Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A year of Thanksgiving definitely worth the climb

Black Mountain Crest Trail (BMCT) is one of the most difficult hikes in the Eastern U.S. I’d been rehabbing a sore leg for half a year following foot surgery, when my friend invited me to join in this epic hike that would conquer several summits and accumulate over 6,000 feet of climbing over 12 miles. My first thought was, “Ulp, it’s been six months, am I ready for this?” Preferring to “think positive,” and hopeful my Achilles was healed proper, I cautiously asked for more info. about the trip.

Being an avid hiker, surgery had been my only option after a year of chronic pain and inability to train for a Grand Canyon trip with my kids. The more I learned about the Black Mountain Crest Trail, the more excited – and worried – I became. Descriptions about the trail are all pretty similar: grueling, challenging, not to be underestimated, extremely difficult. My friends jokingly likened the trail to “a little scramble.” Eeeks.

A few weeks ago, with packs loaded for an overnight with water, tents and food, we set out from Bowlens Creek trailhead for an immediate 3,000 foot ascent for three and a half miles up to Celo Knob. The challenge of this trail comes from a straightforward approach. You go up, relentlessly up, with very few switchbacks and little opportunity for recovery. From Celo Knob we rested and took in the view of the entire range, which ended at Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 feet, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. We covered Gibbs Mountain, Horse Rock, and Winter Star and then descended to Deep Gap to camp for the night. We were all ready to shed packs and rest for the evening after covering the first leg of the journey, about eight miles.

My leg held up all day under the weight of a full pack and perpetual climbing. With each step, I gave continual thanks for being able, again, to push to the top. There were many days following surgery when I wondered if the past strength was gone for good. Thankfulness came over me in an emotional, spiritual flood. I’ve always felt a sense of reverence out in the woods for our Creator, such majesty and beauty lies in the forests of our country. I prayed repeatedly, “Thank you, thank you thank you,” realizing not only that the foot had healed, but the procedure worked.

We were in sleeping bags by 8:00 p.m. and woke occasionally as the wind buffeted our tents. In the morning we started again uphill on the 900-foot climb out of Deep Gap to Potato Hill, then down and up to Cattail Peak, again to Balsam Cone, again to Mount Big Tom, then Mount Craig, and finally to Mount Mitchell. All in for day two, we figured four miles would keep us going until lunch; well it was more like a late lunch.

Completing this “little scramble” with men I respected before the trip and looking back on the year behind us, I wanted to commemorate our time together. I chose the perfect gift, our recent addition of personalized, micro-roasted coffee gifts at Our coffees made the perfect gift for our manly group of mountain men – a personal, robust, festive, CrinkledNose blend! Come a cold winter's morning, that's something we'll all be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Many members make a very Merry Christmas!

I was as an only child to my parents. When I was eight, my parents got divorced and honestly, I was okay with that. As I've grown up, my parents have remarried and begun new lives with new significant others, and my family tree has grown a ton. I now have stepmothers, stepfathers, stepbrothers and stepsisters, lots of stepcousins – even stepgrandparents. You name a step, I've got it.

And then I got married, so let's just quadruple my family tree. . . WOW!

When the holidays roll around, I have to lock down a schedule of when we’re getting together, where and with whom, and what all our people are getting or not getting, depending of course on which branch of the family tree we’re talking about. It's crazy hectic and uncomfortably packed with family holiday events alone. But there are all also the presents I have to get for other people we exchange gifts with. I’ve got to get all those gifts ready on time too, wrapped and prepared for the designated holiday party they goes with. There’s a lot to do during my holiday season!

The party invitations to all sorts of Thanksgiving and Christmas events start rolling in around mid-November. My husband, two boys and I are literally invited to nine different family events beginning the week of Thanksgiving, and ending the third week of December.

All you children from divorced families understand where I'm coming from. I don't mind it so much anymore, but my husband, who comes from a parental unit who has stood the test of time, has had a challenge getting used to the enormous amounts of get-togethers we are obligated to attend during Thanksgiving and Christmas season. And because my family at large is so large, he’s committed to spending quality time with a whole lot of folks we only see once a year and make meaningful chitchat about life. Whatever it involves, holiday time is mandatory family time every year – no excuses allowed.

It's hectic, no doubt about it. It's a task just keeping up with all the magnetic party invitations I've got stuck on the front of the fridge. But I get lots of beautiful holiday photo cards in the mail, and I get to have Christmas dinner a week before Christmas with my Dad, which involves 30 people (literally), and Christmas Eve dinner with my Mom, which involves only a few family members. Then on Christmas Day we get together with my husband's parents and throw wrapping paper at each other while opening presents, and I enjoy the new family members I have been linked to. I'm definitely not an only child anymore.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Magical, numerical, mathematical – these numbers go to 11, several times

As long as I can remember, I have loved numbers. I love numbers in repetition, numbers in sequence, and random numbers that somehow work themselves out mathematically in my head. 

Every day I am entertained by the quantity of cool number series I encounter.  The magic can happen anywhere – license plates, zip codes, digits on the clock – anywhere numerals converge.

The ultimate kismet for me, numerically speaking, happens every day at 11:11.  I love to see this particular time of day (and night) appear on my phone, digital clock or the lower-right corner of my computer screen.  I can’t exactly explain why, but I do.  When I see it, I’m compelled to shout it out loud – “11:11!” – or else it doesn’t “count” somehow (no pun intended).  I even set my clocks a few minutes apart throughout the house, so if i miss it on one clock, I can see it on another.

If it’s close, I’ll also sit and watch the clock until it hits 11:11.  My really good friends call or email me at 11:11 to make sure I don’t miss the experience.  Now that is love!  It’s actually a bit contagious, my love of numbers, and now that you have read this, I will go ahead and say it:  you will forever be aware of the 11:11’s that cross your path.  YOU ARE WELCOME! 

In celebration of the dearly anticipated date, 11-11-11, we at are hosting the numerical party of the century.  As part of our countdown, we started our celebration on 11-10, complete with chili, cheesecake, and my own awesome brownies (pictured above)!  (We didn’t want to wait until the last minute.)  We’re blowing it out, Times Square ball-drop style, when the time hits 11:11:11 on 11-11-11. 

You see, I’ve been waiting a long time for this day!  I see the time 11:11 every day, but to get to see it on the day of, well that’s a bit overwhelming for someone like me.  

And I really appreciate the excitement and enthusiasm of all my co-workers hosting the festivities, mostly on my behalf.  It’s a special holiday for me, and even though we at CrinkledNose don’t have a holiday photo card for a single day that happens once every hundred years, what other photo greeting card company has a fraction of the groovy coolness to say, “I love you, Vicki,” by turning carrots and celery into number 11’s on a paper plate?  

Maybe next century we’ll have a “Happy 11-11-11 Day” CrinkledNose card.  Until then, wishing you good numbers, and a happy 11-11-11, from my house to yours.

~ By Vicki Davis

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crinkled Christmas Coffees ~ Share a Cup of Cheer!

I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of joe. So much, in fact, it’s earned me a variety of nicknames and commentary over the years. That’s the great thing about having the name “Jean.” Yeah, it’s totally old-lady, but it also rhymes with “coffee bean,” “coffee queen,” and “coffee machine.” Old-lady or not, it’s pretty convenient.

I’m not a snob about my coffee, but I am serious about it. I drink it black, just like my mom, as I have since my teen years. See? “Jean the Coffee Bean Teen Queen.” Baby, I was born to brew.

At my last job I inherited a half-gallon coffee jug. It saved me a lot of trips up and down the stairs, though it was a cumbersome way to support my habit.

When I first started to work here, our PR director taped this picture to my inbox: it was me, drowning in a giant cup of coffee, only my arm reaching out above the black, swirling mass. Probably not the worst way to go, really.

You can understand why I’m so excited about Christmas this year at CrinkledNose. For the first time ever, we’re selling personalized coffees, with the help of award-winning O'Henry's Coffee Roasting Company! Made from micro-roasted Arabica beans, our coffees are festive, tasty, and even better with your smiling face right there on the bag. It’s a cool spin on our personalized holiday greeting lineup, bringing a warm welcome and roasty good morning to your loved ones every time they Crinkle up a cup.
We’ve even got matching holiday photo card designs to accompany your robust gift. Available in quantities of four or more, regular or decaffeinated, House or Christmas Blend, we’re calling our personalized coffees the best gift brewing.

Our personalized coffees make me feel good, not only because of the caffeine, but because they’re such an easy, economical gift. Every year I give coffee with my Christmas gifts, but this year we can really Crink it up. We’ll break out the Santa hats for the pets, and all pose for an attractive family Christmas photo my folks can enjoy as long as the coffee bag holds coffee.

At, we’ve got coffee so good, it’d put a smile on Ebenezer Scrooge’s face. I can’t say I’ve ever had my picture on a coffee bag before, but it’s a real perk! I think I’ll have a cup or few to brighten my day, and my whole holiday season. I’m crunk on Crink!

P.S. ~ I've also heard Santa likes our coffee better than warm milk.