VODKA FOR DOG PEOPLE
These days, how and where we spend our hard-earned coin matters more than ever. Like anything else, our go-to pour provides both a chance to indulge and an opportunity to generate social, economic and/or environmental impact.
Medal of Honor recipient Ty M. Carter opened my eyes to Tito’s during an interview a few years back. The American hero is a fellow dog lover who also takes his love of country, service and vodka seriously. Like Ty, I don’t believe in overthinking it – just being informed and rising above the well.
Not only is Tito’s reliable and irresistible to many a vodka-lover, its extraordinary commitment to supporting animals, people and the planet has inspired a legion of fans and followers who may not even drink the stuff. Now no other vodka will do.
Tito’s is proud to be America’s Original Craft Vodka. In 1995, Bert “Tito” Beveridge obtained the first legal permit to distill in Texas and created Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Under his direction, the brand batch-distills its smooth-as-silk corn-based vodka using old-fashioned pot stills, and the vodka is naturally gluten-free. A perfectionist with a vision, Tito wouldn’t rest until he found his formula.
In the early days when Tito started making vodka at the Mockingbird Distillery, his best “furriend” and the brand’s first co-woofer, DogJo, stood by his side day and night to keep him company. As Tito pursued his liquid dreams, DogJo played wingman and confidant.
New to the vodka business, Tito struggled to make ends meet, yet he donated cases to nonprofits in need, welcoming the opportunity for folks to taste his new vodka. “If you like it, tell 20 of your closest friends,” he said… and they did. The word got out – not just about the vodka, but also about Tito’s philanthropic business practices. The phone started to ring more often, and Tito’s fell into the “charity event” business.
As the company grew, Tito empowered each and every member of the team, regardless of their role, to support the causes they were passionate about in their local communities. Every time a team member reached out to extend a hand, to make a difference, to say, “Thank you for inviting us to help the cause,” they signed off with, “Love, Tito’s.” This salutation became a mantra, which turned into a movement. Through Love, Tito’s, the team has supported thousands of causes – lending a hand to rebuild communities after devastation, spreading joy to those who need a little more, and protecting the environment we all share.
These days, Tito’s is also the Vodka for Dog People, with a pet-friendly workplace policy at their headquarters in Austin and awards for being one of the most “pet-friendly” places to work in the United States. Tito’s first trusty pup, DogJo, may have passed on, but the canine heart of the operation beats stronger than ever. Taki is the new resident Tito’s distillery dog, trotting, sniffing and snacking in DogJo’s paw prints, while other beloved “co-woofers” snooze adorably under employees’ desks and in cozy spots around the property.
Tito’s Vodka for Dog Program and social advocacy group Dogs at Work recently partnered to present Dogs at Work, an information center that educates business owners on the value of bringing dogs to work and provides real resources to encourage the practice. Visit https://www.dogsatwork.us/
Canine appreciation doesn’t stop there. Tito’s “Co-Woofer of the Month” series includes exclusive interviews with adorable pups “on the job,” while other programs celebrate “Adventure Canines” and more.
The Tito’s team is also committed to protecting and rescuing animals that have wandered into the distillery in search of food and water. The company has worked with numerous nonprofits, such as Austin Humane Society, Wings of Rescue, Basseterre Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) St. Kitts, and others to help eliminate animal homelessness in Austin and surrounding communities.
The goal at Tito’s is simple: to turn spirits into love and goodness. Essentially, Tito’s has evolved into a philanthropy-driven company that sells vodka on the side.
DO try this at home – The Grackle https://www.titosvodka.com/recipes/vodka-drinks/the-grackle/
GIVE A DAMN
It’s time to ditch mass production and mindless consumerism to support a sexy, subversive brand aimed at socially conscious innovation.
Looking for soft, sassy and made in the USA? Based in NYC, Lingua Franca (LF) produces sexy and sustainable luxury cashmere sweaters. Not only is the brand synonymous with bold and beautiful, it is driven by a steadfast commitment to fair trade, ethical labor practices and the highest environmental standards. Tack on its thought-provoking, hand-embroidered phrases on that plush cashmere, and Lingua Franca has established itself as a force-for-good to be reckoned with.
For Founder Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, LF was born stitch by stich – literally. In an effort to create balance and burn through a modern girl’s stress, she turned to embroidery and a timeless craft she learned as a child from her grandmother Rita in Nebraska. Picking up an old cashmere sweater, she got her groove on, expertly moving a needle and thread while spontaneously riffing on hip-hop lyrics. The result? Luxurious cashmere that screams empowering blasts of intelligent, fearless poetry to boost every man, woman and child, including “Give A Damn,” “I Believe Her,” and “Outlaw,” to name a few epic favorites. Not to mention soft and stunning travel sets that include blanket, socks, embroidered eye mask and embroidered travel bag with zip closure. All made from 100% cashmere. Hand embroidered by women in NYC.
Lingua Franca’s mission statement is not only to start meaningful conversations, but also to work towards creating positive and impactful change. Under Hrusha MacPherson’s direction, Lingua Franca is passionately using its platform in order to give back in tangible ways while inspiring change – a portion of LF proceeds support badass activists and organizations working for a better world. Over the two years since its inception, Lingua Franca has partnered with and given back to over 227 charities, including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Semper Fi Foundation and She Should Run.
Of course, a natural extension of this commitment has included partnering with organizations and charities that share the same brand values and mission. Its wildly successful collab with dynamic accessory brand MZ Wallace is no exception. Sales from the She Should Run bag campaign raised more than $100,000 for the nonprofit and its efforts to generate opportunities for women leaders driven to run for public office.
It’s no wonder the brand’s quality and creativity are striking a chord, especially in today’s highly charged political environment. Luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Joan Didion, Tim McGraw, Reese Witherspoon, and Huma Abedin, among others, have embraced LF’s positive and socially engaged voice.
For the team at Lingua Franca, the year ahead will be focused on dreaming up new ways to amplify its nonprofit partners’ work and expand the limits of what is possible while unearthing the “Outlaw” in each of us. Example? In honor of International Women’s Day 2019, Lingua Franca treated more than a dozen remarkably inspiring women from across the country to a well-earned weekend off in New York City. Receiving over 500 submissions in which friends and family nominated an extraordinary woman in their lives, a final group of 13 was selected – each one a valuable thread holding her community together.
What does the future hold for Lingua Franca? Rachelle shares on her site, “I hope we will grow into a super compelling company that continues to engage in our world. I hope we add to the world, not take from it. I hope to stay on my toes and continue to be humbled and inspired by the people I meet along the way. I hope we are able to see the humor in things and find the joy. And, I hope to call out and celebrate the absurd. I’m excited!”
After all, a well-behaved woman rarely makes history..
Produced by: Corry Cook
Sources and Photos: Many thanks to Rachelle Hruska MacPherson and everyone at Lingua Franca
Military service is a time-honored way to put others’ safety and well-being before one’s own. At the American Revel Traveler, we understand that our ability to roam free begins with active-duty and retired military, and their families, who choose to serve and sacrifice – in the United States and around the world. We are forever grateful.
Meet Ty M. Carter.
In 2013 at the age of 30, Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter became the fifth living Medal of Honor recipient since the War in Vietnam. It is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
Our nation’s highest-ranking military officials have described Specialist Carter’s service to his country as including great acts of courage and skill; his actions define what it means to be a true American hero. Now retired with disabled status, Ty continues to earn his reputation as an unstoppable force. Sure, he’s attractive and articulate, but more importantly, he’s magnetic.
Whether engaged in a public speaking gig or consulting on set, Ty enters the room like an apex predator at the watering hole: deliberate and almost undetectable. Soon enough, his powerful presence commands attention and respect; sharing gripping moments filled with precision, adrenaline, and heartache, he demonstrates the real courage he is known for – not in the past, but right here, right now.
The October 3, 2009, attack on Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in Afghanistan is as horrific as it gets. Just check out Netflix, which documents each of the eight losses suffered in that vicious ambush in Episode 8 of its original series Medal of Honor. It is clear that the unit went through hell and back and then some. Each solider in the unit acted bravely and in sync during that horrific firefight; the difference between living and dying that day seems largely inexplicable and random. Far from emerging unscathed, Ty’s efforts that day left him with shrapnel wounds, hearing loss, and posttraumatic stress disorder. His actions earned him the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.
Ty is blessed, and burdened, to be the one who was chosen to live, and relive, this day continuously. Whereas Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day includes countless chances to go back in time and “do” the same day over again until perfected, Ty shares his worst day over and over in order to educate the public and help others who have served heal. This requires unparalleled personal strength and a mastering of an internal battle, wrought with haunting images, pain, and the weight of the world, all managed by sheer mental strength and a few strategic sips of water than serve to mask an occasional moment overcome by emotion.
Not strictly a soldier’s problem, post-traumatic stress affects police officers, firefighters, first responders, and anyone who has survived traumatic events and experiences, at home and abroad.
In 2018 Ty M. Carter became the proud owner of a brand-new donated house. The house, given to Carter debt-free from the Texas Sentinels Foundation, sits on 10 acres in rural Bastrop, about 40 miles east of Austin. Today Ty is loving evolving as amateur gun builder, apprentice shiner, and homeowner. The Texas Sentinels Foundation believes that through the personal sacrifice and heroic dedication of American Soldiers, freedom and security is available to all Americans.
One of the core values of the Foundation includes providing debt-free housing to remove the burden and allow wounded military veterans to focus on recovery. For Ty, it is clear this gift continues to support healing and happiness. Shares Ty, “There is no better place on earth to play with my dog, shoot and build guns, and spend time with people I care about.”
To learn more about Ty M. Carter and the Medal of Honor, check-out Episode 8 of the Netflix Original, Medal of Honor or visit theaters this fall. Having lent his expertise as a Military Advisor to Millennium Studios on their upcoming feature film The Outpost, we are looking forward to seeing the film hitting theaters this October.
Sources and Photos: Many thanks to Ty M. Carter
For those who dream of a winter wonderland, Finnish Lapland is as close as it gets to the real thing. Untouched and pristine nature is at the core of Finnish life. It also makes for the ultimate “Do Not Disturb” location.
Hidden away more than 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is an enchanting, otherworldly destination. From hunting for aurora, to exploring the pristine artic wilderness, to dozing off under the Northern Lights in a glass igloo, there are plenty of romantic arctic adventures in store.
For a truly unique date night at Kakslauttanen, nothing beats a private couples’ smoke sauna (Savusauna) experience. This quintessential Finnish endeavor combines the soft warmth of the sauna, cool refreshing beverage and – for the bold – the exhilarating cold plunge. Best described as invigorating and adrenaline inducing with potential health benefits, it’s also downright sexy.
What begins with expert service and instruction, soon feels as though you’re the only two people on earth. Whereas modern wood-heated sauna stoves have a chimney to let out the smoke, but not so with the Finnish smoke sauna; instead, the smoke of the fire is trapped inside as it would have been millennia ago, along with the heat of the stove that is no longer lost up the chimney. The smoke is allowed out through the door immediately prior to the sauna-goers’ entrance, and the sauna then relies on its stored-up heat. Breathing in deeply while watching the fire crackle and glow, the body begins to soften with sweat and the heat releases all tension and boundaries.
Forget colored lights, aromatic fragrances and relaxing music: real Finnish saunas are dimly lit, and there’s no music or smells except for fresh birch and natural tar. Made from soaked birch twigs, the sauna whisks are used to gently whip yourself or one another, stimulating circulation and filling the air with their aroma. Whether or not you’re into this sort of thing at home, “whipping” your partner in the sauna is not only an accepted practice, it’s encouraged. It may sound bizarre but it’s a lot of playful fun and really good for your skin – you’ll feel the smoothness afterwards.
Time is not an issue. Neither is running around naked – indoors and out. At your leisure, time is spent alternating between the smoke sauna itself, the cold outdoors, and the warm cabin complete with a full fridge, shower, warm towels, hot showers and a roaring fire. With virtually no one around and no other building in sight, you can easily move between spaces, bodies steaming, and sans clothing.
The Finns’ laid-back manner and tendency to give you your own space ensures you are guaranteed privacy. Should your private butler catch sight of the “real” you (the national standard is to sauna in the nude), never fear – the Finns have seen their fair share of naked human bodies and it’s not a “thing” to be naked with perfect strangers in sauna. It’s only natural, and every body is welcomed and accepted without judgement.
Of course, you and your partner will be sweating heavily in the sauna, so it’s important to take breaks and drink plenty of fluids. Water is probably best, but fortunately, according to the locals, beer and cider are actually preferred during sauna. Stepping out into the brilliant cold night air, the snow sparkles bright white and the sky is lit up with the brightest stars you’ve ever seen; the truly fortunate may also see Aurora rippling above in dazzling shades of blue and green. This far north, the brilliant Northern Lights can appear on a crystal-clear night sky like magic nearly 200 nights a year.
They don’t call it “liquid courage” for nothing. Kaklauttanen’s private smoke sauna experience for two also involves dropping the towel and either diving into the snow together or plunging your bodies into a natural pool cut through the ice. The secret to dipping into icy water lies in plenty of fearless, alcohol-induced insanity, and you’ll be rewarded by a kind of euphoric feeling that surges through your body once you get out. As soon as you’re back on dry land your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up.
According to the experts at Visit Finland, sauna and Finland are inseparable. If you want to understand the country and its people, getting familiar with sauna is a good starting point. Whether an electric sauna in a modern business environment or an old-fashioned wood-burning sauna by a lakeside cottage, sauna is an essential part of daily life. So too is respect for nature and wildlife as well as people and their age-old customs. Just remember that for the Finnish, sauna has nothing to do with sex.
For everybody else? Just take it outside.
Produced By Corry Cook
Sources: Visit Finland; Kakslauttanen Artic Resort
Photos: Photographer Valtteri Hirvonen; Photographer Ruka Kuusamo; Visit Finland; Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort; Harri Tarvainen