Why You Should Kiss in Supermarkets

I am always amazed at how quickly I lose sight of appreciating the small, everyday wonders that fill my life.

That I have to be shaken by my shoulders by the universe and reminded that we exist by the grace of forces far greater than us. That we need to stop spinning in our own self invented urgencies and be grateful to be simply standing in a single moment.

A moment of thankfulness.

Wishing all of you a joyous and love filled Thanksgiving.

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About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.




The Most Valuable Thing You Keep Forgetting You Possess

“But I ‘m no expert.”

Funny how people go into instant confidence annihilation as soon as opportunity knocks.

And here’s more ammo:

“Who is going to listen to me?”

“There are so many other people out there doing this already.”

“What if I fail?”

“I have to go back to school.”

At a recent New York literary event, I was talking to the woman who put everything, and I mean everything, together.

This room was filled with best selling, award winning authors, their friends, family, a Nobel Laureate, philanthropists, screenwriters, producers and people who love literature.

Hors d’oeuvres were passed.

Drinks were clinked.

Money was raised.

Great buzz. Great event.

And yet, she was worried.

“I’m thinking of going back to graduate school.  I really need to learn more about grant writing and fundraising,”  she confided.  “What do you think?”

I put my drink down before I dropped it in disbelief.

Should I put a gun in her hand and tell her to shoot herself in the foot?

That is so not me.

My right brain was ready to explode with reasons why this was not a good idea:

  • You will learn theory, not practice
  • Nobody gets hired because they know theory
  • Nobody deserves your valuable time and money without giving you a job in return
  • Nobody gets hired because they have a fancy diploma

But true insight comes from self awareness.

She needed to arrive at the answer herself.

So I said, “Do you need to go into debt to learn how to beg for money?”

Then I leaned in with a meaningful wink, “Bad idea.  Bad for you skin.”


She took a moment before she answered me.

“Let me get you another drink and introduce you to someone I think you will love talking to,”  she smiled and we did a shoulder samba over to a young French filmmaker with soulful eyes sipping a flute of Veuve Cliquot.

Confidence is the only pedigree you need.

You go grasshopper!

You Are Not Alone: 5 Ways To Find Your Tribe and Flourish

It’s lonely in your atelier, isn’t it?

You want to hear the music play, you want to be part of life’s cabaret.

There are thousands of people like you who have a deep desire to do something they are passionate about.

To paint, to make a film, to write the Great American Novel, to be a successful artist.

So, you huddle over their kitchen table to work on your painting, your screenplay, your book.

Maybe you have space in your home or have rented a studio.

But you are alone.

And after hours of working on your art, you wonder, “Is this any good?  Who else is doing what I’m doing?  Does anyone care?” Who can you ask?

Your mom will love everything you do.

Your neighbor might lean over the fence and nod appreciatively but does he really know anything about what you do?

You need to talk to creative people who are passionate and excited about their work.  You need people who care about what you are doing.

You need to get out and hear the music play.


What you really need


– American poet Charles Bukowski.

You need your tribe.

The members of your tribe are your allies on your remarkable journey.  

Your tribe will lift you up, help you grow, recharge you, inspire you to go after your goals and pursue your dreams.  To celebrate with you, and be in your corner when you need them.  

The need to belong is one of the most fundamental human instincts.

Abraham Maslow, a noted psychologist, identified it as one of the five basic needs.  We want to be part of a group and to feel loved and accepted by others.

That is, we want to be a member of a tribe.

But how do you make that happen?



Michelle Handelman, Elisabeth Subrin, moi, Sue Vaccaro, Mel England


I was part of this year’s Women & Fashion FilmFest, an organization whose mission is to give voice and to create opportunities for women and girls and invited to be on a panel with really smart people for Disruptive Filmmaking in NYC: a discussion on opportunities in NYC for independent filmmakers.   

Really really smart people.

The kind of smart that made me feel like I didn’t study for the spelling test.

In the Q & A that followed the discussion, aspiring filmmakers did not ask about things like how to get money to make a film, where to find a crew to work with or should they go to film school.

Here is their big question, “How do I find my place?  How do I find my tribe?”

My co panelists had great suggestions and personal stories about how they found their network of like minded creative spirits early in their careers.

Here are the top 5 ways to find your tribe that impressed me the most from that discussion:


1  Be In The Room 

Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Go to that local film festival and meet the people doing cool and interesting things.

Congratulate the filmmakers and present yourself as a sincere fan of their work.

Sign up on their mailing list and follow them on social media.

Building a fan base is really important to a creative person. Believe me, they will remember you.

Chat up the other people in the room who are part of the event – the director, the actors, the tech crew, the musicians.

Artists work from project to project and who knows?

Yours may be the next one everyone wants to work on.


2  Connect With Your Council

This one I liked a lot.

Check out your local arts council.

I happen to run one so I can tell you that this is the quickest way to immerse yourself in local creativity.

Look for events that offer networking or an opportunity to share work with others like slide slams, open dress rehearsals or readings.

If there is an opportunity to volunteer for an event or activity, do it.

There is nothing more appealing than a pro active and generous artist.  More on this in #3.


3  Give Something Away 

I am on my way to an important meeting with a business owner.

She calls to say she needs to reschedule because it is her son’s 11th birthday and she is trying to get things ready for his party.  Not another delay, I think to myself.

“No problem,” I say cheerfully.  “His birthday is more important.”

I pick up a gift card in a video game store and drive over to her shop.

She is surprised to see me.  “Didn’t we reschedule our meeting?

I smile and say, “Yes, but I’m here to say happy birthday to the birthday boy.”

His eyes grow wide as I hand him the gift card.

His mother says, “That was really nice of you.  Thank you for doing that.”

I am thinking, “My meeting just got cancelled.  Let me be generous.”

Several weeks later, I have forgotten all about it.  But when I realize I need some extra help with a project, she immediately volunteers to do it.  No questions asked.

The Rule of Reciprocity

What just happened? What happened is the Rule of Reciprocity in play.

The Rule of Reciprocity states that we human beings are internally wired— even driven — to repay debts of all kinds. If someone does something for you, you do something for them.

Sociologist Alvin Gouldner says that there is no human society on earth that does not follow the Rule of Reciprocity.

Reciprocity is a deep and powerful principle that, under the right circumstances, is all but impossible to resist.

So give and give often.  Generously.

For extra impact, do something totally unexpected for someone.   blogger-image--217745408

Offer to create a short sizzle reel for a local dance group.

Or donate your services as a raffle gift for an upcoming fundraiser.

How about offering to create a unique one of kind award to be presented to someone?

When you start a relationship, deliver more than is expected.

And continue to give, before, during, and after every opportunity you can.

When you naturally apply the Rule of Reciprocity, the more you give, the more you will receive.

What can you give?

4  Share what you know

I know what you’re thinking:  What? What could I talk about in front of a roomful of people?

Let’s think about the psychology of this for a minute.

You want to meet creative and remarkable people who are doing things you want to do, right?

Chances are people like that are constantly being approached by people looking for something – advice, a favor, conversation. How do you stand out from the rest?

Volunteer to sit on a panel discussion about what you are interested in.

By being the expert, you have subtly changed the dynamic of the room.

Now people will seek you out as someone they want to connect with because you are the one with knowledge and authority.

Reposition the focus.

Rock this opportunity and not only will the audience want to meet you, the other panelists will be lining up for your card.

Marketing guru Seth Godin says that you create your tribe by helping others to achieve their goals.


By connecting people you know who have common interests, by giving them information and resources that they need, and letting them know that you are there to help.


5  Own The Room

Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band.
Come blow your horn,
Start celebrating;
Right this way,
Your table’s waiting

 OK, this is the secret sauce.

What will draw the people you want to meet to you like bees to honey?

Your rock star reputation?  Your amazing sense of style?  Your uber the top good looks?

If you possess this one thing, all of those other things don’t amount to a hill of beans.

Own this and the power of attraction is yours.  Every single time.


Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings


Walk in the room knowing you have something remarkable to say.

Smile.  Stand tall.


Let people see how comfortable you are in your own skin, in your own story, in your success.

There is nothing more attractive than a winner.

It’s a Wrap, people!

Let’s go over this fistful of fabulous advice in finding your tribe:

  1. Be in the room – Get out and meet the people you want to know where they gather
  2. Connect with your Council – Local arts councils exist to help local artists. If you are in Queens, come by and say hello.
  3. Give something away – Be generous in spirit.  The more you give, the more you will receive.
  4. Share what you know – Become an instant authority by helping others achieve their goals.
  5. Own the room – Confidence is the most attractive superpower.

Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn’t that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Only a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!  




Hoong Yee

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The Secret Superpower of Not So Brilliant Little Asian Girls

pencil nose

photo by polis poliviou


Being cheap is not the same as being poor.

Today someone told me he had extremely wealthy friends who, whenever they would go out to dinner and split the bill, would order the most expensive items on a menu so they could feel like they really got a great meal on another person’s dime.  Well, how do you think they became rich in the first place?   A bank account can tell you if a person is poor.  A dinner can tell you if they are cheap.

Being a wine snob is not the same as knowing the wine steward.

Years ago a friend of mine memorized the rainfall history of several red wineries in France in an ambitious attempt to become accepted as a wine connoisseur, something only people with too much time on their hands often do.  He was quickly exposed as a poseur by the wine snob community and now spends his efforts befriending the wine steward.

A much easier way to get a good bottle of wine.

Being literate is not the same as being smart.

“It’s the craziest thing, but I just realized I can actually memorize hundreds of facts before tests.  And as soon as the test is over – Poof!  Gone!  My head is completely empty again!”

Mikki was so excited to discover this amazing skill as she was studying for her GRE and LSAT exams.

“You have inherited my superpower.”  I said solemnly.  “Not being the brilliant little Asian girl that I was supposed to be,  I developed extraordinary skills in other areas.  The ability to stuff enormous amounts of data in my head for short periods of time is one of them.  Use it well.”

Mikki gasped.  “Do you have other amazing skills?”

I smiled.  “All will be revealed in good time.  You already possess the ruthless ability to hunt down extra credit opportunities.  That served you well in ratcheting up your GPA into the lofty realm of Dean’s List, didn’t it?”

Her eyes shone.  Her voice trembled as she spoke.  “I am so proud to be half Asian.”

“Remember, the power of the Number Two pencil is in your hands.  And most of all, ”  I said, holding my head up high,  ” literacy is just knowing stuff.  But being smart is knowing what you need, to do what you need to do.”


Am I saying that education can be replaced by memory tricks?  No.

I am saying that there are many ways to be intelligent in life.  Yes, I was not a good student in the traditional sense. I had to reconstruct a set of skills that would get me through the world of academia.  I had to figure out what I needed to know to do what I needed to do. Creative gate jumping, or developing ways to be a Number Two pencil Ninja on these big tests are means to an end and are potentially more valuable in navigating life challenges.


Do I still use my superpower?

Absolutely.  Put me in a roomful of people and I will remember at least twenty people’s names, make a mental note of a chatty little fact about them, and know where I parked my car.

What is your superpower?


Get more Wow!

If you want style notes and more for people who change the world, please check out:

Getting to Wow! to feel good, do good and look good

Nonprofit Knitwear for all things knit and nonprofit

Style Notes from me, your artspy

Hoong Yee

— Subscribe and get a little Wow! every day

— Forward the link to someone you think would be interested

— Link to a post on Twitter (follow me @hylkrakauer)

— Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update

Thanks so much! I really appreciate your help.

Word of mouth is the best way to share, don’t you agree?

The Art Of Attracting The Customer Investor



I have been thinking about how to build business markets around art.  Around artful products.

Many artists work on pieces and struggle to find an audience or customers.  Their art embodies talent, skill, passion, and time devoted to creating the work.

This is what artists do.  This is why artists starve.


If finding a market for your work is part of your plan, it should not be the afterthought at the end of the creative process.  Rather, seeking out your market should be part of the early stages of making art.  Art is, after all, an expression of life or vice versa depending on your point of view.  And being creative in the marketing of your art is another outlet for expression.

I think the most successful people in any industry are the risk taking creatives, the ones who break away from the average perception and make their own.  My father was a civil engineer.  Glasses, faraway look in his eyes, lots of mechanical pencils in his shirt pocket.  He dreamed in code, spoke in equations and often left the house wearing two different shoes.  He was not comfortable with the nonengineering world and when he succeeded in patenting one of his inventions, a calculating triangle with multiple functions, he could not sell it.

If I were bold enough back then, and being a good little Asian girl who happened to be bad at math, I might have suggested something like, “Maybe you could show people how it can solve some of their math problems.”  I know I would have jumped at the chance to buy a boxful of them if it could help me pass high school math.  He didn’t understand the need to involve other people at any stage of this – design, ease of use, practical applications, need, etc.

This is why I love this Kickstarter project for the Capture Camera Clip System that I read about on Fred Wilson’s blog.  It neatly illustrates my theory of the customer investor.  Peter Dering, in his engaging three minute video, does the following:

  1. engages your interest
  2. describes the problem with carrying around a camera
  3. tells you what he is doing about it
  4. shows you the process
  5. gives you a peek into future products
  6. appeals to you to help him bring his dream product to reality for $50 and a chance to pre order one


Peter has given the world a chance to look over his shoulder and watch this product become a reality as an investor and to own one as a customer.  I feel like I am more than a credit card transaction.  I am part of a greater success unfolding before my eyes.

And I will never drop my camera again.


Get more Wow!

If you want style notes and more for people who change the world, please check out:

Getting to Wow! to feel good, do good and look good

Nonprofit Knitwear for all things knit and nonprofit

Style Notes from me, your artspy

Hoong Yee

— Subscribe and get a little Wow! every day

— Forward the link to someone you think would be interested

— Link to a post on Twitter (follow me @hylkrakauer)

— Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update

Thanks so much! I really appreciate your help.

Word of mouth is the best way to share, don’t you agree?