Sky Chaser News: I Reached the End of a Double Rainbow and It Was Incredible

I love rainbows (although who doesn’t really?), and admittedly get a bit geeked out whenever I spot one. To me, they’ve always represented love and good luck. Plus they’re pretty and seem somewhat magical. Given all of that, you can about imagine my reaction when some friends and I recently (and accidently) managed to drive through the end of one while booting down the side of a mountain. And a double one at that.  Yes, you read that right: Ms. Sky-Chasing Sunset Rainbow Nerd herself drove THROUGH the END of a DOUBLE rainbow. I basically inhaled a double rainbow and will now have good luck forever. 

Aside from being blessed forever and the obvious punchlines (insert leprechaun and pot of gold jokes here), you know what else happens when you reach the end of a rainbow? It disappears, which was a trippy experience in and of itself. It felt a bit like I had entered another dimension (cue Twilight Zone music) for a brief moment. Wait, where did it go? Did we actually eat the thing? Oh my, holy snap I just ate a rainbow, what’s happening right now? Maybe we’ll turn into unicorns. That’d be cool. Weird, but cool.

While it vaguely made sense that it would disappear on us (it is reflection after all), I still had to come home and learn the real reason it occurred (versus my super excited, in-the-moment kid story version involving mythical creatures and dragons and I’m now a super hero: Rainbow Chaser, code name ROY G BIV, yaasss, this year’s Halloween costume just invented, etc. and on and on).

According to my research, rainbows are caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by water in the atmosphere (this part I knew, but the next part I didn’t), and it turns out that technically, you can’t reach the end of a rainbow because the visibility of it requires distance between it and you.

 

Sad, but true: you can only sort-of reach the end of a rainbow, which is way less romantic than my version of this story. Either way, I still maintain that because we came about as close as you can to eating a rainbow, we’ve inherited a lifetime of prosperity. Or at the very least a fantastic memory and neat story. And I’m still dressing up as Rainbow Chaser for Halloween.

 

Light Up the Desert with Your Dreams at the RiSE Festival Near Las Vegas

Image watching thousands of glowing lanterns slowly rise into a black, star-speckled sky, covering the vast darkness with flickering golden globes of light while you stand in the middle of a hushed crowd filled with gently smiling faces. Sound overly dramatic? It should – I wrote it like that because using an overt amount of elaborate language is the best way I can convey to you how it felt to witness the RiSE Festival firsthand. Simply put, it’s one of the most magical (man-made) scenes I’ve ever witnessed. It honestly brought tears to my eyes.

Located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation an hour outside of Las Vegas, promoters of the RiSE Festival say the event was created to bring light into the darkness, both literally and metaphorically. The idea is to take a lantern, write your desires on it and then send it floating into the ether while you let go of whatever’s been holding you back from realizing your dreams. It’s a beautiful concept and another reason why I got a bit teary watching it happen: what’s not to love about so many people coming together in the spirit of creating more positive lives for themselves?

Here’s how it works: your ticket gets you two paper lanterns, a bamboo mat with a black marker, and a book of matches. For lighting purposes, the organizers have planted tiki torches throughout the area. Set up camp near one of them, then write your hopes, dreams, wishes, or resolutions on your lantern. There are two official launches with a countdown by the DJ and while the sight and comradery of those are impressive, you can also just let yours go whenever you’re ready.

A tip: when you’re checking in, ask the people handing out the packages for the best way to light your lantern. There’s a bit of a science to it – you receive two lanterns just in case your first one decides to sail into a nearby crowd of people and get dragged down in the dirt instead of flying into the sky. Here’s video of me successfully launching my second lantern because, well, see previous sentence.

I’ve been to plenty of festivals, concerts, and lots-of-people-everywhere types of gatherings in my life and RiSE is one of my favorites. Besides the obvious, “look how pretty the desert sky is all lit up with a bunch of lanterns,” photo-op attraction of the festival, what really makes this one worth attending is the overall vibe of the place. I’ve never been to an event selling alcohol to hundreds of people without witnessing a few fights, harsh words, or at least a little bit of attitude. You won’t find that at RiSE: it was remarkable how peaceful and happy the crowd stayed throughout the entire night. And quiet. Seriously, for an event involving open flames, live music, fireworks, food trucks, and booze it was incredible how silent it remained.

For those of you wondering if this event is environmentally sound, the short answer is yes: the lanterns are biodegradable, have a short burn/flight time, and their website insists they recover 100% of the lanterns along with any additional litter left behind.

This fall, the RiSE Festival will take over the desert once again. Tickets for Saturday, October 7th already sold out, but a few tickets remain for Friday’s launch, so if you’re interested in attending buy yours now before they’re gone. If you’d like to take part of a truly powerful event or perhaps just want to hang out with a bunch of peaceful, groovy people in the middle of the desert while Instagramming awesome photos, then this event is a must.

What I Learned at My First Art Show as an Artist

I recently attended my first art show – not in one of my usual roles as press and/or buyer – but as an actual artist whose work was on display. I submitted my photography to the 53rd Annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition almost on a whim: my brother, who’s an artist, sent the submission link to me thinking I’d like to go in order to meet artists and interview them for my art blog, TreeHouse Arts, which is something I do fairly often. He said he would be submitting some of his own work and for some reason this time I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll do the same.”

When my work was accepted I was surprised, delighted, and a bit confused on what I needed to do. The committee sent plenty of pre-show emails that answered most of my questions about the process, but here are a few things I had to figure out on my own:

1. Whatever amount you think you should price your work at, double if not triple it. Consider the cost of printing, framing, materials, and labor. That goes for selling your art in general: I get that it can be difficult to come up with a figure that seems fair, but whatever you do don’t haggle your prices with buyers or give away insane discounts to your friends. Doing so devalues not only your own work, but art as a whole. If you never seem to sell anything and constantly hear your work is too expensive, then lower your prices, but if not: slam a number on it and stick with it.

2. If your work is being judged, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that aspect of the show. Art is subjective and most of the time you’ll never agree with who won what prize or how and you know what? It doesn’t matter. You’re there to meet fellow art lovers, get your name out there, and maybe sell a piece or two in the bargain – focus on that.

3. Spend as much time as possible chatting up the other artists because most of them have been working the circuit for decades and have all of the info you’ll ever need about the entire scene. And they also know some really good art gossip, if you’re into that.

4. Study the other works: snap pictures and scribble down notes. It’s amazing what you can learn about your own art just by studying someone else’s creations.

5. Your frame matters: I would never have guessed what a good frame can do to a piece of art. Some of the most mundane pieces I’ve ever seen spring to life with the right frame surrounding them. I guess that’s the reason custom frame work is so expensive.

6. Bring plenty of business cards and make sure they look super awesome. In the creative arts industry, even the business cards are mini Picassos.

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How My Father’s Job at an Animal Lab Launched My Life Passion

Have you ever watched a surgery? Not on TV or through the veil of an observation deck, but in real life while standing right next to the actual patient lying on the table? Unless you’re in the healthcare field, I’m sure your answer is no. It’s not exactly a common experience you can buy tickets to – you know, because of the whole germ thing and all.

I did once, when I was about 8 or 9. At the time, my dad worked at an animal research lab and I spent many weekends visiting the animals. I loved it – it felt like they had a whole zoo happening there with monkeys, rabbits, dogs, llamas, and probably more I’m forgetting now. I avoided the llamas because they spit and looked mean, but the dogs were great and the rabbits adorable. The monkeys, however, were my favorite: I can still vividly remember how excited they would get when I’d come in to see them. Screaming for my attention, wrapping their long, dark hands around the bars, answering my “hi guys, how you doing today?” inquires with loud hoots and spastic jumping.

Back then I didn’t think about the complicated politics of animal testing, although I did bombard my father and the other staff with questions like why are the animals here, where will the monkeys go after, why can’t they go back home, sick with what, why do they have that, how did they get sick, can you make them better, what kind of surgery, can’t they just come home with us and on and on and on and holy heck, someone give this kid a lollipop and get her out of here already.

Enough of those questions eventually led to my front row ticket to a brown Labrador retriever’s open heart surgery. The doctors suited me up in scrubs, made sure I was properly sterilized, and stood me on a stool at the head of the table. I was beyond nervous and took the whole thing very seriously: this was super important adult business and I was going to be a part of it. Clearly these people recognized a fellow expert when they saw one. I was going to become a famous surgeon and cure animals all over the world.

That career lasted about 30 seconds: when the bright lights came on, I started sweating uncontrollably beneath my face mask, and the moment the surgeon sliced open the dog’s chest I took one look at that beating heart and passed right out. To this day I have no idea how I managed to avoid landing on that poor dog in my fall.

My dad still blames the heat of the lights for my fainting spell, but I’m pretty sure that beating heart is what did it. It just seemed so real and alive – I honestly think it blew my little kid mind.

While I didn’t end up becoming a famous animal surgeon, that lab did help me realize the career path I was better suited for: natural-born researcher and writer. Shortly after that fainting episode, I decided to change course. I kept at the questions and interviewed the staff, took pictures of the animals I visited, wrote about it all, and then shared everything I learned with my classmates. And to this day I don’t think anyone doubts I made the right choice. Especially that lab staff.

Cheers to the Creative Progression of Beer Label Art

A while back, I was at a microbrewery with some friends when I noticed the labels on our independent (or craft, depending on who you ask) beers were actually mini works of art and kind of amazing. In fact, the images were interesting enough that I started researching the beer label design market and discovered beer art is a whole thing: there are articles calling out the top ten best designs, entire blogs devoted to the topic, and a book for sale on Amazon with over 200 color illustrations. Heck, even the Brewers Association is now getting involved in censoring the industry to make it more diversified.

It’s no wonder, really, when you think about it: with how popular the craft beer industry has become it makes sense that brewers need to find a way to compete with one another, and what better way to do that than through the first thing potential drinkers see?

I started to create my own list of “best beer label art,” but soon realized it would be near impossible for me to cut it down to a specific number. With that in mind, below you’ll find a list (in no particular order) of breweries that produce some of my favorite labels and a few of the artists they collaborate with to create them. Bottoms up, y’all!

Image Credit: Emrich Office

Breweries 

  1. Grimm Brothers Brewhouse: Loveland, Colorado
  2. Beachwood Brewing: Long Beach/Huntington Beach/Seal Beach, California
  3. Bottle Logic Brewing: Anaheim, California
  4. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: Milford, Delaware
  5. Barley Forge Brewing Company: Costa Mesa, California
  6. Clown Shoes Beer: Ipswich, Massachusetts
  7. La Cumbre Brewing Company: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  8. Indeed Brewing: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  9. Smog City Brewing: Torrance, California
  10. Surly Brewing Company: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  11. Toppling Goliath Brewing Company: Decorah, Iowa

Artists

Image Credit: Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
  1. Josh and Katie Emrich (Bottle Logic labels)
  2. Chuck U (Indeed labels)
  3. Ryan Cochran (Smog City labels)
  4. Tara McPherson (Fort and Chateau Jiahu labels)
  5. Jon Langford (Dogfish Head labels)
  6. Brandon Gallagher Watson
  7. Lamar Sorrento

 

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The Adult Coloring Craze

Mindfulness. Relaxation. Stress relief. Although according to research any structured, rhythmic activity can help you achieve these things, adult coloring seems to be the latest and greatest way to get there. And it’s no wonder: coloring is inexpensive, requires zero drawing skills, reminds of us of childhood, and is fun in a simple way.

I loved to color when I was a kid. In fact, my great uncle Orville Ganes was a professional cartoonist and one of my prouder childhood moments was when he penned a cartoon of my grandfather, his brother, riding a jalopy and asked me to color it in because he “heard a rumor” that I was “really talented” at it. I was 8 and beyond thrilled. Unfortunately, one of my more embarrassing childhood moments came about five minutes later when I accidentally colored outside of a line on that drawing because my sweaty fingers were a bit too eager to prove my “talent.” Sigh.

Despite this mild snag in my artistic career, I continued to secretly consider myself an expert colorer (apparently that’s not a word, but I’m using it anyway). In fact, I remember buying coloring books and crayons in college and spending a few weeknights on my dorm room floor, avoiding studying for finals by deciding if Ariel should become a brunette or keep the ginger locks Disney gave her.

Although I always feel the urge for markers whenever I see a black and white image, after college I don’t recall any coloring activity until my niece came along. And then about a year or so ago, out of nowhere it seemed, adult coloring books started appearing all over the place. Given my past love affair with coloring, it’s surprising it took me so long to jump on the bandwagon. Or maybe not, considering I’ve always been rather suspicious of hype. In any case, I finally broke down and revisited my former passion.

I bought a couple of books, the biggest box of crayons I could find, some thin-tipped markers, and went to town. As you can imagine, adult coloring books differ from their kid counterparts in that they generally contain more mature images: intricate patterns, fine details, less whimsical subject matters. Think less Prince Charming’s crude blocky castle and more his grandmother’s Zen garden drawn with a thousand hypnotic components.

After a week of almost nightly practice, I can honestly say I’m not as drawn (pun very much intended) to it as I once was, but I also realized my relationship with coloring reiterates what I’ve learned about myself over the years.

  1. My patience levels are always being tested: These new patterns take forever to complete, which makes it relaxing, time consuming, and oh-so frustrating all at the same time.
  2. I’m stubborn when determined: It isn’t easy staying inside the lines and I still care when I slip.
  3. I’m a visionary: I can’t believe Crayola still isn’t making enough colors to satisfy me and when are they going to invent a marker that doesn’t dry out after a few uses?
  4. I have excellent self-confidence: Even now, after all these years, I am still a coloring rock star.