How to: DIY Photo Booth

When I worked in a catering hall, I saw tons of awesome party ideas. From photobooths to bands, weddings and big events always have some sort of entertainment set up that looks like it costs a million bucks. News flash – it does! You didn’t hear this from me, bDSCN2839ut a photobooth can cost up to $700 for the entire night (some companies even charge by hour!) Now, I’m not good at math by any means, but that equals quite a lot of doll-hairs.

With the help of Pinterest, Michael’s and a little bit of creativity, you can create your own photobooth for under $100. Here’s what you need:

A camera
You can use your phone or any camera you can get your hands on. You don’t need to hire a photographer to take pictures when you have hands, common sense and some sort of good aim. If you want less responsibility throughout the night, set up a table with multiple disposable cameras and have your guests snap photos of themselves all night!

Head to Michael’s
Every time I step into Michael’s I hear angels singing. I can not spend less than an hour going up and down the aisles just looking at all the beautiful craft supplies. My mind starts racing and wandering. For those who are not like me and have an anxiety atrack as soon as the automatic doors open, don’t panic! The first thing you need to make sure of is that you have a list of what you need to buy and some coupons. For this photo booth, I needed some inexpensive frames, some chalk and 2 photo booth kits. You can almost always find coupons for Michael’s on their website ( I asked a sales associate where I could find all of these items and had no problem finding anything. One of the photo booth kits (when I mention a photo booth kit, it’s a small box with some sticks and cut outs. Think: glasses and mustaches you hold up to your face while in a photo booth) had a tear in the box. I asked if I could get a discount and actually got 10% off. Not a great discount but a discount is still a discount.

Stage Your PhotoboothDSCN2838
I was lucky to be taking pictures for my cousin in her huge backyard and found a great place out of the way of the party traffic but still in the area to set up the photo booth. You might want to make the photo booth front and center but that can cause crowding and off-set the atmosphere if the room/space is small. Chose somewhere with a good amount a room and a great view of the rest of the party. I have seen some people create their own backgrounds for the photobooth. For this event, i simply used some vibrant green bushes and trees alreadDSCN2837y in the background. When using a professional camera with a powerful lense, the colors look amazing. But any phone or camera will still do a great job! My aunt happened to have two watering cans nearby. I simply put the sticks with the props in the cans for easy access.

You don’t always have to spend a ton of money to create great memories. Hiring a photographer would have put a dent in my pocket and might have even taken away from the event. I mean, who wants some guy you don’t know in your face telling you to smile and not telling you that you have something in your teeth?

Amateur Photographer

September 11th, 2001

It’s been 13 years. 13 years of anything is a long time. But 13 years since a national tragedy seems worse. It’s been 13 years since families have seen their friends, parents, aunts, uncles… etc. They knew they went to work that day just like any other day so they didn’t worry. They went to school like they always did. But then 9am hit and their lives changed forever.

On September 11th, 2014 I was sitting in my 5th grade class, Mrs. Andersons class doing (I believe) a social studies assignment. The first thing I remember is hearing what sounded like jets above us. I think there were two. And then we heard some big BOOMS. I thought It sounded like a big truck hit a speed bump or something innocent like that.

Then I see teachers in the halls running back and forth. A teacher from across the hallway interrupted our teacher mid-sentence and she walked outside with her. When my teacher came back in, she had us move our desks to the edges of the room so there was enough space for us in the middle and had us sit down in a circle.

Still confused, we sat around just talking. At 10 years old, I finally got a chance to sit next to my friend and we just started talking and laughing like nothing happened. We didn’t know anything. Then, one by one, classmates were being escorted out by Mrs. Anderson. That was a red flag. What happened that all these kids get to leave early?

I don’t remember if we were sent home from school early or if we had a regular dismissal day. But when I got home, both my parents were home in front of the TV. The first thing I saw was the twin towers burning and a man was hanging outside a window waving what looked to be a towel or shirt. Then 2 seconds later, he jumped.

At 10 years old,  I watched God knows how many people jump out of a huge building to their deaths. I don’t remember asking any questions, I just remember staring at the screen. At the time,  my dad was a private investigator but he had many friends that were officers and he was on the phone pacing back and forth. He was trying to get some answers and then I heard him and my mom talking about him heading out there to help. I got so scared. These people were throwing themselves out of a burning building. What was going to happen to my Dad?

I will never be able to understand the pain that must have been felt by the families watching the news not knowing where their family members or friends were. Knowing that you know someone in that burning building, seeing people throwing themselves out of it because they can’t get out must have been so stressful and utterly heartbreaking.

I’ll never forget what happened on this day 13 years ago. I don’t think anyone will. New York is supposed to be untouchable. The state that holds the city of dreams and happiness in the palm of its hands. But on that day, they took a piece of us New Yorkers. And though we are the toughest people in the world, we are still struggling to stand back up.

Published Article On

Yesterday, I received an email from that my article about my experiences as a recent graduate has been chosen to be published! I was so excited (and still am)! It might just be a small achievement but my name is at least a little out there. Thanks to all who’ve read and are interested in reading some of my work!

Here is the link to the actual published article:

I hope you like it and are interested in seeing more from me! Feel free to re-blog and comment as you please!

Danie Menke

Devil’s Advocate: Facts about Ferguson Shooting

Leave it to America to jump the gun about a shooting. Yes, I say that lightly. Michael Brown was a African-American teenager that was fatally shot by a White police officer a few days ago. Those are the only facts we know. Let’s break down what everyone is up in arms about:

Racial Profiling:
There is racial profiling happening everywhere. We all know it. African-Americans say it is against them and they are being targetted. And I don’t disagree. History is all you need to research to see that race plays a huge role in profiling. BUT, as a police department,  is it wrong to profile a suspect? The suspect in the robbery at the store is over 6 foot tall, over 250 pounds, wearing a white shirt and is African-American. Does this fit the description of Michael Brown? Yes. Racial Profiling is necessary when getting information regarding a crime. What I mean is, if the police put out WANTED posters or alerts giving the weight, height and location of a suspect and left out their race, how many people would be scratching their heads?

Militarization & Weapons used against Rioters, Looters and Protestors:
Let’s get this straight – when you “righteously” start yelling at officers, breaking into stores along the street, looting the stores items and causing mayhem in the streets aren’t the police “righteous” in your arrest and gearing up for the worst? You can’t expect ANY police department NOT to defend themselves. Assulting an officer is a CRIME. How do you point fingers at police when you react this way towards them?

The Witness:
Tiffany Mitchell, a young woman who stepped forward yesterday as a witness to the crime, has stated a few things – 1) she only witnessed the events taking place in the police car and up until the shooting. She did not witness the initial meeting between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson.
2) She has stated that Wilson and Brown were fighting in the police car. Is that not police brutality? How do we know that Brown did not assult the officer as he was approached because he fit the description of the nearby robbery?
3) Mitchell also stated that she witnessed Brown running away from the cop (Fleeing the Scene of the Crime) and that the cop continously shot Brown even as he was down with his hands raised. The witness says Browns hands were not raised until AFTER the fight in the car, after Brown ran from the cop and after the cop fired shots towards him. The media needs to stop saying this is an horrendous crime against “an innocent black teen that had his hands raised in a surrender-like stance”.

Listen, there are still people in this word that are racist and will use their authority against a race or specific person in a way that is not justified. I do believe that. But, in playing Devil’s Advocate, is it not righteous to think and educate ourselves of the fact of the matter? Brown could very well have been targetted because of his race, because this cop is a dick and because racial profiling and racism is still very prevalent today.  But until we have all the facts on the table in front of us, the looting and violence needs to stop. Regardless of the fact of the matter, acting out in this way will not get anyone anywhere but behind bars – righteous or not.

*I am currently on neither side of Michael Brown or Darren Wilson. I am playing Devil’s Advocate because I believe there is more to this story than is being disclosed. I believe the death of teenager Michael Brown is indeed a tragedy but I do not agree with the bandwagon jumpers who need to use their words and ears before taking action.

just a small town girl trying to get it together.