More than One Noun

dearLast night I watched the movie, “Dear White People”.  I found it enjoyable to watch young black students who weren’t the typical stereotypes we often see in films. Instead, each character felt like a real person who I would come across in ordinary life. The movie touched on a topic deeper than race but identity which is something we all face no matter which tribe we are from. We often go towards those who are like us but what if we feel like we identify with no one. The reason we get upset at labels are the limitations they can put on us.

Should we pretend we are or aren’t the labels? It can feel like a betrayal against our ancestors or even our close family. For myself, I am told to mark Mexican on forms even though I’ve only been to Mexico three times in my life, but when I travel, I am American. I use to call myself, Mexican-American-Australian because I connected with the Australian culture so much when I lived there in college.

There has been more culturally diverse entertainment released, “Fresh Off the Boat” about an Asian family, “The Mindy Project” with Mindy portraying herself, and Jane the Virgin, about a Mexican family. It’s been great watching these new types of stories and insight into different cultures but some of them still make the white person the evil antagonist.

Every human, no matter our color, have different types of antagonist through out our life. Most of the time its ourself.

When I was 8 years old, I had a best friend come over to play. When she met my cousins, she realized I was Mexican. When she asked me, “Are you Mexican?” Her question made me feel like it was wrong to be Mexican. After that day, our innocent color blind friendship was never the same. For years, I thought she pulled away from me because of my race but when I discovered she married into a family that wasn’t white, I realized it was I who pulled away. That day, she made me see my label, and it wasn’t until college I found a new tribe to belong to – the tv and media geeks tribe.

Today we see the wars, and riots that are taking places because of our differences. Labels of any kind, true or not true, can put us in a circle of limitations and we can also put those limitations on others. We are more than one noun but are indeed complex with many stories.

What are your thoughts about the new wave of diverse entertainment, do you feel the depictions are true?

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Design’s Best Friend – Font

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What is it about book covers that draws us in closer to open up to the first page – and even causes us to buy? As I walked around the book store I noticed fiction book’s had the most creative and engaging covers. I began to look around to see which books grabbed my attention most, then asking myself why?

As I snapped some photos of the books that I was drawn to, I noticed the font choice. They were very clean, easy to read, some font’s were entertaining, or the very opposite – plain. For me – I am attracted to mysterious covers that don’t say much but are visually interesting.

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It’s known that the prelude to a film sets up the tone – same can go for the font used in design. Just like the title is a critical part to the book, so is the font choice you make for your videos. It becomes the eyes to the soul. Your font is your element that requires eye contact. 

As I’ve worked with more volunteers who come in the office to learn video editing, I am discovering knowing how to design is very important to the creation of videos. You want to connect with the viewers to watch and be engaged in what your video is saying. Design might seem like a whole different subject from editing footage and creating a story. But just like a book, the cover gets the reader to read the story inside.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThis recent year, I’ve been more strategic with my font collection. I created a personal archive on flickr of screen shots I’ve taken when I come across font’s that attract me. I also organized my font book to hold my favorite fonts, making it easier to find what I am looking for when I am designing a new video.

I would encourage you to develop your own style by discovering your style – what attracts you and why. Some create Pinterest boards but I found if everyone is pulling from the same source of inspiration – everything begins to look the same. I follow different typography artist on different platforms to keep good smart design in front of me always.

Also, take the same to learn the foundations about typography; sans serif,  serif, modern, leading, tracking, kerning, basically space and weight in and in-between letters. There are many books, on-line videos and blog post about this subject. Grow in your deep understanding about fonts and it will help you design with a purpose. Here’s a youtube video I found that gives a good understanding about the history of fonts.

A great talk about typefaces –

Some Instragram’s to follow & so many more these artist will lead you to.

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Book: Coaching Employees from Harvard Business 

The latest book, Coaching Employees from Harvard Business, was given to me by one of my team mates. I’ve been the video department director, for the past three years. I’ll be the first to admit, my first year was overwhelming. I was a struggling Rookie Manager.  I was having a hard time connecting with my team, delegating, addressing conflict and personal insecurities – being a woman leading a team of men was one of them. Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Working at a church one would think there would be no problems, but issues will always arise when people are involved. There would be times something would go wrong, I would handle the situation but at the end of it, I knew I could have done it better. I came out of a position of great personal achievement and now the key to success was in the growth of my team.

For the first few weeks my new job looked the same as my old job, it took months and issues to pop up to make me realize when I wasn’t standing at my new post. Coaching Employees touches on so many of these issues. What I liked about it most, was that it was encouraging.

“Being coached helped me understand that I could make the biggest difference as a leader not by doing more than everyone else but by empowering other people to do more and motivating them to do their best.”

“As their manager, you set overall direction for them – but you let them figure out how best to get there.”

“You may feel reluctant to surrender control or to give people room to make mistakes, and you’ll almost certainly be tempted to jump in with solutions when they’re struggling with a problem. But those challenges get easier the more you coach, and the payoff is enormous: You’ll tap your employees’ full potential while learning more strategically.”

The newest podcast, Invisibilia shared a story about a blind man learning how to ride a bike as a child. His mom allowed him to have a normal childhood of climbing trees, and scraping his knees as a child. When he grew up, he began to teach other blind children how to get around. He shared the story of training a small child how to walk around the park. The child’s godmother was with them during the training. As he took the boy around the park, they came to the street, the boy’s godmother stepped in out of fear and grabbed the child. The teacher told her its those moments that he needed to learn, she robe him of that teachable moments by stepping in and saving him.

After hearing that story, I began to see that’s what I’ve been doing the past three years for my team. I became the one with all the answers and in return failed to allow others to learn how to problem solve and come up with solutions on their own.

“…prompting them with questions to solve problems in creative new ways rather than simply telling them..”

“If you keep providing all the answers, people will keep lining up at your door looking for them.”

“…be honest about the performance you expect and where your employee stands..”

“The brain is remarkably plastic: It grows and adapts throughout life. That means you’re never stuck with who you are or who your employees are.”

I’ve been putting to practice a lot of the principle shared and already I notice more harmony on my team. We still have struggles every now and then, but at least we all know together we can do a great job at building the house of God.

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FAQ: What Camera Should I Buy?

Thinking about buying a camera is like wondering who your one true soul mate is. You can dream of all the adventures you two will have one day, and image the memories you’ll capture together but just like romance, the fantasy can blind you into making the wrong choice.

Trying to figure out the right camera to buy can be challenging. The endless research can be overwhelming. So I offer you my love story with my cameras.

The first question I’d ask you is why do you want a camera? Once you share your passion and excitement then’ll I’ll crush it by asking how much money do you have to buy it?

The point is to get the soul purpose of your desire. You might be selling yourself short if you answer about your budget first. I saved up for my DSLR for 6 months and paid for it cash. I had learn having debt for equipment can be dangerous if not done with careful planning to pay for it. You can start telling yourself “I need this” when you don’t really.

You can skip to your answer if you’ll like – Why do you want a camera? 

Answer: I wanna have fun taking photos.

I think the most fun I had with a camera was my Diana 35mm film camera I got at Urban Outfitters. It was first stressful learning how it worked because its suppose to be “easy”, which can be very complicated. Once I figured out how to put the film in and get it out, taking the photos added to the memories captured.

Look out: Do some test shots before you get your hopes up, and read some articles on how to better use the camera settings.

Cost: $100

Answer: I wanna start learning photography.

I love my camera

You won’t like this answer – I know you wanna run out and buy an expensive camera. I recommend buying a 35mm camera with a detachable lens to teach you the fundamentals. Test the shutter to see if it works before you buy. You will bond with this camera and people will call you strange. Little kids will ask to look behind the camera wondering where their photo is. But you will learn how to frame up, expose, and capture a moment. Every exposer will cost you – $2 for each shot (development and film.) You will feel the mistakes in your wallet but you’ll also learn how to use the camera without a computer thinking for you. The photos you take will surprise you, and show you what kind of photographer you wanna be. Because those will be the picture you take most.


Lie: Only as great as your equipment. Not true.

Cost: $30-$100 or ask around to see if someone no longer uses theirs.


Answer #2: I want a camera to take with me while I travel. 

We all have this romantic image in our head of walking down the streets of Italy pointing and shooting our camera capturing people in the market place, beautiful architecture and of course our self in front of landmarks. But the reality is, you will leave your heavy camera in the hotel and settle for your camera phone – this my friend, you will regret. Sure you got 50 likes on FB but the day will come when you want to print the photo and there you will see the truth of how bad camera phone pictures are- they suck. The good news, because of iPhone technology advancing, they are getting better but until then, I recommend a point and shoot that cost more than $200, anything cheaper will have low pixels. I found the Nikon CoolPic 300 produces great photos! I bought it for the manual settings. Although I hardly use it because it takes too much time to set, instead I use the auto settings.

When traveling you are going place to place so fast, you only have time to frame up. Plus this camera is easy for other people to use when you ask a stranger to snap a photo of you. Its very rich in color, wide in frame and great at night.

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Look out: A digital zoom is different than a lens zooming in. Don’t fall for the extra cost of a “digital” zoom. Its basically cropping and zooming in to the pixel of the same photo, giving it what feels like a closer shot and adjusting the quality.

Cost: $350


Answer: I wanna capture video

When I was younger, all I wanted for Christmas was a video camera. Back in the early 90’s, they were REALLY expensive. This Christmas, my wish camera true. I was fed up with capturing video on my phone or even my nikon, it seemed to kill the battery and took up a lot of space. I first had the sony camcorder but traded it in for the canon camcorder. The sony compressed the files to very low mp4’s, while the canon gave rich color mp4. It was more expensive than the sony, but I didn’t want to watch 10 years from now kick myself for being so cheap. This camera capture hours of footage (depending on your memory card – 16gb) and the battery lasted me all day at Disneyland. You can also snap photos which aren’t the best but very particle.

Look out: Don’t bother with cameras with software that only allows you to access your files, be sure you can grab files straight from the memory card. Software cameras create strange file types.

Cost: $250

Answer: I want to start filming/shooting professionally. 

If you are starting a photography and video production business or if you are hired to film, the poplar DSLRs is what you are looking for. The quality is great without having to spend so much on a camera. The audio is bad which you’ll need a secondary recorder for that. But if you are getting B-roll type footage or plan on creating wedding montages that don’t need audio, then this camera is best to use. You will have to invest stabilizers but they aren’t too much. You do have the choice of buying a cheaper DSLR for $700 which is great for filming because they have the flip screens or go pro $2000 which would be ideal for photography. Look up tech details to see what best fits for you. I would recommend if you are starting out to start with the cheaper camera until business kicks in. The last thing you want to do is put all your money into something that you later find out you don’t really enjoy or find that the area you live in doesn’t have a market for it. Keep in mind its the LENS that really affects the quality, that is where you will need to invites your money in.

Look out: Don’t bother with camera packages, the lens those packages come with are usually crappy plastic lens and high adapter. The photos come out cheap looking. First starter lens: 50mm that goes for $100.

Cost: $700 to $2000

Answer: I wanna start a filming production.

Since you will be making money, investing in a pro-camera will pay off. Here there are so many cameras to choose from with price range from affordable to expensive. This type of investment requires research with tech details to follow. The easy answer is be sure it can record audio an input for XLR cables and manual exposer. Don’t bother with DV models anymore, digital files are best for quality and work flow. I’ve used Sony and Canon in the past, both great to work with. 

Cost: $1000+

Feel free to leave a comment with questions.

Book: Miracles by Eric Metaxas

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I admit, I have a writer’s crush on Eric Metaxas, author of one of my favorite books, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. It started when I watched all the videos about him on youtube, then followed him on twitter. His speeches and random humor made me feel like we were friends. I was excited when he said he would retweet someone who took a photo with his new book. I thought this would be my chance to get some tweeter attention. So I bought the book and took a photo with it. If it was a marketing trick – I fell for it. This was my chance to be friends with one of New York’s Christian elite. It work – I got retweeted. :)unnamed

I found Miracles refreshing. I read the first few chapters with my boyfriend so I could really understand the miracle of creation and the science of our existence. I pretty much failed science so reading it with someone and being able to ask questions really helped bring the text to life. For the first time, I could understand why the fact the Earth it’s self, is indeed pretty amazing.

“Reason and Science compel us to see what previous generations could not: that our existence is an outrageous and astonishing miracle, one so startlingly and perhaps so disturbingly miraculous that it makes any miracle like the parting of the Red Sea pale in such insignificance that it almost becomes unworthy of our consideration, as though it were something done easily by a small child, half asleep.” 

I was encouraged when I read about a dream Eric had when he was young. It was the dream that would change his life and bring him to faith. It was full of unique imagery that explained the gospel in a language that only Eric would understand. It spoke his language. I myself have two bother-n-laws who I am praying who would one day invite Jesus to be a part of their life. When I pray for them, I never know what to say. Everything seems cliche. But after reading about Eric’s dream, and how God suddenly made perfect sense to him, my prayer is that God would speak to my brother-n-law’s in the language of their own heart.

“God knew me infinitely better than I knew myself, and he had taken the trouble to speak to me in the most intimate language there was; the secret language of my own heart. That was that.”

The last chapter read as beautiful as a C.S. Lewis conclusion,

“We may fool ourselves into thinking we are avoiding the question, but to avoid the question, to avoid answering the question, is to answer the questions. Whether we knowledge it or don’t. We fool ourselves into thinking that to table the question or to wait longer before we answer it and make our decision is wisdom, when in reality it is self-delusion and folly.”

I’ve always been one to believe in Miracles but reading about recent one’s that have taken place in the lives of people who Eric know personally encouraged me to believe they happen more often than not.

Book: Misfits Welcomed by Matthew Barnett

IMG_3653I am finding the best audio books to enjoy are the ones where the author shares lots of stories. It’s like being able to sit with them personally to hear all that has happen in their life.

I saw Matthew Barnett tweet about his new book, Misfits Welcomed a while back and left a comment, “Can’t wait for the audio book.” I’ve heard different parts to his story about how he came to Los Angeles to build a church and end up pastoring the homeless living on skid road, poor immigrant families, drug addicts, run aways teens and so many people that society gave up on.

I knew this book would be full of powerful testimonies of people who came out some dark times. What I didn’t expect was to learn so much about serving others and the joy it brings to ones life. I love how encouraging Matthew Barnett was, he made me believe I too could have an impact on others, if I just listen to the voice of God giving me one of those crazy idea to be generous to others and to embrace my misfit self. 

Quotes from the Book

Love finds a way. Love opens the door to dreams that could never come across our minds with out it. Love is the greatest factory of ideas. My prayer used to be, “God teach me how to be creative.” Now I pray, “God teach me how to love.”

[Lessons from running the LA Marathon] That 6 mile stretch taught me everything I needed to know about perseverance. I started to think about all the things that could go wrong, than I stopped myself and said, “Don’t let fear multiply, you’ve come this far, go all the way.” It was the most difficult, but yet the most liberating experience in my life. I decided this victory will be the launching pad to crushing fear. The finish line wasn’t just an end to the race, it was an end to this torment to fear.

People can change and anything is possible, because God is in everything. We really believe our community can changed, and many think we are crazy. We are proud to carry the label of people with unrealistic expectations.

When a misfit becomes activated in faith, they often have no idea that limitations are even there. The joy in being a part of God’s plan ignites a fire in their soul to do something great. 

There is potential in people who society would label as misfits, instead of looking at people as victims with nothing to offer, try telling them that great things are still attainable. Confront people with the possibly of achieving great things.

If people can’t understand your positive expectations for humanity, you are probably a misfit. You have misfit expectations compare to the skepticism of the age in which we live.

The message of Christ was made to go where it doesn’t traditionally fit in…The message of Christ is lived out through the transformation of his people. Sunday morning church is not the decision spot for the church, but the launching pad of inspiration for what we can be and do Monday thru Saturday.

God has placed you somewhere you have unique influence to share his love. Yes, you. You have influence somewhere that no one else has. My advice is to live intentionally about your influence and be confident in the one who loves you, and the power your influence can have in the lives of others.  

Inward living produces outward devastation. Outward serving produces inner joy.   

Serving has never left me empty but always filled. I found the more time I have to look inside myself, the more time I have to feel cheated, victimize, and self center..The thing I got going for me, is I know what to do when life becomes all about me – Jump into someone else need.

Serving is not always a strategy, an idea, its a way of life. Its a way of treating people, a way of encouraging.

What made me believe every word of this book was the on time I saw Matthew Barnet at a Dream Center Outreach. He wasn’t the super star pastor but he was among the crowd enjoy the day, talking to people and being one of the kids. I even doubted it was him because no pastor would be here on a hot summer day, at a little city block outreach like this. haha. Serving is not always a strategy, an idea, its a way of life.

“I wish I read more.”

image The past year I’ve gotten into the habit of reading and finishing books. It use to take me 6 months to complete a book. The problem; I couldn’t stay still long enough to focus. The moment I would sit to enjoy a book, my mind would wonder leaving me frustrated I didn’t understand what I was reading and then asking myself, “What did I just read?”
As I’ve been reading more often these days, I’ve been having lots of people comment, “Ugh, I wish I read more.” I remember being in that same spot; wanting to read but failing every time I tried. The books I’ve read and share with you have dramatically changed my life in one accept or another. The only way I can describe it, I feel like my brain works better now.
I finally can understand anything I want, as long as I take the time to understand things deeply.
There are so many benefits to reading and you are selling your mind short by not developing the skill. “I’m not smart.” is an excuses to be lazy.  If I didn’t start reading I’d probably still be making a few bucks an hour, still be single trying to figure out whats my problem, and be very stressed out that life isn’t working.

Sounds extreme but that where I was five years ago. Reading challenges me to keep on growing as a person. My boyfriend, Gus, still tells me, that a quality he first saw in me that really caught his attention.

Some benefits to reading:
1. Learning and understanding concepts faster by reading about them.
2. The more you learn about different subjects, the more the mind creates connections between subjects, helping to discover new ideas and finding solutions.
3. Reading about or from successful people and about their life lessons help you work better with people and give you a path to follow and try for yourself.

So my secret:

Buy a non fiction book that catches your current interest. You have to want to read it. For me, a physical book helps me focus on the pages, reading on my iPad is too tempting to switch to another app…Like Netflix.

Sign up to audible to download a new book every month. This will help you read the books maybe you aren’t SUPER passionate about but still want to hear what it has to say. Create a morning habit of listening to your audiobook instead of morning news.

Focus is a skill you must strengthen. Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes. Get comfortable and read. Reward yourself after you complete the time with some downtime watching something on Netflix or TV. Your mind deserve to zone out.

Make it a goal to read everyday and try to finish the book in that month. Shop for your new book near the time you are about to finish your current one. This will motivate you to complete the book even if you’ve grown bored w the subject.

Highlight text that speaks to you.

Do a recap when your done. I blog about it as my way of saying I understand what I read enough to share about it. I often tell Gus about my book, waiting for his questions to see if I understood the book. Having these conversations are always super fun. I love having deep conversations and hearing feedback on the subject I’ve currently grown passionate about.

Display your books as your trophy case. Completing your book will give you a scence of accomplishment.

Make it into an event. Go out, find a cute coffee shop and read. Soon it will become the reward you look forward to.

Now go find a book to fall in love with.