Italy Adventure - Portofino | NJ Travel Photographer

Hello PORTOFINO, the Italian Riviera. This bustling seaside village is known as the resort for the rich and the famous. The restaurants, shops, cafes and hotels all line the harbor shore. The waters are dotted with boats and yachts of all sizes. So much people watching! I loved seeing all the effortlessly chic Italian women in their summer style. We even spotted fashion icon, Giorgio Armani in the piazza along with his paparazzi. Posh, colorful and stylish...I now understand why this is a hot spot among celebrities and artists. We stayed for two nights and that was more then enough.

Where we stayed?  Eight Hotel Portofino. This boutique hotel had amazing service, spacious and elegantly decorated rooms and a delicious breakfast buffet. Great location - walking distance to all the restaurants and shops! They even offered a complimentary shuttle to their sister property Eight Hotel Paraggi which is located right on the bay. We spent a day at the beach club there. The salty refreshing Mediterranean Sea is magnificent. Beware of rocky beaches and topless sun bathers! 

Where we ate? I had the best pesto pasta and Caprese salad at Trattoria Tripoli. Portofino is also known for their big prawns so make sure to try them. It's messy but worth it. And make room for gelato because Calata 32 is the best around with interesting flavors like Fig and Biscotti.

Things to do: 

Paraggi - If you want to soak up some rays, this is a festive place to enjoy beach bars, restaurants and a lively crowd. Look out for celebrities!

Castello Brown - House museum and castle located high above the harbor. Beautiful views and a nice "hike" for the family. 

The next blog stop will be CINQUE TERRE - you won't want to miss the photos from that adventure. 

 

 

Biz Books of Summer | NJ Business Mentor

Summer is in full force! School is closed, camp has started and the sun is out. My #summergoals are to read all the gems that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf. Here is a small collection of what is on my business book hit list for the next few months. 

Louder then Words : If you are struggling with discovering your point of difference and finding your unique place in your market, this book offers specific strategies and tactics for uncovering, developing your authentic voice.  I am passionate about helping others dig deep and reveal their best self through storytelling. This book offers so many insights on how to do that well.

Likeable Social Media : This is the current read for our Lady Boss Book Club. Actionable lessons and stories on how to navigate social media to tap into the conversation, listen, engage and empower your customers to start spreading the word about your business.

Essentialism : A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to do less, but better, and declutter and organize their own their lives. Many have claimed this book life changing! I hope it helps me stop chasing shine bright objects and apply a more selective criteria on what to focus on.

Change Your Questions Change Your Life: This is another read in our business book club. The author, Marilee Adams, shows how the kinds of questions we ask shape our thinking and can be the root cause of many personal and organizational problems. She uses a highly instructive and entertaining story to show how to quickly recognize any undermining questions that pop into your mind—or out of your mouth—and reframe them to achieve amazingly positive and practical results. 

Find Your Extraordinary: Written by Jessica Herrin, serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of the Stella & Dot Family Brands. She shows how the classic traits of successful entrepreneurs are ones each one of us can develop – and use not only to create a company, but also to create an extraordinary life. Whether we work a corporate job, run a family, or run our own business, Herrin offers realistic, attainable steps each one of us can take to achieve extraordinary success on our own terms. 

Fascinate: How can you create a brand that is impossible to resist? Master marketer and author, Sally Hogshead reveals the surprising answers, providing readers with a framework for fascinating anyone. This book feeds my branding addiction so I can't wait to dive in and learn more stand out strategies for my own brand as well as my clients.

What do you have on your reading list this summer? How do you pick your books - recommendations, google search, best sellers? How do you keep yourself motivated to read? Tell me in the comments below. Share your must reads and your reading strategies! And if you are interested in joining a business book club, find my Lady Boss Book Club Facebook page here. We would LOVE to have you!

Italy Adventure - Lake Como | NJ Travel Photographer

My family took an epic summer vacation this July to Italy. We opted out of the popular tourist destinations of Rome, Venice and Italy and instead explored the towns in the Northern part of Italy. We rented a car and drove from Lake Como to Portofino to Cinque Terra to Parma and then to Milan. The Italian adventure was amazing and a complete feast for our eyes. Each town offered it's own story, history and beauty. 

I fell in love with Italy - the people, the culture and the food. We ate everything! Pasta - Gelato - Wine - Fish....I think my palate is forever spoiled. The trip was a huge bonding experience for my family as we connected through exploring and trying new things together. Never easy to be in a car and moving from one town to the next, but my family of five truly enjoyed. I left Italy inspired, energized and with a new zest for life.

I took hundreds of photos and am planning to share our visual adventure through a series of blog posts on each town. Each post will have LOTS of pics so be warned :) There were just so many stories to capture in every Italian corner. I will also share our favorite hotels, restaurants and things to do. I hope you enjoy our tour of Italia! #malhotrasladolcevita

First stop was LAKE COMO. This sleepy village on the lake borders the Alps and consists of pretty towns like Bellagio, Tremezzo and Varenna (these are the three we visited). It is about an hours drive from Milan and the roads are quite narrow and treacherous. Def invest in the extra car insurance because you will find yourself scraping against the walls to share the winding roads with on coming cars. Once you get there, the best way to explore and travel between each town is by ferry/boat. You will experience beautiful views from the lake perspective. And if you're lucky, you may bump into George Clooney who has a home there on the lake. 

Where we stayed? Villa Lario : small quiet boutique hotel in Pagno Lalario. We enjoyed a suite with two bedrooms and two full baths plus a magnificent view of the lake. The atmosphere is intimate so the staff is attentive, friendly and helpful. They always remembered our names and exactly how we liked our coffee. They have an infinity pool with another spectacular view that our boys loved. I can't say enough good things about this property and am counting the days until I can return.

Where we ate? We dined mostly at the hotel but we did have an amazing dinner at Vapore. It's down a steep hill full of twists and turns so be careful. Make sure to order the lake fish!

Things to do:

Villa Carlotta - Stroll the colorful botanical garden and art museum. Kids will love the freedom of running around the manicured lawns. Grab a coffee or a cocktail at the nearby Grand Hotel Tremezzo hotel for a posh experience lakeside.

Bellagio - This bustling town has many charming restaurants, shops, artists and local makers. You will love walking up and down the narrow, cobblestone streets. Make sure to keep your eyes open because there are so many funny stories everywhere, especially in the apartment balconies. Eat gelato and pizza!

Verenna - Another village on the lake but this one less hectic and more laid back. I loved the picturesque streets and the old fishermen's houses. 

What I cherished most about this particular town?  The peaceful quiet, sounds of lapping waves, church bells and the memorable views. Perfect place to relax and recharge.

The next blog post and stop on our Italy adventure is PORTOFINO! Make sure to come back to take the trip with me through photos. Arrivederci!

Summer Favorites | NJ Photographer

Roundup Time!

Click to learn more about a few of my favorite things this summer.

Hope you are enjoying the season as much as I am. 

What are you loving these days that I should know about? Comment below and share your FAVS.

Power of a Photo | NJ Business Photographer

I am sorry to break the news to you but many are judging you by the profile photo you are using in your LinkedIn, on your About Me page, on Facebook and on Instagram. Your viewers are deciding in the first 10 seconds of seeing you if they like you and if you are worthy of them clicking for more information. Your photo is usually the first point of contact and the gateway to connecting. 

I encourage you to do a personal photo check. Look at your current headshot. If you're photo falls in any of these categories, you may be in big trouble:

  • Blurry or dark photo
  • Includes a child or pet or worse is only of your child or pet
  • Obvious that other people in the image have been cropped out
  • Taken on vacation with a cocktail or in your bathing suit
  • Photo taken too far away so you can't even see your face
  • Photo featuring mostly the location and environment with you as an afterthought

These are just a few of the pitfalls that I see online. And to be blunt, these photos do not communicate being an expert or authority or leader in an industry. They say you are not willing to invest in your business. So if you are not investing in yourself, how can you expect your prospects to invest in you and your products or services?

We live in a visual world so your headshot is just as important as your logo or your website. It's your virtual handshake and a staple for all of your marketing. If you need photography help, I am happy to assist you. I am passionate about working with women entrepreneurs and empowering them to feel confident in being the face of their business. 

I have a headshot event called Get Gorgeous coming up on September 15 in Summit, NJ. Details and sign up can be found HERE

PS : All images above were taken at past Get Gorgeous events. 

 

 

Out Of Your Comfort Zone | NJ Personal Brand Strategist

If you were your bravest self, what would you be doing?

This is a question that has recently come up with a few of my entrepreneur girlfriends and with my strategist. It's a powerful topic that quite honestly, makes me squirm. It makes me really think about how I am showing up in the world. Am I playing it safe? Could I be pushing myself more to reach my greatest potential? What am I scared of? Why am I not doing what I dream of doing?

After some quiet time and thinking, I realize fear has most to do with it. I am scared to play bigger and rock the boat of what I already know and am good at. Plus there is some imposter syndrome, the thought that I might be trying to be someone I am not. Who would want to come to ME for this? Maybe also some confidence hang ups - can I really do this? Do I have the skills and know-how? Then there is the unknown of what it would feel like to get to there. What would life be like fulfilling my dreams?

If I tap into my dreams, I see myself on a stage speaking and inspiring women - teaching them, leading them, connecting them to others. I see myself traveling the world with my camera, capturing stories of people and places that make a meaningful impact for women, businesses, brands, maybe even the world. I see myself creating a tight knit community of strong, smart, creative, passionate lady bosses and empowering them to feel confident to make their stamp. I see myself collaborating with other creatives and forming a boutique agency.  I see a photo book authored by me that provides a deep connection to others, while making you smile and laugh and feel curious and creative.

The dreams are all over the place and sort of a blur but the feelings are strong. I get that mix of excitement and fear. Passion and purpose. It feels like going on a trip to a new place and you have no idea what will happen when you get there but the surprise and adventure fills your soul. 

So what do you do to get closer to your dreams? You do an epic brain dump of all the steps that you need to take and pick a few at a time to implement. You take ACTION! Your steps can be as big as hiring a coach or as small as borrowing a book on a related topic in the library. But it requires actually doing something productive. 

For me, an opportunity fell into my lap. My friend Beatrice, a brand expert at Brand Excitement, told me about a FREE public speaking training coming in August called Own The Room Gives Back . It may come as a surprise to some, but I have some anxiety when it comes to public speaking. I dream about being a strong speaker, the kind that can connect deeply with their audience. So when she told me about this event, I signed up! And yes, I am terrified on what I will have to do during the training but I am taking action. It feels good to take control and to take one step closer to my dreams. 

And I believe once you take one step, the next one is not as hard. You build momentum. You learn more about yourself. You grow. Let's see what unfolds...I will be sure to share the journey here!

Miki Spotlight | NJ Branding Photographer

http://gosselinhomes.com

MIKI SPOTLIGHT :

CAROLINE GOSSELIN - THE GOSSELIN GROUP

I am excited to launch a new series called Miki Spotlight where I feature some of my photography clients and share more about their businesses. I work with so many interesting and dynamic women entrepreneurs that I wanted to spotlight their stories along with the images that were captured during their branding photo shoots. I hope this series inspires and introduces you to some new and interesting people.

Meet Caroline Gosselin, the realtor and principal behind The Gosselin Group at Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty in NJ. She helps people navigate real estate transactions with the confidence that they are making the right decision. She specializes in the NJ towns along the Midtown Direct Train Line like Maplewood, Short Hills, South Orange, Millburn, Summit, Chatham and Madison. Caroline's wealth of experience guides her clients to avoid challenges and build trust in a business with as many moving parts as the real estate industry,

In a few short years and with over $20 million in sales to date, Caroline has become a consistent top producer and was recently recognized by her local business community and awarded the Mover and Shaker of the Year Award in 2011. Caroline has won several industry awards, including the New Jersey Association of Realtors' Circle of Excellence Award in 2011, 2012 & 2013 as well as the 2014 Five Star Real Estate Agent Award.

Her professional and reliable work style goes above and beyond in terms of customer service, marketing and problem solving for her clients. She wear many hats from staging, the photography, the graphic design, the event planning. All of this plus strong negotiation skills goes into marketing a home and launching it to the market.

Caroline describes herself as VERY hands-on, almost protective of her clients. She wants to make sure her clients are aware and educated about every step of the process and get the best advice about their options. Her job is to guide and use her experience and knowledge to lead her clients through transactions while avoiding pitfalls. The goal is to be their "realtor for life" not only acting as a resource for anything related to real estate but also within the community.

Are you looking for a reliable realtor or know someone moving to NJ? Connect with Caroline and find out more about her and her business:

www.gosselinhomes.com

caroline@gosselinhomes.com

(973) 985-6117

Facebook

Instagram

Photos featured above were all taken during Caroline's REVEAL branding photography session. Hair and Makeup from Kelly Desario of Dolce Viso in Millburn, NJ. Interested in branding photos of your own, contact me at mallika@mikifoto.com.

Bari Studio | NJ Business Photographer

May I introduce you to the women of Bari? If you haven't heard about this place yet, it is a fitness studio that will get your mind motivated, your heart pumping and your body sculpted. Located in NYC, NJ and even Santo Domingo, these ladies are workout rock stars, committed to helping you feel healthy and strong. I have not only been photographing the trainers here for a few years but also have been taking the classes as a member of their #baritribe. 

What I love most about these women are they are confident, strong, inspiring and fun. They are REAL women who love fitness. They welcome all shapes and sizes and work with you to meet your fullest potential. The classes are intimate and small with personalized attention and encouragement. The bari culture is all about empowerment and positivity. From their cardio to trampoline to muscle sculpting classes, after every workout you will be left feeling good inside and out. 

But more then the sweat-drenched classes, these women build communities. Every Bari challenge, class, workshop or event creates lifers out of their members. Led by Alexandra the founder and Claudia, the head - hot shot in Summit, NJ, Bari has become a space for connecting like minded, health oriented, fitness motivated and fun loving women. 

Trust me, when I say you feel their energy and their passion in every class. I am also super grateful for the opportunity to capture their vibe with branding photography. The Bari culture is a unique one and I loved telling their story through storytelling imagery. 

If you have a chance to take a class, I highly recommend it. I am in love with their micro classes.  And their bounce classes are the original real - deal trampoline classes - these Bari babes started the whole trend in the first place. Plus, they are always introducing new classes so you never ever get bored. Check out the studio in Summit and get ready to sweat it out and feel inspired.