Old Fashioned Cocktail Promo, Stephen DeVries Photo, Dec. 2014

Task: Stephen wanted to send out a unique promo before the holidays that highlighted his attention to detail, and the quality of his food and beverage photography. During a trip to Kentucky's bourbon country last fall, we spotted two-ounce bottles of Four Roses Single Barrel. He quickly conceived of a cocktail kit of sorts that included the bottle of fine bourbon, a small bottle of bitters, and a sugar packet—all of the necessary ingredients for his favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned. 

The promo not only required excellent photography and tasteful design (executed by the talented people at Ideogram Studio), but also some language about the Old Fashioned and bourbon that matched his brand. I wrote a brief history of the Old Fashioned and bourbon for the promo. It was something energetic and to the point, while also carrying a certain informative, masculine elegance. 

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Oxlot 9, James Beard Award Entry in Restaurant Design, Branding Copy

Task: Crafting a statement no more than 250 words to describe the various facets of restaurant Oxlot 9's design. The copy had to explain how the physical decor, branding, and food all contributed to the overall design of the restaurant.

Copy:  Situated among the centuries-old oak trees and cozy cottages of Louisiana’s Northshore, Oxlot 9 has made the historic downtown of Covington a destination for upscale Southern seafood...


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Five Songs to Inspire Creativity, freshstylemag.com, Dec. 8, 2014

Sometimes on the weekends or during a rare quiet evening, a surge of creative energy will stir within me and demand an outlet. It might take me to the kitchen, where I’ll experiment with a new recipe. Or perhaps I’ll pick up my knitting needles or head to the sewing machine and get to work on a project. Those waves of creative inspiration can be unpredictable. Then there are those moments when I deliberately set out to make something and need some help getting the juices flowing. For those instances, I turn to music for a little help. 

Perhaps I find a well-written and beautifully performed song especially stirring because I’m a music lover but not much of an actual musician (unless you count children’s choir or those few years of mediocre piano lessons). Watching or listening to a person or group create art with so much emotion and synchronized intricacy plucks at my creative heartstrings. While I can’t imagine emulating that example, listening to good music pushes me to find my own creative outlet. 

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Breaking Through: WorkFaith Birmingham, Birmingham Magazine, Nov. 2014

When Kenwyen Eatmon was released from prison last January, he was determined to turn around his life. After serving four years and eight months for attempted murder, though, getting a steady job was no easy task. 

While Eatmon trained as an electrician in prison, he couldn’t get so much as an interview for a job using his trade. Even fast-food restaurants turned him away. More than a year passed and regular employment remained outside of Eatmon’s grasp. 

With the Bureau of Justice Statistics reporting that 75 percent of former prisoners face re-arrest within five years of their release, Eatmon’s unstable situation put him at especially high risk of recidivism. 

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A Fresh Take on the Paper Bag Book Cover, freshstylemag.com, Aug. 21, 2014

There’s something about returning to the familiar and making it fresh again that gets the creative juices flowing. With school back in session and fall nearly upon us, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate craft renewal project than the paper bag book cover.

While we’re no longer looking for a great way to decorate our lockers, covering books isn’t just for students. A nicely decorated cover can accent a bookshelf or side table. It can also make for creative gift-wrapping if you’re giving a favorite read to a loved one.

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Barcelona, Simply Gluten-Free Magazine, May-June 2014

A Mediterranean port city tucked among the hills of Spain’s northeastern coastline, Barcelona’s corridors of winding streets speak to more than a millennium of history. Yet, with a lively culinary and bar scene, and displays of modern fashion and politically charged graffiti, the Catalonian capital’s charm comes from the vibrance of constantly juxtaposing the old and new. 

My husband Stephen and I arrived in Barcelona on a Saturday night in early August, and were quickly introduced to the rhythms of Spanish life. We rented a room in a flat in the Barri Gòtic neighborhood, near the sea. Having dragged our bags more than a mile along the city’s cobbled streets, and then taken a five-floor walk-up, we were ready for sleep when we reached our room. For the rest of Barcelona, however, the night was just beginning. Our temporary flatmate, an Argentinian student on vacation, politely waited to let us into the apartment before joining half a dozen friends for a night on the town. While we put our explorations off until the morning, we drifted off to the lull of a city very much awake around us. 

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Bridging Divides: Scott Douglas III, Birmingham Magazine, Mar. 2014

It is difficult to contain within a single theme or idea the ongoing commitment to service and advocacy of Scott Douglas III. Since first coming to Birmingham in 1976, Douglas has advocated for the rural poor alongside Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and battled environmental injustice with the Sierra Club. After becoming executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM) in 1993, he has raised the banner of immigrant rights, advocated to reform the Alabama state constitution, and pushed for the overhaul of public transportation. For Douglas the most consistent element of his work is relational. “It’s about connecting people together,” he says.

Douglas started bridging gaps at a young age — not that forging those relationships came easy. He attributes his earliest lessons is social justice to his mother, who insisted that he give his favorite toy to a poor neighbor boy. “She impressed on us a sense of fairness for everybody,” he says of his mother.

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A View of the Garden, Freshstyle Magazine, Mar.-April 2014

When Kurt and Lisa Mertler began searching for and collecting old windows to build a greenhouse, materials came in fits and starts. Fortunately, some generous friends replaced the windows in their homes and gave the Mertlers the old ones. Then they found some at garage sales. The oldest window came from Kurt’s family farmhouse, built in 1875. With 62 windows in all and a recycled door on each end, people from at least five separate homes have peered through the glass that comprises the Mertlers’ greenhouse. While Lisa first conceived of the greenhouse after finding something similar on Pinterest, Kurt wasn’t sure it would be possible. Gathering the necessary materials was one thing, but having time to build it was another. When Kurt lost his job, however, he used his newfound free time to put his handyman skills to work. In the six weeks he was out of work their backyard became home to the new greenhouse.

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