Makeup & Hair by Liz of Skyla Arts, Photography by Chung Li

Indivisible: The Wedding Give-Back Project Benefitting the ACLU

Happy 2017 – I know I’ve been lagging on my blogging game, but today I am excited to share this blog post, to promote this project.  :) In a divided climate, we would like to do something that bring people together. These words I used when sharing on Facebook earlier this morning came from a conversation I had with my bridal client last year. I said I feel that we are all doing our best in our spheres of influence to make the world a better place, and we do what we can! Please share for anyone who may be interested in this beautiful elopement package where the proceeds go to ACLU. With all these passionate and talented vendors, there’s no doubt it’ll be a beautiful event celebrating two people in love  As individuals, it’s harder to make a difference, but when we come together, we can create something beautiful and raise money in order to support civil and equal rights.

Here at Skyla Arts, we had our first annual team retreat and we shared our personal/professional goals and values, and also did workshops to always improve on our skills and customer service. One of our group goals was to consume less, share more, and support each other in doing so – it matches our personal values of not wasting and protecting the environment. There are lots of cosmetic brands and hair products we can use and buy, but we are hoping to be more resourceful and thoughtful.  While we do have a lot of products we have to buy and invest in for our jobs, but at the same time, we try to do our best to reduce our carbon footprints. At the end of the day, we are in the service industry for a reason – we want to use beauty to lift others up on their special occasion. And to that, we look forward to continue servicing our wonderful clients in 2017 + onwards :)

P.S. Last year I had the privilege to work on 2 City Hall elopements and here is the lovely Tracy & Evan shot by Chung li!

Please please share & pass it on :) Below is the info and the full list of vendors participating in this project!

We invite you to be married, celebrate your union, and support civil and equal rights in the process. This is a completely not for profit offering. Read on for details!

Hannah Suh Photography

As individuals, creatives and business owners in the wedding industry, we believe in celebrating love in ALL its many forms. We know that everyone has their own unique love story that speaks to their personal journey and there are many who may have had to face adversity along the way. Love is the common thread that binds us all together. Love sees beyond our differences.

We have been inspired to help tell those diverse and perhaps less represented love stories. We want to share and celebrate YOUR unique story and also give back in the process. We’ve teamed up with an amazing group of top wedding industry professionals to offer a luxury Elopement Wedding Experience valued at over $15,000 at an exclusive discounted rate of $6,000, with  100% of the proceeds  to be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Enter by submitting your unique and diverse love story to info@kaellalynnevents.com with the subject line, “Indivisible Elopement Submission”

Showcase collaboration of Kaella Lynn Events, Amanda Vidmar Designs, La Tavola Linen, Frances Lane

 

City Hall wedding captured by Hannah Suh Photography

The luxury elopement package will include:

A morning ceremony at
San Francisco city hall, followed by a beautifully curated celebration with up to 8 guests at a nearby location.
Hair and Makeup by Skyla Arts Beauty
Personal flowers for the couple along with flowers for the table setting by Amanda Vidmar Design
A Champagne toast
Cake by Pretty Please Bakeshop
Light bites provided by Culinary Eye Catering
Signage and wedding announcements by Aerialist Press
Linens by La Tavola Linen
Furniture by One True Love Vintage
Tabletop rentals by Frances Lane
Designed and coordinated by Kaella Lynn Events
Photographed by Hannah Suh Photography (3 hours of coverage, high resolution digital files, online gallery and a $200 print credit)
Normally valued at over $15,000 we will be offering this exclusive package to one lucky couple for $6,000 with all proceeds going to the ACLU.

Rules and Guidelines: Wedding must take place on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday before May 2017. Payment is due by the day of your event. The event is limited to 10 total guests. The City Hall ceremony must take place in the morning with the reception immediately following. The couple’s story will be used as inspiration for the design. Kaella Lynn Events has control over design direction for all decor details, including table design, cake, paper goods and flowers for the event. The vendors listed must be used for the event. Package includes two meetings. One initial planning meeting and one final meeting closer to event date.

Enter by submitting your unique and diverse love story to info@kaellalynnevents.com with the subject line, “Indivisible Elopement Submission”

Submissions are due by March 11th and the selected couple will be announced the following week.

 

 

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Starting Friday April 29th-June 4th, I will be out of office and out of the country during the entire month of May.  Friday/Saturday I work on a lovely wedding on both days, and Sunday I’m flying out to Spain!  I will have no phone access and limited email access.  During my hiatus, my administrative assistant Stacy will be responding to inquiries, and I’ve taken care of most of the last minute details for upcoming weddings that #TeamSkylaArts will be working on in May and June.  Please expect delays in response rate.

Your emails and messages are important to us.  All non-urgent emails, and phone calls will be returned during the week of June 6th!  Thank you for your patience & understanding!  

Since starting my business, I’ve never been away and disconnected for more than a week at a time, so it will certainly be new and interesting :)  The truth is, while we’ve taken vacations, my husband and I had decided to delay our honeymoon until a later time.  Well – it was between going on a honeymoon, or starting my business.  It was hard at the time because there are certain places I had wanted to visit, but I felt I made the mature decision of choosing “delayed gratification” (ugh! how fun it is to be an adult!!)  It’s been almost 8 years since we signed those papers – and now we are finally going!  It took a while to save up and plan for this.  I can barely believe we’re leaving on Sunday!

Did everyone survive Tax Season? :) Admittedly taxes was not so much fun, but it’s done and over!

I’m sharing some of my most favorite images of all times that I worked with Matt Edge of The Edges Wedding Photography!  The magic is highlighting the beauty of San Francisco, and – the fun is all in making San Francisco and Marin look like the streets of Europe and the Mediterranean!  Weddings and Engagement sessions are part of the ‘lifestyle’ category.  This was our “Engagement Inspiration” shoots – creating timeless images!  In a nutshell, in the past when I think about “going to Europe someday” I think about these images!  Of course, my husband and I are far from this good looking (Appearing in order, Connor and Sarah, and Jillian and Alex) but we so look forward to living this lifestyle, albeit just temporarily!!

I look forward to: brushing up on my Spanish, strolling and discovering cute little cafes, getting lost in side streets and shops, being cheesy tourists and taking photos in front of fountains and then making a wish, eating Gelato (possibly every day while in Italy), all the museums/architecture/churches, the lavender fields in Provence, shopping for makeup and checking out European brands not easily accessible here (I’m trying to limit my work to just that! haha!) stuffing my face with great food & wine, and lively conversations.  Hopefully be lovey dovey with my husband – it IS our super belated honeymoon after all!  :D  We’re more like an old married couple by now.  If you may be interested in following me on my adventures, I will be posting them via my personal Instagram @skylabooboo {Originally I had one just to have a place to post all my cat pictures, but later on as I started separating all of my entities, I decided to just keep my personal life there, and on my personal facebook!}.  Speaking of Instagrams, thank you for all the Likes and Follows on @Skylaarts!  Also, if you want to see latest publication links, and newer bridal photos from our past brides via photographer’s blog, head on over to Skyla Arts Facebook Page!

Until June…. Hasta la vista!

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Styling (For Jill & Alex) :  Brianne Binder - BBStyle
Models (Jill, Alex, Connor) :  Stars Management SF
Makeup, Hair, Grooming :  Liz {Skyla Arts}
(c) Alicia Swedenborg

Photo: Alicia Swedenborg | Hair & Makeup: Liz

This year flew by so quickly…I have a hard time believing it’s Dec 30th today.  Chances are you will not read this whole thing…!!  And that’s okay!  I have A LOT to say because I have not blogged in a very very long time.  If you are reading, thanks for reading!  I’m sort of cheating because the image above of my work was from a wedding in Sonoma in 2014! I was obsessed with the side-pony textured up-do that I did for my bride Litsa above! Litsa & Jonas – what a gorgeous wedding :)  Why I picked this image, and how I would describe my style…Loose & Romantic! Are you surprised?  This is not to say we as stylists only like to do one style and don’t like other styles!  It would be like saying Chocolate or Ice Cream or Cookies and you can only have one category for the rest of your life!  But for me, if I were to pick one of these categories that describes my aesthetic, then it is that classic/timeless look for the makeup, and for the hair, I like it organic, whimsical, soft and touchable!  My criteria for picking images for this “2015 in review” post is that it’s a ‘fresh’ image I haven’t blogged before :) To all my beautiful brides from 2013-2015: If I haven’t posted your photos before, it’s not because I don’t love your photos or had a bride-gasm (my word for going to “Bridal Heaven” from feeling the sheer bliss and happiness your client is exuding in their photos) when I looked through the gallery!  Opening a dropbox or zip file, or any viewing gallery sent by the photographer feels like Christmas Morning.  It seriously does – when I have a challenging day – you know, the days when you feel like you are moving mountains, (believe me, all freelancers/small business owners have those days…) I go through the galleries and remember why I chose my profession, and I read the love notes that were sent to me by our clients and I’m instantly rejuvenated.  When I request the photos from the client/the photographer, I have every intention of blogging / posting / using it in a gallery / social media etc, but the reality is that I had to make decisions prioritizing what is I value the most as the business owner / creative director of Skyla Arts:

  1. Customer Service – Responding to client’s questions and concerns, coordinating with fellow vendors, making sure the bridal party feels prepared comes first.  The administrative things, I honestly do it to the best of my ability.  All Artists – no matter what kind, will enjoy doing the Art the most, versus the Business.  No contest there I think :)  But without proper admin/backend realities of running a business, it would just be chaos!  Chaos!  And here at Skyla Arts that’s not what we do here…we like to be organized, for clients and stylists alike to know what to expect, and do our best in each client situation – which, as you know, is unique!  No two weddings are alike nor identical – it is not a one-size-fits-all clientele!
  2. The Artistry – Everyone who has ever worked with me in any context will know that I have High Standards with the quality of the work.  I joke with my stylists “That’s why it’s ‘The Standard'” – hand gestures and all! :P It’s really hard to be me sometimes (Oh boohoo Liz..boohoo , I joke, I joke!) because having such high standards means having to work so much harder in order to maintain it or strive for it, and making sure everyone on the team, whether they are the core team or the auxiliary team, are on the same page.  Sometimes during a consultation, I’ll be explaining to my client how I’ll be making adjustments on their wedding day.  It’s not out of insecurity or fear that if I don’t explain it that I fear the client will not hire me. I am secure enough to say these thoughts out loud because on the client’s wedding day or special occasion, my priority is my client’s best interest. It’s not about me, my ego, or my artistry – it’s all about whether the artistry helps the client look and feel their best.  This translates into … if I have a free morning, I will be scheduling a #SkillsLab where my stylist come in and we work on specific skills in order to do it better.  We gotta bring it every time, every job.

Speaking of my Dream Team… I never had the pleasure of officially introducing them on my blog!  Click the link and head over there if you haven’t checked out their Bios and specialties!  Jerilyn’s gallery will be coming up soon, but, this year I’ve added the Artist Portfolio Tab in the gallery so you can search their portfolios highlights.  This means that on any given Saturday, we could handle 4 weddings at the same time.  I started growing my team in 2012 officially, but dream teams are not built in a day.  It takes trial & error, and then discovering what works for me and other people and what simply doesn’t work.  When I discuss with my makeup & hair colleagues in Seattle, Bay Area and LA, the general consensus is that they tell me I pay my associates a lot – and I respond with: “But I expect a lot.”  I expect you to quote me on this haha…in my opinion, Standards can be bought, but Loyality cannot be bought!  Which ties into my priorities above #1 and #2!  I can be flexible on other things, as long as it doesn’t affect Customer Service & The Quality of Artistry.  That is what Skyla Arts is all about! :)

If I had any ‘pearls of wisdom’ about being a small business owner is that as your business grows, changes and evolves, it’s inevitable that one must accept and embrace these changes.  For example…I used to celebrate/share wedding or stylized shoots publications on the blog, and really enjoy writing about it, but now I do my best to post the links on our Facebook Page and our Instagram and try my best to tag all the vendors.  I just learnt how to use Periscope today.  I don’t have time to catch-up on maximizing traffic from Pinterest.  And one thing I really enjoyed in the past is the blogging and sharing of my client’s photos of their special day.  If there’s one thing I wish I could trade, it would be that.  The other part that I had less opportunities to do is regularly meet and connect with fellow wedding vendors and other makeup & hair colleagues.  Or attend networking events.  I used to attempt a couple events a year, but honestly, this year I’ve managed 2 events.  I feel most terrible about the personal invitations to private gatherings – or simply staying in touch. Sorry :( If I missed saying Happy Birthday or didn’t RSVP to such a gathering…:( I really didn’t mean to!!!!

Now on to a few highlights from my stylists in 2015!  The order is based on when they joined my team :)

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Photo: Katch Silva | Hair & Makeup: Camille

If I classified Camille’s bridal style, it would be the Classic & Elegant, with a touch of Loose & Romantic.   This was Camille’s last wedding of the 2015 season!  Sarah & Chris, and it was featured on Grey Likes Weddings, and I chose this as the highlight because of it is so much Camille’s style. What I/Skyla Arts work really hard on is making sure the makeup & hair artist and the client is a great match.  That is important to me – because – the client’s best interest is our priority, and, as a Bridal Makeup & Hair Agency, I want my team to love and be inspired by the clients they service as well.  In my humble opinion, the nature of our service is not like going in for an eyebrow wax, or a routine hair coloring.  Sure – that match in relationship is also very important, but the difference is we get our hair colored and eyebrow waxed periodically…! This is your wedding day, or you come see us for your special occasion – to celebrate your new born, your anniversary, your family for the holidays – it would be a special treat, and not as routine as an eyebrow wax!  When the match is great, it really is our pleasure and our honor to be a part of your special day, to be a part of celebrating the bride as a woman – that sounds cheesy, but so many times I feel, and I hear my stylists tell me: “What an inspiring person she [the bride] is – Wow.”  and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

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Photo: The Weaver House | Hair & Makeup: Treja

There’s no question – Treja’s style is a blend of Classic & Elegant and Glamorous & Modern.  I was torn about which photo to select from this wedding, Ellie & Mark that was featured on Once Wed!  The inspiration was a slight nod to the Old Hollywood glamorous hair, but updated – a very classy and classic style – and when I shared with Treja Ellie’s inspiration, Treja was like: “Right on!” There were photos from this wedding that showcased the hair & makeup better {You can find more on Once Wed and also on The Weaver House’s blog!} but I loved the ones where the wind was blowing all crazy.  You see – what I feel is so charming about weddings and wedding photos is that it’s a snapshot – and it has that California / Marin / Coastal vibe that we love!  The reality is it’s windy – it can potentially mess up your hair – but – it’s A Moment!!!  And I am a sucker for these kinds of moments. Backlit, windblown, romance!  :) It was also a special memory because I had broken my toe earlier that week, and on the same day, I was servicing another lovely bride, and the bridal party I was at mentioned that Ellie is also getting married today – It turns out they all went to high school together – what a small world!  That’s certainly a first!

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Photo: Pat Furey | Hair & Makeup: Angela

I would describe Angela‘s style as Glamorous & Modern.  Angela has been on most Skyla Arts events the last 2 years, and have been taking on Special Occasion clients as lead; starting 2016 season, Angela will be taking on her own weddings! Woohoo! :)  This one is from a stylized shoot shot by Pat Furey from Pennsylvania, and it was featured on Green Wedding Shoes!  You may recognize Jill & Alex from a previous “engagement inspiration” shoot, or other workshops – they are Stars Models, a real couple, and a joy to work with!  This shoot was in SF/Marin area – I wanted to showcase a bit of Angela’s style, which has a hint of glamour!  Angela also has a specialty with African American hair – just as an FYI!!!  What I appreciate about my team is that we have different strengths and interests.  Unity in Diversity – so to speak!  You can call it my anthem – pretty much.

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Photo: Jillian Gorman | Makeup-only: Jerilyn

A very interesting coincidence that Jerilyn has been doing makeup-only for the stylized editorial shoots! The teams had already found a hair stylist, but Jerilyn is actually pretty amazing at hair as well :) This was a shoot that happened in very recently, and I picked it to showcase how I feel Jerilyn’s style is in between Glamorous & Modern, and Classic & Elegant.  Jerilyn is the newest member of Team Skyla Arts (Her gallery is to come shortly!!) and will also begin taking leads in 2016!   Hurray!  To see more from this GORGEOUS unconventional bridal shoot, please head to Jillian Gorman’s Blog!

So that time I broke my toe in April 2015?  Yeah…that was a freak accident and it was probably the worst time for me to break a toe.  Thankfully, I had my dream team and was able to lean on both Jerilyn & Angela.  For that wedding, I was already booked for Friday, the rehearsal dinner makeup & hair, and then Saturday I had the bride’s makeup & hair, and another lovely bride on Sunday.  The thing I couldn’t have known about breaking a toe is my whole balance is off, and it was hard to stand on my feet for prolonged periods of time, and I would get joyful leg cramps (haha not joyful!), especially hard to balance if I’m pulling and using both hands for a blow-out. The broken toe happened the previous Saturday…I was like Oh Man.  What to do.  After working in LA, I assessed the situation and luckily I had my team available cover for me.  I chose not to tell my brides that weekend that I broke my toe because I didn’t want them to worry/panic; I was 100% confident that I could count on my team to step-up and step-in.  Jerilyn filled in and did 2 amazing blow-outs for the bride on my behalf while I did the bride’s makeup.  It was that weekend that I became certain that Angela & Jerilyn will both grow into great leads.

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Manicures by Rosy | Makeup & Hair for left and center by Liz for Stella & Dot

Don’t think I forgot about Rosy (the nail artist)!  While we did not have any gigs via Skyla Arts as having on-location nail services has not *yet* been high in demand (hey! Just wanted to share with you that is a great unique service we also provide!), I had introduced her to my commercial/print agency and she was with me on set for Stella & Dot, and later she’s gone on to do nails for Old Navy.  She has also been on my editorial sets doing nails.  Rosy would often would share with me her days when she worked as a nail technician and esthetician at a very high-end salon/spa in Seattle.  The pearls of wisdom that was crucial to help me get to this dream team is that with our industry (The Beauty Industry), some people have it in them…and others just don’t – according to Rosy’s first manager.  At the time when Rosy was fresh out of Nail Tech school, she didn’t know what her manager saw in her.  It turns out that in the beauty industry, there’s an instinct to know what to do – and it’s not something that can be easily taught.  I used to think anyone can be successful in this industry if they put their heart to it, but experience proved me wrong.  The passion for being of service to others and to want to go above and beyond, and the desire to strive for excellence might just be, as Rosy’s manager said, Innate.  It’s already not about the makeup, or hair, or nails.

To wrap up, I am most humbled by the fact that I’m surrounded by these amazing, strong women on Team Skyla Arts.  I’m doing things differently as now we have each other to lean onto – together we are more!  My goal for Skyla Arts in 2016?  We don’t have goals as to how many weddings we should do, how many weddings we ought to do – we are happy to be there if you would like us to be there!  I know my team would agree that we’d like to continue giving our clients our absolute best service & artistry – and keeping our Standards up there!

We would like to send a BIG thank you to all of our clients and vendors…! And wish everyone an amazing 2016!!!

Berman_Meyer_This_Love_of_Yours_Photography_ThisLoveofYoursSloaneandRobWedding077I am thrilled to share that Sloan & Rob’s wedding at the Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena was published on The Knot Northern California Real Weddings yesterday!  Click through to see the full feature!  I have so much to say about this beautiful couple and wedding – which is why this blog post is just a ‘teaser’ at this point!  I’ve done my best to tag all of the vendors on instagram and facebook, but for now I’m tagging a few vendors in the post that are related to the 4 teaser images I’m posting here that I am really loving!

I selected the photos to continue our discussion about the FAQ that I get about makeup for wedding day is “Will it show up on photos?” – from my previous blog post with the red carpet makeup & hair for Carice van Houten.  During the consultation with Sloan, we did a natural look, but later on Sloan’s feedback for me was she would like it more natural with less eyeshadow and blush. I fully supported it, because I knew that it will go well with the overall look of the wedding, and I had full confidence that it will still show up in the photos!  Even in the really soft/rainy light, you can still see the blush, eyeshadow and contour.  If you want a really natural and subtle look, it’s important to consider the weather factor and the photographer’s shooting style.  It will look very subtle in certain lighting situations, but I have to say that I am a huge supporter that brides and bridal party members should go with the look that makes you look and feel most comfortable!   Contrasting with a red carpet event and the lighting used, this event is outdoors and shot in Natural Light. With flash/strobes, this subtle makeup may make the client appear more ‘flat’ and ‘washed out.’  Lighting/style is something we need to keep in mind, but at the same time, going natural vs. more smokey/glamorous  is ultimately a personal preference, and we as artist can help you adjust it for the lighting on our end, but ultimately we’re all for it if you love it!!!

It was the first time in a LONG time California experienced any rain, and while it was a Plan B for the event, Sloan kept positive and said: “Hey, we’ll be the couple that broke the drought in California” :) And I was telling her in Chinese culture, we have a saying “遇水則發” meaning if it rains on your big event, it means you will be extra lucky/wealthy/good fortune will shine on you!  Major props to Erika & Michael of This Love of Yours for working with the rain and documenting this beautiful event!  I also loved working with Sharon from Napa Valley Custom Events and I’m in love with the florals from Fleurs de France!

To end this quick teaser post, I did want to mention that starting tomorrow April 19th-April 27th, I will be out of office working in Los Angeles + then returning for wedding events Friday-Sunday!   All emails, inquiries and phone calls will be returned during the week of April 28th.  We’re very excited – Team Skyla Arts have 5 events this coming weekend, and we can’t wait to work with our brides!

Usually if I’m working on set or weddings I don’t put up the out-of-office responders as I still try to get back to everyone as soon as possible and squeeze in some office time during the evenings, but since I’ll be commuting/out-of-town, it is harder to respond via mobile devices!  Last announcement…! I have been getting phone inquiries about Prom & special events anywhere from 12-48 hours before the event and I have to share here that it’s almost mission impossible! Not only because the dates frequently coincide with weddings that are pre-booked 6 months+, but most importantly, I would have to return your phone call during regular hours (ie: When I return home from set at 6:00-7:00pm, I don’t feel it’s an appropriate time to phone back and would have to wait to the next day if I am not working).  Furthermore, if I were to try to send you a referral to a trusted colleague or connect you with one of my associate stylists, I would still need time to arrange that: find out if they are available, send a referral or arrange my stylist to service you, handle payment and invoicing.  It would be difficult to do that with 12-48 hour notice!  I’m sorry I cannot help you this time, but we hope you can keep us in mind for the future with a little advanced notice! Have a great week ahead and until next time!!!

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Got the Monday blues? A bright lip color may brighten up your day! :) A month later, I finally removed my out-of-office notice!  I came straight back to work right after my brief trip to Guatemala (it was wonderful!) If you follow me on instagram & facebook, you may have already seen me post photos of the makeup & hair I did for actress Carice van Houten who plays Melisandre in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones!  Because of the new HBO streaming service with Apple/AppleTV (among other techie reasons), they selected San Francisco as the big premiere event venue, and the red carpet was streamed live via the Game of Thrones Facebook Page – You could still view it on facebook if you missed it.  Myself + 2 colleagues were local artist, while majority of the artists who did the cast were from LA. I got to meet some of them and made some new friends! :)

I often get this question from brides and special occasion clients: “I like the way it looks – but will it photograph well?”  “Will it show up in the photos/video?”  The key thing to think about is what type of lighting you will be photographed in. I found these images on the internet – and if you notice carefully the colors are slightly different on each image because of the lighting, the type of strobes the photographer used, and also their camera settings.  Some cameras are ‘warmer.’  Camera technology has improved leaps and bounds, and so you no longer have to worry about it not capturing details, but it’s still good to target your look based on your environment.

Bridal Makeup & Hair is similar to Events Makeup & Hair in two main ways: your look has to match and complement your head-to-toe outfit, and how the color is applied should take into account the time of day and the type of lighting you will be photographed in.  If it’s evening or you will be photographed with flash (ie: on the Red Carpet, in doors in a dark church, or a candle lit reception and so the photographer has to use strobes to capture the action), having more definition and color will be preferred to prevent you from looking too flat or too washed out.  And the rest – you will have to trust in your artists’ hard skills, expertise and experience to execute it.

The way I prepare for Bridal vs. Events and pack my equipment is pretty similar.  Something to keep in mind that the two have a lot in common – especially the part that there’s a tight timeline to make sure the VIPs are done in time, dressed, and ready to attend the big event.  This is also a version of “beauty” work – close-up work on the face, so I make sure to bring with me my favorite detailing face brushes.  With actresses/singers, you can do visual research by using google to check out their previous looks and get a sense of their style.  With bridal/private clients, this is why I send out the questionnaire and during our session, ask a lot of questions about your head to toe look, and get a sense of your preferred beauty routine in order to meet your needs.  As an example, if normally you don’t like the feeling of lipstick and only own lip balms or tinted lip balms, if I suggested a bright red color that requires careful maintenance, it may not suit your needs/level of maintenance throughout your event, and most importantly it won’t feel like yourself.  Choosing a look that goes with everything and also reflects your personal taste is the key to looking beautiful and radiant!

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On Instagram I tagged the two main brands that I used, Cle de Peau & Nars of the Shiseido companies. I had purchased the products as I didn’t have the opportunity to arrange anything with cosmetic companies in advanced! :P Nonetheless, I used my favorite products to create this look based on Carice’s outfit (amazing look from Dior) and Carice’s preferences.  A lovely actress I worked on last year shared with me that one of her favorite foundations was Cle de Peau Radiance Fluid Foundation – I was on the fence initially, but after she told me, I was sold!   Like all foundations, it’s not for all skin types.  That’s just my 0.02 on it – all products no matter how amazing doesn’t suit everybody in the world!  I carry more than one foundation in my kit, and I just have to look at the skin and see to decide!  It was just beautiful on Carice, and I was very pleased with how it held up.   I also used the Cle de peau concealer, another one of my favorites.  Towards the end of last year, I used it on one of my brides, and she loves it so much she went out and bought it and joked with me: “You should get commission on this!” :P The hero of this makeup look is one of my favorite colors, Nars’ Satin Lip Pencil Luxembourg – it’s this beautiful fuchsia color described as “vivid watermelon.”  It’s easy to apply by itself, but I would recommend still using a lip brush to get the edges really sharp.  What I love about it is you don’t need a lipliner; the texture is not too drying and it is long lasting!

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I was pleased to see it all come together – afterwards my colleague and I had a cocktail and fries and watched the event stream live on Facebook.  After time has elapsed and the pressure is off, I started to get excited about Season 5!  My big sister had given me Book 1-4 to read in college, and after the first chapter I wasn’t yet hooked on it until my friend brought his friend over to hang out and she was like: “You’re reading this too??!!” and I confessed that I have not gotten very far!  She then told me I must continue and I will get hooked – even though it was close to finals, I had managed to finish book 1, and then 2-3 over the summer vacation.  And experience the long wait for Book 5 to come out, and the long wait for the TV Show to come out!  HBO and the cast did not disappoint – I look forward to watch Season 5!  You can watch the Access Hollywood interview below and check out how the look held-up on video!  :)

Until next time – have a great week!  Happy Monday!

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Makeup & Hair :  Elizabeth Chang (Liz)

Starting tomorrow March 4th-March 8th, I will be out of the country to attend my friend’s wedding in Antígua, Guatemala!  All emails, inquiries and phone calls will be returned during the week of March 9th.  I will have no phone access and limited email access, as I want to spend quality time with my long-lost dear friends. Thanks for your understanding :)

It’s been way over a decade since I’ve been back to Central America, where I’ve spent a total of 9 years of my life….!   We would visit Antígua around 4 times a year for events or relaxation.  Cobble stones, Spanish/Morrocan remnants, mixed with Mayan flavors, and not to mention 925 Silvers and Jade…Oh the Jade.  Hey, what girl doesn’t like to shop or window shop for bling!

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I’m staying at Porta Hotel Angitua, also the venue of the wedding :) So excited to chillax with my friend, the VIP & bride in the afternoon over a margarita.  We met in middle school, and her mom happened to be my Spanish teacher in school!  This is the weather forecast in Celsius! Yes, I still use Celsius as that’s what I grew up with, and F just doesn’t ‘register’ the same in temperature for my mind.  I can ‘guesstimate’ but if you tell me 24 C, I know exactly what to expect.  I’m not gonna lie, Guatemala and Costa Rica weather basically helped me decide that The Bay Area/NorCal should be my forever home.  How can you not look forward to this perfect temperate weather?  It does get cool indoors as there’s no need for heaters, so what do we do?  As teens, we would eat lunch outdoors.  Like a reptile, we would come out and soak up the rays…!  I was so tanned not trying to tan.  It was just our thing – skipping the indoor cafeteria, and sitting on the grass – and rolling down the hills when no one else was around.

Below photos are taken from Globotrek.com per a google search!  I’m excited to return to my ‘family’ there!  I’ll try to take my own iphone-tography photos!  Until then, hásta luego! And hope I remember some of my Spanish :) :) :)
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Happy Valentines Day!  I personally love this holiday mainly because of Chocolate (yes yes, sweet tooth is my weakness… I don’t ever need any encouragement to eat more sugar…! I need encouragement to stop myself for my own good), but whether you are spending it with your significant other, family, friends, or your dear pets, it’s a great excuse to celebrate people and things you love.

There used to be a ton of ideas I had about promoting my business relating to the Holidays and time of year.  For example…Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Breast Cancer Awareness, Black History Month, Asian American Heritage History Month – other holidays and festivals like Lunar New Year, Dia de los Muertos – So on and so forth.

The reality of being a small business owner and prioritizing clients quickly squashed the excitement I had felt over doing cute marketing promos or projects.  On top of that, as an Artist, and as a functional human being, there needs to be time dedicated to nurturing the Artist and The Person.  The person requires things like…chores, and you know, useful activities like Sleeping and Eating!  I joke, but it’s so true ;) Most importantly, during my “personal time” I try to squeeze in at least one Artist Date with myself or my creative peers a week.  Like a Play Date. You might have read or heard of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and may have heard of the term,  what an Artist Date means to me is activities that access my creativity {p.s. Here are 101 suggestions here for an artist date for your reading pleasure}

“Serious art is born from serious play.” – Julia Cameron

If one is making a living out of their artistry, it’s always Art x Commerce…the commerce is running a business (you know, paper work, taxes, emails, phone calls), but the in order to tap into new ideas, find inspiration & rejuvenation of one’s passion, it really does comes through SERIOUS play.  We artist work hard, but we must play very hard.  I get fearful to use the word “play” because I don’t like the stereotype that Creative Professionals undoubtedly have to combat is that work is not work because it’s creative, so it must be fun and stress-free all the time! It’s a deep-rooted, systemic stereotype engrained in our brains as schemas via society accumulated over the centuries – people who use their Creativity are less productive, less disciplined and have inferior work ethic – because it’s creative. You know, when compared to a ‘regular job’…I’m totally scoffing at this here because creativity is required for most jobs I can think of…I mean, a CFO and CEO needs to be creative and innovative with their strategy and leadership…! A scientists needs to tap into their creativity to come up with new theorems or new ways to test out their current hypothesis.  A great server at a restaurant needs to use their creativity to find ways to solve problems for customer and cater to the needs of demanding and hungry guests!!  I’ve done grooming/hair and makeup for many CEOs/CFOs/Presidents/VIPs, and while I only spend at most 20-30 minutes from start to finish  (CEOs are busy…I pretty much need to finish in 5-10 minutes tops if I am lucky, and then they take their portrait for the remaining 20 minutes) and sometimes they ask me a few questions, other times I get to ask them a few questions.  This is a fact…these successful VIPs all have their own place to Play.  Golf, skiing, wind-surfing, cooking, doing homework with their children.  Over the years, I began to learn effective ways to play and arranging various types of Artist Dates for myself.

A few years ago, I was helping out my colleague’s wedding with the bridal party, and as I rolled in with all my equipment, the bride said hello, and then proceeded to asked me if I do this for fun or part time.  Honestly I was caught off guard, as before then it has been a while since anyone had asked me if this was not my full-time profession.  It’s a legitimate question, as some artist do it part time, but for me the part that jumped out was “Is this for fun…?” and the subtext behind that was this must be my hobby and not my ‘real job.’  I just politely said I do this full-time, but in my heart I was thinking: Hey…just because I have fun at my job doesn’t mean this is not a real job or it’s hard work!

For the above reasons, this is why I personally reject the binary or dichotomy when describing work and play:

Work <——–|——–> Play

Or like when one is ‘off duty’ for clients or jobs, the rest of the time is simply personal time.  The binary suggests that creative work is simply ‘work’ and other times if it’s my personal project, it’s simply play…!  That doesn’t feel applicable to me.  It looks more like a random squiggly, with circles and loops, like when you are doodling when you are really really bored.  I play when I work, but I also work when I’m playing.  It’s not Work/Play, it’s Work & Play or Play & Work.

All this is to preface how excited I felt when Sandra of Sandra Fazzino Photography asked me on a “Play Date that’s valentines day themed.”  I didn’t have to think twice – I’m like PLAY DATE!!! How do I sign up for this??  Sandra and I bounced a few ideas, and I was really excited that we were on the same page.  Sandra hand-painted the backdrop, and made the hearts you see Taylor and Alyssa was holding below.  Photo shoots where the goal is to play is one way I really LOVE to play.  Taylor is holding a heart-shaped makeup sponge that came with my Japanese Beauty Magazine that my husband bought me from his last Japan trip – the February issue, of course.  It wasn’t part of our original discussion, but Sandra said: Sure! I’ll take the photo for you! :) :) :) I love them !!!  Even if I don’t think this is my strongest makeup/hair work.   My friend tells me I need to calm down on this self-criticism, but I cannot help myself.  My eyes immediately goes to the things that are slightly out of place or could have been done better for the hair and makeup.   Sometimes when I meet new people, and they find out I do what I do for a living, they told me they felt self-conscious about their makeup that day.  Please believe me…I reassured them that I can turn my profession ‘off’ – I don’t look at someone’s makeup unless it’s my own work….!  But when it’s my work, every lash, every hair, every knuckle I comb through, with a finest tooth comb, under my pretend magnifying lens.  But while I’m in the process of creating, I try to do my best given the time constraints or challenges, but at the same time be fully present, and most importantly, ENJOY the moment, whether it’s bridal, special events, ads, catalog, corporate grooming, film.  For this photo shoot, I try to remind myself how happy I am at the amazing opportunity to give myself one full day of having the freedom to do what I “feel” like doing, not what I’m supposed to do, just for the day!  No amount of money can buy that gratification and happiness of an artist’s ‘flow’ when they are accessing that sacred creative space.  Is it spiritual to me? Yes.  Sacred? To me – absolutely.

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My leaf blower arrived in time, so it was perfect that I got to ‘play’ with it as well.  I am no stranger to a leaf blower…trust me, it’s why I get wrist pains and swollen tendons.  (Ok, that and the Marcel Iron together…but I digress)

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I am simply grateful that a) I *finally* managed a blog post right on the actual holiday, and b) I’m at a place were I am sharing these images with the world just like that.  As in…I am not fussing over the imperfections in my hair & makeup work; by hitting “publish” (of this blog), I am committing to not going back and ‘deleting/editing’ what simply ‘is.’  It was my artist date for myself, a gift I gave to myself made only possible with Sandra’s invitation and making everything happen! Thank you Sandra!

This Valentines Day, I hope you have an amazing day celebrating with your loved ones, and giving yourself an artist date!

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Happy 2015 folks!  Can’t believe it’s 2015 already!  I wanted to start with a “2014 highlights” post and outline a few memorable events, but when Today’s Bride arrived at my door step, there’s no way to not start the new year with this beautiful shoot!  I am going to ask for the high-res photos of the other spread, and share it when I receive it! :)  Just as a note, I will add the PDF of the spread later – but for now, you can check these out – and check out the spreads inside the latest copy of Today’s Bride SF!!!

For this one, having worked with Sandra Fazzino on the last Today’s Bride editorial, when Sandra contacted me for this project, I was jumping to say yes before knowing any other details!   This photo shoot was one of the biggest highlights of 2014 for me. I am so grateful to be on a dream team with folks who are so open and supportive of each other, which creates a safe and sacred creative space for us to do our best work!  On the personal level, I took some risks/exited my comfort zone for the hair and makeup, and it paid off and it was only possible thanks to y’all :)  When we had our dress fittings + meetings, what inspired me is when Sandra said we should be Bold and Audacious (paraphrased here) and those words propelled me to do something more editorial.  Lupita Nyong’o was on the pinboards for our editorial inspiration, and I was very excited. The center part for the hair was a trend I noticed in Spring/Summer 2015, and I was personally into the braided centered chignons.  I wanted to keep the makeup pretty soft.  When I was packing for this gig, I realized the hair extensions I had may not be the right shade….so just in case, I rushed to the store and bought another set, and it turns out the ones I bought was actually the better match!  I’m glad I trusted my gut for that one, as it would have been a little difficult to remedy that problem on the hills of Calistoga! :)

This was the perfect project to end 2014, and to start 2015 inspired and excited! I was lucky that Treja was available to assist me on this shoot, helping me with the body makeup + men’s grooming while I worked on Vee’s hair & makeup.  Treja is actually one of Skyla Arts Lead Hair & Makeup artists, booking for 2015!  (More on that later as well!) The gorgeous Rosa Clará gown is styled by Chantal & Saida from Nouvelle Vogue, but because of the potential transfer of body makeup, we were using alcohol based.  Often for editorials we are racing with the clock, and it can feel like 2 women doing a 4-person job, but we did it! :) Venita, or Vee, was very patient with us while we worked on her!  And survived the chilly weather like a champ!

The details + styling was gorgeous! But you can enjoy those shots on Sandra’s blog and see more details in Today’s Bride!!

I hope you enjoy the photos! And I hope your 2015 is off to a Bold and Audacious start!

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Dress/Accessories :  Nouvelle Vogue {Rosa Clara}
Floral Designer :  Soulflower
Stationary :  Paper Monkey Press
Stationary (Design) :  Lisa Solomon
Desserts :  Crisp Bakeshop
Rentals (Chairs) :  Blueprint Studios
Jewelry :  Ben Shemano
Gifts/Candle Holders :  GlassyBaby

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Happy Holidays!!!

I’ve been delighted opening up Holiday cards from friends, vendors and clients! And moments of joy later, I am filled with panic because I haven’t gotten around to making/printing custom holiday greetings.  Even worse, I didn’t get around making custom holiday E-GREETINGS.  I start feeling guilty, incompetent, and above all stressed out!  Not a single card written or mailed out.  I’m just praying that everyone will magically see this post, and know that I didn’t omit you, but rather I didn’t send any!  *ducks under the cover*  I am praying that this blog + warm energies I’m sending out to the universe will suffice due to my time constraints.  Apologies to all!!

Even as I write this post, I am looking at the clock, as I have not yet finished packing, and I have a client consultation this afternoon (I’m looking forward to meeting my client!), and then I am catching a midnight flight to Taipei!  In my head, I am trying not to get distracted about my last minute packing list, gifts for family, reminders, etc!  Last year my husband and I went to a brief trip to Tokyo as that’s all his scheduled allowed…I’ve never been to Japan and I was dying to go.  Which made me feel guilty because I didn’t stop by Taipei to see my family.  Nor Seoul to see his family.  I decided to do it that way instead of making 1-day pitstops (that is just too crazy…) and that would make it fairer so neither set of parents feel left out.  I haven’t been back to Taipei nor seen my dad in person since 2011 – and the last time I was in Seoul was probably 2011 yes yes…I’m just going to drown myself in the ocean of Guilt now.  :P  It’s not as easy to go across the Pacific Ocean with the time difference, and an erratic schedule being a self-employed small business owner…BUT I am excited for the trip + hope to get fat eating all my favorite foods in Taipei + Seoul.

I will be out of office from 12/17-12/30, and I’ll be sure to get back to all emails & inquiries by 1/03!

These images are from 2013, for client RedEnvelope ! But never got around to sharing it other than on my commercial/print portfolio

I had a great time working on this 2-day shoot (talented team listed below!!!) in Sonoma! Special shoutout to my friend & colleague Melissa Hoffmann for being a wonderful assistant/team member! <3  This cast was so much fun to be around.  I enjoy the deep conversations, especially this one with Delana (she is the gorgeous brunette here featured).  She is a globe-trotter, and shared that she had a Dharma teacher while in India. I don’t know why, but I had a feeling she would know the answer to this question I had on my mind.  I asked her how I can acquire more patience. She looked at me funny at first, and said she loved this question! Her answer paraphrased below:

“Patience start with oneself. The other side of patience is compassion; if you are not compassionate to yourself, you cannot be patient with others. Forgive yourself first, and then forgive others. I would say start by taking deep breaths to be patient with yourself and your body. My dharma teacher said that we can only change ourselves, and have no control over other people’s actions or the situation itself – it just ‘is.’ And having more patience means accepting that.”

I want to send a big thank you for all the wonderful vendors, creatives, clients & friends & family in my life for making 2014 so magnificent!  I am so grateful for everyone in my life :) :) :) 

So I’m gonna sign off now – and practice just that.  Slowing down, de-stressing, having compassion and patience for myself + others.  And survive the Holidays! haha!  :)

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Photography :  Sheila Menezes
Creative Director :  Beth Ruggiero
Art Director :  Meredith Peck
Makeup & Hair :  Elizabeth Chang (Liz)
Stylist :  Peggi Jeung
Prop Stylist :  Leigh Noe

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I often get asked if my makeup products and application is water-proof by my brides + bridal party members.  If the under water photos in my portfolio was not enough to convince you, I hope the photo of Joy above helps with that! She went fully into the water and back up (although very very carefully), and the force of doing that did make 1 individual lash come off, but you know, I didn’t waterproof her cheeks in particular, and I am glad to know that even if you dip your head in water, the blush will stay put! :):)  I have a new favorite quote from the TV show Enlightened, “The Proof is in the Pudding!!” As long as you don’t rub your eyes, individual lashes should stay put through tears – no problem!   If it didn’t, please do let me know and we’ll get to the bottom of this!!

Every year pans out a little different – last year my last wedding was after Christmas, and this year it was Nov 1st!!  Admittedly, it’s partially due to my prebooking of 2 trips – my upcoming one to Maui (Can’t wait!), and my long-awaited trip to Taiwan & Korea to visit our parents.  The last time we made it together to our families in Asia was in 2011, so it’ll be great to see our folks!   The 2014 wedding season is over for Skyla Arts, but I am beyond excited to meet our 2015 brides starting in Dec/Jan, and continuously working on my non-bridal jobs.  :)

I will be out of office from 11/15-11/23, and I’ll be sure to get back to all emails & inquiries by 11/25!  Thank you for your understanding in advanced!  I will also be out from 12/18-12/30 for the Asia trip, but I’ll be sure to announce it!

I would like to imagine that when I go on vacation, whether it’s a StayCation in Santa Cruz, or my upcoming one to Maui, that I would look as glamorous as Joy & Kara here.  Lounging at the pool, messy hair / don’t care kind of attitude!!!  I have the messy hair/don’t care, but the reality is more like way too many cocktails, french fries, and slight sunburn! :P :P :P

I had a great time working on this shoot (talented team listed below!!!) and special shout out to Victoria Toda for being a wonderful assistant/team member that day!  <3

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Photography :  Jenna Alcala
Makeup & Hair :  Liz @ Skyla Arts
Wardrobe Styling :  Kiersten Stevens
Venue :  Castle House