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Filtering by Category: lifestyle

A Garlic Primer: Smell the "Stinking Rose"

Ben Ashby








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.


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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?


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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.

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

Ben Ashby






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...



— || 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.



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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.




A Mountain Girl

Ben Ashby




I grew up in a small town in the mountains of Colorado called Carbondale. It sits about 30 miles downriver from the iconic ski town of Aspen. You can imagine the sort of beauty and culture that area harnesses. Carbondale holds everything that is dear to me; rivers, mountains, wildlife, ranches and about everything you can imagine a small mountain town would. Most of my time growing up was spent running around in the woods and on ranches, which a few of my friends lived on. As any mountain child could recall, these sort of upbringings can certainly shape you. Certainly, they have shaped me and as I continue the journey of photography, which often brings me to cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and beyond, it’s the mountains that ground me to the core. 



Over the last few months however, I was experiencing shoots that didn’t quite inspire me. So much of my work and projects take place in Los Angeles, where the pool of talented models, hair and makeup artists is endless. The industry is there in a big way, so over the last couple of years I have made it a point to be there often. As great as that is, it’s easy to get creatively exhausted and that is one of the biggest challenges for me in having an art form as my job. When you complete a project that truly speaks to you, that your truly proud of, you can feel that in a true and intense way. But getting to that point can be a hard and challenging road. Lately, I’ve been feeling the numbness of that weary road, and knew I needed to take a step back from the grind to focus on on finding new inspiration.



Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely gal by the name of Sarah Courtney. She’s a mountain girl through and through and her parents own this beautiful ranch in Buena Vista, CO. “Buena Vista”, which is Spanish for “Beautiful View,” is very much just that. The ranch sits at the foot of towering 14,000 foot peaks, and on this particular day, the infamous and unpredictable summer weather of Colorado was in full swing. Sweeping storm clouds had socked in the town for the day, but the ranch, nestled in the eye of these summer storms was some of the most stunning and dramatic light I have seen in a while. I hadn’t had a shoot that felt so close to home in such a long time. 



Sarah’s ranch is as amazing as any ranch could be; chickens, horses, random relics of the old days and a beautiful stately old barn that seems to watch over the ranch. Sarah herself is a proficient horseback rider and her connection with the horses is something that would inspire anyone. I wanted to capture this environment many people only know from films and show Sarah existing, naturally, authentically.



A sort of rejuvenation took place for me. The light was amazing, the styling was perfect, and for Sarah, it was her most authentic self being on the ranch around her horses. We walked around, shooting in multiple outfits and capturing anything that inspired us. Most of the time, I’m a portrait photographer in fairly controlled scenarios, being able to photograph this wild environment while capturing such a profound moment of connection between a woman and this beast was one of the most genuine, beautiful and grounding things for me. I had instant flashbacks to my childhood and my love for Colorado. 



I think things happen in life intentionally. For me, this shoot felt right. It felt like home and helped to refuel my soul in a way that continuing to grind out work could not. Certainly, from a photographer’s perspective… that of my own, i’m more inspired and driven after this experience. Often, we go around trying to figure things out as human beings instead of just allowing life to unfold. As I sit here eating some fresh eggs from Sarah’s ranch and listening to Bob Dylan, I look at this shoot as a testament to the notion that ‘home’ isn’t as far away as you think and who you truly are is always there. You just have to allow it to show up. 


American Field Washington DC — Roundup

Ben Ashby


A couple weeks ago I flew to DC for the latest American Field. In a time where the market, fair, barnsale, and show market have peaked American Field continues on. Founded in 2012 American Field has gained a reputation for supporting American made makers. Originally a market exclusively for American made menswear makers the market has since shifted towards a more inclusive appeal. In fall of 2017 American Field will hold markets in Washington DC, Brooklyn, and Boston. Here is a round up of some of my shots from the event.


Worn + Company

Ben Ashby


Somewhere between the thousands of barrels of bourbon and the thousands of acres of pasture that surround Lexington, Kentucky a style has developed thats equal parts southern, preppy, and equestrian...but has always skewed a little to the old side. It has taken far too long to get pleats out of Lexington. That is all changing with the introduction of Nick Nardiello's new shop Worn + Company. With a flair similar to big city menswear stores the shop brings American made goods to Lexington with a unique blend of equestrian and camp themed vintage and antiques. To learn more about Nick's shop I popped in a few weeks ago to check it all out.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY DO YOU LOVE LEXINGTON || I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky on a horse farm that my dad owned. My mother is an artist and a teacher. I was able to travel a little bit during high school and college while living in different parts of the world. After all of that traveling I knew that I would end up back in Lexington. We have a very worldly and eclectic community. I got my idea for my store after realizing that I have always been a big collector and I am always hunting for new pieces for my own collections. I chose Lexington because I felt that we were lacking a good mens store to go in and buy a pair of jeans and a little something else.

I wanted to share my appreciation for items both old and new and show uses via my store for each item. To me it matters so much that people get to come in and touch and handle the clothing or the antiques or vintage finds instead of shopping online and just looking at pictures. I wanted to create a destination store. I've already seen how it only takes one shop to create a movement that leads to a city becoming a destination. The east side of Lexington seemed like the perfect place to get it all started!




WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ITEMS IN THE STORE || My favorite items in the store have to be hats, selvage denim, and even my mothers painted feathers!


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT BRICK AND MORTAR || I support brick-and-mortar because when someone walks in my doors I want to evoke every one of the senses in their experience


Thriving Photography: An Interview with Bronson Farr

Christophe Chaisson

California raised, New York living, Bronson Farr is a phenomenal photographer whose love and passion for people is evidently displayed through his work. His very presence lights up a room with his radiating optimism & positivity, which is a pretty useful skill to possess being in a profession dependent on light.  We had the privilege to hear about his journey and career as a photographer.


Christophe: When did you first become interested in photography?

Bronson: Growing up, I though photos were really only to commemorate the happy stuff in life. When I was a child, I went to a wake for my Gramps. My uncle was taking photos of Gramps in his coffin and I super confused by it. I asked my Uncle why he was photographing this particular moment. He replied with something along the lines of "all aspects of life are important to document, even death". For me, this was a total and complete revelation. Photos aren't only for the happy moments, but photos are for ALL moments. Moments that we will all look back on and pensively reminisce over and moments that our posterity will look upon and know that we all existed and lived good lives. There is something magical and romantic about that, this is when the idea of photography became something meaningful to me. 



C: Were you self-taught or did you learn in school/from a mentor?

B: Self, Friends, Youtube tutorials.

C: How did you develop your style?

B: Practice and Collaboration.



B: Natural light is my absolute jam! I like to work with interesting locations in the city where there is a good mix of direct sunlight and shadowed back drops. Most times, my subjects choose me. For my art series, a lot of subjects reach out via instgram, but if I think you look interesting I have no problem being that creep asking to take your photo. When it comes to clients, I always have a consultation to make sure the vibe is right. Nothing is worst than working for a client you can't stand or truly collab with. 





C: How do you find and choose you subjects or locations?






C: What inspires your work?

B: My absolute favorite part of my work is working with people. People inspire me and my work. 

C: How do you compose an image?

B: One thing that is always on my mind is the rule of 3rds. 


C: Do you go into the shoot with a specific shot in mind, or does the inspiration strike when you place your model in the setting?

B: A bit of both. You need to know what you want to accomplish in any given shoot. Location, tone of voice, lighting etc should be worked out before your shoot, but if you aren't open to inspiration in the midst of creating- then what's the point? If you are looking at the model and your set and get a great idea that you are enthused about- the best advice I can ever give is to try it! You'll hate yourself if you don't.


C: What do you hope your art says to people?

B: I really just hope it makes people happy and make them want to work with me or try to execute what they've seen me do. 

C: Why did you choose photography as your craft?

B: It's the best mix of working with my hands, working directly with people, and actively trying to be creative and thoughtful. It just works for me.


C: How hard was it to become profitable at it? 

B: Thankfully I didn't struggle too much to get in the green. One of the first projects I worked on was a fundraiser for my friend's dad who had throat cancer. I shot loads of family sessions and gave all of the proceeds to my friends family. A few days after the project was done one of my roommates handed me an envelope with all of the money I had made and donated. He said someone dropped it off for me and said to not mention who it was from. To this day, that person is the reason why my equipment is paid for. 


C: Any suggestions to newcomers to the field?

B: Just show up. Take every opportunity to shoot and learn.
Be with other creatives. Train your eye and your hands.
Cloud based storage will be your friend.
Shoot RAW and in manual mode.
Practice with prime lenses.
Stop if you don't love it. Thrive if you do.


C: If you couldn’t be doing your craft, what would you do instead?


B: You know how Uber partners with hella companies to do cool stuff? I wanna be the guy to set up those partnerships...

Puppies would be in every car.








C: Any favorite moments of your career so far?

B: Shooting an huge Indian wedding in San Francisco. The groom's family blocked off part of Union Square and the family danced and sang while the groom rode in on a white horse. It was the most magical display of tradition I'd ever seen. 




C: What would you do differently if you could start from scratch?

B: I was transfering data from one hard drive to another. I got a bit too stoned and ended up deleting If I could start from scratch, I would get that cloud based storage off the bat, for sure.


C: Is there a defining moment in your career so far?

B: I was shooting a fashion show for Marc Bouwer and got to meet some of the cast of Orange is the New Black and some of those Housewives from BRAVO, that was pretty cool.



Ben: Is flannel really always appropriate? 

Bronson: Obviously.



C: Biggest pet peeve about the industry?

B:I don't think I've been around long enough to have too big of complaints. 


To capture all the moments of life as Bronson does really causes him to stand out. That to me is authenticity at its finest. He captures the good times, the hard times, and everything else in between. To follow his journey or even be a part of his shoots, check out his Instagram and Website below!

Bronson Farr's Website 







Share the Lex[ington, KY]

Ben Ashby

Lexington, KY is my favorite small-town-city. Perpetually locked in an identity crisis between being a small town and being a big city. Perpetually locked as a treasure box of southern days gone by. I lived in Lexington for eight years. I went to school in Lexington. I learned so much about the world outside my tiny western Kentucky town by watching the world slowly creep by in Lexington. Over the past ten years Lexington has experienced a refreshing amount of growth. From new faces and leadership to an ever evolving food and culture scene. Lexington is doing its damndest to catch up to the trendy cities across the US.

By being the northern most southern city in the US—Lexington serves visitors a more liberal and less antiquated version of southern culture. Gone are the vestiges of many of the southern stereotypes. In their place stands an open and colorful town. As I find myself frequently visiting Lexington I wanted create a short guide to a few of my favorites places. This list will grow over time. 


Lexington's food scene is quickly putting itself on the map. From trendy bars and farm-to-table spots, to quick lunch spots, to fine dining Lexington has it covered. My personal favorite is County Club in Lexington's Jefferson Street district. The pountine with brisket is the only reason needed to visit. The aesthetics are worth staying for.  

I asked my friend James where he recommends: 

1) Distilled at Gratz Park

2) Heirloom (a short 10 minute drive to Midway)

3) Dudley's

4) Cole's 735 Main

5) Lucy's at the Red Light

For those looking for classic southern comfort food, local chain Ramsey's is a must visit. Wallace Station and Windy Corner are both worth the drive outside of town to visit. Malones, the staple of Lexington is 100% worth skipping. 



Shopping is not one of Lexington's greatest assets. Beyond a handful of fabulous shops and boutiques you're left with the stand Anthro, Pottery Barn style. My absolute favorite is Fable + Flame near the mall. James, the owner, brings an incredibly pleasing aesthetic to his shop. With legendary sales and constantly rotating inventory the mix of new and vintage is the perfect excuse to visit Lexington.  

When it comes to shopping for vintage fashions Foxhouse has it covered. A tiny gem of a shop near UK's campus, Foxhouse offers everything you need for a completely vintage outfit. Recent additions to the shop include American made art, jewelry, and accessories. 

Worn + Company is my favorite new store in Lexington. Nick's menwear stores focuses on classic American made men's staples, a flair of hipster, and a timeless, yet modern, southern meets outdoorsman style. 

Michler Florist and Greenhouse is absolutely 100% out of a dream. A handful of time worn greenhouses cover the wooded grounds of the urban property. A beer garden and vegan restaurant are carved among the trees. The greenhouse specializes in plants native Kentucky. Every inch of the property is worth photographing, but the plants really do take center stage. If you're looking to bring the outdoors into your home you want to make a stop at Michler's. 

This literally doesn't even scratch the surface of places to visit in Lexington. Stay tuned for more. 

A Motorcycle & Route 66

Ben Ashby

They came from foreign lands, they came from distant cities. From Chicago, from New York City, from tiny Connecticut towns, they came from Miami, and they came from Los Angeles all searching for something more, searching for something different. The reality is we live in an overly digital, overly connected world. They came searching for a reprieve from the 24/7 political nightmare, from the 365 biased news overload. They came searching for places that had been untouched, places that meet the morning horizons with zero traces of man or modernity. They came for a motorcycle tour of Route 66 with Los Angeles based motorcycle touring company EagleRider



When I got the call asking if I’d go on a motorcycle tour down Route 66 with a touring company I had several concerns, questions, comments, etc etc. We’ll address those as we go, but for the sake of the beautiful narrative I have in my head lets continue with where I was headed. 

The kids on the trip showed up in their Ubers clad in the standard all black uniforms of the American cities. they brought with them every device short of beepers. Constantly connected to business emails, to Instagramers, to Twitterers, to txting, and weird side projects they were working on. The majority had never been on a motorcycle, and the majority had never been deep into the desert out west. After a brief mixer at the Eagle Rider headquarters they quickly found common ground. Three worked in the same tower off Columbus Circle. One would soon be the other’s boss. The phones slowly were used less and less and real tangible connections were made. The CEO of EagleRider greeted us and welcomed us to what would be our three day tour. He began it all by telling us a motorcycle tour of Route 66 is as American as apple pie. A rite-of-passage that every American must do. EagleRider was the perfect means to make this possible.

EagleRider was founded on the idea of providing motorcycle riders with motorcycle rentals in locations all over the world. You can rent them in a very similar fashion to renting a car at Enterprise or Hertz. EagleRider also offers guided tours of routes all over the world. From short ones like our three day tour of Route 66 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, to a complete tour of Route 66. EagleRider has locations all over the world. 


After the CEO’s introduction we were fitted in our motorcycle jackets and outfitted in some appropriately themed gear. Indian is one of my favorite bike brands. I quickly went for anything I could find. We packed up and headed out…to basically the best BBQ in L.A…I’ll report back with the name. 

For our tour we were all strangers. We walked into the tour with only one thing in common…a love of words. We would each be responsible for writing our thoughts on the trip. Over dinner we discussed our angles and our plans. We discussed our backgrounds and who our audiences were. I quickly realized I got the lucky job…I have the audience with a love of adventure. 

As worlds connected and the millennials connected the guards and walls of urban dwelling and politics and whatever this weird round the clock negative news world we live in fell away. Moods became lighter and the excitement build for the journey that would begin as the sun rose over the southern California mountains the following morning. 


In the American west the sun rises over the dusty mountains the same as it has for hundreds of years. The march of time has turned coastal deserts of southern California from a vast sandy sea of succulents and cacti to a wild treeless wilderness of horse paths, tiny mining towns, outlaws, and tall tails, to an urban jungle of kids seeking an escape into wanderlust. As the sun rose helmets went on, bikes were mounted, engines were revved, and the tires carrying the millennials were hitting the sun-baked asphalt of Los Angeles. This mornings route would take us high into the mountains towards Palm Springs. The interstates began to fly by as we made our way towards the forgotten highways leading east. 

I’ve already driven from Kentucky to California twice this year in a rented Chevy Malibu. I’ve driven across the US and back in Cadillacs and Toyotas, but I’d never been on the open road on a bike. I’d never felt all the cliches, I’d never felt the wind in my hair. I’d never felt Bette Midler’s wind beneath my wings. The bike ensured a sense of freedom, a sense of abandon, a sense of independence. The wind swept past, the bumps and curves were felt, it was just you and this man made machine. It was you, without a hand to hold a phone, a hand to text, or an ability to talk to those around you. It was just you, your thoughts, the sun, and a reckless spirit of Americana. It was exactly what was needed. 

The cityscapes and the suburbs gave way to orange groves and cattle farms. The ascent up the mountain began. The air grew chilled. The ride slowed down as the curves became tighter and the pack of motorcycles became narrower. Our trip has one main guide and three additional guides that were joining us for the trip. The lead knew all the routes and the curves. He led us the entire trip with a flawless pace. Between the four guides on the tour they complete hundreds of tours a year leading Americans of all ages and tourist across nearly every state in the US. With all of us being from the world of media this was all new territory for us. Hardly any of us had ever been on a bike, much less ridden it through deserts or over mountains. EagleRider specializes in keeping an up to date fleet of bikes and having guides that not only know the roads but also know the details and histories of all the areas they’re visiting. 



We stopped for lunch high in the hills surrounded by pines and cabins. This new landscape seemed an extreme exchange of the landscape we had been immersed in just a few hours ago. The goal of this trip wasn’t to just ride a motorcycle down Route 66…it was about experiencing something different and about being in nature and out of the urban element. The mountains and the mountain themed restaurant were a reminder of that. We all vowed to experience everything as it came and to savor the moments. Basically I am just trying to say we had zero cellphone service as dramatically as possible. Conversations seemed authentic. It is an idea we will be exploring in depth this year—but it seems the idea of living in real life rather than living a digital facade is where we millennials are heading. If you’re looking for a festive way to start that journey—grad and EagleRider bike and head out. 

I am a sucker for Palm Springs. There is something about it being totally lost in time that really speaks to me. Maybe its the desert vibes or the mid century aesthetic, but I am obsessed with the place. The winds outside of town are a true experience for a motorcycle rider, but absolutely worth the thrill. EagleRider has the accommodations perfectly prepared. All luggage follows behind the group of bikes in a sprinter van and everything is unloaded at the hotel. Bikes were parked and we all went inside to freshen up. The digital world was once again available, but few indulged. Being disconnected had become a luxury not worth giving up. 

The next morning I broke away from the group to meet up with a photographer friend to photograph the Desert X house in Palm Springs. This meant I would be picked up by the Jeep that trailed behind the group. It also meant I would be skipping the nearly full day exercising into Joshua Tree National Park. 



We met back up with the group for BBQ in 29 Palms. The rest of our day would be driving through the extremely open roads of Arizona and California. During that afternoon with my Jeep driver I learned a few things about taking a motorcycle tour:

  1. You will be much hotter in black than you will wearing white. In the middle of the summer ditch being stylish for being comfortable.
  2. Stay hydrated. The wind will dry you out. 
  3. Wear every bit of sun screen you can slather on. Don’t forget to coat those fingers and hands well and often
  4. If you want to take a tour but don’t have a motorcycle license grab a three wheeled Slingshot.
  5. Learn the hand signals. 
  6. Know the limits of your bike. When it gets to a certain temp motorcycles (and helicopters) get too hot to operate. 
  7. Put your phone away.
  8. Don’t try to show off. You are absolutely not as good of a driver as you say you are.
  9. When in doubt just ride in the Jeep. 
  10. Always go for the gas station hot dogs. The risk is always worth it.

Our day concludes with a boat tour along the state line and a rest at a casino outside Las Vegas. They tell us we have a long day tomorrow, but refuse to say anything else. 


The hotel sits along the banks of the river in a deep valley. The sun rises slowly yet the heat quickly creeps in. We continue to skirt the Nevada state line. We take routes of Route 66 that seem like a Wiley Coyote cartoon. Roadrunner should be leading our group. Wild donkeys rest alongside the highway and one of the oldest ghost towns in the US sits over the horizon. Oatman, Arizona is a town of legends. A tiny mining town that has been the center of folklore for decades is a nearly preserved reminder of the former America and the newly embraced Chinese made consumption obsessed American tourist. Dew rags and t shirts coat the derelict wooden structures with a vile mix of tacky and trashy. This is the America was have set out to escape. Our bikes quickly become a comforting reminder that we will escape this nightmare as quickly as we entered it. 

Back on the road we are told that we must hurry towards our final surprise of the trip. We are all well bonded and unhappy with the idea that our trip will soon be over. We head across Hoover Dam and head towards the sins of Las Vegas, but first we stop at one of the regional airports where a fleet of helicopters await. 

For many of us this was our first helicopter experience. For all of us this was the perfect ending to our trip. We rose high above the landscape. The desert gave way to the jagged and indescribable beauty of the Grand Canyon. We soared over the walls and the Colorado river. We had final conversations over headsets and we lamented on the fact that the depths and wonders below would soon give way for a rude reality that our overly digital overly connected lived await. 

EagleRider is a company that was founded on the idea of giving people the freedom of the road and the ability to experience America. Eagle Rider has since provided countless people of all ages with the ability to escape this absurdly negative world. It affords its riders with the ability to head towards an America and a reality that is void of connection. It affords its riders the ability to find tangible connection with strangers, with the sun, with the road, with the time forgotten landscapes or America, and it allows its rides to find a connection with themselves that we millennials are in desperate need of. 

We, the seven millennials were all strangers from foreign lands seeking an experience, and escape, and a connection with each other. We left as seven new found friends with a shared experience and a shared appreciation for a life less modern. 


10 Tips || Buying American Made

Ben Ashby


I've been in this American Made game a long time. Six years seems like a lifetime. I've seen countless American makers come and go. I've seen brands skyrocket and I've seen brands crash. I've seen brands totally change the game and brands that are as stale as week old white bread. I'd argue that by now I am an expert on American Made...and I've seen more brands than most anyone. When we first started promoting American Made I was a bit of a snob and said you should be all American made all day every day. In the years and in the economic and manufacturing shift since I no longer stand by that claim.


Today you'll find me still screaming from the rooftops to buy American Made...but not exclusively. The idea of buying exclusively American Made is bad spending. You aren't Trump. You can't just get Russia to get you out of debt. Be wise with your consumption. Years ago I worked with a girl that, when we'd promote makers, argue that the key was investing in statement pieces. For her that was a love of handmade jewelry. She would collect massive, chunky, pieces of jewelry that would complete an outfit. When she first started promoting the idea I thought she was brilliant. Her stance a college student, it would be nice to buy all American Made, but like, that isn't possible.



In the years since I've added to her original platform. You may want to sit down for this...but...I've seen a lot of brands..and I can assure you...American Made isn't always worth the price. Some of the most poorly constructed pieces I've owned are American made. Why is this? Isn't American Made supposed to be the be all and end all of integrity and quality. Well 100 years ago that was likely true, but the art of quality died as most American companies moved production overseas. With that departure the decades old machines went overseas with them and the skilled American craftsmen were left behind.



Today as brands and makers shift back towards American production there is still a learning curve and a cost curve. New makers are having to purchase new equipment that is insanely expensive. Having to teach themselves the trade, and having to work incredibly hard to source the raw materials.



I've been teetering for months about how to best write this piece. I feel like simply providing ten tips for buying American Made is most practical.



But first back to her ideas about statement pieces. Rather than buying massive quantities of poorly made American Made simply to say you wear exclusively American your money and invest in really high quality pieces that will last for decades. Buying American made has never been about following trends. In a world of fast fashion...if you're looking for trendy tops and sneakers...go for the fast fashion. Save up and invest in American Made leather goods, jewelry, or outerwear. She always liked investing in pieces from makers we worked with so that if people complimented the pieces she wore she could educate them on the maker, the brand, and the movement. A grassroots effort is largely what has brought American Made back to the limelight.


Over the years I have a few brands that I personal feel are worth investing in and wear almost daily. If you were to go into my closet you'd find:

Luggage and watches by Filson
Anything by Ball and Buck (in my opinion the best made American Made brand)
Waxed canvas by Neverest Outfitters
Leather Accessories by Loyal Stricklin
Candles by PF Candle Co
Underwear by N2N Bodywear
Blankets by Woolrich
Shirts by Stock Manufacturing
Leather bags by Fount


10 Tips for Buying American Made

1. Invest in pieces that will be timeless. Luggage and bags are the best place to start.
2. Shop markets and fairs for handmade jewelry. Get the pieces in your hand to make sure they're well made and will hold up. Look at Hobby Lobby to see if their pieces are sourced from there.
3. Check the sticking in denim. Is the crotch going to rip out fast. The US made denim industry is plagued with poor quality. Some brands will last a lifetime. Some brands won't last a season. When in doubt hold off buying and grab a pair of Levi's instead.
4. When buying bags look at the stitching and the seams. If you can see between the pieces of leather the piece will not hold up.
5. Most candle companies source their scents from the same bulk supplier. A $5 candle and a $45 candle often times both have the same scents. Go for brands like PF Candle Co that have custom mixed scents rather than the bulk standards.
6. A brand may say it's American made, but in reality may only produce a small percentage of their goods in the US. Don't buy blindly thinking it's all made here. Woolrich makes their blankets in the US. The majority of the clothes are made in Asia. New Balance makes a small percentage of their shoes in the US. Their US shoes are worth the investment.
7. If you're looking to invest in boots, American Made is the answer. Red Wings can be passed down for generations. Go for Asian Made sneakers and save up for American Made boots.
8. The best way to be introduced to American Made makers is by going to markets and fairs. See the products in person. Meet the makers and hear their stories. My favorites are American Field on the east coast, the Country Living Fairs in the east, Made South in the south, and Liberty Fairs in the major cities.
9. Follow makers and brands on social media, you'll save by watching for sales and buying directly from the maker.
10. Don't feel obligated to buy American Made all the time. Buy what you like, when you can. Don't waste money on things you'll quickly tire of simply because it's American made.

Capturing Coffee Culture : One Cortado at a Time

Christophe Chaisson

No better way to start a Monday than doing it with a cup of coffee in your hand. Coffee isn't just a bitter brown liquid with caffeine, rather coffee has its own culture and ability to gather community.  Grab yourself a cup however you like it and join me and Laurie Unger as she talks about coffee and photography. 



Christophe: What is your favorite coffee shop?

Laurie: My favorite coffee shop is Zoka @zokacoffeein Kirkland, Washington.  The high ceilings and the light and airy atmosphere is what originally drew me in, but the coffee and sense of community keeps me coming back.






C: What Is your favorite coffee shop drink?

L: A Cortado or a triple espresso is my drink of choice.  I occasionally will drink both if my energy level needs a boost. I really enjoy tasting the flavors of strong coffee so I don’t usually drink coffees that have lots of milk in them.  







C: What makes a good coffee shop?

L: A coffee shop that is flooded with natural light and a good design sense (especially if it has lots of black and white) is always my first choice.  Of course, great coffee is the most obvious, but without good lighting it is a no go.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and there are a lot of grey days and rain. Light and bright is important to me.







C: Why do you love coffee/coffee culture?

L: The coffee culture has brought in a modern sense of community/gathering place. It is more than just drinking coffee; it is an experience wherein in you can enjoy meeting up with friends, conducting business, or just relaxing and taking time to enjoy a cup of coffee any way you might like it.



C: Your favorite coffee culture photo tip?

L: Paying attention to natural light is perhaps the single most important step in taking a good photo. I always try to be aware of what time of day it is, weather conditions and the direction of the light.  Walls, tables and floors are always good backdrops to be aware of so that the picture is interesting.


Laurie captures everyday bright moments that adds a special light to the day. She finds the adventure in the simplicity and joys of everyday life. To follow more of her creative journey, you can find her on Instagram here: @:LAURIEUNGER

It is now time to pour ourselves another cup.

Happy Monday everyone!

Cole Kiburz and a Very Troubled Child

Ben Ashby

'After carrying this beautiful Wes Anderson-inspired bag throughout my travels to India, I’ve had a tough time setting it down. Recently, I packed the bag with supplies ranging from camera gear to a woven wool blanket and brought it along on an excursion to the Grand Canyon. I’m one that tries to shy away from rampant materialism, choosing rather to curate a few beloved items that have enough personality to become a part of the story themselves. I like to imagine this Savanah No. 4 bag by @verytroubledchild as an heirloom down the road, after it’s and my travel days are done. Scars earned, skin and leather worn, a million tales to tell within our confines.'

– Cole Kiburz, Photographer.

Kelsey Wallace and her Paisley Pig

Ben Ashby

 I realized I was traveling the world shooting and meeting makers and small business owners...all while never paying nearly enough attention to downtown Beaver Dam. When I found out Kelsey was opening a shop in my old building...I knew it was the perfect place to start. The Paisley Pig opens tomorrow! I sat down with Kelsey this week and asked a few questions about opening a store in a small town, who inspires her, and the idea of returning to her hometown. 

Questions and Answers:

Why did you want to open a store?

  • Upon graduating from OCHS, I moved to Bowling Green to attend WKU. I found myself spending every free afternoon in Downtown Bowling Green at the Square. I found so much joy strolling in and out of their shops because it was a convenience I had never been around. Living in Ohio County my whole life I didn't have the chance to walk out my front door and be two minutes from a contemporary clothing store, it was in those days window shopping on The Square that Paisley Pig Boutique began to form.

Why did you want to open Paisley Pig in a small town?

  • I chose to open Paisley Pig Boutique in a small town because so many times small town people are forced to go outside of their county to find trendy clothing. I so vividly remember coming home from school the day before a big event to my mom loading us kids up to make a quick trip to Owensboro for a new dress. Paisley Pig Boutique hopes to bust the myth that you can only find cute clothes in big cities.

Why is it important to support small towns and small businesses?

  • Small towns are a snapshot into the past. In a world that is ever changing and at a high speed pace, small towns are a break from reality. Small towns still hold on to the roots and values in which our country was founded upon, letting small towns go would let the heart of America go. By supporting small town businesses you are keeping rural America alive and thriving.

What are you most excited to carry?

  • Paisley Pig Boutique will carry women's sizes S- 3XL, children & men's clothing. Along with popular boutique brands Paisley Pig will feature items from Shop Local KY, Matilda Jane and Southern Point Co. Shoes and accessories will also be available. I am most excited about carrying "Mary & Milvie" Jewelry, because the jewelry is locally made by a team of sister entrepreneurs at ages 9 and 13.

What do you see being your biggest asset?

  • My biggest asset is easily my family. Each and everyone of them have put their own touch on the store from building displays to steaming clothes, Paisley Pig Boutique is made possible by them.

What do you see as being your biggest hurdle?

  • I feel my biggest hurdle is changing the mindset of community members from believing they have to drive out of town for cute and affordable clothing.

What/who inspires what you're doing?

  • I am most inspired by Joanna Gaines, not only because she is a successful business woman in many different areas but because even though she is successful she still remains humble and gives all her glory to God.


Paisley Pig Boutique can be found on Facebook @paisleypigboutiqueoc & on Instagram @paisleypig_oc.

Flower Power: Toby Kassoy + Lilla Bello

Ben Ashby

Recently, we made a trip out west to the golden coast with the sun shining and the windows down. We asked that along the way makers reach out to us to meet and shoot what it is that they do. Each and every business was unique, but when Toby of Lilla Bello reached out and asked us to shoot her floral design studio we knew we had to go. Making our way past the superbloom of poppies in California we traveled to Lilla Bello to meet Toby, who has been following us for years. We were lucky enough to stop in and shoot her creating in her space while getting to know her better. Meet Toby Kassoy of Lilla Bello, a bespoke floral design studio in Los Angeles, and watch as she pulls together several beautiful arrangements in her lifestyle shop and studio.

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Lonesome Pine Mercantile

Ben Ashby

On our recent road trip through the south we went to visit our good friend Samuel Melton at his store Lonesome Pine Mercantile. Nestled in the town square of a small East Texas town Lonesome Pine is a majestic and serine look into vintage design. Samuel is creating not only a place to get local goods but a style that could change a small town into a mecca for the design world. We asked him some personal questions about not only his store but life in general.

Why your small town in Texas?

Well I grew up here, I went to school down the street, I danced at the pickin palace on Saturdays on blues night. However I grew up saying I would never come back to this town. I think I have a essay somewhere from middle school stating I was going to live far far far away from Hemphill. However being far far away for years I missed it. I came back for a visit and couldn't believe what my town was becoming , slowly it was becoming a ghost town. The square that I once spent most afternoons became empty and by passed by new faster highways. So being at the right place in my life I declared that somewhere on this square had to be my store. So I set on my new badge of the "urban exodus". It's also a part of my story my town is a huge pet of who I am so it's only appropriate to open up in this old East Tx town that has its quirky stories.

Starting with a physical store first, was that hard?

The hardest part was finding the location we had few options and each became a challenge. I think we went through the 3 months with 5 different location options. I think in a small town a physical location is smarter rather then online. Most people in this town still don't operate computers. This being ok because we wanted the town fellowship most of all before a online presence. On a the same topic the other hardest part of a physical location is people don't understand why a non married 26 year old man would come and open store so it's mainly breaking down that wall of questions and expectations that seems to be the hardest.


What products can we expect online?

Online will be treated as invite to East Texas more than anything. We will sell our local made goods from our friends/southern makers as well vintage textiles. This includes rugs, pillows, blankets and throws. I'm obsessed with the fact that textiles can change a home with a few here and a rug there. So I want to spread my idea of textile living. We will have furniture available however it'll be local pick up , but we actually haven't had a issue with that. People are so supportive that they want to explore Hemphill and East Texas so they are willing to come to the shop and grab their new pieces. I'm also excited to say there will be a blog on the site . We offer styling and home collaborations so we will be able to show our adventures and talk about the rural life more. 

Who inspires your style?

That's a big question. I tend to experiment a lot with style but always circle back to a vintage mix. I guess in stylist or designer I would say Emily Henderson because she really understands that life calls for lives in styles or style that can ware well in better terms. I do have to say my parents are hugely inspirational with encouraging me while younger to explore styles and history of pieces which made me come up with what my style early on. My parents are afraid to put the odd in their home and layer colors which shows up in my styling of homes usually. I share a love for Folk pieces and those odd pieces in the home much like my parents. In places that I draw inspirations from it would be the old old farm homes around my town you walk in and see the simple details that I go crazy for. From the cheap whitewash they used to the slim pine floors; the colors age well and look so amazing whether you add that new West Elm sofa or the found old worn leather chair. 

Did working at West Elm give you an advantage on competition in the area?

Working for WE I would say gave me a advantage but gave me a vision on what potential I see for a home can be. This area is so under served that anything new can be that thing that inspires other to branch out and start thinking design. 

What areas do you want to grow your business (i.e. design, products, etc)?

That changes everyday as of today I would say I would want to be able to bring the shop on the road. I know for sure to help and style homes is our goal. Recently we have become buyers for local designers where they are coming for the unique. I do want our local maker presence to also grow with hopefully collaborating ( being able to collab is a complement like none other to me) . We have such great talent in this small county of mine that it's a shame to not have it showcases in a better setting rather then on the side of the road.  So for our evolution as a store I think it's to style more and find more makers that deserve a chance to be showcased.

Where do you see yourself and your business in the coming years?

Well for Lonesome Pine I just want to become a presence. This meaning for people to see that we are here and we have something special in East Texas. Also I just want the store to survive the first year can be a hard one with learning how your store will work and drawing in customers it can be scary. I do want my business to become that inspiration to others to invest in small town Texas (maybe East Texas) and rally around them as a friend. To see the empty next to me be filled with a coffee bar, eatery, and etc would be my idea of growth.

A Stay at Hudson Woods

Ben Ashby

Our friends at Brick & Wonder recently invited us to spend a weekend at one of their featured properties; Hudson Woods. Brick & Wonder is a curated platform of the highest quality homes for sale worldwide. Launched by Lang Architecture in 2016, brick & wonder provides access to homes in the marketplace with design integrity that have the capacity to improve how we feel, think, interact and ultimately live our daily lives.

They set us up with a stay at Hudson Woods which is a set of dwellings nestled amidst forests and meadows with sweeping mountain views, in New York's Hudson Valley. Hudson Woods homes take queue from mid-century and Scandinavian architectural principals, Japanese craftsmanship heritage and local vernacular history. They worked with a number of local craftspeople, artisans and designers to outfit the home with handmade and heirloom furniture and accessories. 

The photos were all taken by Paige and Corey of Going Home Productions...a photography and video team based in New York City. 

December | Week 4

Zack Peterson

It's officially here, y'all! The day some of us wait for all year long - Christmas Day. Spending the day with loved ones, giving gifts from the heart, and not missing out on any cookies. This week's playlist brings together Christmas classics we've all grown up listening to, sung by even bigger classics. Andy Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como and more delight our ears this weekend for the big day. Sit back, snuggle up in that slightly tacky throw your aunt knitted those many years ago, and enjoy our December Week 4 playlist. Don't forget to follow us on Spotify to catch up on our previous December playlists, and be sure to tweet us to let us know which one is your favorite. From our family to yours, we wish you a very, Merry Christmas. 

  1. Winter Wonderland - Ella Fitzgerald
  2. A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
  3. Silver Bells - Perry Como
  4. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
  5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
  6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
  7. Snow - Rosemary Clooney
  8. A Marshmallow World - Dean Martin
  9. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
  10. Feliz Navidad - José Feliciano
  11. Sleigh Ride - Mel Tormé
  12. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
  13. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

December | Week 3

Zack Peterson

Today marks the day for Week 3 of our December Playlist series, and this week it’s a bubblegum pop Christmas! We’ve covered country and indie/rock so far, and now it’s time for a new genre of cheer to make it’s way through. Featuring the ultra sweet sounds of holiday pop favorites, such as *NSYNC, Ariana Grande, Wham! and more, this playlist is sure to get you in that extra festive spirit! It’s a blast in a red and green colored martini glass for cryin’ out loud! Make sure you’re not behind, only nine more days until days until Christmas and seven until our Week 4 Playlist comes to town! Be sure to follow us on Spotify, and tweet us your favorite Christmas pop anthems this season!

  1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Jackson 5
  2. Man With The Bag - Jessie J
  3. White Christmas - Michael Bublé and Shania Twain
  4. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - *NSYNC
  5. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Kylie Minogue
  6. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
  7. Underneath the Tree - Kelly Clarkson
  8. Last Christmas - Wham!
  9. Santa Tell Me - Ariana Grande
  10. That's Christmas to Me - Pentatonix
  11. Oh Holy Night - Christina Aguilera
  12. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Sam Smith
  13. All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

December | Week 2

Zack Peterson

It's Week 2 of our December Playlist series today and we hope you're just as excited as we are! This week's playlist is curated to fit the likes for all of you hipsters out there with impressive enough beards even you might get mistaken for Santa Claus. So let that moody, natural lighting in, take a VSCO filtered Instagram photo of your trendy yet minimal Christmas decor, and listen to the sweet sounds of Paul McCartney, The Lumineers, She & Him and many more. Don't lose track, only seventeen days until Christmas, and eight until our December Week 3 Playlist! Make sure to follow us on Spotify so you don't miss a beat (literally), and tweet us your favorite holiday jingle suggestions!

  1. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
  2. Santa Stole My Lady - Fitz and The Tantrums
  3. Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
  4. You're Just Like Christmas - The Crookes
  5. The Man with the Bag - She & Him
  6. Thank God It's Christmas - Queen
  7. A Great Big Sled - The Killers + Toni Halliday
  8. Lonely This Christmas - Lucky Soul
  9. Tracks In The Snow - The Civil Wars
  10. Christmas Lights - Coldplay
  11. Blue Christmas - The Lumineers
  12. Happy Xmas ( War Is Over) - John Lennon
  13. All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

December | Week 1

Zack Peterson

Happy December, y'all! Today is an extra festive day not only because this is our first ever playlist, but because we're launching the first of four holiday playlists for this month! Four weeks until Christmas means a new playlist each week. Every playlist is separated by genre, and what better way to kick things off than with a two-steppin', nothing but twang, country Christmas! Featuring twelve holiday classics sung by country artists both new and old, along with a Christmas hit to really get you in the extra festive spirit, give this playlist a listen while sitting by the fire, in the kitchen whippin' up some family recipe sweets, or even in a rocker on the porch. Be sure to follow us on Spotify, and let us know which Christmas songs you enjoy on Twitter! Now y'all come on back next week for an all new playlist, ya hear?

  1. Country Christmas - Loretta Lynn
  2. Christmas Cookies - George Strait
  3. Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
  4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Kelsea Ballerini
  5. Let It Be Christmas - Alan Jackson
  6. Tennessee Christmas - Amy Grant
  7. Christmas Makes Me Cry - Kacey Musgraves
  8. Silent Night - Johnny Cash
  9. Hard Candy Christmas - Dolly Parton
  10. Celebrate Me Home - LeAnn Rimes
  11. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Faith Hill
  12. Winter Wonderland - Brett Eldredge
  13. All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

Our Favorite Brooklyn Instagrams

Zack Peterson

As we prepare for American Field - Brooklyn to take place this weekend, we wanted to share with y'all just some of our favorite Brooklyn Instagrams! Which Brooklyn Instagrams are you following that you think we should be following as well? Let us know! Can't wait to see you at American Field this weekend!




Will Taylor is the creator of the colourfully popular blog Bright.Bazaar and author of two successful interior design books, photographing his vivid journeys one photo at a time.




Ryan Fitzgibbon is the founder of a bi-annually published magazine, beautifully curated to explore the stories of men who date men, better known as Hello Mr. And he also happens to take wonderful photos as well.




New York City lifestyle blogger of Scout Sixteen, Justin Livingston writes about fashion, home, and travel to inspire and seek new discoveries for others.




Drawing inspiration from his Norwegian aunts and grandmother, Sweet Paul is an adorable and cuddly lifestyle. With modern and elevated Scandinavian design in mind he creates a colorful world of crafts, food, and lifestyle content.




He's not just another freckle-faced kid, Tucker Stanton Howe is a king of casual luxury, travel, and style. A Texas born New Yorker with an eye for design, the elegant masculine form, and his pup, Theodore.