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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for the Personal Reflection Category

Summer in the Utah Desert

Posted by Bryanna | June 24th, 2014 | Filed under Nau Events, Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection, Photography, Travel, Who We Are

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The trials of working in any sales-based industry are the annual tradeshows. The largest trade show in the outdoor industry, Outdoor Retailer, happens twice a year nestled between the Wasatch front and the great Salt Lake. After a week under fluorescent lights of the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, we often need a few days of desert sun, spiritual searching, and a bit of team bonding.

This past August we snagged some of our favorite Spring 2014 looks, piled in Mark’s Defender and headed out for gear testing in the Capitol Reef National Park. We spent three days exploring through slot canyons, hiking up desert ridges and sleeping under the stars. The landscape in southern Utah is quite shocking compared to the Oregon wilderness we call home. Often times we felt like we ended up on the surface of a whole different planet. From the reddish hues of dirt to the almost pure desolation of life, we found ourselves ohhing and aahing around every turn of the landscape. Enjoy these images from our journey.

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Back from the Past: Birkenstock’s Return

Posted by Alison Wu | June 11th, 2014 | Filed under Design Eye, Personal Reflection, Uncategorized
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Monochromatic in the women’s Inte-great Pant and Birkenstocks.

If you haven’t heard or seen by now, Birkenstock‘s are back. In a major way. Having been a Birkenstock wearer for most of my teenage years and upon heading west for college gifting my 4 pairs to my mother, I was reluctant to get back on board with this trend. But after seeing chic women all over the world adapting Birkenstocks into their everyday style and making it look good, I decided to stop wasting time and order myself a pair, actually two pairs, of Arizona sandals. Flash forward a few weeks, and not only are my feet happier than ever, my love for Birkenstocks has never been stronger.

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The Cultivators: Farming with a Social Purpose

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photo by Giles Clement

In our next installment of The Uncommoners: Exploring the Other Side of Ordinary, Lindsey heads to Long Beach, Washington to get her hands dirty and learn what it means to farm with a Social Purpose.

When I accepted an invitation from Starvation Alley Farms to join their cranberry harvest last month, I didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps, an idyllic Ocean Spray commercial or another episode of Dirty Jobs. (Yes. Mike Rowe visited a cranberry farm.). But what I found was hard work, laughter, great cocktails and a deep sense of community with people who were passionate about food, family and local farming.

After a few cranberry cocktails, I sat down with farmers, Jessika Tantisook and Jared Oakes, to learn how this small family-run experiment expanded into a corporation with a unique uncommon product and an even more uncommon purpose.

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From Schizopolis to Standells: 5 Things You Should Know from musician Erik Menteer

Posted by Bryanna | October 22nd, 2013 | Filed under Music, Personal Reflection, Who We Are

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It seems everybody loves lists these days. Our facebook feed is crammed with headlines like, “Five ways to do this, ten habits of these people, six ways to yadda yadda.” So we took it upon ourselves to create our own. Over the next few months, we’re gathering a “should” list from some of our favorite musicians, artists, creatives, and changemakers. We posed the same five questions to each person and compiled a list that has just as much grit and intrigue as Ten Ways to Kill a Pig. At least, we think so. First up: Erik Menteer, multi-instrumentalist for the weirdo folk and rock band Blitzen Trapper

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On the Frontlines of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Posted by Guest | September 10th, 2013 | Filed under Partners for Change, Personal Reflection

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If it wasn’t for global aid organizations like Mercy Corps, the nearly two million Syrian refugees would have little hope for survival. This month in the Thought Kitchen, Cassandra Nelson, Mercy Corps’ Director of Multimedia Projects, travels to Lebanon to document the work the organization is doing to bring renewed comfort and confidence to refugees like Hannah and her seven children.

August 1, 2013: Cassandra Nelson reporting from Lebanon

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Why We Travel: Offline on the Umpqua

Posted by Josie | June 27th, 2013 | Filed under Bikes, Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection, Travel, Who We Are

This summer, in the Thought Kitchen, we explore why we love to travel. First up in our series—Josie Norris—our beloved producer and wild queen of single track, goes offline on the Umpqua. 

En route to Ashland from central Oregon two weeks ago, I accidentally found my new favorite wild place in Oregon. The Umpqua River sucked me in and I never made it to Ashland.

On day one, I spent hours on the North Umpqua River Trail (79 miles of beautifully maintained single-track) and didn’t see a single person. In the absence of cell reception, I left a note on my car the second day that said “if you’re reading this note after 8:00 p.m. on Saturday June 15th please send help…..”.

Thank you Verizon and thank you Oregon, for reminding me what it means to be truly disconnected.

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Nau Takes NYC By Bike

Photo: Lavish Livez Instagram

To commemorate bike month, we took a small group of friends on a curated bike tour from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Each stop along the way brought to life our unique perspective on sustainability, craftsmanship and the modern, mobile lifestyle. Here’s a quick glimpse into our pedal-perfect day.

Getting Oufitted
We started at HUB in the West Village where we were each fit with our custom Dutch-inspired Brooklyn Cruisers. While the week’s sunny weather had taken a turn, it only added to the spirit of the tour. Most of us simply put on an extra layer with a Dose Jacket or Motil Trench, and we were on our way.

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Postcard from the Alvord

Posted by leighann | March 26th, 2013 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Travel, Who We Are

Alvord Desert Hot Springs

Last Friday, around 2pm, Mark, our GM disappeared. It was shortly after consuming a pomegranite margarita (no salt) and a taco platter. Of course, this is not unusual. Mark has been known to mysteriously vanish only to suddenly reappear days later with a grin and a suntan. This time, he resurfaced on a Monday morning smelling of sulpher and parched earth, surely evidence of a desert escapade. But he was gracious enough to write us a virtual postcard so we wouldn’t have to rely on an Edward Abbey quote to complement these few captured moments. 

The desert is a diaspora for the displaced, a refuge from our hyper-saturated social scene, attracting the margins of society— mystics and malcontents, desperadoes and drug runners, rednecks and ranchers, artists and anarchists.

It’s an environment that expands our visual and perceptual horizons. —Mark

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Postcard from Home: The Oregon Coast

Posted by Bryanna | January 21st, 2013 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Travel, Who We Are

One of the most scenic landscapes in Oregon spans 363 miles along the Pacific Ocean. The coast is home to sand dunes flowing into cliffs that drop straight to the sea and a rocky coastline that has served as a backdrop for countless Hollywood movies.  Yet with all this majestic beauty so close to our daily life, we barely take the time to truly enjoy all this state has to offer. So I am dedicating this Postcard to exploring home, to taking time to stop at every scenic outlook, tourist trap, trailhead and gravel road.  Because when you abandon being a local, you notice more about your surroundings.

Unlike your typical beach, the Oregon coast is the most magnificent during the winter months. I find it quite suiting that we don’t call it the beach, but the coast.  For the word beach does not describe the natural wonders that live here. From the oversized crushing white waves, to the small fishing towns, high view points and populated tide pools, an hours drive from Portland has so much to offer.

Driving south on the 101 from Cannon Beach to Manzanita, the winding two-lane road creeps up and down a jagged cliff.  Though icicles hang where water once dripped, the sun is at its highest point of the day. The radiating heat from the sun hitting the car makes it almost feel like summer.  We slam on our brakes to soak in every view of the ocean, slide around corners for signs of beach access, and jump under ropes for a closer viewpoint.

As the evening sun sets,  people rush from their condos, cars and storefronts to catch a glimpse of the yellow, then orange, then purple and red skyline. Couples hold hands, kids play in the sand, and the sun slowly fades behind a curtain of splashing turmoil. We wonder to ourselves, are we the last people on the west coast to see the sun tonight? We cheers a toast: Here’s to adventure, to getting out no matter the distance, and taking a finer look at what’s in front of you every day.

Wish you were here.

 

On the Border of Syria: A Dispatch from Mercy Corps

Posted by Guest | January 2nd, 2013 | Filed under Partners for Change, Partnerships, Personal Reflection, Positive Change

Hasna and her seven children fled the civil war in Syria with practically nothing. Mercy Corps-distributed clothes, blankets, mattresses and gas heating supplies will help them through the winter. Photo: Jeremy Barnicle/Mercy Corps

This week in the Thought Kitchen, Jeremy Barnicle, Chief Development and Communications Officer for Mercy Corps, one of our longstanding Partners for Change, travels to Jordan to give us a first hand account of the Syrian refugee crisis and what we can do to help.

Mafraq, Jordan — I am sitting on the floor of a cold, crumbling single room dwelling just on the Jordan side of the Syria-Jordan border.  I’m sipping Turkish coffee, surrounded by a family of Syrian refugees.  The coffee isn’t warming me up much: it is December and it is freezing.

My host is a lady named Hasna Erhael.  She’s a 36 year old mother of seven, six of whom are girls and are sitting with us.  Her oldest child, a 15-year-old boy, is out collecting recyclables to make some money.  Hasna and her family fled Syria a few months ago when their town came under attack by the Syrian army.  Her husband is back in Syria fighting the regime and says he won’t stop until they have taken Damascus.

They came over the border with nothing, and nothing is pretty much what they still have.  They rent this room with help from relatives.  No work.  No school.  No toys or art supplies.  No furniture. No electricity or heat.  No running water.

I don’t want to make Hasna sound like a victim — that’s certainly not how she sees herself.  She tells me she and her family just need to be able to eat a little bit and they’ll be able to hold out until the fighting ends and they can return to Syria. But she is nervous for her girls: “They have nothing to do.  They miss school and they are totally bored.”  They are clearly struggling, and that’s where Mercy Corps comes in.

We are working with a local religious leader to identify Syrian refugees — more than 15,000 of them are hunkered down among the 60,000 permanent resident — and help meet some of their basic needs.  Right now, we have the money to help about 1000 refugee families in Mafraq get prepared for winter: that means we’ve giving them winter coats, blankets, kitchen supplies, food packages, gas heaters and gas.  In general, we are a “hand-up not a hand-out” kind of operation, but in times like this we do our best to bring struggling people some measure of material comfort.  Mercy Corps is providing similar support to Syrian refugees throughout the region.

Mercy Corps is proud to be a partner of Nau.  Support from Nau and its customers allows us to meet the needs of people like Hasna and her family.  For more on our response with Syrian refugees, click here.  

Jeremy Barnicle at the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan. Mercy Corps drilled the well, which will serve all 40-plus thousand Syrian refugees in the camp, plus tens of thousands who live in neighboring communities.