Category Archives: Film

Video Invites Revealed!


I imagined us making a video for our wedding invitation pretty much from the beginning.  We obviously had no budget for buying fancy invitations and paper crafting is something I’ve just never been into.  So we decided to put my film degree to use!

We basically wanted to share a little of our journey and history with our invitees through this video.  I came up with the stop-motion animation idea as a fun, cartoony way to tell our story.  Zach used his artistic talents to make the cars, buses, and boats you see in the video.  We chose the song “Flowers in Your Hair” by the Lumineers because we love the sound and lyrics, and its so short it forced us to keep the video brief!  All of our guests received a short email with the link to this video.  (Also, in the version guests received, the last title shows our wedding website URL, but I took it out here to maintain our privacy.)

So, without further ado, the Carrie, Onwards! premiere of Zach and Carrie’s wedding invitation video!

What do you think?  Did anyone else make a video invitation?  What did you do?  How did your guests react?


#WEverb12: WATCH


2. watch [LIVE]: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

I didn’t see a lot of movies this year, sadly. You know, traveling and being broke and all that. So my picks are two great documentaries available on Netflix instant.forks

Forks Over Knives is a shocking/inspiring food doc about “The China Study”, all the things that are wrong with the way we eat in this country, and the benefits of a plant-based whole-foods diet. REVERSE diabetes by changing the way you eat? Apparently, it’s possible!


Happy is a crazy awesome doc about “positive psychology” and the factors that affect the human race’s happiness around the world. Hint: it has a lot LESS to do with money than we think.

Our Very Classiest


It kinda scares me how good I look with a ‘stache.

This instagram picture is definitely my new favorite picture of us!  We took it right after Mark (Zach’s brother) and Sally’s wedding ceremony yesterday.  Clearly, we are goofballs who can’t dress up without adding some funny accessories.  What a great time that wedding was!  Other than mustaches, highlights included filming the whole thing myself with three cameras, boogying down on the dance floor, seeing Zach and Mark’s dad smile so much, and sleeping in a real bed (thanks Holiday Inn) for the first time since El Salvador (we rock an air mattress in our apartment).  The wedding video (my first ever) will be coming soon!

Fun. is just plain FUN!


Have you heard any songs from new band Fun. yet?  I may be late to board this train but deal with it.  The band features Nate Ruess, The Format’s old frontman.  I loooooved (and still love) The Format but Fun. may be even more amazing.  Their songs blend the typically-clever Ruess lyrics with Queen-esque riffs and African drumbeats.  IT IS SO AWESOME!  They’re most well known for currently chart-topping “We Are Young” but in my opinion, “Some Nights” is the best song on the album and THE best new song I’ve heard in a long time!  I’m not sure if the video lives up to how great the song is, but just take a listen and tell me that it doesn’t make you want to dance!

Support Letter for La Aventura Project


Hi all! This is an easy post, but important. We finally got our fundraising underway for La Aventura Project.  I figured the easiest way to share this is just to copy and paste the same letter I sent out to family and friends detailing what we’re doing and what we need.  Of course you should also click over to the La Aventura Project website (link in the right sidebar) to see the trailer and more.  And please, please ask questions if you have them!  I’m feeling the vibe of a lot of doubts expressed by non-supportive silence by certain people who are close to me.  And it really hurts.  I’ll probably write more about that later, but for now, here’s the letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings!  I hope you all are well!  What is going on in your lives???   Since I’m fairly bad at keeping in touch, I wanted to write to you about what is going on in my life at the moment.  I’ve been living in Williams, Arizona (near the Grand Canyon) for almost one year now with my amazing boyfriend Zachary Minnich.  This is the first time for both of us to live out west and we’re loving it!  The many mountains, creeks, and canyons to hike and explore keep us endlessly entertained and active.  Most of our time is spent working, however.  We both work in Flagstaff, Zach as an electrician and me as a server at a nice restaurant.  We are saving as much money as possible for travel.  We both have the same desire to see the world.

That brings me to our other main activity right now, which is planning a year-long backpacking/filmmaking/volunteering adventure in South America.  On October 27, Zach, our good friend Melissa, and I will be departing from Chicago and flying into Colombia (which I assure you has become very safe and pleasant for tourists recently).  We plan to work our way around the continent in a counterclockwise direction through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Venezuela.  We have budgeted $17 per person per day for an entire year of travel.  In order to live cheaply and really learn the language and culture of these countries, we will be doing lots of volunteering, mostly through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (  We so look forward to building relationships with locals this way, and to learning about and contributing to sustainable agriculture on our planet.  We also will be finding other volunteer opportunities at orphanages and schools along the way, couchsurfing (, and camping.  To finally put my film degree to use, we will be filming our experience every step of the way, telling our personal stories and searching for everything else worth documenting.  Because it’s hard to predict what will happen on a journey like this, it’s hard to say exactly what our film will be about.  Right now the working title is La Aventura Project and we are focused on telling the personal narrative of our journey and showing how travel and exposure to different cultures affects three 20-something Americans.  I am hoping to tell our story and eventually edit a feature-length documentary to show in film festivals.

And now the part you probably knew was coming and that I hate to write…the request for money.  Although Zach, Melissa, and I have all been working hard and saving, leaving on a year-long trip is quite expensive.  We are each trying to raise $7000  for travel and living expenses, plus cover our loans and US obligations for the year, plus purchase some filmmaking equipment.  Our film equipment alone will be about $6000 once we have everything we need.  We are so, so close to having the money ourselves, but we need just a little bit of help.  We are trying to raise just $5000 to split between the three of us to assist with equipment and travel costs.  We really feel that this project will make the world a better place by enabling cross-cultural learning, challenging and growing ourselves, and telling what is sure to be an awesome story through film.  We believe that world travel is the best education you can get, and that explorers and artists have and continue to change the world for the better.  If you believe this too, and can spare even $1 to help La Aventura Project, we would greatly appreciate it.  We are accepting secure, tax-deductible online donations via  Our project link is  You can get some awesome perks for donating!  Please also visit our website,, where you can find our film trailer and blog updates throughout our preparation and travel.  If you know anyone who would be interested in our project, please pass along those links!  And if you have any questions, please reply and ask away!

Thank you all so much!  And for those of you in Ohio, Zach and I will be back in early October and would love to see you before we leave!


Carrie Hoffman

“What’s the difference between exploring and being lost?  The journey is the destination.”  –Dan Eldon

Celebrity Encounter!


I had the most exciting night I’ve ever had at work last Wednesday!  An encounter with a minor celebrity left me slightly starstruck.  So who’s seen the movie Into the Wild?  It’s one of my favorite movies.  Well, Wednesday night the actor who played Rainey was at one of my tables.  I didn’t see them sit down but another server came up to me and said “You have a table.  And it’s the old hippy guy from Into the Wild.”  At first I thought she meant someone who looked like him, but I walked up and it was totally him!  Ah!  He had the same long braid, same sexy deep voice, and was just a HUGE man in general.  So of course I tried to provide the best service possible and probably neglected my other tables.

Here’s the backstory on the guy:  His name is Brain Dierker; he is from Arizona and was originally hired by director Sean Penn to be the marine coordinator for the kayaking scenes in the Grand Canyon.  As he was helping with those scenes and working with the cast and crew, Sean Penn eventually began to see him as the perfect person to play Rainey (the part was still uncast).  He asked him to play the part and Brian, having never acted, was originally hesitant but eventually agreed.  And aren’t we all glad he did?  Wasn’t he awesome?

So I knew the backstory of his unconventional casting and that just made me love his performance even more.  What I didn’t know is that he is actually from Flagstaff and owns one of the ski shops in town!  So apparently other servers knew this and had seen him around before, but this was news to me so I was still super excited and a bit giddy!  Of course I didn’t ask for an autograph or let on I knew him cause I didn’t want to seem like an unprofessional and annoying fangirl.  He seemed very down to earth and laid back and you could tell he was a good guy, much like his character in the movie.  What a great encounter!  I can’t believe I spent several years in NY but had to come to Flagstaff, AZ to meet a real celebrity for the first time!  Oh, and yes, he tipped a solid 20%!  Good thing, would’ve been a major turnoff if he hadn’t!

“Because 99 is not 100…”


“One single can is of great importance…” says Valter, one of the many beautifully raw characters in Lucy Walker’s documentary Waste Land, “Because 99 is not 100 and that single one will make a difference.”  The film follows Vik Muniz, a famous modern artist, trying to “give back” by creating artwork with and for the garbage pickers of Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in the world.  Against a backdrop of extreme poverty and literal, stinking garbage in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Vik befriends those who make their living by retrieving recyclable materials from the dump.  He goes on to create stunning photographic portraits of these “pickers”  composed entirely of discarded recylables.  By involving them in an artistic project Vik enables his subjects to see themselves and their job with elevated insight. 

Above all, the film is about reslilience.  Its beauty is in its characters, who take pride in their occupation, their community, and themselves, despite the hard lot they’ve been dealt in life.  Walker also teaches a complicated lesson on the power of art–what it can be, mean, and accomplish.  Waste Land has a multi-faceted appeal, functioning as a kind of collision between Exit Through the Gift Shop and Invisible Children.  It is the most elegant and heartfelt documentary I’ve seen in a long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to cry some happy tears while reaffirming their belief in human kindness.