Friday, June 17, 2016

A Shoot With the Mrs.

I grew up in Jackson Hole and for some reason, decided to leave for ten years... don't ask me why. I guess I had to sow some oats or something like that. In those ten years or so, I was away from family and friends that I adore, Samantha Livingston being one of them. Our parents have been friends for nearly 40 years, so I consider her family.

Sam is a mother, photographer and real estate agent. She also left Jackson Hole for a bit, but returned like most sane people. Who wouldn't want to come back to the most beautiful place in the world? She recently helped me out with a shoot in her nursery to promote my new line of watercolors. The results were incredible.

All images ©2016//Printing or Saving these images is a Federal Crime

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life Begins at 29

I know we all lived it up in our twenties and have countless stories to tell (or hide from) our children, but there is something about 29 that forces you to begin to really live. Or, at least that's what I have found over the past 8 months.

The Day of my 29th Birthday

Our generation is getting married later, and that's a good thing. We have time to develop, learn, make mistakes and grow into ourselves. We have more freedom, resources and things to do than previous generations. I think it's important to realize this and take serious advantage of it. The baseline -- we can do more living.

I've always tried to make life exciting, and I thought, up until I turned 29, that I was doing everything I could to live a fulfilling and adventurous life... but, that minute I turned 29 -- that realization that my twenties were nearly over -- was the minute everything clicked. It's time to take advantage of my freedom and my youth... two things you can't get back.

Life begins at 29 because you truly get to know yourself. You become comfortable in your own skin, you begin to accept yourself as is and learn to love both your faults and your strengths.

Life begins at 29 because you know what you want and you're not afraid to voice your own opinion. You're no longer thought of as naive. And trust me, wisdom is power.

Life begins at 29 because you find yourself interested in unique and different things. From books to more adventurous cuisine... from off the beaten path destinations to off-beat themed dinner parties... and from your spiritual side to why an espresso made the right way (usually in Europe) really does taste better.

Life begins at 29 because you can let go of your insecurities. So, let's say you have a wedgie at the beach and there's a group of 25 year old attractive guys and girls behind you with oiled abs you could have a slip and slide party on, who cares? Pick it... and pick your nose at the same time. I really don't care... in fact, I think more 25 year old guys have been attracted to me and asked me out since I've turned 29 and acted this way. I'm not saying I'm actually that disgusting, but I just act completely comfortable.

Life begins at 29 because you have more compassion for people. For those younger and those older. You see their struggles and you understand. You may not have been through the same thing, but you've been given the ability to empathize.

Oh and one more thing... when you're 21, you think you know everything... when you're 29, you actually do know SOME things. And that's nice.

I could go on and on... and at some point I will... I hope to someday get my shit together enough to write a book, or a short story about all the ways I think life begins to really start as we get older.

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's True, I HAVE Been Missing in Action

A blog here, a blog there, I always set out on a journey to commence a blog with high hopes of writing something everyday... then maybe something at least twice a week, then every week, then every month, and before you know it, a whole season has passed. Gah, here I am almost back to the day I started the blog last year. It's foggy and cold outside again and summer seems to have slipped away without warning. Dare I say the four letter F word.... F-A-L-L.

For me, Fall inspires creativity -- writing, painting, baking and reflection. It was this time last year I began to come up with the "30 Before 30 List." And unlike my waning valor when it comes to blogging, I have only positive news to report -- I've checked off A LOT of things on that list. And, I have some really important ones to add. I don't just write these out for self fulfillment, but in hopes of inspiring others.

1. Learn Italian - I didn't become fluent, but I did take a class -- on a boat -- on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

2. Finish Learning French... just learn a new language, even if you suck at it... yeah, I still suck, and that's OK.

3. Travel to Italy - DONE

4. Travel to France (I figure if I'm in Italy, I can kill a few birds with one stone and step over the border into Italy)... travel wherever YOU want to go. DONE. I took myself to Chamonix, not quite the spot I imagined my first French adventure, but it was both scary, exhilarating and completely out of my character. Then I went to Cannes... and fell completely in love.

5. Play at least one instrument at least once this year... the one you have hidden away in your closet (I know I have a few) I heard a show on NPR this morning about a girl who picked up the Uke on her trip to Nicaragua during the off-season, maybe that'll be my goal during October and November this year.

6. Get a Mountain Bike. Get a road bike. Buy some skate skis. Buy a parachute... Buy something that you can do all by yourself... whenever you want. Read the book: What Color is Your Parachute? I can't even tell you how many new things I tried this year.... it was definitely a year of DOING. I put on an alpine harness for the first time and skied a glacier... and got in a helicopter... and tried to say YES to whatever I could. I'm sure I peed my pants a few times, but why not?

7. Run a marathon. This. Did. Not. Happen. But I have 4 Months. And I'm not ashamed if it doesn't happen. I'm sad to report that in the war between my aging body and running, my aches and pains keep me from pushing too hard.

8. Run a couple (maybe). Run some half marathons, 5Ks and 10Ks. I ran plenty in the beginning of the year and learned that running is not my body's thing anymore. But I think I tracked about 5-10 miles every five days for a solid 3 months. That's enough.

9. Drive across the US. 

10. Start swimming.

11. Embrace the artist that you are. This has been an incredible year for my art, I am so grateful.

12. Read a book. Read 10. Done. 

13. See important people speak, like Ira Glass (checking that off my list tomorrow night). See your favorite band play. Dance. Go to a TEDx event. Visit the website more often. DONE.

14. Swim in the ocean. Done.

15. Swim in a river. In a lake. In a gulf. Surf. Done. Naked and Free. 

16. Visit your grandparents. Ask them questions - questions about how the world has changed... how their perspective has changed... what they learned in their 80-90 years on this earth... ask them about their regrets and make sure not to make the same mistakes. DONE... and I've learned so much. I highly recommend this.

17. Send out birthday cards to all of your relatives... send out Christmas cards (I have yet to establish this habit). Looking forward to the holidays.

18. Do yoga more. Meditate more. Be flexible... in mind and body.

19. Worry less. AND remove all negative people from your life. Forget those who have hurt you and never let another's actions let you doubt yourself.

20. Eat more ice cream. Maybe too much. Oops.

21. Wear sandals later into the Fall and Spring colors during the Winter.

22. Kill people with kindness... and find that even the nastiest people turn around.

23. Don't worry so much about money, about where you thought you'd be in life, about finding someone else to make you happy... make yourself happy first. And find that money comes to you when you do this.

24. Always work harder on being a better person... develop a healthy addiction... a passion.

25. Volunteer. And be consistent. Check.

26. Even if you're broke, donate money to a worthy cause. Support a friend's Kickstarter campaign. Check.

27. Accept your beauty now, because beauty fades... and when it does, make sure you worked hard on being beautiful on the inside. Learning to.

28. Random Acts of Kindness -- do them all the time. SMILE.

29. Leave your phone at home for a whole day. For a week. Turn it off. Traveling abroad will help you with this.

30. Be comfortable in your skin. Love yourself. Accept yourself.  A work in progress.

So, if there's a message from this "comeback" post today, set your intentions, write them down, and get shit done.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

30 Going on 13

My post yesterday made some of you laugh, pissed some of you off and made some of you question if it was written about you, specifically. Don't be so serious... it was a satirical piece intended to take blatant stereotypes and give you a chuckle. I hope none of you took it too hard.

Because of the overwhelming response and number of page views... I'm writing a similar piece for men. 30 Going on 13: The Mountain Man's Guide to Finding Love


Sweet Dee. Photo: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

She's the one in the bright pink beanie with wispy blonde hair falling haplessly on her shoulders. Her split ends are noticeable from a mile away, but it's all part of the look and lifestyle -- that A) she's outdoorsy, B) she's too busy getting rad to cut her hair, and C) she just doesn't give a f*ck... oh, and D) she's probably broke. She's a mountain girl.

You will most likely recognize her before you even meet her. That's because her public status updates and photos of her skiing, surfing, doing yoga, and [insert awesome activity here] pop up on your newsfeed... and guess what? All of your bros have already "liked" them. Her Instagram documents her amazing talents like art, wine knowledge and her ability to shotgun a PBR tall can. She works hard and plays harder.

She's the one at the all organic cafe and juice bar talking about how juicing has changed her life. How it's increased her endurance and made her a better athlete. If you are invited into her conversation, be ready to talk about your own interest in nutrition, how capable you are in the backcountry and that you have a "real" job. Because, even though she doesn't have a real job, she expects her man to have one.

She may be 30, or just on the cusp, but she drinks like a frat boy from the University of Michigan and still finds herself attracted to the disheveled and unkempt 20-year-old ski bum. Despite her strict policy about not using online dating services, she's started using Tinder because she tells herself it's just an app... I mean, Olympic athletes are using it, why shouldn't I? She finds excuses for everything.

Because the odds are good for her (men to women ratio in a mountain town = 3:1), she dates around. She moves from one guy to the next because the next guy always looks better on paper. So, you best get your sh*t together before attempting to date this T-Rex. 

Steps to finding your own Mountain Girl:

1. Beef up your Instagram and Facebook with photos of you in the backcountry, fly-fishing, mountain biking and winning (literally and figuratively).

2. DO NOT act like you know her name already when you meet her. She's probably already aware you've seen her on Facebook or Instagram... but the more aloof you act, the more she'll be intrigued. Did I mention that she loves assholes?

3. Start juicing and attending hot yoga ASAP. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Peter Pan on Valentines Day

Need help finding a date for Valentines Day? Here's your guide to finding Peter Pan in your Mountain and/or Beach Town:

He's the one with the shaggy unkempt hair, the stubbled face and the worn hands. The guy who has a dog, a truck and a passion for anything that pushes the boundaries of safety. He's a skier, a surfer, a snowboarder, a climber, a budding photographer and enjoys artisan brews. He is Peter Pan.

You've probably met him at a brewery, on a chairlift or in the back of a ski and/or bike shop rehashing his latest adventure with other bearded men. He's the one in a beanie, holding an IPA and sporting his latest experimental facial hair arrangement -- this week, stubble with a Connoisseur mustache. His facial hair gives him confidence and adds to his unique character and mysteriousness.

He's the one with the BBQ all fired up, the six pack sitting in the snow and a single red rose (how original) awaiting you at his house for Valentines Day. He'll gladly grill you up a bratwurst and slide a cold one across the table to show you he cares. The TV will be on behind you and you'll wonder if he's looking deeply into your eyes with that excited look, or if he's just looking right through you to catch replays of last nights Olympic Slopestyle competition. You tell yourself the former...Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

He may be 40-something, but acts like he's 20... which will both prepare you for motherhood and keep you young. It's likely that he lives in a ski or surf town... or spends time in both depending on the season. He has more roommates than bedrooms and his walls are littered with smut, Pink Floyd posters and the latest centerfold from Powder Magazine. We all know this guy... and we all tend to fall for him. That's why at 40, he's still dating the hottest 20 year olds that move to town.

His youthful approach to life will win you over... so let go and enjoy it... at least for Valentines Day. I mean, if you live in a mountain town and you're a lady -- it doesn't take much more than a PBR and a flannel shirt to win you over.

So how do you find him?

1. Visit Peppi Stiegler's, Hoback Sports or Wilson Backcountry often.

2. Loudly order the most burley beer at the Brew Pub to catch his attention.

3. Talk about sled skiing, your hiking time up Glory and how you are considering Heli Skiing this year. He'll be enamored.

4. Borrow your best friend's dog and do a Snow King lap after work.

5. When you finally get to talking to him, discuss things he's comfortable and knowledgable about: Shredding, Pow, Beer, Flannel, Moose Hockey, Travis Rice, Valhalla and how much you love Pinky G's Pizza.

Happy Valentine's Day Ya'll! xx

The Three Things I Learned from the Sons of Perdition

"And if I remain in the dark about our purpose here, and the meaning of eternity, I have nevertheless arrived at an understanding of a few more modest truths: Most of us fear death. Most of us yearn to comprehend how we got here, and why...And we will no doubt feel that ache, most of us for as long as we happen to be alive. " 
-John Krakauer Under the Banner of Heaven
"The Road to Perdition"

Last night I watched the documentary, Sons of Perdition, that documents exiled young men and women from Colorado City, a town founded by Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. The theme that resonated most deeply for me was discovery. Discovery of a life outside of a very small existence... Enjoyment, fulfillment, opportunity and knowledge.

The youth and even adults in this documentary were undereducated, sheltered and told to believe their whole lives that people on the "outside" were evil. They were kept from listening to music or reading books, magazines and even newspapers. Their education was based solely on the teachings of the Book of Mormon, the Bible and the musings of Prophet Warren Jeffs.

Their knowledge of the world and what it had to offer was confined to the limits of this small antiquated town.

Those that stay, will never know more than a life of repetitive piety. But those that left and were exiled, began to discover knowledge, opportunity and living.

This documentary got me to thinking about the lives that we on the "outside" live. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, we have quick access to knowledge whenever we want. We have TV, newspapers, social networks and literature we can easily access on our phones.

But even with all of this at our fingertips, are we sheltering ourselves to some extent? Are we holding ourselves back by succumbing to the margins of a comfortable existence? Do we fear the unknown and choose to accept the news the mass media feeds us... the placating kitten videos we watch for hours on Facebook... or the mind-numbing games we play on our phones? Is it possible that we are just as sheltered as the youth in the documentary?

"I want to experience life, firsthand." - Sons of Perdition

I do believe we shelter ourselves to some extent. That -- inadvertently we become so comfortable in life that we avoid taking risks and being brave. The boys and girls in this documentary took the ultimate risk that bared with it very significant consequences: One, that they will be damned to hell according to the Mormon religion and two, that they lose all ties to their parents, siblings and any form of financial support. But, they do it anyway because they were the brave thinkers to question the laws of a very influential "prophet."

We can learn a lot from drawing this parallel...

1. Feel the fear and do it anyway. 

We all have fear, but for some of us it is debilitating. In general, we tend to know what's good for us and what is ultimately bad for us. We are logical beings with varying levels of fear. That's what separates the leaders from the followers.

2. Be brave and trust your gut.

Despite being logical beings, we are also privy to gut feelings about situations in life. If you're faced with a difficult decision, dig deep and listen to your gut. Learning the difference between fear and what your gut is telling you is a valuable tool.

3. Go beyond the levels of your comfort.

Get out. Do something new. Visit an offbeat news site -- one that doesn't report mass media. Pick up a book from the library about a culture you know nothing about (an Ethnology), plan a trip somewhere far away, voice your opinion at work.

 Be open, be brave, be you.


  • Watch the documentary on Netflix - Watch Trailer HERE

  • Read about Prophet Warren Jeffs HERE

Friday, January 31, 2014

Date a Girl Who Travels (or a Free Spirit, in General)

In response to an article I read recently, Don't Date a Girl Who Travels, I have my own opinion (imagine that). This is why you should absolutely date a girl who travels (or, a free spirit, in general).

She's the one with the scars and tan lines... the ability to speak multiple languages and has more than one artistic hobby... the one who has mastered the art of playing hard, working hard and partying hard -- she's a free spirit, a riot and captain of her ship.

Date a free spirit -- a girl who travels. She isn't hard to please, she just knows what she wants. She won't be offended by your gestures of chivalry, but she'll probably be slightly confused by them. She's the girl who gets into a jam and who quickly figures out how to jury-rig the solution. She won't be impressed with your new car or watch, but she won't judge you for it. She enjoys riding in style when she's not backpacking around Central America with a pack full of a humid ridden and soggy wardrobe. She finds that it's a nice change of pace.

Date a girl who travels. She will take you off the beaten path to explore new bands, new places and eccentric foods. She will enjoy your company and feel safe by your side. She will dance till the wee hours of the morning, throwing out her elbows in defense of any dude that tries to get close to her because she knows, at the end of the night, you're all she wants.

Chances are, she doesn't want to hold a steady job. She enjoys inconsistency and mixing things up. She might be a yoga instructor or a cycling guide for Back Roads as well as having three to four other part time gigs. It keeps things fresh, it keeps her inspired and it gives her the flexibility she craves. She knows that money can always be made, so she doesn't stress about spending it on living.

Date a girl who travels. She didn't waste her parent's money on an Anthropology degree, she became worldly and open minded. She craves the experience of learning and wants to share her knowledge with you. It excites her... and, in her essence, she is exciting.

Date a girl who travels. She has chosen a life of uncertainty because she knows that life is uncertain -- no matter what lifestyle you lead. Even if you have a 9-5 -- even if you're married -- even if you're rich... she knows that that comfortability can be taken away without warning. So, she chooses to go with the flow, knowing the unexpected lies ahead for everyone. She may dance to the beat of her own drum, but she'd gladly add you and a bongo for a duet.

Date a girl who travels. She speaks her mind with grace. She doesn't intend to offend others with her opinions, but she isn't afraid to make them known. Strangers, and even your parents, will fall in love with her... be intrigued by her and find her interesting. She loves a good conversation and telling a good story... but she also likes to listen. Just know that your parents will probably start calling her before they call you to check in or make plans.

Despite your insecurities about it, she will need you. And, she wants to need you. Yes, she can pitch her own tent and jury rig any old contraption... and cook a gourmet meal, but contrary to popular belief, she likes being doted on (but, she'll never let you see that). She wants you by her side when she travels, but she wants the freedom to move around. She wants you to meet new people while she's busy bouncing around the room hearing stories from strangers. She's the one at a party who avoids talking to you all night, but gives you googly eyes from across the room -- it's her way of letting you know she's all yours.

So, do it: Date a girl who travels (a free spirit). Fall in love. Let her go. Find her and fall in love all over again. Despite what you may think, she doesn't want to be let go... she wants to be free -- with you.