Posted in: Behind the Scenes

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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!

A sneak peak from Savannah + Brice’s wedding in V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena!
Photography by the amazing XSiGHT in Sacramento!
So much to catch-up on…! But as I am working every possible work-day in September….I will have to play catch-up in October/Nov/December time! Lots of blogs to come! :) :) :) Right now I’m focused on surviving+excelling on every single job & gig this month! 
For 2013 brides in the Bay Area+Beyond, I’ll be at my first larger scale Bridal Show – the Trudys Annual Outdoor Wedding Faire at the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell, CA this Sunday September 16th!  There are raffle prizes and tons of goodies.  If you are getting married next year or know a friend who is getting married, it’ll be a great place to look for vendors!  I am working at Turbo-Speed to get ready for this faire! 
I look forward to meeting beautiful brides+grooms-to-be there!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!!!!
A brief update! Not too long ago I just returned from The Makeup Show Los Angeles to pick-up some essential makeup and hair tools, take some inspirational classes by seasoned & famous makeup artists, receive priceless portfolio reviews and critiques from industry experts, and finally I got to work with film fashion photographer Matt Edge whom I’ve hoped to work with for a while now!  The whole trip was filled with lots of inspirations! From the classes, to reconnecting with familiar faces (it’s like a mini-pro artist family reunion!!), meeting for the first time artist I’ve been in touch with for a while and recognizing/spotting them, and chasing them down to say hello!!!  :P And now I am getting ready for my lovely brides this weekend!
I started 2012 just hitting the ground and just work work work…and I was starting to feel a little burnt out already. And it’s March! Even though my LA trip was a bit exhausting (“Only” 19 hours of driving in a 5 day span!), and not to mention driving in LA lol…  –  I do feel that my “creative” batteries have been recharged.  I also got to visit my family in LA – which was great. It was also cool to see that the building that burnt down across my old apartment in LA (Yes, the one where my sweet, beautiful bridal client Jeah was getting her makeup trial done, and suddenly we saw heavy smoke heading our way!!!) being rebuilt and re-inhabited, and that a new and DELICIOUS Korean BBQ place has opened around the corner where I used to live.  
I am just filled with gratitude that The Makeup Show and The Powder Group are around to continuously provide education, support, and also, building our community.  I can’t even tell you how nice it feels to be with people who know and understand support you.  In the creative industries or any other industry actually, unfortunately there are always going to be unprofessional people who treat you badly.  Even if you think you are in the “right,” there’s no referee or anything like that, and there’s no point to argue with unprofessional people.  It just gives you perspective on how to avoid working with them in the future, or how to handle it graciously, and move on from negativity.  Fortunately, we have positive energies – like our local makeup artist community to support each other, and events like The Makeup Show to meet true professionals, and of course – there are people who are not only professional, but inspirational!!! Those are going to be the people we should focus our energies on!!!
And I shall end this personal reflection post with some behind the scenes images with my shoot with Matt, and Ford Model Thais (from Brazil!), and Alison who styled the shoot! :) It was a great pleasure to work with everyone, and I’m really excited to continue my 2012 year!!!!  :D Have a great weekend everyone!!!!

Happy Valentines Day!

Towards the end of last January, I volunteered in a community art project! The team collected polaroids of people’s lips and then you would pick up somebody else’s lips to get your portrait taken!  The portraits will then be auctioned off to raise money for First Exposures, a youth photography mentor program that provides art mentoring for underserved youth. The gallery opening & auction will take place on:
February 27th from 6-9 pm
SF Camerawork – 1011 Market St @6th, 2nd Floor


Featuring the portraits Daniel Castro took that weekend! So if you are in town and are free that evening, definitely go check out the exhibit!  :) 

The shoot took place at the Yerba Buena Gardens, and since I was working on Saturday, I could only volunteer my Sunday!  You can check out the behind the scenes video where you can catch me paint the lips of the participants before they took their polaroid! This was my set up for the day!! At first I thought “omg that many lips! I need to go out and get lipstick” so I ran to buy supplies – but it turns out I didn’t really need to buy all that stuff!  Good thing I can still use it for other stuff! 

Before I started, I’d ask the participant if they want something natural, or something adventurous!! Most people opted for natural, but a few brave souls wanted something fun! Kim (Daniel’s intern) suggested I did the Japanese Geisha Lips – that was certainly a fun one!

One lady asked me to draw a heart on the side of her lips so that she will be able to find her lips! Voila – there it is! EASY to spot! ;)

And then another participant was adventurous and wanted to try out the Yellow colored Lip Tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (the color is Traffic)!   

I was also happy to see some familiar faces – Ashley & Alana from Look Models! <3 <3 <3

It was really nice to participate in this community event! I really enjoyed it – especially the cause is for the arts, and it’s local!!! While it’s nice to help out for causes around the world, for me if it’s possible, I prefer if it’s closer to home and more immediate.  As a believer of karma, after volunteering I came home with 5 inquiries! :)  lol…
Either way – Spread the L.O.V.E.!  
Be sure to like the Make Love facebook page to find out the latest updates! 
How did a month just slip away, just like that? *snaps finger* I think this may be the busiest January since I moved to the Bay – which is a good thing – but not so much for my little blog! Which is why this is like 3 posts in one post, blogging about *new* work for 2012 and previous work from 2011 that never made an appearance on my blog because I have a bad habit of not blogging chronologically.  I guess that could be a goal for 2012?  Ok! Onward!

Scouted season 1 had its finale last Monday on E!  The show documents scouts from smaller markets and small towns, and submitting them to a scouting company in NYC where the experts put the model to the test on a photo/video test shoot, and then showing the images & presenting the model to Scott Lipps/Owner of One Management. Scott then announces his decision to sign the model.  Each episode features 2 models, and their home town and their lives is also documented on the episode.  We here in the San Francisco Bay Area were very excited for the show because one of the highlighted scouts is Kristen Kotik from Stars Model Management!! It also highlights San Francisco, and as Kristen said: “It puts us on the map!!!” I think it’s really great~ considering the recent events of Ford SF closing their office.  Many artists/photographers/models are moving to LA or NYC – it’s a bit disheartening BUT I believe that sooner or later San Francisco will return to its former glorious position in the fashion/commercial industry!  How can it not…We have silicon valley – we are the leaders of technology and such a high concentration of creative people! That’s my opinion anyways~ =P

If you’ve been following my blog, then you might know that I love working with Stars & their models!  The models have great hair, great skin, and a great attitude. Oh and they are punctual! :) I first had the pleasure to work with a Star model Mackenzie Drazan back in Jan of 2010 with photographer Laura Tillinghast, who told me all about Stars! But the next Star model would be Jan of 2011, exactly a year later, when I worked with Kris Jung! So Jan of 2012, I was invited by Calvin Ma to do a shoot with Amber Robertson from Utah, who was on the show and now part of the Stars roster!  It was a cool morning, but surprisingly sunny upstairs!  My classroom of 3 months, Cinta Aveda Institute, is one floor down from Stars, so I was very familiar with the building, but it was my first time on the roof top!!! I think Amber has that girl next door appeal/bombshell combo, and maybe she can go as far as a VS angel! She definitely has the looks for it! 

Here is a behind the scenes shot of me fluffing up her hair! I’m into fluffy hair textures these days haha

Photo: Calvin Ma

The one below is my favorite shot of the day!!  I really love the colors! And the two following were my picks! :) There’s a few more but I thought I would just post my favorite ones! 
Photo: Calvin Ma
Photo: Calvin Ma
Photo: Calvin Ma
OK! This is PART II – Lindsey was also featured on Scouted.  The previews of that episode really did magnify her morality/ethical contract and portrayed her as a Christian but when you watch it, I think they are great guidelines for a model under 18 to follow – like, no negative influences such as drugs/alcohol, no sheer clothing.  Watching her on Scouted, I was like…what was I like when I was 18?  Thinking about it…Ya know..when I was 18 until my 20s, I was much more outspoken, sometimes a bit too outspoken for my own good because it got me in trouble, and actually didn’t benefit me – so I went the complete opposite and became too quiet/reserved/withdrawn; over time, unsure of myself, losing confidence. My goal for 2012 is to really tap into my inner confidence again – find my inner-18 year old, who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind!   In regard to the confidence thing, I think I’m making giant strides and it’s still only January 24th! I remember last year I’d feel hesitant about walking into a room full of strangers to network with them and feel the need to bring someone along – don’t get me wrong, it HELPS when there are familiar faces, but I think I’m getting used to it, and as I find small successes, I will slowly regain the lost confidence back! :D
These are two shots from the 60s inspired fashion story, shot by Calvin Ma & styled by Cindy Tran
Photo: Calvin Ma
Photo: Calvin Ma

Last but not least, CONGRATULATIONS to Alwyn for being signed to One Management in the finale of Scouted! I had a lot of fun with my new Ben Nye color palette that day.  Sometimes, you just feel like playing and doing something new! I was really pleased with the dewy skin, and dewy nose and cupid’s bow here!

Photo: Rummy Makmur

OK! The end of a really long post!!! Happy year of the Dragon!!  I hope you enjoyed some of the photos! I’ll be sure to blog soon! ;) 

I…am afraid to be in front of the camera but somehow I managed to do it!  Thanks to my friend and esteemed colleague Tim Prestoza from Low Tek Studios !  We worked together earlier this year (yes that secret video will be up, soon! woohoo!) on a big project, and this was another BIG project for us.  It is our first time doing a “real” tutorial (please discount my first ever Tutorial which is more like a photo tutorial than a video one).  I’m excited to share it!! :) Watch it in HD!

This is my 2nd time working with Kris – the first time was the beginning of 2011! it feels like so long ago – it was then that Kris told me I should totally do the makeup tutorials and we should do it together! 10 months later, it finally happened!  We were definitely on the same plane of creativity as I already had this look in mind and when I discussed it with Kris she said she wanted to do a 60s mod look and that she loves this type of makeup! :) It all came together!

Tim has been really encouraging – and he even made my arms look thinner! :) During the filming, Kris/Tim and I were having great conversations, talking about this and that and everything~ we had loads of fun! 

Here are the results of our shoot with Rummy Makmur:









Photography: Rummy Makmur (www.rummymakmur.com)
Makeup : Elizabeth Chang (Elizabeth Chang | Makeup & Hair)
Videography: Tim Prestoza (Lowtek)
Model: Kris Jung @ Stars Model Management

and last but not least, the behind the scenes video!

Makeup & Hair: Elizabeth Chang 
Photography: Novi Angelomio
Model: Jordan @ Scout SF

Woohooo!!! A reel!!! This one I recorded myself with my little CanonS95 and used CS5 After Effects for the first time~~~ It was really intimidating opening that program, so I had to watch a few youtube tutorials and ask Erika for her advice!  Anyhow…the indoor lighting during the shoot was very warm, so I applied a cooling filter to color adjust the video!  Again it’s my first time fiddling around with that stuff, so nothing fancy, not effects or anything. 
We did a clean look before this, and I wanted to keep the look very ‘classic.’  Jordan’s face looks a bit like Rachel McAdams/Kristen Bell/Rachel Evan Woods combined in some of the angles, but she is stunning!  A lot of my work features really clean makeup, and I find that perhaps people might think that’s the only look I know how to do…so I really wanted to do the classic smokey eye look and add some variety – I also want to do different colors smokey eyes later, but I  wanted to start off with the “classic” one!  I’m looking forward to see the images! :) 
Because Jordan’s skin was a little dry that day, the foundation had a bit of trouble adhering in the nose area…which is why I decided to pull out my airbrush. Now if I didn’t tell you that, could you have known and noticed the difference? :)  Like I say..the airbrush is just another brush, another tool in my tool box (Albeit a slightly more expensive one).
The whole shoot had a bit more of a New York vibe to me than the Bay Area…but I feel like it’s good to change it up, keep it loose and interesting! 
My hands are perfecting Rachel’s hair! ;) I’m happy only my hands were in the shot! 
natural WIND in the hair  – not from a fan!~ 
Model: Rachel @ Ford SF
Makeup & Hair: Elizabeth Chang (Skyla Arts)

Photography & Styling: Audre Van Broers Photography

Some outtake shots courtesy of Audre! ;) It was windy!!!! 

Model: Morgan @ Stars SF

Makeup & Hair: Elizabeth Chang (Skyla Arts)

Photography: Rummy Makmur
Wardrobe Stylist: Andrea Schultz Igreja
Makeup & Hair Assistant: Erika Taniguchi

Is it me, or is it getting HOT in here? :P  Rummy approached me about submitting to an editorial and I thought…we need a stylist! Fortunately, Andrea whom I’ve worked with previously came to the rescue! The focus of the editorial is hair accessories, and the theme is the model needs to look hot/bothered/frustrated. & of course sweaty! This photo shoot took place at my humble abode, and I had to REALLY clean my kitchen hard core – it was my own idea to best utilize the cool colors of my kitchen to contrast the neon colors for the wardrobe and makeup.  I have to say…my kitchen never looked so good…and it would never look so good again without gorgeous Morgan sitting on it!  I loved Morgan’s look and her energy.  She goes for it, and has a positive aura around her and a pleasure to work with! 
The challenge is to make Morgan look sweaty – but it was actually a cool evening. Not only did we crank up the heat, my special formula to create the “sweaty look” worked fairly well I must say! woohoo!  Since it was an evening shoot, we were running short on time towards the end of the evening – The first look in the photo above (top left), was for my book – I had purchased some hair accessories for bridal and was eager to put it up in a photo, and special thanks to Rummy & Morgan for allowing me to put my vision into reality.  With editorials, sometimes you really have to look at the concept, and the wardrobe, and decide on the spot what you wanted to do for the makeup & hair.  Because of the bright colors, I decided to play with my OCC lip tars that I had purchased from The Makeup Show in LA, and went for a gorgeous orange shade. Morgan had long and voluminous hair, which is exciting to work with, but I decided on the spiral curls which was time consuming. We changed from up-do, to bohemian-chic curls, to sexy teased mane, to side pony, to side fish-tail braid.  We really rocked it, team! :) *high five* Special shout out to Erika, my talented assistant for this shoot! Because I don’t have curtains installed, I wondered if my neighbors could peer in, and I wondered what they would think: “Wow there’s a GORGEOUS girl sitting on her counter top…not the usual Asian lady cooking in the kitchen today” lol…..! This story will be out in June! Stay tuned for more of beautiful Morgan! 




I’ve always enjoyed seeing how other makeup artists pack their kit and recently there was a request on a forum to see specifically a ZUCA kit…so here is mine! ;) with captions! I bought the ZUCA Pro at the MAC PRO store my first year, and I decided to do that because it was the same price as the regular ZUC A, just that I had to pay shipping on top of the sales price and sales tax…so it’s just annoying that there’s a “MAC” logo on it, but I bought the ZUCA Pro backpack at LA IMATS in 2009, and there was a *small* discount and FREE shipping and I found out that they are based in Los Gatos, which is here in the BAY! I snapped these photos as I was unpacking my kit from a shoot~
Crammed in there is my hair kit, makeup brushes & hair brush, extension cords, and MISC. items like extension cords, body lotion/hand lotion/oil, extra ziplock bags! Hair dryer has a nook there to hang ~
My brush roll – from the sigma kit~ I keep face brushes here!
And..other brushes in my Jane Iredale (discontinued) hard brush case, and all my bobbypins/hair ties
Tissues/disposables, hair products, polish remover, brushes
Top left pocket: hair sprays, altoids (!?) and mirror
Lower left pocket: Mousse, dry shampoo, and…magnifying glass~ ^.~   

Right pocket (with the heat protected pocket): Hair straghtener, 1inch curling iron, Heat protecting matt
and in the inner pocket, teasing brushes/rat tail combs
On to the outside of the rolling case..I use the outer pocket to put my “SOILED” ziplock, tape to tape up trash bags, and plastic bags for my trash if there is no trash bin~
Main inner pocket: makeup cape, disposable palettes, and palettes
Upper pocket: Transforming gel, loose pigments~ so if it spills, at least it would be in this pocket 
lower pocket: alcohol sprays, brush cleaner etc.
4 of the clear cases, and the top one is the smaller one from the Zuca artist backpack!
Hiding on the mesh top is my Nail polish kit!
Nail polish!
All laid out~ my other curling iron was hiding on the side~  there’s also room to put a brush roll if you wish~
Prep & Prime materials~ and yes, my favorite PCA Anti-redness serum!  Also in here are highlighting cream/gels, and HD blush
Face – foundations, concealers, powder, blush~ 
Eyeliner, mascaras, brows, eyeshadows

my yaby pink foundations, lip gloss, lipstick palettes, lip liners, MUFE flash colors also live here
…and voila~ restored into their rightful places in my studio! 

Another view! 
I do need space to lay out the clear bags, but I don’t need to remove every product out of them. I unzip them all the way, or half way, depending on the space, and I stack it on top of one another, and move it to the one I need~ and only grab the products I need – but I can place them right back in there when I’m done, so packing is literally unzipping everything, and stuffing it back to the case.  The hair kit/backpack contains most of the materials I have to completely remove out of the cases, so there is a bit of ‘tetris’ involved in that one~ But I’m getting more and more used to my set up! I think the most work is involved replacing it back into my studio, or moving it from my studio to my kit for cleaning or having clients at my studio…unfortunately I don’t have $$ to have 2 setups and never have to move it~! 
I hope the photos were helpful and/or interesting!