Stock Up On Your Fav Summer Items With Retiring Items

If you’re anything like us, you’re holding on to these last few summer feeling days with a death grip. There is no reason that you can’t hold on to a piece of summer as we transition into fall.salt-lime-sunshine-banner

We are making room for the new looks of fall and our new line of winter beanies. It is time to take advantage of our summer sale and stock up on your favorite items while they last!

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Rig To Flip And Akinz Thanks You!

Our Rig to Flip line will be expiring at the end of this month. We have loved supporting their mission. Thank you for your help with this effort. Make sure to pick up a river hoodie to keep you warm on those chilly fall nights on the river. Akinz donates 40% of all proceeds to the organization to help them in their filming efforts of the Dolores River.

brig-ribbed-wool-beanie-charcoal-grayPick up a beanie to keep your noggin warm as we fast approach cooler fall mornings and chilly nights. We are retiring some of our Akinz styles and will soon be considered collectors items!

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We will be retiring our “Under the Stars” design this fall. Make sure that you grab yours to wear under your favorite flannel this summer to help you look forward to next summer’s campfire nights.

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 Ladies, we’ve got you covered too. Get your printed tank to layer under your favorite knit cardigan to hold true to your mountain girl style.

Whether you’re holding out for winter season or grieving over the loss of summer, cheer up by cruising through our retiring styles to grab your favs before they go vintage! Keep your eye out for what is new this fall. Look out for our next month’s featured artist and our next Find Your Wings beneficiary.

If you have someone you would like to nominate for a future Find Your Wings recipient or are interested in being our next artist of the month, please email us! We would love to hear from you! 

Artist Spotlight – Dominique Montano

This month’s featured artist in our Fort Collins store is Dominique Montano.  We are captivated by her realistic yet conceptualized depictions of large safari animals.  So we thought we would sit down and get to know a little more about Dominique and where her inspiration comes from.

Tell us a little about your background… when did you start creating art and what drew you to life as an artist?

I grew up with a lot of brothers, so there were a lot of comic books floating around. I loved the art in them and would sit and draw out panels for hours, and that really got me into the idea of sketching and drawing. I did portraits for a while before I started shifting to animals. I was very interested in animals at the time since I wanted to become a veterinarian, and eventually I just started trying to draw out animals. It was a pretty handy skill while in school for zoology and I was able to create my own posters and figures. Art was always a sort of hobby to me, but when I was in a car accident last year and had nothing but time in a bed to recover, it became very therapeutic for me and I started to draw and create artwork more often. I love being able to create and see myself grow as an artist with each new piece, and to be able to educate others and bring attention to some of the animal subjects I create.

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You draw a lot of animals but not ones that you typically get to see in nature.  What sparked your interest in big cats and safari type animals?

I’ve always been interested in the mammals and large predators of the world. In my time as an undergraduate I received a unique opportunity to perform work on pumas, and then after a study abroad trip to South Africa several years ago, I began to respect the nature around us and understand how little I knew of the world. As a zoologist, I respect cats in general due to their incredible adaptability and amazing diversity among habitats, and felt that pieces with cats as my subjects would command attention and help others understand a little more about them.

Beyond cats, there are amazing animals out there, large and small, predator and prey, whose populations are declining due to human-wildlife conflict. As I started selling my pieces, I realized I could use my art to call attention to these issues, provide resources to educate, and try to give back where I could to the animals whose likeness I was profiting from. I make sure to donate a portion of my profits from pieces to conservation organizations that do incredible work to combat the factors that are forcing these species into a corner.

The cheetah figures in “In Motion” were created with spray paint.  Did you create a stencil for each one or airbrush them on?

I’m actually a pretty big fan of stencils! “In Motion” was one of my favorite pieces because it was as accurate as possible to the actual motion of a running cheetah, and turned out looking fantastic. I used freezer paper to draw on a stencil, cut out the areas to be painted, and ironed it onto the canvas, which creates nice sharp lines when it’s time to spraypaint. Then smaller detailed areas were filled in with pen to bring it all together. In progress photo can be seen on Dominique’s instagram.

Other than being an artist, we know you’re a CSU student.  What are you currently studying and what do you hope to do when you graduate?

I received my bachelor’s in Zoology from Colorado State University in 2014, and am currently on a PhD track in Zoology at Colorado State University again! So it’s really nice to return and bring some projects to fruition that have been on hold for a few years. I perform research in a physiology lab, and would like to concentrate on comparative and exercise physiology in large animals, as well as animal locomotion. The dream is to work with the cats of the world and understand their physiology and morphology across species. In addition to research I’d like to continue my educational projects and perform outreach using my artistry. There is so much we as researchers and people can learn from the world around us, and respecting that world and the systems we may not even fully comprehend yet is absolutely integral to our own growth and survival. To be able to use my knowledge and talents to contribute to such an understanding would be an incredible accomplishment.

You work with a lot of different mediums, including woodworking.  What is your favorite type of art to create?

I really do love it all! I’m still getting into more mediums every day, but the ones that stand out most to me are charcoal work and more recently, watercolors. Both mediums can be messy, but on one hand charcoals offer great contrast work, along with relatively easy shading to be done with smudges. Watercolors I love because it can add a fantastic element of surrealism by putting in different colors where they shouldn’t normally be. While I try to adhere to realism where I can in a piece due to my educational background, art is still art, and sometimes you just need to throw some blues and greens on a piece to really make it pop!

What is your favorite piece of art you’ve every done? (if you could also send me a picture or Instagram link to use in the blog, that would be awesome).

Ooh that’s a tough one. It’s tough getting attached to a piece because I never want to let it go! My favorites currently are probably “Tyger, Tyger,”  “Native,” or “Ursidae.” “Tyger, Tyger” was an idea borne from a poem, and some of the techniques I tried out looked so fantastic in the end product that I don’t know if I’ll ever replicate that again. “Native” is one of my favorites due to my love of pumas, and was one of the first projects where I blended inks and watercolors to create contrast and fur detail, and the end product was better than expected, which is hard to get. “Ursidae” is a charcoal piece, one of my first larger ones that ended up just looking incredible. I’m very critical of my works, and it was just one of those rare pieces that I couldn’t find any criticism for.

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The Tyger Tyger piece which one of the limited edition prints this month was based on has a cool ‘duality’ type composition.  We saw this in some of your other work as well.  Is there a message there?

Actually, one of my first pieces was called “Duality!” I previously did a piece called “Two Kings” which was similar to “Tyger, Tyger,” which featured two lions, one roaring and one just looking on. That idea of duality in nature, of fear and respect, regality and aggression, was just appealing to me; and cats were the perfect subject for it. There is a poem called “The Tyger,” by William Blake, which speaks of the dangers and beauty of nature, juxtaposing the innocence and frailty of a lamb with the power and fear that a tiger can impose. The piece was adapted from the first stanza, which reads:

“Tyger tyger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

I have always loved that poem and the message it suggests, and after I did “Two Kings” knew I wanted to adapt ‘The Tyger” in a similar fashion. The message is similar to the poem: there is beauty in nature, and there is just as much power. It’s not always to be feared, because we can learn so much, but it is absolutely to be respected. The tigers in the piece, one roaring and one looking on, reflects nature and its duality. Most of these animals in the world around us are not to be controlled, but respected for the ferocity and poise they can hold.

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Dominique’s limited edition artist tees are only available during the month of September, so shop them now before you miss out. The 2 prints available are a line drawing version of her tiger design, Tyger Tyger and the geometric panther.  Come by the store to see the original artwork and other pieces by Dominique.

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Finding my Wings : Gabriella Auer

At the beginning of this year we started sponsoring the Squatch team who has been training for their first Ironman! They related to our Find Your Wings motto and we love supporting people who are out there making life happen.  Gabriella Auer is a team member and this is her story of how she ‘found her wings’.

Last winter I signed up to swim, bike, and run for a total of 70.3 miles at the end of June this summer. WHY? WHY? someone might ask? Well, to completely answer that question we need to rewind some years.

You should have seen me my freshman year of high school. I remember running the mile and it was SO. HARD. As I lay in the grass after I ran 4 laps around our track I remember someone saying then it wasn’t good to lay down after running the mile. I don’t think I cared. Fast forward 15 years and here I am, an Ironman 70.3 finisher. What? How did I come this far? Am I the same person? Whether you run 10 miles every day or walk for 10 minutes every day, I hope I can inspire and encourage you with my own story.

A few years ago a friend asked me if I would consider running a Half Marathon in San Jose, CA, where I was living at the time. Initially I said no (Why would I run 13.1 miles? And pay to do it?)… but after thinking about it I knew it would be a good challenge for me. So I agreed to do it. After training (and grabbing a lot of free gel packets during the race) I finished it! (And it wasn’t too bad!)

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After that race, I ran a full and another half as well. It was hard work training but it was incredible to see what I could accomplish when I was determined! When my boa-clad Dad joined me in the race, someone snapped a shot and we were in the news! (How happy do I look in that picture?!?!) Upon moving to Fort Collins my friend Alex asked me if I would do a triathlon with him in Boulder. Again, my first response was no (because: swimming) but after my friend AJ encouraged me to challenge myself I signed up. I completed my first tri!! After our tri last summer AJ talked about how we were going to do a Half Ironman. My response: who is “we”? I was unsure at first, but after having decided to do it, I am so thankful! It’s been incredible to train, race, and encourage my 7 teammates and friends- the Squatch Team… named after Dr. Squatch Soap! We all completed our first Ironman 70.3 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this summer!

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We are so thankful for Akinz supporting our team! Akinz is all about finding your wings- what is it that makes you want to go faster, farther, and harder?

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For me, mountain biking is another area of outdoor activity where I have really found my wings! It all started on Kesl Run at 18 Road in Fruita, Colorado. I went with friends and borrowed a mountain bike and was HOOKED. Holy cow it was so much fun! Kesl Run makes you feel like you are riding a roller coaster- but on your bike! I could not keep quiet- happy/loud sounds kept coming from my mouth and BOY was I excited. I knew I gotta get into this sport. I purchased my first mountain bike- a Juliana Juno. It’s a full suspension limey green bike that I have had so much fun on. I have ridden in Crested Butte, Fruita, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, and hopefully many more places! On my Juliana I have done an XTerra, short track races, and XC races. It has been such a joy finding my wings.

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Now, I’m off to mountain bike race at the Laramie Mountain Bike Series in Laramie, Wyoming!

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Rig To Flip on July 8th: Help Conserve the Rivers of the West

Rig to Flip is on a mission to bring attention to the endangered rivers of the west. They recently spread their wings through the canyons of Southern Colorado on the once lively, now dying, Dolores River. A river that has been dammed and used for irrigation- with little regard for those downstream.

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The crew took three pack rafts down the Dolores river to film the conditions that the endangered fish, wildlife and plant life experience below the McPhee dam.

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The crew flipped boats, lost gear and experienced extreme weather conditions in the attempt to bring the issues of the Dolores River to the mainstream public.

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The team has a goal of raising $2,000 to fund their ability to continue providing educational films, at no cost to the public. So far, the Find Your Wings fundraising efforts has reached $400 towards their goal.

IMG_0561They gathered hundreds of hours of footage and photographs.

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Help to bring the Dolores- the River of Sorrows- back to the public eye.

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Help to Akinz fund their conservation mission to share the issues of the endangered waters of the west by participating in Akinz’s Rig to Flip Day on July 8th.

NEW ITEMS: Under The Stars

What better place to be than under the stars in the summertime? That’s why we have designed a shirt that you can wear under your work week button up to serve as reminder of what the weekend brings.

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Our men’s shirt comes in a soft tri-blend that will feel great against sunburned skin while sitting next to the campfire. We pride ourselves on not only providing style but comfort in our designs.under-the-stars-gray-triblend-tee

 

The ladies version comes in a soft turquoise racer back tank. Nothing says summer like a racer back tan line. This tank is ideal for taking a hike in to the peaks where you get the best view of the starry night sky.under-the-stars-tank-top
When casual Friday comes around, proudly sport where you will be this upcoming weekend under your work blazer- UNDER THE STARS.

Akinz Summer Road Trip

Road Trip Heading West and Dressed to Impress

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What better way to explore the freedom of summer than with a summer road trip? The early days of summer call for us to stretch our wings and get moving in the new found heat. But where to explore first? We have compiled our favorite stops to add to you road trip in the west.

Capitol Reef, UT

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Photo Cred: dipsdas.wordpress.com

What is a road trip out west without a stop in the desert? Explore the land of the ancient ones in your comfy galaxy shorts or leggings to avoid getting sunburnt with their built in sun protection. This area is known for being home to the Anasazi and is covered in petroglyphs and pictographs with amazing hikes to get to them. After you’re done scrambling around on the red rock and exploring canyons, head back to the visitor center for some homemade ice cream at the Gifford Homestead where they still can fruit and vegetables and make everything by hand like the original settlers. You may want to consider packing warm clothes for those chilly desert nights, such as your Signet Henley long sleeve.

Craters of the Moon, ID

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Photo cred: visitidaho.org

Looking for an “weird and scenic” way to break up the drive on your way to the coast? A stop at the volcanic remnants in the middle of a Idaho will make you wonder how it all happened. The drive across barren desert and then grassy foothills leads you to a black volcanic rock covered wasteland. Make sure to pack along your sunnies, the reflection off the volcanic rock is pretty intense. In addition the stellar star show you can see out there, there are caves to explore and volcanoes to hike! As you make your way through Boise, make a stop in at Outdoor Exchange to grab any last minute camping or Akinz gear you may need to get you through the rest of your trip.

Seaside, OR

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No road trip is complete without a visit to the beach. Get your toes in the sand and a great view of the ocean while relaxing outside of the car for a change. You’ll stay comfortable and breezy in our new SALT, LIME & SUNSHINE tank and Kai Trucker Hat as you cruise the beach looking for seashells. You can take a lesson from the sea lions bathing in the sun while visiting the beautiful lighthouse. Make sure not miss out on making it over to the boardwalk for some fresh taffy before heading to your next destination.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon, AZ

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Photo cred: advantagegrandcanyon.com

Sometimes it pays off to take the long way home. While most tourists find their way to the south rim, we like to avoid the crowds. There are a number of trails to gain different vantage points from of the grandest canyon on earth. Show off your rafting love for those boating the Colorado below by wearing your Rig to Flip lightweight hoodie. You’ll need it when catching the sunrise or sunset because it tends to get chilly on this mountainous side of the canyon.

May 2016 Akinz Staff Spotlight – Logan Rowley

Meet Logan Rowley!  Logan is our weekend shop gal and also makes knitted beanies for the store.  She’s a Fort Collins local, high school student, softball player and artist!  We thought we’d continue with our birthday theme as Logan just celebrated a birthday too!

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How did you find Akinz? I was born in Fort Collins, so walking around Old Town.  I always thought it would be the coolest job.

What is your favorite part about working at Akinz? Making beanies and being in the atmosphere of Old Town.  The people and culture are amazing.

What is your favorite piece that Akinz currently has to offer?  Our new floral yoga leggings!  Super comfy and cute!

What is your favorite to make? Our sasha beanie.  Love the colors and the style of the beanie!  Perfect for all seasons!

What have you learned since working at Akinz?  Retail is no joke.  And being unique in every business aspect is very important!

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What would people never guess that you do in your role? Some might not think work can be fun, but I just love working at Akinz!

Spirit Animal? Elephant, bold and strong.

Before working at Akinz, what was the best/worst/interesting/unusual job that you had? Lifeguarding.  Yelling at parents more than kids isn’t as pleasant as it sounds.

What do you want to be when you “grow up”? Graphic or Industrial designer.  I love art and hands on work!

Favorite thing to do as it starts to get warm outside?  Hiking, backpacking and camping!

What three things can you not live without (besides food, water and shelter!)? My dog Beatrice, art, and the mountains!

Can you describe your style in five words or less? Outdoorsy, casual, easy-to-maintain, everyday

logan-rowley-staff-spotlight3If there was a t-shirt made to describe you what would it say or have on it? Mountains, campfire, and it would say wanderlust.

What is your favorite things about Colorado? Mountains, towns like Fort Collins, amazing people, and the Poudre River!

What are your interests and hobbies? Hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, being with friends and family, and ART!
Anything you want to tell the readers? Anything they should know about you? (i.e. you can pat and rub your belly at the same time, you have ambitions of being an astronaut, etc…)  I really like fruit and Birkenstocks.

 

Spring Hiking on the Front Range

Are you having a hard time making the transition from winter to spring? It’s hard to let go of the skis and bring out the bike but we brought you some great ways to make it a bit easier on yourself. Exploring what the Front Range has to offer will remind you of why you are so proud to live in Colorado. Get out and enjoy it!

St. Mary’s Glacier

Photo Cred: summitpost.org

Photo Cred: summitpost.org

There is going to be snow here all year round so you can strap your board or skis on your back and get some turns in if you’re not quite ready to let go of snow. Or, you can just enjoy a leisurely 1.5 mile round trip hike and take in the spring time wildflowers that cover the area. After your hike, you should consider visiting the Indian Hot Springs in Idaho Springs while you’re up that way. You’ll be thankful you remembered your hat because chances are you’ll be left a bit chilly, as the area tends to be a bit breezy.

Red Rocks Park

Photo Cred: redrocksonline.com

Photo Cred: redrocksonline.com

Red Rocks is surrounded by miles of trails. Many music lovers tend to forget this and dismiss it as a great hiking spot. While you’re daydreaming of summer time shows, wear your galaxy leggings to bring some of the party with you to the venue. It has killer views on any trail you choose and due to its lower elevation will often not be a muddy mess that you may find on other trails surrounding the front range.

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Another great low elevation option, these miles of trails are beautifully maintained and are ready for your first mountain bike ride of the season. You can travel from Laporte across the Fort Collins back range on the interconnecting trail systems. Open to hikers as well, it is a great place to stretch your legs, as long as it hasn’t recently rained. These trails can get a lil’ messy when wet.

Spring Time Soup

Are you feeling the shoulder season slump? It’s too muddy to get on the trails and there is still snow in the high country but not enough to shred on. What are you going to do with yourself on these Colorado spring days? Check out how Akinz spends our soupy spring days.

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Frisbee in City Park, Fort Collins, CO Photo cred: Craig Okraska

Ultimate Frisbee or Frolf

Most of the parks in town will be dry enough to get your Frisbee on. Grab a few of your friends and drag them out of their winter lairs to roll around in the grass with you. It has been a long and cold winter. It’s a good way to get the heart pumping and enjoy some time with friends that you have missed all winter season.

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Caitlin Yong in our Ride More tee, Photo credit: Justin Malpica

Take Out Your Skate(board)

After a great season of powder turns, pull out your old deck and take a spin around the neighborhood. Hit up the skate park and remember how to use that old piece of wood. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into a few old skate buddies that will help you get back on board!

Denver Botanical Gardens

Photo Cred: denver.org

Photo Cred: denver.org

The gardens are a great place to spend a spring day. It allows you to soak up some of that early sunshine and you won’t be the only Coloradan struttin’ around with wintery white legs. Don’t forget that your skin hasn’t seen too much sun in the recent months and remember to bring your shades and hat to avoid looking like a lobster by the day’s end.

Chase the Sunmoab-bike

It may be soupy and muddy on the Front Range but it won’t be in Fruita or Moab! Put that bike rack back on and pack your car full of friends to save on gas money. Hit it and get those legs back into shape so they feel great for hiking, running and riding trails all summer long. The desert is a great place to be with friends no matter what it is. Did I hear outdoor sunset yoga? Or head over to Joshua Tree or Shelf Road for some early season climbing without getting scorched by the sun.

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Caitlin Yong climbing in Joshua Tree

Akinz Find Your Wings Foundation- Rig To Flip

Rig BumperRig to Flip has set out on a mission to provide a new media for an old west. With their focus on the rivers of the western slope, they aim to shed light on conservation issues that impact us all. The RTF team has recently produced a film about the Dolores River (AKA “The River of Sorrow”) of Southern Colorado and how the effects of the McPhee dam placed on the water, in 1985, has affected the native fish, the farmers and the recreational community of the area.12984035_463667110495637_3646045540305089400_o

The filming team is hoping to spend 12-14 days working on another way to focus the public eye on the nearly 200 miles of the Dolores river. They will be setting out to help create a new river map that will easily reflect available campsites, rapid size, navigation and locations and additional information about the area.

The previous river map, published in 1993, no longer reflects the changes that have taken place on the river as a result of the McPhee Dam Project. Rig To Flip has joined up with the Tamarisk Coalition, Dolores River Boating Advocates, American Whitewater, the BLM, Colorado Mesa University, the University of Wyoming and Conservation Colorado to achieve this goal together, as a community should.

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Join Akinz in helping the Rig To Flip crew get down to the Dolores by purchasing the latest Akinz Find Your Wings Foundation design. The shirts will be available in both the store and at our online store to practice your purchasing power.

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This one-of-a-kind Akinz design is helping the Rig To Flip organization take flight by becoming the third beneficiary of the Find Your Wings Foundation. They will be receiving 40% of all proceeds from each RTF shirt purchased. We are excited to be aiding in the conservation of the beauty of the Colorado rivers and wilderness areas alongside Rig To Flip. Thank you in advance for your purchase!12356833_1233946193286322_4476050841394217193_o