Warm Up No. 8

This week I turned in a complete annotation for an observation I conducted during Spring Break. For my observation, I went to a day care facility that is a part of the First Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Wash. I watched children’s reactions to food and beverage advertisements during Sunday morning cartoons. Through my observation, I noticed that voluntary self-regulatory approaches, such as the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative of 2005, can be effective.

The children watched two television shows on Cartoon Network and one television show on Nickelodeon network.  It was apparent that Cartoon Network had voluntarily changed its profile of food and beverage advertising targeted toward children. This is because during the hour that the children watched Cartoon Network, the commercials advertised toys, household appliances and other television programs rather than unhealthy food products. Also, Cartoon Network showed a public service announcement that combined cartoon characters and child actors to encourage physical exercise during commercial breaks. Using cartoon characters to encourage healthy dietary choices and exercising is one technique that Michelle Obama mentions in her Let’s Move! campaign.

On the other hand, Nickelodeon showed many advertisements for unhealthy food and beverage products. Some of these products include Juicy Drop Pop candy, Kellogg’s Krave chocolate cereal, Goldfish crackers and Sprinkles Cookie Crisp cereal. I observed that the children were especially engaged in these commercials because they used jingles and animations to capture their attention.

I really enjoyed the observation because I was able to apply the information I have gathered during the semester. I found that voluntary initiatives can be effective to some degree, contrary to what many experts believe. Many articles have argued that stricter mandatory guidelines need to be enacted in order to experience change; however, my observation indicated otherwise. Also, I was able to recognize the psychological processes that  create effective advertisements targeted toward children. I noticed the children were more excited when candy advertisements were shown during commercial breaks. There was only one overweight child in the sample, which was not ideal. It would have been helpful to compare normal weight children’s reactions to food and beverage advertisements to those of obese children.

In the next few weeks I will continue to work on my complete annotations for the final paper. I am excited to see how my research all fits together. The next assignment due is the outline. I plan on making my outline as detailed as possible so that the final paper writes itself like Susan and Professor Thompson have emphasized.


Final Porfolio

Over the course of the semester in Media Writing, I have learned a lot about myself as a writer. I have practiced many different writing styles, learned helpful techniques and sharpened my grammar and spelling skills. If you would like to take a look at some of the work I have completed throughout the course, check out my Final Portfolio. You will find my resume, news stories, a copy of my final profile story and various other examples of my writing. My portfolio is a demonstration of everything I have learned this semester and my progress as a writer. Enjoy and thank you for reading! 🙂

“From the backwoods of Yamhill to the bright lights of Los Angeles”

One of the projects for my Media Writing class was to select an interesting individual, someone you hardly know, and write a profile story about their life in a unique way. I chose to write on Yamhill’s Robbie Laughlin, a once small town boy who chased his dream of being an actor in Hollywood. It was challenging interviewing Robbie because he leads a very busy lifestyle in Los Angeles, however definitely worth every second of getting to talk to him. I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did! 🙂

Robbie Laughlin (Right) with best friend Giuliana in Los Angeles

Robbie Laughlin

Most high school senior men in Robbie Laughlin’s small, rural Oregon hometown preferred lacing up their football pants or cocking their rifles. Robbie  had a different agenda. He spent his free time in the woods with his family’s first video camera in hand, and their Norwegian exchange student in tow. Robbie was the star of the one-man show, and the exchange student was in charge of capturing his dramatic soap operas and hysterical tragedies.  It never occurred to Robbie during the countless afternoons he spent filming in the woods that one day he would have a Hollywood agent who would refuse to let these homemade videos go viral.

Robbie made do with the resources in his childhood hometown of Yamhill, Ore., while pursuing his immense passion for theater and fashion. Robbie’s time in front of the camera in the backwoods of his parents’ enormous property was just the beginning of a great career. He is now a well-known entertainment personality best known as an anchor for E! News. He also emcees fashion shows for Macy’s, hosts his own weekly radio show on Global Voice Broadcasting and regularly appears on the reality show “Giuliana & Bill.” He does all of this while still maintaining an easygoing lifestyle amidst the high drama of Los Angeles.

The drama of Los Angeles is nothing new to Robbie. He experienced a childhood filled with school plays, edgy fashion and a dream to make it big one day in Hollywood.

“Robbie was very imaginative,” Robbie’s older sister, Kelly Sue Van Horn, said. “We played a lot of Barbies, and it was always very high drama. He just loved to play and dress up and act things out.”

While the other boys in his first grade class were aspiring policeman, Robbie made it clear to his teachers and classmates that he wanted to be an actor in Hollywood. The other boys called him names here and there, but for the most part he received support from his family, community members and peers for his dream.

Sixth grade was a major turning point for Robbie. It was the year he really found himself interested in theater. After trying wrestling and playing in the band, just to satisfy his parents, he quit playing the drums and joined the theater.

“For some reason, my mom and dad were forcing me to do band, and I missed the very first play. When I watched my classmates do the play, I was devastated because I knew I should have been up there. My dad had played the drums in high school and was quite good, so they were pushing me to follow in his footsteps, but I wanted to do my own thing,” Robbie said.

There was never a time in Robbie’s life when he wasn’t doing his own thing. Take his change of last name, for example. He was born Robert DeCrevel, but spontaneously changed his last name to his mom’s maiden name, simply because he thought it sounded better.

Robbie gathered up lead after lead in each performance he auditioned for, including roles in “Damn Yankees,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Oliver Twist” and “The Music Man.” Robbie participated in every play from ninth to twelfth grade in his high school and at the Gallery Theater in nearby McMinnville. He was fortunate to have experienced, creative role models who supported his theatrical endeavours. His drama teacher went to Hollywood High School in California, and his school’s vice principal was art oriented as well.

Not only did Robbie get attention for his incredible stage presence, but he was abnormally clean cut for a young man in Yamhill. After all, aside from the plays, his favorite part about school was picking out his outfit. Robbie’s normal attire usually included, from toes to nose, loafers, khaki pants, a polo shirt with a popped collar and neatly combed hair.

A combination of talent and the right connections landed Robbie his big break after graduating from Cornish College of the Arts in 1993. College was a time of growth for Robbie.  During Christmas break of his sophomore year, he came out to his family. He used the support from his loved ones as motivation and encouragement to follow his dream childhood acting dream. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater.

“As soon as I graduated college in 1993, I met my manager, Lee, who represented an actress, Khandi Alexander, at the time,” Robbie said. “Lee told me I needed to come to L.A. right away. I was always going to move there, but I didn’t know it was going to be so fast.”

After packing up his belongings, he and his sister drove to Los Angeles and began unpacking his celebrity lifestyle. A dozen head shots later, Robbie auditioned and was offered a part in an episode of “Family Matters” as Steve Urkel’s nemesis.

“I wouldn’t say it was easy. I lucked out. Moving here and booking the first television show was maybe fate, maybe luck or the right timing,” Robbie said. “There were ups and downs with everything for sure. I never felt like giving up; I never felt like I wasn’t doing the right thing. I always knew to keep changing and evolving with the way my career could go.”

Robbie was smart to keep an open mind, many doors have opened for him. He has been able to share his talents by both acting and hosting. Robbie has appeared on a handful of television series, sitcoms and short comedies. “Six Feet Under,” “The Big Easy,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Girl” and “$100 Makeover” are just a few of the television series he has been on. Two short comedies that Robbie has appeared on are “Another Gay Movie” and “Gay Zombie.” He has also been on a number of sitcoms including “Family Matters,” “Cybill” and “Caroline in the City.”

In addition to television series, comedies and sitcoms, Robbie was given the opportunity to be in a documentary.  He was one of five openly gay men followed for the television documentary “Gay Hollywood.”

Robbie has also enjoyed hosting and emceeing fashion related shows during his career in front of the camera. He was a host on “Xcess/Access,” a 13 part series look into L.A.’s Fashion Week. Among several other host appearances, Robbie was the recurring host of E!’s “The Daily 10,” for 83 episodes until 2010. One of Robbie’s favorite interviews for E! News was with Honey Boo Boo and her Mama June. He was a host at eight Macy’s store fashion shows across America. He has also interviewed U.S. Olympic star swimmer Ryan Lochte during his appearance in London at the Summer Olympics. Robbie also appears on the radio during his show on Global Voice Broadcasting.

“I never got stuck with one thing,” Robbie said. “Like I never thought I had to be in movies and keep going in only that direction. Because I had that open mind, I found things that I truly love and that truly worked for me and that I could be successful in.”

In addition to his performances, Robbie was one of Sunsilk’s “Hairapy Guys” which helped to promote their shampoo product line in North America.  He was a spokesperson for the $200 million campaign. He also makes regular appearances on the couple’s reality show “Giuliana & Bill” which airs on the Style Network. He also finds time to write reviews of Hollywood fashion for Life & Style Magazine. In February Robbie covered New York’s Fashion Week in February.

As Robbie lives out his Hollywood dream, he is still ambitious about his future. His experience hosting has led him to dream of one day hosting a talk show similar to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” After acting on sitcoms and television series, he hopes to join the cast of a funny ensemble sitcom.

As much as Robbie enjoys the spontaneity of his celebrity lifestyle, he will always be rooted in the rolling hills of Yamhill. As young Robbie waded through the woods of Yamhill curiously with videocamera in hand, he had no destination in mind, only dreams and aspirations. Somethings never change.

Here is a quick look at Robbie hosting a Macy’s fashion show!

Thank you for reading! 🙂

You Got A Friend In Me

Finals week is here. The seven days every student around the country has been dreading for months. My Mass Communication Tools professor assigned a final video project that required the use of all the skills and techniques she has taught during the semester. The following YouTube video is my final project. It is a short video starring two fellow classmates who have developed a strong friendship since last fall and were willing to share their favorite activities, quirks etc. with the world. Please enjoy!

Thanks for reading and watching! 🙂

Make It A Happy and Healthy Finals Week

Final exams can only mean one thing for students across the nation, stress. As students begin to accept the fact they will be spending the rest of their semester cramming for tests worth half their grade, starting research papers they should have been working on all semester and compiling a portfolio of assignments they finished minutes before class they should be made aware of a few helpful tips to help manage stress. Doing well on final exams is the top priority for students. Often times, sleep, exercise and eating healthy foods are pushed to the back burner and studying prevails.

Day 116/365: Finals Week approaching (AhHhhh!)

Late nights and earlier mornings await finals week. Some students even pull all-nighters. The more hours of sleep you have, the less likely you are to feel stressed out because you will be able to operate to the best of your abilities and increase concentration. Although more hours asleep will mean less hours to study, the study time you do have will be way more worthwhile.

Exercise is important to students during all weeks of the year, but especially during finals week. Physical activity releases endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that increase feelings of being happy. During the sleepless nights of finals week, students often feel depressed and experience a lot of anxiety about their exams. Taking short exercise or physical activity breaks can be a good way to let off steam and increase your mood.

Late nights call for late night eating, especially when studying. Some people are stress-eaters and eat very unhealthy fast food meals and junk food snacks. Students looking to take short study breaks visit restaurants that are open 24-hours and gas station markets. Instead of this behavior, it is wise to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables and foods free of sugar and beverages free of caffeine. Being prepared with snacks will make you less likely to eat whatever is quick, convenient and likely unhealthy. Although junk food gives students instant energy during late study hours, sugar will damage your concentration and memory. Healthier foods enhance concentration and make it easier for people to remember information they are studying. Whole wheat breads and organic fruits and vegetables will contribute to a healthier diet, less stress and better grades on your final exams.

Another stress management technique that many college campuses are beginning to take advantage of is therapy animals. Several universities across the nation are partnering with abuse shelters and non-profit organizations to bring stress relief to their students through animal therapy programs. Indicators of stress are increases in heart rate and high blood pressure. Studies have shown that animals can successfully reduce these stress indicators. Therefore, animals can help alleviate stress from students during finals week because their energy and unconditional love have positive effects on people, especially those stressed out. So when finals week is approaching, it is a very good idea to seek animals that will increase your mood and help you manage your stress more effectively.

It is important for students to adopt these stress management techniques to help lower levels of stress during upcoming final exams. More importantly, it is vital for students to participate in any activities they know will make their exams go more smoothly. Good luck on finals to all you students! To those of you who aren’t taking finals, these are good techniques to be aware of during any stressful or anxiety inducing task.

You can always try listening to relaxing music too! This is one of my favorite encouraging tunes by Bob Marley 🙂

Thanks for reading!  🙂


Audacity Assignment

Warning!  This is one of those blog posts that have absolutely nothing to do with nutrition.  With that being said, my mass communication tools class was assigned a recording project that utilized many different recording mediums and required a clear knowledge about how to convert from .wav to .mp3.  Through this assignment, I demonstrated my ability to use an Olympus recorder, Audacity, Switch and SoundCloud.  Here is a compilation of the recordings I gathered during this assignment.  This project was very demanding and difficult for me because of the detail you must pay attention to.  At one point, I lost all of the information I had recorded due to a crash on one of my computer programs and had to start the tedious process all over again.  It was well worth it though, seeing (well I guess hearing…) the finished product is very rewarding.


Enjoy and thanks for reading! 🙂

Out On the Town

Being a vegetarian while living in the dorms is definitely difficult.  I find myself leaving our dining hall, Dillin, not satisfied and hungry for something not soaked in oil.  To my convenience, there are several stores and restaurants that I frequent to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods.  My favorite local restaurants are Great Harvest and Geraldi’s which have plenty of vegetarian options.  To buy good quality produce and groceries I shop at Harvest Fresh on Third Street.  I also like to splurge and buy homemade baked goods from Red Fox Bakery. Thankfully, my favorite places to splurge are close enough to campus that I can walk or ride my bike, rather than emit unnecessary chemicals by driving.  I have displayed my route on this Google Maps below.


Great Harvest is hands down my favorite place to go for lunch.  Last year, a Great Harvest Veggie Sandwich became part of my pre-game basketball routine.  At Great Harvest, they emphasize pure and simple ingredients and whole grain bread.  Fueling myself with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado atop two whole grain pieces of bread was the best possible way to prepare for a physically grueling basketball game.  It is important to load up on carbohydrates prior to exercise and sporting events, however, you should be conscious of the quality of the foods you are putting into your body to get the most energy out of them.  I have continued to go to Great Harvest and try different sandwiches and baked goods.  The majority of their ingredients are locally grown and their bread and pastries are homemade so customers can be sure that they are consuming fresh and healthy foods.

Another one of my favorite restaurants, Geraldi’s, is nestled between local shops on Third Street.  The Italian restaurant has a vegetarian option of every dish on the menu.  My favorite dish is the Jumbo Ravioli stuffed with Ricotta, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano and Mozzarella cheeses.  Most of the dishes come with a tossed side salad with fresh vegetables and homemade dressing on top.  Other vegetarian options include Eggplant Parm, Alfredo, Spaghetti, Pesto Veggie Sandwich, Double Cheese Hot Sandwich, Mediterranean Vegetarian Cold Sandwich, a variety of salads and a large selection of hand-tossed pizzas.  The homemade dishes are fresh and use whole ingredients with the least amount of added salt as possible, according to one of the workers.  On a night when Dillin’s vegetarian selection really lets me down, my friends and I head for Geraldi’s for a cheap and delicious Italian dinner.

Throughout the week, I like to make sure my refrigerator is fully stocked with quick snacks and lunch options for my busy schedule.  Due to the fact my semester is so busy, I try not to allow myself to buy convenient foods like canned goods, boxed pastas and other foods packed with preservatives.  Rather, I pick out nutritious and fresh products from Harvest Fresh, which is a natural food  store on Third Street.  The grocery and deli offer organically grown foods and minimally processed foods which is very helpful for people who seek alternatives for their dietary needs.  Many of their products are targeted towards vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free eaters and other health conscious individuals.  While shopping, I usually load up on fresh salads from the deli, all-natural soups, soy milk and tofu.  Although I have to pay a slightly higher price for these products, I can be positive that I am purchasing the best possible products for my body and healthy lifestyle.

Another hidden treasure I recently discovered near Third Street is Red Fox Bakery.  I often pick up little treats for my friends and goodies for birthdays from the bakery.  The nice thing about Red Fox Bakery is they proudly use only local ingredients in their baked goods.  According to their website, they use flour only from Washington and Oregon, berries from Draper Farms, Stephens Farm and Munoz Farms, butter from Farmer’s Cooperative Creamery, vegetables from Oakhill Organics in Grand Island, fruit from Baird Family Orchards, herbs from their garden and homemade jams.  My personal favorite is their gluten-free maple cupcakes and coconut macaroons.  The only reason I am able to justify the sweet pastries are because the ingredients are locally grown and there is minimal sugar added.

Now that your tummy is probably rumbling for some yummy foods, here is an inside look at the delicious Great Harvest Bread Co. Restaurant.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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