Friday facebook Interview # 31: Natalie Jill Horton - Trucker Lady and my Sister from Another Mister

Natalie and I share the same birthday, and both like some pretty off the wall shiz.  I’ve known her since we were both in elementary school, and even then, she was always her own unique person.  That she is a truck driver really comes as no surprise.  Here is her interview, that, like her, is short, sweet, offbeat, and liberally spiced with snark.

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? My third husband was training to be a truck driver back in 2002. I was not having a lot of luck finding good paying work where we were living at the time (Palestine) and so I decided to train with him the next year to get my CDL. I have always loved to travel so it seemed a good fit to get paid to see all of America. So this year will be 11 years for me.

 What inspires your creativity? My life and the people in it. Although mostly what I create are snarky comments and ways to make the grumpy guys at work laugh. But I have learned that you must create your own happiness because no one will just walk up and hand it to you.

What challenges have you overcome? I’m a five foot tall woman with a CDL. I have overcome ALL of them. What motivates you to keep going? Partially my family. They depend on me and I can’t let them down. And partially the people that don’t think I can do, or should do anything that I have done. Is it wrong that so many of my accomplishments are motivated by spite?

If you could be any food item, what would you be? A cup of Tom Hiddleston’s favorite tea.

image

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? I am renting a cute little house out in Kirvin and I have been working very hard to get it more lived-in. Right now it still looks sort of abandoned. I am trying very hard to make this house more of a home. A place where friends gather and family feels accepted. Sort of my own version of Hobbiton. When it’s more group-friendly, I plan to have a big party. Maybe a big 40 celebration?

Friday facebook interview # 30: Sheryl James of Back to Naturel Hair Salon - Natural Hair Technician and Muse, Crafty Chica, and Groovy Gardener

Sheryl and I met at the University of Houston many years ago in a ballroom dancing class.  I’ve always admired her down to earth graciousness, strong positive attitude, and boundless resourcefulness.   She has handcrafted a life that is a beautiful, ever-evolving work-in-progress, focusing on health, wholeness, creativity and joy.  She doesn’t mention it, but she also has a heck of a green thumb.   Be sure and check out images of her fabulous natural hairstyles and happy customers on her facebook page.      

Q1) How did I get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? I developed a passion for hair after facing some challenges of my own in the process of transitioning from relaxed hair to an natural style. For me learning to do hair started as a necessity and then grew into a passion one morning as I was waking up I heard a voice that came to me loud and clear (I think it was the Holy Spirit) and it said quit school and do hair so I did I never looked back. That was over 15 years ago 

Q2) What inspires your creativity? For me creativity is like breathing air … I am a professional stylist by trade so every day I have to be creative there are sometimes however that my creativity is through the roof and at this time I notice its after periods of rest and relaxation and being in touch with nature.

 Q3) What challenges have you overcome? In the last year I have endured moving, a breakup and the relocation and now finally I am reaching my equilibrium again

Q4) What motivates you to keep going? Believing in God is the number one as well as share willpower and determination and knowing that nothing says the same forever. To be honest sheer will power at times because I have been in situations where I have been so down and discouraged it would have been so easy to throw in the towel but now I look back and see that all that was necessary to be who I am and where I am right at this very moment.

Q5) Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life /creative journey so far? Necessity is the mother of invention. ..my needs fuel a lot of the decisions I have made up to this point and of course my parents have both influenced me creatively

Q6) If you could be any food item, what would you be? I think I would have to be a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream….there is just something sensual and delicious about the combination of the flavors n textures coming together that resonates with me.

Q7) What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? My main creative expression is hair and my work can be seen at facebook.com/backtonaturelsalon.  As far as projects I hope to do a self help hair video series on YouTube in the near future. I also enjoy the process of repurposing defunct/ unwanted items into new things. I love wool felting and creating items such as when I made a felted purse from an Abercrombie sweater and scarves from an old sweater.  I also enjoy making jewelry as well as sewing and decorating the homescape.

image

image

theblackamericanprincess:

sophygurl:


10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For
Some items are in high demand at the food bank and you may not realize it. Because they aren’t essentials, the staff doesn’t publicly ask for them. A survey asked volunteers what items people would be most appreciative of and we’ve listed the top 10 below. If you’re looking for an easy way to help out, pick some of these up while shopping and drop them off at one of our area food banks.
1. Spices.
Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.
2. Feminine Products.
Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.
3. Chocolate.
People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.
4. Toiletries.
Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.
5. Canned meats and jerky.
This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.
6. Crackers and tortillas.
They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.
7. Baby toiletries.
Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.
8. Soup packets.
Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.
9. Socks.
From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”
10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.
Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.
[SOURCE]
And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!

As a sometimes food pantry user myself and with friends who rely on them to varying degrees - I want to specifically stress some of these:
 - non-food items like tp and feminine products and baby needs are SO incredibly important because 1) they are rarely donated, 2) people who have food stamps can often afford their food staples but might still need help with toiletries and cleaning items, and 3) folks who are homeless especially need that kinda stuff!
 - treats! Like, yes of course, if I am in need I am appreciative of canned goods and rice and pasta and stuff. That’s great for putting together healthy meals. But everyone needs a treat once in awhile - so when there is candy or chips or a nice expensive brand of organic something or other available at the pantry - it is just so incredibly exciting.
It can be a humiliating experience to visit a pantry, and it can make you feel very much less than. So to get a treat of some sort just really really makes a difference. And believe me - there are enough loaves of bread, cans of fruit, and dried beans to go around at these places. You won’t be starving someone by donating some microwave popcorn or chocolate chips now and again. I promise!

To add to this already helpful list:
low sodium canned vegetables (many clients, especially elderly ones suffer with diet related illnesses and these are KEY and rarely donated).
I know this sounds so simple but food YOU would actually eat, so many people give away food that they would never eat or feed their children…so why would someone else want to either. C’mon now.
Fruit canned in it’s own juices (as opposed to in syrup)- low-income populations suffer from diseases like diabetes at a much higher rate and while fruit is a good option to maintain low blood sugar while still have a sweet, the syrup in canned fruits makes it nearly as bad as some candies.
shelf stable dairy products.
I would hesitate on candy simply because most food banks get a TON of seasonally branded candy as soon as the holiday is over especially this time of year: Halloween & Christmas candy are huge donations from large corporations like Wal-mart & Target who can’t/won’t sell it after the holiday passes, yet it is still good.
diapers! gotta reiterate this one—-so essential and not just infant diapers, but adult diapers as well.
gluten free/vegetarian/etc. food—there are MANY people who have food allergies, sensitivities and typically they are ASS out at food pantries because these are not things typically donated.
lastly if you work at a grocery store/retailer that sells food and they DONT donate their unsold food, PLEASE encourage them to do so, not only is it helpful to those in need but they also get a tax break!

theblackamericanprincess:

sophygurl:

10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For

Some items are in high demand at the food bank and you may not realize it. Because they aren’t essentials, the staff doesn’t publicly ask for them. A survey asked volunteers what items people would be most appreciative of and we’ve listed the top 10 below. If you’re looking for an easy way to help out, pick some of these up while shopping and drop them off at one of our area food banks.

1. Spices.

Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.

2. Feminine Products.

Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.

3. Chocolate.

People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.

4. Toiletries.

Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.

5. Canned meats and jerky.

This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.

6. Crackers and tortillas.

They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.

7. Baby toiletries.

Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.

8. Soup packets.

Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.

9. Socks.

From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”

10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.

Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.

[SOURCE]

And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!

As a sometimes food pantry user myself and with friends who rely on them to varying degrees - I want to specifically stress some of these:

 - non-food items like tp and feminine products and baby needs are SO incredibly important because 1) they are rarely donated, 2) people who have food stamps can often afford their food staples but might still need help with toiletries and cleaning items, and 3) folks who are homeless especially need that kinda stuff!

 - treats! Like, yes of course, if I am in need I am appreciative of canned goods and rice and pasta and stuff. That’s great for putting together healthy meals. But everyone needs a treat once in awhile - so when there is candy or chips or a nice expensive brand of organic something or other available at the pantry - it is just so incredibly exciting.

It can be a humiliating experience to visit a pantry, and it can make you feel very much less than. So to get a treat of some sort just really really makes a difference. And believe me - there are enough loaves of bread, cans of fruit, and dried beans to go around at these places. You won’t be starving someone by donating some microwave popcorn or chocolate chips now and again. I promise!

To add to this already helpful list:

  • low sodium canned vegetables (many clients, especially elderly ones suffer with diet related illnesses and these are KEY and rarely donated).
  • I know this sounds so simple but food YOU would actually eat, so many people give away food that they would never eat or feed their children…so why would someone else want to either. C’mon now.
  • Fruit canned in it’s own juices (as opposed to in syrup)- low-income populations suffer from diseases like diabetes at a much higher rate and while fruit is a good option to maintain low blood sugar while still have a sweet, the syrup in canned fruits makes it nearly as bad as some candies.
  • shelf stable dairy products.
  • I would hesitate on candy simply because most food banks get a TON of seasonally branded candy as soon as the holiday is over especially this time of year: Halloween & Christmas candy are huge donations from large corporations like Wal-mart & Target who can’t/won’t sell it after the holiday passes, yet it is still good.
  • diapers! gotta reiterate this one—-so essential and not just infant diapers, but adult diapers as well.
  • gluten free/vegetarian/etc. food—there are MANY people who have food allergies, sensitivities and typically they are ASS out at food pantries because these are not things typically donated.
  • lastly if you work at a grocery store/retailer that sells food and they DONT donate their unsold food, PLEASE encourage them to do so, not only is it helpful to those in need but they also get a tax break!

(Source: optais-amme, via theblackamericanprincess)

Tags: food banks

"So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide."

— Meredith Grey (via creatingaquietmind)

(Source: whilde-daisi, via tenthousandangels)

"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."

— Sigmund Freud   (via the-heart-of-the-lion)

(Source: psych-facts, via inhabitude)

hahamagartconnect:

KID HAZO

Philly’s Kid Hazo has been on one my street art fav’s this year, he creates these hilarious signs that parody Philadelphia venues and culture around the city.  

This year his PPA hazing made #1 on Streets Dept Top 10 Street Art Moments in Philly ListIf anyone’s familiar with our crappy Philadelphia Parking Authority you know just how necessary and fantastic that prank was.

But whether it’s joking at overgrown lots that resemble something out of a Jurassic Park movie or making a fake route to Rocky’s main places - we’re always on the lookout for his street sign installations. Problem is, he makes them look and feel so real that the recognition of one might not register till several blocks later. 

Here are some of our favorite things he’s pulled out on the city of Philly thus far. 

*pics courtesy of Kid Hazo

www.kidhazo.com

Friday facebook interview # 29: Cathy Picone of Catherine Picone Tropical and Nautical Decor

What inspires your creativity?

The ocean is my best muse. The deep, dark unknown of it, the random objects it tosses on beaches all over the world, the pleasure it brings to those who frolic in it, and the might of it. I’m also inspired by folk art in any form and primitive mountain craft-especially doll-making.

What challenges have you overcome?

I have too many interests and am a perfectionist. My daily lists help keep me focused, and though each doll face has to speak to me as I’m stitching the features, I usually have to have some sort of plan or it gets redone three, four times. Argh.

What motivates you to keep going?

My husband gave up a lot to support me while I’m attempting to make a living at my craft. I owe it to both of us to be successful. Plus, I truly love making dolls and fun stuff for fellow beach bums.

If you could be any food item, what would it be?

A banana split—because it’s colorful and well-rounded and everyone would always be happy to see me.

What current projects are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest projects?

Since my Noel Mermaids were a hit last year, I’m doing an updated version of them this year. They’ll be trickling into my etsy shop, catherinepicone.etsy.com, throughout this month and November. I do have one completed thus far, and I think she’s kind of fun.

Friday facebook Interview # 28: Mary Nguyen of Craft Colorfully

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it?

I think with the digital age communication has become impersonal. I wanted to keep physical greeting cards and hand written notes alive.

What inspires your creativity?

Everything. It’s usually in the most unexpected ways. Window display at Anthropologie. A scene from television. 

What challenges have you overcome?

Finding a niche in the paper good world was the hardest thing. Figuring out what my style is and where I gut in but also stand out.

What motivates you to keep going?

It’s my creative space. I’m a professor so it’s nice to have a pla e to sketch cards and paper goods, I also love when people tell me how funny my cards are. It motivates me that I can give people a good laugh.

If you could be any food item, what would you be?

Oh that’s difficult. I love food. I would say something decadent like the most glorious chocolate cake you’ve ever seen or eaten. Life’s too short to not indulge.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)?

I’m hoping to add more paper products such as jotters and notebooks. You can find me on etsy or catch glimpses of my sketches on my blog.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftColorfully

Friday facebook Interview # 27: Heather Sanchez of Thought Blossoms

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? I purchased some stamped jewelry about 6 years ago and really liked the idea of carry a personal “intention” with me as a reminder. I got a stamping set for Christmas a couple of years later and started playing around with the craft. I completely fell in love with the meticulous nature of it as well as the ability to constantly create new, different, beautiful things. I have been stamping for about two and a half years now.

What inspires your creativity?
I love simple, beautiful design in all different realms. I am a minimalist at heart and enjoy that aesthetic in art, architecture, interior design, and even fashion. That is to say, I am always looking at design - whether it be online, in magazines, galleries, museums or simply in the city around me. I also like to spend time outdoors and find myself gravitating toward earth toned colors. 

What challenges have you overcome?
Right now I am back in school full time in a very demanding program so time management is crucial. I have had to recognize when I need help and let go a little. I have realized the power in delegating some parts of my job so that my time is freed to do the more meticulous, creative pieces. It has been a really good exercise for me because typically I want to do everything myself, even when I should not.

What motivates you to keep going?
The fact that I own my own time and that I have created something not only beautiful and successful, but that helps people in a number of ways. It is a way to use my creativity and work ethic to make lovely things with real purpose.

If you could be any food item, what would you be?
An apple, the symbol of health and sensibility.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)?
I have another active bracelet in the works. Other than that, I am always coming up with things here and there - it is part of my process really. You can see part of this process on:

Instagram.com/thoughtblossoms or facebook.com/thoughtblossoms

12/06/2013 Friday facebook Interview #26 : Rhonda Rhodes - Independent Purveyor of Books, Gifts, and Joy

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it?  I have always been a reader and a writer, and even as an attorney specialized in research and writing. When an injury and the surgery that followed made it impossible for me to spend all day on the computer, I stopped practicing law and looked for something I could do. I had always wanted to open a bookstore. In today’s times, an independent bookstore is difficult to keep afloat. So, I combined the books with gifts, and made the decision that the gifts did not have to have anything to do with books. Thus The Lift was born.

What inspires your creativity? To me, creativity means giving, and it comes straight from God or the Universe or the Source, or however you may label the loving force that pervades all things. I have always known my strength to be inspiring others, and so I guess the drive to inspire indeed inspires my creativity!

What challenges have you overcome?  Besides the injury, debilitation, surgery, and recovery mentioned above, I have faced innumerable challenges, as have we all. With regard to The Lift, my challenges have been in the physical aspects of the work—I do get tired. This is a far cry from my old life of sitting at a desk all day. Also, “detail” rhymes with “retail” for a reason, and my other greatest challenge has been juggling so many details while also taking care of my children and home. I have had another major challenge: during my father’s illness, I took him to appointments, stayed with him in the hospital, and was with him through all the days of home hospice care. During those days, I relied on my staff to keep my shop open and running. I am now building the shop back up and taking it to the next level. Dad would have liked all the improvements I am now making.

What motivates you to keep going? That is simple. I love my shop, my customers, Team Lift, my business neighbors, 19th Street, the Heights, Houston, and my quirky little shop girl life.

If you could be any food item, what would you be? Dewberry cobbler. It’s Texas, it’s homemade, and it is very delightful and nurturing.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? I am improving The Lift’s physical space, displays, and signage right now. I am also training new staff and working on more avenues of PR. Also, I am increasing inventory. Eventually, I may even clean the back room!

https://www.facebook.com/thelifton19th

http://www.thelifton19th.com/

image

image

Quote from the cover of the above notebook:

"She woke up and realized she had forgotten the definition of the word ‘impossible.’ She decided it must not have been that important."