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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Meet Jamell Crouthers, Poet and Writer

Jamell Crouthers is a poet and writer who creates thought-provoking content about different aspects of life. His goal is to write poetry books on societal issues that we all face in today's age. Through writing poetry, he says, "it is an easy read for others, and it's a gateway to getting inside of my mind and how I write."

You can learn more about Jamell and read samples of his work by visiting his Amazon author page, as well as his author profile on Bublish. He is also on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and he maintains a personal website at http://www.aquarianmind.info/.

1. How did you first get started with writing poetry, and who are some poets whose work inspires you?

I got started with poetry when I was 13 years old. I wrote about life and thoughts that I had going on in my mind. As I got older, I wrote about my life experiences, love, and family. It wasn't until my 30s where I started writing about societal issues and more serious things regarding life.

A lot of the poets I follow on Instagram inspire me to write. Their poems relate to some life experiences I've been through. They give me a lot of ideas to write different things, too. I don't want to say names or anything, but I appreciate their work and self-expression through poetry. It takes a lot to share your thoughts and be vulnerable these days.

2. Why do you see poetry as the way to communicate your stories and ideas, rather than prose?

I see poetry as a way of self-expression. It's a lot of formulated thoughts all put onto a piece of paper. I find writing poetry and reading it as an experience that the reader will feel.

3. What's your process like for determining what goes into the manuscript of a book that you intend to publish?

I spend a lot of time brainstorming. I write everything down. I have a blue book with pens with me at all times. It's writing out chapters, developing the character I'm going to write about and thinking of a storyline for each character. I observe the world. I have a quiet personality at times, and that's where I'm thinking. I also talk to people and listen to their experiences. Listening to music gives me ideas too.

4. In sharing your work both in book form and through social media, do you get a lot of responses from readers?

With the readers that have read my books, I get a lot of wow responses and a lot of emotional responses from readers. It's an emotional rollercoaster for readers who read my books, and that's my goal. I like to create imagery and make people emote. I've had a reader tell me that she cried reading my book: that's when I knew I had them drawn in.

5. What else would you like readers to know about you and your writing?

I would definitely like to let readers know that my books are different. They deal with a lot of societal issues head on, and there is a lot of emotion that comes from the characters I've created. While it is fictional, these are characters that will relate to you in some way or they will relate to someone you may know. It's definitely not the traditional read. It's different but it's a good different and worth the read.

Thanks, Jamell!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Meet Lisa Sanovski, Web Developer

Lisa Sanovski is a freelancer who does web development work for clients, mostly for small to medium sized businesses. She has been building websites for clients for the last five years or so, mainly on WordPress. Over the years, Lisa has come across a number of web hosts; most have been good but some have been not-so-good. Bluehost is one of the latter. Lisa started websitehostingrating.com as a place to post her reviews of Bluehost.com and other web hosting offerings.

1. When someone who has never built a website before tells you they want to start a website, what's the first thing you tell them?

I usually tell them that their website will be built on WordPress which is the exact same platform that many of the Fortune500 brands like News Corp and Sony Music use to build websites, and the reaction I get is often, "Wow," followed by "Oh, and how much is that going to cost me?"

That's the beauty of building websites using WordPress; it powers more than ¼ of all sites on the Internet; it's secure; and because it's open source, it's 100% free use. There are a bunch more compelling reasons why you should WordPress, nicely compiled here.

2. I used to think of WordPress as being more suited for blogs, but over the years, I've seen it used more and more for websites that are fairly static. What's your advice to people who want a website but don't want to be regularly updating it like a blog?

Yeah that's right: WordPress started out as blogging platform, but today it can be used to do so much more. It can power full blown ecommerce sites and run company intranets, online forums, job boards. And it has loads of more uses. I would say it depends on the industry you are in, whether or not you should regularly update your website with more blog-type content. Most clients I create sites for are more static, set and forget type ones.

3. What's your process like in building websites for clients? Do you mostly get people set up with WordPress, and then they carry on with refining and updating their site?

The thing is, anyone can learn how to use WordPress and update their website's content. I think that is one of the main reasons why I love working with WordPress, and regularly use it to build websites, because it's so easy to master. So once the design is more or less locked in, I do a bit of training with the client, and they will learn how to refine and update their own website.

4. What inspired you to start your website about web hosting?

The main reason why I started my honest Bluehost review site was to provide a more of an honest and unbiased review of Bluehost, based on my own personal experience of using them for clients and personal sites over the years. Because Bluehost has a fairly generous affiliate marketing program, there are loads of review sites out there, sites that are more interested in earning an income from referring signups to Bluehost than to provide people with real honest facts.

5. In the five years that you've been doing web development, what changes have you seen--and are there other changes you think might be on the horizon?

That's a really great question. Gosh, there have been so many changes over the years, from one page layouts, parallax scrolling, flat designs, video backgrounds, just to name a few. Looking into the crystal ball, I think the mobile first approach is here to stay; you know, people and "users" of websites are more and more on their mobile devices and expect websites to load fast and display well no smaller screens, and web developers and designers have to adjust to that.

Thanks, Lisa!

Meet Lunden De'Leon, Actress

Actress Lunden De'Leon has played a number of diverse roles in television and film ranging from a caring therapist (Somebody's Child), to a young African mother (Vital Signs) and a sexy villain (Cryptz). Yet over and over again, the actress wins over audiences by making these characters very memorable. After taking on small roles in film and television, De'Leon began to transition into leading roles on the small screen. She soon landed bigger roles and gained worldwide recognition portraying the role of Joanne Mbutu on the television series Vital Signs. De'Leon later went on to appear in over 50 movies and television shows working alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Just recently, De'Leon starred in the romantic comedy An Inherited Life, portraying the role stylish lawyer, Bianca Wallace. Whether it's a thriller, a funny comedy, or a tear-jerking drama, De'Leon has done it all. When asked what's next for the actress she replies, "I'm currently revamping my cosmetic line 'Lunden De'Leon Cosmetics', as well as working with a few charities in South Carolina. So I'm juggling a number of great things right now."

Learn more about her by visiting LundenDeLeon.com.

1. What do you enjoy most about acting?

I enjoy analyzing my character and becoming that character while staying as organic as possible.

2. How have your experiences differed when it comes to working on movie projects contrasted with working on TV projects?

I appreciate both film and television. I'm just thankful to be working. However, I can take more creative risks in film, so that gives it a little edge.

3. Would you tell us a bit more about your cosmetics line?

I started Lunden De'Leon Cosmetics years ago but decided to revamp it around Christmas time. The line offers a variation of beautiful shades for darker skin tones.

4. What are some of the charities in South Carolina that are dearest to your heart?

I dedicate my time or money to a number of charities in South Carolina. I know what it's like to struggle; therefore, I have to give back. From homeless to helping at risk youth--it's all dear to my heart.

5. Do you have any projects you're especially looking forward to in 2017 and beyond?

I have two movies coming out in 2017: a horror movie called The Lake House which should hit theaters this fall and a romantic comedy for television called An Inherited Life.

Thanks, Lunden!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Meet Ian Filippini, Travel Writer

Ian Filippini is a travel writer based out of Santa Barbara where he is also an active member of the business community. Filippini is highly lauded for being one of the city's biggest advocates and is known as a local expert. Filippini has recently launched a series of digital travel magazines with Santa Barbara recommendations as well as extensively documenting his travels around the world.

1. What first attracted you to Santa Barbara?

I was interested in Santa Barbara from my first visit. It is a sleepy beach community unlike any other, and they have a large city just off the coast that invites me. They have a lovely food scene, and I love the way to city looks when I am staring at the ocean. I feel at peace in Santa Barbara, and I believe other travelers will feel the same.

2. Why did you decide to create a web resource with information about Santa Barbara destinations?

I wanted all travelers to feel a sense of connection with the city. They may read the site I created to learn about the city, and I believe they will feel something about the city as they browse. They will learn how the city will serve them, and they may begin making an itinerary that will take them across the city. I want everyone visiting to have the same adventure I did.

3. When you only have time for a short travel getaway (say, three nights maximum), what do you like to do?

I prefer coming to the city to see the beach, and I plan my trips around the beach. I enjoy sitting on the beach, and I will make my way from the beach to other parts of the city during my trip. I will find my favorite lunch spot, and I plan a lovely place for dinner. I will shop downtown, and I quite enjoy coming down to the pier for an evening of fun.

4. From your own travel experience, do you have any favorite tips you'd like to share?

I ask all my travel readers to bring plenty of cash on their trips. Santa Barbara is a lovely beach community with many street vendors who take cash, and you will find a number of attractions that require cash. You may tip your valet or jump on the shuttle with a bit of cash in your pocket. You must ensure you are using your cash wisely, but you must have it in your pocket.

I ask everyone to try local food. There are many beautiful restaurants in the city that you will prefer, and you will find places that are run by up-and-coming chefs. They are making news in the food world, and you may find yourself in a place that has been featured on TV in the past. You may find it interesting to visit food carts, and you will enjoy local joints that serve specialty drinks.

The final step in any trip is choosing a local hotel that plants you in the heart of the city. Traveling to chain hotels is not as much fun as being among the locals, and you will have a nice time in a place that serves breakfast, puts out dessert wine at night, and does not allow you out the door without a friendly goodbye.

5. What, in your opinion, takes a restaurant or hotel or other spot out of the ordinary and makes it a place you want to return to again and again?

The service is the most important thing in any establishment. The personal service I receive on trips will lead me to return. I want to meet the nice people I saw the first time, and I want to send more people to visit. I am in love with certain places where I know the staff, and they call me by name. They got me with their service, and it is the same on every return trip to Santa Barbara.

Thanks, Ian!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meet Crystal Dayton, Graphic Designer and Photographer

Crystal Dayton is a passionate graphic designer from Toronto, Ontario. Her talents are varied with a predominant focus in graphic design and photography. She holds a diploma for the Visual and Creative Arts program at Sheridan College, and she currently works as a freelance graphic designer. She is a creative, reliable, hard-working designer who has helped businesses and individuals with professional designs.

Learn more about Crystal and her work by visiting crystaldayton.com and by checking out her blog and her Twitter feed.

1. How did you know you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?

I really always wanted to be a graphic designer, but I had people saying to me, "you should find a more stable job," so I listened. Then eventually I decided I need to do a job I love, and design is something I love. Also, I don't like the idea of a stable job; I like adventure, not knowing what's next. I know eventually my art will turn into a career. So I've had a lot of going back and forth with my career.

2. How does your creative work as a painter and photographer influence your perspective when doing design jobs?

My creative work as a painter influences my design work because instead of simply thinking more for appeal, I want to make something unique like a painting rather than just a design. My photography influences my designs because I usually add my photos to my designs.

3. Would you tell us a bit about some of the design projects you've especially enjoyed working on?

Lately I have been really enjoying designing logos. I find logos are really fun to make, and they require a lot of creativity. Also, I get to meet a lot of people who have their own businesses and sometimes even other artists. I really enjoyed making one logo in particular; it was for a graphic designer who wanted a logo for her graphics company called TaylorMade named after her son. She didn't know how to use the software so I designed it for her.

4. I see that you offer design services through your own website as well as through Fiverr.com. Are most of your clients local, or are you finding clients all over the world these days?

I just joined fiverr.com in October of 2016. I used to have my clients more locally, but now since I have joined several freelance sites, I am acquiring clients from all over the world.

5. What's your advice to someone who needs something like a logo or a book cover design and isn't a designer but wants to do it themselves instead of hiring a professional? What are the benefits of hiring a pro, and do you think the design services are actually more affordable than people might think?

If someone doesn't want to hire a pro to do it, I would suggest learning the programs, showing your design to other people to get feedback, looking into what kind of company you want to be because that should be portrayed in your design, and also reading up on design. The benefits of hiring a pro are it saves you the time to learn the software; the pro is already creative so you may get more options from them; and it's good to discuss what you want because it helps to brainstorm with another person. Services are usually more affordable than you would think; depending on what you want, for example, on Fiverr you can get a basic design for about $5, but if you want something more you may have to spend a little more.

Thanks, Crystal!