Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eating ice cream for a good cause

It isn't often that you have an opportunity to do something you really love and help raise money for a worthy cause. But, that's exactly what we did at the new Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream store in Oak Park, IL. Ben & Jerry's has partnered with the "One Action" organization to help eradicate poverty throughout the world. If you're not familiar with the "One Campaign" per their website they:

" to raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in developing countries."

This was the first time I've participated in this event and I have to admit that it was a lot of fun! They gave away one free scope of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and in exchange asked people to make a donation. I think that's a pretty cool idea and guess what? It worked! Despite the unseasonably freezing temperatures people were lined up down the block from the store all day long!

And since Oak Park is such a beautiful community I just had to brave the elements and the traffic to make my contribution to the cause.

Everyone received these cool "One" wrist bands for participating.

I wasn't the best History student in school but for some strange reason I can remember Ben & Jerry's history? Hmmm, must be the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough that is boosting my brain power.

These two young ladies were a few of the super friendly people who helped out with the event. No matter how cold it became nor how long the lines were everyone was really happy to be there. I've participated in countless fund raising events over the years but I don't remember one where there was so much joy and happiness.

Ah, the good stuff! Even in 40 degree weather it still warms the heart.

For those of you who are keeping up with "Operation Transformation" no worries - this was my dinner.

In addition to raising funds for the "One Action" organization this event also helped to raise funds for the Wonder Works Children museum. Another fantastic organization who is making a difference. Per their website:

"Wonder Works, a Children's Museum in Oak Park, provides a hands-on environment intended to strenghten the social, emotional, and intellectual development of children up to age ten. The 6,400 square foot museum includes exhibits, educational programming, a retail store and a children's party room."

No ice cream fund raiser would be complete without a good cup of Starbucks to complete the evening. The ice cream was dinner and the coffee was dessert. :)

This event was a lot of fun and I believe it is a new corporate partnership model for community activism. It is a "win-win" for everyone involved and the end result is that lives are transformed. I encourage you to visit Ben & Jerry's and if you're in the area to also visit and support Wonder Works. The ice cream was good. But, the hungry people who will be fed and the young minds that will be expanded beyond conventional thinking is what's really sweet!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I LOVE this TV Show!

I am in LOVE with this television show! I love "Extreme Home Makeover" and I cry every time I see it. What a wonderful show that just keeps getting better and better. If you've ever wondered what makes SamTheMan "tick" it's shows like this and the ability to help people in need.

If you haven't seen the show then do yourself a favor and check it out next Sunday. This week's episode featured a Pastor and His family who have given their lives and their home to people living on the streets. Wow! What a giving couple.

Even during the "reveal" they both kept saying things like, " we can do this for the folks who come to live with us..." and "...we've always wanted to be able to do this for people and now we can..." I'm tellin' you, you have to have a heart of stone not to be touched and moved by episodes like this one.

Here's a little tease to wet your appetite. Have a blessed week and never forget that we are blessed to be a blessing to others!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Happy Saturday! Wow, wasn't today simply gorgeous? This is a working weekend for me as I'm putting the finishing touches on my PS Frame Action store and my new photography website. And, while cleaning my HD I "ran" across these nature portraits that I had forgotten about from last year that are really cool. I will soon add some of these to my online gallery of fine art prints for sale.

Have a great weekend and I have a surprise to share with you that is huge - really huge...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What is going on?

Once again I am shocked! How in the world was Carly Smithson voted off American Idol? Did you see last night's performances?

And, Syesha Mercado joined Carly in the bottom two performances?

As a former vocalist (and a pretty good one) I'll give you that Syesha may not be the strongest vocalists this season (she's good, very good). But, she is one of if not the best performer on the show. And, as well all know you don't have to be a great vocalists to be an American Idol.

I don't know what's going on nor why Jason Castro is still on the show?

This year they are making me mad. If it wasn't so close to the end I'd quit watching. I'm going to bed before I throw something at my TV (just joking, it's High Definition so I won't be doing that anytime soon). Have a great evening and to my sister Carly - you go girl and we will definitely see you at the top!

Monday, April 21, 2008

California Dreamin'

Happy Monday! Well, after 180,000+ miles it's time for SamTheMan to have a new car. I wanted to keep my current automobile until 250,00 miles but I may have to alter those plans. I'm one of those people who tries to get the most out of my cars before I plunge into purchasing a new one. Now that the weather is nice I've been out and about looking at new models (and there are so many really nice cars available that it's a hard choice). Maybe we can have a contest called "Help SamTheMan choose a new car." Sounds like fun. Have a great day and never stop dreaming!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Who is this woman?

Wow, what a story! I had never heard of Dani Johnson until I saw her on Donny Deutsch's show "The Big Idea." After hearing her and her success secrets I wanted to know more and to know if she was "real."

Well, I found this video which contains her testimony and had to share it with you. Get ready to be energized and encouraged. God can truly do miraculous things in our lives if we will only believe!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Homeless at 21, multi-millionaire by 23.

Happy Saturday! It's good to be back and returning to my normal routine. The weather is awesome so I'm out and about (with my camera) and look forward to sharing all of the wonderful things I'll find along the way.

Since we've declared this a "new" season in our lives I wanted to encourage you to never give up because it is possible! Here's a little motivation to remind you that you can make it - no matter what!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Working with a legend

Recently, before my departure, I had the opportunity to once again work with and learn from a great photojournalist. Jim Summaria has not only been a photography instructor and mentor but has also been a good friend. Jim never lets me slack off or stay in my comfort zone as he believes in the gifts and talents of his students. I thank God that he's allowed our paths to cross as I always walk away from every encounter with Jim a better photographer and photojournalist. Thanks Jim for giving so much of yourself to not only me, but to all of your photography students.

I'm back home and still getting into the "swing" of things but I will reply to everyone's comments throughout the week. The weather has finally changed for the better so have a joyous, sunny and productive day!


I missed chatting with all of you!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Broken Life

I will be away for a little while as my Aunt has passed. My family is very close so this has not been easy for us.

But, my Aunt lived a long life full of joy and freedom. And, because I am a believer I know she is in a better place. So, instead of dwelling on the pain associated with the loss of a loved one I choose to celebrate the memories and the life she led.

And, in a strange way this image represents both death and life to me. Despite the harsh break across its veins that will adversely effect the the top half of the leaf, the leaf is bigger than the break and the plant will live on being nourished by the power of sun. And for me the loss of a loved one is the same. Despite the harsh break that cuts across the veins in our hearts, we will be nourished by the power of The Son of God and will go on to blossom and mature.

I'm going to miss you and look forward to retuning in several days to continue to share life and encourage one another. Be blessed and I'll talk with you shortly.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I guess it was only a matter of time

I should have known that this was coming. First, there was the Obama Girl. Then, there was the Giuliani Girl. Then, there were the Giuliani Girls vs. the Obama Girls. And now in the midst of one of the most anticipated and watched US Presidential elections we have the McCain Mamas! Yelp, now John McCain has his own YouTube video girls.

At one time in my life I had aspirations of public office and even served in student government in college. So, does this mean that if I run for Governor that someone will make a "SamTheMan's" YouTube video? Hmmm - after seeing all of the stuff going on during this election cycle I think I will stay with photography. Once again in the words of Don King, "Only in America Baby!"

Monday, April 07, 2008

Challenging my creativity

Last summer I decided to "push" myself as I really want to take my compositions into a different direction - more artistic and less newspaper-esque. Don't worry I'll never leave my journalism roots as that is how I see "things." But, I want to grow creatively as a visual artists so I'm always looking for new ways to "see" the world around me.

I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and shoot something that I'm not very good at - still life. I do a great job with product shots due to my marketing and advertising background but at my core I'm a portrait/wedding/photojournalist. So, I created several images of very ordinary objects and challenged myself to make them visually appealing. What objects did I choose? Parts of automobiles. Why? Because I find it very difficult to make parts of a car look really cool and artistic.

Included in this post are the images created during this self-imposed creative exercise. I hope that by sharing these images you will be inspired to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. You'll never grow if you don't try, and if you don't try then you will never really know what you're capable of accomplishing. And as artists we must challenge our creativity so that we can move from where we are to a deeper level of expression. Just a little something to think about. Have a great week and never stop believing in your gift!

American Rebel

(Click here to see what this image looked like before it was edited)

Soul Man

(Click here to see what this image looked like before it was edited)

Olympic Gold

(Click here to see what this image looked like before it was edited)


(Click here to see what this image looked like before it was edited)

British Royalty

Raw Power

(Click here to see what this image looked like before it was edited)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Operation Transformation

Happy Saturday! You will never guess what I did? I worked out with a personal trainer and it was "da' bomb!" Man, was I sore the next day. Actually, it was an interview - I was checking him out to see if this is someone I could work with and he was checking me out to see what my level of fitness was in terms of strength, stamina and flexibility. It was a bittersweet experience as I was shocked to learn just how out of shape I had become (keep in mind that I am half-way to my black belt in Hapkido, use to run 3 miles 3 times a week and play both tennis and basketball every weekend). But, I was in better shape than he thought by just looking at me so all is not lost. I'll keep you posted as my exercise program is about to jump into high gear now that the weather outside is nice. It's a beautiful Saturday so have fun and we'll chat soon!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Look what I found...

Happy Wednesday! I'm on my way out but wanted to share a former magazine cover that I had the opportunity to grace. Well, not exactly. While attending one of the Great Western Trade Shows I stopped by the ESPN booth to create a Sports Broadcaster demo video. Besides the portable television studio they also had a photographer on hand who would take your picture and create your own ESPN Magazine cover. Being the "ham" that I am I couldn't resist. I don't know where they came up with that headline but it's not bad. Have a great day and never stop believing!