Writing, reviews, interviews, shop.

Aroh Made

Posted on October 15, 2014

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I received an email from Ben Aroh of Aroh Made a few weeks ago introducing me to his company and telling me a bit about how he got started. He’s a young dude, 24 and fresh out of college, with a good eye for branding and photography as well as product design. Ben’s done some great stuff with his newly launched line and while some pieces are certainly more original than others, there’s definitely something for everyone. He has zero formal training in product design or anything related to this, though went to school for marketing so his chops aren’t unearned. His father is a professional wood worker and showed Ben the ropes; they work together in his father’s studio out of which Aroh is run. Ben sent me his Minimalist Desk Lamp for review and I’ve been thoroughly pleased.

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Field Trip: Snake Oil Provisions

Posted on October 7, 2014

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I reached out to the fellas over at Snake Oil Provisions in January about doing a writeup. I had seen their online shop, their insanely rabid Instagram following, and knew a brick and mortar store was in the works so we met in Long Beach near their current HQ for coffee and chatted all things menswear. Josh and Ben are some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and I mean that sincerely. We meet a lot of shop owners, brand owners, and dudes that are just generally stoked on menswear but rarely do I meet a pair of guys so easy to talk to and so genuinely friendly. Josh comes from an ad industry background and Ben has spent most of his life in retail, most recently at Unionmade, so right off the bat we had quite a bit in common. Their shop wasn’t ready for shooting so we waited for a few months until they were open and ready to go for me to come back down and shoot their shop. SOP is in a quiet stretch of Long Beach near Syndicate Barber Shop and a few other small retail stores which gives them a little pocket of semi-urban walkability with plenty of local flavor. Their web shop boasts quite a large number of products and their storefront, though small, certainly shows them off very well. They were still putting the finishing touches on the shop itself when I visited but it still had a homey, warm feel with plenty of great decor. Something about the high white ceilings and flat woven rugs makes you want to hang out in the space and chat menswear all day. Their brand list right now includes Rogue Territory, Apolis, Red Wing, Filson, Shinola, Teranishi Brand, White’s Boots, Ruell & Ray, AnonymousIsm, Schott, and many more. I picked up one of Rogue Territory’s new indigo dyed jumpers while I was there and have thus far been super thrilled. They consider as Rogue Territory to be one of their flagship brands so expect to see a good offering if you intend to visit. I sent over a few questions for the dudes; here are their responses. Click here to view the full article and interview. DSC_0103 DSC_0049

Spodee White

Posted on September 25, 2014

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We’ve had a longstanding friendship with the folks over at Quaker City Mercantile ever since they sponsored our Natural Process show a few years ago. Their delicious collection of spirits, including many of our favorites (namely Hendrick’s Gin), is impressive to say the least and the marketing efforts they put forth behind each brand is equally as neat. They reached out to us to review their new “Spodee White”, the lighter version of regular ol’ Spodee and we were happy to oblige. We attended their event back in 2012 launching the brand which is a unique mix of wine with moonshine; a concoction surely meant to get you saucy as quickly and deliciously as possible. The original iteration of Spodee (“red”, we’ll call it) had a chocolatey taste that paired well things of the darker variety. Easy enough to drink straight, both iterations of Spodee have a unique feel to them. Packaged in what are effectively vintage-looking milk bottles with an easy rip-cap, these suckers are a no brainer to bring to your next summer party. The white version is a little fruitier than we tend to keep our drinks, however it’s been over triple digits here in Los Angeles for the past week so believe me this was a nice respite from the heat. The folks from QCM were kind enough to send over a few recipe suggestions including Spodee Sangria, Citrus Spritzer, Piña Colada, Hurricane, and on the rocks. We opted to test out the Sangria and Citrus Spritzer recipes. Click here to read the entire article.DSC_0024 DSC_0029  

Yosemite National Park: A Photo Retrospective

Posted on September 22, 2014

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A few months ago we were fortunate enough to grab a coveted campsite near the base of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park here in California. Getting a reserved site is tough given that Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks and almost twenty years ago there was a huge flood that wiped out a good number of the sites. We woke up at early 3 months in advance in order to get our spot and we got the last one left within a three month window. Feeling fortunate, we prepped for our trip.

Traveling to Yosemite was a great excuse to turn off and focus on things we like; camping, drinking lots of good whiskey, taking photos, and traveling. Here I present a series of photos from our trip highlighting a few of our hikes and cool sights. If you need a creative recharge or a respite from the working world, I highly recommend taking a trip to Yosemite. If you can’t swing that type of travel, find a campsite near you and get out of your own bed for a few days. It’s worth it. We’re not hardcore outdoors people and Yosemite caters to all levels of woodsy-folks. Camping between two streams at the base of an incredible mountain near the basin of several waterfalls while also being close enough to a few restaurants and a grocery store has it’s merits.

We hiked the Vernal/Nevada Falls trail which takes you through some of the more lush greenery in the park. There’s two major waterfalls along the way with plenty of views of the valley, Half Dome, and the opportunity to dip your feet in the river (be warned: do not get in the water as you could be easily whisked over the edge to a certain death). One of my favorite points of this trail was coming around a corner and the mist from the first waterfall beating the cliff face on your right. The rocks were soaked and covered in moss. It was a slippery climb but felt like something out of Lord of the Rings. Rainbows, massive rock formations, heavy mist, sunshine, and greenery abound. We ate lunch at the very top, the halfway point, which is the top of the second waterfall. There’s plenty of places to grab a rock and relax while recharging for your hike down the mountain.

You’ve probably noticed that things have been fairly sparse on the site recently. We’ve been busier than ever working on a variety of creative projects for clients around the country from music videos to photo shoots and haven’t had a chance to focus our time on producing the content that we love doing; free stuff for the world to enjoy. Recently the going motto has been if it doesn’t pay, don’t do it. Fortunately right now we’re able to jump back on board and do a little more with The American Classic. Whenever something you love becomes time prohibitive, it’s time to take a break and wait for the right moment to come and spark you with some inspiration. We’re happy to be here and hope you enjoy the content we have coming over the next few weeks. Click here to read the full article.

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In Support Of: Boldfoot Socks

Posted on July 8, 2014

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I wear socks 7 days a week. Even if it’s just for a few hours, I put socks on at some point during the day either to keep from getting blisters or to keep my shoes from smelling like an armpit. I primarily wear leather shoes (Rancourts or Red Wings) and socks with heavier leather shoes are crucial for longevity of the shoe itself and from keeping your feet from looking like calloused tree stumps. As a result, I burn through approximately 5-8 pairs of socks per year and usually have about 10 pairs on hand at any given time. I’m always on the lookout for new designs and I typically go for the more subtle patterns that mix well with my existing wardrobe but in this particular case, the socks found me and they’re far from subtle.

Boldfoot Socks is a D.C.-area startup specializing in very bold-patterned socks made in the USA run by Brad Christmann. They’re currently on Kickstarter (for the next two weeks) with some great deals on their initial run and some super neat patterns to choose from. These patterns are not for the weak-in-the-knees; chunky lines, bold colors, and strong logos will get your sock-swaddled heart pumping a mile a minute but this is a great way to freshen jeans up or make a more dressy pair of pants look a little less formal. As a general rule, many socks are very similar in construction and pattern. Boldfoot certainly sets themselves apart in the pattern department, sporting a range of designs I’ve never seen before. Click here to read the full article.

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Fi3 Santa Monica

Posted on July 7, 2014

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I’ve been super fortunate to have made some new friends over the past few weeks. They’re putting on a really awesome event in Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport this week featuring a shop collection curated by our favorite LA-transplant, Wittmore, and a speaker series including a number of names that you’ve definitely heard of (Sonja Rasula from Unique USA, Davide Berruto from Shelter Half, Stuart Ramsey of Krochet Kids, and our friend Tristan Pollack from Storefront to name a few). The opening event features food trucks, plenty of booze, and live music. We’ll be there and hope to see you there, too!

Field Trip: LA Foodshop

Posted on May 27, 2014

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Everything comes and goes with time. Trends rise, appearing from seemingly nowhere with no explanation for their popularity, climb to significance only to disintegrate as they fall from grace, perhaps lost in a fog of neglect: the ultimate void into which hipness disintegrates. In chronicling the ever-changing “cool”, we see this quite a bit. Sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s for the best, and sometimes it simply is what it is. There are very few things in life that do not succumb to these delightful and tragic pitfalls but two that will forever be a part of our lives are food and fellowship. These two things alone can drive communities to be built from the ground up, serve as the foundation for neighborhood economies, and solidify one’s self-perception within a group.

In 2012, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles with my girlfriend.  I had moved most recently from Philadelphia where the burgeoning food industry provided many of my friends with gainful employment and gave me the opportunity to sample a variety of high end offerings in the area. The food in Philly is unusually good; that is to say that due to the compact spread of the city, the ratio of exemplary food offerings to neighborhoods is second to none in the US today. I had extraordinarily high standards set by the time I rolled into LA and without a doubt they were blown out of the water, though in ways I hadn’t expected. We found the most diverse selection of ethnic foods I’ve ever seen anywhere. The Mexican food is obviously fantastic but the offering across the board, representing nearly every culture in the world, is paralleled by none. While you might try to go to a bar or restaurant in Philly that’s too crowded and be in luck with a host of 10 other offerings within walking distance, LA’s a different animal but as long as you’re willing to jump in your car for 10-20 minutes the options are limitless.

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