February Mood Board

February Moodboard - Social Stylate

Hello, Julie here! I’m Social Stylate’s Graphic Designer. Check out what’s inspiring us in February 2018 with our mood board!

The bleakness of winter was in full swing in January of 2018; short, frigid, dry, gray days. Now that February is here, we’re ready to be warmed up with some inspiration! The first buds of spring are just around the corner! Soon it will be above 65 degrees! We can practically feel the sun on our (well cared for) skin! We’ve got just a little ways to go, so in the meantime we are warming up with some Valentine’s goodies: buff pink flowers, romantic gelato jaunts, a tart red lip. Our February mood board features fashion highlights, tasty treats, and a little hint of warmth in anticipation for spring.

Nothing says “new” like New York Fashion Week! This year our fashion muses and gurus gave us futuristic street styles (two words: moon boots), romantic ruching, unconventional fabrics, fringe, feathers … and fanny packs! We’re ready to bust out of our winter coat cocoons and try some new looks! Now, prior to cocoon-busting activities, our skin needs a little love. Kindred Skincare Co. is here to rescue our dry, chapped, winter-beaten skin with their line of natural, oil based skincare. We’re madly in love with their new products: La Femme Body Oil and Bâton Rosé; they are quick-absorbing and gentle. We’re all the more eager to show off our sumptuously moisturized skin! For a pop of color, we rely on the girls at Houppette to keep us looking oh-so-chic and this month they have us all hooked on Bare Minerals Statement Matte Liquid Lipstick. (Our favorite shades are OMG, Shameless and Luxe!)

Wintertime inspires us to cozy up in our comfiest loungewear, wrapped up in our fuzziest blanket. We love a good night (or day… or week) in. But when a Valentine’s date or an outing with friends comes up, we’re bundling up and heading out! Cabin Fever is real! We’ve been loving Caffe Gelato in Newark for its cozy atmosphere and Italian fare — and the artisan gelato, of course! Our February mood is thawing out as we get ready for spring. We’re finding joy in indulging in some self-care, discovering fashion inspiration in our own closets, and stepping out for some tasty new experiences as we anticipate the season to come.

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Chatting With: Kathy Warden of TableArt & KPW Productions

Chatting With: Kathy Warden of TableArt Events & KPW Productions - Social Stylate

Our client, Kathy Warden of TableArt and KPW Productions, does more than plan weddings, she designs events that awaken all of the senses. Here we chat with Kathy about starting her business, the difference between event planning and event design, and tips for couples in the planning process.

1. When and how did you realize you wanted to start planning and designing events?
After five years in the catering business and running a kitchen, I realized that my passion lied in making the event look beautiful and creating a wonderful guest experience; i.e. coordinating all the details of a wedding. Food is one piece of the puzzle; music, flowers, lighting are also important elements of event design and coordination. I love flowers and creating beautiful spaces and memorable moments.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a planner?
I love getting to know our couples personal style, taste and vision for their wedding and putting together a team of vendors that will be the best to produce an unforgettable experience for their family and friends. I love the coordination between the design and the overall orchestration of a wedding.

3. You have a sister company, KPW Productions. What is the difference between the two?
KPW Productions was launched as a planning company. We focus on planning all the details of your wedding from venue and vendor selection, overall management of the wedding planning process setting forth deadlines for decision making, budget management, as well as scripting the wedding day weekend and management during the weekend. TableArt is the design company that focuses on creativity and innovation to celebrate our clients personal style and taste. TableArt designs beautiful weddings with exquisite flower arrangements and lighting design.

4. What sets TableArt/KPW Productions apart from ​other planning companies?
Many planners hire a decorator to design and execute their client’s weddings and there are many wedding designers/florists that do not provide wedding planning services.

KPW Productions and TableArt work together to orchestrate all the minute details of wedding planning and design: securing vendors, coordinating meetings and deadlines, and creating a master script for the wedding weekend, plus we focus on the design of the event: selecting linens, flowers, ceremony design and bridal party flowers. Many clients actually have a hard time understanding the difference between design and planning. It is similar to the difference between an architect, builder and interior designer. We are all of those things under one roof for weddings.

5. What is one piece of advice you have for couples in the wedding planning process?
From the beginning, define your priorities; this will help you in the decision making process when you start to interview vendors and have to make big decisions that will affect your budget. What is most important to you: venue, band, flowers, photography, fashion or food?

6. What’s the most important factor a couple needs to consider when planning a destination wedding?
I think there are three: guest list, travel logistics and price.

7. How do you recommend a couple personalize a space?​
This largely depends on the couples event budget. The combination of linens and flowers can add personality and style to a blank space.

8. What wedding trends never go out of style?
Simply beautiful, natural, and elegant..classic elegance will never die.

For more on TableArt & KPW Productions, visit them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Flutter Social.

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Boss Lady: Trisha Okubo

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Trisha Okubo, the founder of Maison Miru jewelry, an online boutique based out of the West Village in New York City. Trisha believes jewelry is love made visible and Maison Miru’s pieces are all made by Trisha and with love.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady -Social Stylate

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
A career is like a play, with multiple acts. You have multiple storylines, characters large and small that can alter the trajectory of your path, and adventure awaits you at every crossroads, if you choose to accept it. Act One of my career was living a real (less glamorous, but not much less ridiculous) version of the HBO series Silicon Valley. I learned the ropes at digital media and e-commerce companies, in large and small in roles that spanned business development to product management to business operations. I grew up in Silicon Valley, a stone’s throw from Apple Computer, and technology dominates the culture so heavily that it seemed the natural thing to do after graduation. But while I liked what I did, I didn’t love it in the way I wanted to. After one particularly trying day, I unwound at Cafe Venetia, my favorite cafe on University Avenue in Palo Alto, with a pot of Ryokucha tea and a slice of chocolate crunch cake. I sketched out what I wanted my life to look like in 15 years: a time period where everything still seemed possible, but still time-bound in a reasonable way. It looked nothing like my current life, and in that moment, I knew I had to make a change. I ended up quitting my job for a “gap year” – and did all of the things I wanted to do in life. I travelled all around the world, took cooking classes (my soup dumpling game still needs work, alas), learned how to make shoes (I did a fashion design degree back in college, but I had never done accessories), and started learning how to make jewelry. I knew right away that I was on to something with jewelry. I usually flit from project to project (I’m told that I get bored very easily!), but I can wire in when I’m at a jewelry bench and work for hours on end. (This, by the way, is great for things like stone setting, but terrible for my back! I see my chiropractor so often that I count him as a friend.) . So when friends – and strangers – started coming up to me and asking where I got my jewelry, I took the plunge, opened up a little online boutique, and started Act Two of my career.

2. What prompted you to start Maison Miru?
The jewelry that I loved–elegant, delicate pieces that you can wear everyday–either existed in the luxury space (hello, solid gold and diamonds!) or at the low end of the market (aka the jewelry you can wear a few times before it tarnishes or breaks). What I wanted but couldn’t find out there was high quality jewelry that I could wear everyday at a price that was fair and affordable. Also, I have a bit of a confession: I’m a champion loser of jewelry. I love the look of delicate, tiny pieces, and I can tell you from experience that these are the easiest to lose. So it was super important to make sure that the pieces were affordable – so that if something happened to disappear at an onsen in Japan, or slipped off somewhere on the Paris metro, it wasn’t going to ruin the rest of my holiday!

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

3. Did you find the transition from the tech industry to the jewelry industry to be challenging?
Surprisingly, I found the transition from working as a part of a large team toworking on my own to be a bigger challenge than transitioning industries. It turns out that a lot of the skills I had honed in Act One of my career – project management, designing customer experiences, and logistics/operations – all were relevant in my new life. There’s a ton that I had to learn from scratch – I had never done product development with physical goods, nor had I done any marketing, and despite my business undergrad degree, I’m not a bookkeeping whiz. Let’s just say that it’s amazing what you can learn on the Internet! But my confession is that I sometimes (and more often that you’d think) miss my cubicle life. At least at coffee o’clock, when I wish I had my work buddies around to go dish with.

4. How did you come up with the name, Maison Miru?
The word Miru in Japanese means “to seed” – and that’s what I hope Maison Miru does for you at a foundational level. Jewelry is love made visible, and it can open your eyes to the world, to love, and the good that’s out there….even in these trying times.

5. What is your most successful form of marketing?
Instagram has been amazing for Maison Miru, and that’s where most ladies hear about us. I know it’s a big leap to try a new brand, so I’m running a limited time promotion to get the word out about the Maison Miru Ear Bar – a pair of our signature Tiny Crystal Studs in Gold for the price of shipping. It’s an easy way to see and feel the quality of the earrings without a whole lot of risk. Also, the ladies I’ve met on Instagram have been so incredibly kind – maybe it’s just that jewelry people are good people, but they’ve been helping spread the word on their own – sisters share with their sisters, mothers gift their daughters, daughters buy for Mom, and brides have been spreading the word to their bridal party. I’ve been truly humbled by the love.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

6. Why do you aim for your partners to be either small, local, or businesses run by women?
I love collaborating with people who love to give it their all – people who go the extra mile to do beautiful work – and I find that businesses who are small, local or businesses run by women are more often my kind of people.

7. How do you ensure you’re getting the best version of your products out to your clients?
It’s about being rigorous every step of the way. I prototype and prototype to perfect the designs – the shape, the size, the weight, how each piece lays. And then I use high quality materials to make these designs a reality. One of my goals is to create affordable, beautiful jewelry safe for ladies with skin sensitivities, and I’ve iterated with my factory and my metal plater to systematically avoid metals (e.g. nickel) that commonly cause these sensitivities. I also personally do quality assurance before I place the jewelry into thick plastic baggies designed to preserve the longevity of the jewelry. I love doing good things and letting them speak for themselves.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

8. What personal and/or business goals have you set for 2018?
My list of 2018 goals is unrealistically long, and I’m told, somewhat nonsensical! At the top of my list is a somewhat non-specific goal of putting out more net good in the world. One of the random things I designed last year was a series of love notes – little cards with sayings like “I Believe in You and Pie”. I really just made them so I could send silly messages to my friends, but I started sending them out to customers, just for fun. And they’ve been sharing them with the ladies they love – BFFs, sisters, daughters, moms. I love that these notes helped bring people together for a smile – and I want to do more things like this in 2018. Another completely different goal is perfecting my chocolate game. I have wayyyyyy too many interests, one of which is making chocolate from bean to bar. Amongst all of the jewelry equipment in the apartment, I somehow also have a cocoa bean roaster, a grinder, and a melanger to make chocolate from scratch (and a very understanding husband!). I’m constantly trying to refine my roasting game and tweak the chocolate to be as delicious as possible. Does this also count as putting out more net good in the world?

9. What advice would you offer to other self-starters and those who hope to start their own business?
Stop hoping to start your own business: just start your business. Nobody ever feels ready to make the jump – but if entrepreneurship is for you, you’ll surprise yourself with how fast you’ll learn, and how creative you’ll be about solving problems and making things work. I prefer to live with no regrets, and by starting my own business, I never have to wonder about what might have been.

Just for Fun…
Best purchase you ever made: Most recently, the Everlane Cashmere Sweatpants. They’re so comfy and luxurious, and I wear them everywhere. I love them so much that I bought three pairs.
Favorite movie: I’m more of a series kind of gal, as I love the character development you get over time, and my all time favorite has to be The West Wing. I just think life would be better if everyone spoke as intelligently and as quickly as they do on an Aaron Sorkin show. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?
The perfect Saturday includes: Friends and family, tea and cake. And pie. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to also be locked in a room with a litter of kittens. (I volunteer at the shelter, so free snuggles for me!)
Best thing about living in NYC: I’m a night owl, so I love that NYC is the city that never sleeps. Turns out you don’t have to either, if you choose to accept the challenge! You can get 2am pizza (hello, Joe’s), and the fact that you can truly get anything delivered here has taught me the unfortunate (but delicious) lesson that pie can always come to you.
You’d jump for joy if you saw this person wearing Maison Miru: Joan Didion. I believe that jewelry is love made visible, and I also feel the same thing about her work. She has such a depth to her soul, and it’s that kind of energy that I would love to capture with my designs.

Trisha Okubo - Maison Miru Jewelry - Moodboard - Boss Lady -Social Stylate

For more on Trisha:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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iPhone Photography Tips with Carly Abbott

Any marketing professional will tell you that visuals are a crucial part of the process, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run out and buy a DLSR camera to get the best shots. Our photographer, Carly Abbott, shares her tips for getting the best photos with your iPhone.

iPhone Photography Tips with Carly Abbott - Social Stylate

A simple snapshot saved by shooting in Live Mode and exporting from Motion Stills.

Professional photographers are loathe to admit it, but iPhones have come a long way and can be wonderful tools for your personal or marketing photography. Equipment does not make the photographer; A good natural eye, and a grasp of photo knowledge is what really counts.

I am mainly going to focus on ways to use your iPhone’s built-in technology to create beautiful images. However, there are several apps I enjoy as well. For filtering, I enjoy VSCO and Instagram. There is also an app called Camera+, which allows you to take “macro” shots of small objects.

Now, down to the tips!

1. Control your exposure and focus point:

Many of you may know that if you want your phone’s camera to expose correctly for a certain object, you can simply tap the spot on the screen before shooting. This will tell your iPhone to use its best guess on exposure. However, once you tap the screen a little sun icon appears. Try running your finger up and down on the screen, and you will see you know have total control of the image’s exposure!

Now, if you know you want this spot to be in focus, you can also lock the AE/AF. Instead of tapping, hold your finger down on that spot until the square flashes, at which point it is locked. Now, you can play with the exposure and composition, and the camera will maintain that focus point.

2. Prevent camera shake:

These cameras are pretty powerful in dim lighting, but they still have the same issues as DSLRs. If there is not enough light, you may end up with blur due to camera shake. One way to combat this is to keep your camera as still as possible when shooting, something that can be hard if you are holding it at a tricky angle. There are two ways to help this: once you want to shoot, you can hit your volume up button to take the picture. OR, if you are really planning ahead and have your phone on a stable surface or even a tripod, you can use the volume up button on your headphones as a remote shutter trigger. Cool, right?

There is also a timer icon on the top row of your camera screen. This is great if you don’t want to move the phone by hitting a button.

3. Catch them in the act!

Anyone who has tried to photograph kids or pets knows you can completely miss the perfect moment by being too slow on the draw! I have two ways around this. The first is shooting in burst mode. Simply hold your finger down on the shutter button, and your phone will shoot many frames in a row. The drawbacks to this are you use up a lot of storage space, and you have to cull through a bunch of images to find the perfect one.

I also love to shoot in Live mode. Not only do I love playing these images to hear the odd giggles my kids made at the time, but I also view them in an app called Motion Stills. This app allows you to make the live image into a looping GIF, or you can export any frame captured in the Live photo. So, if your dog blinks when you hit the button, there’s a good chance you can freeze the image in another split second when his eyes were open!

These are just a few tips to help you with your phone’s camera. The newest phones coming out have even more features, such as portrait mode and “studio lighting” which all leaves this photographer worried about the art form’s future, because they are so cool! But the biggest photography advice stays the same no matter what equipment you use: Turn that cheap little flash off, and focus on your lighting. And when in doubt, move your feet to the right spot to get the coolest shot. Happy shooting!

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