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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Posts by

Josie Norris

Partners For Change: Unlimited and Unrestricted

Posted by Josie | December 2nd, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Change, Partners for Change, Positive Change

As the Managing Director of our Partners for Change program, I get the honor of handing over a hefty check to each of our five partners. Twice a year, I gather all of our final revenue numbers, calculate our final donations, and put a check in the mail with a card, signed by everyone in the office. Over the years, I’ve watched the running tally of our donations climb to several hundred thousand dollars.

I understand, first hand, the reality of our impact when I watch the presentations given by Mercy Corps field staff about the work they’re doing to solve the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa or when I hear Obama reference Breakthrough Institute’s research into the history of American clean energy innovation.  Every person at Nau and our sister company Horny Toad would agree with me when I say: We whole heartedly believe that it’s our responsibility as a for-profit company to support the NGO’s that are creating positive change in the world.

Yet every time we make a donation, I am reminded that all donations are not alike. Every time I talk to our partners, they all say the same thing; “receiving unrestricted funds is critical to the success of our organization.” Our Partners for Change rely heavily on donations from companies like us and people like you to reach their milestones. Unfortunately, a large portion of the money they receive is restricted, meaning it can only be spent on specific projects, and it can not be used for every need of an organization–like electric bills or new technology. As Dan Pallota, non-profit advocate and author of Charity Case, said, “Low overhead is not the path to transformation of society.”

So this holiday season, when you donate, I encourage you to give unrestricted and empower the NGO’s that are truly creating positive change in this world.

Welcome Bikes Belong

Posted by Josie | May 1st, 2012 | Filed under Bikes, Partners for Change

When we decided to add a new partner to our Partner for Change program, the decision was unanimous to bring Bikes Belong into the fold.

The Bikes Belong Foundation was launched in 2006 in Boulder, CO. Their mission is simple: get more people on bikes more often.

They have their hands in a variety of bike related projects including: maximizing federal support for bicycling, connecting communities through bike projects, organizing ad campaigns, promoting bikes through the Safe Routes to School partnerships and the program we’re supporting– People for Bikes.

If this motivational poster above Peter’s desk isn’t enough to convince you to choose two wheels instead of four the next time you leave the house, read more about the benefits of biking on their website.


Welcome Bikes Belong, we’re proud to welcome you to the Partners for Change program.

Partners for Change Evolves, Thank You Kiva

Posted by Josie | April 26th, 2012 | Filed under Partners for Change, Partnerships, Positive Change, Who We Are


For the first time in nearly four years, we’re expanding our Partners for Change program. Beginning on April 30th, we will launch a rotating partnership which will allow us to have relationships with more NGOs throughout the year. To accomplish this, four of our Partners for Change will remain constant, while our fifth Partner will rotate about twice a year.

Shifting this program means we must part ways with Kiva, one of our dedicated Partners working toward positive change. Kiva was one of our original Partners for Change when we launched our giving program back in 2006. Since Kiva’s founding in 2005, 754,040 lenders from 219 countries have loaned over $305 million to people in 59 different countries.  Impressive.

We’d like to acknowledge them for their many accomplishments and thank them for inspiring us over the last six years. Want to be inspired too?  Check out a few of these facts and stats about Kiva, and learn more about the Kiva Fellows or Kiva’s Green Loans.

April 30th will mark the last day customers can direct 2% of their purchase to Kiva. While this day marks the official end of our partnership with Kiva, their passion for creating positive change will remain a permanent inspiration for all of us here at Nau.

Music to ride by

Posted by Josie | March 8th, 2012 | Filed under Music


It’s Thursday, it’s sunny and a glorious 63 degrees outside: a perfect reason to dig through my music library and put together a playlist for the weekend ahead. Enjoy.

  1. LCD Soundsystem – Give It Up
  2. Memory Tapes – Bicycle
  3. Fujiya + Myagi – Cassettesingle
  4. Vetiver – Blue Driver
  5. Cut Copy – Lights and Music
  6. The Something Experience – German Sparkle Party
  7. Rapha Winter Playlist

Summer Departures, Part 1: The Big Dig

Posted by Josie | August 22nd, 2011 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Who We Are

dig7It wouldn’t be summer without a few broken bones. At least, that’s what Josie and Peter can say. For their summer adventures, they either found themselves on the wrong end of a water ski or wrestling with a few Mastodons. But for most of us at Nau, our warm weather escapes took us to places where time and cell service do not exist, to vast expanses of land where we feel incredibly humbled, to islands where new ways of human living are being tested, or to the edge of our surfboard where everything and nothing exists, all at once.

Oh summer, how we love thee. To celebrate your waning days, we’re toasting a few mimosas in your honor and writing down a few words of remembrance by dedicating this short blog series to you and those moments that leave us humbled, broken and so damn happy we did it.

To kick-off our Summer Departure series, Josie takes us to Colorado where she helped unearth 100,000-year-old dinosaur bones buried deep in her grandparent’s backyard in what is now known as Snowmastodon.

dig4Last October, tusks from a wooly mammoth were discovered in the pond at my grandparent’s house in Snowmass, CO.  Since then, scientists have removed over 4,000 Ice Age fossils that were buried under 40 feet of mud and peat. Eight months after the discovery, I flew to Snowmass, CO to see the dig for myself.

I rolled up the driveway with my mom, hoping to get a peek at the action.  To my surprise, after a 5-minute tour of a big mud pit, the welcoming staff from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science handed my clean, soft, office-working hands a shovel and said “start digging.”

dig5Living in Portland, I get excited when I find a new bike street or a food cart that doesn’t suck. I got to experience the real thrill of discovery when my shovel hit rib bones of a Mastodon that walked on this planet about 999,967 years before I was born (give or take 50,000 years).

We logged the GPS location, size, position and type of bone and kept digging. People around me found molars, femurs and claws from sloths, wooly mammoth’s, mastodon’s and various other species from the Ice Age.  A mountain bike racer/fossil nerd from Grand Junction taught my mom and I how to encase the large bones in plaster to keep them from getting damaged during transport to the Denver Museum.  My hands were so beautifully dirty, I was as giddy as a scientist.

josie2For my Grandpa, one of the biggest surprises of his life was waiting for him at the age 84. For now, I’ll keep getting excited about discovering things in my own city, but in the grand scheme of things, I am ruined. My barometer for discovery is skewed for life.

Spring Provocateurs: Allison Arieff

Posted by Josie | April 26th, 2011 | Filed under Design, Positive Change

A year ago we decided to feature Portraits of people who inspire us— foodies, artists, designers and people who go about their work in a provocative way. We hired the talented filmmaker, Jordan Kinley, to help us bring these Portraits to life (although, I can’t say the same for the pig).

Of course, finding people who inspire us is not difficult; we’re surrounded by them and follow their work every day. Our challenge, at Nau, is to be able to capture the very essence of what makes these visionaries so extraordinary, and bring it to you in a three-minute vignette.


This Spring, we decided to take the Provocateur series a bit deeper by asking the hard questions and listening to what they had to say. The result? Three people and three unique perspectives that might change the way you view things…It did for us.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll launch three Portraits: Allison Arieff, NY Times blogger; Drummond Lawson, the Green Giant at Method; and Sean Carasso, founder of Falling Whistles.

To kick off the series, here’s a little bit about Allison Arieff, our first Spring Portrait:

Allison Arieff – Writer, Visionary + Food Advocate

allison_blog_image_2Allison is one of the original founders of Dwell magazine, a blogger for the New York Times, a food advocate, and an impressive gardener and mom.  She welcomed us into her home for the Portrait shoot last month on what was possibly the rainiest day in San Francisco’s history.

Over the course of several hours, we learned what has inspired her over the years and how her outlook on design and positive change has evolved throughout her career.  Her perspective on design and what the design community needs in order to evolve both enlightened and surprised us.

Her Portrait takes place in her sunroom which is currently being renovated.  Surrounded by stormy weather and a raw interior, she brings light to what could be considered a harsh environment, a perfect metaphor for how we view Allison’s role in the changing world of sustainable design.

Learn more about Allison’s view on design here. And, to see more jewelry like the necklace she’s wearing in her Portrait, visit kirstenmuenster.com.

Collective Snapshot Winner: March

Posted by Josie | March 8th, 2011 | Filed under Uncategorized

He’s tall. He’s handsome. He’s this month’s snapshot winner. Congratulations Mark McCambridge, your shot by Nicolas Blandin captures you to a tee.

Nau’s love affair with Mark began at Sydney’s (the old Brecken) back in December 2006 and we’ve had a crush on him ever since.  We’ve been lucky enough to share a carefully brewed coffee with him about every six months in recent years as he’s moved from Alaska, Brazil, Valencia, and finally Annecy.  Like any consuming crush, we had to set him free to see if it was meant to be. We’re still hoping there’s a chance he’ll come back. There’s always a chance…. right??

Until then, we’ll continue to get lost in his photos and dream about our next reunion. One of us might need to hand deliver his new M3 Hoody.

And for everyone else, do you want to win a prize of your own and have us write a blog post all about YOU?  Send a photo to share@nau.com of you and your friends wearing your favorite Nau threads. Next month we’re giving away a men’s or women’s Wafter Pullover.  We’ll announce the winner here on the Thought Kitchen on Tuesday April 12th.

Collective Snapshot Winner: On Snow in Mongolia

Posted by Josie | February 7th, 2011 | Filed under Who We Are


Last month we asked for your best shots of Nau on snow. Congratulations Jefferson Mok, we’re sending you a new Shroud of Purrin Hoody for finding snow in even colder and more remote places than we ever expected.

Jefferson braved the -30 Celsius temperatures traveling through Mongolia with a Down Vest and a Shroud of Purrin Jacket. He gets bonus points for capturing the strange polar bear landmark on the road outside of Ulaanbaatar. Burr.

Send your photos and tell us about your adventures – overseas or in your backyard – to share@nau.com. Next month we’re giving away a men’s or women’s M3 Hoody. We’ll add the winning photos to our Collective Snapshot Winners album and announce the winner here on the blog on March 8th. Good luck.


A Visit From La Nina

Posted by Josie | January 24th, 2011 | Filed under Art

Timberline Ski Area on Mount Hood reported 8 inches of rain on Sunday January 16th.   Not only did it wreak havoc on the snow conditions, it brought the Sandy River to the 3rd highest flood level in recorded history.  Tyler Malay and Alexandra Erickson captured footage of Mother Nature taking course, swallowing 50 foot trees (at 1:21) and washing away Lolo Pass Road. It’s simply stunning.

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A Short Documentary: The Sartorialist

Posted by Josie | January 21st, 2011 | Filed under Design

Scott Schuman has made a career out of people watching. He is the man behind the camera for our favorite fashion blog, The Sartorialist.  In this short documentary he articulates his creative process and inspiration.  Quite eloquently, we might add.

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