Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Thoughtful Note

We love what we do - every day! And some days, even more! Here's a note we received this morning. What a great way to start the day. If you're curious, here are the Quicktime and Windows Media versions of the movie trailer of Melissa and Paul's wedding.

We are still in touch with most of our precious brides and grooms for just this reason. As the years pass, the wedding movie we produced for them becomes more valuable. We remember and cherish each couple and are thrilled when they drop us a note about their lives. Thank YOU Melissa and Paul. 

"Dear Chuck and Jewel,
Paul and I just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.  Time has flown and life has changed in many wonderful ways.  We still treasure the wedding movie you made for us.  Of all the many expenses of a wedding, asking you to make a wedding video for us has been the best investment.   You've allowed us to experience that wonderful day over and over again.
We have moved to southern California and have 2 little girls.  Catherine is 2.5 years old and Sarah Jane is 8 months.  We couldn't be happier.  Catherine just watched our video for the first time and she loved every moment of our fairytale, especially when Daddy puts his tie on!

With many thanks,
Melissa & Paul"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jackson's Smile

Why is it that the most successful people are often the most caring? 

My friend, the talented photographer Lisa Lefkowitz, told me that she is participating in a wonderful online sale of some of her fine art photography. The proceeds benefit a precious little boy named Jackson who was born with a rare syndrome, Simpson Golabi Behmel, as well as cleft lip and palate. In his first year, he has had two surgeries and is facing more to address the various anomalies. 

The medical expenses are steep, already totaling over one million dollars. But due to the generosity of many people, Jackson an now eat, drink and smile. Simple gifts we take for granted. Jackson's Smile is a coalition of photographic artists dedicating their time, money and talent to Jackson and others like him a helping hand. 

At Jackson's Smile you can purchase fine art prints. Have a look. Buy a print or two. They start at a very reasonable $35. It will put a smile on your face.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Most Watched You Tube Video - Susan Boyle

Here is the Video of the Week. It is one of the most inspiring performances I've ever seen. Over 70 million people have watched Susan Boyle's performance on You Tube. So, why is it our pick of the week?

1. The content. The performance itself was stunning. From the first note, this singer touched almost every person in the audience.

2. The song. I Dreamed a Dream. Who in this wide world hasn't had a big dream that everyone scoffed at? What would you give to have triumphed in such a public way?

3. The reactions. The video was edited beautifully. The change of heart by the audience and judges was captured very well. It enhanced the video. And our reactions to their reactions amplify the thrill of Susan's triumph.

4. The complete story. Ultimately, this is a story of a person who dreamed a dream, had confidence in herself, but LOOKED like the most unlikely person to pull it off. She LOOKED like she would sing off key or forget the lyrics or do something kooky. The judges and audience weren't just neutral about her. They had active contempt for Susan. They were laughing, hooting and jeering.

But then, a miracle happened. She sang the first note in a pure and truthful way. Instantly the audience and judges changed their minds about her. And when they did, her dream came true. 

Only when you HEAR her performance, SEE her performance and witness the judges' and audience's change in attitude does the miracle occur. The video reveals the whole story. The difference is that in the photograph Susan Boyle is nothing extraordinary. 

In the video she is the personification of all of our inner most dreams come true. She inspires us to find a deeper meaning. To endure harsh critics with dignity and grace. To be vulnerable despite the doubts we hold in our hearts. To challenge superficial biases, prejudice and stereotypes in favor of fairness, courage and humility. This is why Susan Boyle has captured our attention and our hearts. And that's why this is our Video of the Week.

Cute Overload

Every now and again you have to take a moment. I found these on cute overload.  There are many more - all animal related.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

San Francisco International Film Festival Rides Again!

It's that time of year again. Time for the 52nd annual San Francisco Film Festival, starting tonight, Thursday, April 23. Before the last reel is shown on Thursday, May 7, over 150 films from 50 countries will be shown, and Robert Redford and Francis Ford Coppola will receive awards and chat with the crowds.

Rumor has it that there are a lot of must-see films including:

Bluebeard - killing your wives is cheaper than a divorce

Adoration - a teenager blurs the line between fact and fiction when he writes an essay portraying his deceased father as a terrorist

Ferlinghetti - local filmmaker's documentary on San Francisco poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti including interview with Dennis Hopper, Alan Ginsberg and other bohemians

La Mission - filmed in San Francisco in just 26 days, the movie stars Benjamin Bratt of Law & Order fame, directed by his brother Peter Bratt. Both Bratts will be in attendance

The Lost World (hot ticket!) - A silent film accompanied by an original score performed live by Dengue Fever, a Cambodian/American rock, country and African fusion jazz band. Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's sci-fi novel, a group of explorers make the fatal mistake of bringing back a brontosaurus from an exotic locale.

See you at the movies!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monterey Bay Otters and Sea Lions

         Monday was a record-setting scorcher in the Bay Area. You can't do anything about the weather except find a solution. So Chuck and I went kayaking on Monterey Bay.  We traveled several miles along the coast to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was calm, a sunny sky, and just a hint of a cool breeze. Here are a few of our companions.

First, there was the "barbershop quartet of sea lions. Nicely lined up. Nice harmony. Hard to understand the lyrics.

Then, although it's hard to see, there was the mother otter (white) grooming her pup (brown). They looked a little scraggly and in need of a grooming. But they were adorable.

What's amazing is how close they will come to you. They are curious and playful creatures. What a joy to share the planet with them!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Frozen in Time

Today's Video of the Week has been viewed over 16 million times on YouTube. On cue, dozens of people froze in place at Grand Central Station in NYC. It's fun to see and hear people's reactions to this unusual occurrence.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Daily Candy Weddings - New!

What a delight! What a surprise! Daily Candy, one of my favorite blogs, has launched a whole new blog devoted to weddings: Daily Candy Weddings.  In addition to offering a lot of great ideas to inspire you, they have a nice feature called Hitched which gives a few sentences about a real couple. At the end of each couple's story, they mention one piece of advice they learned while planning their wedding. Here are two examples:

"No matter how big or how small the event is, take the time to step outside of it and look in. One of our favorite wedding memories was going up to the balcony overlooking dinner and watching all of our friends and family having a great time together."

"Befriend your vendors. Set the tone of our wedding by being gracious and generous with those who are helping to make your day perfect."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mini Portrait Session

Riddle me this: What's beautiful, is great fun while you're doing it, lasts forever and is a great bargain?

Answer: A mini portrait session with the fantastic and lovely photographer Jessamyn Harris.

Sat, April 25, 
10AM - 6PM

Cast Away Yarn Shop
111 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

--Mini Portrait Session (20 minutes), $40
--Includes a 5x7 print credit and online proofing
--Day-of 10% in-store credit at Cast Away Yarn
--Open to couples, families, children, pets, babies 
--Fun backgrounds and knitting props (if you like)

Now What: 
To book your session, contact the ever-lovely Jessamyn at

Sessions are available on the half-hour. Prefer a special time? Please book in advance.
For More Info:

Oh and one more thing...we KNOW Jessamyn and she is a real pleasure and a very talented photographer (take a look at her portfolios online). If she wasn't your photographer, you'd want her as your friend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Best Easter Ever!

Happy Easter! After you've found all your hidden Easter eggs, come on down to The Tech Museum in San Jose. Today, it's FREE!

The Tech
201 S. Market Street
San Jose
11 AM - 3 PM

We'll be in the lobby where you can win the "Grand Lottery"! What's the "Big Prize"? You can save a life! Here are the rules:

1. C'mon over to the HelpingTami.Org table set up in the lobby at The Tech.
2. Fill out a brief registration form to Enter you into the National Registry for Bone Marrow Donors. WAIT! I know what you're thinking! Please read the next two sentences before you stop reading.
     a. In 70% of the cases, the donation of marrow comes from DONATING BLOOD, not marrow from your hip - no operation, no anaesthesia. 
     b. In 70% of the cases, the donor is NOT A FAMILY MEMBER!

OK, are you still with me? 

3. Swab the inside of your cheek. The samples will be sent in for testing.
4. If you are a match for Tami or for one of the 6,000 others who are waiting, you will be notified and given the chance to "Win Big" and donate some of your precious blood to save a life.

Have a safe and peaceful Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Extraordinary Life

What would happen if you lived the life you dream of? How do you get there from where you are? Today's Video of the Week may answer these quesetions.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sex, Lies and Photoshop

How many of the images we see in magazines and everyday life have been altered? Virtually all of them. Why does this matter? Because altered images effect our idea of beauty. It negatively impacts girls' and boys' self esteem because perfect beauty can only be achieved with an airbrush. 

When viewing a work of art that is clearly labeled as art. We can separate fiction from reality. But advertisements with models that have been photo-shopped 20 to 30 times are presented as real. They are an impossible standard of beauty that prompts the filmmaker to ask, "If not even the models themselves can really measure up to their own images, what does it mean?" 

What can be done about it? In France new laws are being proposed to make it illegal to promote negative body image and eating disorders. They propose to ban websites, censor media and force magazines to disclose the extent to which their images have been retouched. Watch this 4 1/2 minute piece which appeared in the New York Times on March 10. It is powerful. 

Oh, and by the way, the photo of Chuck and me on the upper right of this page is retouched.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I have a friend, Stacie. 
Stacie has a cousin, Tami. That's Tami in the picture. Cute!
Tami is very sick with pre-leukemia and needs your help.

Let me just say, before Stacie told me about Tami I didn't know much about marrow donations. Here are two myths that I found weren't true:

MYTH 1: Donations come from family members.
TRUTH: 70% of donations come from unrelated people!

MYTH 2: You have to undergo surgery to harvest the marrow from your hip if you are a donor.
TRUTH: 70% of marrow donations are extracted from your blood. So, it's like donating blood. And when they take the parts of the blood they need, they return the rest to you!

This weekend there will be a marrow donor drive at the Tech Museum
Sunday, April 12
11 AM - 3 PM
201 S. Market St
San Jose, CA

And here's a bonus: the Tech has FREE ADMISSION on Sunday, April 12. 

It only takes 10 minutes. All you have to do is:
1. Complete a brief health questionnaire
2. Sign a consent form to have your tissue type listed on the registry
3. Swab the inside of your mouth with a  Q-tip, and the sample will be sent to the National Marrow Donor Program.
4. Tami's tissue type will be compared to yours. If your sample isn't a match, your information will remain in the registry until your 61st birthday with the hope you will be able to save the life of another person in need.
5. The test kits are free to anyone of any minority group or of mixed ethnicity. There is normally a cost of $52 for tissue typing of Caucasians. Thanks to a federal grant, the fee at the Tech on April 12 is reduced to just $25. And it's tax deductible!

So, c'mon out, bring your friends and if you want to volunteer, let Stacie know! For more information and 10 more ways to help, please visit

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bridal Canvas

You're smart, sophisticated, have good taste and know what you want. All you need is the tool to collect all those great ideas you've seen on Style Me Pretty, Snippet & Ink, Melissa's Smitten and other great wedding blogs and create your own inspiration board. Fast and easy. Now you've found it. Introducing Bridal Canvas.

This website steps you through how to save your favorite elements - decor, apparel, flowers, food, colors, and combine them into a pleasing whole on a "canvas". Hey arts & crafts hasn't been this fun since the 4th grade!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Stand By Me

This little Video of the Week reminds us we are more alike than we are different and that we are all connected no matter where in the world we are.

Stand By Me from David Johnson on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sonoma Film Festival

Looking for something to do this weekend that's fun and a little different? Go to the Sonoma International Film Festival known for the intimate and luxurious extended weekend of great food, fine wine, and film from around the world. 

The Festival, acclaimed as a "sun-drenched, wine-soaked cinematic magic carpet ride!" (IFC News), invites guests to enjoy some of the year's best new independent films, specialty events, luxurious parties, wine and food pairings - and casual mingling with top filmmakers and celebrities from around the world. Who knows who you might run into? There are still tickets to the Bruce Willis Tribute Gala at the Jacuzzi Winery on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Colors 2009

You're a trend setter, not a trend follower. So what colors do you choose for your bridesmaids' dresses? Here are a few of the 10 colors that Priscilla of Boston is featuring this year. Not coincidentally they showed up on the Spring 2009 Pantone palette, the world authority on all things to do with color.