Archive for September, 2009

Gröe Clothing: Limited Edition Shirts That Are Literally Works Of Art

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Today I will be spotlighting a new clothing line started by Jared Allen, a very talented artist and professional skier based out of Ogden, Utah. It appears that when Jared is not hucking himself off 100 foot cliffs, he is at work creating unique works of art in his Ogden studio. Recently, he has turned to a new medium for his artwork: clothing. Gröe is a limited edition clothing line that features his artwork on t-shirts in limited numbers. Each design is only printed 72 times and when it sells out, he prints a new design. This keeps the line fresh and gives you a unique t-shirt that you won’t see on many other people. The other great thing about these new shirts is the price. If you are sick of seeing trendy tees for $40 plus, than you will be comforted by the $17 price tag on each of these unique shirts. Check out the website to learn more and order a few for yourself – shipping is just $5: http://groeclothing.com/

Last week I had a chance to ask Jared a few questions about Gröe – here is what he said:

idea1. What is your background as an Artist / Skier?

I started out drawing mummies on skateboards in elementary school. Then I drew comic books in junior high and high school. I got a degree in Advertising Design as a way of dodging the term “starving artist”. Now I do a mix of fine art and design work. Most of my current clients are in the ski/outdoor industry.
My ski background…. hmmmm, I like jumping off cliffs. I like going fast. I like progressing. I think skiing is a great way of pushing your personal boundaries and stepping up to real goals and challenges. It’s been a huge part of my life.

2. Where did you come up with the idea for this company? Why did you pick t-shirts as a medium? Who is your main audience/market?

The idea for Groe is something I’ve always had. I guess it’s not so much an idea as it is an approach to life. The concept to keep growing. To keep challenging yourself. To keep an open mind. It’s how I try to live. Groe is just the name we attached to it.

I’ve wanted to do something with T’s for a long time. It’s just such a creative medium. I was looking into limited edition screen prints of some of my paintings and decided limited edition T’s would be more fun. Take the artwork off the wall and out on the town.

As far as an audience goes…. anyone, everyone. Anyone who is awake to what life can be. Or wants to be awake. It’s amazing what’s possible if you keep thinking. There is no exclusion based on anything other than a closed mind. We’re even starting to print baby items. We do seem to be doing well with the “extreme sports” or “hipster” crowds, but that’s just natural given the backgrounds in skiing and art.

3. Where did you draw your inspiration from? What would you define your style as?

Inspiration comes from everything. Every photo taken by your eyes. My kids are a big inspiration. It’s amazing the epiphanies you’ll have playing with toddler toys. It’s like a second spin at life, but you’ve still got your first eyes and memories. Life in general is the inspiration.

I don’t know that my style has a name. I like working with typography and the concept of literal items “growing” off the word Groe. I also like working with characters. It’s fun imagining their personalities and building quirky back stories.

4. What does the future have in store for you and Gröe?

In my first job interview after college my soon to be future boss asked me: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I replied with some type of boring path up a corporate ladder. Today if I were asked that question I’d have to say that I have no idea where I’ll be in 10 years. No clue, but I do know that I will be in control and it’s going to be a fun ride.

Short term we’re working on setting up our own press and evolving into a few other items beyond T’s. We may actually print the T after the order. We’ll supply a list of designs, colors and potential blanks options (T’s hoodys, hats, kids items, etc… We may also start doing live printing at art events. I’d like to get more involved at community level as well. Maybe teach some art classes or offer classes on avoiding all the traps we people have set for each other, but tied to a capacity to have time for art. It’s hard to find time to pursue your dreams (art, skiing), or your life if you’re trapped. I could go on about this stuff forever, but I won’t… right now.

And as a parting shot, here is Jared in his element……going big!

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Mint.com – Take Control Of Your Finances

mint_whiteWhether you are hopeless with your finances or you just want to keep your life more organized, then you should check out this very helpful site. Mint.com is a free personal finance site that allows you to track your spending and investments, making it easy to set goals and budgets.

Once you sign up for free, you enter in all your financial information including bank info, credit card info, mortgages, investments, loans and property. Although it is always scary giving up such personal information, the site is secure. Once it loads all of your financial info, it gives you your net worth and shows you your financial overview including where you spend your money. If you have multiple credit cards or bank accounts it is helpful to see all your financials together. The budget category is helpful as it shows how much money you spend on different things like gas or food with convenient charts and graphs.  You can set different amounts for each budget category so that you can follow whether you stay within your budgets or not.

Along with providing the free software for you to analyze and look at all your financial data, Mint.com also offers info and tips on how you can save money and get better rates according to your financials.  You can even apply for new credit cards or bank accounts online through the site.

Whether you are looking to get out of debt or simply wish to have a better look at how all your finances look together, sign up for a free account at Mint.com and get a better grasp on your finances.

For a visual look, check out this video from CEO Aaron Patzer.  Oh and if you haven’t read about it yet, the site was recently bought for $170 Million by Intuit, so you know they are doing something right over there!

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Impulse Buy: The Purchase Of A Ski Lift Chair!

Yesterday I made an impulse buy. It wasn’t a small impulse buy like a t-shirt or a bargain at the end of the supermarket isle; It was a 200 pound, 8 foot tall steel ski lift chair, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Ever since I started skiing, I have always wanted to own a ski chair off a lift. Every once in a while I would see a lift dangling off someones porch and wonder how they acquired it. 20 years of skiing later, I finally have my piece of the mountain too. It seems as though ski lift chairs are pretty hard to find and sometimes fetch a pretty penny but I was lucky enough to find one for $50. I can’t take all the credit for this find though….It was my girlfriend who spotted the lift for sale in the Buttermilk parking lot, as she was buying peaches at the fruit stand. It appears as if the lift came off Buttermilk mountain to make way for a faster and bigger lift. Now this classic double will have a new home in my San Francisco apartment after I make it some legs and fashion a new cushioned bench for it.

Even though I am moving away from this beautiful valley, I will be taking a piece of Aspen with me to keep forever.

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Palisade Peach Season Is Almost Over – Get ‘em Before It’s Too Late

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highcountryorchards.com

The last time I talked about Colorado produce on here was when I was gearing up for the Olathe Corn Festival. That Festival turned out to be a huge success and the trip was definitely a Colorado highlight for me. In addition to Olathe Corn, Colorado is also well known for other forms of produce, many of which have their own festivals as well.

Another one of these festivals is the Palisade Peach Festival which features the famed Palisade Peach. These peaches are grown in Palisade, Colorado, a small farming town like Olathe in Western Colorado. Although I missed this festival back in the middle of August, I have been enjoying the fruits of their harvest this summer, literally. Palisade peach season usually goes through the middle of September so this week may be your last chance to sample this tasty fruit.

Although any ol’ Palisade Peach will do, I have taken to the High Country Orchards variety. According to their website, peaches can stay fresh for 2-3 weeks if refrigerated so head to your local farmers market, fruit stand or grocery store and stock up before they disappear until next summer.

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British Man Driving Around The World……In An MG Midget?

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Every once in a while you hear of someone embarking on a round the world adventure. Many have done it in a car or truck, but i’m pretty sure that Roy Locock will be the first to drive across the world in a 1977 MG Midget 1500. Roy is a retired software company founder from England who restored a ‘77 Midget (named Bridget) and decided that he needed to take a very long road trip. Although he is driving solo and has no mechanical knowledge, his year+ journey has been a great success so far. On top of the adventure he is experiencing, he is doing it for a good cause, raising money for UNICEF.

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Roy and Bridget started their journey on June 22, 2008 from just outside London and as of today September 15, 2009, they are on their last leg in Canada, somewhere around Ottawa. It’s hard enough to imagine driving in any vehicle for over a year, but the fact that this guy is doing it in a small and quirky British sports car makes this story that much better.

As far as what he brought with him…..not a whole lot because as you can imagine, there is not a ton of trunk space. Talk about packing light for a year+ long trip…..here is what he said about his challenge before leaving:

Bridget has just 3.5″ ground clearance under her engine sump. She has enough fuel to drive a maximum of 450 miles, this includes two 20 litre jerry cans. I have a compass and will purchase a map when I enter the the different countries, I have also secured 5 days emergency rations should I need to abandon Bridget somewhere in the middle of the wilderness. The only other thing I need is a good psychiatrist.

So hats off to Roy and Bridget who seem to be nearing the end of their incredible journey. Although most people retire and want to relax on the beach or golf all day, Roy has shown that retirement doesn’t have to be boring. We also have to give some kudos to Bridget the Midget who seems to be holding up quite well for a 32 year old sports car! You can read about the adventures of Roy and Bridget on his website which he has been updating from the road; http://bridgetthemidget.co.uk.

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Music Monday: Some Hot New Beats From A Weekend At Red Rocks

Discovering new music is always exciting.  Discovering new music with a few thousand people at an outdoor amphitheater in beautiful Colorado is even better.

This past weekend, I had my first Red Rocks experience and I can now say that it is indeed a very special venue.  This weekend was the annual Monolith Festival which featured over 75 acts spread out over 2 days.  Although it rained quite a bit during the first day, the great acts made it easy to enjoy the rainy weather.  There were a number of headlining groups who I had heard of before, but there were also dozens of new bands that I got to listen to for the first time.  I could talk about the bigger names who played like Chromeo (my all time favorite), Phoenix, The Mars Volta, Ok Go, Of Montreal, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I figured I would talk about a few of the smaller groups who impressed me. For your Monday listening pleasure, I share with you Passion Pit, Woodhands and The Walkmen.

Passion Pit is a new electronica band out of Cambridge, MA who formed in late 2007 after the lead singer Michael Angelakos got a band together to write his girlfriend a song for valentines day.  Their energy and upbeat sound was awesome live so I encourage you all to take a listen.  This band has jumped right up the list of my favorites after their show.

Woodhands is another indie electronica band who put on a great show.  They are based out of Toronto, Canada and are also new to the music scene, having formed in 2007.

The Walkmen came out on Saturday when the rain was coming down the hardest, but that didn’t takeaway from their great sound and energy.  This indie rock band calls New York and Philly their home and formed back in 2000 after attending school together down in D.C.  Turns out they played at my college back in 2006 but I didn’t catch them then.  I had to wait 3 years later to discover them but i’m happy I did.

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2009 Honda Ruckus = Major Scooter Envy

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Last summer, I made an impulse buy…..I bought a cheap, used scooter out of the classifieds in the Aspen Times. Looking back, it was probably one the best purchases I have ever made. Yes, I have a truck and 2 bikes to get me around but a scooter is the ultimate short distance commuter. Sure I may look like a nerd zipping around on it but it gets almost 100 MPG, cruises to around 40 MPH, can be parked anywhere and I don’t need a motorcycle license or insurance to drive it.

With the cost of gas these days and the congestion problem that is affecting many of our cities, I expect scooters to rise in popularity here in the U.S. We might not get quite as scooter crazy as Europe or Asia, but if you live in a small town or a city, a scooter may be the answer to your commuting problems.

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Here she is...my 200? Qianjang 49cc

Although I love my beat up old Qianjang 49cc, the gas gauge is broken, the kick start doesn’t work, the blinkers are shot and it has some body damage. On top of that, the ol’ Qianjang hates to start up in the morning and sometimes runs out of gas without warning. As a replacement down the road, there is one very clear choice; the Honda Ruckus.

Most Scooters are not too masculine but the Ruckus is a bare-bones, beefy little 49cc scooter that you won’t feel too embarrassed to be on. Forget all the cheap plastic and cheesy styling, the Ruckus is solid and utilitarian. It still has the small 49cc engine, giving you great gas mileage while allowing you to drive it without a motorcycle license or insurance.  Add to that a 4 stroke engine which is liquid cooled and you have a great little package.  This small engine is still powerful enough to get you around town at 40 mph+ and its built by Honda so you know its gonna last. The Ruckus has gained so much popularity that it was voted as the #1 scooter out of 110 models in 2009 by Motorcycle.com.  Best of all, the price tag is not nearly as high as most of its competition.  Don’t waste $3,200+ on a 50cc Vespa when you can get the Ruckus for $2,149 MSRP.

To find out more about this little urban machine check out the Honda Powersports Website

On a final note, it looks like the celebrity crowd is down with Ruckus as well……here is Shia Labeouf crusin around on one in July….

Courtesy of Celebrity Cars Blog

Courtesy of Celebrity Cars Blog

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A New Season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Debuts September 20th With A ‘Seinfeld’ Cast Reunion

For all you ‘Seinfeld’ fans out there who have been dreaming about a reunion, the wait is over, kind of…..

Although they aren’t bringing ‘Seinfeld’ back to life, the 4 member ‘Seinfeld’ cast will be appearing on Larry Davids HBO series ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ starting tonight with the season opener. The ‘Seinfeld’ crew is slated to appear in 4 or 5 episodes this season and though we don’t know what their roles will be, i’m sure it will be hilarious.

This will be the first time that all 4 ‘Seinfeld’ characters have appeared together on a TV show since ‘Seinfeld’ went off the air 11 years ago. I can’t believe it has been 11 whole years but i’m glad they are coming back for a quasi reunion on such a great show. ‘Curb’ is a perfect stage for this little reunion as Larry David was the genius behind ‘Seinfeld’. I have never been dissapointed with a ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ season and i’m sure this one will be even more absurd than previous seasons. I don’t think I will ever get sick of ‘Seinfeld’ re-runs, but seeing the 4 of them on ‘Curb’ with some new material will certainly be a treat.

The 7th season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ will run 10 weeks long, airing new episodes every Sunday night starting September 20th.

Giddyup!

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US Open 2009: Young American Talent & Some Bright New Kicks

b_0903_oudin3The U.S. Open is under way and after the first 2 rounds, we have seen some great tennis and a couple of upsets. Although I miss most of the TV coverage being at work, I have been watching the free online coverage at
usopen.org. Along with being free and live, it allows you to view matches on 5 of the courts which is great.

One of the major stories so far is the rise of 17 year old American, Melanie Oudin and her 2nd round upset of the #4 seed Elena Dementieva. Unseeded Oudin is currently ranked #70 in the world and has a career record of 11-14 after turning pro in February of 2008. She was home schooled in Marietta, Georgia so she could focus on tennis and I guess it is paying off because she is making a big name for herself and she is still just 17 years old. Hopefully she can stir things up in Womens tennis and give the Williams sisters some competition. Next up for Oudin will be a tough match against Maria Sharapova but this girl seems to have the drive and the talent to succeed.

When talking about Oudin, I must also mention that she is rocking some seriously awesome new Adidas kicks. Throughout my college tennis years, I was a big fan of the Adidas Barricade shoes and its good to see that they are kicking it up a notch with their color palate. Oudin and fellow American Sam Querrey are debuting the new Barricade V’s which can be customized on the new miadidas.com website.

Oudin has her motto “believe” transcribed on the shoes and Querrey has his name and an American flag on the tongue. I might have to design a pair of these myself and retire my boring blue and white Barricades.  Expect to see a lot of custom Barricades squeaking around a court near you after the Open. For $140 they aren’t cheap but you can’t really put a price on radness.

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Kelly Sildaru: The 7 Year Old Skier With A Very Bright Future!

After last weeks YouTube clip of the week, I am keeping with the theme of youngsters excelling at sports….

This time the sport is a little more mainstream and I am completely blown away.  We’ve all seen young, fearless skiers bombing around our mountains, but I have never seen a 7 year old girl with this much talent.  She throws 720s and goes bigger than most grown men would ever go.  I know children are fearless, but this is simply awesome.  The girls name is Kelly Sildaru and she hails from Estonia.  It also seems like she is fully sponsored at the tender age of 7 by the likes of K2, Nike, Hestra, Spy, Dalbello and others.  Enjoy!

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