Skate Rising 8/13/16

EXPOSURE Skate’s Calli Kelsay has organized Skate Rising a youth program dedicated to lifting up our next generation.

I was lucky enough to attend the event Saturday 8/13/16 at the Encinitas Community Park.  If you missed it – no worries look for them on the second Saturday of every month at the park.

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As you can see I wasn’t alone.  There were tons of girls plus some very supportive boys.

Calli is super organized – the morning started off with us gathering to discuss bullying.  I’ve been bullied so I know it hurts & I want to be part of the solution not just bully back.

As one of the girls said bullying happens when someone’s hurt and wants to carry it onto someone else.


Bullying has many forms from the obvious of hitting to name calling, excluding, and telling lies about someone.

So what can we do?  Be kind.  I don’t want to smile, say hi, open a door etc. for anyone that’s bullied me but the girls are right that’s the only way bullying will ever stop.  When people treat others with kindness – the bullying stops.

That doesn’t mean you’re saying bullying is ok.  It’s never ok.  You should definitely stand up for yourself by telling the bully – NO it’s not ok for you to treat me that way.

Over 50 girls signed “commit to kindness” contracts.  (picture above)  They pledged to Speak Up when I see bullying, Not Join in bullying, Treat Others with kindness & respect, and be a Good Friend to others.  Then we put 20 “back to school” kits together for kids that otherwise wouldn’t have a new backpack with supplies.

Before we started to skate – we welcomed the girls who came from a far.  Alice May from Hong Kong came the furthest.  Connecticut and LA were there too – #girlscanskate all around the world!


Jimmy Cao sent us all off with tips.  He then stayed and helped as did some moms, dads, and other skaters.


We skated park and we skated bowl.


I’m ending the post with some more pictures and I’m answering the age questions.  Was I older than the other skatergirls?  Yes!   To me age is just a number – I don’t pick my friends based on their age – I pick my friends based on their personalities.

till next time keep it stylish on & off the board


Member of the Team

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Congratulations to xgipfelkreuzx on being a part of the BTFL Board Team.

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Leyla is skateboarding in Rheinauhafen which is a part of Cologne, Germany located along the River Rhine.  I was amazed by the stylish architecture.  Below a picture of one of the Crane Houses.

I had hoped to make it to Germany over the break – wasn’t meant to be so next time   Love seeing girls skateboarding around the world -where are you skating?   More girls skate when they see girls skating & get encouragement so take time to share your story

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The Tactics Family Just Got Bigger

My first big blog post on Tactics support of skatergirls was back in October 2015.

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I’ve continued to work with them and was grateful when they answered my request to help with EXPOSURE Skate 2015 with a super generous donation for the athlete bags.

Now I’m super excited to help them announce the addition of Alana & Nora to the family.

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To me as a blogger it’s a huge honor when someone gives me a “scoop” – yes keeping a secret is hard, but knowing someone trusts you and wants you to help them share a story- huge!

Below are the questions I asked Jeremy Conant, Tactics Marketing Director.  I’ve known Jeremy since 2014 when we talked about trends & I told him I don’t read graphs I follow my passion & create trends.  I know and he continues to help me – he’s a good guy.

SF:  How long has Tactics had a skate team – how did it start and has it increased in size over the years?

Jeremy:  Tactics has had a skate team for many years. Until recently, we’ve helped some local skaters with gear and shoes, maybe some travel money or entry fees for competitions.

In 2015 we added Dalton Dern after he impressed us by winning our first Northwest Jam event. Dalton was from Florida and had just moved to SoCal. He is a fast-rising am and was our first expansion beyond local skaters. From there the team has evolved quickly.

We added Cody Lockwood from Portland as an am and he turned pro for Lifeblood just last month. We connected with Silas Baxter-Neal and Josh Matthews, two established pros with Eugene roots. And today we welcomed our first female pro skaters in Nora Vasconcellos and Alana Smith.

Tactics Press Release on addition of Alana & Nora

Tactics Welcome to Alana & Nora

It’s all happened really fast. Less than two years ago we were local-focused. Now we’re working with men and women, pro and am, from Portland, Seattle, Oceanside and Laguna Niguel, CA, and Mesa, AZ.

One thing I’m proud of is that through all that expansion, we continue to back our local skaters. Our pros and regional ams are excellent high-profile ambassadors for Tactics, but our local team skaters also remain very important to our business.

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SF:  What type of skaters -just those who compete, street, bowl, longboard – etc. ???

Jeremy:  We have all types, which is exactly what we’re aiming for. Everyone has their own thing and we celebrate that diversity.

Alana and Nora compete regularly. I don’t think Silas or Josh ever compete. We have a lot of bowl skaters, but many on the team excel in the streets.

As a sponsor, our expectations are only for each person to do what works for them and have a good time doing it.

We have a downhill team, and that includes Ross Druckrey who is on the Sector 9 national downhill team and is part of our marketing staff. We also have a snowboard team.

Speaking of diversity, Jake Selover and Beau Cummins are actually on both our skate and snow teams.

SF:  What does it mean to be on the team? What’s your expectations/responsibilities for them?

Jeremy:  Go skate. Go out and do what you like to do.

I told Silas when we first met, it wasn’t my place to tell someone like him what he could do for Tactics. Instead I wanted to know what he wanted to do for skateboarding and how we could help him achieve that. That holds true for every person on our team. It’s a diverse crew, with many different goals and many different paths in skateboarding.

SF:  Why add girls now?  ***

Jeremy:  When I met Mimi Knoop earlier this year, I was impressed by the women’s participation numbers she shared. Many more young ladies are discovering skateboarding.

We were moving that direction and I think Mimi and WSA helped us get there a little quicker.

I see the foolish comments online, on Instagram or YouTube, about a low bar for women or how they aren’t that impressive. That’s obviously short-sighted. There are highly skilled women out there doing rad stuff on skateboards.

With more support and increased exposure, pros like Nora and Alana will continue to raise the bar and encourage new skaters to give the sport a try.

Skateboarding is for everyone. We wanted our team to reflect that.

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Thank you so much Jeremy.  And thank you WSA for all you do.

For me skateboarding is sport/art/transportation/exercise/rolling yoga & confidence building and that’s why I love sharing stories about girls already skateboarding and the organizations/people supporting them – more girls do skate as they see girls skating & get encouragement!

Till next time keep it stylish on & off the board – I’ll be trying to catch up with Alana & Nora so they can share what Tactics Family Life is really like.

*** It’s never my intention to make anyone feel bad or less than by calling them a girl.  I don’t give meaning to age it’s just a number.  I don’t believe there’s some magical age when you quit being a girl.  And Girl is not a 4 Letter Word – Cindy told me so!

UPDATE 10/1/16


@alanasmithskate’s pro decks and completes from @hooplaskate now available.


Belgium & Amsterdam with the Skatingfashionista

Once upon a time, I traveled to the homeland of my grandfather.  It wasn’t my first time in Belgium, but this is my first time writing a blog post about the adventure.

I flew out of San Diego on Sunday July 17th and arrived in Brussels with one stop in Chicago.  The most important tip I can give on traveling to Europe – bring your own food for the plane.

stock up in chicago

My personal favorite – Rocky Mountain carmel apples.  Once in Brussels it was time to take the train to Antwerp – the major city near Beveren the village I was headed to.


Below Antwerp Central station – opened 1905 next to the Antwerp Zoo opened 1843


What I love about trains is they can take you most places in Europe and they are on time plus the stations are incredible.  What I hate about trains is you put your own luggage on them – no bag checking not even in first class.  As a fashionista, I always have luggage – if a trip is successful I leave with more luggage because of all my finds.  Traveling by train has three parts for me.

  1.  Mental preparation:  I can do this – get all my luggage on the train – without any doors slamming on me & down the aisle w/out smashing over other passengers feet.  This is truly my intention & I get it right about 50/50.
  2. Relief – I’m in my seat.  I don’t speak the language so I’m not sure if the talking was about me or not – but really I only bring what I really need for the trip.
  3. Arrival with my luggage.

From the train station we took a taxi.  I’m not sure what the laws are in Europe but what I saw/experienced in taxis is that they not pedestrians have the right of way.  So my advice if you see a taxi – get out of it’s way.  The most incredible taxis I saw were in Amsterdam – Tesla taxis – I was expecting the Mercedes taxis but the Teslas were a surprise.

There were quite a few electric, hybird, and diesel cars.  Most of the cars/trucks were small and some were in bright colors – who says pink isn’t for autos?  I learned I have long legs so I should have held out for the Tesla and that once I get a car I should consider silver.   Duct tape is useful around the world.


Bikes are super popular in Europe.  In Amsterdam I even saw bike parking garages.  You can also rent bikes in most major cities.


But why bike when you can board?  I skateboarded to explore and of course to shop.  My advice it’s fun to explore with family, but sometimes they aren’t as dedicated to shopping as they should be and they lead you home early.  Below with my dad in Antwerp.


So if you’re really serious about shopping success go with those who can keep up.  Below with my mom in Beveren.


Shopping in Europe is very fashionable and so is eating.  They are big on food presentation and dining room decor.


As for what they’re eating – yes Belgium has fries and waffles.  Pancakes aren’t for breakfast – many places start to serve them after 2pm.  To Snow White’s horror the rabbit and duck are on a lot of menus.  And eggs everywhere eggs.  Cooked eggs, raw eggs – they just show up.  Oh and like me and Oprah – they love bread & there’s is delicious.  The stories about no free refills?  OMG it’s true – it’s like they want you to drink the beer because it’s  cheaper than soda or water and you get a bigger glass.  Granted they are pretty famous for beer.


My favorite food is the croquette.  I went on a search for the perfect one which I found at Danieli IL Divino in Antwerp.  Like many restaurants Danieli is a converted home/mansion.  It’s set in a beautiful garden which can be seen in good and bad weather.


A second very delicious croquette was at De Valk outside of Antwerp next to a church – they are “famous” for their mussels, but I fell in love with their steak.  I also fell in love after dinner with the most stunning horse I’ve ever met.  Yes I’d travel that far just to see him again.

Overall Belgium has thee best sauces – their mayo & bearnaise are just two that impressed me.  Could I live without ketchup?  Let’s hope we never need to find out.


Being from Southern California I’m used to the sun.  When I arrived it was extremely sunny and unusually hot in Belgium.  Before I left things got back to normal – rain.  What’s great about the rain is it makes the land green.  I think rain is also good for bugs.  The bugs I saw in Europe are bigger and more plentiful then what I’m used to.   At home I have a bug tent over my bed – for decoration – I was missing that tent on vacation maybe as much or more than I missed my bed.

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Above views of the gardens at my Great Aunt Elza’s house and below more of her gardens.  I had many visitors including birds, cats, and possibly prince charming.  I let him go because my prince will chase after me!

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I took several boat tours.  I’m ok with admitting I’m a tourist – yes I even ask for directions on places I want to find.  I took the train from Antwerp to Amsterdam.

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Amsterdam has tons of canals.  The canals were built to move cargo and made the city important even though it’s miles from the ocean.

What I loved about the architecture is that they maintain the old buildings and build modern one.  It was such a popular place they were always looking for places to live.  Canal boats started off as a cheap place to live – they are now trendy.


Below more old next door to new.  Coexistence can be beautiful.

If you’re looking for the highest swing in Europe – about 100 meters up – it’s on the A’DAM Tower next to the Eye Film Institute on the River IJ opposite the Central Train Station.

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I loved how Amsterdam has a variety of museums/art exhibitions.  I did visit the Van Gogh museum – the ear, it was the entire ear he cut off but I missed out on the Bansky/Warhol exhibit.  I did check out the skate park in the museum area.  I loved how you could skate and have  views of the gardens – I’m  not sure how I felt about watching people wade in the fountain.

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The buildings are tall for a reason.  One they’re gorgeous and two you could build up for free but building wider and longer on the ground level would cost you extra.  To get your furniture to higher levels you use pulley from the attic to hoist up.

Today the homes are homes or shared between businesses and living space.  As for where are the gardens/backyards?  They’d be on the back side sometimes in courts.  The houses had huge windows to look out at them.  Tans weren’t in style then – pale was the look to show you weren’t a “worker” so you viewed your garden for enjoyment.  What a waste  – I love spending my time in gardens.

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If you think some of the buildings are leaning – they are.    The leaning buildings below are now a restaurant – De Silveren Spiegel.  If you want to use a big boat you’ll be out of luck – many bridges have low clearance.

The upcoming American Presidential elections have made the graffiti.  Is graffiti art?  Sometimes it is and sometimes you might be at the Flea Market not an art show.

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One of the best parts of the trip was checking in at the hotel in Amsterdam and seeing my dad’s face that our rooms weren’t adjoining.  The rooms were on the same floor in the hotel.


The red light district and everything else you’ve heard – true.  Does that make Amsterdam bad?  Amsterdam is unique – breath taking – historical – worth exploring – as with everything take what you like leave the rest.

Also true is that a part of Amsterdam is known as the Jordaan.

The entire area was one ghetto with open sewers, canals served for both transport and sewer, and no running water. Around 1900 about 80 thousand people lived in the Jordaan, nowadays there are about 20 thousand. 

Jordaan has become one of the most expensive, upscale locations in the Netherlands.

People, places, things can change if they want to and are willing to do what it takes.

Rembrant spent the last years of his life in the Jordaan and Anne Frank’s House is on the edge of the Jordaan by the Prinsengracht Canal.

I was happy when I saw my spirit animal – the octopus at the Amsterdam shopping center and not so happy when I found the etnies store and it was closed.  Note in the window – advertising for one of my all time favorite collections – etnies/Element – the Julian Davidson bomber jacket is a closet must have!

What saved me from total despair over the store being closed is a few doors down a fabulous bakery.  So delicious I bought an apple tart as my train ride home treat!


Another favorite treat of mine – diamonds.  If a girl’s best friend is diamonds than her to go spot must be Antwerp.

Over 80% of the world’s rough diamonds pass through Antwerp’s diamond district, also known as the Diamond Quarter (Diamantkwartier), and dubbed the Square Mile.

Antwerp is world famous for diamonds and their port.  It is one of the world’s largest and busiest ports.  Located inland – it is connected to the ocean and central Europe by water, rail, and road.

antwerp boat build

When the Antwerp Port Authority needed a new building, they made it with style.  Honoring their love of ships and diamonds the structure is 12,800 square meters of aluminum & glass above the former fire station.  It is supported asymmetrically by three concrete pillars and is scheduled to open in September 2016.

It was designed by Dame Zaha Hadid – yes girl power!  Construction began in 2012.  Unfortunately she died suddenly in April 2016.  The world will have this and her other buildings including the London Aquatic Centre for the Olympic Games, the Opera House in Guangzhou, the MAXXI in Rome and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

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Everywhere I went – Antwerp, Amsterdam,  Beveren, Knokke-Heist I saw creative space usage.  Steep steps – especially spiral ones are common.

If you want to build between existing connected buildings – just terror the middle one down – remember to secure the adjacent buildings.  And if you need more space than you have and don’t want to build up – build down.  Beveren’s underground supermarket Albert Heijn is open seven days a week.

Don’t worry on Tuesday they still have the square market.  I love how it can be totally modern and “old world” all in the same view.

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Above the castle in Beveren where the ducks were excited to greet me.  The pigeons are more concerned with their next meal which my mom is happy to provide them.

Yes Belgium has modern windmills, like I saw on my way to Woodward West in California.  I prefer older windmills, like the ones I saw on my way to the beach.

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Belgium has a beach on the North Sea.

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Only 50 minutes by train from Brussels is 65 kilometers of coast.  I went to Knokke-Heist the “sophisticated” area.  In addition to the beach there is a nature reserve, casino, and the Scharpoord Cultural Center.

I actually knew there would be a beach because I’d written a post on a girl skateboarding there.  I skateboard because it’s sport/art/transportation/exercise/rolling yoga – etc. and I blog because I want to share stories and spread encouragement.

In all I spent 20 days without my smart phone – lots of time to journal & meditate in the garden.  Yes, I really did leave my phone at home.  At times I thought I’d die.

so close but no wifi

Note:  I used my mom’s phone for the photos and borrowed my dad’s for a few social media posts – I’m only human.

Would I go on a trip again without it?  Never say never.  At least I now know I’m addicted but won’t die without it.

Things I plan on traveling with again – my Articles of Society LA born jeans that need to be available worldwide, Buqu it will keep you charged so you’ll never miss a picture, and Fjallraven back pack/front pack it’s a bag that works!Screen shot 2016-08-09 at 3.20.19 PM

Till next time keep it stylish on & off the board.



Making Sacrifices to Skate

I love this video from wairywaywanderer because mercedeshbenz is learning to skate

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I feel for Mercedes because she says she ruined her only pair of leggings.  The sacrifices skater girls make are real.

Recently a guy friend of mine ruined a pair of shorts skateboarding.  He was upset because they were his favorites.  Everyday finding out that skater girls & skater boys are more alike than some would have you believe!

Keep skating Mercedes and I love the purple pony tail!  The most stylish move in skateboarding to me is the skater who falls & gets back up with grace.

Skateboarding Across the Bay Bridge

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Madmarica went skateboarding across the whole Bay Bridge.

I say add it to the Bucket List – when in San Francisco or Oakland skate the bridge

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The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (known locally as the Bay Bridge) is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay in California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries about 240,000 vehicles a day on its two decks. It has one of the longest spans in the United States.

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Finding Your Zen

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Paulinaolmo_ shares this picture from Cayey Skate Park in Puerto Rico with the caption When you find your #zen.

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I’ve always called skateboarding rolling yoga so it’s nice to see other skaters achieving zen too.

Only one person can calm you – that’s you.  And yes only one person can upset you – that’s you – there are haters everywhere but they can only upset you if you give them power to.


Montreal Quebec is not Near Wyoming

I never said I was good at geography and sometimes the guesses I make about where people are skating are far off.

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Why did I think resolve.and.evolve aka Caroline was skating in Wyoming?  I really don’t know, but what’s good is she answered me back.  She’s skating in Montreal Quebec and encourages all her girls to get on a board!

I’ve only ever skated in Canada but I dream of cruising around the world in my future!  I stared skating in my hometown of Ottawa Ontario and now I ride the mean streets of Montreal Quebec.  I’m always looking for other ladies who longboard or skate and I encourage every lady to give it a try!  I actually often get stopped by other girls who just want to tell me they like my grip tape and then I often end up asking them if they want to give it a try!  Also I actually snapped my femur in half longboarding drunk so I’m always warning people about the dangers  – Caroline

Even if my geography never improves this blog is one of the best things that ever happened to me.  Plus it’s educational – love how Caroline shared her mistake so we won’t make the same one.

And if you can believe this Caroline is a Pastry Chef – yet again another reason for me to skate in Canada.

By the way the largest city in Wyoming – Cheyenne is 2,569 km from Montreal, Quebec – which is only 1,596 miles – at least it was right continent.

And I’m almost back from vacation – in the Washington DC airport now ✈️


Longboarder Who May be Sarcastic

Anyone who admits they like a little sarcasm has a good chance of being my friend.

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Nightmaremarie – or just Marie describes herself as a longboarder and sarcastic – she’s Bronx born & Florida raised.

I liked her from the video above and bio.  Then I saw she really doesn’t let little things like a cast get her down

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so now I’m sure Marie has style both on & off any board!

Life happens – we all fall – and believe me I don’t like falling.  Style is when you get back up & super style is when you can laugh at yourself as you’re getting back up!

Skateboarding the Dirt Trail

When you’re not average – the world has a lot more possibilities.  Notyouraveragetisha shares this video from Willimantic Skate Park in Connecticut

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The park had a box course so she skated it.  Her skateboard took her to the dirt – where will yours take you?

Share your adventures because more girls skateboard when the see stylish girls skateboarding & get encouragement.  Till next time keep it stylish on & off the board & road!

Entered my last week of vacation – me & my board are in Belgium.