Recently, my 6-year-old son and I spent 4 days and 3 nights at the beautiful oasis where we participated in all of the great things offered at the camp. We attended the Daddy and Child camp where there were approx. 15 dads and 25 kids who, by the end of it all, became friends for life.  It was so wonderful that I cannot say enough great things about Camp Westwind on the Oregon coast.

Camp Westwind is spread over 529 acres of pristine ocean front a few miles north of Lincoln City, Oregon. A river estuary is located nearby. But nature was the only factor that piqued my son and my interest. The activities are charming for the kids and relaxing for their dads.

The camp set up great for the kids with GaGa Ball Elimination. It is a form of volleyball that kids can play. Then, there was a challenge course for both dads and their children. The entire camp was set dads to enjoy.

Come evenings and we were all sitting around bonfire doing silly skits, telling jokes, or paying a guitar. It was fun but tiring. Thankfully, the camp had an arrangement for that.

Talking about nights, we stayed in rustic cabins with other families and ate communally in the lodge with our cabin mates at every meal. And while we dads slept and play cards, baby sitters stayed awake to look after our naughty ones.

We stayed with 2 other families. Some images of our cabin:

Oregon’s Best Place

Bunk Houses Inside

The eating place:

Wilson Lodge

The best part of the climbing was through the Needle’s Eye and seeing where our imagination would take us.

High Meadow

I also took a solo hike up the High Meadow where I had an unobstructed view of Pacific Ocean, Lincoln City and the kite boarders, and Cascade Head all while enjoying some alone time.

Here what I saw from there:

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The entire weekend was summed up by a little girl who started crying when her dad told her they were leaving that day, “But I don’t want to go home daddy!”

Camp Westwind offers camps for teens, youths, families, moms, dads and hosts privates parties as well.  Go check the site and then attend the camp.  You’ll love it!  http://westwind.org/camps/

Here’s their logo:

Westwind black logo

Looks nice!

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There is a curtain vision that comes to mind when one thinks of the palm trees, beaches and sunshine of Southern California.

In January of this year, I stepped off the plane at John Wayne Airport to a warm breeze, that cleaned the air of any smog, and the sun warmed the skin just perfectly.

Then I came across this perfect picture of California’s flag at the Southern California Americana Festival:

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The California State Flag with Old Glory sailing in the wind.

It was one of more pleasant welcomes I had ever had to a state; wind and all.

Many times, when I visit a new place I look for something that unifies all the people of a state. It helps me put together our Heart Sticker designs. It’s usually a tough to do, more so when you are not one of them and you have limited access to the local culture. But in California, it was pretty easy.

Californians love their bears, at least, they used to. There is a grizzly bear on their state flag that happens to be model of the last living beast, whose name was Monarch.

Monarch died in captivity in 1911 and today there are no more living grizzly bears in California. There doesn’t seem to be any plan to bring them back.

In fact, when I ask Californians about bringing grizzly bears back to the state, the response is typically the same: “Not a good idea because people are dumb.” I find it to be funny, tongue-in-cheek response that does have a little truth behind it.

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Not many Californians may be comfortable with the idea of bringing back the grizzly now, but they still love their state. And it’s to celebrate this love that I created Southern California Love Stickers and love for their bear. You can find them on http://www.heartsticker.com/products/california-love-sticker and http://www.heartsticker.com/products/grizzly-bear-love-sticker .

Most of us know about the two famous divisions of California- Northern California and Southern California. But in actuality, NorCal and SoCal would not be as distinct without its lesser discussed siblings, the Central Coast and Central Valley of California.

The Central valley run roughly from Redding to Bakersfield and the Central coast from Santa Cruz down to Santa Barbara. Both of these regions have a beauty in nature and people of their own.

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The Central valley is one of America’s largest food producers with rich fertile farmland surrounded by desert and all ripped by perfect sunlight. This is farm country, and the mile of rich green agriculture can be seen for miles both by car and plane. Farm stands dot the region like pins on a map.
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The Central Coast is where all of the energy of Pacific Ocean meets and battles on the big bulky shoulders of some of California’s rugged and calming coastline. A ride along Big Sur will both impress you and at times freak you out at how close you are to drop-off 100s of feet down.

Because California is so large and land and air entry points are so far away, there is a significantly less non-California’s who travel through these area. Yes, harder to get to but no less in beauty and magnificence.

Just a few places to jump off from the Centrals of California:

  • Big Sur – where the wild untamed ocean meets and even wilder land.
  • Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbra- smaller cities with charms all distinctly their own.
  • Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto, Stockton rich farmland cities you have heard of but were never really sure where they are located.

So why tell you about these areas. Because they are beautiful. Long, stretches of highway with nothing but the best of nature’s offering from these two regions. The land and weather have shaped a different culture of the people. Go and explore some of it. You’ll find a few differences from your own and some similarities. Who knows, you may even exchange a few along the way.

Drop us a postcard, we’ll send you a sticker Heart in California Sticker
Heart Sticker
PO Box 66658
Portland OR 97290.

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Or you can pick up a few for your travel’s to share some stores with locals.
http://www.heartsticker.com/products/california-love-sticker
Heart Sticker
PO Box 66658
Portland OR 97290.

California is one of the world’s greatest places.  Its natural beauty and pleasant climate are second-to-none. No wonder 35 million people live in this amazing “playground.”

CA LA California offers something for everyone. It’s especially a great place to be for outdoor activities. You can surf along 800 miles of ocean. The state stretches over 700 miles of the western coastline and within these 700 miles you can start in the lowest points and hottest deserts in the world to one of the tallest peaks in America.  Between these two altitudes, there is a whole lot of fun to be had.
CA Surf
You can off road your car in the mountains, party all night or go for a simple stroll through the Redwoods. If you have an itch to scratch, California can provide the scratch.

In all of my many travels to this beautiful place, the one thing that has impressed me every time is the pleasantness of California’s folk. They are simply the most amazing people on the planet who lead pleasant and joyful lives. Oh sure, there are bad apples in every batch but overwhelmingly California in its many tribe are beautiful. It wasn’t what I was expecting before I went there the first time.

Like many, my idea of a Californian was they all act like they dive in traffic all the time.  Nope.  Traffic is just a way of life and personality trait. After spending some time with the people in the Golden State, I realized that they were as amazing as the people in my home state of Oregon. It was then the idea to create a sticker for California occurred to me.

The Heart Sticker- Heart in California brand gold state with a Pacific Ocean blue heart.  The gold represents the California nickname – “The Golden State” and blue heart and board represent California’s relationship to the Pacific Ocean.
CA Jeep
Now, I want to present the stickers to you: I hope you’ll love them.

I’m always eager to know what you think. Share your ideas on my stickers in comments or through email. http://www.heartsticker.com/

Everyone has a place in their heart that is not just a name on a list, but more of calling. For me, that place is Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and it has called to me many times in my life for many different reasons.

CA Haight Ash Sign

Music Calling
The biggest calling can to me because of the grateful dead and the San Francisco music scene of the late 1960s. Go to The Haight and do what any good head would do – walk and explore.

CA Haight Ash Store

Hippies Calling
Ok, Haight-Ashbury is vastly different today than it was in the 1968, but many places are still as hippish as they were backing them. But like then now, there is still the mass amounts of clothing stores, food places, all varieties of people and beautiful Victorian houses.

One of heart stickers’ first customers was Haight Ashbury t-shirts, right on the corner of that famous intersection. I loved it so much that I decided to create a tie-dye heart-snapped sticker with the famous street sign maker of Haight and Ashley for the place. And that’s how Heart Stickers’ newest product was born.

CA Haight ash ladies

Check out my stickers, if you love Haight-Ashbury as much I do. Buy them if you like them at http://www.heartsticker.com/.

Imagine yourself in a paradise, where every part of your soul feels fulfilled.  You have a roof over your head, a community of friends that appreciates you and relies on you. You live in an agreeable climate that suits your health and your clothes and it is a place that is beautiful beyond compare.  Would you like to live in such a place?

A lot of us long to get a chance to live in paradise. But few of us realize that an imperfect paradise exists. Yes, folks, I’m not joking.  For me at least, my home, Oregon, is the best place on the planet for me, and where I’d love to spend my entire life. I’m sure that many people will agree with me. They’d love to stay close to their home if life was simple and they were in control. But things aren’t simple.

There is this one annoying fact — the need to be financially secure amid current uncertainty in the U.S. economy — that nudges many people to consider leaving their paradise for better, greener pastures. I considered it once, many years ago.

Even when we go and leave and get a job, our goal remains clear as a crystal: to earn enough so someday we can return and settle our roots.  These were the exact thoughts that ran through my head on a day in March in 2003 as I pondered the balance between the land I loved and the lifestyle needed to support it.

I thought hard about the problem and then realized that uprooting myself wasn’t a viable option.  The first problem was where I’d go. Believe me, people, it wasn’t an easy decision.

A second problem was of simple economics. Moving to another state wouldn’t have solved my problems. I’d still need to have a house, friends, and different clothes.  And on top of it, I would still need to find a job.  It was then I decided maybe it was easier to just make it work here.

Like thousands of people who hopped on a covered wagon and headed to Oregon to make it big, I decided to do something here in my state. And the pioneering spirit of the ancestors of Oregon and the Oregon Trail helped me. I sang the famous song: “This is my home, and I will make here in Oregon. My heart is here and my heart is in Oregon.  I will live this Oregon dream of mine.”

And with these words, a silly drawing of a state and a heart was born.

As I grow older, I can see many more folks experiencing the same struggle.  I’m sure they face the same question: if they should leave Oregon for greener pastures or try to make it big right here. My advice to everyone will be to first do your best here. And it was to encourage you that I shared my story with you. I want you to know that you aren’t alone. There’ve been people through this dilemma before and together we have not only survived but thrived.

Remember the trail, that one, the Oregon Trail where you can still see ruts even today.  It is alive and well.  Remember how hard it was to travel and remember that getting here was only half the store.

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Then remember travelling by trail was only half of the adventure.  The second half was what to once you got here.  How do you earn your keep and live your Oregon dream.  Oh the trail and its spirit are very much alive.  Just know that with hard work, comes good results and keep on it.

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Being an Oregonian has never been easy and that is a core of our being.  Be your own pioneer and live your Oregon dream. http://www.heartsticker.com/

Me, I just keep making stickers.

Take your heart sometime and plant it in the middle of the Oregon Coast for a lovely winter weekend.  Wintertime on the Oregon Coast typical comes with wild, wet, ferocious weather. We experienced it recently firsthand in Depoe Bay.

Blog Depot Bay2Depoe Bay is  a tiny coastal town right in the middle of the Oregon Coast. It was our destination.  Our rented home was less than 50 feet from ocean, thought it felt like only 5 feet at times. An approaching storm was making the ocean angry.

For  Oregonians the ocean is  easily accessible So we often head to the coast in the winter during the off-season. It is the time when the rates are lower and  the crowds practically non-existent. This is the time when you get to participate in one of the great joys in life – the full force of an approaching Pacific Ocean storm from the comfort of warm cabin or hot tub, should you rent a place with one.

Blog Depot Bay

During our visit, we were literally neck deep in 104 degrees water, inches away from the storm’s and ocean’s full fury.  We witnessed with awe as lines of huge rollers line up and march towards us, one after another. They slowly transformed  from roller to massive cresting and then turned into crashing waves, whose tops were being blown off by gust of winds rushing up to 40 miles an hour.   Then after an hour in the tub with my body temperature high, I stood naked on the deck on to have the wind blow me dry and chill, hoping that I could  scorch yourself by hopping in the tub again.

As the night fell, we migrated inside, where, local crabs and salmon and all of the fixing bought from the local dock were waiting to be dined on. The dinner was followed  by, an evening of gaming.

But here’s the serrate.  Even in the middle of storm, there is always a break.  Some delicate few minutes of calm, dry, and maybe a little sun.  Well, you’re right there, take advantage of it, you’re right there.  And you may only have a few minutes but it makes the whole weekend complete. http://www.heartsticker.com

Express your affection for the Beaver State with our super-cool Heart in Oregon t-shirts. The tees will be on sale through at least the Valentine’s Day. Prices start at as low as $5 and most of the t-shirts are available at no more than $15. Find the t-shirts on http://www.heartsticker.com/collections/clearance and take advantage of this awesome opportunity to get some good-looking tees and show your heartfelt love for your state.

You may be thinking:  Why should I buy Heart-in-Oregon Ts instead of something else? And our answer is: Because our t-shirts are awesome (like you!) and our products take pride in their home state of Oregon. If you love Oregon and quality clothes, you will love Heart-in-Oregon t-shirts.

A Bit of a History

Today’s super-soft, ring-spun cotton and poly blend shirts with the vintage design are a long way from where we started printing shirts 6 years ago. Those shirts were the standard knit loop, thick durable shirts that you see in every locker room in every gym. We did what we needed to do at the time to introduce bare minimum shirts to you.

Sometimes we would cut “corners” to save on printing by only printing on green shirts. This way we could cut down on the number of colors printed and screens produced for printing. We did what we had to do to satisfy your demand and stay in the black as a small business.

Cool Designs

Even that said, we did a pretty good job. We created some fun designs like the river system design and the Portland City Flag Oregon design and had a good time do it. Here is an example of our Oregon River system design on Kelly and Forest green shirts.Heart in Oregon Shirt EvolutionHere is another example of the Heart in Oregon Rose Festival Mayor’s walk, listing all of the Mayors who walked together at the Rose Festival. The front of the shirt was the Portland City Flag in Oregon and the back was the cross-section of rings of a tree with each ring a few cities from around the state, largest on the outside and gradually getting smaller as you count inward.HeartstickerHeart in Oregon Shirt Evolution - Heart StickerSorry to say, but both of these fun designs are long gone. And these are not the ones we are offering on sale today. Today, we are offering our advanced designs on super soft shirts. These shirts are our gift to you for supporting us all through the years.

Once again, you can buy these wonderful tees from http://www.heartsticker.com/collections/clearance.

Thank you Oregonian and Happy Birthday Oregon.

I went to New York this New Year’s eve and I must say I love the city now. There are so many things I like about it, starting from its nickname, the Big Apple.

Why is New York Called the Big Apple?

New York is also known as the Big Apple, though not because it finds itself in a state famous for its apple orchards and harvest. The name was first popularized by a New York City reporter, John Fitz Gerald, who heard some African-Americans refer to New York as the Big Apple. To this day, no one knows when and how did they started calling the city the Big Apple but that is not much of an issue for us who love the New York and are proud to demonstrate our love through stickers.

Proud New Yorkers put on I HEART NY Stickers

There are many ways to demonstrate your love for New York. But to me, any one who is proud to be a New Yorker and eager to display their affection, I have created stickers whose shape resembles the geography of New York. Inside the stickers is a heart with a notch in it, to make it look like an apple; an added stem and a leaf complete the illusion. Here is what the stickers look like:Heart StickerYou can purchase Heart in NY stickers from http://www.heartsticker.com/collections/new-york.

Why did I create Heart NY stickers?

Because after a short trip to the Big Apple, I have fallen in love with the city.

Let me share some notes from a recent trip I took to the Big Apple.

In less than 5 minutes on the subway in New York, I decided that I must bring my 6-year-old son to this city this summer.

Why did I desire to bring a 6 year old to New York? For the cultural differences and diversity the city offers. During those few minutes I was on the subway, I passed by 3 stops, heard half-a-dozen languages, several accents, and multiple skin, hair, and eye colors. Living in Portland, Oregon, where more than 95% people are Anglo and English-speaking I felt there was a need to expose my little son to a broader spectrum of people, culture, and languages. Here are a few things I noticed in the Big Apple:

  1. Recycling and Garbage pick up. Portland has mandatory recycling, composting, a ban on plastic shopping bags and garbage pick up every other week. In New York, I’m unsure what the rules are but a lack of alleyways means trash bags are placed out on the curb only to magically disappear in the middle of the night. Just an observation of you work with what you have when you have it.
  2. We have a good system in Portland, but New York has an excellent subway system. It’s open most of the time, goes everywhere, and for $2.75 you can get from one side of city to the most obscure location on the other side. All of this with dozens of languages and skin tones—an amazing diversity of race, religion, and skin colors are found there.
  3. Activities you can do for free. Walk the Highline Park, go the Library, and ride the subway or the circle line. All of these are free or reasonable priced.Heartsticker1Art along the High Line Park

Heartsticker - Art along the High Line ParkFun graffiti art, this is not spray-pain but a metal sculpture meant to look like spray-paint.

  1. Cheap food. Food is not expensive in New York City; or it does not have to be. I picked up a breakfast bagel, custom made with sausage, egg and cheese with a fresh OJ for $5.
  1. Thousands of markets and every imaginable store possible. Every corner has a mini store with everything you need. The stores are packed head-to-toe in every corner. Not a piece of wall is left uncovered.

HeartSticker - heart in New YorkYou will find a market on every corner in New York.

  1. NYC has everything a city can offer; hardware stores, nail salons, hardwood floors, libraries, museums, an activities-filled nightlife and a lot more. In New York, the old adage is definitely true, if you can’t find it here, you probably don’t need it.
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Not long ago, I visited Red Lodge, Montana and spent some time camping along a river in Glacier National Park.  The chiseled mountains rose up from the tracts of conifers and scraped the sky.  The physical beauty was, of course large in my consciousness, but the thing that struck me the most was the mountains.  They towered above the landscape.  They covered up a large swath of sky. As my eyes took in the glory above, it hit me.  For all the sky those magnificent mountains covered up, there was immensely more sky showing around them.  What struck me then, was the meaning of “Big Sky Country”.  It’s not a slogan.  It’s a fundamental truth of Montana’s character.  The truth of it wrapped around me—360 degrees of big blue sky.  This was the inspiration behind the Heart in Montana sticker.