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February 28, 2015

One Year Blog Anniversary

To our Dearest Friends,

Today marks a milestone for Artisan Happiness, we are celebrating the blog's one year anniversary! 135 published posts and countless of hours of writing, photographing and editing later, we are so proud of the blog we have established and built together.

Thank you so much for reading, following and keeping up with our wild adventures. Life is a crazy, beautiful journey and by taking the time to document the moments that mean most to us is an exciting way to share, relive and reflect on all we have done and seen.

We have many more tricks up our sleeves including a new site, travels, van trips, blog topics and much, much more, so please stay tuned and check back often for many new memories. So excited to see what's ahead! Thanks again, friends!

Ken and Kait

February 24, 2015

The Original Mini Van, VDub Style

It should be no surprise that Ken and I are big Volkswagon Van lovers. Therefore, I am beyond excited to share with you this brief post of the most darling mini Volkswagen Van in Miami. Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Irwin. Thank you for Jeff for thinking of us when you saw this cute, little van and for the images.

February 22, 2015

Extreme Snowshoeing

For over a year, Ken and I have been talking about snowshoeing up the sand dunes along Lake Michigan and snowboarding down. However, working with weather, schedules and other timing made this adventure a little more challenging. This weekend, the stars aligned and we were able to spend hours hiking the dunes and riding down. The snow on the dunes was deep and untouched which made for epic runs and the chance for Ken and I to create our own lines on the way down. 

Atop the dunes we overlooked frozen Lake Michigan which looked like glaciers for miles. Being alone in the dunes and doing what we loved, made for an epic adventure date with my love. I absolutely love the adventures Ken and I seek, trying new things, and finding the real beauty and experiences of Pure Michigan. 

February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, you love birds! Hoping your day is filled with hugs and kisses and the sweetest Valentine's wishes. 

Ken and I decided to celebrate Valentine's day a little different this year. No fancy dinners, no crowds; just a cute date together celebrated in the city we love.

Our date started at 8:30 this morning with breakfast at Grand Rapids' most hip little dining joint, Marie Catrib's. After many cups of hot coffee, eggs, potatoes, toast and pastries, we made our way downtown to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for our monthly check in and to see Edward Burtynsky's 'Water' showcase which was so beautiful and a must see!

Following the art museum we braved the negative temperates and strong winds to check out the ice sculptures around the town and to pop into a few stores we enjoy.

Then, we made our way to Grand Rapids famous, Propaganda Donuts for, well... donuts of course, and to Lantern Coffee Bar for tea to enjoy our donuts with.
It is hard to believe it is my SIXTH Valentine's day with the most wonderful man in the world. Not sure how I got so lucky, but I did and I definitely don't take one day with him for granted. Love you to the moon and back, Ken! xoxox

February 12, 2015

Calling All Dreamers

I live in a constant dream state, with my busy mind always questioning  "what's next?" Where my restless, gypsy soul is constantly being pulled in a million different directions but somehow my feet stay planted. I just know there is so much more to life than doing the same thing everyday and mundane routines we find ourselves in. My freedom / escape is through travel and adventure. It is my dream to see the world and I am working incredibly hard to get there.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes and sayings that encourage me to keep dreaming...

Respond to every call that excites your spirit - Rumi

All good things are wild and free - Thoreau

I'll look back on this and smile because it was life and I decided to live it

Life is either a darling adventure or nothing at all - Helen Keller

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures - Lovelle Drachman

You have to trust your own madness - Clive Barker

Follow your dreams, they know the way

When was the last time you tried something for the first time?

We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourself there, too

Be Brave. Take Risks. Nothing can substitute experience 
The Perfect Dreamer Tee, for all those who dream: Evereve, Dreamer Modal Tee

Wherever the wind blows, that's where I'm headed... - Low Roar

February 11, 2015

BeNd, OrEgON

Wouldn't it be  incredible if we could pick up and move whenever and wherever we wanted to?  If so, I would move to Bend, Oregon in a heartbeat. This town is made for the artful, the adventurous, and for those who want to live a full, wholesome life. With mountains, volcanoes, rivers and lakes; nordic trails, camp sites, vanagons, craft breweries and locals with dogs, trendy threads and dreads. This town has it all; this town is made for me!

While in Bend, we stayed with our friends so we could live and play like a local. Bend seems to be close in size to my hometown of Grand Rapids, meaning comfortable in size and easy to navigate. Wherever you live in Bend, you're close enough to everything, including Mt. Bachelor and downtown.  Downtown Bend is so darling with cute little retail stores, coffee houses, bike shops, outdoor stores and more. I could spend hours walking the streets and popping into the little stores. I am in love with this town and hope to one day call it home.

February 8, 2015

Mount Bachelor

After days of snowboarding in Utah we caught a quick flight to Bend, Oregon to continue our snowboarding adventures. This was my first time snowboarding in the Cascades and it was wonderful! Ken and I went to Mt. Bachelor with our friends and locals who know Bachelor very well and were able to show us around. The views at the top of the mountain / volcano were absolutely breathtaking! I was completely taken back by the views that surrounded us and felt like I was on top of the world. Looking all around us we could see Three Sisters and silhouettes of the Cascade mountain range many, many miles away. Un-be-liveable! Bachelor was so beautiful and I can't to go back sometime on a powder day.
I couldn't keep up with these guys, but I was able to grab them for a quick photo. Ken with his buddies Matthias Giraud (left) and Seth VanderZee (middle).

February 2, 2015

The Meaning of Life with Matthias Giraud

It’s hard to forget your first time meeting Matthias. His larger than life personality always makes him center of attention. Matthias is an incredible athlete and is looking to find the true meaning of life, constant happiness. Whether that is base jumping, skiing, listening to German heavy metal, or being with his beautiful wife and son; Matthias always stay true to who he is. 

Through the years of knowing Super Frenchie, I can honestly say he is one of the most genuine and passionate individuals I have ever met. He is humble, creative and loves whatever journey lies in front of him. 

I am very excited to share this interview with you, so you two can catch a glimpse in the life of Matthias Giraud.

 1. How would you explain your ‘job description’?

Aside from being a circus monkey, I have the best job description. I’m a professional modern adventurer. My love for the outdoors and action sports started with skiing at a young age. I took that pretty far and I loved it. It was definitely a driving force in my life that helped me through the good and the bad. Through skiing, I started enjoying air and then began to  think about other things. Next thing I knew, I was flying parachutes, thinking, wow this is great! And then, I wanted to fly a parachute with skis, so I did. Then, I’m jumping off big cliffs and flying away in a parachute. In the summer when there is not much snow, I started playing with surfboards and naturally, I wanted to surf bigger and bigger waves. And when there were no waves, I started rock climbing and taking that sport to new levels. When I took a moment to reflect, I realize that I could do a plethora of activities and be good at most of them, pretty good at a few of them. Then, when I put them all together, I notice that I am literally turning the world into my playground. 

2. What was the one thing that got you noticed in the industry?

I think honestly, it was my drive and passion for skiing. I didn’t have a big resume or portfolio, I was good at skiing and I was really stoked about projects. I knew where I wanted to go and people helped me get there. I used that as a stepping stone to take me further and further and I was able to use that to showcase my skills. 

For many, it was my / the first ski base jump off of Mt. Hood that got me noticed. However, I didn't do it to get noticed. I did it because I wanted to ski base jump and thought Mt. Hood would be cool spot to do it. Plus, it had never been done before so might as well do a jump that has never been done as my first jump ever, why not? Right after that jump, my friend, who had contacts with a local news station, recommended that I give my head camera footage to them, so I did. After, I thought that it was cool, that was it, and just carried on with my day. Early the next morning my phone was going off, so I finally answered one of the calls and I hear, “Hello, I’m the producer from Good Morning America…” I was shocked! So, now I’m talking to media people from Good Morning America, CNN and Fox News, I thought to myself, “What's happening here?” That morning I Googled ‘Mt Hood ski base jump' and realize my jump was all over the internet and news stations. I didn't realize that Mt. Hood was the second most climbed mountain in the world and that doing the first ski base jump off of it. I was noticed for documenting my jump and for following my passion, doing it for true reasons and that always brings a certain freshness to the way people see it. Right there, that was a stepping stone for me. I still had to work on the side, it’s not like overnight I became a pro skier and get to travel everywhere and be set financially. It takes a long time. It doesn't just take one breakthrough, it takes ten of them for you to establish yourself as a professional in that field. It’s not a magical thing that will get you noticed and get you sponsors. No, you have to position yourself  and actually survive doing it, not just financially, but physically and show that you will stay healthy doing it. This jump was the one thing that pushed me in front of the scene and it was cool. It was amazing to realize that being truly honest with your desires and passions and having the courage to follow it brings you somewhere in life.  

3. How would you describe the feeling after you land?

After I land.. that’s my favorite time. Most people think the best feeling is when you're taking off, and it is really cool. But I don't really feel the adrenaline rush, I’m not an adrenaline junkie at all, I hate that term. I am a goal person. I’m ambitious and I like to set high goals for myself and I like to achieve them. It’s that feeling when you land and you turn around and can see what you just did and where you just came from. That feeling of achievement,  you just turn around and you’re like, “Holy Shit! I did this!” And you just feel it is way better than the rush. And having GoPros to relive the moment again is epic, it is so fun! Fun doesn't even do it justice, that’s not even the right word. It’s incredibly fulfilling. 

4. How different do you think it would be without the GoPro’s filming and other cameras filming your adventures?

The passion would remain the same; however, GoPro has changed the game. The only way to ‘make it’ years before would be completing. And for me, I stopped competing in 2007 and got my breakthrough in 2008 by filming what I was doing. So it democratized the world of action sports - you can be your own producer, because you have your own kick ass cameras. You just have to be creative and good about it. It democratized it but it in the end it's not a celebration of mediocracy, its raising the bar because there is more competition and athletes keep getting better and better. You have the same tools that are externally powerful to become your own producer and your own distributor. You make a movie and share it on youtube and if its good you'll get a few hundred thousand views. It’s the power back to the people. The people decide. On all of my shoots, I just go out with my friends and capture the magic of the moment and then share it with the world - it’s beautiful. 

5. Tell me how you define SUCCESS?

Success is the ability to turn your dream into a reality.  It’s a fulfillment of the soul. Money does not make you feel fulfilled, money is a means to access your dreams, but its the dreams that actually make you feel fulfilled. We all have a bucket list, and life truly begins when you start crossing things off your bucket list. That’s it, thats all. 

6. Where would be the most obscure place to go base jumping?

I want to go base jumping in the flattest country in the world, somewhere under sea level. I want to go base jumping in Holland. Theres tons of windmills, buildings and other fun things to jump off. Plus, it’s where I’m from, I am half Dutch and half French and want to go back to my roots and explore my roots in a completely different manner.  

7. And the most unique place you want to skiing?

I have been to Iceland and it was great, I continue to go back to Iceland for more adventures. I kind of want to go to Greenland or the Faroe Islands. Not a lot of people have gone there, it’s very remote. Obviously has a lot of snow, and it’s cold. Now it’s not about doing the gnarliest stuff, you realize, what you remember most is not necessarily the most crazy stuff you remember the most unique, powerful and creative moments. And I want to do more of that.   

8. What do you hope the viewers of 60 Minutes Sports to get out of your interview?

I want people to see that I am a normal guy that started just like every other kid. But someone who had the diligence to focus on my goals consciously and subconsciously and great things happened as a result, but through a lot of work. It’s not going to be easy or a smooth sailing journey. It’s going to be painful, it’s going to be brutal and it’s going to be scary. You are going to get hurt, you are going to lose friends. But in the end, it’s just makes sense, and in the end you know you are doing it right. I just want to share with people that drive and excitement.

Tune in to Showtime, Tuesday, February 3rd at 10:00 EST to watch Matthias' 60 Minutes interview. You don't want to miss it! 

February 1, 2015

SLC Wrap Up

It was so good to visit Salt Lake City. Each time we visit we  become completely inspired by the mountain lifestyle and discuss how amazing it would be to live here. Each trip, we spend time looking for real estate and a cabin to call home. Although we do not have the means yet, we can always dream. 
One of our days in Utah, we took a break from the mountains to visit downtown, enjoy the breweries, walk through the temple and get lost in the mix of the city buzz. Ken even fought the crowds for me to go to Park City and be a part of Sundance Film Festival. Although we did not see any films, it was still amazing to be apart of the center of the independent film industry. 
Thank you SLC for another amazing trip. We will be back soon!