Learning Journalism: Getting Paid for my Blog Post

There was going to be a story about an antique bookstore posted here the other week, but instead it ended up on the Dallas Observer website.

I’m a Fashion Media student at SMU, and while it sounds like something else, it really is a Journalism major. this is why I sometimes just tell people I’m a Journalism major. I take fashion and media classes, but it’s all centered around journalism and writing, which is why I like it.

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Anyway, my favorite class this semester is News Reporting. Not only do I love the hands-on, project-based pace of the class and think my professor is the literal coolest person ever (she’s straight-up Rory Gilmore in my head), but it’s been the coolest thing to actually act like a journalist.

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I got to attend an event as a journalist for the first time- the SMU Career Fair. This involved lots of sweaty awkward interviews I didn’t know how to do and then camping out at the dining hall next door to eat nachos and type out the article.

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Click here to check out my first published article ever! It’s on the school paper, SMU Daily Campus. 

My next event story was basically to stalk my cool fashion-designing aunt.

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It was cool to actually interview my aunt and hear about her company from her words instead of just seeing her work. I know I talk about her company a lot so I won’t re-explain the awesomeness that is Filip+Inna, but you can read my article for more information if you need it!

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Click here to read my article about my aunt’s trunk show! Also on SMU Daily Campus!

And then. The big leagues.

This is where that article went.

I mentioned to my News Writing professor about an article I was writing for my blog. I had discovered my favorite local antique bookshop closing in Downtown Mckinney and was writing a story about it. My professor convinced me to send it to her so she could pitch it to the Dallas Observer. Long story short, I’m published!

The DO editor is still accepting some of my stories so this isn’t over!

I can officially say I am now a freelance writer for the Dallas Observer website! It’s honestly so cool and I love it!

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Things I’ve learned so far:

  • Side hustles are not in vain. The only reason why I now get paid for stories is because I had some already ready. My professor saw my initiative, writing for my blog, and that’s how I was able to jump to getting published so easily. Sometimes I doubt whether this is a waste of my time or not, but I love it when I’m proved wrong.
  • Connections are everything. Make friends with the professors you want to be!
  • Freelance writing for news publishers isn’t as scary as I thought. I started literally submitting things I was turning in for homework anyway since my professor was friends with the editor and encouraged me to do so.
  • Come up with a good headline so they don’t have to. I forgot to write up a good headline for the Mckinney bookstore one, so they wrote me one. Problem is, I prefer to use words like “dang.” Oh well.

Click here for my Dallas Observer post!

Behind-the-Scenes at a Runway Show

Okay, this is waaaaay overdue! But here it is! My experience going behind-the-scenes at a runway show in Dallas.

Watch and see what it’s like prepping and running a fashion show!

Fashioned for Freedom is an annual event that benefits My Refuge House in the Philippines.

 

Competing in a Best Friend Vs. Sister Challenge (things got weird)

 

Due to my compulsion to document everything (I’m a journalism major, give me a break!), the much-anticipated (mostly by Elaine who knew she would beat me) sister vs. best friend trivia challenge ensued. 

Elaine has been my sister’s best friend for over 10 years now, and along with her weirdly good memory and my weirdly bad one, we truly had no idea how this challenge would play out.

I spent about a day editing this, mostly because I insert random vines and memes that don’t make much sense, but I think it turned out pretty entertaining. Enjoy!!

Coffee Shop Awards of 2017

I did it! I compiled a list of my favorite coffee shops I discovered in 2017.

Here I have 14 places to get your cup of joe.

Please keep in mind that I am not a coffee expert. At all. A coffee shop expert? Possibly. But mainly I’m a coffee addict.

Ever thought about how coffee is kinda just weird bean soup? Think about it.

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SNUG ON THE SQUARE | Go-to Brunch Coffee 

Mckinney, Texas

  • Best Breakfast Award
    • Amazing breakfast choices for decent prices. My favorite is their oatmeal combo!
  • Best Location Award
    • Set at the heart of Mckinney Square, it’s the perfect place to meet up with people and walk around the cute antique shops right after!

Hustle Rating: ♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Snug on the Square is a two-parter. Next door to the coffee shop is the restaurant, though the two flow into each other easily. It gets pretty busy on the weekends, so try to go during a weird time. They do offer milk substitutes. On Sunday nights they host a worship service!

http://snugonthesquare.com/


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HOUNDSTOOTH COFFEE| Downtown Modern Coffee Shop

Dallas, Texas

  • Best Productive Workspace Downtown Award
    • Great place to get things done at the center of Dallas. (Though this picture doesn’t showcase much hustling, my grandma was really enjoying her donut.)

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥

The baristas here really know their stuff. It’s a great place to try different roasts with different tasting notes. It’s a camp-out-with-your-laptop-because-you’re-cool environment.

https://www.houndstoothcoffee.com


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FROGG COFFEE BAR & CREPERIE | The European Street Corner

Allen, Texas

  • Best Café for Sitting Outside
    • This Watters Creek shopping center in Allen, Texas has this big grassy area with beautiful trees and a little creek with cute little statues. It’s a super pretty area that never gets too loud and is perfect for a day with nice weather.
  • European Haven Award
    • Look how cute! It’s very europe-esque, and they have BOMB crépes
  • Best Place to Bring Kids and Dogs
    • Guess what? There’s an outdoor playground right outside the patio! Just the right distance for you to keep an eye out for the kiddos while you’re sipping an espresso.

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥

Great for both working and socializing. Sad for people (like me) who can’t eat crepes, but hey! Coffee is gluten free! (Also, they have omelets!)

http://www.froggcoffee.com


IMG_3901SUCRÉ CAFE | Absolute Asian Heaven

  • Most Visited by Isabel Award
    • During the schoolyear of 2016-2017 when I attended Collin College and took classes mostly at the Spring Creek Campus, I was at Sucré at least once a week. Most of the baristas still know me by name. At one point they even gave me discounts just because.
  • The First Open Mic Night I Ever Participated In
    • (Pictured below for proof.) If nothing has changed, they have open mic nights every last Tuesday night of the month! (But don’t take my word on that.)
  • Best Food!
    • Since opening, the place has expanded their food menu SO MUCH. Literally everything I’ve had there is amazing. They have rice bowls, different types of fries, chicken bites (of which I have probably consumed gallons by now), and many other AMAZING asian treats to keep you satisfied.
  • Isabel is Addicted Award
    • They have BOBA. Repeat. THEY HAVE BOBA. Not only is their coffee menu crazily extensive, but they offer slushes, smoothies, and THE best boba tea I have ever had. They make the pearls from scratch every day.

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

https://www.yelp.com/biz/sucre-cafe-plano

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FILTERED | The Hidden Musical Gem of Mckinney

  • My Best Friend’s Favorite Coffee Shop Award
    • My best friend loves it there, and the baristas all know her.
  • Cutest Artwork Award
    • I love the local art they post on the walls!
  • Most Musical
    • There are a bunch of instruments (and a piano) set out for people to jam on at their leisure. I’ve busted out a tune there myself and everyone there
    • is so supportive of random music-making!

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥

Great place to get work done (except the occasional possibly distracting jam sessions, though those are random and not usually too disruptive), but also offers board games. Located at Mckinney square, so again, great places to explore in the area.

https://getmefiltered.com

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SUMMER MOON | My Go-To Coffee Shop

Frisco, Texas

  • My Family’s Favorite
    • It’s our go-to, being only a few minutes from my parents’ house. And yeah, we have t-shirts.

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Amazing coffee. Sometimes crowded (which makes sense because it’s great), but it’s super cute and has a great atmosphere.

http://woodfiredcoffee.com/frisco
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SALUBRIOUS JUICE+MORE | My First Coffee Shop Job

  • Healthiest Options Award
    • Organic and vegan! Not only is the coffee good, but they offer smoothies, cold-pressed juices and immune shots!

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

I applied for a job before it even opened, and was hired as the very first employee. When it started out, it was just me, the manager and the owner. The owner had me not only make drinks, but run the social media, paint artwork for the walls and make a full mural, as well as take photos for advertisements. It’s a great place for a quiet place to work, and the manager is super nice! I don’t work there anymore but I’ve stopped by to grab coffee a couple times.

http://www.salubriousjuiceandmore.com

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THE NEST | Super Cool Hidden Gem of Frisco

Frisco, Texas

  • Best Gluten-Free Food Around!
    • THE. BEST. Gluten free bread I’ve had!!! Amazing brunch. CRAZZZZYY GOOD sandwiches!
  • Quietest and Coolest Spot Award
    • I don’t mind spending hours there.

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

It’s a favorite for sure. Great for getting stuff done, or getting brunch with friends and family. Super friendly staff as well!

https://www.nestcafe.net

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DAVIS STREET ESPRESSO | Take a Bus to Serious Coffee

Dallas, Texas

  • Most Serious Coffee Experience Award
    • No milk substitutes which makes me real sad. Buuuut they’re serious about their beans!

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥

https://www.nestcafe.net

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XO COFFEE | Pretty Girl Boss Cave

Plano, Texas

  • Prettiest Place to Get Work Done
    • Super cute coffee shop! Great place to work!
  • Amazing Coffee Shop Tacos

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥

I was very pleased to find that they serve incredible tacos. But it’s a super cute spot in adorable downtown Plano. Bring a sweater, I feel like I’m always so cold there. But it’s nice and bright with cute decor!

http://xocoffeeco.com

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3E5C678D-682A-4168-98C8-DE14A406A849.JPGMUDSMITH | The Hipster Go-To

Dallas, Texas

  • The “They Have Kombucha!” Award
    • Yup. They have kombucha.

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥

It was a little dark for my liking when it came to studying, but I suppose if you were there for either meeting with friends or working on your laptop, it’s great! Super hipster. Great coffee, kombucha, and juice!

http://www.mudsmithcoffee.com

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IMG_2093.JPGROYAL BLUE GROCERY | Coolest Spot for Coffee and Food in Dallas

Dallas, Texas

  • Nicest People Award 😉
    • 😉
  • Celebrity Spotting?
    • Located at Highland Park, it is frequented by many different people. The likes of Anne Hathaway, Owen Wilson, and Matthew Mcconaughey have been some.
  • Coolest Grocery Store That Exists Probably in the Whole World
    • Wanna get coffee, lunch, and wine, all while getting your grocery shopping done? It’s the perfect place!

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

https://www.royalbluegrocery.com

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463DBD08-304C-49A5-A44C-3B55B0414B77.JPGODDFELLOWS | Super Cool Restaurant I Treated Like a Coffee Shop

Dallas, Texas

  • Photogenic Food Spot Award

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥

Only been there once, but I stayed pretty much all day. Got a bunch of stuff done, had good coffee, and met with a good friend!

http://www.oddfellowsdallas.com

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F4868110-FDC1-4648-92A1-A9D92DB7459A.JPGBIRD BAKERY | Cupcakes That Make Me Love Life

  • Gluten-free Desserts That I Sometimes Dream About
    • The CUPCAKES
  • Prettiest Bakery in Dallas
    • Pink neon signs? I think yes.

Hustle Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Social Butterfly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Instagram-ability Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Healthy-friendly Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Amazing pastries, super good coffee and kombucha, and great food! Located right by Royal Blue so spending the day in the area is a really good idea.

http://www.birdbakery.com

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Dallas Art Museum

My childhood best friend came back into town, bringing along her boyfriend. The three of us explored Dallas a bit, making a stop at the Dallas Museum of Art.

I love them to death, but don’t even try to bring athletes to an art museum. They’re both in college with huge golf scholarships and are crazy good at what they do, but couldn’t last very long at an art museum. Meanwhile, there was me. I could’ve spent the whole day there, but it’s okay. We went and got popsicles.

 

0561BF9D-2BF4-4092-901C-3DBFDF63B804Here are a couple of my favorite pieces we saw in our visit. The one above impressed me with its amazing texture. F20D1924-54F5-4E63-A7C5-0E5A77FA56C0

This one was by Félix Hilaire But, called “At the Boulevard de Clichy.” It was in a small section about French sketches. I loved it because it was just pencil, watercolor, and paper, some of my most used mediums, yet it was so masterfully created. The minimalism and simplicity of the lines and the fact that it wasn’t very detailed, yet each stroke served its purpose, amazed me.

Troy and His Series of Unfortunate Events

 

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You see that beautiful piece of zebrawood I’m holding? That gorgeously crafted piece of art? That is my electric-acoustic Ibanez, commonly known as Troy.

(Side note: My first guitar was a classical named Gabriella, so maybe you can connect the theme here. I unfortunately can’t plug her in or put a strap on her, so I needed an acoustic guitar to be able to bring around and use for church and performances and stuff.)

Yesterday, Troy died for the third time.

Get ready for a musical story of love and heartbreak. If you’re a musician of any sort, this might be hard to read. Just bear with me. Stay strong.

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Right after the picture above was taken (the picture of me and my best friend, not the gif of Will Ferrel…), I forgot Troy at our church building. It was right after I had done a rendition of “Beautiful” by MercyMe, and I had headed to work right after. Luckily, I was meeting a friend later that day, so I just asked her to grab it for me. The thing is, Troy didn’t have a case at this time. I had still been saving up to buy one. And unfortunately, the strap was a little finicky. While my friend carried it, the strap came undone, and CRASH.

Troy was decapitated.

Pretty much.

Well, his head was hanging off. (Technically it’s called a headstock, but… details.)

Needless to say, my friend was mortified. And it’s been a while since I’d seen her freak out that much. She knew how much I love Troy.

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We took turns comforting each other during this emotionally traumatic time. Luckily, she being the good friend she is, paid for Troy’s repair. Guitar Center fixed him for $150. Looking back, I should’ve just used the money to buy a replacement guitar, but hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?

Troy was fixed.

The End.

Right?

No.

Months later, on a road trip to visit our friends in College Station as pictured below, I decided it was a good idea to leave Troy in my friend’s car overnight.

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Worst. Idea. Ever.

You see, I had left Troy in the car many times before and it was fine! That is, I left him in the car many times before he was damaged. I didn’t even think about how his fragile state could affect his ability to withstand the intense Texas heat.

On the way home, I found Troy dead again. His head was once more hanging lose. The glue from his repair had come undone, and we were back to having a broken guitar.

This time, my parents were angels and agreed to pay for his repair. Once more, I really really really should’ve just bought a new guitar. I really really really really really really should have.

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Anyway.

After going to a big worship music ministry conference with my church, I was super inspired to start playing Troy again.

It was a Sunday night. 8:04 pm. I was in my dorm room. I opened the hard case I now keep him in, and there he was.

This time, completely decapitated. His head(stock) wasn’t even hanging, it was just completely off.

My guitar was in two pieces.

Keep in mind, I got Troy for Christmas, but had to still pay my parents half of his cost. He was $399. I’ve spent $250 on repairs by now. And he just freaking KEEPS BREAKING.

After a very intense cry session in which I had a questioning-my-life-and-contemplating-quitting-music-forever-and-never-picking-up-an-instrument-ever-again-maybe-this-whole-thing-is-an-omen-and-I-should-just-live-a-music-less-and-miserable-existence breakdown…….

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I eventually gathered myself together. An omen to stop music? Ridiculous.

I took the poor guitar to Guitar Center, and a nice man who worked there heard my sob story and offered to repair it for free, since their last repair was only a little over a month ago. There he now sits, getting his third surgery. But the Guitar Center repairman told me that he won’t last long. He explained that it’s like having a wrecked car. You can fix it, but it will never be the same. It’ll just keep breaking.

Basically, I need a new guitar. I’ll still have Troy, but I need something I can actually bring around since he’ll only last maybe a couple more months.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do, honestly. My plan was to save money for an electric guitar and a keyboard. Now I have to backtrack and figure out how to get a replacement acoustic. No new toys until I replace it. Do I get the same guitar as a replacement? Do I get a different one? Should I just get a keyboard instead? Should I wait until Black Friday? Or Christmas?

I don’t know. I’m bad at decisions. I’m still looking around and spending a questionable amount of time at Guitar Center feeling out the instruments and trying to figure out what I need to buy and with what money. We’ll see what happens.

So there you have it. The story of how Troy died. Three times. And though he’s getting repaired again, his life is over. So let’s just end this weird cliff hanger of an ending with some pictures commemorating our good times together.