Sunday, September 21, 2008

Get Your DO Up! Featured on Splendora.com

Our very own wedding hair stylist, bridal up do specialist, and make up/beauty expert Armando (owner and stylist of Get Your Do Up!) was invited to be an "Expert" on the Splendora.com Style Forecast for Fall 2008.

CLICK HERE to see the tips he shared with Splendora's ultra hip readers.

You can also visit Armando on The Flirty Guide

Or on his website at www.GetYourDoUp.com

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Graphic Illustrators... Should I buy this?

ETA: Well my question is now moot. My sweetie pie hubby went out and picked up the intuos 9x12 tablet for me today as a surprise. LOL So I guess I'm set for now. Thanks for the tips though. I do appreciate those of you who took the time to post and email me your thoughts. I'll have to post in a couple of weeks as to whether the acclimation process was simple or complicated. Crossing my fingers that it just "clicks" and I can run with it.

I have a confession to make. You know the flirty illustrations I use on the blog and on my websites?

Well guess what? Guess how I make them? Some of you have probably always assumed I make them using the premiere illustration program Adobe Illustrator and a computerized drawing/graphics tablet like the Wacom Intuos3.

Um no. In fact this is rather embarrassing to admit but I actually use the premiere photo editing program Adobe Photoshop... wait for it... and my laptop trackpad to create my illustrations.

So wrong. I know. *blush* But that's the MacGyver in me. Making do with what I have and finding a way to reach my end goal. So perhaps I earn high points for tenacity, blind optimism and having a "can do" attitude.

But hold on... before I pat myself on the back I also have to acknowledge that by not using the correct tools I've wasted a lot of time and limited the ways I can use my designs as most high end print shops won't accept Photoshop files but will use Illustrator files.

When I bought my first computer back in 2002 the reality is that I took to Photoshop like a fish to water. My little PS 5.0 LE application, that came free with my high end photo printer, was so intuitive that I learned most of what I know on the fly. Illustrator, which I've had for years now, 2 versions to be exact, I've not been able to figure out with the same ease. So even though it's a better tool for my illustrations, the time it would take me to get through the learning curve to figure out how to use it has held me back. For too long. Beginning next week I am going to set aside some classroom time each day and study the Illustrator book my hubby got me a couple of years ago and learn it once and for all.

My own wedding invites created on my laptop in Photoshop.

My friend Holly who is working on illustrating her own, first, book of cat toys told me I will "soar" once I make the switch and learn how to use both the program and drawing tablet.

I want to soar. I want to be more efficient. I want to work smarter, not harder.

So with that said if anyone has any opinions if the Intuos 6x11 is the right or wrong product for me to use with my laptop and my 30" monitor... Please feel free to let me know why.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gorgeous Anemone Flowers • Made of Clay!

These peaches n' cream blossoms were just too gorgeous not to share. The latest and greatest by DK Designs, Diane has gone above and beyond with her newest addition to her floral repertoire.

I think her Anemones with clay petals and each tiny stamen painstakingly glued into place one by one are even prettier then the real thing!

Be sure to take a peek at her work:

On her Website
And her Blog

POW-MIA • Is Not a New Chinese Restaurant

I just read in today's news that President Bush has honored all Americans who were Prisoners of War or are still Missing in Action by proclaiming today National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which in the future will be observed the third Friday of each September.

As a young man my dad enlisted and served in our nation's armed forces. During his service he was wounded, captured and was a Missing in Action (MIA) Prisoner of War (POW) for several years. During this time his family had no idea if he was alive or dead. At times I'm sure he wondered if he would survive as many in the prison camp did die from malnutrition, starvation, and disease.

Earlier this year my mom told me that my dad had on a baseball cap with both acronyms printed on the front. I'm guessing he got it at one of the POW reunions he's attended in the past. So there's my dad walking through a parking lot, a decorated war veteran, a survivor who proudly served his country, wearing a POW/MIA baseball cap when a woman approached him and after noticing his cap and exclaimed "Oh POW MIA.... Is that a new Chinese Restaurant? I haven't been there yet!"

While I'm certain the lady meant no harm or insult, all I could think when my mom told me was that she had to be kidding. Maybe all of you reading my blog already knew what these two acronyms stood for, but in case you didn't I just wanted to share them with you so that you would be spared from being in the same awkward situation someday.

So, since today is now officially recognized as a day to pay tribute to our past and current soldiers who are or have been missing or held prisoner. I wanted to honor my father the veteran by asking a favor. If you see someone wearing a hat like my dads? Take a moment to thank them and to think about the sacrifices our veterans have made for our country... Not feel hungry and think of Chinese food.

So to my dad, I hope you know how proud I am of you for serving our country the way you did and that I am also proud to be your daughter and how thankful I am for all of the valuable life lessons you've taught me over the years.

With love and sending you *Hugs* over the internet,


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bark in the Park 2008 - It's this Saturday! Sept. 20th

*sniff, sniff, sniff* Can you smell it? There's something in the air! Something exciting and fun... Something just for dogs. Well, I guess it's also for people since dogs need people to get around town and all...

Yup it's time for BARK IN THE PARK again! Mom takes me every year. It's my chance to hang out with about 3000 other dogs, sniff at least 100 dog butts, eat come cookies and just chill.

Held in downtown San Jose, California at the William Street Park, Bark in the Park is an annual event that's kind of like an art and wine festival. For dogs. Where all of the booths sell dog products or are dog related services. Add to that agility, obedience, fly ball and herding demonstrations along with a pet-owner look-a-like contest and a costume contest that I won last year. ($400 buckaroos of premium dog food!)

Last year mom made a video to be able to show people what it's like so that more of our pals would want to go this year. You can view it by clicking on the player above. And you can view a slide show of pictures from last year by CLICKING HERE.

Don't miss it. It's tons of fun.

Saturday September 20th
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

A $5 donation per dog is requested.

A portion of the proceeds benefits the Humane Society Silicon Valley and San Jose Animal Care Center, "To promote respect for all animal life in our community through direct care and education."

I hope we see you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ready to Propose

Coming soon! A brand new company by Lea McIntosh of Lea McIntosh Fine Events. Ever the idea woman, Lea realized there was a need for a company that could assist men and women who want to create a grand, fun or unique wedding proposal but aren't quite sure how to go about doing it. From the smallest details to over the top ideas Lea will guide her clients to the way to make it happen. How cute is that name? So perfect right? I'll post the link once her new website is officially launched. But for now here's a sneak peek...

Last weekend Lea had the opportunity to showcase her talent at the Stanford Park Hotel in Palo Alto, California participating as one of the table top designers in Gentry Magazine's Hollywood Hosts event creating a custom table top to be raffled off at the end of the evening.

Proceeds from the evening benefited the Peninsula Youth Theatre.

If she had been contacted by Mr. Darcy (of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice) and he said he needed help in creating a perfectly appointed dinner table at which to propose to his beloved Elizabeth Bennet, this is Lea McIntosh's vision of what that table could have looked like.

Here was Lea's fabulous team. Andrew Hsu of Studio MSV included one of his "Covert Proposal" videos as part of the package. Kathy Goodman from Well Rehearsed, a company that specializes in designing rehearsal dinners, helped her to set up not one but two tables earlier in the day for a photo shoot. And the lady in red is none other then Lea Mcintosh herself.

I loved that the local honeybees couldn't resist the centerpiece.

The beautiful floral arrangement was sponsored by Bloomsters.

Who else but Wildflower Linen would have created this gorgeous bustled silk table cover and ruched silk chair cover with a triple row strip of rhinestone crystals gracing the back? And by table top prize they literally meant it. The winner even got to keep the bustled table cover as part of their prize!

The table also included 4 place settings of Mikasa china, Waterford crystal stemware, flatware and a gorgeous $1000 pair of pearl and diamond earrings by Vardy's Jewelers in Cupertino.

Lea added two of these cute engagement ring cushions just for fun. Isn't the "Parchment Blue" Mikasa china gorgeous? The table also included a custom proposal planning package with Lea herself.

And what's a celebration without Bacarat champagne flutes and a little bubbly? And not just any bubbly. The bottle of Dom PĂ©rignon came in the fanciest box I've ever seen for a beverage of any type. Admittedly I've not seen the packaging most bottles of alcohol come in but this one was pretty darn fancy.

Lea's ticket box was filled with tickets. I watched as a lot of people entered multiple times. Some put a whole bunch of tickets in all at once while others strategically staggered their entries. I think it's safe to say that Lea's was the crowd favorite and with a retail value of $5700 and full of style it's no wonder so many people wanted to win it.

A Pale Pink Custom Cake Topper

I just shipped this Flirty Bride cake topper to one of The Flirty Guide Treasure Hunt winners for her wedding next month. Her request was a light pink and ivory floral topper.

What I love most about creating custom cake toppers online is my ability to still work closely with my brides whether they live in the Bay Area or the East Cost.

By creating individual sample flowers and letting my clients approve them online, then assembling the entire topper and letting them approve a photo of the finished piece before shipping, they have as much input into the process as if they were sitting in my showroom for a private consultation.

After the client reviewed the elements of this topper we decided, to save labor costs, to use silk flower daisies, replacing the centers with Swarovski crystals, to avoid the higher cost associated with the more labor intensive beaded wire daisies.

The finished piece, approved by the client online before shipping.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Me on HGTV - Miniature Origami Cranes

Because some friends suggested I take this video public... Here it is. It's from several years ago after I had chopped off a lot (17" to be exact) of my hair to donate to Locks of Love.

The production crew was at my house filming for 8 hours that day... For what ended up being 2 segments (the second was how to make a dragonfly hair comb) that totaled around 7 minutes. *gasp, gasp, thud* The worst thing that day was that it was close to 100 degrees out... And we couldn't turn on a fan or open a window because of the noise factor so even though I don't look hot? I was dying. Thank goodness I didn't look as uncomfortable as I felt. The crew could not have been nicer though :D

Being on HGTV was an amazing experience. From the first time it aired to many times after I always receive emails from viewers who either just want to say thank you for creating art, to those who are interested in purchasing the piece. The one downside to the way the segment was filmed was that it makes it look like you can make this piece in an afternoon or as a weekend project. When in reality it takes months.

In any case I hope you enjoy viewing the process of how I make my tiny origami cranes.

To view more of my origami art you can CLICK HERE

Oh and btw, yes these are tiny sheets of origami paper, but no you can't buy them this way. These are standard 6 inch squares that I've cut down into 1/16th squares, which I then cut down and quarter one more time to create the size I use for this piece. I know. CrAzY!

Authentic Entrepreneurship

I first heard this term in a blog post by professional life coach "Coach Joelle" who I met through the Ladies Who Launch website.

Just being yourself. It should be the one thing that comes naturally to all of us yet is often one of the most difficult skills to achieve. Both big and little things can cause us to present who we "think" we're expected to be instead of "be" who we really are when we find ourselves in certain situations, business being one of them. There are almost always preconceived notions of "how" we are supposed to present and conduct ourselves to clients and colleagues. All I really know is that when I started my own company 11 years ago I was so busy just trying to be an entrepreneur I didn't have the time or energy to develop a professional image or persona.

To be honest I never even thought about it until one day a colleague who had been in the industry much longer then I said that she envied me. Huh? Envied me? She had a thriving business and was well respected and successful. I was an industry newbie and even after a few years was barely making it, living job to job and eating more Top Ramen then I care to recall.

So why would she be envious of me? I asked her and this (or something along these lines) was her reply:

This is me, just being me!

"Because you are one of just a few people I know who has built a business and has the respect of those who know you while just being yourself. You're fortunate. Most people aren't able to be themselves in business. Most people have to play a part to be accepted. You're just being yourself and it's working for you."

Wow. That blew my mind. I'd never actually thought about it before but her words really hit me like a ton of bricks. There I was so busy focusing on how "hard" I was working I'd never stopped to think about "how" I was presenting myself. The realization that by just being me I was being different was surprising. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. As a "creative" type I think I've always pushed the edge a bit and had the confidence to dress the way I want and to act the way I want as there aren't a lot of preconceived notions as to "how" a professional bridal accessory designer should "be." LOL

For the most part my basic philosophy has always been to be forthright and honest with people, unafraid to rock the boat a bit when needed and usually being a bit overdressed for most business functions. LOL. Being genuine means more to me then being polished both in how I present myself and when it comes to the people I connect with.

Earlier this year when I was reading a blog post about authentic entrepreneurship by Coach Joelle titled "Will the Real You Please Stand Up! I realized that that is what I am: An "Authentic Entrepreneur." I highly recommend anyone and everyone read this article.

Recently I also read a blog post by Videographer Ron Dawson titled "The Power of Being You-nique" which delved into the same topic.

I think after reading both posts you may come away with an awareness and appreciation of steps you can take to be more fulfilled in everything you do by allowing your real self to shine through.

A New Flirty Logo for "The Wedding Planning Audiocast"

Even before he interviewed me for his Meet the Wedding Bloggers audiocast, when show host Ralph Mucci first asked me to create the new logo for the show I was thrilled! We were chatting on the phone when he has asked who creates all of the cute graphics on my websites and blog. When I told him I did, he asked if I could make one of a bride, wearing a veil, sitting at a laptop computer. "Sure" I said. He laughed and said he loved the confident way I answered him. With that my first custom graphic for Ralph was the one above...

After creating their Blogger girl for them, Ralph said they received emails and even several phone calls asking where the new logo had come from. LOL. He was so happy it made me happy too. A few weeks later he contacted me again and asked if I would be interested in redesigning the logo for the entire The Wedding Planning Audiocast website. That was a big deal, and I was honored to be asked. This time he wanted a bride, holding an ipod listening to a podcast. So I got to work, and this is what I came up with!

LOL My flirty illustrations are catching on. To add to my new TWPA Blogger Girl illustrations I also just received a commission to create a custom illustration of a wedding professional to use as part of her logo design. I know this will sound silly and sappy but it kind of makes me feel like a proud mama and all of my little flirty girls and guys are my kids... And I'm sending them out into the world to spread smiles and happiness :D

I'll have a really funny illustration to show you later this week that so far has made everyone laugh when they see it. It's a new little project I've been working on so stay tuned.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Unique Bride Sample Gown Sale

Now extended: September 15-20, 2008!

A special "Flirty" offer for Bay Area brides! Mark your calendars and get ready to head over to The Unique Bride in Burlingame this week ladies.

The Unique Bride is celebrating their 25th anniversary with a Sample Gown Sale!

With fall just around the corner they need to make room for their new collections. This is great news for you because to do it they are offering sample and discontinued gowns at 20-70% off!

Please note:
Attending this event is By Appointment Only!
(650) 347-7001

The Unique Bride
1209 Howard Avenue
Burlingame, CA 94010
All day parking between Primrose and Lorton - only $1.00

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Alencon Lace Bridal Hair Pins

I love Alencon Lace. To me, it has always been the quintessential bridal lace. Distinctive, elegant and timeless. So when my Flirty Bride accessory clients have a gown made of or embellished with Alencon Lace I have to admit it kind of makes my heart go pittar patter.

In the past I have made headpieces incorporating matching lace to a hair clip or tiara... But my favorite way to work with the lace is to create accessories that complement and are are similar to it, but not to be too exact or identical.

Whether it's using tiny Japanese Delica beads to match the ridged border of the floral and leaf motifs, or matching the same beads (here using pearl beads, flat Swarovski rhinestone crystals and French satin sequins) to match the beading on the gown.

These were samples I create for a client after seeing the lace on her wedding gown.

I love making French wire beaded flower hair pins. While the process itself is quite simple, finding just the right beads to create the perfect "look" to compliment a gown is often the most challenging aspect of making them as bridal accessories.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Samovar Tea Lounge and Cynthia Glinka

Green tea and dancing? One really has nothing to do with other... Then again maybe Cynthia drinks green tea? But last night it was geographic proximity that brought the two near each other in SF then together here on my blog.

Another day, another networking event, another drive up to San Francisco. But what a gorgeous day it was! That's the SF Modern Museum of Art in red brick with the big grey circle on top of it.

I had arrived in the city a bit early to beat the traffic and had two choices of how to spend my free time... Go to the Ferry Building to buy cookies and cakes at one of my fav patisseries, Miette, or head over to the Yerba Buena Gardens to visit the Samovar Tea Lounge.

While both chocolate and green tea contain antioxidants... I suspect the healthier option between the two will always be the tea since it is sugar free. In the end I opted for Samovar Tea Lounge... Normally I order the Ryokucha green tea but feeling bold I decided to try the Lobocha Sencha last night. It was wonderful, flavorful, oh so smooth and very healthy!

So after my tea break I headed out to meet up with a colleague at an industry networking event. Here is Armando (Get Your Do Up) with Johanna (Floral Sense) who I just met for the first time last night.

And that's me (Stacie Tamaki) with Gabby (Cake Coquette) the amazing cake maker who created the Fabergé Egg Cake Toppers recently featured here on the blog.

My usual beverage of choice, club soda with a lime twist.

And here is Armando dancing with dance coach, choreographer and entertainer Cynthia Glinka who was there to teach all of us a smooth move or two. I quickly realized after sitting closest to the dance floor that I would be in trouble. I tried to get Armando to change seats with me but he wouldn't. And I was right. As soon as she stepped onto the dance floor Cynthia looked for a volunteer and who was sitting front and center? Me, of course. Once I took my spin across the floor with her I scurried off, stage right, and pretty much stayed seated the rest of the evening preferring instead to document others learning to dance.

That's Cynthia coming over to coach Johanna and Armando who were looking pretty darn snappy by the end of the evening. It was great fun both the learning to dance and watching others. Cynthia is very fun and entertaining. For brides and grooms learning to do more then the "stand and sway" would be time well spent to make your first dance a memorable one. Especially if you've hired a videographer for your wedding day!

I grabbed this one last shot as I was leaving the parking garage. I just thought the lights looked pretty cool... all glowy and different colors.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Hakone Japanese Gardens

These giant koi, most are over a foot long, are the show stoppers for most of the visitors at the Hakone Gardens, named after the Fuji-Hakone National Park in Japan. It's pronounced: Ha-ko-nay.

View a wedding video filmed at this location by Savadelis Films. And a fun FYI, I made the bride's necklace. It's my best selling "Barely There" choker.

If you saw the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" you have already seen the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California. Many of the outdoor garden scenes were filmed there. Not only is was it a wonderful site for a movie, it's a favorite wedding venue for brides and grooms who want to be near nature as they say "I do."

We went this past weekend because my husband had never been there before. I couldn't believe it! So we planned a late morning outing before it got too hot. There is a small fee to enter but once you're there you can relax and sit on benches overlooking the koi pond or walk the many small trails leading around the property.

The pond isn't a circle or oval shape it curls around creating small coves and the appearance of tiny islands that offer homes to a variety of fauna.

There is an arched bridge that you can walk across while gazing down to see the swirling mass of koi goldfish. In the spring you can see polliwogs and later frogs darting to and fro. In the summer turtles sunbathe themselves on rocks and delicate damselflies land on the thin reeds along the shore.

I can hardly believe I got these photos with my iPhone!

There's a small gum ball machine just off shore that you can drop a coin into and purchase food pellets for the fish. As soon as they see people gather near that end of the pond they come and swarm along the shoreline looking for a treat.

But perhaps the best surprise of all that day was when I spotted this tiny bunny rabbit scampering alongside a foot path before disappearing into the underbrush. For a while he was completely hidden but with some time and patience I was able to take this photo of him when he slowly hopped out from the undergrowth to look for something to eat. I really had to lighten and over expose this photo so that you could see him. Beneath the canopy of trees it was actually quite dark.

The moon viewing house. I've always wished I could live here!

Beautiful shoji panels are used as window treatments.

This wisteria arbor is laden with lavender blossoms in the spring. This day it caught a strangely eerie morning glow when I took this photo with my iPhone.

The bamboo forest adjacent to the interior garden. You can see this from the parking lot.

A wooden sign that hangs above one of the entry gates.

One last koi photo... If peacefulness and serenity are your thing and if you've never been to the Hakone Gardens I highly recommend taking a trip there. Weekdays are usually more quiet then weekends. Either way, even on a crowded day, if you wait long enough, you'll find peace, quiet and solitude there.

You can view more photos of Sylvia and James' Hakone Garden wedding by CLICKING HERE.