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SOLO Eyewear Blog

September 20, 2016

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Jorge's Story

After traveling to Vamos Tamaulipas, Mexico to help set up an eye care clinic, the SOLO team met Jorge, an ambitious 9 year old boy. Jorge was in the 3rd grade. He had noticed that he was unable to see the board in his classroom clearly unlike his peers. After learning about the eye care clinic that we were hosting, he took the initiative to come to the clinic by himself to get his vision checked. He waited in line for hours to be seen. While spending time with him, we learned that Jorge was living in a single parent household. His father worked long hours every day to provide for himself and Jorge. Every morning, Jorge would wake up on his own and get himself ready for school.

After a few hours, Jorge underwent an eye exam and was fitted with a new pair of eyeglasses. After receiving his new pair of glasses, he immediately began hugging each of the eye clinic volunteers. Jorge was incredibly grateful and now better able to reach his full potential.  

A volunteer optometrist is examining Jorge's vision. 

After receiving his glasses, Jorge returned to his school just a few
blocks from the eye care clinic. 

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 300 million people are in need of eye glasses and do not have access to them, and 80% of all visual impairment can be treated or cured. That is why we at SOLO Eyewear exist. Through our non-profit partners, Aravind Eye Care and Restoring Vision, we are able to address this great need in the world by donating 10% of our profits. Thank you for helping us restore vision for nearly 12,000 people to date.

September 20, 2016

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SOLOist Spotlight: Brandon Harrop

Meet SOLOist and Nocea’s very own Brandon Harrop! Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, this renaissance man is a singer/songwriter, actor, graphic designer and apparel designer, all while holding the title of commander-in-chief at Nocea. His creativity, passion for the outdoors, and adventurousness makes him great as a representative for SOLO eyewear. Be sure to check out Nocea's website and “leave a timeless impression” with their standout, stylish threads.

In case you're wondering what a SOLOist is...

SO·LO·ist /ˈsōləwəst/ n : A person who embodies the Live and Give mission, who lives life to the fullest and gives back, who desires to make our world a better place and live a meaningful, adventurous life.

Let's dive in!

Instagram: @_Nocea

So, Brandon,

What’s your most memorable giving experience?

Installing ropes along the Indian Bathtubs Trail. As you explore this scenic trail in Davis County in Utah, you'll find there are some steep slopes along it--and the rocks and dirt can be very slippery under your feet (particularly during the last 100 yards before you get to the Indian Bathtubs and waterfall). While we were adventuring up in this area we witnessed a family slip and fall and start to tumble down the trail. They got banged up pretty bad and it was a scary moment to witness. We committed ourselves at that time to return back to the trail and fasten some ropes throughout it so that future visitors would never have to go through a scary fall like the others before them (especially knowing this is a trail that attracts families and little ones). We’ve returned again to check on the conditions of the area and everything looks great. It's a much safer trail. Feels great to give back!

Can you explain the #getoutside movement?:

We (at Nocea) have a great love for the outdoors. We are constantly on the move exploring and finding new ways to inspire others through our travels. It's very important to us that everyone takes the time to #getoutside. There is so much beauty in this world and so many places that will take your breath away. For those that live the adventurous lifestyle, we encourage them to inspire others and join our team of "Outsiders" and press forward with the #getoutside movement. Everyone feels better when they go for a hike or spend a weekend camping--it's a healthier way to live.

The Nocea Team:
Myself - Owner
Austin Berenyi - Photographer
Josh Jorgensen - Photographer
James Vause - Writing
Alex Favero - Planning
Terry Hiatt - Product Manager

What’s your most favorite recent adventure?:

We recently returned from an unforgettable adventure along the Snake River up to the foot of the giant Shoshone Falls. It was absolutely incredible! Most visitors check out the falls from about 1,000 yards away on the observation deck. We opted for the 2 mile journey on paddle boards up the river where you can experience the 212x1,000ft falls up close and personal! It was so awesome to witness such power flowing from the sky. The scenery was breathtaking! We even found a bunch of swimming holes, did some cliff jumping and bathed in some of the smaller falls as well. The best part was having it all to ourselves! It's a trip I highly recommend--especially if you're into kayaking or paddle boarding.

What is a piece of advice you'd like to share with fellow SOLOists?:

My piece of advice comes from a good book called Into the Wild. It's exactly how I feel but more eloquently put:

"Make a radical change in your lifestyle! So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon filled with adventure!"

Favorite Frames?: Thailand and Zambia

What’s a random fact about you?:

When I was a kid I looked exactly like Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone. Everyone asked me to do the scream. 

 

If you are interested in being featured as a SOLOist on our website, please contact us at programs@soloeyewear.com.






August 18, 2016

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Living on the Road: SOLOists Eva & Jordan

Introducing Eva and Jordan, a couple who embarked on a yearlong adventure camping all the National Parks in the US for the National Park Service Centennial October of last year! As they wrap up the last few months of their journey, they share with us thrilling details of their expedition and their nomadic lifestyle. Make sure to swing by their Instagram pages!

Hometown:
[Jordan] Colorado Springs, Colorado
[Eva] Arlington, Texas

 Instagram:
[Jordan] @jordanjayvaughn
[Eva] @peachnectar

Tell us a little bit about yourselves - what were your lifestyles like before you started this expedition?
I (Jordan) grew up playing baseball year-round, so for ten years I lived in Colorado and didn’t explore all the amazing outdoor opportunities in the area. I graduated from UT Arlington in ’12 after playing baseball there, and began working at lululemon athletica where I met Eva. She had played soccer growing up had a similar sport-filled background. We decided to move down to Austin in ’14 and fell in love with the outdoors lifestyle. We began to spend weekends camping the Texas State Parks and adding to our camping gear. The combination of these weekend adventures and our goal-oriented culture at lululemon led to the crazy idea that we should take a giant leap and hit the road.

What do you two plan on doing after you complete this year-long journey?
We have really fallen in love with the on-the-road lifestyle so we are doing whatever we can to continue. We get married in April, so there is a lot of excitement for us in planning the wedding, and we have talked about backpacking Europe for a couple months as a Honeymoon. Our real passion is in helping people overcome the mental hurdles to living a life they love. Too often self-doubt and fear get in the way of us acting on our dreams. So, we are currently designing a journal for people to create and sustain self-development, creativity, and fulfillment.

Favorite place you visited during this trip:

[Jordan] It is so difficult to choose one place. Part of the wonder of the National Parks is how diverse they are. We just backpacked Glacier National Park for four days and it was stunning. I think it and Yosemite probably take the cake as far as grandeur and beauty go. I also love that you can spend a week in both these places and barely scratch the surface.
[Eva] As Jordan put it, it’s so tough to just pick one! A park that you don’t hear much about that stole my heart was Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of the Florida Keys. It’s an island mostly taken up by an old Naval Fort. Never have I felt so secluded!

 

 

Most memorable giving experience:
[Jordan] Recently we donated to a couple friends who are going on a mission to Kenya to teach locals sustainable physical therapy practices. We were in a situation before we left for the trip where many of our friends and family helped us out, so it has really encouraged us to support those who are up to awesome things. Even small gifts can make a huge difference.

[Eva] What comes to mind for me is the time I spent in Haiti with the Mission of Hope. It was an unforgettable, humbling experience that made a huge impact on my life.

July 27, 2016

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MEET CREATIVE AMBASSADOR: JAMES FAZIO

This month we’re featuring our creative ambassador, James Fazio! Traveler, surfer, and filmmaker, James shares with us what triggered him to devote so much of his time giving back. Follow him on Instagram @igotnostrings to see all his adventures and to stay updated for his upcoming documentary “Time Well Spent”!

Hometown: Atascadero, California

Instagram: @igotnostrings

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My life has been a journey that is for sure… Traveling and learning how other people live, as well as looking at my life and who I am. When I was 12 years old I survived a rare life-threatening blood disease that transformed the whole way I looked at the world. It was a complete miracle I survived. I was given a second chance; after that I knew my life would be different and I couldn't live the same way. I wanted to help people and make a true difference in this world. Surfing and helping others have always been my biggest passions. I surfed competitively for quite sometime, and still do, but that is not my main focus in life anymore. I realized, as I traveled to all these places to surf, that the communities I visited were in way worse living circumstances than mine, and all I did was surf and leave. After a while I realized there must be more to traveling than getting what I wanted and leaving. So now when we travel, I try to give back to others what God has blessed me with and help them to see the great worth they have. One project we have devoted the past couple years to is called "Time Well Spent Documentary" that explores the question, "Does your past define your future?" - something I am really stoked to share with you all soon!




What is your favorite place to visit?
I love Peru and Chile, but if there is a place that stuck with me the most, it is Micronesia. There is something about sailing to islands and experiencing different cultures that are so isolated from the rest of the world.

Share a memorable time when you gave:
Just recently, on our trip for the documentary, we were able to build a house for a family in need in Panama. One of the boys we took on the trip had been homeless for most of his life, couch hopping and sleeping in the car with his family. He had never been able to give back to someone like this, and so it was truly incredible to see how it changed him. He was able to hand over the keys to this family’s new house and it was a super special moment for him and for all of us. I was definitely crying like a little baby in the corner. Ha.

One random fact about yourself:
Random... hmmm... When I get nervous and I don't know what to talk about in a conversation I will most likely talk about pooping. Yes, it does make everything a lot more uncomfortable.

June 28, 2016

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Creative Ambassador Spotlight: Jose Romero

Meet our creative ambassador, Jose Romero! Jose joined our ambassador program last year, and has been a proud SOLOist since then. A visual storyteller at heart, his photos will inspire you to step outside and explore. We are super thankful for his efforts, as well as our many other amazing ambassadors’ in spreading our mission and brand.



Hometown: San Lorenzo, CA (Just moved into Yosemite National Park for the Summer)

Instagram: @joseromero93

Favorite Giving Experience:
After graduating I began volunteering my time for an organization that I was involved with in high school - DECA, which “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe”. I get to go back to the High School conferences throughout the year and help with conference management. As a student, DECA really impacted my life. I love going back and being part of any organization that positively influences students.




Tell us about your trip to Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park has become my favorite place to visit since I began doing photography 2 years ago. When I learned that SOLO was launching a new recycled sunglass line I quickly suggested Yosemite as the product shoot location.

With 2 weeks of planning Dana, SOLO Co-Founder, Ricky, my brother, and I headed to the park for two days hoping to hit some trails, explore the park, and capture images of the SOLOs along the way.

Our trip began in the Bay Area at 6:30am when the three of us crammed backpacks, camera gear and a bunch of snacks into the back of Dana's Prius. After a quick stop at Starbucks and one Miley Cyrus CD later, we were in Yosemite ready to begin our first hike.

Once at Happy Isles we made our way up the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls. Although the trail is paved a large portion of the trip once we reached the base of the waterfall we were met with steep, slippery steps and mist that ultimately soaked us from head to toe. Once at the top of the falls our rain jackets were replaced with shades and our view of the valley was suddenly more epic. We continued our way up the trail towards Nevada Falls where we met dozens of people who ultimately learned about the brand and jumped on board to model the new SOLOs.

Once at the top of Nevada Falls we took the John Muir trail down to the valley. Although this trail is slightly longer it offers a new perspective of the valley and is also personally one of my favorite trails in Yosemite.  




Favorite pair of SOLOs: Liberia

Check out Jose’s Instagram @joseromero93 for more of his adventures!


FATHERS' DAY

In honor of Fathers' Day, the SOLO Eyewear team members share a few things about the father figures in their lives.

Jenny Amaraneni, CEO & Co-Founder

What do I admire most about my dad?
I most admire my dad's generosity. He grew up in a rural village in India and moved to the U.S. after completing med school. After moving here, he worked tirelessly to provide for our family and to help others. I always knew how important it was for him to provide for my mom, brother and me; however, it wasn't until I was older that I realized how much he put others, in general, before himself. In my hometown in Louisiana, people have approached me in grocery stores or other public places to tell me how my dad helped them in their time of need. I'm very proud and blessed to have him as a role model in my life.

My favorite memory of my dad... In 2009, my dad had a massive heart attack and was shocked 10 times. It was a life changing experience for our family. My dad was faced with making major lifestyle changes. Seeing his attitude after that experience has been incredibly impactful for me. He quickly took on the mantra "I only have great days and good ones!" His optimism and positive outlook serve as constant inspiration in my life.

Dana Holliday, CCO & Co-Founder

What do you admire most about your Dad?
I have always admired my dad for all of the hard work that he does. In addition to being a full time aerospace engineer, at home, he's also our mechanic and handy-man. He is determined and able to fix anything. Somehow, through it all, he still found time to be a Pretty-Pretty-Princess-playing, nerf-gun-shooting, incredible father. He is a fantastic role model to me and my brother.

What is your favorite memory with him?
Some of my favorite memories with my dad are learning new things. He taught me how to ride a bike and a motorcycle, to water and snow ski, scuba dive, and so much more. I've loved every trip we've ever taken with him because he's so adventurous and always finds really unique and incredible things to do. One recent experience that comes to mind was traveling to the top of Mauna Kea, a volcano on the big island, Hawai'i. It's the highest point in the state of Hawaii and the world's tallest mountain to base summit. Once at the top we sat and observed thousands of incredible, vibrant stars and identified all of the visible planets. My dad inspired a thirst for adventure in me that I cherish deeply. Now that I live further away, I always look forward to visits home where we share photos and maps of our recent journeys and travels.

Kevin Dare, Customer Support

What do you admire most about your dad?
I'm adopted, and I admire my father (and mother) for having the heart to take in a child that wasn't his own. I'm also glad I got his work ethic!

Favorite Memory of my dad:
This is a picture of us in the staff newsletter of the train museum we used to volunteer at. Every Sunday, pop and I would help out for a few hours at the gift shop. Good times. 

Barrett Jones, PR Support Intern

What do you admire most about your dad?
The thing I admire about my father is his think outside the box mentality. He has and never will grow up which keeps his mind and conversations youthful.

What is your favorite memory with him? 
My favorite memory of my father are the many road trips we have taken across the US. We have seen nearly every lower 48 state over the years and have traveled from coast to coast 3 separate times.

Leona Shinkai, Marketing and Social Media Intern

What do you admire most about your dad?
I admire my dad for always putting his kids first in line. No matter how busy he is, he makes sure to check up on each of us, and continues to work to provide for our family although he faced major health issues five years ago.

What is your favorite memory with him?
My favorite memory of him are the many times he took my sisters, best friends, and I to places on the weekend - beach, park, zoo, Seaworld, Legoland. Even if we didn’t go out to places, he would always find a way to entertain us, whether it be cooking our favorite meals together or building a mini water park in our backyard. I also appreciate him for treating my friends like family, as if they were his own kids.

April 11, 2016

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A Day Climbing in Squamish, BC with SOLOist Mark Scherle

Hometown: Chatham, Ont, Canada

Favorite Place to Visit: Squamish, BC has been my favorite place to visit. The diversity of outdoor activities that are available in such a beautiful area is outstanding. Not only is it diverse, but also everything is world-class in its own right.  

Favorite Giving Experience: One of my favorite ways of giving back is during conservation clean ups. Helping to restore nature to its original beauty by cleaning up garbage and controlling invading plant species. This ensures that others can enjoy the benefits of exploring our natural areas for many years to come. 

Favorite Pair of SOLOs: Dominican

Instagram: @mscherle

There I was standing near the top of a cliff, 200 metres in the sky wearing only my underwear, about to jump into a beautiful waterfall fed pool. I was contemplating dropping my boxer shorts to expose my rear end to the large crowd of tourists below. They look so tiny down there. When I waved no one returned the gesture. “They deserve it!” I thought. I could see them toting cameras. The thought of them viewing their photos later, only to find a mischievous man near the top is hilarious to me.

5AM comes eary! Crawling out of my tent to meet the stillness that dawn brings. A quick breakfast starts me on my way. Arriving at the approach trail already racked up, with anything of excess weight left behind. The vibrations of anticipation begin to sync with the rhythms of nature. The sound of the gentle wind, the birds chirping, and the river flowing all meld together like a carefully planned symphony which matches what’s playing inside my body. Interacting with nature makes these feelings a reality. Rock climbing puts me in my place of the musical line up.

The climb progressed smoothly with little to no hick-ups. The burliness of climbing a dihedral corner wakens the muscles, while the airy exposure of being high above the Howe Sound excites the senses. Pitch after pitch was done quickly and before long the top was near. A traverse and friction slab separates me from the summit. Enjoyment and smiles overtake any pain or dehydration being felt.

After hours on route a decision had to be made. Follow the path right to descend, or take it left to visit the pools. Beguiled by the experience so far, it seemed only fit to continue on. Transitioning back to a bipedal movement, I hiked upward to greet an unexpected group of waterfall fed pools. A look over the edge brought me back to reality. When I arrived, there was no one else around. Now the park was filled with tourists to take in nature’s spectacle. A dip in the in the cold water refreshed my senses and centred my perspective. It calmed my mischievous nature.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures! 
You can follow me on Instagram - @mscherle

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