For the Love of Beer

dweber posted this October 14th, 2014

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The month of October always reminds us of a few things – pumpkins, yellow leaves, homemade costumes, and beer. Beer is a big one. So big the Germans actually dedicated a whole month to the celebration of beer, or Oktoberfest. Okay, so we know the real Oktoberfest ended on October 5th and doesn’t actually extend the whole month of October. But we Toads love a good excuse to drink good beer and catch up with friends. So in honor of Oktoberfest and all things hoppy and joyful, we caught up with one of our favorite local craft breweries, Telegraph Brewing Company.

With the tapping of their first keg in 2006, Telegraph has steadily grown to be one of California’s best craft breweries and one of our favorite like-minded, sustainable business cohorts. They’ve graciously donated to many a Horny Toad fundraiser over the years and joined us in supporting tons of local causes, like the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition. Perhaps you could say Horny Toad and Telegraph were sewn from the same oats. Delicious, distilled, environmentally friendly oats.

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From the building to the brewing, Telegraph Brewing is committed to making excellent craft beers while minimizing their environmental impact. “Our Tap Room and Distillery is housed in an old Quonset hut from WWII,” Brian Thompson, the founder of Telegraph, explains. “The huts were designed as modules and were shipped all over the world. The one we’re in was actually a warehouse. It’s an iconic American building, so we gave it a modern twist to increase its functionality without compromising its historical integrity.” And Telegraph is all about functionality and integrity. “The brewing industry as a whole is very water intensive,” Brian says, “so sustainability is a big focus for us, especially with these recent drought conditions.”

Telegraph is a relatively small brewery but they’re able to use only 4.25 gallons of water per every gallon of beer (whereas other small breweries use about 10 gallons of water per gallon of beer). And all of their ingredients are produced west of the Rockies, getting hops from the Pacific Northwest, barley that’s grown and malted in Santa Barbara, oranges from Santa Barbara County, Corriander from Palm Springs and cold-pressed coffee from a local roaster. “And,” Brian excitedly adds, “a beer made from 100% local ingredients is on the horizon!”

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We’ll be some of the first people lined up to try that 100% local beer, because if it’s anything like their current selection, it’s going to be darn good! At any given time Telegraph has about 10 different beers on tap and they’re constantly rotating. Currently, the Cervza de Fiesta Pilsner lives up to its name as a party for your taste buds, while the Ravena Stout is a silky, swoon-worthy dark beer that you’ll want to savor until the last drop. The complex Los Padres Saison is both peppery and citrusy, while the White Ale is simply, perfectly refreshing. And what did Telegraph bring to the 2nd Annual Horny Toad Grilled Cheese Smackdown? Their award-winning flagship California Ale – a West Coast twist on a Belgian Pale Ale that can definitely hold it’s own against any gooey, cheesy goliath.

When some of Team Toad recently popped in for a beer tasting on a perfect Fall Sunday, the garage doors were flung open, the family-style tables were packed, the darts were flying, and a food truck outside was serving up tasty Indian street food. “We wanted to recreate the pub! We want this to be a place that families can come, a meeting place for the community. It’s all about kicking back and enjoying with your friends and family.” And on any given day, that’s exactly what you’ll find at Telegraph.

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Sustainability Update: Acrylic

dweber posted this October 14th, 2014

When it comes to the fibers we use to make our fabrics, we put a lot of thought into our decision-making. We’re big fans of organic cotton, merino wool, recycled polyester and Tencel because they look and feel great. We especially like these fibers because they’re produced by sustainable means – something that we feel strongly about. Acrylic, on the other hand, is a good example of an economical fiber with a lot of great properties, but when you take a closer look at how it’s made, its environmental costs make it much less desirable. Acrylic is tempting because it’s soft, bulky and lowers the costs of sweaters when blended with wool, so not using acrylic is a decision that we’re proud of, and one that reflects our commitment to choosing more sustainable fibers.

So what exactly is acrylic? It’s a cheap, ubiquitous fiber that is widely used in knit tops,  sweaters and hats. It was first developed by the DuPont Chemical Company in the 1940s when the “better living through chemistry” trend was introducing massive amounts of plastic into consumer products. Acrylic was one of those “wonder-fibers” spun from heavily treated synthetic fibers made from polyacylonitrile – soft plastics that are still found in loads of products, from missiles to tennis rackets. We’ve come a long way since the 1940s and today’s synthetic fibers can be blended with natural fibers, but the process of converting polyacylonitrile into acrylic yarn remains a chemically intense, dirty process that releases tons of harmful toxins into the environment annually.

So although it’s cheap and plentiful, we choose not to use acrylic in our clothing. We opt for natural alternatives that are durable, warm, and more sustainably produced. Natural fibers like wool, cashmere and cotton breathe better than synthetic fibers and inherently wick moisture away from the body. Our Machino Merino is 100% merino wool that is heavenly soft, itchless, naturally stretchy and uniquely adept at handling moisture. We also love the  Samba Sweater Yarn for its lightweight, layerable and lovably soft qualities; it’s made from 40% merino wool, 30% cotton, and 30% Tencel (our favorite eco-award winning fiber). With options like that, who needs acrylic?

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Marlevelous Long Cardigan, 100% Merino Wool

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Vector Sweater, 100% Merino Wool

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Cardamon Cardigan Short, Samba Sweater Yarn

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Cardamon Cardigan Long, Samba Sweater Yarn

Featured Retailer: Erehwon

dweber posted this October 14th, 2014

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Samuel Butler’s book “Journey to Erewhon” inspired the name, but it was nature and their admiration of the outdoors that encouraged a group of outdoor enthusiasts to create the first Erehwon store. Founded in 1972, “Erehwon Mountain Supply” began its humble beginnings in an 800 square foot store on Chicago’s North Side. Their goal was to provide passionate outdoor enthusiasts with the best quality gear and expertise, from one enthusiast to another. Over 40 years and 5 stores later, Erewhon continues to hold true to it’s original mission, becoming a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to outfit themselves for the great outdoors or just outside their door.

Even if you’re not looking for something specific, you’ll be glad you popped in because the folks at Erehwon are always up to something. They hold weekly events, seminars, and demos free of charge for a variety of non-profit groups like the Boy Scouts and Audubon Societies. And for a truly spectacular sight, catch Erehwon’s bi-annual Floating and Frozen Zucchini Races, which benefit the local sustainable gardening program. Set amongst the scenic Twin Lakes Recreation Area in Palatine, contestants kayak around the lake while they pick up zucchinis and other vegetables before returning to the finish. As if that wasn’t cool enough, when they’re not hosting awesome events the staff at Erehwon can be found getting their hands dirty at local watershed cleanups and restorations.

So we’re happy to be in such good company. Erehwon has faithfully carried Horny Toad since 2004, and we’d like to think that some of our threads have made it across the Floating Zucchini finish line. So it may be hard to say, but it’s easy to love Eerehwon: From hiking the Appalachian Trail, kayaking down the Chicago River, or taking an afternoon ride through the forest preserve – they’ve got all the equipment and enthusiasm to get you going.

#ModernTraveler: Pittsburgh, PA

dweber posted this October 2nd, 2014

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“Steel City,” “City of Bridges,” and “The Paris of Appalachia”. Three non sequitur nicknames, one awesome city: Pittsburgh, PA. Situated at the crossroads of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers, this classic industrial city is quickly becoming one of the hippest places in the country again. Pittsburgh’s reputation as an industrial city brought thousands of immigrants to the region during the first half of the 20th century. Today most of the blue-collar industries have disappeared, but the various ethnic communities have flourished in more than 90 distinct neighborhoods throughout the city. The North Side offers great museums and green architecture, the East End is packed with universities and buzzing coffee shops, the West End and Mt. Washington claim the greatest views of the city, and the South Hills area is the cultural hub of the city with loads of cafes and a pulsing nightlife. Pittsburgh boasts 68 universities and colleges, 446 bridges, 712 sets of outdoor pedestrian stairways, and the most bars per capita in the US! For folks looking to get out of the city, Ohiopyle State Park is just 45 miles away and is truly spectacular any time of year. Ohiopyle enjoys gorgeous waterfalls, some of the best white-water rapids in the East, and thousands of acres of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. So whatever your desire, Pittsburgh is sure to satisfy.

What To Do:

Andy Warhol Museum – Not everyone knows that Andy Warhol is a Pittsburgh native, but after a trip to this museum you’ll be an expert in all things Warholian. His legacy is hard to forget when you walk through the galleries and take in decades worth of paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints from throughout his life.

Monongahela Incline – Take the Monongahela Incline (aka: a gondola) up to Mount Washington and enjoy the most beautiful view of the Pittsburgh skyline. Grab some coffee to go for a panoramic breakfast experience, or pop into one of the cafes on the West Side for a picnic dinner and head up to watch the city light up the night.

Laurel Highlands – An hour’s drive from Pittsburgh is the Laurel Highlands region known for its lovely river walks and world-class whitewater rafting in Ohiopyle. Spend a day hiking from waterfall to waterfall (there are dozens in the region), or try trout fishing in one of the most gorgeous rivers in the US, the Youghiogheny. The Highlands are so stunning in fact, the region inspired Frank Lloyd Wright to design one of his most famous homes, Fallingwater, perched atop the Bear Run waterfall.

Primanti Bros – A truly unique sandwich and a Pittsburgh original, you can’t visit the city without a stop to Primanti Bros. This family-run joint has been serving up simple, mouthwatering sandwiches and sides since 1933, and it’s only gotten better with age. Whether you’re a meat eater or a vegetarian, their signature tart slaw and hand cut fries make a welcome appearance on every sloppy, delicious sandwich.

Commonplace Coffee House – Applauded on the national competition scene for their superb espresso, the coffee at Commonplace is definitely something to write home about. Go for a simple (yet perfect) cup of Joe, or get fancy with a Raspberry latte. With three locations throughout Pittsburgh, you can get your fix the way the locals do – with great coffee, great people, great atmosphere.

What to Wear:

Revery Tee: Some of the best inspiration happens when you give yourself over to reverie – or so we’ve discovered. The Revery tee is the melding of three distinct fibers: Modal® for luscious, eco-friendly softness; polyester for durability and spandex for resilience – otherwise known as the dream team. The result is a subtly heathered knit shirt that is quietly elegant, pj-cozy and begs to be pulled close. We added to its charm by giving it an asymmetric, cowl neckline and raw-edge trim at the cuffs and hem.

Serpentine Dress: Curves make the world go ’round. Made of our beloved Samba fabric (a silky, eco-friendly blend of Tencel®, organic cotton and spandex), the color blockng on our Serpentine Dress is strategically placed for flattery from all angles. We also gave it a becoming A-line silhouette, befitting both the myriad needs of travel and the sweet routine of daily life.

Framer Crew: Childhood camping trips and family ski adventures? Who doesn’t have a great memory associated with old school thermal? We embraced the strong character of this perennial favorite in an updated blend of lightweight, eco-friendly organic cotton and recycled poly – meaning the handsome Framer Crew is just as good for work as it is working up a sweat. With rib knit at the crewneck and cuffs and contrast chainstitch at the sides.

Mojo Shirt: Trends come and go but flannel is forever, and since all Mojo shirt patterns are uniquely Horny Toad, you won’t ever bump into your twin. Made of an exceptional, organic cotton oxford weave that’s been garment washed to smooth out that rugged, manly exterior, it has patched on chest pockets and a curved hem for letting it all hang out.

Compliments, guaranteed.

dweber posted this September 29th, 2014

At Horny Toad, we have a lifetime guarantee that we’ve stuck by for years: If you don’t get a compliment within three wearings, we’ll make it right. We like to make clothes that we want to wear, using materials that are super-soft, multi-functional, and über-sustainable. We’re confident in our guarantee because we love the versatility of our clothes and think they’re pretty swoon-worthy. So while you may not expect to get a compliment when you run to the store in your comfiest flannel, we do. When you’re looking and feeling good, you’ll always impress – we guarantee it.

Timo

Timo, Mickey Shirt in Marlin

Tim, Graphic Production – Mickey Shirt

“I’m a light packer when I travel, so this summer when I went to Cancun I didn’t bring much with me – a few lightweight shirts and some board shorts. I’m also not a big laundry guy when I’m on vacation, so simple organic cotton shirts are my travel necessities. I basically lived in my Mickey Shirt for a week straight and never felt too underdressed – Even after a week my wife said she loved that shirt on me!”

Kimberly

Kimberly, Etta Short in Boulder Print

Kimberly, Dealer Sales Manager – Etta Short

“I’ve worked at Horny Toad for six and a half years, so it’s safe to say that most of my closet is Toad gear. I have a lot of favorite pieces and definitely some great memories, but the best compliment I’ve ever received was when I was wearing my Etta Shorts: A friend of mine said, ‘Those shorts look great on you. They make you look smart!’ I loved it! I call them my ‘Smarty Pants’ now, so I feel like quite the intellectual every time I wear them!”

Neil

Neil, Jack Polo in Foggy

Neil, Logistics Coordinator – Jack Polo

“If I’m not with my family or at work, I’m probably surfing.  When the waves are good, I’ll get in a session before work or sometimes I’ll sneak off at lunch. I don’t like to bring much to the beach, so I’ve delegated my Jack Polo as my surf shirt – It has a sweet hidden pocket that I can stick my car key in, and it soaks up salt water yet stays super soft. My buddy calls it the ‘James Bond Shirt,’ which is easily the coolest compliment I’ve ever gotten.”

KyleMarian

Kyle, Mojo Shirt in Lava and Marian, Samba Wave Tank Dress in Black

Kyle, Dealer Sales – Mojo Shirt

“I’m an outdoorsy guy and I love a good spur of the moment trip, but sometimes I forget the essentials. I was hiking around on Labor Day and forgot a hat, so I just used my Mojo Shirt to wrap around my head as a sun guard. Afterwards, I threw the Mojo back on and hit the tavern. My buddy, Zack, said he was impressed that my shirt looked so good, even after I sweat all over it for hours.”

Marian, Operations Analyst – Samba Wave Tank Dress

“I recently attended my 10 year high school reunion in Salt Lake City and obviously had to represent the Toad! I opted for my favorite Samba Wave Tank Dress – so soft and easy to dance in (a must for me), and I figured black was a good ‘grown-up’ choice. It was great catching up with old classmates and my dress was a big hit. Now was it the dress that made it a great night, or the good company and rockin’ dance floor? Hard to say…”

From Snapshots to Sweaters: Our Senior Women’s Designer Explains Her Fall Inspiration

dweber posted this September 22nd, 2014

As a clothing designer, I’m always asked what inspires me, and it’s actually a tough question to answer. I find inspiration everywhere, but it manifests in lots of different ways. Sometimes I’ll be drawn toward a certain color palette or silhouette, or maybe I like the vibe of a particular place. These elements contribute to honing a season’s design concept. It ultimately guides our design team toward a more focused, cohesive aesthetic while we create the line. But sometimes something is so inspiring that it directly manifests into a new graphic, pattern or style. This season’s Merino Diamond Hoodie is a perfect example of how an awesome intarsia pattern traces its roots to my winter trip to Copenhagen.

Our Design Director, Kate, and I travelled to Copenhagen in search of winter inspirations for our Fall 2014 line. Traveling always gets my creative juices flowing – there’s something about being immersed in another culture that really gets me thinking differently. We wandered the snowy streets of Copenhagen, popping into shops of all sorts, taking in the architecture and Danish culture, and generally feeling like kids in a very retro candy store. I snapped hundreds of pictures and filled an entire notebook with sketches – it felt like I found inspiration behind every corner, and even sometimes in the corner itself!

Inspirations from Copenhagen

Snapshots from Copenhagen

Throughout the trip, I was struck by a geometric diamond sequence that seemed to be everywhere – housewares, linens, rugs, ceramics, floors, ceilings – these diamonds were all over the place. This diamond pattern is actually a traditional Nordic and Scandinavian print. It brings to mind those holiday sweaters that I used to wear as a kid – generally red with big, geometric snow-flakes, zig-zag lines and small polka dots. But the diamond patterns I saw throughout Copenhagen were more “grown up” than the snowflake pattern of my youth. It was sophisticated yet fun, a new twist on a classic pattern.

I knew I wanted to incorporate the idea of a modern intarsia into the fall line, so it just seemed right to design a new pattern. One of the things I really love about designing patterns is making something complex and interesting using very simple shapes. I tried a number of designs that married the clean, traditional Danish fractal pattern with more organic, mid-century modern shapes. I messed around with color and scale to get that perfect balance between cozy and contemporary, and I found myself designing in a Danish state of mind: Don’t fight simplicity, embrace it.

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The final result came in the form of an awesome diamond pattern that looks great on our light-as-a-feather merino wool sweaters. The Merino Diamond Hoodie is my favorite piece with this intarsia pattern: It’s a cozy, fun, super-comfy, blanket-jacket that just so happens to be very hygge. I love the Port/Smoke Heather version for the holidays, while the After Midnight/Dark Copper combo is great as an everyday Fall sweater. To check out the Diamond Hoodie and other designs inspired by our trip to Copenhagen, check out this season’s Inspired Designs.

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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.

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THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED TO SHARE CAT VIDEOS
It’s been suggested that the team who invented the internet did so as a convenient way to send each other adorable pictures of their cats. 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.

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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.

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CATS ARE FURRY NINJAS
Take a look through “21 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.