A couple years ago I decided to Boycott Wal-Mart, I felt that supporting the big box stores was putting the local mom and pops stores out of business. Today I admit I cannot afford to shop at the grocery down the street, the recession has made me stop quenching everytime I walk into Wally world. I always said the minute I graduate college I would never step a foot inside a Wal-Mart. Oopps, I spoke to soon, it goes without saying never say never, and unfortunately many can argue that we can't always retain ourselves from the big yellow happy face and that wonderful rollback sign, but darn look at those numbers they really do have some of the lowest prices. Though I hate the idea as much as anyone, I’m going against my values and today I'll admit  I have temporary un-boycotted Wal-Mart. So my question to YA'LL: those who have found the secret, how have you managed to stay away from Big Box Stores in these times of crunching numbers?


Case Installation & Graphic Design completed for  WWW 1 Museum.

Case Installation & Graphic Design completed for 

WWW 1 Museum.

Recession Alternative:

What is an exhibit designer? Why would you do that instead of just practicing architecture? How much do you get paid? It seems that the world is curious as to why I would go into this instead of getting a job as an intern architect.

I will now explain my crazy detour.

After three months of sending my resume to everyone I knew, everywhere that was hiring, all my dream firms, and all the firms that sucked. I came to the conclusion hmmm ...what is going on - why is no one calling me back, not me, nor my friends. So I sat around and blamed the economy for a bit, and one morning I was searching (just for fun) the Kansas City Art Institute website. I went into their job posts, and there it was, a job post placed within the last hour. "Hiring exhibit designer" must have knowledge in, Auto cad, Sketchup, Photoshop etc, etc.

"Well..... I know all those the things, how hard could it be?" I send my resume, and within 30 minutes I received a phone call - within a week I was hired. Grateful to have a job in a somewhat related field, I was blind to the luck I had fallen into. This job combined everything I loved about architecture and took away all the boring stuff.

My thesis in architecture was on Flexible Architecture, and what’s more flexible then a portable exhibition, right? I love furniture design and interior design "who gets hired to do the interior of stores and build amazing custom pieces?" exhibit designers do, Hoorahh!

Why didn't I know of these people, I didn't even know this was a career choice? Within one week I was already designing things and sending them to be routed out in a warehouse - conveniently placed 5 steps away from my desk. I get to see firsthand how they carve, mold, table saw, and router it up.

Being an Exhibit Designer was never in my plans, but sometimes life deals us unexpected hands, and more often then not,we just have to learn to play them as best as we can.<---geez I'm such a cheese-ball, that last statement was C O R N Y, but hopefully you got the gist.



Last week I went on a mission to make sure I was living life the right way, making progressive steps toward my 30's. My Google journey led me to plenty of interesting sites, listing exactly what a person like me should be thinking about and striving for, right before reaching the big 30. Many of the articles pointed out things that were of common sense, but still I found things I have yet to concur. The following have been listed by personal importance.Things to do before you hit the big 30: Identify your goals is the first step, prioritize what is important to you on this list.

1- Pay of your credit card dept - don't just pay off the minimum, interest is killing you. Learn how to budget yourself; do not live beyond your means (I have a car that screams at me in the morning and my b/f has a car that looks like it was about to be crushed at salvage yard, and were both professionals but every time we contemplate on the idea we remember on how amazing not having a car payment is).

2- Start an emergency fund - it should be 6 months of your salary. (This can also be your savings for an immediate goal, like a wedding, a house, etc.)

3- Make sure that your credit is spotless

4- Strategize how to pay up those student loans-but remember life is short, so student loans have the lowest interest rates, so make it a point to live life and don't stress over them. Remember your education was well worth it...WELL WE HOPE.

5-Take risks, whether it is a new job , or starting up your own company, but be sure that your living of your emergency fund, and if you are going to use credit do not rank up more than 14,000 dollars, this tip I from Suze Orman.

6-Travel - abroad, or in house, traveling always makes you more aware of the world and gives you front seat to a culture and place. Broaden your horizons peeps.

7-Date against time - I strongly encourage dating several types of people, it helps you understand yourself, and also you become faster at weeding out the bad guys.

8-Live in a cool place- living somewhere that is not your hometown is a must. Living in a big city is also a plus because it makes you value more the price of land/and nature.

9-Do Volunteer work- Habitat for humanity, soup kitchens, or even what I did, replacing light bulbs in New Orleans with fluorescent lights, these small things can really make an impact on the way you see people, perceptions on life might change for the better.

10-Do something adventurous, physically challenging - we've all heard climb a mountain etc, but let me tell you, skydiving is amazing........, you should try it.

11-Drink it up- Drinking like a college fool only last so long, do it while your young because later you will only look like a drunken idiot.Oh and please gradually stop buying cheap wine, Franzia is not a wine, its fermented Koolaid.

12-Take those out to dinner who paid for you while you were in college - That reminds me I owe my friend Lisa a dinner, she send me a 50 dollar gift certificate to Walmart when i was in college hungry and running out of Ramon noodles and tuna.

14-Get something published - there is something amazing about seeing your name in print.

15-Get in to the habit of reading again - for those who lost the interest in college or just never had it, My college professor always said that my writing would improve the more I read (I know I'm still working on this one, probably my whole life)

16-Buy something really expensive - whether its a nice car or that Fendi purse you have always dreamed of, reward yourself at least once for all that hard work you've done.

17-Record your family history - it never hurts to really know how big of a mutt you are. This one personally might take me years.

18-Get all your yearly checkups - always listen to your body, but even if nothing is wrong get your yearly checkups.

19-Buy your own place - this has got to be the ultimate sign that you are all grown up, and the best investment you can make.

20-Work off the college pounds - I personally added this one, I didn't see it in any of the articles, but I figured you might want to look hot one last time before you have kids and have to temporarily whine about the extra pounds.So there you have it the list of all the things to do before turning 30, at least the ones that I'm living by, hopefully I can also start investing and building up my 401K soon. Remember the younger we start the better our futures will be.