Posts in the ‘Events’ Category

E and F Get Married

Just Married bride and groom under the chuppah

In December, Evan and I got married!

We planned our wedding in about five months, and it was every bit the magical experience we had hoped to have. We took a very hands-on approach, from hand-letterpressing our invitations and writing our own ceremony to making paper lantern programs for our guests and decorating our own wedding cake. More details to come soon on, well, the details. For now, here’s a little look at the big┬áday.

You can check out the newly updated for lots more photos, info on our awesome vendors and more.

And don’t forget to watch the best wedding video ever, courtesy of my extraordinarily talented husband.

A Surprise Birthday Proposal!

Last Sunday, Evan and I celebrated our joint birthday (yes, we were born the same day, same year) with a pool party at my parents’ house. After blowing out the birthday candles and passing champagne around for a “birthday toast” Evan proposed in front of our friends and family! I couldn’t have been more surprised, excited, and thrilled! It has been a surreal and wonderful week and I can’t wait for us to get married!

wedding proposal

Big thanks to Jared Hillman for photographing the magic moment and to Evan for editing it together.

Now to start the wedding planning…

Super Cool Stunt: Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare

On Saturday, June 30 2012, two real-life Hot Wheels cars sped through a 6-story double vertical loop in Downtown LA at the X Games – and it was incredible! Lucky me, I got to have a part in working on the social media for Hot Wheels.

Watch and enjoy!

Hot Wheels World Record: Double Loop Dare at the 2012 X Games Los Angeles

Big congrats to Team Hot Wheels drivers Greg Tracy and Tanner Foust on completing the loop and setting a new Guinness World Record!

You can now call me Aunt Francine

Exciting news: I am now an aunt. Nephew #1, Noah Simon, is extremely adorable, and I’m very thankful to have been able to spend so much time with him already.

He arrived the day before Mother’s Day – perfect timing! And I baked a homemade funfetti cake with cream cheese icing. I need to get myself a nice bundt pan so I can make a cake as pretty as this at home.

And on the day of his bris, the whole family got to see the solar eclipse together though a pair of binoculars in my parents’ backyard – the first one I’ve ever seen!

More Than a Year Later, Tuttle LA Is Still Going Strong

Francine at Tuttle LA

Me at Tuttle LA at Toorak Coffee with Jeb and Vaughan in the background. Photo by Ms. Jen Hanen

Remember back when I started posting about Tuttle LA? Well, we started trying to recreate the magic of the Tuttle Club social media cafe that I was involved with in London over here in LA last February. It’s always been a loosely organized group of freelancers, web workers and geeky folks, and through this small but dedicated group, I’ve made new friends, discussed a lot of interesting ideas, worked on a few projects and learned a lot.

When we started, we were meeting at The Library, a quirky coffee shop in Long Beach with an always-changing space. It was cozy and we enjoyed meeting there for nearly the entire first year, but we soon felt like we were outgrowing the changing space we liked to call ours. The tables were getting smaller, the Wi-Fi wasn’t getting any better, the place wasn’t getting any closer to the freeway, and we were constantly surprised by what we found in our meeting room, from a clothing store to a performance space (seriously, check out the older photos from our Flickr group).

We decided to change venues over to a newer coffee shop, Toorak Coffee, also in Long Beach, and we’ve found a happy home. The staff knows us, there’s lots of room for us to stretch out, we never feel like we’re being too rowdy during our heated discussions, and the Wi-Fi is quick and reliable. We only wish there were more outlets for our laptops. It’s also easy to get to since it’s just minutes off the 405.

I’m proud that we’re still meeting every other week like clockwork, and we’re currently discussing adding post-Tuttle educational programs. We’ve also had a number of special guests, including many Tuttle friends from London.

Just this past Friday a group of about 7 of us were discussing how valuable Tuttle has been to us. Since just about all of us work from home, Tuttle has provided an important outlet for meeting new people and adding a social component to our workweek. Because of it, we’ve gotten feedback on new projects, collaborated on work and gotten inspiration to try new solutions or conquer new tasks.

When we started out, I didn’t know if anyone would even show up. Now, our group isn’t huge, but we regularly have 6 to 10 people, and sometimes even a few more. Though I originally hoped we’d have a large, thriving group, I am happy with our steady pack of regulars who are committed to coming and helping each other out.

So Jeb, Jen, Vaughan, Al, Matt, David, Geoff, Kelly, Luke, and everyone else who stops by, thank you for being a part of Tuttle LA. It’s meant a lot to me, and I’m happy to hear that it’s meant a lot to most of you. You’ve helped inspire me creatively and professionally and you’ve introduced me to many great ideas, apps and tools.

Want to learn more about Tuttle LA and when we’re meeting next? Visit

‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ Book Signing

boy who harnessed the windYesterday, my friend Caroline and I went to a book launch event for The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. She was invited to the event through her job, and asked me to come along with her. I had seen the author — and subject of the book — William Kamkwamba — on the Daily Show earlier in the week, and found his story inspiring, so I was very excited to get to meet him.

William is from Malawi, and starting at a young age, he was fascinated with bicycle dynamos and radios. When a famine hit the country and his parents could no longer afford to send him to high school, he decided to try to continue his education by going to a small library with about 900 books. He didn’t read much English, but he was fascinated with the science books and learned mostly by looking at the diagrams. In one book, he saw a windmill and decided to build one to bring electricity to his home and his village.

He shared how he collected scraps of metal and PVC pipe from a trash yard, and how his family and friends thought he was crazy. But his idea worked — he ultimately created a functioning windmill, built a circuit breaker and light switches, and stored the power the windmill generated in an old car battery.

I took AP physics in high school and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done any of that.

William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

He and his co-author, journalist Bryan Mealer, shared a lot of stories about the tough times William’s village was having during the famine, and how he gathered together parts with the help of his cousin and another friend. He also then talked about what happened after journalists had discovered what he’d done. He was profiled in many papers and was invited to speak at the TED conference, where he met Tom Rielly who would turn his story into a documentary and help get him into a pan-African high school in South Africa. He’s now helping William pursue college in the U.S. — he’s been looking at Harvey Mudd while he’s been in LA.

William also told some funny stories about his first time on a plane, in a hotel and using a computer — and how he wished he had access to Google back when he was trying to figure out how to build his first windmill. And we heard about the changes in the quality of life in William’s village — he built another windmill to pump water for his mother’s garden, and started a youth soccer team to keep other kids out of trouble. The village also now has its own fresh water source, and William’s parents’ home has a real roof and some better amenities than it had when he was growing up.

I’m really excited to read the book, which I got signed by both William and Bryan. I’m very honored to have met them — and have had a bit of time to actually talk to them. I also met Ben Nabors, who is producing the documentary about William’s story. Check out the Moving Windmills short below to learn more.

Talking about Social Media Marketing and More at Gravity Summit

gravitysummitMonday I went to Gravity Summit at UC Irvine. I’d first heard about Gravity Summit when I went to the Tweetup after the UCLA conference. I got to meet one of the founders, Rodney Rumford, as well as some of the speakers, like Angie Swartz, as well as some other interesting people. So when I received an invitation to attend their UC Irvine event, I was excited to head down and learn more.

There was a great morning keynote by the author of The Brand Bubble, John Gerzema, who talked about the way consumers’ mindsets have shifted with the economic crisis and how brands are responding. His presentation had tons of great examples, and I’ve embedded it below (you can click on the slides with tiled images/logos to get to the examples). He discussed the shift toward do-it-yourself, consumer empowerment and a liquid, streamlined life. He also talked about the recent shift in focus to modesty (or at least the appearance of it), and value and ethics consciousness among consumers.

Calamity Master – Gravity Summit Version

Another great talk was Domino’s Pizza franchisee Ramon De Leon (@dpzramon) who talked about how he has used social media to boost sales in his 6 Chicago stores. His story goes way beyond posting specials on Twitter — this guy is a social media machine, connecting with local universities and clubs on Facebook, posting 12 seconds videos about the potholes around town and just generally using his infectious love for people, pizza and connecting to create more sales for his stores. He also likes to add a personal touch and goes to deliver pizzas himself, or brings his managers and cooks along, too. He’s always thinking about how he can leverage an opportunity to sell pizza, and he’s completely available to his Chicago community.

There were other presentations about how Twitter changes the game of business marketing, how to create a passionate community, analytics tools to help find, reach and influence your market, and more. In all, it was a great day, and I met a lot of wonderful people.