Saturday, January 10, 2015


Good Morning!

Living in the Midwest is a constant effort to stay active and healthy. It's easy to eat a carb here-and-there because for some reason that ginormous piece of warm bread and butter would keep me warmer, right? Or, that plate of hot dish hits the spot on a brisk winters night. Like everything in life, it's important to think of circumstances as a balance. It's just as important to give as to receive...a balance. Work really hard, but give yourself a break once in a while. Eat healthy and if your friends go out for pizza, eat with them. Give to someone and let yourself be given to. Take time to enjoy the simple things. We live in the country of the free, not everyone has what we do. There is something to be thankful for in that alone.

With love dear friends,

morning breakfast and a bowl made in high school, now worn and cracked as a sign of the years that passed since- photo ClartebyAmanda

Bon Iver, Volcano Choir Album. There's something quiet and calm about this photograph 

"That's really the way we do recording: in a peaceful, relaxed setting. In somebody's basement. With the windows open...and a dog lying on the floor"-Bob Dylan

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Good Morning Sunshines,

This New Year has had a bit of change, but the only promise you can have in life is to expect change. Coming into, not just the new year, but each day with a positive attitude can transform your world. Realistically, there doesn't need to be a specific day for you to already know you need to change something about yourself. Everyone is a work in progress-an opportunity for growth. Redefine the way you think about things; embellish in the good times while growing in the bad times. 
Here are some good memories I had of 2014! Happy New Year to all my friends. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

SOTA Clothing

There are people in the world that create and others who appreciate the creation. In today’s society we can find limitless books, research articles, and opinions that tell a person how to get from point A to B in life. What happened to listening to oneself? It takes focus to utilize passion, define talent, or to do something just for the pure enjoyment of it.

The gifted creator of Sota Clothing, Spencer Johnson, found out what it means to make vision a reality at a young age. He maintained dedication, persistence, and an outlook on life that has limitless possibilities…many still untouched.

Spencer is the third of six children in his family. He doesn’t see a business endeavor as a risk, he just goes for it! He does most of his thinking in large group areas, not necessarily talking to people, but surrounded by them. His brand emphasizes a way of living life to the fullest. A brand that emphasizes being proud of where you’re from and where you’re going. This brand started from a sketch in Geology class and is taking off to new heights, new people, and experiences. The brand that’s captured so many already is called… SOTACLOTHING.

Photo: 2nd Truth Photography

Clarte caught up with Spencer recently and unraveled just what Sota Clothing is all about.

Many times a person’s childhood effects who they become into adulthood. What type of experiences have you had as a child that shapes who you are today?

Spencer Johnson:
I grew up in an old farm house in Eden Prarie, MN. I think that shaped how I care about an authentic look. My mom is an interior-designer and she taught me what it takes to make something look right, less is more. I wanted to do something that no one else was doing. No one was creating a brand in Minnesota like SOTA Clothing.
As a child I was a dreamer. I would dream up random things that I wanted to do or pursue. I knew I always wanted to do my own thing and valued what was going on in my mind. I spend 10% of my time doing and 90% thinking. That’s where SOTA came from.

Sota brand started as a project for a class at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. What was the process you went through from sitting down with an assignment to formulating a brand?

Spencer Johnson:
Initially, I was given a final project assignment for my Senior Design Studio class. I would doodle often in other classes and came up with the logo for Sota Clothing. I wanted something that would be simple and anyone could wear it, even if they weren’t from Minnesota. A brand that started here, but can expand outside of the state as well.  I often like to get opinions when I do a design and the initial design for Sota I really liked.

Photo: Sota Clothing

Photo: Sota Clothing

What was your experiences after graduating college that brought you here today?

Spencer Johnson:
After graduating college I had a job lined up as a real estate photographer. My brother worked for Delta and I could fly for cheap. I wanted to travel, but because I also needed to be at work, I wasn’t able to use the benefits. I spoke with some people that gave me a lot of wisdom and told me to do what I love and travel, even if that meant giving up my current job as a real estate photographer.
I traveled to Europe a few times and around the United States. When I came back August of 2013, I decided to start SOTA Clothing full time.

Sota Clothing is continuously expanding and growing. My design ideas start with something common, but that’s just the start. I have an online store that does all the shipping so I am able to continue traveling and keep the company going. I don’t like the idea of putting a job before everything else. I wanted flexibility in what I do and with Sota I am able to have that. I do need to make sacrifices still, like drive a car I had in high school, but with all the sacrifices I’ve made, it’s worth it.

What is the most unexpected experience you’ve had that came from starting Sota Clothing?

Spencer Johnson:
There are a number of unexpected experiences I’ve had from starting Sota. One thing that stands out to me is the emails I get from other people because of the brand. There are kids in sports that email me about wanting to sponsor Sota clothing; people I haven’t met before. What Sota is putting out is what I believe in. It’s cool to see other people out there that believe in it too. Sota is a common bond for people that live here or have been here. When they see the brand, they recognize what it represents, and have something to talk about. I have spoken with AD FED and they gave me some good advice that I am the brand I represent. It’s important for me to build connections with people. I want to know others who have an interest in what Sota is all about.
I want people to know that a brand can start from a school project.

In today’s society, some young professionals are coming out of college and still unsure of what they want to do for a career. What advice would you give them?

Spencer Johnson:
If you really want to pursue something, you need to go above and beyond your comfort level to do it. It’s important to do things like networking, going to events, talking to people, or finding cool things others are doing and meet up for coffee to talk about it. A key when doing all of this is to be respectful of other people’s time. I started off doing my work at a coffee shops 8 hours a day; having 3 meetings a day. That got to be a lot so now I’ve learned to cut down some.

Photo: Sota Clothing

Photo: Sota Clothing

It’s been said that many great creators have a mentor or mentors. Who inspires you the most in your life?

Spencer Johnson:
There is one piece of advice I really take with me that my cousin told me, “Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t want to trade places with.” It’s hard when getting advice and trying to figure out who you want to listen to sometimes.

What things do we have to look forward to next for Sota Clothing?

Spencer Johnson:
Initially, we started with t-shirts, pint glasses, coffee mugs, and the pennant. I would like to expand the brand into a creative lifestyle for decorating. All the press has made an impact for the brand, we’re going to continue doing that. Sota is in local stores, online, and continuously expanding.

Thank you Spencer for your inspiration and SOTAbrand (click link to visit Sota Clothing Website)
-from Clarte

Photo: Spencer Johnson
Photo: Sota Clothing

Photo: Sota Clothing

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Tis the season to be jolly! Every day is a day to find something to be jolly about. This is a year to give thanks and give back. Easier said than done, but a good place to start is to see what's in your community. Now is the time for you all to let Clarte know what you want to see this month. Holiday recipes, lifestyle, interior decorating, travel? We would love to hear from you. PEACE JOY and LOVE



Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Press play on the top of this page. Enjoy!

Hi Readers of Clarte!

I love the Forest Gump saying "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get". It rings so true, but the beauty is you have to take a bite first, give someone a chance, and it may be your favorite option you keep going back to. This famous saying reminds me of what friends are like. A person that you keep going back to. They can be your spouse, an elementary school playmate that follows you through the years, a mentor, a family member, or someone you met randomly when you didn't know it...but you needed someone most. 

My longtime friend, Tara, stated it perfectly "we have angels here on earth...we call them friends". It's a give and take, sacrificial, loving, enduring, kind of bond. One we never take for granted and keep maintaining as we grow and change. There the first ones there and the last to leave. 

Thank you to all of my friends! 
**the photos below are only a glimpse of the many friends I'm so blessed to have...I think I need to take more pictures of the others:)lol


Road trippin it!

This is what it's all about<3