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Brands We Love: CMRTYZ

Seattle-based duo CM Ruiz and Ty Ziskis, aka CMRTYZ, are an artistic team that creates original artwork for "anything from T-shirts to album covers." UO design teamed up with the duo to print their lo-fi creations on one-of-a-kind destroyed tees, and subsequently created some of our favorite tops of the summer. We caught up with the duo via email while they were on opposite sides of the globe to find out a little bit more about their design process and inspirations. (And they also had some incredibly inspiring words of wisdom for all aspiring artists out there! We're feeling like we can take on the world now.)

How did you guys get started as a company?

[Carlos] and I met through a mutual friend who was curating a NW poster art exhibition. I had just been laid off from my job and volunteered to help with the project. My contribution was the idea to create a group of products incorporating the work from the artist and the music from the bands that were featured on the posters in the the show. The whole thing ended up being kind of a bust, but through being a part of the show I met Carlos and we clicked immediately. I was blown away with his work. We decided to continue the concept of building products using his work as our graphic identity. We never visualized ourselves being a clothing brand really; we're just two guys that like to be productive. We like to daydream and then get a kick out of figuring out round about ways to make those dreams happen.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I'm inspired by things that have similar energy or humor as I do. I like comic books, '60s mod design, The Simpsons, and my other creative friends' work. I look at a lot of Reddit and Tumblr when I can't really think of anything, because an artist's block can be reduced just by laughing at some dumb thing and feeling relief.

What is your design process like?

I go to a copy shop and just start making stuff. I'll come with some books in my bag I know I can pull from, things like pretty girls or interesting body movements, and start creating things around these people. Landscapes, text, shapes, bugs, brick walls, floating creepies, stuff that I like to draw and I think can balance a composition. Around 3/4 way in I will start to pull back the insanity and start to think of it mathematically. I'll listen to whatever music I think best fits the tone, mood, and voice of whatever particular project I'm working on.

Any advice for other young artists/entrepreneurs out there?

I think if you're naturally talented you really have to hone it and try your hardest to make as much work and get as much practice as you can. If you're not going to go to school, then you have to learn from whatever scene you're in about what works and what doesn't. You can't be resigned to give up because it didn't happen in a year or two; it may take ten years but at the end of it you'll be "there" which is the mountain peak you wanted to get to all along. You have a story and you need to just go for it 100%, not halfheartedly.

TYZ: Don't listen to the people who tell you you can't because of "this or that." Think outside the box, then think outside that box, too. Think backwards and upside down. There is always a way as long as you believe there is. Be persistent even if it feels like you're being annoying. Always be productive, be prolific, don't stop working. If you are doing EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) in your power to make "it" happen, the universe will more than likely take care of the rest.

What are your favorite spots to hang out/eat/etc. in Seattle?

Lots of places! Ba Bar, Tacos Chukis, Ezells Fried Chicken, Ballard Pizza Co. For drinking there's The Streamline, The 5 Point, Rendezvous, Hazelwood. For shopping there's Totokaelo, Glasswing, Comics Dungeon, Zanadu Comics, Red Light Vintage, Pike Place Market. Literally any park is nice, or see a movie at any of the art house theatres (Harvard Exit, Guild 45, Central Cinemas). Just pick up a Stranger and see what's happening. A lot of the time they're not far off.

TYZ: BPC (Ballard pizza co.), Pho Cyclo, Pike Street Fish Fry, GGNZLA karaoke, T-docks for a good swimming spot, STARBUCKS for coffee, Fremont Vintage Mall/Market, my backyard and Magnusson beach dog park.

What are you currently listening to?

Detective Agency, White Fang, Juan Wauters, So Pitted, The Trashies, Times New Viking, Vaguess, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Outkast, M.I.A., Chiddy Bang, Ice-T.

Detective Agency, So Pitted, Johnny Thunders, Pet Shop Boys, Stickers, The Memories, Yves/Son/Ace, King Krule, Damaged Bug, and everything on Castleface Records.


Studio Visit: Duffy's and Herbivore Botanicals

This week, we're looking to Seattle to two favorite beauty brands doing things differently in the Pacific Northwest. First, a trip to the sunny studios of Herbivore Botanicals, where owners Julia Willis and Alex Kummerow share how running a do-it-yourself "science lab" is pretty much the best job ever. Next up is a visit to the Elysian Brewery, where we talk with Duffy's Brew owners Nicolette and Sean about the magical haircare benefits of their line's not-so-secret star ingredient. Photography by Robin Stein

A natural apothecary line operated by Julia Willis and Alex Kummerow, Herbivore Botanicals' ingredients run the gamut from Japanese Bamboo Charcoal to Brazilian gemstones. We talked with the couple about being accidental soap makers, drawing inspiration from scent, and their ideal Seattle day.   

How do you describe Herbivore Botanicals?
Julia: Herbivore Botanicals is kind of my dream come true. Its all about bringing together my favorite things: creating amazing natural scents, spa-like experiences and pretty designs. I love my job.

Alex: I couldn’t be happier. I love how everything is still done in-house. It is so rewarding creating a product from the ground floor. The initial ideas, the formulations, packaging and design, seeing the label printed for the first time, combining design and product to make something that people know as Herbivore Botanicals… I love seeing people love our product. 

How did this all start for you?
Julia: It really just came together out of nowhere, definitely not planned. In 2011, Alex, who is now my husband, and the other half of Herbivore Botanicals, bought me a soap-making kit for fun. Once I started, I became totally obsessed and knew that I had come upon something important. My friends and family were totally confused by why I was spending all my time doing this! I had never really made anything before and was definitely not a crafty person but once I started I knew it was what I needed to do. So, I pretty much followed my gut feeling
 and started this business. Alex and I now create and design everything together. We are our own formulators and graphic designers.

What inspires your products? 
Julia: For me, new product inspiration usually starts with a scent. Since all of the scents that we work with are plant based and natural I then look into the the properties of that plant, what it is traditionally used for from a therapeutic healing perspective. Then, I start blending and thinking about what other ingredients it would work well with, and what the purpose of the product will be. For example, we are working on a new body oil and our first full blown perfume right now, so I am very much in a world of scent experimentation. Visual images, color and words come next and we like to keep them simple and directly related to the scent of the product and the feeling that it evokes.

Tell us more about where you work. 
Alex: We love our workspace. The building is a tri-level building from 1900 that was used to house the horses that pulled carriages for the Bon Marche back in the day. Sadly, no more horses live here, but it is a great building filled with a handful of artists and creative businesses. 

Any new-to-you ingredients you've been experimenting with? 
Julia: I order samples of new ingredients to test out weekly and am kind of the mad scientist / mixologist around here. My current favorite ingredient is probably Tourmaline gemstone powder. This powder is amazing. It is a pure gemstone powder from Brazil that naturally brightens and refines the skin. You can find it in two of our newest facial masks: Brighten and Activate. My other current favorite is Jasmine Sambac essential oil, it can be found in our Egyptian Jasmine Luminous Body Oil and most likely a few new products that will be coming out for Spring 2015. 

Why Seattle? 
Julia: I am from here, actually. I grew up in Snohomish, a small town outside
 of Seattle. I tried moving away from Seattle a few years ago but missed it too much and came right back! I love Seattle: I think we want people thinking its all doom and gloom here so we can keep it all to ourselves.

Alex: I love the rain. Well, I loved the rain back when I moved to Seattle from a very arid climate. There is something about the Pacific Northwest that I have always found enchanting. It has an almost dreamlike, surreal vibe. The foggy mountains, the misty nights, the perfect summers...

What are some of your favorite things that are happening in the city right now?
Alex: I think maybe the best way to answer this question would be to describe
 my perfect day off. Julia and I sleep in a bit. We wake up and walk to local coffee shop Vivace for a espresso and delicious pastries. We walk a block or two over to Volunteer Park and relax in the grass amongst other Capitol Hill patrons looking to escape the hustle. Next, brunch at our favorite vegetarian restaurant Cafe Flora before heading to a trunk show at Glasswing at Melrose Market. Maybe a little siesta before heading to one of our favorite bars Montana for a Moscow Mule made with Rachel’s local ginger beer. Grab a bite at In the Bowl vegan thai restaurant and set off to see our friend Garrett Vance’s band Night Cadet at some venue on Capitol Hill. To cap it off, we would go to Pony to dance until closing to the tracks our employee/ favorite DJ kkost (Kyle Kostrzewa) would be spinning. 

Shop Herbivore Botanicals in UO Beauty



There is an old wives' tale that goes something like: put beer in your hair and the malt, barley and hops will make it shinier and healthier than ever before. Duffy's products puts a modern spin on it, using beer from Seattle's Elysian Brewery to make shampoo and conditioner. 

Why Seattle? What was it that drew you to the city / what has kept you there?
Both of us were drawn to Seattle because of its music culture. The beauty here sucks you in too… every time we fly somewhere else it looks lackluster compared to the breathtaking views and lush green landscapes we’re used to. We’re also huge foodies and severe coffee addicts and there is no shortage of either here. As far as starting/running a business, we’ve grown to love how much Seattle fosters those with an entrepreneurial mindset. We began selling Duffy’s at local farmers’ markets in Ballard & Fremont…not many cities have those kinds of grass roots venues so readily available.

Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in Seattle right now?
We just checked out the Georgetown Carnival last weekend. So many cool things happening in that neighborhood right now! It reminds us of the way Ballard was before it exploded. We had some of the best Mexican food in the city at Fonda La Catrina in Georgetown. It was amazing. 

How do you describe Duffy's?
It gives people a unique alternative to spice up their grooming routine. We’ve revived this age-old wives tale into a fun and sexy product line that has a little more personality and lot more performance than your average shampoo/conditioner.

Tell me more about the Duffy's backstory: what exactly is the old wives' tale about beer and hair?
Back in the 60s and 70s women used to pour straight beer on their hair to add volume and shine. This works great as a short-term solution for dull, drab hair…but we wanted to expand on that. With Duffy’s, we amplify all the benefits beer has for hair while still maintaining that salon quality. We also process out the majority of the alcohol so that your good results don’t end in a dry, pungent mess days later.

Tell us more about how the Elysian Brewery got involved?
We approached several big players in the Seattle brewing scene to gauge who would be interested in working with us. Elysian was enthusiastic from the get-go. They aren’t afraid to get involved in something unique and they’ve been nothing but supportive since day one. Plus their craft brews are complex and delicious! 

What's your go-to brew (for drinking, not hair-washing)?
We're both really excited about the cider scene happening right now. 2 Town’s BrightCider (out of Corvallis, OR) and Seattle Cider Company’s Dry Hard Cider are two of our favorites.  

What's next?
We’re in the R&D stage right now on a beer-based beard wash/conditioner as well as some hops infused styling products. 

Shop Duffy's in UO Beauty

The Physics "Take a Win"

I've been bumping "Take a Win" by Seattle rap group The Physics since their album Tomorrow People dropped awhile back, and now there's an equally dope video to accompany the track. The Physics first entered my radar mainly because MC Thig Nat is one of the best dressed rappers in the game regardless of locale, but with tracks like this perfectly backdropping my summertime grind, the group has been popping up more and more in my daily iPod rotation. Keep an eye on The Physics as they look to become the new torchbearers of the eternally underrated Northwest hip-hop scene. Angelo

Stoned Drivers Hit Test Course

How much marijuana is too much to be on the road? KIROtv conducted an amazing experiment to find out. They got a few of volunteers super stoned on the strain "Blueberry Trainwreck" and put them behind the wheel (with the cooperation of police, of course).  Are you reading this? THEY GOT PEOPLE STONED AND PUT THEM BEHIND THE WHEEL.  My question is: how did they get to do this? How do I get to do this?

The best of all is Addy, the medical marijuana and daily user, whose outtakes and seemingly "awesome" time behind the wheel can't help but make you laugh. Although it seems fun we DO NOT support driving stoned, but we do support living vicariously through Ms. Norton's attempt. See you at the mall later, girl! Just make sure you use your windshield wipers and don't show up completely stoned in advance. —Ally

Filson Headwear

The classic Northwestern outfitter Filson have been making quality headwear for over a hundred years so you can trust that they're doing it right. They make some classic full brim hats that not everyone can pull off, but these days they're also doing some really exciting collaborations. Take for instance their Classic Cap (pictured above) that's been re-imagined with help from Levi's: water repellent materials on the exterior keep out the rain while the blanket lining inside will keep your dome nice and toasty.

Like I said, not everyone can pull off a full brim hat without looking silly (especially in urban settings) but if you think you've got it under control the Tin Cloth Packer Hat is great choice.

Channel your inner Elmer Fudd in the Double Mackinaw Cap. While this option might not be the best for wet days it'll certainly keep your head as warm as possible with some seriously thick wool and real sheepskin on the earflaps. -Bob

Shop Filson

Inspired by DRY

This video, Inspired by DRY, by director Stephen Ringer, has me ready to get out there and go this season!  DRY Soda is the perfect drink for fall, and this video makes me excited for the colder weather, weekends curled up in sweaters, and parties lit up by bonfires.  DRY Soda is available in 16 UO Stores, find the closest one to you here. -Ally

DRY Soda

It's time to change the way you think about soda! In 16 lucky UO stores, we are now selling the super delicious (and super guilt-free) all natural DRY Soda by the bottle in five different flavors: Vanilla Bean, Wild Lime, Lavender, Blood Orange (my personal favorite) and Cucumber.  

I got the chance to test-taste all of the flavors during our beloved Store on Tour, and have been craving them ever since!  DRY Sodas are less sweet then your normal everyday soda, but still full of taste and made with all natural ingredients.

Here is a list of the UO stores where you can find DRY, and if your local UO doesn't sell it, you can find DRY Soda here!  Visit our website for more info on these store locations! -Ally

Portland, OR (2320 NW Westover Rd.) 
New York, NY (628 Broadway.) 
New York, NY (526 6th Ave.) 
New York, NY (2081 Broadway) 
New York, NY (999 3rd Ave.) 
Cambridge, MA (11 John F. Kennedy St.) 
Studio City, CA (12110 Ventura Blvd.) 
San Francisco, CA (80 Powell St.) 
King of Prussia, PA (640 W DeKalb Pike) 
Evanston, IL (921 Church St.) 
Boulder, CO (934 Pearl St.) — Coming soon! 
New Haven, CT (43 Broadway) 
Montclair, NJ (20 S Park St.) 
Dallas, TX (5331 E Mockingbird Ln.) – Coming soon! 
Houston, TX (2501 University Blvd.) 
Washington, DC (3111 M St, N.W.)

Rookie Road Trip: Seattle

Our Seattle meet-up was so awesome! We met readers at The Vera Project (an amazing all-ages art gallery, music venue, and more) to make crowns and decorate sunglasses! The floor was covered in gems, sequins, miniature plastic animals, flowers and more! Everyone was so cute and convinced me that Seattle might have the most enthusiastic Rookie Readers! Such good vibes all around!

Double glasses action!

So many piles of gems, charms, and flowers all over the ground

Met these three cuties Julia, Sanam, and Bradie, who all work at UO Seattle! They all had matching crowns and were way cooler than me. 

Sanam's crown! I spy some babies and that weird purple McDonalds blob that nobody ever really understands!

An army of awesome Seattle Rookie readers wearing their crowns.

Somebody understands our love for a young Leo DiCaprio! What a perfect gift for our future Space 15 Twenty shrine!

Check out our new license plate! So sparkly.

This is Eryn! We kidnapped her and took her to dinner with us because she just happened to be staying in the same hotel that we were staying in! She traveled all the way from Victoria, British Columbia to hang out with us at the meet-up. AWWW!

From left to right: Me, Eryn, Petra, and Petra's sister Anna. Tavi not included because she's not cool enough.

Rookie diarist Dylan grew up in Seattle, so her mom invited us over for dinner! She made us a delicious meal out of local produce and these homemade raspberry tarts were for dessert. SO GOOD! We'll see Dylan when we're in San Francisco! 

Tomorrow we're off to live the dream of the '90s, aka Portland! You can find us stuffing our faces at Voodoo Doughnut (22 SW 3rd Avenue)  at around 3:00 pm, and then after that we're heading to The Church of Elvis (408 N.W. Couch)! - Hazel

Rookie Road Trip: "Twin Peaks"

On our way to Seattle we realized that we would be stopping in "Twin Peaks" or, really, the sites in Washington where the tv show Twin Peaks was shot. For those who don't know, Twin Peaks was a TV show that aired in the early '90s that followed the investigation of the death of Laura Palmer, the beloved homecoming queen of the town Twin Peaks. Special Agent Dale Cooper leads the investigation, all the while eating a lot of pie and drinking a lot coffee. The show was directed by David Lynch and was filled with weird characters (like a woman who owns a talking log) and frightening story lines. 

Here at Rookie we are SUPERFANS of the show, so as soon as we entered Snoqualmie, Washington, Petra started playing the intro music to the show and everyone in the van just stared out at the trees and felt like we were in Twin Peaks. We were so dorky about it all, I can't even begin to tell you. We were constantly screaming "LAURAAA" everywhere we drove. 

We went to Twedes Cafe, the original cafe where the diner scenes of Twin Peaks was shot. According to our waitress, almost half of their business comes from Twin Peaks related tourism. So we're not weirdos! Other people do this too!

Of course I had to get a "damn fine cup of coffee" and some pie, Dale Cooper's typical order.

Me drinking my coffee. JK, this is Agent Cooper. Duh.

They had a whole wall dedicated to material from the show including photos of the shoots, autographed pictures, and newspaper articles about the show. 

They also had a "Fire Walk with Me" challenge (in reference to the Twin Peaks movie Fire Walk with Me) that had something to do with eating a lot of hot wings? Weird.

We were even excited about a fucking waterfall SIMPLY because it was in the Twin Peaks intro. 

So, yeah, we love Twin Peaks and couldn't have been crazier fangirls today.

Tomorrow we'll be at The Vera Project (305 Harrison Street) making flower crowns and decorating sunglasses and being crafty! So come hang with us! - Hazel

Summer Lead

Subtly beautiful pencils from One Fine Dae. Each pencil notes (bad pun) a summer event that must be had (though I wish I knew where I could find a drive-in theater).-Bob

The Blue Trees by Konstantin Dimopoulos

Seattleites are doing a double-take: Dozens of trees along the city's Westlake Park and Burke-Gilman Trail have suddenly turned an electric, Yves Klein-esque blue. The azure raid is the work of Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos, who performed similar mischief at last year's Vancouver Biennale. The shocking Smurf hue, not usually associated with trees or environmental art, is designed to remind viewers that something unnatural is happening to our planet. (The ultramarine pigment is, Dimopoulos swears, biologically benign.) -Eviana

Shaun Kardinal

Shaun Kardinal's embroidered postcards make sending someone snail mail even more special.  Each work is hand-stitched with geometric patterns and shapes on an oversized postcard of rock formations, landscapes, and the occasional tourist location.  Check out his website and Flickr for more embroidered postcards, photos, books, and even a TV Guide.

Kurt Cobain's Birthday

Today is Kurt Cobain's birthday. He would have been 44. In case you are somehow completely clueless and lacking in creativity, here is an ehow article about how to celebrate it. (Wtf?)

Mates + Rubbish

These Sole Mate greeting cards by Mates + Rubbish are just a little too perfect for shoe lovers.  This Valentine's Day, give one of these to the guy or girl in your life who has more shoes than clothes.  We're sure they'll get a kick out of them!

Actual Pain Sixth Seal Leggings

Way to end the year with the most incredible piece possible, Actual Pain! There's a reason these new Sixth Seal leggings have already sold out but have no fear, word is they'll definitely be making more! X - Jen

Fleet Foxes "The Shrine/An Argument"

Fleet Foxes latest video, "The Shrine/An Argument" is a stop-motion masterpiece directed by frontman Robin Pecknold's brother, Sean.  The over-eight-minutes long video will make you feel like you are watching a familiar dream—or nightmare.  It's videos like this that make you want to go home and create something of your own. (via Pitchfork)


When it comes to jewelry, we can't help but feel that the bigger, the better.  So, when we saw Debra Baxter's Crystal Bomb collection, we couldn't help but get excited over the massive pieces.  If you've ever seen her Crystal Brass Knuckles, you'd already know how great this collection is without even having to look.

Actual Pain Faul 11

There is totally a reason why Actual Pain remains everyone's favorite label, just take one look at their new video for Faul 11. X - Jen

UO X The Vera Project: Live In-Store

Hey Seattle!  This Saturday from 6pm-8pm, we will be having a live in-store performance by Witch Gardens and Yuni In Taxco at our Capitol Hill store (401 Broadway East).  Until then, spend the rest of your work week listening to four free tracks from the bands!

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The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

If you're looking to adopt a kitten in the Seattle/Tacoma area, or if you just want to see pictures cute kitties, look no further!  The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee is a blog that follows the life of fostered cats from the Tacoma/Pierce County Humane Society.  The blog has been going for four years and has fostered over 120 little ones.