Monthly Archives: April 2011

24 Lesson’s I’ve Learned in 24 Years

Today is my (Morgan’s) 24th birthday! And instead of writing a post about my favorite birthday memories (like the time when I turned 4 and I rejected my grandparents’ birthday presents because I ‘didn’t order them’ or the time when I turned 21, bar-hopped all evening and failed my chemistry final exam the next morning, having to retake chem in summer school), I made a list of 24 lessons I have learned in my 24 years of life. It’s quite a fun and rather insightful exercise if you’ve never done it before! So here goes:
  1. Things happen for a reason. These reasons may not become apparent for years but there are always reasons for everything.
  2. The human body is the most amazing machine in the world. The things it can do are absolutely incredible.
  3. Enjoy the first snow – even though it usually means 6 more months of winter in Michigan, the first snow is without a doubt, beautiful.
  4. Sometimes our best just isn’t good enough but it makes us stronger and more courageous when we have tried our hardest.
  5. Travel changes your world perspective forever and it continues to evolve during each trip you take.
  6. Having a pet gives an energy to a space that nothing else can fill.
  7. Drink water.
  8. Explore unfamiliar places.
  9. Karma really does exist – in my experience.
  10. Sunshine makes everything in life better and happier.
  11. Go snorkeling. The world under the water’s surface is exquisite and everyone should see it in their lifetimes.
  12. Being in love ROCKS.
  13. Every family is quirky and dysfunctional in their own way but that’s what makes them so special.
  14. Photographs are great ways to capture moments – never hesitate to snap the shutter.
  15. Don’t force your system of beliefs onto other people. The world is so unique because everything believes different things. Plus, it makes for more interesting conversations with others.
  16. Recycle everything.
  17. Stand up for what you believe in – even if you’re standing alone.
  18. Love unconditionally.
  19. “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t.” (Words of wisdom from my dad.)
  20. Communication makes life easier, less confusing and all around more enjoyable.
  21. Volunteer. Helping others in any capacity is awesome!
  22. Thai curry is one of the best foods on the planet.
  23. Travel light.
  24. There’s always next time…

Break dancing on a pier in Michigan. That's Lake Huron in the background.

Me (Morgan) at a football game my senior year in college - American football that is, not soccer.

Categories: Adventure, Animals, Asia, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Communication, Disaster Relief, Donation, Family, Food, Global Aid, Globetrotting, Green Living, Hiking, Love, Nature, Outdoors, Packing, Pets, Photography, Random, Snorkeling, Sustainability, Thailand, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, Volunteer, Water | 2 Comments

Paracord Dog Collars from TKG!

Just this morning, we released a new line of paracord dog collars! There are 4 different styles of collars, 25 different colors of paracord to choose from and over 25,000 color combinations to make for your pup! Just like our survival bracelets, the paracord collars are durable, can hold up to 550 pounds of weight and they won’t stink or rot when they get wet. Visit our Etsy store to get your collar today and to check out our other gear.

Sign up for the Top Knotch Gear monthly newsletter on Facebook and get a coupon code!

Tread weave dog collar

3-color king cobra weave dog collar

Chain weave dog collar

2-color king cobra weave dog collar

Categories: Adventure, Backpacking, Globetrotting, Hiking, Knots, Nature, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Pets, Random, Travel | Leave a comment

New TKG Prayer Flag Bracelet

Alex Lowe was an incredible mountaineer who was known for his stamina, humility and passion for adventure. He made numerous skiing and climbing first ascents on mountains around the around and even lead a rescue team up Mt. Denali to save a group of stranded climbers. In 1999, Alex was climbing in the Himalayas when he and his climbing buddies were caught in a massive, deadly avalanche.

The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (ALCF) was erected in Lowe’s honor to promote humanitarian programs in Nepal. The Khumbu Climbing School is an instructional program designed to teach Nepali climbers and high-altitude workers about safe climbing practices, wilderness first aid, proper knotting techniques and rope management.

Top Knotch Gear’s Prayer Flag bracelet was inspired by the Tibetan and Nepali prayer flags hung throughout the mountains that together, symbolize health and harmony. Similar to an Asian wish bracelet, when you receive your bracelet, you make a wish – if the knots unravel, your wish will come true. Each bracelet has adjustable paracord ‘beads’ and a one-size-fits-most adjustable knot/loop closure.

$2 from each Prayer Flag bracelet sale will be donated to the Khumbu Climbing School in Nepal. Help others safely enjoy the spirit of adventure as much as we do!

For more information about the Khumbu Climbing School and the ALCF, see the resources below:

Our new Prayer Flag bracelet for the Khumbu Climbing School in Nepal!

Each color symbolizes the different elements and together they make harmony.

The paracord 'beads' are adjustable so you can keep them pushed together or spread them out as you like.

$2 USD from every Prayer Flag bracelet sale goes to the Khumbu Climbing School. Buy a bracelet and help a sherpa learn safe climbing practices!

For those who have never seen Tibetan Prayer Flags before

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Backpacking, Benefit, Donation, Global Aid, Globetrotting, Hiking, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Random, Rock Climbing, Survival gear, Trails, Travel | Leave a comment

Sneak peek at a new Top Knotch Gear DOG COLLAR!

For those of you follow our blog (or those who happen to click on our blog today), here is a sneak peek at one of the 4 new paracord dog collars we’re RELEASING TOMORROW!

A new Top Knotch Gear paracord dog collar tied with the chain knot. It will be available in 1 or 2 colors as of tomorrow!

Categories: Adventure, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Globetrotting, Hiking, Knots, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Pets, Survival gear, Trails, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

More new bracelets!

Below are some pictures of our newest gear – The Serengeti, The Ayers Rock, The Himalayas, and our new S-clip biners that we can use for bracelet closures (instead of the standard side-release buckles.) You can see these bracelets and other gear at our online Etsy store. And in case you’re not already a fan of Top Knotch Gear on Facebook (which you totally should be), check the store later this week for our new paracord DOG COLLARS! Pet lovers get ready…. because these collars are awesome and totally unique to Top Knotch Gear.

The Serengeti - Climbing Cord Survival Bracelet

The Ayers Rock - Climbing Cord Survival Bracelet

The Himalayas - Climbing Strap Bracelet

Our new S-biners that you can get as your bracelet closure instead of the side-release buckle! They're made of lightweight plastic and the double gated steel clips makes them super durable. (Although, they're not for climbing.) AND they come in awesome colors.

Categories: Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australia, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Globetrotting, Hiking, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Random, Rock Climbing, Survival gear, Trails, Travel | Leave a comment

Travel Tip Tuesday!

Travel tip # 10: The timing of your trip is one of the first things to consider when traveling. Most of the world travels around Christmas time or spring holiday, so these people also pay inflated prices for the climax in tourist season. If you are able, consider traveling in the off-season or at the very beginning or very end of tourist times. You’ll save big bucks when it comes to flights, hotel or hostel rooms, even tours and food. You’ll avoid masses of people, long queues and crowded transportation. Who can complain?

There is, however, something to be said for visiting a country or city during busy times – like for festivals, carnivals and celebrations. These times can be memorable, stimulating and an overall blast. In fact, many of these special times wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t draw all the people. Just know that you’ll most likely end up paying a few extra dollars compared to what you would pay if you visited any other time of the year.

Either way, enjoy yourself, soak up the experience and be safe!

Consider timing your trip so that you avoid tourist season... unless you don't mind people and crowds.

Categories: Adventure, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Food, Globetrotting, Hiking, Outdoors, Random, Transportation, Travel | Leave a comment

The United States of GOOD Beer

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning (love random Facebook posts) and not only does it fit with Earth Month but it’s just an awesome perspective of the United States. This is a map of the U.S. that shows the best-tasting and most sustainably produced beers in the country. All breweries are independently owned (so no Budweiser conglomerates). So the next time you’re on a road trip, stop by a local pub and pick up a pint of this GOOD beer!

The text is a little difficult to see, so click the link below to be taken the to page directly where you can read the best beers of each state. (Each state except Idaho, that is. We’re not so sure what’s up with Idaho…)

Cheers to the GOOD life!

Categories: Backpacking, Earth Day, Food, Globetrotting, Green Living, Outdoors, Random, Sustainability, Travel | Leave a comment

Happy Spring from Top Knotch Gear!

Happy Spring from Top Knotch Gear! We don’t celebrate Easter much anymore but we LOVE springtime! Here are some random pictures we took in honor of the spring season…

These are pictures of our pet rabbit named Bunny. We couldn’t really come up with a name for her (she was a spur-of-the-moment, rather unplanned adoption) so we just named her Bunny. She’s a little over 5 years old and the most fuzzy, lovable, amazing pet.

Bunny is litter-trained, just like a cat, so we let her hop around the apartment day and night. She’s usually really hyper in the morning between 5-10AM. Then, at 10AM, Bun hops into the bedroom and sleeps under our bed for the afternoon. Sometimes we’ll see her come out briefly for food, water or a pee break but she mostly just stays under the bed until about 6:30PM when she’s hyper again and ready to play for the evening.

Our apartment is nearly all carpet except for the bathroom and the kitchen – lucky for Bunny. She’s not too keen on hopping around the tile floor in the bathroom. She prefers the carpet – to both hop on and dine on. (For some reason, carpet is very appetizing to her. In fact, we often catch her with carpet strands hanging out of her mouth or stuck on her whiskers.)

We’ve designated a spacious closet as Bunny’s “house.” This is her special space where her litter box, food, water and treats are. Since the floor is tile, we cover it in towels so she can hop around without slipping. Her favorite foods are baby carrots, broccoli stalks (with the leaves) and raisins. In the background, you can see what’s left of her tiki hut. When we adopted Bunny, she was much skinnier and smaller. Apparently, we’ve fattened her up because she can no longer fit inside her tiki hut like she used to. Ha!

And below are pictures of a Peep bouquet September and I made for my grandma for Easter. We bought a flower pot with artificial leaves from the Salvation Army and then we just colored some wooden cooking skewers with green permanent marker and stuck marshmallow Peeps on top of them. A springtime craft I’m sure my grandmother will adore!

Categories: Nature, Random | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Earth Day Ideas

Hey everybody, it’s Earth Day!! Here are some tips and ideas for things to do today and throughout the weekend.  Of course, in addition to all of this stuff, Earth Day is also a great time to just get outside.  It’s springtime afterall.  So tune up your bike, put the snow shoes on the shelf for next winter and grab your hiking boots. Or start your landscaping, fly a kite, go puddle jumping, hang your birdhouse, dust off the lawn chairs, pull out the corn hole and just get outside.
wants you to “Read, Reuse, Recycle” with up to 34-percent off on Earth Day reads for children and adults. Plus, if you’re ordering from Amazon, check out the Frustration-Free Packaging program, working to make products easier to open and using 100-percent recyclable cardboard. The products are exactly the same: Amazon has just streamlined the packaging to eliminate hard-plastic clamshell cases.  All the cool kids are doing it.

Anthropologie: Looking for something to do with the kids this weekend that’s trendy and green? Anthropolgie is hosting free Earth Day workshops for kids that teaching potting and basic gardening (times and dates vary by location).

Caribou Coffee: Bring a reusable cup or mug into any of this company’s 400+ locations and enjoy a free coffee on Friday, April 22.  Another good reason to grab your travel mug before leaving home.

Diggers List: this site, where DIYers list leftover home improvement supplies for sale or swap, is giving away a free packet of wildflower seeds to anyone who posts items by the end of April.  Ditch your leftovers and beautify the earth at the same time.

Disney Store: if you act quickly and bring in five (5) of those old-fashioned plastic shopping bags (ick, plastic) on Friday, April 22, and you’ll receive a free reusable shopping bag featuring Mickey!

EVOS: for our readers in the south (FL, GA and NC), this restaurant chain, which offers healthy fast food with a special focus on environmental sustainability, is giving away free homemade organic milkshakes to all customers on April 22.

The Home Depot: to keep yourself (or your little ones) busy The Home Depot has scheduled several workshops, available at most stores during Earth Day week, including (check your local store to confirm dates/times, of course):

  • Kids Workshop: Earth Day/Easter Planter Basket – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 23
  • Spring Eco Workshop: Live Green. Save Green. – 10 a.m. April 23
  • Do-It-Herself Workshops: Eco Friendly Gardening – 1 p.m. April 23

Lowe’s: We don’t know about you, but we’re always looking for someplace to pick up a free tree.  The Lowe’s home improvement centers around the country are giving away a total of one million trees on Saturday, April 23. Plus, on Friday, April 22, you’ll find CFL and LED light bulbs on sale for 30-50% off!  Today is a good day to make the switch!

National Parks: Aww, go take a hike…at a National Park for free!   The National Parks Service free admission lasts through April 24 during National Parks Week.

Origins: bring in any skin product you use and a filled-out form available at this link to an Origins store on Friday, April 22, and you’ll receive a free tube of chemical-free Origins Cleanser ($18 value)

Starbucks: You’ve seen the commercials, so you know the deal.  Bring in a reusable mug and get a free coffee or tea on Friday, April 22.

Triscuit: If you’re like us, you’re hoping to have a bountiful herb garden on your window sill this year.  To help give you a jump start on your home farm, Triscuit is giving away basil and dill seeds inside specially marked boxes. Visit the Triscuit website for tips to start your own bountiful garden.

Categories: Adventure, Earth Day, Food, Green Living, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Sustainability, Trails | Leave a comment

New Survival Bracelets from Top Knotch Gear!

Monday marked the beginning of an all-week release of new survival bracelets. Each day this week, we are debuting new cords and new bracelets on our online Top Knotch Gear store on Etsy – So far, we have listed the Malaysia, the India and the Backcountry but what will today’s release be…? You’ll have to stop by the shop and check it out!

The Malaysia - Accessory Cord Survival Bracelet. Perfect colors for spring time!

The India - Accessory Cord Survival Bracelet. These colors reminded us of the Festival of Colors in India. We can't wait to experience it on our trip!

The Backcountry - Paracord Survival Bracelet. Nothing says, 'I love the rugged outdoors' more than camo.

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Globetrotting, Green Living, Hiking, India, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Random, Trails, Travel | 4 Comments

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