THE PROJECT FOR WOMEN

Today I'm being published on The Project for Women! An amazing directory full of stories and features of women from Editors, to Business women, to moms, women driving movements to fight for certain rights and freedoms to Entrepreneurs and so many other professions.

When Lauri introduced me to Kinda Kind I knew it was a story I wanted to tell. Kindness as a concept is obvious but in practice, we can fall short or perceive it as a duty rather something cool to be part of. I am so happy to contribute to this fantastic directory of women on TPFW today, having fully produced this story from concept to execution, I am proud to help spread the story of Kinda Kind. I hope you get a chance to read the whole story here

SHUT UP AND DANCE

I love this song, for so many reasons. It's fun, it's about living in the moment, it's catchy. All the usual appeal. And then there's that story line of being the biggest dork on the floor while everyone's watching. I love it because the music and the video embrace how I feel, it gets straight to the point. Shut up and dance. Enjoy the moment. Walk the Moon (ya get it? Heh ...) 

For as long as I remember I wished I could dance and not just flail.  I have friends that have natural rhythm, an ability to shake what matters and enjoy it.  I don't (didn't) dance (in public). I loved the idea of it and the idea of singing to some over-played but amazing song and having a good time. You know, that uninhibited ability to own the floor. 

My life has been so busy but this year I decided it was now or never, I'd free up my schedule and I would do it. I would apply myself no matter how hard I thought it was and I would stick through. I signed up for Hip Hop, an annual workshop master minded by Micaya of House of Micaya (Micaya I love you for exactly who you are).  I paid my money and once I did, I couldn't turn back. I showed up and every time I showed up I felt like who am I kidding and just so it's on record, I felt that way till the end. There was an occasional moment where I broke through and my inner dancer came out. Ah, the satisfaction of being able to pull off some bold sassy move, (I smile). I was hot! (And I don't mean JUST sweaty!) The hard work is rewarding. And even when people are judging you and you think you suck, sometimes it just doesn't matter. (Oh I mean, it never matters.) 

I stuck through an eight week workshop, including six on-stage performances in front of a packed house every night. But it wasn't without some fear and and the risk of feeling like I wasn't getting it. 

___________________

Enter stage left, Patricia Lam. This photo session is inspired by her. 

The workshop was where I met Patricia. This girl bubbles with kindness. She pulls people in and embraces each person and for that I love her! That and for getting me through something I would have never done. This girl's got sass mixed with a compassion that glows, people around her benefit from who she is and that is truly inspiring. I asked Patricia how she got started and what inspires her so read through and I hope you are inspired too. 

I worked with my first team to make this shoot amazing and I am so appreciative of all the hard work! These people made this possible and I love them for it. Patricia, Matthew Freeman did the makeup, Matthew you are such an amazing artist! Tania Keenan on Art Direction I could not have done this without you! Katja Werner O'Brien on Style Consulting, you inspire me every time I talk to you! And Lauri Levenfeld, for always bringing positivity into my life and for encouraging me to do what I am best at, I love you. Thank you each for helping to make this possible and for being part of my life. I love each of you. 

If you can get out of your head long enough, dance and enjoy the moment it's pretty rewarding. I'll try it again someday and for now, I'm takin' more pictures. 

I'd say "have no fear" but really I just mean "shut up and dance". 

DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING.  (BUT YOU KNOW EVERYONE IS).

 

"I found my love for dance in my sophomore year in high school and started teaching in 2006 at Mercy HS in SF, Westlake School of Performing Arts, and Shan Yee Poon Ballet School.  I have a lot of music background, I received my Bachelors degree in music specializing in piano and minoring in business management."

jess epstein photography

Her laugh steals my heart.

"As long as I can remember, Chinese culture dictated how I should behave, thus it collided with a personality like mine. As an American-born Chinese, I discovered hip hop was a language I understood thoroughly well and seemed far too familiar from a distance. I have an amazing fiancee, Stephen, and a great circle of friends who support what I do and provide me with such inspiration and a strong loving community. I am also the result of a traditional mother and an estranged father who provide me the other half of inspiration. They themselves may not know this but they help shape my interpretation of life in a way people are not a stranger to."

"The differences, growths, struggles, conquers, and failures are all blessings in disguise. I am no skinny quiet Asian female and do not ever intend to be. I am strong and beautiful in what I do and I will never stop. I love hip hop because I am hip hop. I am now under Micaya's Soulforce Dance Company, a hip hop fusion company experimenting with theater, acting, and interpretation; and I'm loving every moment."

the family edition, hilsabeck - Part 1

I met Aline before she had her first baby girl. We were good friends and then she asked me to photograph her first daughter when she was born. She was a sweetie and today she looks at the printed album and reminds her Mom that it's her in all the pictures, super sweet!  Aline gave birth to her second daughter and asked me back for another family photo session.  We collaborated and decided to do some editorial images. So here is Part 1! 

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Renegades and crafts = Renegade Craft Fair (and me)

It's the coolest when you show up at a fair, meet people who are amazing and then get picked up by a rad newsletter. Yep, I just said rad. Thanks Renegade Craft Fair for picking me up and including me on your newsletter. I feel warm and fuzzy! Thank you Christopher and Keir!

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Christopher and Keir are fun and fabulous and so is their tea. I got to work with them at the Renegade Fair and I'm hooked. They have a store at Crocker Gallery, highly recommend you go in and sip up. ;) http://www.t-wetea.com/

Christopher and Keir are fun and fabulous and so is their tea. I got to work with them at the Renegade Fair and I'm hooked. They have a store at Crocker Gallery, highly recommend you go in and sip up. ;) http://www.t-wetea.com/

jess epstein photography
jess epstein photography

Jen Biesty is Spot-On!

Stephanie from SpotOn events outdid herself at this event with Jen Biesty of Shakewell

Jen Biesty was on Top Chef Season 4 in Chicago and competed against Bobby Flay in March of this year.  She opened Shakewell in Oakland earlier this year and is an absolute force to be reckoned with. She was hired specifically for this event and she prepared seasonal dishes with paired wines from Wine Meats Cheese.  Each dish was meticulously plated and served to each guest. 

It is such a great opportunity to work with people like Stephanie, from SpotOn Events and such an incredible chef such as Jen Biesty. Jen was spot-on! These are my favorites from the evening. 

Thank you both so much for having me as part of this amazing celebration. 

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I had to include this because it's just so fun!! 

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