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Two girls making somethings out of nothings with their hands. This summer we hope to embark on an epic cross country road trip, interviewing all kinds of artist along the way in order to make a documentary about art and culture in America today. OUR KICKSTARTER IS UP AND RUNNING! follow us and stay informed! Instagram: @soapskeptics Facebook.com/soapskeptics.1

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sneak Peek : SoapSkeptics Documentary About Art and Culture in America 2014

We hope everyone had a safe, healthy, thankful and happy THANKSGIVING!!

We are surely stuffed and ready to continue our editing process.

This week we began organizing files, images, and objects collected to scan for our BOOK! That's going to be the easy fun part.

Still working on editing interviews, we have been struggling with actually figuring out HOW we want the documentary to flow. But first order of business is to just finish editing the individual interviews. Here is one we finished last week, Maggie Belle, a band based in New Orleans. Influenced by Jazz, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, their sound is distinct and full of passion. They invited us to their home and shared some really interesting points of view on culture, music, and life down in New Orleans.



Enjoy and feel free to share :)

stay tuned for more updates!
www.soapskeptics.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

**** UPDATE SINCE OUR RETURN TO NJ ****

Hey folks!

It's been two months since we returned from our voyage! It hasn't been the easiest adjustment to return back home, but Rosie is now working and Andrea is volunteering / preparing for a residency in Germany coming up this January. As some of you remember (or not) Andrea's laptop broke 1/4 way into the trip and FINALLY WE HAVE A LAPTOP! So we just got to editing the footage, a little bit more of a delay than expected, but we made a promise and are keeping it! Hopefully we'll have it done by December but we will definitely keep ya'll updated. We are planning to have a screening of the movie and also have a book published with pictures of our journey, sketchbooks, text messages, and other random memorabilia we feel help visually define what we experienced. Since Andrea will be leaving, everything is going to have to get done before January 1 (when she leaves) so expect something SOON to happen, or in July 2015 upon her return from Europa.

Time for some reflection- this might get philosophical and heart felt, so if that's not your type of thing, you can scroll your facebook feed or something.

Andrea's Journey:

Looking back on this experience is truly something that I can't even put into words. When I came back, most of my conversations went as follow:
"How was it?" "What was your favorite place?" "What was the weirdest thing that happened to you?" "Are you and Rosie still friends?"
The answer to these questions don't matter, I would just reply saying "You just gotta do it". Because... YOU GOTTA. Whatever I describe and explain will give no justice to the journey. This trip taught me so many things. It taught me to be independent, it taught me to be resourceful, it taught me to trust in people, it taught me to let myself feel and express the feels. I danced with strangers, I said hello to people my elders have taught me to be afraid of, I touched land that's been around for ages, and for the first time felt proud to be from this country.
Not many people (especially from the tri-state area) understand how OLD and ANCIENT this land is. It's not just in the history books, it's in the rock formations, it's in the dirt, the way the mountains are shaped. You can see the way the water that once submerged this continent flowed in the cliffs. I don't think I ever really felt sublime until I traveled the south west and through South Dakota and Montana. Growing up in New Jersey, I don't see any of that, all I see are houses, cement, and the way the highways take over the land. That's not what it's like everywhere else... I opened my eyes to living with the land, not on it. I grew in touch with my inspirations, the colors of the sky that draw me in, the shapes of shadows casted on open fields from the clouds, the animals who roam, and the air that helps us breathe and live. Not the air that contaminates our lungs and minds.
Not once did I ever feel in danger or harm by another human being, I welcomed any one who walked along my path and found nothing but warm, good, people... maybe I was lucky... but I honestly don't believe in luck. I believe in karma and trust.(Doesn't mean Rosie and I didn't have our car completely guarded with pocket knives and pepper spray just in case.) Humanity is beautiful, we are all together in this thing called life.
I could not have done this trip with anyone else either. Rosie and I learned a lot about each other, and saw the same things but each got our own story out of it. It's a bond that really can't be made any other way. I learned how to deal with her ups and downs, as she did mine, know when to not talk, or to talk, and when to put "Hide away by Keizsa" on to lighten up any situation, also how to feed each other while driving... yeah, things got a little weird. But it was all worth it.
Now, the topic.... ART & CULTURE. Art is everywhere. And I was educated in a system that told me to put "art" up on a pedestal... high brow, what museum worthy is... etc. Well, REALITY, LIFE, THIS TRIP has taught me otherwise. I always knew it deep down, but meeting all these artists and talking to them about art, creation, expression, music and dance, just confirmed the fact that all we need to do is express! So many artists create, they don't know why.... they cook to cook, they paint to paint, there's no reason, there's no value, there's no justification except that it makes them happy. And because these artists follow their passion, they will forever feel fulfilled. Life isn't about making the money. It's about finding what makes you happy. And following that path will lead you no where but to success.
When I finished this trip I promised myself I would never go back to being a waitress again, because as a server I gained nothing, I learned nothing, I felt no fulfillment except for my pocket growing from tips. I came back wanting to make myself stronger as not only an artist but as a person. I want to do what makes me happy. I returned and searched on job sites for about a month until I finally got the job of my dreams. I am doing a work exchange with a studio in Brooklyn called Weaving Hand. There, I am a weaving instructor, teaching adults with mental and physical disabilities how to weave. In exchange for the work I am allowed to take classes at the studio. I may not be getting paid, but I never left a restaurant job feeling as good as I do today! THANK YOU to all those artists who inspired me to truly follow my heart and not think about the fact that I'm thousands and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. And THANK YOU to all of you guys who supported us from the beginning, at home, through Kickstarter, friends, and most of all, family. You are all my rock and I am so grateful. Peace, goodnight, hallelujah!


Rosie's Journey:
I've lived in a couple states and moved around my fair share but all of those past experiences can't hold a candle to the ones I had this summer. Going into this Andrea and I both knew it was going to be very hard and that our comfort zones would be left behind in New Jersey but, the one thing I think we didn't see coming was how much we enjoyed life of the road. The friendly and sketchy strangers, the amazing art from small towns to big cities, the food and drinks, the sunrises and sunsets, the changing scenery, the constant moving, it all seemed OH SO RIGHT! When you're traveling and seeing all of these beautiful sights this world has to offer, I believe, that you start to subconsciously open up your mind and realize that you don't really need too much to just be happy and content. I began to see everything for what it was and because I was far from home I couldn't be that skeptical, tough Jersey girl with the intense resting bitch face that people were afraid to talk to. Well, I could still be tough but I had to be open to everything to fully enjoy this trip. I had to put a little bit of trust and respect into every person I met and I'm glad I did. It's too easy to judge someone and keep going... one of my favorite memories from this summer was when we stopped at a McDonalds in between Tennessee and Georgia to use the bathroom. On the way in I noticed two "homeless" travelers sitting on the ground outside the door with a puppy. As we walked in they said nothing but on the way out one of them told me to have a nice day. I said "you too" and kept walking. Then the younger guy yelled to me asking if I wanted to trade fanny packs. Without looking back I immediately turned around and walked back to see what his looked like. Mine was a lot cooler so I said no thanks and before I could turn around he asked if I had any shinys to trade (shinys are rocks, beads, metal.. anything shiny). That's when I knew this guy was just a guy. He wasn't asking me for anything, he wasn't begging for food or money he was just being a nice guy. When I lived in San Francisco I was always told to never talk to the homeless and to never look them in the eyes or give them the time of day because they were "scum". Yes, maybe a couple were but I honestly think that I was just not open enough and I followed what others told me because I was in a new place, timid and shy. I let others influence me without even experiencing any of it for myself and I feel cheated. This trip helped me find out for myself and made me a better person in a way. It's hard for me to put my thoughts down on paper and tell you all how this summer changed my life because I don't think anyone (except for Andrea) can really relate and understand what something like this can do for the mind, body, and soul. So I guess what I'm saying is that everyone should take a cross country trip. Don't let self doubt stop you because anyone can do what we did and hopefully this movie can give you all a better understanding of how crazy cool and wonderful the world is. Stay positive my friends and you will only receive that back. Peace out cub scouts <3

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Heading Home!!

~ Our Route Back to Good Ole' NJ ~

Monday the First of September!





A day full of very little action for us in San Francisco. We started the day with Americanos down by the Sunset area. Then we headed to the Golden Gate Park and got to see some nature before heading to a tattoo shop Rosie's friend, Jake, works out of. 

Lefty's Tattoo Co. on 11th street in San Francisco is where we spent the entire afternoon. Andrea got to meet Johnny and Jake and Trent and Rosie got to catch up with old friends. An interview was not conducted, but we did leave the parlor with some new permanent friends!
After spending the day at the shop we came back to our motel and just passed out.



If you haven't read in our previous post, we ARE HEADING BACK TO NJ today…. it'll probably take us three days, but we have just enough money to get back home and save for post production costs and we would rather have a little bit of post production funds than be in Seattle stuck with no money. It's a shame we can't make it up to explore Portland and Seattle, but we have had SUCH an adventure the past four weeks… it wouldn't make the trip any better or worse if we went. Maybe next summer we'll make it out there. But for now, we are packing up our motel room in San Francisco and heading to a park somewhere to make the California weaving!


9/2/14

We hit the road and also hit a bunch of traffic, delaying our departure from San Fran by like three hours. It was worth it because we filled out empty stomachs with some good coffees, salads, and sandwiches. We made it through Lake Tahoe and got to stop to admire the beautiful forests in that area!


We made it to Nevada! Where we stayed was a small town filled with casinos and motels. I guess the Vegas vibe carries through this large state…
The day consisted of driving… as most days will from this point forward. We are splitting the drive in three hour shifts and trying to drive for at least 10 hours every day to get back to NJ as soon as we can! Next stop- Mt. Rushmore!!

9/3/14

We left the motel and stopped at a grocery store on our way our of some small mining town in Nevada. We met some guy who called out to us "HEY THERES THE BURNING MAN CREW!" He took us aback… "what?" Andrea called back to him. "You guys just come back from burning man?" The two of us took a minute to look at ourselves… Andrea was wearing a green bandana and a hawaiian shirt with rolled up denim jeans and converse. Rosie had on a tank top and jeans and boots and her fanny pack. I guess to this little town we are obvious outsiders… but burning man? (for those of you who don't know burning man… google it.) Then Andrea replies "OHHH nooo we didn't go to burning man!….. We're just crazy." And the man replies with a big laugh "THATS GOOD! CRAZY IS BEAUTIFUL!" Which then sparked a conversation between the three for about 15 minutes until we realized that he himself was crazy. We carried on….


We zipped through Nevada as the speed limit here is 80 mph and made out way to Utah! We made a stop at The Great Salt Lake, put our bathing suits on, walked down to the shoreline, and realized how bad it smelled. Dried up, salty, rotten eggs. That was all we could sense on that lake. Eggs. Andrea wanted to be brave, though. She started to walk into the lake. Right on the shoreline are MILLIONS of little nat bugs that stay very low to the ground and when you take a step, they all swarm up and move a few inches over- this happens with every step  you take. Along with the smell…. Rosie could barely stomach it and Andrea could just make it out to her knees before feeling defeated by the Great Salt Lake. After that pit stop, we continued driving through beautiful Utah into the wonderful Wyoming where we got to see a magnificently purple and pink sunset! We made it to  motel by 10 pm and had a good nights sleep.

Now it is the morning of the fourth and we have lots to drive until we hit Rushmore… maybe another 8 hours or so.

Hope everyone is having a good beginning of the school year and being safe! Thanks for following our blog :)

Until next time [we have wifi] ~

Andrea + Rosie

SoapSkeptics
@soapskeptics


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Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Weekend On The Road

WOW! What a terrible time to drive ANYWHERE!

We left LA early in the morning on Saturday and made our way up the 101 & Coastline Highway Rt 1. It took us a slow three hours to get out of the traffic leaving LA, but it was worth the views! Saturday was another day of straight driving, but we got some great images and made it to an amazing spot near Big Sur just in time for the sunset.








Once we hit Big Sur it was dark and we decided it wasn't safe to drive on a highway on the edge of a cliff with no street lamps. So we stopped somewhere more inland and tried to find motels. Lucky for us, it being Labor Day Weekend, and ALSO the weekend the Europeans have vacation, there was NOTHING with vacancy NOR was there anything under $100 for one night. 

DON'T FRET! WE FIGURED IT OUT! 

About an hour away from San Fran, we finally find a Motel 6 that was decently priced and we got to take nice long showers and make some art until we checked out Sunday at noon.

Sunday the 31 of August:

WE ARE SO CLOSE TO SAN FRAN! We checked out of the hotel and drove into the sunny, colorful city of San Fran. On this morning, we counted our dimes and decided that it was best to not make our way up to Portland or Seattle due to financial situations. So we are staying in San Fran until Tuesday and enjoying ourselves and the rest of our spending cash we have and then we will be making our way back to our lovely homeland of New Jersey!
But enough of that, we're in San Fran! We spent a few hours in Dolores Park where we attempted to sell some of the jewelry and arts we've been making, but we were more focused on enjoying the beautiful weather than socializing and being sales persons. They had free live music and plenty of people were out and about enjoying the Sunday. We made more crafts and decided to head out. We drove around the old neighborhoods Rosie used to live in, we ate at the Crepe House in the Mission and enjoyed some delicious salads that our bodies were oh so happy to inhale. Yes inhale.

Then around 8 we drove to Oakland to find an affordable Motel, which we did, and once again, we called the night in early and just made some more crafts while watching naked and afraid.



Monday the First of September:
Now we are at the House Of Coffee in Sunset, San Fran enjoying some yummy coffees and getting ready for our day. We are meeting with Rosie's tattoo artist friend and plan to get some ink! We will potentially be interviewing a tattoo artist for our San Fran section of this journey, which would be an amazing form of art to get some insight about!
Stay tuned!
HAPPY LABOR DAY, FRIENDS!

Peace ~
SoapSkeptics

Andrea + Rosie


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Long Time No Blog

Hey folks!

Sorry it's been a while since we blogged, but not sorry at the same time because we have been experiencing so much goodness the internet probably wouldn't be able to handle it.

Where to begin….

We landed in New Mexico and stayed in Albuquerque with Andrea's Aunt, Eugenia, and her partner, Stephanie. They were wonderful hosts- they cooked for us, took us to see some sights, and just relaxed and enjoying each other's company in their beautiful new home! We also got to spend some time with Andrea's grandmother (who taught her how to crochet) and her uncle, Luis. This mini family reunion was a nice little distraction from all of the art talk and interviewing, it gave us some time to really ground ourselves in the journey. We got to explore some Native American Territory in Sky City, it's an Acoma Pueblo on top of a mesa, the mesa has a long history of why the Natives settled there, they traveled across the land singing to the mesa's and the one which would sing back to them was the one they were to live on. Of course, tragic history tells that the white settlers who came and tried to take over bombarded the people of the mesa and disturbed their village. It is still a running village with families living in the homes, going to the church, and carrying the old traditions. We met an artist named Gooby Garcia, he is the towns story teller, he is in the hierarchy of the pueblo and has been since he was 17 years old (he is now 31). He explained to us all of the symbols in Native American art, the mountain peaks, the symbols for water, fire, earth, and wind, north, west, east, south, the importance of mother and father, the importance of faith and hope, the importance of the self, and of the mother earth. It was truly enlightening and he told us we can come back any time to visit and he would show us some beaded weaving techniques.




In New Mexico we met with Andrea's friend, Carter, he is a musician and happened to be traveling this summer on a cross country bicycle journey. Since we were both in New Mexico at the same time, we met up with him and did a little interview about music and culture. Then the three of us ventured to Santa Fe to see some sights and it just so happened to be a big Native American Festival! We walked around for about two hours and got really tired of the heat and the crowds and how expensive everything was and… lets be real… we don't have time or money to be looking at $200 jewelry. So we ventured some more and we ended up meeting a group of loving, free spirited individuals: Ali, Phoenixx, and Karyn (a.k.a Dandelion). We ended up making weavings, drawings, and music in a park right outside of Santa Fe for the entire day. It was nice, we needed some time for creativity to flow, and working alongside other creative individuals is always inspiring. Well, turns out Karyn is a fire breather/performer and Ali and Phoenixx play guitar and sing magically as she performs to "make a buck" as they say. Of course we stayed for the show! Twas the perfect way to end our day in the historically beautiful Santa Fe!


So Carter knows of this girl Emily who we have been in touch with for the past few weeks. It was his idea for us to meet her and learn about living off the grid. For those of you who do not know what "off the grid" means, it means to live off of the grid of society completely self sufficient. Right after our fire show in Santa Fe, we made our way to Taos where we met Emily at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and followed her car to her piece of land 7 miles away from the city on the top of a mesa.



Emily started her interest living off the grid when she interned for EarthShips [www.earthship.com] and later became employed by them. Through the company she learned about self sustainable agriculture, architectural design to coexist with nature, and how to reuse and recycle objects into functional, useful things around the house. She recently purchased and officially owns her own piece of land and has been living in a school bus she renovated and made completely her own. The way of life is inspiring, it's hard work, it's ambitious, it's dedication, strong will, and we completely admire everything she told us and shared with us. Our first night on the mesa we stayed at her neighbor, Tyler's land.

He let the three of us sleep in his camper. Then in the morning we all went to the Coffee Spot, a cute little Taos hangout place for good coffee and breakfast. Then Emily, Rosie, Carter, and Andrea made their way to downtown Taos and shopped around a bit, saw some cool stores, bought some awesome wool roving, got some groceries, and made our way to the RIO GRANDE!! Emily showed us this amazing part of the Rio Grande right by her mesa where there are hot springs leading right to the Big Rio itself. We hangout there till the sun went down, met some cool tourists, drank a few beers, made friends with a mountain goat, and took a dip in the Rio. We spent the night once again at Tyler's while he was working in Santa Fe and in the morning, SoapSkeptics left the mesa to head for the Grand Canyon. We had just enough time to interview Emily and film her talking about what it is to live off the grid and in Taos…. as soon as we get back to NJ and edit all of this footage you will all be able to hear all the things she has to say about how her life changes since living off the grid.




THANK YOU so much to Emily and Tyler for welcoming us in to your homes and being nothing but good to the both of us, and THANK YOU to Carter who introduced us. Something tells me our paths will cross again soon! We knew on this trip we were "gonna learn", and we HAVE been.

8/27-28/2014

After spending the night in Tuba City, Arizona we woke up extra early to grab some breakfast at the Hogans Family Restaurant. MMM M! Navajos know what is up when it comes to breakfast! Two eggs, pulled pork, toast, pancakes, sausage, ham, coffee, chile, peppers, and cheese for like $7!

Enough said.
Right next door was a Navajo historical trading post so of course we had to go in. Andrea walked out with an awesome ring and Rosie with earrings. Then right back on the road. We traveled a lot that day before so it was just a short drive to the most magical place on earth.
The Grand Canyon. THE GRAND CANYON. THE GRAND CANYON. THE GRAND CANYON!!!!







Words can not even begin to explain the amazing, jaw dropping beauty that is the Grand Canyon. We were both speechless. All we could do was smile, laugh, and say "Wow".  We both strongly believe that everyone should most definitely go and see it with their own eyes. Pictures just don't do it justice… One thing that has been very apparent while traveling and seeing all of these amazing sights is that we are small! Its very humbling :)


After gazing at the beautiful canyon for a couple hours we went back to the campsite we reserved earlier ~Shout out to campsite #31!~ and got together all of the great rocks we found around the area and washed them to see what we got because we're crazy. Just kidding but our site neighbors probably thought so. We were wrapping sage, washing rocks, painting, and cutting each others hair. So yeah, we're crazy. That's what three weeks on the road does to ya!

 It started to get pretty nippy and dark early on so we ran over to the general store in the park and got some hotdogs and beer to enjoy next to the fire we were about to build.

Not bad for two city girls! The hotdogs were baller and the beers hit the spot but the best part of that night was without a doubt the stars! Its amazing how many there are and they're always there but the light pollution [especially around New Jersey that we're used to] overpowers them. It's also sad. The stars remind you that you are on a planet floating through space. Yeah, we all know that and people talk about the earth all the time but if you can't actually see it every day, its easy to forget. In the tent we could still see the stars and falling asleep to that was priceless.





In the morning, before the sun was about to rise we drove over to the canyon edge to see it once more and then headed back to camp to make some toast and Nutella for breakfast, pack up, and make our way to Flagstaff, Arizona. Our "service needed" light came on in the car se we took it to get some TLC before driving through the desert to California.










Seven hours later we finally make it to Burbank, California where we stopped real quick to see Rosie's cousin, T.J. and get some advice on where to look for a cheap motel. T.J. was on his way to band practice and we needed to find a room so we parted ways but don't worry we'll be interviewing him tomorrow morning about his special project. When we say special we mean no one is doing
what he does. Stay tuned to find out!

For now, it is bed time. We finally found a cheap room at the Harmony Motel and are so excited to get some well needed rest. It was great catching up and we don't plan on living off the grid again on this trip so posts should be regular. Maybe.

8/29/2014

Harmony Motel was harmonious FOR SURE! Neither of us wanted to wake up but T.J. McNeill was ready for his interview bright and early! We interviewed him about his projects of mixing musical talent with comedy and satire. T.J. has lots to express about society, culture, and all the in-betweens and he used irony, satire, and comedy to say it! The interview was entertainment at it's best, but also really genuine and we touched on a lot of topics about social media and how people react and interact with social issues through the media. Can't wait to edit it!




After the interview T.J. was oh so awesome and treated us to DENNYS!!! The BEST breakfast sandwiches and great way to start our day in LA. He had work so we parted ways and the SoapSkeptics team made way towards Venice Beach to soak up some sun and enjoy the scenery. This place is lively and fun to say the least. So much art, street performers, roller bladders, skate boarders, body builders, graffiti, and hustlers! Yeah, we got hustled. We thought we were buying two shirts for $20 each, but then after they swiped our credit card they told us it was $100! WHAT THE HELL VENICE BEACH?! It's okay though, we made a scene, and we hustled them back leaving the store with three shirts, a sweatshirt, and a hat. BOOM! Jersey don't have patience for dealing with that sort of bull crap.
Besides that…. Venice beach was beautiful! Andrea took a nice dip in the radioactive Pacific Ocean, and Rosie got a nice bright crispy sun burn. Worth it.





We made our way to Hollywood to check out the stars and eat some In n Out Burgers! So yummy and so much fun! LA is so opposite of the places we have been staying lately, so it was a bit of an adjustment to go from the glorious silent Grand Canyon to this booming, star studded city, but we still enjoyed it and had a great time living the touristy life. After creeping on the big mansions in Beverly Hills and Bel Air in our KIA Soul, we made our way to Santa Monica to sit on the beach and check out the board walk at night.


We met with T.J. after he got out of work and grabbed a drink at a local bar he showed us. Once again, never a dull moment with T.J. THANK YOU SO MUCH for showing us a great time in LA and letting us stay with you on our last night in this glorious city!
It is now time to depart this LA LA Land and head north to San Francisco!!

Alrighty friends, time to hit the road! Don't forget to follow our instagrams for more frequent updates!!

@andreasmakingthings
@rosieogradie
@soapskeptics

Peace!!

SoapSkeptics
Andrea + Rosie