Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Finally... the photos!

Below is a sampling of photos that were taken during the Kari Feinstein Style Lounge at Sundance Film Festival. Sure was fun to mingle among the rich and famous!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last(ing) Impressions

I arrived safely in Portland yesterday and am adjusting to life in the Northwest – green, cold, and not a celebrity in sight!

I had a wonderful experience at Sundance and wanted to add a collection of thoughts and impressions as I reflect back on this last week.

• Salt Lake City and its surrounds has some of the friendliest people I've met anywhere, yet they definitely rival LA and NY when it comes to their attitude on the road!

• The snow and mountains are absolutely beautiful, especially when the sun is out – definitely worth braving the single-digit temperatures.

• The more famous people become, the more down to earth and approachable they are – at least, in our experience.

• Being a blogger is quite a lot of work – even when you get to write under the watchful eyes of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe!

• No matter how creative and comprehensive a marketing campaign, it won't be successful if the product doesn't measure up.

Case in point: ChaCha had people everywhere promoting their free info service - text your question to 242242 and you'll receive your answer right on your mobile phone/blackberry. I even woke up one morning to their marketing message scribbled on the snowy windshield of a car in the parking lot!

Well, here's what we experienced when using their service:
My question: "Where is the nearest mailbox to the library theatre?"
After half an hour, their answer: "There is a post office located at: 1809 Riverchase Dr Birmingham, AL 35244-1027"

Hmm... None of the Park City ChaCha promoters had mentioned that this wasn't a localized service. Not to worry, two minutes later this message arrived (without a prompt from me): "There's a US Post Office at 450 Main St. in Park City, UT 84060 (It's 0.7 miles SE of Library Theatre)"

Great, very helpful and right on target in terms of location! However, I already knew that and was really just looking for the nearest mailbox to mail my postcards. My reply: "But what about just a mailbox?"

A little while later I received this answer: "In order to find the nearest mailbox, it is necessary to give your location. Normally though, most residential homes have them." Gee, really, houses have mailboxes?

So, while great in concept and certainly effective in their marketing, ChaCha has a few kinks left to work out. But it certainly made for an entertaining exchange of text messages – plus, I totally fit in with the crowds, who all had a phone or blackberry glued to their hands or ears.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sundance Film Festival

After wrapping up the Style Lounge, we finally had a day off to enjoy what Sundance Film Festival is known for: movies! We got up early and took a shuttle to the box office to see if there were any tickets left for some of the movies Todd scoped out. Sure enough, we scored tickets for an afternoon screening of “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” and the world premiere of “Black List” in the evening.

“Bigger, Stronger, Faster” was a very entertaining documentary shot from a very personal point of view exploring the pros and cons of steroid use. As the official Sundance Film Guide writes, “Director Christopher Bell explores America’s win-at-all-cost philosphy by examining the way his two brothers became members of the steroid subculture in an effort to realize their American dream..” Definitely worth seeing if it finds its way near you!

“Black List” was a wonderfully shot documentary where 20 influential African-Americans were interviewed about their “individual experiences and viewpoints in regard to societal, familial and personal identity” (Sundance Film Guide) . The editing was amazing, as were the poignant statements each of the 20 subjects left the audience to ponder. The portrait-style cinematography was extremely powerful – a credit to director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, traditionally a still-photographer who is well-known for his elegant portraiture. As a graphic designer, I especially loved the use of typography during the introduction and chapter segments of the film – simple, sans serif type set translucently over extreme closeups or solid fields of color. Gorgeous!

Interesting side note: both of these movies were shown inside the city’s library in an auditorium that seated over 400. It was great to see so many people flocking to the library, and yes, lots of people found their way into the actual library inbetween movies to catch up on email or do some casual reading!

Interesting factoid: 3,624 features and 5,107 shorts were submitted to this year’s Sundance Film Festival! Out of all these submissions (a record number!), only 122 features and 84 shorts were selected to be screened at the Festival .

After all the celebrity and media hype of the last four days, it was great to be able to experience what Sundance is actually about – great film-making. We can’t wait to come back!

Celebrity Sightings

While out and about, we noticed that many visitors had cameras slung around their necks – typical tourists, I thought. But once I started looking at all the faces around me, I realized that all these people just wanted to be at the ready to snap a shot of whichever celebrity happened to be near them at the time! The local evening news was even asking for submissions of celeb sightings, airing photos shot by everyday people – thus encouraging the photo frenzie surrounding the celebs.

While we did not take part of the point-and-shoot mentality (at least not when it came to celebs), we did see our share of stars walking up to the ski lifts, enjoying their lunch or just strolling down Main Street. Ben Kingsley looked majestic in a full-length black leather-and-fur coat as he swept up the stairs to a restaurant while Anjelica Huston and her entourage took over most of the sidewalk as she made her way up Main Street. Quentin Tarantino graciously signed authographs outside the Library Theater before being whisked away by his handlers.

And most excitingly, Todd was in line to order with Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy at the Main Street Pizza and Noodles. I was glad to see that during the half hour we shared this public space with them, only once did a fan walk up and ask for an autograph! The two of them sat at a table smack-dab in the middle of the restaurant and were joined by Kate Blumberg. As much as I wanted to run up and ask for a photo, I was able to restrain myself and settled for stealing occasional glances – they were only two tables away! (btw, they ordered a grilled chicken salad – I know you guys were all wondering what movie stars eat, right?)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day Four...the final day.

Well, the final day of the Style Lounge proved quite exciting in terms of the celebrities who stopped by!

One of the first people through the door was Dennis Quaid with his lovely wife Kimberly Buffington, who really liked the robin’s egg Card File.

Now, I must admit that when Felicity Huffman walked in, I was quite star struck! “Desperate Housewives” is one of my favorite shows and I was a bit in awe to see her up close and personal. She’s gorgeous, even when dressed down in comfy pants and dapper cap. When I showed her Cecily Ink’s greeting cards with matching postage stamps, she said “That’s such a great idea!”

Shiloh Fernandez (from "Jericho" among others) totally agreed: “Very cool!” When asked to pick out some postage stamp cards to take home, he chose these four as his favorites: Miss You, With Love, Happy Birthday, and Thank You.

John Legend
stopped by with his entourage and hung out for quite a while. His favorite Cecily Ink product was the chartreuse Card File while Lauren Graham (she’s so cute in Gilmore Girls!) walked out with a pumpkin Card File. Adam Scott was a pleasure to talk with as he picked out a calendar and a thank you with postage stamp and Jon Foster really liked the calendar, too.

Meeting James Eckhouse made me flash back to my college days – to me, he’ll always be the dad on “90210.” And John Robinson of “The Transformers” was kind enough to pose for a photo after he decided he couldn’t leave without taking home a calendar.

Some of the people we met who have movies showing at Sundance right now include Jay Taylor (stars in “Donkey Punch”), Amos Poe (wrote the film “The Guitar”), and Pamela Cuming (writer/producer of “Downloading Nancy").

Other folks who dropped in at the Style Lounge included Anjelica Huston, Colin Firth, Saffron Burrows, William H. Macy, and Matthew Perry.

Brooke Mueller (Charlie Sheen's fiancé) loved the postage stamp idea and said “these are beautiful” as she looked through all the designs to pick her favorite (the robin’s egg blue and chocolate Happy Birthday card, in case you’re wondering).

The highlight of my day was being interviewed by VH1 – on camera no less! I hardly had time to compose my thoughts (let alone check my hair or makeup!) but I think I managed to sound coherent. They couldn’t tell me when/if the segment would air so I guess I’ll need to invest in a Tivo and record 24-7!

The Style Lounge wrapped up at the end of the day with a quick flurry of product trades and exchange of business cards among the sponsors. I felt almost like a celebrity, walking out of there with a Kari Feinstein swag bag that was filled with a pair of Reebok running shoes, an Axis razor, a yummy candle, a cool Marnie Rocks umbrella and, of course, a fuzzy Tundra Gear hat.

Now it’s time to relax for a day and see whether we can score some tickets to one of the many screenings here – fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day Three...

Things were definitely a bit slower on Day 3 but we were kept plenty busy with celebs, publicists, event planners, and press visiting our table.

Jessica Collins ("Big Shots" on ABC) and John Viener ("Family Guy") were enamored with the Card File – Jessica picked chartreuse and John pumpkin. Colin Hanks ("King Kong") was intrigued with the Card File as well (pumpkin was his fave) while Rebecca Kush ("Far Out") liked all of Cecily Ink's designs.

Chris Chaney, the new bassist for Jane's Addiction stopped by and chatted for a bit, as did Laurel Holloman, who loved the calendar. Scott Kusmirek of the Gin Blossoms stopped by with Matthew Moon and we chatted about Cecily Ink's colorful designs.

One of the nicest guys we've met so far was Jeremy Fels (writer/director) who was so excited to be at Sundance with his movie "Fix," which premiered to a sold-out audience. Being from Portland (Maine), he shared our sense of awe about how overwhelming it is to be here during Sundance.

Being huge "Survivor" junkies, one of our biggest thrills was meeting Todd Herzog, winner of "Survivor: China." He walked out with a calendar and a couple of postage stamp greeting cards – but not after chatting up our neighbor at Tundra Gear, who happens to be Aras Baskauskas, winner of "Survivor: Panama, Exile Island."

We also met a lot of press folk, mostly celebrity writers for Teen Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, Cinema Magazine, Star, LA Times, and People Magazine.

Last but not least was Rachel Dratch (from "Saturday Night Live") who was so nice! She made sure to meet with everyone and actually seemed a bit insecure about posing for the camera – guess it was a bit too serious without her SNL cast to liven things up.

Phew, time for a bit of R&R before we gear up for the last day.

Photos to come soon!

Just a quick update as to why I haven't posted any photos of the celebs we've met at the Style Lounge. Many of the pix are actually available to view at the Wire Image website but I'm waiting to get the CD so I can (legally) post the best shots. If you're super curious and just can't wait, click here for Day 1 and here for Day 2 pictures of all the sponsors at the Style Lounge.

Day Two...

After replenishing our display with more products and our bodies with water and Luna bars, we were ready for Day Two of the Style Lounge. One of the first people to stop by was Robert Knepper of "Prison Break." He actually signed our note book as though it was an autograph book along with this note: “Beautiful schtuff and SO cute with the stamp! Tory loves ‘em as well!”

Tom Arnold definitely wins the “most fun guy” award today! He was hamming it up with all the sponsors. When he saw our “Sorry...” card, he said that it’s “the best idea I’ve ever heard of!” He asked if he could please have three of them – I guess he’s done a few things he needs to apologize for! He also picked up a couple of birthday cards with matching postage stamps, a calendar, and a Card File – now he’s got no excuse to not to write!

The “most gracious award” goes to Kevin Sorbo (star of the series "Hercules" among others), hands down. When he saw our calendar, he wanted one right away – he apparently told his wife just the other day that they needed a calendar for their desk! He also chose a pumpkin Card File for his wife, and when asked to pose for a photo, he draped his arm around me and insisted I be in the photo with him!

Giuliana DePandi (celebrity host for E! News) & Bill Rancic (Season 1 winner of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice") stopped by, too. They looked so in love, strolling along hand in hand. Guliana was taken by all of Cecily Ink’s colorful designs and was grateful for the boxed sets of thank-yous – she’s got quite a few notes to write after their recent wedding.
The absolutely stunning Leslie Silva (appeared in "StarTrek: Enterprise) recognized my line from surfing the design blogs! Way to go, all you bloggers out there! She was so personable and especially liked the postage stamp cards and the Card File idea.

Model Rachel Hunter fell in love with the robin’s egg Card File and musician Matt Sorum (formerly of Guns N' Roses and now with Velvet Revolver) especially loved our robin's egg and chocolate color combinations. Other folks who stopped by included Crispin Glover, Shawn Roberts, Vanessa Parise, Aaron Yoo, Emily Wagner, Cassandra Hepburn, and Michael Nardelli.

We also connected with various representatives from Saatchi NY, E!, Microsoft/MSN Entertainment, Life+Style, and Angeleno – all of them were quite interested in our custom design capabilities for future events and parties.

Last but not least, right as the Style Lounge was ready to close, Paris Hilton strolled in with her entourage. She was dressed in all back, wearing enormous sunglasses (even inside) along with a snow-white hat studded with sparkles that spelled out “Paris.” While posing for only a a few photos, mostly to benefit a non-profit organization, she did walk out with a bag full of Cecily Ink goodies, including a robin’s egg blue Card File (her favorite color right now is baby blue), a calendar, and some limited edition thank-you notes that match the look of the Style Lounge.

Wow, quite a day of excitement! Can't wait to see what (or who) Day 3 will bring...

Out for a stroll

As we were walking to the Style Lounge today, the bright blue skies and sunny reflections made me realize how beautiful it is up here. I was inspired to take some photos along the way...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Libraries rule!

So now that I have a blog, I naturally want to post every day. Well, that's easier said than done up here in Park City! First off, there is no internet access at our hotel. So I tried up at the Lodge, where the connection was so spotty, I spent more time waiting to connect than actually blogging. Then we headed to trusted ol' Starbucks just a few blocks from where we are staying. Who knew Starbucks closes at 9pm! Based on a tip, we headed over to Albertsons, where supposedly we'd be able to get free wireless access while sitting in their mini Starbucks. No such luck – their server was experiencing technical difficulties (something about a Sputnik error, yikes!).

So, where did finally find warm, fast, and free internet access? Yep, the library! (which also happens to be a Sundance Theater this week but no celebs sighted as of yet). So, lesson learned: in today's fast-paced and tech-savvy world of chain stores and cafés, don't forget about what libraries have to offer. (Of course, I should have thought of going there first, given that my hubby Todd is a librarian!)

Day One...

Yesterday was the first day of the four-day Style Lounge at Sundance Film Festival. As we walked down Mainstreet to man our booth, imagine my surprise to see my Style Lounge graphics all over a big delivery truck for Reebok parked right outside!

Once inside, it was quite the hubbub as all of us sponsors were finishing last-minute details in preparation of the celebrity arrivals. I’m surrounded by some great neighbors. Next to me is Axis, a revolutionary shaver and across is Tundra Gear, who makes some awesome fuzzy Russian-style hats (guess where they’re based out of: sunny Santa Monica! Not much demand there, I bet!) Then there’s Marnie Rocks, a Houston-based store with online commerce selling cool jewelry and accessories.

At 11:00, the doors opened and guests started trickling in. Among the many people we met, there was Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5 and his cute-as-a-button girlfriend. He snatched up some of Cecily Ink’s thank-you cards, claiming that after this weekend, he’d have a lot of folks to thank.

Jonathan Levine (director of "The Wackness") was also happy to walk away with three boxes of thank-yous designed especially for the Style Lounge – I guess the guys are drawn to the masculine colors and mountainous pattern more so than the colorful flourishes of Cecily Ink’s regular line.

We chatted with Emma Bell who’s starring in the movie “Death In Love” due to premiere next week Tuesday right here at Sundance. Her mother was so sweet and refused to be in any photos, saying “I’m a nobody!”

Kaycee Stroh (from High School Musical 1 and 2) spent quite a lot of time at the Style Lounge, visiting with every sponsor and graciously posing for photographs with all kinds of products, including Cecily Ink’s Fresh Style Card File!

Melissa Leo loved the Card File, too – she’s now the proud owner of a robin’s egg blue one as well as several postage stamp cards.

Although Maria Bello ("Coyote Ugly" among others) wasn't posing for pictures, she loved the Card File and took home a robin’s egg blue one!

And my sister Marie schmoozed with Alan Rickman (Snape from "Harry Potter", among numerous other roles), who liked Cecily Ink’s line but admittedly thought it was a little too girly for him to pose with – instead he posed with Marie and even gave her a hug!

We also talked with a variety of people from the press – among them were LA Times, TV Guide, People Magazine, CBS Paramount. And Fox even shot some footage of our display!

All in all, a fabulous first day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh, brother where art thou!

After we were all done setting up our small corner of the Style Lounge, we had a half hour left on the parking meter. Let me tell you, parking spots on Main Street are about as rare as snow flakes in the Sahara so we did not want to waste any of our precious parking minutes. We decided to take a little stroll and check out some of the store fronts. As we were walking, all of a sudden we thought we spotted my little brother, Marc. Peering through the window into a hip and stylish men’s apparel shop, we saw a lanky, long-haired guy nonchalantly leaning against the counter - he was definitely Marc’s doppelganger! See if you agree (Marc is on the right – I think!):

All set up and styled out

This afternoon we finally were able to start setting up our table at the Kari Feinstein PR’s Style Lounge, which is housed inside what normally is a cyber café. Kari Feinstein PR has rented out the entire venue and asked me to design signage to cover the café’s existing signs. Turned out quite nice, if I say so myself:

I’m also pleased with my table. After a few false starts, we finally figured out how to secure our logo sign to the wall and arrange our product in a pleasing fashion. Bring on the stars - we’re ready!

Sundance Film Festival

The town is covered with banners and signs announcing the arrival of the Sundance Film Festival – makes for some great photo opps! The celebs are due to arrive tonight!

Stylish Salt Lake City

After landing at the Salt Lake City airport Wednesday morning, Todd and I were excited to jump in our rental car and visit some of SLC’s hip hotspots. Well, we were in for quite a treat! Our first stop was Walls, a wonderful shop focused on unique and decorative items for the home, including modern Danish wallpaper, colorful patterned rugs and laser-cut felt lamp shades. We then were overwhelmed by the fun choices of gifts and baby goods as Blue Cockatoo! We even got to meet Sophia, the owner’s darling little 3-month-old who sure seems to have inspired a lot of the great selection of baby gifts.

At Paper Creations we found more imprintable cards, fun stationery and scrapbooking supplies than I have ever seen in one location! At Hip & Humble, I could have bought the entire store! From gorgeous bedding to yummy candles and lotions to colorful kitchenwares and hip fashion, everything was unique and wonderfully displayed. And boy, if I needed wedding invitations, there’s no better place than the Write Image - their gorgeously designed store is a paper lover’s dream!

We also drove down to Provo where we met the nicest mother-and-daughter team at Kaleidoscope. Their shop is filled with the trendiest tops, jeans, and dresses from around the country as well as must-have candles and lotions.

My heart stood still, though, when we pulled up to The Flower Basket, housed in a gorgeous turn-of-the-century Victorian. Everywhere I looked, there were the most amazing vignettes of mannequins, flowers, and gifts. The place was so airy and sunny yet filled with color and life, I was inspired to snap some photos to share:

Best of all, Cecily Ink products will find a home on the shelves of all of the cool shops I mentioned in the very near future (just as soon as I ship the orders when I return!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stranger on the Street

I'm famous! I was recognized by a stranger on the street today!

Well, okay, so it wasn't on the street but inside the post office, and she didn't recognize ME but Cecily Ink's design and name... but still, a huge thrill!

So here's what happened: I had to buy stamps at the post office in order to mail out over 30 thank-you cards to prospective buyers from last week's Portland Gift Show. As I'm standing at the self-help counter, attaching my newly purchased stamps to envelopes adorned with colorful Cecily Ink mailing labels, the woman next to me glances over and says, "Wow, those are cool..."

Naturally, I take the opportunity to explain that I design greeting cards and that these are my company's thank-you notes. She leans in to take a closer look and exclaims "I know you! Aren't you the person I just read about in the paper who's going to Sundance?"

Seriously, I almost squealed with delight! She had read Friday's article in the Oregonian and almost called me that day. Turns out she's involved with several businesses in Gearhart and is interested in carrying my line of greeting cards!

Small world, isn't it. Here she is, thinking about getting in touch with me and boom, there I am, right in front of her at the post office! As one of my friends always says, "you gotta put it out there!"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sundance Film Festival

In just a few days, I'll be off to the Sundance Film Festival to introduce Cecily Ink to celebs, magazine editors, stylists etc.

It still hasn't quite sunk in that I'll have a presence at the Kari Feinstein PR Style Lounge, hobnobbing with all these major hotshots! And to think this all started with a simple email from KFPR back in August 2007! A big shoutout to design*sponge and their fabulous letterpress guide! That's where KFPR found me – they checked out my website and then approached me about designing the invitation and graphics for their style lounge at Sundance.

After exploring some different design directions, I settled on a very Park City-inspired design that really captures the snowy environs. I even included a blind-embossed snow flake that makes an appearance on all the designed pieces (the invitation pages, the thank-you note, and the postcard).

The most exciting part of the project was definitely assembling and addressing the 500 tins that housed the invitations - boy, some major celebs are invited! Pretty awe-inspiring to think that the likes of Sting, David Bowie, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Dennis Quaid, Bill Murray and the Osbournes will be holding an invitation that Cecily Ink designed!

Yes, it's finally sinking in that in less than 72 hours I'll be on a plane to Utah! Stay tuned for daily updates :)