Hobby Jam

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Dr. Thomas V. Taylor

Taking retirement to a new vivacious energy level, Dr. Thomas V. Taylor pursues his passion for music and singing as a tenor with the Choral Society of Performing Arts. As a musician, he plays the guitar as a challenge to elevate his playing competencies to optimal performance levels. As an author, he has published ten books. Dr. Thomas Taylor’s latest book is being prepared for launch by his publisher. The book is the study of individuals who are predisposed to life longevity. His book identifies individual factors for a healthy lifestyle. These are only a few activities that bring pleasure to Dr. Taylor’s retirement days.

Alternatively, Dr. Thomas V. Taylor is a huge sports fan. He played cricket as a younger man and he continues to stay up on the latest games. He is a member of the Manchester United Football Club Supporters. He supports the Houston Astros and is an avid supporter of the Houston Texans.  Furthermore, Dr. Taylor has been a train enthusiast since he was a child.  When he allows himself the time, he is an artist of watercolor painting which adorn the walls of his home.

Many retirees have too many hours in a day. This is not the case with Dr. Thomas Taylor. He Enjoys teaching and studying various topics, writing, and discussing current affairs. He is an Author, Vocalist, Musician, Inventor, Train enthusiast, Sports Enthusiast, and a Painter. His days are filled with creativity, intelligent conversation, and entertainment all of which he gains great delight.

What is your favorite hobby?

I sing classical and choir music. I also play the guitar. I am a train enthusiast.  I’ve always liked singing and when I was a student, I used to sing the more popular music of the day. The songs I use to sing were the top twenty songs. I’ve always enjoyed singing. I have done it for many years. In later years my singing has evolved from popular music to classical music of the Choral Society.

Can you tell us what you love about singing Classical and Choir music?

I find that singing classical music is very satisfying. It is also relaxing at the same time energizing. It provides a stimulus to achieve good results, to concentrate on the music, and to perfect one’s technique as far as possible. It is a challenge and it is both interesting and exciting. It also enables me to have the opportunity to meet many people. Often times we meet socially. Overall, it is a very healthy and beneficial thing to get involved in.

Other than the Choral Society and your Church Choir, In what do you participate?

In the past, I was with the Choral Society in Houston, and the Choral Society in England, I also sang with the choral section of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. I’ve sung in Church Choirs all over Houston and I’ve also sung at and with a Choral Society in Massachusetts.

Have you had to invest in any equipment and if so can you share whatever you have bought?

I have purchased music from a variety of music stores. The only music equipment that I have purchased is my guitar. I purchased the lessons to learn how to play the guitar.  I play it as well. It is another hobby of mine. I also enjoy railways. I have been a steam engine train enthusiast my entire life.

Where do you buy most of your supplies for your music and singing?

I purchased the printed music from a variety of music stores. I purchased my guitar from a guitar supply store along with the lessons in playing the guitar. I had voice lessons over the past twenty years or so from various teachers along the way. I wanted to learn about the theory of music. I also wanted to learn how to read music. While I was still a surgeon, I took a semester on the theory of music and how to read music from Houston Community College.

Are there any good music or singing books for beginners?

When I started out playing guitar, I first purchased any basic beginner books for guitar players. There are different books for styles or methods of playing the guitar. There are books that provide simple guitar chords to start off. You can also buy music that is written specifically for a guitar. The kind of guitar you play will determine what kind of music books you will want to buy. It will be very different music played from an acoustic guitar then there will be from an electric guitar. There will be several questions to consider when buying the music books that will suit the music you want to learn.

How has your guitar and singing changed your life?

I find playing the guitar and singing to be enjoyable and quite satisfying. They are a great source of stress relief. It has been a challenge. It is a wonderful way to keep the mind active. It always provides a stimulus because there is always a variety of different kinds of music. It requires a lot of effort to achieve the optimal results for your capability. I have found it to be extremely enjoyable and enormously challenging. That is in addition to being an extraordinary stress reliever.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would tell anyone, including my younger self, Dr. Thomas V. Taylor, to start in either singing or playing the guitar that the first thing they would have to do is have lessons for either hobby. Learn from a professional to optimize your technique. There is a lot of learning to optimize an individual’s technique. The guitar is not an easy instrument to learn, at least it was not for me. It requires a lot of practice. Much like everything else in life you have to be dedicated and put in a lot of hours. Everything ultimately comes with repetition and learning and attempting to improve your technique. It is all in practice, practice, practice. You have to put a lot of time and energy into it but you also get a lot of satisfaction out of it. So, in the beginning, you really have to have a great interest in learning how to play and a passion for the time you will spend for each and every achievement that you will eventually triumph over in order to succeed.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love all sports, particularly baseball and cricket. The world cup is going on right now. I have been listening to it on the radio. The games go on for several hours. It is a good thing that I can listen and enjoy it immensely, and still get other things done. The game comes down to the last few balls to decide the winners. It makes the game very exciting right until the end. I use to play when I was younger. It takes a lot of skill to play.

Regarding my interest in trains, my interest was piqued when I was a child. There was a railway station next to my home. I use to love to watch the trains pass by or stop. They were steam engines that were driven with coal. They had to stop across a field for water. I’d go down and watch them fill and prep before they moved on. I love steam engines, and although they are not often used anymore, there is still an interest. There are still a few small lines that must use steam engines to run.

I also have an interest in current affairs. I wish I had the time to do watercolor paintings as well. Although, I have many of my paintings on my walls.

You can learn more and follow Dr. Thomas V. Taylor on:

Jeff Yapp

Jeff Yapp attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He continued his education in pursuit of a Masters degree in Marketing, Finance, and Operations from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois. As he achieved that goal, he moved with the same momentum into his career.

His first professional position was with Kraft Foods Group. It didn’t take him long to move from an entry level marketing position to the Product Group Manager in the Beverage Division. This was his first significant foray into marketing and developing the skills that followed him throughout his career.

As Jeff Yapp developed the skills, he searched for bigger and greater challenges. He moved onto work in a variety of positions, revitalizing brands and developing new skill. Among some of the jobs he moved into are Newscorp’s 20th Century Fox Entertainment, Microsoft, the Pepsico, and Viacoms MTV. Believing he had the skills he could obtain from all of his positions with others, the natural next step was to begin his own company. In 2011, he launched the consulting and marketing firm Wutznxt.

At Wutznxt, Jeff Yapp has been able to turn the skills he developed through experience into an asset for his clients and customers. His company specializes in direct to consumer and most recently small business leadership, but has continued to work with Fortune 100 companies as well. The teams at Wutznxt help their diverse clientele stand apart from their peers and competitors. They do this in a way that creates experience, blending brand recognition with positive memory creation. The lasting connection leaves better brand knowledge in its wake.

It isn’t uncommon for Jeff Yapp to be traveling for business or with his family. It is also not uncommon for him to bring his camera along to take some amazing images and create memories that will last a lifetime.

What is your hobby?

One passion of mine that started over 20 years ago has turned into one of my favorite pursuits. My photography is another part of my business portfolio. We are a visual based world and capturing the moment, the emotion and the surroundings through the lens of my camera allows the feeling of the experience to come through. It’s true in all aspects of my work.

What inspired you to get started with photography?

It developed while the kids were growing up. I worked a lot more than I would have preferred to at times, so I wanted to capture every moment. It didn’t take long to realize how fun it was to take pictures of my family and it quickly worked its way into my professional life. The camera is one of the most amazing creations in that it allows anyone to create art, even those of us who didn’t pursue it as a career.

Tell us what you love about it.

Initially, it was just a way to collect memories with my children. What I remember most was watching my daughter in dance at age 3, she is now 27. I would photograph her earliest performances to her majoring in dance at the university of Michigan. The camera allowed me to capture the artistry and emotion in a way that was truly unique.

I have shared this passion with my family as well and it has worked its way into the professional life of my kids as well.

My oldest daughter Kristine is an event planner for twitter. Her photography skills and years of experience in event space and marketing allows her to understand what success looks like from many angles. She has a keen eye to understand the big picture and create events that translate to the consumer.

My oldest son Ryan loved to make movies when he was little. He’s taken his love of film and photography and turned it in to a career. He has his own company that shoots educational videos and is still making movies with his best childhood friend. He has helped me with many events.

My daughter Kelli is the marketing Director of Brand Product & Development at Shadowbox in NYC. Her ability to photograph allows her to capture the feel and experience at the clubs for their print and digital media.

My daughter Molly is the creator of MY Magazine and currently in her 9th issue. She is extremely talented on telling a story through her lens and has taken her magazine from a digital publication to newsstand print in a short span of time.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your photography?

I have studied with many professionals. My two favorite are Moose Peterson and Joe McNally.   Moose is one the top nature photographers in the country and Joe is globally recognized artist with his use of light and flash. Both are Nikon ambassadors and have received many awards.

Have you had to invest in equipment? If so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have been a Nikon photographer for over 15 years. My equipment has evolved as the technology has changed. My current go to favorites are the Nikon 850 and the new Nikon z7. Both cameras are amazing creative tools. Four years ago, I finally made the leap into the Leica pool. Leica rangefinder cameras have been the gold standard for photographers for decades. Leica represents a completely different more intimate connection to the experience. The pictures have a quality that just is not available on most digital cameras today

Storage cards Lexar pro and my preference is the Sony xqd cards, there speed and reliability are unmatched

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I have been buying from Neptune Photo for the last 15 years. Robert is the store manager and has been amazing to work with. I love supporting a small local shop even when I moved to the west coast.  Another retailer on the other end of the spectrum is 47th Street Photo. Amazing place, amazing selection. if you can’t find it at 47th Street Photo it doesn’t exist! Finally, my local shop in Portland is pro photo supply great team and strong selection and great availability.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Moose Peterson’s “Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional Techniques” is great intro into wildlife photography. Joe McNally has so many books my favorite is “Life Guide to Digital Photography” for people looking to take their skills to another level and “The Moment It Clicks” for the more experienced photographer.

How has this changed your life?

This has brought art and creativity to my world in a way I didn’t expect it would originally. It is really a wonderful thing to be able to look at the images over the years and see the progression from a novice to an experienced photographer. Having this outlet has brought great joy to my family and those I’ve taken pictures of around us. We are able to look back at the unique lighting and creations and enjoy the moment or emotion again.

What advice do you have for others starting out with photography?

Just do it. Looking at the world through a lens of a camera gives you a whole different perspective. It requires you to slow down and notice the subtles. It is amazingly rewarding. Pick up a used digital camera, find an old film camera experience the differences between them. Find a camera and learn how to use and change the depth of field the focus points the exposure, stay out of the auto mode, engage, and enjoy!

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Ask my wife! Too many to list. She always asks about my new costumes. My latest love is golf. After 50 years of watching, I finally decided to pick up a club and see what all of the fuss is about. So far I really enjoy it.

However, my number one passion has always been my wife and my family. As the household has changed as the kids have flown the coop, finding meaningful time to stay engaged and involved in their lives is a real focus for my life now.

You can learn more about Jeff Yapp at:





Johnson Nguyen

Johnson Nguyen owns a small Marketing company in Vancouver, Canada.  He was born and raised in Vancouver along with his two sisters.  His family originated in Vietnam and immigrated before he was born.  They carried their strong work ethic with them and passed that along to all the kids!  After traveling with his family, he pursued and received a degree at King’s College in London and upon graduating, opened his business in Canada.

As an online Marketer, he spends his days helping clients improve their online profile, such as a fresh website and updated keywords.  The company is doing well and has grown to have fifteen employees. Johnson has recently married and is now sharing his passion of travel with his wife, who seems always ready to pack a bag!

What is your hobby?

My hobby is to travel.  I love to go to different countries and explore. There is so much history and beauty around the world to see and experience.  I feel like I have an inner growth spurt each time I go to a new location.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My parents actually!  They moved here from Vietnam a long time ago, and my Father’s work would take him on business trips, which he often turned into a family affair.  I was fascinated by our trip to London as a teen, so much so that I went to college there.  Seeing the way people live around the world is truly very interesting and at times, eye-opening.

Tell us what you love about it.

When I travel, I really like to go to the places that the locals recommend.  Don’t get me wrong, I will see the recommended tourist sites, but the best food and entertainment is local.  It is fun to people watch while sitting at an outdoor café or just walking around.  It is also so much fun to visit a local pub and get to chatting with the people.  Those stories that you hear around the globe are full of knowledge and wisdom.  The kinds of stories that are passed down for generations.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There is not really a club to join for me, but we do have a number of friends who also travel and we often swap stories and share tips souvenirs.  I tend to travel with my wife now, but unless you sign up for a guided travel tour, you are on your own!

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought?

Well, since we do travel regularly, I did get us two very nice, sturdy sets of luggage and some small containers for toiletries.  Otherwise, most of the money goes for the plane ticket or gas if it’s a road trip, a hotel, and meals.  We plan way ahead, so we usually get pretty good deals.


Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy all of my tickets online!  In fact, we buy or book everything we need online or at Amazon.  Of course, if we need something along the way, we just pop into a store.  Luckily, we do not have to buy to many things to travel.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I think you can easily find Travel books for beginners, but I really recommend Rick Steves books for the places I go.  He has all of the good places to see, eat at, or stay.  He also includes all kinds of places that are off the beaten path.  I especially liked his Paris travel book, because he had information on the catacombs, which we wanted to see.  We found the perfect entry point for our day.  His shows are great too.

How has this changed your life?

You know, I have been to over twenty countries and I am in constant awe of how alike people around the world really are.  It is eye-opening to see how people approach things.  The truth is, we live in a great country and I am always grateful when I come home to live here.  Not all places have all of the comforts that we do.  I am reminded when I travel how grand the world is and how lucky I really am.  I am just happy for each experience along the way.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

If you really want to start traveling in your spare time, be realistic with and stick to your budget.  You may start by seeing things in your area or the next city, working up to international travel.  You could be a weekend road tripper for sure, that is fun and not too expensive.   There are so many places to see that are even free!

Are there any other hobbies you have?

My other hobby as an avid reader is the total opposite.  I like to get into my reading nook in my home office and read a good novel every day.  Even if I only have half an hour, I like to read and decompress.  That little bit is enough for me to reenergize!

You can learn more about Johnson Nguyen at johnson-nguyen

Dan Doyle

Dan Doyle is an experienced studio and event photographer based in Queens, New York. Over the past twenty years, he has explored many different facets of his craft, from landscape and architecture photography to headshots and portraits. His studio in Jackson Heights, Queens is a gathering place for artists and creatives.

Dan Doyle Queens resident attended Ohio State University where he majored in art with a concentration in photography. He credits his college professors for his professional career. After graduation and leaving Pleasantville, Ohio, he traveled through Europe, taking photos along the way. His photoblog became popular when he returned from Europe, and it gained him several professional assignments.

Doyle photographs portraits, events, musicians, and headshots. He has also begun to offer photography courses out of his studio. His contributions to the art scene in Queens have brought him a good reputation in the local community.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is hiking. I started hiking when I was in Europe after college graduation. I really enjoyed exploring the countryside around Switzerland and Austria, and I decided to take some trips when I returned to the United States.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I love the solitude and the connection with nature. Since I am a photographer, I am a very visual person. I love seeing the different views of nature and of nearby cities and towns. Hiking is also an excellent form of exercise which helps me keep in shape.

I love to get up in the mountains and see where the plants and trees begin to change. Getting up to the top of a mountain is such a satisfying accomplishment. I relax and eat my lunch at the summit and then take the long way down the mountain. It’s an amazing way to get in touch with nature.

Tell us what you love about it.

I tend to hike by myself, though I occasionally bring friends with me. I don’t participate in any local clubs or activities related to hiking. My job in photography requires a lot of close contact with people, and I often find that I need to unwind and get away from the crowds when I hike.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I have invested in quite a lot of equipment over the past several years. I have a brand new pair of hiking poles which have really helped me on some recent trips to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I have a new hiking pack, boots, and a backpacking stove for when I want to eat a hot meal on the trail.

I also recently bought a food dehydrator so that I can make my own backpacking meals to take with me. That has saved me a lot of money and has also enabled me to bring healthier food with me. Commercial backpacking meals are loaded with salt. I try to eat healthy at all times.

The one thing that I buy almost every time I go shopping is wool socks. I am always looking for the best wool socks and I have dozens of pairs in different weights.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I get most of my supplies at REI. It’s a great store with a huge variety of outdoor equipment. I also order some things on Amazon, but I like to try things on before I buy them. I also like to talk with the people at REI to decide what I should buy.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

My favorite hiking book for beginners is Backpacking by Emerson Woods. It has a great breakdown of all the tools and equipment you need to safely make trips in the outdoors, and it also offers suggestions on how to train for longer trips and bigger climbs. I recommend this book to all of my friends who want to try hiking.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Hiking has brought me a sense of peace. My life in New York is fast-paced, and it is great to have a way to get away from it all. Before I started hiking, I was a little bit overweight, but now that I go out each weekend, I have noticed that I am stronger and more fit. Climbing is great exercise. I have also found that my outdoor photography is better because I have so many chances to practice when I am out on the trail.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

The first piece of advice that I would give is that you absolutely must have a well-fitted, high-quality pair of hiking boots. You also need to wear wool socks — there are many technical materials out there now which aren’t itchy and sweaty — and you need to carry plenty of water. Carry more water than you think you will need, because hiking is thirsty work. Also, you should carry emergency supplies in case you are stranded on the trail overnight for reasons that are out of your control.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to cook for my family and friends.

Connor Mulvey

Chicago native Connor Mulvey credits his ever-growing success to the values his parents instilled in him while he was growing up. He watched his parents work hard and enjoy life. Throughout his childhood, he was introduced to the need to work hard, to appreciate a good education, and the results that come with it. After being introduced to many of the finer aspects of personal and financial success, he aspired to create the same results for himself.

After high school, Connor Mulvey built on his education by attending Loyola University. There, he worked hard and created the results he wanted. When he graduated with honors, on the dean’s list, many job opportunities were opened for him.

Connor Mulvey has always enjoyed running and staying healthy. In high school, he competed in both cross country and track. He won a ribbon in his events every year and carried that love to his university days. In time, Connor Mulvey added weight lifting, golf, and other healthy activities to his long list of hobbies.

What is your hobby?

My favorite hobby is running. Well, it’s the one I’ve stuck with the longest anyway. I have a lot of fun moving through a course. It’s a great opportunity to just sort my thoughts and focus on me. That may seem silly, but while some people meditate, I run.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

In middle school, several of my friends and I joined track. It was a whole lot of fun and by my second year, I started to take ribbons. When I reached my 8th-grade year in track, I went to state on behalf of the school in the 1600. That’s a middle distance. After transitioning into high school, I learned about and joined cross country. It was perfect from there.

I haven’t stopped running yet.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love how you can go inside yourself or focus on nothing at all. It is amazing to think a single act can have such a long-lasting impact. It is beneficial for your physical health and a healthy state of mind. The opportunity to enjoy the quiet, nature, and the moment is immeasurable. I love how great I feel when I get home too. It is energizing and enjoyable.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Since leaving high school I haven’t really joined any groups for running. While there are many you can join, I have yet to find one that really fits my schedule. When I am training for a marathon, I will sometimes connect with a friend who is training as well. We often keep each other to our schedule and our distance goals. This ensures we are ready on time for the event we are targeting.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought?

I always have to make sure I keep a good pair of sneakers. Besides that, I also keep a heart rate monitor and step counter with me so I can have a measurement to track for progress and results.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I typically pick up my sneakers at a local shoe store so I know I can fit them properly. The electronics are picked up through the usual outlets. Typically, I use Amazon, but I have also bought them from the Barnes and Noble marketplace on occasion too.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I have been running since middle school. I think the only book I’ve read about running was Runner’s World Big Book of Running. I think they have one for beginners too. It was an easy read.

How has this changed your life?

This has become the cornerstone of my workout routines. While I will lift, play golf, or do other physical activities, I always come back to running. It is a breath of fresh air that I couldn’t even begin to imagine living without.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would say, lace up your shoes and get out there. There I no time like the present to accomplish things and running fits anywhere into your schedule. Even if you can only do ten minutes in a day it’s more than nothing and it will have a positive impact on your health and well-being.

Running allows you to take care of you and your health at the same time. Don’t leave for tomorrow, the run you could do today.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love golf. It can be a relaxing sport that you share with friends. It is easy to spend a whole day on the course with the right company.

I am also enjoying weight lifting. I am going to be getting involved in some of the competitions coming up. It isn’t something I plan to put as much investment in as I do my running, but it is something that I enjoy and would like to see what I can do with it.

The only other thing that comes to mind is my current preparations for the iron man competitions. These are so much more than a marathon and it would be the single greatest personal challenge for me to complete it. If I’m being truly honest though, I want to win, not just complete. The first time out, you are there to prove to yourself you can do it. The second you’re in it to win it. That may sound rough, but it really is what I would like to do. I have only been training for it the last few months. It is going to be exhilarating. My parents and siblings come to all my marathons, usually volunteering with water or at the finish line. It will be interesting to see if they are able to make it to the competition I’m entering in June. Bolder isn’t everyone’s favorite city.

You can learn more and follow Connor Mulvey on:

Joseph Vessecchia

Joseph Vessecchia

Joseph Vessecchia

Ever since Joseph Vessecchia could remember, he has loved the game of baseball. The first thing his father did when he was born was to put a ball in his hands. Rumor has it, and his mom is adamant, that the first word to come out of his mouth was “ball.” From that moment on, Joseph was usually seen with a glove and ball in his hands—much to the dismay of his mother (things can break in the house).

While Joseph Vessecchia played competitively in high school both for his school team and summer teams, he also played at the University of Michigan for their club baseball organization.  Joseph studied Economics at the university and enjoyed watching Michigan’s sports teams play when he had spare time.

Most of his life, Joseph has played shortstop and second base, but he has also played some games in the outfield. This is because Joseph was inspired by 13-time Gold Glove winner, Ozzie Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals—mostly due to his flair in the field, and quickness on the base paths. However, since Joseph is avid Yankee fan and enjoyed seeing them win 5 championships growing up, he can’t help but believe Derek Jeter is the best shortstop of all time. Since Derek is retired, Joseph’s favorite player to date is Aaron Judge.

In the last couple years, Joseph Vessecchia has been playing for the Blue Sox in the Woburn Men’s Wooden bat league as a middle infielder. He is hoping the Yankees can bring home the division title to the Bronx in 2019.


What is your hobby?

My main hobby is baseball.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved baseball. I’ve been playing ever since I can remember. My first word was actually ball according to my mom.

Derek Jeter used to be my favorite player growing up, so he was partly my inspiration. I also loved Ozzie Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tell us what you love about it?

I love playing shortstop and being the general on the field. This means you must ensure everyone is in the proper position and knows what to do with the ball when it comes to them. Having this responsibility was easily my favorite part of the game. As I got older, I was able to bring the same mentality to playing Second Base.

What is your favorite thing about your hobby?

My favorite thing is certainly the strategy behind the game. It requires a lot of thinking and premeditating what you must do before it happens. Depending on how many people are out, what the count is, and how many people are on base (and where)—it requires the fielder to make different strategic plays. There are also other factors I am not naming. The same thing holds true for when you are up at bat.

How would you say your hobby has influenced your life?

Playing baseball has made me very competitive, which has translated to me also being very competitive in my sales job. I always want to win and make the most sales on my team. However, since baseball is a team sport, I also love to help my teammates if they need to strategize on a deal or ask my questions.

I’m also a critical thinker, which is an important skill necessary for playing baseball. These critical thinking skills, whether it be understanding a client or trying to solve complex solutions for your customers, they help me sell more and be more valued as a salesperson to my clients.

Are there any groups you’re a part of that you attend related to your hobby?

I play shortstop and second base for a baseball team called the Blue Sox here in Boston. I’ve been on this team for two years now. I’m also very involved in my church and hold leadership positions there as well.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would tell them to be patient and don’t try to master everything all at once. Focus on improving certain specific aspects of your game. If not, it will become overwhelming as baseball is a constant learning process.

After all, hitters who are successful 3 out of 10 times are hall of fame candidates!

Are there any other hobbies you have?

As stated earlier, I have a Monday night church group, and I also like reading different types of books regarding technology, finance, and self improvement.


To Learn More About Joseph Vessecchia:




Delaena Kalevor

Delaena Kalevor

Delaena Kalevor

Delaena Kalevor was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, where soccer is the dominant sport. During elementary school, he played as a winger on their soccer team because he was a fast runner. When Delaena Kalevor started at Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School, one of the top secondary schools in Ghana, he joined their debate team and competed at a competitive level for his school.

After coming to the US to get his MBA in Finance, he eventually made his way to California via work, where he enjoyed playing soccer with his friends and colleagues. Delaena Kalevor recently moved to Ohio for work with his wife and son, but they hope to return to California soon to back with their friends and family.


What is your hobby?




How did you get started with soccer? What inspired you?


I’ve been playing soccer since before I could walk. I love it. It’s the most popular sport in Ghana, so it is part of the culture for where I grew up.


Tell us what you love about it?


It’s a team sport and I love how everybody has a role to play. If you look at the size of a soccer field, it’s a large field, and one person could not dominate the whole field alone. All 11 players have their own role or position and they all need to perform at a high level in order to achieve results.


What is your favorite thing about soccer?


One of my favorite things about soccer is tactical formations. It’s the offensive formations that I find very fascinating. The two formations I just find most fascinating are four-four-two and four-three-two-one. People think that the players just play the game, but there is a lot of analysis and brain power that go into the tactical formations. It reminds me of military formations.


How would you say soccer has influenced your life?


With it being a team sport, I learned how it takes a village to do great things and it takes a village to succeed. When we win, we all celebrate and when we lose, we are all equally accountable.

If you take a look at my most recent experience where I was launching new products, I knew I couldn’t launch a new credit card or loan product alone. I needed credit to figure out their acquisition, fraud and account management strategies, I needed IT to build the point of sale interface, I needed legal to draft the correct contract language in a way that protects the bank, I needed customer service to build proper operational processes, etc. A lot of cross-functional parallel effort needed to come together to launch new products on time.

Building all of those pieces required a lot of team effort. Even though we all represented different functional teams, we all needed to have the same goal and march in the same direction. My experience with herding cats in soccer helped me herd cats in the business world to arrive at our desired destination.


Are there any groups you’re a part of that you attend related to your hobby?


Not since I moved to Ohio, but when I was back in California, I would play soccer with a bunch of friends and colleagues. I follow the sport more than I play now.


What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?


Just watch it. If you’re curious about it, spend time on learning it and watching the games and championships. If you’re interested in playing, get a group together and play. It’s not hard to play as long as you have good stamina and can run around the field. And it’s good exercise.

If someone wants to play soccer professionally, however, I’d recommend doing a summer in Europe so you can get noticed by scouts. Perhaps try joining a summer camp there, maybe in England or Spain, since Europe and South America are the two main powerhouses of soccer. It’s not a very popular sport in North America.


Are there any other hobbies you have?


I spend most of my free time with my family because I’m a big family man. But I am a huge history buff and I like to have intellectual debates about history and politics with friends. I also like reading about warfare, strategy, business, and economics.


For more information on Delaena Kalevor:  https://twitter.com/JeneJene03

Lauren Naylor

Lauren Naylor from Grapevine, Texas is a highly ambitious student, studying to complete her nursing degree at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. She is also an honors student, having graduated Grapevine High School with an impressive 4.5 GPA.

Lauren first became inspired to pursue a career in healthcare after reflecting on her time as a child, when she was critically ill. She credits the care she received and the positive impact her nurses had on her for her motivations and drive to pursue a career in health care. Lauren firmly believes that her success in the nursing program is rooted in her own experience as a patient, and she hopes that she can have a similar impact on the lives of others.

As a committed student, Lauren Naylor occasionally works as a Nanny, which she enjoys. She successfully maintains a work-life balance and is able to navigate the academic landscape while still prioritizing time with her family.

She is actively involved at Texas Christian University, attending UIFI sorority/fraternity leadership summer camp, and acts as a Leadership Day Rush Chair with the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. She also actively participates as a member of the Student Nurses Association and is a TCU faculty scholar.

As a student studying nursing, Lauren Naylor looks most forward to learning about the human body, as well as the clinical aspects of her program which allow her to work one-on-one with patients in a supervised environment. She advises other students who are studying nursing to remain dedicated, as the program can be highly challenging. Lauren’s experience as an honors student in high school has ultimately prepared her for her academic hardships and her future objective is to be both a competent and kind nurse.

While she attended high school, Lauren Naylor was the Captain of her high school dance team, where she received multiple honors and leadership awards. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, a Presidential Scholar and a Grapevine High School ambassador.

Lauren Naylor is also actively involved in her community and has received awards for her service, including the City of Grapevine Volunteer of the Year award.

To help maintain a work-life balance, Lauren Naylor continues to pursue her hobbies and passions — namely, dance. She was also involved in figure skating from the ages 3 to 12, and later pursued dance in middle school and high school. Her first dance competition was at age 12. Lauren’s favorite type of dance is lyrical. To this day, she credits her time spent on the dance team for the leadership, teamwork and self-disciplinary skills she has honed over the years — qualities which she knows will serve her well as a nurse.



What is your hobby?

My hobby is dancing.  I have always enjoyed activities that involve moving your body.


How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

From age 3 to 12 years old, I did figure skating and loved the dancing aspect of it.  I entered middle school and saw the dance team perform and immediately became inspired, I wanted to be like them. I decided to start taking dance classes in the 7th grade and I tried out for the team and was thrilled to be accepted. It led me to performances and competitions and a whole new world of dance.


Tell us what you love about it?

There are so many things I love about dance. I love all the different types of dance, the different ways to move your body, the make up and costumes.


What is your favorite thing about your hobby?

My favorite things about dance can be the adrenaline rush you get from performing and competing.  I did my first competition at age 12 and over the years have done many types of dance from jazz, lyrical to military.  My favorite dance is lyrical because its very slow and flowy.


How would you say your hobby has changed your life?

Dancing, especially finding it at such a young age, has really given me teamwork and leadership skills which I am able to take with me into college and the workplace.  I have made many close friends and met many new people. I have also gained great self disciplined working hard and dedicated myself though the regular practice that it required, sometimes up to 20 hours per week.


Are there any groups you’re a part of that you attend related to your hobby?

I have created many lifelong relationships with previous dancers that I have met along the way and I still try to attend classes from time to time.


What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It can be hard when you are starting out because you have to start at the bottom, you don’t know what you are getting yourself into and what to expect. It is also a lot of time and effort but if you have a love and passion for it and are willing to put in the dedication and practice it will definitely pay off.


Are there any other hobbies you have?

I am involved in healthcare, working out, I loves dogs, fashion and cosmetics.


To Learn More:  https://www.behance.net/laurennaylor1

Lilly Goga

Lilly Goga is a native of Calgary in Alberta. As a child, she found inspiration in everything around her and her parents encouraged her artistic side. This led her to experiment with many different mediums. Among the options that she pursued for a time were finger painting, drawing with charcoal, creating digital art and eventually photography. It was the last one that moved her the most.

As a teen she began learning how to take portraits at family reunions and other events. By the time she attended college, she knew she loved photography, but she didn’t know she could earn a living doing it. Between entrance in a contest and earning a good pay amount from online stock photography sites, she realized that it was exactly what she wanted to be doing. Eventually, she earned her certification in photography alongside her degree in environmental science.

Today, she employs several methods of making a living with her favorite passion. This hobby turned profession has been the cornerstone of her life and future.

What is your hobby?

Art has always been my hobby. I have been doing something artistic since I was a little child. At first, it was painting, and my favorite was finger paints. I finger painted until well into my teen years. It was my cousin who bought me a camera as a gift. It was love at first picture.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I had a party as a child and my cousin, who grew up locally near me, bought me a camera as a gift. I took a lot of pictures. We didn’t do anything real with it until our first family reunion. I took several pictures when we were there, and it was so much fun.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love being able to capture the moment and the energy in it. It is a whole lot of fun to find the right image before the camera catches it, then move anyone or anything into that right position. If the lighting is just right and falls upon the perspective things come together through the lens like nothing else.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There are some online communities that I connected with. It has been thrilling and enjoyable to connect with other artists who understand your passion and joy. It is invigorating to be able to discuss editing programs, cameras, lenses, and other supplies with those who actively use them. And for many of us, we are able to help each other see fresh or new perspectives in our images.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Photography can be very expensive. I have purchased several cameras, but my favorite brand to use is Cannon. You have to stay in supply of memory cards, cleaning supplies, and you need a case for each of them.

Sometimes settings also require lighting, so I have to purchase the right lighting equipment applicable to the setting. Thankfully, not all of my events require new lighting. That has been an on and off project to learn how to find the right lighting. Having the communities on Facebook and elsewhere have been key to that learning process.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Really, I do a lot of shopping around when I’m looking for supplies. Often, I’ll pick up items from areas my peers have suggested, but some stores require more upfront investment, so I shop around instead. I have purchased some items from Amazon, others from Abes online, and some from other areas.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I would suggest starting with Studio Anywhere by Nick Fancher. He really has a handle on some artistic approaches that I was already starting to use. You can find so much more in this book that will help you see the art through the lens.

I enjoyed Exposure Mastery too. It helps you understand how your timing works with your shutter speed among other things. I don’t want to give too much away but it has such a wealth of knowledge that any beginning will gain something incredible from it.

How has this changed your life?

This hobby has become my life and my career. There is nothing more amazing than waking up each morning, checking my schedule, and knowing that everything on it is me getting to play all day long. There are few jobs you can do that you can both enjoy and make a living at it.

There are few artists that know they don’t have to be ‘starving artists’. I’m blessed to be one of those who know it and live it daily.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Get a camera and start taking pictures. When you find some you really like that you took, upload it to one of the stock photo sites. I also suggest doing a search for groups on Facebook that relate to photography as a business instead of a hobby. There are plenty of hobbyist but if you’re going to make a living out of it, you need like-minded individuals to work with or encourage you.

Even if you’re in business for yourself, there’s no reason to work it by yourself. Being connected to others in the industry makes a huge difference in your skills and success.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I still paint on occasion. I also create images in pencil or other drawing methods. When I have time to play with the images in a design program, ones that aren’t from a portrait session, I like creating original and unique takes on the images. They are a whole lot of fun. Also, whenever possible and time allows, I like to travel. I hope to one day visit and take pictures of ancient Roman cities.

You can learn more and follow Lilli Goga on:

Marudeen Aivaz

It is amazing when you are able to find your passion so young in your life and it is a passion that keeps you physically fit. Marudeen Aivaz has evolved his passion to suit his healthy way of life. He is a weightlifter and bodybuilder. He also believes that good nutrition goes hand in hand with the whole fitness aspect. In addition, Marudeen Aivaz believes that the cornerstone of any fitness lifestyle is the attention to nutrition and that chronic health issues can many times be addressed with good nutrition.

Marudeen was born in California. He is one of three children raised with a Middle-eastern culture centered around family, food, and fitness. His parents were very active and went to the gym regularly. By the age of fifteen, Marudeen Aivaz would join his parents at the gym and work-out on the equipment. By the time he reached college, he had a great foundation for pursuing weight lifting and bodybuilding.

According to Marudeen Aivaz, fitness is a lifelong journey. He believes nutrition is one key on the path. There are no short-cuts to be taken and no pill to replace the hard work, focus, and dedication it takes to achieve healthy lifestyle goals.

What is your hobby?
My hobby is weight lifting and bodybuilding. My parents were very active. They believed in staying fit and going to the gym. I use to go with them when I was about fifteen and I used some of the equipment and dabbled a bit with weight lifting. But I didn’t start my actual weight training until later.

How did you get started with your weight lifting and bodybuilding hobby?
Initially, I began weight lifting as a sophomore in high school when I was on the wrestling team. Our training consisted of learning how to grapple, but also required that we spent a portion of our time learning weight lifting for strength training. We learned techniques such as squat, bench, and deadlifts. It was not a passion of mine at that time more than it was a requirement of the sport.

Weight lifting was a part of the college culture and many of my friends were into weight lifting. As a result, I continued weight lifting through my college years. My interest really peaked when I was in my first year of college. I was about 18 when I began to learn more about nutrition, fitness and the importance of sleeping habits. It was at this time when it became more of a passion for me. I have been pursuing knowledge and I have been evolving ever since.

What do you love about weight lifting?

There are many reasons why weight lifting is a benefit in my life. Being able to see your body transform over time is one reason. You can control the way you look. It is also a challenge. The more you put in the more you get out. I am a challenge-oriented person in general, it is always a challenge for me.  You can never be the strongest or the best or the fittest. It is the continued striving to be better that keeps me going.

What are some of the challenges that you have encountered in weight lifting?

There have been flexibility problems, back problems, shoulder problems and minor strains. Sometimes you can be walking down the street and if your hip is tight, you can pull a muscle, and be limping for the rest of the day. That has happened to me numerous times. I have also had a few surgeries. I have had broken fingers and broken toes.

Do you have any groups that you are a part of or that you attend to encourage you with weight lifting & bodybuilding?

I am not a part of any groups or organizations who participate in weight lifting or bodybuilding. However, I attend local powerlifting events to learn about the culture. I have not yet competed in any of the events.

Have you had to invest in any equipment and if so, can you share whatever you have bought?

Most of the equipment that I have bought is used for safety. I have purchased running shoes and a safety belt for my back. I purchased straps to make your grip stronger. I purchased chalk to make your grip stronger. I purchased wrist wraps to keep your wrists from hyperextending when you are working out. I believe that everyone should invest in safety equipment.

Where do you get most of your supplies?

There are two stores that I would recommend especially for bodybuilding equipment. The first source that I go to is BodyBuilding.com and the other one is EliteFts.

Are there any books you would recommend for beginners of weight lifting and bodybuilding?

For bodybuilding, I would recommend Arnold’s Encyclopedia by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The book I would recommend for powerlifting is 5/3/1: How to Build Pure Strength by Jim Wendler. These two books together would give anyone learning about both sports as a great comprehension of each sport.

How has being involved in each of these sports has changed your life?

One way it has enhanced my life is that I have been able to make so many friends with people who have the same interest. The gym is a very social place. You can develop a lot of close relationships and a lot of trusted relationships. If you go to the gym every day, you are seeing the same people there all the time. You become close to a group that you spend a lot of time with. Participating in these sports has increased my confidence. It always feels good when you reach a personal goal that you have set for yourself. It could be a body weight goal or a strength goal perhaps it is a certain number of repetitions that you’ve had in mind, it is just a really rewarding feeling. There are also times when a perfect stranger will approach you to ask questions about what you are doing. It is nice to share knowledge with people. It has kept me at a good body mass index (BMI) and maintain good habits.

What advice would you have for someone else starting out with this hobby?

My advice would be to remember that fitness is a journey. You will always be making evolutions in your body. Don’t rush the process. It takes a long time. It is not something where you can see results overnight. It takes much more work than people probably think. There is no magic pill or potion to achieve your goals. Stay consistent and continue to educate yourself as much as you can. I would also recommend lifting smart. Always keep in mind that an injury at the gym is not likely but always a possibility. The more you progress in weight lifting, no matter which techniques you use, powerlifting, bodybuilding, or Olympic lifting, there is always a chance of getting hurt. Also, taking rest periods is not a bad thing and it is good for your body. Picking the right exercise selection is a good idea. It would be a good idea to first focus on bodybuilding to start off with and then go to powerlifting. It would be a good foundation to set for yourself. After you map your foundation you can get into other things.

Are there any other hobbies that you have?

One of the other things I love is to cook. I started cooking in college. I believe it goes hand in hand with the whole fitness aspect. The cornerstone of any fitness lifestyle or program is the attention to nutrition. I believe chronic health problems can many times be fixed through nutrition. It is a very big part of my life.

You can learn more and follow Marudeen Aivaz at: