Emma Frisch: In the Kitchen and on the Peaks

by Christine Perigen | January 16, 2013

Emma Frisch’s joy is contagious. Her big smile jumps through the phone and makes you think about her delicious cupcakes and the good work she’s doing through her organization, PEAKS. Just married and having just attended her twin sister’s wedding in the same year, Emma’s had a lot of reasons to smile, laugh, and celebrate.

Your wedding photos looked like they were straight out of Wedding Magazine – you couldn’t have had a more fun and gorgeous time. Tell us about the event.

I’m lucky to have married my partner of eight years, Bobby Frisch. We met while we were both at University of Pennsylvania. He is my fellow business partner and project dreamer. We’ve travelled all over the world together and created all sorts of cool things. He started a hotel that I helped him work on and that’s where I opened my first and only restaurant, to date. He’s now getting an MBA at Cornell, which is how we came to Ithaca. It’s a place we both love.

Did you know you’d be planning such a large wedding?

Absolutely not. I thought it would be small with an intimate group of people. It just didn’t turn out that way. We both come from enormous families that we love. We had 125 people attend and the majority were family members. We still managed to stay true to our values. We had the wedding at Millstone Farm, a place I worked at for several years and I’m really close with the owners and farmers. All the food was prepared by our friend who is a chef that partners with the farm and uses food grown from Millstone. All the guests were given a tour of the farm. The wedding tent was made out of used sail cloths. We were married in the horse field amongst horse jumps with a blue grass band playing. We celebrated until the morning with all the people we loved the most.

Your identical twin sister just got married in the same year?!?

Emma and identical twin, Dimity

Yes! This was a totally unexpected coincidence. Her husband, Nolan, was planning to propose the same day Bobby proposed to me but Bobby got to it first. So, Nolan pocketed the ring for another four months. Neither of us were expecting it so it was really special to share that process. She had the opposite wedding: a city wedding, half the size of mine, at the Brooklyn Winery. We enjoyed great food and drinks with a multi-cultural and eclectic, amazing group of people.

Twins: is it true that they are telepathic with one another?

It’s true that we are definitely connected. We think and feel the same way. When we share things, we are sharing the joy, burden or sadness. Our lives are uncannily in sync. An example of that was getting engaged and married at the same time. Similar things are always going on like that in our lives. We’re connected beyond being best friends. She is part of me. I feel that people don’t fully know me until they have met her.


You started an organization called PEAKS. How did it all start?

PEAKS started, quite literally, with the idea of reaching new heights and overcoming major obstacles. My colleagues and fellow mountain hikers, Steve and Chris, and myself saw a unique opportunity to raise money for EkoRural, a small non-profit in Ecuador working on climate change issues with indigenous mountain farmers. Thousands of adventure tourists were pouring into the Andes, with little awareness that the trails they hiked on were farmers’ footpaths. We found a way to bridge these two worlds by launching our first climb-a-thon.

At the summit of Volcano Cotopaxi, Ecuador 

In September of 2010, PEAKS was officially launched. I climbed to the summit of Volcano Cotopaxi, which is nearly 20,000 ft. Steve and two friends ran the “seven hills run” in the Netherlands. Another group of climbers in Colorado climbed a series of peaks. We shared our stories and pictures with family and friends through the PEAKS website, and collectively raised over $10,000 for EkoRural. For me, PEAKS was a way to combine two of my greatest passions: climbing and agriculture. After our launch, I took on the lead role for PEAKS development.

What have you learned from starting your own company?

The biggest lesson for me is this: you need to have a really committed and solid team working together to achieve success. I felt like I was flailing on my own alongside a full time job for quite some time; our volunteers and board members were incredible, but having salaried team members that you can depend on is critical for growth. The past six months of growth have proven this for me. But I am really appreciative of the people who have helped build PEAKS since the start. PEAK has been a team effort through and through.

What are the most successful campaigns on Peaks?

 Sustainable Neighborhoods Nicaragua, a student group that is part of Cornell University’s Sustainable Design Program, recently raised $25,000 to build an ecological housing community in Nicaragua. Eight days into their PEAKS Campaign they raised over $5,000, and hit their $25,000 goal in less than 45 days. We didn’t have a single customer support question from over 60 Champions and nearly 300 donors!

You have a side project that I love reading about: Cayuga St. Kitchen.

Food is my biggest passion. More so than rock climbing or anything outdoors.

Emma climbing

It’s my creative outlet where I can share food adventures I have with family and friends. I love cooking and I love eating even more. I’ve been involved in farming systems since I was 18 and in college. Cayuga St. Kitchen is a fun way to bring all that experience together and give myself an excuse to keep learning…and cook more food.

What has been the most fun dish you have created?

Gluten Free & Vegan Almond and Candied Orange Cupcakes

This past weekend we made vegan and gluten free cupcakes for a friend’s birthday. It was like learning how to cook for the first time. I had to use totally new ingredients. Gluten free cooking is a totally different pantry. I found myself cooking with potato starch and xanthan gum. I had to clear the whole food bank and start from scratch and use my own flavors. I was determined to not stick to the recipe. The frosting was supposed to be a vanilla frosting but I turned the frosting into almond cream. It was fun to light all of them with candles and eat them together and celebrate.

Where do you find your ingredients?

 Food is so much about the story and where it comes from. It’s important to cook with quality ingredients; it makes a difference. The food I use always has story or is connected to people I know. I love going to The Piggery and I know Heather, the owner. She tells me about the meats and they raise these incredible pigs in environmentally and animal friendly way. I’m always asking where the best Brie is or where the best food comes from. I try to buy food from anywhere and everywhere: Asian market, Ithaca Farmer’s Market, I’m always looking to try something new. It’s an adventure every time.

What change do you want to bring to the world?

It’s hard to know if you are actually creating change. The change I want to create is helping people feel empowered to make change happen themselves. Giving people tools and space to feel confident in making their dream and mission come alive.

Reaching New Heights: Emma climbing in New Paltz

Through Peaks, it is those little encounters that happen now and then that make you realize you are making change happen. Sometimes there are weeks or months where I feel that this is a dream in my head and it’s not actually creating any change but then someone will write us a letter and let us know that they think it’s amazing and they met their goal and they’ll thank us. There are lots of moments that show it is the little things that matter and if you keep plugging forward with your dream then you can create change.

What is your travel essential when you are on the road?
My advice is to pack as light as possible and be open to any new experience. One thing I have to bring with me…[long pause]…I know!! My fanny pack. Dead serious. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. I have the coolest one. Everyone should have a classy little fanny pack to store all your valuables and what you need on hand. None of that stuff under your waistband.

When in Ecuador…do you Crumple or Fold?
I’m a crumpler. I wish I was a folder. I’d probably use less. I guess I could be an in between but I’m more of a crumpler.

Emma Frisch is the Director and Co-Founder of PEAKS, an organization that provides the platform and audience for your fundraising campaigns. She also manages her food blog, Cayuga St. Kitchen and continually is experimenting with ingredients to make new dishes. She lives in Ithaca with her husband, Bobby.

For more information on Emma, PEAKS, or Cayuga St. Kitchen, click on the links!

2013 Roam Life, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How Adventurous Are You?

Wondering what your adventurous spirit has been feeling lately? Want to know how you stack up against other adventurers? Now’s your chance to find out.

Take the Roam Life “How Adventurous Are You?” poll and see what your results are!

Roam Your Soul Workshop

Roam Your Soul was an amazing experience for me. It was incredibly heartwarming to share such personal explorations with such sincere and insightful women. I was greatly encouraged to challenge myself and push my boundaries, and the rewards were immediately tangible. As a group, I felt that we all connected emotionally, expanded mentally, and grew spiritually. I am truly grateful for the experience, and I will definitely carry it with me forever on my journey. Thank you!! – Mariya

Like Mariya, I hope you join me for a life-changing and exciting adventure experience.

Roam Your Soul’s Online Adventure Workshop is an 8-week e-course for women that want to explore their daily lives with new eyes, experience adventure, and roam their inner soul. We will guide you through opportunities to expand your comfort zone, discover new aspects of yourself, and connect to other adventurers.


Our next workshop registration will open in February 2013.

We’ve teamed up with Peaks Over Poverty, Against the Grind, and more to make each adventure meaningful, adventurous, and fun.

“There are no rules in creating your own adventures – the possibilities are endless.”

For more information, visit the registration page. For more information about Roam Life and our Amazing Women series, click on the links!

The adventures I created for us all actually allowed me to find time for myself and reflect on what I needed in order to feel excited about life. Learning through other women’s stories and finding inspiration in their courage allowed me to break through barriers and find new adventures for myself.  – Founder, Christine


Taking Time Out for Daily Adventures…A How-To Guide

One of the major obstacles of adventure in our daily lives is how to find the time. Sounds silly, when I say it because isn’t this what makes life FUN? Shouldn’t we ALWAYS have time for fun?


The reality, of course, is that fun is the first element of our daily lives to go when we are busy, stressed, working, and have full to-do lists to complete.


Compound this with the fact that it’s now winter and daylight is at a minimum and now we are a bunch of non-fun ninnies all of a sudden.

Several of us are gearing up for a women’s workshop to begin December 15th that  focuses on a weekly adventure and reflection. Several of us may be asking ourselves, “How am I going to take some time out for my adventures?” In response, I have come up with a list that might just help you out:

Wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual. I know, this is a tough request. We’re already sleep-deprived, stressed and have a full day ahead of us. And for people like me, I am a COMPLETE non-morning person. I sleep until the last possible moment and then wake up angry on a regular basis just because I have to get up. Lately, I’ve trained myself to set the alarm 30 minutes early (and honestly I wake up 20 minutes earlier…snooze 1X!!) and I’m now able to enjoy a cup o’ joe with my man. And this makes me happy and I start my work day HAPPIER. Stay with me people…I know this is a post on how to have an ADVENTURE and I have a point that connects to this. See formula below.

While at work, take advantage of your breaks. Tear yourself away from work and actually walk or ride your bike somewhere – most beneficially, outside. If you can, combine your breaks and take one long break (good time to sneak in an adventure, too!) This helps your  blood flow, your brain wake up, and stress to go down amongst a plethora of other positives.

Before you come home, plan for some time to yourself. Hire a babysitter, arrange for chores to get done, do what you have to do to schedule in an hour of time for just YOU.

Make a wish list of activities. What are the things you wish you could do that you never get to? Your adventure doesn’t have to be crazy or exhilarating. It can be calming and relaxing, too. Make your decision. Do you want excitement and movement or calm and relaxing?

Put your wishlist in several places that will remind you to schedule it in. Have daily or weekly goals. What is really important to you to try and do this week? Is it to finish a book in the bath tub? Go for a hike? Sign up for a new class? Put it on your  calendar and schedule it in as a goal.

The biggest and most important aspect of daily adventures is making the adventure a priority. Take the steps and complete the actions to make sure that the adventure isn’t just a possibility – it’s a given. Avoid excuses. Plan for variables. If you scheduled a night hike but it’s too dark and too late – take a head lamp, a flash light and a shoulder bag and go for a hike or walk anyway. If you planned to have coffee with a friend and they cancelled, go have the coffee anyway.

The adventure rests within you. You just have to give it a little space to come out and dance.


How to Create a Self-Sustaining Adventure

The freedom of adventure awaits…

When’s the last time you woke up in the morning, packed an overnight bag, and just…went somewhere?

So often, we let days pass us by. We get pulled left and pulled right and all around meeting deadlines, getting things done, and perpetually rotating between what “has to get done” and “things I have to do.”

Look at the calendar and count back the days and find how many it has been since an entire day consisted of only things you WANTED to do.

How many days has it been?

This personal time is critical for growth. Personal time to pursue activities that you enjoy and that excite you makes you feel more complete, more capable.

Combine that with creating a sense of adventure – and now you have a real, life changing, eye-opening experience that will stay with you forever.

What if you had an entire day to work on you?

A self-sustaining adventure means to give yourself a day of adventure – a full day,

all to yourself. 

Self-sustaining means self-sufficient. It means that you have with you and within you all that you need for an entire day of adventure on your own. Whether you pack a bag and head to a new coffee shop, go to the local climbing wall, or find a remote part of a park to spend your day, this day is for you to experience something new, reflect on what you’ve learned, and enjoy an entire day on your own.

What would your adventure be? 

Adventure consists of doing something you’ve never done before and providing moments of learning and new experiences for you to take with you and keep with you forever. Adventure is excitement, seeing things from a new angle, and trying new things.

What would you plan? 

Adventure doesn’t have to be hair-raising or terrifying. In fact, it doesn’t have to be out of this world at all. It just needs to be something new  and something that gets your heart rate going. 

For me, it was a trip to Burlington, VT.

I started planning my self-sustaining day. It took three weeks to find a day on the calendar that I could block out, cordone off, and refuse to schedule anything. I then grabbed my favorite pack and started throwing things I thought I might need into it. It looked something like this:

Remember to keep it simple: This day is about your experience, not about stuff!

An entire day by myself?? Not doing anything for anyone else?? Not doing anything that I have to do? What would I need for that? How would I entertain myself? I packed every electronic I could think of plus a journal, a pen, and the Kindle. What if it rained or what if I got cold? I packed sweaters and gloves and hats and scarves…

It’s important to keep this part simple. A self-sustaining day doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and engage with others or buy a new pair of gloves (which I did in Burlington, by the way). Self-sustaining means mentally prepare to be aware of your environment, actively engage in learning new things, and seek out new places you have never been.

Now it’s time for the adventure to begin! Ok, where is it??

I have been living two hours away from Burlington for six months and have been longing to visit. Burlington has a great music scene, is an organic-hippie kind of town with a central market and natural stores, and is pleasantly walkable. Great restaurants and quirky stores line the main promenade. Off the beaten path you’ll find colorful art installments, tattoo shops, community centers, and cozy little coffee shops. I was excited to be in this new and vibrant place.

But where was my adventure??

I had no clue. I hadn’t gotten that far in the planning and the day snuck up on me before I figured the adventure part of the whole self-sustaining day out. I started brainstorming…Get a new tattoo? No. Rummage sales racks at the thrift store? Eh. That’s no adventure. Walk around aimlessly? Too cold. I decided to just play the day by ear and roll with it.

I ended up at Speeder & Earl’s Coffee House to start my day in a caffeinated way. I asked the woman for the strongest coffee they had and sat down with my coffee and some Words with Friends to try and get my head about me on this self-sustaining adventure.

The coffee roaster @ Speeder & Earl’s

I sat staring at that machine wondering where to go now. I took a walk along the Church Street Marketplace and found all sorts of great shops.

Church Street Marketplace

My stomach growled when I passed The Three Tomatoes so I decided for an early lunch and some Kindle reading time. I was finally starting to relax and enjoy some time with my thoughts and being by myself. No adventure yet, or was there? I realized that just being in the moment, being by myself, wandering by myself and meeting new people and seeing new things on my own was an adventure in itself. I had coffee with the sunshine and was about to eat lunch with a fictional character from a story I was reading. I met new people and was able to spend extra time chatting with the barista and learning about Burlington from the eyes of my waitress at The Three Tomatoes.

Three Tomatoes, Church Street Marketplace

My adventure became an experience through other peoples’ eyes.

How were people viewing me? Alone and chatty and curious? Where I was to go next depended solely on the conversation I was having with a stranger now. My heart rate had definitely gone up. Going on advice from my young and friendly waitress, I headed over to the City Market. City Market is an organic grocery store that blows Whole Foods out of the water. This place is legit. First, they were serving gluten free mini-cupcakes at the front door followed up with organic milk to wash it down. I almost blew a gasket when I saw that you could grab some peanuts from the bulk bin and make your own peanut butter. Hello, peanut butter adventure! Passing by the boxed stuff isles, I stopped in my tracks when I saw this:


These people obviously know their market. I wanted to buy one of each item just to support hippies being included in their marketing strategy. Arms full of organic soap, gluten free pretzels, and some hippie friendly items, I checked out and threw my things into a re-usable bag and headed out the door. I felt success! I felt excited! I felt that I had found a place that said, “Hey, Christine! This place is for people like YOU!”

I needed that.

Yea, I know. It’s not crazy out of this world adventure. I didn’t try anything crazy scary. But I did do something new. And I learned something new about myself – I like being around people like me. And apparently, Burlington has a whole community of people like me. Enough to open up a grocery store full of opportunity to think and feel and purchase in a healthy, eco-conscious way. Why hadn’t I been doing this kind of exciting connection-making at home?!?

Because I needed to try something new before I understood.

After that, I had the confidence to get off the beaten path. I walked down some side streets, got out of town…and just…wandered while munching on some yogurt covered pretzels.

And that’s when my adventure happened.

There was a man in a tattered jacket all bundled up riding a bicycle shopping cart. Somehow, he had taken a shopping cart and attached it to a bicycle. Thus, making a “bicycle shopping cart.” He wouldn’t tell me his name and wouldn’t let me take a picture of the bike but it was a piece of work. Fully functioning with pink streamers and hubcap lined cart art, This piece of machinery was colorful, creative, and practical. He loads it up with recyclables, instruments, clothing, anything that needs to be moved from one place to another. He told me that it took a long time to collect all of the “artwork” that he had decorated the bike with. Our conversation was short and I felt awkward having stopped him to ask about his bike but he said that most people just stare so he was happy to tell me about the bike. He took the shopping cart from the grocery store and got the bike from a friend and said it made sense to put them together. A shopping cart bicycle. I told him the trend would more than likely catch on. Just look at what they are doing in Copenhagen!

Cargo bike for all types of hauling

I said goodbye to my new friend and the new adventure and started heading home as the sun started dipping behind the buildings on Church Street.

Goodbye, Burlington

Self-Sustaining Adventure Day…Complete.



Reaching Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone

If you want to feel secure
Do what you already know how to do.
But if you want to grow…
Go to the cutting edge of your competence,
which means a temporary loss of security.
So, whenever you don’t quite know
What you are doing
that you are growing…

~ An exert from David Viscott’s book, Risking

Are you a risk-taker? What types of risks do you tend to take? (e.g. emotional, physical, financial, professional).

This first assignment asks you to look at your life from a different perspective, both physically and mentally. What do you see from this perspective? What do you feel? Are you feeling uncomfortable?

Looking at the world around you from a different perspective is the first step to adding a little risk to your life. Taking risks can help you grow, develop, learn, get unstuck and become transformed. Adding adventure type activities, whether it be skiing, bicycling, attending a cultural event, or visiting a new city, can help facilitate growth. Did you know women are usually not encouraged to take risks as men are? We have all heard, “The world isn’t safe for little girls” … It started for a lot of us when we were little girls. It’s called “learned helplessness.” Or, “risky behavior is bad.” Yes! There are “bad” risky behaviors… but, as women, we are very rarely taught that we can take on healthy risks!

Roam Your Soul facilitates you taking more risks and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s amazing how adding a little bit of adventure can be so beneficial to getting people out of their comfort zone.

Below is a model that portrays three zones. The Comfort Zone, the Learning Zone, and the Panic Zone. Understanding this model can help with your goals and become more comfortable with change.

Life can be easy in the Comfort Zone…. But this is also where we tend to feel “stuck.” It is difficult to learn and grow while you sit idle within your comfort zone. When you add adventure and take on new risks, your ability to enter the Learning Zone is much greater. The Learning Zone is characterized by uncertainty and discoveries, vulnerability, and renewed confidence, fear and delight.

Don’t hate change, embrace it!

At first, it can be scary to enter the Learning Zone. This zone allows for personal expansion and deeper reflection. It involves taking small failures and turning them into big accomplishments. When you live your life in the Learning Zone, you’ll actually increase the size of your Comfort Zone, which will help build self-esteem. When you embrace the Learning Zone, it promotes growth and increased levels of creativity, thus developing the skills and knowledge to grow and change (and be happy) throughout your lifetime. Once you have identified ways to live in the learning zone, you’ll feel alive and accomplished. You may feel much more powerful than you ever imagined.

But, be careful… you do not want to go beyond the learning zone and enter too far into the Panic Zone. Once you are in panic mode, learning is almost impossible in this zone. You’re too busy managing anxiety and fear. This level of stress can stunt learning and growth. Although, don’t be scared to enter it! The Panic Zone can create extreme exhilaration that will blast you into growth you never imagined. Just be very careful, because the Panic Zone can easily go out of control. So, venture lightly!

For each individual, this circle model varies. It’s important to identify your Comfort Zone, your Learning Zone, and your Panic Zone. Based on what you have learned here, take a few moments and draw your own diagram. How big do you think your comfort zone is? How often do you venture out into the learning zone? Where does your Panic Zone begin? What are some adventures that you could do that would place you in your Learning Zone more frequently?

Tips for taking on “controlled risks”

As you plan your adventures, keep these tips in mind and take time to answer these questions:

1) Preparation: What is the risk/adventure/trip you want to take? What are your motivators? What are the desired results? What are the best/worst consequences? Is this the right time? (Remember, there’s never a right time… you just need to make time)

What steps do you need to take? Who will support you?

2) Commitment: Jump to action! Plan the trip! Take the risk! Go for it!

3) Completion: What were the results? Did you learn? How would you do it differently next time?


Contact info: Christine@roamlife.com /+1 (914) 297-8446 to request more information.


Amazing Women Doing Amazing Things: Are you ready?

Women can be an amazing force.

Over centuries, across cultures, around the world, women have been undermined, under-represented, and underestimated. We have fought for personal freedom. We have struggled to have rights. We have carried the weight of balancing our nurturing sense with our business sense. We talk a lot about “the fight” or “women power” or some other two word phrase that makes us sound like we are fierce warriors on the fight for our independence and  for our voices to be heard – and this has been an important part of women’s history but I beg to ask the question…

Is fighting the best action for a community?

Fighting can be an effective change agent. Fighting can create change quickly. Fighting can also be devastating. Harmful. Life-ending. What if, instead of “fighting the good fight,” we recognized the amazingness of the woman’s spirit and sought to highlight our amazing capabilities, support each other’s amazing endeavors, and advocated for those that are stifled by restrictions? What if our focus was to bring good through goodness and change through love, resilience, and dedication?

Roam Your Soul has begun to create a community of women adventurers using an online social forum. Adventurers come in many forms and go on amazing journeys in many different ways. You are an adventurer. We all are.

Roam Life and our Roam Your Soul project has sought to find amazing people doing amazing things so that we can introduce them to you. Through their stories we hope you find inspiration, insight, and we hope that you connect to one another through life’s stories. That’s what adventure is all about. The experience. The story. The people. We can change the world. Together.

Amazing Women Doing Amazing Things: Interviews and Stories

Abigail Anderson, Founder of Changed by Change – How I Found my Way Back to Adventure as a Stay-at-Home Mother

Eleanor Moseman, Founder of 2Wheels4Girls & Photograher – 13 Questions for Eleanor Moseman