What do you do: Creative Par-tees

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Throughout my convention travels I’ve been able to meet many creative people who I am now blessed to call friends, one amazing person is Angie Trombley of Creative Par-tees, a custom screened t shirt company that she started herself. After working with Dena and Bob Somerhalder and their company Built of Barnwood at various Vampire Diaries conventions they had received various requests for custom made t shirts, Angie decided that the best route to take was do it herself.

Angie is the creative mind behind all the designs, and also creates the screens and prints the t shirts herself, she’s a wonder woman. while many may be aware of her creations focusing on fandoms, the business also covers any custom designs a business or person would wish for; including shirts for special events and charities. As a firm supporter of indie companies Creative Par-tees is one of my favorites, as Angie is at the helm and her family is along to support her, with he husbands and sometimes her kids travelling to various conventions to sell their shirts.

Screen printing according to Angie is a very physical process and in hindsight she would have likely chosen to opt for a direct to garment printer as opposed to a screen printing press. And while she finds the process of printing the shirts therapeutic she is less than a fan of the clean up.

“When it comes time to clean those screens, or reclaim them for a new design, that can be tedious.”

Some of the aforementioned fandoms that Angie has represented on her shirts include Boondocks Saints, Breaking Bad,  The Vampire Diaries and the extremely popular The Walking Deadwhich happens to be one of Angie’s favourite shows. Most commonly requested designs usually feature either Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries or Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead.

“I was never a zombie person. I didn’t watch zombie movies. My husband is the one who started watching it first and said I should. The opening scene. Addy Miller as this sweet little girl, turns around and is the bunny slipper zombie and Rick shoots her in the head. I was like, nope. No thank you. But he [my husband] said I should give it a chance. They had me at Daryl Dixon. Then Carol. Then Glenn. It’s about the characters. How do we retain our humanity in a world where it’s killed it be killed? How do we develop relationships in a world where death is so prevalent? It’s the character arcs that I love. The whole cast, the writers, the directors, the crew, the make up artists, everyone involved, put their all into making this show what it is. That is why it’s so popular. I started reading the comics after I started watching the show. I enjoy that they do mix things from the comic books. It keeps comic readers on their toes just as much as the non readers.”


Angie’s had the opportunity to get personal reactions from the members of the various casts of shows she’s represented on shirts including the cast of The Walking Dead. She has branched out to sell her creations at the extremely popular zombie, horror and sci-fi fan conventions run by the company Walker Stalker. One of her favourite moments involves Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead, who took a photo with her daughter on his personal phone, after seeing her dressed as his character Daryl Dixon. While the celebrity reactions are always great she has also been touched by how her customers have embraced her products, including one fan who used her custom baby onesie as her pregnancy announcement.

“All of the actors that I’ve given shirts to (which is the majority of The Walking Dead cast) have been lovely people. They’re all appreciative and amicable. Lincoln A. Castellanos, who plays Tobias on Fear The Walking Dead, was so excited about my Tobias inspired design. I gave a bunch to him for his family. Brian Mahoney and David Della Rocco, from The Boondock Saints, are great guys too. David asked for my autograph. Ross Marquand (Aaron) and Michael Traynor (Nicholas) both [from The Walking Dead] posted photos of themselves on their Instagrams wearing the shirts I gave them. “

The interactions at conventions has also allowed for great opportunities, and Angie has some new designs in the works, including shirts featuring the shows Arrow and The Flash.

 “Michael Cudlitz has been amazingly supportive to me. I have a friend, who is an amazing artist, working on a design for me right now, at the request of Michael Cudlitz (Abraham on The Walking Dead) and his agent. Not so much for themselves, but for the fans. I don’t want to say too much about it until it’s launched, but it’s going to be hilarious.”

Want to get up close and personal with Creative Par-Tees?

Here is their tentative 2016 convention schedule: (dates may be added/removed)
April 9-10 Walker Stalker Convention Nashville
May 28-29 Walker Stalker Chicago
June 25-26 Walker Stalker Charlotte
July 30-31 Walker Stalker Boston
October 1-2 Walker Stalker Con Philadelphia
October 28-30 Walker Stalker Atlanta
December 3-4 Walker Stalker New Jersey

In case you can’t see them in person and you want to purchase some of Creative Par-Tees creations they are available online here. Keep up to date with all their comings and goings by following them on Twitter and ‘Liking’ them on Facebook.


B.O.B and Somerhalder Secrets: Family Affair What do you do Bob and Dena?

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Over the past 2 years I’ve had the opportunity and in many cases privilege to meet some very amazing people(many I have featured on my blog) I would like to add to this list the lovely Somerhalder family, and before you get overly excited this post has nothing to do about the most well-known member Ian(in fact this will likely be the last mention of him, sorry)
Bob and Dena Somerhalder are the charming owners of both Built of Barnwood (B.O.B for short) and the gaming app Somerhalder Secrets. The intrepid and hardworking Somerhalder’s are truly delightful and always have time for the various fans who come up for autographs and pictures at each and every convention they attend. They’ve also created a Facebook group to help fans keep up with their various con appearances. Contrary to popular belief there isn’t a huge company behind anything the are associated with, Bob actually creates each of his pieces himself, with Dena’s help of course. It’s refreshing to see that they don’t just put their name on a product or use the popularity of other family members to create sales. Bob and Dena are genuine and have created products they are proud to sell.

Built of Barnwood is based in the charming coastal town of Bay St Louis, Mississippi. Bob Somerhalder’s focus is on reclaiming, recycling, and repurposing vintage wood and building materials. Once reclaimed, the wood is handcrafted into home decor, furnishings, and design accent pieces. Bob strives for a greener, more sustainable economy. With this green desire in mind, the Somerhalders have launched a clean and sustainable business of contemporary products with a vintage flare.

Though best known for their crosses B.O.B has an array of beautiful and unique pieces including the newest addition: the autograph boards (autographs not included) which can be customized if preordered, popular with convention goers and the celebrities have also endorsed them. If interested in ordering an autograph board or for more info on them you can email Bob at bobsomerhalder@yahoo.com
Their newest creation is the gaming app Somerhalder Secrets – Raised on the Bayou which is a highly addictive tile-matching puzzle game with a twist, after you successfully complete challenges you will receive secrets about the family, and these are little known facts provided by all the Somerhalder siblings, yes including the aforementioned screen actor. This game features sea creatures commonly found in the Somerhalder’s native home of the Louisiana bayou. The app is available for purchase on the iTunes and GooglePlay stores now.
You can keep up to date with this busy couple by following them on twitter: Dena, Bob, Somerhalder App


What Do You Do Nicole?

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When I started helping to promote Thunder Road I never expected to meet as many amazing people who have been moved to aid this campaign after being inspired by the actions of Astoria Entertainment: Charlie Bewley, Matt Dallas & Steven Grayhm. One of these amazing contributors is Nicole Ross, who kindly shared her experiences of her first convention TVD Dallas and why she is supporting Thunder Road.

Having never attended any convention let alone a TVD Convention Nicole was apprehensive when her husband Jason approached her with the idea, she was still reluctant up until the day of the convention. She was concerned about the last-minute scheduling changes but like all of us was pleasantly surprised by the new guests and welcoming atmosphere of the TVD fandom. Favorite aspects of the convention were listening to the panels where the guests discussed not only working on TVD but also their own lives and challenges they have faced. Nicole and her husband Jason were the lucky winners of a dinner with Charlie Bewley in support of Thunder Road that Creation Entertainment so kindly auctioned off at the end of his panel with Todd Williams on Day 1 of the convention. Nicole was motivated to bid on the auction after hearing Charlie speak about Thunder Road’s mission to help raise awareness of PTSD and the overall struggles faced by Veterans when trying to reintegrate themselves into civilian life.

“PTSD can effect anyone when an individual is in a dangerous situation. The trauma lies within the body of the individual and not the actual event. Often times people can exit an event and never show signs of PTSD, while others, may develop PTSD from an incident other’s may perceive as mild. It all depends on how our bodies respond in our Threat Response Cycle. Our troops are returning home as heroes, but often times, with the vision of a hero we do not expect any weaknesses.  In reality our troops are pushed to the edge of their Threat Response Cycles, creating a constant state of alert, scanning the environment, and acting on the natural response of flight or flight.  PTSD develops when an individual is unable to properly discharge the flight or fight response, creating a freeze state. These freeze states are triggered in individuals with PTSD through sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc, thus keeping the individual in a constant state of hypervigilance. By getting involved in the Thunder Road project, I am hoping even more of our population can begin to understand the depth of trauma through the use of the film. PTSD effects more of our population than we believe.  Understanding the signs, symptoms, and ways we can help can assist in prevention of suicide, mental health barriers, and offering appropriate services to people who need access to them.”   – Nicole Ross

As the owner and clinic director of The Creative Therapy Center Nicole’s practice focuses on dealing with PTSD. NIcole has over 13 years of experience as a mental health therapist and employs a variety of therapeutic techniques to work with trauma such as Play Therapy, sand tray therapy, and Somatic Experiencing at the center. The center focuses on working with children who have PTSD and other mental health disorders. “Play therapy is an opportunity for an individual to use play techniques to address difficult mental health issues.  Play therapy can be adapted to work with all age groups from small children to adults.  I use a non-directive play therapy model with children ages 2 – 12, a directive play therapy approach with children struggling with cognitive skills, and sand tray therapy with adolescents and adults.” explains Nicole “Anyone can benefit from play therapy techniques.  Even when I am having a difficult day or looking for some clarity I will enter my sand tray room and create a sand tray.  So much information can be gathered through unspoken words, metaphors, and ideas.  The journey is in the hands of the client.  It is their story to tell, and it is my job to be present to hear and honor their story.” Nicole also travels around the United States presenting on trauma, the effects of trauma, and how we can all work to prevent, reduce, and treat trauma symptoms.

Inspired by her personal work with PTSD to aid the campaign; Nicole and her husband Jason have been diligently fundraising for the campaign. They teamed up with Modify Tattoo and raised $1000, they also held a drink tab night at The Other Bar in Foley MN where they raised $300 and gave away a $100 gift card that was won by a lucky Veteran. Jason and Nicole have also created a wonderful fundraiser in support of Thunder Road. On September 22, 2013 Jason will be “Breaking Boards for PTSD” with all proceeds going to the Thunder Road campaign.
For more about Nicole’s work visit The Creative Therapy Center’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeTherapyCenter and for more about Nicole visit her blog.
You can also donate directly to Thunder Road on Indiegogo.