Surface: A Vermont Skateboarding Adventure

I get it. The “financial crisis” was a real bummer. It’s tough to get a job. Those of us who have jobs are expected to do more work, with less help. But, in the early days, after the stock market crashed, I started noticing a few silver linings. If someone says the glass is half-full, I’m the type of person to tell them it’s completely full. Technically it’s half water and half air.

Well anyway, after the crash, I lived in Portland, Oregon. At the time I started noticing people having more pot-lucks instead of going out to dinner. There were “supper clubs” popping up all over and a general shift towards valuing experiences over material possessions. People started camping more and finding ways to escape that were fun and cheap and didn’t rely on a high-priced airline ticket. It was beautiful. And it’s still happening. There is a generation of people who would rather make, than buy, who would rather get out, than stay in. It’s opened the door for a brand like Poler to exist, and even thrive.  It’s a spirit that skateboarding has always had, and it’s exemplified in this fantastic video from Ian Durkin.

“We live amidst surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Puppytime: James Brown Enters The Sideways Life

I’ve wanted a dog for the better part of a decade. The nomadic snowboard gypsy lifestyle isn’t particularly conducive to canine comfort, so I’ve put it off… until now. I’m finally settled in the Alps in a little chalet with my man. I work from home. It’s time. We decided on an Epagneul Bretagne (Brittany Spaniel) because they are supposed to be athletic outdoor dogs that behave well in a family setting. They have long, powerful legs and are medium-sized. They come in a variety of shapes and colors. Our Brittany has the classic orange and white coloring the breed is known for. James Brown joined our little family at 15 weeks of age. We’re planning to spend loads of time in the snow with him next winter. For now, it’s late spring. We’re home, and the lake is just 10 minutes away. I love dogs.

James Brown attempts to devour his hand-made Greypaw leash.

James Brown attempts to devour his hand-made Greypaw leash.

Airblaster Board Games at Timberline

I’m heading back to the place of my youth this week. Back to the Pacific Northwest! Back to Portland, and Mt. Hood. It is a magical place. I will eat delicious Thai food, go skateboarding at Commonwealth, catch a show at Mississippi Studios, hang with friends and enjoy some “party boarding” with the Airblaster crew. Life couldn’t be any sweeter.

April 14 Timberline Lodge. The birthplace of cool. Fun!

The Allure of What We Can’t Have

I’m mentally packing my suitcase for a trip back home to the States and I realize that I’m also making a mental shopping list. Can you imagine? Living abroad creates the most significant pull to the simplest things. I must buy coffee from Stumptown and Heart Roasters  (no matter that I live an hour or so to the Italian border and some of the best cappuccinos on the planet).

If I’m honest, I’m craving time at Urban Outfitters and sniffing candles in Anthropologie, in the same way I once craved the opportunity to window shop at Isabel Marant or Maje.

Why do we always want what we can’t have? I remember hording clothes from H&M during early trips to Europe, before the fabulous Swedish chain had infiltrated the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I could sell ANYTHING with H&M inside the label to resale powerhouse Buffalo Exchange back then. Today, it barely gets a glance unless it’s new or has the tags or fills the category of unused timeless basic.

If I’m honest, I barely shop at H&M anymore. I’ve moved on to their new, more mature offering at Cos. Of course, I can only get Cos online in France or I have to travel to Paris, but anything I buy there, will seem like one-of-a-kind in the US. I love having clothes that no one else does, or having the opportunity to put together outfits that are uniquely my own. I don’t have the budget for exclusive luxury brands, but I do have the lifestyle of a world-traveler and that affords me the opportunity to find things that you can’t find anywhere.

As globalization continues, I hope that brands and designers continue to pay homage to the beautiful experience of local exclusivity. I love it when I can find something in Paris, say at colette, that isn’t available anywhere else in the world. It becomes a genuine souvenir of my time in Paris. And while a photograph of a memory is cheaper, the thrill of wearing clothes that are a story of how you’ve lived your life is an experience in itself. Do I love to tell people the story if they ask where my shoes are from or how I came across a unique piece of jewelry? Sure. Absolutely. But the fun of it is that I don’t have to, to enjoy the memories.

As brands grow more global and people travel more, I think how we define exclusivity will evolve to take on a more locally significant value.  The sneakerheads already know this and brands like Supreme capitalize on it. There is something wonderful about appreciating the best of a place. It’s like enjoying the seasons. I’ve never been a fan of endless summer or endless winter. I like the change, the newness, and the opportunity to miss something for a while and be grateful when it returns.


The author on the coast of Maine in a vintage romper purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market (Photo Kealan Schilling)

The author on the coast of Maine in a vintage romper purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market (Photo Kealan Schilling)


Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

I’m a major fan of Ted Talks. If you haven’t seen you need to crawl out from under the rock you’re living in, and go peruse their amazing videos. I always like to try and get “better” at life. Reading my Facebook feed often leaves me feeling hollow and depressed. It’s easy to think that everyone else is somehow living harder, doing better and achieving more. Lately, I’ve just been turning it off. Honestly, when I look outside the window of my little chalet in the French Alps, I feel pretty happy. I spent the morning reading and writing and sipping French Press coffee and then I watched this:

And it reminded me how often I’ve felt like an impostor. It’s always kind of the same when you embark on a new adventure. If it scares you, it can feel like you’re in over your head, like you don’t belong. I felt that way when I moved to the mountains after high school and discovered that I was actually an intermediate snowboarder and could barely keep up with my peers.  When I started digging with a crew of dudes at High Cascade Snowboard Camp I thought I would get found out for being the sensitive little girl that I am, so I carried two 40lb bags of salt like everyone else and worked harder than ever to show that I belonged. Eventually, I did belong. My first job in communications & marketing was all learning by doing. And I conducted a lot of Google searches. It’s the secret no one really tells you. You just have to go for it. Be a good person and learn by doing. If you make mistakes, own up to them and learn and move on.