Hobby Jam

What People Do For Fun

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Author: Michele (page 2 of 4)

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in The Bronx and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, he founded 5WPR in 2003 as a one-man office. Today, the firm employs more than 175 communications professionals in the company’s headquarters in the iconic Helmsley Building in Manhattan. The name, 5WPR – stands for the 5W’s of marketing – who, what, when, where, and why.

Torossian is one of the most well respected Public Relations professionals in America. He is on the board of numerous charities, including his family foundation, The Ronn Torossian Foundation. He lives with his kids on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

What is your hobby?

Charity Work.

How did you get started with this hobby?

I’ve been involved with helping people since my childhood. In my home, giving back to your community was basically a requirement. From a very young age, I have known the importance of giving. As for what inspired me, my mother, Penny Waga. She’s my hero.

I would not be who I am today without her, and that includes my belief that giving back is necessary to be successful.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

Helping people is awesome and amazing and great.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

This is a bit harder to answer, as so much of charity is seated in not buying anything for myself, but instead giving that money to those in need.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

Practically everything; it’s a hard hobby to dislike. I get to help people in several different ways, whether it’s with education or helping them connect with their community and heritage, or even donating to cancer research, I feel great about all of it.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I quite enjoy “A Path Appears” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It goes into the importance of accountability as well as some of the neuroscience involved in philanthropy. I re-read it annually as it inspires me to give more and ensure more goes to the intended receipients of charity.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Giving to charity and being involved with charities has made my whole life better. It’s our obligation as people to leave the world a better place and I genuinely think giving to charity has made every aspect of my life better. As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Find a cause that speaks to you, don’t pick a charity at random. Really connecting with people is the single greatest way to enhance the aspect of giving, which is something I think we all take for granted every day.

Vito Glazers

Vito Glazers is a California based media entrepreneur originally from Chicago, Illinois. He is considered an expert in media and publicity especially as it pertains to digital marketing. He attended Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Illinois where he graduated with honors when he was 16 years old. After high school, he attended Columbia College and DePaul University, but quit school at 19 to become an entrepreneur. Vito has been appearing on television since 2009 and has collaborated with celebrities and shared stages and the silver screen with celebrities like Dennis Rodman, Gorbachev, Mancow, President George W. Bush, Kevin Harrington and is now producing a biography about Ron Jeremy.

What is your hobby?

Traveling

How did you get started with this hobby?

I have been a life long traveler ever since I was a child. My mother was originally born in Guatemala and we would frequently our relatives there. By the time I was 5 years old I had learned to speak Spanish fluently. I had always loved traveling and traveled as much as I could, but for a long period, I did not have many opportunities to travel internationally because I was so busy running different companies. My love for travel was reawakened by my friend Tim Burd who had been traveling the world coaching and lecturing about digital marketing. He invited me to join him on a few trips and my travel addition was reawakened.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

Traveling is great for putting things into perspective. I love not just the fun and excitement of planning a trip, but the best part is landing in a completely new place and experiencing a completely new and different culture. I love comparing the similarities and exploring the differences between different countries and regions. But what I love most about traveling is trying the food!

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

My biggest investment in equipment for traveling has probably been investing in some good quality luggage. It can get very expensive but good luggage will last a long time.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

Amex Travel is probably my favorite place to shop and explore trips. AirBNB has also become a great place to book lodging for travel if you are looking to experience a more immersive travel experience.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I probably should read more about traveling but one book I read that taught me a lot about how employees of airlines view you, is Diary of a Pissed Off Flight Attendant. After reading that book I definitely have a new appreciation for the work done by stewards, stewardesses, pilots and all other flight support.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Traveling has changed my life in many ways. It has allowed me to have a broader, global perspective. It has helped me appreciate different cultures, and accept and appreciate different ways of living and doing business. I take something home to America with me from every country I visit. A lot of times my friends and I will come back from a trip and a word from another country will permanently slip into our vocabulary. For example, after a group of us went to England, we all came back saying “Cheerio” – it’s just a great expression.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would advise people to travel a lot when they have some resources saved up. Traveling in style is so much more fun than budget traveling. I would also advise spending some time truly immersed in a country’s culture, and not just do the tourist activities. It sounds cliche, but traveling is the only thing that you spend money on that makes you richer! Take lots of photos, but also live in the moment. There is no wrong way to explore the world.

Brett Balick

Brett Balick is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte, earning his bachelor’s degree in business management. He is currently working in the supply chain management industry, shipping air freight globally.  He is currently exploring his options for a new position within the industry.  In addition, Brett Balick is anticipating a relocation to a large metro area. He is considering areas such as Atlanta, Washington D.C., or Chicago to continue his career.

As he is creating his new future, Brett Balick spends his free time drumming. He has a love for music and his passion for playing the drums. It has become a daily routine for him as of late. Drumming came naturally to Brett. In fact, he has been playing drums since he was in the seventh grade. It has been ten years since he first began to play. What may have inspired him according to Brett, is his father. He was a D.J., so perhaps it is in his blood. He plays every single day. He just purchased a new drum set. This is the hobby that continually excites him.

The art of drumming has expanded Brett Balick’s appreciation for different artists and different kinds of music from eras gone by. He can be playing on his own or with friends, either way, it brings him joy. Brett Balick suggests that new people who may be starting out with drumming as a new hobby, to first take lessons before making any kind of large investments.

What is your favorite hobby?

When I was in school, I played lacrosse. I still play from time to time.  I really enjoy snowboarding.  I go snowboarding whenever I can get the opportunity. Aside from snowboarding, I also occasionally play poker with friends. I watch sports, particularly college basketball. I am a big Duke fan.  My favorite hobby of all is playing the drums. I believe that my passion for playing drums is primarily because I find it to be therapeutic. No matter what mood you’re in, it will always get better.

How did you get started playing drums? What inspired you?

I use to play guitar hero a lot (a video game) when I was a kid. I was pretty good at it and I really enjoyed it. More specifically, I thought it might be something that I’d be pretty good at. I started taking lessons at a place called Music Matters. I took lessons for two years. At that time, I did a number of performances with other band members and on my own.  I discontinued lessons but I continued to play. Drumming has just come to me very naturally.

Tell us what you love about it?

I enjoy the freedom of playing the drums. It gives you the ability to express your creativity. You can listen to any music and apply the drums to that music. It has expanded my taste in music. I appreciate the music of many eras. It brings me full spectrum.  It also works great to get rid of anger or aggression.

Are there any groups you’re a part of our events that you attend related to your hobby?

I do not have any events right now. I have two friends, one who plays the piano and the other who plays guitar. When we get together, we always play. We have a great time. Perhaps in the future, I will be able to spend more time with a band. Right now, it is more of a hobby. It is something that I do for fun.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you ’ve bought?

I have an acoustic drum set and I also have an electronic drum set. I have invested a lot of money on this hobby. The equipment is quite expensive. I have acquired what I wanted little by little, piece by piece over the past ten years.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I shop locally for my equipment as well as any supplies. I usually buy my supplies at the Guitar Center or from Sam Ash.  Both places are located in Charlotte.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I have never read books on how to drum. Instead, I took lessons. I would recommend that beginners take drum lessons.  It takes quite a long time to learn. It is a slow process but it eventually builds up and it becomes something that is really great to do. This is a physical activity. If you want to learn about the history of music or the story of a great drummer, then reading a book would be the way to go. But, if you want to learn how to play the drums, I would recommend taking lessons.

How has this changed your life?

I feel like drumming has made me a much more creative person. It has sharpened my taste for music.  I learn to appreciate music more and more each day. I am constantly finding new artists to listen to and it is all through my drumming. Music is where I go to express myself or to change or enhance my mood. It is a great thing for me. It is very therapeutic.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would tell them not to be impatient.  Also, if you are taking lessons, learn how to play jazz music because it is very technical and very hard. However, if you can learn that music you will be able to play any music. Also, practice your rudiments. The rudiments are your basics. Once you get that down, you sound much better than you really are. It is the fundamentals that you have to get down. After you get the fundamentals, it is a matter of practice and repetition. Then you get to the point where it is just like riding a bike and everything will come naturally.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I have other hobbies, I enjoy watching football and college basketball and hanging out with my friends. Typical stuff.  I played Varsity lacrosse in High school, and I go snowboarding any chance that I get, but there is nothing that surpasses drumming for me. It is my passion.

You can learn more about Brett Balick at:

Jay Eitner

Jay Eitner will forever be a Jersey Boy at heart. Graduating in 1997 from Union High School, Jay received his BA from The American University in Washington DC. Jay’s educational career began in 2002, in which he taught social studies, reading, and technology in Roselle. Jay spent the next 9 years teaching and then went into school administration, first starting off as a middle school vice principal and eventually became a Superintendent of Schools. Being a Superintendent of Schools is one of the most stressful jobs in the US, and Jay found a great way to help relax.

What is your hobby?

I am a huge fan of cooking.

How did you get started with this hobby?

I started cooking in middle school. It was when the Food Channel just came on air, and so many cooking shows began to run. My Father and I began watching show after show; we then started trying to cook what was filmed. Some results were incredible, and some were disasters! I haven’t stopped cooking since.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

I love that my cooking makes other people happy. Over the years, I have been cooking for holidays, friends, and my staff at school. There is nothing more satisfying than feeding others something they like. This is why I’ve volunteered at a soup kitchen since 2009.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

I’ve spent quite a bit of cash buying all kinds of kitchen tools, fine ingredients, and even have subscribed to monthly meal kits. There are so many components to cooking; they all require various steps and pieces to make a finished product successful!

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

I can get lost in Williams Sonoma for hours. Cooking can go in so many directions; that’s one of the many wonderful things about it! I also love to find deals in TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Pottery Barn.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I actually love to collect cookbooks. If one is going to start, they should go to the library and browse all of the selections. Any book from Julia Child is a staple but is very complex if you’re just beginning. I would recommend any cookbook from Martha Stewart or Ina Garten; the instructions are easy to follow and the ingredients used are easy to acquire.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Cooking has allowed me to not only make other happy but relieve stress. I was told once that in order to make people happy, I should go sell donuts, ice cream, or bake something nice. Now I do.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Don’t go in with the expectations that you’re going to make a masterpiece overnight. Like any other hobby, it takes time and practice in order to master it.

Monsignor Kenneth Steffen

Monsignor Kenneth Steffen was born in Effingham, Illinois. He was the only one of fifteen siblings who took on the calling to the priesthood. He attributes his family with seeding and nurturing him to his vocation.

According to Monsignor Steffen, “his father had dedicated him to God at a very early age to consider the priesthood, and my mother passed on to me the great gift of faith by practicing it in daily life.” His brothers and sisters supported his decision as well and thanks to the passionate and fierce support of his family, he became the person he is today.

He was ordained to the Priesthood at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in May of 1984. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Cardinal Glennon College in philosophy and a double master’s degree of divinity and in Theology from Kenrick Seminary. In addition, he holds a doctorate of ministry.

Monsignor Steffens is currently serving as Chaplain at Saint Francis Hospital Litchfield Illinois.

What is your hobby?

My hobbies are reading to help make my mind stay sharp, learning more about the computer and the technological advancements of today. In addition, I thoroughly enjoy working out and staying in shape, sharing dinners, and leading pilgrimages to sacred places.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Some of my hobbies were started as a child when we were all taught the importance of reading, and family time. We were taught that we should be well rounded, whether it be physical, spiritual, emotional, or religious. Traveling and taking pilgrimages came later, as I was inspired by taking groups of strangers on a trip and then return with the closeness of spiritual upon return.

Tell us what you love about it.

What I love about it is witnessing the spiritual awakening that comes from such an experience.

A pilgrimage is the best of both worlds because you can go on a tour and you would see everything a pilgrim would see. But the value of going on a Catholic pilgrimage is that we not only see everything, but we celebrate every aspect as we go. It is truly a blessing to behold.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Yes, I am the Chaplin for the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in the Holy Land. I am also Chaplin for several ethnic groups such as the Filipino community, as well as the German and Spanish communities.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I create three booklets to prepare and assist with each individual’s experience. The first booklet is a description of the richness and meaning of a pilgrimage. The second is the itinerary we will be experiencing. It also provides a personal journal for them to take notes at each shrine that we visit. The third booklet is a follow-up book where they can describe the grace, value, and experience they shared of the pilgrimage.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

The first suggestion I always give is to google the places they will be going. The second suggestion is to pray. There is always a reason for grace in such gifts, having clarity is good to know. Also, check with your priest to see if there are petitions of prayer requested for the location you will be visiting. Reading about the meaning of a pilgrimage would be advised as well.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The Life of a Pilgrim

A movie The Way – Which is an actual movie about a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain

How has this changed your life?

It has broadened my understanding of the church. You see people from all over the world and of all religious persuasions and at all levels of faith. I think it’s important to understand every aspect of that.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would first suggest that you find out why you want to go. Prepare by speaking with others who have had the experience. Prepare by watching DWTN, where you can watch others on a pilgrimage. They should also think of a place that they have heard of such as Fatima or Rome or the Holy Land where you can walk the footsteps of Jesus, or Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. People find that their whole understanding of Christ changes. After they come home, the scriptures come alive because you visited these places it brings home the on-going aspect of it.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Going out to dinner and trying different foods. I enjoy switching it up every once in a while so I can taste foods that I normally don’t get to enjoy. Doing so allows me to be grateful for the different variety of dishes that the fine world has to offer.

You can learn more and follow Monsignor at:

Kelly Hyman

Kelly Hyman is a brilliant woman with a passion for helping people. This has been with her throughout her life. This actress turned lawyer has enjoyed knowing she can make a positive impact in the lives of the people who can’t always advocate for themselves.

Kelly attended UCLA for her undergraduate degree in communications. UCLA was a natural choice after growing up between New York City and Southern California. Having been raised by a single mother who was a professional tennis player and teacher, she was put in touch with her first agent at five years old. Through that means she entered the acting venue as a child and throughout the years that followed she acted in many professional acting jobs. After numerous commercials, movies, and stage performances she found herself in television roles as well. She credits Harry Mastrogeorge for her success as an actress as he taught her the craft of acting. Those skills are still a part of her today. To this day, she continues to be a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Kelly Hyman’s acting history has lent itself to her career as a lawyer. Because of the experience of being in different roles, she has found herself equipped to understand her client’s perspective better. She can identify with them and that helps her advocate effectively on their behalf.
Today Kelly lives in Colorado with her husband.

What is your hobby?

When I not passionately advocating on behalf of those who cannot do so for themselves I enjoy volunteering or traveling.

How did you get started with this hobby?

Since I was a young girl, I would love to travel.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

Traveling enables me to see different cultures and different country. Since enables me to see the world where different people live and experience there culture and environment.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

I have spent money on my airfare and hotels.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

When we want to travel to a different country, we will look online for trips, airlines, and housing.

Are there any good books for beginners?

1,000 places to see before you die by Patricia Schultz.

How has your hobby changed your life?

It has enabled me to become a better person.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Set a goal to see three new places every year and then go travel and enjoy.

Follow Kelly Hyman on:

Richart Ruddie

Richart Ruddie is an internet entrepreneur and philanthropist. Ruddie grew up in Owings Mills aNorth West suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Florida Atlantic University majoring in Economics and post FAU he took online classes at Stanford University. After college, he worked at a boutique hedge fund in South Florida but during an internship, he worked on building a startup from the ground up and learned the valuable search engine optimization and search engine marketing skills that would later be the core to his future success. While working during the day at the hedge fund he spent his weekends building his first website and growing its presence. Within the first 9 months, he parlayed a $500 investment into a company grossing over $90,000 a month. Since then Ruddie has helped consult, start, and invest in numerous online and offline ventures and has proudly donated over $100,000 to numerous non-profits and charities over the last 8 years.

What is your hobby?

Traveling

How did you get started with this hobby?

In October of 2011, I was asked to do work for a client in Las Vegas. I needed to be there in October and back in 3 weeks. Instead of going back and forth between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Nevada I decided to try traveling between California and Nevada while still working. It worked out so well networking with clients and working on the road that I continued to do it and have naturally adapted the nomadic lifestyle that I’m accustomed to today.

My first trip to Israel in 2010 inspired me to travel more but I was stuck in the 7:30 – 19:00 working hours and only had 2 weeks off a year and wasn’t able to explore the world until my eyes were opened in October of 2011.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

Seeing the world is truly amazing. What is even better is learning about other cultures and being able to appreciate and respect their ways while trying that culture or countries foods.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

I would say that I fly but I’m really just a passenger on a plane while the pilot flies. Having helpful apps such as VoiceTra, JetSmarter, Mobile Pass, Trip Advisor, WhatsApp and Telegram travel groups, and Lonely Planet are some of the most helpful tools of the trade for me.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

The best thing about traveling is it’s all about acquiring experiences, not material goods. As long as I have my phone to take photos and to handle any relevant work calls that I need to be on and my laptop I’m covered.

Are there any good books for beginners?

So I only get a chance to read when I fly. That’s the only time I get to disconnect from the world. I read over a dozen books every year. My favorite book is How To Win Friends and Influence People. Another book that is a lot more somber but really strikes a chord is Man’s Search For Meaning. I could go on and on with book recommendations. If you saw a photo of my bookshelf you’d be impressed.

How has your hobby changed your life?

It’s given me great cultural references and respect for others around the world. I understand and see how people live from the poorest places in the earth that I’ve been to as well as some of the wealthiest places in the world that I’ve seen. I appreciate seeing both places and like being able to have a conversation with almost anybody and being able to tell them about places that I’ve been to or seen in their own country.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Just go. People all the time tell me that they wish they had my lifestyle and they always wanted to go see XYZ city. I tell them just get on the plane and go. Even if its only for a long weekend you will be glad that you did it and you won’t have regrets for not getting to see a special place before it’s too late.

Justin Billingsley

I am Justin Billingsley from Arizona. I am an avid traveler and my favorite thing to do is travel the world and eat the best local food.

What is your hobby?

Travelling and eating ethnic food

How did you get started with this hobby?

I went to work for American Airlines over 30 years ago. I worked in Sales, When I went for the interview I was not aware of the travel perks. When I started working for the Company I found out about the travel benefits and the seeds of a lifelong love of travel were sown. I started travelling immediately and I have been all over the world. I hope to travel for many more years to come and still on the top of my bucket list is India &, Costa Rica.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

Every day is a new adventure. Even if I return to a location I have been before I return to the things I love but I always find new things to do and love to re-visit my favorite food haunts.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

I make sure I have great luggage that can take a beating and I always rent a car to ensure I am independent and can do my own thing.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

Expedia!…AirBnb, VRBO, Amazon for all the gadgets and goodies that make the traveling easier

Are there any good books for beginners?

Google is now the #1 source for travel information but I still love the Lonely Planet guides.

How has your hobby changed your life?

I have learned so much about the world and about other cultures. I have tried many foods then went home and learned to cook those foods myself. My home can be very interesting for my family and my guest. My house is much more likely to smell of curry than grilled hotdogs.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Keep an open mind at all times. Only when our minds are open can we learn. Do not go the restaurant in the hotel guide ask the concierge the receptionist where they go out to eat. Find the local haunts. Do not visit a third world country if you think camping is a Motel 6 with no room service.

Rosanne Bostonian, PhD, RMT

Rosanne Bostonian, Ph.D., RMT, has been a long-valued member of the healing community in Northern New Jersey. Her doctoral study as a psychologist took place at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Yeshiva University at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, New York. Her internships spanned in-patient (Trenton Psychiatric Hospital) and several out-patient facilities in the New Jersey area. She served as a School Psychologist in the West Morris Regional School District as well as generating a successful general psychology practice in Florham Park, New Jersey.

After her many years of practice, Dr. Bostonian decided to use her healing skills as a Reiki Master Teacher and Foot Reflexology Practitioner. She closed her conventional practice in 2014 and currently uses her attunement with Universal Energy as the ongoing core of her success as a healer. She believes in the principles of wellness based healing, rather than the more traditional view of pathology based healing.

Dr. Bostonian’s view of “what we’re all doing here” reflects her study of Buddhist teachings and her life experience. Her strong belief is that there is a flow of truth that can only be accessed through ego sacrifice and self-awareness. She believes that we must overcome distractions to access these Universal Truths.

In addition to her Reiki/Reflexology Practice, Dr. Bostonian is currently an adjunct professor at Berkeley College where she teaches courses in Human Relations and Psychology. She refers to all that she currently does as her “Legacy Tour.” She enjoys writing on her website, EssentialSpirit.net and invites a dialogue with others through that medium.

Long noted for her sense of humor, palatable wisdom and open-heartedness, Dr. Bostonian’s words shared in her blogs have been said to strike chords of awareness in those who are kindred spirits. She delights in the expression of the written word.

What is your hobby?

Is there anything better than getting an idea, writing a blog and receiving humorous and appreciative responses? If there is, I haven’t discovered it yet! I LOVE to share ideas in writing!!

How did you get started with this hobby?

As a teacher, psychologist and all around communicator, I think it was natural for me to put words down on paper (and now online). When you hit the note of what comes naturally and gives you spontaneous joy, that’s the “hobby,” avocation and hopefully the vocation that will draw people into your circle.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

It’s definitely the process, the feel of ideas becoming tangible. Whenever a person can lean into the “Great Invisible,” whether it’s communing with Nature, making music or art, and bring into the material world what was previously invisible, it’s a joy! And when others can share in it and appreciate it, better yet!

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

The media are life, memories, time and computer. When it all comes together, it can be a symphony. Writing is an inexpensive hobby since the normal equipment we have in life is the tool of creation.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

I “shop” in daily life, being an observer of people and having a running inner commentary that brings out my many experiences as a teacher, Reiki/Reflexology practitioner and psychologist.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are books on “blogging.” You have only to look online under “blogging for beginners.” It’s good to have a basic writing ability and definitely a passion to share ideas.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Writing and posting my thoughts and feelings has allowed me to introspect, derive self-appreciation and self-awareness. It has allowed others to know me better. I believe, since I post my writing on my website, it may attract people to a full range of wellness services I provide.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would tell others to be observers of life and make mental notes of things unfolding that fascinate you. Then it’s about “practice, practice, practice!” As in all communication skills, getting feedback from others is helpful. Since everyone isn’t you, perception is key, so the manner of expression is best when it hits a common chord. Work those communications muscles and they will get stronger!

Chris Kaiser

Chris Kaiser is a Pennsylvanian Vermonter that comes from a large family with three brothers, two sisters and an army of nieces and nephews.  Spending all of his time split between the woods and a baseball diamond, Chris is an outdoorsman, that has unknowingly been engaged in a hobby since his first home at the age of 24.   After successfully building businesses since the fifth grade, Chris Kaiser now finds himself applying his creative knack and attention to detail to the art of property beautification.   This is not landscaping, but rather a “bigger picture” view of your entire living area.

What is your hobby?

Some call it landscaping, but I call it property beautification.  Why have three different properties, with three different usages, and pay three sets of taxes?

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

When I was 24 I bought my first home and became infatuated with creating interesting paths, hang out areas, gardens and usable appeal.  Instead of a square lawn with a typical garden, I wanted more substance.  A campfire area back near the woods, so it felt like a getaway, a lot of sea grass near the patio so it felt like the beach, an outdoor shower, some trails to walk in my woods.

Tell us what you love about it.

I think I love the creativity and exercise of this hobby the most.  The possibilities of things to create are endless, but they take labor.  Building a camping lean-to back on your property with some cross-country ski trails, including trail signs is so fun!  Utilizing building skills and digging, raking and cutting gives you all the exercise you could possibly want…and its outside.  The finished products for me are not just a bunch of plants and bushes neatly placed around your house for visual value, but rather they are usable finished products for good health, sport, and fun.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Generally, to do any property work, I need a few basics.  A good ax, shovel, pickax, rake, and chainsaw,  With those I can pretty much do anything.   Of course, as you get into this type of hobby you will find yourself wanting more.  A brush mower, fire rake, power screwdriver, hand saw and a hammer will allow you to build anything your heart desires.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I could spend hours in a Tractor Supply or hardware store.  Some people think its just boring hammers and nails, but I look around and get ideas.   Sometimes just seeing a particular bolt or saw gives me like 10 new ideas for an outdoor shower, floating dock for the pond or a new log hut for having coffee on a cold ski afternoon.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I have not really found any.  TV shows tend to do things with an army of people and a healthy amount of money.  I look at property beautification as using what is there.  Simple restructuring or cleaning up areas of your property to use them for something.  Like building a cool bench made out of a tree, specifically placed to watch the sunset for an hour.  Simple things like that.  If you do enough of them, suddenly you have a retreat.

How has this changed your life?

My hobby has allowed for another outlet to my creativity.  Fitness and the outdoors has always been the core of my life, but so has creativity.  When I look at any property whether its 1 acre or 100 acres, I see a blank canvas.  I feel as if the sky is the limit.  So doing property beautification not only increases the value of the property but allows for genuine hard work and an outlet.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

My advice to others trying to do some things to their property is simply draw a map or write it out first.   Sometimes I will draw an entire map of a three year plan, so I am not just spinning my wheels.  If its something you want, then its not wrong.  Meaning doing it your way, that makes you happy is usually the right way.   For things I have never done before, I will research a little on how others have done it, and then mix in my desire.   Again, this is not landscaping.  To me landscaping is just adding eye candy to parts of the house for color and feel.  Property beautification is much much bigger than that.  Its usable, functional and situational.