Bloom Where You’re Planted

I wrote this as a comment response to a friend’s Facebook post about wanting to move out of Beaumont, but then I deleted that comment and posted here, for the world’s benefit because I believe that are many people who live in Beaumont who are frustrated with their life here, and I wanted to share some advice both given to me, and provided by me.

Dear Men Who Love Women Who Hate Their Bodies

I appreciate that you want to take part in breaking down the prevailing media stereotype about what defines beauty. Yes, stretch marks, scars, love handles, and more perceived “flaws” are beautiful. These freckles and wrinkles tell a story. They differentiate the person you love from strangers. They are a part of who you love, and thus, you love the flaw as much as you love her. This fact makes me happy to be alive and happy to be in love.

However, your significant other may not love this flaw. In fact, she may hate every single one (even the ones she points out daily that you still can’t find).

And unfortunately, there’s not a damn thing you can do.

Why Local Businesses Can’t Compete With Chains (and that’s OK, for now)

On the anniversary of popular local restaurant Goodfella’s last meal, I’m finding myself reflecting on a recent twitter conversation I had with beer enthusiast @the_pint_chaser, Kyler Keith.

Background: As a life-long Alamo Drafthouse fan, I saw them post a photo on twitter of their ribbon cutting in Lubbock, Texas – a windy, college town where I spent four years studying advertising. It left me missing the beautiful plateau, especially now that the town also boasts a Chuy’s, another institution from my past. I complained on twitter, as I frequently do, about when these two beautiful companies would set up in my current hometown. Keith sent me back a profound question:

“Why can’t we have local restaurants step up so we don’t need those?” – @the_pint_chaser

The result was a friendly but probing discussion of what chain restaurants mean to small towns and the local restaurants within them, albeit limited by Twitter’s 140 characters or less nature. The conversation has stayed in my mind, and Goodfella’s anniversary made it all the more important to write my thoughts down.

Humans of South East Texas Reflects Limitations of Living in SETX in a Beautiful Way

I’ve been a fan of Humans of New York (HONY) for about six months now, about the time Brandon Stanton, the human behind HONY, was gaining international attention for his book version of the popular Facebook page.

HONY is a photoblog that chronicles everyday life in New York City, specifically it’s people. There are many Facebook page copies, but the original is something that’s hard to replicate: it captures the essence of New York, even for those of us only lucky enough to have visited it. In fact, Stanton himself was a visitor to NYC when he coined the phrase “Humans of New York”.

Reaction to HONY posts are almost overwhelmingly positive. Stanton captures a range of human emotions, from the complex, to the insightful, to jubilation, even a few youngsters who were returning home to certain grounding.

Even the most inane posts are exactly what they intend to be: a snapshot of one person’s life in one moment. Each photo is accompanied by a caption, a quote from the individual that Stanton illicits through an open conversation with these complete strangers. The captions add to that snapshot.

I think Mashable’s article on Stanton captures his essence the best:

“Brandon Stanton has talked with 10,000 strangers and shared their stories with millions of people across the Internet.”

What Stanton really captures is the one thing I’ve learned most about journalism from writing for cat5: everyone has a story, and these stories unite us all as humans.

When I first saw Humans of South East Texas crop up on my Facebook, I was frustrated. Copying an original idea isn’t my favorite form of self expression. But, in a pursuit to keep an open mind, I liked the page anyways. There was one particular post, a photo of and quote from a former Merchant Marine, that warmed me up to the concept. I recognized his face, and I realized what Humans of South East Texas could capture that HONY would never: the effect of one person on a small town. Still, it has a long way to go before it lives up to the reputation of HONY and it faces many obstacles on that path.

Let Mobile Apps Drive Local Business

Local customers aren’t going to the mobile space, they are already there. If your business doesn’t have a website, an up-to-date Yelp account and a utilized Facebook page, you’re missing out on potential business.

Theater in Southeast Texas: Drama versus Comedy

This week, I had an exciting opportunity to examine the theater habits of Southeast Texans.

Ok, maybe that doesn’t sound exciting to most people, but the article had a marketing angle, and the piece would run in the Sunday edition of the Beaumont Enterprise as the cover story of the Entertainment section. Plus, I like defending the untapped cultural aspirations of locals. I think we can handle a lot more than is thrown at us.

But after conversations with representatives of the Beaumont Community Players, the Lutcher Theater in Orange, and Ad Hoc Beaumont, it was my own theater habits that I found under my microscope.

I Made a Thing

For the past few weeks, I’ve been compiling something that’s been on my mind since the first day I moved to Beaumont: happy hours.

A Love Letter to Texas Tech Football

I thought I could easily live in Beaumont since I lasted four years in Lubbock, Texas. While I’ve traded high winds for hurricanes and red dirt for cockroaches without too much protest, there’s one hole left in my life: college football.

In Defense of Beaumont

As a former Austinite and reluctant Beaumont immigrant, I never thought I’d write this blog. I’m one month away from my third year living in Beaumont, Texas, and it is time for Beaumont to start loving itself.

St. Arnold: Revisited

If I’m going to eat my own words, I might as well publish the process. After three years in Beaumont, I am officially a St. Arnold convert. The other day, I found myself monologue-ing on the merits of touring the St. Arnold brewery, salivating over their Oktoberfest, and expressing genuine dismay over someone who doesn’t “get” St. Arnold.

So, in other words, I’ve turned a complete 180 since this blog.

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