Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

What a year this was. I can't say I'm sad to see it go. In truth I'm relieved. But before it ends I want to thank everyone for their friendship, love, prayers, patience and support in helping me through this past year of worrying about my cousin Tami and many other blood cancer patients I have come to care about. Thankfully Tami continues to recover, and I continue to meet a vast array of wonderful, caring, and empathetic people who have enriched my life in so many ways.

Creating the Helping Tami website and blog was an experience completely unlike anything I had ever done before in my life. Sure, I had made many other websites and blogs but one thing I had never learned to do was to ask for help. It was never my ego that stopped me from asking for help, it was the fear of imposing on others. Asking for help and worrying they would feel obligated to say yes whether or not they had the time or energy available.

When it came down to my moment of clarity that for Tami, and others in need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, they are facing a life or death situation, all of a sudden it was easy to move beyond my concerns and just put it out there: I needed help. I asked can you help me and people rose to the occasion not just friends but complete strangers. So many people helped in a hands on manner volunteering time and talent, spiritually with prayers and good thoughts and even financially that I spent most of the year feeling quite humbled by all of their generosity. Wow, it was and continues to be an amazing experience.

2009 also saw me hiring two independent contractors to assist me with my businesses.

Lori is my new administrative assistant to The Flirty Guide. She will be my new point person in 2010 who will be keeping me organized and on schedule. It's going to feel odd to have help since I've pretty much done everything completely on my own since becoming self employed in 12 years ago! I'm hoping that by having Lori on board it will allow me to take some time off now and then. Just a normal day off like anyone else who works a 9:00 to 5:00 job.

Joan is my new Director of Submissions and Communications at Best Bridal Blogs and Best Wedding Blogs. She is the one who will be doing the preliminary review of all submissions to make sure they meet our listing criteria. She will also be the person responding to all submissions, questions and comments. PLEASE I'm begging you, if you don't post often enough or your blog isn't old enough PLEASE do not click the yes buttons and submit your blog anyways. It will not be approved and so many people do that I am now forced to impose a tough new policy:

The first time your blog is reviewed for consideration the review process is free. If your blog isn't old enough or you don't post often enough your request will be denied. You are welcome to resubmit your blog at a later date but there will be a review fee the second time.

So that's it. Only a few more hours left of 2009. Thank you all so much for making the Flirty Blog a stop on your day to day online tour of the internet. 2009 was a rough year for so many people. I am hoping and praying that 2010 is a better, happier, more successful and healthier year for everyone!

Photo of Stacie and Tami by: Todd Rafalovich

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Whatever holiday you celebrate I want to wish you a very happy one.

I celebrated last week by eating this chocolate Kara's cupcake that was frosted with crushed peppermint. Every holiday is better with a Kara's cupcake right?

Last week I made a trip up to San Francisco and took this photo of the tree at Ghirardelli Square. That's where the Ghirardelli chocolate shop is located. It was a perfect night. Cold, but not too cold :)

And here's Kitai enjoying a holiday backdrop.

Even better here's Kitai playing on snow! Yup, that's real snow brought in once a year to a holiday festival for kids to enjoy. At the end of the night, after the kids are cleared from it but before the snow is plowed into dump trucks, there's a brief window of time where dogs are allowed to play on the snow. Kitai loves it and gets all jumpy jumpy and digs little holes in it.

Mmmmm and I baked my favorite oatmeal gumdrop cookies. They are so YUM! I think you can use any oatmeal cookie recipe to make some that are similar. Just cut up 2 cups of orange slice gumdrops into small pieces. As you cut them (I use kitchen shears) drop the cut pieces into a bowl of flour so they don't stick together, then drop the contents of the bowl into a wire strainer to sieve out the gumdrops from the flour. Add them to your batter right before spooning the dough onto the baking sheets.

Last night we saw these Christmas lights. LOL the yard was covered!

This may be my favorite tree I've seen this year. Located in a donut shop I thought it was so cute with skull ornaments and a felted octopus tree topper. Very unique and the pink metallic tree was definitely flirty!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hanukkah Stockings

If Christmas is the holiday you celebrate, each holiday season your family probably puts up a Christmas tree, bakes cookies, and hangs stockings on the mantle.

Then one year something changes. Whether it's through marriage or friendship you find yourself inviting a guest of another faith to your home at holiday time. To a host or hostess who always wants all of their guests to feel included mixing religions can create certain challenges. So, what can you do to help blend religions in a manner that is inclusive so that your guest feels welcomed?

When it happened to me this was my solution, a Hanukkah stocking... Read more and view more pictures by CLICKING HERE

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Saw Woz's (Infamous) Sheets of Peforated $2 Bills

If you've ever spent an hour or more with Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, you've most likely heard one of his infamous "sheets of $2 bills" stories.

There's the story he's shared with us about spending his sheet money at an In-N-Out Burger for a to go order and at another restaurant in Los Altos, CA. Funny how both stories include food and, oddly enough, the police as sometimes restaurant employees and other times patrons are suspicious of his strange money and think it is counterfeit. This is a story on his website about the time he was hassled by the Secret Service for being in possession of sheets of money that appeared to be funny money because each bill is perforated so that you can tear them apart more easily. They look incredibly phony.

I had heard stories about his $2 bills for the past couple of years though to be honest, I wasn't really sure they existed because Woz loves a good prank. A few nights ago I finally saw them with my own two eyes. Hilarious

If you enjoyed this post you'll probably like these too:
• My Best Sunday (Ever) with Magician David Blaine
• Happy Birthday Woz
The Silicon Valley Fur Ball 2008

Thursday, December 10, 2009

African Descent Marrow Donor Urgently Needed to Save Zyreal

Edited 1/9/2010 to add: Zyreal's dad posted in his blog today that for now a second bone marrow transplant has been put on hold indefinitely. I am still asking that if you are not already registered in the donor program to still please join. If in the near or distant future Zyreal does need a transplant it will be wonderful if there is already a match in the registry so that he doesn't have to wait at that time for a match to be located.

Now back to the original post:

I'm begging here. If you are of African descent (No matter what continent you live on) and if you are not in a National Marrow Donor Program PLEASE consider joining to help save Zyreal. Also please forward this message to anyone you know who might be able to help him.

Zyreal is an adopted 7 year old boy who suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia. He recently underwent a cord blood (stem cell) transplant to save his life but today his family found out the transplant failed. His damaged marrow is now regenerating damaged blood cells and platelets but he needs to find a match from another person before undergoing a second transplant attempt. A better match must be found ASAP.

Ethnicity is crucial. Any patient in need of a marrow transplant will most likely find a match within their own ethnic group so Zyreal needs more people of African descent to join the marrow donor program in case they are the one who is going to be able to save his life.

Joining the registry is virtually pain free. In almost all countries 4 cotton mouth swabs are used to brush the inside of your cheeks. Donating isn't pain free but it isn't nearly as painful as most people seem to think it is. Discomfort, if there is any at all in most cases is mild and short lived. You can learn more about the two donation methods by CLICKING HERE.



If you live in the United States please go to Be the Match and enter your zip code to locate a live drive in your area:


It takes 4 cotton swabs that you wipe on the inside of your cheeks to find out if you are the match that can help Zyreal. It can then take up to 10 weeks for the test to be processed. Zyreal cannot wait so please do not delay in locating a drive.



There is also a list of international marrow programs at this link:


Please contact a program near you to locate a live drive. In most countries testing is simply swiping the inside of your cheeks with 4 cotton swabs. It can then take up to 10 weeks for the test to be processed. Zyreal cannot wait so please do not delay in locating a drive.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Facelift for The Flirty Blog

OK, so I've known for a while now that people have been getting confused with my website "The Flirty Guide" and this blog. Some people thought my blog was my website and others thought my website was my blog. It had been on my "to do" list to modify my blog template so that they would be similar but at the same time distinctly different. But it took watching someone being confused between the two yesterday to give me the motivation I needed to finally make the modification.

I hadn't felt well all day today. A headache and painful sinuses from a Cold? Flu? Allergy? I wasn't sure so I canceled my fun plans to go to a great party tonight and instead stayed home to rest all huddled on the couch under two blankets with the tv on. By the end of the night I was feeling better and it hit me to work on the blog facelift. And here it is. What do you think? Do you remember what the old blog looked like? That's it above.

I added a menu direct to the website and instead of the same flirty stripes as the website the new blog is sporting a solid chocolate colored background and a super cute new cake illustration in the header image. Yum! Here it is close up!

But I digress. I hope you like the new look of the blog. I also hope that it's now easier, at a glance, to tell the difference between the website and the blog :)

re:modern and Plan Decor Holiday Sale Fri & Sat

Eco Gifts :: Floral Accessories :: Home Decor :: Holiday Cheer :: Stylish Accessories :: Tableware :: Something for Everyone
In case you love shopping for great deals I wanted to let you know I just found out about a warehouse sale coming up this Friday and Saturday in Burlingame with savings up to 75% off from Plan Decor (a floral design company) and re:modern (sustainable products and interior design services) in their first ever joint warehouse sale. Arrive early for best selection!

Two days only!

11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Friday, December 11, 2009
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Saturday December 12, 2009

980 David Road, Unit E, Burlingame CA

From The North/SF: Take 101-, exit Millbrae Ave. Turn Right on Millbrae Ave, Left on Rollins Rd., and Left on David Rd. (approx 1 mile). Unit E is at the back of the pink building.

From the South: Take 101-N, exit Broadway Ave, After the overpass, turn Right on Rollins Rd., and Right on David Rd. (approximately 1 mile). Unit E is at the back of the pink building.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Best Bridal Blogs - The Relaunch

OK, so this year was a bit hectic for me and because of that two side projects were pushed to the back burners. One was the Best Bridal Blogs website. It's a blog directory that lists blogs written by real life brides planning their weddings.

On average I'd say more then half of the submissions received don't make the cut for one reason or another, most notably either the blogger doesn't post frequently enough to meet our 8 posts per month criteria, or because the blog submitted belongs to a wedding professional and not a bride.

But in the past couple of weeks we've added some great new blogs to the directory. Take a peek if you're searching for fun ideas or advice from other brides.

You can check out www.BestBridalBlogs.com by Clicking Here and if you're a bride with a blog you can submit your own blog for consideration by Clicking Here. There is no charge to be listed, you just have to be one of the best :)

Some of my favorites from our latest submissions:

Great Name:

Two new International Blogs that both have informative content are:

And a Fun DIY Blog with lots of pictures:

These are just a few, CLICK on OVER to Best Bridal Blogs to view the rest!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Free Consultations and Reviews for Friends: Through the End of December

Ah, you know who you are... You've told me you want to get together and ask me about your website, business or a new project you're working on but we haven't yet nailed down a time to meet...

If you want to pick my brain for free or for the price of lunch or a bottle of water... Time is running out. That's right, the day has finally come that I will begin charging for all of the consultations, website and blog reviews, business advice and presentations that I have been giving away for the past few years. There will be exceptions for Flirty Guide Advertisers and non profits who will be offered heavily discounted and/or pro bono options. For all of the details Click Here.

Networking • Guest Speaker • Former Designer • Moderator

The funny thing is that many of you have encouraged and even insisted I do this for years. I hesitated because so many of you are my friends, and who charges their friends to talk to them or to help them? But after assessing how much time I "talk to" and "help" people I realized that the reality is that I have been giving away not just minutes of my time but hours upon hours that sometimes add up to entire work days within a single week. Gulp.

So, it is a combination of factors that led me to this decision. Reasons why include my desire to dedicate myself to The Flirty Guide full time, to continue advocating for other patients in need of marrow transplants even as my cousin Tami recuperates from her transplant, and my acceptance of a Board position with the new nonprofit Wish Upon a Wedding.

There will be standard rates and three consultation options. CLICK HERE to reveiw them with pricing.

Option #1 Three days a week I will be available for in person consultations at 11:00 AM.

Topics most often requested are:

• Better Blogging
• Branding
• Business Ethics
• Business Model Development
• Conflict Resolution
• Facebook
• Live Networking
• Marketing
• Search Engine Optimization
• Social Networking
• Web Design

If the fee is out of your budget or the 11:00 AM designated time doesn't work for you, there is another option.

Option #2 I will be offering a "walk and talk" get fit option two days a week from 7:00-8:00 AM. The cost of this walking and talking consultation will be heavily discounted over 65% from the consult at 11:00 AM. Not to worry, I'm no speed walker. I just want to get some fresh air and exercise. This option is only available in the South Bay and only at specific locations.

Option #3 For those who don't have the time to meet in person, phone consults will also be available at various times.

So if you still want to grab coffee or lunch and pick my brain a bit about a project you are working on, by all means give me a call right now to schedule a time to get together! These rates won't go into effect until January 1st so there's still time to get together at no charge and chat. :)

Photo Credits:
Second image of Stacie by Duncan Reyes • Fourth image by Chung Li

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advertising on The Flirty Guide

I often receive advertising inquiries from companies that want to advertise on this blog and/or on The Flirty Guide. Many are inquiries from companies outside of Northern California and even outside of the United States. At this time I am not building a national resource but will hold onto your submission and contact you when this changes and I am able to open up The Flirty Guide to advertisers outside of the Bay Area. Most of the companies listed on the national link are satellite offices of Bay Area companies but a few I'm testing out to create the business model for going nationwide in the future.

For those of you who are located in Northern California I thought it would be helpful to put forth this information so that those of you who are interested can see if your company fits our advertiser's profile:

The Flirty Guide has very specific criteria about the companies who we support and publicize as our advertisers. Please review this list before submitting your company for consideration.

1. You have impeccable business ethics and offer top notch customer service:
The Flirty Guide is looking for professionals who exemplify the highest ethics and integrity in the way they interact with both their clients and their peers. Seriously, if you don't have great ethics or offer great customer service you need not apply.

2. You take genuine pride in the product or service you offer each client:
The Flirty Guide is looking for true artisans. Whether your pricing is moderate to expensive what is most important is that the quality of the product or the level of service you offer or show on your website, in your marketing collateral or in private consultations is equal to the quality of the product or service you will provide to your clients once they hire or book you. To bait and switch is simply unacceptable.

The style of your product or work must also complement the visual aesthetics of The Flirty Guide. If you aren't sure if your product or service is the right fit, please contact me using the form at the link below for consideration.

3. Your business model is owner operated, with yourself as the primary designer, lead or consultant:
My goal is to feature small business owners who are sole proprietors. If as the lead designer or talent you employ an assistant or small staff to support your work that's fine.

What I'm not looking to feature on The Flirty Guide are agencies or multi-ops that employ numerous independent or subcontracted employees, larger companies that represent numerous small businesses or companies that heavily feature mass produced products that aren't their own original designs.

Please note there are many wonderful companies that fit the afore mentioned business models but, with a few exceptions, they simply aren't the type of businesses I have chosen to feature here on The Flirty Guide :)

CLICK HERE to visit this page on The Flirty Guide, view the advertising options and use the contact form to send in your company for consideration.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reading: The E Myth, The Speed of Trust and Salty Sweets

I love to read. I always have ever since I was a little kid. In elementary school I was a voracious reader taking home several books at at time. The past few years I've had precious little time to read books at all. I do read on my computer morning noon and night but there's something about holding a book and turning the pages that I enjoy so much it's doubtful I will ever own a Kindle or similar device.

This year I'm happy to say I've made the time to read a few books about entrepreneurship. My colleague Jewel Savadelis had recommended The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell to me years ago. I even bought it years ago and started reading it last year but didn't finish it until this year. This year I've also read The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki and most recently finished The E Myth Revisited.

I can't tell you how important I think it is for anyone who is self employed to continue learning about how to be an effective entrepreneur. Even if your business is great now, as technology evolves it's important to stay on the cutting edge of information. If your business is struggling it's especially important to learn more about entrepreneurship so that you can modify your business model and find solutions to your existing issues or problems. Now I'm about to start reading this book...

Wedding Pro Andy Ebon had recommended it on his Facebook wall a few months back so I ordered it. Next on my list to purchase is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. Leslie Wong recommended it to me when I met her at Nancy Liu Chin's cocktail party the night before the Wedding Floral Academy kicked off.

And now onto something fun... Today I popped into Barnes and Noble and found this book... Salty Sweets. Can you say yummmmmmmm? The first recipe I'm going to try is for sweet and salty peanut butter cookies. The recipe description promises a rich and peanutty flavor which sounds great to me!

I also want to try making these salted caramels. I buy something similar every now and then from Miette up in San Francisco but if I'm not planning on being in the city that's a long drive just to buy some caramels. I'm hoping I love these so much that I prefer them to the Miette caramels and can whip them up whenever I'm in the mood. I'll let you know how it goes once I make them.

And last but not least is a recipe for salted caramel ice cream. Summertime here we come!