Mitzvah MailJune 2012 Summer's Here! School's out, many of you are vacationing, and the Bar & Bat Mitzvahs keep on coming! June has been "catch-up


Mitzvah Mail

June 2012


Summer's Here!

School's out, many of you are vacationing, and the Bar & Bat Mitzvahs keep on coming! June has been "catch-up month" for me after the whirlwind of my own daughter's Bat Mitzvah. LOTS of album designing and editing. Here's one of my favorites from Jenna's big day. Natural light at its best!

I've also been busy shooting several Mitzvah Family Portrait Sessions this month in some really beautiful locations throughout the SF Bay Area. It's always so much fun to explore new places and turn them into my office for the day! I'll be posting some of my favs from sessions in Burlingame, Novato, and San Ramon on my Facebook page soon. If you hit the "Like" button there, you'll be updated on all the latest news and special offers just for Facebook fans.


Mitzvah Finds - Kristie's Cake Creations

When looking for a cake for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah, we wanted something very specific to go with her "ice hockey" themed party. We also wanted something delicious made from high-quality ingredients that fit within our budget.

We found Kristie's Cake Creations out of San Ramon and when we saw this picture of one of her hockey jersey cakes, we knew we had found the right person for the job! Check out more of Kristie's work here:

Here's a little more about Kristie (from her website)...

As a little girl, I learned my cake creating talents by watching my Grandmother make and decorate beautiful cakes. I was always amazed that a beautiful rose could be made from frosting. Today I enjoy baking and making my own beautiful cake creations in memory of the many talents my Grandmother taught me. I started my cake baking and decorating as a hobby 17 years ago by creating fun cakes for my son & daughter. What was once a hobby, has turned into an amazing little business. By "popular demand" from friends and family, I extend my delectable cakes and creativity to you.

Every cake I make and design is made from the heart as if intended for one of my family members. I take great pride in providing my customers with the freshest ingredients. Quality cakes and customer satisfaction are of the utmost importance to me. I use fresh fruits, quality Valrhona and Guittard Chocolate, sweet cream butter....NEVER SHORTENING, bakers sugar, cake flour, and Satin Ice Fondant.

Kristie runs her business out of her home, and schedules cake design consultations and tastings by appointment only. You can e-mail her at, or call her Business line at (925) 967-8584. She will return your call within 24-48 hours.


Humor Me - There's one at every party...

Ahhhh, Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties can be SO much fun to photograph. There's just something about that magical age of 13 - not a little kid anymore, but definitely not an adult - kind of a "cool-kid wanna-be".

And with some kids this age, seemingly out of nowhere, emerges a dancing machine! Some keep the machine under tight wraps, and others let it ALL out! Some take an hour or so to warm up, and others start right out of the gate. Some like to "Pop, Lock, & Drop", and others prefer to "YMCA" (actually I think that one's more for the adults :)

Either way, I'm never disappointed as there's always at least one kid who can't "keep it in the can" so to speak. Here's a few of my all-time favorite little dancing machines...


... and I have to give credit to all those amazing DJ's who keep these kids dancing for hours! Without them, I wouldn't have the opportunity to grab these great shots. See the Vendor Spotlight below to learn more about one of the most popular DJ companies in the Bay Area - Denon & Doyle.


Vendor Spotlight - Denon & Doyle

When I ask my clients, "Who's your DJ?", 9 times out of 10 the answer is "Denon & Doyle, who else!" I've worked with MANY DJs throughout the Bay Area, and there are lots of great ones to choose from. But there's a reason why D&D comes up so often - they are true professionals who know how to work a crowd no matter what the vibe of a particular party.

Every MC and DJ I've had the pleasure of working with from D&D has been amazing, especially when it comes to helping me get the best shots of those key moments at every Bar/Bat Mitzvah party. The Hora, the candle-lighting, the welcome speech, the father-daughter dance. While most clients don't even realize how much I'm coordinating with their DJ, it really does make a difference in the quality of the pictures I get.


I recently chatted with Dan Ohrman, General Manager of Denon & Doyle, and asked him some key questions we all want to know when planning our mitzvahs. Here's what he had to say...

Q: What is the most important thing to look for when choosing your DJ?
A: First, educate yourself to understand exactly what you're buying. Decide what's important to you as a family. I always tell people to beware of a company that leads off with telling you what "they do" instead of asking you what "you want". Red flag - walk away!

Q: How do you ensure that each family gets the kind of party they really want (appropriate music, etc...)?
A: It all starts with me - Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are my baby! I take the time to get to know each family from the initial phone call and find out what exactly they're looking for. Many times people book us 2+ years in advance and really don't know what they want yet, so we grow and adapt with them as their plans come together. I know all of our MC's and can suggest which ones I think will be a good fit.

Q: How far in advance do you recommend clients book their DJ?
A: As soon as you know your Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Each temple is different - some schedule as much as 3 years in advance. Even if you're not ready to plan the details or make a deposit, there's no harm in making that initial contact so we can pencil in your date. In fact, I would contact all your vendors (photographers, videographers, etc...) as soon as you have your date.

Q: How do you decide which of your MCs/DJs to use at each party?
A: Several factors go into this decision and it's a matter of asking the right questions. Ex. Is it a kids-only party or mixed kids/adults? How many guests? What's important to you? What have you seen at other parties that you liked? Do you want a high-energy party or something more low-key? Which package works best for you so you're at a comfortable price point?

Q: What sets Denon & Doyle apart from other DJs?
A: Our commitment to servicing our clients. People often think of us a big company, but we try very hard to make working with us a personal experience. We have a full-time office staff. When a client calls, I drop everything else so I can focus on learning about them and their needs. We conduct in-person meetings with our clients and provide online music lists for their convenience. We remain cutting edge in all aspects of our business. We also foster a strong sense of camaraderie both internally and with all the other vendors we work with.

Thanks Dan for taking the time to chat. Love working with you guys! Be sure to check them out at:


Thanks for Spreading the Word!

Thanks to all of you who gave me such great feedback on the first two issues of Mitzvah Mail! I created this newsletter to provide all of us "Mitzvah-planning Mommas" (and Dads too) with a little inspiration, a few laughs, and hopefully useful information to help us along the way. Please feel free to email me with your comments and suggestions for future issues. Lots of great info planned for the rest of this year!

And special thanks to all of you who have forwarded Mitzvah Mail to your friends and family. Please share Mitzvah Mail with anyone you know who could use a little support in their planning process. They can subscribe using the form below. Thanks for spreading the word!

Happy Planning!

To see previous issues of Mitzvah Mail, click on these links:

Issue 2 - May 2012
Issue 1 - March 2012

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