Category Archives: lifestyle

Rustic back yard wedding | wedding stylist

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At the end of the summer, Joseph and Felicia had a rustic back yard wedding reception in Vancouver, Canada and I had the pleasure of being the event stylist and calligrapher. It was such a perfect day for a back yard wedding! The low light was so lovely and romantic.

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They had a vintage, shabby chic vision with burlap, hay bales, twine covered Mason jars, ferns, and chalkboard sign accents.

backyard reception by dave choo

Photo by Dave Choo

Here’s to the happy hipster couple!

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First Look: Calligraphy Tutorial for That Pleasant Surprise

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This week I had the pleasure of doing a calligraphy tutorial for the lifestyle blog That Pleasant Surprise with the lovely Claire Batey. Our remarkable photographer Will Bossen captured some magnificent images and I can’t wait to share more! In the meantime, here’s a taste.

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6 Quick Tips for Posing for Pictures

Recently someone on Facebook asked me for tips about how to pose for pictures. Though I’m no Gisele Bundchen, I have modeled, can boast a billboard under my belt, and as an image consultant / wardrobe stylist, I know a thing or two about helping people feel comfortable in front of the camera. So if you’re looking for suggestions for an upcoming photo shoot, here’s 6 quick tips for posing for pictures.

  1. Keep moving. If you’re doing a photo shoot, every time you hear the shutter lens, change your pose slightly. A few suggestions to change your pose is to lower your chin, pop your shoulder up, tilt your head, put your hand on your hip, change the juxtaposition of your feet, vary your facial expression, just keep moving! You’ll have far more options to choose from when you see your photos. This photo series from Audrey Hepburn is a great example. Sometimes all it takes is a slight movement to make the perfect picture.
  2. Practice posing. A few years ago I was on the set with a new model who was having a hard time working the camera, so the art director had her grab a magazine for inspiration and start practicing posing in front of the mirror! I would extend the same advice to you. Grab a magazine, look for poses you’d like to try, then get in front of a mirror and see and whether the pose works for you. (I have a whole Pinboard on Pinterest called “Girl Can Pose”which is filled with different pose ideas. Follow away!) These images from fashion photographer Trever Hoehne are lovely, natural poses to try.
  3. Try new things. When editing my most recent Wear One Piece Five Ways segment, there were a couple new poses I haven’t tried before that found their way into the mix — I loved the results! We get so comfortable in the same poses, but it’s always refreshing to mix things up a bit. Take some of the things you’ve been practicing in the mirror (a la tip #2) and try to introduce them in front of the camera. It’s important to have a photographer you feel comfortable with so you feel safe to step outside of your comfort zone. 
  4. Stand up straight. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, and good posture can make you look 10 pounds less so make sure you stand up straight! Elevate that carriage! Inhale deep through your nose and lift your breast bone. (Sidebar: don’t stop breathing when the camera clicks! I can actually tell on images where I completely freeze a pose for the camera, including my breath. It’s far more natural when you keep breathing while having your picture taken.) 
  5. Whatever part of your body is closest to the camera will appear larger. This can be in your favor if you want to maximize your jawline or bust. On the flip side, if you want to minimize a figure variation such as your hips, derriere, or arms, angle this area away from the camera — the area in question will look smaller in the photo as a result. A bad example of what not to do is Fo from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12. By leaning towards the camera, Fo’s head and face look larger while the rest of her body appears smaller and short. This is the shot that sent her packing.
  6. When all else fails, turn at an angle to the camera and smile! For a slimming effect, standing at a 45 degree angle to the camera, put your hand on one hip and smile. It works practically every time!

    Photo: Elisabeth Kate Photography. Styling by Cable Car Couture

What is your best tip for posing for photographs?

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The Best Scone Recipe Ever – Grand Central Bakery

I’ve never been much of a scone person, but this week I went to Grand Central Bakery in town, went out on a limb and tried their cranberry nut scone. I was stopped in my tracks. Who knew scones could be so decadent?

Once I had one, I had to have more. So I googled “Grand Central Bakery scone recipe” and lo and behold, I found their recipe on Serious Eats. So I made a batch. And was tempted to make another. They were unbelievable. (So good we didn’t share) But karma being what it is, I’m sharing the recipe with you so you can have mouth-watering scones for breakfast, too. It’s up to you whether you share.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces, or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) buttermilk
  • Egg wash
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) turbinado sugar
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of salt

Procedures

  1. Prepare to bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients: Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl with high sides or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  3. Cut in the butter, then add the fruit and nuts: Dice the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces of butter are the size of almonds. Add the dried fruit and nuts.
  4. Add the eggs and buttermilk: Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together, then add two-thirds of the mixture to the dry ingredients. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together, then add the remaining buttermilk mixture; the dough will look rough. Scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again to incorporate any floury scraps. The majority of the dough will have come together, on the paddle if using a stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches. The dough should come out of the bowl in one piece, leaving only some small scraps and flour on the sides.
  5. Form and cut the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gather it and pat just a few times to get it to come together. The top won’t be smooth, but the rough surface creates a crunch that is part of a scone’s charm. Gently form dough into a 7- to 8-inch disk (or, for smaller scones, into two 4- to 5-inch disks), brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut the disk into 6 wedges, like a pie.
  6. Bake: Place the scones on the prepared pan, in a grid with 3 by 2 for large scones and 4 by 3 for small scones. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (20 to 25 minutes for small scones), rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The scones should be golden brown.
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7 Ways to Integrate Orange Into Your Life in 2012

Orange is the new black. As you likely know, Pantone declared Tangerine Tango the color of 2012. If you aren’t an orange ambassador, here are 7 ways you can integrate orange into your life in 2012.

Orange isn’t just for wearing! Make orange a part of your home decor this year.

Eyeballing that tangerine chevron wall art? Here’s a guided tutorial on creating your own chevron stripe wall art.

Want more fashion videos? Let us know if you have a video topic request!

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Motivation Monday: Cristina Hall Dances Blackbird

Cristina Hall is a flamenco dancer and pioneer in her field. Here is a video of her dancing an original contemporary flamenco choreography to Nina Simone’s Blackbird. Prepare to be astounded. I have watched this flamenco performance several times and it leaves me enraptured with goosebumps every single time.

As an amateur flamenco dancer, I am deeply inspired by the exquisite control that Cirstina has over her body, allowing her to produce such a mesmerizing live performance. Honestly, I can’t stop watching.

This isn’t the product of procrastination. You can tell she has devoted countless hours to honing her art. May we be inspired to do the same.

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DIY Chevron Wall Art Tutorial

Since January is national craft month and 2012′s color of the year is Tangerine Tango, here is a DIY chevron wall art tutorial that honors them both.

Our new house still has a lot of bare walls, so I decided some chevron wall art would be perfect. After consulting a chevron tutorial by Apartment Therapy and Room by Room, I felt ready to roll up my sleeves and get going.

Items Needed:

  • 2 x 4 from Lowe’s or Home Depot
  • Paint tape
  • Gesso
  • Two paint colors of your choice
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

I started by doing a preliminary sketch on a smaller piece of paper to get the measurements scaled out and right.

Gesso your 2 x 4. This will prime your board and prevent the paint from staining into the wood. Gesso is available at Joann’s or your local art supply store.

Once your board is primed, paint the board your neutral color. For my project, I used an Antique White acrylic paint that was on sale for 89 cents. After this paint dries, you can start your measurements. As a right brained creative gal, this was the hardest part for me as it required a more analytical approach than I’m used to.

After you have measured to the best of your ability, lay down the tape. Since your base color is already laid down, you will be taping in order to alternate the color for each stripe. It should look like you’re painting a long stripe, followed by a short stripe that you won’t paint.

Once the board is taped, it should look like this. Note: It’s smart to try to erase as many of the pencil marks as you can, especially if you are painting with lighter colors.

When trying to decide what color I was going to use, I painted some chevron stripes on some blank paper to see what it would look like. Out of the colors I liked including a blush-like mauve, a coral, and tangerine, I went with tangerine. Looking at the tangerine color completely lifted my spirits!

Now the fun part — paint! If you paint outside the lines (as I did), don’t worry. You should have a little leftover paint of your first color that you can touch up afterwards.

Then let the paint dry. Go out for dinner. It will be dry by the time you get back. Once we returned home, the art was rather reminiscent of a Nemo clown fish with its vibrant, tropical colors.

Carefully peel the tape off.

Voila!

Then hang it somewhere you need a statement.

Have you done a chevron stripe project before? Let me know how it turned out.

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Pinterest: Navajo Fashion Trend

The Navajo fashion trend is one of my recent favorites, one that is coming out in my closet as well as my home decor. Something about the bright vivid colors and the geometric shapes has totally won me over… not to mention my latest Native American obsession.Here are some phenomenal Navajo themed pins I happened upon this week on Pinterest. (Psst! Are we connected on Pinterest yet?)

This is my fave Navajo tee. <3

Have you gotten into the Navajo fashion trend?

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Books I Read in 2011

I know how hard it can be to find a good book that you love. Here are a handful of the books I read in 2011 that may give you some ideas of books to read in 2012.

Fiction

Animal Dreams — A masterpiece by Barbara Kingsolver set in New Mexico dealing with family, falling in love, and protecting the environment.

Let the Great World Spin — Set in the 1970s, this book follows strangers whose lives intersect, a la Crash, strung together by a man tightrope walking between the then new World Trade Center buildings.

State of Wonder — a wonderful read about a woman who goes into the jungle on assignment from the pharmaceutical company she works for and learns what she’s made of.

The Actor and the Housewife — an unbelievable (literally!) story about a Jude Law-like British actor who falls for a dowdy Mormon housewife. Typically I love what Shannon Hale puts out, but this was just too much.

The Help — hilarious and heartbreaking. But you’ve seen the movie and probably already know all about it.

Nonfiction

Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation and Get What They Really Want — solid tips on learning to negotiate for women. Before I read this book, the thought of asking for what I want and negotiating terrified me. Since reading it, I have successfully negotiated three raises.

Bossypants — Tina Fey is absolutely hysterical. The bits on 30 Rock and Sara Palin are my fave.

It’s All Too Much — a great guide from an expert on how to declutter your home and your life. A pack rat at heart, this book helped me detach meaning from gifts and give things away.

Spirit Junkie: A Radical Love to Self-Love and Miracles — Gabrielle Bernstein’s personal story about gaining clarity and peace from the ashes of her life following A Course in Miracles.

Crucial Conversations — A guide by communication experts on how to have difficult conversations in life and business.

What were some of your favorite books you read in 2011? Hopeful reads for 2012?

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Dined One Table Down from Sandra Oh at Cafe Medina

This week I dined one table down from Sandra Oh at Cafe Medina in Downtown Vancouver. Highly recommended by my culinary artist sister as the place to be, we stood in line for 40 minutes to have brunch at Cafe Medina earlier this week. Imagine my surprise when I walk in and see one of my favorite actresses! As a huge Christina Yang fan, I have to admit I was geeking out in her vicinity and sneaking glimpses from three chairs down.

Photo: shinhwa.biz

To respect her privacy and space, I didn’t snap a photo or say hello. But I have to give you the breakdown on what she was wearing!

She had on a white beanie over her curly hair with half-rimmed glasses and an orange knit scarf. She wore a white, black, and grey buffalo check jacket over a v-neck sweater, black skinny pants and heeled boots. Her face was bare and she looked terrific.

Since we are both Asian-Canadian women, I have a great respect for Oh and have been incredibly moved by her performances on Grey’s Anatomy. Strong and talented, she also has a great sense of personal style as well.

If you ever find yourself in Vancouver, Canada, check out Cafe Medina on 556 Beatty Street. They don’t take reservations, but let me tell you — it’s worth the wait.

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