Are you up to the challenge of writing a novel in 30 days? November is National Novel Writing Month

LinkedIn

Each November, there is a writing challenge that takes place around the world. The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenges writers to pen a 50,000-word novel within 30 days. During 2017, over 400,000 people participated in the annual event.

Many people like the challenge of writing the novel in one month, but most have no idea what to do with it once it’s done. That’s where an expert writing coach can come into play and help take the novel from a challenge to a published book.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to write an entire novel in a month,” explains Annalisa Parent, writing coach and award winning author. “The last thing you want to do is close the document or tuck it in a drawer and never do anything else with it. You did the hardest part, now all you need to do is take the next steps to take it all the way.”

As an expert writing coach, Parent has helped countless people around the world to finish their novel, edit their manuscript to publishable, work their way through the publishing process, and successfully market their book to the masses. She offers one-on-one chat sessions to provide a customized approach to guiding each writer in the specific areas they need help in.

Parent offers a wide variety of guidance for writers and can help those who are taking part in the NaNoWriMo by:

  • Guiding them through the editing process once they have finished their novel.
  • Helping them to determine what to do with the book once they have finished the editing process.
  • Working with them to target publishers that publish books in their genre.
  • Helping them to successfully reach their target market to help sell the book once it has been published.
  • Boosting the writer’s confidence so they feel they can meet the demands of the publishing process and come out successful.

“Every November it’s a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something great in the creative world,” adds Parent. “National Novel Writing Month is just the start of something beautiful. But it can go on to be the start of a wonderful writing career if you play your cards right and take those steps to get you there. I’ve helped many people to get their novel published, and it never stops being a wonderful feeling for us both.”

Parent has coached hundreds of writers and has taught over 100 writing courses around the world. She works with fiction authors, as well as entrepreneurs seeking to write their expert book. Her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline won the CIPA EVVY Silver Award in Best Business Books, and earned a merit award in the Humor category. She has been a featured speaker on writing-related topics across the globe, and she has been a guest on a variety of television, radio, and podcast shows, sharing her secrets for how to write, publish, and sell your book.

Parent is also currently offering a 2019 Writing Gym in England Retreat. To learn more about the retreat, visit the website at: datewiththemuse.com/retreatFor more information about Annalisa Parent, her book, and her coaching services, visit her site at: datewiththemuse.com. For more information on how to become a published author, download her free e-book TheSix Secrets to go from Struggling Writer to Published Author here: datewiththemuse.com/6secrets.

Facebook just bought a furniture shopping startup

LinkedIn
facebook-shop

Facebook has acquired GrokStyle, a shopping startup that uses AI to help you buy furniture and other items for the home. The move, which was reported by Bloomberg, is the latest sign yet that the social network is looking to push deeper into e-commerce in 2019.

Facebook spokesperson Vanessa Chan confirmed the acquisition saying, “We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook. Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities.”

GrokStyle, which was founded in 2016 according to CrunchBase, is a San Francisco startup specializing in visual search. The company is known for technology that allows shoppers to search for furniture and other items by taking photos with their phones. Last year, the company partnered with Ikea on its augmented reality furniture app.

In a note posted on its website, the company said it had “only scratched the surface of what is possible with computer vision.”

“Our team and technology will live on, and we will continue using our AI to build great visual search experiences for retail.”

It’s not clear exactly what team within Facebook GrokStyle and its “AI capabilities” will be a part of. But it’s another potential sign that Facebook plans to move deeper into shopping features.

The company has been steadily adding shopping features to Instagram, but hasn’t said much about similar shopping experiences in other places.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

Five New Year’s Resolutions Would Be Novelists Should Set

LinkedIn

With the New Year right around the corner, it’s a great time to start thinking about your resolutions. Everyone should set goals at the beginning of the year, so they have some idea of what it is that they want to accomplish.

In other words, by setting goals you will solidify your long-term vision for what it is that you want to achieve. There are some great resolutions for writers to set that will keep them productive and working toward their publishing goals.

“Every January we get a fresh start, we get a chance to make plans about what we want to complete in the New Year,” explains Annalisa Parent, writing coach and award winning author. “It’s so important that writers make resolutions every January. By getting those goals out of your head and down on paper, you will be one step closer to making them happen.”

Many people are skeptical about setting New Year’s resolutions, fearing that they will not see them through. While it’s true that many people do abandon their resolutions within weeks of making them, there are many others who stick with them and are successful in accomplishing what they set out for themselves. You can never accomplish a goal that you don’t take the time to set.

Parent is an expert writing coach who has helped many writers through all aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing their novel. Here are five New Year’s resolutions she offers for every writer:

  1. To finish your novel. Every writer seems to have an unfinished novel on their hands. Make 2019 the year that you finish the novel so that it’s no longer nagging you. Once you get it done, you will feel better about it and can move toward the next steps to get it published.
  2. To read more. Every writer needs to be an avid reader. If you haven’t been getting much reading done, it’s important to make it a priority. Whether you read a book a month or a book a week, you need to keep reading. It’s important because it helps expose you to what’s been written and published.
  3. To work with a writing coach. Working with a writing coach can do wonders for your writing career. It can help you get organized, finish your book, get your book published, and market your book in a successful way.
  4. To embrace your writing style. Everyone has their own writing method, but some people don’t embrace it. Instead, they try to change it, which doesn’t seem natural. Make 2019 the year you embrace your writing method and go with it, seeing where it may lead you.
  5. Go beyond your comfort zone. It’s difficult for people to go beyond their comfort zone when it comes to writing. This year, make a commitment to go beyond that comfort zone and see where it leads. Try new things, because you may find they are extremely rewarding and enrich your writing life.

“By making writing goals for the New Year, you are letting the universe know you are making writing a priority,” adds Parent. “It’s time to give your writing the time and attention that it deserves, so you can live your publishing dream. Do that, and you will be very happy and fulfilled with where it leads you along your career path.”

Parent has coached hundreds of writers and has taught over 100 writing courses around the world. She works with fiction authors looking to traditionally publish. Her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline won the CIPA EVVY Silver Award in Best Business Books, and earned a merit award in the Humor category. She has been a featured speaker on writing-related topics across the globe, and she has been a guest on a variety of television, radio, and podcast shows, sharing her secrets for how to write, publish, and sell your book.

For more information about Annalisa Parent, her book, and her coaching services, visit her site at: datewiththemuse.com. For more information on how to become a published author, download her free e-book TheSix Secrets to go from Struggling Writer to Published Author here: datewiththemuse.com/6secrets.

About Annalisa Parent

Annalisa Parent has worked with writers all over the world. She offers writing coaching services that have been instrumental in helping writers to go from idea to publishable piece and have the confidence to take their work to the market. Parent focuses on three main areas: Quality, Clarity and Creative Flow, all through a neuroscientific approach. For more information on her services and to set up a chat about publishing, visit her site at: datewiththemuse.com or book a one-on-one chat session at datewiththemuse.com/publishnow.

Meet the 26-year-old entrepreneur turning high-school gamers into varsity athletes

LinkedIn

With his PlayVS e-sports platform, Delane Parnell is creating a valuable scouting grounds for new tech talent.

Sporting a pair of black Jordan 11 Cap and Gowns that look like they were just unboxed and a dark baseball cap that casts a slight shadow over his baby-cheeked face, Delane Parnell fields questions from the audience at this September’s TechCrunch Disrupt, the annual San Francisco assembly that has become a startup kingmaker of sorts. He shares the stage with Jason Citron, founder and CEO of Discord, a messaging app for video gamers with more than 150 million users, and—after a $50 million fundraising round in April—a valuation of $1.65 billion. Parnell’s PlayVS (pronounced play versus), an e-sports platform for high schools, has yet to even launch. But the 26-year-old Detroit native exudes confidence. “Investors are starting to realize that gaming is the next social paradigm,” says Parnell, answering a question about e-sports’ mainstream popularity. “And they want a piece of it.”

You don’t have to look far for evidence of gaming’s influence. It’s all over YouTube and Twitch in how-to videos and live-streamed sessions of FIFA 19 and Assassin’s Creed. A robust ecosystem of e-sports competitions is rising as well, with game publishers, entertainment companies, and even colleges and universities creating leagues and events for pro gamers and amateurs alike. The largest tournaments, for titles such as Dota 2 and Call of Duty, can fill stadiums and dangle purses of millions of dollars. According to research firm NewZoo, revenue from e-sports-related media, sponsorships, merchandise, tickets, and publisher fees is expected to nearly double from 2014 to reach $1 billion this year. Goldman Sachs projects e-sports viewership to reach 300 million by 2022, putting it on par with the NFL.

For all the organizations rushing into e-sports, a hole remains: high school competitions that engage the estimated 75% of American teens who already play video games. Parnell is filling that void with PlayVS, which lets schools create leagues and host virtual and live competitions. Though he’s diving into an industry full of well-funded sharks, including Amazon (Twitch’s parent company) and Discord, Parnell has an edge. In January, PlayVS signed an exclusive, five-year e-sports partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the organization that oversees varsity sports and activities at nearly 19,500 public and private high schools across the country. The first test season of a PlayVS-powered competition, for the popular multiplayer game League of Legends, commenced this October at high schools across five states, and the company is gearing up for its official inaugural season in February.

Parnell is now on a roll. Last week, just five months after PlayVS closed its $15.5 million Series A, the company announced a $30.5 million round from investors that include Adidas, Samsung, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and the VC arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers“I don’t care if you’re gaming on your phone, on a console, or through a cloud service,” Parnell says. “Gaming in high school, even if it’s tic-tac-toe, will run through us.”

If he succeeds, he could effectively control a pipeline that would feed into the burgeoning pro leagues. It took the NBA two decades after its first draft to start recruiting players from high schools, but e-sports leagues are already tapping young talent. A 13-year-old recently signed with a European pro Fortnite team. Given the venture capital and startups flooding into e-sports today, Parnell could create another, equally valuable conduit: one that enables high schoolers—particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds—to parlay their interest in gaming into lucrative tech jobs. All he has to do is convince schools that e-sports deserves to be taken as seriously as football and basketball.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Conduct a free “unusual scholarship” search

LinkedIn
Students dressed in Duct Taped prom attire competing for a scholarship

For a complete list of weird scholarships, conduct a free scholarship search at www.tuitionfundingsources.com. Tuition Funding Sources (TFS) is the largest online resource for higher education funding, helping graduates and undegraduate students address the rising costs of school by providing free access to scholarship information.

Through its site TFS connects students to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in financial aid.
 
 

  1. Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest: – Students compete for scholarships by creating and wearing promwear made from Duck Brand duct tape and/or crafting tape.

 

  1. Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Scholarship Contest: – High School Seniors learn duck calls and compete for college scholarships.

 

  1. DoSomething.org Easy Scholarships: – students can win scholarships by performing fun community service projects, like registering to vote.

 

  1. Tall Club Scholarships: – Scholarships for students under 21 years of age, attending their first year of college, and who meet the height requirements of 5′ 10″ for women, and 6′ 2″ for men.

 

  1. Zolp Scholarship  – Annual awards for incoming undergraduate students at Loyola University Chicago whose last name is Zolp and are of the Catholic faith.

 

  1. Frederick and Mary Francis Beckley Left Handed Scholarship:  – For left handed students attending Juniata College

 

  1. Chick Evans Scholarship: – Scholarships for golf caddies graduating from high school.

 

  1. For the Love of Chocolate Foundation Scholarships:  – For the Love of Chocolate Foundation provides scholarships for students wanting specialized training in pastry arts.

 

  1. United Federation of Doll Clubs Scholarships; – Scholarships are to promote research, increased knowledge, understanding and appreciation of dolls.

 

  1. American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarships:  – Scholarships are designed to educate the public at-large about automatic fire sprinklers.

Applications Open: City Will Offer Free Design Assistance To Promote Commercial Corridors In Low-To-Moderate Income Communities

LinkedIn

New York – NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop recently announced that the City will offer free design assistance to promote commercial corridors in low-to-moderate income communities. Design services will be offered through SBS’ Neighborhood Design Lab program, which has already helped community-based organizations (CBOs) successfully implement branding campaigns worth up to $20,000 each.

Neighborhood Design Lab teaches CBOs how to design marketing campaigns that promote local businesses, engage local residents, and attract customers.

While visual design is a key component in boosting neighborhoods, many CBOs lack the necessary funding to put towards design expertise. CBOs can apply now through October 12th, 2018 to join Neighborhood Design Lab’s second cohort.

“Neighborhood Design Lab supports community organizations in promoting their neighborhoods in their own words,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Through visual design, community organizations can share the value of their neighborhood with fellow New Yorkers and global visitors.”

About Neighborhood Design Lab

Neighborhood Design Lab works in partnership with the Worldstudio to pair CBOs with a professional designer to brainstorm, plan, and carry out a creative design event or campaign that connects to a long-term vision for a commercial corridor. The following fiscal year 2018 participants successfully completed design projects.

  • Alliance for Coney Island launched the Coney Island for Everyone! marketing campaign;
  • Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation created a logo and branding for the newly established Marble Hill Merchants Association;
  • Northfield Community Local Development Corporation introduced a marketing campaign highlighting Port Richmond Avenue on Staten Island aka “The Avenue”; And
  • Union Settlement built the East Harlem | Working Together marketing campaign.

For more information or to apply, visit nyc.gov/neighborhoods. Four CBOs will be selected to participate in this next round of the program.

Neighborhood Design Lab Success

Union Settlement joined Neighborhood Design Lab with a long-term goal of branding East Harlem as a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore the longstanding history, culture and tradition. Union Settlement found that East Harlem was being perceived as unsafe by potential visitors, which hurt local business. Through Neighborhood Design Lab, Union Settlement launched a promotional campaign called East Harlem | Working Together which included banners, information brochures, and window decal to create a welcoming environment. The campaign created a East Harlem | Working Together YouTube channel to promote local businesses. Pablo Guzman of Union Settlement’s Business Development Center stated the following regarding Union Settlement’s experience with the program:

“It was a great pleasure for Union Settlement to be part of this program,” said Pablo Guzman. “The beautiful design materials created through Neighborhood Design Lab help us bring merchants of East Harlem together.”

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit nyc.gov/sbs or call 311.

How This Tech Founder Is Giving The Internet A Face Lift By Changing The Way We Shop

LinkedIn

Shirley Chen’s list of experiences is as diverse as it is impressive: she spent her childhood on China’s national gymnastics team, studied biochemical engineering at Columbia University, interned at Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Vogue, and worked as a media and retail consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

Chen never imagined her resume would include founding a company. But when a former Vogue colleague tapped her on the shoulder to run the marketing and business development for luxury goods brand Moda Operandi, a seed was planted. Chen was tasked with driving customer acquisition with a specific focus on digital e-commerce, and that’s where she spotted a gap in the market.

Companies were so focused on the traffic from traditional platforms like Google and Facebook that they were missing a valuable source of customer acquisition—online content. When consumers wanted to find the trendiest swimsuit, most effective blackout curtains, or best-priced coffee maker, they looked for the answer in online magazines and blogs. The problem with that was two-fold. On the one hand, thanks to an aging internet, many older links on publishers’ pages are dead, leading consumers to 404 pages. On the other, many publishers were using hardcoded, static links to Amazon product pages (some 650 million times per month), meaning consumers didn’t have the opportunity to consider purchasing from other retailers, even if Amazon didn’t have the best price. In either case, it was a lose-lose-lose situation for consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.

Chen devised a solution with Narrativ, a tech company that’s using AI to #EndThe404 and build a better internet for shoppers by making sure that every time they click on a product link on a publisher’s site, it will lead not just to an active page, but to the retailers with the best price.

“We built a SmartLink technology that repaired broken links online, and we democratized that pipeline that was being hard credited to Amazon through content,” Chen explained. “The mission is to improve the consumer shopping experience and build a better research experience as well when it comes to buying products.”

The results so far have been stellar. In the year since their launch out of stealth mode, Narrativ has raised over $3.5 million in venture capital, rewired more than one billion links, and impacted more than 200 million internet users each month. Narrativ, who has also partnered with notable brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine, is set to deliver more than $600 million in advertiser value in 2018, and has earned a nod from the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

Chen stands at the helm of it all, CEO of a game-changing tech company she was once almost too afraid to build. She recalls the nervousness she felt when the idea first came to her. She approached two former employers to build it, but both declined. That’s when Chen’s mentor, head of McKinsey’s North America Media spoke the words that fired her up: “Why don’t you build this thing on your own? I think you’re being a real coward.” She knew that he spoke not to discourage her, but to push her to make a move.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Students Clean Up Garbage Problem For 2018 National Day of Design

LinkedIn

In anticipation of National STEM/STEAM Day (November 8, 2018), STEMconnector’s National Day of Design returns with a Mission for students of all grade levels to design solutions for eliminating food waste in their school’s cafeteria. This innovative design challenge encourages real-world critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and overall Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills while connecting students to a larger national movement – over 30,000 students across the country participated in 2017’s inaugural National Day of Design.

With approximately 20 percent of today’s jobs requiring some level of STEM background according to the National Science Board, helping young people develop these skills is critical to individual, community, and national economic success. However, despite sizeable investment by K-12, higher education, industry, and nonprofits, the workforce loses potential STEM employees at every stage of the pipeline. Experiential learning opportunities are proven to drive STEM interest and build critical employability skills that will guide young people through their education and careers.

The 2018 National Day of Design Mission, Food Rescuers: STEM Innovations to Reduce Food Waste, provides an opportunity for students in grades K-12 to acquire deep understanding about a challenge that impacts their daily lives and their communities while using interdisciplinary skills in various sciences, English, technology, and the fundamentals of engineering to design a new invention that will reduce food waste in their school’s cafeteria.

“This Mission reminds students that each of us has a role to play in solving complex global challenges at the local level,” said Erin White, Senior Director of Product Development & Research at STEMconnector. “It helps them to make the connection that what they learn in school can actually be applied in the world around them. That these are the skills adults use to solve actual problems. And hopefully that translates into lifelong interest in STEM and problem-solving.”

The standards-aligned Mission can be downloaded for free at: www.nationaldayofdesign.com after August 15, and participants are asked to share photos, quotes, videos, and other updates from the Mission on social media using #DayofDesign2018 on November 8. For additional information, contact DayofDesign @ STEMconnector.com.

Day of Design is an initiative of STEMconnector, a professional services firm committed to increasing the number of STEM-ready workers in the global talent pool. The organization provides a platform for cross-sector learning and engagement for a passionate network of leaders who are collectively re-envisioning the workforce.

The clever psychology of Disneyland’s design

LinkedIn

Created by Walt Disney in 1955, Disneyland has been a magical destination for kids and adults alike for the past 63 years. It’s also a huge moneymaker. Disney’s parks and resorts brought in nearly $5.2 billion in revenue in the last quarter alone. Central to Disneyland’s success? Its meticulous design.

The history of that design is the subject of a new eponymous book published by Taschen. Written by Chris Nichols, an architectural historian, preservationist, writer, and Disneyland fanatic, the book touches on everything from Disney’s involvement in the park’s development to the famous designers and engineers who built it. But Walt Disney’s real feat was to create an immersive world that combined the familiar with the fantastic, laid out in an easily understandable way so that visitors always felt in control of the spectacle around them–all while persuading them to part with as much money as possible.

MAKING THE OTHERWORLDLY FAMILIAR

Walt Disney’s ability to build such a magical–and lucrative–world stemmed directly from the talent he had access to in Southern California. “It’s a creation that could only come from Southern California in the ’50s, from this place in this time, when we had so many people working in the entertainment industry,” Nichols says in an interview. “But we also had a huge science boom then, with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and CalTech and all the aerospace industry that was based here at the time. They were making satellites and rockets and all this great stuff that would influence Tomorrowland [the sci-fi, space-themed section of the park].”

Disneyland was different from the other theme parks 0f the era because it was designed to be more like a World’s Fair than a carnival. In fact, the famed ride It’s a Small World was originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. But rather than showing off different country’s achievements, Disneyland instead focused on some of the most foundational American stories of the last century–fairy tales, fantasy, and science fiction–all told through immersive experiences, decades before virtual reality became a thing. Disney’s genius was in making the otherworldly feel completely familiar.

MASTERING USER-CENTERED DESIGN

Today, with the rise of virtual reality, consumers are accustomed to feeling like they’re the center of an experience, whether it’s a music video or art therapy. But more than 50 years ago, such experiences were rare. Disneyland was a masterclass in the art of the immersive narrative. “You’re not only experiencing someone guiding you through a story, but you’re the main character,” Nichols says of the rides. “In Peter Pan’s Flight, there was no Peter Pan figure at the beginning, because you were Peter Pan. You’re not only in a story, you’re living it in the architecture, in the ride vehicles, in the costumes.” By making visitors central to each attraction, Disney created seductive experiences that visitors felt they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

5 Things Your Shoes Say About You

LinkedIn
Cedrick McDonald

What you wear on your feet reflects your personality, status If there is one thing that most women love, it is shoes. Look in the closet of most women and you will see a collection of shoes that they are proud of. Online shopping opportunities for shoes have even further pushed the growth of the industry, with IBIS World reporting that in the last five years shoe sales online have surged, with the revenue now reaching $14 billion. It’s an industry that will continue to thrive, and for good reason. Shoes say a lot about the person wearing them, even if you have to temper what you wear with them, they always give people a way to let their personality shine through.

“I believe that shoes are a work of art and should express something profound about the person wearing them,” explains Cedrick McDonald, owner of Exotics by Cedrick. “That’s why I put my heart and soul as an artist into every pair of shoes I design. I want the person wearing them to feel like I captured the essence of their personality with every shoe.”

McDonald is a bit of a pioneer in the shoe industry, having created a style that is unique enough to earn a U.S. patent. His line of designer footwear features high-fashion pumps with 4-6” heels that have an eye-catching snakeskin outsole that is encrusted with Swarovski crystals on the bottom of every shoe. They are shoes that help make a statement not only about the designer, but about the person wearing them.

Our shoes give non-verbal cues to those who see us wearing them. Those symbolic messages give woman wearing Cedrick designer shoeclues as to what type of personality you have, as well as how successful you may be. Here are 5 things that your shoes say about you:

1. Designer shoes. Those wearing designer shoes make a bold statement about status. Designer shoes are a status symbol, and these people are comfortable with being in their own skin and are not afraid to show off their high level of success.

2. High heels. It takes a confident, driven woman to wear high heels. They are for those who are attractive, have excellent taste, and have endless determination. If anyone is running the show, it’s usually the woman in the designer high heels.

3. Expensive shoes. The amount someone pays for their shoes says a lot about what they can afford, their level of success, and their taste for the finer things in life. Expensive shoes are synonymous with good taste, success, and earning a lot of money.

4. Colors and prints. While shoes come in all types of colors and prints, those who opt for the bolder options are not afraid to be bold themselves. They could be extroverts who want to be heard or they could be introverts who are silent, yet very confident and comfortable with who they are. Even the quiet ones desire to be noticed, and bold colors and prints will help them do just that.

5. Custom designs. Those who seek out custom designs or unique shoe lines are leaders, rather than followers. They want to help set the trends and styles and want to be seen. They love how custom designs ignite conversations, giving them a chance to flex their forward-thinking fashion moves.

“Your shoes should help make you feel beautiful,” added McDonald. “If they are not doing that, then they are not worth your time. As an artist who designs shoes, it is my mission to bring out the beauty in every step my customers may take. I want them to truly live life through their soul!”

Cedrick McDonald designerStarted in 2016, Exotics by Cedrick is high-fashion shoe line that has been turning heads from the Golden Globes to the MTV Movie and TV Awards. The company motto is Live Life Through Your Soles, and he’s created unique-looking soles that stand out and make a statement. McDonald is a serial entrepreneur who owns several businesses in addition to Exotics by Cedrick. From the Tampa area, he aims to help set the trends in the high-fashion world. To create his shoes he starts with a hand sketch, usually in the middle of the night, and then creates the rendered design on CAD. Cedrick is also dedicated to giving back to help causes he cares about, donating proceeds from the sale of the shoes to the AIDS Foundation to help combat the global disease.

About Exotics by Cedrick
Owned by Cedrick McDonald, Exotics by Cedrick, a celebrity fashion and footwear designer, is a Tampa-based high-fashion high heel shoe company. The company has a patent for its unique design, which features a snakeskin outsole that is encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Since the company was started in 2016, the trend-setting shoes have made their way into many celebrity hands. To learn more about Exotics by Cedrick, visit the site at exoticsbycedrick.com.

# # #

Source:
IBIS World. Online shoe sales. ibisworld.com

Alcatraz East Awards Graffiti Artists

LinkedIn
Graffiti Artist

It’s not often that graffiti artists get recognized and awarded for their artistic talents. But on June 2, 2018 that’s exactly what Alcatraz East Crime Museum did, holding a graffiti art contest giving the winners the opportunity to have their work on display at the museum for thousands of visitors to see. This first graffiti contest held by the museum featured seven pre-selected artists who also competed for cash prizes.

“We are excited with how our first outdoor event and first art contest went off,” says Rachael Penman, director of artifacts & exhibits at Alcatraz East. “It was a fun way to bring awareness to the public and give artists an opportunity to display their work in a museum setting.”

The top spots went to: 
1st place: Steve Hall of Maryville, TN
2nd place: Casey McKinney of Louisville, KY
3rd place: William Love of Nashville, TN

In addition to the local area, artists from Kentucky, South Carolina, and Georgia also competed. The contest guidelines restricted the artistic themes to be suitable for a general public audience, and in line with the museum’s law enforcement and crime history topics. Winners of the contest will have their panels displayed in the museum later this summer, and received cash prizes of $750 for first place, $350 for second place, and $200 for third place.

2nd place: Casey McKinney of Louisville, KY

The judges’ panel included local law enforcement representatives Sevier County Sheriff Ron “Hoss” Seals and Pigeon Forge Chief of Police Richard Catlett, as well as artist Kelly Sullivan from Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, and Rhonda Marsh, owner of Southern Draw Tattoo Studio in Pigeon Forge.

“This has been such a magical experience for me and I hope to see more events like this in the future,” shared William Love, one of the graffiti artist winners.”

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the national cost associated with removing graffiti from vandalized properties is at least $8 billion per year, between clean up and the lowering of property values. To combat this costly problem, many cities have introduced organized graffiti art projects to revitalize areas and provide official recognition to artists. Museum visitors will be able to see the graffiti exhibit to learn more about the topic and admire the artistic work on display.

“Based on the success of this year’s contest, we are planning to stage the event again next year,” added Penman. “We will start accepting artist applications on our website in January 2019.”

The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. They are located near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The museum offers a wide array of crime information, including notorious crimes and criminals, historic artifacts, interactive exhibits, crime scene investigation, crime detection and fighting, and information on how help avoid being a victim of crime. There are also many activities that are kid friendly. Currently, the OJ Simpson white chase Bronco is on display at the museum, along with Ted Bundy’s VW Beetle.

3rd place: William Love of Nashville, TN

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, log online: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East
Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit www.alcatrazeast.com