People often ask me, “You have such a full schedule. How do you relieve the stress in your life?” My answer is simple. You must force yourself to build in a structured stress relieving activity within the week. It must be something you love doing. It doesn’t have to be a vacation in the sun…just plan a short mini-vacation daily or weekly.
People are dealing with multiple pressures in their lives. Many don’t even realize that they are under stress. I know. I was one of these people. Working to keep my Studio 904 salons going became my priority.  I felt like there was no time for me to do anything else other than work and taking care of my family.
I am sure many of you know what I am talking about. You might be feeling lost and depressed. The best advice I can give is to find a hobby you feel passionate about and force yourself to engage in it weekly or even daily.

Here’s a short story of how the sport of Agility relieved my stress.

The salon is buzzing. Customers filled every chair. The clock on the wall said it’s 2:45 PM. I started to get nervous… I’m scheduled to leave work at 3:00 in order to make it to the 4:30 Agility training class. I can’t leave…so many problems need my attention. I mumble to myself, why did I commit to doing this? I get my self under pressure to leave the salon every week to take my dog Max to his agility training.

I managed to run out of the salon at 3:05. I drove home to pick up my dog Max and his training treat. I hit the freeway going south. I should have known, the traffic was backed up and the cars were crawling to get passed the bottle neck to the Maple Valley Highway.

091507_0916Whew… we arrive at the Maple Valley Agility Center at exactly 4:30. Max began to bark, sensing that it’s time to go in to exercise his skills in running, jumping and weaving through the trial equipment.

Max and I walked into the old wooden make-shift building with the saw dust floor. We quietly took our place and began watching Lucy, the Australian Border Collie. Lucy strutted to the start line, her piercing eyes focusing on the obstacles which lay in front. The minute her handler said go, Lucy was off like a bullett …. knocking down all the jump poles, leaving the place in shambles. We all laughed and clapped and told Lucy what a great player she is.

Max coming out of the tunnel

Max coming out of the tunnel

Next up was Ralph, the senior chocolate brown lab. Ralph was laid back . His owner constantly encouraged him by saying, “Good boy, come on Ralph”. All of us on the bench chimed in, “Come on Ralph, little faster!” Ralph performed everything in his own methodical way and finally got through the course. We all jumped up and clapped saying, “Good job Ralph!”.

Max came flying down from the A-Frame!

Max came flying down from the A-Frame!

Finally our turn. Max and I ran up to the start line. I whispered in his ear. ” Sit Max…wait…good boy.” I gave him a yummy piece of his favorite beef liver. He lapped it up and looked at me intently. “Ok, let’s go Max!” Living up to his Jack Russell, high energy mentality, he ran the course…stopping at nothing….

constantly looking for my ques directing him to the next obstacle. By the time we finished, we heard the whole class room clapping shouting, “Wow, Max what a run!”. Max sensed that he did good. I threw a double dose of beef levers on the ground to let him know I was pleased.

When class ended, my mind was crystal clear. I didn’t remember anything of the stress I was experiencing earlier in the day. I thought this is what it’s all about. Getting down with these smart fun-loving dogs and play like we did when we were kids!

IMG_0013Recently, Shelley Rotando, CEO of Northwest Harvest came in to my salon, Studio 904 to get her hair colored and cut. I asked her how things at Northwest Harvest was going.

“Kay, summer is a tough time for us. Nearly half of Washington’s school-age children go hungry during the summer due to lack of school meal programs. This means one of every five children in our state go hungry,” She said.

I was surprised to hear such an alarming number.

It’s difficult to imagine anyone could be hungry. Most of us can go to our refrigerator or to a nearby restaurant and satisfy our growling stomachs at a moment’s notice. Wouldn’t you agree?

IMG_2405As a small business owner with a vision to “improve lives of our citizens”, I felt compelled to share this information with our customers and ask for their help.  I wanted to involve our 800 clients who pass through our door in one given month to donate a small amount of money towards this cause. I’m a believer that a small amount of money collected from many people can raise a large sum of money. The best part of this giving philosophy is that it hurts no one. It truly creates a win-win for all involved.

Here is what Studio 904’s “Feed Our Kids” fundraising program asked our clients to do:

  1. Purchase a $5. Raffle ticket to enter drawing of baskets filled with products and $50. Gift cards from Studio 904.
  2. Attend a “Flower Power” class where I will teach how to make beautiful flowers, like the ones I made to decorate our salon. Suggested donation to attend is $30. (Why not use our talent to raise more money?)
  3. Simply write a check to NW Harvest for a tax deductible expense.

Our team and customers are supporting our fundraiser with enthusiasm. It brings me joy to watch all the happy faces as I watch our donation box grow with money to feed our children!
I’d love to hear what you’ve done to raise money for your favorite cause.

 

 

Spring HairAs warmer spring weather kicks in, we kick-start our spring attire into lighter colors and fabrics.
This is your first day, wearing your new spring attire….now, take a look at your face and hair in the mirror. I am sure you’ve had this feeling as I have.

 You say to yourself, “Oh my gosh, my hair and make-up still looks like winter!”  My dark and rich winter hair color matched perfectly with wool sweaters and darker clothing, but now it looks dark and heavy, doesn’t match my clothes!”

All of a sudden, your whole image from head to toe is not connecting.  “What’s wrong?” you ask yourself.

At my salon Studio 904,  we hear this question from our guest clients at the onset of spring and fall.

Here are some things to consider in updating your hair for the new season

1. If you have an over-all hair color, think about lifting your base shade a notch.
2. If your hair is foiled, try increasing the amount of your foil weaves.
3. You can also brighten up your highlighted color by lifting them a shade lighter.
4. How about a new haircut/style, more textured and layered to give your hair an open and textured      feel?  (This will eliminate the heavy, solid feeling in your hair).
5. Try shortening your hair a bit. Please don’t go for a drastic change all at once,
You may be sorry.
6. Learn to style your hair using your fingers instead of heavy reliance on brushes and iron curlers. Of course you can always use the brush as a finishing touch to your style.

These tips I am offering are starting questions to ask when you are going through the consultation process with your salon’s stylist. In the end,  let your stylist give you suggestions on what direction would be the best. Keep in mind, everyone’s hair texture, base color and facial features are unique to that person. Be a partner in making decisions, after all it’s your hair image… you are the one who will be living with it 24 hour a day.

Work together with your stylist to determine the best direction for your seasonal image!

Do you have your own tips to share? I’d love to hear them!

paper heartsOwning a salon business for thirty six years, I’ve spent tons of time studying the customer’s point of view. How to get out of my space of how a business should be to how would I feel walking into a business and what would make me feel good about being inside of a business? One thing I learned through my own experiences and talking to many of our customers is “We want to feel uplifted and inspired and most of all, leave the establishment feeling happy!”

This is the reason why I spend hours decorating my salon to keep up with seasonal changes. I started to use holidays and seasons as a bench-mark to create new decorative scenery in the salon, using colorful papers and various crafting techniques. I noticed our clients really loved what I did and it made my staff and me feel so good to work in this energy-filled environment.

What I know for sure… our minds are filled with problems and challenges life throws our way. It is often difficult to see the positive aspects of our everyday living.

I want my salon to be a place where people can visit and enjoy the positive energy of colorful decorations, personal pampering and our community service programs. It makes it all worthwhile when I see them leaving looking great with smiles on their faces! Take a look at our Valentine decorations.

 

 

 

Now that all the busy days of the holiday season are over, I’ve been thinking a lot about what will I learn and do this year.

Nelson Mandella saidOne phrase keeps going through my mind: “If you do nothing new, you will get the same results. My goal this year is not to set lofty goals which I probably will not be able to accomplish, given my super busy schedule, but to set realistic goals for myself. I used the format from SMART Goals to get my mind thinking. I always find this process helpful to clarify my new year’s direction.You might want to do the same.

 

New Years by Karen Hopting Art

 

S-Your goal must be specific

M – Mesurable

A – Achievable

R – Reachable

T – Time based

I love this art by Karen Hoepting (the pup looks an awful lot like my Max), but does this seem achievable? Good luck setting your goals for 2014! We feel a lot better about ourselves even if we only aspire towards improving our lives a little bit.

A cute girl

One of my goals is to be more thoughtful. I’ve decided to send two hand-made cards per week to people who I think might need a little encouragement….to delight them and help create a “happy day.”

Take a look. This is a collage I created on a 3″x3″ mini-canvas. I took a photo of the canvas and created multiple images in Pages (Mac). I printed them and found More cutie girlsthat the colors were not as vivid as in the original art work. I touched up each of the images by outlining the shapes with my Micron pen and brightened up the colors using acrylic paint plus Copic markers. I love the end result. I already sent these lovely cuties to four deserving people in my life!

Doll in front of the clouds

 

 

This set of Cloud painting was given to me by a dear Artist friend, Linda Davidson. She surprised me on Christmas Day with this wonderful gift several years ago which I’ve been admiring since. It’s nice to be on the receiving end of someone’s thoughtful gesture. I photographed my favorite doll sitting in front of the clouds. I gaze at this cute little scene every day….really makes me happy!

 

 

During this season where everyone is rushing to the malls, trying to figure out things to buy for the people on their Christmas list, I decided to stay at home and make little things which I can give to people who are special to me. I don’t know about you, but I love receiving hand-made gifts. These gifts represents thought and time the giver has invested to please you. I want to share some little gifts I made.mini photo frame ornaments

I used pieces of left over scraps from my paper collection and made these adorable mini-photo frame tree ornaments. The receiver can insert their favorite photos and give them as gifts or hang them on their own tree.

 

 

 

Snoopy tagsI used my favorite Snoopy stamps to make these holiday tags. I like them because they can be used for men, women or children.

 

 

 

angels

 

These angels were so much fun to make. I used brown grocery bags, cut them up, painted them with several layers of acrylic paint. Then I drew my own chubby faces and placed them on the body. Aren’t they sweet?

 

 

Bird ornaments

 

I made these bird ornaments in the same way. I drew designs on their bodies with liquid pearls.

 

 

 

 

washi paper cardThese cards were so simple to make but came out very elegant. I used pearlized card stock and envelopes and faced the cards with Japanese washi paper.

 

 

 

 

paper dollsI wanted to make chain paper dolls, just like I did when I was little. It was so much fun to see to see if I can still do it. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Gift Basket PosterI used the paper dolls to add to the poster I made for my salon, Studio 904.  We are making holiday baskets for the girls who need a helping hand during this season. It would be fun to see their faces light up when they receive these baskets filled with socks, gloves, hand lotion, note cards (hand made) and a gift certificate from Studio 904 for a haircut and a style!

LOVE TO SEE WHAT YOU COME UP WITH!

Pasados and Friends Fund Drive for the Animals

Indie was rescued by Pasados after the Hurricane Katrina.

Indie was rescued by Pasados after the Hurricane Katrina.

Hard to believe… this year will be our fifth year to hold our Pasado’s Safe Haven and Friends fundraiser at Studio 904. Organizations which will receive the money we raise are: Pasado’s Safe Haven, Ginger’s Pet Rescue and Precious Life Animal Sanctuary.

Please take a few minutes and tour their websites. You will see that each of these organizations focuses on their unique nitch. One thing which surfaces loud and clear is their dedication and commitment to help the animals who are abused, neglected and abandoned. Their work is arduous and heart-breaking. I want to do my share, even though small to help them   continue their good work.

How does a small business help?

Buy raffle tickets $5.

Buy raffle tickets $5.

We have our salon decorated with posters and mirror signs, letting our clients know how lucky we are to have such dedicated animal protection organizations in our state. We have boxes of  fun raffle prizes displayed, asking our clients to purchase $5. raffle tickets to enter the drawing to win a prize.

 

Thank You to Volunteers!

So thankful for our volunteers. They are generous women.

So thankful for our volunteers. They are generous women.

A group of dedicated volunteers who love making art has been working year-long, making unique hand-made gift items which will be sold at the “Santa’s Workshop” on November 30th. Gift items are reasonably priced. Everyone is encouraged to attend and purchase their holiday gifts.

 Santa’s Workshop

IMG_0167Come Young and Old… It’s an all day celebration.

Hand-made gifts to buy, make your own tags and ornaments to take home. Enjoy refreshments and feel good in the good company of like-minded friends!

November 30, 9 – 4    Location: Studio 904  3041 78th Ave. SE   Mercer Island, WA 98040 (206-232-3393)

 Click here to see our gift gallery!

When it’s over, we pat each other on the back and say, “It was all worth it!”

Please  come and support our fundraising effort for the animals!

 

Meet the Animals!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have our salon decorated with posters and mirror signs, letting our clients know how lucky we are to have such dedicated animal protection organizations in our state. We have boxes of  fun raffle prizes displayed, asking our clients to purchase $5. raffle tickets to enter the drawing to win a prize.

On a recent trip to Maui, I discovered  my iPhone takes great photos.

I’ve been hearing lately, “The best camera is the one which is with you.” 

I decided to put my Iphone to the test during my early morning walk  on  Kanapali beach

Here are some of my best shots.

 

Colorful skulls

I am not fond of the typical scary Halloween decorations. I wanted to decorate my salon, Studio 904 with items which represent the season… filled with bright colors, whimsey and humor. I racked my brain for a while and all of a sudden an idea came to me. Why not use my favorite staples, brown grocery bags and hand painted water color paper. So I went to town and made dozens of owls, skulls and houses to decorate the whole salon!

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I painted this skull with turquoise acrylic paint, sewed and stuffed them.

 

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I painted the branches with black paint and hung these adorable ornaments on the branches.

 

 

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I had fun making these houses… painted water color paper     with black gesso and folded them to look like a house. I especially like the shiny roof tops in different colors.

 

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I painted the brown paper bags with black acrylic paint, decorated the face and body and gave the bat sparkly wings made of craft paper.

 

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They can be displayed like this if you don’t want to do a tree.

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Our classI taught 3rd and 4th graders “arts and crafts” at the Seattle Buddhist Temple’s Kids Summer Program. It was so much fun working with them, hours flew by quickly.
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