Tradition scene from "Fiddler on the Roof"

Time for Bed

Favorite Childhood Traditions: 2 of Mine

Like many children, one of my favorite parts of the day when I was growing up was bedtime story time. Aside from Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book, the story I begged and begged my mom to read me was unoriginally titled Time for Bed written by Mem Fox. While this could be deemed a tradition in and of itself, in this case it serves as the base story of my one of my favorite family traditions. The book opens with, “Day is done. Darkness is falling everywhere, and little ones are getting sleepy” and continues with rhyming spotlights of different animal groups tucking their babies in to sleep. Repeatedly, a mother sheep says, “Go to sleep little sheep, little sheep. The whole wide world is going to sleep.” Somehow this line stuck with me, and my mom never missed a night of reciting it to me. Don’t believe me? Peruse the last text message I, a senior in college, received from her last night. During a visit home a few years ago, my mom kissed me goodnight and, like always, said, “goodnight little sheep, little sheep.” Now, here’s the link to my favorite family tradition. In search of a response, somehow a completely nonsensical one came to mind: “Goodnight, Mama Llama.” And like I said…it stuck. Some call it Mother’s Day, but at my house, it’s Mama Llama Day. How would I explain that to a visitor from another culture? Well, I guess I’d be making a stop by the local bookstore to pick up a copy of Time for Bed in their native language. Nothing explains a family tradition like bedtime story time.

My second favorite tradition is another family-related holiday staple. Each Thanksgiving, as we sit down to dinner, there is always a little ribbon-bound piece of cloth containing a random number of candy corn. We go around the table using the candy corn to represent that which we are thankful for. While it may seems easier to get fewer and bundle your thanks, it’s actually never as easy as it seems. Perhaps this was my first lesson in brevity. If so, it backfired. Instead, I learned how to compound even the seemingly most unrelated topics into one candy corn. In fact, I was the first to divide my candy corn into the three colors to assign it three items of thanks versus just one. I can understand that this concept would seem odd or even absurd to an individual from another culture, but hey, this girl’s got a lot to be thankful for. An explanation would certainly require a thorough history lesson on the foundations of the American Thanksgiving celebration. Plus a few delicious candy corn candies, of course.

Caffeine for the Creative Mind - book cover

W ho are creatives? Simply put? Anyone who creates.
Build any buildings lately? Mother any children? How about write a grief-stricken piece of satire or illustrate calamity through the lens of a photojournalist eye? When’s the last time you spoke words of hope into a life drained of any? Put a smile on someone’s world-stained face today?
If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions, please stop reading this blog right now. Get up, and go build a building or something. Better yet…whip out our phone and text your sister good luck on the test she has today or you mom to report the latest countdown of days till you’ll be visiting. Did you do it? Good. I can assure you that you’re now responsible for a face devoid of pain in the way only a smile can achieve. You, my friend, are a creator.
[ig_pullleft colour=”light-gray” text=”Ideas are the real currency in our business. Without a good ides, all the artistic proficiency in the world is just window dressing. -Mike Dietz, Slappy Pictures Illustrator. Animator. Realist.”] Those who simply imagine drive our world forward with a momentum unique to the dreamers’ ideology. This is vital to substantiating the creative’s mission.  While imagineers pave a simulated road to every corner of the universe, the creative maintains an undying spark of innovation fueled more by tenacity than necessity. While she may often be credited as mothering invention, necessity should be a state more fiercely sought after. A creator thrives on implementing that which had not previously existed. They feed on the fuel of opportunity only emitted from streets beyond the zoning region of one’s comfort. What is is never as energizing as what it could be turned into. Thus, set the stage for a production crewed by those who brought you the Steve Jobs iOS magic of Apple’s iPhone and the Chris Davis miraculous brand of the one-SECond Iron Bowl game-changer. A touchdown winning Auburn University its sweet victory over rival University of Alabama was heard ’round the world in 2013, but will forever live in the hands of creatives continually striving to produce content worthy of that unmatched moment of victory and ineffable resilience of an underdog.

[ig_alertbox icon=”music” colour=”light-gray” custom_colour=””]You may say I’m a dreamer. An imagineer. A creative.

…But I’m not the only one.[/ig_alertbox]

Consider this: how much energy is required to run the creative’s mind? The electrical current equivalent would surely put New York City to shame. A creative mind is truly the one that never sleeps. While the earth may be green with reused, recycled resources, how do you sustain the exorbitant amount of energy needed to fuel creatives? I’ll spare you from an endless rant of illustrative personal anecdotes and allow the authors of the book that inspired this blog series to address their solution.

Caffeine for the Creative Mind - book coverHow do you get better at idea generation? Simply put, you train for it. If you were going to run a marathon in two months, you would prepare , wouldn’t you? You would train for that event; you would set a schedule of activities that would prepare your body for what would be asked of it on that day, because you knew that day would arrive. But what if you had to prepare for a marathon, but you didn’t know what day it would start? All you knew was that it was coming. It could be any day. You would probably prepare your body everyday for the chance that it might be the next day. Preparing our bodies to endure physical activity is just like preparing our minds for creative activity. Yet, we often don’t take steps to effectively train for idea generation. What would happen if we didn’t train for that any-day marathon? What if we just went about our regular business every day, wolfing down burritos like they were endangered, and when the day came, we straddled up to the starting line and started running. That’s right… pulled hammy. Maybe two. Sometimes even three, and we only HAVE two. that’s how bad it would be.

– Stefan Mumaw & Wendy Lee Oldfield introduce their co-authored book, Caffeine for the Creative Mind, p17

In an industry where its practitioners run the everyday marathon of ingenuity,

join me as I condition my brain to produce constant creative output on demand with Mumaw and Oldfield’s Caffeine for the Creative Mind.

Follow along on the blog series: Caffeine for the Creative Mind!
(Don't worry, no spam here!)

Discussion 1 (Ch1)
Mar 8, 2013

Let’s focus this discussion on the section in our textbook entitled “Enhancing Intercultural Relationship Satisfaction” (pp. 11-13).

Can you give any examples of when culture became a factor in a friendship or romantic relationship? How would learning about the other’s culture ahead of time have helped your relationship? What differences, obstacles, and/or challenges might you expect to encounter in an intercultural relationship or marriage? What rewards?

This topic hits so close to home that it feels nearly impossible to articulate. In fact, I’ve been sitting here for quite some time abusing my keyboard’s delete key with overuse. Why? My example of culture as a factor in relationships is a dear friend…who also happens to be my (almost) ex-fiance. Let’s call him “T.”

T and I met when I was just just 14 years old. His family on his father’s side is of Egyptian origin – as in, his father and brother still live there running business. His mother and her parents live here in the States, however, and they’re the epitome of “All-American.” As for T, he looks 100 percent American (light skin, blond hair), has no accent, speaks perfect English and has grown up with the U.S. culture being poured into him. I give this description to illustrate how similar I thought we were culturally when examining purely surface-level attributes.

Our friends celebrated our friendship’s evolution into a dating relationship, and we heard the word “finally” more times than either of us could count. [Fast forward…] Some time passed and, before I knew it, things were getting very serious. I’ll never forget the day he handed me a jewelry catalog saying, “pick out a ring,” or the accidental reference his grandmother made to a honeymoon when he surprised me with a cruise for Christmas.

Everything seemed to be unfolding perfectly – just as my 5-year-old self had imagined. I was in so deep that it didn’t really seem like that big of a deal when his family started blaming me for his weight gain. I didn’t notice that he equated financial contribution with ownership. Even when his father visited from Egypt and seemingly demanded that I styled myself according to his standards, I didn’t think anything of it. After all, Prince Charming never fails, right?


Culture is much more deeply routed in an individual then we give credit. It’s similar to Auburn’s reaction to our poisoned Toomer’s Oaks; the surface is easy to change compared to the massive roots instilling tradition and pride in our “War Eagle culture.”

In the same way, I failed to understand this with T. If I had understood the signs and warnings I was seeing, I could’ve saved myself a lot of heartache. While there are certainly many, many exceptions, it isn’t a secret that the prevalent Middle Eastern view on woman can be less then desirable in our Western World minds. Learning about the modern, real-world implications of this ahead of time would have helped the relationship.

Being a public relations major, I was immediately drawn to the rewards of the intercultural relationship in that I was fascinated by the communication differences particularly in his non-verbal cues. As a practitioner in the communication’s industry, this is vividly intriguing and informative. As a girlfriend, it’s confusing, hurtful and takes that special person to handle well.

Unfortunately, that person was not me.

More often than I’d like to admit, I still think about what could have been – the life I could’ve been leading now. While it was easy to enjoy his doting nature and chasing spirit, I’ve come to realize that maybe we should take a cue from nature. While a cheetah looks majestic chasing gazelle, they aren’t nearly as appealing when they’ve finished their hunt and begin to enjoy their ‘earned’ prey.

Needless to say, I’m happy not to be feeling this way anymore.

Poor gazelle.



Personally, I think that would be one of the most difficult things about that situation – not being able to communicate with those closest to you in your native language. Maybe this is the public relations communicator in me, but I feel nearly frozen when I attempt to speak to someone without the full use of the English language. I’ve been studying Italian for the past two semesters. If you were to tell me that I was going to suddenly live there, I’d feel completely incompetent at communicating efficiently (a point I pride myself on in the public relations/communications industry we’re in).

Wow, thinking about this makes me see the study of international PR more clearly. I have such respect for the people willing to take on such a difficult task and attempt not only to communicate clearly, but also solve crises in foreign surroundings.


This is such a great example, Heather! I can’t imagine what the 11-year-old you must have thought walking the halls of your school in Enterprise hearing the chatter of students who sounded so much different than you were used to.

When I transferred here to Auburn, I had a similar experience – except in reverse. I grew up near the Kennedy Space Center in Melbourne, Fla. just an hour southeast of Disney World. Because of all the tourists, “snow birds” and retirees the area attracts, “diverse” doesn’t even begin to describe the people I was surrounded with on a daily basis. On top of that, I went to the University of South Florida in Tampa prior to transferring to AU. Tampa is the fifth largest metropolitan city in the nation. There were approximately six movie theaters within a 30-minute drive from my apartment, the streets were always so bright with lights that night never came and my half-mile drive to campus took 45 minutes. The grocery stores were all open 24/7, and the cashiers didn’t know my name. I liked it that way.

Enter Auburn, and as you said, talk about culture shock.

When I walk the concourse of this campus, all the girls look the same and the guys can usually be divided into only two categories (Greek and, well, non-Greek). Never in my life have I seen such little diversity. I’m not opposed to it, but not used to it.

After I finish writing this, I have to run some errands. It’s likely that I’ll see someone I know on every aisle of every store and have follow-up conversations with each cashier from our chat last week. It’ll be nearly dark when I drive home this evening, but thankfully the new car dealership at the intersection of South College and Longleaf Drive will provide at least a hint of dim light by which to navigate the nearly empty streets commonly referred to around here as “traffic.” It’s really all so…quaint.

Of course I write this mostly in jest. This is a beautiful city full of some of the most precious people I’ve ever met. It’s truly great to be an Auburn Tiger, and I love this town….especially now that when a friend wants to see a movie, I get to ask, “Which theater?”


AUBURN, Ala. — Took my last final Wednesday morning. One step closer to my December 2014 graduation date, one step closer to that “real world” I keep hearing about…

Unfortunately, chasing the future means learning to say goodbye too. I’m sad to be leaving Eagle Eye TV after an incredible year as its marketing and promotions director. My next endeavor is right around the corner and soon-to-be announced, but first? One last contribution to the place that became my home shortly after I transferred to Auburn. Thanks, y’all! It’s been an honor. ‪#‎EagleEyeTV‬


  • As Eagle Eye’s promotions and marketing director, I also serve as its PR Committee Head and am part of a weekly Student Media PR meeting. I create most, if not all, of the campaigns/promotions you’ve seen in the past six months. As well as simply ordering, I also hand-design each promotional item and personally chose the vender from whom we order. I plan, design and create general evergreen (non-ending) campaigns as well as coordinating our social media interaction around the holidays and/or major events pertaining to the student body. As well as lending a hand to other staff members, I also assist in directing our reporters—answering questions, checking out equipment to them, etc. I also create the majority of Eagle Eye’s social media content and curate our events through photos and video clips. I interviewed, hired and am training an assistant/mentoree and founded a PR committee to boost distribution efforts. As with any job in public relations, you never know what each day will hold. Yesterday, I was putting AAA batteries in promotional flashlights. Today, I am designing Eagle Eye’s summer campaign for Camp War Eagle and S.O.S. events as well as preparing to pitch a presentation to better unite AU’s student media groups.


  • Although Eagle Eye TV was founded in 1992, its PR department began with me just six months ago. It’s been a massive undertaking, but one of the most thrilling things about my job—the legacy I hope to leave. Branding is my passion, and my time with Eagle Eye has allowed my to expand my abilities and hone my skill. I’ve learned much more than I ever set out to, and I’m eternally grateful. It’s grueling and overwhelming, but my thoughts on the position are simple — I love PR. And I love my job.


  • It’s never worth it until it’s worth it. That’s been a favorite phrase of mine while working at Eagle Eye because, as with many positions, gratification is often delayed. While I don’t like disappointing others, I hate disappointing myself. Even though campaign creation and monitoring can be tedious, it’s beginning to pay off in the results. I’m proud to say that Eagle Eye TV’s social media presence has increased by nearly 85 percent in just six months. That’s excellent by industry standards, but I’m not settling. I hope to help Eagle Eye become even more of a powerhouse on campus. When I came back in 20 years, I want to see the committees and positions I’ve implemented maintained, and the “lofty ideas” I’m famous for having, implemented and expounded upon. It’s a lot of work, and it’s a long journey; but it’s one I know Eagle Eye is equipped to endure. It’s never worth it until it’s worth it, but each day it’s worth a little more.


  • DO IT! Jump in or enjoy the view. Your college experience is what you make it. As with many student organizations, you can get as involved as you’d like in Eagle Eye—arguably, the only place you can come in as a freshman and be producing your own show by sophomore year.When I joined, it was because the PR position caught my eye. But, why did I jump on that? I am a transfer student from the University of South Florida and was struggling to find a place to fit, as I was a new junior here at Auburn University. If I hadn’t seized the opportunity I’m living now, I might still be sitting in front of the hundreds of emails I receive per day—watching other people take my place. This is Auburn, rain or shine. But, this is my Auburn because I took ahold of my future with an unrelenting grip. Get engaged. Get involved. Get passionate. You might be surprised as how far that mentality will get you in your life. Remember, it won’t be worth it until it’s worth it. So many students benefit from working with us at Eagle Eye TV. While students interested in the radio, television and film industry predominantly compose our organization, we are open to all majors and levels of experience.a. Last May, I received my millionth email of the day at nearly 11 p.m. It was a mass email mentioning the open position at Eagle Eye TV with vague details. By 11 p.m. the next evening, I had created a marketing strategy for Channel 6.1 and setup an interview time with our station manager, Caroline Harrell, after presenting my strategy at a pre-interview meeting with her that day. I went in for the final interview, presented a promo video I had edited together and had the job by the end of the week.


Founded October 1992, Eagle Eye TV Channel 6.1 is proud to bring Auburn University its news, sports and entertainment on the only student-run college station in the state! Thanks to SAP funding, Eagle Eye TV can focus on its most important members – its viewership and student reporters/producers in this unique learning-lab setting. Former members have interned at ESPN, The Weather Channel, FOX News, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and many more. Eagle Eye TV alumni can also be spotted working at major networks such as CNN, Nickelodeon, Viacom, ESPN, ESPNU and several local stations all over the country. Eagle Eye TV strives to create a learning environment uniquely formed to serve aspiring reporters, camerapersons, still/motion graphic designers, computer programmers, 3-D animators, commercial directors and more. If you want to be anywhere from in front of the camera, behind it or anything in between, Eagle Eye TV has you covered! Eagle Eye meets every Monday night at 6 p.m. in the Eagle Eye TV/WEGL 91.1 lobby (AUSC Suite 1105, to the left of Go Greek) and welcomes all majors. No experience is necessary, and it’s never too late in the semester or your academic career to join! Any student with creativity and dedication is welcome.

Join the Auburn Family! Enroll at Auburn.

Please visit the Future Students page. Also, consider visiting Auburn for a Tour. We want you to join the Auburn Family … so Apply Now. This is Auburn