MerMay 2018

Part of the challenges I have made for myself this year is to be more Creative. So, when May rolled around instead of just liking other artists work, I actually produced my own. I participated in MerMay, month-long celebration of creativity, community, and above all… MERMAIDS.

Here are some of my favorite creations for that time. Enjoy.


I had the honor of being one of the few graduates of the University of Utah’s class of 2017 invited to be the student commencement speaker. While I was not selected, I was thrilled at the opportunity to apply. The following is the speech I submitted for consideration.

high school graduates students

A Challenge, Not a Change
By KellieAnn Halvorsen

It’s taken me 11 years to stand before you with this 4-year degree and I am grateful for every minute it took me to get here. From a trade education to an associate, to a Bachelors, the journey has been a refining process that has given me the tools and confidence to be who I am. Notice, I said who I am, not who I am today. This is because college has not changed me, but challenged me on a deep personal level to know my own mind and self. College has challenged me to evaluate who I was and how I thought, to shed old limitations and pre-conceived notions, to find and refine my own passions, and craft a new vision of my future to doggedly pursue.

From our first courses at the University of Utah we are asked to think more, and warned we will be challenged on more fields then an educational one. I am a communications major, and as such I evaluate how we interact and communicate with the world around us, as well the thought process and rhetoric that goes along with that communication. My first class at the U was a Transfer Interest Group, in this course we learned how to transfer to and navigate the University, as well as grapple with the logical fallacies that cloud our reasoning. You are challenged to understand that “You are not so smart,” which also happens to be the name of the book we study by journalist David McRaney. We learn that there is a myriad of misconceptions and shortcuts that we employ to translate the world around us, from the ever-present and dangerous Confirmation Bias to the comfortable and enticing Consistency Bias. Being aware of these fallacies from the start. I was able to tackle my university education with a more humble and aware outlook.

This humility and awareness is key as we passed through our generals and into our specific educational sequences. We are exposed to facets of the world that we often would not have had the opportunity to do so in regular life. Along the way, something sparks our interest, ignites our mind and fuels our educational and career dreams. We find what we are passionate about and now that we found who we are, we are prepared to pursue it.

This passion can sometimes be a huge shift in our own story, for several years I thought I would build upon my own trade education in Massage Therapy to pursue a higher degree in Biology. But as I took a general communication course, I understood that communications is my passion. That I enjoyed the creative trial communications required more than the structured interpretation of the human body. Now was the time for another challenge to who I was; do I pursue my passion and change focus, losing the time and money spent on my biology courses? Or do I keep on my biology track working at something I liked, but wasn’t the happiest about? I choose my passion. My happiness. My creativity. And my newly discovered me. I know that many of us here have had similar experiences and stand here ready to graduate clutching diplomas and dreams of our new passions. And I am excited for all of us!

The University of Utah has prepared us for our futures on an educational level, mental level, and personal level. In these halls, we have been challenged to remove the roles constructed for us by our parents, family, past educators, friends and peers, and explore deeper subject of our personal interests. The education we have received has trained our minds to continually learn and face challenges. The experience of interacting with a menagerie of students, professors and topics has widened our minds and gifted us with a support system. We leave the campus and enter the “real-world” as ourselves, capable and ready to take on the challenges before us.

I am leaving to pursue my own creative communications goals; to pursue a career in public relations and arts advocacy. To continue to challenge and learn about myself as I become a force of good in this world. We all can become a force of good in this world! We know who we are. We have earned the tools, now is our time to use them.

In Fall 2016, I took “The Editing Process” at the University of Utah. The course is an upper division communication/writing course described in the catalog as: “Judging content and form and preparing copy for publication. Graphics, layout, and picture editing included.” This course reaffirmed and honed my writing and formatting skills in everything from article writing/editing to formatting newspapers. Throughout the process, I learned to trust my intuitive creative design skills and delve deeper into Adobe Photoshop and  InDesign. Concurrently with the course, I worked on promotional material for my community theater’s production of “Disney Aladdin Jr.” and was able to include some of the designs into my portfolio.

Click here to view my final portfolio submission for which I received a perfect grade.

-Kellie Ann Halvorsen

Student Documentary

One of the hardest and most rewarding projects I have ever had to complete was producing a student documentary. The project entailed filming, editing, and compiling a documentary of our choice, with me as the producer to make sure the work was done. We chose to create a documentary that challenges the audience to “Look Up” and notice the world around them.  Click here for the link to view the final piece.

Editing Exercises

book hunt

Every artist interprets the world, and thus creates art, in a different way. One of the first assignments for my “Documentary Video Production” class was to take the same pieces of footage and edit your own version of the film. For this assignment, I was able to assistant direct the filming and then edited my own version using Adobe Premiere Pro.  Click here to see my segment showcased in Salt Lake Community College’s “What’s Bruin”  My piece is the third segment.

Video Production and Hosting


Beginning and Advanced film production at Salt Lake Community College taught me the ins-and-outs of film, newsroom, live event, and documentary production process. I worked in studios, filmed/directed/produced TV segments, wrote scripts and production plans and even hosted the “What’s Bruin’ talk show found at the link here. This coursework also included practical hours outside of the classroom, allowing me to experience in-the-street situations.

Audio Documentary

vocal help

Videography and film editing are important, but it is also important to understand how to work on the audio tracks underneath the visuals. I learned my audio editing skills utilizing Adobe Audition to create several pieces of media, including this three-minute audio documentary filled with vocal audition tips featuring the talented Angie Call.



Photoshop Fun

I have been playing in photoshop for well over a decade now. I first learned the program in high school and have had continual training in various college courses and creative opportunities since. I love the challenge of combining different images into one new unified piece. Here are some pieces I am most proud of:

Going Places I Have Never Been, Summer 2014. 

The assignment for this class was to use photoshop to place yourself into a place you have never been but want to be. I choose this stunning lavender field to convey a feeling of peace and creativity. I had to insert myself into the ragged layers of foliage and remove the logo from my shirt.

Dynamic Headline, Spring 2015.

During my  “Introduction to Visual Communications” course, I had the opportunity to learn InDesign to create an interesting magazine style layout. I choose to create an article about Wonder Woman as Lois Lane. Using Photoshop I was able to insert a dynamic article title into the original image by Jarsric. I used cropping and darkroom techniques to bring a dynamic focus to the character for the article.

From Photo to Etsy Logo, Spring 2016.

I am constantly working on creative gifts and projects for my family. Here is the logo I helped create for my sister’s Etsy store. She emailed me the image she had painted with acrylics and I digitized it, giving it a more clip art feel to it. I enjoyed the work so much, we plan on doing more pieces utilizing her art style and my editing.

From Petite to Plus Size, 2013.

I fell in love with this artist modern interpretation of DC Comics Wonder Woman, so much so I wanted to create a version that I could cosplay comfortably. Using photoshop I made the figure plus size and added to the dress to bring it to my level of modesty standards. I paid special  attention to capturing the shadows on the outfit and even altered the color of the hair. I have yet to find someone who can sew me this wonderful dress, but someday I will be wearing this to comic con.

Me Collage Assignment, Spring 2015.


Sometimes your favorite piece of art isn’t a favorite because of its technical work, but it is your favorite because of what it says about you. As a “getting to know you” assignment for a class we had to create a collage of ourselves, this is my submission. While it appears to be a jumble of layers and layers styles, it really is the layers of myself from my love of creativity to my love of family. Every time I look at this piece it makes me smile.

-KellieAnn Halvorsen


I have had a lot of opportunities to create posters and logos with my educational, volunteer and creative pursuits. The following is some of my favorite samples created using photoshop, InDesign and similar image editing programs.

-KellieAnn Halvorsen

In Fall 2015, I took “Writing for Strategic Communications” at the University of Utah. The course is described; “This writing-intensive course introduces students to the variety of writing challenges in advertising, marketing, and public relations.” This course honed my writing and formatting skills in everything from inter-office memos to social media campaigns, business profiles to obituaries. In addition, I learned the value of having a good editor and taking constructive criticism while keeping my own unique voice.

Click here to download the final portfolio from the class, which I received high marks for.

-Kellie Ann Halvorsen



KellieAnn Halvorsen, Licensed Massage Therapist. Photography by Mckenzie Deakins.

I  am fast approaching my 10th anniversary as a licensed massage therapist. I love the work I do. I love that I get to help individuals, in a very personal way, on an almost daily basis. Everybody and every body is different, so every session is different, and the work doesn’t get boring. Even if the work gets stagnant there is always a new modality of massage to learn and techniques to research and incorporate into my practice. Massage is great! I love to give massage as much as I like to receive a massage, but every once in a while I am startled to hear that someone doesn’t like to receive massage or aren’t even willing try it!

This used to baffle me, particularly since touch is so important to me in my life. But over the years, as I have informally interviewed these people, a pattern has emerged to their reasoning. There are generally three reasons why some people don’t like or won’t try massage. (1) Some people simply don’t like being touched, (2) some are not familiar, and as such are uncomfortable, with massage practices and ethics (thank you “Friends” and “Seinfeld” for misinforming a whole generation on massage therapy), but most of all I find (3) people are struggling with their own body issues, such as body shame and body image problems.

If someone doesn’t like to be touched I can’t really do anything for them, besides feel bad for them because touch is AMAZING! I can encourage them to seek out safe and positive touch and hope that maybe someday they will be able to enjoy touch and massage.

It is much easier to educate and familiarize an individual about massage practices and ethics and help them become more comfortable with the idea of massage. Most of the apprehension on this subject is understandable, with questions including whether the individual should wear underwear, how much of my body will the therapist actually work on/see, what is the sheet/towel draping like, what if I need to use the bathroom midway through the session, etc. None of these questions are stupid, each is valid and easily answered by a massage therapist. Believe me, we are ecstatic to educate and introduce you to the world of massage therapy.

Helping individuals whose massage-blocking-factor stems from body issues is a bit tougher and harder to isolate and address.

To clarify, body issues usually arise from the way we internalize and view our own physical body or body image. To have a positive body image isn’t necessarily to have a completely “positive” image of our body, but to have a realistic understanding of our body and a deep appreciation of what it can do for us. Having a negative body image is a negatively distorted view about your physical body, which can affect an individual’s self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. This negativity could cause an individual to focus on their own flaws and obsess over comparing themselves to the unobtainable figures we often see in media and entertainment. Furthermore, this internal dialog of judgment is often applied to our understanding of an external judgment from others.

People with a negative self-image often assume everyone around them is judging them just as harshly or harsher than they judge themselves, including any prospective massage therapist who would be seeing so much more of their body than the normal person off the street.

I have had so many people say they will see a massage therapist after they lose weight or fix some perceived physical flaw. I have had people express concern that they are just too smelly, or hairy or gassy to see a massage therapist. It breaks my heart when I hear these things! Let me tell you, you are not too fat, smelly, hairy, or anything to see a massage therapist!

hand helping hand

Massage Therapists are there to literally lend a hand and help you feel better.
Image provided by the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.

When we meet and greet you in our reception area we are honored and excited to be helping you. We don’t see your physical flaws the way you do, we see people with physical and mental stresses that we can help ease. You are a full and complete person to us, you are human!

If someone were to ask me what I would like people to know the most about receiving a massage after my ten years of massage therapy experience, my instantaneous answer would be that “I don’t care if you shaved your legs that day or not, but I do care that you care.” As a massage therapist I put a lot of work in trying to ensure the comfort of my clients and if you spend your whole time on the table worrying about whether I am judging your leg stubble, you are not going to get as much out of the session and a large portion of my hard work will go to waste too.

If you are feeling nervous during a massage due to body issues, here are some things to remember:

  • Everyone has cellulite, flatulence, and needs to use the restroom at some point. Don’t be embarrassed about any of this.
  • If you are worried about smelling bad, take a quick shower before coming in, but you don’t need to. Often you will leave with messed up hair and lotioned/oiled skin and might want to bathe anyway.
  • It’s okay to feel good! Please feel no shame or guilt about feeling good or taking time on yourself with a massage. Massage feels good because it is good for you! There are many physiological reasons for this, embrace it don’t feel shame over it!
  • This is my job. I love it. I choose it. Don’t feel bad about “making me” work on you, because I don’t feel bad at all, I feel honored.
  • Don’t feel like you need to entertain your massage therapist by talking the whole time. Sometimes too much talk can distract us and make the quality of the massage go downhill. But we also understand that talking could be what makes you feel comfortable, so we generally take a cue from you if you need conversation or silence, or a combination of the two.
  • Be honest with your massage therapist! While massage therapist’s read the human body in their own way through experience, education, and touch, we are not mind readers! Tell us if you are uncomfortable with draping or our hands placement. Be honest on your intake form, tell us any relevant medical problems, such as recent injuries or medical conditions. If something pops into your head that you forgot to tell us at the start of the session, let us know when you remember it.
  • Again the session is about you so let us know. If you need anything like a tissue, blanket or glass of water let us know. We want you to be comfortable!

Massage therapy is an amazing thing. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine and can help individuals in real physiological ways as well as mental/emotional and even spiritual health. I have loved my decade long career within the field so far and look forward to decades more. I hope that massage therapy can become available to more and more people, including those who might have fears that keep them away. Don’t let fear, unfamiliarity, or body image issues keep you from getting a massage. Educate yourself, talk to a massage therapist, give massage a real chance. You will be happy if you do!

One of the great benefits of seeking out a degree in Strategic Communications is the flexibility allowed in the major. While the focus of a Strat. Comm student is on public relations, advertising, and integrated marketing, my elective choices are varied. In order to be a more marketable graduate, I have purposefully chosen my elective courses to be broader than most. I have explored video, studio, and documentary filming and have honed my talents of a rhetorician. But some of my favorite courses have been in web design. You can even say that Web design is what drew me to communications in the first place.

adventureland preview

A Disney’s Adventureland pages I did for an assignment in my Inrdocution course. It includes horizontal navigation with mouseover, blockquotes, google fonts and more.

Since 2009, I have been playing with building and maintaining websites through Intuit’s/Homestead’s interface. While the program is easy to use, it hasn’t offered me the creative freedom and features I want. So in fall 2014 I took an introduction course in web design at SLCC… AND IT WAS AWFUL! The course was disorganized and taught by a teacher who had literally been brought in last minute and held archaic ideas about coding. Lucky for me I was able to take introduction again from the U and loved it! My teacher was talented, ambitious and encouraging. Even luckier I find myself in an advanced class with another talented teacher eager to help me perfect my coding and design skills.


Final Project for Introduction to Web Design. It was a profile piece/blog for a fellow student. It includes multiple pages, sidebars, social media links, and forms.

I really would like to master my web design abilities so that I can be a well-rounded asset to my future employers and have the opportunity to code some of my own creative/entrepreneurial projects.

about me page

My first assignment for Advanced webdesign. This one is a multiple page website that includes a table and flipbook widget.


Gospel – Topic Breakdown


Gospel-Topic Breakdown PDF.


This PDF is a handout I like to use in order to teach my Laurels to study different Gospel topics. It is designed to help prepare them for teaching as future missionaries, teachers, and parents. It not only helps dissect and support a topic, but it gets the individual to think about the application and blessings associated with the principles.

Feel free to save, use, adjust, and share this file.