Okay so your blog is called Whiskey and Wisdom so I'm dying to know, what is your favorite whiskey/ whiskey cocktail?
Ironically I've been on a gin kick recently. (Just being real, y'all!) Buuut ... I'd say it's split. Sagamore Rye has grown on me. I'm a hard sell, so to have become a believer is saying something. Go home team. What I drink the most is Bulleit Rye. But my favorite is actually one called "Whippersnapper Oregon Spirit Whiskey". I won't geek out on the details of why cause we'll be here all day. Instead I'll sum it up by saying the taste/flavor profile, price, and branding make it an overall winner in my book. Cocktail? A Boulevardier. It's Rye Whiskey, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth, garnished with orange. It's equal parts sweet and bitter. Just like me.
How'd you get started in the blogger/influencer space?
Well... I think we're ALL influencers. We all have the ability to nudge each other in different directions and we organically do it every day. As for my website, I actually didn't want to do it! True story. But a few friends kept nudging me and saying I should. Then I noticed that when I'd be out at an event or something, I'd get asked a lot of the same questions every time. The tipping point was this revelation: I enjoy inviting people over to my home and having a good cup and conversation. I think there's something vulnerable and powerful about opening your sacred space up to others. And once again, those living room conversations often tend to circle around either fashion/style, what life is like as a dad, and then the random things I'm finding inspiration in or learning or whatever. I historically have also been called a rabble-rouser (whiskey) and someone with decent thoughts (wisdom) ... so the brand was born pretty organically as an overflow of my experience.
Tell me more about yourself, growing up, professional background, etc.
Oh man. Okay here we go. I'm positive this will be too long..? I'm the oldest of six kids, grew up in the middle of nowhere in Oregon as the son of a Baptist preacher. I look back and I'm beyond thankful for my childhood. It was like real life Huck Finn -- playing in mountains and creeks, running around with a bow and arrow, fishing rod, or bb gun, catching snakes in a bucket... dragging my brother Caleb along for a lot of it... working summer jobs on farms or tourist spots at Wallowa Lake. In the winter I was a ski instructor and even thought about being a ski bum for a winter after I graduated. I was always creating something too. Always. There's something really amazing about giving your energy to birthing a thing and then seeing how others react or interact with it. I left home at 18 and moved to Florida for college. My mom says she didn't realize that when I got on that plane I wasn't really ever coming home. I think I knew it but would have never said it out loud. In college, I found that the way I most loved to create was with music. I picked up a guitar and taught myself and did much of the same with piano although I'd had a few lessons when I was younger. When I said I was the son of a Baptist preacher, what that meant for me as the oldest is that I was the one who would lead our church in singing every Sunday. So being in front of people and playing and singing came naturally. It translated into a career of doing that for many years. Professionally speaking, I describe myself as a, "Serial Creative and Brand Therapist" ... what that means is, I love creating in multiple forms, digital or physical. Experience architecture. Moment making. I've worked with Warby Parker, Treason Toting Co, I'm a partner at Vagrant Coffee, and I'm in a place where I am thankful to come alongside any brand that needs creative assistance and particularly brands that need a few rounds of "therapy" to just figure out who they are and what is is that they're all about. The thing I obsess over is still the same as it was with music - reaching the place where that experience or that brand taps in to our humanity. Our emotion and experiences.
What is it like being a male blogger in a digital arena that is saturated with young women?
IT'S WEIRD. No seriously. I'm a straight, white, 35-year-old dude with a kid. One time I walked in to a blogger event at the Charles and was like "Oh. Cool. I'm the only dude here. I'll just go stand over here in the corner and practice my introversion." Other moments when I realize I'm not from the same cloth is when I see these ladies effortlessly strike perfect poses the moment a camera is out. The reason I'm always looking away and holding a beverage in my photos is because I hate posing in front of a camera. But you have to just get over all of that and realize that perhaps it means I have a unique perspective, voice, and something worth saying. And if so, I'd better take a sip of my whiskey, stand in the middle of the room, and shout it out loud.
Your daughter is absolutely adorable and we love that you offer parenting topics on your blog. Have you ever felt judged or challenged by not fitting the quintessential Dad image?
Thank you. She's the sweetest, tiny soul and she has changed me in more ways than I could possibly say without crying ugly tears. I can't say I've felt judged about the "quintessential dad image". If anything, there's actually a really strange novelty that I think we deal with a lot when we're out and about. It's this reaction of, "Oh look at the hipster daddy and his cute stylish daughter". But the parenting topics that I discuss hopefully transcend beyond that and illuminate deeper truths about being human... things like empathy and care, what we place our personal identity in, American consumerism... and I suppose in some ways, they're topics that revolve around learning and growing and caring less about judgement and the pressure placed on us by "others". It's also possible that judgement is happening and I just don't see it as such because other previous seasons of life kicked my ass hard enough that it doesn't phase me anymore.
You offer insightful style tips on your blog. Any must-haves for men shopping this fall?
I'll have a few considerations on the website soon, but I'll give ya one easy one here. ;) Fall is amazing because it's finally a chance to play with rich layers and textures again, but the temperature variances during the day mean you can go from being cold in the morning to hot by 3pm, then cool again. So think about layers that combine well but also stand alone when separated. Example: try a striped shirt (long or short sleeved) under a camo jacket. The pattern mix is super easy, almost always works, and even if you get warm and pull the jacket off, you still have a sense of style because of those stripes. But if I can zoom out and say one thing in general beyond a tip that's prescriptive, I'd just say this: fellas. Dress on purpose. Remember that first impressions happen fast, and typically an impression is made before you get a word out of your mouth. What you wear communicates. So say it like you mean it.
One last general thought: If you've made it this far in reading all my nonsense, I'd say this one thing. You're going to wake up one day, and none of these things will matter at all. It really won't matter whether your capsule collection wardrobe perfectly aligned with what someone somewhere said it should be. One day we're going to carefully slip out of bed with old bones and grey hair or no hair, and we're going to have a very different set of priorities. Fashion is a human construct to help us understand how to navigate society... creating tribes and establishing a set of priorities that, if you ask me, can be distracting if we let them. I care about fashion because I care about communication. But as a good friend of mine says - Take what man creates and use it. But do not worship it, for it too shall pass. Cheers, dear ones. Go be beautiful! But also - chill, fam.