By Lisa Davis
The calendar might not agree, but for a lot of North Carolinians the NC State Fair is the official start of fall. Unlike any other event, the state fair combines food, games, and rides in an atmosphere of good old fashion fun. People of all ages and from all over the state come together to enjoy the festivities. Combining everything from Sesame Street to Agriculture, the state fair delivers on every level.
Probably the most iconic feature of the NC State Fair is the food. Year after year of giving the media something to write about, vendors push the envelope while developing sweet, rich, and decadent creations. From a burger patty wrapped in warm fresh doughnuts to deep fried candy bars and cookies, it is a caloric haven. Giant turkey legs, roasted corn, and kielbasa sausages create long lines of hungry people just waiting to sink their teeth into a one of a kind experience only found at the fair. You can also find NC State University’s legendary ice cream which always draws a crowd. Eating at the state fair is such a beloved part of the experience that even Covid-19 couldn’t keep it from happening. Even though 2020 has tragically paused the NC State Fair’s run, you can still get a drive-thru opportunity to feast on fair food. Long lines and waiting times reinforce the fact that fair food delivers like nothing else around.
Image taken from : https://www.ncstatefair.org/
Between the rounds of eating, most people enjoy the games and rides. From speed, height, and twist and turns, the fair rides are scary (and not just because you know they were put up in two days :)). The progression from kiddie rides to the most daring rides that spout a height requirement to protect riders is proof of the desire to please everyone. Ride tickets have turned into wrist bands and great discounts are available ahead of time to make a day of riding not quite so expensive.
The day wouldn’t be complete without the history and cultural aspects of what makes North Carolina so incredibly awesome. A celebration of agriculture, animals, and culinary expertise showcases talents and accomplishments. Competitions in livestock and crops support our local educational and 4-H programs. Amateur and school-aged arts and crafts are on display and awarded prestige and honors for budding artists. Creativity is fostered, recognized, and proudly viewed by fellow patrons. The NC State Fair is the ultimate showcase.
There’s no doubt, the fair sparks emotion and adds pounds to our waistlines. But, it’s so worth it. It’s absolutely a once-a-year opportunity to Stay Stranded. While you would certainly not be alone, it’s undoubtedly a family fun experience. Of course, the bad news is that 2020 will go down in history as the “Unfair” year. The year the fair was cancelled will be talked about in NC forever. But, you can make it an unforgettable year by experiencing what NC has to offer on your own or with those you love. So follow the example of the Beckstrand crew; get out and explore NC.
by Lisa Davis
There is something empowering about being on top of a mountain. Knowing you climbed your way to the top takes it to a whole different level. All the cliché references exist for a reason, making your way to the top of any mountain takes time, effort, and skill. The mountain can be figurative or literal, the result can still be breathtaking.
Strap on your boots because we aren’t just walking; we’re hiking. The daring combination of rugged terrain and unsure footing makes all the difference. It adds that natural grit and athletic prowl of a hiker. Some hike for pleasure, some for adventure, and some for the adrenaline. Whatever the reason, it is a great way to get stranded. Disclaimer: don’t go off the beaten trail so far it takes a helicopter and trained dogs to find you!
Hiking brings nature and achievement together. Whether it is a well beaten and documented trail or the unadulterated blazing of the wild blue yonder, the journey is well worth the effort. The end of the trail or top of the mountain offer acceptance, respect, and solitude. Even if it is inner solitude, it can clear your mind and reset your soul. Breathtaking landscapes and marveling heights are often the backdrop of a successful climb. As varied as the destination, hikes offer a multitude of fitness levels, therapeutic benefits, and stranded qualifications.
Don’t go this one alone. Even if it is peace and solitude you seek, take a buddy. Hiking can be dangerous and having a friend is not only smart, but could be vital to your success. The key here is taking the right friend for the right hike. That’s right, if you need time to think your chatty bestie might need to sit this one out. No harm, no foul. Think of it this way, a chatty bud will be better off at home than you pushing him/her off the side of a mountain. That would definitely be a foul.
While a lot can be said for spontaneity, it can also be fun and smart to plan the adventure in advance. This gives you time to have everything you need for safety and practical purposes, but it also gives you something to look forward to. A Saturday or weekend getaway may be just what you need. The excitement of making plans and anticipating some time outdoors can make your week go by faster and even give you some pep in your step. You may even be able to let your co-worker’s snarky remarks go by the way because you are going hiking!
So check out the trails in your area and get the lay of the land! Find out what adventures await you as you strap on those hiking boots and grab your backpack. Another disclaimer: bugs, snakes, poison ivy, and random animals are all part of the experience. Embrace the adventure! Get stranded, stay stranded, and scratch later.
by Lisa Davis
We are surrounded! Probably not what you expect or want to hear if you’re going for the stranded lifestyle. Play along and hold off judgement until the end.
To make it more interesting, we are going to put you in a chair and let you face the barricade for hours. Still worried? Oh there’s one more thing, the barricade will make advancements threatening you and your chair. Stress setting in?
Stay calm because with Stay Stranded, there is always good news and here it is. It is by far, the most relaxing and beautiful barricade ever designed. Why? Man didn’t design it nor can he control it, so he just enjoys it!
About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water. 1 That’s right, we are surrounded by water. Glorious water that playfully encroaches on our land masses and beautifies the Earth’s surface. Can you imagine the pictures from space without it? Not to get all astronauty or technical on you, but think about that for a sec.
Okay, so back here on the Earth’s surface, we play around, on, and in water for recreation. Lakes, streams, and ponds fill our days with fishing, boating, and swimming. But there is something magical about the oceans. They are powerful and majestic, yet tranquil and serene. And then there’s the beach! Every magnificent grain of sand.
Ahhhh the beach, the playground where humanity meets humility. The playground that commands respect, yet offers whimsical days without end. The backdrop for eternal sunrises and sunsets where you can see for miles on end. The place where the horizon is a million miles away but right in front of you. We dot this playground with our toys, umbrellas, and cutesy, although somewhat, skimpy attire. We set up shop for hours, days, or a lifetime. Why?
Because it creates an oasis. Okay, there is a lot of sand. And yes, sand sticks to absolutely everything and finds places no one even knew existed. And the sun will make its mark on you literally if you aren’t careful. But,….if you give it a chance, it won’t disappoint. The beach is an escape from normalcy that is beautifully orchestrated with the soothing sounds of waves crashing and the smell of salt air. Life is slower, simpler, and unassuming. You can make the beach your own oasis. Load up the car, golf cart, or wagon or just walk out the door barefoot and empty handed. The best part is that it doesn’t matter. It’s your call, on your terms. Tell us how you get stranded at the beach!
by Lisa Davis
It’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the ole ball game! It’s true the walk back to the dugout after a strikeout is a lonely stranded walk. It can be a long few seconds. On the flip side, every at bat is an opportunity to give the leather covered ball the ride of a lifetime over the field, the players, and finally, the fence. Every baseball player’s highlight, a dinger. A home run that strands the ball outside the stadium. You might be tempted to feel bad for the ball, the pitcher, or even the other team, but the cheers of the crowd overtake all negativity and place you on an euphoric high that is unrivaled.
It has been deemed America’s favorite pastime. A patriotic symbol of good times, competition, and athleticism. From the legends of the game to the hot dogs and peanuts of your favorite stadium, it’s baseball. Where the crack of a wooden bat conjures up memories of warm summer nights, family, and mascot shenanigans. What’s not to love? Perhaps the crowded stands and long concession lines. Not to worry, it’s all part of the experience.
Ironically, sports are the perfect backdrop for life. Opportunities missed and opportunities capitalized in monumental, historic ways. Countless hours spent practicing and living for the moment to shine. Striving for the next level and next chance to prove talent, skill, hard-work, and dedication is part of an athlete’s dna. The adrenaline of a game, a match, or a heat is a lifetime rolled up into hours, minutes, or even seconds. It’s what athletes live for; an opportunity.
We are all given those same opportunities in life. Opportunities to shine, opportunities to take our blood, sweat, tears, and passion and turn them into life-altering moments. That’s what being stranded is all about. It is about creating moments that change your perspective. Moments that allow you to refocus, reset, and redirect. Whether you feel like the kid that just hit a dinger or the ball left stranded outside the stadium, being stranded is all about your perspective.
Games are won and lost. Athletes feel the pressure. Competition builds character, discipline, and resilience. Teams promote teamwork, responsibility, and accountability. Sports are exhilarating and infuriating. Whether you are competing or watching as an avid fan, you feel the excitement and the disappointment. You experience the highs and the lows. Your allegiance unwavering as you carry the torch and occasionally get burned. You love the players when you win and curse the umpires when you lose. It’s the experience. Pick a sport and get stranded. Step up to the plate and swing for the fence!
by Hailey Beckstrand
Since quarantine has started my family has taken up hiking every Sunday in an effort to get connected with each other, explore the outdoors, and stay stranded together.
Our first adventure was to William B. Umstead park. As soon as we got there it rained….. "Well, let's turn around and go home." Nope we couldn't, due to circumstances we were stuck there for an hour, in the rain, on a Sunday afternoon, 30 minutes away from home. The cars were hot and the kids restless, so we paced the small, humid, somewhat stinky, but luckily sheltered, outdoor public bathroom facility, while discussing what to do. Continue with our hike? No we would get soaked but the kids were already splashing around in the rain, chasing a frog. We were quite literally stranded. As the rain let up we ventured out of the small shelter and walked towards a lake in the outskirts of the park and began skipping rocks. There we were, stranded, wet, hungry, but laughing, smiling, and being together.
Since then we have continued to hike every Sunday, visiting various locations around North Carolina(thanks to @NCEatAndPlay). We have visited the Occoneechee Speedway, the Eno River, Forest Ridge Park, and more. While we're not the only families out there, in a sense we are stranded, on the trail, in our bubble of happiness, with each other. My family has found a way to get and stay stranded. In essence this is what Stay Stranded is all about, getting out, by yourself or with your family, doing what you love, finding your direction and place. Get Stranded. Stay Stranded.
by Lisa Davis
Ever heard the expression “biting off more than you can chew?” Well, it’s a thing. It’s a real thing. Being overwhelmed or in over-your-head is more common than we like to admit. Let us help you imagine it; picture having eight kids and they all need your attention at the exact same time as if the world rest entirely on their particular issue. Get our drift?
There is only one way to work through your toughest, longest, most challenging day – 15 minutes at a time. Stay Stranded would like to introduce what we call the 15 minute work day! Before you stop reading and tell your boss you are now only working 15 minutes every day, let us explain. To increase productivity and efficiency you have to learn to manage 15 minutes first. How hard can this possibly be? Don’t ask, because you might find out.
Seriously, breaking big daunting tasks into small manageable ones is how success starts. Will Smith once said that you don’t start off building a wall. Instead, you start off laying one brick as perfectly as possible. Then you lay a second brick as perfectly as possible and pretty soon, you have a wall. In order to do this, you have to focus on the task at hand. You have to know what is essential by prioritizing and then, focusing.
This will work for anything from naps or relaxation, weeding in the yard, playing with your kids, studying, meditation, spending time with a loved one, taking a walk, reading, etc. Simply focus for 15 minutes. If you find yourself getting distracted, then start over. The first week will be quite overwhelming, the second week may feel nearly impossible, if you can get through the third week with just focusing for 15 minutes at a time it will change your life and you will be able to accomplish more than you could ever imagine. Watch your thoughts, don’t worry about the beeps or buzzes or alerts or anything else. Just focus on the task at hand.
We know this is harder than it sounds, but it is so worth it. It is amazing what a human being can accomplish in that seemingly insignificant length of time. What is even more amazing is the amount of time a human being can waste in the course of one day, a simple 24 hour period. You have to give this a try. Take a normal routine day and write down everything you do and how long you spend doing it. All kidding aside, be truthful. Even if no one else ever sees this confession, you will. Tasks that should take seconds or minutes, take an hour or more. Breaks, naps, and lunches all drag on for sometimes double what they should be. The term power nap was coined for a reason! For all our binge watching followers, one episode turns into four. Googling an answer turns into an hour long sidetracked internet adventure which ends with you getting an Amazon package at your doorstep two days later. It’s so true!
Let’s break it down, literally (and no, we aren’t going to dance). An eight hour day is equal to 32 – 15 minute tasks. This means you can accomplish 32 tasks in a single workday! Wow, that’s a lot! So, use that timer and get to work. Using bite-size chunks of time, you can increase your productivity tenfold. Remember, don’t get overwhelmed; it’s only 15 minutes. It just so happens that multiple 15 minute increments create a day, week, month, etc.
So here it is; we dare you! We double dare you! We triple dog dare you! (Is that even a thing?) Start today. Decide what you are going to work on. Set a timer and go to work. If you get side tracked, start over. Practice every day (maybe even twice a day). The more you practice, the better you will get at focusing your attention for the full 15 minutes. After three weeks, tell us your results. We are convinced you will be thrilled with your new productivity and efficiency. Who knows, maybe you can convince your boss to let you work during your 15 minute break and then take the rest of the day off! No promises there :). Stay Stranded!
by Lisa Davis
Ever heard the expression ‘get a grip?’ Well that is exactly what Stephen did when he designed one of his first logos as an independent graphic designer. The Grip is a ninja gym located in Washington, Utah. (https://thegripfitness.com/)
The Ninja Grip is owned by Stephen’s brother, Brian. Stephen and Brian come from a family of ten children. Brian arrived as child #6 and Stephen as #7. We will let you decide if 7 is lucky or not, Katie argues it is. There are some definite signs of talent that flow through the Beckstrand blood. This gym isn’t called ninja for nothing. Brian, his wife Holly, son, Kai, and daughter, Bailey are all Ninja Warriors. No, we aren’t kidding. In fact, Kai was named American Ninja Warrior Junior Champion in December 2018 for the 11-12 year old bracket. How cool is that? Known for his signature mohawk, Kai battles through the everyday life associated with type I diabetes to show incredible discipline and strength. Talk about powerful lessons to be learned from one determined young man.
Kai’s backyard is literally a ninja warrior course. That’s right, the Beckstrands’ turned their backyard into a training facility and paradise for any ninja loving kid. This is something both Brian and Stephen learned from their own childhood. Having a backyard that fosters athletics, competition, sibling and even neighborhood rivalry comes naturally to both Brian and Stephen. Growing up, they had a pool, basketball court, and even a baseball field converted over their mom’s garden. Who needs vegetables when you can have fierce competition?
That passion built Brian, ninja warrior and Stephen, graphic designer. Okay, it built eight other great kids, probably some broken bones, a few other scratches and bruises, and probably a bruised ego or two. Nonetheless, that same determination and dedication has built The Grip and Stranded Studio. Stephen was able to capture the vision Brian had for his gym, his competitive spirit, and his legacy already passed down to his own children. Holding tight to everything he holds near and dear; gripping the obstacles that stand between a competitor and his victory, gripping the reality of success that comes with hard work is behind that logo. Everyone who walks in that gym or sees that logo can appreciate what a good grip can accomplish. And no one saw that better than Stephen.
by Lisa Davis
F3 is a national network of free, peer-led workouts for men. Their mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership. (https://f3nation.com/)
On Monday mornings, you can find Stephen working out with a purpose-driven group of men in Wake Forest. Standing for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith, Stephen found an outlet for his workout passion as well as a brotherhood whose creed is: “Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him”.
Based on his skill set in design and animation as well as his large family, Stephen is fondly known as ‘Roger Rabbit’. While his physical characteristics don’t exactly match the animated bunny, he is full of life and quite witty. Maybe one day, we will see Stephen designing, directing, and starring in his own animated/human film. Until then, we will have to be content seeing Stephen out in the community and not on the silver screen.
Working out is an awesome way to live stranded. Not only does it relieve stress, make you feel good and look great; it builds friendships and healthy habits. Fitness revolves around discipline and goal setting. Moving forward requires both of those attributes. When Stephen first heard of this ex-military group based out of Charlotte, NC, he was intrigued. That curiosity led Stephen to find the local Wake Forest workout location of F3. Now he makes it part of his weekly routine. Finding friends and neighbors with similar interests is a great way to build relationships in your community. It is also a great way to share the things you enjoy.
Stephen is passionate about fitness in just about any form. In fact, he has been known to participate in zombie runs at panic point. (https://www.raleighhauntedhouse.com/). Will he eventually get caught by a zombie or can he escape? Follow him on instagram @stay_stranded to find out. He is always up for a challenge. So challenge him with your design needs. Live Stranded. Stay Stranded.
by Lisa Davis
Stephen Beckstrand is a Raleigh area designer with 20+ years of training and experience in graphics, illustrations, and animation. Design is a field that is constantly changing and reinventing, thus it can have countless ripple effects on impact marketing. There are so many aspects that drive design. Everything from fashion and art to trends and fads affects how people respond to design. However, there are some elements that are respected as classic thereby enduring time, scrutiny, and cyclical changes. Either way, our current template driven world is once again challenging design. The fast track to creating design by using templates and prefabricated elements are marketed as time and cost-saving tricks of the trade. Unfortunately, they are also mundane, overused, and lack originality.
Lucky for you, Stephen offers a fresh approach to design. Through an overall view of changing the landscape of his community and environment through design, Stephen’s tagline has become Design to Impact. The authentic way to make an impact is to inspire and motivate. Our world is currently saturated with cookie-cutter posts, templates, and filters. The problem is everyone is using the same platforms and filters. Therefore, it becomes noise. Marketing has forever changed. Consequently, entrepreneurs and small business owners are facing an uphill battle of grabbing attention from a dulled, overcrowded, and de-sensitized consumer market. Consumers see everything and therefore, see nothing at all. It’s all the same. That is why we scroll.
But, what if? What if the design was meaningful? What if the design changed the environment. The way to find out the answer is by getting to know Stephen. His vision, his process, and his approach comes from years of experience and childhood inspiration combined with a compassion driven desire for change. As with any successful person, lofty goals drive Stephen to become better, stronger, and more vocal. Getting to know Stephen, you will have the privilege to experience firsthand his sense of humor, sarcastic wit, and natural responsibility that give him a voice worth listening to. As you follow him, read about him, and get to know him, you will understand what matters to him and how it fuels his drive. That is what sets him apart, his competitive advantage. Let Stephen set you and your company apart. Contact him now!
Stay tuned next week for more on the man himself!
by Daniel Beckstrand
Have you ever marveled at the grandeur of a skyscraper? Have you ever been struck by awe while walking through an art exhibit? Perhaps you have felt emotionally impacted by an exceptional film or piece of music? These examples are stand-out moments of intentionally impactful design, and we feel them. They leave their mark on us. Iconic pieces of art and design are immediately recognizable to us and have left their impact throughout history.
As a kid I spent a lot of time admiring animation in the Saturday morning cartoons and Disney movies I watched, and I would often spend hours trying to replicate them in my own style. When Disney teamed up with Pixar and started doing 3D animation, I became especially intrigued at the thought of creating art in a new medium other than the traditional pen & paper. I wanted to learn everything I could about animation.
My admiration of art and design also extended to video games. I grew up playing Nintendo games and I fondly remember how impacted I felt by the characters and animation in Final Fantasy 3 on the Super Nintendo. I loved the “choose your own adventure” style of gameplay and would pick a different character each time I played through the game so that I could explore each story. The character art in the game’s player guide was stunning and I would practice drawing the characters. Video games have a way of really bringing art to life and deliver it straight into people’s hands, and I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of.
As I got older I enrolled in an art history class in order to learn more about art and its influence. The Baroque period was a style that spoke to me, especially Bernini’s sculpture of David. I love the form and action pose of the character and the look of determination on his face as he is readying to throw the stone that would bring down Goliath. At just 24 years old Bernini created sculptures that would impact styles of art and design for centuries to come, and to this day he is considered one of the Baroque periods greatest, credited with being the creator of the Baroque style of sculpture.
These different experiences left an indelible impact on me that instilled a deep love of art and design. I learned at a young age how strong of a force design can be and how it can move people and the emotions. Each piece of artwork is designed to evoke a response and touch an emotion (or multiple emotions) within us, and I knew early on that I wanted to turn that into my career. I want to leave that impression on others that I have so often felt, that feeling of awe and inspiration that arouses the best within all of us.
Design surrounds our everyday lives. While the experiences mentioned above were significant for me, we often fail to recognize the design all around us as we get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules. Admittedly most design is unremarkable, and more often than not favors function over style. Great design stands apart, it speaks to the achievements of mankind and is always pushing the boundaries of what we consider normal, contemporary, or in style. That is why I always strive to create art and design that is impactful and meaningful. My goal in creating this space is to inspire others to think creatively, boldly, and passionately about design and the effect it can have.
My purpose is to make an impact on the lives of others through great design. To design to impact.
Please feel free to comment, or reach out to me via email or social media if you have any questions, comments, or commissions.