Finally, It’s Up!

Some of my sold fused art creations

As some of you may know, I have a creative side. For many years I’ve dabbled in craft and art projects, from card making, jewelry, costumes, to fused glass creations. I love figuring out how to make things that are functional art. Then I’d give them away as gifts to friends and family and occasionally sell at craft fairs, which lead to people asking, “Do you have an Etsy online shop so I can tell my friends about you and they can buy something?” And the answer was always, “No, I haven’t had time to get that done yet.” It’s that cobbler shoe story, the one where the cobblers own family has no shoes because he’s so busy making shoes for everyone else. Well I get so busy helping my clients with their web sites and social media, that relaxing time for me is making arts and crafts, not sitting in front of my computer working on my own sites (or writing blogs about it, for that matter). But the creations are piling up so I had to just get it done!

My photo booth

Part of what held me back from making an Etsy site, was I felt like I needed to be a semi-pro photographer to showcase my creations. The fused glass is especially hard to photograph to show the true colors and shape. But thanks to Pinterest (my guilty pleasure) and all the do-it-yourself ideas listed there, I made a simple, fold up white photo booth, which sits on my dinning room table during photo shoots. Now I can take decent pictures with my iPhone and iPad that give a pretty close representation of what I’ve created.

No More Excuses

No more excuses were in my way of not getting this Etsy shop done! I took a weekend (during one of our northern California flooding events this winter, when going outside anywhere was pointless) and created my shop. As I started filling the blanks in the various Etsy templates, looking at other successful Etsy shops for examples, I realized how detailed it had all become. The in-depth descriptions of each product and the artist too (should you care to read about us), many categories, key words, searchable descriptions, shipping info and the option to add multiple photos (the better to see all angles of an item, which is very nice), the option to pay to promote your products (like Google Adwords), all made me feel like I was creating a WordPress web site for a client. Otherwise I felt right at home and was putting the things I do for others to work for myself.

So now its done and I continue to add creations I’ve made. I try to do something with my new shop everyday, whether it’s photographing stuff and adding them to the shop or self-promoting it on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. I’ve sold a couple of things too, so it’s working!

Click here to check it out!

*Etsy.com has been known for many years as the online place to buy and sell all things handmade and many could be custom ordered.  Now Etsy is allowing things that aren’t all handmade to be sold on their site.

New Year ~ Positive Changes

Steampunk goggles

Steampunk Goggles

I welcome the New Year of 2017!

Cheers! This new year is going to be better than last year. I’m putting those positive thoughts out there in the universe.

I’ve renamed my business – Mindful Confetti Solutions Inc. It’s a bigger umbrella to cover the multiple hats that I wear. I’m joining new groups, meeting new people and having fun making new friends. I’m walking in nature more, eating better and finding things to do that make me happy…basically taking care of myself. My arts and crafts have become more important to me because it’s gives me such pleasure to do them. To find people who like my stuff as much as I do is a huge bonus for me. It makes me happy to help people, whether it’s through some sort of business support or creating something that makes them feel good. Really most of what I do, even in the business end of things, is being creative; from creating newsletters for other businesses, writing articles, helping build and maintain websites, to helping people get healthier. To find something I enjoy doing and make a living at it – is all good!

How I Survive Grief

craigkim

Good times -RIP Craig

Everyone is unique and deals with the loss of a loved one differently. For me, the hardest part is when my mind runs wild with all the “what if’s,” especially at night. I’ve found that keeping my mind busy either with work, reading entertaining books or watching shows on Netflix (no commercials), until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, helps me not go down that depressing path. Ending my night with something positive or funny is always good too. Being creative also brings me peace. As long as I’m concentrating on something, I’m not dwelling on the past or feeling sorry for myself.

I try to write my feelings down sometimes, just so that I can get the feelings out. Many times I go back and delete it later but that is me. Just writing it and trying to put what I feel into words is cathartic. When something triggers a memory and the tears start to flow, I let them come. As the grief washes over me, I know that it is only for that moment. Then I dry my tears and get up to do something else.

I try to find happiness around me in the small things…

Someone’s smile
A child’s laugh
Kindness from a stranger
The amazingness of nature
Watch a hummingbird fly (they are so fierce yet so fragile)
A hug from a friend
A song that makes me want to dance or sing along
Something that makes me laugh
Doing something for someone else that makes them smile
Driving anywhere with the music turned up really loud
Talking to people

There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. I think of the millions of people who have lived through horrible loss and somehow they manage, until it’s their turn to leave this world. This isn’t my first loss and I’m sure it won’t be the last either. I can survive. I also hope that something good can come out of something bad. Maybe my loss can help others someway. All I know is I will never forget the good or bad times or the friendship and love we had, as it is part of who I am now.

 

Winter Storm

I have been temporarily staying in North Carolina and experienced my first ice storm. The trees surrounding the house looked so beautiful coated with ice. When the light hit them at different times of the day, they looked like glass trees. I tried to get a few decent pictures but nothing that I could take with my iPhone did the beauty of it any justice. But I managed to get a few decent pictures and then decided to mess with the slideshow feature on my computer to see what I could create. Pro photographer or video editor I am not. There are features, programs and many other aspects of technology that I never use as it has little to do with my current work. This is in the category of things I want to learn how to do better “someday.” So to all you people out there who are pros at this, don’t laugh. For those who have no clue how to do any of this and I seem light years ahead of you…enjoy! This has been a fun learning experience.

Guys and Dolls

Guys and DollsReview:
Guys & Dolls, the 1950 hit Broadway musical full of gangsters, gamblers and “dolls,” has seen many revivals over the last sixty something years, along with a hit movie in 1955 starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. The Spreckels Theatre Company and director Gene Abravaya have created another fun, fast-moving, finger snapping adaptations of this classic musical. The wonderful cast sing and dance their way through the two-hour show accompanied by a live orchestra and before you know it, you’re humming the show tunes on the way out to your car.

Guys and DollsTim Setzer as Nathan Detroit, Denise Elia-Yen as Miss Adelaide and Anthony Martinez as Sky Masterson are all strong leads with great stage presence that truly made this show a pleasure to watch. There are many other characters in this production that have their moment in the sun with their own solos and duets in song and dance. The group ensemble dance and musical numbers are some of the best, with Luck Be a Lady and Sit Down, Your Rockin’ the Boat as crowd favorites.

Guys and Dolls

This is a family friendly Musical Fable about Broadway with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows.

Guys and Dolls is playing at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park. October 10-26, 2014.

For tickets and more information, click here

Photos by Eric Chazankin

Tickets provided in exchange for review

Catch Me If You Can, The Musical

Opening night at Catch Me If You Can, The Musical was a fun and romantic night for the whole audience. What happened after the curtain call provided the romance but I’ll get to that later.

10268407_632961293441264_6431982098452584014_nDirected by Gene Abravaya, this Spreckels Theatre production stars Zack Howard, a relative newcomer to the acting stage, although apparently not a newcomer to singing or performing. Zack plays the young con artist and check forger, Frank Abagnale, Jr. Zack has a wonderful voice and confident stage presence. David Yen did a great job as FBI agent Carl Hanratty and several of the songs he sang with Zack and Garet Waterhouse, who played Frank Abagnale, Sr., seemed to be crowd favorites. That was until the second act when Kelly 10306393_632962863441107_4389878122253809944_nBrandeburg, who plays Wendy Strong, the fiancé to Frank Jr, wowed everyone with a spectacular number called “Goodbye.” She almost stole the show! Many lively song and dance numbers from the cast kept the play moving along at a fast pace. The audience was on their feet at the end with applause!

Something happened after the curtain call that will not be repeated after any other show, but it should be mentioned here because it was done so well. The star, Zack Howard, asked the audience to stay for something special. He had his girlfriend escorted up on the stage and proceeded to re-sing the plays opening song, “Live In Living Color” which he’d changed some of the words to. The whole cast sang and danced along with him. He then got down on one knee and proposed. Of course she said yes. Very romantic on a large scale. Congrats to Zack and Lauren!

History: Based off of semi autobiographical story, most people became familiar with Frank Abagnale, Jr. in 2002 when Stephen Spielberg’s hit movie Catch Me If You Can, starring Lionardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, came out. Catch Me If You Can, The Musical became an award winning a Broadway Musical in 2011.

Catch Me If You Can is playing May 9-25, for tickets to to Spreckels Performing Arts Center

Photos by Eric Chazankin

Tickets provided in exchange for review

Annie Get Your Gun

Annie Get Your Gun Annie Get Your Gun Annie Get Your Gun Annie Get Your GunPlay Review: Annie Get Your Gun

Did you know the song, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” was written by Irving Berlin for the Broadway musical  Annie Get Your Gun? This musical is considered Irving Berlin’s greatest achievement in theater, with more hit songs from one show than any other Broadway musical.

The Spreckels Theatre Company presents Annie Get Your Gun, the fictionalized story of the real life Annie Oakley who was a famous sharpshooter. She toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800’s, becoming the first American female superstar.

The updated version of this musical is full of talent. The two main leads, Denise Elia-Yen as Annie Oakley and Zachary Hasbany as Frank Butler, who is Annie’s sharpshooting rival and love interest, shine with their performances, along with a supporting cast of actors who’s names routinely pop up in the local North Bay theatrical scene such as Tim Setzer, Anthony Guzman, Brittany Law, Dan Monez, and Dwayne Stincelli. Put them all together with dance choreographer Michella Snider (who performs a fun tap dance number with Joseph Favalora) as well as an ensemble cast of other talented actor/singer/dancers and you have another hit show!

Artistic director Gene Abravaya turned over the directing reins this time to Sheri Lee Miller, a well respected North Bay actor and director. This was her first time directing a play at the Spreckles Center and using the huge stage, live orchestra, fun costumes and creative sets, she delivers a top-notch theatrical performance.

Spreckels Theatre Company in Rohnert Park presents Irving Berlin’s
Annie Get Your Gun
Playing only two weeks, February 14-23, 2014.

Adaption by Peter Stone
Directed by Sheri Lee Miller
Music Directions by Janis Wilson
Choreography by Michella Snider
Costume Design by Pamela Enz
Photography by Eric Chazankin

Tickets provided in exchange for review

Scrooge: Play Review

by Eric Chazankin

Scrooge, photos by Eric Chazankin

This is a review of  Scrooge The Musical which is currently playing at the Spreckels Theater in Rohnert Park,  directed by Gene Abravaya and starring Tim Setzer along with a full cast of talented actors. This play is based on the Charles Dickens story,  A Christmas Carol.

I loved the play, which kept everyone entertained at a fast clip throughout. This theatrical performance is listed as an “E-Ticket” experience, which is derived from Disneyland’s pre 1982 ticketing system that referred to rides rated “E for unusually interesting or thrilling.” That completely describes this play. It is performed in a smaller theater with an maximum audience of 98 who are sitting on bleachers set up on two sides of the room.  Most of the performance is taking place on the floor in front of the by Eric Chazankinaudience, as they look down upon the scene. Some of the actors get up close and personal with the audience as they are at eye level with the first row of seated viewers. There is a minimal stage with various props that fit into it and two huge walls which are the background.  Scene changes and “special effects,” including some ghosts, come from 5 projectors on the ceiling.

Tim Setzer, starring as Scrooge, puts on a spectacular performance and carried the play. He has a great stage presence and wonderful singing voice, creating many haunting harmonies with his fellow actors. This is the 3rd play I’ve seen with Tim Setzer as the star and while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all, this one is my new my favorite. Do you want to by Eric Chazankinget in the Christmas spirit? Go see this play and take the family with you!

(suitable for 10 and up or those who can sit quietly for 2 hours)

For more information or tickets, see Scrooge The Musical at Spreckels Theatre Company Nov 29- Dec 22

Tickets provided in exchange for review

Homeopathy as a Complementary Medicine

LavenderGuest blogger Faith Franz with The Mesothelioma Center

Before conventional medicines existed, people used plant-based medicines to address their various ailments. As science began producing more advanced therapies and chemical-based drugs, patients began moving away from herbal and botanical therapies.

Over the last 20 years, however, homeopathic remedies have experienced resurgence as part of integrative medicine. Research continually shows that complementary therapies may increase the body’s response to traditional treatments. Studies also show that they can help manage some of the side effects of allopathic medicines. As a result, modern patients are more frequently exploring homeopathy in conjunction with other clinical therapies.

Homeopathy as a Complement to Traditional Oncology

For cancer patients especially, complementary homeopathy can have wide-reaching effects.

After traditional therapies such as surgery and radiation therapy, patients may experience a number of severe side effects. These include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. Many patients turn to homeopathic solutions to control these side effects. Some of the most common homeopathic remedies for these conditions include:

  • Nux vomica
  • Silica
  • Kali Hydroicum

Additionally, homeopathy can directly impact certain cancer-related symptoms, such as pain and anxiety.

Immune-modulating botanicals can also be diluted into homeopathic solutions. These herbs and plants can help boost the patient’s immune system and activate its own natural healing mechanisms.

While chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy induce necrosis (cancerous cell death induced by an external factor), homeopathic botanical solutions work to induce apoptosis. This natural cell death puts healthy cells in less danger.

Because these plant-based cancer therapies hold so much promise, The National Institutes of Health provides funds to six different research centers in the United States. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is just one of the renowned hospitals that conducts research on these immune-modulating botanicals.

Homeopaths choose remedies for their patient based on their overall condition – not just one specific ailment. This approach is much different than the approach taken by many traditional oncologists, whose primary goal is to quickly get rid of each symptom. To ensure that homeopathic medicine and traditional medicine are integrated as smoothly as possible, patients are encouraged to work with a multidisciplinary treatment team.

Integrative oncology programs often combine homeopathy with several other aspects of holistic treatment, such as nutrition therapy and supplementation. Many patients rely on several complementary therapies in addition to their standard treatment. Because these therapies are unlikely to cause adverse side effects or negative interactions, patients can safely integrate a combination of complementary therapies.

Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.

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Heather Von St. James Story of Hope

From Guest Blogger David Haas for MCA

David recently sent me a message asking me to help share this new video. They have been working really hard for quite some time at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance on this project. David’s friend Heather Von St. James, a seven-year mesothelioma cancer survivor, participated in a short video about her journey through her cancer experience. It is a truly inspirational story that he hopes will further their mission to spread hope and awareness to those who need it. This is Heather’s story.

www.mesothelioma.com/heather.

Heather Von St.James video from MCA

Heather Von St.James video