Orange Juice, ETC

The blog of Elias & Theresa Carlson

Adventures in Skateboarding

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During our years in Seattle Elias and I accumulated a longboard and a skateboard. Elias rode the longboard regularly for about one summer. Unfortunately the wet Seattle climate put a damper on our best laid plans and the skateboards spent most of their time in our storage unit. When we cleaned it out before the move to Long Beach we got rid of about half of its contents, but the skateboards made the cut.

Elias gave me my first lesson a couple of weeks after the move and we have been making good use of them ever since. They were functional but not much to look at so we decided to give them an update. We bought some paint, sanded them down and practiced up on our painting skills. My board (I should say Elias’ longboard that he kindly lets me use) became a prickly pear and his became a kaleidoscope of patterns and colors.

Before and After:

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Elias: It’s funny how certain possessions really stick with you over the years. My very first skateboard was a white Toys ‘R’ Us special, with a big picture of Bart Simpson grinning up at me, the words “Official Bart Simpson Vehicle of Destruction” circling his head. It was quite possibly the coolest gift a 9 year old could’ve received. Sadly it didn’t last long. A friend chickened out on a hill, bailed, and sent it shooting into oncoming traffic. My dreams of becoming a pro skater were reduced to a handful of splinters.

A few years later I got my second board, a hand-me-down from a neighborhood boy a few years older than I. I don’t remember what was on it, only that it had neon green plastic rails on the underside, and that it was FAST. The Bart Simpson board was cool, but it was hardly a quality board. This board was the real deal. I spent hours whizzing around our cul-de-sac, often using the neighbor’s elevated driveway as my personal rocket launcher. Cool as that board was, it wasn’t quite what I wanted. It was an old-school style with a wide tail, and fat wheels. I could really fly on it, but I couldn’t get it off the ground.

Sometime in 9th grade I got my third board. A bonafide trick board, with a rounded nose and tail, and smaller wheels. Perfect for learning to ollie over small obstacles in the center of the cul-de-sac. My friend Geoff and I skated all over the suburbs we called home looking for good parking lots to practice our shove-its, kickflips, and grinds. It was a glorious time, and one of my first real tastes of freedom. With a good friend, time to kill, and a skateboard the world is yours for the taking.

Eventually though, basketball became an all-consuming obsession and my skateboard spent more and more time in the garage. When I turned 16 and started driving it really sealed the deal. I dabbled again briefly in college, but it didn’t last long and I never really touched a skateboard again until Theresa bought me the longboard for cruising around Greenlake, and as you know, that really only lasted one summer.

And now I’m almost 32 and I’ve rediscovered the joy of skateboarding all over again. Turns out Long Beach is really flat, and always sunny. And I have a cute friend, and just enough time to kill in the evenings. I’m not nearly as good at tricks, but that’s OK. There’s nothing quite like cruising along the beach boardwalk at sunset. I guess sometimes you have to grow up to rediscover the good stuff you thought you’d left behind.

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Theresa: Most afternoons when Elias is finished with work, we pack up our boards and head down to the beach to skate along the path next to the ocean. I would like to think that I caught on fairly quickly but really I have no one to compare myself to. Long Beach is the perfect place to learn because the boardwalk is smooth and flat and there are fewer people than at the more popular beaches. Now that I’ve gotten used to cruising along on flat ground I have been working on hills and braking with my foot.

So far there have been no falls, and only one ride in which I thought I, or some other unfortunate soul, might die. We took a trip to the Rose Bowl and I was promised the ride was flat. To the more advanced skateboarder that may feel like the case, but to a beginner like me it felt like life and death. Granted the hill was not steep, however it was a long slope in which I continued to gain speed before the path leveled out at the bottom. As I gained speed, my board started to wobble a bit which did not boost the confidence of someone who is sometimes challenged on flat ground.

As I was flying down the hill on a wobbly board at somewhere between 15-25mph it felt manageable, but I started to notice that though I had gotten a nice stretch with minimal pedestrians, there were gathering groups of people at the bottom of the hill that I would have to navigate and I would only pick up more speed before I get to them. I started to imagine the scenarios that may ensue: 1) I will run into someone at a high speed, knocking them and myself to the ground causing damage to us both. 2) I will try to dodge someone and loose my balance and my body will skid along the ground while my board whizzes into either a person or a car, neither good. 3) I could always veer out into the street to avoid a person, but since I am not balanced enough to look behind me while flying down the hill, I will be veering out into the street blindly and risk getting hit by a car.

Reflecting on the ride, I am not sure how I managed without hurting myself or another person. I was pleased to have made it around in one piece but it will be a while before someone cons me into the Rose Bowl again (ahem, Joseph)! Despite my harrowing ride down the hill of doom, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to skateboard. It makes me feel less like I am almost thirty and gave me a fine reason to buy checkered Vans like a teenager. Win Win.

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The Scenery’s Changing and it Warms My Soul

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After years of talk about taking a road trip down Highway 1 along the coast of California, it took relocating to finally make it happen. Maybe that’s the real reason we chose Southern California as our final destination…

We headed out on a Tuesday morning just as it started to snow on the outskirts of Seattle. I had created a playlist for our drive that I saved for this very morning. With a soundtrack of anticipation, excitement, and melancholy, we drove through the snow in Seattle and Portland, the rain in San Francisco, the fog in Big Sur, to the sunshine in Long Beach.

Here is a glimpse of the sights and sounds along the way. After reading this post, we recommend that you  hop in your car, turn on this playlist and find your way to Highway 1. You can thank us when you get here.

*All photos were taken by Elias and myself on a Mamiya 645 and Minolta Autocord, respectively.

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Happy Valentines Day!

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Happy Valentines Day to you! Remember these from last year? Send one today to your family, friends, and acquaintances to let them know you love them.

We love YOU, thanks for joining us on our adventure.

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Saying Goodbye

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A week ago today we loaded up the last of our belongings into our car, and said goodbye to our home of six and a half years. The sun was just rising as we stood in the empty space, had one last kiss, and closed the door on these walls that hold so many memories of our life together.

When we first started looking for an apartment together, we found a beautiful place on Queen Anne hill. We went together to view the space and put in our application. A few days later, the landlord called to say that she had selected someone else but she may have another apartment that would better fit our lifestyle.

It was love at first sight. The old brick building, hardwood floors, metal kitchen cabinets, and a beautiful set of windows that looked out from the third floor onto a happy intersection with a glimpse of Greenlake. We created a space for ourselves that was a haven after a long day at work. We filled the space with music, friends, food, and coffee. We imagined how hard it would be to someday leave this place that had become so much of who we were and how we lived.

Its hard to place your key in the refrigerator and make the long walk to the door for the last time. The lights are off and your footsteps sound twice their size as they creak and echo across the floor. In reality you feel quite small stepping through the door, never to return again as you point your sights towards the unknown.

A week later, here we are in California. The sun is shining and we have shed our wool coats in favor of tshirts and sunglasses. We have traded brick for orange stucco. The floors are still wood, the walls are still white. The beautiful window at the front of our space lacks the view we had in Seattle, but we will settle for walks to the beach. We have traded the lake for the ocean, evergreens for palm trees. It feels like we are living on vacation but I know the afternoon will arrive when I look out the window at the golden light and wish for the gray cloud cover, a bowl of warm soup, and the familiar pale faces of those dear Seattle friends we left in winter.

Come see us soon.

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Los Angeles Bound

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“Never say never”. That’s what they say.

If you’d have asked me one year, six months, and twelve days ago – seated comfortably in my Eames chair, the freshest of organic coffees in hand, reflection glinting in the glossy corner of my 27″ iMac, the morning sun just beginning to peer through the gaps in the buildings lining Stone Way – if I’d like to live in LA someday, I’d have laughed in your face, choked on my coffee, probably both. After 5 years as a senior designer at a small firm in the city of my dreams (Seattle), confident in my role as a key member in a crack squad of savvy Powerpoint wizards, and thinking seriously about a house in Wallingford, Los Angeles seemed like the last place in the world I’d want to be.

“LA you made me think, too much gold and you sink. I don’t want to live there, buy there, or die there. Just give me miles of tall evergreens, the smell of the ocean, and the cool mountain breeze, won’t you please.”

That was my motto. I’ll NEVER live in LA.

By 11am on that fateful July day, I was out of a job. Cast adrift like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream.

But that’s a story for another day. One to be told with the warm glow of a Manhattan in the belly, accompanied by laughter and regret, nostalgia and sighs of relief. To make a long story short, I was set free, and my life has been a non-stop adventure ever since. And it has led me, strangely enough, to LA.

Well, not just me. Theresa too. You see it’s all because of her that my life is so wonderful. She’s the one who held down a steady, if unfulfilling job while I took the time to pursue my crazy dream job as a freelance hybrid designer-photographer-videographer. It was she who patiently encouraged me each and every time I felt like giving up and looking for a “real” job. And now I’m hoping to return the favor. Because this last year and a half has been the greatest gift I’ve ever received. And it wouldn’t exist without Theresa.

We don’t have any adult reasons for the move. No once-in-a-lifetime job offers we just couldn’t turn down. Just a fuzzy feeling deep in our guts that it’s where we’re supposed to be right now. It helps that both our best friends live there. My brother Joseph in Pasadena. And Andrea, Theresa’s amazing sister, and our future roommate in Long Beach. We may look back on this move in 5 years and realize we were out of our minds. More likely we will look back and see a chain of blessings, and it will all start to make sense. Either way it’s going to be an adventure.

I guess “they” know a thing or two after all.

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Thrift Style: Jackets, Take Two

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As promised in my last Thrift Style post, here are a few more jackets I have picked up through the years. We took these photos when we were at my parents house for Christmas a few weeks ago. It hadn’t snowed the entire week of our visit until our last full day. Elias was kind enough to drop what he was doing and come outside with me to capture a bit of the winter wonderland.

LEATHER JACKET: $19.00
I got this jacket at the Ballard Value Village while I was shopping with my friend, Anna. She was the one who spotted it and lucky for me, passed it my way. Not only is it real leather, it still had the original tag from the Gap intact!

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DOWN VEST: $5.00
This vest was purchased at a community yard sale on Capitol hill several summers ago. It has real down fill and a great vintage look that many new vests are trying to pull off, only this one doesn’t have to pretend. This has been a staple on many hikes and camping trips, it even doubled as a pillow on last summer’s backpacking trip. I would say that was $5 well spent.

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LONG COAT: $30
I found this coat at a great consignment shop on Greenwood called Labels almost ten years ago. There is nothing really valuable about the coat; it is not wool, it is not a recognizable name brand, and I would guess that it was fairly affordable when it was purchased new. However, there is just something about the color that goes with everything. When I bought it I swapped out all of the buttons for these brass ones which added a little something to it as well.

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I just couldn’t leave out this photo with my dad’s dog, Amos. He has a pretty sweet coat too, he wears it all the time…

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Top 25 Songs of 2013

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It’s that time of year again! Welcome to the annual Orange Juice ETC, Top 25 songs list. As usual Theresa and I spent the better part of our six hour journey to Idaho scouring our playlists for the songs we enjoyed most in 2013. It was an excellent year. Several artists on our “All-Time Favorites” list released new albums, and as usual a flood of new artists found their ways into our ears and hearts. As it turns out, the most difficult part was keeping the list at 25. We ended up with 34 songs that we just couldn’t imagine leaving out, so this year we are including a 9 song Honorable Mention section.

The only big change this year is that we are ditching the MP3 downloads that we’ve done in the past. Theresa and I have really gotten hooked on rdio a streaming music service that we think is superior to Spotify. So this year you’ll need to subscribe to the playlist on rdio, or listen to it below. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we really think everyone should sign up for an rdio account, it’s the best. And for those of you who are already invested in Spotify, never fear, rdio has a playlist transfer feature that will pull your existing catalog over from Spotify. No excuses!

If you already have an rdio account you can keep tabs on what Theresa and I are listening to by adding us to your contacts:
TheresaElias

Enjoy!

Top 25 (in no particular order)

1. Vance Joy – Riptide

2. The National – Hard to Find

3. Foy Vance – Feel for Me

4. Lucius – Two of Us on the Run

5. Phosphorescent – Song for Zula

6. Junip – Your Life Your Call

7. Vampire Weekend – Obvious Bicycle

8. Sing Fang – Young Boys

9. Papa – I Am the Lion King

10. Andrew Belle – Sister

11. Tyson Motsenbocker – Blink Behind the Leaves

12. Emma Louise – Pontoon

13. Dan Croll – From Nowhere

14. Valerie June – Wanna Be On Your Mind

15. Arcade Fire – Porno

16. Salt Cathedral – Move Along

17. Lorde – Bravado

18. The Shouting Matches – I Need A Change

19. Gregory Alan Isakov – Amsterdam

20. Matt Corby – Resolution

21. Andrew Bird – Pulaski at Night

22. Rayland Baxter – Bad Things

23. Caveman – In The City

24. Cayucas – A Summer Thing

25. Sydney Wayser – Alright

Honorable Mention:

26. Mikky Ekko – Pull Me Down

27. Kisses – Huddle

28. Washed Out – It Feels All Right

29. Minor Alps – Lonely Low

30. Volcano Choir – Tiderays

31. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – We the Common (for Valerie Bolden)

32. Phoenix – Bourgeois

33. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – War Zone

34. The Boxer Rebellion – New York

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Gift Guide: Men

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Time for the men’s guide! I don’t know about you but I think shopping for guys can be tough. Since I married into a family full of them, I am always glad for some new gift ideas. Here are some favorites that Elias and I came up with.

Coffee Chart $28 * National Parks Atlas $32 * Bottle Opener $60 * Sweater $128 * Egg Cup $18.91 * Hiking Boots $100 * Pocket Knife $35 * Brooklyn T shirt $25 * Instagram Projector $34.98 * Cocktail Shaker $36 * Notebook $12 * Dopp Kit $25

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Gift Guide: Ladies

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Have you finished your shopping? If you plan to make any of your purchases online, you don’t have much more time! Hopefully this will help you out a bit if you are still searching for the perfect gift for your sister, mother, best friend, girl friend, etc.

Plaid Shirt $79.50 * Brass Cuff $108 * Fingerless Gloves $28 * Leather Pouch $20 * Holiday Stamp $39 * Notebook $14.79 * Best Tee Ever $15 * Moccasins $39.95 * Hand Creme $14 * Pig Book Ends $29.95 * Fold-over Clutch $66

Men’s gift guide coming tomorrow!

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Upland Bird Hunting in Eastern Washington for Filson

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A few weeks ago Seattle based clothing company Filson commissioned me to do an editorial photo essay on upland bird hunting. Filson is pretty high on my list of favorite brands. They make the kind of clothing that lasts a lifetime. And that’s not hyperbole. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.

I accompanied my brother-in-law Josh and his dad Tom, who are avid bird hunters for a day in the field. I’ve shared a few of my favorite photos here, but I’d recommend checking out the full post on the Filson Life blog.

For you photo nerds: all photos were shot on Kodak Portra 400 medium format film using a Bronica GS-1 6×7 camera.

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