Saturday, August 28, 2010

Please Don't SPAM my Comments

First off let me say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has ever left a genuine comment on this blog. You may have noticed I don't usually solicit comments so when people do leave them it means a lot to me and I appreciate them greatly. This post is not directed at you.

For those of you who are attempting to use comments as a means to create link backs to your own websites I would like to gently point out that my stated comments policy is:
Please do NOT post a string of keywords as your name. Comments received in this fashion will either not be published or the link will be removed. The Flirty Blog reserves the right to modify, delete or decline to publish comments that are considered to be SPAM.
Basically I'm asking you to please leave your real name, a user name or even your company name as the author of your comments. For instance if I leave a comment somewhere I might use one of three usernames with a link back to my blog or website:
  1. Stacie Tamaki
  2. The Flirty Girl
  3. The Flirty Guide
What I won't do is leave a comment from "San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Resource" as a link back to my website. Yes, it may be keyword rich and may help to direct your readers to my website but quite frankly I think it's impolite and disingenuous to so overtly troll for potential clients on another blogger's blog.

My point is: Would you go to a party or to dinner at someone's home and introduce yourself to other guests as "what you sell" and immediately hand your business card to every person in the room? I'm hoping you're nodding your head *no*. So why do that on people's blogs and websites?

My best advice is if you want people to click on your name and visit your website, leave a very funny, clever, informative or thought provoking comment. It works. Trust me. When I read great comments on other blogs I'll click on that person's link to see what else they have to say about other things :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Next Beginning Bloggers' Seminar is August 31st

*This Class is now Sold Out*
September Seminar may be in SF or East Bay. Let me know if you're interested in attending :)

A cost effective opportunity for anyone interested in learning the basics about how blogging can help you to market your business and how to create search engine and reader friendly blog posts. This is an informal seminar atmosphere where you will have plenty of opportunity for Q & A during the present...

Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: The Allied Arts Guild
(Located near Stanford Shopping Center)
75 Arbor Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025-5398
CLICK HERE for more details

We will cover:
  • Why to Blog - The benefits of blogging
  • How Search Engines Work
  • Blog Traffic
  • RSS (Real Simple Syndication: Subscriptions and Publishing)
  • 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 meals/complimentary snacks provided
  • Limited Capacity: Only 10 attendees per session
  • Seminars are offered on weekdays only
  • Laptop not required
  • Worksheet/Outline provided for note taking
  • NEW: A (private) online tutorial is available to class attendees after the seminar
CLICK HERE for more details

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aarti Sequeira, Winner of "The Next Food Network Star"

To be honest I don't watch the show. But I saw this interview yesterday with Aarti Sequeira, winner of the 2010 reality tv cooking competition, who will now have her own cooking show on the Food Network.

Her story is so inspiring to me that I wanted to share it with all of you who have a passion or a dream but you've been waiting for the "right" time to begin. Aarti started blogging and that led to her greatness and the opportunity to live a more fulfilled life. If you would like to find a way to follow your passion her story is a great blueprint.

Take a peek at this 3.5 minute video that outlines the steps she took to land her own tv show:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Custom Dog Bridal Veil

Something to make you smile. These were two of my very first clients when I first started my custom accessory company 13 years ago.

I had made the bride's veil and after she picked it up she called me back to apologetically make a special request: Would I consider making a veil for her dog Amber? Being such a dog lover and because I always enjoy taking on new challenges, I said I would. And this was the veil. Because the pastor wouldn't let Amber in the church, she had to settle for modeling her veil throughout the duration of the wedding reception. The bride said that Amber loved her veil. Never knocking it off once all evening!

If anyone wants to know how I did this just post it in the comments of this post and I'll create a tutorial for you over on The Flirty Guide.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Feeling Suicidal? Call the Suicide Hotline for Help

I was just reading the news an hour or so ago and noticed that a photo I took and posted on my blog two years ago is being used (with attribution) in a story about a suicide that took place last night at The Mountain Winery. A young man, (eta: facing some serious legal charges) leapt to his death from the roof above the stage during a live concert performance :(

My sympathies to his family, loved ones, the band, the first responders who tried to resuscitate him and everyone in the audience who certainly have to feel traumatized by witnessing his death.

Obviously this is neither a fun nor flirty topic... So why post about it? Because I want any of you who ever think about suicide to know that you can always call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline. In fact, if you think about it a lot, put their number in your speed dial so you always have it with you. If you call, there are people on the other end of the phone who not only care, but want and will do their best to help you simply by letting you talk, vent and share whatever pain it is you're going through. In San Jose there is someone to talk to 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. The local Crisis Line phone number is (408) 279-8228.

If you live anywhere else in the country you can call the numbers below if you feel like you need to talk to someone.

"...Talking to someone can temporarily change your perspective - Human contact changes the brain chemistry & opens that emotion "pod" of pent up emotions for temporary relief - and it may not be what they say, but just the exchange of emotions like empathy, compassion, & concern.

Will they cure us - no.

Will they take the pain away ?

Maybe ease it for a little while.

Even if you know you may be upset or suicidal again soon, just give it a try.

Even though non-depressive humans won't really know exactly how you feel --

Let them try to help the best they can.

Talk to them, let them listen.

Most of them are not even getting paid.

The only reason they are there is for you.

They may not always say the exact right thing, but they are hoping that somehow they can help you make it through a difficult night, to live & fight another day."

CLICK HERE to read the rest on suicide.com

IMO it's a normal and understandable reaction to feel a little or a lot of resentment or anger at being forced to watch someone take their own life, or to be angry and hurt for being left behind. I also know people will often accuse a person who committed suicide of being "selfish" for only thinking about themselves and not about what they are forcing others to endure on their behalf. But more than resentment, I can't help but feel compassion.

There are many causes of depression. If you've never experienced a suicidal depression and felt the urge to take your own life you're lucky that your genetics are good, your brain chemistry is well balanced and you were born with emotional fortitude strong enough to endure and overcome all that life puts before you. You're fortunate to not feel emotional pain so deeply that all you can think about is death as an escape from pain so intense it drains the will to live away until there is no will, and no hope left.

If you are severely depressed and you know it, reach out. Ask for help before things get too bad. Call the Crisis Hotline.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Facebook Places: Join in or Decline?

Facebook Places is, from what I've read, similar to foursquare, which is a more sophisticated version of someone tweeting where they are at any given moment.

For those of you who enjoy living in the now and don't mind the whole world (or the large portion or small portion you have friended through your social networking accounts) to know where you are (restaurants, concerts, bars, malls, etc) and where you aren't (home, so thieves have a better idea of knowing when to strike), Facebook Places will be another fun way to keep in touch with your friends and the world.

Call me a stick in the mud...

For those of us who are more wary and enjoy more (as opposed to less) privacy, the thing to know about the new Facebook Places is that even if you don't use the new feature, your friends can "tag" you into their Places updates to let everyone they know where you are.... And aren't. To remove the option (of giving away your location) from your fun loving and free spirited friends you need to go into your Facebook privacy setting and set your account to "disable."

This post on Gawker shows you how to do this step by step :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DIY Recycled Jewelry Stand

Are you an ex-hunter who loves fashion accessories? A DIY type who loves to repurpose and reuse items into functional new pieces? Are you an eco-friendly tree hugger who hates to see wood items wasted and has an extensive collection of bracelets and necklaces? Are you none of the above but have a bunch of jewelry that sits in tangled piles on your dresser top?

If any or all of these descriptions describe you, this may be a great idea you'll want to try out...

A gun rack I found at a yard sale that I repurposed and refurbished transforming it into a perfect jewelry display stand. Inexpesive and eco-conscious it was a win-win.

Take a peek at more close ups and details about how I did this over on The Flirty Guide by CLICKING HERE

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eco-friendly Idea: Bring your own cup!

There are a few restaurants we dine at that give you a paper or styrofoam cup to drink from when you dine in. I've always felt that since I normally drink water it's really wasteful for me to use a throw away cup with my meals...

My solution? I went to the drugstore and purchased a hard, clear, plastic cup. So far I've found at least 4 restaurants we go to on a regular basis where bringing my own cup comes in handy. The restaurant staff have always been really cool about it and I just bring it home with me when we leave. Perfect.

I'm happy that I have continued to think of ways to make dining out a more eco-friendly experience. Past ideas have included bringing my own to-go containers and travel chopsticks :) If you have any other eco-friendly dining out ideas to share please leave them in a comment. I'd love to hear them and be inspired!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beautiful Bridal Shoes vs. Comfortable Bridal Shoes

In a perfect world the best shoes would be both beautiful and comfortable. Sadly, all too often, women realize that a choice of one over the other has to be made... Beauty or Comfort.

When we were kids didn't we all have a toy similar to this? You know, the one where you fit a shape into a similarly shaped hole? As kids it made sense once you figured it out and in most aspects of an adult woman's life it still does, with one exception...

Why do so many women think the shape on the left "fits" into the shape on the right?

This morning I spotted a really informative bridal shoe post on the I Want 10 Courses bridal blog... Echo, the blog's author and Bride-to-be, ran through the pros and cons of wearing flats to high heels on your wedding day. The article (associated to an image she used) was FULL of information about how high heels do damage the wearers feet, nerves and joints over time.

And I've seen or heard about most of this damage firsthand because I used to sell Ladies Shoes at Nordstrom. The hammer toes, bunions, corns, post op surgery scars, deformed toes and all kinds of funky weirdness that comes from fitting rectangular shaped feet into pointy toed and high heeled shoes. Honestly, seeing the cumulative damage shoes can wreck on a woman's feet cured me from ever wanting to wear beautiful shoes just for the sake of fashion on all but truly special occasions.

To view this page on The Washington Post CLICK HERE

For my own wedding I can only tell you that I struggled with "Do I want beautiful or comfortable shoes?" I'm sure a lot of brides ask themselves the same thing. In the end I bought two pairs of shoes, one beautiful, the other comfortable...

And ended up wearing the comfortable ones on the right. It turned out to be the right decision as my gown was so heavy that by the reception my shoulders were aching from the sheer weight of the skirt. Had I worn the stiletto pumps I'm sure my feet would have been killing me. And I didn't want to have to take off my shoes during the reception because I know the hem of gowns can be ruined by dragging them on the ground. Fine if you're shooting a trash the dress session with your photographer after the wedding but if your gown is going to be something you save and hand down or resell, you'll want the hem to remain clean and intact.

The flatter, wider straps on the uppers and the wider heel base were the right choice. By the end of the night I hadn't experienced any blisters or pain at all :)

If you're wondering what shoes Echo purchased for her wedding just CLICK HERE to visit her blog and read the post. Hopefully the advice you find there will help you to make a decision if you're shopping for bridal shoes and aren't sure which way to go... Comfortable or beautiful.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Retiring The Flirty Bride Custom Accessories

Well the time has come to officially end one of my many careers... Some of you may read that and give a sigh of relief because you think I work too much. Others may feel a sense of loss and mourn the passing of my days as a bridal accessory designer. Yes, I'll be putting away my pliers, packing up my beads and rehoming several bolts of tulle as I won't be making custom bridal veils, tiaras, jewelry or cake toppers any longer. I'll also be packing up my showroom where I used to meet brides and will convert it into a new and improved all purpose work area.

*Sigh* this is all hard to say and given that my accessories were my first step into the world of self employment and entrepreneurship bringing the business to a close is rather bittersweet.

For the past few years I've fulfilled requests from online brides and referrals by colleagues but the time has come to move forward with other new and exciting things in my life, like The Flirty Guide resource and my new educational seminars for small business owners.

While my accessory designing career may be coming to a close, The Flirty Bride name will live on as a new incarnation associated to The Flirty Guide. Stay tuned and you'll be among the first to know what's going on when I reveal all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Concert Review: Styx at the Mountain Winery

Remember Styx? They're still out there touring and putting on a really good show. A few nights ago I spent the better part of an evening at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA standing 15 feet away from Tommy Shaw. Woot!

I still remember the Styx videos from the early days of MTV where Dennis DeYoung was dressed in the black striped vest with a red carnation and Tommy Shaw wore a green jumpsuit. Man that was a loooooooooong time ago!

When hubby mentioned attending the concert I have to admit my first thought was "Styx with no Dennis DeYoung didn't seem like it would really be Styx." But the show was high energy and outstanding... You could see the guys really love to perform and they sounded great.

The Mountain Winery is a cozy outdoor venue.

It was recently remodeled upgrading from its classic wooden benches on dirt to this very modern and comfortable amphitheater.

When we arrived at the winery I tried some Ciao Bella gelato, chocolate hazelnut to be exact. This teeny tiny 3.5 ounce container cost $4. Per ounce it was probably the most expensive ice cream type treat I've ever purchased. I would say it was good but I would probably hold out for a more affordable pint at a grocery store in the future. As far as pricing goes, apparently concert venue food falls right in there with airport and movie theater food.

And then the show began...

The Gary Hoey Band out of Boston was the opening act. They were good and entertaining. Gary plays some mean guitar. He also said his name and that they were from Boston before each of the first three songs they played which I found redundant but hey, look, I remembered his name and where he's from just now! LOL

His style encompasses rock, blues and surf music. If you like any of those genres you should check him out.

And then Styx took the stage...

(Click any image to view an enlargement)

Tommy Shaw (lead vocals and guitar)

James "JY" Young (lead vocals and guitar)

Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals and keyboards)

Ricky Phillips (bass and vocals)

Todd Sucherman (drums)

I have to say it was kind of surreal seeing Tommy Shaw, in person, so close up. He looks great! I read online he is now 57 but he doesn't look it at all. Not even close. He looks very fit and pretty bendy/flexible. Playing guitar his legs go a surprisingly different number of ways, he can do really high kicks and looks like he probably weighs about 90 lbs soaking wet. LOL

The reason we went to the concert was because hubby is a huge fan of Lawrence Gowan, a Canadian music artist who joined the band in 1999 and has since been their keyboardist and one of the three lead singers of the band.

Chuck Panozzo on the left, (a founding member of the group) made a guest appearance and played a few songs that night.

For their encore they ROCKED the Mountain winery playing Renegade. You know how the beginning of the song is Tommy singing A cappella?
Oh momma I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law

Lawman has put an end to my running and I'm so far from my home

Oh momma I can hear you a'crying you're so scared and all alone

Hangman is comin' down from the gallows and I don't have very long
Well right between the last two lines I saw a gorgeous, bright, shooting star fall from the sky directly above the amphitheater, like right above the band disappearing behind the building the stage resides on. It was so cool! Definitely a memorable moment.

The final note of Renegade and then it was over...

The song and the show.

To make the evening even more memorable, I was lucky enough to get a Tommy Shaw guitar pick when he threw some out to the crowd! Sweet :)

I also thought it was very cool that this is the second concert I've been to this year where you've been allowed to bring in and use a camera. Remember back in the day when bags were searched and cameras were confiscated or you had to go put them back in your car? I guess with the advant of cell phone cameras the venues and performers have given up that battle.

Even though their website says no cameras are allowed at the Mountain Winery performances we were told that cameras with detachable lenses, professional cameras and video cameras were not allowed but my point and shoot, that I forgot was even in my purse, was fine. Here are a few more pics from the show:

James "JY" Young and Ricky Phillips

James "JY" Young

Styx Rocking Out!

James Young, Lawrence Gowan and Tommy Shaw

Tommy Shaw and Ricky Phillips

Tommy Shaw

Tommy Shaw

My two favorite songs they performed were Come Sail Away with Lawrence Gowan on lead vocals and Renegade, of course, with Tommy singing lead vocals. Classic. Check out their website for more tour dates to see if they'll be performing where you live.

A few great songs were noticeably absent from the play list. Apparently if you want to hear Babe or Mr. Roboto you have to go to a Dennis DeYoung concert as he performs them in his shows :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Woz!

A fun musical homage to the Woz on his 60th Birthday. Enjoy!

For those of you who haven't heard of Steve Wozniak before, he is the co-founder of Apple Inc. He and Steve Jobs started the company in the mid 70's. Woz's celebrity status has grown beyond his former geek stardom since competing on Dancing with the Stars in 2009.

Singer, songwriter, performer and self made music video personality Jonathan Mann is aka the Song a Day Mann at his music video channel Rock Cookie Bottom. It's now a well known fact that Jonathan is an Apple Fan Boy who had a breakthrough hit when one of his songs was recently played at an Apple Inc. press conference. Because of that Woz's wife contacted Jonathan and asked him to write a special song for Woz for his Birthday.

Here are a few screenshots of Woz's song...

I met Jonathan Mann at Woz's Birthday party! He's a really nice guy. I've had the good fortune of seeing Jonathan perform "That's Just the Woz" live, twice.

With Woz at his "6.0" Birthday Party

I am proud to say I know Woz and he is a really kind and generous man with an incredibly fun personality who is always happy to sign an autograph for a fan. He's also the most accomplished prankster I know. Happy Birthday Woz!

If you enjoyed this post you'll probably like these too:
• My Best Sunday (Ever) with Magician David Blaine
• I Saw Woz's (Infamous) Sheets of Peforated $2 Bills
The Silicon Valley Fur Ball 2008

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Club Auto Sport and Michi Sushi Catering

"Sex and the City "in San Jose was a sleek showcase full of sexy sports cars and delicious sushi hosted by Ralph Borelli, founder of Club Auto Sport and sponsored by Michi Sushi Catering. It also showed how "wedding professionals" are really talented at producing events outside of weddings.

For instance this amazing sculpture by "Chisel It" displayed a whole salmon embedded in the ice along with Michi Sushi's logo in ice!

As guests arrived they were greeted at the front entrance by a red Tesla Roadster. An all electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster has 0 emissions, can travel up to 245 miles per charge and can go from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds. I had the pleasure of seeing a Roadster in person last year as a friend of ours has one. I'd love to have an electric car but at approximately $100,000 the Roadster is definitely out of my price range. I've read online that the Model S, available in 2012, will be somewhere around half that price possibly putting it in my price range if business goes well for the next two years :)

As I walked the red carpet I knew there would be cool cars and great sushi:
You’re Invited to Sex and the City

An Evening of Exotic Cars, Exquisite Food & Extraordinary Entertainment

Presented by Club Auto Sport and Michi's Catering
Don't miss out on this summer's hottest party featuring a private collection of exotic cars, exquisite international cuisine, and extraordinary live entertainment.

Come and celebrate with old friends and meet new ones. Don't miss out on the all you can eat sushi!
The first person I saw was Event Coordinator Christina Romero (who helped produce this event) of Elegant Occasions being interviewed near the entryway. That's her in the purple dress in the upper let photo. Christina wanted to make sure that credit was also given to her colleague Sophie Lai, of Simply Perfect - It's Your Day, who collaborated with her in the days leading up to the event and on the big day. As you can see hundreds of people were there! Unfortunately I missed the live entertainment as I had to leave fairly early to attend a previous engagement I had before deciding to attend the Sex and the City event.

I have to admit I'm not a really a car buff but the cars I saw that evening had me ooh'ing and ah'ing as I walked through the immense showroom floor. The 80,000 square foot space has an in house kitchen, bar and lounge and is available for parties and events so if you're looking for somewhere unique to host an event for people who love racing, sports and classic cars, this is probably the perfect place! More details on Club Auto Sport's "Car Condos" in just a bit.

The custom lighting for the event was provided by North American Theatre Technology. Lighting details included the purple up lights on the back wall behind the sushi bar and the colored gobos above the sushi bar that included both the name of Club Auto Sport and Michi Sushi's multi-colored fish logo.

A snapshot of Natti and her hubby and all of the chandeliers that she brought along to add some sparkle and bling to the evening.

Guests waiting in line for custom, made-to-order, handrolls from the sushi bar.

While the concept of a sushi bar will definitely make a special event more special, the process is time consuming so be sure to hire enough sushi chefs for a large crowd. If your guest list will exceed 100, possibly set up two separate stations in different areas to cut down on guests having to wait for too long and to prevent lines around the sushi bar from becoming too congested.

And gorgeous sushi rolls on display by Michi Sushi.

I spotted several race cars on display that evening. This one was for the Canary Foundation.

Enthusiasts can buy or lease storage space for their collectible cars. Here the cars have their own video monitors where owners can create a custom video about their car for other enthusiasts to enjoy when they drop by.

The Michi Sushi staff also served hand passed hors d'oeuvres.

For large crowds additional hand passed hors d'oeuvres and/or a buffet including maki-sushi rolls would be a good idea.

Here Mike Shin of Michi Sushi Catering welcomes the guests and introduces Mr. Sheen Shin, chef of Michi Sushi, who made one of the most unique entrances I've ever seen...

Four fish accompanied an enthusiastic Mr. Shin onstage. The large tuna in the photo above and on the far right in the image below weighed one hundred pounds and was so heavy that another employee had to leap onstage to help keep it from slipping.

The smaller of the four fish displayed to the crowd as they left the stage.

And what was this crowd all about?

Mr Shin had begun slicing and serving the fresh tuna sashimi to the waiting crowd right in the middle of the event space!

And one last sexy car to share with you: A silver Lotus. Sweet. It's for sale if you're interested...

Gift Boxes for the Guests

This was the first year of what is to become an annual event. The venue and cars set the stage for Sex and City, and many guests came dressed in the spirit of fashion the series was known and loved for. You may have noticed in the photos that not everyone came dressed to the level of sophistication that paid homage to the event's namesake, but perhaps next year more will join in the fun.

And a great video by Cinematt Le Noveau Video.
The story about how the concept of Club Auto Sport has evolved over the past two years and how other business owners are benefiting from the opportunity to share space at Club Auto Sport is inspiring and well worth reading in this Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal article.