Feb 5, 2014
Well obviously we have been on a slight break, not completely intentional, but still and break and there will be some missing days on the blog as well in the near future. Our son Tennessee Wolf Johnston will be joining us very, very soon. Hell by the time you read this we might be at the hospital, well hopefully not until the 17th.
While we have been running around getting ready for the baby we had a sudden blast of serious winter weather last week in our hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. If you did not see it on the news then you must have been hibernating in your winter cave. In a very short period of time our city was brought to screeching halt by ice and just a few inches of snow. It was truly wild. All the videos and photos on the news and even more so on our friends social media feeds were very apocalyptic. Streets, highways, interstates were littered with abandoned cars, people were stranded all over the city at work, doctors offices, schools and more.
Of course people from around the country had many laughs without realizing the scope of what are city was in the midst of. What they did not realize was that our city was in the midst of doing what we do best and that is coming together in a time of crisis. I could write page upon page of stories about strangers helping each other on the roads, taking in stranded motorist to their homes, teachers staying with students who were stranded at schools, businesses sheltering customers and feeding them and a city that stepped up to the plate when they needed to the most.
So out of this Morgan and I wanted to make a few shirts to remember the events during the winter storm the news called Leon. We have been wanting to collaborate with our friends from Yellowhammer Creative and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. So we sketched out some ideas, exchanged some quick text messages with Brett from Yellowhammer and by the next morning the shirts were available for pre-order. We even made one for our neighbors and friends, and Killer Mike, in Atlanta.
Many people have asked why not Snopocalypse 2014 or Snowmaggedon 2014. I will tell you why not. People did pull together during this, but several people died, people were hurt and to some it was a negative event. We do not want people to remember the bad but to remember the good. To remember the total strangers who offered shelter, to remember the new friendships forged, to remember that even though to the rest of the world we looked helpless we were in fact stronger than ever. Here is to a great 2014 with more positive movement forward for our incredible city and its citizens.
We love y'all.
Duq, Morgan and Tennessee Wolf
Jan 10, 2014
We have had a great week here at Rugged and Fancy. 2014 is already shaping to be just an awesome year. I'm sticking strong to my daily challenges of taking a family photo a day (which Duquette has joined me in capturing) and creating a drawing a day. I feel so much more creative and alive and as though I have challenged myself to see things through new eyes. Cool stuff.
Duquette has been going into the studio and recording a lot lately, which thrills me to no end. It's kind of a new approach to recording, which he will share sometime soon. I have sat in on these recent sessions and it's the coolest thing ever for our unborn son to hear his daddy and to dance along with strong semblance of rhythm. I will always remember this.
So here are some fun, inspiring, badass things around the web this week:
Dutch masterpieces are recreated using thousands of insect pins, glass, bugs, shells, anything and everything. I want to touch it.
It's a palace made of crystal and makes me think of all my dreams as a child of living somewhere magical and hollographic.
Did you know that there are no more light bulbs? Light bulbs are banned!
There's almost nothing more perfect than taking a bath. Here is how you do it.
Aaaaand everybody wants perfect messy, sexy, mermaid, cool girl hair...here's how to do it.
We hope y'all have a great weekend. We are having our baby shower tomorrow and I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to share all the details!
Morgan, Duq and Tennessee Wolf
Jan 8, 2014
I love incandescent light bulbs, better known as "plain old light bulbs." You know that beautiful soft, slightly warm glow of a 40 or 60-watt by which you curl up on a couch, read a great book, smooch on your sweetie...
January 1st marked the end of the light bulb as we know it. You may not have noticed the slow phase out of 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs over the past couple years, and you still may not have heard about the banning of our beloved 40 and 60-watt bulbs. Well, it's happened. As of the beginning of 2014, incandescent bulbs are no longer in production in the US as part of George W. Bush's energy efficiency standards of 2007. Hey, I was around in 2007 and don't remember hearing anything about this. And I honestly didin't hear anything about the most recent quick phase out either. Y'all, I am bummed.
Go stock up on your light bulbs now, because once they're gone...well, that's it. It's a sad day for everyone who bought those beautiful and expensive fixtures that focus on Edison-style light bulbs. I will be stocking up on my 40s and 60s to save for when our soon to be born son is old enough. I imagine I will screw in one of the original bulbs and say, "Son, this is what light used to be." And he will be amazed and perplexed.
If it's just too much for you to bear, the oldest existing incandescent bulb is still going strong in Livermore, California's fire house. It's almost 113 years old, has its own "keeper," and a live web cam so you will always be able to look at your computer screen and see what a light bulb is.
Rest in peace you beautiful bulbs...
"News That Matters" is a recent addition to Rugged and Fancy, providing you with, well, the important stories you may have missed out on. They are completely based in fact (with resources) and written by the sometimes witty Morgan Johnston and illustrated by designer extraordinaire Shannon Broom Harris. A semi-regular topic on the blog, we hope you laugh or smile or maybe learn something that matters!
Jan 6, 2014
We are in the home stretch. And so is the suddenly enormous belly and baby hanging around my mid section. I had a late breakfast today...of chili. And now I am having my morning coffee and a square of sea salt chocolate at 11:30am. I will probably eat half a pineapple, a couple apples, Rice Chex...and more chili before the day's end. Yes, my day to day sounds like that of a horse. Soon enough someone will be along to drape a blanket over my back.
I want to sit here and be funny and complain about the reall hard parts of this...but that's not the message I want to convey. How do I really feel? Really fortunate, really blessed to be having a difficult but healthy pregnancy. I feel so much excitement and peace at the same time, occassionally panicking because I don't know when it's going to happen or what it's going to feel like. But that's okay. That's how this all works. I feel really proud of myself for being tougher and stronger and more resilient than I ever thought I was capable of. Yes, I am patting myself on the back for being able to do something God made me to do. Or maybe it's a pat on the back for realizing I was that capable and that strong all along. I am more in love with my husband than ever. He has become even more of an amazing man since our world changed with this pregnancy. We love each other better. We care for each other better. We listen and speak and love more clearly and with more dedication than ever before.
There it is, y'all. And here I am. Yes, there are days when I feel like crap (and probably don't look so hot either), but I will proudly say that I feel good about how I looked 90% of my whole pregnancy. I accept it and try to take care of myself as best as I can. (Note: my weekly mani/pedi is my great relief, relaxation and blissful few hours that I completely relax and turn off from everything---so worth it.)
I love y'all. I mean it.
Morgan and little Tennessee Wolf
Jan 3, 2014
I know the birth of my son is coming very, very, soon. When is completely up to God and this wild child who is currently trying to exhaust his mother before he is even born. I can not wait to meet Tennessee Wolf Johnston, my first son. I can not tell you the amount of hours I spend thinking and meditating on what it means to be a father to a son, thinking about my own childhood with my father and my grandfather and how they both impacted me. I consider myself blessed since I was essentially raised by both my father and my moms dad, spending the school year with grandfather and summers with my father.
Both of these men helped shape the man it would take me so long to become and both let me fall and get hurt, and make mistakes, and chart my own path to where I needed to be. They did not always like the decisions I made, but they were always supportive.
This video speaks volumes to me. It reminds me of my Grandfather Robert Joseph Duquette. It reminds me about how I was raised. My hope for all of you fathers, and mothers, on this Friday is that this inspires you to be a better parent, to love unconditionally, to teach your child about value, of his value and the value of others in the messed up world we all live in.
Duq, Morgan, and Tennessee Wolf
Jan 2, 2014
2014 is going to bring a lot of really exciting developments in the Johnston/ Rugged and Fancy world. We are just kind of waiting to see when our son is going to make his grand appearance, which is surprisingly not dictating our day to day right now. Yeah, my bones hurt really badly but I keep trucking along...and making plans for this year.
Last year was huge for us, without us really even realizing it until having come through the end of it. Rugged and Fancy really took shape and we figured out what it is, Duquette released this amazing record that took us to this whole new level of work and creativity...and just days later we found out we are having a baby. THAT was a shock. And sharing this may comfort or encourage someone... Duquette and I have been together 12 years and really thought that we just couldn't have a baby. It goes to show that it's in God's timing and that miracles can happen any day.
So this year, 2014 is about GETTING WEIRD. And creating a lot more. Eliminating the things in our lives that distract or cause bad noise. Especially TV, seriously. So what do I mean by getting weird? It's this phrase that Duq and I use to talk about getting to a creative and productive place where you let go of inhibitions and insecurities, take a chance, try something OUT THERE. It's the greatest place of creativity, I think.
I don't like resolutions, but I do like challenges. So every day I will be drawing something, and every day I will be taking a photo with the theme of "family." I will be sharing each of the images daily over on my Instagram (@ruggedandfancy) and posting images once or twice a week here on the blog. (Cool note: I make videos of the drawing process that will be posted only on Instagram, so check it out!)
Here's what came out of yesterday:
I actually did two yesterday just because it was so fun.
I am really excited about both of these series/challenges, but maybe extra excited about this one because we are having our first child in just weeks and I will have a year's worth of images, one a day, for his arrival and early months and the family of such cherished friends around us.
Here is the first image of the year:
This is Tennessee Wolf's room, a corner of it anyway. We still have SO much to do to prepare that space, BUT I have the reading corner set up. This chair belonged to Tennessee's great, great grandparents and the flag was his great grandfather's. Reading is so special and so important to me that I wanted this to be the first spot we set up. I go in there and rock and read to this dude in my belly. I love it. I think he loves it.
Anyway, I took this photo at 2am on Jan 1st. We had just gotten home from the best new year's eve ever, spent with our best friends and baby's godparents. We cooked a ridiculous amazing meal and exchanged gifts (a cool tradition for NYE that stemmed from 3/4s of the group having the flu over Christmas). I was so touched and surprised that everyone got our baby Christmas presents, a few of which are the awesome grey Wolf stuffed animal and Golden Books on the shelf.
Do any of you want to join me on this 365 photo challenge? Let me know what subject you choose and I would love to follow along! Just comment below!
Here's to getting weird, creating more and loving big in 2014.
Morgan, Duquette and Tennessee Wolf
Dec 20, 2013
Right now I am sitting in the recording studio waiting to rehearse for an event tomorrow, wondering when my son will be born, planning for his arrival and more. So my writing might be rather scatter brained, just being honest here.
I am very fortunate to be a part of Pipe and Gun and get to record and write in an such an inspiring and incredible space. From my vantage point Pipe and Gun is an art house. I will not try to go into what all Pipe and Gun is doing. This about an experience, it is about art, the art of music, the art of clothing design, the art of food, the art of painting and beyond. A Pipe and Gun event is a living thing.
So tomorrow in the neighborhood of Woodlawn, at a new venue Sound and Page, will be the first Pipe and Gun open shop. There will be clothing from LyonState out of Fairhope, Alabama, Bushsmarts camping gear, grooming products from Baxter of California, food from the kind gentlemen of Knife Party, libations from Joseph Yancey and music by Armand Margjeka, Noel, and myself. I hope you can all make it out.
Dec 18, 2013
Dec 12, 2013
I'm back, two days in a row. Who knew it was possible? We are making progress getting our home ready for the arrival of the little man, well the doctor says "big baby." I am so curious to meet him, but I do pray he waits until his due date to join us here in this world. The whole thing is straight alien... but aren't we all?
I know Morgan and I are not the only ones with too many tasks scribbled on paper, typed on apps and calendars, for ourselves and loved ones to help us remember them all. I know I never do. Hell, if it were not for my wife I would probably be a complete mess, just being honest. One thing I am very down with is getting rid of clutter, simplifying and being able to focus on the important things in life instead of running in circles. With that, I believe in using quality and buying less. Sometimes this means spending a little more money up front. It's just worth it, and we discuss and think through all purchases together, usually.
We believe in quality skincare products 100%. I've given my rambling speech about why I use what products I use on one than more occasion. Right now, here on planet earth in the year 2013, we are so fortunate to have access to so many incredible small businesses,independent businesses, people making a difference in their community and creating quality goods and services. I wanted to share just a few with you today and encourage you to support them as you're considering what to buy for gifts this season.
I started using the Ursa Major Skincare line earlier this year and I see no reason why I should ever quit. Based in Vermont, they have incredible ethics and run the company with the utmost integrity. I wrote a post last year about a different skincare line and it did not last. Morgan usually laughs about the number of times I have changed products. Those days are DONE, my friends. I started using it in Spring, through the heat of late summer, and now it's just as good in 20 degree weather. Ursa Major, it lasts a long time. This gift set comes with a dopp kit from Topo Designs another phenomenal American made company, but more on them later.
I am not sure how may times we have posted about Malin and Goetz and if you know me then you know how obsessed I am with one of their oils (that I try to keep close to my sleeve). They are based out of New York and have the best customer service around. I have been ordering from them for a few years and have never had a single problem. For me, the deodorant is well worth the price. It does an incredible job and is NOT full of aluminum or other crap. Trust me, the life you will get out of one stick of deodorant will shock you, and your friends and loved ones will be glad you don't stink like a monkey cage.
I have followed Juniper Ridge for a bit, but just recently picked some up while visiting Imogene and Willie in Nashville. I was originally drawn to the soap because the packaging reminded me of my childhood in Wyoming. I spent a better part of my early childhood getting bathed in creeks in the Big Horn Mountains and the soap was all natural and packaged very similar to the Juniper Ridge. So I dug into the company and how they are making their incredible soaps and colognes and you can not help but want to support them. They are artists in my eyes. Much like the time and effort I put into making albums, these folks spend many hours harvesting and making these products. I'm currently hooked on the Big Sur trail crew soap. You can nab it online or at some stores across the country like Imogene and Willie.
I hope this helps with some Holiday Gifts for men. Or women. Or yettis. You will be supporting small businesses and American owned and made companies. There are so many incredible, passionate people creating quality goods right in your hometown. Go meet them, support them and shop with them this holiday season.
Dec 11, 2013
Well I have been off the radar for a minute or two and wanted to jump in and say hello. While I want to write daily the only thing on my mind is the birth of my son Tennessee Wolf Johnston. With the thoughts of his pending arrival comes the overwhelming desire to get our home as prepeared as we can in this time of waiting. Are we 100% prepared? No. Are we 100% ready for our son? YES! Our desire is to raise our son and future children in a home filled with love, that is encouraging, creative, safe and that dreams can be achieved.
One thing I've been doing is cleaning out rooms, decluttering, rearranging furniture, simplifying, and painting rooms. I have several paintings to finish for my pledge music campaign, but I am focused on our home. In the late hours, after long days I still try to create small pieces of art even if it is all done through some digital technology right now, or a combination of mediums. I hope I can be a source of inspiration for my son and for any of you as well.