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We’re giving away a jolly bundle of leather! Here’s how to get your mitts on it:

1. Go here to order your Free 1oz. Sample Bottle of Leather Milk.
2. Once your Leather Milk arrives, take two photos: One BEFORE applying Leather Milk to your leather item and one AFTER you apply it
3. Post both photos on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest and use #LeatherMilkBnA
4. We’ll pick three of our favorites. Each winner gets a Saddleback Christmas Package including:

  • Christmas Stockings
  • A Leather Wreath
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • Leather Pine Cones
  • Leather Bows
  • A Leather Label Set
  • A $750 Saddleback Leather Gift Certificate



Starting right now we’ll be including a Free 1oz. Sample Bottle of Leather Milk with every order while there’s enough to go around. Also if you already have some Leather Milk handy, you don’t need to order a Free 1oz. Sample Bottle to enter – you can post right now!



A few rules:

  • We have a limited number of samples. Please help us spread the word about Leather Milk by only ordering one per family
  • Post as many times as you like
  • Please don’t reach out to Customer Service to ask about the contest, or whether you got a bottle in your order, or to tell them what you want for Christmas. Feel free to send them compliments though, or sing them a Christmas carol!
  • Reach out to us on social if you have any questions for us
  • Have fun!





Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.



By Sarah Farver (Communications)

Some foolhardy people at Saddleback asked me to write something for the blog about a “funny seasonal story,” just in time for Christmas. Nothing immediately sprang to mind, so I asked my daughter if she could remember any specific seasonal stories.

Her reply? “Of course, Mom. We only really have one Christmas story.”

Now, before I explain her answer–I should tell you, we’ve had a lot of amazing holidays as a family. Like many other families with South Texas roots, we traditionally celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. And it just so happens that if you celebrate on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day becomes a bit untraditional. There are no more presents to unwrap, so we get creative. We’ve had holidays where we’ve watched Jackie Chan movies on Christmas Day (aka, “the Jackie Chan Christmas”), made horrible attempts at carolling, or the time my husband made everyone sit through “The Christmas Story” for the umpteenth time while icing sugar cookies. (That was great, truly.)

But the story to which my daughter refers is one in which my then-teenage son stood in front of the refrigerator on Christmas morning, complaining that there weren’t enough carbs in the Christmas breakfast for his bodybuilder-taste. That was my trigger. I didn’t care if my baby boy was now a 6-foot-tall man. I had to respond.

Being the cool mom that I am, and tired as I was of the complaining, I did the first thing I thought of. I pantsed him. For one horrible moment, it was as if time slowed down and halfway through the “pantsing” my stunned brain had already begun to say, “What am I DOING?” My maturity had suddenly receded to that of a 10 year-old boy, something I’ve never even been.

The lapse in maturity shocked my children to the point that they couldn’t stop talking about it. Even today, it is our “Christmas memory.” As in, the only one. Between the pumpkin pies and egg nogs and chocolate-filled stockings of twenty-five years of Christmases with kids–this is the memory. The one that eclipsed them all.

That Christmas, my son used it to guilt-trip me into doing everything for him. (He still pulls it out as a trump card occasionally. “Mom, remember when you scarred me for life?”)

To be clear, I am not proud of what I did. I don’t really know the depths of my subconscious that propelled me to do it. I really do feel the urge to pull a moral out of this somewhere–so I really only have two thoughts:

First, enjoy your kids. The holidays are meant to be wonderful, but they can also bring out the worst in us. Be prepared to give them grace–because chances are, there will come a time when they will need to show you grace in return.

Secondly–(and this is really sincere)–never complain about the food your mother makes for Christmas. You never know what she’ll do.


Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees, Traveling.



By Herndon Hasty (Digital Performance Manager)

It’s the last of the NFL team towns – I know, it’s normally said the other way around, but Green Bay is truly a city of 100,000+ built around an NFL team. There’s still major industry, family attractions and more than enough to keep a town going outside of the team, but the Packers are the heart and soul of this community in ways that teams with larger and even more passionate fan bases never can be.

And yet it’s not set apart. The stadium parking lot bumps up against a parking lot for, among other things, a bank and a grocery store. The town exudes loyalty and passion for the team, but isn’t awash in trinkets and tchochkes that belie a tourist attraction.

And, of course, there’s the history. Sporting the oldest rivalry in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, the Packers date to the days when towns like Akron and Portsmouth sported professional teams, and when Buffalo was one of the bigger cities in the league. Lombardi, Lambeau, Starr, Hornung, and Nitschke are part of every breath you breath at the stadium and in the surrounding town. And between that history and that scale, the whole thing feels like the world’s largest high school football game. That is until they take the field, Aaron Rodgers lights up your defense, and Clay Matthews your offense.

Like a lot of destinations, Green Bay gets held up as a place to go ‘someday’ because it forever seems out of reach. Here’s how to make it happen.

Book early

The name of the game is availability. You can make a trip to Green Bay happen anytime, but to get in while prices are sane, start booking in June / early July. Weather is, of course, a consideration; games going into October can still be perfectly comfortable, but the later in the season you get, the greater the chances of experiencing the fabled Frozen Tundra – for better or worse.

Tickets are surprisingly reasonable: For the same amount we spent for near-upper deck corner seats at Foxboro, my wife and I sat on the 50 mid-deck at Lambeau. You can use that to your advantage to make the trip cheaper, or to remember that you’re probably only going to do this so many times and splash out a little.

Fly and Drive

Green Bay does have an airport. Unless you’re a millionaire and/or have bought all the leather your heart desires, don’t fly into it – even before the schedule is announced, flying into Green Bay will cost you an extra $600-$800 per person, and that’s after you connect in from Chicago, Milwaukee or Minneapolis.

The best alternative is to fly into one of those airports and drive in from there. Milwaukee is the closest option, and just a beautiful 2-hour drive away. A drive in from Chicago will take another two and still send you through Milwaukee, though it does also put the famous Mars Cheese Castle in your crosshairs about ⅔ of the way there.

After you get out of the city, it’s all farmland and small towns right up until you hit Green Bay. It sneaks up on you. Remarkably, we saw very few cows for a state that prides itself on dairy. I started to wonder if it was just naturally occuring in Wisconsin and drilled out of the earth like oil, until I was assured by a local that it was not.

Houses not Hotels

AirBNB, VRBO, and other services are fantastic for meeting new people and getting closer to local life in your adventures. For trips to Green Bay, they’re closer to necessities: Hotels book up very quickly after the NFL schedule is announced all the way out to Appleton, a solid 30 minutes out from the stadium. By all means check the nearby hotels when you’ve made your choice, but if there’s no vacancy, there are plenty of citizens with spare bedrooms to pick from – even ones close enough to walk to the stadium – for not as much as you’d think.

While you’re in town, be sure to check out Titletown Brewery for dinner – it can be a wait, but the food and local brews are worth the time. Just stroll the riverfront. Afterwards, head over to the stadium for a stroll, a tour, and a hundred pictures with the Lambeau Leap statue before the crowds get there – it’s all extremely accessible. If you have time during the day, the parks and nature preserves right on Lake Michigan are worth an excursion.

Game Day

As long as you’re coming in early, or not trying to approach the stadium directly through Lombardi Way, traffic is not bad. If you’re going in another team’s colors, don’t worry. I took more flack at DFW airport for the college hoodie I was wearing than I did in Green Bay for wearing a Chiefs jersey.

Flights, tickets, travel and amenities, you can easily make a weekend of this for around $1,000 per person – a good chunk less if you’re not splurging on really good seats or being super frugal with your hotel choices.


Posted by & filed under Christmas, The Voice of Saddleback Employees.


by Nick Bridwell (Customer Service)

1.Take it Easy on the Road- Every single person on the road has somewhere to be. So stop trying to run everyone off the road to get where you are going five minutes faster. Having a car is a luxury, not an entitlement. I created a mantra for myself that inspires me to relax even if everyone out there is crazy: The bird does not explain to the snake why it flies; it simply flies. Meaning, you don’t have to bring yourself down to the level of road ragers and cell-phone gazers. Be cognizant, but be cool.

2. Slow Down While Shopping- This is pretty much the same concept as driving, with the exception that people hidden behind metal and class in their cars can be a little more rude without being personal. When you are out there shopping this Christmas seasons, don’t forget what Christmas is all about. The point is to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth, not to get the last hot toy of the season. Also, as the husband of a wonderful woman that works in retail, I ask you to be polite and patient when you shop and be kind to the people helping you. It might seem like you are not getting the attention you need, but remember that these folks are usually working with a skeleton crew and 5 times their normal volume of customers. Treat others kindly and you will feel the Spirit move in you.

3. Travel Light, Dress Like a Rockstar – Make your life easier by traveling like your favorite lead singer on tour. Ever notice how your favorite band will often wear the same two or three outfits on tour? That’s because nobody has the time or the space to carry around hundreds of cool outfits or to coordinate them. Pick a few essentials and mix it up. For the gentlemen: One pair of jeans, one pair of chinos, three long-sleeve shirts (one white; spread collar, one plaid; use some colors that that go with anything, and one that’s your favorite ever), a sweater and two blazers, one pair of dress shoes one pair of casual sneakers, provide a lot of fun combinations. And you don’t have to pack the entire closet.  This should all fit in one bag and a hang-up. If it doesn’t, upgrade to a side pocket duffel.

4. Show Up With Something – You might have the biggest family in Texas, or you might be joining another couple for a tiny Thanksgiving dinner. Either way, a gift will be appreciated. The best red wine for turkey day is a Pinot Noir, because its earthiness compliments the meal. The best white wine is a Riesling, because the wine’s wonderful apricot and apple accents compliment the sweetness of a Thanksgiving meal. If you want to go non-alcoholic, I’ve personally always appreciated a loaf of French bread or a couple of baguettes.

5. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself- It seems like a no-brainer, but last year, I got ready to take off for a road trip and realized I had a flat tire. Couldn’t make the trip because guess what, Discount Tire isn’t open every single day of the year. Nobody is! Check your tires, oil, etc, before you go on a long trip.

6. Be Courageous – You know that one person nobody likes that somehow manages to make it to every family event? If you’re the host, do yourself a favor–don’t invite them. I know that’s controversial. We’re supposed to be graceful and kind. Well, some people invite that and some people don’t. Do your entire family a favor and make the holiday enjoyable. Many a beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas has been sacrificed to the obligatory inclusion of Drunkle Frank or Cousin Drama. Treat the deserving with the grace of the world, but don’t open yourself up to a disaster. The owner of the China shop rarely invites the bull inside out of the bottom of his heart. Most of the time, he just gets invited by default.

7. Collect Keys – I feel like a PSA here, but this is the truth. It’s a lot of fun getting together with family and friends during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whether you’re out of town or safely nestled in your own home, be safe! Collect keys and make sure that people aren’t leaving the party before they’re ready to make the drive.

8. Love Your Spouse- November and December are the busiest months of the year. It’s super easy to let tensions rise and to take that out on the closest person…your husband or wife. Don’t! This is a fun time to work together. Nothing in the world matters as much as your marriage. As a newlywed, I’m probably highly unqualified to give marital advice. But then again, it is pretty good advice, right? Make sure that you are taking care of the special person in your life and working together to have a Thanksgiving and Christmas that is as stress-free as possible, enjoyable, and dedicated to God and not greed.

9. Make it Personal – So much of Christmas these days seems to be about the accumulation of wealth. I believe it’s better to give someone a personal gift than a generic thing off of some wish list they wrote while watching Youtube from the comfort of the lavatory. Is this selfish on my part? I don’t think so. I would rather give someone a trinket that they will keep forever than a 100th shirt or 5th pair of sunglasses, etc. Example: my wife’s grandfather needed a shoe horn but was having some hip problems. So, I had a custom shoe horn made out of Texas mesquite that was basically the length of a cane. Custom gift with function and form.

10. Be Thankful – We all say the Grace before dinner. Well, take it one step further. Spend a little time and look around at all of your blessings. Even if times are tough. Count your blessings. Appreciate Thanksgiving and Christmas for the time you get to spend with the people you love. Cherish these moments. Ignore the hustle. Let your loved ones know they matter. It will make their holiday a lot better. And then, when Christmas rolls around, give them a gift that means more to their souls and less to their closets.


Good luck and God Bless!


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In this twenty-first episode of the Not Dead Yet Show:

Dave shares his secret formula for cleaning dogs that like to wrestle with skunks, Suzette washes poo off of a crate-full of puppies, and Sela tells us what is takes to make a handsome chupacabra.



Come see the rest of the Not Dead Yet Series

Subscribe to the Not Dead Yet Show newsletter right now or else be prepared to face the consequences of missing the greatest show ever produced about the Munsons living in tents.

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By Tim (Social Content Guy)

My new favorite lawn game is one you might not have heard of before. It is called Kubb (listen to how it is pronounced here.) A friend of mine recently introduced me to the game and set up a game one afternoon. I was intrigued by the description and history of the game and by the time the first game was over, I was hooked. This may or may have been because I won…

Like many games, the history of Kubb is not entirely known and the theories about it are colorful. You can read some of them on good ole Wikipedia. I will tell you the version my friend told me. Supposedly the game traces all the way back to the Vikings. The story goes that they would play the game with the skulls and femurs of their enemies. Some still refer to the pieces as skulls and femurs. Some still dress like Vikings when they play too. Some also call the game Viking Chess.


Here is a basic explanation of how Kubb is played. There are two teams that play against each other. The pitch size is 5 meters by 8 meters. That’s roughly 16.4 feet by 26.2 feet. There are six boundary pieces that are placed so the pitch is clearly defined. On each side of the pitch there are five skulls (kubbs) with a larger one in the middle (called the King). The object of the game is to knock over the other teams skulls by throwing the six femurs (wooden batons). Only after you have knocked over all the skulls can you knock over the King. Should the King be knocked over beforehand you lose the game.

To see who goes first one person from each team throws a femur to get it as close to the King as possible without touching it. Whichever team is closest then gets to throw all six femurs. Now if you have been doing the math you are probably thinking, “What’s the point? You have five skulls and one king to knock over with six femurs. That will be easy.” Wrong! It is actually quite challenging. And there are some more fun rules that make the game more interesting.

After the first team has thrown all six femurs the second team must start their turn by throwing back whichever skulls were knocked over. They must be thrown on the first team’s side and in bounds. After throwing the first skull you’ll want to try to hit it with any remaining skulls. This results in the skulls being stacked making them easier to knock over. Once they have been thrown and placed the second team gets to throw all six femurs. The field Kubbs (the ones just thrown by the second team) have to be knocked over before moving on to the back row or baseline Kubbs. As you can imagine this makes the game more challenging as well as longer.

The team that is first to knock over all the field Kubbs, the baseline Kubbs, and then the King, wins. Some have said Kubb can be described as a combination of bowling and horseshoes. I’d say that is a pretty close description. There are a few more rules I didn’t mention but you can read about them or watch this very helpful video.

If you have never heard of Kubb I’d encourage you to find or build a set and go try it out. If you have played before but it’s been awhile I hope this rekindles your love for it. My friend who introduced me to the game held a tournament recently. The winning team got to take home a homemade Kubb set. Guess who won?! That’s right. My family and I now own a sweet Kubb set and can be found playing in our backyard on most days.



Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.



By Jana Mendoza (Human Resources)

Food as Medicine  – Part 3

So you read my other posts about using food to heal your gut and reverse autoimmune symptoms and you’re intrigued; Great! But you need more info to get started. Let me give you some great resources that have helped me and should help guide you through your journey.

First, there are a lot of great authors and researchers who have put plans together and have great blogs out there. Their sites are full of recipes, great articles that spell out what you can and can’t have and recommendations for other ways you can support your healing process. The following ones are my favorites and they have all the info you would need to get started.

He Won’t Know It’s Paleo – Breanna Emmitt
Manages the symptoms of Celiac and Hashimotos with AIP. Has a recipe book and site that features tasty and relatively easy AIP recipes. And they’re so good that her hubby didn’t know he was eating a different diet for 6 months after she started cooking that way.
The Paleo Mom – Sarah Ballantyne
An MD and researcher, Sarah has written the bible on AIP. She is also symptom free from Lichen planus. She has a whole book, The Paleo Approach on the science behind AIP, so if you like to know the why, then her book would be for you.
Autoimmune Paleo – Mickey Trescott
Has Celiac and Hashimoto’s and overcame the symptoms with the AIP diet. Has a cookbook called The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.
Phoenix Helix – Eileen Laird
Eileen has Rheumatoid Arthritis and now lives pain free from following AIP. Her blog is a mix of science, recipes and testimony.

So there is a lot to learn with AIP, but ultimately there is a lot of cooking that will need to happen. You or a your loved one will be making all your meals from scratch. So brush up on cooking skills and get ready. The above sites have great recipes on them but there are tons more resources out there, so get on Pinterest, fire up google and start collecting.

The other great resource and support out there is Facebook Groups. There are many AIP groups out there where you can get info, ask questions, post recipes and get support from a group of people that know what you’re going through and are committed to the same journey. As with any Facebook group there’s great people and of course the “2%”, but in general I’ve found the people to be supportive, warm and kind. Here are some good ones:

AIP Support
AIP Reintroductions
Autoimmune Paleo recipes
Rheumatoid Arthritis Managed Naturally

I know this feels overwhelming and even impossible, but the truth is this is doable, there are thousands and thousands of people just like you and me that are figuring out how to make it work in the middle of busy lives, are realizing that they can still enjoy food and flavor, and are choosing to put themselves and their health first. This is not the end of the world friend, this is just the beginning of hopefully a healthier and happier world. Just take it one step and one meal at a time.


Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.



by Nick Bridwell (Customer Service)

I’m a fall guy. NO, not the kind of “fall guy” who takes the blame for running over the founder’s statue in the town square and ends up in county jail for 11 days just so his two best friends don’t get in trouble with their short-tempered girlfriends. What kind of a dude do you think I am? I’m the other kind of fall guy. The guy who enjoys the fall season. Autumn. Sweet, slow, cool, autumn with its leaves of burgundy and burnt orange and its gentle call for the digging out of overshirts and cardigans from the back of the closet.
When I sit down to get to work on a short story, poem, or blog post, I like to have a soundtrack going; a soundtrack for my craft and a soundtrack for life in general. Here are 10 songs (in no particular order) that I really think have that certain “fall” feel. I hope you enjoy them and they help you slow down and enjoy the change of season.

1. Louis Armstrong- “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”

Louis Armstrong’s mad scat lyrics always relax me and get me in the perfect chill mood. And then that smooth trumpet blows in and warms the room like a cozy fire.


2. Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – “North Country Girl”

In my opinion, these men are two of the finest singer/songwriters of our lifetime. And here, the two combine their efforts for one of Dylan’s most atmospheric songs. You can really feel the wind blowing and you start thinking about that girl you once knew, too.


3. Ryan Adams – “Pretenders (Pretending’s Fun)”
It’s hard to pick just one fall-friendly Ryan Adams track. He’s an underrated, prolific genius. But, “Pretenders” is a real treat. It comes from a scrapped album (now a treasured bootleg a la Dylan). With phrases like: “Folks covered up with roses might envy everyone…” it’s easy to feel the emotions in a Ryan Adams-penned song.


4. Fran Healy- “Anything”
Fran Healy, lead singer of Scotland’s greatest alt band, Travis, goes ethereally solo on the album Wreckorder, and the track that haunts the most is “Anything”. The strings are gentle and piercing and Mr. Healy’s voice is as melodic and soulful as ever. For a bonus, try “Sing Me to Sleep”, which features Neko Case.


5. VAST- “One More Day”
When the leaves begin to fall like lost opportunities and a scarf is just one more way to keep the memories inside, you’ll find songs like “One More Day” a perfect compliment to the chill of an early fall.


6. The Wallflowers – “One Headlight”
Jakob Dylan’s “One Headlight” is one of those 90s heartbreak songs that sounds best being blasted on your car radio while you are cutting through a foggy night, winding down country roads in the middle of the night, perhaps with only one headlight to lead you.



7. David Gray – “Babylon” (Acoustic)
I play this song on repeat a lot during the autumn. Gray picks the guitar softly and sings of a relationship that, like the Biblical Babylon, had potential but is seemingly in trouble. Such a beautiful song and so powerful, especially in its acoustic renditions.



8. The National – “Green Gloves”
When I hear this song, I picture all of my old friends out living their lives and I miss them. I think of my college days wandering through the falling leaves of Denton, TX, with nothing but my peacoat and the love of those around me to keep me warm. I believe the song is a bittersweet masterpiece. You can’t possibly maintain relationships with everyone, but you can still think about them from time to time. And it’s in those brief moments that you are with them.


9. Coldplay – “Amsterdam”
“Come on, oh my star is fading and I swerve out of control. If I, If I’d only waited…I’d not be stuck here in this hole.” This is one of the most powerful piano-rock songs of all time. There are a lot of good Coldplay tracks to choose from. “The Scientist” and “Fix You” are heartbreakingly sad, but “Amsterdam: just feels more like the wet and cold and thunderous autumn nights. Less of a whimper than a shout.


10. The Cure- “The Forest”
There’s something so eerie about this song that it feels weird not listening to it during the fall. The lyrics spin a compelling narrative of a man chasing a strange voice through the woods and the music is altogether anxious. Will he catch her? You can find out for yourself if you give it a listen:

Nick is part of our Social Engagement and Customer Service teams. He released his debut novel, The Ties That Bind (insert link to: in 2014, and has also published short fiction, pop culture essays, popular blogs, and music reviews for a number of print and digital outlets.