Featured Retailer: Mountain High Outfitters

dweber posted this September 15th, 2014

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Started in 1999 as a specialty retail store, Mountain High Outfitters has evolved into much more than a gear shop and is this month’s featured retailer. The folks at MHO have made commitment to community the cornerstone of their brand, and they do a lot to back up the claim. With nine stores throughout Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, MHO stores hold hundreds of annual events to support a variety of environmental and community non-profits. Each MHO store partners with local groups who share similar goals, and offer free outreach programs that include activities like Boy Scout clinics, rock climbing classes, healthy cooking classes, SUP yoga fundraisers, and parking lot fitness series. Mountain High Outfitters is also an active member of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (which promotes sustainable business practices), The Nature Conservancy, and the Alabama Environmental Council.

Run by an enthusiastic group of nature-lovers, the staff at MHO are all about educating shoppers about consumer responsibility and the great outdoors. The biggest environmental impact on any garment comes as a result of post-consumer care, so MHO staff is committed to finding customers the perfect attire for maximum utility. Less is more when it comes to the outdoors, so finding one perfect, durable piece is not only better for the environment, but better for customers as well. MHO prides themselves on only carrying environmentally responsible brands, so they’ve faithfully carried our Horny Toad threads since 2007. We use sustainable fibers, which make our clothes extremely durable – meant to be worn often and washed sporadically. Our Horny Toad clothing fits perfectly into Mountain High Outfitters’ goals to inspire people to get out and be active, all while feeling and looking good.

Sustainability Update: Fabrics and Fibers

dweber posted this September 15th, 2014

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We’d like to believe that when you hear the name “Horny Toad,” you think of high-quality, comfortable clothing and a company that is doing good. Over the years we’ve made steady and significant progress on the environmental front. From the fibers and finishes we use in our clothing to the practices we follow in our office, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. We’re always striving for improvement, so as we learn more and grow our business we set higher sustainability goals for each season.

Fabrics and Fibers

Cotton is a major component of many of our most popular products. Knowing what we know about the negative environmental toll of conventionally grown cotton, we use organic cotton wherever possible. Currently 89% of the cotton we use is organic cotton. A few blended fiber fabrics are proving difficult to convert but you can be sure that any piece of HT clothing made of 100% cotton, is 100% certified organic cotton. Our target is to be at 100% organic cotton use by 2016.

Tencel® and to a lesser extent, Modal® are also key fibers in several of our most important fabrics (Samba, Foxtrot, Tango and Sweetdream for example.) Tencel® and Modal® are eco-award winning fibers that are man-made, cellulose-based, derived from responsibly managed, sustainably grown forest plantations. Both fibers are processed very cleanly and Tencel® is produced in a highly efficient, closed-loop system (meaning that waste and byproducts are re-purposed within the system again). We never, ever use acrylic, traditional rayon or viscose (including bamboo) because the production processes for these fibers are very dirty.

We use recycled polyester for all of our lining fabrics and the merino wool we use in our sweaters is non-mulesed. Last winter we discontinued the use of a sweater yarn that blended lambswool with angora after concerns were raised about the treatment of the rabbits. This required that we find a suitable replacement and we are very happy with the resulting 100% merino wool version that is non-mulesed, and hand-washable.

Clothing Care

Most people don’t realize that the single highest environmental impact of any garment comes as a result of consumer care over its lifetime. To help reduce this impact and educate our consumer, our care instructions emphasize that Horny Toad clothing is meant to be worn more, washed less. Of course you’ll have to wash it eventually, so we recommend cold-water wash and the lowest dryer heat setting or line dry, and nothing we make will ever require dry cleaning.

Packaging

We’re also committed to using recycled shipping and merchandising materials. The polybags that we use to protect garments during transit are made from recycled plastic and are further recyclable. We are in the process of re-designing our bags to be smaller and lighter weight to lower the impact further. We re-designed our hangtags in Spring 2013 to eliminate a tiny metal grommet once we realized it interfered with recycling.

We make products that are long lasting in terms of both quality and enduring style, so your Horny Toad clothes should serve you well for years. We believe that quality is a fundamental principle of sustainability. You will find “Wear it out or pass it on” inside every garment on the care tag. We hope you will take it to heart.

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Cats are Trending, Apparently

dweber posted this September 15th, 2014

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There’s a phrase that’s been kicking around the office lately that we find hilarious: Cats Are Trending. Apparently like the 90’s and pineapples, cats have become a global phenomenon – taking the internet, fashion and entertainment industries by storm – and we’ve been missing out. Horny Toad is full of unashamed dog-lovers, so in the spirit of bringing balance to the force, we figured every cat has its day too, and that day is today.

To understand the adorable and endlessly entertaining world of cats, we turned to a handful of closeted cat-lovers here at Horny Toad. Quietly exchanging cat stories and the latest lolcats on the sly, this silent minority has a very vocal leader. Kimberly, our dealer sales manager, has always been clear about her affinity for felines, emerging as the William Wallace of cat-lovers at Horny Toad: “Cats are so complex. Dogs are always happy and nice, but cats… Cats can look like they’re plotting to kill you. What’s not to love about that?”

So with help from Kimberly and a few of her cohorts, the following is our official scientific breakdown about why cats are trending, and why they deserve it.

catsaretrending2

31%

THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED TO SHARE CAT VIDEOS
It’s been suggested that Shiva Ayyadurai invented email as a way to spam his entire office with adorable pictures of his cat. From daily cat themed BuzzFeeds, to lolcats and “I Can Has Cheezburger,” to Purrsonals.com (an online dating site for cat-lovers to connect), to 13.9 million YouTube videos under the search word “cats,” cats are everywhere. But why? Because cats are just naturally cool, the Fonz of the animal kingdom. “Cat’s are living the good life – catching some rays, lounging around – everything is on their own time,” said Lucinda “Dogs are always working on something, always eager to please. Who wants to watch somebody work? Not me. I want to see a kitten sitting in a Kleenex box.” Yep, Lucinda and about 2 billion other people around the world.

25%

LIKE TEENAGE GIRLS, CATS ARE ALWAYS IN FLUX
One minute you and your cat are best friends, next thing you know, you’re yesterday’s news. Like cliquey teenage girls, cats are intuitive, unapologetic, and always have their own agenda. Cats definitely don’t have a problem letting you know exactly how they feel: “Cats have so many facial expressions so it’s easy to interpret what they’re feeling,” says Kimberly. “They might actually be plotting to kill you, and it shows on their face. Cats are really up front, which is refreshing.” So if Kimberly’s cat wants to lounge all day long, Charlie will spend twelve uninterrupted hours in the backyard. If Lucinda’s cat wants some attention, Shimsa will sit on her head and channel Barry White until it’s snuggle-time. Make no mistake, this is the cat’s world and we’re all just living in it.

18%

CATS ARE FURRY NINJAS
Take a look through “20 Images That Prove Cats are Liquids” and you will see that cats defy all the common laws of physics. Possible explanations:

  • Slit pupils give cats razor sharp nighttime vision.
  • Super sonic hearing helps cats detect high pitch sounds that even dogs can’t hear.
  • Hypersensitive whiskers all over the body sense air currents, allowing cats to calculate distance, size, and movement of prey.
  • Lighting fast reflexes let cats land on their feet when falling and make them lethal killing machines when it comes to small varmint. Luckily, domestic cats are also instinctively napping machines, so the two instincts really balance each other out.

14%

CATS HAVE BEEN TRENDING FOR CENTURIES
“No one should be surprised by the so-called ‘emergence’ of cats,” Lucinda says. “They’ve essentially been ‘trending’ as the favorite subjects of writers, artists, philosophers and musicians for the last 10,000 years.” History doesn’t lie, folks:

  • 3,000BCE, the ancient Egyptians have a full-blown obsession with cats, worshipping the goddess Bastet, a female figure with the head of a black cat. She’s known for her unwavering protection of the home and typically depicted holding a lion’s mask – a reminder of her fierce, warlike prowess.
  • 11th Century, the first PetCo starts during the Song Dynasty. Revering their cats as the perfect companion, Chinese aristocrats can purchase cat toys and treats in specialty shops throughout China.
  • 1697, Puss in Boots becomes a French sensation.
  • 1876 Japan, Makeki-neko, the beckoning white cat, becomes a symbol of good fortune. White “Lucky Cat” figures are mass-produced and a figurine is placed in nearly every Japanese establishment.
  • 1900-Present: Cats have resumed a position of global glory. Felix the Cat cartoons and merchandise go global in 1919, 1957’s Cat in The Hat has sold more than 10 million copies, Hello Kitty drops in 1974 and the brand has grown to make $5 billion annually, lolcats launches in 2007 and sees 1.5million visitors to the site each day.

12% 

CATS ARE FUNNIER THE FATTER THEY GET
Case in point, our “CAT”alogue” of office cats:

Monster, will work for belly scratches

Monster: Will work for belly scratches

Kitty

Khaleesi gets in her daily workout

Leeloo, forever the fashionista.

Leeloo, forever the fashionista.

Charlie

Charlie, all up in ur bed stealing ur Zzzz’s

"Milk was a bad choice." Sorry, Emma.

“Milk was a bad choice.” Sorry, Emma.

Lucinda's cat, Shimsa aka: Barry White

Shimsa aka: Barry White. Meeeow.

Stella makes it clear that groupies can come in all shapes and sizes

Stella makes it clear that groupies come in all shapes and sizes

Sam: "I can has delicate cycle plz?"

Sam: “I can has delicate cycle plz?”

 

6 Best Trails to Taverns

dweber posted this September 10th, 2014

There are few things outdoor enthusiasts love more than the power-duo of trails and taverns. There’s something so rewarding about hitting the trails, pushing the body and mind, and then heading to a local tavern for a couple of well-deserved brews with good company. Since our friends at RootsRated are bona fide experts when it comes to all things outdoorsy and awesome, we asked them to put together a list of their favorite trails and post-hike pubs. Here are their recommendations for the most memorable trail-to-tap experiences across the country:

Bulls Island to Blind Tiger Pub | Charleston, SC

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Bulls Island courtesy of David K.

Bulls Island is a 5,000-acre remote barrier island with three excellent trails worth exploring. All three are very well maintained, taking hikers and runners through ancient live oaks, salt marshes, and alongside pristine beaches. Boneyard Beach, a picturesque graveyard of gnarled, wind-battered trees is one particular highlight that should not be missed. The only way to access Bulls Island is to take the ferry, which conveniently runs throughout the year.

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Blind Tiger Pub courtesy of Logan Waddell

Afterwards, make the half-hour journey back to downtown to visit Charleston’s oldest pub: The Blind Tiger. Situated in a building constructed in 1803, this is the perfect place to soak up the rich history and culture of Charleston, while enjoying a craft brew and the fried green tomato goat cheese burger.

McKinney Falls to Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden | Austin, TX

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McKinney Falls courtesy of Jim Nix

McKinney Falls is the only state park within Austin city limits, and it’s a wonderful little oasis featuring a bit of everything. The cypress-shaded trails are great for hikers and runners, the clear streams and rushing waterfalls provide opportunity for anglers, swimmers, and photographers, and for climbers, the limestone ledges offer some of the best bouldering in Austin.

Bangers Beer Garden

Banger’s courtesy of Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden

And just 15-minutes away Banger’s is one of the best beer gardens in the country. Sit outside under the globe string lights and enjoy the largest selection of sausage in Austin, as well as over 100 beers on tap. The duck, bacon, and fig sausage, paired with a porter, is one of our favorite ways to cap off a day at McKinney Falls.

Tequipis Trail to Cold Spring Tavern | Santa Barbara, CA

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Tequepis Trail courtesy of radarlove

The Tequipis Trail is a 9-mile out-and-back route with smooth single track, and excellent views of Lake Cachuma, the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains, and the California coast. Not to mention, with 3,000 feet of elevation gain, you can be sure you’ll have earned your dinner.

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Cold Spring Tavern courtesy of Eugene Kim

Ending your day on the trail anywhere other than Cold Spring Tavern would truly take away from the experience. This sycamore-shaded, rustic cabin in the woods is truly one of a kind. Where else can you enjoy a lamp-lit dinner of venison, duck, or buffalo while sipping on a cold beer and listening to live blues in a tavern that was established in 1886?

Minnehaha Park to Republic Pub | Minneapolis, MN

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Minnehaha Falls courtesy of August Schwerdfeger

It’s hard to believe that Minnehaha Park is located in the heart of such a large metropolis, but it’s part of what makes Minneapolis such a great place to live and play. Roughly 10-miles of paved trails meander through this park’s woodlands and alongside its creeks, with the highlight being the powerful 50-foot Minnehaha Falls near the park’s entrance. This is a great place for running or strolling, and the wildly popular Republic Pub is located just 4.5 miles up Minnehaha Avenue.

Republic_Minneapolis

Republic Beers courtesy of Fynn Glover

Republic has consistently been ranked as one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in the country. They have a truly massive selection of beer, many of which are brewed in Minnesota, and an inviting 200-seat outdoor patio.

Oyster Dome to Boundary Bay Brewing | Bellingham, WA

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Oyster Dome courtesy of Brian Bates

The 6.5 mile roundtrip hike to Oyster Dome is a year-round favorite for many Bellingham locals. The views from this sandstone cliff are easily some of the best around, providing a welcome panorama from the normal tunnel of evergreen. Hikers ascend a somewhat strenuous 2,000 feet and emerge from dense forest at the famous dome, where an expansive view of Chuckanut Bay and the San Juan Islands awaits.

Boundary_Bay_Brewery

Boundary Bay Brewery courtesy of Evil Erin

Boundary Bay Brewery is a staple for Bellingham locals. With its rotating tap of brewed-in-house beer and a long list of delicious eats, like chicken enchiladas, pulled pork, and locally caught salmon, it’s the perfect place to finish the day with friends and family.

Blue Hills Reservation to Bell in Hand Tavern | Boston, MA

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Blue Hills Reservation courtesy of James

Only 25 minutes from downtown Boston is an extensive 125-mile trail system in the beautiful Blue Hills Reservation. With roughly 20 rolling hills, including the aptly named 600-foot Great Blue Hill, this place features the best views you’ll find anywhere in the Boston area. And with its close proximity to downtown, it’s the perfect place to hit the trail after a long day in the office.

Bell in Hand Tavern

Bell in Hand Tavern courtesy of BluEyedA73

On your way back into town, be sure to stop at the Bell in Hand Tavern, America’s oldest tavern. Established way back in 1795 and quintessentially “Boston,” this 18th-century meeting place is now a hub for hungry and thirsty patrons seeking good food, drink, and music. It’s the perfect follow-on to an evening trail run or hike in the Blue Hills.

#ModernTraveler: Madison, WI

dweber posted this September 4th, 2014

Modern-Trav

This month we’re headed to Madison, WI and there’s no better tour guide than our very own Midwestern Sales Rep, Pam Schwarzbach.  Pam has called Madison home for 25 years and says there’s a lot more to this Midwestern mecca than just cheese curds and fish fries. Take it away, Pam!

Feel like a Local in Madison

-Pam Schwarzbach

I think people are always surprised by how cool Madison really is. We’re pretty outdoorsy since there’s five lakes in the greater Madison area (three in the city itself), we love a good time since we’re a University town (Go Badgers!), we’re making moves with the biggest State Capital in the country, and we like to get our culture on with gardens and museums that rival Chicago’s chicest collections. Madison is a perfect blend between big city vibes and hometown ease and it’s a unique city with no real downtown. Folks are either Eastsiders, Westsiders, or Down Town folks, so each area has its own thing going on, which is why after 25 years I’m still surprised by this city.

Willy Street (or Williamson Street on a map), has the most eclectic food scene in Madison.  Then again, Eastsiders are very proud of their locale, feeling the rest of the city is nowhere near as cool.  But there’s always the Square – home to the state capital (and the best view in town) and events almost daily. Saturday and Wednesday mornings from April – October you’ll find hundreds of farm vendors, and on Wednesday nights the Square is host to the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  Over the course of the year add in “Cows on the Concourse”, Super Week Pro-Bike Tour, and Winter Fest (when 80 semis truck host a weekend of Nordic ski racing in town). Not to be forgotten, State Street is an 8 block pedestrian mall that connects the capital to the University of Wisconsin Campus and passes for one of the best shopping districts in the Midwest. So with endless festivals (Fete de Marquette, Jazz fest, Rhythm and booms, Greece fest, Solstice Music Fest), an abundance of outdoor activities (paddling, biking, sailing, SUP, hiking), and a food scene that’s all about eating and buying locally, what’s not to love about Madison?

What to do in Madison 

The Weary Traveler – A great corner bar with a global menu of upscale (in taste and organic origin) food at bar food prices, this place feels like half-bar half library and all the fun things in between. Cozy up with a bowl of Hungarian goulash or sit at the bar and play a board game with the regulars. If beer isn’t your thing, they make their own in-house kombucha from local organic sources. But whatever you do, do not be thrown off by the name- trying the Bad Breath Burger will make you swoon.

Quarry Ridge – Little does anyone know, but Madison is a massive bike-riding community. Head 10 minutes out of town and you can ride paved roads with little to no traffic endlessly. In fact, every road in Wisconsin is paved because there is likely a cow on it that is producing milk, so the milk truck has to get there! Grab a bike from the Red Bike Program  (they’re all around town for anyone to use, anytime, to go anywhere), and hop on the City Bike Path. Head out Quarry Ridge – it’s a gorgeous ride that takes you out to the scenic quarry pond. Ride around the wooden bike trails or lock them up and take a nice hike through the forest.

High Noon Saloon – High Noon is the place to go for live music, offering up anything and everything seven nights a week. And have you always secretly wanted to be a rockstar? Well now’s your chance. Happyoke is every Tuesday night – Happy Hour + a live band + karaoke. Can you get much better than that?

Teddywedgers – Home of the Michigan Pasty (pronounce with a soft A as in past) – these pasties have a thick layer of pastry dough that cradle tasty fillings for a portable, hearty meal. While Teddywedgers offers a traditional take on the Cornish pasty (which is filled with ground beef, potato, and onion), they really excel with their more off-the-wall pasties like breakfast pies and the Friday Special Salmon Pasty. Good luck having just one.

Fromagination – There’s no point in being modest: Wisconsin has THE best cheese in the country and this place is THE best cheese shop in all of Wisconsin! Okay, so I might be a little biased, but Fromagination is a stinky, nutty, gooey mecca for cheese lovers from all walks of the earth. Try-before-you buy from a massive selection of cheeses (homemade cream cheese, anyone?) and get yourself a fondue lunch box (yes, that’s a thing in Wisconsin). It’s right next to the Square so I like to head over and fill up my picnic basket with all the best snacks and head to the park – A perfect fall activity.

What to Wear

Sidecar Overshirt – Even if you’re a devotee of warm weather, you’ll embrace the arrival of winter for a chance to break out your Sidecar Overshirt. With wooly warmth on the outside and buttery soft, brushed poly inside, it’s truly a bridge for a life lived indoors and out. With satisfying snap closures on the placket, pockets and vented cuffs.

Marlevelous Long Cardigan – For a season defined by leaf peeping, pumpkin patch perusing and sipping wine by the fire, you need a sweater that’s worthy of the job. Our Marevelous Long Cardigan in marled merino wool is soft, luxurious and possesses lovely warmth but without the burden of weight. Front pockets are cozy and great for stashing the essentials; five-button closure with removable belt layers beautifully over jeans and dresses alike. And since you’ll likely be wearing it often in the months to come, you’ll be happy to know it’s entirely machine washable.

Clayton Pant – Nothing hits the spot like a great pair of cords. Velvety but masculine, our mid-wale variety has been cross-dyed for visual depth yet maintains is traditional corduroy texture. Made with a winning combination of cotton for softness, poly for durability and a touch of spandex for mobility, we predict these pants have what it takes to become part of your new Fall uniform.

Marley Dress – The Marley Dress is a graceful shirtdress that instinctively follows your lead with a subtly shaped fit and stretchy Samba knit fabric (a collaboration of silky Tencel®, soft organic cotton, and stretchy spandex). Add to that a flattering V neckline, A-line silhouette and you’ve got yourself a classic that goes anywhere and can be worn with anything. Wear it with or without the double-wrap belt provided and let the shift shape shine.

 

Hygge: Hard to Say, Easy to Love

dweber posted this September 2nd, 2014

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Have you ever tried to describe a feeling but couldn’t quite find the right words? How do you describe that feeling of warm, hearty friendship where there’s nowhere else you’d rather be but in that very moment? It’s that feeling you get when you’re sitting in Grandma’s kitchen, or snuggling with an old pup, lounging around at brunch, or sinking into a comfy chair with a good book…The Danish have a perfect word for exactly this: Hygge. Say it with us, “Hyoo-gah.”

Hygge came to us by way of our design director, Kate. Last winter, Kate traveled to Copenhagen in search of a genuine winter and the folks who rock that sleek yet provincial winter style. While she was there, she was struck by the easiness of the Danes and their appreciation for everyday life. They have turned coping with long dark winters into an art form that goes beyond their wintertime threads. From clothing to architecture to food and philosophy, the Danish lifestyle is a balance between modern sensibilities and rustic traditions. They have a deep connection to the natural world that even the harshest winter doesn’t phase and a dreamy inward focus that encourages beautifully and simply designed personal environments. It is in this place (whether it’s a mindset or a room) where hygge comes to life.

So consider hygge to be an all-encompassing term for “the art of intimacy”. If you use the word “hygge” to describe something, you’ve instantly conveyed the warm sense of camaraderie and contentment that comes from being surrounded by good company, good conversation, and cozy environments. And the beauty of hygge is that it rewards simplicity. Relegated to everything commonplace, it’s all about elevating the simplest daily rituals into something special. For example, a big fancy party wouldn’t be considered hyggeligt, but sitting on the floor with your roommates eating takeout by candlelight most certainly would be.

Without even knowing it, we’ve already fully embraced the hyggeligt lifestyle here at Horny Toad. For us, it’s all about the spirit of camaraderie and feeling good about what we do everyday. We like to think there’s not a huge difference between our work lives and our personal lives – it’s all just life. So when the office dog brigade pops over to say hello, that’s hygge. When we’re sipping our Thursday morning French press coffee in the kitchen, that’s hygge too. When Van Morrison plays over the speakers, when we have meetings on the sundeck, when there are beautiful flowers in the kitchen… it’s all hygge.

There’s no true English equivalent to the word. Hygge’s English translation is, at best, “coziness.” But from what we gather, it means something like “candle-lit dinners, wrapped in blankies, hours of chatting, good friends, fireplaces, hot drinks, oversized scarves, melty cheesy, warm squishy, fuzzy love.” So it might be hard to say and even harder to define, but hygge is so easy to love.

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Anything But the Norm

dweber posted this August 26th, 2014

Norm

Dogs will come and go, but Norman is forever. From abandoned orphan to genius recluse to leader of the pack, Norman has swiftly moved through the ranks at Horny Toad to emerge as our unquestionable Top Dog. Like great leaders before him, Norman speaks softly and carries a big chew toy. His stature is small, but his wits are mighty. He’s been described as the canine Napoleon Bonaparte: A creature so incendiary, his persona escapes the common boundaries of hero and villain. His presence is ubiquitous without being overwhelming, his affections sincere without being pervasive. He is pensive and elusive, with kind eyes that, at times, betray his stately façade. We sat down with Norman for an exclusive interview to find out more about his journey to the top.

How long have you been at Horny Toad? I came to Toad in the fall of ‘08. It was an interesting time. The Reign of the Big Dog was going strong. There was Jack the Bernese mountain dog, Benji the sheepdog, Pearl, Bella, and Jade – the Fates of the Labrador world – and then there was Sage, a shepherd/wolf mix of all things big. But it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. I watched as the big dogs, encumbered by their large paws and small minds, fell from power. From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow. And grow I did.

Well it sounds like you’ve really come into your own at Horny Toad. What’s your role here? My role has changed over the years. Currently I’m First in Command of the Super-Nose Inventory Faction, or SNIF. As First in Command, I patrol the office floor. Any tile, any crack, any tangled piece of ripped carpet – I’m aware of it. Nothing escapes me. My grandmother always said, “Good scents will take you far, ” and it certainly has.

Wow. That seems like a lot of responsibility for one dog. It’s not responsibility if it’s destiny. The best leaders are the ones with enough sense and responsibility to pick good recruits to get the job done, and enough self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. I’m not one to bark orders, so given my resources I’ve assembled an obedient SNIF team: Lucy takes care of inventorying the daily mail deliveries, while Leo patrols the kitchen and communal dining areas. Nothing comes in or out of the office without my SNIF being involved. Make no mistake, the Reign of the Little Dog thrives, but what is success without expansion?

So what is the best part of your job? I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion, but the power lies in knowing when to be one or the other. Even after six years, I enjoy the pursuit of power. The consistency is very meditative, and I must say, being the chief has its perks. Every morning I pee in the same five spots, and every afternoon I nap in the windowsill of my choosing. But anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm, so I relish the daily variety that comes with an office full of humans and their lunches.

How would you describe your personal style? I like refined. Black, white, and if I must, red. Less is more (unless snacks are involved).

Favorite book? Anything by Dostoevsky, and Art of War.

Favorite Vacation Spot? Where sprawling gardens, top-quality service, and fluffy Pomeranians with bows abound. So probably Switzerland.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chateaubriand Tar-Tar.

Favorite drink? A large cup of black tea. But I’ll entertain the idea of a Friday night Manhattan.

Favorite hobbies? Long hikes, manipulation, belly scratches, ignoring the common folk, and peeing on things to claim them as my own.

Do you have any advice for dogs just starting out in the biz? Be thoughtful in your actions and think before you speak. Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. Too often have I seen young pups let eagerness degrade into brash, poor decisions. It works temporarily, but ultimately just leaves them begging for more. So be patient, be shrewd, and above all, do not wake me if I’m napping.

Norm-beach

Featured Retailer: Trailblazer

dweber posted this August 12th, 2014

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When you walk into Trailblazer, it’s like walking into a shop run by your best friends. With three stores in Connecticut and three more stores operated by their sister company, Denali, sprinkled throughout Southern New England, the staff at Trailblazer have made a name for themselves as being veritable experts in all things outdoorsy and awesome. These folks are tried and true mountain men and women, full of knowledge and spirit, and it comes across in stellar customer service that lets you know you’re in good hands.

Since starting as a running supply store in the 1970s, Trailblazer has evolved into a traveler’s one-stop-shop by offering a huge selection of great gear for anyone looking to take on his or her next adventure. And as a member of 1% for the Planet and the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, Trailblazer is committed to promoting sustainability, both locally and globally. They offer only the best when it comes to outdoor gear and eco-friendly clothing, which is why they’ve been outfitting customers with Horny Toad threads for over 10 years.

Trailblazer is so much more than just a retail store – it’s the hub of Connecticut’s outdoor community and the folks at Trailblazer really do practice what they preach. Trailblazer hosts the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and Radical Reels Tour, puts on the Gauntlet 5k Obstacle Races twice a year, and each store hosts dozens of events like Pint Night and various clinics throughout the year. We were also pretty psyched when the New Haven store threw a Horny Toad Block Party. And if that’s not sweet enough, all of their events benefit local non-profits whose mission it is to promote access and preservation of our lands and natural resources. So whether you’re getting ready to hit the trails, travel the world, take on the next big race, or just spend a day out on the town, Trailblazer’s got your back.

good jeans

dweber posted this August 11th, 2014

denim

Everyone wears jeans. They’re sturdy yet flexible, you can dress them up, dress them down, they match everything, it takes a lot to get them looking dirty, and you rarely have to wash them. They’re universal. So when our design team set out to make a new pair of favorite jeans, there was no question they’d be made from our favorite fabric: organic cotton.

We have a bit of a love affair with organic cotton here at Horny Toad. Its soft and breathable like conventional cotton but grown free of intensive chemicals so it’s way, way, way better for the environment.  There’s always been a chemistry to cotton farming, but unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, soil additives, defoliants and other nasty substances. According to Planet Forward, 25% of global herbicides and pesticides are used in conventional cotton farming even though only 1% of agricultural land is devoted to growing cotton. The sheer amount of chemicals used in the process erodes soil, has disastrous effects on air and water quality, makes working environments unsafe, and pollutes neighboring communities.

Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown with all natural fertilizers and traditional farming methods. This supports biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, improves soil quality, uses less water, and relies on a skilled workforce. In general, organic farming requires more time and skill, which encourages robust communities, fair trade agreements, and environmentally conscious policies to flourish. Since being introduced to organic cotton12 years ago, Horny Toad has steadily increased the use of organic cotton in our line. We started with just organic cotton tees, but we’ve gradually replaced regular cotton in nearly every Horny Toad product. We’re proud to say that 90% of our line is made using organic cotton, and we’re working towards 100% by Spring 2016.

So that’s why we love organic cotton, because every step of the supply chain, from farm to factories, benefits the shared environment. We’re confident that you’ll love organic cotton too, for it’s smooth to the touch feel and better-for-the-earth qualities. The Horny Toad line has loads of options, but lately we’re really digging our organic denim jeans  – 98.5% organic cotton, 1.5% spandex for a bit of stretch, and equal parts utility and relaxation. We like to think we found the sweet spot with our denim – it’s classic and accessible, quality and comfortable – so you don’t have to choose between looking good, feeling good, and doing good.

Shop our organic cotton Drover Denim Pant here.

 

 

So a Peach Walks Into a Bar

dweber posted this August 8th, 2014

 

http://wesrowe.com

(Photo by Wes Rowe)

Like most offices last month, we were glued to the TV and hanging on the edge of our seats for the World Cup. Naturally the office was divided – some rooted for the Americans, some for the Argentinians or Germans, and a small but feisty contingency pulled for the Ghanaians. But one thing was unanimous: our collective  newfound love for the Brazilians – the team, the fans, the culture – it was infectious. Face painted fans, dance parties in the street, feathers and sequins flying through the air, spontaneous explosions of song, colorful cocktails and come-one-come-all family feasts… Really, who doesn’t want to be Brazilian for a day?

So in honor of August as National Peach month and a nod to our Brazilian days, we’re making a Peach Caipirinha (pronounced “kie-pee-reen-yuh”) – A southern twist on Brazil’s most popular cocktail. Saude!

Peach Caipirinha
1 half very ripe peach
1 oz freshly squeezed juice from 2 limes
1 tsp sugar
2 oz cachaça (Brazilian sugar liquor pronounced “ka-sha-sa.” You can substitute light rum or vodka)
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Slice the peach in quarters and place in cocktail shaker. Add lime juice and sugar, muddle well. Add cachaça and lime wedges, fill the shaker with ice and shake everything up for about 15 seconds. Pour unstrained over ice and enjoy!