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Filtering by Tag: lifestyle

A Trip to Hudson Woods

Ben Ashby

A Trip to Hudson Woods


A dwelling nestled among the Catskill's.

A place where nature meets design.



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Dream of a place, a place where autumn lasts just a little bit longer. The season sets on early as the summer humidity lays in favor of crisp nights and fresh air. The feel that the eternal spirit of autumn is coming. Wildflowers fill the valleys and pastures of the mountain sides, the landscapes become washed with vibrant goldenrod, the deep reds of the Sumac trees, and the black eyed susans that pop up along the winding roadways. Autumn is coming to the Hudson Valley. Many of us have been waiting all year for the first signs of changing leaves, the first signs of apples ripening on the weather worn trees, and the first signs of the many festive weekends to come.

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Long winding roads, the kind of roads that you took as a child…big bench back seat, sliding across the leather seats…legs too short to touch the floor. Windows down, the sun shining, the radio dial tuned in to Glen Miller. A Pontiac, a Ford, a 1941 Plymouth with that gas station sticker still in the window, a reminder of the leaner days. The spirit and the imagery is there, the narrative is universal. Autumn comes a little earlier in the Catskills, the Maples start to show their color round about the same time as the goldenrod hits peak color. The autumn lasts a little longer here too. The final colors of the season fade and fall as the frigid days sit in, as Christmas trees are chopped and laboriously tied to the roofs of cars or haphazardly tied in the back of old wooden bed pickup trucks.

Here the season is more than just the changing of the leaves and temperatures, it’s a way of life and a season that is prepared for all year. The mountains and their hollers and many cool spring fed lakes are filled with old fashioned boats and canoes and levity all summer long. Rich greens meet the rich browns and shadows of the forest floors. Autumn though, autumn is a sea of color, a warmth of the spirit, and the idea that nesting season is coming. Pumpkins are gathered, apples are picked, oh so many glorious apples are picked from the aged trees that cascade down the hills and dot the landscapes.

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Short swim trunks and leather soled sandals are replaced with clothing designed and produced from nature’s bounty. The purity of the wools, flannels, and leathers bring a naturalness to the season and a knowledge that these timeless pieces were produced by the earth and crafted by the hands of man to created garments designed to cloak and shield man from the chill of the season.

The Catskills are a vast region that is filled with nature, endless nature, history, culture, a dynamic mix of people, and landscapes that invite you in and ask, if not implore you to explore.

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That love of nature and upstate New York led us to Hudson Woods Hudson Woods has long been on our radar. Back a couple years ago Paige went for a visit on a frigid early December weekend. Since then we’ve been itching to go ourselves.

Hudson Woods is actually a residential community outside Kerhonkson, New York. The tag line is “where design meets nature” and it truly feels that way as soon as you enter the development. The property designed by Lang Architecture and Brick and Wonder is designed to be a weekend escape from New York city for those that love modern design and the sanctuary of nature. Over the past few years the show house has been used for countless photo shoots and architectural studies. The home is largely built and furnished with materials and goods from regional makers and craftsmen.

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I wanted to start this Catskills travel guide series by sharing a few of my favorite images from the home. Our next piece in the series will be a conversation with Hort and Pott, the landscape design studio and shop in the nearby town of Oak Hill, New York.

 

The home itself is designed to be one of those that compliments the landscape and has a feel that says…. I coexist here, I am a part of this lands story, this land isn’t mine, but I am its. A simple timeless frame holds a home that is so well designed that you will feel an otherworldly experience just by touching the doorknobs.

A Conversation with Jörn Henn

Ben Ashby

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German based photographer Jorn Henn hasn’t quickly become one of our favorite photographers. His moody vibes and greens and blues have us captivated. The landscapes he shares have us dreaming of escaping the cities and heading deep into nature! We sat down with him to learn more.

Why do you adventure? Why do you explore?

My biggest motivation is keeping moments. I love to be outside in nature feeling the elements. I am a very curious person as well. That’s why I love to visit and explore new countries or places.

Why take risks in life?

It’s more fun. Without risks, life would be boring and you would not be able to surpass oneself.

Where are you from?

Cologne, Germany.

What is your 9-5?

I am an art historian.

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be?

A famous architect.

Favorite place you've visited.

Rio de Janeiro and the Dolomites.

Place you most desperately want to visit.

New Zealand and South Africa. 

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

Meeting poor people. Like, really poor people. And the fact that when you realize that their struggle is connected to the global economy. 

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What has changed about you because of your travels?

I became more attentive about my needs and about climate and environment.

Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met?

I met Edda Moser, a German opera singer, during a lecture at the Cologne Opera House. Her voice was recorded singing Mozart’s Magic Flute aria “Queen Of The Night”, which is part of the Voyager Golden Record. 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present, who would it be and why?

Otto the Great. He was a Roman German emperor in the 10th century. The kingdom of Germany was a travel kingdom, meaning because of its huge size, the German kings and emperors had no static residence. Several spread over the whole country, and he had to live a nomad’s life, like a lot of explorers do now. Well, and I’ve loved knights since my childhood.

Must haves for travel / travel tips?

Good shoes and a good jacket.

Give us a story any kind of story from one of your trips that will be impactful to the reader.

The feeling of slowing down when you are in the mountains. No rush and no stress. And the fact that you have to choose your equipment since you cannot carry everything with you.

Based on your travels, what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger?

A change in economy. I think big multinational companies and their urge of growth is one of the causes of the climate change and crimes against humanity.

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before?

Travel and collect moments and take off your blinders. That you don’t need to travel fast. That there are nice spots just around the corner.

What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you?

My grandfather. He thought me to ask questions, not following the mass and trust one’s own heart (he was a soldier in WWII).

When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson?

During exams or just when I have to give proof about my skills. E.g. when you ask me for this. But I learned to fight against these fears and keep them small. Hiking helped me as well. The first glimpse of a mountains I wanna climb is always frightening. But on top, you feel like a king! 

What would you say to your former self?

Trust yourself and your skills!

What gives you hope?

That love always wins.

Where to next?

Italy and Rome in October.

Is flannel always in season?

Flannel is always classy. Love it.

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Thats What Traveling is All About — 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. 

A PREVIEW FROM FOLK SUMMER 2019. ORDER HERE

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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?

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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.

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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.

FOR THE FULL STORY GRAB A COPY OF FOLK’S SUMMER 2019 ISSUE HERE

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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

Photographer of the Day // Mike Kelley

Zachary Kilgas

From the first glance, each of his photos are extremely inviting. So inviting, that I almost felt like a firsthand witness. My brain invented sounds, smells, and sensations immediately-- the bears' snarls, the salty sea air hitting my nose, bare toes on a wooden dock. 

Click through for an adventure. 

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

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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. 

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Alex and the Red Hair

Ben Ashby

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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. 

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Alex and the Boy with Flowers

Ben Ashby

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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. 

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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

Finding the Happy || Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz

Ben Ashby

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Finding the Happy

Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz

 

Heath Stiltner takes us on a colorful walk through his favorite Los Angeles neighborhood—Los Feliz—to share a few of his top places to visit and things to see. With a rich Spanish-Mexican heritage and artistic influence Los Feliz is his favorite place to visit in LA when he wants that cool California vibe with a sense of history.

 


As I pulled on my olive green overalls, the strong smell of my first coffee of the day filled the small studio cottage my friend had offered to let me stay in for the week. I’d been to the City of Angels before, but had never stayed so long in this neighborhood—Los Feliz. With its lively and diverse small-town atmosphere it was hard not to feel right at home here. 

 

Bright and modern Spanish bungalows lined the street gently rolling through the neighborhood like old dirt roads recently paved, everywhere there was a feeling of the cool LA vibe version of a frontier town. You just can’t help but smile in Los Feliz, so a name which translates to “the happy” seems fitting—though it gets its name from its Spanish-Mexican colonial land grantee, Jose Vicente Feliz. Los Feliz is home to one of my favorite LA breakfast haunts, Sunset Junction Cafe. While I love the bright diner atmosphere of Sunset Junction, the thing that always brings me back is the amazing staff. (I live in Kentucky, and when I revisited the spot almost two months later they remembered me.) If you’re looking for that cinematic place where you can go work on your script and have amazing Eggs Benedict, this is your place. Sorry, I can’t guarantee James Franco will be sitting across from you, as well.

 

Full of coffee and eggs I go back out to explore the neighborhood, finding myself a comic nerd haven in Secret Headquarters, stopping for an American-made clothing fix with Buck Mason, and visiting several sets of hidden staircases for which Los Angeles is famous. Micheltorena & Prospect stairs are two such staircases in the Los Feliz neighborhood, Micheltorena is the more colorful of the two having been painted with hearts and rainbow colored risers. Los Feliz is a neighborhoods ideal for long strolls to discover hidden gems like these, and can be an amazing place for photographers looking to catch that authentic ‘sunny California’ vibe. 

 

With Griffith Park to its north, the Los Angeles River to the east, and Hollywood and the Hills to its south and west, Los Feliz is the neighborhood to visit when you want to see all that LA has to offer. In only one day you can walk from Alfred Coffee on the edge of Silver Lake, have breakfast at Sunset Junction, shop and browse your way down Sunset Boulevard, hit the vintage shops of Hollywood Boulevard, get the best view the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park from the stunt Barnsdall Art Park property, and hike all the way over to Griffith Park itself. Los Feliz houses some of Los Angeles’ most famous architecture, and Barnsdall Art Park is no exception. Located at the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument that houses Hollyhock House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall as an arts & theater complex. If you want to touch a part of LA’s architectural history and get one of the city’s best view, I suggest visiting Barnsdall.

 

After spending much of my trip hiking the urban landscape, an escape to Griffith Park with my friend Keegan was a necessity. When you want a peaceful hike and an escape from the busy streets, Griffith Park is your haven. Donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896, the Park has some of the best sweeping views of downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hollywood sign—as well as free tours of the observatory.

 

After a long day packed with adventure, one needs to reflect with good friends and food. Making my way back down to the valley below, I stop for dinner in my favorite little Italian restaurant, La Pergoletta. Tucked away just off Hillhurst Ave., this gem makes some of the best pasta I’ve ever had in LA—and I love carbs. Taking a seat at one of the red and white gingham covered cafe tables outside I begin to unravel my day. The many faces and places I’d met in just just a day, and how many more lie in waiting just down the street. After devouring a large bowl of lobster ravioli and more bread than I care to admit, I start my walk back to the small artist’s studio At my friend’s home that I have grown to call home in LA. The giant cacti on seem to grow in the moonlight as I walk down Hillhurst Ave. It’s hard to believe that one small neighborhood can hold so much magic and history, but it’s not hard to believe the neighborhood where, sitting in his uncle’s garage, Walt Disney drew his first sketch of the world-beloved Mickey Mouse. Los Feliz feels like the hometown of Los Angeles, and it’s a hometown where everyone is welcome.

 

 

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Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles.

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Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles

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Hache LA, Los Angeles.

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Alfred Coffee, Los Angeles.

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Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.

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Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.

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Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.

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Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.

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Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles.

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Buck Mason mobile, Los Angeles.

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Los Feliz, Los Angeles.

 

— @heathstiltner

Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop

Ben Ashby

Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop, a fun and family-friendly experience where the nostalgia of the past meets today's Christmas traditions, is opening its doors for another holiday season starting late November each year.

Inspired by yuletides of yesteryear, Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop invites guests to enjoy hot cider, marshmallow roasting, animals, a vintage sleigh and visits from Santa. Visitors are welcomed by the smell of fresh pine and holiday spices as they discover an extensive assortment of freshly cut trees, custom wreaths, garlands and more. Partnering with hand-selected regional merchants and growers allows the shop to provide the freshest greens and quality goods available.

Since 1950, the Hillenmeyer family has been providing a Christmas experience for Lexington. A family-owned business, today Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Joseph and Shannon Hillenmeyer, whose vision is to bring holiday traditions to life for generations of families. Steeped in local heritage, a visit to Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop transports guests to a simpler time while bringing families together in celebration of the season. Offering a unique and eclectic experience, visitors will find cups of hot cider to enjoy along with a fireplace where bags of marshmallows are ready for roasting. Inviting families to enjoy themselves leisurely, children can visit the live nativity scene and even pet the shop’s sheep and donkeys. A large vintage sleigh, originally belonging to Joseph Hillenmeyer’s great-great grandfather, sits within to create the perfect opportunity for family photos. And occasionally, Santa comes to visit and listen to children’s Christmas wishes while spreading holiday cheer among visitors.

Guests can visit Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop at 3389 Tates Creek Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40502 where it is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 8pm. For further information and a compete schedule of activities, please visit http://hillenmeyerchristmas.com

"Shortly, It Will All be Memories" || Meet Patrice Plouffe

Ben Ashby

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Photographer Patrice Plouffe has enchanted us with his dark and moody landscapes from across the globe. We wanted to learn more about his photography and his adventures so we sat down for a chat. 

 


Why do you adventure?  When I’m on an adventure, I am by myself. Being far away from others and big cities makes me feel alive and helps me manage my stress. 
 


 

Why do you explore? I love to take pictures of wild animals. I explore to be able to find their most hidden dens and capture pictures of them in their natural state. 
 

 

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Why take risks in life? I used to never take risks I was comfortable with the stability. But things happened in my life and that’s forces me to push myself and my limits. Sometimes even if you don’t want to, you have to. Personally, my best memories are from when I took risks. 


 

Where are you from? I am from Québec, Canada. I was born and raised the very small town of Saint-Sulpice (population of about 2,000). My backyard was fields and forests. I think that’s why I’ve always loved wildlife and why I’ve always had a special connection with nature. Presently, for work, I live in the much bigger city of Montreal, unfortunately. I do however on weekends get out of town as much as I can! 

 
 

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What is your 9-5? I am the project manager for a downtown Montréal artist/designer company. 


 

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? When I was very young I wanted to invent things, like an industrial designer. After, a little older, I started to play guitar and was in a band. So at that point I wanted to be a rockstar (haha). I’ve always be a very creative person: I play music, I draw, I take pictures. My big goal is to live off my art.

 

 

 

 

Favorite place you've visited? Everywhere in Iceland, but Jökulsárlón blue lagoon was magical. 


 

Place you most desperately want to visit? Indonesia


 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? I will always be amazed how generous people are towards strangers. 

When I was younger I played music in a band. We used to do a lot of shows and tours away from home. For weeks we had little money and no place to sleep. 

People were always ready to invite us in to their homes, let us take showers and made us food even though they didn’t know us personally. There was also one family in Iceland that will always be in my heart. They were so generous with my friend and myself. They invited us, complete strangers, into their home. They made us dinner, gave us a place to sleep, shared their knowledge of Iceland with us and even lent us their car. 


What has changed about you because of your travels? I'm much more grateful for what I have in life. I enjoy the simple things that surround me.


 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I am used to traveling alone but if I had to choose it would be with my good friend Micheal. He’s not complicated, he’s as easy going as I am and we’re often on the same wave length. He pushes me to take more risks and be more adventurous. 


 

 

Must haves for travel? Toilet paper.


 

Travel tips: If you’re short on time and cannot take a long term vacation be sure to rent a car. By relying on public transportation you loose a lot of time. You’ll be so much less stressed and another perk, you can always sleep in the car if necessary. 


 

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Give us a story: I traveled alone in Costa rica and everyone told me that it was a very safe place, but in the city of Tamarindo I ran into trouble. I was out at a club with a lot of Costaricans, it was the only night of my trip that I decided to go out to party. A Costarican was bothering me the whole night, trying to sell me cocaine. A little later in the night, a couple of drinks in, I had made friends with another traveler who was staying at the same hostel as I. I was honestly a bit tipsy and had to use the washroom, but it was very far in a dark corner behind the club. When I got out of the washroom the same guy who was harassing me to buy cocaine came at me with a knife in his hands telling me I have to buy his cocaine or I would be in a lot of trouble. Not knowing how to react I told him I had no money on me, but I would be back quickly with some. He obviously followed me back into the club. This is where I saw the one friend I had made at the beginning of the night. I told him I was in a lot of trouble and needed his help to get back safely to the hostel. He took a moment and tried to talk to the Costarican, without success. He couldn’t do anything for me because the Costarican had pulled a gun on him. At this point I must admit I was pretty scared, not to mention the club was closing in less than an hour. I didn’t know what to do. I told the Costarican that I needed to get to the bank and at that point I just bolted. I must have ran 6KM in 2minutes (haha) to get back to the hostel. Luckily I met a security guard who calmed me down and reassured me. Apparently in the drug “low seasons” in Tamarindo it happens a lot. I don’t have to tell you I didn’t sleep one wink that night. I would have to say, be extra vigilant and careful, you never know what can happen when you’re alone! Words of advice when you’re alone: don’t drink too much and keep your head straight. 


 

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Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger: Humanity has lost its way, If I could remove one thing on earth to help the world it would be all the hatred, terrorists and religions. Every single human needs to accept everyone as they are. When defining religions, we create differences, thus separating us all instead of drawing us all together.

 

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? Take time to enjoy and relax, don't be hurried. It’s over way too soon. Shortly, it will all be memories. You will regret if you don’t enjoy the moment.

 

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When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? Every time I travel I'm out of my comfort zone. I travel with only a backpack and a limited budget. That's what I love and I learn every time to be more grateful of what I have back home. The time I’ve felt the most out of my comfort zone was the Costa Rica incident previously mentioned. I felt very alone and powerless. I’ve learned to be more careful and not go to crazy partying alone in a club so far  away from home ;)


What would you say to your former self? Time changes everything, stop stressing, be patient, everything will fall into place.


 

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What gives you hope? Photography, nature, landscapes, wildlife


 

Where to next? I would love to visit my country.  The Rockies, British Columbia. Also for my next big trip I would visit Norway. 
 


 

Is flannel always in season? No :/ I'm always hot. 

 

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Five Alternative Uses for Fruitcake

Ben Ashby

 

Truman Capote’s 1956 short story “A Christmas Memory” opens on a chilly, late November morning to a young boy’s surrogate mother looking out the kitchen window. Her breath fogs the pane and “Oh my,” she exclaims to him, “it’s fruitcake weather!"

 

BY: D. GILSON

 

I’ve been thinking about this boy and this woman a lot recently, as my own breath fogs the frosty mornings and the local food co-op in our New England town puts out its annual order forms for fruitcake, displayed carefully between menorah candles and commemorative winter solstice prayer cards.

My mother doesn’t bake. But lo-and-behold, every holiday season a fruitcake adorned the giant red sideboard next to our kitchen table. My mother and I would drive to the local Sam’s Club, grab Diet Cokes from the hot dog stand, peruse the aisles of colossal cheese and salami trays, gallon jugs of Jack Daniels, permafrost boxes of Hot Pockets and Pizza Rolls capable of feeding a small legion of junior high boys for the better part of a month. We’d end at the bakery, plop a shrink-wrapped, over-sized fruitcake into our cart, and make for home. Freshness isn’t an issue with fruitcake, the food that, along with Twinkies, may very well feed us in a post-nuclear apocalypse. 

Our fruitcake held court upon the vintage milk glass cake stand for a month or so, a month when we’d peck at it until New Year’s, when my mother would throw what remained in the backyard, where stray cats and birds would finish what we couldn’t.

Yes, it’s popular to hate on fruitcake. And though I don’t particularly like it — even the artisanal ones this site will inevitably link to, made by hipster bakers with pretty blogs and thick framed glasses smudged with organic, locally-sourced, hand-ground flour — I want to offer you five uses for fruitcake that don’t require eating them.

XO,

D.

 
 

Rise to social media stardom. Jesus is not the reason for the season, and Santa is drunk on a beach in Cancun. This leaves room for a new holiday star: you. Bake a fruitcake (or buy one, it doesn’t matter). Snap a picture of it next to your bare ass. Tag with #FruitCAKE. Drop to Insta, Tumblr, Facebook, Reddit (even trolling, closeted Republicans need holiday eye candy). Watch your likes grow and your star rise, bringing many a wise man to lay in your manger.

 

Win the passive-aggressive winter Olympics. That racist cousin whose name you always draw for the family gift exchange? That co-worker who sends you “Long Live Lady Gaga” playlists on Spotify? That guy who gave you chlamydia junior year but is now married to a rich patron with a Lower East Side loft and cabin in Asheville? Yeah, fuck ‘em with kindness. Bake the driest fruitcake you can, wrap it in butcher paper, tie it with twine, add a sprig of spruce, and send it alongside the happiest holiday card you can muster. Up goes your karma count, no one can say you didn’t try, and hey, maybe your untouched fruitcake will draw rats to their well-appointed kitchen.

 
 

Plan a date. Tell your crush to bring dried fruit and the door will be open. Splay yourself upon the counter, covered with flour, eggs, butter…whatever else goes in a fruitcake. See what happens.

 

Throw a costume party. Invite every gay man and every woman you know to a Fruitcake Party. Dress: ho ho ho. Décor: low lighting. Drink: liquid fruitcake (orange zest, a cinnamon stick, but mostly gin). Distraction: Love Actually on loop. Don’t forget: carb and gluten free fruitcake bites and plenty of mistletoe.

 

Reconnect with your mother. You don’t call enough. You haven’t given her grandchildren. You live so far away in that city now. And yet, you are naturally her favorite. Spend an afternoon baking with your mother, margaritas in your cups and Dolly Parton on the stereo. Tell her about the boy who broke your heart last month. Let her tell you he wasn’t good enough anyway.

 

D. Gilson is the author of I Will Say This Exactly One Time: Essays (Sibling Rivalry, 2015) and Crush with Will Stockton (Punctum Books, 2014). He is an Assistant Professor of English at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and his work has appeared in Threepenny Review, PANK, The Indiana Review, The Rumpus, and as a notable essay in Best American Essays. Find D. at dgilson.com or on Instagram @dgilson.

Happy Birthday, National Parks!

Christophe Chaisson

"The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel." — Theodore Roosevelt

PHOTO + ESSAY: PAIGE DENKIN

I was asked to write a quick piece about the National Parks and why they’re important. I spent a long time debating the rich and deep rhetoric I could create about our beautiful lands and how inviting and scared they are. But I couldn’t bring myself to write these words. At least not seriously, not whole-heartedly. After questioning why writers blocks would strike me on a topic I’m so fixated and passionate about, I realized the shallow facade of a piece I’d be creating if all I did was sugar coat our country and the way we treat our National Parks. So this isn’t a fluffy feel good piece about America, it’s a PSA in honor of our endangered land. A birthday wish that in another 100 years, we find the confidence and commitment to take a stand for the protection of our only planet and our beautiful country.

Do I need to include an quick explanation of how magnificent our country’s terrain is? Perhaps. As someone who wasn’t afforded the luxury of travel while growing up, I’m still humbled by the smallest of foothills and the biggest of skies. Now as I near 30 years old, I’m happy to say I’ve at least driven from one coast to the other and had the opportunity to see the differing atmospheres and topography. This country is massive, my friends. It is hearty, it is as diverse as the people who live here and it is drop dead gorgeous. And 100 years ago, Woodrow Wilson made the National Park Service a federally managed and funded bureau, allowing them to preserve and honor the magnificent sights and locations that make our country what it is.

Though encouraged for personal and cultural gain, please travel vast corners of the globe as much as this life affords you to. Many of us cannot. But I know you have a weekend coming up that’s completely free. Maybe some of you have travel points saved up or a car sitting in the drive way that only knows the route to work and a few pokestops along the way. You need to do yourself a favor and make an honest attempt to visit as many of our National Parks as you possibly can. Now. With nearly 60 national parks, ranging from the deserts of Arizona and the mountain peaks in Alaska to the sands of Hawaii and the caves of Kentucky… they’re out there. They’re begging to be loved, viewed and respected. The lands give way to more than 18,000 miles of trails and is home to multiple endangered species. I can’t stress to you enough the beauty that can be found in our own backyard. It doesn’t have to be a trip to Iceland or Australia, it can just be a road trip with your friends or a long weekend with your significant other. Or maybe just an over night camping trip with the dog and your fishing pole. It’s there. It’s accessible. And no excuse is worth missing these moments.

Now I can sit here all day and type out facts and show pretty photos of Yosemite and Yellowstone, but the unfortunate truths are never as pretty as we hope. Lately the ongoing trend of doing anything daring or risky for a photo, has literally begun the collapse of fragile ecosystems, preserved for centuries within the parks. The lack of respect for our own home land is concerning to say the least. Not only is it becoming more frequent for tourists to carve graffiti into trees and rock faces (and then post it through their social outlets) but visitors proudly take home fauna, debris and even living creatures as a collected prize, leaving the land a little more vacant and resulting in a less fulfilling experience for future generations. And if destruction and theft isn’t enough, the unnecessary death toll continues to rise. From falling off cliffs, to breaking through acidic springs.. The stories are abundant and more come out all the time. I mean, can we talk about the insanity that is dying in a national park from lack of respect for the land? My friends, it’s an old tried-and-true concept.. respect the land and the land will respect you. Before visiting one our truly sacred and gorgeous parks, understand that we are simply guests on mother earth and you will never win an argument with her so don’t even bother, darling.

It has been 100 years of preserving our land. 100 years of fighting and battling to keep Earth’s legacy alive and today, on the centennial of such a great accomplishment, I ask you to evaluate your relationship with the outdoors. Maybe you don’t see it enough, maybe you see it too often and take it for granted. Whatever the case may be, today is the day to pay your respects and toast a drink to our diverse, rich and magnificent country that is The United States and thank our stars there are people willing to continuously fight to protect those locations that make us all go “ooh” on Instagram. These places wouldn’t be around anymore if it wasn’t for them and wasn’t for the National Park Service. This entire country could easily have been fracked for resources and turned into a super mall by now, but for the time being.. we’re lucky enough to have soaring mountain peaks, seemingly infinite canyons and crystal blue waters. Please, never take it for granted. Offer your donations to help continue their efforts, take time to visit and appreciate the parks or just have a conversation with a friend about the importance of protecting the sights and locations our forefathers wrote about, traveled through and discovered. This ground is the exact same ground history was written on, and it’s our duty to continue the efforts of preservation.

Happy birthday, National Parks. You’ve always made America great.

Bedding by the Sea

Ben Ashby

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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Paul Tellefsen | Adventure Lessons

Ben Ashby

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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

 

 

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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. 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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

 

 

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Hands Dyed Blue

Zachary Kilgas

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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.

 


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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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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.

 

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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!