Vaboom Week 3 (79)

Pose, Point, Click, Vaboom!

Visit El Paso wasn’t looking for a photographer / videographer when they hired me, but as my position has evolved, having training in these disciplines benefits the brand and gives me valuable experience!

Emily Martin Loya, a wonderful colleague of mine who does meaningful work over at El Paso’s PBS Station, recommended Robert Tibuni as a photography teacher after reading my recent blog post.

Robert Tibuni owns Vaboom Photography and is one of 10 incredibly talented ‘Digital Storytellers’ that KCOS and Visit El Paso chose for the “Only In El Paso” web series. His skills are legendary among El Paso’s elite, so I was giddy to learn he’d accepted me as a pupil! Watch his Only In El Paso episode, featuring Investigator / Spy / all-around badass Jay J. Armes:

In Monday’s lesson, Robert refined some concepts about shooting in manual mode, taught me about using bounces, whiteboards and composition.

To practice, we staged a photo shoot at a park, under cloudy conditions. The model was incredibly patient, gracious and super gorgeous! Here’s some of the better photos I took today.

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Are you a professional photographer? Critique my photos! What could I have done differently?

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My #SocialMedia work just won a State award!

I just won a state award by the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus for my social media work for Visit El Paso! Hearing the Sales Director’s make that announcement during today’s employee meeting today really made my day!

TACVB Social Media Idea Fair Poster 2014

I recently lost a local popularity contest – the What’s Up Best of the Best – in the ‘Best Social Media Publisher’ category. I had been nominated in previous years and really never paid much attention but this year was different because I am now working in social media and I suppose it would have been nice to win.

Not many folks will understand the importance of this award – but I’m pretty proud of myself! I suppose a state award is better than a local award, right?

This win only motivates me to continue to strive to be better for my organization; it’s very clear that my work alone has truly spoken for itself. I’m also getting ready to attend the Social Media Tourism Symposium in Nashville, TN during November – excited to gain some more knowledge from peers in my industry!

If any of my wonderful readers voted for me this year at Best of the Best, thank you – you’re truly wonderful folks! So what’s next? I’m going to be attending Toastmasters meetings – I’d like to speak at a conference and represent my company sometime!

Surviving My Worst Week Ever

I’ve had shitty days before, but never really a week that was full of them.

Last week my work laptop was stolen, my SUV crashed into the El Paso Museum of Art by itself (read on, I swear it wasn’t my fault), work pressure was out of control, my social media wasn’t on point and a handful of other family issues.

No one really has a bad life. Not even a bad day. Just bad moments.

Here’s the officer fingerprinting my SUV after I reported my work laptop stolen. Little did I know that I live less than a block away from a homeless shelter AND a sex offender halfway house. Oy vey.


This past Friday – I was mortified to hear that there was a glitch in my new podcast episode. It’ wasn’t that bad of a glitch, but still – it existed and I felt compelled to fix it. After a few failed errands after work, I decided to stop by the office to fix my show.

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.

After about 10 minutes in the office, my beau (who now works with me) called me and hurriedly told me that my SUV had somehow crashed into a tree, pole and two bike racks, I ran out of the office and found out my SUV in this sorry state:


The El Paso Police Department and my insurance agent are truly flabbergasted that my SUV travelled all that way on it’s own – I’m pretty incredulous too. EPPD suspects an attempted robbery; the emergency brake was on, the gear was in ‘park’ and my doors were locked.

Truck Accident

I’m counting my blessings:

  • I live and work downtown, my son goes to school and summer camp in downtown too.  Not having my vehicle has allowed us to slow down and smell the flowers again.
  • No one was hurt while my SUV went renegade.
  • Everything that was damaged is replaceable and is in the process of being replaced.
  • We’re okay – life will go on!

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.



When Does the Personal Branding End?

Quick answer: NEVER.

Working in social media has taught me a lot in the last few years – the most recent lesson I’ve learned is to not neglect your personal brand. When I began to work at Visit El Paso, I decided to put all of that on the back burner – after all, my personal social media wasn’t paying the bills.personal brand

I’ve realized now that it was a grave mistake to make. Although most people know that I do something in social media, no one knew that ‘Crysti Couture’ was the person on the other side of the keyboard.

As a result, I’ve completely rebooted my own social media persona:

  • Deleted all 65,000 of my “personal” Tweets – started a clean slate with a more “professional” vibe. If you’re into social media talk & El Paso awesomeness, follow me there!
  • Deleted my personal Foursquare & Instagram – follow me here & here instead.
  • Deleted Stumbleupon,, TV Tag accounts – I never ever use them.
  • I password protected blog posts on this blog that get a little too personal. 

This might seem like a lot of work – and it is. Over the next few weeks, it’s still a work in progress. The important thing to remember is that this world is full of millions of people competing for the same things that you want in life.  Any future potential employers will search for you online to determine your relevancy.

Crysti Couture Logo RedSocial media can also be the vehicle to your demise. Here are just some examples on how social media or online searches can ruin a reputation beyond repair:

What story will your online persona tell about you?

It’s also important to remember the keyword: persona “the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.”

How do you find a balance to create a more relevant persona? Listen to this amazing podcast episode from SocialZoom for the lowdown.

Still looking for more info on building your personal brand? Here are some incredibly useful links to check out:

Exploring Life. Experiencing El Paso.


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