How to Have a Productive Summer Break

Do you want to sit on your butt and watch Netflix all summer or do you want to have something to show for your summer?

Why Community Bathrooms Don't Totally Suck

Why Community Bathrooms Don’t Totally Suck

Community bathrooms aren’t the hell hole they are made out to be. Want to learn why? And tips to survive? Full post is on The Young Hopeful!

Best Friend Behind the Blogger

Best Friend Behind the Blogger

Next up in this series, my high school best friend, Jeni Margos. She is my other half (besides my wonderful boyfriend).

Best Friend Behind the Blogger

Describe me in three words!

Creative, Faithful, Organized

In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you?

We are both creative people, but in different ways and we are both kind of OCD about most things.

Is there anything that you wish had been different between us―or that you would still like to change?

I wish we talked more. I miss our laundry room conversations and time to sit and relax and talk.

What three things do you think of the most each day?

My boyfriend, The current show I’m working on, how I’m going to spend my free time.

Who would play us in a movie or TV show about your lives?

You: Drew Barrymore Me: Kirsten Dunst

What song best sums you up?

Born on Fire by: Ike Reilly

What is a funny habit that you have?

I twirl the cross I wear when I get nervous

Has Starbucks ever spelled your name wrong on a cup? If yes, what’s the craziest way that someone has spelled it?

Yes, Genny

What is your favorite breed of dog?  If you don’t have a favorite breed, describe the characteristics of your ideal dog (or cat)!


What is your most embarrassing memory?

When I had to dance to an awful rap song for the spring dance show and so a body roll and butt thing. I have not butt and had no idea what I was doing


What is your favorite family tradition?

Making baklava for Thanksgiving with my mom


What is your favorite holiday and why?

Thanksgiving because I get to spend time with my family and eat good food and listen to stories about my grandparents.


What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

Colorado with my boyfriend. We went over spring break and snowboarded. It was my first time in the mountains and it was beautiful


What would you like to eat for your last meal?

My mom’s Fettuccine Alfredo

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Costuming Singin’ in the Rain. That is still the largest show I have ever costumed and I am very proud of the fact we were able to do a show of that scale.

What is your favorite memory of me?

My favorite memory of you is probably at GAHSMTA. Even though we didn’t win I am still happy we got to go. I really enjoyed spending that evening with you and it was one of the last nights we spent together before we graduated. I also enjoyed being able to dress up and celebrate our accomplishments with Singin’ in the Rain.

What is your greatest regret?

Not cherishing the time I had with my friends in high school when they were all here. I truly miss all of them, especially Sara.

What were your hopes and dreams as a child?

As a child I wanted to be a vet and save the animals. But in middle school I decided I wanted to write which was much more of a career that fits me.

What would you like to see change in the world over the next 10 years?

I would like to see more appreciation for the arts in younger generations.

What was the most rebellious thing you did?

I honestly have no idea, sorry. 😛

What can you remember about your first kiss?

I was in a hot tub with my boyfriend and he just leaned over and kissed me.

Describe our relationship in 3 words.

Trusting, Caring, Accepting.

Who are your top three lady heroes?

Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe, J.K Rowling

What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by stories most of all. I truly love to tell stories and show people’s stories in their clothes.

How do I inspire you?

Sara inspires me because she is very motivated and works hard for what she wants. She pushes past the adversity in her life to achieve her goals.


Jeni and I have a very special bond. We are practically the same person. We always know what the other is thinking. I don’t believe I will ever find a friendship as special as this one. I love you and miss you tons Jeni!!


Failure: Friend or Foe?

Hello! I am so excited to have our very first guest writer today, writing all about failure. Margaret has 4 posts planned, one to be posted every Monday this May. So, here it goes! -Sara

Failure: Friend or Foe?


As a writer, failure–usually in the form of a generic rejection letter–is something I face every time I submit a short story for publication. At first, the prospect of a rejection letter was almost crippling. The idea of putting my work forward for strangers to judge once made me sick to my stomach.

Then it happened: My first rejection. I’d submitted a story to Glimmer Train, which is a well-known literary magazine that I’d had my sights set on for awhile. Publication in Glimmer Train commands a certain degree of respect.

I won’t lie–the rejection stung at first, until I realized that it wasn’t a personal affront. They in no way said my writing was lacking, only that the particular story I’d sent in did not fit their vision for the upcoming issue. They (the magazine is edited by a pair of sisters) invited me to submit again in the future.

So I have. I’ve submitted three times so far, and received a rejection each and every time.

I’ve learned something with each rejection. Market research can only take a fiction writer so far. Sometimes the process of elimination–even with one’s own stories–can be more educating than reading back issues. Each rejection takes me one step closer to acceptance, because I am honing in their ideal story.

Right about now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with art. The thing is, the “writer’s life” isn’t all that much different from the artist’s life–we just use a different medium.

I have studied the fine arts, as well. In my younger years, I earned my BA in Art History, but before then I intended to pursue Art Education. The Arts had always been a staple in my education. As a high school student I attended the Center for Creative Youth (CCY), a five-week intensive art education experience at Wesleyan University.

Naturally, as a budding artist, I enrolled in Drawing 101 and Drawing 102. Drawing 101 was fantastic–it was difficult, but fantastic. Every night we had to draw our hand in a different position for homework. My early attempts looked like blind contour drawings, though there was nothing blind about them.

By the end of that course, my hand was popping off the page. The semester ended and I practiced my newly refined skills over winter break.

Then the spring semester began. I could make excuses and say that my instructor was an egomaniac whose ideas about how to teach drawing were off-base. But the fact was, he asked us to complete what seemed like a simple task, and I utterly failed at it.

We had a twenty-four-inch wide piece of paper, clipped on the easel. Our task? Draw a straight vertical line, dead center, with willow charcoal.

I admit it was not my most eco-friendly month. The only thing I managed to produce was a pile of discarded newsprint sheets and plenty of frustration. My classmates were in the same boat. We grumbled about the task, about his methods, and about his “You should feel fortunate to have me as your professor” attitude.

The fact was, we were all failing. We never did manage to draw a perfectly straight line down the absolute center of the page (no rulers allowed!), but we were learning to accept failure. To learn from it. To rely upon our determination rather than our frustration.

Fine Arts or Fiction, failure is not our enemy. We need not fear failure–the only thing we need to fear is giving up out of frustration.

Teacher Behind the Blogger

For my next Behind the Blogger post, I have my technical theatre director from high school, Lisa Guen Raymond. You  may recognize her name, she was my first featured artist. She has been an amazing inspiration and mentor for me, as she moves her career from teaching to full time design work.

Teacher Behind the Blogger

  1. Describe me in three words!

    Courageous- You always head straight on into every challenge with a clear mind and clear heart.

    Inventive – You have this uncanny ability to be able to see and transform pieces you’re working on into art.

    Sincere – You are one of the kindest students I’ve ever had. It was a pleasure working with you on projects where you gave your genuine and honest opinions without hesitation.

  2. In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you?

    Some similarities that we have is an impeccable attention to detail. I think we are both people who tend to avoid conflict and drama and try to please others around us. I think we are both very creative individuals who have the ability to capture and inspire others around us.
    Some of our differences include that you are way more organized than I am. You’re a type A, I’m more of a Type B. It’s something I genuinely I admire about you and observing you work. I think you’re more adaptable to situations while I’m older and more stuck in my ways. Don’t ever lose that, it’s what makes you remarkable. Lastly, I think I’m a little more frank. I naturally say whatever’s on my mind without always minding what others may think while you have this ability to relate to everyone around you and take their feelings and opinions more into account.
  3. Is there anything that you wish had been different between us―or that you would still like to change?

    If I could change anything I would have brought in more resources to help you advance your career earlier on. I think every teacher always wonders “did I do enough” and I’m sure there’s always more that I could have done. If I had all the time in the world and a smaller class size I would’ve really helped you grow your skills more in design. I also would’ve gotten more sleep so I could have more patience with all my students. It’s hard to be your best when you’re so sleep deprived from your work. I’m so proud of you. I never said that enough in my teaching career.

  4. What three things do you think of the most each day?

    I think about L.J. a lot and how I can constantly do little things for him to make his life easier and to make his day. I think about what’s the next design floating around in my and head and lastly how much I’m looking forward to pursuing my art career full time in the next few months.

  5. Who would play us in a movie or TV show about your lives?

    I think Matilda would best fit our relationship, you would play Matilda of course the gifted and talented child and I would play the teacher. It’s not very metaphorical but I feel like Matilda and the teacher truly developed this very positive and inspiring relationship where they both inspired one another to do better in their own lives and pursue what makes them happiest.

  6. What song best sums you up?

    Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz. I’ve always considered myself to be someone who has their act together but I consider myself a beautifully messy person due to my creativity as well.

  7. What is a funny habit that you have?

    I have this habit of spinning a ring on my finger constantly.

  8. Has Starbucks ever spelled your name wrong on a cup? If yes, what’s the craziest way that someone has spelled it?

    I’ve had Starbucks spell my name as Leesa and Leeza.

  9. What is your favorite breed of dog?  If you don’t have a favorite breed, describe the characteristics of your ideal dog (or cat)!

    I want a dachshund so badly. I want to design clothes for it and make it wear cute little hats. I know, I’m a terrible person but I see all these Vines with dachshund in firemen outfits and I die of cuteness.

  10. What is your most embarrassing memory?

    Oh goodness. My most embarrassing moment happened in high school during the first play I was ever in. I was wearing a short skirt and had to skip on stage. I was wearing nude underwear underneath and when I skipped on stage my skirt went up and everyone thought I was going commando on stage. I got a few good laughs out of that later on in life.

  11. What is your favorite family tradition?

    Since I’m starting a new family with the love of my life L.J. and his family, he and I have started this tradition where we have to say I love you before we go to sleep and when we leave the house. This is so important to him because you never know if it’s going to be the last time you see that person.
  12. What is your favorite holiday and why?

    My favorite holiday is of course Christmas. The great thing about living in Texas is seeing all these small towns lit up during the holiday season. I love going on road trips during the holiday break with L.J. and taking pictures together in these small towns with all their cute decorations.

  13. What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

    The best vacation I’ve ever been on was with L.J. to visit his family in Michigan during Christmas. I love spending time with his family and seeing his sister and niece. It’s truly incredible to surrounded by the love and support of his family. We hang out in their shop working on projects with his Mom and Dad. His dad surprised us and took us fishing the last time we were up there and it made my day since I kept saying how much I missed fishing.
  14. What is your proudest accomplishment?

    My proudest accomplishment was making the decision to transition from being a teacher to pursuing my artwork full time. I loved my students but a part of my was sad not being able to design everyday. I recently was hired to design textiles for a new fashion brand in China. I struggled for the longest time with the fear of failure and to finally get past that fear was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had.
  15. What is your favorite memory of me?

    My favorite memory of you is when we discovered your “butterfly punch.” You’re not the type of person to get mad and you flailed your arms like a butterfly when you were upset and I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard ever.

  16. What is your greatest regret?

    My greatest regret was not having the proper schooling in high school and having career centered courses. I really wish I knew earlier on that art and surface design was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

  17. What were your hopes and dreams as a child?

    When I was a kid I wanted to be a famous singer. I’m actually a pretty talented singer but a girl’s gotta eat.

  18. What would you like to see change in the world over the next 10 years?

    I would like to see education be focused more around providing students with trades. Not everyone wants to pursue higher education and I think that if we start teaching youth younger about what trades are available then many more of my students would end up pursuing more enjoyable careers in the long run.
  19. What was the most rebellious thing you did?

    The most rebellious thing I ever did was in college. I took part of my student loan money and used it to fly up to Colorado to visit a guy I had been dating for a short while. If my parents had known at the time I probably would’ve been pulled from school haha but I had fun and the scenery was beautiful.

  20. Describe our relationship in 3 words.

    I think our relationship is inspiring. I think we both continue to inspire each other to do better. I also think that it’s a very supportive and nurturing relationship. I know I’m very grateful for all that you do.

  21. Who are your top three lady heroes?

    My top three lady heroes would have to be Megan Hess, Lisa Congdon, and Liz Clements. All of these ladies are illustrators who’s artwork pushes me to compete at their level. Their designs are bold, clean and beautiful.

  22. How did you choose your career and what was your favorite part about it?

    This is a funny question since I’m currently in transition but I was teaching one day and one of my students asked me “why don’t you pursue art full time?” and I didn’t have an answer for them and finally it clicked in my head that both they and I knew that something was missing and it was my art.

  23. When they think about their careers, what do you want your students to focus on?

    I want my students to focus on their portfolios. The earlier you start your portfolio the sooner you’ll be successful and get hired earlier on. There’s no reason that you can’t pursue what you love to do now in high school or college. Nothing is stopping you from doing internships and branching out on your own.
  24. What are you inspired by?

    I’m most inspired by nature and flowers. I was a huge flower child growing up and I am inspired by everything about them, their smell, their shape, their organic lines and their color palettes. I will never get tired of drawing flowers.
  25. How do I inspire you?

    I know that you have taught me more about life than I may have to you. I think students don’t always realize how much they teach their instructors. You’ve taught me kindness, patience, and most importantly to give it your all. You never slacked off for a second and what you accomplished in your time as my student is commendable and noteworthy. I will always cherish our time buying fabric for shows, problem solving,  and working in the “sweat shop”.


So that is it! Ms. Raymond has been an amazing teacher for me and has always supported my dreams. I am forever grateful that I ended up in her technical theatre class and I hope this is a forever relationship. She got me and my best friend to step out of our boxes and design costumes for an entire show, submit things to design competitions, and grow into ourselves. Ms. Raymond gave us the confidence to speak up, be brave, and “do you.” Myself, and my best friend, are so blessed to have had you, Ms. Raymond.

Thank you so much! I miss you a ton.