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Two girls making somethings out of nothings with their hands. This summer we hope to embark on an epic cross country road trip, interviewing all kinds of artist along the way in order to make a documentary about art and culture in America today. OUR KICKSTARTER IS UP AND RUNNING! follow us and stay informed! Instagram: @soapskeptics Facebook.com/soapskeptics.1

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Long Time No Blog

Hey folks!

Sorry it's been a while since we blogged, but not sorry at the same time because we have been experiencing so much goodness the internet probably wouldn't be able to handle it.

Where to begin….

We landed in New Mexico and stayed in Albuquerque with Andrea's Aunt, Eugenia, and her partner, Stephanie. They were wonderful hosts- they cooked for us, took us to see some sights, and just relaxed and enjoying each other's company in their beautiful new home! We also got to spend some time with Andrea's grandmother (who taught her how to crochet) and her uncle, Luis. This mini family reunion was a nice little distraction from all of the art talk and interviewing, it gave us some time to really ground ourselves in the journey. We got to explore some Native American Territory in Sky City, it's an Acoma Pueblo on top of a mesa, the mesa has a long history of why the Natives settled there, they traveled across the land singing to the mesa's and the one which would sing back to them was the one they were to live on. Of course, tragic history tells that the white settlers who came and tried to take over bombarded the people of the mesa and disturbed their village. It is still a running village with families living in the homes, going to the church, and carrying the old traditions. We met an artist named Gooby Garcia, he is the towns story teller, he is in the hierarchy of the pueblo and has been since he was 17 years old (he is now 31). He explained to us all of the symbols in Native American art, the mountain peaks, the symbols for water, fire, earth, and wind, north, west, east, south, the importance of mother and father, the importance of faith and hope, the importance of the self, and of the mother earth. It was truly enlightening and he told us we can come back any time to visit and he would show us some beaded weaving techniques.

In New Mexico we met with Andrea's friend, Carter, he is a musician and happened to be traveling this summer on a cross country bicycle journey. Since we were both in New Mexico at the same time, we met up with him and did a little interview about music and culture. Then the three of us ventured to Santa Fe to see some sights and it just so happened to be a big Native American Festival! We walked around for about two hours and got really tired of the heat and the crowds and how expensive everything was and… lets be real… we don't have time or money to be looking at $200 jewelry. So we ventured some more and we ended up meeting a group of loving, free spirited individuals: Ali, Phoenixx, and Karyn (a.k.a Dandelion). We ended up making weavings, drawings, and music in a park right outside of Santa Fe for the entire day. It was nice, we needed some time for creativity to flow, and working alongside other creative individuals is always inspiring. Well, turns out Karyn is a fire breather/performer and Ali and Phoenixx play guitar and sing magically as she performs to "make a buck" as they say. Of course we stayed for the show! Twas the perfect way to end our day in the historically beautiful Santa Fe!

So Carter knows of this girl Emily who we have been in touch with for the past few weeks. It was his idea for us to meet her and learn about living off the grid. For those of you who do not know what "off the grid" means, it means to live off of the grid of society completely self sufficient. Right after our fire show in Santa Fe, we made our way to Taos where we met Emily at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and followed her car to her piece of land 7 miles away from the city on the top of a mesa.

Emily started her interest living off the grid when she interned for EarthShips [www.earthship.com] and later became employed by them. Through the company she learned about self sustainable agriculture, architectural design to coexist with nature, and how to reuse and recycle objects into functional, useful things around the house. She recently purchased and officially owns her own piece of land and has been living in a school bus she renovated and made completely her own. The way of life is inspiring, it's hard work, it's ambitious, it's dedication, strong will, and we completely admire everything she told us and shared with us. Our first night on the mesa we stayed at her neighbor, Tyler's land.

He let the three of us sleep in his camper. Then in the morning we all went to the Coffee Spot, a cute little Taos hangout place for good coffee and breakfast. Then Emily, Rosie, Carter, and Andrea made their way to downtown Taos and shopped around a bit, saw some cool stores, bought some awesome wool roving, got some groceries, and made our way to the RIO GRANDE!! Emily showed us this amazing part of the Rio Grande right by her mesa where there are hot springs leading right to the Big Rio itself. We hangout there till the sun went down, met some cool tourists, drank a few beers, made friends with a mountain goat, and took a dip in the Rio. We spent the night once again at Tyler's while he was working in Santa Fe and in the morning, SoapSkeptics left the mesa to head for the Grand Canyon. We had just enough time to interview Emily and film her talking about what it is to live off the grid and in Taos…. as soon as we get back to NJ and edit all of this footage you will all be able to hear all the things she has to say about how her life changes since living off the grid.

THANK YOU so much to Emily and Tyler for welcoming us in to your homes and being nothing but good to the both of us, and THANK YOU to Carter who introduced us. Something tells me our paths will cross again soon! We knew on this trip we were "gonna learn", and we HAVE been.


After spending the night in Tuba City, Arizona we woke up extra early to grab some breakfast at the Hogans Family Restaurant. MMM M! Navajos know what is up when it comes to breakfast! Two eggs, pulled pork, toast, pancakes, sausage, ham, coffee, chile, peppers, and cheese for like $7!

Enough said.
Right next door was a Navajo historical trading post so of course we had to go in. Andrea walked out with an awesome ring and Rosie with earrings. Then right back on the road. We traveled a lot that day before so it was just a short drive to the most magical place on earth.

Words can not even begin to explain the amazing, jaw dropping beauty that is the Grand Canyon. We were both speechless. All we could do was smile, laugh, and say "Wow".  We both strongly believe that everyone should most definitely go and see it with their own eyes. Pictures just don't do it justice… One thing that has been very apparent while traveling and seeing all of these amazing sights is that we are small! Its very humbling :)

After gazing at the beautiful canyon for a couple hours we went back to the campsite we reserved earlier ~Shout out to campsite #31!~ and got together all of the great rocks we found around the area and washed them to see what we got because we're crazy. Just kidding but our site neighbors probably thought so. We were wrapping sage, washing rocks, painting, and cutting each others hair. So yeah, we're crazy. That's what three weeks on the road does to ya!

 It started to get pretty nippy and dark early on so we ran over to the general store in the park and got some hotdogs and beer to enjoy next to the fire we were about to build.

Not bad for two city girls! The hotdogs were baller and the beers hit the spot but the best part of that night was without a doubt the stars! Its amazing how many there are and they're always there but the light pollution [especially around New Jersey that we're used to] overpowers them. It's also sad. The stars remind you that you are on a planet floating through space. Yeah, we all know that and people talk about the earth all the time but if you can't actually see it every day, its easy to forget. In the tent we could still see the stars and falling asleep to that was priceless.

In the morning, before the sun was about to rise we drove over to the canyon edge to see it once more and then headed back to camp to make some toast and Nutella for breakfast, pack up, and make our way to Flagstaff, Arizona. Our "service needed" light came on in the car se we took it to get some TLC before driving through the desert to California.

Seven hours later we finally make it to Burbank, California where we stopped real quick to see Rosie's cousin, T.J. and get some advice on where to look for a cheap motel. T.J. was on his way to band practice and we needed to find a room so we parted ways but don't worry we'll be interviewing him tomorrow morning about his special project. When we say special we mean no one is doing
what he does. Stay tuned to find out!

For now, it is bed time. We finally found a cheap room at the Harmony Motel and are so excited to get some well needed rest. It was great catching up and we don't plan on living off the grid again on this trip so posts should be regular. Maybe.


Harmony Motel was harmonious FOR SURE! Neither of us wanted to wake up but T.J. McNeill was ready for his interview bright and early! We interviewed him about his projects of mixing musical talent with comedy and satire. T.J. has lots to express about society, culture, and all the in-betweens and he used irony, satire, and comedy to say it! The interview was entertainment at it's best, but also really genuine and we touched on a lot of topics about social media and how people react and interact with social issues through the media. Can't wait to edit it!

After the interview T.J. was oh so awesome and treated us to DENNYS!!! The BEST breakfast sandwiches and great way to start our day in LA. He had work so we parted ways and the SoapSkeptics team made way towards Venice Beach to soak up some sun and enjoy the scenery. This place is lively and fun to say the least. So much art, street performers, roller bladders, skate boarders, body builders, graffiti, and hustlers! Yeah, we got hustled. We thought we were buying two shirts for $20 each, but then after they swiped our credit card they told us it was $100! WHAT THE HELL VENICE BEACH?! It's okay though, we made a scene, and we hustled them back leaving the store with three shirts, a sweatshirt, and a hat. BOOM! Jersey don't have patience for dealing with that sort of bull crap.
Besides that…. Venice beach was beautiful! Andrea took a nice dip in the radioactive Pacific Ocean, and Rosie got a nice bright crispy sun burn. Worth it.

We made our way to Hollywood to check out the stars and eat some In n Out Burgers! So yummy and so much fun! LA is so opposite of the places we have been staying lately, so it was a bit of an adjustment to go from the glorious silent Grand Canyon to this booming, star studded city, but we still enjoyed it and had a great time living the touristy life. After creeping on the big mansions in Beverly Hills and Bel Air in our KIA Soul, we made our way to Santa Monica to sit on the beach and check out the board walk at night.

We met with T.J. after he got out of work and grabbed a drink at a local bar he showed us. Once again, never a dull moment with T.J. THANK YOU SO MUCH for showing us a great time in LA and letting us stay with you on our last night in this glorious city!
It is now time to depart this LA LA Land and head north to San Francisco!!

Alrighty friends, time to hit the road! Don't forget to follow our instagrams for more frequent updates!!



Andrea + Rosie

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