Wednesday, June 28, 2017

That Time I Went to the Pacific (Korea & Japan) for Work with the USO

Did you know that earlier this year, at the end of April (aka when I was dying from finishing my Capstone project for grad school!), I went on the work trip of a lifetime to the Pacific?

Yeah, for realz.

First, Afghanistan this year, and now the Pacific. I've said it before and I'll say it again but I have the coolest job.

Anyway, long story short I had the opportunity to travel through out Korea and Japan to capture stories about how the USO is delivering its many (many, many) services to military members and their families in this part of the world.

Having never visited either country, I, of course, fell totally in love with both Korea and Japan, even in just the little amount of off time I had during our long filming days. Amazing food, even more amazing people, even MORE amazing culture/sights -- what's not to love?

I'll be writing more about my trip over the next few months as I slowly begin to produce content from our two weeks of shooting, but until then, I'll leave you with some favorite behind the scenes photos/off time photos of my adventure!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My USO VETOGA Video in Honor of International Yoga Day!

Today is the longest day of summer and -- not coincidently -- the International Day of Yoga.

In honor of this extra-long day of daylight, I thought I would share something that is the perfect expression of the wonders of yoga *and* the wonderful work I get to do as part of my job for the USO: a video piece (and photos. and a print story.) about a local nonprofit in the DC area -- VETOGA.

I don't want to give away too much of the story, but here's a sneak peak at what it's all about:
Justin Blazejewski knew something was wrong.  
In 2008, the Marine Corps veteran — who had been working as government contractor in active war zones on and off since 2005 — noticed that the stress of his job near the front lines was beginning to take its toll on his mental health. 
“The stress and depression and all that stuff started coming in,” Blazejewski said.  
Aware that Blazejewski was battling depression and extreme stress, Blazejewski’s roommate at the time invited him to attend a yoga class with her under the guise that it might help him recover from a recent ankle surgery he had earlier that year.  
“She was trying to trick me because she knew the meditation would help with the stress and the depression,” Blazejewski said. 
But by the end of his first yoga class, he was hooked.  
“I was like, there’s something special going on here so I have to get more of this and see what this is all about,” he said. 
Almost immediately, Blazejewski began to incorporate yoga into his everyday life, practicing five to six times a week. After a year of attending classes and one life-changing yoga retreat in Bali, Blazejewski decided to become a yoga teacher so he could bring the transformative power of yoga to others like him... read more here!

Sounds interesting, right? Oh! I forgot to mention, I also shot some sweet photos in addition to shooting the feature video and writing a mini story about the organization.

Check them out!