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CONTENT

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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Maggie Pate || Nåde Studio

Ben Ashby

Maggie Pate || Nåde Studio

FROM WHERE WOMEN CREATE

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MAGGIE PATE began her career in fashion as a model but is now the owner and designer behind Nåde, an independent textile company featuring her hand-dyed fabrics based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Maggie teaches sold-out workshops on natural hand-dyeing and weaving. She is adamantly committed to sustainable practices. Maggie aims to create beautifully crafted textiles using food products and food waste as well as foraged plants from the mountains of Tennessee and around the world. Her hope is that the hues rendered from these plants and food waste will challenge others to experience food and nature in a new way. She currently splits her time between Tennessee and New York City.

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I spent most of my childhood in East Tennessee. When I was an early teen, I began modeling in New York City, which encouraged my interest in textiles and gave me the opportunity to travel more. In my travels I was able to experience the life and culture of other areas, and was able to see the textiles unique to each.

The fashion industry is notoriously wasteful, and it inspired me to find ways to create more sustainable and thoughtful processes by which to create my own fashion brand and textiles. A career that I began as a model has now evolved into me owning and designing an independent textile company featuring hand-dyed fabrics made here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My brand is called Nåde, and it’s the passion project of my love of fashion as well as my love of natural, sustainably hand-dyed textiles.

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“Seeing others dedicated to creating with the same care and passion as myself ignites my passion again.”

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Growing up, my grandmother inspired my interest in sustainable living. She grew up in an orphanage in Alabama and became a very resourceful woman. She made her five children’s clothing as well as garments for many of her grandchildren.

Sometimes when I am working on a dye bath or weaving, I feel like a historian keeping the art of slow craft alive in this industrialized world. Both natural dyeing and weaving are becoming extinct as trades as the majority of companies dye synthetically and use machinery to produce materials.

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“I love that my products have a story of conservation and a narrative that grounds people within the slow food and slow craft movement.”

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The thing that pushes me to keep creating through struggles, both personal and economical, is that my work has a purpose beyond aesthetics or commerce, or even being simply a job. Natural dyeing is about sustainability and more specifically dyeing with food waste makes use of items that could be and will be thrown in the trash. My hope is that my work will educate followers, admirers and those who purchase that there is a better way to create.

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You are not a mistake. You are too many exquisite details to be a mistake.”

-Nayyirah Waheed, Salt

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I am not sure if being creative has much to do with how I view the world, however I feel that as a creative I am more visually sensitive to it. Therefore, I am constantly observing, making connections, and using visual metaphors. That’s probably just me being idealistic and romanticizing my surroundings.

Travel is a wonderful means for me to both disconnect and reconnect. When I am traveling, it forces me to be away from my workspace and social media, which allows me to disconnect from

the rat race, (which is often how it feels). Often when I travel, I visit countries with a rich history in textiles or natural dyeing. Visiting cultures where textiles make up a large segment of the cultural sphere allows me to reconnect with the craft.

Community plays a huge role in how I create. I rely heavily on local farms and restaurants to collect food waste, which allows me to continue to produce favorite items for my customers and experiment with new ideas.

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Luckily, the textile world is truly full of open, generous and encouraging humans. Thanks to social media, I can have conversations with other dyers and weavers from all over the world. I can connect and collaborate in the blink of an eye, and I love that aspect of social media.

Social media can also be a gateway for self-doubt. If I’ve learned anything, it’s this: don’t compare your Chapter 4 to another’s Chapter 20. Comparing where you are in your business to where another might be is only going to create frustration and anxiety. I tend to want to jump to the end of books and it is the same with my small business. I want to jump to the section when the business is completely tenable, but everything takes time.

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Like many creatives, I have to do freelance work to make ends meet financially. I take photography and styling jobs occasionally; other makers I know have part-time or even full- time jobs. Managing my freelance jobs with my studio work is a struggle, especially since natural dyeing is typically a process that takes several days.

I would say my biggest accomplishment thus far is my natural dye book, The Natural Colors Cookbook, which was released in June of this year. In researching it, I spent over a year exploring the cross-section where food and slow craft intersect. The book aims to create beautifully crafted textiles using food products and food waste straight from your kitchen, pantry or compost. My hope is that the hues rendered from this food waste will challenge you to experience food in a new way. I also hope to urge others to reconnect with the narrative of food and the history of slow craft textiles.

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When it comes to my business and my craft, I’m still figuring it out. Not having an answer sounds more appealing and exciting than knowing it all! I think artisans and makers are always finding their style and journeying toward real things. My business and my style are ever-evolving, which honestly helps me stay engaged in my craft. So, for now, you can find me working on my new favorite item in my studio, a large weaving that combines my love for weaving and my passion for natural dyeing with food waste.

MORE ON MAGGIE:

nade-studio.com IG: @maggie_pate

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P.S. I Love This

Right now, my favorite item in my studio is the large weaving I am working on. It took a month or so to source all the natural fibers, which come for Australia and Iceland, as well as North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas. Then the wool roving was dyed using black bean food waste to create the icy blue hue. Because it is not a commissioned piece, I only get to work on it when I have free time...so it has been on the loom for 4 months now!

Of the Same Mold || Katherine Hanks & Stephanie Anne Martin

Ben Ashby

Of the Same Mold

Katherine Hanks & Stephanie Anne Martin

FROM WHERE WOMEN CREATE

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KATHERINE HANKS AND STEPHANIE ANNE MARTIN are the owners of Annie Hanks Ceramics in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After bonding over their love of ceramics in their hiking group, the two began a journey of creating a collaborative business together. Katherine brought with her the experience of growing up in San Antonio. Her family runs a summer camp in the Texas Hill Country, and it was there that she developed a great appreciation for nature and her relationship to the earth. Stephanie grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and had a mother who encouraged her and her brother to explore through their creativity.

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Annie Hanks Ceramics is a collaborative utilitarian ceramics studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee, formed by myself, Stephanie Anne Martin, and Katherine Hanks. Katherine and I first met through a climbing group, and after meeting several times, became friends and learned that we shared a common interest in ceramics. After a while, we started collaborating together to create beautiful functional pieces that our local Chattanooga friends and customers knew as Annie Hanks Ceramics.

I spent most of my childhood between Asheville and various places around the Southeast. My family moved quite a bit, but my mother encouraged my creativity by blocking out time every day for me and my brother to paint or draw. My brother was a big source of inspiration for me growing up, and still is today. When I was 8 years old, we sat for each other to draw portraits. I recall feeling a huge sense of pride in my work. Eventually, I found my own special medium in ceramics and flourished in it.

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Katherine was fortunate to be born into an amazingly creative family as well. Each summer, her family would pack up their lives in San Antonio and move out to the beautiful Texas Hill Country to the camp and retreat center run by her parents. This camp, at its core, aims to recover a sense of the sacred. The property is nestled in a limestone canyon with towering abstract and aesthetic bluff walls, and through it flows the crisp, emerald- green Frio River—clear enough to see 20-plus feet below the surface. Having this experience pulled Katherine into spiritual conversation with the natural world and with wilderness. She created her first clay pinch pots after a rainstorm and fell in love with the process.

There are aspects of our studio and business that make Annie Hanks Ceramics exceptionally unique, especially in the way our studio is run. Often, it’s challenging for people to understand what a collaborative studio and collaborative work entail. It’s a foreign idea to many makers, because creativity and artistry is often a single-man concept. Katherine and I have a similar style and aesthetic, and we use that to our advantage as we work through new ideas, new forms and new glaze lines.

Each piece that passes through the creation process within our studio is touched by both of our hands and is of a higher quality for that very reason. We take pride in the fact that we each pay great attention to line and detail and allow each piece to pass through the scrutiny of both sets of eyes.


Our first joint-show was held at Rivers Edge Gallery in Kerrville, Texas. There, the gallery owner, Clay, gifted us two framed shards of pottery from the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. These are prominently and proudly hanging amongst our shelves of completed and in-process work, reminding us daily of the rich history of our craft. Our work is ultimately inspired by the power of nature and landscapes, as well as the softness of the feminine form. Our style developed from our friendship, our passion for the natural world, and our desire to create designs that are as intriguing as they are simple.

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Chattanooga is such an incredible place to live as a creative! We have a strong community of small businesses that understand the value of supporting one another. Within the creative community, we have enjoyed working on various projects and collaborations with other creatives. It is through this that we have found a strong community and space for growth within our own medium. We have worked closely with several businesses around town, namely Wildflower Teashop, Niedlov’s Breadworks and Nade Studio. Out of these collaborative projects have come a network of support, friendships and the growth of all businesses.

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Aside from being inspired by natural landscapes, we both find inspiration in secondary creative activities. I enjoy working with my hands and finding a rhythm in the kitchen to draw new inspirations. Katherine enjoys gardening and seeing the world through a different creative lens in the form of photography. Practicing these other kinds of creativity, we are able to bring together our unique inspirations and ideas to create beautiful collaborative work.

There are several struggles that can take place in a small business, especially a creative one. It can sometimes be difficult to be taken seriously as a female business owner. Managing a business can be a struggle when you haven’t had a formal business education. But we have done well so far. In the end, our biggest accomplishment is that we successfully opened Annie Hanks Ceramics together, and that every day we get to work together to make beautiful and functional pieces of art for people who appreciate it.

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Pursuing creativity makes every day richer. Finding ways to invite creativity into your daily life is a healthy place to start, rather than feeling like every moment of every day must be filled with creative genius. Begin with a sketch-a-day or by making a photograph at the same moment each day, several days in a row. Then allow that inspiration to grow and seep into the rest of your life. Creativity is a rewarding practice and has the power to take you on adventures.

























A Conversation with Brandi Carlile

Ben Ashby

Christmas in August and a Music Crush Confirmed (or…)

Christmas Comes Early: A Magazine Writer and the Story She Will Be Telling For Years.

Liza Turner || August 2012


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She had me at “Cormac McCarthy”… or maybe “Dolly Parton”...

Oh, who am I kidding? In the most awesome movie cliché moment of my life, Brandi Carlile had me at “Hello.”

In August, I took a long lunch break – one justified with adoring phrases illogically strewn together in nervous excitement: “I love this woman. She is going to call… ME. I hope I don’t say something utterly foolish. Do I refer to her as Ms. Carlile? Her voice [insert any platitude about angels singing and/or music to my ears].” – and decided to spend the few minutes prior to my phone interview just practicing breathing…and securing my cell phone, the one I misplace about four times each day, close by my side.

You see, Brandi Carlile and Tim and Phil Hanseroth’s 2012 homage to the Seattle dairy barn-converted-into-studio production site, Bear Creek, has been on repeat in my car for months. I have been a huge fan of this Washington singer-songwriter since 2007. That year her second album The Story was released, which includes some of my favorite songs:

“Turpentine,” “Have You Ever,” and the title track. Her voice, smooth and pure and yet rich and haunting at times, stirs me. Her storytelling, descriptive of emotions we all experience, but articulated in a rare combination of beauty, intelligence, and occasional playfulness, confirms her status among those songwriting icons whose influence is apparent in her work: Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash. Her fluid positioning somewhere at the intersection of outlaw country, folk, Americana, bluegrass, and rock allows for creativity in sound and style.

I first encountered her comfortable and inviting stage presence in January 2009, at the Brown Theater concert in Louisville. Brandi remembers this concert as well because the crowd stood, entirely engaged, for two hours. Brandi seems smart and funny and simply “real” even as she and the Hanseroth twins do something pretty amazing on a stage many feet away.

When the opportunity came to interview Brandi, I exchanged multiple emails with her incredibly helpful, entirely unpretentious, press team, which brought me to my kitchen table, awaiting a call from “my” Brandi Carlile.

And the call came. A month later, my best friend Melissa and I stood outside a post-show meet-and-greet room in the basement of Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom, giant peel-and-stick guest passes adorning the shirts we spent far too much time picking out, talking to one of my idols. August and September 2012 will go down as two of my favorite months of my adult life.

And thus, I share with you bits and pieces of those conversations. Although part of me wishes you could hear the warmth, genuineness, and really damn funny, but good-spirited, sarcasm in her irrefutably distinctive voice, I can’t lie; a bigger (and without a doubt, more childish) part of me likes keeping that all to myself.

Q. What is one song, from any genre/artist, you wish you had written?

A. “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen

Q. If you could perform a duet with or write a song with anyone, who would it be?

A. Dolly Parton (perform), Bernie Taupin (write).

Q. Favorite venue? Cities you’re particularly excited to visit this tour?

A. Favorite – Red Rocks; Excited to play – Beacon Theater in New York

Q. Describe a typical day when you’re on the road A. Wake up, down two cups of coffee, go for a walk with my fiancé [now wife] go explore the city we’re in, do a sound check, have dinner with the band, take a shot of whiskey, play the show, meet and greet afterward, movie on the bus with the band before bed.

Q. What are you currently reading and/or who are some of your favorite authors?

A. The Bible; Favorites – Cormac McCarthy (Outer Dark), Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild; Into Thin Air), Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis; Love Wins).

Q. How do you take your coffee?

A. Black – straight up trucker style.

Q. Favorite room in your house?

A. I’m kitchen-obsessed and particularly drawn to reds. All of my favorite kitchen tools and supplies are red.

Q. Favorite piece of art or furniture in your home?

A. Photo of Paul McCartney, taken by Linda McCartney, and given to my fiancé; piano from around 1900 that one of my best friends’ family members gave to me when I was 17. Two things that have traveled everywhere with me: a horse and a piano.

Q. What is the “Looking Out Foundation” all about? Other social issues of importance to you?

A. Growing up, I was a “fan’s fan.” I would follow people only when I loved everything about them. They had to be an activist who stood up for values I believed in. People like the Indigo Girls and Elton John set the bar high. I thought “if I ever get there, I want to give back some of the blessings I’ve been given by having this job.” The Looking Out Foundation serves to promote civil rights, environmental awareness and women’s empowerment.

Q. Describe the perfect Christmas morning. Do you consider yourself a good gift-giver?

A. God, kids, family: Waking up at my house, with my family all around, snow outside, coffee spiked with a little Bailey’s Irish whiskey, kids running everywhere. I’m an over-the-top, far-beyond-my-means gift giver. If I hear my dad say he wants a snowmobile, that’s all I can think about all year.

Q. What are some things few people know about you, but that you don’t mind sharing with us?

A. 1) I love to be humble and pious, but I drink champagne like soda pop. 2) I don’t know how to open a bottle of champagne. 3) I love to be laughed with, but hate to be laughed at. 4) I have eight animals – two chickens, a horse named Sovereign, two cats named Lanie and Blue, a Doberman pincher named Bailey and two goats named Tim and Phil.

Q. If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

A. Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., Freddie Mercury. I’d also be in a band with all three.

Q. I’ve read that when growing up, you felt ostracized by some of those in the church community. What is your relationship with the church like today?

A. The church has been a stumbling block to LGBTQ rights and there seems to be a tragic misunderstanding between those voices. I have a lingering “bad taste in my mouth,” but I personally see no contradiction between sexual orientation and religion.

Q. How do you decide the artistic direction of your videos, websites, publicity photos, CD covers?

A. We’re [Brandi and the Hanseroth twins] are heavily involved with the storyline/plot of the videos. Grammy-winner, Michelle Holme (Columbia Records) plays an important role in designing CD covers. I don’t worry about photos too much as long as they look unaltered and honest.

How do you get down from a goose

Ben Ashby

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By: Greta Whitehead || Spring 2013

“Aren’t those geese beautiful?”

The geese belonged to my grandparents, Herman and Lola Render of the Walton Creek area near Centertown, Ky. Summer arrived and with it came more time at our grandparents’ home. It also meant molting season for the geese. Since geese typically molt (lose some of their feathers) during the summer, Mammie took advantage of Mother Nature’s help in harvesting feathers for new pillows. Their feathers sure made neat pillows.

My sister, Jo Carolyn Patton, and I, Greta Whitehead, lived in that neighborhood and were always at our grandparents’ home as much as possible. We had grown up around the geese but we were afraid of them. We knew that geese were sometimes used for security animals because they are so easily excited and alert you to impending danger by flapping their wings wildly and honking loudly to scare off suspected intruders. Still, we loved to find their big eggs. It was always special on Easter to have a big colored goose egg in our basket.

We were daring kids…especially me. I would make one of the geese mad just so it would chase us. The only time we were pinched by one was when we helped our grandmother hold the big geese while she plucked the feathers for her pillows.

She would turn one at a time upside down and hold it with her legs and start to work. Jo and I, as little girls, would try and hold their heads so they wouldn’t pinch her legs. We would get tired and let go a few times. Mammie would end up with black and blue legs but good, soft, fluffy pillows.

Herman Render and Lola Bennett Render, beloved Christian grandparents of our 13 brothers and sisters were near 80 when our family moved on in to Centertown. I have many good memories of Walton Creek people and the good life we had there. Though saddened by our move to town, many new adventures and memories awaited us there.

My dad, the local barber, felt it necessary to move to town so he could be close to his barber shop. Sometime in the 40’s, Dad bought an old Greyhound bus. He converted the old bus into a nice café that sat on Main St. It was quite beautiful, inside and out, with a fireplace, juke box, booth and stools at the counter. The “Blue Bus Café” became the hangout for teens, a safe place that was supervised by good honest folks who believed in their community and its future. Our parents, Raymond “Dick” Render and his loving wife, Lou, ran the café until they moved to Jeffersonville to work in the shipyards.

Times were hard and work was scarce so many families of our hometown had to move where they could find steady work. The Blue Bus closed but the stories of good times there live to this day. Other small cafés have come and gone in Centertown.

Each one had its regular customers who would enjoy a good cup of coffee and the stories shared around the table. More often than not, someone would bring up the Blue Bus Café and fond memories began to flow.

Although we missed our days at our grandparents’ farm, the Blue Bus Café occupied our time and life moved forward.

Lessons and values learned on that farm and in the Blue Bus Café never left us. Whenever I see geese I recall the fun we had helping Mammie make pillows. In reflection I can see that we were learning work and care for the family, but we just thought we were having fun. As I drive down Main St. in Centertown, my mind’s eye still sees that old Greyhound Bus that transformed to a wonderful hangout known affectionately as The Blue Bus Café…a safe place for youngsters to spend supervised time together knowing that Daddy and Momma kept a keen eye on each and every one of us.

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Carpe Noctem // Evan Pollock

Zachary Kilgas

Carpe noctem. Sieze the night. This series by Evan Pollock shows nighttime as it should be seen.

A Hiker's Dreamland || Rocky Mountain National Park

Makayla McGarvey

Calling all outdoor adventurers! If you’re looking for some breathtakingly tall mountains, glassy blue lakes, and hiking trails galore a trip through Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is one way that you can’t go wrong.

Photography by Makayla McGarvey

Photography by Makayla McGarvey

Starting near Estes Park, Bear Lake is a relatively short drive down highway 36 with a turn off to Bear Lake Road.    

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”

Bear Lake is completely surrounded by aspen trees and if you look close enough you will definitely find some wildlife. Another great feature of the lake is that it has great places to take a seat and take in the view. The trail is an easy 0.8 mile hike so you won’t be winded, but the view is so beautiful that you’ll want to stick around a while to get the full experience.

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If you’re into fishing or just want to hit another is Sprague Lake is also a beautiful stop on Bear Lake Road.

Sprague Lake

Sprague Lake

There are so many worthwhile areas to stop and explore in Rocky Mountain National Park that it could easily take more than one day. Glacier Basin campgrounds are the perfect place to pitch a tent with the mountains close by

Glacier Basin

Glacier Basin

Heading back to the same trial head where Bear Lake is located Dream Lake, Nymph Lake, and Emerald Lake are all on a single trail in the opposite direction. 

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It is only 3.6 miles of hiking to see all three of these lakes and it is absolutely worth the walk.

Dream Lake

Dream Lake

Nymph Lake

Nymph Lake

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Last but not least rest your legs from your hike with a drive through the continental divide. You'll get to see some more wildlife and mountains for miles.

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All photographs by Makayla McGarvey.

Take Better Portraits: Tips from Emil Cohen

Ben Ashby

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Sometimes you meet people in random places. Sometimes you meet characters that need to be photographed. This Christmas season as people are gathering together we wanted to propose the idea of taking portraits of friends and family. To learn more about taking the perfect portrait we asked five of our photographer friends about their portraits and for tips on how to make yours better. 

Our first photographer is New York based Emil Cohen. I ran into Emil at American Field in Brooklyn earlier this month and knew right away I wanted to go to him for advice. I quickly introduced him to Brandon and they did a dual portrait session. Tomorrow we will see Brandon's portraits of Emil, but today it is all about Emil and his advice to you...

 


 

Who are you. Where are you. Give us your links. I'm Emil Cohen, I'm a New York based photographer specializing in portraits and people. You can see my work at www.emildcohen.com / www.instagram.com/emilcohen and www.instagram.com/portraitsinprovincetown 

How long have you been a photographer? Is it your main job? I've been an amateur photographer my whole life. Photography has been a family interest dating back to the 19th century.  In 2011, I began the graduate program at Tufts University's School of the Museum of Fine Art and received my MFA in 2014. I mark my first day of grad school as when I became a professional photographer.

 

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When did you take your first portrait? I can't tell you when I took my first portrait, but I do remember the first time one of my portraits was recognized outside of my immediate world. It was August of 2009, and I had one more semester of college left. I had taken a photo with an alpaca earlier that summer and decided to enter the photo into a contest run by The Student Travel Agency, an internationally renowned company for students and young adults who want to travel the world. When they announced my name on Facebook, I "whooped!" so loudly, that I got yelled at by my superior at my internship at National Geographic. But it didn't matter because part of the winning prize was a free trip to Europe! By December, I was off on a plane and would be back for eight weeks. Photo below: 

 

 

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How have you progressed over time? What do you feel has been your most improved quality? Over time, I feel that my aesthetic has become stronger. I continue to study other photographers and artists whom I admire, but rather than mimic them, I try to incorporate what I love about their work and apply it to my own vision. My most improved quality has definitely been the working dynamic that I create with my subject. As a photographer who specializes in portraits, it's crucial to have the person who's in front of the camera trust you, the photographer. In doing so, they let their guard down which will therefore, allow me to capture a true version of themselves. Sometimes you're given days or hours, and sometimes just a few minutes, but each experience has to be unique and met with the same amount of tenacity and determination.  

 

 

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What makes for a good portrait? To me, a good portrait is an image of person or place that shows the true version of who or what they really are.. There is a fine line between a headshot and a portrait, and the difference is honesty. With a headshot, you're trying to sell yourself to a casting agent which, while it's an attractive photos of a person, might not showcase who they really are. Photographers like Peter Hujar, Irving Penn and William Klein are portrait photographers who stripped away the background and forced a viewer to gaze at the subject head on. Then you have photographers like Alec Soth, Larry Clark and Nan Goldin who create portraits of places and communities and are just as strong and evocative as the studio photographers. In the end, what all these photographers have in common is that the camera disappears in their work, leaving the viewer gazing into a window of a raw and real moment caught in time. 

 

 

 

Do you prefer natural light or artificial? Why? Both! Natural light and artificial light both have their advantages. A photographer who knows their way around strobes will be able to recreate sunlight using flashes and use the strobes to create intentional dramatic lighting. The key is asking yourself how you want to light the photo before you shoot and then plan accordingly. For my studio portraits, I rely on a defused light which creates a soft and even light on my model, but when I shoot outdoors, I have to decide what time of day and what weather conditions I want to be shooting in. Will it be around dawn or sunset for the Golden Hour lighting? Or do I want a cloudy day that will act as a natural soft box? And look at other people's work that you love and figure out how they did it! Always a useful idea when trying to plan a photo. 


How important is composition and what makes for good composition? This is a tough question because it's so subjective. For me, composition is crucial to achieving the best version of the photo that you envision. A composition will include a few key thoughts such as framing, depth, leading lines, and symmetry. If you need a refresher, here's a great list published on Photography Mad. 

 

 

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Color or black and white? Both! Before I take a photo, I try to think whether or not the image will be black and white or color. Both palates have their own benefits. Photographers like Penn, Richard Avedon, Horst P Horst, Bruce Davidson, Vivian Maier and Diane Arbus, utilized black and white film to their advantage. These photographers started only having black and white film and therefore thought accordingly: creating photographs that are high in contrast, rich in detail and having the color removed, forced the viewer to gaze specifically at the subject that was being photographed. It's like the Wizard of Oz. The beginning of the film in Kansas features some truly breathtaking cinematography because they knew they were shooting in black and white and therefore, had to think in black and white while they shot it. 

Then Dorthy lands in Oz and all of a sudden, you catch your breath at all the incredible color. 

Color photography is amazing because you get to think differently. With color, you start thinking of complimentary colors, temperature, color balance etc.  I love artists like Cathy Opie, Todd Hido, Joel Sternfeld, Greg Crewdson, Jim Dow and David LeChaplle because of their eye for color and their ability to use the color as tool for composition. 

 

 

 


What camera do you shoot with? Canon 5D Mark iii, Iphone 8 and a Pentax K3000 35mm

 

 

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Any final advice: Two things: 

 

1. SLOW DOWN. Taking a 4x5 Large Format class was revolutionary for me because I was forced to slam the breaks on my shooting. Due to the high cost and many steps that it takes to take one image, you as a photographer can't just point and shoot. Large format photography takes time and precision which is often forgotten in a day of digital photography. I challenge any photographer to limit themselves when their out shooting a project or portrait. See how much stronger your work becomes when you allow yourself the time to breathe and think before you shoot. 

 

2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I am of the belief that no idea is truly original anymore. However, that doesn't mean that you can't create original work, it just means understanding the conversation that already exists and how you as an artist can join in on the discussion. Do research online or the library. Whether it's Google, or Tumblr or going to a museum of photo gallery in your city, go and learn about who else is out there. Support your fellow photographers and be inspired at the work their creating. 

 

 

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A Very Quick Guide for New York City in the Summer

Ben Ashby

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New York City is a most magical place to spend the summer. The city truly comes to life. There is an energy that fills the entirety of the boroughs and becomes infectious. This is a very brief list of must stop summer stops in and around New York City.

A summer trip into The City includes a variety of stops, but it is imperative to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The shows, museums, and exhibits are the perfect rainy day and winter destination…but for the summer…use this time to walk The City. Our trip inside The City was a project for HotelTonight. The idea was that we’d explore our own city. We decided to stay at The Evelyn on 27th and 7th because of how close it was to being in the middle of all we wanted to do. A few short blocks from Macy’s, the Empire State Building, and several parks made it perfect.

When staying in Midtown a visit to the top of the Empire State Building is a must…but do it at night, like late. The lines will be short and you’ll get a magical view of New York at night.

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While you’re in the area stop at Flat Iron for a building of New York’s iconic triangular building. The light is best here mid morning or at sunset. Earlier in the day will help prevent shadows from ruining your images. Run across the street for a quick tour with of Eatily, one of my favorite chain stores in the city. Modeled after Italian markets this place has everything from gelato and espresso to fresh vegetables, cheeses, and meats. The environment is so good at this location. You can also visit the downtown one for it’s views of lower Manhattan.

In the area you’ll also want to visit Macy’s. The largest department store in the world. Be sure to check out the special STORY store within a store on the balcony level. It features dozens of products by makers and changes with each season.

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While you’re heading west and the avenue numbers are getting bigger take a moment to run in BH Photo Video. Its a wonderland of camera and tech gear. The staff will be able to answer and questions you’ve ever had about cameras and gear. They are closed on Saturdays. From there head over to the newly opened Hudson Yards to check out The Vessel. There is typically a wait to get onto it. Allow for extra time. This area gives sweeping views of the Hudson River and of New Jersey.

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Once you’re done at Hudson Yards step onto The Highline and start making your way downtown….and that is where our next city guide will pick up.

For this trip we stayed at The Everlyn in Midtown. We found the deal with HotelTonight. HotelTonight now allows you to book any time anywhere and offers extra daily discounts on one hotel in your desired area. We ended up getting an amazing discount on our hotel simply by using the app. On HotelTonight use code “BASHBY8” for $25 off your next hotel stay!

PHOTOGRAPHY: ME + @ethanbarber.co

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Teressa Foglia + A Modern Millinery

Ben Ashby

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TERESSA FOGLIA

reinventing an age-old art



originally ran in Where Women CREATE

Teressa Foglia is an entrepreneur who recently opened her first millinery shop in Industry City, Brooklyn, New York. Starting her first 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, plus hear a bit of her story and advice for hopeful entrepreneurs.



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Growing up in Troy, New York, I always knew I wanted to explore the world. I was close with my entire family but it was no surprise to them that when I turned 18, I wanted to move to the West Coast.

After graduating, I switched jobs four times in a year. I was 23 when I started a social media company after I quickly realized that neither climbing the corporate ladder nor office life was for me. It was during that transitional period that I picked up my first few social media clients. My company continued to grow through word of mouth and we successfully built up an agency that worked with incredible brands all over the world.

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I spent my late 20s as a digital nomad. Working and traveling to 35-plus countries, many of them alone, often wondering, “Why am I here?” “What is my true passion?” A question that I think so many of us search for—some finding it earlier than others. When my heart was broken, I took off to Europe on a one- way ticket. I allowed myself a break. It was a huge soul-searching time in my life.

It was during this time that I thought it would be fun to learn how to make the beloved hats that I wore on my head—every single day—just for fun. When my friends started to see me wearing my own designs and product, they started asking for their own as well. So, I got busy and focused more energy into a creative project that brought me happiness.

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Currently, I live between the West Village and Los Angeles, but the majority of my time is spent in New York. I still have my social media business, which now has its own team of creatives and marketers to help me grow it, but I also own and operate a store and atelier in Industry City, in Brooklyn, New York. I am constantly trying to learn new skills and I always encourage others to do the same— just as I did with my career-making hats! If I could encourage budding entrepreneurs to do anything, it would be to make travel, hobbies and other activities part of your regular routine. Tasks like that are how I’ve found success in my business and discovered new loves.

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When it comes to my millinery business, I try pay attention to the small details. Every hat is one-of-a- kind, whether it is made-to-measure from my ready-to-wear collection or a custom hat. I don’t believe in mass-production, so I painstakingly try to ethically source all of our materials used. We donate all scraps to a local university, have eliminated almost all plastic we use and believe in making a product that our clients will have forever.

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“WE BELIEVE IN QUALITY OVER QUANTITY, HANDMADE OVER MASS-MADE, AND THAT standing out is always better than blending in.”


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I tend to invest a lot of time in my social relationships with other entrepreneurs. Being able to find guidance and understanding with people who run similar businesses allows me to grow and flourish in my own. I often find advice from friends like Kaitlyn Barclay + Willow Hill of Scout Lab Creative, Emily Katz of Modern Macramé and Lindsay Zuelich of Wood Brain, three fellow women business owners who always inspire me in my own work.

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Opening my space has been my biggest accomplishment. I’ve never worked in retail, and when I first started, my only hat sales were to family and friends. But I went with it! I knew this wouldn’t be a space for just making and selling hats.

Our foundation is to create a place where a community can gather to learn, to share a meal or to listen to live music—a place where anyone can feel inspired. It’s because of this community we have had such a successful first few months. When you’re starting a business or even just pursuing a new hobby or project, trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to start today, and when things are going well, don’t be afraid to take a vacation— you deserve it! Above all else, enjoy the journey!


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Choose Success

➀ Be less afraid to fail. We learn the most from our failures, and if a project or product doesn’t work out like you’d hoped, you ideally will have learned something from the process.

➁ Have a good team. Surrounding you, cheering for you, in both your business and personal life. And cheer even louder for them!

➂ Put your all into every piece you make. It’s an extension of you!

➃ Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And accept help when it’s offered to you.

➄ Take breaks. Daily meditation is key for me.
➅ Go for it. “The right time” never comes soon enough. Go after what you want now.
➆ Take the vacation. The good life is all about balance.



TeressaFoglia.com Instagram: @TeressaFoglia | WHERE WOMEN CREATE

Summertime Tea | A Recipe

Ben Ashby

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Summertime Tea

Fresh berries for muddling (such as strawberries or blueberries)


Three parts fruit tea
One part gin
Thyme or rosemary for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle your choice of fresh fruit. Pour in the fruit tea and gin then add ice and shake. Serve on or off the rocks and garnish with your choice of fresh herbs.




Christy Jo Stone + Serving Southern Sweetness

Ben Ashby

CHRISTY JO STONE

the fruit tea chicks

The tiny town of Hartsville, Tennessee, and its surrounding countryside, with its rolling pastures, southern charm and small-town sensibility, provides the perfect palate for Christy Jo Stone to grow her businesses, raise her kids and serve up her signature blend of deliciously refreshing fruit tea. From her family’s farm outside of town, she has transformed a shed into a beautiful space for creating teas, hosting her annual Strawberry Patch Barn Sale and making plans for the future of the Fruit Tea Chicks.

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I live in Hartsville, Tennessee, the same town where I was raised. Trousdale County is the smallest county in Tennessee. It’s predominately a farming community. Like so many others, I grew up in a broken home. My parents divorced when I was in the fourth grade, at which time we moved from Lafayette to Hartsville, which are about 15 miles apart.

Growing up in a small town, I never felt comfortable expressing myself and lived somewhat of a caged-up
life I guess you could say. I really didn’t recognize this until I got older (probably in college) and more in touch with my inner-self. In small towns, it’s not always easy to be “different.” In fact, it was frowned upon, so I chose to conform.


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As I got into high school, I quickly realized if I ever wanted to unleash the beast within, I would have to get the heck outta dodge. So I did. I headed south to Ole’ Miss, which was not a good choice in terms of proper places to unleash the beast! It was one of the most uniform schools I have ever been to, with lots of old money, beautiful people and rich southern gals—none of which applied to me.

I left there after one-and-a-half years and transferred to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where I ended up getting my degree in psychology. While there, I had the opportunity to travel abroad to Australia, where I backpacked and lived in hostels for four months. I made this journey all alone, and it’s where my passion for handmade, color and pastry shops came alive. The inner beast was finally released!

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In 2003, I became a stay-at-home mom and a member of the local garden club. Each month we had a potluck, and my “dish” was always my homemade fruit tea. The little old ladies would fluff me up about how good it was and make me feel proud of myself. I started with just a basic recipe, but before long, I was super-bored with it. I started tinkering with the recipe, adding fresh puréed fruits and such.

That worked on a small scale, but when I started the business, that recipe just didn’t work. I finally perfected my own unique recipe using fruit juices, concentrates and a few other specialty blends which have stood the test of time. It’s the one I hope to use until my tea-making days are over.

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I used to journal and doodle a lot. About a year ago, I cleaned out my sewing room and found a journal entry dated June 2009. In it, I had written about my dreams to start my first Barn Sale—The Strawberry Patch—and how I wanted to sell my homemade fruit tea by the jug. I had forgotten I had a vision for my tea, way back when. All these fruit tea ideas finally came together in July 2016 when I did my very first show at Swanky Plank at Rippa Villa.

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I’m completely self-taught with my own cooking. I grew up eating good-old southern food like pinto beans and cornbread, where the only seasoning used was salt, pepper and lard. Being a single mom with three kids going three directions, I never get enough time home to cook. I don’t like frozen or boxed dinners. I love food blogs and pics.

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I’m not sure if it is because of the artfulness of the picture, the staging and styling of it or the beauty of the finished product itself. I’m fascinated by chefs and their ability to create a piece of art using food. I love cookbooks like “The Plantiful Table” and “Whole Food Energy.” I love the pictures in them just as much.

At the end of the day, I’m a single mom without any formal training who is chasing her dreams and doing the best she possibly can. My greatest dream is to deliver a creative product that people will want as a staple item in their pantry for years to come.

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“I’m good at fruit tea—that about sums it up!”

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Summertime Tea

Fresh berries for muddling (such as strawberries or blueberries)

Three parts fruit tea
One part gin
Thyme or rosemary for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle your choice of fresh fruit. Pour in the fruit tea and gin then add ice and shake. Serve on or off the rocks and garnish with your choice of fresh herbs.


Chelsea Farmer + A Very Colorful World

Ben Ashby

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CHELSEA FARMER

originally from WHERE WOMEN CREATE

Chelsea Farmer is the owner and founder of HorseFeathers Gifts - an online jewelry and lifestyle company that gives modern women globally inspired and locally rooted designs to express themselves. Educated in gemology and energized by lots of color, Chelsea loves connecting with real women and their real stories through handmade jewelry. 


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I was born in Kentucky, but my family was moved to Rhode Island when I was two years old—and from there, all over the world. As a Navy child, I grew up all around the world. I spent most of my childhood traveling Europe while we lived in Spain and Italy. We moved back to the States when I was eight-years-old, including the South and Great Plains. We really did live all over! 

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According to my mom, I’ve been making pretty things since birth. My mom is incredibly artistic and always had projects for us to do. I remember painting, coloring, and making jewelry from the time I was three-years-old. We would spend hours making decor for our home. Mostly, we were always trying to bring color into the boring, white-walled military base housing we always lived in. I’m always looking to bring more color into our lives because of it!

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I feel like being a creative person has opened my eyes up to more beauty in the world. I see art in everything around me. I am inspired by colors in old buildings, flowers, and sunsets. It is intertwined with how I grew up and my passion for traveling and connecting with the world. I find joy in the differences in cultures and styles, architecture, etc. I am always looking for patterns, and color combos, and textures.

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My heart is drawn to the world and all it has to offer and see. Even though my roots were—and are—in my Kentucky home, my heart branches all around the globe. Creating is a way to pull those branches back in and draw all the inspiration and joy I have discovered and the memories I’ve made in so many places. It pulls it all back home—and lets me share my heart with the world.

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My style is influenced by my travels. It is best summed up as globally eclectic, as it is influenced by colors and textures that I have seen all over the world. Not being from just one place, I find myself feeling quite at home almost anywhere—or maybe everywhere, some eclectic combination of everything. 

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Our studio is located in Owensboro Kentucky overlooking the beautiful Ohio River. We moved here in 2015, and after having lived all over, this just feels like our corner of the world. It is our favorite place to be and to come back to, even after international travel or scooting around the country in our renovated Airstreams. (We have had a few over the years.) 

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It is always nice to take a break. I like to just physically step away. If I am feeling stumped in the studio, I will grab my son and we will get outside. Being in nature always seems to refresh me and inspire me. The Ohio River practically runs through my backyard so there is always something to explore. We also have three rescue dogs who keep us moving out there and help us to just stop and enjoy nature.

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I also try to get out and get involved in the community. Sometimes, we will just hop in the car and go volunteer at a church—either with jewelry or something random. Recently, my stepmom and I spent a day cutting fabric for a quilting circle at a local church. Just talking with others, hearing their stories—and playing with multi-colored fabrics—brought lots of fresh creativity! It is not long before a new idea pops into my mind. 

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As an introvert, I do thrive most when alone in my studio. As a mom, sometimes just a quiet moment is all I really need. It is always refreshing, and important, to get together with other creative people and get recharged.

I love encouraging and inspiring other women to fulfill their God-given talents. I’ve made so many wonderful friends over the years simply by reaching out to them on social media and complimenting their work. Being a creative person can be very lonely sometimes. I’m thankful for the artsy women I have met over the years and the encouraging community that we have build through these friendships. 

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If ever there was a time to turn your creativity into a career, this is it! When I started this journey back in 2009, people looked at me when I was crazy when I said I make jewelry for a living. Friends on social media would see me traveling around the United States mingling with celebrities and be totally shocked that at 21, this was my life. Etsy was still kind of new.


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Social media was still new for a lot of people. These days, everyone knows someone who sells online—on a website or through social media. That stigma is not quite there anymore—so go for it, learn from others, and create your own path! 

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Social media has positively impacted my business over the years. I love connecting directly with our customers from all over the world and forming actual relationships, more than just a sale here and there. This allows me to get a better feel for my customers and what they are looking for in our pieces. Over the years we have developed such a great following and we regularly ask their input on new designs and projects. I enjoy allowing customers to become a part of this business. 

— horsefeathergifts.com

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Eva Kosmas Flores + Adventures in Slow Living

Ben Ashby

this story originally ran in Slow Living by Where Women Cook

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A native Oregonian, Eva Kosmas Flores currently resides in Portland with her husband, cat, two dogs, seven chickens and hive of bees. She shares recipes, travel guides, and all-around how-to's on her blog, Adventures in Cooking. When she's not working in her garden or baking in her kitchen, she can be found with her nose buried in a good book. She has a soft spot for stinky cheese, her beagle’s muzzle, kneading dough, and Rumi.


“Whatever lifts the corners of your mouth, trust that." –Rumi


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Food is my passion AND my livelihood. I launched my blog, Adventures in Cooking, in 2009. From that journey grew the publication of my two cookbooks, Adventures in Chicken and First We Eat written in 2016 and 2018. Since 2014, I’ve hosted travel-based food photography workshops through my company of the same name, First We Eat.


Oregon has always been my home, and food and cooking have always been a huge part of my life. I live in Portland, and I grew up in Hillsboro where my parents ran a Greek deli and restaurant. Every Saturday of my childhood was spent there helping out, and I was there on school breaks too.

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My mom is American, and my dad is from a small Greek island called Aegina, and they're very yin and yang. My mom is the social, adventurous extrovert and my dad is the reserved introvert. At the restaurant my mom would be in the front, taking customers' orders and making them feel welcome, while my dad was in the kitchen cooking. I'd Ping-Pong between them, wearing an apron folded in half so I wouldn't trip over it because I was so small! It was hectic, but I loved it, and I learned so much growing up among the many meals and customers.

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Food defined my childhood; it's always been a deeply rooted love and fascination. I've been in the kitchen cooking as long as I can remember…when I was very small, my mom would pull a chair up to the stove so I could stand on it to help stir the pot. I wanted to help whenever she cooked anything—the transformation of ingredients through cooking was so mesmerizing to me as a kid—and is to this day!


My parents are both avid gardeners and growing up we always had fresh produce from the garden. They were composting back in the 90s and used produce from the garden in the restaurant. I learned about the many merits of farm-to-table before it was a marketable thing when food was seen differently by most in the industry.

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While I learned to cook from both my mother and father, they have very different cooking styles. My mom was more creative, she'd just look around the cupboards and refrigerator for whatever we had on hand and could create a beautiful meal. My dad had to cook everything for the restaurant, and it had to taste the same every time so that the menu was consistent. At the restaurant, he was a perfectionist.


It took me hours until I learned to peel a cucumber "correctly." Between the two of them, I learned a lot about cooking with improvisation, but also the importance of precision, especially developing written recipes for the blog and my cookbooks. 

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The importance of food in my life really hit me when I went to college in Los Angeles. The food on campus was prepared by Sodexho (it's a processed food company that also caters many prisons), and after eating that for the first month and not having access to a real kitchen I felt really, really depressed—disconnected and out of sorts. I think that's when I realized what a tremendous role food had in my life, and the positive impact of cooking and the joy of preparing and eating good, fresh food. Luckily I was able to get an on-campus apartment with some roommates the next year; that kitchenette saved me!

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I’ve also realized that food connects us to community and memory. I love that you can share moments and sensations with other people through a recipe. For example, if I follow Julia Child's recipe for beef bourguignon, I know that I'm enjoying the same flavors, smells, and textures that she did many years ago—along with all the others who have cooked it over the years! 


The same special connection follows with family recipes; it's an incredible way to connect with loved ones who aren't here anymore. My yiayia lived in Greece, I only met her once when I was one, and so for me being able to cook recipes that she used to make for my father helps me feel connected to her.

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Slow living with the seasons is a win-win. Ninety-nine percent of what I make is seasonally based. When we eat seasonally and support local farmers and growers, there are SO MANY AWESOME things that happen. Our meals taste infinitely better, your local community's economy grows, you're eating nutrient-dense foods, and you're helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions that come from shipping food all over the world. It's a win-win for literally everyone involved from the grower to the consumer…

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Growing your own food also instills a sense of patience within you, and forces you to slow down. You get to watch your meal be created from a tiny seed to a bubbling pot of tomato sauce over the course of several months. If you can start a small garden, even a container herb garden on your windowsill, I highly recommend it. There's nothing like the connection that's created between you and your food when you get to nurture it, care for it, and watch it grow into something big and bountiful—and then the plant gets to nurture you right back with fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. It's incredibly grounding.

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As someone who has a very busy mind with lots of random thoughts flying through it all the time, being out in the garden or cooking in the kitchen are the two times when my mind really quiets down. I just get to focus on the task at hand, there's something very meditative about it. Seasonal living is the best for so many reasons!

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Lena Schlabach + More Faith than Fear

Ben Ashby

Lena Schlabach was born and in Ohio’s Amish Country. She was once herself a little Amish girl. She is now a fashion designer and gets to travel the world with this dream job. Her life is way more than a little Amish girl could of ever imagined. She now gets to empower women with the brand she has developed in the three short years of business. Lena is passionate about making that her patterns fit a size 28 women as well as a size 5. She believes everyone should feel beautiful when they slip the Frock on.

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More Faith Than Fear.

Make your decisions on faith not fear.


I was born and raised in Ohio’s Amish country. I grew up in the Amish culture with my family making everything they needed and watching my community farm. As a child, I always had a desire to be creative. I remember sitting in an outhouse restroom by the one room schoolhouse I attended and creating rose flowers out of the toilet paper. I loved the reaction of my friends thinking I was talented. It inspired me to continue finding unique ways to be creative. I think it’s always possible to make something beautiful out of something ugly. It’s that way with life too.

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Though I grew up in a naturally beautiful community, I always dreamed of growing up and leaving the Amish culture to live on the beach. I’m sure in retrospect that is because we love the new and mysterious, but it was always something I wanted to do. Today, I no longer live the Amish way of life, but it is the culture of my family. One of my sisters still lives in the community, and I live just next door in Millersburg, Ohio—the heart of Ohio’s Amish country.



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Though I always had the desire to leave, one day I heard the saying, ‘Bloom where you are planted.’ That changed my way of thinking and my way of living. Suddenly everything changed and my creativity blossomed. I started sharing a photo-of-the-day and giving people on social media that I’d met at vintage events or fairs a glimpse of the beauty of Amish country. At the same time, I started to dream about the kind of products or business I could create that meant something to myself.

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As a plus-sized woman, I have always been frustrated by the reality that there aren’t m any companies that make ‘cute’ clothes for me that look good and fit well. Suddenly, I found myself wanting those bohemian clothes that had become popular but there wasn’t a company making them for me. I decided that if I set my mind to it, I could be that company, and I could make a garment that was just as beautiful and well-built for a size 28 as it was for a size 5. 

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I had the vision, but as a kid I didn’t really learn to sew. I’d always dreamed about moving out of the Amish country, so any lesson my mom would try to give me went in one ear and out the other. Luckily I inherited the Amish work ethic and resourcefulness. Gathering inexpensive thrift store curtains and fabrics, and enlisting the help of my local Amish community of seamstresses, I slowly taught myself to sew enough to start making frocks. Speaking the Dutch language of these talented women, I was able to build a community with them helping me achieve my dream.

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I have been in business as Farmhouse Frocks for going on three years now. It has become a business that feels not only creatively rewarding, but also fulfilling in my ability to create beautiful pieces for other women and bring happiness to them. My garments are an extension of my goal to empower women of all shapes and sizes. I am also lucky to be able to work with both of my daughters. Sydney, my younger daughter, acts as my personal assistant and aids with my online presence and styling, while my older daughter, Felicia, is my lead salesperson. 

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Six months into our business, we outgrew the basement of my home where we were producing all of our goods. We were utterly out of excess space to work and create, and people were starting to ask us about opening a small space for retail, so I began to look in our historic downtown for a usable location. Eventually, we found our space, with its industrial roots, high ceilings, and ceilings decorated with tin roofing, and using 28 gallons of white paint we painted all of the walls white and found a new home for Farmhouse Frocks.

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Wed have grown rapidly, but I feel blessed. My biggest passion has been empowering women from maker to consumer, and I vow every day to make my decisions out of Faith, not Fear. It’s too difficult to make clear decisions that are hard if you’re fearful. That is why I always try to operate with faith. We even started and use the hashtag, #MoreFaithThanFear. 

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Today, I am happy to say that employ 40 people, and I love that I can involve my Amish community in my business. We now have a great leverage to create jobs in the community for Amish mothers that aren’t able to work outside of the home. Last year the local chamber gave us the reward for Small Business of the Year because of the impact we have had on our community. Now that I have a team that can now help me with all the day-to-day needs, I have more time to travel and feed my soul with inspiration. When I’m not drawing inspiration on the road, I love to browse Pinterest and Podcasts.

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I love to think of ways to better my business/events. How can I make it more creative? Sometimes that becomes building new fixtures, or figuring out creative solutions. Generally, I love my work and never feel too overworked. As I’ve always heard, ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ Always make sure to figure out a way to make money while doing what you love. Sure, sometimes working at fairs or events can be stressful, but my workspace makes me smile and I think that’s important. 

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Favorite Thing: I don’t like to get attached to things but if you’re talking about material things it’s all of our chandeliers. The huge one in the front of the Studio is my favorite one. The spirit of love that you feel when entering is my most prized possession.

Jackie Watcher + Making American in Cleveland

Ben Ashby

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This story originally ran in WHERE WOMEN CREATE

Jackie Wachter, together with her husband Phillip, are the owners and creators of FOUNT Leather of Cleveland, OH. FOUNT produces an ethically-produced high quality line of leather goods that has also helped them to enrich their community. When they’re not at their studio, they are taking care of their two beautiful kids and managing their two retail locations.


“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?”

C.S. Lewis

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Looking back, I have always been someone who loves to work with my hands. I grew up in Cleveland, OH, and according to my my mother I was a creative person out of the womb. My family fostered my creativity. I have my grandmother to thank for teaching me to sew when I was seven or eight-years-old, she was a very special person in my life. When I was younger, I used to daydream about potential craft projects at school. Often, I would get off my school bus with a list of supplies and have my mom take me straight to JoAnn Fabrics.

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In 7th grade, I started my first business out of my locker. I loved to make macrame hemp jewelry, and my friends started to ask for their own. Soon, the girls from all classes were coming to me with requests for their own bracelets. By demand, I would talk to my clients, sketch designs, and then go home to create their jewelry. I sold the bracelets for $12 each, and was selling several a week. Unfortunately, my venture garnered the attention of the faculty, and after about a year of business and a trip to the principal’s office, I had to close shop.

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After high school, I attended the Virginia Marti College of Art & Design and pursued a degree in fashion. While there, it allowed me to hone the skills I was taught by my family and channel them into something I was very passionate about, though it was still manny years before I met my husband, Phillip, and we started FOUNT together. After college, I moved to New York for a while, but I found myself missing something. I was very lonely there and I craved the Midwest charm I’d always known. I was seeking purpose, and became passionate about becoming involved in my community and supporting local and ethical manufacturing after a six month activist trip in Africa. That experience allowed me to get a better view into what I could eventually create through my craft and passion.

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A few years ago, all of the stars seemed to align. I met my husband, Phillip, and he became someone who inspired and motivated me daily to be creative. He is also someone who enjoys crafting with his own hands, and like me, had his own schoolyard business selling homemade beanie babies. In our first year of dating, we decided that we would make all of our gifts for each other. Phillip made for me a pair of wool mittens using a vintage Pendleton coat, as well as a cutting board. I made for him a wool pencil case, laptop sleeve, and journal. After looking at our gifts, Phillip suggested that the sewn goods could be beautiful made out of leather, and I agreed. We started trying to find leather, and found a local cobbler that also sold scraps from his hides of leather. We bought our first leather, and the sweet older couple taught us about some of the hand tools and techniques we should use. 

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Our first product trials were a leather wallet and lucky penny pouch. Phillip and I quickly fell in love with our newfound hobby, and after a little trial-and-error we started to make more leather goods. At the time, I was selling vintage clothing and goods at our local market, slowly we started to introduce a small table of our leather goods alongside it. It was at one of these markets that my friend Nicki’s mother-in-law said she should start trying to design a purse. She wanted to have us make a bag for Nicki for Christmas, and suggested that I give it a try. 

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During church soon after, I sketched a design, showed her and she said she would help us buy our first sewing machine to get us started. After finding a listing for a Singer 111 on craigslist, we went to test it out. It had been used to stitch WWII parachutes and it ended up being the sewing machine we used for our first six months of business as FOUNT.

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Our first great bag was created after many discussions about what every woman would want. It quickly became apparent that our best chance would be a tote. Our mission has been, from the beginning, that we want to make products that are beautiful, timeless, and well-made enough to last a lifetime while also being made ethically. The Bellfield Tote was designed to be a durable everyday bag for anyone. It’s gone through many small transformations since, like adding two pockets and straps that are designed to be unbreakable. 

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The first totes, though, were designed in our first apartment together on Bellfield Avenue, in a tiny studio that was ten-by-ten feet. The Bellfield Tote is now our number one seller, and is now available in three sizes. From that simple beginning, we have now grown our husband-and-wife business to a team of 41 employees. It has been a wonderful 4-year journey and I am so happy that we have been able to create a thriving community within and around it.

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Today, after years of hard work and a leaps of faith, FOUNT has not just one, but two retail locations—as well as our studio where we manufacture. When I was growing up, my dad worked in a factory here in Cleveland and I had to watch the systematic loss of jobs and manufacturing until his job was ultimately outsourced. I always knew that when I was able to create a business, I wanted it to be able to stimulate my local economy and make my products here in the United States. Today, I’m happy to say that we have been able to do that by supporting our 41 employees, as well as community outreach through events.


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FOUNT is a direct-to-consumer business, so we don’t have a face in the consumer market and boutiques. This can be a challenge, but until recently we have always marketed ourselves by attending maker shows. We take pride in making a high-quality product, and word of mouth is our best type of marketing. In every bag we place a little pouch filled with a couple of business cards that asks our new friends to share our message when people love their bag. It’s a very simple marketing solution, but FOUNT has had a lot of success because of it. We recently had an event in our Cleveland store and a lady pulled out three business cards and approached me. “I work for Apple, and I cant tell you how many times I have complimented your bags, but after getting several of these business cards I had to come see what you were all about,’ she said.

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Aside from opening our two retail locations—in a time when people say brick-and-mortar is dead—one of the greatest accomplishments we have had has been to build an inventory. 

When we first started, we were making each bag by hand, one-by-one. Now, we do batches by type of hide or pattern. We were part of a television show that helped business-owners with their models, and one constant piece of advice we were getting was that our website was always sold out. We learned that we needed to take a leap of faith, bought a ton of leather, hired nine new employees and built our first inventory. It was a great success, and having a product that a potential customer wanted allowed us to grow our business further.

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Every day with FOUNT seems to fly by. It’s very rewarding, and a lot of work, but getting to work with artists and artisans to create and share products makes it all worth it. We have three new designs coming soon, and are planning to create more elevated designs that can be formal, as well. Through this business I’ve been able to do something impactful, both in my community and across the world—like our partnership which brought over ten thousand dollars to dig wells in Africa and provide clean water. Being able to share our products with the world and see the positive impact that they bring to our families, friends, and community makes me every minute of this business worth it. 

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Kayla Haupt + Homesteading in Iowa

Ben Ashby

Kayla Haupt

Originally from WHERE WOMEN COOK — SLOW LIVING

Homesteader, a first-generation farmer, and single stay-at-home mother, Kayla Haupt, lives in rural Iowa on a small farm that sits among one of the largest Amish settlements west of the Mississippi River. This master gardener spends her days close to the land, working to instill the idea of sustainability, creativity, and seasonal living in others through her blog and the business, Under a Tin Roof, she launched with her mother, Jill, in 2015. 

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Growing up it was just my parents and me, so I spent a lot of time imagining elaborate storylines for my dolls and pretending I lived in the woods behind my house. That led me to writing, and I planned to pursue a career in film directing and screenwriting. That changed when I found out that I was going to have my son! He was a pleasant surprise, and he started a domino effect leading us to what we now do for a living. 


I never knew much about food, nor did I care much about it. It was an unhealthy relationship…sometimes I’d skip, sometimes I’d gorge, and I ate fast food and processed groceries. That all changed when I got pregnant and started cooking. I knew what I ate would affect my son, and I did not want him addicted to junk food! But, I still didn’t really understand real, whole food.


I began to experiment and learn. I fell in love with growing vegetables and collecting eggs from our backyard chickens. My family realized that whole food with minimal processing was important. Fresh tasted better and was healthier for us—this made an enormous impact on our lives.


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It was a huge accomplishment to convert our kitchen from processed foods to whole food and to eat by the seasons. We now eat meat that is butchered at that time of year and cook with the vegetables and fruits that are growing. In the cold months, we eat the food that I put by in the summer.  


In December 2017 we moved to our small three and a half acre farm. We were living in a nearby town for a few years before that—after a bigger move from Houston in 2015 when I was pregnant.


We were feeling our way into a new lifestyle, I was blogging, and we had started our business making and selling useful, handmade goods, learning as we went. Moving to a farm was not our plan, but when the property went up for sale, we were drawn to it. With more than 800 mature aronia berry bushes, a large garage we envisioned could be a small store to sell our creations, and a gorgeous 20th-century foursquare farmhouse...we made the leap! 

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It’s been a whirlwind working to grow produce and cut flowers and expand our business to include farming. My mom is a talented illustrator, and I am a writer—so the combination of our skills works well, and we are dedicated to living an inspiring lifestyle on our homestead and through our business…so encouraged by the opportunity of more farming!


We now grow and sell vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, and our shop hosts a small country store where we sell various useful, handmade goods that we design and make ourselves like sustainable apparel, household items, hand poured beeswax candles and embroidery kits. We offer pasture-raised eggs from our hens and fresh baked goods that I make on special occasions.


We also participate in a seasonal Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where customers can purchase a share of our farm among others and receive fresh produce, flowers, and meats to enjoy during the summer and autumn seasons. 

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It's the history behind slow living that draws me to it; my ancestors lived this way not too long ago. Somehow that art was lost in more recent years with advanced farming technology. But, I no longer want to buy useless products or ones that make us unhealthy. I love the idea of creating my own economy by growing and raising food! My most profound goal in this entire lifestyle change is to share these tips with my son, Tad, so he can pass them on to his children.


There has to be a balance—I cannot be a total purist. Sometimes I eat a box of crackers and some days I buy meat from the grocery store. So, while I strive to do it all; shear the sheep, spin the wool, and knit the sweater, that's not possible. We do the best we can, and we're changed people because of the small yet substantial steps we've taken in just a few years. We want to encourage others to do the same.


Our website offers info on homesteading topics like keeping chickens, growing and eating your own food, living a waste-free lifestyle, herbal healing, and natural cleaning. We want our readers and customers to feel as if they can make a difference in their own lives with wholesome, simple, seasonal living.


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My cooking style is old-fashioned—rustic and simple. I’m inspired by recipes of the 18th and 19th centuries—I love reading them and putting my spin on their elements. 


If we have friends over for supper, I like to make a chicken noodle soup, a black bean and sweet potato chili, or a beef stew—with fresh bread. My family’s favorite meal is pasture-raised chicken roasted in a cast iron skillet and basted with butter and rosemary. I add some chopped potatoes and onions, and we’re set!! Simple and good is the way to go for us.


Eating seasonally has taught me about where food comes from and how to live in harmony with the land to find fulfillment. Every year I feel the same way that I did the first time I ever grew my own food. When you bring that initial harvest into the house, clean and chop it, you feel this incredible sense of accomplishment and pride, humility and reward. I want as many people as possible to know that feeling, and I will continue to farm, work, write and cook to share it.

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The Adventure with Darrin Stevens

Ben Ashby

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DARRIN STEVENS


WHY WE EXPLORE

 

We've been following Darrin on Instagram for some time now. His landscapes whisk us away to foreign lands and ideal places. We wanted to take a moment to learn more about him, his adventures, and why he explores. 

Why do you Adventure/Explore: Exploring, whether that be camping, hiking or travelling and photographing; I think it pushes me to release a lot of stress and creative thinking that I tend to gather throughout the week. I'm always heavily inspired by other photographers and adventurers/travelers. I often day dream at work and wonder where I'm going to go next. Sometimes, It feels like all the bad is washing away and your mind is fixed on whats ahead. It's a very satisfying feeling living like this and I think it gives purpose and meaning to my own life.

 

Why take risks in life: I think its super important to be able to get out of your comfort zone every now and then. Taking risks means you'll have new experiences, life changing events that can drastically change your future, if that makes sense. For example, I was sitting at work, miserable. My friend texted me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to travel for 14 days across Canada in the next few weeks. At first, I thought to myself I couldn't make it happen, but I was wrong. I made the choice to make the trip happen no matter what even with whatever my financial situation was at the time. I put my happiness first above everything and pushed myself to go and do it. The trip was one of the best experiences I've had and the people and friends I met along the way has changed me forever.

 

Where are you from? I'm from a little town called Sutton in Ontario, Canada. It's a small town mostly surrounded by a large lake, farm fields and trees. It's quiet here and I really like that. The countryside is a peaceful place to be. Living here can make you appreciate the smaller things in life and it's played an important part in my photography as well. Capturing genuine moments, whether that be a small moment, or something bigger..

 

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What is your 9-5? I work a full-time job, 40+ hours from Monday to Friday at a job not even worth describing. It will make you fall asleep. I do photography part time, on the weekends, weeknights and whenever I can and make extra cash from this sometimes. I honestly just enjoying taking photos so much. I am currently in the process of changing the lifestyle that I live and getting out of my desk job. This wont happen overnight, but making the small steps in my own future will create happiness further down the line.

 

When you were growing up, what or who did you want to be? This is a tough question for me to answer, not because it's hard, but because it can be a little emotional for me. I was one of those people constantly all over the place in school, not knowing what or who I wanted to be. I had felt a bit lost. My motivation and interests were in things I knew deep down I didn't even enjoy and it affected me greatly in school. For many years in my youth, I had felt like something was missing and that I was to be apart of a bigger picture - like I was supposed to make a difference in this world. I knew in my heart I had a strong love for the arts, but I was constantly told from everyone that you can't pursue a career in this field and be successful at the same time. After a few years in College, a couple breakups, I realized that maybe who I was at the time was not the right person to be. As time went on, I discovered just exactly who I wanted to be. A strong hard working, independent, genuine man who doesn't need an extravagant life full of luxury and debt-burdening materials. A man who could tell stories and share experiences to others through art. Just to live life the way I had always dreamed of, seeing the world and meeting people with the same mindsets.

 

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Place you most desperately want to visit? I absolutely need to see Alaska/Yukon, Faroe Islands, Patagonia, Colorado/Wyoming/Idaho......The list goes on endlessly. I'm a sucker for mountains and trees though.

 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? On my way home once, I saw an elderly man. He must of been 70+ years old. He was parked off the highway and picking up trash in the nearby meadows all by himself. It was raining and cold. It seemed like he was struggling a bit, and I wish I could of assisted him when I look back on that day. It still brings me to tears thinking about it.

 

Where to next? I will be planning a trip to Montana first and foremost. There is something so wild about Montana. The small towns surrounded by mountains in the North. The glacier fed lakes and peaks...a land that just feels genuine. So much wild life and culture to be seen.

 

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If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I think if I could travel with anyone, it would be Forrest Mankins. His travels seem real, and more genuine than any other person I know. I don't really know him, but I feel like I do. He doesn't focus on creating photos that blow people away, it seems there's more to them and they tell a story and have so much emotion. He seems like the nicest and coolest guy to hang with. I don't often idolize a lot of people, but I think I would idolize him.

 

What would you say to someone who has never traveled before? I personally think that the majority of humans are trapped in this very small bubble, working aimlessly and achieving goals that will help them get more luxuries in life. It doesn't have to be that way and I think a lot of people are unhappy and still choose to live this way. I don't see the happiness in that lifestyle anymore. I am completely guilty of this although, but I understand now and I'm making more of an effort to change that. Travelling will give you a better understanding of yourself. It will open you to new ideas, creativity and happiness. If you ever have the opportunity to travel, don't put it past you and try and make it happen. Make valuable memories, don't just wait around and waste your precious life given to you.

 

What gives you hope? The people I've met who share the same mindsets give me hope each and every day. Many photographers especially share a love for what they're taking photos of. To hear some people talk about wildlife, nature and our earth in a loving way always gives me hope. The people who stand up and fight for what they believe in especially, I really admire.

 

Is flannel always in season? This is an amazing question, haha. Yes, flannel is always in season, unless you live in Arizona.. Fall especially is my favourite season to wear one!

 

Must haves for travel? Wherever you're going, bring as much comfort as you can that reminds you of home. I personally bring Christmas lights EVERYWHERE I go. Whether I'm in my tent, or sleeping in my car. The more comfortable you feel, the better you'll feel when you're away.

 

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Jenn Davis + A Slow Living Conversation

Ben Ashby

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JENN DAVIS

Originally from WHERE WOMEN COOK — SLOW LIVING

Jenn Davis is the creator of Two Cups Flour, a baking blog that showcases classic breakfast, bread, and dessert recipes with her own twist. She shares these food stories through inspiring photos styled with a southern, rustic spin from her Nashville, TN studio kitchen. As a foodie, photographer and baker, Jenn’s work has a nostalgic approach that ignites a love of baking in her audience. Her inimitable artistry captures each recipe with a mood that inspires home bakers to experiment with exciting ingredient combos and helpful—and often humorous—tips.

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“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” 


As a child, if I wasn’t learning about art, I was being instructed on the beauty of nature—my mom was a designer and my dad a horticulturist. I inherited my mother’s creativity and my father’s sense of humor…and I call upon these traits in my work! 


Food was “hands-on” in our family; my parents both shared in preparing meals. Dad had a garden and Mom canned the vegetables, Dad hunted deer and doves and Mom could turn them into a three-course meal, Dad made Sunday morning pancakes and Mom made pies and bread. With no formal culinary training, just good old trial and error home-style techniques, I learned from watching them and grew from licking beaters to being a helpful sous chef.

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We were a suburban family, with deep, country roots. Growing up, preparing food was a special art form, a way to bring people together. Meals were—and still are—a time for us to spend quality time. Even though my mom worked full-time, she prepared everything herself. I learned early that homemade tastes best…and it’s worth the effort! 


In my twenties I was caught up with other things…eating takeout for the umpteenth time, my friends and I decided it was gross and we could make better. This revelation turned into a weekly recipe night with wine, endless chatter, and mini feasts. My renewed interest in cooking and baking grew from there. I bought new cookware and a few cookbooks. We tried new flavor twists, pigged out on warm cookies and cultivated lifelong friendships over the food we made.


Years later, after college, I was living on a horse farm when my passion for baking re-ignited. I wanted to smell and taste all the food from my childhood and I began baking for joy, when time from my equestrian duties allowed. 

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Then, just after my 33rd birthday, I really started missing the artistic side of my life. So, I gave up my career with horses and started over as a photographer, but something was still missing. I wasn’t passionate about what I was shooting, but back in the kitchen I was trying new recipes, perfecting old ones, and enjoying every minute of it! 


So, I started pointing my camera at food. Like magic, creating in the kitchen turned into capturing food images. Now, I bake almost everyday and share how I see it. I live slow and share it.


Slow living speaks to my heart. I’ve done the fast paced, stressful, cluttered, and insatiable lifestyle. It left me feeling tired, unfulfilled, and lonely. I want to have a life full of experiences, not things, I want to eat food made from ingredients I’ve grown or harvested, and have the luxury to soak up the world around me. I want to live an authentic life at a slower pace…without the regrets of—if I only had time, visited, or enjoyed—lingering in my mind.

Slow living is reflected in my work. I encourage my readers to take time for the things they love. Follow their passions. Pursue curiosity. Slow down. Be patient. Soak up the moment.


To live slowly I had to first acknowledge what I value most. I prefer to make choices about my schedule, so I choose to live a creative life and work for myself. This comes with challenges and rewards; I work hard to achieve my goals, but balance work with down time.

Everyone can relate to enjoying something delicious. Whether you prepared the recipe, shared a slice of cake with a friend, or handed a bag of food to someone hungry, food connects us in its traditions, its possibilities and its joys. 


So, I work hard to share that cooking or baking doesn’t have to be perfect; you just need to enjoy it. Anyone can make something from scratch; it just takes a little patience and a willingness to try…and acceptance of the occasional failure! Sometimes I have to laugh and throw an experiment in the trash, other times I do a happy dance in surprise. I want my readers and followers to do the same; I want to inspire them to head into the kitchen to have fun and enjoy the results!

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“Live a life driven more strongly by curiosity, than by fear.” –Elizabeth Gilbert


twocupsflour.com | — wherewomencreate.com


Goat Cheese, Watermelon, & Herbs

Ben Ashby

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This snack really is overly simple. So simple that I struggled with the idea of even writing the recipe, but it needed to be written. This recipe is a perfect summer or fall treat. The sweetness of the melon paired with the sharp tang of the goat's milk cheese is a real delight. We kept it simple with our recipe, but a splash of sea salt and balsamic really adds even more flavor to the dish.

 

  • Watermelon, cubed into bite size wedges

  • Block of goat's milk cheese

  • Herbs for garnish, we used min, basil, and rosemary

  • Ground black pepper

We allowed everyone to assemble their own, but you can easily prepare this ahead of time and create delightful little stacks.