings into one and then put yourself in a leaf changing paradise; you'll get it.  There is really nothing like it.  Even though there are so many activities and festivals to go to, I would say the overall vibe cannot be escaped.  The Fall is nothing short of magical in the Hudson Valley!

 

Common Thread

Ben Ashby

IMG_0146.JPG

 

COMMON THREADS

AN ESSAY BY MELISSA MCARDLE 

 


 

Her hands work effortlessly as she turns a skein of yarn into an afghan her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will warm themselves with on countless occasions…a piece of crafted art, a piece of her, a blanket filled with love and memories of the selfless woman who gave her everything for her family. Whenever a loving couple commits to happily ever after, a birth is announced, or a home is new to cherish, she creates an afghan for that occasion, a keepsake that becomes an instant heirloom in our hearts and homes. It is the one gift we all look forward to receiving, and when she requests the colors of our desire, we choose with thoughtful consideration. A colorful spectrum of soft woolen fiber fills the homes of her descendents, linking us together by one common thread, her loving handiwork, her patterns...a compilation of comfort in every loop, knot and row.

 

The winter months are when I dust off my needles and sort through the bag of yarns, easing my fingers back into the practice of knitting. It’s a hobby which remains dormant in the sun-filled months, yet tends to warm my heart during the long dark chilled evenings of the crisper seasons. My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet, both skills I hold dear; a family-tree connection that I am beginning to pass down to my little girl. Recalling the early days, when I was eager to learn and dreamed of being creative like my grandmother; patiently, she watched as my unskilled fingers tried over and over to grasp the yarn and produce an outcome beyond a tangled mess of string. Rhythmic movements of her hands in complete synchronicity, forming a pattern, creating a comforting gift, she could have done it all with her eyes closed. Now that I’m older, I believe I understand why she enjoys this method of crafting: One’s thoughts tend to wander in a peaceful state as the rhythm unfolds and the final outcome of the creative consistency is a practical gift filled with joy and love. Whether I’m practicing my own handwork or wrapped up in one of her gifted afghans, I am reminded of her – warm, loving and safe, an endearing way to carry her with me forever and always.

 

IMG_0147.JPG

A Garlic Primer: Smell the "Stinking Rose"

Ben Ashby

unnamed.jpg

 

 

A GARLIC PRIMER


GROW YOUR OWN GARLIC

 

 

This small bulb has been used throughout history for medicinal use as well as consumption dating back as far as early Egyptian civilizations, and though its Syrian cousins have stolen the limelight, garlic is still a particularly powerful crop in Egypt. Tracing written connections through the Indus River Valley civilizations of modern Pakistan and India to a new home in China where it was praised as an aphrodisiac with life-lengthening qualities. Then to Portugal, France, and Spain where the crop once snubbed by ancient upper echelons became the ingredient a la mode for flavoring bland dishes, it then crossed the Atlantic to be a part of The New World.

 

What was once criticized as too volatile a food for consumption because of its alleged stimulant properties, the small bulbs have helped many races and generations ward of vampires, smallpox, and heart disease alike. Though the culinary use hasn't always invaded every cultures dinner plates, it has been used in a widespread fashion for medicinal purposes. Today, garlic is still a food recommended to patients with high risk associations for certain types of cancer for its richness in antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic vitamins in its raw form, and is also a great supplement for people suffering from heart disease and hypertension.

 

unnamed (3).jpg

 

Garlic by classification is an allium, meaning it belongs to a family of flowering onion and leek plants. Though the history of garlic's medicinal us is long, following America's founding pilgrims back to their homelands, the use of garlic as a fairly mainstream ingredient in American food is relatively new. Spreading from traditionally ethnic neighborhoods like Brooklyn, New York, garlic found its way into American food most prevalently during early 1940s in an organic and slow osmosis. Today Americans alone consume around 250 million pounds of garlic annually. 

 

This spring, we encourage our readers to become a part of this historically and nutritiously rich herb and plant garlic of their own. If you can't plant it yourself, check in your local farmer's market for fresh, dried garlic for use in your own recipes. With colder weather lingering on, who doesn't want to curl up to a warm bowl of homemade minestrone and garlic bread?

 

unnamed (2).jpg

 

HEATH'S GARLIC PLANTING TIPS

 

1) Plant garlic near the end of winter, after the fear of the ground freezing has ended. Garlic cloves will grow and lie dormant during the remainder of winter and mature in time for harvest in late summer. 
 

2) When planting, wait until just before planting to break apart bulbs. Cloves should cleanly remove from the basal plate. Plant very small cloves in a small group, but large bulbs singly. 
 

3) It's common practice to stop watering garlic plants upwards of three weeks before harvesting. 
 

4) To test the maturity of bulbs, scrape away the dirt from a few bulbs. Mature bulbs have cloves which can be felt through the skin. 
 

5) Garlic's flavor can be changed by overexposure to the sun after harvest, a process a lot like sunburn. It's best to store harvested baskets of garlic in a garden shed or barn. 
 

6) The top of garlic bulbs is called the scape. It has a lighter garlic flavor than cloves and can be prepared in sautéed dishes when chopped like green onion or served whole like asparagus.

unnamed (1).jpg

A Visit to Pot n Kettle Cottages || Leipers Fork, TN

Ben Ashby

 

 

POT N KETTLE COTTAGES


LEIPER'S FORK, TN

 

Leiper's Fork, TN is a hidden gem of a tiny town just south of Nashville. The town of three hundred is a sleepy community that is filled with quaint southern history, grand farms owned by country music royalty and the most delightful downtown. I've been visiting Leiper's Fork and the Williamson County area for years, but I recently had the privilege of staying at the Leiper's Fork Inn, a rental property that is part of the Pot n Kettle Cottages brand. Before my stay I asked the owners to share a bit about their love of their properties, the community, and the South...

 

 

— potnkettlecottages.com || Over the coming weeks I'll be sharing more of my favorite Leiper's Fork shops, stops, and places to stay. 

 

 

 

 

Why we created the business is really more of a journey that we have traveled. We both originally being jewelers is where we realized we worked well together creatively. We decided to try applying that to renovating and restoring a Sears Kit home in Los Olivos, CA built in the 1890’s. We realized after the completion of our project that we loved it, we were also given a Beautification Award from the local Rotary Foundation. We then knew that others liked what we did as well, after moving to Tennessee, we saw a lot more opportunity to be able to find these beautiful old homes and breath new life into them while maintaining or restoring the history. We love the feeling an home has, it is almost like it has a soul. 

 

 

 

 

We decided after moving out of the Tin Roof Cottage that we wanted travelers to be able to experience the magic of Leiper’s Fork as we did. What better way than to give them a home to stay in and make them feel local. So began our journey, Tin Roof was our first property and it was doing well. I decided I really enjoyed working with travelers and welcoming them to stay in our magical village. So we then purchased Coda Cottage and Pickers Cottage, redid them and began Pot N’ Kettle Cottages. We recently this February acquired the Leiper’s Fork Inn, this home was most definitely our largest undertaking. It needed a lot more work and we did a good bit of it ourselves, which we both enjoy.

 

 

BRO (12 of 47).jpg

 

 

Why Leiper’s Fork, well Leiper’s Fork kind of choose us. Five years ago we realized we wanted to be closer to family and find a small town with wonderful community. We traveled all around and considered many different places. Eric being from Kosciusko, MS had traveled along the trace most of his life. He talked about Franklin, Tn and this amazing little village called Leiper’s Fork. Myself being from a small town in Idaho this struck a cord with my heart. We finally after a year of searching traveled to Leiper’s Fork for the 4th of July to be with some friends and see family. I immediately fell in love from the moment we drove into town. We pulled over and stopped in at Puckett’s, got the boys a Nee-Hi soda and watched them run around and catch lightening bugs. That was it, we were sold, this was home. We have enjoyed every moment since being a part of this community, the people are what make this town so magical. 

 

The design style behind the cottages is my take on Boho Chic interior design focused on guests comforts and needs. My husband and I like to create a unique but comfortable environment for our guests, we are not afraid to use color. A lot of people who have experienced our homes have often made the comment that they feel like they are “happy houses”, they make you feel good when you are in the space. We travel quite often and always rent homes to stay in, we are always taking things into account when we do this as it helps us to better understand the needs of the guests.

 

 

The design style behind the cottages is my take on Boho Chic interior design focused on guests comforts and needs. My husband and I like to create a unique but comfortable environment for our guests, we are not afraid to use color. A lot of people who have experienced our homes have often made the comment that they feel like they are “happy houses”, they make you feel good when you are in the space. We travel quite often and always rent homes to stay in, we are always taking things into account when we do this as it helps us to better understand the needs of the guests.