Oh Sweet Pea

posted on: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweet pea tendrils | Watanabe Farms | Photo via Chandara Creative
Sweet pea tendrils | Watanabe Farms | Food Styling + Photo via Chandara Creative

Sweet pea tendrils | Watanabe Farms | Photo via Chandara Creative
English sweet pea tendrils + arugula flower blossom | Watanabe Farms | Photography via Chandara Creative
There are weeks that go by when I don't pick up my camera--it sits idle, restless, completely neglected.  I know I'm guilty of finding comfort in my handy iPhone--it's just so light and easy! But then I begin to wonder if maybe...just maybe, I've managed to forget how to frame a shot in my head, how to play with luminous light, or how to capture the essence of my subject. And then there are days like yesterday when I have a reason to get snap happy...when I get to work with an executive chef on his portfolio and when I'm entrusted to deliver simply nothing but my best work..and it happens.

I get inspired. All over again. And I clap (yes, I clap).

And I fall in love, hopelessly, in love and smitten with...my art.

And I have to keep on telling myself: Oh sweet pea...it's just like riding a bike.  You still got it. Yes, you do.

Fab Friday

posted on: Friday, April 19, 2013

Oyster Farm Bedding, Tomales Bay, CA | Photography via Chandara Creative
Oyster bedding [Tomales Bay, CA]
This week was a whirlwind....there's been such devastation in the news, but on the bright side, there's so much good to be had. While I can't tell you everything (just yet), I'm elated that an upcoming trip to the East Coast to meet and eat with some amazing creatives is in the works; an editor from one of my favorite new magazines has rekindled my literary fire; and I had the amazing opportunity to style a shoot with an amazing new photographer friend who I'll be introducing to you shortly.  Above is a little snippet of what's coming up and of course, I'm over the moon for this weekend as I'm helping my dearest friends with their baby shower.

So, go out and enjoy your Fabulous Friday!  I know I will!


posted on: Wednesday, April 17, 2013


It's taken me a couple of days to process what's happened...and I'm not sure any words can really relay my feelings, but the recent tragedy in Boston breaks my heart.  To think that somebody can be filled with so much hatred that their only recourse is to take to the streets and lash out on innocent lives leaves me in sheer disbelief.  I can only hope that despite the senselessness of this heinous act, we can still spare room for compassion in our hearts.  Because this act of terror is further evidence that the proliferation of hate only perpetuates a vicious cycle of destruction, obliterating all in its path.  Our lives are much too short to be consumed by hate.  So with each passing day, if we can learn to love deeply, forgive often, and fill our hearts with more light than darkness, then perhaps we can pass these values  on to our own children because....

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, then they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite"-- Nelson Mandela

Happy World Creativity & Innovation Week

posted on: Monday, April 15, 2013

"Creativity is key to driving economic growth." -- Adobe 2012 State of Create Study
Nobody likes Mondays, but this week, let's make an exception in celebration of the International Creativity & Innovation Week! I'm not kidding..it's a real celebration that's backed by...get ready for it...empirical research done by Adobe (those same awesome people that got you hooked on their Creative Suite). Yeah. That's right. Now, go!

Fab Friday

posted on: Friday, April 12, 2013

Wishing you a 'Fabulous Friday.'

April is a busy month for me...lots of celebrations of dear friends. I'm off to sip wine in Napa and then roughing it with an impromptu camping excursion. But before I go, here's a snapshot of the team that made it all happen, along with the stop motion video that debuted at Retrofit Republic's party this past weekend. Enjoy!

Official Tastemakers Video Lookbook from Retrofit Republic on Vimeo

Announcing the CREATIVE NICHE series

posted on: Monday, April 8, 2013

cre·a·tive - /krēˈātiv// Adj. 1. marked by the ability or power to create, 2. characterized by originality or expressiveness

niche /niCH// Noun. 1. a situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature


Inspiration is among us...everywhere.  But you have to look. And listen. And be open to it.  I've long been a fan of Dr. Seuss who has always reminded me that my imagination is infinite, and the possibilities that lie within them are exponential. So, starting next week, I'm unveiling a new project:  the Creative Niche, where I take a little time out each month to showcase some amazing talent from creative industries that span food, photography, design, and all that jazz--all of whom, carving their own creative niche in this world.

Note: Out of respect for the recent tragedy in Boston, this series will be unveiled in a couple of weeks. 
Stay tuned. Stay Inspired.
Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat watercolor art | Chandara Creative
Dr. Seuss 'Cat in the Hat' watercolor art by Chandara Phanachone (otherwise known as me, silly)

Behind the Scenes: SF Tastemakers Photoshoot

posted on: Friday, April 5, 2013

I recently had the opportunity and pleasure of styling a photoshoot for Retrofit Republic's Spring 2013 look book...I'm beyond thrilled at our final product which you can also view in my portfolio, but you might be wondering how we made it all happen. Well, long before the models grace the pages, long before they even begin to start looking more dapper and glamorous than they already are, and much longer before each tangelo is delicately placed on every place setting, the creative masterminds get to work on planning, prepping, schlepping, and styling every little detail that you see in front of you. It's no small feat, but truly a labor of love.  While the final masterpiece may look amazing, the back end of our jobs are definitely not always glamorous, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

In my previous life, I've worked in cubicles, stared endlessly into a computer screen from 9-5 as I remained sedentary for the majority of those hours, performed mind-numbing data entry for what seemed to be ages, and in the process, stifling my own creativity.  While there are those of us who seek comfort in routines, I savor and long for moments of spontaneity that come when I get inspired by the seemingly small things in life: an image captured with the most ambient light, the sweet scent of springtime blossoms serving as a gentle reminder that it's never too late for sweet new beginnings, or the purity and innocence of a baby's giggle that beckons for me to slow down and dance in the puddles more often than I jump across it.

These moments matter to me. Details matter to me. Doing what I love matters to me.  And relishing every bit of it matters deeply to me. So, what matters to you? You don't have to answer all at once..but here's to taking some time out to do that things that truly matter to each of us.

And of course, something else that really matters to me are beautiful images captured a la my iPhone. Enjoy!

I'm still swooning over this little darling from Public Bikes SF  {All images via my iPhone 5}

chandara creative food styling blood orange salad
Lao-style duck larb + blood orange & pomelo salad...cooked & styled by yours truly

chandara creative food styling banh mi
Are you drooling yet? I am too..these banh mi didn't make it in the look book, but goodness..they're decadent! 

Fresh meyer lemons, oro blanco grapefruits, and tangelos gracing the bar -- all hand-picked from a friend's backyard

Executive Stylist Jenny Ton working her magic in her neon green jeans...love!

We let our models sleep or smile...whatever they prefer

chandara creative food styling foreign cinema jeremy tooker
Our photographer, Isabella, making our Jeremy Tooker (owner of  Four Barrel Coffee) look his best

And of course, this shoot wouldn't be complete without a proper behind the scenes video for you to enjoy.  So sit back, relax, and stay inspired, friends.  Then once you're done with that, get your tickets to Retrofit Republic's OFFICIAL Tastemakers Video LookBook Launch Party that's happening this weekend at San Francisco's newest urban winery, Tank 18, chock full of prize packages worth over $3K and the fantabulous Off the Grid food trucks will be there in tow.  I'm an official sponsor of the event along with some of my favorites including Anthology Magazine Public Bikes SF, so don't miss out!  You can purchase tickets via EventBrite today and enter in code TastemakersFF for a special discount for my blog readers.  I can't wait to see you there!

Behind the Scenes Video of Retrofit Republic's Community Heroes: The Tastemakers Edition Lookbook from Retrofit Republic on Vimeo.

executive producers + wardrobe styling: Retrofit Republic | food styling + design: Chandara Creative | look book photography: Isabella Bejarano | videography: Connie Gao + Hanrui Wang | hair-styling: Geneive Jaramilla | venue:  Foreign Cinema SF

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