Monday, March 30, 2009

Say What You Need to Say

In a new series of 15-second television spots that feature John Mayer's "Say" as a musical backdrop, Hallmark's new ad campaign reminds us that there are little things we can do that will have a big impact on people.

In the midst of the current economic recession, people are turning inward to close family and friends to get through the tough times. Sometimes something as little as a 99-cent greeting card is all it takes to give people a smile or a laugh.

I for one, am very proud of this ad campaign and of Hallmark.

Have no fear for givin' in
Have no fear for gettin' over
You better know that in the end
It's better to say to much
Than to never say what you need to say...

-John Mayer, "Say"

Thursday, March 26, 2009


March's theme for the Artist Trading Card (ATC) trade at Hallmark was "red." I still have my hard-core group coming to trade. It's such a fun and creative exercise!

Here are a sample of the ATCs.

You can see more at my ATC blog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

visiting lecture series

Today Baron Wolman, the first chief photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, came to do a lecture at Hallmark.

It was really cool to hear his stories and see his images of musicians during the 1960's and 1970's. It was amazing to hear how up close and personal he got with the artists and built relationships to capture that unique photo during the defining moments of Woodstock. Nowadays there are layers of security before you can get to a musician!

Wolman, said he "saw" the music with his eyes through his lens because he was always taking photos of the performance and not having the change to hear the music.

One of the life lessons I took from Wolman was to say "yes to everything." He was a freelance photographer in San Francisco when he ran across the opportunity to take photos for a music magazine. That magazine became the Rolling Stone. Wolman said if you say no to something you don't know what you're saying no to. If you say yes and it doesn't work out you say no next time.

After three years at Rolling Stone Wolman learned how to fly an airplane so he could do ariel photography. He flies his plane, opens the window and takes his photos all at the same time! He was the first photographer allowed in the locker rooms before a pro NFL game. And he's shot may Super Bowl games from the air.

With all of those accomplishments Wolman was overwhelmed with the "cloud of creativity" he felt when he walked through our Hallmark doors. Wow...

Here are some of the images Wolman showed and told stories about in his lecture.

• Johnny Cash, backstage at the Circle Star Theatre, Redwood City, Dec 1967

• Mick Jagger, on the set of Performance, London, Sep 1968 (Shepperton Studios)

• Miles and Betty Davis, at home in New York. Oct 1969

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

Lately, Paul Rudd has been popping up all over the place. Some people know him as Phebi's boyfriend from Friends, some know him from Clueless, or maybe you have just started to notice him lately as "that one dude from Forty Year Old Virgin". What many of you might not know is that Rudd is from Kansas City, KS. He went to Shawnee Mission West, and eventually KU to study theater.

Well, this week you can catch Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in the hilarious new comedy, I Love You, Man. I had the privilege of seeing this movie about a month ago, and it was truly very funny. The Lawrence based, movie critic site, Scene Stealers, held an advanced screening for the movie, and this is what they had to say (click the link for a video review). My review? Well, i was an interesting twist on a pretty generic plot. Rudd and Segel carry the movie with dry, awkward humor. But it isn't without a love story, with that girl from The Office, Jim's ex. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good laugh (especially if it rains this weekend).

If you are a fan of an animated feature more, Paul Rudd is also playing a voice in the new Dreamworks animation Monsters VS Aliens. Another movie I liked lots, but this one doesn't come out until next week. The animation is just breath-taking, and really, any movie is just SOO cool to watch in 3D. When you are done seeing the movie, you can go out and buy some of our licensed cards too and understand the characters.

OK, that's it. Enjoy your weekend.

PS. Congrats to KU for moving on today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Surreal World

Here is something fun to start out the week:

World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.
A strange man builds a world using holographic tools for the woman he loves.

This award winning short was created by filmmaker Bruce Branit, widely known as the co-creator of '405'. World Builder was shot in a single day followed by about 2 years of post production. Branit is the owner of Branit VFX based in Kansas City.He has also done visual effects for many popular commercials, movies, and TV shows. Including my personal favorite, LOST. For more info check out his website.

Beautiful weather we are having here in Kansas City. Be jealous (if you are not here of course).


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kansas City View

A panoramic view of downtown of Kansas City

I just ran across this really awesome panoramic photo of downtown Kansas City on Wikipedia. I thought it would be nice to share on here with readers not familiar with the city. It was taken just a month ago, and it looks like the person that took the photograph was on top of Liberty Memorial.

Click on the image for a high resolution view, and if you look at the very right of the photograph you can see a bit of the Hallmark HQ buildings (look for the white tent).

Directly in the center is Union Station, and if you look up from there you can sort of see the cranes that are currently building the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The photographer that took this was facing north, I wish there was another one facing south. There's a lot more south of the memorial, I'll keep searching!

Friday, March 13, 2009

200 Mile Radius - Home Grown

All week, most Hallmarks were looking forward to this particular presentation because we were promised free food. And they didn't disappoint...

Hilary Brown from Local Burger was our first presenter today. She told us about how she grew up feeling sick from all the food that she ate, which installed in her the dream of making healthy fast food in a casual environment. That's why in 2005, she opened up her fully organic, totally LOCAL restaurant. She went on to prove how healthy it actually was, by showing us her video "Localize Me" (get it? Like Supersize me? eh!?). It's about a man who eats all fast food, switches to only eating Local Burger, and sees a dramatic change for the better.
*note -Sergio was here! See what he thought here.

Next was BadSeed Farm. The vision of Farmer Brooke, a twenty something rebel, wanted to make food with LOVE. Her story was an inspirational one, where she grew up angry and "punk rock". Which led to her traveling the world, farming in foreign countries instead of becoming an artist. Which then led to her finding out that her place was back on her home soil. Now she teaches classes on how to start your own gardens, and you can find her food at the Organic Farmers' Market every friday night or at the City Market

Good Natured Family Farms' Diana Endicott told us about there plethora of organic and local foods that are sold locally through the Buy Fresh Buy Local program via Hen House Grocery stores. Products including: All Natural Beef, Free-Range Chicken, Farm Fresh Milk, All-Natural Pastured Pork, Local Honey, Farmhouse Cheese, Free-Range Eggs, Midwest Prairie Bison, Native, Wild Fruit Jellies, Local Farm Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Free-Range Heritage Turkeys all from Kansas and Missouri.

To nosh on, Local Burger brought samples of all there burgers, and some deserts. BadSeed had homemade beer-bread and homemade organic apple-butter. Good Natured had pita chips and hummus, bison jerky, and cheese plates. Trust me, I had one of everything, and I didn't have ONE gripe. It might have been the best part of my day. Jeanee seemed to be enjoying every bite as well. But you can blame me for not having a picture of us doing so.

All of this goodness also inspired me to go out this weekend and get the supplies to start my own garden.

Happy Friday in Sunny KC. ;)

PS. Check back Monday for photos. I had to leave work early today and i am posting from home without them. Sorry.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

200 Mile Radius - upcycling

Today's presenter was Housing Development Manager Chris Kious, founder and partner of A Piece of Cleveland. Chris has always been fascinated by the varying definitions of "waste" that exist throughout the world. Every year in Cleveland, a thousand homes are demolished. APOC takes the two-by-fours, framing lumber, doors, and wooden floors of these buildings and upcycles them as chairs, lamps, tables, bookcases, cutting boards, counter tops and conference tables.

Instead of taking a 2x4 piece of wood and recycling it into mulch, Chris upcycles. He takes that 2x4 and turns it into a higher quality item. APOC celebrates the legacy of this lumber by sharing its story in the re-birth certificate attached to each piece.

Here is some of their work from wood that would have been thrown away:

A drawing for two APOC lamps and one cutting board was held after the presentation. None of the cre•a•tiv•i•ty member won a prize. I wanted one of those lamps SO BAD!

More APOC:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

200 Mile Radius - Sustainability in Action

As I mentioned before, a big trend in culture is being green. One of the top experts in this field is Simran Sethi...
Right in our own backyard... Simran Seth, award-winning journalist, teaches courses on sustainability and environmental communications at the University of Kansas. Simran is named one of the top ten eco-heroes of the planet by the UK's Independent and lauded as the "environmental messenger" by Vanity Fair. Simran has contributed segments to the Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Oprah Winfrey Show (above photo recycling with Oprah), The Today Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show and Martha Stewart Show to name a few. She is committed to a redefinition of environmentalism that includes voices from the prairie, the inner city and the global community. Simran serves on the Sustainability Advisory Board in Lawrence, Kansas and is the Chair of the City's working group on climate change policy, education and outreach.

Her unique approach to fighting "the good fight" left me without words (even now i am having trouble writing this). She explains the concept that changing the way we live in general will have it's impact on the environment. She touched on subjects such as: communities & relationships, clothing, energy, transportation, media consolidation, fostering art, commerce, nature, waste, and even how global issues like terrorism can relate to climate change. Very interesting.
Since Simran is from our area, her talk was focused on what our region is doing, and could be doing to better itself. Specifically, she mentioned Kansas and wind-power, and preserving the Haskell-Baker Wetlands—577 acres, inhabited by 312 different species. Below is a piece she did for the Sundance Channel on the success of Greensburg, Kansas (which she showed part of at the presentation).

The Good Fight

I'm personally glad she is part of my 200 Mile Radius.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

200 Mile Radius - kids & shopping

Today’s Trend Week presentation was by Cheri Sterman, Director of Child Development & Consumer Relationships at Crayola. Cheri is a “kid expert” and one of the top 5 experts in kid’s marketing. She spoke on how kids impact today and the future.

Well, I’m not going to give out ALL of Cheri’s secrets, but today the nation is more child centered than ever! Before cereal, toy and children’s television companies targeted to kids branding. Now every brand needs to capture a child’s attentions. Why? Because by the age of three a child knows 100 brands!

Children influence what their parents purchase and where to purchase it. And by the age of six they have their own money to make their own purchases.

Why are parents buying so much? Well, parents don’t discipline like they used to. They reward their children with small gifts. With the economic downturn that gifts needs to have a lot of value for the money spent. And “mom” wants to be sure she buying items that her family enjoys and nothing is going to waste.

As early as two-years old a child can sit in a shopping cart and point to what they want. Companies need to capture that child as early as possible to get a sale today and retain that customer for the future.

Monday, March 9, 2009

200 Mile Radius

Every year Hallmark sets up a week long event that allows us to stay relevant with emerging and evolving trends. This year is especially germane to our blogging experience, because the theme of 2009 is 200 Mile Radius, showing us the importance of the amazing resources in our own backyard. "Trends Week" kicks off with an introduction by our very own Marita Wesely. Her fast-paced slideshow hit on the topics that will be unraveling in the rest of the presentations throughout the week. To summarize, Marita shows us that most of the trends this year will be based on our falling economy and how we can make the most of it. Or how we can focus our energy on something else, like getting out and doing something for your fellow man, or the environment (she mentioned Kansas is the fifth most volunteering state in the US). The future is about taking charge of your own life and being somebody. Intense.

Jeanee and I will keep will keep you in the loop about these presenters throughout the week:
Cheri Sterman, Director of Child Development & Consumer Relationships — Crayola
Simran Sethi, journalist
Chris Kious, founder and partner — A Piece of Cleveland

and then Friday is:
Hilary Brown, Local Burger, Lawrence, KS
Brooke Salvaggio (Farmer Brooke), Bad Seed, Kansas City, MO
Diana Endicott, Coordinator of Good-Natured Family Farms, a group of "natural" meat and vegetable producers
(this presentation includes food, so i'm pretty excited!)

Stay tuned!

DJ Contest

On Saturday The Pitch held their Ultra Music DJ Contest for 2 tickets to attend this year's Winter Music Conference in Miami. In past years, The Pitch has sent the big winner to Miami, paying airfare and hotel and hooking them up with a gig. But with this year's economy they could only provide the two admission tickets. They could have cancelled the whole thing, but they felt the event was good for the DJs and the Kansas City music scene.

My husband Shaun entered and WON!

This was his 1st DJ competition. He was happy to be 1 of 5 DJs to compete out of 20 submissions. He was even more elated that he won.

Two of the judges were last year's winners, Nomathmatics. Better known to us Hallmarkers as John and Sheppa.

I had super fun as you can see from me dancing with some other Hallmarkers cuttin' a rug too! I think it's funny that The Pitch photo caption said, "Mrs. Shaun Duval well deserves her place on the pedestal." I'm not quite used to the "Mrs." title yet, but I'm so proud.

HA... us Halmarkers know how to get down though! Check The Pitch slideshow for more photos.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A story to make you smile.

I read this story today, about the lovely ladies below, who were photographed in 2007 and featured on their very own Hallmark card in 2009. Hope it brings a smile to your day!

Now get out there and enjoy this beautiful KC weather:

[weather courtesy of]

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

31 Veggie Burgers in 31 Days!

Ok. I have to tell you guys about a blog that a fellow Hallmarker is keeping this month. Sergio Moreno is a writer here for Hallmark's Sinceramente line and he LOVES veggie burgers.

Sergio is also turning 31 this month.

March coincidentally has 31 days in it.

Hmmmm.... 31 Veggie Burgers in 31 Days! <---click to see the blog.

Even if you don't love veggie burgers like Sergio does, the blog is worth a look. He is keeping a video diary of all the fun places he's going to eat, so you'll get to see some fine Kansas City establishments.

Oh, and Sergio also a black eye... which I'm hoping he shares the origin of by the end of his veggie burger journey. Bon appétit!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Peggy Noland • KC Fashion Designer Spotlight

Peggy Noland • Kansas City

I love Peggy Noland's vibrant work! she's actually the daughter of hallmarkers, and had a fashion show here during our Color Week in August. Jeanne posted about it. She has dressed and collaborated with a few of my favorite bands and musicians, like: CSS, The SSION (who are local to KC as well), Cazwell, and Tilly and the Wall

I got a chance to see the new look of her store, located in the crossroads arts district, not too far away from where we work.

Her tiny shop evolves and changes with her current line of clothes, it's much closer to an art installation. Last spring she said the inside was painted to look like a cheeseburger, then in the summer it turned into a fluffy cloud. Now it's covered in plush teddy bears, rabbits, purple Barney's, Telletubbies, Bubbahs and other children's toys to resemble the inside of vending machine.

The Kansas City Star
featured her in this Sunday's Arts & Entertainment section. Check this girl out!