Intergalactic Pals

My now fiancé, Jaimie, and I creatively collaborated for a second time! I introduced him to one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Mac and Me. It’s such a bad movie.. it’s good! We utilized this flick for his new-ish magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here).

Across the universe, a family of four search to quench their thirst on their barren home planet by poking hollow tubes into the ground. Their meal is interrupted by a NASA robotic rover that landed nearby to collect rock and soil samples. This curious family communicates with one another by whistling as they carefully approach this foreign vehicle. The youngest child accidentally gets sucked up in its suction hose along with rocks and soil. The parents and sibling try to rescue him but get sucked up themselves! The family travels to an unknown land, they emerge from the dissected rover, unsure of its residents, escape their dangerous grasp, and get separated from one another. The youngster tumbles into traffic causing a three car pile up (as well as a major traffic jam), he becomes squashed on the windshield, and is described as: “omelets.. with eyes!” He becomes a stowaway in a nearby van, which is occupied by a family of three, the Cruises, who are moving across the country from Chicago to LA. The first sign of the stowaway’s presence is when he steals a can of Coca-Cola (with a straw) from the youngest boy, Eric, who blames his older brother, Michael.

Numerous signs follow indicating that there is an unknown life form lurking about their new house: unplugged TVs turn on, remote control cars drive without batteries, wet footprints leading away from an empty/steamy shower, power tools modifying walls/doors, a hundred-year-old heirloom painting ruined, trees/flowers replanted throughout their living room, etc. Eric’s mom and brother do not believe him when he says: “It wasn’t me, it was the little creature! I saw it!” Upset-yet-determined Eric follows the little creature into the backyard (he names him: Mac, short for: Mysterious Alien Creature), down a treacherous hill, and into a deep pond below (oh, by the way, Eric is wheelchair-bound, so this incident is life-threatening as he cannot swim, so Mac dives in, takes him ashore, and saves his life). The girl next door, Debbie, sees Mac rescue Eric, but she’s afraid to tell the grownups because nobody would believe it! Eric and Debbie team up to catch Mac and prove his case, but they didn’t plan for the government to show up, who are trying to take Mac, and do who-knows-what to him! Will this physically disabled boy and his pals evade the bad guys and help Mac reunite with his long-lost family?! You’ll just have to watch Mac & Me to find out!

Mac & Me is a complete rip-off of.. you guessed it.. E.T.! This movie came out six years after E.T. Ironically, this film was made by Orion Pictures, which filed for bankruptcy in the early ’90’s.. maybe because Universal Studios sued them?! Whoa, I’m seeing stars.. Far out, dude!

Mac & Me is so bad.. it’s good! The epitome of an 80’s bad rip-off action adventure, sci-fi cult classic! Fun for the entire family! Speaking of family, they stole E.T.’s older brother’s name, Michael. I mean.. C’mon, they definitely cheated off someone else’s paper! The rip-offs continue, they even pulled a “Marty McFly” move when Eric grabs a hold of a truck and strolls down the street; the music playing during this scene sounds eerily similar to the Back to the Future theme song. Bet they wish they had a time machine so they could reconfigure the space time continuum and get back some of their dignity!

IMDb’s description of Mac & Me: “An alien trying to escape from NASA is befriended by a wheelchair-bound boy.” I mean, goodness gracious, can ya get anymore unnecessarily specific?! This was the first time I saw a physically disabled character who was played by a real life wheelchair-bound actor. Still, to this day, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this on screen since! Representation matters, however knowing where to highlight and being tactful about it is important.

This movie’s small cast has a few unknown gems: The mom is played by Christine Ebersole, a soap opera star from One Life to Live and Broadway stage performer. The older brother, Michael, is played by Jonathan Ward who voices Zak from the animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. The actress who plays Debbie’s sister, Courtney, is played by Tina Caspary, who has been in 1982’s Annie, Can’t Buy Me Love, and Teen Witch. The lead who played Eric, Jade Calegory, had a short acting career with only three credits to his name; Mac & Me was his film debut.

As I’ve said before, what’s a bad movie without a couple random dance numbers that have no relevance to the storyline whatsoever? Oh, and we can’t forget the blatant product placements: Coca-Cola, Skittles, and McDonald’s! Debbie and Eric attend a birthday party, which so happens to be at.. McDonald’s! Where Debbie’s sister, Courtney, works. Even Ronald McDonald himself shows up to entertain the kiddos; he infamously won a Razzie award for Worst New Star for this film. I remember going to many birthday parties at Mickey D’s! Hey, I’ll bet it’s no coincidence that Mac is named after their famous Big Mac burger. Mac joins in on the fun and dances, in disguise, as a robotic teddy bear along with the McDonald’s staff, party goers, and customers. The uniformed footballers dancing by the front door is randomly hilarious.. because they’re grown men trying to pass as teenagers!

My favorite scene is when their silver VW van cruises through the desert with wild horses running alongside them while the song “Waves” by Debbie Lytton plays. Waves in a desert, how ironic! Such a beautiful scene, with this catchy tune, gets me pumped every time! I’m a sucker for a sexy sax solo!

Actor Paul Rudd has a running gag with late night talk show host Conan O’Brien where he plays Mac and Me’s trailer, again and again, instead of showing a clip from his upcoming film. Rotten Tomatoes gave this flick a five percent rating yet the Audience Score is at thirty-eight percent. This just goes to show that maybe lovers of this bad movie, like Paul Rudd and I, are a little more gracious than the harsh film critics.

SPOILER ALERT: Mac & Me ends with a pink chewing gum bubble that says: “We’ll be back!” and then bursts. It didn’t do well in the box office, only making back half of their budget, and a portion of its box office intake was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Maybe the clown is to blame for this major flop?! For obvious reasons, the proposed sequel was never made. Go figure! I wonder if they thought about how iconic that final scene is.. because ya know how the saying goes: “I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but..” Haha!

‘Twas such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him, again, on his creative project, Rob’s Video ‘zine! As I mentioned in my Vintage Trolling blog post, we were originally inspired to create vintage good/bad movie posters whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). I just let Jaimie go with creating the illustration of this Mac & Me movie poster. I didn’t have much input because the storyline (ahem, E.T.’s storyline, ahem) was pretty straight forward. He did make sure to include the obviously obnoxious product placement with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. This design does differ from the VHS &/or DVD covers and other posters because it doesn’t include any Earthlings or suburban California skyline. I do like that Jaimie changed it up and included Mac’s silhouetted family in the background. I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. I don’t think we’ll color this movie poster, no real reason as to why, however Jaimie did color the Troll movie poster so we can display it somewhere in our home. We just gotta find the wall space.. Ugh, haha!

Dear Ms. Lloyd

Write a letter to a former teacher about where you are [now] and what impact they had on you.

I ran into my elementary Speech Therapist at the grocery store a couple years ago
So, I did get a chance to tell her what I was up to at that moment and thank her
In honor of Teacher’s Appreciation Week this week May 3rd – 7th

Dear Ms. Lloyd,
I travel the world as a Communications Specialist. I interact with dozens of Design Engineers from all the over the country, Canada, Mexico, France, and India. Being able to speak with every level of people, that’s all thanks to you!

You helped teach me how to speak so others can understand me and comprehend my words. This means more than I ever thought about before. I see others struggle speaking because of their speech impediments and getting lost in translation with others.

Spending those two years with you was time well spent with how I am now able to communicate with the world! You helped give me confidence! I’m no longer afraid to raise my hand or speak up for myself! Some would say I’m a Chatty Cathy, haha!

You’ve helped open so many doors for me in regards to career opportunities! I mean, come on, a “Communications” Specialist! My job title is verbally communicating in front of a group of people. How crazy is that?! I’ve also given a Maid of Honor speech, a Valedictorian speech at my college graduation, and [now] I speak/share my writing with a virtual Journaling Workshop every week.

I’d say I’m a success story! And I’ll say it again, “I’m a success story!” because I like being able to pronounce words correctly. It feels good!

Thank you again,
Your Grateful Student

Vintage Trolling

My boyfriend, Jaimie, and I creatively collaborated for the first time! I introduced him to one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Troll. It’s such a bad movie.. it’s good! We utilized this flick for his new magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here):

The first issue of Rob’s Video has arrived! Lovingly named after the local neighborhood video store from my childhood. This zine is a love letter to crazy genre films and video store culture. With a wide array of contributors giving interviews, reviews, and stunning artwork. All made with a passion for those bygone eras of insanity in film. Conversations about horror, westerns, gore, etc. leap from the page. Plus artistic tributes to films like Puppet Master, Hammer Films, and even Troll. Take a deep dive into B-movie culture by opening the pages of Rob’s Video.

The Potters just moved into an apartment complex, filled with interesting neighbors: a beefcake veteran, a playboy, a professor, an actress, and a princess. An enchanted ring finds Wendy Potter, the young daughter, who doesn’t seem like herself upon wearing it. Her older brother, Harry Potter Junior, is the only one who notices the changes in Wendy. Their folks presume she’s homesick and/or upset about the move. Harry Potter Junior seeks refuge at his neighbor’s upstairs apartment, Eunice St. Clair. At first, Eunice seems to be just a grouchy old lady who isn’t fond of visitors, especially uninvited kids, but Harry grows on her. Her apartment is decorated in medieval style, which intrigues Harry’s interest in learning more about her and thus divulging about his familial woes. Eunice begrudgingly decides to take Harry’s worries seriously and help him save his family. She not only believes Harry, but trusts him enough to let him see her magical mushroom that she’s been hiding under a lamp shade. He’s adorable by the way! He reminds me of Beaker from the Muppets; squeaky comedic relief with expressive facial features.

Eunice gives Harry a history lesson: she tells him the story of what or better yet.. who has possessed his sister.. a faerie of sorts, mean, and very strong.. a troll! The troll’s name is Torok, who was human (Eunice’s estranged lover), he’s vowed his revenge to wipe out humanity and rule the world.. once again! Torok chose one token specimen to be spared, Wendy, who will serve as the Princess of the Faeries. Eunice supplies Harry with a magical spear to defeat the biggest, most powerful creature he can find for which it represents the heart of Torok’s universe. “It’ll be mean, it’ll be ugly, and it will not be glad to see you!” Harry embarks on an epic journey, going from apartment to apartment that Torok transformed into different faerie worlds. Will he find his sister in time and save all of humanity?! You’ll just have to watch Troll to find out!

Troll is the ultimate 80’s bad movie with a horror fantasy charm! It’s sprinkled with a couple people you may recognize: Sonny Bono, the mom from Lassie, Atreyu from The NeverEnding Story, and Elaine from Seinfeld. There are some brief, gross transformation scenes that I can’t help but look away from.. Hey, I have a squeamish stomach. Sue me. Hahaha, I haven’t used that phrase in forever!

What’s a bad movie without a couple random musical/dance numbers that have no relevance to the storyline whatsoever? The faerie creatures chant a mystical song called “Cantos Profanae,” that I thought was just gibberish or Latin, but according to the internet.. there are lyrics, which make no sense:

Time of Tempest tu… He hath heard of this 

Pierce of weary ache and pain. Time on! 

Herba Way, herba herba, herba herba way. Tempest!

Harken hen, harken, harken, harken, hen! Ahhhhh!

Oh sirrah save us save us. Oh sirrah oh la fey la [repeat a dozen times]
” 

Harry Potter Senior takes a Kit-Kat break (not really) by poppin’ on a Blue Cheer record and jammin’ out to Summertime Blues. His freestyle dance moves (I’m sure he choreographed himself) are chilling: from his lip syncing, wide legged stomping, puckered lips, air guitar, and his squirrely eyes bare into your very soul. Mrs. Anne Potter is startled by the sudden bass that shakes her dish rack into the sink. She attempts, and fails, to tell her husband to turn it down, because she sees him enjoying his tunes in his own unique way. Everybody has their own way of settling in. Hey, moving is one of the most stressful life events!

This bad movie holds a special place in my heart because I first watched it as a child and I related to Wendy Potter because I was also a curious little girl who could see herself venturing off by herself, exploring a new place, interacting with every person, losing her toy down a dark, scary basement, and daring to retrieve it.

The setting sparked my interest in “communal living” because of the apartment building the Potters move into. So much in fact that every time I’d play the fortune-telling game M.A.S.H. (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House), I hoped for “Apartment” and made it come true because the first home I bought was a.. condo; shocking, I know! 

SPOILER ALERT: four years later, a sequel was created, Troll 2, which is infamously described as the worst movie ever.. with only a five percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.. if that gives you any clue as to how gnarly it is. You have been warned.. proceed at your own risk! By the way, no one from the original cast returned for the second installment of the Troll saga.



It was such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him on a creative project, let alone on his new magazine! We were first inspired to do this project whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). Immediately after viewing the movie, Troll, we brainstormed the overall design of the movie poster: the ringed Troll holding Wendy’s stray ball, his mismatched shadow on the apartment door (foreshadowing when he embodies Wendy.. gotta love the wordplay, haha), and the overgrown railing leading up the staircase. Jaimie drew our ideas to life and I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. I did not initially envision our movie poster to be in black and white, but it makes sense in regards to a simple, cost effective, moderately produced magazine. I am interested in seeing our movie poster in color and I hope we can display it in our home some day!

I’m looking forward to collaborating with Jaimie again soon for his next issue of Rob’s Video! Please stay tuned. You don’t wanna miss it!

Stand Out

A couple years ago, my work developed a new, reoccuring, monthly meeting called “Innovation Incubator” and the event invite read: “What you’ll need: An idea for a project. A three minute presentation about the idea. An open and positive mind. A WWE style entrance/walk up music – if you could, direct message me on Slack with the song ahead of time or get creative!

Since I work at an IT company, I was super excited about participating in something outside of the technical! As I mentioned in my Once Upon a Blog post, I took a Disney college class called Innovation & Creativity so I was thoroughly prepared to bring it! Or.. so I thought.. [insert cringe face here].. the vague description was misleading to say the least. I decided to go last because everyone else presented a technical project proposal that our company could present to one of our clients to remedy any outstanding issues they’re currently facing.


My walkup song you just heard is called “Stand Out” from the Disney animated film “A Goofy Movie,” which inspired my project idea! Being a former Disney Cast Member, we were taught the Basics: pro-ject a positive image and energy, be courteous to all Guests (including children), stay in character, play the part, and go above and beyond! Or as I like to say: “To infinity and beyond!” in my best Buzz Lightyear impersonation. We weren’t just employees, but Cast Members. We didn’t help customers, but Guests. We weren’t working, but performing. We weren’t wearing uniforms, but costumes!

Take a gander at my outfit. It’s colorful yet professional, right? Well, I’ve incorporated my own spin to make it fun because it’s more than meets the eye! This is what’s called Disney Bounding! Did you know it’s against the rules for an adult to wear a costume at any Disney Park? Except during Halloween of course! Therefore, devoted Disney Fans have invented a way to dress up as their favorite characters with their everyday clothes! I’ve been doing this for years without realizing it was an actual thing! Anyone care to take a guess as to which Disney character I’m Bounding? Ariel, from The Little Mermaid!

I’ve carried these Disney Basics with me to every job because I feel it enhances the professional environment experience. My project mission statement is to incorporate FUN into our everyday tasks here in the workplace. Starting with the clothing we wear because at the end of the day we are “selling ourselves” as Consultants, and right now I think we’re selling ourselves short! I believe a sense of style is the reflection of one’s personality. Make an impression: a good one is fine, but a memorable one is better! I’ll conclude with my song’s lyrical intro, which is FITTING, pun intended for this Fashionista’s cheesy sense of humor:

Open up your eyes take a look at me
If the picture fits in your memory
I’ve been dreamin’ by the rhythm like the beat of a heart
And I won’t stop until I start to stand out
Some people settle for the typical thing
Livin’ all their lives waitin’ in the wings
It ain’t a question of ‘if’, just a matter of time
Before I move to the front of the line
And once you’re watchin’ ev’ry move that I make
Ya gotta believe that I got what it takes
To stand out
Above the crowd
Even if I gotta shout out loud
‘Til mine is the only face you see
Gonna stand out ’til you notice me!


Of course, my coworkers were polite, they smiled lightly, and their applause was scattered. They all agreed that internal and client meetings were.. boring.. and they needed to be pepped up in a creative way. Nothing official has been implemented, however I’m sure the attendees made a mental note to liven up their appearance and presentations so they.. STAND OUT!

I Disneybound anywhere I can: at plays, work, Halloween.. it’s SUITable for any occasion really! Color blocking and accessorizing are key to pull off these looks. For example: I dressed up as Bobby Zimmeruski from A Goofy Movie at work for Halloween. I already had the red mohawk, borrowed a pair of circular framed sunglasses, added a singular earring, plain white tee, shark tooth necklace, white gloves, and a can of Cheese Whiz.

Speaking of cheesy, check out that cheesy smile fangirling out! I saw The Little Mermaid on Broadway at LaComedia Dinner Theatre (highly recommend Sunday brunch, best of both worlds!) and met the cast afterwards. I already owned a purple tank, seagreen dress slacks (from Target, love their dress collection!), brown fish scale heels, topped with a fish net style jacket, and polishing it off with an Etsy “Part of Your World” necklace with a seashell and dinglehopper charm.

I’ve even recruited my boyfriend, Jaimie, to join in on the fun! We were Beaker and Bunsen from the Muppets this past Halloween. I scored a couple white lab coats from a Greenlight 4 Girls event at UC, I volunteered at last year. Jaimie already had a dress shirt, tie, glasses, and a bald head, haha.. I owned a tuxedo t-shirt so that was as close as I was gonna get, haha. I messed up my red mohawk a little. Turned on our tornado-ish lava-ish lamp (from Cosi Museum, check out our trip here) for a finishing touch!

Off the Disney path and into the Nickelodeon universe.. I’ve even cosplayed as Chuckie Finster from The Rugrats! I already owned a green pair of shorts, Hot Topic had the planet t-shirt, generic red sneakers, and finishing it off with a Reptar slap bracelet. Oh! Not to mention, my red hair helped! I even tagged E.G. Daly, the actress who voiced Tommy Pickles, on Instagram. I met her a couple years ago at a convention. Who knows if she saw it? Oh, well, at least she dug my red mohawk!

I’m most complimented on my unique sense of style rather than my physical attractiveness, which I think speaks volumes to my character. I try my best to be approachable: I let my freak flag fly so others know it’s okay to be themselves around me. Some may say that I dress to seek attention, sure. If what I’m wearing starts a conversation, I’m okay with it because I can be somewhat of a Chatty Cathy so I don’t mind the casual small talk.

I hope the next time you’re playing dress up, Disneybounding, or cosplaying that you’ll be inspired to include little details.. such as accessorizing! Who knows? Maybe you’ll start your own versatile wardrobe. If you do, please follow me on Instagram or send me a Facebook friend request and share your outfits on my page! I’d love to see them! I’m sure the other readers would too!

Throwback Thursday #TBT

My boyfriend and I are currently across the pond vacationing in London and Amsterdam! I’ve prepared a Throwback Thursday blog post in advance to keep on schedule for all my readers to enjoy. Throwback Thursday is a popular internet trend used among social media platforms. Users will often post nostalgic pictures of their past accompanied by the hashtag #TBT or Throwback Thursday. It is used by people all over the world to share and relive their past experiences with anyone they want. While most posts reflect positive moments in someone’s past, the term throwback can be attributed to anything in the past.

“…You have a unique view of things and you are able to express it well. Just saw a recent post from you and it “triggered” fond memories, especially your graduation speech which was brilliant!..” -My college professor stated when he suggested that I write.


Good evening ladies, gentlemen, and the graduates of the class of 2008. It is an honor to be here speaking before you all. I would like to start off by thanking the academic team/staff for nominating me to speak. It was quite a surprise when Mark Harris pulled me out of class and delivered the news. Or rather ordering the news: “I’m going to make you an offer that you cannot refuse!” Yessir, (salutes) anything you say, Yoda! And here I am.

And here we are, college graduates! “We’ve been waiting for our dreams to turn into something we could believe in.” Each of us took a risk in pursuing our education, especially in the arts. I’m proud to say that we’ve overcome the starving artist stereotype! Even though it may have taken two, three, four years to receive a two-year degree, so be it! I’m proud all the same. The bottom line is we started something, followed through, and achieved our goal of graduating.

Looking back at the last three years, I came across an entry in my journal. “I feel so grateful to be back in college, pursuing my education again. I’m months behind, not going to graduate in August of 2007. So what? I’ve realized you cannot live your life according to plan! No matter how hard you try, wish, or pray. Life is unpredictable! Be thankful for who and what you have and all the blessings in between.”

When I first sat down to write this speech, I decided to channel surf to find some background noise. Coincidentally, I decided on the movie, Tommy Boy. There’s a scene between Chris Farley and David Spade that I could relate to:

“Did you hear I finally graduated?”
“Yeah, just a shade under a decade too. Alright!”
“You know a lot of people go to college for seven years.”
“I know. They’re called doctors.”

I know we’re not doctors, but I know we have mastered our craft to the best of our ability. The time, effort, and dedication we put into our profession I know will come back to us ten fold. Our creativity will touch the lives of others in the most colorful way.

To my classmates in all the present majors: I thank you for simply setting the tone at our school. Making everyone feel welcome and never hesitating to lend a helping hand. I think our generosity comes from wanting to go up against the best of the best even though we are each other’s competition. I am proud to go out into the art world and play ball!

To the Ai Instructors: thank you for passing us! Most of all, thank you for educating our young creative minds to be the best artists we can be.
My cap’s off to you! I mean that figuratively because otherwise I’d mess up my do.

Many of us have faced challenges while being in school, big and small. Whether it be financial drawbacks, health issues, gas prices, work/school conflicting schedules, among other endless sacrifices. No matter, we surpassed our own expectations. Remember every cloud has a silver lining.

To all of our friends and family: thank you for understanding that we had to put our schooling first before anything else. It paid off, look at where it got us! It got us in these over-sized, red gowns. I’m sure the Fashion Merchandising graduates are thinking: “Hurry up so I can get out of this thing! I wanna show off my new outfit underneath!” Better yet, how about thinking more hands on. Re-invent and update the graduation gowns! Ha, I should’ve gone for a double major!

As we go our separate ways this evening, I wish you all the best. I hope each and every one of you make your mark in the art world. “Remember, this is the time to be more than a name or a face in the crowd. You know this is the time of our lives!” Keep in touch and take care.

*Quotations taken from David Cook’s song “Time of My Life” written by Regie Hamm. **Hilarity taken from the brilliant mind of Allison Hibbard written by yours truly © All rights reserved.


My speech was approximately 668 words which equaled to a little over 5 minutes of speaking time with an average 130 spoken words per minute. I really was surprised that I was voted to be the student guest speaker at graduation by my college’s faculty. Out of all the majors. Years later when I received another degree at the same college, they decided to change it so one student from each major would be voted as a guest speaker. I guess to spread the love. They did the same thing for awarding Best in Show at the Portfolio Show before graduation: initially it was one student who won per faculty votes, then years later they awarded a Best in Show for each major, which I did receive!

I received a standing ovation
My college professor and I
I was presented flowers from the
Ai Faculty for giving my speech

I hope the next time you find yourself strolling down memory lane, that you’ll be able to recall each consequential moment that lead you there. I guarantee you’ll learn how all of those moments helped shape your life to where it is now! Please share any special #TBT achievements in the comments! I’d love to hear about them! I’m sure the other readers would too!

Once Upon a Blog

I received a random message early in the morning from my college professor that prompted the creation of this blog:

Allison, I remember you as being a creative witty person with a wry sense of humor. Have you ever thought that you might be a good writer? Even part-time. With the right amount of perseverance and patience I believe you could be very successful. You have a unique view of things and you are able to express it well. Just saw a recent post from you and it “triggered” fond memories, especially your graduation speech which was brilliant! Do you keep a journal? Maybe you could write a blog? One of my sons has a friend who writes a sports blog and he is making considerable cash. Take a look back through your journals and you may find a theme that reflects your spirit, your wit, your attitude toward life. You’ve been through a lot and here you are, wiser, stronger and still you! Don’t know what got me on this this morning, but it’s good to touch base! Talk to you later!

I let this marinate for a couple weeks. I tried not to force any ideas because I wanted my blog theme to be organic and somewhat.. original.

There I was.. driving into my hometown and peacefully enjoying the view of a beautiful green field (I decided to take the rural scenic route). No sign of civilization for as far as the eye could see. Just nature thriving.

Where Millville Ave and Walnut Street meet

I thought to myself: “Wow! Now, that is a picture worth a thousand..ish words. I could put a frame around this and have quite a bit to say about it. Wonder if anybody would read it?

Out of nowhere.. BOOM!!! Inspiration struck! I had found my theme.. or rather my theme found me! I think this theme will reflect the attributes my college professor recommended that I highlight very well. This theme will incorporate my love of photography, graphic design, and creative writing!

I first fell in love with writing in elementary school. My English teacher wrote a journal entry prompt on the board every morning for us to start our day off right; by exercising our most important muscle.. Our brain! Such journal entry prompts were a simple or philsophical question, random scenario, or abrupt storyline that needed to be finished, etc. I enjoyed the freedom of being able to create with the written word, reading it back, watching my teacher and classmates hearing me read it aloud (whenever I felt confident enough, haha). I quickly learned that reading and writing go hand in hand, therefore this fueled my interest in reading and dedication to improve my vocabulary.

My English teacher took notice of my obsession with learning and the sudden anxiety that struck my core when the school year was about to come to an end. In the years previous, I would “play school” all summer! I was fully equipped with a retired student desk, outdated/donated textbooks from my mom’s teacher friend. I would role-play as the teacher, take attendance, assign seats, create syllabuses, hand out assignments, grade them, and give out homework. My English teacher kindly communicated her concern with my parents and the school decided to award me a free “scholarship” to summer school so I could keep my structured scholastic schedule all year round throughout my entire elementary career.

I saw Nickelodeon’s Harriet the Spy summer blockbuster movie with my dad, which electrified my interest in writing! I bought a Composition notebook, just like Harriet’s, to record all my “secrets.” I turned out to be a horrible spy though (haha..) so I just kept with the writing part. Oh! I even bought similar shoes as Harriet’s. Tried to find her orange pants to no avail. The setting of the movie is not exactly clear, however with a little research I discovered the book of the same title was originally published in 1964 by Louise Fitzhugh, therefore it explains the vintage fashion style, absence of technology, and classic vehicles throughout the film. In hindsight, Nickelodeon and Paramount were smart to stay true to the era in which Harriet grew up in in the book. I found it to be charming because they kept it simple with no outside distractions. Just good old-fashioned spy-work and back to basics writing.

In high school, I took a Creative Writing elective class with another one of my influential English teachers. His freestyle teaching motto was: let it flow and see what happens. We were assigned to write various styles such as: poetry, short stories, songs, etc. I leaned towards more of the shorter writings because I had to be honest with my-high-school-teenage-self: I didn’t have the time, attention span, or motivation to write an elaborate beginning, middle, and climatic end. I accepted it and stuck with what I felt comfortable with. With the urging of my English teacher, I entered a couple poetry contests. I placed and was published in a book called Impressions of Youth, along with all the other placed and winning entries (I have a copy but couldn’t find it anywhere online to share with y’all). The teacher realized there were a fair share of us that were shy about reading our pieces out loud with the class, so he allowed us to select a brave classmate to read our pieces on our behalf. In hindsight, that was very cool and kind of him. Oh! We could bring in snacks, some kids brought in coffee, and it felt very much like an open mic night at a local cafe. We even snapped our fingers instead of clapping after each piece was read.

I first fell in love with photography in high school when I took a couple Darkroom Photography elective classes. I found it fascinating that in order to capture an ideal shot, you need light; whether it be natural or artificial; however, the initial preparation process and development end process needs complete darkness! Yin and Yang process. Every step has to be precise, delicate, and balanced:

  • Cut the film and roll it into the canister in complete darkness
    • Take photos
  • Extract the full canister without exposing it to any light
  • Whilst in the darkroom: cut the film again to place it onto the mechanism to shine light through it onto the photo paper below
    • Duration could vary, depending upon the exposure type of photograph you’re trying to achieve
    • Double exposure photographs are fun and trippy!
    • Could add a stencil to frame images such as stars, hearts, etc
  • Soak the photo paper in chemicals
    • First bin was a specific time
    • Second bin was a different, specific time
    • Third bin was a different, specific time
  • Hang to dry

Before high school graduation, I distinctly remember a speaker (of some kind) came to explain the three avenues, one of which we were destined to take: College, Workforce, or Military. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t even know if my folks could afford college because all my siblings went straight into the workforce after high school; therefore, I presumed I’d do the same. A Brown Mackie College Admissions Recruiter came to speak to my English class. Their pitch went the same as all the rest of other college admission recruiters, however their class structure was different because instead of taking multiple classes at once over a period of multiple semesters during a school year; this school offered one class course at a time for an entire month. She explained it as: “Easing yourself into the college life.” My-high-school-teenage-self thought: “Hey! Now, that’s a good way to decide if college’s right for me. One class for one month at a time? Sure. Didn’t sound like too much of a commitment!” So, I decided to check the box on the comment card that I was interested in learning more about the college, but I couldn’t bring myself to check any of the listed majors because I wasn’t interested in Accounting, Economics, or Paralegal.

Soon after, I had a meeting with a different Admissions Recruiter, they gave my mom and I the grand tour of the campus, explained each and every major they offered, but I was hesitant because I still wasn’t interested in any major yet. My mom suggested I bring my darkroom photography and creative writings to show the Admissions Recruiter and see if that could help determine which major could incorporate both of my interests. They immediately spit out: “Oh! You’re an artist! Let me introduce you to our new neighbor, The Art Institute of Ohio – Cincinnati, and their Admissions. I think their Graphic Design major would be a great fit for you!” The more I learned about graphic design, the more I felt like this was something I could see myself doing every day. Being creative. I learned as a graphic designer, you have to wear many hats: writer, photographer, typographer, etc. I’m a variety type of person so this fits me perfectly because I don’t like doing the same thing every day.

The rest is history! I graduated top of my class, was on the Dean’s List with a 3.5 Grade Point Average, I was voted Graduation Class Student Speaker, was Awarded Best in Show at the Graduation Portfolio Show, and was a Regional Finalist for the Art Institutes’ National Portfolio. I felt on top of the world! The famous reporter question to any winning athlete is: “You have just won the [insert tournament name here], what are going to do next?!” Yep, you guessed it.. I went to Disney World! I went for a paid college internship, whilst there I took a Creativity and Innovation Class at their College of Knowledge. I even received my Ducktorate! Haha.. I proudly showcase my Ducktorate at every interview. It always gets a good laugh! Interviews can be awkward because they’re forced interactions so it helps ease the tension.

My first out-of-college-adult-job was at a small commercial photography studio as a Production Assistant, which was a creative, multi-tasking position where I directed the photographer, took photos in their absence, pre-edited the photos, edited the photos in post, took inventory of photography equipment in the studio and warehouse, etc. I worked there for a couple years until I was recruited for another job, which paid more. Hey! Money talks.

For the past five years, I’ve been desperately craving a creative outlet because my day job, while it has great benefits and flexibility, is at an IT company that I find monotonous; however provides me the luxury of ample spare time to express myself outside of the cookie cutter IT world.

I had privately protested photography for the past decade-ish because everyone became instantly equipped with a camera in their cell phone, which mass produced an unforeseen amount of self-proclaimed “photographers.” I quickly became uninterested and unmotivated in photography because it seemed to dull the originality and creativity for me. Took me awhile to realize that I shouldn’t worry about what other people are doing and that I should do what makes me happy; regardless of what is #trendy. With my mentor’s and my significant other’s encouragement, I have decided to reignite my love for photography, design, and writing! A thousand-ish words and countless scrolls later.. my blog is born.. TA-DA!

Thank you Duff and thank you Jaimie, for I dedicate this post to you both.