Monday, July 26, 2010

And the winner is...

There are currently 3 seats still available for this seminar. Total class size is 10 attendees. If you're interested in registering to attend please CLICK HERE to contact me and let me know. Space is available on a first come first served basis.

Thanks again to all who entered this contest.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Want to Learn How to Blog?

Enter a random drawing to win a free $150 ticket to my upcoming Newbie Blogging Seminar on August 9th, 2010. Entries must be received by midnight Sunday night July 26th. This is an informal seminar, hosted in Campbell, CA with a class size limited to ten attendees. If you register to take the class to reserve your space and win the drawing you will receive a full refund of your class fee.

Are you Blogless? Did you set up a blog a year ago but you've never posted in it? Does the thought of blogging make you feel a little (or a lot) freaked out? This is the perfect presentation for you. A 4 hour seminar that will demystify blogging: Viral Marketing, Blogging SEO, Setting Up a Blog, how to Blog and so much more!


We will cover:
Why to Blog - The benefits of blogging
How Search Engines Work
Blog Traffic
RSS (Real Simple Syndication)
Viral Marketing
Self Promotion
Branding Your Blog
Choosing a Platform
Setting Up Your Blog
Post Titles - Why they matter
When to Blog / Post Frequency
What to Write About / What not to Write About
Keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Links in Posts
Anatomy of the Sidebar
Images / Videos
Should You Allow Comments?
Legal Considerations

The Details:
4 hours long
$150 (per person) to attend
(Does not include meal but snacks are provided)
Limited Capacity: Only 10 attendees per session
Printed worksheet is provided
Note taking encouraged
Laptop not required


Contest Rules:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited.
1. DATES: Contest opens on July 21, 2010. Contest closes on July 25, 2010 at 11:59 pm PST. No purchase necessary; Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.
2. HOW TO ENTER: Use the contact form on this page to send your entry via an email form.
3. SELECTION OF WINNER: Winner will be chosen in a random drawing (random.org).
4. WINNER NOTIFICATION: The winner will be notified by email on July 26, 2010.
5. PRIZE RESTRICTIONS: Prize is transferable (you can sell or give it to a friend) but nonnegotiable and not redeemable for cash or merchandise. Winner is responsible for all travel and meal related expenses. Failure to redeem this winner's ticket shall result in forfeiture of the prize and no substitute prize will be awarded.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chung Li • Beginner's DSLR Photography Class

Better pictures for the blog. That was my goal when I signed up to take an all day workshop with one of my favorite Bay Area wedding photographers, Chung Li. If you are interested in learning the basics about DSLR photography I highly recommend contacting Chung and asking him to put you on his list so that he can let you know the next time he schedules a beginner or intermediate class: CLICK HERE to Contact Chung

I LOVE this photo by my friend and classmate for the day Diane Phillips of DK Designs. Thanks Diane!

This is my new camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR Camera (Camera Body)

15.1Mp CMOS Sensor, HD 1080p, 720p, and VGA Video Capture, 3" Clear View LCD with Live View, DIGIC 4 Image Processor, ISO Expandable to 12,800, Compatible w/ 60-plus EF & EF-S Optics

The only thing that sucked was that I was hoping to use a couple of Sigma lenses I bought years ago for a film Canon Rebel body I'd owned. Unfortunately they didn't fit properly so I'll have to invest in some new lenses. I only used the film camera on the automatic settings and never learned anything about the manual and customizable options so I'm already way ahead of the learning curve now.

For the class Chung traded lenses with me and I used his honk'in huge professional lens that was so heavy my arms were burning within minutes. I really need to workout my arms if I'm ever going to use a lens like that again!

The format of the class is very intimate with only 8 students per session. When we arrived Chung had breakfast waiting for us. (I had water though.)

Mmmmmm I couldn't bring myself to eat a cupcake at 9:30 AM so I saved mine for the end of the day scarfing down the dark chocolate with cream filling treat just before heading home after 6:00 PM.

We spent the first half of the day watching Chung's keynote lecture presentation. FINALLY I understand what aperture and shutter speed are all about! He also discussed proper exposure, composition, lenses, photo editing (Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop) and more.

That's Chung Li. I took this photo during the second part of the day when we went to Ralston Hall in Belmont, CA and used their grounds to run through many exercises.

I took the class with friends Carl Mindling who wants to take better blog pictures too and Diane Phillips who wants to take better product shots of her handmade clay flowers.

Great examples of where I began the day with blurry, underexposed and over exposed photos.

Now you can see improvement.... From over exposed to an image with proper exposure.

The Goal: Was to create a short depth of field with the foreground in focus and the background blurry.

Playing with my aperture and shutter settings created both bad and good results.

Chung took this action shot photo while we were all busy shooting.

The Goal: Capture equal detail in the fore and background.

The Goal: Capture a sharp background while blurring Won's face as much as possible. It looks bad but was a successful shot!

The Goal: Create a blurry fore and background while keeping Cecile in focus.

And the class at the end of the day in a group photo.

The other cool thing about Chung's class is that I can apply everything I learned to my Panasonic Lumix point and shoot camera! This will create better pictures and save me time doing less post edit work in Photoshop. It's a win-win for me. Thanks so much for the wonderful experience Chung :D

Next on my agenda is to learn Adobe Illustrator. There's always something isn't there?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1 Year and 14 Days - Stem Cell Transplant Update

An update about my Cousin Tami is now posted on her blog: www.HelpingTami.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Life on Your Terms" includes an interview with me, Stacie Tamaki!

If you hate your job and have been dreaming about starting your own company because you would like to live life on your own terms (fearless, expressing yourself, doing what you love, surrounded by people you admire and respect) "Life on Your Terms" could be all of the inspiration you need to take your first steps in moving towards a more contented life.

In January 2009 I read (in a Ladies who Launch email update) that Shann Vander Leek (an inspirational leader who, after eighteen years of serving the television broadcast model of Corporate America, reinvented herself as the founder of True Balance Life Coaching) was searching for inspiring stories by entrepreneurs:

"I am writing a book about extraordinary entrepreneurs and "solo"preneurs who live on their own terms. They likely have achieved extraordinary results... leading to the creation of personal freedom. They are interesting, eccentric, bold, creative, unfiltered creatures of the universe who want to share their story with others to inspire them to follow their dreams..."
I thought to myself, "Hey that kind of sounds like me!" So I sent Shann a short bio and links to my websites.

When she messaged me that I had made the cut and would be one of 40 inspired entrepreneurs she would be interviewing for her book I was thrilled! We spoke on the phone for the interview and Shann decided my story would fit best in the chapter titled "Letting Go of Fear."

And now here we are, a year and a half later and 5 pages of "Life on Your Terms" shares the story of how I became an entrepreneur. But my experience is just a very small part of a very large story about Shann's own experiences and the 39 other entrepreneurs who have also sought life on their terms.

That would be author Shann Vander Leeks autograph, not mine LOL

The one thing I'd like anyone reading this post to understand is that it's never too late to change! Even if your dream isn't to become an entrepreneur it's never too late to pursue trying something new or being a different way.

Recently I attended a bridal showcase event. At the end of the evening I was chatting with my friends Amy and Andrew explaining to them how particularly in junior high, high school and part of college, I became an excruciatingly, painfully, shy art nerd. Thanks to some new friends in college (that two of my girlfriends had made) point blank telling me they wanted me to talk more (or at all) I finally overcame my shyness. Having people tell me they wanted to hear what I was thinking was an incredible gift. It created an opportunity and I changed. It was pretty much instantaneous. Just like that I overcame my fear of speaking my mind, making new friends and sharing my thoughts and feelings with others. Within weeks they were laughing at me that they couldn't shut me up. LOL. The point is, it's never too late to reinvent yourself.

You can live in fear and still experience moments of happiness, success at your job, make friends and achieve great monetary wealth. But living with fear while working at a job you despise will hold you back and deprive you of ever experiencing true contentment. If you decide to tackle your fears just remember that with each step you are moving further away from fear and closer towards contentment. Contentment isn't wholly created by the success of your endeavor, it's also created by leaving the fear behind :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priscilla of Boston • A New Bridal Salon at Santana Row

This store will be closing December 31, 2011

Recently Santana Row welcomed the Priscilla of Boston Bridal Salon to their new San Jose location. Crystal Lequang of Amazáe Special Events successfully created another lush and stunning showcase! Yes, that's the same Crystal who (along with Nicole Ha) designs the Una Bella Sera showcase each year.

Click on any photos to view enlargements.

A live model poses in the front display window at the Priscila of Boston Bridal Salon in Santana Row, Santa Clara, CA.

I felt very fortunate to have been invited to experience the new salon.

At street level the salon appears to be a small and cozy space tucked between Anthropologie and Anteo Home. Just inside you'll spot a welcome desk, a flat screen tv running a video of beautiful wedding gowns, sparkling crystal chandeliers, an elevator and a flight of stairs. That's it. No racks of gowns.

When I got to the top of the staircase was when I said "WOW!"

The upstairs space was huge!

I'd imagined the upstairs would be only slightly larger than the downstairs but it actually spans over the top of the entire Anthropologie store! There were so many wedding gowns, rooms and nooks I was quite shocked!

Lines included the Platinum and Jewel Vineyard Collections by Priscilla of Boston, and the Reverie Collection by Melissa Sweet.

The lace, beadwork and embellishments on some of the gowns were exquisite! The beaded bodices in particular were so pretty I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you along with one lace bodice that caught my eye because it was so clean and simple yet delicate.

This was my favorite gown. Of course I could never wear this gown because I'm waaaaaaaaaay too short. But if you're 5'8" or taller, it would probably look incredible on you!

There were also accessories of all types: Bridal Jewelry, hair ornaments, veils and cute and sassy wedding shoes.

Another room held two displays of bridesmaids gowns (that's one pictured above) and flower and some adorable flower girl dresses.

The appetizers were from LB Steak in Santana Row. I loved the cheese and fresh apricot platter and made several visits back for more :) Also my thanks to the Vintage Wine Bar, which has not one but two locations in Santana Row, for the complimentary Pellegrino I enjoyed that evening.

This room was so beautiful! The elegant draping, plush blue velvet furniture and beautiful wedding flowers, both topiaries and cascading centerpieces, of peonies, roses and green hydrangea by Nicole Ha adorned the table top.

This photo doesn't begin to do justice to Nicole's romantic, cascading centerpiece.

The upper photo is the viewing room where brides can step in front of the huge mirror to see the gown they're trying on. Menu card by: Marizette Paperie, bridal bouquet by: Nicole Ha Designs.

It was Crystal's idea to drop fresh peonies on and into the crystal chandelier. What a unique wedding idea! Such a simple idea but I'd never seen it done before.

Crystal Lequang of Amazáe Special Events and Rekha Sachania of My Event Designer. Both are ACPWC Professional Wedding/Event Consultants.

Nicole Ha of Nicole Ha Designs and Jen Kwapinski of Jen's Cakes

Armando Sarabia of Get Your Do Up and I having a great time!

Maria Chang's of PMA styled the models that evening. Here Maria plays photographer catching a snapshot of Priscilla of Boston's San Jose store managers: Krista Neighbours, Salon Manager and Emily Wurtz, Assistant Salon Manager.

Years ago when I first began working in the bridal industry the South Bay had two exceptional couture designers who used to make custom gowns to order. Both have since retired and moved on to other endeavors and options had waned over the years as more of the other small salons had closed. But now there seems to be a resurgence of gowns with the opening of several boutiques in the Greater San Jose area that rival some of them gowns that before, were only offered up the Peninsula and in San Francisco.

And a party isn't a party without fantastic desserts! Jen Kwapinski of Jen's Cakes didn't disappoint with this lavish display of mini-cupcakes, cream puffs and white chocolate raspeberry bars that she continually replenished throughout the evening. Best of all there were two chairs on either side of the display so you could just sit there and eat her treats, one after the other. LOL

Armando enjoying a cream puff.

Hey! Armando what's in the bag?

HA! An impromptu "to-go" bag of Jen's goodies!

For South Bay brides a trip to Santana Row should be on your list of salons to visit when selecting your wedding gown. The salon is so beautiful inside and Armando and I spent the latter part of the evening chatting with some of the women who work there. They were all so nice and fun!

My thanks again to Crystal for the invitation. It was a really fun evening!

I think you'll have a great experience if you go and Santana Row has many great restaurants so you can make a girl's day of it and go grab a bite to eat after at The Left Bank, or Pizza Antiqa or The Counter (a burger bar)...