5 Things I Can’t Live Without

The 5 things I can’t live without, in order of importance:

  1. My boots. 13” Justin cowboy boots, about $100 bucks. They’re my go-to, all-purpose footwear. I’ve been running, hiking, working, and clubbing in them with no crazy foot problems to speak of. Ever since I broke them in, they’ve been comfortable and accessible. I used to wear ropers, but now that I’m used to tall boots, I can’t go back. The 13” boots offer so much more ankle support. They go great with jeans and I wear jeans all the time. I’ve heard that the boots look great underneath boot cut jeans; so much so that they’re my go-to shoes for night-time outings. When the upper is hidden from view, as it should be for men’s boots, I can pass them off for real nice shoes. They’ve since been really worn out. It’s been about 2 years and the daily wear and tear and exposure to sun and dirt has taken its toll on the front part. There’s nothing wrong with the part I hide under my jeans though – that part still looks like new. Unfortunately, the inside built-in sole has worn out a bit. I’ve dealt with it for a few months by getting those $5 gel shoes from Payless. Still, it’s time for me to buy a new pair from Boot Barn or Tractor Supply Co. I’ll probably stick with Justin or try Ariat. I like the idea of having two pairs of boots: one for everyday wear and one for those special occasions.Boots
  2. The Toyota Tacoma is a helluva truck. It’s sturdy, somewhere between a brick and a regular family car. I hardly ever have to drive a lot of people around, so having a 3-seater isn’t much of a problem. The bed is the best thing ever: It’s large enough for me to lie down in, picnic in, or carry a huge load. I moved out my entire apartment and helped my friend move in to hers with just one trip. It’s great having a larger vehicle; it makes it easier to carry all sorts of bulky things. My husky toolbox is basically a smaller version of the trunk. All my tools and emergency equipment stays there. The reason why I can’t live without the Tacoma? It’s trusty. My trusty truck: I travel great distances with it – it’s useful, and I never have any real problems with it.Toyota
  3. The best camera I’ve ever owned to date: the Canon t2i. It’s the camera I carry around all the time. The t2i is just amazing and serves my goals. I’m not a professional, so I don’t need the latest and greatest. I just need something reliable and consistent. I also need my system to be familiar to me. After I got used to the t2i, it was over. Even after a few years, I’m still discovering options I’ve never used. It’s like my trusty sidekick. Paired with MagicLantern, an assortment of lenses, and the contents of my camera bag, I’m ready for everything. Light, portable, and easy to use. If I’m going to upgrade, I’ll go for a full-frame Canon. I love the feel, aesthetics, and user interface of Canon products. Hopefully my familiarity with Canon products will come in useful in the future. I got nothing to complain about – I love the t2i.Canon T2i
  4. My Macbook Pro is the key to everything else. It’s my connection to the rest of the world and  all digital media. I used to have a Windows laptop, but then I got sick of it, so I replaced it with a Mac. I love the feel of the keyboard, the beautiful retina display, and the easy user interface. Don’t want to ramble on about how awesome it is though.Macbook Pro
  5. My knife. Plain and simple.

    Trusty knife

    Trusty knife

I can conquer the world with my boots, truck, camera, Mac, and knife. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

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Walking Stick

Walking StickIt has taken me a while, but I’ve finally found a suitable walking stick for myself. It’s pretty sturdy and so I took it upon myself to get all the bark off to eliminate splinters. All it took was one sharp knife and a place to work. It took me a good 2+ hours, but I’d say it was worth it. I took this picture within in first 10 minutes of starting to work on it and used my Minolta Auto 200x flash unit as the light source from the front. Again, my room is ultra dark and not suitable for taking pictures. However, I was surprised at how well my huge Rubbermaid container doubles as a beautiful background. Besides the little logo peeking out from under the walking stick, it came out all right. I might have to start using bark and natural looking objects as backgrounds and foils for product photography. Learn something new every single day. ‘Tis true.

EDC

I’ve talked a little bit about the things I carry with me on a daily basis in my about page, but I thought I’d expand on it a bit here and put in some pictures. I am not a minimalist, although I do have aspirations to consolidate all the junk I have and simplify. I don’t have enough simple in my life. I’ve accumulated a lot of junk in my 23 years of life, mostly during my college years. I have already streamlined a bit, but when I get my own place, it has gotta be minimalistic, with the bare essentials. It’s a lot of work and I’ll need a drastic attitude shift to get there, but it’ll happen.

I’m big on being prepared and so that’s why I’m a semi-hoarder. I like being able to have things for emergencies. After all, who knows when you’ll need something?

Keeping all that in mind, you can see how it has influenced the items I carry on my persons. Since I find myself lost and alone in a lot of situations, traveling far and wide to try coffee, I like to be prepared. I have several first aid kits in my truck with various pills, bandages, and ointments. I also have a short-term survival pack as well, but I still carry several things on my persons. Here’s my every day carry, the short and sweet edition, but slightly expanded from my about page:

  1. A thick leather bifold wallet with a card sleeve by Fossil. It’s nothing too fancy – its just a great worn out brown that I feel comfortable with. I’m still from the school of keeping a wallet in the back right pocket, instead of a really slim card case or money clip. My wallet is bursting with membership cards, bank cards, some cash, and various forms of ID in the sleeve. I like that sleeve because I know exactly where my identification is. I basically have everything I need to get by in there. Just as a note, sometimes on long drives, I’ll take the wallet out of my back pocket and place it on the dash. This prevents any unnecessary butt pains and since it’s on the dash, I won’t forget to take it on the way out of the vehicle.
  2. A guardian brand one hand operated pocket knife with a clip. I like knives. You can find out more about my knife philosophy in this post. A sharp knife might save lives and this guardian stays in my front right pocket. I think a clip is very important so you can clip it to the pocket.
  3. Chapped lips are pretty gross, so I carry a mini Vaseline lip balm. San Francisco sucks my lips dry, especially after I have a long and involved conversation.
  4. Sometimes I need a hanky and so I carry a handkerchief in my front right pocket. Simple white with no frills, but there you have it. I also carry some loose coins in the same pocket. Damn the SF meters.
  5. A tactical pen by Humvee clipped to my front left pocket. It served two purposes: as an accompaniment to a writing pad and as a defensive weapon. Although I’ve never had to use it, I walk around feeling just dandy that I have it.
  6. I’m full of ideas and my mind goes a million miles a minute so I carry a notepad in my back left pocket. I tend to forget things unless I write them down. A notepad is my go to for all kinds of random thoughts and to-dos. It goes wherever my tactical pen goes and fills up quick.
  7. A watch and cell phone: both self-explanatory. At the moment, my phone is a dumb-phone, but it serves its purpose. I choose between two watches: my Smith & Wesson analog and my Pebble smartwatch. It’s all about telling time with the watch. Whatever works.
  8. My friend made me a paracord bracelet and I wear it on my right wrist all the time. I hope I never have to unravel it for anything because I want to wear it for as long as possible. If I need it, I have it.
  9. I carry a eatn’tool and a little mini roll of duct tape with my keys. I mainly use the eatn’tool for the spork at the end and the bottle opener, but I have used it a few times as a pry tool and a flathead screwriver. Great addition to the tools I can carry on me.
  10. I have allergies and when I had a smartphone, I programed all that stuff in for first responders, but I aso wear my dogtags because it is accessible and it won’t die on me. I wear it all the time around my neck. Simple and gets the job done.
  11. I carry my Gerber multi-tool in its pouch on my right hand side. I’m right-handed, so I can reach down to my hip, un-velcro the pouch and operate my tool with one hand. I don’t even want to go over the tool in this because it is so epically awesome. Maybe I’ll do a post on it soon.

Check out the gallery below:

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Why You Need a Knife

If you’ve ever owned one or have a friend who ones one, you’d know how useful it can be. Of course I’m not talking about a huge fixed blade hunk of metal. I’m talking about the portable and versatile versions, aka pocketknives or penknife. Coincidentally, I believe everyone should have a multitool as well. Here are the reasons I think everyone should carry a knife on their persons, or, for the ladies who wear clothes without pockets, in their purses.

  1. A reliable knife is a backup self-defense tool. I admit, I’ve never had to pull out a knife to defend myself, but I don’t ever put that out of my mind – it’s there if I need it. Backup? Why backup? In most cases, you don’t need a knife. Your fists and various other appendages will suffice. However, sometimes a knife isn’t the most appropriate weapon: you probably shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
  2. Knives cut things and you never know when you need to cut. I work with a lot of line and rope. Who wants to carry a toolbox all over the place? A knife that clips to your pocket will get the job done. In keeping with preparedness, I keep my knife close in case I need it. When your hands are full and you’re working on a project, you don’t want to run around looking for shears. It helps when you can reach into your pocket, unclip your knife, open it up with one hand, and get the job done, all with one smooth motion. Efficiency at its finest.
  3. They cut and they’re sharp, but that’s not all they’re good for. Think of your knife as a multipurpose tool for all trades. Honestly, sometimes I scrape crud out of my fingernails after working (of course I disinfect it before I use it for something else). When I bring an apple for lunch and I’m outside, a knife comes in useful for slicing perfect little bite-sized morsels. Its really satisfying. Short a hammer? Use the grip end of a closed knife for that. Just make sure its light hammering, not some heavy duty work. Need a wedge? Use a knife.

My knives throughout the years. Oldest on top, newest on bottom.

So if you don’t have one yet, take it from me, get one. I change knives every so often, but you don’t have to. I’m just too lazy to fix the grip screws when they get loose. It happens pretty frequently with medium price range knives.

A few things to know: clean, lubricate, and sharpen to maintain the life of your knife every so often. When you’re shopping for a knife, know what features you want and go test them out in person. A knife is a very personal thing, so find one that suits you. There are thousands and thousands of models out there. Don’t get too hung up on the details. Knives are kind of like pens in the sense that they get misplaced or stolen pretty frequently. Or they break.

Last notes: watch out for sharp blades, assisted opening knives that accidentally open in your pocket, and loose screws, etc. Lastly, know when NOT to take knives with you. Some examples are at festivals with security checkpoints and government buildings.

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