Posted in: News

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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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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 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

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I would love to be posting about the following posts that I am excited about:

– My publication in WeddingChicks!
– My beauty editorial (this image is from!) “La Flor” at Denovo Magazine
– My hair & makeup work in a cover and fashion spread in Marin Magazine, March 2014 issue
– Skyla Arts’ 2 spreads in the current print issue of Today’s Bride
– An upcoming spread tomorrow in Green Wedding Shoes
– photos I received from my 2012/2013 clients that I have not had a chance to blog or add to my gallery page
– What I’ve been up to lately on my artist journey and my exciting discoveries about myself + the industry
– My EXCITING finds and investment in my kit on my Tokyo trip!

But…I am in my own version of March Madness, that I experience pretty much every year in the Spring time.  In the Bay Area, at least in my experience, pretty much weddings happen and concentrate between March-November, but that doesn’t mean events do not happen Nov-Feb!  And if events are not happening then, it means clients in the Summer/Fall/Next Spring are looking and booking.  Every year I get into March Madness, and until I’m ‘in’ the middle of it all, it didn’t occur to me March Madness is here!  Outside of the wedding industry, Jan-Dec is fair game, and freelancers like myself often get into the ‘feast or famine’ scenario.

Personally, my March Madness has to do more with Paperwork & emails.  I feel that during the Spring time in general, there are more emails & inquiries!  Which is a great thing!!! But this means I need to prioritize my clients + the paperwork, and therefore…updating galleries + blogging will have to wait even longer, until I can work out how I can squeeze in time in between being on-set or at an event, being fully present while talking to my clients & vendors via email or phone, and – being ‘present’ on all kinds of social media!  I am always looking for ways to be more efficient with paperwork! If you have any suggestions, I am all ears!!!

This also means I may need more time to complete the emails/paperwork, due to sheer volume!  I am certain that I am not the only vendor or vendor-category experiencing this – so I hope that you and potential clients who read this will forgive us all for slight delays in responding to emails or phone calls!  :)

No blog post is complete without a photo! <3 This photo is from an outtake of the publication of the beauty story that came out! I am loving this image – I like how her freckles are showing, her skin is glowing, and a pop of the red colors that is in for Spring 2014!  I choose a custom-blend blue-red because I did not want the color and the flower to be too matchy matchy.  The lighting used for the actual spread would blow out the ‘fly aways’ and you won’t even see them in the film, but since this is an outtake, the ‘frizzies’ showing is what made this image very charming for me. I am loving how sculptural and bird-nesty it looks, to go with our spring theme.  It may not be everyone’s taste, nor my own necessarily, but it happens to ‘work’ in this image.  A take away from this experience is that it doesn’t matter what you are doing with your beauty choices – it just has to work together.  For example, if you are going for an organic theme for your wedding, and it is carried throughout your decor, your attire and your hair & makeup – then it will work and fit together.  If today we were not going for organic, and you look at that ‘messy’ hair, then a) I failed to do my job and b) the whole image would not have worked!  What looks good, that your eye intuitively picks up, is still up to your personal taste and preference!  No matter what you are doing at the moment, no matter what decisions you are currently making, my advice to you is to stick to your personal taste, and think about the overall picture!  Until next time! ;) Happy Wednesday!!!

Natalie Hui & David Ma
Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to go on another trip so soon!  Tokyo/Japan trip sprung up on me…!  It will be my first time there, and I’ve wanted to go because it is MAKEUP MECCA.  I honestly don’t feel there’s a contest about the quality of cosmetics and cosmeceutical technology!   I already know of a few brands here that borrows the research & formulas based on Japanese products!  Not to mention, the generations of hand-made makeup brushes.  The quality is second to none.  All in all, I have no plans to buy anything else other than makeup and brushes, and do a lot of eating!  Lucky for me my husband works for a Japanese company, and throughout his years of business trips from California to Japan, finally we accumulated a free ticket! :D yay!!!! Although – I worked throughout Christmas & New Years this year, so I feel like it’s really nice to take some time to myself…only my 3rd real vacation in 5 years! Not complaining of course!!! Every opportunity to travel to my bucket list I am jumping for joy and smiling in immense gratitude!!! :) :) :)

I will be out of office from 1/22-1/30, and upon my return, I am fully booked for photo shoots & bridal consultations! During this time slot, I will not have phone access. I scheduled a half-day in Japan to respond to emails, but I may or may not get back to all of the emails.  I’m going to thank you for your patience in advanced, and I’ll be sure to get back to all emails & inquiries by 02/04!  Thank you for your understanding in advanced!

No blog post is complete without some pretty photos, right? :)  David & Natalie’s fairytale wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty this past September and I was beyond thrilled because I can now publish the images! yay!!   Natalie & David live in Hong Kong, but being the cosmopolitan couple that they are, they chose Half-Moon Bay are their destination wedding location!  All-star vendors from Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, and of course, SF/NorCal, I am proud to be the artist chosen to style Natalie’s hair!  On her wedding day, we did 3 hair looks, and we also did a post-wedding couture shoot!  It was a great pleasure to work with Natalie, and I also had a blast getting to know Kamen Leung, Natalie’s makeup artist that she flown in from Hong Kong!  Kamen works full-time in Hong Kong, and is very successful, working with mostly celebrities and doing beauty ads. During the breaks we had, we were chatting about makeup, hair, and comparing notes about our markets!  :) Needless to say, I enjoyed looking at her kit, and comparing notes about products.

One of my favorite, favorite shots is the black and white photo of Natalie at the alter, with her bridesmaids helping her with her stunning couture gown designed by TanYoong, with the light shining through the dress, and her cathedral veil pouring over!  I swooned when I saw it!!!!

The reason why I shared these as teasers is mainly because my trip to Japan made me think about Kamen – I saw that she used Lunasol in her kit, and I was very excited!  I love that brand!   Here in America, after Shu Uemura pulled out of the market, so did a few other brands, making it very pricey to collect these items.  My friends & mentors who work in the industry in Asia enjoy going to Japan with their friends to hand pick their products for their kit!  I’ve dreamt of doing something like this since I began following Japanese beauty – 17 years ago!  Ha! I feel old! ;) Well,  I started paying attention to makeup and beauty when I was 10, after my art teacher suggested that I could consider using the face as a canvass and keep that as an option.  Being a curious kid, of course I took it very seriously and poured over Japanese beauty and fashion magazines, and religiously borrowed my friends to paint on their faces! :P

More photos to come from this beautiful wedding!  Thank you again to Michael Falco for capturing these breath-taking images, and also Mallory the Art Director from Christian Oth Studios for sending me the images!!!

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Wedding Planner :  Lyndsey Hamilton Events
Florals :  Lily Lodge
Hair for the Bride :  Elizabeth Chang, Skyla Arts
Makeup for the Bride :  Kamen Leung (Hong Kong)
Makeup & Hair for the Bridal Party :  Artists by Sherrie Long
Lighting :  rEvolve
Cocktail & Dinner Music :  Sheila Fords Harlem Review
Ceremony Music :  Golden Gate Strings
Videography :  One Shot (Hong Kong)
Photobooth :  Snap Yourself
Stationary :  A little love story
Ceremony Dress :  TanYoong

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Happy Fall everyone! I’m so blessed to be swamped the majority of October! :) Thank you to all my clients for the support and patronage!  For my new friends reading my blog for the first time, welcome to my monthly/sporadic-at-best/haphazard blog!  I love blogging, but I feel so guilty about not getting to it.  Fortunately, I am not alone on this, and I can commiserate with other fellow wedding vendors! We want to share our work and what we are up to, but we also want to concentrate on providing all of our clients the best service!

I am working on a wedding + a photo shoots this weekend, and then I start getting ready for my trip to Buenos Aires Argentina, and Iguazu National Park from both the Argentina side, and on the Brazil side, and then Sao Paolo!  I apologize for the inconvenience, but I will be heading to a much needed, and well-deserved dream trip from Oct 24 to Nov 5th!  I can barely wait to get there!

Currently what I am most looking forward to is horse back riding with the cowboys on the Pampas and BBQ-ing under the stars. I am going with one of my best friends, and we plan to have a blast!  In 1st/2nd grade, I was lucky to have that experience in Costa Rica (don’t remember what city…) at a large ranch, and yes, we rode with the cowboys in the open fields, and it was one of the best experiences I had in my life.  The feeling of the wind in your hair as your horse follows the herd into a gallop, you feel free, and connected to the earth.  I spent 9 years of my childhood+teenage years in Central America (Costa Rica + Guatemala) and 2 months down in Asuncion, Paraguay but for the last decade, visiting Buenos Aires was on the top of my list.  I didn’t get to go while in Paraguay because my dad was being a dad (overprotective) and so I had to work really hard and squirrel away the funds for it…Oh there are so many places I want to go and haven’t been to…like France or Spain, London, Tokyo, and I would love to revisit Italy as first and only time in Europe/Italy, I had the FLU. But hey, one goal/dream at a time!  All I can think about right now is Argentinian Steak.  The Best Steak in the World. . . . .!

Anyway – I will have limited internet access, and 0 phone access, so I will thank you in advanced for your patience!  I return to the Bay Area 11/05 but have a full-day photo shoot on 11/06, so I will return to office on 11/07! :) :) :)

These photos are a sneak peak from Styled. The Workshop!  These 2 images are provided courtesy of Chung Li Photography!  This is Kennedy and Landon from JE models – of course they are already almost perfect and didn’t really need makeup, but alas, this is my makeup/hair and men’s grooming work for the photo shoot!  It was a blast meeting and working with all the vendors, and getting to know the participants of the workshop!  More on that workshop will come later! For now, please enjoy the sneak peak!  I am loving the mauve matte lips I used on Kennedy (Custom blended color…always..!) I think it’s perfect for a fall wedding with all the foliage! Something to think about for Fall 2014 brides! :)

I will sign off – wish everyone a lovely weekend – and when I return, I will be even more excited and refreshed for my fall/winter weddings!!!

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Creative Direction :  Amanda O'Shannessy Creative
Photography :  Chung Li Photography
Vintage Rentals :  One True Love Vintage
Paper Goods :  Mae Mae Paperie
Wardrobe Styling :  Head Over Heels with Melanie
Hair & Makeup :  Skyla Arts {Liz}
Bride's Attire :  Lovely Bride
Vintage Table Top Decor :  Frances Lane Event Studio

Inbal & Toby

A big warm welcome to my new website! As you read this I am just here wiping away my happy tears.  The rebranding has been a long journey! Special thanks to Ryan from Second Street Creative for his design insights & help throughout the journey to make it happen!! I highly recommend his services!

If you met me and worked with me before, you are probably not surprised by my choices for this new branding!  A big ‘surprise’ (not!) that I picked my favorite pastel theme & colors!   I mean,  I should stay as true to myself as possible, right? ;)  For those meeting me (or e-meeting me) through my website for the first time, I hope that the website gives you a sense of my style & aesthetic, and helpful information about hiring me.  I am fairly happy with the gallery and excited that you can organize the bridal galleries by three general styles: Loose & Romantic, Glamorous & Modern, Classic & Elegant!  Some styles are a mix of both – but I hope that this way it will also help you navigate to the styles that you are interested in!

My attention has been split between dedicated to getting the website ready and working on set and on weddings, so I haven’t spent a lot of time working on the blog!  I came to realize that it is probably unlikely for me to blog about every wedding or client I have worked on as I am so behind, so I sincerely hope that my former clients would take offense that I did not get around to it!

No post is complete or acceptable without a photo! This one of Toby & Inbal is shot by Silvana di Franco, from an intimate wedding Oct 2012!  More on that adorable wedding later!

Now with this project released into the public…..I can finally get back to focusing on my work, and fun projects like making more tutorials – and blogging of course!  What a relief! Now I can go celebrate!!!!