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Our Journey

March 24th, 2017 - April 20th, 2018

Our Journey

"Happiness is a Warm Puppy and a Curious Kitten"

Welcome to our Blog! 


! FINAL Interviews for All Artists ! 

April 20th, 2018

We're FINALLY HERE! The day of the show <3 And last but not least - here is my husband Freddy's interview! Fred will be performing his new project in it's entirety for the first time tomorrow along with his new band The Cavalry! This music has been in the making for years and after all we've made it through, Freddy has finally found his way back to everything he needs to finally bring these songs he's had ready for so long to LIFE! Today is also his Thirty Second Birthday so lets CELEBRATE his life and music together and enjoy an evening of Art & Soul.

FACE CADET

Finding Veda MAX
[ Dig Deep - The Fred ]

We are all searching for our sense of being, our sense of purpose, and music gets me closer to that.

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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Freddy Salgado was born on April 20th, 1986 in Hell's Kitchen New York. At 11 he moved to Harrison New Jersey and was raised there until he moved to Elizabeth in his late 20’s. Both of Freddy’s parents are Ecuadorian. When asked how his culture has influenced him and his craft he said: “My family sent me every year to Ecuador for two months so that I could take in the richness of where I come from, to appreciate all that we have here and how in Ecuador they make something out of nothing. I never saw a kid have so much fun with marbles! Everyone knows everyone in Ecuador, there is so much neighborhood comradery. Now I can take notice of so much, small and big, I try to appreciate the details, appreciate stories, I can find deeper connections whether it’s with people, my environment, art, anything.”

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Freddy has also lived in San Diego California and Colorado Springs Colorado, and currently resides in Elizabeth once again with his wife Sierra. Freddy has been singing since he joined a choir group in elementary school and continued to sing throughout all of his school years in various choirs, bands and even on his own at talent shows and other music outlets. Freddy started playing the guitar when he was in the 8th grade, and was always able to quickly pick up other instruments and learn them by ear. He now plays guitar and a multitude of percussion instruments. In 2014 while Freddy lived in California he freestyled in front of a coworker who was so impressed he invited him to his friend’s studio and without Freddy knowing he actually paid for several sessions for Freddy to record. Needless to say Freddy did very well and his passion for Hip Hop grew immensely. Freddy’s future goals for his craft are to create a platform so that he can exert all his energy to his craft but still have a life, pay his bills, support himself and his family, and find his own way. He wants to truly reveal himself, his true nature and his expression. “We are all searching for our sense of being, our sense of purpose, and music gets me closer to that.”

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“Community is selflessness, it’s saying you’re going to participate in creating a world within this world that gives everyone an identity- it’s a mutual agreement that we’re in this together and we’re going to build with one another. My art reflects that because when I write my lyrics I write them for YOU. Everything I write is based on my interactions with people- when I talk to people I may not have all of the answers, but somehow I can write it in a song and even if it’s simply telling you that you’re going to be okay, its coming from a real place, it’s coming from the love I have for You." 

What sets Freddy apart is his tolerance, his openness, and his eagerness to connect. He believes the most vital virtues a person can have are to really love yourself. “You have to stop looking to the right or left of you- you have to look within yourself, pull out the very nature and essence of you- then you can help others bring that out of themselves.”

LOVE and WILL are Freddy’s most influential navigators. "Love and Will not only get you through your day but they optimize your experience- because you can love who you are, you can love your whole day, your whole month, and all of your years until you’re laying there and saying you gave it all you got- People in this world aren't always loving, why not be that spark of love? You can.” 

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Okay okay that's all folks.. No more interviews for me for a while lol. Not as easy as it looks but I am really happy with them all!!! If you were wondering why I conducted interviews for the participants? I wanted to get to know them each a little more, and really find out about their Craft and their Goals. Through Cambria's Haven, I want to create Community- and what better way than to feature some of the special things about all of these amazing artists that we get to work with! I want this website to be a place of Unity, Love, and Support for Animals, People, and ALL THINGS CREATIVE! I will see you there tonight at 8:00pm, Please get there early because we are expecting to be packed at capacity throughout most of the night!


All of the Love,

Sierra

Interviews with the Artists Part 5

April 19th, 2018

Here is our last batch of interviews before The Main Act, Face Cadet and The Cavalry. Today it's all about the guys - Metchnikov who sings to the soul, and the members of American Beauty, a bomb rock band who have something special to share. These artists will be at Ohmies TOMORROW, along with the band 1976 and vendor theAboveGroundBasement! See you tomorrow! It's Allllmosttt Here !!! :D

American Beauty

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American Beauty

Do unto others as you would do to yourself 

- Abdel

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Markus Abdel Rios was named after his dad who is from Ponce, and his mom from San Sebastian Puerto Rico. Markus was born on September 14th, 1995. He was born in Newark and moved to Elizabeth at 2. He had to move to Roselle for high school which sucked because he felt like “Everyone was a blob of the same stuff- not much diversity.” Markus started his first band at 15 and plays all kinds of music from Black metal to progressive. He feels deeply rooted in his ethnicity and loves Latin Music. He would love to even have a Salsa and Bachata side project one day. He loves to dance and he also loves to cook! He is considering going Vegetarian soon :) He believes growing up with a Christian background is what helped him to be cool with everyone even those who are down and out. He is grateful for his ability to interact with everyone and attributes his socialization skills to Elizabeth and his Puerto Rican culture. 

The connections he makes help inspire diversity in his music. He would like to give back to his community by helping the schools and supporting the local music programs. He feels like way too much attention is given to sports over music education and recalls participating in petitions throughout high school to help keep music program running. He hopes that his music will allow for him to serve as a platform to support music programs in the future. Some of Abdel’s short term goals are to make T-shirts, Stickers and other merch for his band and he’s also very interested in starting a Goth project. He doesn’t know where he’ll be in 5-10 years except that he’ll still be with his wifey, puppy and instruments. Currently he’s listening to Bad Bunny, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Jerry Rivera. His top 3 bands are Deafheaven, Joy Division, and Suicide Machine. When asked about important virtues Abdel left us with the quote “Do unto others as you would do to yourself.”

Metchnikov

I want to bring people together and give them a great feeling through my music 

- Frank

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Frank Connor was born on November 14th, 1994. He has lived in Elizabeth for his whole life and feels comfortable and accustomed to life here. He can see himself visiting other places but he would always likely return to where he feels most comfortable. He was raised by his grandparents and his grandfather plays the bagpipes and is in a band. 

Frank has played the drums since he was 12 years old. Frank is very emotionally driven and the drums are his outlet. "I want to bring people together and give them a great feeling through my music." American Beauty is Frank’s 6th band! His motivation comes from his band mates and the diversity of the Elizabeth scene. His goals are also to start selling merch for his American Beauty and he’d love to do a tour this summer.

Metchnikov

We are what you would call DIY. And that’s our community. We all help each other out and connect one another with people who can help us go even further. 

- Diego

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Diego Solano was born on June 17th, 1996 in Elizabeth, NJ. Diego makes music about his personal life and issues he's seen people deal with. He wants people who listen to his music to really be able to relate and to find comfort in his songs. He started writing music seriously about 3 years ago and began the American Beauty project about one year ago. "Communities make something bigger happen- it’s a foundation and a place where something small can become huge with the help of everyone involved. We are what you would call DIY. And that’s our community. We all help each other out and connect one another with people who could help us go even further." When American Beauty encounters someone  

with an open space the first question they ask is: “Can we throw shows here?” If the answer is a yes, they will then introduce a bunch of new bands to the new space, and people who come to listen are exposed to new local and upcoming artists. "The best part about this DIY community is that everyone tries to contribute whether it’s equipment, or setting up or just even showing up to support and spread the word. Diego thinks his craft heavily influences his community: "Music was kind of dead around here when it came to local shows and bands, but we helped open up doors to other bands wanting to play in our area as well as more DIY venues popping up."

Metchnikov

I want to make something that I'm happy listening to and that others can enjoy.

- Kevin

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Kevin was born on October 3rd 1995 and is Venezuelan. He grew up for some time in Elizabeth. He currently resides in Union. Right now he is listening to a lot of Remo Drive and "Admittedly Cardi B because her new album is fire." When asked about his goals he said "I want to make something that I'm happy listening to and that others can enjoy." His favorite thing in the world is to see people dancing and having fun whenever he and his band play. Kevin believes "It's important to have a local band community because you get to know and see people who are all interested in the same thing. And that's great because you get to express a lot of what you feel."









@americanbeautynj

Metchnikov

If I have an abundance of optimism I can accept hurt and failure in order to grow.

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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Metchnikov Joseph was born on March 6th, 1991 in Elizabeth NJ where he has lived all his life. His parents are both Haitian and when asked how he connects with his culture he replied “I feel connected to everything and everybody. I don’t feel any different from anyone. We are the culture- you can be the culture.” He does want to visit Haiti and get to know his roots. 

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“Haitian people are resilient, we were the first independent country to break free from slavery and I’d love to learn more about that in Haiti.” Metch has three brothers and one sister. His craft is music and singing. He always remembers having a love for it and has no idea where he’d be without it. Metch considers his community to be New Jersey and he believes we are as strong as it gets. His diverse community inspires his music and reflects through his lyrics that are usually about the passionate and intense love lives that happen here- more so than anywhere else he believes. If music doesn’t work out for Metch he is going to go into psychology to be a counselor or therapist. When asked what sets him apart he said his compassion and empathy. He always puts himself in other people’s shoes and tries to solve hard problems. He tries to understand people who are struggling and he tends to throw his own spin on these stories as inspiration for his music. “I don’t wanna be rich and famous, I just want to make music that changes people. I was once one way and music changed my frame of mind.” 

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Metchnikov’s pillar is his patience while making music- it is a journey to him. Optimism is one of the most important qualities to have in his opinion. “If I have an abundance of optimism I can accept hurt and failure in order to grow. Things won’t always go good but if you have a great mindset things will always get better the more you do.” His new project “Don’t get too comfortable” is a concept based on the closed person that he tends to be and the shell he wants to break free from.


@metch_ni_cough

Interviews with the Artists Part 4

April 18th, 2018

The next four interviews feature four women who are awe inspiring, power house passionate ladies from the East Coast! Lisa, owner of Ohmies is a Yoga instructor and jack of all trades at her cafe and Yoga studio where Urban Renaissance will be happening. Bri, creator of 'Self Love Is' is also a Yoga instructor at Ohmies and also does Cardio classes, Reiki, Sound Healing, and more! Ashley and Anne are both artists with extraordinary skills, each with their own unique style and masterpieces! Get to know these life changing women and come out to see them at our show on Friday at 8:00pm - 12:00am!

OHMIES

I want to show people that they can be themselves and be accepted for who they are. Yeah we make mistakes but we’re all human and we can all move on and do it better.”

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Elizabeth Fernandez was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. At 25 she moved to Roselle because her fiance got a promotion to oversee property. They moved to Elizabeth in 2009 where they currently live. Her mom is from Manabi Ecuador and her dad is from Calceta Ecuador. When I asked how her culture influenced her she said that she feels like she has culture from a little bit of everywhere because of growing up in NYC and the East Coast and the heavy influence of our incredible diversity. This helped her find the diversity within herself which is why she now likes all kinds of music, and is able to get so creative with her craft which is YOGA! 


Something that really sets Lisa’s yoga classes apart is the way she personalizes them and makes each one different based on how she’s feeling and what she wants to explore. Lisa worked as an Accountant and Senior Financial Assistant for Panasonic, which did a great job of paying the bills but it was not in union with her mind body and spirit. Now doing yoga her main goal is to help others to find their passion from within and to be awakened the way she was awakened. She believes yoga can be anyone’s craft and there is no right or wrong way to practice yoga. She loves that there are all types of yoga classes emerging from hiphop to heavy metal and rock. 


A normal day for Lisa starts with getting things ready for her two kids, opening her shop, running 6 am classes on Tuesdays and then working as a Barista or running errands like picking up inventory, responding to emails, setting up events, meeting with people etc. In the afternoon she teaches classes and closes the register. Once she gets home she sits and goes through her day to see what she can improve and if there was anything she felt she could have done better. She is constantly thinking of ideas! Every once and a while on stressful days Lisa escapes to Johnny Tequila, her husband’s bar that’s right next door to Ohmies.

She and her husband Johnny Carlos have been together for 18 years and have a son and daughter together. In the future Lisa would like to open several cafe and yoga studios in New Jersey and other countries like Guatemala or Mexico. Community to Lisa is when people from all different paths come together for one purpose or vision, not criticizing or judging each other but to push one another to be better. She feels her craft gives back to her community because the space was created to support and uplift one another. One of her greatest satisfactions is when people who have never performed before but visit regularly, eventually get up and perform and say that they wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t for Ohmies. 


Ohmies has been open for one year and was given that name because of the OHM mantra used in yoga, the “ies” in yogies, and the word “Homies” which can be found within the name paying homage to their city, their community, and the diversity that has helped to build their dreams. 


Lisa’s pillars are her family and her kids- she wants her children to know that they can do anything- really- anything that they want to do in the world. She feels like the school system creates cookie cutter kids and she really wants to show them that through hard work and dedication, no one has to fit someone else’s mold or standards. Lisa is also motivated by the people that come to Ohmies and find themselves. As she prepares for her classes she knows she can’t let them down. Authenticity is one of the most important attributes in her opinion- and sincerity: “I didn’t accept myself for who I was and I always noticed my flaws instead of realizing all of the good I did. I want to show people that they can be themselves and be accepted for who they are. Yeah we make mistakes but we’re all human and we can all move on and do it better.”

@ohmies_way
@lisa_ohmies

Self Love Is

I want to show people you can be vulnerable- you don’t have to front!

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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​Brianna Pirro was born on December 11th, 1994. She was raised in Linden New Jersey and graduated with her Bachelors in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. She’s a substitute teacher in Linden and a Yoga and Cardio Instructor at Ohmies and GHOS Training Facility. Bri also practices Reiki and Sound Healing. After college, she attended a one month yoga teacher training program on the Island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. 

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She volunteered at the school for an internship where she also had a chance to backpack through more of the country. Bri’s pillar is God, and that her "Fact and faith are one and the same." Bri is an empath, and what sets her apart is her ability to bask in her vulnerabilities, as well as the time, energy, effort, and meditation she invests into self development for her classes. 

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She loves her city for its diversity but is often times checking out different states and countries. When asked how her craft gives back to her community, she said “I’ve dealt with a lot of pain, and through my craft I am able to talk about things like suicide and domestic violence, and I can educate others and show them that suffering is not okay, and there are things you can do to recover. I want to show people you can be vulnerable- you don’t have to front!” Bri tries not to make goals passed two years so her more immediate goal is to get an RV to take on #SelfLoveIs Experience tours and teach classes in all different cities. You can find more information about her faith projects and fitness classes and support the #SelfLoveIs movement by visiting SELFLOVEIS.ORG and following her IG and site, 

@bripirro / @self.love.is 

Divine Luz 

The best way that I can help my community is to do my best to help whoever I can

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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Luz Marleny Ortega was born on November 14th, 1980 in Brooklyn. She was raised in Queens and has lived in Elizabeth for the passed 4 years. Her mom was a cosmetologist and Luz who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s caused a bit of tension when she wanted to wear her father's clothes. Luz attended an all girls high school and it was there she began using makeup and realizing she actually had a passion for it as well as eyebrow design. She found herself wearing more girly things and she loved to color her friend’s hair! 

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Luz only tweezes, she does not wax or thread as both of these methods cause drooping eyelids, ingrown hairs, wrinkles and dry skin. Three years ago Luz went to Peru and Colombia to learn the Micro-blading technique and get certified. Luz knew studying in these countries would consist less of theory and more of hands on experience, and she is so grateful that she chose those programs. “You have to practice, investigate, and study when you find your passion. You have to keep pushing yourself.” 

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Community to Luz is helping each other out- growing as a team and not as an individual. Seeing her mother as the leader of New Concept School of Cosmetology the way that she is- always making sure the students are following a curriculum but also learning, and finding self awareness. “What is beauty but to be happy with yourself? It is more than just makeup and hair, it’s also all about feeling good!” Recently there has been a ruling that immigrants without social security numbers are unable to get their official New Jersey Cosmetology License and she and her mother have been fighting against this legislation since it began. They are asking everyone to share and sign the petition to get the Senate to consider this cause. "Sometimes we don’t believe in ourselves or our own power, we are so used to the control. The Latin community is large and loud but we are not being heard on many levels. The best way that I can help my community is to do my best to help whoever I can.” 

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Luz's family are her pillars. Her father, Elias, who has always helped and supported all of her aspirations and who also purchased the Cosmetology School for his family to run. Her mother, who is the foundation and soul of the school and a beautiful example of a strong, groundbreaking, successful, and compassionate woman. Her brother, Juan who is the reason Luz and her mother are able to chase after the always expanding dreams of an Entrepreneur while he runs the school. And of course her partner Paula who has been there every step of the way. “They are the ones who say 'Follow your dreams and we will be okay.' Having a person support you unconditionally really makes you feel like you can do it. To be a good person- you have to surround yourself with good people.”

@divineluz

Art of Anne Mitchell

Art belongs to the people.

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Anne Mitchell was born on April 9th, 1990 in Morristown New Jersey. She later lived in Rockaway and then Randolph, where she currently resides. Her parents are second generation Americans, her dad an Italian and Syrian music collector and her mom works in administration and is Polish and Russian. Her mom taught her feminine power and that no boy can do it better than she can. Anne grew up Jewish, and not so much based on the beliefs but in Jewish traditions. Everyone was always together in community with a very matriarch centric core. “My mom is a powerhouse, she showed me strong will, determination, fiery passion. I carry that with me, its my purpose in my community and how I feel a part of my art community."  When I asked Anne about what community means to her she replied that community does not necessarily imply ties to a physical place. “I forever think of my art community, other artists I connect with, we share, absorb and support each other’s work." 

From 9-5 Anne is a decorative painter. She goes out to industrial, residential and commercial locations and decides with her team what they’re going to do and then they “Engage in Art until each project is complete.” Anne works with all kinds of mediums from painting, to photography, graphic design, decorative arts, fine art, and plays. She feels that through her works she is contributing constantly to her community while relying on her own artistic intuition to make pieces that only she can make. One of her favorite things to do is upcycle and recycle something seen as nothing - or garbage into artwork. “It doesn’t matter what materials you have you can create a masterpiece.” 

Anne also loves to consider the psychology and existential essence of art- she enjoys discussing and debating ideas like “How much does art help and how much does it hurt? Is art a part of our evolution? Like a mating thing- ‘Look at my dexterity, I’m territorial’ - but doesn’t it come from love? Art was here before language, archaeologists have discovered arrowheads that were meant not for weaponry but just for the sake of decoration..but my theory is that since the industrial revolution we have gradually lost the visceral connection to pigment and mud, this connection is in everyone but we have created a deep disconnect. Rap and other rhythmic music connects us to poetry and we have to find a way to create that connection with art. Art belongs to the people.” 

“My work is a lot more female centric and psychedelic. Something switched in me during college and I realized I can do anything that I want to do-- I opened the box and splattered the box.” Anne’s goals are to cross arts and collaborate with more artists. She wants to get into costume making and is super open to all different and new venues that allow her to delve into her art using different mediums. “I open myself up,” she said. When asked about a five or ten year plan Anne said “Most of the time I have my goals mapped up but now I’m in a place where I don’t know, but I know it all will come together.” 

@artofannemitchell

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Ashley Artistry

I see so much beauty in every person I meet and that is my sense of community

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Ashley Kovalerchik was born on February 8th, 1990, in Morristown and was raised in Boonton township “out in the woods,” and now resides in Lake Hiawatha. Ashley is currently in College for Fine Arts. She is also a hair stylist and make up artist at Hair Salon Body & Soul in New Providence, NJ. Ashley spent most of her time with her strict Russian Orthodox Grandparents. Her grandparents always harnessed her creativity and encouraged her to practice art. Ashley always loved the artistic nature of churches from the detailed statues to the stained glass windows and the massive pieces of artwork. She also always loved dragons, swords, and epic, dark and twisted tales. She became infatuated with mystical, medieval, angels, archaic, masculine and strong matriarch depictions. She worked with pencils, colored pencils and graphite for years until six years ago when she met Anne. “She saw my potential and she wanted it to bloom, she introduced me to other mediums and taught me to paint.

 After I used acrylics one time I never put it down again and in the last year I’ve made so many paintings.” She is getting comfortable with oil painting, watercolor, and silk screen work. “I want to take what I see in my mind and see it in front of me. In one year, five years, any amount of time- I want to get it all out of my head and put it in front of me. I would like for people to connect with my art and know that it gives my community a different perspective and way to see beauty. Community is that moment when you feel accepted and welcome, it can be any place and anyone. I accept my clients and I make them feel comfortable. I see so much beauty in every person I meet and that is my sense of community- it’s not about the space- it’s about the people in it!” What sets Ashley’s art apart is she does not aimlessly put darkness onto a canvas. Every swipe has an intention behind it. “Is it nice to shock people? Yes- but in that moment when you make them uncomfortable you are also changing their perspective and making them think.”
@ashley_artistry

@darkallspice


Interviews with the Artists Part 3

April 16th, 2018

These women are endlessly inspiring for me! I am getting so impatient waiting for Friday so that I can finally see all of the amazing things these creators are going to have in store for The Urban Renaissance!

I've only got a few more interviews left until the Big Event- Just TWO MORE DAYS- Hope to see you there!

All of the Love,

Sierra

Interviews with the Artists Part 3

April 16th, 2018

The next two interviews feature two artists I met at The Maker Depot in Totowa, and I am very glad that I did! We are so happy to host both Ruben Kiguelman, a wood working wiz who builds masterpieces; and Toaster Shades- a team of artists who customize sunglasses with wearable art.  Check these guys out and come by to see their unique work in person in FOUR DAYS on APRIL 20th, 8:00pm - 12:00am at Ohmies Cafe in Roselle!

Ruben Kiguelman

You ain't seen nothing yet

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

Ruben Kiguelman was born on November 13th, 1989. His craft is woodworking and he currently makes vases, wine racks, clocks, furniture, and other large scale artwork like a gigantic custom shoe display, cyclorama walls, and home decor. His fascination started off with building jumps and rails to bike and snowboard off of. He is 100% self taught and has been creating for a little over a year. His goal is to make different, shocking, alien like, exotic furniture- he wants to push the edge and create functional art that can be used and experienced. But more importantly his greatest both long and short term goal is to simply be happy. As a kid he was horrible in school, he always hated it and got bad grades- but now that he’s found his passion he loves it so much. “I’ve put all my cards on the table and I’m going after this 100%.” Everyday he wakes up and he can’t wait to get over to the Makers Depot to create. He is sad that he didn’t hear about the Makers Depot sooner because he really wishes he had been doing this for years already. Ruben is very athletic and loves Soccer, Snowboarding and Rock climbing. Five years ago Ruben fractured his spine and nearly paralyzed himself after doing a front flip off of a cliff. He has three screws in his ankle and foot and shattered it. He broke his shoulder, collarbone and left arm. “Doctors have told me I would never snowboard or play soccer again and I’ve got playoffs next week!” Ruben was raised by his Argentinian Father and Colombian mother with his three brothers and three sisters. He was raised by the old code of doing it right the first time, not cutting corners- doing it well or not at all. “I’m very all or nothing- Dedication is a huge part of it- what you put into it is what you get. There were so many different dynamics of having a big family- if it’s there it’s everybody’s, and because of this, when I’m eating, or I have something- I always offer it to others.” When asked about Community Ruben said “It’s when people are just cool and accepting- I’d rather create something and be criticized than create nothing and criticize others. So many inventions and creations are out there but critics say someone else did it, it won’t work, someone’s idea is better, instantly, instead of something positive. All the way around if you’re bringing me down- bring it somewhere else. Be free- create- and everyone else is doing the same.” He wants his art to help his community by inspiring others to go for it. What motivates Ruben is living a life with honor and not hurting anyone. “If someone said anything about me doing someone wrong- you can be sure that it’s a lie.” 

@ruben_kiguelman

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Toaster Shades

We’re all trying to make it so we do what we can for each other to help build each other up

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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Tristan Jonathan Noone was born on May 13th, 1985, in Fitchburg Massachusetts and raised in Townsend Massachusetts. He currently resides in Putnam Valley New York about an hour from the cIty. He went to Fitchburg State University for Graphic design and then interned in Salt Lake City Utah. He lived there and Park City Utah for seven years. Here he began the company Toaster Shades creates sunglasses that display street art, unique themes, personal icons, cartoons, celebrities, music, movies, anything really- the shades are made to be wearable art. Toaster Shades also does T-shirts, Hats, Hoodies, other clothing, Snowboards, and Skateboards. His interest began when his partner Mike Page and friend from high school introduced him to street art and they came up with the idea for Toaster Shades. What sets Toaster Shades apart is they are doing concepts that no one is doing. They fully theme out the sunglasses from the paint to the various additions so each pair is a work of art. His favorite pair is the Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome pair, there are distress marks, wire braided into them, LED lights and circuit board wires woven through them. “I also like to do throwback cartoon characters, sidekick characters and unsung heroes.” Toaster Shades is working on packaging and partnering with others in order to scale the business on a professional level. Community to Tristan is people who live near each other that develop trust among their neighbors and help each other achieve a common goal of everyone’s well being. His community reflects in his craft because it gives him inspiration. He has always worked with other artists, musicians, athletes- “We’re all trying to make it so we do what we can for each other to help build each other up in a collective manner.” He wants to inspire people to make art of any kind. “I loved street art and graffiti because it didn’t have any prerequisite education, its so free- I wanted to showcase that on something you can always wear everyday. It’s very powerful. More people will see it, more people will do it- and more people can make a living off of it.” To Tristan, the most important quality a person can have is transparency and vulnerability- “When someone opens up and shows you how human they are.” What keeps Tristan going is the feedback of his customers telling him how much they enjoy something he’s made. A unique answer to this question was also examples of Metaphysical signs and encouragement- for example- one day Tristan was set up in NYC with a small display of his hats and shades. One of his hats blew away while he was talking with someone about his work and he didn’t notice until he packed up and realized the hat was gone. About a week later he saw the man walk passed him in a totally different part of NY wearing the hat! Tristan said to him “Hey that hat is awesome!” and he replied “Thanks! You’ll never believe it- I found this hat floating in the street, completely clean and brand new- and I liked it so much that I kept it!” Tristan told him that it was one of his hats and the man tried to return it but Tristan wanted him to keep it- it filled him with so much joy that he was able to connect with the hat again on a person who was happy to find it and wear it! 

@toastershades

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Four more days everyone! And then I'll see YOU at Ohmies! Next up I'll have an interview about some of the fierce and fabulous Queens presenting at The Urban Renaissance. These Sirens are strikingly talented and we are honored to be working with them throughout these last couple of months. Check back tomorrow for more!

All of the Love,

Sierra

Interviews with the Artists Part 2

April 15th, 2018

Next up we have three tremendous artists who are also some of the most Amazing and Wonderful people I have ever met. I am lucky to have them in my lives and I know you will love them too!!!

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FREAKSHOW Productions

So I was supposed to make a pot but it somehow turned into this fish head guy… the professor took one look at it and said what the hell is this? He told me to make a slab bowl, a pinch pot a vase- and then I could do whatever I wanted for the rest of the semester.

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC



Urbano Joseph Maher was born on April 17th, 1990. Born and raised in Paterson before moving to Lincoln Park at 14, he found it difficult to meet people in either the inner city or the suburbs, so he mainly kept to himself. Urbano has been drawing since he was 2, filling countless $.50 marble notebooks with kings, knights, dragons and dinosaurs. When he was 9 years old his parents thought to put him in an art program, but he was so intimidated during the orientation that he never went back. He was suddenly surrounded by new terminology like 'portfolio' and 'gauche' and 'matte medium', and here he was with a folder full of loose printer paper and some No. 2 pencils. He continued to draw all throughout school while trying to figure out his direction in life, eventually going to CCM for Fine Arts. While attending he discovered sculpture, after having to take a ceramics course he had been dreading. He was absolutely floored at how expressive the clay could be as a medium. After taking every available sculpting course, including a few independent studies and teaching his ceramics instructors how to make ocarinas, Urbano was left without the studio he needed to c​​ontinue sculpture. He later discovered the Maker Depot, a maker's space in Totowa. With a fully stocked wood shop, metal shop, welding, CNC, laser cutters, 3D printers, VR, and basically anything else he's always wanted but could never afford to have, the Depot opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him. He spent the first month just walking around in awe of everything, and then he went from machine to machine until he tried them all. 


The Maker Depot is a perfect example of community to Urbano. People know they can count on each other and the members and staff are equal parts family, teachers, and mentors, always willing to share knowledge or lend a hand. It was through the Depot that he was hired by Trapdoor Escape Rooms, designing and building sets and puzzles for escape games in Morristown. There he also met the owner of Themendous who hired him as an independent contractor for building huge installation pieces, scenery and store displays, large scale molds, and more. It was here he learned large scale sculpture techniques as he helped create pieces such as the MTV Moon Men for the Music Awards, Android statues for Google's sculpture garden and offices, and even a giant mirror-ball honeybee for Tyler The Creator's live performance on Stephen Colbert's Tonight Show. Whenever larger projects slow down in the winter, Urbano is able to compensate with jobs from people who come to the Maker Depot in search of artists or craftsmen who can help them complete projects. He also teaches classes on how to use the machines as well as other more unique crafts like making cigar box guitars or leather mask work, and even ran a summer camp escape room designing course for The Liberty Science Center. While not a musician, music and instruments are a big draw for Urbano, as they're a great blend of form and function in one. He says "Art can be great on its own, but becomes much more lasting if it can serve multiple purposes."


Urbano would love to create community projects that require the help of many to complete. He has a vision of creating an official Halloween parade one day for New Jersey and has been planning floats and routes since he was still in high school. "When you go see a Thanksgiving Day Parade or such, you're a bystander looking in. Halloween is the one holiday that literally everyone in a city or town could be part of the show. Sometimes just putting a mask on gives people the confidence to truly enjoy themselves and become a part of something bigger." 


He is motivated by his family who has always shown him unwavering support in their own way, his grandfather and namesake, and his girlfriend who as a fellow artist makes him want to follow his passion in order to provide for them both. His goal in life is to create something that will be around passed 150 years. “Every 150 years you will find a completely different set of people on the planet, if I can make one thing that makes it passed this cycle and onto the next- that is still here even when everyone who ever knew me is dead- then I think that’s when I’ve made it.”

@freakshow_productions

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SNATCH B00Gie

I want to have fun with my music and that’s what I’m doing. I don’t ever want to paint myself into one corner.

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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Joshua Cummings was born on June 1st 1988 in New Brunswick. While he was mostly raised in Elizabeth, he also lived in Plainfield, Morristown and Upstate NY.  Snatch was a neighborhood nickname given by his friends after he would easily hop on any beat and rap without any training, reliant on raw skills. He was the best at adjusting to the music so they said he “Snatched the beat everytime.” He considers his craft to be selfish fun meets lyricism and good beats selection. He is a rapper and his music is experimental and real. He wants to always be smart enough to step out of the box and experiment. “I want to have fun with my music and that’s what I’m doing. I don’t ever want to paint myself into one corner.” He wants more people to hear his talent and he wants to leave a mark in this world. “You don’t have to be the best anything, just respected and remembered.” Josh has no set vision for his one year, five year or ten year goals- he just wants to progress. “If I can double my progress every year that would be more than enough.” What sets him apart is his good understanding of music- music from now and music that came before him. He feels that a lot of artists don’t exemplify that. He understands what younger people want to hear but also continues to be a clever lyricist- not boring- but balanced. 


Community to Josh is an extension of family - neighborhood family, people who work with one another to keep each other above water. It's seeing the same people coming into your store and knowing them for years as they grow up and come back to buy the same bag of chips ten years later. Its respecting your home, your land and your space. He believes his community in Elizabeth has come a long way as it was so much worse when he was younger. He can see where its improved and "If we can go from 20 white T’s on the corner selling drugs to no one but normal civilians walking passed- we are getting somewhere." He has hope that people can be less selfish and come together and lean on one another. The goal is to help each other get up, get out- and do better. Josh would like to get on a level where his success in his craft can allow him to help give back to his community by sponsoring projects and rebuilding places for the community to enjoy. He would have to say that the most motivating thing in his life apart from his daughter is his problems because they push him to extremes to want to do everything he can to be successful. Trust and loyalty are the most important virtues to Josh along with genuine support and acceptance from those that he cares for.

@snatch_boogie

soundcloud.com/snatchboogie

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I hope you enjoyed learning about these three tremendous artists who also happen to be like family to me and some of my very best friends! I am so lucky to have these power houses of extraordinary light in my life! Like last time I will post on Cambria's Haven Instagram and Facebook each time I update this blog with more interviews. See you soon!!!



All of the Love,

Sierra

Interviews with the Artists Part 1

April 11th, 2018

So we are less than 10 days away from our event - THE URBAN RENAISSANCE 

On April 20th,  at Ohmies Cafe from 8:00pm - 12:00am. Cambria's Haven will be debuting our new creations and products, and we will also have Vegan baked goods for you all! Freddy will be debuting his completed project along side his new band The Calvary.  There will be several other amazing artists performing throughout the night, over a dozen vendors and artists showcasing their work downstairs. Bri from SELF LOVE IS will be closing the night with a Meditation, Reiki and Sound Healing Circle.  This show is FREE but Donations are encouraged. All donations and proceeds towards Cambria's Haven at The Urban Renaissance will be funding the establishment of our Animal Rescue Organization and Cat Cafe! Come out and Support Your Local COMMUNITY, ART, SMALL BUSINESSES, AND NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS! Please send me a message anytime if you have any questions, and feel free to share this event and invite anyone you like! 

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In this post I'm going to feature three of the artists who will be featured at The Urban Renaissance Show. In each interview I asked about their Craft and Community. I really wanted to get an understanding and feel for the people who committed to this event, not only because I want to promote them and connect others to their purpose, but because I didn't want to simply throw a show together with a bunch of names on a flyer who I only know from Instagram posts and Soundcloud tracks. I wanted to tell each participant everything about Cambria's Haven, especially our progress, plans, and intentions. In return I was able to connect with each artist and their aspirations as well! With each interview I developed a deeper appreciation for the talent I was able to work with, and for this place we all call home! 


I am very grateful to be working with each one of you on this project for the last couple of months. 

Truly, Thank You So Much <3

Kris Kreator

Art Can Happen To Anyone

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

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Kristian Torres was born on January 18th, 1996 and raised in Newark NJ. His craft is inspired by being a weirdo who's always different. His goal is to get other artists to put themselves out there. He says “My art is really weird- it’s not regular- so what’s stopping you?” Kristian sees so much talent in his community and he believes that if what he creates does well he can inspire so many others to create even if they don’t believe they’re the best- "Art can happen for anyone". Kris works at Jim Signs in Avenel and tries to dedicate at least 6 hours a week to his craft. He likes to work on crafts outside of the common arts he releases and plays his keyboard and gamecube in his free time. The most important morals to him are respect, and being nice! He has no idea where he might be in five years but he’s gonna keep working. He also likes the job he has because he’s gaining experience that is useful to the art he intends to create. 

Kris Kreator is learning a lot and putting in work!

@kreator.res

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ALLIKNOWISGOON

The town was gonna shut it down, they hated it, we had to go to the town meetings and fight for it. We had to change their minds and show them that the park could be a positive thing. We had to prove that the people who would go to the park would use the park to skate.”

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

John Robert Lewinski was born on July 13th, 1993 in Newark, he grew up in Hillside and moved to Sayreville when he was 10 years old. He continued to go back to Hillside every weekend and eventually that is how ALLIKNOWISGOON began. John’s mom grew up in Irvington and his dad in Hillside. When asked if his parent’s culture has influenced him he said “Lots of our work has a serious sense of humor, and Polish/Italian people are funny- my sense of humor was influenced the most.” 


He loves Jersey because it’s so diverse and he believes we are all an inspiration for one another. John’s full time job is photography and videography, T-shirt printing, and delivering pizza! He works all kinds of side jobs to work towards the bigger picture. “My thing is skateboarding, a lot of skateboarding- even in the cold- we get out there. We travel and get hurt while we skate and we keep going. I've broken bones like my arm, ankles and my first question was when can I skate again” 


ALLIKNOWISGOON, a skateboarding crew that started over 10 years ago, began putting designs on shirts in 2012. John says “One day I brought my friends together and said- maybe we should take this somewhere.” It has since then developed into an organization of over 15 up and coming sponsored skaters, (most are sponsored by skate shops and other kinds of brands). ALLIKNOWISGOON even features kids like Devin Flynn, 12 years old, and James Wolfe, 13 years old - who John says “Kill it for their age, and have tremendous support from their parents.” The organization sets up pop-up shops at shows and builds relationships with anyone they can. 


To John, community is an integrated diverse team and skateboarding is a perfect example of that because it brings all ages and races together. His team has skaters from South Jersey to Newark with a mix of a few other places such as Florida, Texas and even Costa Rica. John says “Everyone sticks together like glue, we all just want to get better and better.” 


 When we asked John how ALLIKNOWISGOON can help his community he told us an incredible story about his hometown Sayreville. John and his team raised money to rebuild a Skate Park that was partially closed down for two years. “The town was gonna shut it down, they hated it, we had to go to the town meetings and fight for it. We had to change their minds and show them that the park could be a positive thing. We had to prove that the people who would go to the park would use the park to skate.” In the end his organization raised about $10,000 in sales and the town supplemented the other $30,000 and reestablished the park. 


What sets John's Skating company apart is that they’re not about fitting in, hating, or copying anyone else- “We show love and we do dope stuff.” They mind their own business, and they love to collaborate with other brands, skate shops, organization, community causes, artists, and commercial locations like bars and stores. 


His pillars are his parents who “Put up with all of my shit, they’re really supportive. They’re not rich and seeing how humble they are and how hard they work to maintain has definitely influenced me most. And our whole team is like that because we feed off of each others energy and grow through each other- that’s all we have.”


ALLIKNOWISGOON was an inside joke- Graphic designer, Suave P. was 15 and drunk walking around outside and he said “Look at these stuck up corporate people in their cars, they're all so concerned with 9-5 jobs, I don’t know any of that- all I know is GOON!" - A goon defies the norms and society.


Last but not least, John wants us to know: “In November we dropped a video called Cook Life Volume 2, a Skate video of the whole team with sections in the tristate area, Florida, and even Boston.  It’s 16 minutes, entertaining and even people who don't skate will find it entertaining as well. You can see our fuckery and shenanigans right on the website- alliknowisgoon.com"

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That's all for now, be sure to come back to learn more about the rest of the artists who will be at our show on April 20th! I will post on Cambria's Haven Instagram and Facebook each time I update this blog with more interviews. See you soon!!!



All of the Love,

Sierra

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Our 2nd Event ~ ALL OF THE LOVE ! ! ~

March 9th, 2018


Freddy and I started putting together ideas for a Valentines Day event in December. We first decided we wanted to host a Dinner Party and that the name should have something to do with Love. Since I sign off all of my blogs as “All of the Love” which to me means- I wish everyone as much Love as possible- we went with that as the title. Sara - @sariadventures was on board for decorations and she took care of it all completely! Follow and send her a message if you’re looking for a creative decorator that will do a beautiful job while sticking to your budget! 

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For food we wanted to go simple comfort VEGAN food. We fried twice battered zucchini sticks, cauliflower, and oyster mushrooms (mushrooms pull apart, fry, and taste so much like chicken!) We had vegan ranch, buffalo, bbq, and honey mustard for dipping sauces and sides of sweet potato fries, regular fries, coleslaw and seasoned collard greens with red onions and garlic. There was vegan wine, juice and dessert too ;) Not the healthiest menu but I do like to show people that they can eat anything veganized- even their favorite guilty pleasures! Of course one of my favorite parts of the nights was the fact that all of the food was a success and everyone was fed and loved everything! HUGE THANK YOU to our friends Adrian and Victoria who helped so much with cooking. Thank you again to everyone who donated and/or made a purchase from Cammy's Shop! Many of you were introduced to CAMBRIA'S HAVEN for the first time and your support means the world to us! All of your love and feedback catapults us forward and strengthen our movement.

Our Recent Work

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We also have to say thank you for the stellar turn out for our White Elephant Exchange! There were 14 awesome participants and 14 super cool gifts! Someone got a harmonica, a customized shirt, candle and soap sets, cute stuffed animals, and more. It was fun to see people steal gifts from strangers haha! Definitely a great choice for any party that you'd like to see your guests connect, interact, and show a lot of love! The rest of the night was filled with tons of talking and connection, impromptu instrumentals, sing alongs- and seconds and thirds of the cooking. I also conducted a few interviews for the next event we will be having. We have locked in the location at Ohmies in Roselle from 8:00pm - 12:00am on Friday April 20th. As mentioned I will be posting interviews all throughout March and April featuring the artists who will be at that event. There will also be a blog thrown in there about my experience with Real Estate school since my friend Lauren and I are studying our asses off and plan to take the State Exam before the month is over! Apart from studying for that I am currently on Spring break from Montclair and so close to graduation I can feel it!!! Already planning what we'll be doing that week hehe :D I am thinking of hosting an out door party where we can all bring our dogs, or maybe an overnight thing in PA? We'll see! Oh! Another new thing is both Freddy and I have new jobs that I'll be updating you on in future blogs as well. Definitely plan on putting a blog together about Fred's past and current work history as well as my own and how it ties into everything that we are doing and plan to do! For more info on blogs to come check out the blog posted just below, written before this one :) I have honestly got so many blogs in store I'm ready for the rest of the whole year <3 So as always - Stay tuned ! &...


All of the Love,

Sierra




Cammy's Shop : New VEGAN Goods & Blogs to Come!

February 20th, 2018

This blog will be about Cambria's Shop and the soon to come updates! I wanted to let you all know what we will be adding to the shop soon as well as why we've chosen each of these items!

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I've been working on these images for a while now. They are very much like my babies! The drawings were done by my brother Ulises Farinas, our friend and fellow artist Dean Crate colored them, and our other great friend Diane Jimenez added some finishing touches.


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The idea behind these characters is that there is really no difference between a pet and a farm animal. I wanted to come up with something for children and adults alike to represent and explain Veganism easily and quickly. Our goal is to help deliver the vegan message in a simple, non-offensive/non-aggressive way. 


We will have this design on:

*T-Shirts
*Pins
*Prints

*Glass water-bottles

*3D resin figures

*Squishies


I was worried about someone taking my idea before I could get it done but once I actually researched I found out there was no way to actually copyright this idea and the art is copyrighted automatically...Sooo we've officially started with making T-Shirts! T-shirts will be available on our website within the next few weeks and will be featured at our next CAMBRIA'S HAVEN event on April 20th. Our t-shirts will be non sweatshop, vegan, fair trade made clothing. Soon after we will have some actual figures of the characters made as well :) The glass water bottles will be updated onto the site sometime in the Summer.


We have started engraving wooden necklaces and earrings with doggies kitties and other pets on them! Place your custom order today! $10 per necklace, BUY TWO AND GET ONE FREE!!!

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We will have organic vegan coffee from "Rescue Coffee Co." an organization that sells coffee to save dogs! Once we have our cafe, Rescue Coffee Co will be our coffee brand of choice to serve our guests.

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We will offer Alkaline Water Pitchers and Alkaline Water bottle filters and bottles. You can expect a blog in April explaining the benefits of Alkaline water and switching to an Alkaline lifestyle. Water is life and definitely one of the first steps to becoming healthier. However when our water is acidic and is combined with mostly acidic foods that we unknowingly bombard our bodies with- we are made much more susceptible to disease and cancer. I encourage everyone to not only do a bit of research, but to try switching to Alkaline water for just one week and you will see an inevitable positive difference for yourself. I know people who have cured ulcers, calmed allergies and headaches, restored clear skin, and so much more simply by drinking Alkaline water. 

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As some of you may know, I once had a business that sold organic cosmetics called Life is Good Naturally. We want to continue providing people with an ETHICAL, CLEAN, and truly NATURAL AND CRUELTY AND CHEMICAL FREE option for common every day needs. It only takes 30 seconds for chemicals to reach our blood stream and it's important that we understand how that can impact us negatively in the long run of consistent exposure. 

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I wanted to have a Vegan Lubricant because I have done a lot of research and I want to tell as many people possible how important it is to always use a Lubricant! I will be posting a blog about the commonly disregarded necessity of Lubricant. I will be sharing what I learned throughout my journey working as a Sexual Health Educator working with companies like Pure Romance, Kama Sutra, Honey's Place and more.

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We will have Organic, Vegan and fluoride free Toothpaste. There is a huge controversy about fluoride and whether it's a good or bad thing for us. Honestly I prefer to just avoid it in products I purchase simply because I know I am exposed to more than enough when I eat food rinsed or boiled in it or drink water from fountains or tap on occasion. It's not like the powers that be haven't been proved and exposed for causing mass sickness and death through small alterations in the common man’s daily life, so I don't really need to add any of that debated substance to my diet. 

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Essential Oxygen Mouthwash is a 100% natural organic and plant based product that helps to whiten teeth, freshen breath and clean clean clean! The ingredients are so simple and efficient once you try this it will become a staple in your home.

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Puracy Body Wash and Body Lotion are wonderful vegan and organic products without chemicals, perfumes or fillers! We have tried so many Vegan body washes and lotions and have decided that this set is our favorite by far!


Cammy's Shop will also have organic and vegan shampoo and soap bars for Dogs and Cats!

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I was having really bad issues with body acne, and not just regular acne but it actually looked like cysts or staph infections. I went to the doctor and they gave me a chemically charged, non vegan cream that didn’t help at all. As always through my own research I was able to find the solution of using Witch Hazel daily on the affected area, thoroughly drying, rubbing a bit of Neem oil as well as taking Neem internally. The acne has cleared up and I rarely even get a pimple on my body anymore. So as a toner we will have Thayers Witch Hazel.

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Through Life is Good Naturally Fred and I were able to try dozens of Vegan and Organic Face Cleansers. We tried every one that came highly recommended by reviews and feedback online. We have decided to stick with Desert Essence Face wash, Essential Moisturizer and Stimulating Face Scrub as our number one choice for face care products for all skin types. This gentle set will leave your skin feeling clean, nourished, and soft. 

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We will carry Nature's Gate Hair Products. Nature's Gate is vegan and organic, and the results from switching to this brand speak for themselves! We can’t wait to show you more! We will have Nature's Gate Hemp and Jojoba Shampoo and Conditioner, along with their other styling products.

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So we've all heard about the terrible ingredients in most Deodorants. There's so much to cite on this subject that  I'll be doing a blog about this too! In the meantime just look up "harmful chemicals in Deodorant" and I'm certain that will suffice. Nature's Gate Deodorant is a vegan, chemical free, metal free Deodorant that actually works! We love this brand when it comes to this everyday necessity, especially when compared to others! 

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We will be established consultants for both DoTerra essential oils as well as Arbonne cosmetics. So if you are a fan of either outstanding company- or want to try some of the purest Essential Oils and Cosmetics on the planet- let us take care of your orders! 

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We will be established consultants for both DoTerra essential oils as well as Arbonne cosmetics, so if you are a fan of either outstanding company- let us take care of your orders! 

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While I am not a huge fan of supplements and believe wholeheartedly that nutrients should come primarily from the diet, I do support the use of a Multivitamin, a Probiotic, and when necessary A Colon Cleanse and/or Parasite/Candida Cleanse. We have chosen Dr. Tobias’ brand as they are vegan, organic, and deliver life changing results. The reviews truly speak for themselves!

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We also strongly support taking a shot or two of vital greens every day! This isn't a supplement but actual grounded greens with superpowers for the body! Cambria’s Shop will have Amazing Grass- made with all organic wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, spinach, chlorella, broccoli, pure acai from Sambazon, maca, carrot, beet, raspberry, rose hips, pineapple, green tea, acerola cherry, flax seed powder, apple pectin fiber, F.O.S. (from chicory root), L. acidophilus, alpha and beta amylase, protease, lipase, lactase, cellulase, siberian eleuthero root and peppermint!

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Cambria's Haven will also carry a line of hemp products such as hemp based muscle relaxers, body lotions, oils, tinctures, vape pens, and edibles for your pets! You can expect a blog loaded with facts and testimonials about this controversial topic!


Freddy and I hope to be able to start a small Vegan shop sooner than we anticipated. With tons of research we have learned that it wouldn’t be that difficult and can be extremely successful in an area of NJ, like Newark, where renting a space would actually be affordable for us. If we were to do this we would start with Alkaline fruit infused water, cups of Coffee from Rescue Coffee Co, Raw Juices, Smoothies and Shakes, shots of Super Greens, Vegan desserts delivered weekly from a World Famous Vegan bakery, and eventually simple small plates as we are able. As always our progress on this will be updated here regularly. We are primarily searching for a place that we could turn into a Cat Cafe- however- if we find a smaller space that works for now we may begin with Vegan treats, drinks, and some shelving to display the Vegan Essentials listed above for you all <3 

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My next blog will be about the event we just had called ALL OF THE LOVE on February 11th. We had such a great time and thankfully all of the food came out good!!! (that's always a fear I have when I cook for lots of people lol). There will be tons of pics and progress reports<3 The following blog will be about completing Real Estate School, PASSING the state exam, (scheduling it for the first or second week of March :) , hanging my license with my first Broker, our newfound access to the MLS (official list of homes in NJ), and getting acquainted with the process of purchasing property. I will explain why ANYONE who intends to purchase property should put themselves through Real Estate school, as it is only a $300, 6 week investment- that can save you from thousands and thousands of dollars in beneficial knowledge or avoided mistakes later! Then throughout March I will be posting blogs in anticipation for our APRIL 20th EVENT! We have secured over 11 Artists/Vendors and Six Performances! I have been interviewing each participant (LOVING IT) and will be posting blogs all through March and April featuring these interviews! Then you will of course hear all about that event! You'll also get to see a compilation of the information, photographs, videos and interviews I have been gathering at various Cat Cafes, Shelters, and Canvassing. STAY TUNED <3


All of the Love,

Sierra

Going to Georgia was medicinal for us. We had been feeling really overwhelmed in New Jersey as we are both taking on heavy loads with the work and responsibilities we are currently committed to. We really needed a break and to enjoy some time away together. We arrived in Atlanta on December 30th and spent the night exploring the city. First we went to "Centennial Olympic Park", which is not a very large park but cool to walk through none the less. If you're into Ferris Wheels, they've got one.


Then we went to "The Happy Tabby Cat Cafe" which was a nice place to relax for a while after our travels.  There were over 15 adoptable cats in every color a cat can be. Check back for a blog next month with more info and photos of Happy Tabby and other Cat Cafe's I visit this Winter.


One of the employees at the Cat Cafe recommended we stop at "Sister Louisa's church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium" and I'm glad that we did!


It is a very unique dive bar that sends a message to the masses that says "Fuck Fear." Sister Louisa's story is written along the steps to get to the ping pong tables and her eye opening artwork and concepts cover the entire place. How far down the rabbit hole will you go?





The street this bar is on is very cool! We wanted to get to another place so we only walked passed other eclectic looking spots but Edgewood ave. is something I'd consider a must if you're funky like us. We were told that is also the area to go to for dancing and live music. 


We concluded our first night at "Polaris" where the drinks were delicious but the bar was even better because it actually rotates! Yes, amazingly enough the entire bar rotates on the top floor in a circle around the center core of the building so you are able to see an entire panoramic 360 degree view of downtown Atlanta.

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We arrived back to the Airbnb around 2am and it was the perfect place. 10 minutes from downtown, quiet, private, ample space, all the amenities we needed, comfy king size bed, and a bathroom and kitchen that made me wish I lived there! Her name is Jay-Shika on Airbnb if you get a chance to find her space on there! In her pictures you will see a condo that has a gym and pool. She was extremely accommodating and even offered that Fred and I stay an extra night for free since she didn't have anyone booked for the next day. True Southern Hospitality!


The next day we walked around Midtown and we had really delicious Vegan grub at "R. Thomas Deluxe Grill". I could eat the meal I had there every single day.

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We wanted to arrive early for Bassnectar's concert so we left about an hour before the show started. It's a good thing that we did because we didn't get into the concert until well after an hour after the doors opened. The crowd was insane. It was inspiring to see one collective like Bassnectar bring so many people (23,000+) from all over the country together just for their performance. It was incredible. Fred and I spent the entire night dancing. We stopped three or four times to find water, a few breaths of air, to look at the decor and set up in awe- and take maybe a five minute break. We never looked at the little pop up shops set up all along the very lengthy entrance way, we never stopped to take a picture- we just danced and danced and danced until it the lights came on and the whole room looked like the bass melted their faces lol. Freddy and I caught an Uber back to the Airbnb and slept in the next day to recuperate from the pounding our bodies took at the concert. We ordered food in from "Purnima Bangladeshi Cuisine" and it was 100% the best Vegan Indian food I've ever had!!! I would eat there at least on a weekly basis if I lived in Atlanta. We took our host up on that extra night rather than a late check out and decided to head to Savannah in the morning.

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Savannah was really pretty. My first impression was that it was a very residential area but we learned after a couple days there that there is tons going on especially when it comes to music. Whenever you go to a new city, see if the downtown area has those cool free magazines that lists what's going on in the town in detail. These magazines are so helpful! I'm a little pissed Fred ditched the one we had- I wanted to share pics so you know exactly what I mean. But they are available in most popular places, since the place will likely be listed in there along with any events, specials, performances, open mic nights, karaoke, etc, that they have. The magazine lists everything from farmers markets, concerts, family events, community plans, and more! There are usually deals and coupons and useful info/inserts as well. We used that and google to figure out what to do.


We found another Cat Cafe called "Purrvana Cat Cafe and Lounge." I liked how much more organized this one was and that the decor had a theme and color scheme going on.


We listened to some live music and had delicious drinks and Tapas at "Jazz'd Tapas Bar."  We had another drink or two at "Good Times Jazz Bar and Restaurant." All of these bars are in walking distance of one another and they are also near other bars that I'm sure are worth a visit. Fred would have loved to perform at one of the open mics at the "Wormhole Neighborhood Pub" but they were closed due to the snow.

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Yup the snow-- while we were there Georgia got their first real snowfall since 1989. We actually got snowed in! Even though to us, the snow was very unimpressive, in Georgia it was a crisis. They had no salt, shovels, or snow plowers. Our original plan of driving to Charleston, South Carolina on our last day got ditched and we ended up heading home a day and a half later than expected. But we enjoyed our icy adventure in Savannah anyway! Our hosts Tammy and Charles were sweethearts. They let us stay two extra nights for free since they also didn't have any bookings and we were unable to go to Charleston / home on time. We settled in quite nicely under Tammy's homemade crocheted blankets. The home was so cozy and cutely decorated; not to mention sitting on acres of land and as private as it gets. The drive is a little less than 30 minutes from downtown Savannah but it was worth every minute!

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On our way home we stopped at "Viva La Vegan." Fred got the "Philly cheeze steak" made with jackfruit, and I got the "Shrimp Po Boy" which I have to call them to ask them what they made it from because I didn't write it down and now I forget. It was definitely not tempeh, seitan, tofu, vegetable glycerin, or any of that. Happy we didn't skip this spot because it was one of my favorite things that we ate on the whole trip.


We returned home feeling rejuvenated and ready to push on forward harder than before. I would recommend Georgia as a quick, easy, and reasonably priced vacation spot for anyone on the East Coast! The drive from us is about 13 hours and the flight is less than 2. If you take the drive you can stop in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina while you're at it! Fred and I intend to visit the States I just listed throughout our lives since we are pretty certain we plan to stay on the East Coast permanently.

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This month will be my last month in Real Estate school so that means the test will be here before I know it in February! Once I graduate we will be actively searching the MLS for the house and land that Cambria's Haven needs! We will be having an event for Cambria's Haven on February 11th with a Valentines Day theme called "ALL OF THE LOVE". There will be a "White Elephant" gift exchange for anyone who would like to participate. I will be serving yummy vegan treats for all guests and Cammy's Shop will be available. I am further along in putting together our expected inventory list and in the process of communicating with distributors. I have started conducting interviews with Cat Cafe's, Animal shelters and rescue organizations, Vegan shops, Animal sanctuaries, and other resources in order to have a better idea about what we should and shouldn't do. Today I joined the "Maker's Depot" in Totowa N.J. where Freddy and I will be able to create things for Cammy's Shop. Next week's blog will tell you all about that! March will be a month of midterms, creating, and stocking inventory. In April we will have another event for Cambria's Haven and Freddy's Birthday all in one, and in May I'll finally be graduating College!!! We are expecting to find our home within this time frame. Once the home is purchased we can move forward with making Cambria's Haven a physical location and welcoming our first rescues. I plan to focus my next blog on what Fred and I are up to at the Maker's Depot and Cammy's Shop. You can expect a detailed update and  cool art by www.ulisesfarinas.com  See ya then!


All of the Love,

Sierra

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Our Vegan Christmas 

January 7th, 2018

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a beautiful holiday! My family and I celebrate Christmas and I LOVE this time of year. Fred and I got a real, Charlie Brownish tree and too many gifts to fit under it from Amazon and Etsy (truly makes the holidays so much easier!)


For this year’s dinner I wanted to make a totally vegan meal. So with the help of the internet, I put together this:

Menu

Appetizers:

*Veggie Skewers:
Half with Chimichuri sauce:

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chimichurri-sauce-107159

Half with this AMAZING sauce that is featured in this recipe: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/grilled-veggie-shish-kabobs-93267


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*Papa a la Huancaina:

4 tablespoons avocado oil, 1/2 cup onion (chopped), 3-4 yellow aji amarillo chile peppers (frozen is fine) or 5-6 baby orange and yellow bell peppers and 1-2 tablespoon jarred aji amarillo paste (depending how spicy you want it)

2-3 cloves minced garlic

½ cup vegan parm cheese

2 vegan saltine crackers

3/4 cup coconut or unsweetened almond milk

salt and pepper (to taste)

(Saute garlic onion and peppers and blend with other ingredients)

Dinner:

*Cauliflower Steaks:

I brushed these cauliflower steaks (4 heads of Cauliflower which made for about 15 thick slices that easily fed 12 people) with a marinade of 7 cloves of minced garlic, one minced onion, 1 minced shallot, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, sprinkle of cumin, handful of fresh thyme, parsley, 2 sprigs of green onion, 1 cup of veggie broth, ½ cup of vegan butter, red pepper flake, salt, pepper to taste. I baked them on 400 for 15 min, turned them over, and baked for another 15 min. Then they went in again on 275 degrees for a while to keep warm and they browned up a little more.

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*Eggplant, Zucchini, and Summer Squash Parmesan:

I used minimalist baker’s method to achieve the crispy texture

https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-eggplant-parmesan/

To make my life easier, I purchased vegan marinara sauce from Pasta dal Cuore in Jersey City and used a light sprinkle of Daiya’s already made mozzarella cheese.

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*Linguine and Alfredo Sauce:

Sautee:

¼ cup avocado oil

5-6 minced garlic cloves

Gradually add ½ cup flour stirring constantly

Gradually add in 1-2 cups unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milk of your choice

Add ¼ cup vegan butter

Whisk in small amounts of milk until flour dissolves and clumps disappear

Add 1 cup blended soaked raw cashews

Add 1 cup vegetable broth

Add 3 tablespoons-¼ cup nutritional yeast

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring just to a boil, turn heat to med-low, gently whisk, as needed, until sauce thickens to desired consistency (7-10 min)

If you like it to be even more smooth than this you can blend.

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*Mushroom Gravy:

Sautee:

¼ cup avocado oil

1 minced white onion

1 minced shallot

6 minced garlic cloves

3 chopped portobello mushrooms

4oz chopped cremini mushrooms

Gradually add ½ cup flour stirring constantly

Add 1 tablespoon dry sherry

Gradually add in 1-2 cups unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milk of your choice

Whisk in small amounts of milk until flour dissolves and clumps disappear

Add 1 cup vegetable broth

2 pinches of thyme and nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring just to a boil, turn heat to med-low, gently whisk as needed until sauce thickens to desired consistency.

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*Green Bean and Cream of Mushroom Casserole:

I used this recipe:

https://thekitchengirl.com/cant-believe-its-vegan-green-bean-casserole/

And made my own mushroom gravy recipe which is an altered version of most of these ingredients. I put almonds on only half of the meal because my mom doesn’t like nuts. I also ended up preferring the side without almonds where as others finished the half with almonds more quickly.


*Angel Hair in Pink Sauce and Peas:

I used the same marinara sauce from Pasta Dal Cuore and combined it with the ingredients listed AFTER shallots here: 

https://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/creamy-dairy-free-vodka-sauce


I also made vegan mashed potatoes which is super simple, just boil chopped up potatoes of your choice, mash, add 1/4 cup+ of vegan butter, 1/2 cup+ of almond or cashew milk, garlic powder and or sautéed garlic, a dollop of vegan ranch dressing, and a dollop of vegan sour cream if you have any, salt, pepper, and parsley to taste :)

Salad & Dessert:

*Tomato and Basil Salad:

Just cut ½s or ¼s of baby heirlooms and regular baby tomatoes (about half of the container of each). I chopped up two handfuls of basil that was chilled first and mixed em together. Some salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar.


I ordered a sample pack of “Enjoy Life” vegan and gluten free soft baked cookies, warmed them up, and bought 3 different kinds of vegan ice cream for cookie sandwiches - super easy and everyone loved it!

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After dinner my family and I exchanged gifts and went to bed! The holidays wore us all out this year. On the 26th my sister who flew in from California and I went to NYC. We walked through Time Square, visited Columbia University, walked through Riverside Park, stopped at the Moma for about an hour and a half, visited ground zero and the 911 memorial, and met up with my brother in the village at The Comedy Cellar. Those comedians put on the best show I’ve ever seen there-- my stomach was hurting from laughing so hard! We got to sit in the front and didn’t get made fun of so that worked out perfectly :) Afterwards we walked through Washington Square park and ended the night at Jekyll and Hyde. I can’t believe I hadn’t been there before! It was magical and well worth it. I won’t spoil it with details but I will just say make sure you stop in asap! The three of us had such an incredible night and I felt an intense gratitude for living so close to NYC.

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Freddy and I took our yearly vacation in Georgia this year! I have been told over and over how much I would love it there and since we didn’t want to use our time off to go anywhere too far, exploring the South East felt right :) My next blog will be all about that adventure and the Cat Cafe's we were lucky enough to visit <3


Now that we are back I will be putting all of my efforts into finishing up Real Estate School while I’m off from regular school. I am so happy to be finished with this past semester, 19 credits was no joke! I am excited for my next and FINAL semester. It's ALMOST OVER!!!


Since I only have Real Estate classes three days a week, I’ll be using my new found free time this month to interview shelters and foster organizations, cat cafes and vegan restaurants. Freddy and I will be canvassing and fundraising, and we will host another event for Cambria’s Haven called “All of the Love” with a Valentine's Day theme and enough LOVE for everyone! We also expect to add more amazing additions to Cammy’s shop.


Last but not least, my brother finally finished the design for the prototype of our vegan toy/stuffed animal idea (that I have not been extremely public with yet). Stay tuned for a blog all about it! My school is having a contest for a brand new idea in front of a ton of influential people so we’re working on getting the prototype created as a squishy or 3D Resin figure. Can’t wait to update you guys again soon. January is going to be amazing!


All of the Love,

Sierra

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Vibrant Vermont

December 22nd, 2017

It's important for me to get out of the city and into nature. I try to make a habit of it at least once a week. Once a month or every few months I try to take a weekend or week away. This time Freddy and I decided to do our own Girls and Boys trips, so I went with one of my best friends Sara to Vermont and Massachusetts. The drive was supposed to be about 5 hours but it took us about 8 because we kept drinking coffee and kept having to pee every hour or two lol. We also stopped to get snacks, breakfast and lunch along our way there. We arrived to our Airbnb that you can find by looking up listings in Middlesex Vermont. The Host's names are Dexter and Carol who were wonderful and super accommodating. The home is less than $70 per night and is private and spacious. There is a kitchen, bathroom with shower, living room and two bedrooms. The only set back was the the water from the sink and shower smells very much like sulfur and there are flies that are able to get into the home throughout the day. It won't be an issue if you plan to be out hiking all day as the flies leave / go to sleep at night and don't bother. However they are *very *present throughout the day. The home is a bit older and unfinished so I imagine the flies get in through areas that are not completely sealed. However all in all we had a wonderful stay there and had everything we needed and it was very private. We drove to Stowe and spent both days exploring Smugglers Notch State Park. The first day we hiked Mount Mansfield. The hike up is intermediate level and pretty steep and windy. I definitely saw some of the most beautiful views of my life there! The next day we continued to explore Smugglers Notch and took three different hikes that took us through Moss Glenn Falls, Emily's bridge, and Bingham Falls. These trails were very easy and quick with incredible waterfall views. I really recommend Vermont for a quick getaway, we were able to see so much in two days! 

All the Love,
Sierra

Our Pop Up Process...

And a few Words of Advice from Two Rookie City Kids

December 9th, 2017

This blog will be about the Pop up we purchased, and the process its been! Initially we came to Colorado with the plan of investing in a tiny home and possibly a small intensional community. But as time progressed we came to the idea for Cambria's Haven after fostering a few puppies for the first time. Still wanting to make a road trip out of going back to the East coast, we decided to get a pop up and turn it into a project.

The prices in Colorado Springs were pretty steep, and having a bathroom and shower was important to us. We ended up getting a 1995 Dutchmen for $2,200. We watched the lift go up and down, and tested everything out. The only problem we could see was that the roof was wavy looking and had a few badly patched up areas we would have to redo. However there were no leaks or issues with the canvas or ceiling.

If I were to start with the advice early, I'd say if you're going to buy anything with a lifting mechanism, lift it many, many, many times before purchasing it. I mean an obnoxious amount. Because it seemed to lift and drop fine when we bought it but while we worked on it there were a lot of different issues that started to pop up. Seriously- Open and close the entire pop up yourself- several times before you buy it. Crank the system yourself, get a feel for everything before you do anything. Crank a couple of pop ups before making a purchase-- even a newer one you won't buy just to get a feel for what a good one feels like!

DON'T OPEN OR WORK ON YOUR POP UP WHILE ITS PARKED ON A SLANT! It impacts the lift system and can silently mess things up while you're thinking everything's all good. Then the next time you try to close it, it won't on one side. Also always do your best to make sure when you're closing it you're closing all sides at an equal pace, and you have all canvas and materials inside, not blocking anything. The lift system is the heart and soul of your pop up. Since our pop up was one of the cheaper ones we could find with everything we needed, had I known about this I would have still purchased it but I would have gotten the price lowered and I would have had the entire lift system replaced with enough time before the road trip!

We only just started working on the pop up about two months before we had to leave. For us, the back two bars ended up needing new springs. Either because we worked on it on a slant or just normal old machine wear and tear, the springs inside became caught somehow and became disheveled. . Luckily the guy who sold it to us was willing to fix it for us and the parts came in on time! Another thing that happened is a bracket connected to one of the back legs snapped and we had to have it welded back on. Luckily the person's home we park it at while we worked knew a guy down the street who did it for $20 bucks. So moral of the story is- Don't wait until a few weeks before your trip to get in that pop up!!! In fact you should probably just start immediately just incase repairing some of these things is not a part of your plans. If you can, work out some kind of test run where you can take it to an RV mechanic for an evaluation, as you pace around, inspect, turn off and on, and open and close till your heart feels secure.

Another reason you should do this is sometimes the pop up will be shown open, and then after you purchase and open the beds it turns out to be an annoying process. Opening it is much harder than closing it. We found out after opening ours for the first time that the bed rails are abnormally difficult to pull out. Finding replacement bed rails for a 95 Dutchman is NO EASY FEAT. The bed rails like the lift system, are parts you are going to be using regularly, so I recommend knowing what yours look and work like!

Check on the functionality of the door and all of the windows! Our door doesn't easily lock into place when it's in use, and it isn't sturdy when it is being held up and that can be really dangerous if it comes crashing down out of nowhere. We had to visit various different RV shops until we were able to find the right pieces we needed to fix it.

Check on the wheels and if they've been changed which they usually have. You'll have to tighten your bolts more often as you drive and each pop up is different.

Most rookie mistake, make sure you have the right hitch and ball! The seller told us we needed a 2 inch drop hitch but didn't say anything about the ball. The store associate told us we needed a 1.75 inch ball and since we didn't know any better we put it on there. The pop up separated from our car while we were driving slowly over a bump. We were so thankful that we were going slowly on a super empty street. Everything was still in tact and we were able to find out about the ball size mishap by a construction worker who was nearby at the time and helped us out. Make sure to criss cross your chains so that if separation ever happens the chains will tighten and cradle the hitch.

We took down all of the curtains and washed them. We bought fabric from Joannes for 20% off and it all came out to under $200. We reupholstered the cushions using pins, velcro, and black tape. I sewed the curtains to the fabric at my cousins house on her sewing machine. They were done a little quickly and look a bit amateur but they will do for now until I can take them down and fix em up a bit. When you pack your pop up up for the winter, depending where you live, you should remove the fabric from your pop up so moths don't eat it. (Happened to some of our curtains).

We started off cleaning the pop up and I think that's also not the best idea. I think it's better to start with removing all of the memory foam, cushions, cabinets and tabletops, and then following that with a light clean rather than a deep clean. Just get off any excess dirt and then get all of your measuring, repairs, construction, painting, flooring, etc. done. I say this because as you go about these other processes you are going to make new messes and accumulate more dirt and crap from outside. If you're a clean freak like me, you'll keep thinking each time was the last time it will get all messy and it won't be. Again I suggest doing a light clean and then all of the other steps first and then doing a deep clean of both the inside and outside of your pop up.

We did the cleaning first though and I would have loved to use all natural and organic products for this but this was a total budget project. We always had these items near by to clean the inside and outside: rags, Clorox wipes, paper towels, Brillo pads, those green scrubby sponges, metal sponges, a bucket of hot water, a bucket of hot water with Dawn soap, and heavy duty scrubbing brushes. We used Brillo pads, Googone and Lysol Mold and Mildew bathroom spray for black marks, paint mistakes, and the floor. I was going to redo the floor but after cleaning it we noticed it actually featured dots in all of the colors we chose for our pop up and it was really pretty so we decided to keep it!

DONOT USE ANY OF THOSE ITEMS ON VINYL! We sprayed GooGone on vinyl by accident forgetting the blog entry we read that says not to, and it discolored some of our vinyl.. We used Protect All to clean the vinyl and then again over the entire Pop up interior and exterior- this protects it from weather and water, and gives it a shinier finish. We protected the entire outside of the pop up with Protect All from Amazon.

We went to Home Depot and bought this Behr paint that was the higher priced choice because it was supposed to keep you from needing to paint multiple coats. They told us that the light colors we chose couldn't come with a guarantee of this but we went with it hoping it would be less work. We also purchased this 9$ stuff that is supposed to de-gloss things and make the paint stick more. None of this really worked too well cause we had to paint 2-3 coats. In a re-do I would have just purchased the cheaper paint and no de-gloss stuff and done the same job lol. If you want to avoid doing multiple coats choose the colors they recommend for the guaranteed one coat or maybe do a small test w a paint sample to see if you need more than one coat and go from there.

We got three quarts of paint based on the colors we got the fabric in and some of the decorative items I found online. The three quarts were just enough to paint everything we needed to. We spray painted the handles and the heater cover with silver heat resistant paint. We went through two rolls of painting tape. And thats with us trying to be cool and do some without tape-its not cool....don't waste your time and just put the tape down before you start lol.

We painted the countertops with Rustoleum countertop paint. If I could do it over I'd get the sticky marble kind from Amazon instead. I don't know if its just my novice painting skills but the paint was not as even as I would have liked. I already bought the sticky mock marble kind from Amazon for $44 (I just chose the one with best reviews and bought two) and will be installing that this summer. I also bought the highest rated white counter trim on Amazon to replace the one that is lifting in some areas and kind of an ugly brown.

We got thin quilts instead of comforters to accommodate hotter times and to make the beds easier to close. (We brought extra blankets and stored them in the car.) We got a 2 inch memory foam topper for our side and it fits great. We used the mattress topper we had on our bed before we moved back to Jersey for the other bed. We also made sure to get mattress protectors.

We decided that the theme for our Pop up would be our favorite show: The Office. We bought stuff to decorate the place on Redbubble, Etsy and Amazon. Freddy paper mache'd maps of the USA I found on Ebay to the ceiling with modge-podge.

We cleaned the roof with a house/siding/roof cleaner from home depot, hot water, and our heavy duty scrub brushes. Fred sanded down the parts of the roof that weren't looking too great, and then we painted the entire roof with a brand that the nearest RV supply store carried. We needed two quarts to do two coats. I would recommend buying a different brand online that has higher ratings from people who have used it for RV/Pop up roof in the material you need. I plan to do the roof again as it has already faded with the little bit of weather that hit it while we traveled. 

I liked helping Fred paint the roof more than I expected. We are going to tape around the silver parts of the pop up and use the same silver we used for handles to make them look better and cover the roof paint we accidentally left behind (always put the tape!).

I used black Rustoleum rust reformer spray paint over the bottom pieces of the pop up that can be seen. Fred used a paint brush and painted the underside with a white/transparent Rustoleum rust reformer.

Some smaller things that we got for the trip were a generator for $109, collapsible pots, containers for food, mixing bowls and measuring tools, a lazy suzan that holds kitchen cooking utensils and knives, a whisk, a medium and a small cast iron pan, a mini fridge, an outdoor grill, a grilling table you can put directly over fire (that one came with the pup), a usb single serve blender, a foldable yoga mat, 4 thin towels, 2 thin beach towels, a pack of washcloths, 2 floor towels, 2 rugs, a shower curtain, an organizer that hangs from the shower, a welcome mat, a carpet for the pop up step, string lights, powder soap to hand wash clothes, a portable clothespin string, collapsible shelving box and stackable plastic drawers for clothing, two small stackable plastic containers for smaller items/toiletries, a small mirror, some board games, two fold up chairs, collapsible hamper, six packs of seventh generation baby wipes.

Amazon ordering is no joke, read those captions and details. I never returned so many things in my life. Returned these RV lifters that didn't work, a hitch lock that didn't fit, duvet covers I thought were going to be comforters, and plastic pellets and methyl ethol katone after I found out already mixed RV Roof paint exists.

Make sure to get extra breaks installed because this really helps control the popup as you drive. I wouldn't recommend that you buy an SUV to pull your pop up unless you plan to drive just a few hours. The pop up is a huge strain on your car no matter how great it is. If you're only going to use it to do smaller trips then it will be fine but you should save the cross country stuff for a pick up truck. That's not to say it isn't possible, because our 2016 Honda Pilot did alright. But for the most part we didn't feel comfortable driving over 40-50mph and the popup did swerve from side to side a lot. It was amazing to see the evolution of the three guys who drove as they got better and better at controlling the ride, however no matter how good they were the pop up would deceive them from time to time. While driving over gravel like highway for ages, the pigtail for the lights snapped at some point in middle of Montana. So we were driving with no lights. We thought we'd get pulled over but before that happened we made it to the next U hall in the middle of nowhere half a day. We were told to check the bolts on the pop up wheels every couple hours and we thought that would be annoying but it turns out when you travel with so many people you're gonna have to go to the bathroom at all different times. We checked the bolts every time we stopped for a pit stop, and they were always tight. We stopped about every 2-3 hours to use the rest stops and about every 4-5 hours to fill up on gas. 

Once we got to Electric Forest the beds started collapsing. The screws were wearing down and our friend Francisco knew right away how to fix it. Needless to say, this summer we will be replacing the bed rails as well, (Again- NO EASY FEAT lol). 

We left the windows down and it rained so the entire inside of the popup got soaked - but we were luckily able to dry everything and nothing got ruined (Thank God).

Overall, the pop up served us well. Even though it's a quirky old mess that is hard to open and close and is going to need replacing and repair of this and that till the wheels fall off- its our baby and we're very proud of how it's coming along. Each mishap has taught us a great deal and we were lucky enough to have the help we needed at the exact right moment to support us. I know that this journey made me believe in the kindness in my fellow neighbor- because we really couldn't have made it if it weren't for the random acts of kindness from strangers along the way.

We definitely feel much more "adult" and prepared in so many ways and are thankful for the experience and having come out the other end as we did. We currently park our baby in Chester N.J. The guy who owns the property is the friendliest guy! If you're needing some space for something big let me know and we can put you in contact with him. He even lets you work on your stuff there! We paid $230 for six months and it's much less the longer you stay.

I had a lot of this blog written and I didn't post it because I thought we were going to take the pop up out one last time and fix her up a little more for the "after" pictures. But the first weekend we planned to go it rained like crazy and the second week I fell and hurt my knees pretty bad and didn't want to go anymore lol. So I'm going to post the few we got on the trip now and will post more here and in another blog when we take them this Spring/Summer.

I really Hope this info is helpful! Would love to save someone from the trouble my husband and I got ourselves into lol :P 

The pics are not much because I was expecting to do a whole photoshoot once we got back. Sigh- Life had other plans. Will post a REAL Before and After Blog once it gets warm again. Since I'm finally graduating in May we'll be doing lots of celebrating in our pop up this Summer! :)

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All the Love,

Sierra

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A Vegan Thanksgiving

December 3rd, 2017

This year I was excited to cook dinner for my family, and when my brother (and very good cook) told me he had to work on Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Eve, I was happy to take on the challenge of cooking it all with Fred. 


Word of advice, don't drink alcohol with your best friend on Thanksgiving Eve after not having hung out for ages. You will get drunk, have an amazing time until 3 or 4 am, and wake up hating yourself. 


Instead of prepping the night before I spent the whole night talking. Instead of waking up early to get a head start, I woke up at 7 and hit the porcelain lady on and off until I finally threw myself in the shower. 


We collected all the groceries and brought them over to my brothers. I was the most thankful for Freddy because he really helped me by cutting and prepping everything while I did other things. I started with the easy things. I put together the wet ingredients for the salad: tomato, red onion, and roasted red pepper, the mixed greens and spinach in a bag, and the dry ingredients: walnuts and cranberries in another so that when the dinner was served I had the salad all set (+balsamic vinegar.) 


Fred cut up the potatoes first so we began boiling them right away. As I cooked other things I tested the potatoes and drained them. We made vegan mashed red potatoes with almond milk, vegan butter, sautéed garlic, garlic powder, dry parsley, pink salt and pepper. Then I mashed the sweet potato and mixed in brown sugar, salt, vegan butter, and vegan marshmallows on the top. Both were baked a little while before guests arrived.

While the potatoes got done I sautéed Kale, rainbow carrots, red onion, garlic, mushrooms, a little bit of rainbow bell pepper, cooking wine, a little bit of ACV, garlic powder, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. 


Then we made broccoli casserole with vegan mayo, vegan sour cream, vegan butter, mustard, sautéed garlic, white onion, green bell pepper, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and vegan bread crumbs. 


Our BBQ Jackfruit was not such a success because I didn't start the drying process the night before so it came out kind of soggy. If I did dry it, the process afterwards would have been the same which was: sautéing garlic, red and white onion, jalapeno, rainbow bell peppers, and vegan bbq sauce and then bake. 


Then I made creamy cheezy cauliflower using Daiya vegan cheddar cheese, nutritional yeast, yellow potato, orange carrot, sautéed garlic and onion, soaked cashews, salt, pepper, and parsley. I took some of the cauliflower and double coated in almond milk and flour, and fried them in peanut oil. Then I tossed them in buffalo sauce made with Franks Hot sauce (vegan), and vegan butter. 


I would have loved to provide recipes but honestly I mostly cook by eye and I after the night I had I just didn't have the patience to do it the calculated way! >>>

BUT- I promise promise promise that all of my recipes will be available to you in the future! Recipes will be included in future posts and Cambria's Haven will eventually have an E-Book for Vegan recipes!


So THANKFULLY, everything came out great, I was actually really surprised since I was feeling so gross the whole time lol. By the time I was done I had three hours until dinner (Freddy's knife skills really saved us a lot of time). I was able to just relax and watch some Punisher (which is officially my new favorite super hero anything!!! The other day Freddy joked and said "Is the Punisher based on a true story because I can't tell what's real or fake anymore." GO WATCH IT.)


Okay so Update on Freddy and I- we've been away from Cambria's Haven these last two months because life got a little crazy after our Event! Taking 19 credits is no joke! I even had to put Real Estate school on hold these last couple of months. Fred has been working 40 hour weeks and fitting in music as often as possible. We each took our own little vacation away from Elizabeth with our friends, I went to Vermont and Massachusetts and he went to Pennsylvania and New York City. 


 I also had the flu (first time I'm sick in what feels like forever though!) and then Fred caught it from me. 


This week school has lightened up just a bit so I was actually able to do a lot of work towards Cambria's Haven and I'm so excited to share it. I've banged out three blogs, so I can finally post once a week! :D :) :D ...well, for this month at least ! ;)

I have compiled a pretty solid Business Plan with new obvious blanks in red reminding me to fill those budget details in ASAP. 

I've made a list of the things we will gradually offer at our shop, and have connected with all the distributors that we'll need. 

Our signs are getting a MAJOR upgrade! And last but not least, our design is done for our T-shirts, resin figures, and squishies (and one day-- stuffed plushies)- stay tuned for a blog all about that!


It was so inspiring completing our detailed business plan! Since I'm so obsessed with my to do lists, I organized it by the things we must do daily, weekly, and used a monthly system to plan the rest. It felt really good to put everything into such a real perspective as I was able to see exactly what month we will be able to accomplish certain things based on the work and effort that we dedicate. 


That is truly the best thing about Entrepreneurship- knowing that it's UP TO YOU if you make it or not. Knowing- it's truly only a matter of your own HARD WORK, TIME, and ADAPTABILITY! I look forward to this grind that Freddy and I are on! I'm thankful that we are back in a place that has a dozen opportunities for us to hustle- Airbnb, Uber, Networking sales, Substitute teaching, Serving, Bartending, Cooking, Secretary work, Translating, Craigslist posting, the list goes on and on out here! We are in work mode right now, not spending much money or time going out (apart from Freddy's performances and music related stuff). This big dream of ours is finally formulating and we can feel that it's just a matter of time <3 




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All the Love,

Sierra

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Cambria's Haven & Our First Event!

September 27th, 2017

So for now I'm going to just have to admit that these blogs will be more of a monthly posting rather than weekly. Moving across the country really tied our Summer up and now that Fall has arrived Freddy and I are both overwhelmingly busy. It feels like 24 hours aren't enough in the day and it's become harder for us to eat right and take the best care of ourselves, so as a result we have been exhausted as we try to get into the swing of things. Fred and I have begun working as Property managers for a home of two apartments, four bedrooms, and one garage. We rent to three permanent tenants and the remaining space to Airbnb guests. We are also both helping to manage my father's property and store at 419  Elizabeth Ave. in Elizabeth N.J. 07206. Come by and see us if you need a Mattress or furniture ! ;) 


I have started my second to last semester and I'm taking 19 credits. I also enrolled in an NJ Real Estate course which is a 70 hour 2-3 month program that meets for 3 hours 2-3 times a week. I honestly think anyone that is looking to purchase a home should take this course! It's only $300 and you learn so many lessons that could have been mistakes that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if you don't go for your license, the knowledge you'll gain is worth the time and money. Another reason I want a Real Estate license in NJ, PA and maybe even NY- is so that I can have access to the accurate and current list of homes for sale. I don't know if you've ever looked into purchasing a home, but it wasn't an easy task for us! For instance- I realized quickly that many of the listings available to the general public are sold or under contract already. Also, many Real Estate Agents want to get you approved before discussing or showing listings, and in order to be approved you have to prove automatic income or income within distance of the place you plan to purchase. I figured I might as well go for it since we've gotta wait till we've worked a few months and I'm almost done with college (again). We need all the help we can get when trying to find the perfect property for Cambria's Haven, as well as a firm understanding of property laws and regulations. We've dealt with so much craziness as far as roommates, tenants, Airbnb, etc etc! So I had lots of reasons to do this course.

Once I'm done with that come Wintertime, I'll be preparing for my final semester. At that point Freddy and I will have enough income on the books, we'll be able to get pre-approved for a home loan, and will begin looking at properties. My father had a genius idea and suggested we rent a home on a few acres in the meantime, to make sure this is something we really want to do. We think that's an excellent plan and have been checking craigslist daily. The catch with that is most places are 1-2 hours away and we are waiting on something closer to pop up. After the holidays, Freddy and I will have more time to drive around neighborhoods to scout For Rent signs- I figure not every person is going to use the internet to find tenants. We are hoping to find this place for January or February 1st so that we can begin fostering as soon as possible!


I know that once the ball gets rolling so much more will get done, it's only a matter of time. For now, I'm  focussing on finishing both schools while generating enough income to afford the location. So far so good! Next month things should be much less hectic and I should finally be able to post about our Pop up! (The weather killed our end of summer camping plans so I couldn't take the pictures we needed). I also want to write a blog about the books we've purchased to better prepare us for this venture, as well as the interactions and connections we've made with other shelters and non profits, cat cafes, other natural shops and vegan eateries. Right now asking questions, interviewing, and reading about others with similar organizations and aspirations is the important first step towards building Cambria's Haven! I am also contacting and organizing a list of vendors and products we plan to stock Cammy's shop with. 


Even though we've decided (and needed to) wait until after I finish my last semester to purchase property, I don't want to wait that long to begin serving yummy vegan food! So right now we are developing our menu, recipes (recipe blogs coming soon too!), product, inventory and vendor lists. But I really wanted to start sharing with others! So we planned our first event- a giant VEGAN POTLUCK on September 16th at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It was absolutely AMAZING- and DELICIOUS!  

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The weather was perfect and the location we set up in the park overlooked the city and the Statue of Liberty. We couldn't have asked for a better turn out! We had a total of 18 people come out and nearly everyone brought something scrumptious to share. I bought Vegan rolls and chips, and Freddy and I made BBQ Pulled Jackfruit, Mac and 'Cheeze', and Chickenless Chicpea salad- three things I hope to feature on our menu in the future! Others brought guacamole, walnut & cranberry salad, rice beans and platano maduro, falafel, lentils, roasted seasoned veggies, bulgur salad, and muffins! Everything was spectacular.  We had our stickers and necklaces out on a table and were able to raise awareness and funds!


All of the Love,

Sierra

My favorite part was meeting new people that came with friends of ours, as well as getting everyone's perspective on the Vegan lifestyle. Of course another perfect moment for me was receiving feedback about the food! Everyone LOVED everything! It was also fun to find out that one of Fred's coworkers (and wife) are also Vegan! 


We are planning to host events every 1-3 months! We are hoping to invite you and your doggies to the next one so STAY TUNED!


Connect with us and Keep in Touch!

Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/cambriashaven
Instagram: Cambriashaven
Email: [email protected]




The Calm After The Storm

August 16th, 2017

Well I hope my latest blog didn't discourage anyone from the open road! If I did, I'm sure this one will help boost your spirits again. Sure, there was turmoil on our tour, but what we saw was out of this world and certainly made up for it! None of us had ever seen anything like the sites along the Northern Route! First, we showed our friends around Colorado Springs. We took them to eat at our favorite places: *Island spice grill (By far the best Jamaican food I've ever tasted, and they even have a vegan section of their menu!), *Rasta Pasta (The restaurant I worked at while in CO, where their menu is all Pasta inspired by Italian and Jamaican cuisine. Rasta Pasta specializes in vegan and gluten free options.), and *Garbanza: like Chipotle but with Greek food! Super fresh, super delicious, and mostly Vegan options! There are a lot of beautiful hikes in Colorado Springs and plenty within a reasonable driving distance. First we went to Cheyenne Canyon and hiked the Mount Colombine Trail and the Mount Cutler Trail. We spent the next day at our favorite trail in Colorado Springs called Section 16. 

Pictures 1 - 3 show some of the Mount Colombine Trail 

Pictures 4 - 6 show one of the best views on the Mount Cutler Trail 

Pictures 7 and 8 are the wildflowers, bright blue skies and mountain tops you'll find at Section 16




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Once our transportation was all resolved, we were on our way to Yellowstone, Wyoming. In my last blog I talked a lot about time management and giving yourself plenty of time with long road trips. We learned this lesson the most with our trip to Yellowstone. With only three quarters of a day to spare, we had to make a choice on one general area of the park to visit. We chose Old Faithful since it is located near so many famous basins and we were able to see the Eruption at 5:45.

Old Faithful - Yellowstone National Park Wyoming

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Fred recently admitted to feeling a little frightened at the time. I don't think any of us were expecting it to be so extraordinary and powerful! The eruption went on for several minutes. Once it was over we began to exit the park and literally almost ran into a Buffalo that was wandering around the visitors center (Picture One). There was an employee shooing people away, explaining that the Buffalo's stance and movement of the hoof indicated hostility. Pictures 2-12  are of the Geyser Basins you'll see along the board walk that is right across the way from Old Faithful. 

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Pictures 13 is The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, one of the most breathtaking sites in the park! Pictures really don't do it justice. Pictures 14-16 are herds of Buffalo we passed on our way out of Yellowstone Park, there were so many! Seeing so many free animals, tending to their young, coexisting like a family, filled us with happiness. Small groups went swimming in the river in order to cross to another place. Many were crossing the road and some were even standing right on the edge of the road as though they were just curiously watching people as they passed by. As the sun set we marveled as the sky changed from blue to pink, to orange and red, to various shades of purple. Then the sky revealed millions of stars before our eyes, another incredible site for us city kids to see! 

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Reaching Glacier National Park Montana felt like landing on Utopia. Thankfully we made it in time to spend two days in that majestic and magical place. We could already see the sky scraping mountains miles away from the park. On the first day we hiked around Two Medicine Lake (Pictures 2-8). 

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On the second day we drove about an hour and thirty minutes to get to Many Glacier- no exaggeration the most BEAUTIFUL site I've seen with my own eyes. WOW. Again, pictures just don't do this place justice! We started our hike at the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead, where we were warned by a few people that a Grizzly was recently seen on the trail. I always thought I wanted to see a bear so bad! But Black Bears and Grizzly Bears are two completely different things! I would recommend having bear spray on you at all times, and talking really loudly so that if you do stumble across one, you won't scare it! There were signs everywhere stating that you are taking risk of death by taking that trail, so be as careful as you can be! The trees and brush grow thick and tall throughout Many Glacier and there were plenty of times we thought we saw a bear but it was just strangely shaped trees! Anyway- enough about the bears (we didn't see any, anyway!) Take a look at Pictures 1-12 to see some of the highlights from Many Glacier!

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