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The Blog

The daily, and somewhat random, musings from Ben. From the journeys, to the vlogs, to the behind-the-scenes-into-the-world moments.

Filtering by Tag: blog

A HotelTonight Pool Party in Brooklyn

Ben Ashby


If you follow me you know I love using HotelTonight. A few weeks ago we were invited to attend their pool party in Brooklyn and the Williamsburg Hotel. The views of Manhattan across the East River were just perfect. The food and music was splendid. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday in July. I thought I’d share a few of the images I took that day. If you’re hunting for hotels I highly recommend HotelTonight.

The American Made Box

Ben Ashby


Over the years we've worked with so many amazing makers and American made businesses...and have come to so deeply appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each and every product. We were brain storming a way we could further support those makers beyond simply sharing their stories on our website and social...and the idea of doing a seasonal box was born. Each season we're creating a special designed box filled with maker made goods. We thought this would be a good way to help introduce you to why we love them so much. Each season the box will be totally different from the previous. The summer box ships July 7 and will be filled with five items that were all created by hand in the US. Pre-orders are available now. Each season will be limited to one hundred boxes. You can also test the waters with our more affordable mini box that features two products we know you'll love!

The combined retail value of the products included is over $75. You'll be saving over 30%.

What is in the box will remain a surprise until you receive it. The photos are just a sample of what could be included (several of the items in these photos will be included, but we're not saying which ones!)


Terrain & Table Dinner

Ben Ashby


Sometimes you encounter moments that seem like narratives out of story books or ideas from a distant land. The idea of having a dinner atop a hill in the Catskills with the Delaware River in the distance and Pennsylvania rising from its southern shore seems far fetched and impossible, but The Farmhouse Project brought that fantasy to life with their first Terrain and Table dinner this past weekend in Calicoon, New York.

The idea of the dinner is simple…a community coming together to share a meal. The event comes to life in the details. From a beautiful setting, to locally sourced foods the dinner left no detail perfected. A table for seventy fits perfectly to scale with the orchards that line the hillside around the gathering.

The table quickly felt like a cozy setting as friends were made and food was served. Locals and visitors mingled and made friends as they shared stories of the growing popularity of the western Catskills region, the revival of small towns, and a love of the nature and scenery that surrounded.

The Farmhouse Project will be hosting a series of these dinners this summer and autumn seasons in the western Catskills area. The next one takes place on the original Woodstock grounds.

The Farmhouse Project


First Day of Summer

Ben Ashby


I have a lot of thoughts about life. I am convinced that the majority of them are based on country songs. Perhaps the inspiration came from Tammy or Dolly or Loretta singing about times gone by, singing about powerful spirits, singing about living life loud and confidently. Perhaps it came from the modern anthems of Carrie or Miranda or Martina or Faith. Singing about the feeling strong and empowered and standing your ground. Perhaps its a mix of southern experiences, a close proximity to Nashville, and the ability to relate to the songs on the radio.


I do know that life is bested lived with the windows down, on back roads and along countrysides, and with a decent amount of sweet tea. Not too much or you’ll get the dialetus, not too many biscuits and gravy or you’ll get too fat…but just enough to keep your veins well lubricated with lard and sugar and old fashioned sweetness. Life is intended to be spent outdoors. Life is supposed to be spent acknowledging and celebrating the different seasons, the clouds, the sun, and yes even the rain. The rainy seasons prepare us for the sunny summers ahead. Today on this first day of summer I am thankful for those rainy seasons, I am thankful for rain coats, rubber boots, and the occasional splashing in puddles and mud.


Perhaps we all don’t drive classic pick-ups with a coon dog or beagle running circles in the back. Perhaps we all don’t have grand old oaks or front porch to swing upon. We do all however all have old mason jars we can catch fire flies in, we all have glasses to feel with ice and lemonade, we all have the ability to take a stroll in nature. No matter where we are….sometimes it is necessary to put on Sugarland, sing Settlin just as loud as we can and to celebrate summer all season long.


10 Summertime Musts

  1. Visit the farmers market

  2. Visit at least one roadside stand. Know where your food comes from.

  3. Swim in a lake, a stream, or a creek.

  4. Ride around in at least one old pick up truck. Preferably ‘86 or older model.

  5. Have a snow cone. Its a must.

  6. Listen to Fleetwood Mac, CCR, and Alabama weekly from May to late August.

  7. Enjoy as many glasses of sweet tea as you can muster. Add springs of mint.

  8. Visit the Bourbon Trail. Know where your summer cocktails come from.

  9. Catch a dozen fireflies. Release them after.

  10. Go to a walk up Dairy Freeze. Have a cone or three.

Letting Go | An Essay by Brandon Roberts

Ben Ashby


Brandon Roberts

Journal Entry Vol.2 #21
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 12:41pm
University of Montana Soccer Field, Missoula, MT

When I really start over and hand everything over to God or whatever it is, it is so scary and my immediate reaction is to control the situation. I know, always, what the right answer is, because I’ve tapped into my inner compass. It’s boils down to wanting to save my ass and face at the same time. I can’t. I have to pick one. No matter what it is, it’s scary. The big things always are and even the small stuff.



The Strawberry Patch 2018

Ben Ashby


Fall is without question my favorite season. I utterly live for the barn sales, the changing leaves, the warm pumpkin spices lattes, and all the apple cider a person can handle. The official kick off for the autumn season in my world is always The Strawberry Patch barn sale in Hartsville, TN. The event is hosted by Christy Jo Stone on her family’s farm just outside of the tiny town of Hartsville. Each year Christy Jo brings together dozens of the very best vintage, antique, and hand made vendors from all across the south.

There are a few key elements needing for a successful barn sale, and Christy Jo captures them all. From fabulous vendors, to a mix of styles, to quality entertainment, and the best food trucks, and of course her signature fruit tea, Christy Jo creates a must visit event that is set among the rolling pastures and farmlands of the area.

This year I shot the event for a 2019 issue of Where Women Create so I can’t share too many of the photos here, but I do have a few of my favorites to give a taste of what you’ll be seeing in an issue sometime next year.

Until then, here are a few of my other favorite barn sales and markets to visit each fall:

A Day in the Country — Atwater, Ohio

Southern Junkers — Memphis, Tennessee

City Farmhouse — Franklin, Tennessee

Country Living Fair — Columbus, Ohio

The Hayloft — Port Royal, Tennessee

Gypsy Moon Marketplace — Bowling Green, Kentucky

The Strawberry Patch — Hartsville, Tennessee

Vintage Pickin — Fyfee, Alabama

Where Women Create + Teressa Foglia

Ben Ashby


For the summer 2018 issue I shot Teressa Foglia in her studio in Industry City. Teressa is a milliner based in New York City. A preview of the story follows....


Teressa Foglia is a social media entrepreneur who recently opened her first millinery shop in Industry City, Brooklyn, New York. Starting her business just after college she quickly grew her online following as well as her social and professional circle. Now the owner of two businesses, we catch up with her, hear a bit of her story and her advice for hopeful entrepreneurs.




Growing up in Troy, New York, I was close with my entire family. Not just my parents, but my extended family, as well. I am an only child, and as such I have always relied on my parents for advice. Anytime I have a big decision to make, I look to them for help.

After graduating, I switched jobs 4 times in a year. I quickly realized that climbing the corporate ladder and the office life just wasn’t for me. When I was 23 I started my own social media company. It was during that transitional period that I picked up my first few social media clients. I loved having the freedom to choose the clients, as well as when and where I worked, I never looked back.....


Demetria Chappo | Where Women Create

Ben Ashby


Demetria Chappo is a Brooklyn-based ceramic artist making home objects, decor, wall hangings and sculptures with with an emphasis on intricate designs and universal symbolism. Originally from Louisiana, she received a BFA in Acting from the University of Utah and currently lives on the Columbia Waterfront of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Her love of clay was inspired by her mother. She has exhibited her work in galleries and sells in shops across the US and internationally.

Website: Instagram: @demedemedeme

"I grew up in the lush South. A Louisiana native, I spent much of my youth surrounded by beautiful plants and creative parents who owned and operated a horticulture design firm. My love of ceramics come from my mother, who received her BFA in ceramics. My home in Louisiana has always had fresh flowers. In many ways, growing up with such beautiful natural environments taught me to look to my surroundings for inspiration. So, each morning when I walk to my Brooklyn office and stroll past the vibrant orange sand, rich brick reds, and stony grays of the nearby cement mixing company I find I’m still inspired by my surroundings."

"When I began my college career, I moved to the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. With new surroundings I found new inspiration. My undergraduate studies were in acting and theatre, and I had always dreamed of being a professional actress. While in Utah, I started taking my first art classes as electives. I would often drive up to Bountiful—north of SLC—where my university had an enormous studio and gas kiln, slowly I began to learn about ceramics."

"When I was five-years-old, I went to visit my godmother in New York City. Even at such a young age, the energy that the city held excited me. So many creative spirits and so much possibility. In first grade I acted in my first play, and from then on I knew that after college I would move to New York City. When I graduated, I did. I moved to New York with the hope of finding my group of fellow actors. Instead, after finding a few acting jobs here and there, a temp job led to a career in the beauty industry. I became disillusioned, and disheartened by the fact that I never found my theatre group."

"I worked in the beauty industry for years as a marketing agent. It was an enjoyable experience that taught me much about how to build a brand and market my products. All things considered, it always lacked a sense of passion. I remember walking down the street and experiencing a complete crisis of character. It was around 2008, so the rumblings of a downturn in the economy had me questioning my place."