Category Archives: Open Roads

Green for Spring: Hiking in Scotland

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
-Algernon Charles Swinburne

May is a tumultuous month in a state of limbo, when days can prove equally hot and sunny or cool and windy.  Long afternoons here in Santa Fe still hold promise of late-season hail or snowstorms—or big summer thunderclaps, downpours, and searing flashes of lightning.  It’s also the time of year when gentle new leaves can be seen peeking out between gray rocks and in ragged, winter-worn flowerbeds and gardens. In fact, experiencing May in the Southwest is not so different from my recent trip walking the Scottish Highlands in March, when the teensiest bits of green are beginning to show on every surface: around bubbling icy streams, beneath forest groves, trailing furry sheep up still-frozen peaks, shimmering in spots of sunlight as clouds move over the meadows.  That very first, very beautiful color of spring green found in March in Scotland (or May in Santa Fe!) follows; enjoy, and happy spring to everyone.  I am looking forward to summer, and in the meantime, every spot of green and sunshine brings a smile to my face.


Photos by Kristin Carlson

The Texture of a City

The texture of a city. Is it calm and smooth, rough and pocketed, woven with greys or dotted with neons? A bit gritty (yet not seeming quite as gritty since my move to LA), bright petals in flower boxes street-side and grey sky cover in spring, chain-link fences, abundant fabric patterns in every corner boutique, doors painted in layers of the year’s Pantone choice, noise from every angle, and art in every direction. New York.

“It is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal. Its politics are used to frighten children. Its traffic is madness. Its competition is murderous. But there is one thing about itonce you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no other place is good enough.”
-John Steinbeck

SVA MFA Thesis show //
Artist Emily Weiner‘s SoHo studio //
Graffiti-ridden walls //
Our little Airbnb place in Williamsburg //
City views + boutique scouting //

A toast to NYC,

photos by Jackie McCormick

A Very Merry Birthday

Happiest birthday wishes to Miss Jackie McCormick today!  This is one very talented lady and amazing friend, not to mention an indispensable component of our two-woman THINK Creative team.  I am so lucky to have such an outstanding artist / illustrator / rock climber / cupcake-maker in my life, and not only as a fellow designer and inspiration but also a ready road warrior, mountain hiker, deep thinker, and comic relief.  (And they say you don’t meet people who really understand you after college.  Well, that is just not true.)  I can attest that it takes trust to become such close friends in such a short amount of time, and it takes complete faith to be able to work together nearly as many years (and still be just as good of friends all the while).  In short, it takes a very special person: Jackie.  So, in homage to a few birthday smiles even though it’s Wednesday, I’ve pulled a couple oldie-but-goodie photos from the first years of meeting this kindred spirit.  Now it’s finally after midnight Pacific Time, official birth-day to post:

In Puerto Rico 2008
Balloon Fiesta 2007
Both newly arrived in Santa Fe, and both already with New Mexico doggie adoptees 2006
Candles and cakes and wishes that come true to a spectacular chica.

Joshua Trees and Rock Walls

My Joshua Tree climbing challenge, a joshua tree, rock sitting
Someone recently asked me what’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Maybe figuring out the answer to that question should in fact have been my response, but instead I immediately thought about a physical feat I recently conquered on our New Year’s trip to the majestic Joshua Tree this year. It was the last day of 2011, and with a group of some of my closest friends and family (many of whom are spectacular climbers), we took turns climbing the last route of the day. I would call myself an occasional-social climber, and had never tried crack climbing prior to this trip. 

Andy and the sunrise
I’m literally looking up at a 40 ft granite rock wall with nothing but a sliver of a crack to its shape. And that’s what I use to get up to the top? Uh-huh. We tape up our hands so the granite doesn’t shred them like a cheese grater, and climb on! The other climbers take a graceful and strong 8-10 minutes to run this route. When it came to my turn, I think I was up there for almost 30 minutes. You shove your hands and feet sideways into the crack, then turn them (not without much discomfort) and use them as levers to hoist your body up another few inches.
Baby Steps

I found myself at a breaking point midway through the route, and then decided that this was the last day of the year and that I needed to push on even though it felt like I was breaking bones in my feet and my hands were violently shaking along with every muscle in my legs and arms. The sun was baking the rock, and I felt totally alone midway between sky and ground suspended by a single rope.

Looking up, it felt like I hadn’t even started the climb, and looking down, made me not want to step foot on the ground until I had accomplished the run. My mantra became “baby steps, baby steps, baby stepsjust like a ladder.” I realized that I had to tackle this project just like any otherbe it one on the computer, or paper or canvas: through baby steps, one step at a time. Make sure my footing is secure before taking another step, don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of distance yet to cover, and feel accomplished in the good progress of each small step along the way.

Our fearless leaders: Ky and Isaac, triumph!

Through the sound of my drumming heartbeat and “baby steps” mantra/soliloquy, I heard my friends below cheering and suddenly found that I had made it to the peak without even realizing I’d done it. It’s nice to see photos of something that you’ve physically accomplished to remind you that you can do big things and go far distances. I think that’s what we need in our daily lives; little cheering parties along the way, and reminders that we are all always doing big thingsthe views just may be different, and sometimes from our desks.

Climb on!

photos by Dylan LeBlanc

K + B Construction

the driveway

Andy and Bryan talk shop
Andy inspects the wood forms

view from the property overlooking Santa Fe
Among the travels and projects, Kristin and Bryan are building (and designing!) their own sweet home. The road up to their future house is a rocky, narrow, winding adventure with a driveway leading to breathtaking views and vegetation. I snapped a few pictures in December when we visited Bryan on the site. They were preparing the board forms for the concrete retaining wall. Light was peeking out through the tall trees and the air smelled of fresh wood and melting snow. 
More progress photos of their project of a lifetime to come… so looking forward to brainstorm sessions and work meetings at the future K + B home. 


photos by Jackie McCormick