Archive for Event Design

Spanish Themed Birthday Celebration

It is so refreshing to design a birthday celebration for a longtime client. We couldn’t have asked for better weather on this special day; 70 degrees with a soft breeze and dappled sunlight on the deck. After guests arrived, delectable tapas were served by the talented, Two Cooks Catering. Champagne cocktails and Sangria were also offered. The menu was inspired by classic Spanish tapas, guests were able to enjoy five different tapas starting with a Spinach and Arugula Salad, fresh from Farmer’s Market. Next course were Catalonian Cabbage Rolls, followed by Spring Lamb Paella then Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Fierce Potatoes, and Galician Scallops. For all you dessert lovers out there, a choice of layered carrot cake was served in the host’s honor and rich a chocolate chiffon cake was served in honor of the birthday girl. Guests were able to enjoy the celebration on beautiful natural wood tables from Got You Covered, adorned runners from famed linen source; La Tavola. The centerpieces were designed by me and reminded me of Spanish Flamenco skirts. The scenery was breath-taking, located at the top of San Luis Obispo Country Club with the coastline in the distance. Guests were treated to the gifted James Edwards and his guitar. Classical Spanish, Flamenco and Jazz underscored the entire afternoon. I really enjoyed this event, it was something different for me to design during a wedding season and it’s always nice to design a celebration for a cherished client.

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A Dazzling 7 years: The joy and challenge of transformation.

I wanted to share some designs from an annual corporate event that I have had the pleasure of producing for one of the best causes in town: The Dazzling Diamond Ball to benefit Hospice Partners of the Central Coast.

Hospice Partners have been assisting people and their families through the most difficult transition we all have to make; the transition from flesh to spirit.The staff and volunteers of Hospice Partners provide a calm, compassionate and profound service to these individuals, their loved ones and the community.

For more information on this inspiring organization click on the Hospice link above.

You can’t have a Dazzling Diamond Ball without a Dazzling Diamond and Steven DeLuque and Jeff Mackeegan of Marshalls Jewelers, has provided a stunning piece of jewelry every year. The one of a kind piece reflected the theme perfectly: Pearls for Japan, and a sapphire pendant for Treasure Island.

Every year we took the Embassy Suites Ballroom and transformed it into another place. Guests didn’t know what the theme was until they arrived. It built excitement and raised the expectation. It also gave us more time to perfect it!

Corinne Smith, the Bloom Diva and owner of Panacea Event Floral Design was by my side for all seven years providing inspiration, brilliant centerpieces and accent flowers that always brought life and distinction to the theme. Thank you my dear friend!

Bill Gaines Audio provided lighting for years 1 through 6 and Kramer Entertainment provided lighting the last year, a favorite theme: Pirate’s Cove on Treasure Island.

Photos are provided by Julie Wilson, Allyson Magda and Mike Larson Inc.

The photos are far too many to show here but I give you a sampling of a few favorite years. Each theme was flushed out completely. Working with the Chefs of the Embassy Suites to capture the essence of each theme with the cuisine and cocktails. The bar was a favorite spot to emphasize the chosen location: Shots of iced vodka when in Russia, sake when in Japan. The bartenders were truly sports and wore costumes I provided from Costume Capers.

Music is the underscoring to any great event and we always hired a fabulous band such as The Usonia Jazz Band, The Oasis Band and the San Luis Jazz Band. We also found amazing entertainment and had them playing in full swing when the ballroom’s doors opened. Taiko Drummers in Japan and sword fighting Pirates on Treasure Island.

Starting with a blank slate….



To Russia with Love


Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan



Dazzling Pirates!


Last year was unfortunately the very last Dazzling Diamond Ball. The economy has been tough on all non-profits. Please follow the link if you would like to donate, and thank you to all the volunteers, vendors for their contributions and hard work, and to the guests who have attended for the past 7 years. Your support has transformed lives.

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Dazzling Pirates!

For the last 8 years I have had the enormous honor (and undertaking) of transforming the Embassy Suites Hotel ballroom into another country or place for the Dazzling Diamond Ball to benefit Hospice Partners of the Central Coast. Every year it takes mountains of help. Corinne Smith of Panacea Event Floral Design has been with me for all 8 years and has thrilled Hospice and me with her beautiful floral work. This year the theme was Pirate’s Cove at Treasure Island! What do you really need to pull off an epic theme like this? Pirates… lots of them. 21 awesome friends who share a pirate passion that is almost as strong as their passion for life, love and the pursuit of the perfect party, all traveled up from L. A. with a 30′ moving truck full of set pieces, authentic furniture, set dressing, props and outrageous costumes. With their backbreaking work and talents and persistance we truly transformed the space into another place and time. Also this year I was fortunate to work with Zack Hubbard with Kramer Entertainment and Lighting who provided amazing lighting (the moon was borrowed from BGA) and Sophie Murdock with Mike Larson Photography documented the whole soiree with these fine photos. Guests were greeted at the door by pirates (well, pirates more harass than greet but all in fun) and offered shots of a rum punch made with dark rum, passion fruit, fresh lime and nutmeg syrup. They then made there way to the Drunken Parrot Tavern and the “stockroom” where live auction items were on display including Marshalls Jewelers dazzling diamond, the gorgeous “captain’s passion”. A stunning Sapphire and Diamond Pendant.

They then made their way to the booty room where ancient treasure chests spilled out the evening’s silent auction items of jewelry, art and fine wine. A ships bell gathered guests outside the ballroom. When the doors were opened they found a moonlit cove, hundreds of twinkling lanterns, 80 tropical palms donated by Diane Meade of West Covina Nursery, a 40 candle ship’s-wheel chandelier, rich silk table linens, adorned with wrought iron candelabra centerpieces with black ostrich plumes and deep purple orchids, gold coins and a fully choreographed sword fight underway. When the fight was over the doors revealed an Egyptian goddess that belly danced with a lit candelabra on her head! All that before the salad was served…. A hearty embrace to all my mateys for making my vision come to life. A treasure ya are for sure!

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