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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rest in Peace, Amy Winehouse (27)

Yesterday morning, I was very saddened to find out that English singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse joined the 27 club.

Winehouse's 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the "Big Four": Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. (Wikipedia)

I used to listen to many of her songs, and I still do. I have always believed that she had a great voice and that her music is meaningful. Amy Winehouse was very talented, and her voice was powerful.

In the last few years of her life, Amy suffered a lot of health problems, both physical and mental. Whenever I read about her troubles, I was always hoping that she would recover.

So, in her memory, I want to share with you three of my favorite songs by her.

Above: Music video by Amy Winehouse performing "Tears Dry On Their Own"

Above: Music video by Amy Winehouse performing "You Know I'm No Good".
This song makes me nostalgic because I used to listen to it very often when I was 15.

Above: Music video by Amy Winehouse performing "Rehab"

Amy, you will be greatly missed by your fans.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

**GIVEAWAY! Free Custom-Made Swimsuit by Laura Ashton of Haute Pink Designs

Hey ladies!

I am thrilled to announce that I have partnered with talented Victoria fashion designer Laura Ashton of Haute Pink Designs to bring you this giveaway. You have a chance to win a custom-made swimsuit by Laura Ashton, which is valued at over $100.

Enter the giveaway between now and September 1 for your chance to win!

Here is how you enter:

1. Follow this blog (if you want to receive updates on future giveaways)

2. Send your name and email address to with "Swimsuit Giveaway" in the subject

3. Share this with your friends, so that they can enter too! (Sharing can actually help you increase your chances) :)
Good luck!! :)
*Other Terms & Conditions That Apply*
Must have over 100 entries or giveaway is void

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Favorite 10 Inspiring Success Quotes for the Month of July

Starting this month...I've decided to bring something new to AH Life & Style. I want to share with you quotes that inspire me, and help me get through days when I feel disappointed in something.

Doesn't everyone sometimes feel disappointed in something?

Sometimes, all you need is an inspirational message/quote from someone you admire in order to get yourself re-fired up.

So, without further are my July Quote Picks and why I chose them:

1. Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. ~David Frost
WHY? I am a big believer in doing what you love and have a huge passion for. When you're doing what you feel is great for YOU, you will keep trying, and eventually, if you stick at it long enough, you will be one of the best at it. When you're one of the best at it, don't you think you've succeeded?

2. There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way. ~Christopher Morley

WHY? Well, if you're not living life on your own terms...then whose life are you living? The best reward for succeeding at something is that you can keep doing what you want and have the freedom to choose what you would like to do and when. In other words, if you are rich/wealthy, but you have to work 80 hours a week at a job you hate, is the money really worth it for you?

3. Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success. ~Dale Carnegie
WHY? Your enthusiasm shows passion to people around you. Then, if you have a good idea of where you want to go, you will be more able to make a plan and try to follow it. As you're following your plan, you must be persistent because there will be roadblocks that you will have to take care of before you arrive at your destination. Also, it is enthusiasm that will help you break through those roadblocks.

4. Eighty percent of success is showing up. ~Woody Allen

WHY? I think that this one especially applies to modeling and just general business sense. You can only miss an appointment or flake so many times before people mark you as "unreliable" and will never give you anymore chances. I knew a girl who flaked 3 times on one of the top glamour/fitness/fashion photographers in Canada, until eventually he has had enough and said "Well, I guess that's it, then. Good luck". Talk about a bad business move...

5. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill
WHY? When you are pursuing something, you will encounter many roadblocks as well as sometimes take paths that take you in the wrong direction. It's very important to remain positive because the more you fail, the closer you are to success (whatever that may be for you).

6. There is no point at which you can say, "Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap." ~Carrie Fisher
WHY? I think that the achievement of one goal is the starting point for another.
7. Sometimes in life you don't always feel like a winner, but that doesn't mean you're not a winner. ~Lady Gaga
WHY? Everyone occasionally goes through times when they are disappointed that their hard work did not yield the desired results they are looking for. That's OK, because often along the way they don't realize the value of the experience, which can one day make a difference between winning and losing.
8. Whenever I hear, 'It can't be done,' I know I'm close to success. ~Michael Flatley
WHY? There are always people around who will say "that's impossible" or "that can't be done" but what's important is that you have a vision and you are on a mission to make that vision come true.
9. Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.~ Thomas A. Edison
WHY? There is always the "what if factor"... as in..."what if after having 999 doors slammed in your face, the 1000th will open and all the 999 times times of rejection/failure will be worth the whatever it is that's behind the 1000th door?" If you quit after failure #999, then you will never experience the success that awaits you behind door 1000. Then you really have failed not because you were rejected, but because you quit.
10. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you've failed by default. ~J.K. Rowling
WHY? Nothing risked, nothing gained. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. If you are too afraid of risk and failure, you will never ever find out what you are capable of and how far you can go.


(Oh, I'm sure that when I go through these 10 years from now, I will have a completely different reason why I chose these right now)

What are some inspirational quotes that you like?

Your online friend,
Aviva =)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Photo of Me Wins Daily Deviation on Deviant Art :)

Do you recall my collaboration with Eriko Y., Nightshade Beauty (Kat), and Shimon Karmel for Eriko's entry into Contessa Awards 2010?

It did not win Contessa, but it did win Daily Deviation on DeviantArt, it has now been added to 600+ "favorites" lists by other DeviantArt members, and received over 10,000 views on Kat's (NightshadeBeauty) portfolio on DeviantArt in a very short period of time.

I was thrilled to hear that this is Kat's 2nd time winning Daily Deviation for her outstanding make-up and bodypaint work. She is an all-round artist, and is definitely one of my favorite make-up artists to work with. When it comes to art, Kat puts her passion into everything she does.

Although we did not win Contessa, I believe that everyone who took part in the shoot put in a lot of work into making this a successful collaboration. In my honest definition, a successful photographic collaboration is one that results in images that are portfolio-worthy for all the people involved in the photoshoot. I feel that we have achieved that, and I am very happy to have been a part of this.

Kudos go out to Kat, Eriko, and Shimon. Wishing you guys all the best!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Differentiation in the World of Modeling

Almost a year ago, I took a marketing class as part of my program, and the subject of "differentiation" came up. Back then, of course, I only thought of it as a vocabulary word, but now I am able to think of the possible ways to apply this concept of "differentiation" to modeling.

So, you're probably thinking..."what the heck is differentiation and why am I speaking about it on a fashion/lifestyle blog?" Differentiation is "the process of making a product/service different from other similar products/services to ensure a greater chance that your target market will choose you over your competitors".

As a model, there are millions of other girls competing with you for the very few modeling jobs that are available. If you are a freelance model, it is even harder, because you have to do your own marketing and networking.

The key question is: how do you differentiate yourself as a model from the millions of other models who want the same thing as you? The answer to that is: "it depends".
Depends on what? Your strengths (look & talent) and the target market. Differentiation helps you position yourself in the market.

As a model, you are the product and the service. So, why YOU?

Here are some ways that you can differentiate yourself as a model:

1. You have a skill that can help you model better. For example, you have extensive years of dance, acting, and gymnastics experience that can help you pose for photos better. There are many photographers and clients who are looking for models that can pull of certain concepts which require such skills/experience, so if you can do that-then you've got something that sets you apart from your competitors.

2. You have access to networks of key people. This is important because when you are suggesting someone to hire you and you know several other talented people that can help the potential "client" execute their vision, they are more likely to choose you.

3. You perform the best in a certain modeling niche. If you are a great glamour model-stick to that. If you can do crazy contortionist poses-do that, and market yourself that way. Pick a few modeling genres that you are most suited for, and build a great portfolio which will prove to your potential clients why they should choose you and why they should rely on you. For example, Mosh, I believe, has done wonderful in this area.

4. Your "rates" are lower and you only compete on price. Some lower budget clients and many new photographers cannot afford to hire very experienced and published models who are represented by agencies and who have amazing talent, so you can certainly try to offer something in between the "TF model" and the "Top Notch Expensive Model" and get paid that way.

5. You can also do make-up, hair, or wardrobe styling, you're a clothing designer, or you're simply full of creative ideas. Some photographers like it when a model can come up with and execute a great concept for which she did all the work, and all the photographer had to do was take the photo. So, if those are the photographers who are within your target market, and you have those kinds of creative skills/abilities, then yes, you should definitely play that up! Your marketing messages would give potential clients the signal that you can do what a whole team can do, and that really does set you apart.

Ultimately, the key to differentiation is finding something you are best at, understanding the degree of demand for it, being unique in your value proposition, and sending those messages out to your target market.

So, how do you differentiate yourself?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

8 Things to Look For in People to Collaborate With

Whether you are a model, photographer, clothing designer, make-up artist, or another creative professional who is looking for people to collaborate on a shoot with, there are a few things that you should look for, which will help make your collaboration produce the results that you want.

Considering that collaboration usually does not involve exchanging cash (since everyone is supposed to get something that benefits their portfolio), who you choose to work with is crucial and will ultimately determine if the time you spent on a shoot was actually worth it for you in the end.

Remember, also, that when you are collaborating, EVERYONE involved has to benefit somehow. Collaboration is a team effort, so the whole team needs to get something out of it. This is not a "take, take and take" relationship-it is a "give and take" relationship.

So, here are a few things that should help you find good people to work with and produce the results that you will all benefit from:

1. If you're looking for people online, check out how the person filled out their profile (on Model Mayhem). If their profile shows that they "don't care about anything at all" or is filled with "negative and defensive talk", chances are they will not be good for you to work with.

2. Look at their portfolio. Their portfolio is very important. Is it approximately of equal to slightly better caliber than yours? If the answer is "yes", then they are worth approaching for collaborations. Also, are they good at the style of shots that you are looking for? If the person whose portfolio you're viewing is a very good nude model and you want to shoot lifestyle/commercial images and she does not have those in her portfolio, then it is best to find someone else to work with.

3. After the initial contact, check to see how well they respond to your messages. Are they prompt, or do they take a week to get back to you? Are they direct when it comes to their goals for the collaboration and what they want out of it?

4. Do the person's/people's goals align with yours? This is very important so that there is no "but I thought we were going to shoot to submit to Vogue vs. I just wanted to test the lights" know what I mean?

5. The previous point (#4) brings me to this one...Are your potential collaborative team members realistic in their expectations? It's one thing to have goals, but it's another to have unrealistic fantasies that can be counterproductive and disappointing. Believe me, I'm all for dreaming, but there is a line between a dream and a goal (though they are not mutually exclusive by any means).

6. Is the person saying negative things about other people? The reason why this is important is because I don't think that you should work with someone who puts down others. I mean, if they put down others, what if they do the same to you when you're not around and when you do something that they don't "like"? It's best to avoid negative people like that all together.

7. Do they have drama? If they have too much drama that they are constantly complaining about, then they are not going to be fun to work with.

8. Check references. Find out if the potential members of your creative teams are flakes or not. You are putting a lot of energy into making a good shoot happen, so make sure that other people are on the same page with you when it comes to flaking.

What do you think? Have you used any of the above? Were they helpful to you? What other things do you look for when searching for people to collaborate with?

:-) Aviva

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Iman by Markus Klinko & Indrani

Today, while browsing around on Facebook, I couldn't help but notice Markus & Indrani's latest creation in my news feed: this photo of Iman for the London Times Magazine (July 2011). It was styled by GK Reid, who I think is, and has always been, a great addition to their team of photographic excellence.

The colours of this photo are perfect. They all go so well together. Everything from the hair to the make-up, to the wardrobe and lighting is amazing in this photo. Her dress is very beautiful and elegant, not to mention that it showcases her figure in great light.

Want to see more great stuff?
~Visit Markus & Indrani's WEBSITE
~Become their fan on Facebook
~Follow Markus on Twitter
~Follow Indrani on Twitter

**Yes, this image was posted here with Markus Klinko's permission**

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fish Hair Salon, Victoria BC: Review

Today's post will be about my personal experience as a customer at Fish Hair Salon in Victoria, BC on 1227 Broad Street.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to get my hair done on short notice because a very important trade show modeling job came up. I got very excited about it, so I called all the different hair salons in Victoria asking for appointment times and price ranges, but none of them had times that suited my schedule.

Then, a friend of mine recommended that I go to Fish Hair Salon to get my trim and colour done. I have never been in the place before, so I called Fish Hair Salon, and I was SO happy to be able to book an appointment that same day. I had a bunch of meetings, appointments and interviews that I had to attend that week, so being able to fit a "hair improvement day" in the midst of all that was a coup (OK, maybe not quite a coup, but you know what I mean). :)

When I got there, I was greeted by a very friendly receptionist. I waited for a few minutes, and then the hairstylist, Billie, approached me. My hairstylist was great! She was very knowledgeable about how to do hair, and she really understood what it is that I was looking for. Also, while I was waiting for my colour to set, I was given a complementary hand massage with a lavender lotion. She also served me iced tea, which tasted great and helped me quench my thirst. Additionally, she's a great conversationalist and made me feel very comfortable.

The atmosphere in the place is good too. Basically, I got "good vibes" when I was there.

As for results-excellent! I was very happy with the colouring job and the trim. Also, the person who hired me for the trade show was like "WOW! I LOVE WHAT YOU DID TO YOUR HAIR!". So, it is not just me :)

I don't have any hesitation about recommending Billie as a stylist or Fish Hair Salon to you.

I really hope you found this review helpful in your hair salon decision. If you have been there, what was your experience like?


PS...Fish Hair Salon also uses high quality Bumble and bumble hair products.
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