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Salty Soul Highlight - Kristen Brown of The Sunset Shop

Erin Wilson

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It has been awhile since we had a little inspiration and highlighted A Salty Soul!  Our designer Rebecca introduced us to Kristen Brown who splits her time between Costa Rica and Savannah. Amazing, right?  She is a photographer, a surfer and an embracer of life!  We are excited to share her story and hope you will check out her work here

Q: Where were you living prior to splitting time btw Costa Rica & Savannah? 

A: The Big Apple, aka New York City!

Q: What inspired you to make a big life change?  And are you happy you did it?  

A: I was ready to make a change -- at that point I was prepping to get my MBA. Then I took a surf lesson and it literally was love at first wipeout! My New Year's resolution in 2011 was to learn how to surf, so with that first surf lesson that year, I was determined to learn how to surf. A couple months later after surfing in Rockaway (NYC) all summer, I went to Costa Rica to surf. It rained all week, but I had a blast surfing. Three months after that CR surf trip, I went back to surf and happened to meet Robert August, who shapes at the surf camp I was staying at. One day he came up to me and commented how diligently he saw me working every day -- I was studying for my GMATs while on vacation. He then asked if I was good at "marketing and promotions" -- I laughed and said I worked at a big bank. But, Robert had planted a seed and eight months later I landed back in Costa Rica to work for him. Don't regret it one bit!

Q: Tell us about your photography!  We love that you help everyone take the beach home with them!

A: Awwww, thanks!!!! :) Soon after moving to Costa Rica, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the sunsets were. Like jaw dropping, out of this world beautiful! I first started photographing them to share with my family and friends, and then one day I had an idea to make postcards using my sunset photos - - especially since all the postcards I had seen in Tamarindo looked nothing like Tamarindo and/or used ugly stock photos. The postcards have done extremely well in Tamarindo -- so everyone that has purchased a postcard as a souvenir or sent one as a souvenir has a piece of what I like to call "Pura Vidadise". Selling my postcards inspired me to pursue photography for clients as well (I photograph a lot of families on vacations and destination weddings), and last year I opened my online print shop, aptly named The Sunset Shop. Before I launched the shop, if a client wanted a print, they had to reach to me first. After working one-on-one with several clients, I wanted to make it even easier for anyone to have a piece of the beach at home with them, so I went to work designing The Sunset Shop. I still love working one-on-one with clients if they need help picking out the best sunset print for their space or if they have a question about sizing, and I also love how a client easily can navigate to my shop, pick their favorite print, and voila!

Q: What range of work do you do?  

A: I'm a natural light, lifestyle photographer -- meaning I love working with natural light to create beautiful and natural photos. Lifestyle photography is pretty much that -- all about capturing how people naturally are in the environment around them with a little bit of natural posing or direction. I shoot a lot of families that are on vacation in Costa Rica, destination weddings, elopements, or anyone else that wants photos just because they want life captured. Pretty much if you're down to laugh and have a good time, I'm your photographer! I also love photographing for brands and editorial work -- my photos were recently featured in Harper's Bazaar UK March 2018 issue -- pinch me!!!! AND, last but not least, my favorite thing to photograph are sunsets!!

Q: What are some of your favorite spots in both Tamarindo & Savannah?  

A: Pretty much anyplace on the water or with a water view! In Tamarindo, I love photographing at low tide on the point, as well as at the river mouth. I also love to hike up the hills in Tamarindo for the gorgeous views! Savannah is special because there is so much natural beauty with the marshes, rivers, and beach, as well as charming downtown Savannah. 

Some of my favorite spots to hang out in Tamarindo and surrounding area are: Pangas Beach Club, El Chiringuito, and Lola's in Playa Avellanas

Some of my favorite spots to hang out in Savannah and surrounding area are: The Wyld, Forsyth Park, and Skidaway Island

Q: What is a piece of advice you would give others to pursue their dreams and the life they want to live? 

Sometimes you just gotta take that first step! For me, that was quitting my corporate job and moving to Costa Rica. I by no means didn't have everything figured out when I went to Costa Rica, but with a lot of hard work, determination, and passion, I found and am pursuing my passions, photography, chasing sunsets, and surfing (almost) every day! My "life / happiness bank" is pretty darn full! :) 

All photos courtesy of Kristen Brown.

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Salty Soul Highlight: Ned Curtis of Salt Water Therapy

Erin Wilson

We think there are certainly pros and cons to technology, how much we use our phones and how much time we spend on various platforms. But what we do love about it is how you can get exposed to new and interesting people from around the world.  

We came across @_saltwatertherapy_ which is the Instragram account of Australian photographer Ned Curtis.  Ned shares our love of water but also our passion for travel and exploration.  We were excited to hear more about how he is pursuing his passion and traveling the world.  Read on to learn about this Salty Soul and yes sure to check out his website, you can purchase his photos online!

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Q: .We connected because we have fallen in love with your instagram feed and those amazing photos you post.  Where are you from and how did you start Saltwater Therapy?  

A: I am from Sydney, Australia and i started Saltwater Therapy out of my passion for photography and my love for the ocean. I have grown up surfing and swimming in the ocean almost every day so it is a special place for me.

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Q: We love to travel, and from your website it looks like you have been all over!  How often do you travel and what was your favorite trip ever? 

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and something i recommend to everyone i meet. In fact as i am writing this now i am on the Spanish Island of Mallorca and about to board a flight to explore the South of France. My favourite place of all time would have to be the Hawaii. The untouched wilderness of some areas of Hawaii are so beautiful, i am hoping to be back over there soon.

Q: Is this your full time job?  Seems like you are living out your dream, how did you make it happen? 

A: Currently traveling and photography is my full time job. I sell my photos as framed prints and can run the whole business digitally including worldwide shipping. 

Q: What do you love about your work and what do you think sets it apart? 

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There are two things that i love about my work. Firstly is where it takes you. i have found myself in Europe currently with a few months in Sri Lanka scheduled next. Always being on the move and exploring new countries means that you are always exposed to new destinations to take photographs at. Secondly is that is encourages you to be creative and to push your personal limits.

Q: Outside of photography, what do you love to do?  

When i am not taking photos of the beach and surfers, i am usually surfing myself! 

Q: What is your biggest piece of advice for others to go live out their dreams?  

Biggest piece of advice to give others wanting to live out their dreams is a simple one, and that is to take the step and back yourself. If you don't try something, you will never know the results. 

      A glimpse of some of the amazing photos you can find on  Ned's site!

      A glimpse of some of the amazing photos you can find on Ned's site!

Salty Soul Highlight: Kolby Krystofik

Erin Wilson

We were so excited to connect with Kolby Krystofik, an Arizona guy now living our west coast dream in Malibu, California.   Kolby works at CrossFit Malibu and started his own company, Water WOD Training.  We are personally struggling right now between two jobs and a busy social season to make our health a priority and Kolby gives some good advice on this below!  

Kolby recently became engaged to the beautiful Elizabeth Lutz and we could not resist asking about the proposal.  These two are true Salty Souls!

If you are in Malibu and are looking for a good workout or to learn how to surf, contact Kolby!  But the good news for the rest of us is that he also has remote programming.  Enjoy the Q&A!

Q: Where are you from originally and how did you end up in Malibu?  

A: I'm from Gilbert AZ, I played water polo growing up and ended up getting recruited to play for Pepperdine University. Once I came over the hill and saw the beach and knew I wanted to stay. 

Q: We see you are a Crossfit instructor, is this in addition to the programs you offer via Water WOD Training?   If yes, can you help us understand the difference? 

A: Yes, I am a CrossFit instructor at CrossFit Malibu where I have been for almost 5 years now. I have had an amazing mentor, Mike Anderson, who owns the gym that has taught me so much of what I know and use today. In addition to the coaching that I do there, I do water related training like surf lessons, swim lessons, and ocean safety. My guiding principles are very similar to CrossFit, but adapted for the environment I love so much. (The ocean!) 

Q:We see you offer surf lessons as well.  How often do you surf and what do you feel it brings to one's life?  

A: It's a little tricky in Southern California, we go through periods of time where we have no waves to surf. But when there are I'm probably in the water 3-5 times a week, sometimes twice in a day. I don't consider myself to have a stressful life, but surfing is a way for me to practice being present. You can't think about the past and can't think about the future, you have to be in the moment. I love that about surfing and I think we could all use a little more often. 

Q: We love that you believe the outdoors, physical fitness are so important to a balanced life but have you personally been able to achieve this balance?  With such hectic schedules it is hard for so many people to get to this place and often we put our own health on the back burner.  

A: First and probably the easiest way that I fight for balance is where I live. In Malibu the weather is so amazing so often that it is hard not to be outside. The other thing about Malibu is there are so many like minded people around who want to be outside or in the ocean that it makes it easier. I understand the hectic schedule, and how difficult it makes not only exercise but living a healthy life! One of my biggest secrets on how I keep health and fitness incorporated is this: instead of trying to fit health and fitness into a circle with all the other circles of life (like work, friends, family, fun, etc...) I've decided to make health and fitness the big circle and everything else fits inside of it! 

Q: Okay, Pepperdine University.  Was it amazing?  We have driven by and it really must be the most gorgeous campus in the world.  

A: Not only was the campus absolutely incredible, the faculty and staff are some of the most genuine and loving people I have ever met. I had personal relationships with most of my professors and my advisiors actually cared about the life I wanted to build. I am still friends with some of my professors and I can definitely say that Pepperdine has shaped a lot of who I am today. 

Q: Favorite local spot in Malibu? 

A: Difficult question! Malibu is so small that each place gives a unique vibe so I'll just give a couple. Malibu Kitchen is my favorite coffee shop/ hangout and la costa beach club is my go to beach hangout spot if I'm not surfing. 

Q: If we are coming out to Malibu for vacation, will you take one off appointments? 

A: Yes! Please stop by Malibu for a surf lesson! I have beginners boards and wetsuits for anyone. It's definitely a great experience if you've never tried. 

Q: If someone lives elsewhere but would love to benefit from your workouts and knowledge, what are their options? 

A: Another great question! I do offer remote programming to people who don't live in the area or have specific goals they are trying to make. I create 12 workouts for you after taking a half hour to talk with you on the phone and set up goals and talk about questions. You'll get another check in with my about two weeks in to check your progress and answer and questions as they come up. This is a great, affordable way to get yourself on the road to better health. 

Q; You are a wealth of knowledge - if you were to give the rest of us one health related tip...what would it be? 

A: One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to learn to play. As we grow up we forget to do things for no other reason than because we enjoy them. Learning to play again will bring joy to your life! 

Q: And we have to ask...you are now engaged to your fiancé, Liz.  How did you propose?  

A: What a great memory.  We went for a sunrise hike at a place called Makapu Point on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. We left at 4am to get there before sunrise with some friends. It was "their idea" to go on this early morning hike. Sunrise was glorious as we neared the top where there was a vista of a lighthouse overlooking the east side of the island. We climbed over the railing to get a better look at the lighthouse and "take some pictures" and that's when I got down on one knee and asked her if she wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.