Legendary Things Come in Small Packages

This past summer, I was running late (please read: fashionably) to a Melrose PR event on (quite appropriately) the infamous Melrose Place at Frédéric Fekkai, West Hollywood.

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I smiled anxiously through my hellos as I cursed my sheepheaded stilettos, wondering why any woman at any point in the history of the universe said, “Hey, let’s wear these, ‘cuz we’ll totally look sexy and intimidate men merely by having them stare at our legs, because there is no better way I can think of to trigger that power play.” And the rest of us just said, “Ok.”

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None of which is the point of this piece whatsoever – so I digress. But, thinking my toe-trauma was the ultimate pickle in the grand scheme of things, let’s say my head wasn’t in the most susceptible spirit to be…well…WOWed by a fellow partygoer.

Looking back, I can’t quite recall how our conversation started. Most likely, I was rushing out of the glitz, flashes, and perfumed-gloss-over-hugs to go ‘feed-the-meter’. AKA, grab a gulp of air and take off the heels for some glamour respite.

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For the purpose of our friendly fairy-tale meeting however, I’ll assume Tatiana Lee (the protagonist of this article) flagged me down at my moment of exhaustion on the way out the door to compliment my pursecase (which is – for the record – how most of my conversations have started over the last couple of years).

Meeting Tatiana at that moment (the moment where, once out of sight, I was about to throw my shoes against a concrete wall) was like meeting a glass-half-full in person. With a tinker-bell-like presence, a perfected elevator-pitch, and a delightful compact entourage of family and friends, she stood taller than any other guest present – a coup even more remarkable from her wheelchair.

Tatiana is a model and actress living in Los Angeles with Spina Bifida which is a Neural Tube Defect causing her to be paralyzed. It affects thousands of newborns every year, and is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.

As I cursed my stupid stilt shoes I had chosen to wear to the ball, Tatiana guided me to a whole new attitude on patience and beatitude by just saying, “Hi. I love your purse.”

Months later, Tatiana crossed my mind – and my twitter feed for that matter – during Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Digihaute’s client, Dazana was fascinated by her continued storytelling of living and loving life with Spina Bifida as a role model and Hollywood fashion and beauty influencer, and afforded me the time to get to know Tatiana a little bit better, and to share a little more of what makes her such a recognizable force in a pint-sized package:

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DH: This is my ice-breaker. Don’t give it much thought. Right now in this stage of your life – What is the meaning of life to you?

TL: The meaning of life for me right now is, living life to the fullest, with no regrets, and living for you and what works for you and makes you happy, and not for anyone else. Life is too short to live by someone else’s standards.

DH: Even after years of research, one of the prevailing FAQ’s that remains about Spina Bifida is – ‘Can children diagnosed with Spina Bifida grow up and lead normal lives?’ The answer is of course an overwhelming yes in most cases, but there is still a sufficient amount of taboo and third-degree that comes along with the condition. As a role-model and successful public figure, what would you add to those still asking these questions?

TL: This is a great question seeing as it was just Spina Bifida Awareness month and I make it my mission to bring awareness about it. Yes, people with Spina Bifida can live long amazing lives. Yes, things may be a little harder then the average person but who wants to be average? I sure don’t.

I love being able to stand out. We are no different then everyone else living their lives.

We date, we work, we want to be loved. I love fashion, makeup, hair, hanging with friends, enjoying life, and I know so many others with Spina Bifida that enjoy life just the same.

We are looked at as someone who can’t accomplish anything and we are worthless to society. That is far from the truth. I am working toward a successful modeling career because I feel my disability shouldn’t make a difference. Pop culture should appeal to all its consumers: Including us.

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I would say to able-bodied people, “If you’re curious, ask questions, but do it in a polite way.” We aren’t slow. We do go out and about and live our lives. Don’t stare like we are a mythical creature. And please don’t tell us you’re sorry and it may suck to be us. We don’t need sympathy, and life is great for us just like it is for you!

DH: Speaking of role models, you are such a breath of fresh air, and your personality certainly draws people in immediately! Who did you look up to growing up, and who would you consider now as one of the most influential people in your life when it comes to your personal pursuit of happiness?

TL: Thank you so much, Ive always been a happy person and I enjoy so much meeting new people.

…..this is very interesting because one of the reasons I wanted to pursue a career in modeling is because I loved fashion and beauty so much, but when I opened a magazine no one looked like me. I want to change that for future generations. You still don’t see it that often. It’s even hard for me to book work but I will not give up!

I want to do this for the young girl who is in a wheelchair and/or crutches, that feels she isn’t societies ideal of beauty. Growing up I was happy. I saw women of color, but still no one in a wheelchair or on crutches. I looked up to Tyra Banks, Kimora Lee Simmons, Iman…and the list goes on. They were and still are beautiful and powerful and used their brand to accomplish so much and helped a lot of people along the way. That’s what I want to do.

If you need a little more daily dose of diva sparkle – please reach out to and follow Tatiana on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

free shippingAND Dazana was so enchanted by the Pint-Sized Diva, that every order you place online with them using code: DIVA at checkout, will give you 10% off, and we’ll donate that 10% to the Spina Bifida Association in Tatiana’s name!

As always, please leave questions, shout-outs, love notes in the comments below, or email us privately at info@digihaute.com!

LA Tech – Sweet Silicon Dreams

Originally published on July 21, 2014 by Cat Mangan on behalf of Digihaute for pursecase.com.

Being headquartered in sunny and sublime downtown Santa Monica, Melrose PR & pursecase often have the opportunity to interact with with other budding startups in the growing We Are LA Tech community.

That being said, this community of entrepreneurs (as one would expect from a group of knowledge hungry execs) can never get enough of that schmoozing spirit, and we are often looking for the next happening to show up, speak up, and (let’s be honest) show off. After all, this is LA Tech, and the next startup star is always just around the corner.

This past summer, a new kind of entrepreneurial event experience stepped up to bat, courtesy of Be Great Partners.

When one thinks techies, bootstraps, and binary code (oh my!) the first thing that comes to mind is never glitz or glamour. But when the pursecase team walked into historic landmark and event venue, Mark Sennett Studios where #TechLA Summer Jam was in full swing, we might as well have been waltzing onto set of one of the countless film, television, music, or fashion productions that preceded this Silicon extravaganza.

We slipped into Stage 1 just in time for Co-Founder, Kelley Coughlan to take the stage for The e-Commerce Economy in L.A panel along with Farbod Shoraka of BloomNation, Bryan Lalezarian of MeUndies, and Steffen Hoffman of DSTLD Jeans.

Moderated by Be Great Partners’  Founding & Managing Partner, Lin Miao, the panelists started with the usual ‘about me’ and polite ‘show and tell’ that we’re all used to after haunting so many industry events.

What could have ended with the usual drop of some trade power words (i.e. disrupt…pivot…yawn), hang-in-there-advice, and a few big thumbs up on the ‘art of failure’ – instead went a little further…

The overt confidence and accessible simplicity of each and every panelist’s answers to Miao’s questions left the audience all nodding at what seemed to be an overall renewed satisfaction and acceptance of power associated with quite simply: the marriage of a great product and a great person behind it from the start.

Were you there? Have a great quote or pic to share with us? Please email info@digihaute.com and we’d love to feature you and your content in an upcoming feature! And check out some other awesome follow up features brought to you by fellow attendees and participants of #TechLA Summer Jam 2014Curious MindsTech CandidKent Speakman.

If you WERE there you are probably dying to join the #stylinanddialin crew yourself, and pursecase would love to offer you a 15% discount on the full-price pursecase collection just for showing your support at the Summer Jam! Just use promo code: TECHLA at checkout at www.pursecase.com and thank you so much for supporting LA Tech!

Lights, Action, Wine!

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Never drink alone. Drink with an entire exhibition hall!

…and never quote us on that…

But our client, EnerGtech Experts is taking us for our word today at the Westlake Home Innovation-Design & Wine-Tasting Event, and we couldn’t be more proud.

(Also – wine rhymes with design! You CAN quote us on that.)

Southern California home owners will be enjoying several wines from the vines and networking directly with entrepreneurs and manufacturers of new home industry products and services. Talk about a recipe for a fruitful Sunday afternoon…

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Brent Locke, CEO & Founder of EnerGtech Experts, and team – take the floor today with hundreds of other vendors showcasing exciting new and one-of-a-kind products and innovations.

While prepping a pitch to the production team over at Moving America Forward, boldly going where few series have gone yet, we were struck by an easily buried, but poignant quote of Captain Kirk’s. From an episode light years ago, (The Gamesters of Triskelion, stardate 3259.2.…but seriously who’s counting but us nerds here at Digihaute…) Kirk’s parting words to the planet of Triskelion are, “All your people must learn before you can reach for the stars.

Granted – he’s trying to impress some alien-babe living on a totalitarian planet that basically plays by the rules of the Hunger Games, but we were struck by the words on a more broader view – if you will.

With the pioneer technologies and educational programs EnerGtech Experts are contributing and remodeling on a daily basis, it is not only their goal to help families and businesses save hard-earned wages, but also to save our environment by enlightening the public, one-person-at-a-time.

The most impactful environmental and financial question (of the decade) that American households, school districts (Prop 39), small businesses, and corporations alike are asking, starting NOW is: How is all this big-data being collected by our utility “smart meter” working for us?

This team has the answers.

So catch them over a glass of wine today, meet up with us next week at The Green California Schools Summit, or shoot an email to cat@digihaute.com with any questions or media inquiries for CEO, Brent Locke and the EnerGtech Experts.

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CHIVE-ing off into the Sunset

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Good morning/afternoon, Digihaute fans and the sunshine of our lives! Today on DH we’re going to talk about sunsets! Andrew Karl and Danny Rice, Co-founders of @Venice_Sunsets (VS) took a little time out of their busy schedules being SoCal role-models and exhibiting model-behavior of social media influencers!

Andrew and Danny quickly realized there was an opportunity to share this habit of snapping moments of beauty and turn it into a passion, by socially-shelling out one sunset at time for anyone to treasure, no matter where they were in the world.

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DH: Start from the beginning…

VS: A green flash is not a myth but in fact an emerald colored jewel of natural phenomenon occurring in only the rarest of sunsets. The moment just before the sun dips under a distant horizon, the orb burns bright green. A relentless hunt for this green flare resulted in daily trips to the beach, and and addiction to beautiful vibrations and expressions of gratitude. VS was born millions of miles away in the fiery belly of our closest white-hot star.

DH: Do you have a certain process or algorithm that you can link your impressive social-media following and success to?

VS: Ultimately the formula is simple. We deliver what we promise. If you follow us, you will get beautiful sunset photos of world famous Venice Beach every day. People tend to understand this value proposition instantly.

Not without hard-work, innovative tactics, and of course the stunning muse that is Venice, Ca., VS gained tens of thousands of followers at a steady, admirable, and quite impressive pace, even for very recent new media standards. The team started showing up on the radar for Southern California Tech and Digital influencers like Digital LA’s, Founder and Managing Partner, Kevin Winston who featured them on a panel of Instagram experts this past spring.

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Most recently, über popular (you know ‘em, we love ‘em) The Chive published VS as it’s #22 pick of top Instagram accounts to follow. How ’bout them apples?

VS: We initially didn’t know we had made their list. We just saw a waterfall of new followers. It was really cool. We’ve always been huge fans of The Chive, so it was super flattering they noticed all the hard work we put in every day.

DH: Ok boys, Instagram tips and tricks – spill ‘em. Let’s do this.

VS: HASHTAGS! They are the life-force of Instagram. Use the maximum 30 allowed in each post about relevant keywords for your brand or industry. There are plenty of hashtag generators out there. VBS uses Instag and TagsforLikes.

People who knew nothing of our brand, were able to find us and connect with the same passion points we have. I also think it’s important to ‘own’ a branded hashtag, so people can use it to rally around your brand like ours #venice_sunsets. It will start showing in hashtag generators if you have enough people using and growing the momentum.

Know what you stand for. Are you funny? Are your pictures dope? Do you only shoot old doors and gates? You have about one-second to catch people’s attention and one more second for them to understand what you’re about. In order for someone to follow you they must get something out of it; a value proposition.

No matter what you’re into, there are millions of people on Instagram who are passionate about the same thing and will welcome you as a voice in their community with a follow, so make it easy and make it clear.

DH: So what’s the end goal for VS?

VS: We’ve always had two main goals.

1. Bring people moments of solace with beautiful distractions.

2. Monetize the brand to give back to the community. Social responsibility is very important to us. It might sound silly, but we really believe it’s our way of contributing and leaving the world a little better and more beautiful place.

DH: So one final question for our sunset boys….DH wants to know, what’s the meaning of life?

VS: Obviously art, beauty, and spreading positive vibrations!

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Digihaute’s @catmango’s first night out scoping sunsets with @Venice_Sunsets team in 2013. #nofilter

If you’d like to help VS spread good vibrations, you can hit them up at VeniceBeachSunsets@gmail.com.

 

Gladiators in Suits

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There are two things we are thrilled about this fall.

One of them has already been announced. That’s right, Scandal Season Four is back next Thursday night, September 27th in all its glory and all its ludicrous love-making-in-a-White-House-closet plots. It’s ok if you don’t want to admit how excited you are, we can just feel it.

Digihaute staffers on the other hand, will be sitting shameless in front of the plasma with a glass of Pinot in the right hand, a bowl of light popcorn in the left hand, and our white hats sitting pretty on top of our perfectly quaffed hair. Huzzah.

The second thing we had to wait for the right time to scream from a mountaintop. That time is now.

October 22nd-24th, 2014 we’ll be heading to Athens, Greece where Founder, Cat Mangan will be at your service as Master of Ceremonies (MC – but it just sounds more ‘gladiator-like’ if you let us present it long form …) for the International Classified Media Association’s (ICMA): Marketplace Monetization Strategies Conference!

register here

For three full days of ICMA networking, we will be in the midst of C-Suite Social Media Bootcamps, Marketing Automation Labs, striking speaker sets, and “hipstering nights out on the town in Athens…” (gonna have to google that one to be prêt a porte – stay tuned).

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Hey @icmaonline – is this hipster chic? Your emcee demands to know! Don’t refuse us our brand couture rights! (but for realsies – we wanna look cool in Greece, too.)

 

If you have any questions for your celebrity mentors already confirmed to be in attendance next month, (Pam Moore: TheMarketingNutz.com, Rob Meadows: Originate.com, Kenneth Anderson: Bazoom.com, Martha de la Torre: EC Hispanic Media, Nick Sohnemann: FutureCandy.com, and more!) please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at info@digihaute.com with a wish list of questions, comments, or just general shout-outs.

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ICMA by design, is to make all of us, no matter where on the globe, in touch, on top of what’s trending, and who’s making the world turn with good old-fashioned storytelling and follow-through.

Digihaute is more than dedicated to step up to be your Gladiators in Suits for this one, and knock it out of the park for you #mediaprofs live via all social channels. And hey, the more you socialize live with us, the more you’ll be right there with us in Athens. Let’s be honest, living vicariously with the greatest of ease was why all of us got into new-media in the first place. Well, that and the Klout perks…but I digress.

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If you want to go Greek this fall, but not as a college pledge this time, register ASAP and we will hardly be able to wait to meet you. At least we’ll be busy watching Scandal for the few weeks leading up to it…

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We Dream in Color, We Dream in Code

Our *overzealous (please read: *endearing…) networking in the LA tech scene has recently spotlighted a small startup with full stack dreams – Sabio.

Sabio is a developer training program born out of necessitydesireand hope. The necessity of bringing more women and minorities into the world of technology. A desire to see a diverse workforce that’s vibrant and innovative. And a hope to uplift the communities that suffer from the highest rates of unemployment and worst educational resources to a higher socioeconomic status through technology training.

On September 6th, 2014 (venue TBA) we will be throwing a grand fiesta full of friends, family, virtual-family, social influencers, and more, so SAVE THE DATE! We will be celebrating the launch of our crowdfunding campaign on the all new Crowdismo platform, that when successfully funded will be sending hopeful students Ashley Lopez and Luis Rivera on full scholarships to Sabio’s upcoming Full Stack Developer and iOS program!

The Crowdismo campaign will officially go live the evening of the event, and it is our goal to raise the $10k tuition + $5k living expenses for both Ashley and Luis individually over the 30-day run of the campaign.

Now we know $30k is no small chunk o’ change. If your chin is on the floor, we don’t blame you but would like to offer to gently pick it up and remind you that we make this ask out of necessitydesire, and hope.

Besides, there are dozens of ways you can help, and we’re here to brainstorm even more with you! Come at us with all the ideas, questions, and suggestions you can to cat@melrosepr.com. It can’t be said enough – Everything counts. Trust us. Or get involved by signing up with your event involvement/donation involvement here! We’re ready for you – and we’re ready to brag about you when this is all said and done.

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