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DIY Thanksgiving Family Portraits

25 Nov

‘Tis the season to show off


My own DIY family portrait

Everyone wants one of those nice framed family portraits hanging above the fireplace; and what better time to get them done then Thanksgiving? For it is a time when all the family gathers. Only problem is, portrait studios are becoming few and far between, and if you do locate one it just might cost you an arm and a leg. I say to this, why not take this cherished memory yourself?

Great gifts can come in frames

This idea may be an odd thought to some folks, but I can assure you that if executed correctly these family portraits can come out great. Also, if you are still trying to come up with a Christmas present for someone dear to you then why not put together a family portrait as a gift for them? In fact, I have done this myself a few times for several folks, my own mother being one of them. When my mother received this portrait she excitedly said qoute 1Wow! This is something that I can cherish forever, and quite possibly can be passed down though the family for centuries!qoute 2
In conclusion, if you got the reactions I got it will be well worth the effort. Now sense this is going to be done on Thanksgiving I am going to show you the best way of getting great/simple family portraits, because the last thing anyone needs around this time of year is another huge project.

Professional not required

Remember simple is the key with these homemade pieces, so this means using what you have around you; so let’s go through what I mean by this shall we?

  • First, A live person — This live person, no matter how uncomfortable with a camera they are, will be able to produce more dynamic shots then a camera just sitting on tripod with a set timer. Make sure that the person takes a lot of pictures, this way you have a wide selection to choose from.
  • Second, Sunlight — It is your new best friend, let this friend help you. Sunlight, at its best times will give you the closest thing to professional lighting. If possible, I would stay away from trying to set up any kind of inside “DIY Portrait studio”. Because without proper diffusers and just lights in general, shadows and blown out spots are going to be a major struggle.
  • Third, Have fun with your shoot. The liveliness of this shoot will be the success of it. That being said don’t be shy, go crazy, make each other laugh and bring props that are fun or you feel could add something to the portrait. The best part is your photographer is a friend, or family member, not some random person you might not feel completely comfortable with.

My Last tip for this project is – plan ahead. The simple fact is we do live in Wyoming, we don’t always have perfect sunshine with 75 degree weather, not to mention that it is winter time. Play it smart, avoid the running noises and heavy winter jackets in you pictures. Check ahead find out what day is going to work best and be the warmest for you and your family.


Forest of Christmas lights give sick children hope

7 Nov

By Chaundra Paice

Jessie Hall's tree marker. Every tree in the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope is dedicated to a different child who has had to undergo brain surgery.

Jessie Hall’s tree marker. Every tree in the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope is dedicated to a different child who has undergone brain surgery.

What it’s all about

The Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope was created by Gary Kelley and his wife Nancy Kelley in honor of their granddaughter, Jessie Hall. Jessie was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. Jessie had to endure extensive brain surgery in hope of alleviating her from constant seizures.

“Her seizures couldn’t be treated with pharmaceutical medicine. The only thing the doctor could do was remove the hemisphere of her brain that was affected.” – Gary Kelley

Gary Kelley and his wife Nancy Kelley wanted to establish a site that would recognize every child that had undergone a Hemispherectomy. They also wanted to create a special place to bond with the families of these children. Thus, the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope was created.

“My idea, my wife’s checkbook.” – Gary Kelley

What it takes to make a forest of hope

According to Gary Kelley, the following is a list of items it takes to create the forest every year:

  • 108,000 lights with indoor display and parade float
  • 4.5 Acres of Trees (600 trees)
  • 2,000 feet of underground wiring with 22 service points
  • 700 Extension Cords
  • 800 Strings of Multicolored LED Christmas Lights
  • Outdoor lighted water feature with 5 waterfalls, 140 feet of creek with garden scale railroad running throughout
  • 13,000 gallons of water are pumped and recycled through the water feature each hour
  • Life size bronze bears in the creek
  • Indoor garden scale railroad, runs each night
  • Indoor Christmas display

Jessie’s story

How to participate

According to Gary Kelley, in addition to the lighted trees and water features, visitors can also enjoy the following when visiting the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope:

What to do
  • Christmas parade floats on display from November until the end of December
  • Indoor garden scale railroad, runs each night
  • Hay rides throughout the trees
    • Every day until February 28th, 2015
    • 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., weather permitting
    • Hot chocolate and hot apple cider after hay ride
Where to go

Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope
6565 Ashley Drive – East of town off Highway 30

“If visitors choose to make a donation to the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope, 100% of that donation is used to help the children.” – Gary Kelley

For more information on the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope, you can call Gary Kelley at (307)630-6641.


Chaundra’s last post:

Painting miniatures for a different kind of game

Painting miniatures for a different kind of game

24 Oct

By Chaundra Paice

A different kind of game


Crimson Fists Space Marine Chaplain wargame miniature. Only 28mm tall in real life.

Warhammer 40K is not the typical board game or video game that many people have become accustomed to.  Warhammer 40k is a science fantasy tabletop miniature wargame.

Jason Brock is a player who has been involved with Warhammer 40K for over 20 years.  He has painted over 300 miniatures, each averaging 28 mm in height.

“Each game typically involves two to four players. Those two to four players each bring an army consisting of anywhere from 30 to 100 meticulously painted miniatures.” – Jason Brock

Warhammer 40K is typically won by the player that achieves the most tactical objectives.  The game can also be won by a player wiping out their opponent’s army.

Getting started

What to buy

According to Jason Brock, the following items are a great start for playing Warhammer 40K:

“These are great for getting started. It will be a small game, but it will give them the general idea of how the game is played.” –  Jason Brock

Where to buy

These supplies can be found online or at local game shops, like Gryphon Games & Comics.

How to paint miniatures

Where to play

  • Gryphon Games and Comics open Wargaming sessions
    •  1710 Central Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays
      • 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Sundays
      • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Hope to see you there.” –  Jason Brock

Costumes to take over student lounge

24 Oct

by Jessica Dawkins

Only seven days left

With Halloween now dwindling one week away, I took some time to let my inner makeup artist shine and try on new looks inspired by those seen on one of my favorite Pinterest boards. I also gathered inspiration from Youtube’s gurus for some very creative costume hacks, a few of which I can’t wait to show off at LCCC’s HalloQueen Costume Contest next week. Don’t go batty this year worrying about a last-minute costume—this post has you covered!


Mime makeup look

With my dark hair and eyes, this mime look was a bit more difficult to pull of.

Cheaper than store-bought, duplicated outfits at the store, homemade costumes give off the best vibes of individuality and creativity. There are so many ways to make your own costume, from makeup to clothes to pure attitude. This Halloween my favorite homemade option is the cosmetics route, because it’s for any range of talent, it’s inexpensive (if you have what you need or know where to get it), and I can transform in ways I haven’t been able to with clothes alone—a fairy, mermaid, mime, superhero, or even a fairy-mermaid-superhero-mime (it could happen).


Feline inspired makeup

Of the many Halloween makeup looks I tried on, Femme Feline was my favorite.

Here are some of the video tutorials and inspiring pictures I most adore:


As with school spirit and the ZombieFest, your costume can be as drastic or demure as you like. I personally discovered that even though I’m comfortable wearing a lot of makeup, the looks that require more facial coverage are more difficult for me to pull off, so I cut back to somewhere in the middle.

Second annual HalloQueen contest

A well designed poster for the HalloQueen costume contest.

A well designed poster for the HalloQueen costume contest.

LCCC’s Student Alliance for Equality (S.A.F.E.) is sponsoring their Second Annual HalloQueen Costume Contest. The contest consists of four categories: Best Gender-Bender Costume, Most Creative Costume, Best ComiCon/Sci-Fi Costume, and Best Horror Costume. HalloQueen will be held in the Student Lounge this Wednesday, Oct. 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hopefully this post gave you plenty of ideas to use and put together something unique—and have fun doing it!

Know of any other costume or Halloween events taking place in Cheyenne? Got a favorite haunted house? Share it in the comments below!

Fly Like An Eagle: LCCC Spirit

10 Oct
Model poses to show off Golden Eagle spirit inspired makeup.

A student takes a moment from studies to show off this Golden Eagle inspired makeup.

By Jessica Dawkins

Let School Spirits Carry Me

Homecoming is in full swing at Laramie County Community College! You may have noticed the special events being hosted around campus, many held in the student lounge. Students have been encouraged to participate in eating contests, timed competitions, team dodgeball matches and more. But maybe this isn’t enough for you to get into the spirit of being an Eagle. If that’s the case, keep reading for inspiration.

Tutus and Tattoos

Some students prefer to show their spirit in sublte ways, such as clothing or accessories sporting a logo. Others (like myself) may be open to more umistakeable gestures of enthusiasm, like face painting and hair dye. Sure, toole tutus in school colors are eyecatching and easy to DIY, but I prefer the makeup route when it comes to showing support for something I love. Cue the tattoo! The slideshow in this post will provide all the knowledge you need to create your own temporary “ink” for soccer and volleyball games, LCCC’s homecoming dance, and everyday fashion statements.

Why Cosmetics?

Makeup is relatively inexpensive if you know what brands to look for and exactly what products you need. Especially if it’s for a onetime use like a pep rally, you don’t need to buy Sephora brand cosmetics. Makeup is also a household item that can be used on anyone, guys and gals, young and grown, for special events and on different areas of the body as well. For example, my models include both sexes, one sporting a prominent facial “tattoo” and the other a more sublte bicep decoration.

Instead of clothes and accessories that usually come one way for everyone, makeup designs can be as discreet or as drastic as desired for each individual’s taste. The limit truly is your imagination, so the results are completely your own.


Here’s a list of the items that I used for both pieces of artwork and thought you might want to include in your toolkit.

Eyeliner Pencil

Cream Eyeshadow or Eyeliner (both blue and black colors)

Powder Eyeshadow (I used dark brown, gold glitter, and gray)

Small Fluffy Brush (my favorite is the Setting Brush by Real Techniques)

Angled Brush (for cream bases)

You’ll also need a picture for inspiration. I just Googled images of golden eagle wingspans and found several useable photos to rely on for colors and shape. For the bicep tattoo, I found a great image of our lovely logo and went from that.


Primer (before applying makeup)

Foundation (after the primer, but before the makeup. I found this helpful for the eagle mask to stay on better)

Setting Spray (after the makeup is complete. This is helpful for making the excessive product stay on for more than a selfie, but not required for good results)


Here is the link to my how-to slideshow. Directions are in the description box of each photo.


And if you try out my techniques—great! Send us a picture in the comments below, or just share your favorite part of homecoming so far.

P.S. I apologize if you have the Steve Miller Band playing in your head after reading this post. Here’s a link to the lyrics if you want to sing along!

Ladies Auxiliary VFW craft show

9 Oct

Proceeds from the craft show will benefit the Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW’s cause in raising money for veterans.

By Chaundra Paice

For a good cause

The Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) are hosting a craft show to raise money for the veterans of this country.  Connie Simmers, a dedicated member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW, has spent many hours running the VFW craft shows and flea markets.

“ Our motto is to honor the dead by helping the living.” -Connie Simmers

At the craft show

The Ladies Auxiliary has rented 39 tables to different craft enthusiasts.  Connie Simmers says the event will be a craft show and flea market combined.

“ You’ll find a little bit of everything.” -Connie Simmers

Connie says each table will hold different items for guests to purchase. She ensures guests that there will be, “…good stuff to purchase. Not garage sale garbage.”

According to Connie, “Anyone and everyone are welcome to attend.  The gathering is for all ages.”

How to participate

Guests can purchase crafts from the different tables at the show.

  • VFW 1881 Ladies Auxiliary
    2816 E. 7th St, Cheyenne, WY, 82001
  • Saturday, October 11th, 2014
    • Can’t make it on October 11th?
      • If guests are unable to attend the craft show this Saturday, no worries! The Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW will host another craft show on November 8th, 2014, and again on December 13th, 2014.
  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Guests can also participate in the upcoming craft shows by registering a table and selling their own items.
    • It costs $6 to register a 6 ft. table.
    • The Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW will furnish the table and chairs, but it’s up to the guest to supply the items for sale.

“No furniture, no animals, and no guns allowed for sale or in the facility.” -Connie Simmers

For more information on the craft show, or for information on registering a table, call Connie at (307)634-0257.

Car enthusiasts start out small to make it big

26 Sep
By Stephanie McGee


Love of cars sparked inspiration

Once upon a time, actually Nov. 23, 2013 to be exact, two young men decided to open a video production business.

The two 20-year-olds, Jake Ward and Hunter Schoene, started Groundzero Productions, a video and photography business dedicated to automotive interests, to bring filmmaking back into their lives.

They started off the business because making videos was always a hobby of Ward’s and he wanted to start making videos again. Schoene wanted to learn more about film making as well. “We had the talent just nothing to practice with,” said Schoene.

“The car scene has always been a passion of mine and I know it is also a passion of others, so that is why we chose cars.”   -Jake Ward

They also found out that YouTube has a demand for it. Once they had the product and found the demand, it carried itself away. “It got to the point where it was fun and was a paying gig,” said Ward. “People are enjoying our work and it just inspired us to keep pushing ourselves.”

Practice makes perfect

Ward and Schoene started with filming videos with a GoPro camera. Around December 2013 they bought their first DSLR, a Cannon T3. After they bought this camera is when they added the photography aspect. “When we first started out we used one of our arms as a slider to create that effect but we just recently bought a DSLR slider,” said Ward. To edit videos Ward and Schoene use Adobe Primer Pro and Adobe Photoshop to edit photos.

“Working with these programs and just keeping at it has helped me and my partner develop our skills,” said Ward. “But watching these other guys who create automotive videos as well has helped us push our boundaries.” Force_Fed_Productions is another video production business in Cheyenne and you could call them Groundzero Production’s friendly rival. Ward said, “we enjoy each others company and they are great people. I have learned a lot from their production.”



Waiting to be nationally known

Ward and Schoene’s future plans for Groundzero is to be nationally recognized. “We want to get our name out so people all over will watch our videos and see our photos,” said Schoene. “We are in this to put a smile on every car enthusiast face when they see our products.”

The Facebook page “Toyota Supra MK4 Club” as well as “Import Tuner Magazine” has recognized Groundzero Productions.

“We feature all makes and models. If you have a nice car we are willing to feature it.” -Jake Ward

You can contact Jake Ward or Hunter Schoene on their Facebook page to set up a photo shoot or feature video.

Groundzero Productions Facebook

Groundzero Productions YouTube

Oktoberfest is coming to Cheyenne

23 Sep

By Chaundra PaiceOktoberfestImage

Men grab your lederhosen, women break out your dirndls.  Oktoberfest is here!

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is a historical German festival that has gained international success.

This year’s Oktoberfest in Cheyenne is being sponsored by the Arc of Laramie County.  Arkansas Le Marr, executive director of the Arc of Laramie County, says the festival will be fun for the whole family.

Arkansas Le Marr informed me that visitors can anticipate partaking in:

One of last year's bands: Beat Grass

One of last year’s bands: Beat Grass

Arm Wrestling

Oktoberfest 2013: Arm wrestling match

  • A wide variety of traditional German foods
  • Entertainment
    • There will be three “live bands” starting at 11 a.m.
  • An assortment of traditional German beer
    • Free taxi vouchers will be available
  • Food and non-alcoholic drinks available for kids too!

When is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 27th, 2014.

Where is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest will be held at the Archer Complex.

How much does it cost?

According to 92.9 and the Boss, proceeds from Oktoberfest benefit Arc of Laramie County.  Arc advocates for individuals with disabilities and their families.

This event has a lot to offer, hope to see you there!

Oktoberfest flyer

Oktoberfest flyer

Cheyenne? More like Die-yenne

18 Sep

Zombie Attack!By Jessica Dawkins

Looking for some amusement this weekend?

Saturday, September 20, is the return of the Cheyenne Zombie Fest for year 4. According to the official Cheyenne, Wyoming website, the event lasts from 9 a.m. to midnight in all parts of downtown. While being mostly free or reliant on donations, Zombie Fest is hosted by the Cheyenne Little Theater to raise money for their yearly plays and various events. That means some activities do cost to enjoy.

What else?

This year’s special guest is Matt Mogk from AMC’s Talking Dead and head of the Zombie Research Society. (I guess you could say he’s the brains of the operation…) Go show him your undying fan affection at the Atlas Theater. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Before and after his presentations, crawl on over to the Zombie Fashion Show, Brain Eating Contest, and professional Gore Makeup as well as Zombie Olympics and Zombieland for the demon kiddos. So bring your mummy, this festival is for all ages, boys and ghouls!

For all the gory details check out the official PDF with times, locations, and pricing.

How can I prepare?

Not an actual walking corpse? YouTube is your best friend for Halloween inspired makeup tutorials. Most of the supplies you need are found around the house or stuffed inside your girlfriend’s cosmetics drawer. Here’s a link to one of my favorite freaky tutorials, with both a normal makeup option and a special effects option. If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own costume, there will be a gore makeup station at the festival to help you get horrific. Now all you really need is a little imagination and the courage to flaunt your rotting flesh. And if you do get zombie-fied, comment below with a pic, we’d love to see the scary!

Just to recap:

  • zombie makeup
  • zombie fashion
  • zombie fanatics
  • zombie food

If you’re still not convinced, check out some of our posts about previous Zombie Fest riot in the Cowboy State. Have fun, zombies, and remember: No guts, no glory!

National Arts Program’s annual exhibit and contest returns

12 Dec

Cheyenne Civic Center celebrates 7th annual exhibit

From now, until Dec. 19th the Cheyenne Civic Center is holding its annual National Arts Program exhibit and contest.  The National Arts Program® is available to City of Cheyenne, Laramie County, State of Wyoming (Laramie County), LCCC, Laramie County School District #1,  Laramie County School District #2, Federal, VA and Warren AFB employees, their families and retirees.

Last Year’s exhibit: