Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Today was the annual Hallmark Creative Halloween Party. There was a costume contest of course, and my Art & Editorial Directors as well as fellow designer's decided to enter in the group competition, and guess what? WE WON! Best Group Prize. Totally handmade costumes too (we used yellow ponchos stuffed with balloons and made beaks out of foam visors), We were dressed up as yellow duckie Peeps, since we do candy cards in my department. Oh and we also had the black Peep of the family, Yay!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kearney Day Away

I wanted to share some photos from this Monday. Hallmark owns a farm in north east Missouri, just 30 or so minutes from Kansas City in a town called Kearney. It's mainly used as a retreat by different departments, to hold workshops, learn new trades, get inspired, etc. It was really great, apparently my department goes up there at least once a year. We had breakfast, and then we carved and painted pumpkins, followed by a wonderful potluck lunch, hiking through the numerous trails that the farm had, and just general bonding.

That funny pumpkin in the front was mine. Great time!

Oh I had to take a photo of the apples! the farm had apple trees and a pear tree, I thought it was so cool, I've only seen an apple tree three times in my life (we don't have those in florida), haha

There was a few kayaks close by that we could have used in this pond, but it was too cold to try.

The Wordiest Week Ever!

First of all, please excuse my tardiness. I know that Word Week happened ions ago and I’m just posting, but I needed a little extra time to let the goodness simmer before I could talk about it. Yeah, that’s what it was… I needed time to let the goodness simmer. I’m not a procrastinator at all.

Any-who, Word Week is an entire week dedicated to celebrating the overall awesomeness that the written word contributes to Hallmark and the world. And in my opinion, it’s a beautiful thang. The entire week was comprised of excellent speakers, showcases of internal Hallmark talent, and most importantly, refreshments.

Everything was on point.

However, I must say that my favorite event was The Coffee House Reading on Friday. This is when Hallmark writers read pieces of their work; personal and private. You would not believe how amazing it was. I felt privileged to be in the company of such brilliant writers. Some were funny as all get-out. Some were serious as a heart attack. And others expressed a vulnerability that induced tears. It was truly a bonding experience.

All in all, I give Word Week two enthusiastic thumbs up! It’s fine holiday fun for the entire family.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boss's Day

Our team took our mangers out for Boss's Day on the 16th.

We went to Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill in Westport.

I've never been there before. I usually go next door to Blue Koi for my vegetarian meal. I'm always nervous about meat getting into my meal on the community grill.

But this place was great! They used separate cooking sticks for the vegetarian food.

They had tons of veggies and meats to choose from. They have different bowls for vegetarians and meat-folks so the cooks know which is which. So you just put your goodies in a bowl, add some seasonings and sauces. Then they cook it up!

My combo came out great!

The decor was beautiful too.

I'm going back!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mosaic Lounge

Saturday, October 11th my husband DJ'd at Mosaic Lounge in the Kansas City Power and Light District. He plays there every Wednesday, but that's a work night so I don't go out. But since this was a Saturday I actually got a chance to go out and see him play.

My husband designs his own flyers. Cool huh?

However, I have to do the path for him in Photoshop to do to the photo cut-out, but he won't tell me how to do all of the cool Photoshop effects. What ev... I got my own tricks!!!

I love the interior of Mosaic. The Moroccan shapes of the bar and ceiling are really cool.

I shouldn't show photos of some of my Hallmark friends that came out. They are directors and I'm sure they don't want their co-workers to see them getting their groove on! So here is a photo of the entertainment coordinator of Bice Bistro and me looking suave!

This was one of the last summery nice nights in Kansas City. Goodbye summer!!! It's like 40 degrees now (I'm cold!).


September 29th was our last TrendPlant meeting. So sad not to be meeting each month, but it was so great!

We had a potluck and everyone brought awesome fall food!!!

It was such an honor and great opportunity to be in the pilot TrendPlant group. I've learned so much more about researching. I'm going to bring my new findings back to my team so everyone can be inspired.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We’re getting blogged!

If you’re doing some on-line research on pumpkin carving you’ll most likely run into the Hallmark Magazine carriage pumpkin.

Seems like everyone loves it as much as we do and are blogging about it.
How about orange...
arts & dafts
Pat Slogan's Corner
Sketching Life

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dia De Los Muertos • Window Display

This is a gorgeous Day of the Dead window display in the creative library here at hallmark. Most of the collection belongs to two photographers from our Union Hill Photography Studio. Beautiful!

Friday, October 24, 2008

mind candy

I'm on the mind{FULL} creative inspiration e-letter team at Hallmark. This month we teamed up with another creative inspiration e-letter Eyecandy to do a gallery showing of how Hallmark designers were inspired by us. We called it mind candy!

Our theme was candy and we had gumballs as take-aways and candy all over the room.

It was really nice to see all of the Hallmark product that was inspired by our e-letters.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lion King - Broadway Across America

This Saturday I had the chance of watching Tony Award-winning The Lion King Live presented by Broadway Across America, at the *beautiful* Kansas City Music Hall downtown. It was incredible! I had shivers when Rafiki (played by Phindile Mkhize) opened the show with traditional african singing. There were hundreds of puppets, and the costumes were amazing!, it was a colorful visual treat! WOW! The musical is running until November 16.

Other Upcoming Shows at the Kansas City Music Hall
Annie - December 30 2008 - Jan 4 2009
Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy - Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2009
The Phantom of the Opera - Mar 25 - Apr 19 2009
The Color Purple - Apr 28-May 3 2009

The Collaboratory

This is a photo of some of our phenomenally talented writers in one of their many locations throughout headquarters.

This particular location is called The Collaboratory, and it's purpose is to facilitate creative brainstorming from a writer's viewpoint. Whether you need a name for a new collection of products, need copy for a niche product category, or just need some new ideas and thoughts, The Collaboratory is an excellent place to converse with poets, playwrights, musicians, improvisers, and more!

Plus, with it's home-like feel (much like my grandmother's living room), it's a place to relax and let the creativity flow (and, if you're lucky, you might catch one of the writers tinkering on the upright baby grand piano... love it).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama in Kansas City, MO

Yesterday Obama was right across the street from Hallmark at the National World War I Museum for the Change We Need Rally.

I couldn't go spend all afternoon outside waiting for him. I had crafts to do for Crafty Chicks craft show coming up. So I dropped my husband off for the event at 2:45p. Doors opened at 4p and he spoke at 6p.

When I dropped him off there were a ton of folks getting in line. I was nervous that he wasn't going to be able to get in!

He said there were SO MANY people he could hardly see. And there was every walk of life out there. Young, old, rich, homeless, and families. "A snapshot of America," he said.

My Grandpa turned 84 Friday. And when I called him to wish him a happy birthday he told me that he never thought he'd be alive to see a black man run for president. As a black man, my Grandpa watched his father struggle as a farmer, he's had to drink out of the black only water fountain, he's watched the civil rights movement and more. He's raised his family of six and us grandchildren and he told me he could never be more proud of us and happy to be alive to witness history.

Please vote!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's the 10th annual Word Week at Hallmark. It's not all about designing pretty stuff here. There are writers that inspire the designs we create. Sometimes I feel like they get left out, so I'm glad that there is a week dedicated to words.

Actually this is my first time in the three years that I've been at Hallmark that I've attended Word Week. As a designer I thought that the presentations wouldn't pertain to me. What do I have to do with words?

However today's presentation by mommy blogger, Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce (one of the most visited blogs in America), was very inspirational to me.

First of all she was so funny! Her sarcastic, dark sense of humor had me laughing and intrigued during her whole presentation.

Just this summer I started going to her blog. But I never read it (I'm a designer... I don't read). I just glanced at her daily images. So I had NO IDEA that her daily entries of her life were so raw and humorous.

But Heather inspired me to share more personal experiences on the FIVE blogs I have. I tend to only say a product is cute or simply state what I did. I never talk about that I blog a lot, work a full day, figure out the next ATC trade topic, teach fitness classes (and still hate my thighs), keep up with my apron business, and a newlywed without a sofa and no time to post honeymoon photos on my Flickr page. I never talk about how people think I have it together and I'm SO organized when really feel like I'm going senile with the millions lists I have lying around trying to prioritize my life.

So from now on I'm going to be a little more personable on my blogs instead of just showing cool stuff.

Thanks for the motivation Heather!


This month's theme for the Artist Trading Card (ATC) trade at Hallmark was "fashion." Our inspiration was season 5 of Project Runway (congrats Leanne... I knew she was going to win when I 1st saw her. If someone is calling herself "the fashion assassin" she's gotta be da bomb -- no pun intended. But at the end I REALLY wanted Korto to take it).

Here are a sample of the ATCs.

You can see more at my ATC blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kansas City Renaissance Festival

I've never been to a Renaissance Festival before, so I was excited when I found out that Kansas City had one. So this weekend I spent most of my afternoon on Saturday with a few friends at the KC Ren Fest. This was the last weekend of the festival, it's been running every weekend since August 30th.

I later learned that as employees here at Hallmark we get discount tickets to some events around town. The Renaissance Festival was no exception. :}

The festival is held in a really pretty wooded area (and it's HUGE). There was tons of funny characters walking around in costumes, interesting food vendors, performers in multiple stages, live jousting, and even an elephant you could ride! My personal highlight of the festival was entering the Medieval petting zoo, where I got to play with super friendly sheep (and a Mama & Baby Llama)

Oh and that's my friend Angelica eating a huge turkey leg. :B


We, the TrendPlant group, went on our last retail outting 9/29.

First we went to Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Overland Park. They work with artistan groups around the world for quality and authentic goods. I believe some of the money from your purchase goes back to the country the item came from.

I thought the place was a great spot to get unigue gifts. The prices were reasonable too.

Then we went to Dean & DeLuca for lunch. Didn't have much time to look at all of the goodies because we were off down the street to West Elm.

A fall masculine theme was definitely present.

I'm sad that this was our last outing. Being in the group was such a privilege and I learned so many new research skills to apply to my job and personal projects.

Hola! Bonjour! What's Up?

It’s nice to meet you. Most people call me Keion because that’s my name. I’d appreciate it if you followed suit.
I’m a new hire at Hallmark and I’m loving every minute of it; with the exception of the few that come right before lunch time. I get a little antsy when I haven’t had my lunchable.
Anyway, I’m a writer in the Humor Studio and I’ve gotten the chance to work on lots of fun and interesting projects. Needless to say, my new job is the bomb. So much so, that I don’t mind using outdated nineties slang to describe it.
However, I must admit that I’m in the process of adjusting to Kansas City. Seeing as though I recently graduated from the illustrious Clark Atlanta University and I was born and raised in Louisiana, Missouri is quite the change of pace. A good one, though.
There are plenty of great things to do in the city that I would have never expected.
I’ll be using this blog to hip you to all of the goings-on in Kansas City. We can uncover more great things about KC together. That’s what I call teamwork!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day Trip :: Weston, MO

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I took a day trip to Weston, MO (about 25 miles north of Kansas City) for some fall bike riding and to visit this historic town we'd never visited. What we happened upon was far more amazing than you'd ever expect from this town of slightly more than 1,500.

Each year, the local pub, O'Malley & Sons and the local brewery, Weston Brewing Company host an Irish Fest. There are a lot of these types of festivals around KC. I'm no historian, but I'd imagine it's because of a large number of Irish immigrants or possibly because we simply have multiple microbreweries with good beer. Whatever the reason, this festival was a lot like the rest: live entertainment, little shops set up in tents with Celtic jewelry and art, food, and of course, frosty beer of multiple varieties.

As we walked around, we decided to duck into the pub, O'Malley & Sons, and see what it was like. Here is the unassuming exterior of the building:

We walked inside and saw nothing but restrooms with long lines to our right. But, in front of us, a line of people was moving up and down a long staircase. My thoughts: Cool. Must be a basement bar. So, we followed the line of people down a long flight of stairs....down a ramp.....through a small room with a few tables..... down some more stairs....through a tunnel (my thoughts: Ok, really?? A tunnel? Is this a dungeon? There better be something cool at the end... my ankle [which is not fully healed from a recent sports injury] is killing me...

Finally, we arrived at this:

My thoughts: I haven't seen anything like this anywhere in the U.S. [I'm pretty well-traveled, having been to 3/4 of the states]... I haven't seen anything like this since my friend Michelle and I went to Germany and happened upon a small pub under the street near our hostel! Here are a few quick stats:

-O'Malley & Sons is the most sought-out pub by Irish musicians traveling the U.S.
-The Weston Brewing Company was built in 1842, and the three cellars that made up the original brewery are now home to O'Malley & Sons Pub
-The lower cellar of O'Malley's is nearly 60 (yes, sixty feet underground (the lower cellar is where we sat and had a beer and listened to the Irish band, pictured above)!
-The ceilings in the lower cellar are 20 feet high.
-O'Malley's is Weston, MO's tallest building, 6 stories, all located underground.
-The brewery, Weston Brewing company brews 5 beers year-round, and also brews special seasonal beers, including my favorite from our visit, Dropkick Ale.

My quick snapshots don't do this hidden gem justice. I am sure that I will soon return: the 25 mile drive is worth it to feel like you are in a different time and place... And, we spent the whole day at the pub -- there are many more attractions in Weston to visit, including antique stores, winter candle-lit home tours, shopping, a winery, and several bed and breakfasts. I'll be back!

P.S. As if having an awesome environment and tasty beer is not enough, Weston Brewing Company has some nicely designed labels on their beers, too: