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Blackberry Jack

dweber posted this July 22nd, 2015

Photo and Recipe from State of Mine Blog

Maybe it’s the booze talking, but we feel pretty lucky to have Nina as a Toad. A master of all things crafty and DIY, Nina’s signature move is to kick off the weekend by turnin’ on the country tunes and whippin’ up tasty cocktails on Friday afternoon. Come 3:30 last week, Nina sauntered from desk to desk offering up her latest concoction – the Blackberry Jack. The results were mighty fine…

Ingredients for 2 cocktails:
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp homemade fruit shrub (direction’s below)
4 oz of Jack Daniels whisky
A splash of soda water
1 lemon peel

To make fruit shrub… 
1. In a pot mix: 1 cup white wine vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup berries (Nina used seasonal blackberries, but cranberries work well too).
2. Let the pot heat up until the liquid boils.
3. Lower the heat to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved and liquid is syrupy, about 7-10 min from start to finish.
4. Let cool and store leftovers in the fridge. The shrub should keep for 3-4 weeks so use it to liven up other cocktails, cider or lemonade.

To make Blackberry Jack…
1. In a shaker with ice, mix in lemon juice, shrubs and whiskey.
2. Shake well and pour into a chilled glass over ice.
3. Rub a lemon peel on the rim (Tip: Use a lighter to heat the peel then twist to release flavor)
4. Add a splash of soda water and garnish with a blackberry and lemon peel skewer. Cheers!

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20 Years at Telluride Mountainfilm

dweber posted this July 9th, 2015
Photo: Jennifer Koskinen

Photo: Jennifer Koskinen

Every Memorial Day Weekend we pack a bag that’s ready for anything: sunshine, snow, ice cream socials, happy hours, rock climbing, snowshoeing, early-bird coffee, late-night pizza and films. Lots and lots of films. We’re off to Telluride Mountainfilm Festival for a long weekend of good company, great films, tasty beer and one really sweet gondola.

In 1979 a group of ski-bums-turned-cinephiles gathered to screen their favorite mountaineering docs. But the program quickly evolved to encompass stories about the people who move mountains, not just climb them. Inspired by dogged determination and incendiary storytelling, Mountainfilm is a celebration of the indomitable spirit and the global issues that matter. So don’t let the name fool you, Mountainfilm isn’t really about mountains at all – it’s about people who are working to positively change the world. And that’s what drew us to Mountainfilm 20 years ago. We go outside to be inspired, so we have an interest in keeping the wilderness wild, supporting conservation and encouraging the people who are putting in good work across the globe.

This year marks our 20th year sponsoring Mountainfilm and we think the festival is just getting better with age. In addition to showcasing documentaries and filmmakers from around the world, the four-day festival now includes symposia and panels (this year’s theme was Afghanistan), gallery exhibits of art and photography, book signings, coffee talks, student programs, live music, outdoor programs and street parties. Oh, and a spectacular gondola ride to ferry you between High Camp Theater and town.

With a program like that, Mountainfilm is much more than a film festival – it’s a meeting of the minds. Pioneers from all fields – athletes, environmentalists, scientists, artists – come together to talk global solutions and share a box of popcorn. This year’s special guests included a group of Afghan photographers who risk their lives for the sake of free speech, climbing sensation Tommy Caldwell, cartoon editor of The New Yorker Bob Mankoff, Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, big mountain snowboarding star Jeremy Jones and Rwandan genocide victim and activist Frederick Ndabaramiye.

And the buck doesn’t stop there. Mounatinfilm on Tour takes the best of the year’s films on a year-long trip around the world. Partnering with local organizations in over 100 locations, Mountainfilm on Tour reaches nearly 60,000 people every year. That’s 60,000 impressions and 60,000 new adventures worth pursuing. So thanks Mountainfilm, for keeping us informed and inspired. Here’s to the next 20 years!

For information on Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, visit www.mountainfilm.org/festival

For information and tour dates for this year’s Mountainfilm on Tour, visit www.mountainfilm.org/tour

I Am Able

dweber posted this July 8th, 2015


“Why did other people die, and I’m still alive?” Frederick Ndabaramiye asks himself in the short documentary, I Am Able, by Isaac and Jacob Seigel-Boettner (Pedal Born Pictures). Emerging from the depths of the Rwandan genocide, Frederick’s life has become a testament to the human spirit, proving that “disabled” is just a term, not an identity.

In 1994, the Interahamwe militia claimed more than 800,000 Rwandan lives. At 15, Frederick was removed from a bus and told to kill his fellow passengers; when he refused, the Interahamwe cut off his hands. In Rwanda, people with physical and mental disabilities are seen as less useful and treated as second-class citizens. Frederick spent much of his recovery struggling to accept his new reality; sharing his story through painting and teaching helped him cope with the trauma.

In 2005, Frederick co-founded the Ubumwe Community Center to help children and adults with disabilities challenge the idea of what it means to be “able.” The UCC’s mission is to encourage self-worth and independence by providing people with disabilities with life skills and job training. By living by example, the UCC aims to elevate the global attitude toward people with disabilities. And the I Am Able Cycling Team has a special way of peddling that message, so to speak. Headed by Frederick, the I am Able Team is a disabled cycling team that rides through rural villages around the world spreading the message that disability does not mean inability.

The film I Am Able is just another vehicle for Frederick and the UCC to bring awareness to a population that is underestimated in nearly every culture around the world. And that’s a movement Toad&Co can get behind. Since 1997 we’ve partnered with Search, Inc. to positively change the lives of adults with disabilities by providing them with training and work opportunities. With Search, Inc. we co-founded the Planet Access Company, a third party logistics warehouse staffed by adults with disabilities. Every unit of Toad&Co clothing is picked, packed and shipped with unmatched reliability and enthusiasm by the PAC crew. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

For more information on Frederick, the Ubumwe Community Center and the I Am Able cycling campaign, please check out their websites.

I Am Able (2015) – Trailer from Pedal Born Pictures on Vimeo.


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The Diplomat

dweber posted this July 8th, 2015


We’ve always said we keep good company. And our friend David Holbrooke is no exception. Since our early days in Telluride back in the mid 1990s, David has been a long-time friend of Toad and a close partner of ours at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. A long-time Telluride resident and self-proclaimed adrenaline junky, David’s been rocking his title as Telluride Mountainfilm Festival Director for the past few years, bringing varied and powerful films to Mountainfilm. And when he’s not knee-deep in Mountainfilm, he’s also a darn good filmmaker on the side. This year, David’s latest documentary, The Diplomat, shook up Mountainfilm – and we couldn’t have been prouder.

The Diplomat chronicles the remarkable life of late US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. If the name sounds familiar, it should – Ambassador Holbrooke was David’s father. In this documentary, David investigates his father’s legacy as he gets to know his father “better in death that I did in life.”

One of the most accomplished diplomats of the 20th century, Ambassador Holbrooke spent more than five decades engaged in high-stakes diplomacy at the negotiating table. In an effort to get to know the man behind the peace missions, David delves into his father’s past: From his early days as an intuitive foreign service officer in Vietnam to securing a peace between war-torn Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia and, finally, to his work as U.S. point man for a crumbling Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Diplomat is a frank exploration of family relationships, weighed against ambition, legacy and the force required to affect change in the world. But in both Ambassador Holbrooke’s tireless diplomacy and David Holbrooke’s vulnerable storytelling, it is clear that the indomitable spirit runs deep in both men. Like father, like son.

For more information on The Diplomat and where to see the film, visit http://www.thediplomatfilm.com.

The Diplomat (trailer) from ro*co Films on Vimeo.

Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play

dweber posted this July 8th, 2015


Plaaaayy Baaaaall! We’re rooting for the home team on this one and giving an “Attaboy!” to our resident Toad photographer, David McLain, whose superior cinematography skills are on full display in his latest documentary, Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play. 

From Brazilian favelas to dusty Congolese villages, from Neolithic Scottish isles to modern soccer pitches, Director Jerome Thélia asks anthropologists, psychiatrists, historians, evolutionary biologists, sports commentators and even a juggler “What’s so great about a ball?” Well, it turns out a whole lotta stuff.

Surprisingly scientific and pleasantly philosophical, Bounce explores the little-known origins of our favorite sports and the people (well, specimens) who just can’t get enough of them. From ancient Mayan courts to Youtube clips with 10 million views, the ball has been enthralling players and audiences for thousands of years. It’s firmly staked its claim on our lives and, Spoiler Alert: It’s here to stay.

For more information on Bounce and where to see the film, visit http://www.bouncethemovie.com.






An excerpt on the power of the ball in Orkney Islands, Scotland…

Bounce – The Kirkwall Ba, Orkney Islands, Scotland from Merge on Vimeo.

8 Ways to Use a Pareo

dweber posted this June 29th, 2015


The pareo is the greatest item of clothing you’ve never heard of. Part skirt, part accessory, part cozy blankie, the lightweight and super packable pareo is the Swiss Army Knife of your summer wardrobe. Here’s why we love it:

  • It’s a skirt – It’s long enough to wrap around a few times (40” x 75”)so you don’t have to worry about it being too sheer. Short or long, whatever your preference – you’re the stylist.
  • It’s a sarong – It’s got length so you can wrap it into a halter dress and a hidden pocket is perfect for a credit card or a few pesos. Beach, pool, lake, whoever the summer wind blows you.
  • It’s a scarf – Bunch it up around your neck for warmth on chilly nights.
  • It’s a shawl – Drape it over your shoulders when you need a light layer at the concerts in the park.
  • It’s a headscarf – Protect yourself from the sun or pesky mosquitos, cover up at religious monuments, or use as an eye-mask when you’re camping.
  • It’s a towel – Our pareo is made from handkerchief-light organic cotton, so it feels good and is good for the earth too. Towel off and wring it out – it dries in a jiff. See our model, Eleanor, below.
  • It’s an airplane blanket – Snuggle into it or roll it into a ball for a pillow. Drafty planes and trains will never stand a chance.
  • It’s a tablecloth – Poppy summer colors make for a perfect accessory to any summer festivity. Wine and cheese platter not included.

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The Print Master

dweber posted this June 29th, 2015


“A pop of color never hurt anyone! ” That’s Guin’s rule of thumb. Bubbly, bright and a ringer at Johnny Cash karaoke, Guin brings more than just a pop of color to our Women’s Design Team. She’s worked her way through the ranks at Toad for the last 3 years (she started as an intern!) and has certainly earned her latest title as the Print Master. She’s the brains behind our seasonal prints and accessories, so we caught up with Guin to get the lowdown on what makes a great summer print, where she finds inspiration and how to amp up your margarita.

What sorts of things inspire your summer designs?
I’m originally from the Minnesota, so I’ve spent a lot of time on the lakes. I have great memories from summers at White Iron Lake – sitting around fishing, tubing, jumping off the docks, canoeing around the islands. That’s what summer feels like to me. It’s bright, light and airy, and there’s this seamless movement between land and water.

Anything inspire you for this season’s summer prints?
I was really into the idea of the lake when I was designing these prints. You’d be surprised how many colors are in water – it’s way more than just blues and greens. Little neon fish dart around, mountains and trees leave pretty stunning reflections, and the lake glows pink and orange when the sun sets. I started playing around with different colors and textures, seeing what vibed together and felt natural.


The Ripple Print was actually something I sketched while sitting on the lake at sunset. The sun really glitters on the water and gives the impression of these soft shards of gold and fuchsia. It’s just a really gorgeous time of day so I thought it would make a great print for a top or our pareo.

Another water inspired print is the Talus Print. You know how water looks when the moon shines on it? It’s mysterious and sort of irregular, so I wanted to make a print that was linear but not super symmetrical. The navy print really captures the romance of the moonlight and the agave print reminds me of sunlight peeking through the trees. It’s just fun.

And I think my favorite print of the season is our Dusty Olive Print – it’s a floral version of camo! I really like the different green colors in camo and adapting it to a blooming, floral pattern just felt like a great extension of spring. Makes me want to wonder through the woods or stroll the farmers market, so we made a pair of water-friendly crop pants and a big tote bag in this print. I think that’s the epitome of summer.

Ok, aside from a fun print, what are your other summer essentials?
My two favorite hiking buddies (Lana and Roo, my dogs!), fresh flower arrangements, my dad’s old forester’s map and an ice-cold Beerita.

A Beerita?
Yep – Flip a Corona into your margarita and let it stick out like a straw. Refreshing and bubbly. Isn’t that just what you want when it’s hot out? Uno mas, por favor.




The Invite Says “Bring a Side”

dweber posted this June 29th, 2015


Well folks, Cookout Season is upon us. We’ve dusted off the grills, pulled out the reusable wine glasses and spread out our picnic blankets. Between the Sunday BBQs, Friday concerts in the park, music festivals and family dinners, we’re always running to the pantry to whip up a tasty side to share. So many activities, so little time. Here are some of our favorite dishes that will have you our the door and ready to party in no time!


Photo and recipe courtesy of Team Toad

 Mint Mojito Fruit Salad 
3 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
1oz. St. Germain Liquor
2 limes, squeezed
A few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped

1. Wash fruit and layer in a big bowl.
2. In a cup, mix lime juice and liquor.
3. Pour lime juice over the fruit and mix. Sprinkle in fresh mint as you mix the fruit. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint and viola!

**Any seasonal fruit will do – we also like raspberries and watermelon!







Lemon & Herb Potato Salad (Dairy Free) 
7-8 cups chopped golden potatoes
olive oil, salt and pepper for taste
2/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup tarrgon, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
2 lemons, bested
2 lemons, juice (approx. 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp wholegrain dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a bowl, coat potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper.
3. Lay potatoes on large baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender, stirring once at the 20 minute mark.
4. Combine potatoes (hot or cold) with chopped herbs, zest, juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. If potatoes seem dry, drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.






Mexican Roasted Corn Salad 
2tbsp butter, for sautéing
4 ears of corn (or 3 cups of kernels)
2 tbsp mayo
2oz. cotija cheese, finely crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 jalepeno, minced
1 lime, juice
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1tsp chilli powder
salt and paper for taste

1. Saute the corn in butter.  Stir to coat and cook on medium high for about 10 minutes until the underside has charred. Stir and let cook for another 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
3. Mix everything together in a bowl, and garnish with cotija.

Sweet Potato Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, drained (liquid reserved)
1 cup cooked sweet potato
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juice and zest
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp reserved liquid from beans
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Place peeled garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until garlic is finely minced. Add beans and sweet potato. Pulse to combine. Add in remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Serve with veggies and pita.


Modern Travel: Jackson Hole

dweber posted this June 23rd, 2015


If you like lumbering rivers, humbling mountain ranges and take your beer with a view, Jackson, Wyoming is the place for you. Commonly referred to as Jackson Hole, the town of Jackson lies in the valley (or “hole”) between the mighty Teton Mountain Range and the Snake River, just south of Yellowstone National Park. Surrounded by some seriously epic mountains, Jackson Hole has earned a reputation as a winter paradise, but don’t let the year-round glaciers fool you – Jackson Hole makes an ideal summer getaway. High altitude and steep mountain slopes keep the summer heat at bay. Pick up world-class trailheads in the town square, get your adrenaline rush on the Snake River rapids, spend a lazy afternoon floating around the bends and cap it off with a sky full of crystal clear stars. Dramatic landscapes, great local brew and old-timey cowboy culture. Saddle up, partner.

What To Do In Jackson

Cowboy Coffee Co: Get your day in Jackson started the way the cowboys do – with a strong cup of joe and some fresh mountain air. A local spot that’s just off Jackson Town Square, the folks at Cowboy Coffee roast their beans on site and take the art of espresso very seriously. You know those fun designs you find atop a latte? Well these guys have been known to draw bison, elk, lassos… Bring your own mug for $1 off your drink, then put it toward a perfectly gooey cinnamon roll. Sit outside and check the local happenings in the Jackson Hole Daily or take it to go and stroll through the Elk Antler Arches and get a good look at the old stagecoaches lined up on Broadway.

Grand Teton National Park: The main event in Jackson is staring right at you: Grand Teton National Park. Named by French trappers who missed their women, the Teton Mountain Range juts skyward to bare some of Mother Nature’s finest assets. 200 miles of trails snake around craggy cliffsides, sparkling glaciers, pristine lakes and historical homesteads. Start your trip at the Moose Visitor Center, the closest information center to Jackson (12 miles from town) to get the run down on the park’s history, trails and the best time to see grizzly bears or bison (typically dusk or sunrise). Taggart Lake and Death Canyon Trailheads are gorgeous hikes in the Moose District or bike along South Jenny Lake. Swim in Phelps Lake with stunning views of Death Canyon to the west, or take a dip in the shadow of Grand Teton at Taggart or Bradley Lakes. Afternoon thunderstorms are common and the lakes stay chilly all summer, so be sure to bring extra clothing and plenty of water for a day in the park. Park entrance fees are $30 per vehicle and passes are good for seven days.

The Bird: Is there anything better than breakfast? Yes, breakfast on a burger. Stuffed between two English muffins is a freshly made Wyoming beef patty topped with fried egg, bacon and all the fix-ins you could ever want after a long day in the mountains. And it’s not just the burgers, the back patio will knock your socks off, too. Killer panoramic views of the Snake River and Jackson Valley pair well with any of the local beers on tap (we cant get enough of Snake River Brewing). And this place stays open late, so spend an evening watching the rotating constellations or jammin’ with the locals. A free shuttle takes you to and from downtown Jackson – strap on your dancing boots and snag a ride out to The Bird on Saturday night.

Jackson Hole Rodeo: A true Jacksonian pastime, cowboys and cowgirls have been ropin’ and buckin’ at the Jackson Hole Rodeo every summer for the past 100 years – rain or shine. Grab some BBQ and brews and settle in. You can’t miss the bull riding (if you think the bulls are feisty, wait till you see the cowboys), and the girls barrel racing boasts the most fearless 10-year-olds west of the Mississippi. Rodeo runs at 8pm every Wednesday and Saturday nights through the summer, with a special Independence Day Rodeo on July 3rd & 4th. Tickets are $15 and we suggest getting some online before hand, just in case. BYO cowboy hat.

What to Wear in Jackson

Samba Wave Tank: Jackson is one of the only places you can wear your dusty boots to even the fanciest of restaurants. Our Samba Wave Tank just happens to look great with jeans, twirly skirts and cowgirl boots. Fluid, wave-like patterns gives texture without the intensity of a print and it’s made with our feel-great, eco-loving blend of organic cotton and Tencel®. Hello summer.

Swept Away Jacket: Warm days and cool nights are one of the best parts about a Jackson Hole summer. So throw the Swept Away Jacket in your bag – you’ll need it when it’s time to catch the fireworks. Casual, classic styling and intelligent pocket placement will reinforce your allegiance to the power of great design. And like the Tetons that kiss the Snake River, earthy linen mixes with mighty cotton in a beautiful twill weave that just gets better with time. 

Jack SS Polo: Here’s an old cowboy secret: Any shirt with a collar instantly makes you look like a cleaned up gentleman. And polos are just t-shirts with a collar. Get all the ease, comfort and style accolades by having a few of these butter-soft, organic cotton Jack Polos on hand. Vented hems and a hidden pocket within a pocket make this polo our jack-of-all-trades.

Coolant Shirt: When it’s hot on the trails and even hotter in town, you’ve got to keep your cool. For your quick relief, our Coolant Shirt earns its name from a special open-weave plaid that mixes yarn dyes and organic cotton for eco-friendly air-conditioning that’s cool to the touch (and the eye). Our Marlin and Picante patterns will keep you looking perfectly patriotic on the Fourth.

See You at the Watering Hole

dweber posted this June 16th, 2015


Nothing says summer like “CANNONNNN BALLLL!” With some tips from the outdoorsy folks at RootsRated, we’ve put together a list of our favorite summer watering holes around the country. So lather up the sunscreen and get your water shoes on – we’ll meet you in the splash zone.

Austin-Swimming-featureJacob’s Well – Austin, TX

A quintessential example of Central Texas aquifer and spring formations, Jacob’s Well Natural Area gives visitors the unique opportunity to swim directly in an artesian spring. About 40 minutes from Austin, outside Wimberly, it’s close enough but far out too. The spring’s cool, clear water surrounded by rock ledges and lots of trees represent what all Texas swimming holes used to be, and should be. Read more about it before you go to get a better appreciation of its history and beauty, and help keep it beautiful. Open 9am-9pm. Admission is free.


Red Rock Crossing  – Flagstaff, AZ

This trail boasts the “most photographed view in Arizona” (Cathedral Rock), but Red Rock Crossing has much more to offer than just a few photo opportunities. Start at a paved parking lot with a picnic area, and hike out on an easy, sandy trail, crossing the river several times, until the trail peters out (or keep going to reach other, more strenuous, Sedona trails). The whole area is ripe for swimming and wading, and there’s even a vortex nearby for the curious. Just remember to purchase a parking pass – a day pass is $5.

15273019579_a5b94c00ec_kSkinny Dip Falls – Asheville, NC

This may come as a disappointment for some and a relief to others, but Skinny Dip Falls is not actually a clothing-optional swimming hole. This rugged and serene pool is located at the headwaters of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. Waterfalls, jumping-off rocks, a deep plunge pool, and shallow areas for wading make it a perfect swimming spot. If you’re determined to go au naturel, there are plenty of secluded spots to be found by exploring upstream. Located just a half mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Mountains-to-Sea-Trail, Skinny Dip Falls is a great place to cool down after hiking in nearby Graveyard Fields or Black Balsam Knob.

DeSoto Falls – Mentone, AL   photo-2-e1430182256324

Located at Lookout Mountain north of the actual park lies one of our favorite spots to swim. Water spills over a rocky ledge, falling 104 feet into a deep and wide pool straight from the set of The Goonies. The climb down to the pool can be difficult; we recommend only confident scramblers attempt to access this pool. A cave cuts into the cliff behind the waterfall, a perfect place to hang out while mist from the waterfall cools you off. Although still part of DeSoto State Park, it’s not technically in the park, but located 7 miles north, towards Mentone, AL, near the small town of Valley Head. Take route 117 out of town turn right onto 613 which should dead end into a viewing platform of the falls.

131191-1291-featureCummins Falls – Cookville, TN 

Once a popular hunting ground for Native Americans roaming the waterways, there’s a beauty at Cummins Falls that transports you back in time. You cant help but marvel at the serenity, then dive right into the green water with a good holler. And you’ll have earned it by the time you get there – the trail itself is 2.5 miles out and back with changes in terrain and slight elevation gain. Through the rolling hills along the Blackburn Fork River, you’ll finally end where the stream gives way to a majestic 75 foot cascading waterfall that feeds the perfect swimming hole at the base. Spend a few hours experiencing the trail in its entirety and branch out on smaller trails to get a different glimpse of the gorge.