Investing in your visual brand

What I love about school fundraising auctions is that you can usually buy something that you need and get a tax deduction for it. This year’s Old Orchard school auction did not disappoint.

Lately I’ve had increased needs for a head shot. Hosting Twitterchats with the lovely Britt Michaelian and Amy Chesler reminded me that post blow out selfies can only go so far. I did have professional headshots done by Michael O’Donnell and Rosalinda Luna, both great photographers, but it had been awhile.

Yes, I would have loved to have lost 15 pounds before this set of photos, but I was hoping that the included hair and make up artist could do a little magic. I haven’t seen the final results yet, but I am extremely optimistic as the process was top notch.


Ilyanne first asked if she could have a pre-session with me. We met in the evening at the house. She had an extensive list of questions, trying to understand my objectives for the shoot. In my case we were going to do the head shots, but we were also going to try for some fun photos for the husband. We talked about props and outfits as there would be plenty of time for changes.

It was at this point that I started to panic a bit and felt that I wouldn’t be ready for the shoot. What outfit was I going to wear? I needed to take my favorite blouse to the dry cleaner. I spent an evening on Rent the Runway and found some ‘new’ dresses to order. The night before the shoot I literally packed a suitcase and a garment bag. I must have taken 10 pairs of shoes, jewelry, lingerie and a dozen dresses. My favorite blouse didn’t make it as the dry cleaners didn’t open until 9.



I had seen photos from previous shoots, but I was still surprised by how warm and inviting the studio felt. It also didn’t hurt that Ilyanne had put together a wonderful feast of fruit, coffee and champagne. Becky then worked wonders with hair and makeup. I loved the eyelash extensions and made wish I had real ones!


We started with the business shots. I have a great deal more respect for models. Ilyanne understands how to have you pose so your features may be seen in the best light. In fact, she had over 30 sketches of shots she wanted to accomplish. In addition to her creative eye, her husband is also there with a camera. He has his own sense of creativity and often took the same shot at a different angle. One blouse and two dresses later we were finished with the first part of the shoot. [Side note: I had my first disappointing Rent the Runway experience as one of the dresses arrived with a broken zipper. Even more disappointing is how difficult Rent the Runway makes it to file a complaint.]


Even this single teaser image has already made me feel better about my visual brand. I’ve changed my Facebook profile picture and need to do the same for Twitter and Instagram, but I am waiting until I see the rest before I change everything.

The second part of the shoot was fun. I am quite confident that the husband will be quite happy. How much of it I will reveal on social media remains to be seen. Your image is your brand, and it should be SFW.

Due to vacations the final reveal won’t be until mid-July, so stay tuned.





High School Movies Most Likely to Watch Again


I’m so looking forward to our DVD Netflix Twitterchat today. Amy Chesler, This House of Love, did a great job with her High School Superlative movies, but I’d say there’s a generation gap between her and I.  Here are my top nine favorite movies about high school.

Most Likely to Succeed:  Risky Business

After 1983, my friends quoted the infamous line for the rest of our high school years and beyond. It was a breakout role for Tom Cruise.  Watch the whole scene here.


Most Likely to Join a Rock Band:  Valley Girl

Another breakout role for the young rising starts of Hollywood, Nicholas Cage, played the boy on the wrong side of the bathtub.


Most Likely to Stay Home on Saturday Night:  Grease

The movie that made everyone want to go back to being in high school in a much simpler time.giphy.gif

Most Likely to Serve Time:  The Breakfast Club

No one has been able to forget this crew who had one of the most honest dialogues about high school ever.


Most Likely to be a Camp Counselor:  American Pie

Even though my high school films have tended to be 1980s hits, this one from 1999 had so many cringe worthy moments on those final high school days.


Most Likely to Know Everyone:  Footloose

Kevin Bacon, before he was connected to everyone, starred as the rebel rouser who simply wanted to everyone to have a night to celebrate.


Most Likely to Be an Event Planner: Sixteen Candles

A recurrent heroine in John Hughes’ tales of teen angst, Molly Ringwald is just one of many comedic moments in this epic 1980s tale.

Most Likely to Be a Slacker: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Who didn’t want to be friends with Matthew Broderick? A day out in the Windy City evading a crafty principal makes you want to leave your job right now.


Most Likely to Win Project Runway:  Pretty in Pink

I’ll admit it I liked the music more than the movie. It was my least favorite of the Molly Ringwald movies. But, the Psychedelic Furs nailed it with the theme song.



And, one of the best places to find these movies, is DVD Netflix, where I have the great pleasure of working as the head of marketing. First month is always free for new customers.