Late Night Laughs

Heeere's Johnny! Today is TV Talk Show Host Day and honors all TV Talk Show hosts past and present. This very special day is celebrated on the birth date of legendary night time talk show host Johnny Carson. For a record 29 years, 7 months and 29 days, the undisputed "King of Late Night Television" hosted 1,859 episodes of The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992.

A fun caricature of one Health-Conscious Host!

While this day is celebrated on Johnny Carson's birth date, it is intended to show appreciation to all Television talk show hosts, daytime and nighttime.

Dad may not have a talk show, but loves seeing himself on TV and in comic strips!

Celebrate today, by having a Television Talk Show Marathon...watch them all day and night. Have a happy TV Talk Show Host Day!!!


Pumpkin Parade

Pumpkins. Pumpkins. Pumpkins! Nothing says "October" like pumpkins! Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Filling, Pumpkin Beer, Pumpkin Cider, Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Cheesecake!

"Dad" LOVES pumpkins this time of year!

Today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day and celebrates the Fall with this rich and creamy Jack o' Luscious dessert. Why pumpkins and cheesecake!? WHY NOT put these two favorite desserts together?! They make a delicious dessert and they're both nutritious and healthy.

Not quite the "baker"? That's OK, it's easy to indulge this special day. Go to a cheesecake store or bakery, and buy a "pumpkin cheesecake". Or better yet, make a homemade pumpkin cheesecake.

Don't have a recipe? Here is a Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe to try that's fun and its easy!

Count Your Buttons

Parental wisdom has taught us to "count our blessings" when we are feeling melancholy, but we'll save that for another day. Today is… Count Your Buttons Day!? Yes, as found on Holiday Insights, we were perplexed by this wacky holiday too. So we wanted to know "Why!?" And it turns out that they don't know why either! The subject is rather ambiguous. Are these the buttons that keep our pants, shirts, sweaters and jackets together, or funny slogan buttons like the type we find around election season?

Some buttons aren't worth counting...

So how do you celebrate this day? Whether you are a "collector of buttons" or any other obscure obsession (hey, my grandmother collected spoons!), it's suggested that if you have nothing better to do, you start counting your buttons. Otherwise, you may choose to move on to the other other holiday celebrated today… National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!


Evaluating Your Life

Honesty is the best policy. We usually lend this advise when we are talking to a friend who is trying to solve a problem with someone else. But what if the issue we are contemplating is with ourself?
A fitting "self-evaluation" comic that I did for Eric P. Butts CPA

Evaluate Your Life Day sounds just a little bit too serious, and can be a bit scary. What if in evaluating our own life we don't like what we find?

Well that's when we need to put on our grown up pants, muster up some bravado, and begin to make positive changes.

Evaluate Your Life Day gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect upon our life; what we've done, and where we're going. Remember, honest is the best policy here. Are things going well? What's bothering you? What do you need, or want, to change? Am I where I want to be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially? What's your purpose? What's your passion? Here's what I found.

With a self evaluation, you can then make the changes like I did to improve the quality of your life. Or, if things are going well, just tinker with small adjustments. Evaluate Your Life Day can be the beginning of a happier and healthier you!


Fashion Faux Pas

Can't find anything to wear?
Well, you're in luck because today is Wear Something Gaudy Day!

The roots of this day go back to the hit 1970's television comedy show "Three's Company". Larry Dallas (played by Richard Kline), one of the characters on the show, declared a Wear Something Gaudy Day.

The word "gaudy" refers to something bright, cheap, showy, outlandish, or otherwise not in good taste. And the epitome of this fashion faux pas is none other than the star of the "Because I Said So" comics! For the past 100 comic strips, "Dad" has found a new way to break every tasteful trend by combining his psychedelic shirts, mismatched short-shorts, white knee-high socks, and brown sandals.

So if you want break all the rules and dress like "Dad", have a little fun today. For just one day, forego fashion and style. Look for something to wear that's really wild and wacky, and will stick out like a sore thumb wherever you go.

And if you're always garbed in gaudy attire, this is your day to find some fashion sense and look like everyone else!


Don't Quit Your Day Job...YET!

We do the things we NEED to do, in order to do the things we LOVE to do.

I recently came upon a list of "11 Celebrated Artists That Didn't Quit Their Day Jobs", and was reminded that even if I'm not where I want to be as an artist, that's OK. There are other creators that have lived through the same circumstances, and used their experiences to hone their crafts.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass,
it's about learning how to dance in the rain.” -Vivian Greene

All my life I knew that I was born to draw. During my first 20 years I dedicated my time to refining my skills as an artist. All I wanted to be was a Disney Animator. But as we get older, responsibilities take over, and at the age of 24, I was blessed to be a husband and father. It was during this time that I had to put my dreams aside and do what I had to do, and provide for my family. Yet all along, I was still drawing.

During this decade, I worked as an Account Executive in the mortgage industry, strengthening phone and managerial skills. After 4 years, I moved on and became licensed in private insurance, conducting face-to-face consultations and large group presentations. But then the 2008/2009 economic crash occurred and I was forced to reinvent myself again to provide for my family. Yet all along, I was still drawing.

After a long and stressful span of uncertainty, a door was opened and on September 9, 2009 I was hired as a temporary employee with a global bioscience company. Traveling up to an hour in SoCal traffic to get to the factory, I used this time to think. Realizing that my situation wouldn't change unless I did, I requested to begin working the graveyard shift. This meant working from 10:00pm to 10:00am, Friday night through Monday morning! Why? To invest more time with my wife and daughter. Yet all along, I was still drawing.

It was during these quiet moments in the middle of the night at the factory that I began to start a journal. I wrote down what I wanted in life. What I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. Slowing an idea found a voice that led to action, and I created a roadmap. On May 27, 2011 I registered my business name with the county and officially launched VoogDesigns! "Great, but how would I get back to doing what I knew I was born to do?"

I was still working at the factory, and with gas prices at over $4.00 a gallon, I discovered that the company had another facility 3 miles from my home! So I requested a transfer to eliminate a 2 hour round-trip commute and spending $100 a week to fill up my gas tank. Saving time and money, I could now devote more of my time to building my company!

"I’m working full-time on my job,
and part-time on my fortune." -Jim Rohn

For the last 2 years I have been blessed to work at this factory, and am now close enough that I could actually ride my mountain bike to work. There are some weekends where I'll work a 20-hour day, doing tasks that are mundane, monotonous, and far from "creative". But like the "11 Celebrated Artists That Didn't Quit Their Day Jobs", I use this experience to keep food on the table for my family, a roof over our heads and health insurance for medical emergencies. Every weekend I work three 12-hour days so that I can spend the other 4 days of the week drawing.

I'm doing what I NEED to do, in order to do what I was BORN to do.


How The Arts Teach Kids To Win In Life

Given the current obsession with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), school reformers aren't talking much about how we need to train more teachers in the arts. While important to study the arts for their intrinsic value — they also promote skills seen as important in academic and life success. (That’s why some people talk  about changing the current national emphasis on STEM to STEAM.) Here’s a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts:

1. Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives and think ‘outside of the box’ will distinguish your child from others. In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.
2. Confidence – The skills developed through theater, not only train you how to convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence you need to take command of the stage. Theater training gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and allows them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children the confidence to perform in front of large audiences.
3. Problem Solving – Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.
4. Perseverance – When a child picks up a violin for the first time, she/he knows that playing Bach right away is not an option; however, when that child practices, learns the skills and techniques and doesn’t give up, that Bach concerto is that much closer. In an increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.
5. Focus – The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work. Keeping a balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus. It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives.
6. Non-Verbal Communication – Through experiences in theater and dance education, children learn to breakdown the mechanics of body language. They experience different ways of moving and how those movements communicate different emotions. They are then coached in performance skills to ensure they are portraying their character effectively to the audience.
7. Receiving Constructive Feedback – Receiving constructive feedback about a performance or visual art piece is a regular part of any arts instruction. Children learn that feedback is part of learning and it is not something to be offended by or to be taken personally. It is something helpful. The goal is the improvement of skills and evaluation is incorporated at every step of the process. Each arts discipline has built in parameters to ensure that critique is a valuable experience and greatly contributes to the success of the final piece.
8. Collaboration – Most arts disciplines are collaborative in nature. Through the arts, children practice working together, sharing responsibility, and compromising with others to accomplish a common goal. When a child has a part to play in a music ensemble, or a theater or dance production, they begin to understand that their contribution is necessary for the success of the group. Through these experiences children gain confidence and start to learn that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role.
9. Dedication – When kids get to practice following through with artistic endeavors that result in a finished product or performance, they learn to associate dedication with a feeling of accomplishment. They practice developing healthy work habits of being on time for rehearsals and performances, respecting the contributions of others, and putting effort into the success of the final piece. In the performing arts, the reward for dedication is the warm feeling of an audience’s applause that comes rushing over you, making all your efforts worthwhile.
10. Accountability – When children practice creating something collaboratively they get used to the idea that their actions affect other people. They learn that when they are not prepared or on-time, that other people suffer. Through the arts, children also learn that it is important to admit that you made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Because mistakes are a regular part of the process of learning in the arts, children begin to see that mistakes happen. We acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

Read the entire article written by Lisa Phillips in the Washington Post


VoogDesigns Vocation


  1. A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.
  2. A person's employment or main occupation, esp. regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication.
calling - profession - occupation

My "Calling"
I wanted to share with you a series of events that helped solidify for me, that I'm headed in the right direction with my vocation. Ever since the first grade I knew that I wanted to draw. In my late teens I created a name and designed a logo for my future company, which is what you'll see on my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn pages. But I didn't know the relevance it's meaning until recently.
Voogd + Designs
I felt that there was something special that was happening with my company, so I started researching the meaning of my last name and discovered that "Voogd" (originally Vogt) ultimately derives from the Latin [ad]vocatus) or advocate, meaning to exert guardianship or protection over a territory or area of responsibility.

The second half in my company name is "Designs", which is also a synonym for one who "Creates".

My first name is Michael and for many years I have felt empowered by Saint Michael the Archangel, who in the Bible, was the Defender of God (The Creator).

Like a puzzle I began connecting what seemed more than a coincidence, and used these three elements to design a new image to represent my company. "Voogd Designs" in Latin is "Advocatus Creatoris", which translates to "Advocate (or Defender) of the Creator".

The Wings pay tribute to Saint Michael the Archangel, from which my first name was given.
The Sword symbolizes the meaning of my last name- "Voogd" (the Defender/Protector).
The Pencil is the tool through which ideas flow, and is held by the Artist, or Creator.

I knew I was born to draw, to create, and I know there are many youth that feel the same way I did when I was in the first grade. Don't fight the gifts and talents that you were blessed with. Sharpen them. Strengthen them. Use them.

Within the next month I will be launching NinjaToons.com which will be an online school for "creatives" that can sharpen their skills in numerous Arts such as Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing and Acting. Parents, if you see these talents in your children, embrace it and encourage them. And VoogDesigns will be an advocate, or "defender of the creators" in this world.