Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Una Bella Sera 2009 • A SF Bridal Showcase

As the elevator doors parted I couldn't wait to see what the Una Bella Sera showcase held in store for the lucky brides and grooms attending this year... Crystal's event designing talent and Nicole's floral and design talents were guaranteed to produce a spectacular show full of beautiful flowers and details.

I was honored that The Flirty Guide was invited back to participate in this year's showcase. If you've been reading this blog since last year you might recall that in 2008 we participated in the event at Casa Real. This year the showcase by Crystal LeQuang of Amazae Special Events and Nicole Ha of Nicole Ha designs, was in the Julia Morgan Ballroom at The Merchants Exchange in downtown San Francisco.

This year I was invited to come early to shoot some photos for the blog. Instead of taking vignette shots I chose to capture some of the pros in action. Here David Ethridge from A Video Reflection works in tandem with photographer Jennifer Skog to capture this gorgeous European styled bride.

And there was more then one bride that day. To the left was Gene Higa photographing a gown by Amy Kuschel, David Ethridge videotaping a gown by Amy Kuschel and this final gown was provided by Gabrielle's Bridal Boutique in Los Gatos.

Here Crystal and Nicole welcome their guests to the always gorgeous Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchant's Exchange in downtown San Francisco.

This room was dreamy... And my favorite. European style with roses literally cascading across the table as a centerpiece. GORGEOUS!

The parasols above paired with the frilly chair covers (by Wildflower Linens) below covered the details from top to bottom. And in between the table top made it's own stunning style statement. 

The photo gallery was swanky and set up like an ultra lounge just adjacent to the bar.

I hung out here for a bit with photographer Claudia Akers and her hubby. Claudia had two photos displayed in the gallery.

The lounge was sleek, modern and oh so cool by Cort Event Furnishings.

The Green Room


My closest friends will tell you that it kills them to see all of the wine and champagne I don't drink when I'm out at events. They would be lining up at the bar if they saw this display but alas, they can only regret that they aren't here to partake in such opportunities LOL

Mmmm so yummy! Artichoke and Sardine Hors D'oeuvres by Joshua Charles on the left and Thomas John Catering in the center and on the right. 

I didn't try one but these flirty cocktails by Joshua Charles tempted many a bride that night.

Beautiful cupcakes and a stunning multi-tiered cake by Glass Slipper Gourmet were the final touches to the European salon.

In the Africa inspired room the black and white zebra print created a contrasting backdrop to the piles and strands of fuchsia orchids. The cupcakes and cake were provided by Jen's Cakes.

And this amazing upside down, sculptural cake was by Margaret's French Bakery. The photo on the right is a close up of the edible, iridescent sugar confetti covering the cake. The model in the background is wearing a gown by SF designer Amy Kuschel.

Cake bites also by Margarets. Many people, including myself, know Margarets from their booth at the Campbell Farmer's Market held each Sunday morning on Campbell Avenue, rain or shine.

Thomas John Catering provided a bar where party goers could swing by and pick up a shooter of different kinds of fruit juice infused with Skky Vodka.

This beautiful ice sculpture of a sitting Buddha, surrounded by orchids and flowers, was the first thing guests saw as they stepped off  of the elevator.

Another stunning ice sculpture. This vase was huge. Like several feet tall. It was so gorgeous. I'd not seen anything like it before. Contact Chisel-it if you need a 4 foot high ice vase at your next party.

Nicole Ha, Armando Sarabia and Robbie Schlosser

Thanks to Nicole Ha (left above) and Crystal LeQuang (that's her in the center below) for inviting The Flirty Guide to be a part of their fabulous showcase. Crystal even made an announcement about both her cousin Michelle and my cousin Tami encouraging their guests to get registered to become part of the National Marrow Donor Program.

Crystal LeQuang of Amazae Special Events (center)

Wedding Videogrpahers Matthieu Meynier of MvideoM and Andrew Hsu of Studio MSV.

And to close the evening... OYÉ Productions with Patricio Angulo had guests dancing the night away. It was obvious that the second annual Una Bella Sera bridal showcase was a smashing success!

Lunch at Silks SF • The Mandarin Oriental

Recently I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with photographer Critsey Rowe at Silks restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Downtown San Francisco. Their menu is renowned as being a fusion of Asian and West Coast styled dishes. Critsey had the fish and chips. I went a bit more upscale :)

The arugula, jicama, grapefruit salad was good but to be honest the flower petals tasted kind of strange. I think if I ordered it again I would ask for no flower petals.

The lunch was delish! Salmon with ginger slices, a croquette and cucumber tsukemono.

The complimentary chocolates that came at the end of lunch were OH MY GOSH so yummy! We couldn't decide which kind we liked better. The next time I go I'm going to ask for a whole plateful just for me. I don't care how much they cost. They were some of the best chocolates I've ever had.

And the view of the San Francisco skyline from a suite at the Mandarin is stunning! If you click on the image to enlarge it then look closely in the photo below you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background on the left hand side of the photo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Martini Madness at Fusion Lounge SF

Where do the cool people hang out in San Francisco? Well apparently a lot of them hang out at Infusion Lounge. And now so do I :P

When Duncan scheduled a late night Martini Madness event up in the city I had to go.... Well because I love Martini Madness events but also because this one was extra special to celebrate photographer Gene Higa's Birthday. The event started at 9:00 pm and was scheduled to go past midnight.

Robbie Schlosser, Duncan Reyes and Karen Baba

The red club lighting made my glass of orange juice look more exciting then usual.

And created some super cool effects in some of my pictures.

Rhonda, David Ethridge and Jonathan
The Dance Floor

Jennifer, Nicole Lisanne and Amy Frugoli

Well I hate to admit it but by 11:00 I was done. I still had an hour drive ahead of me to get home so I left before the Birthday Boy arrived :( As I headed out I ran into John Woods from Enhanced Lighting and Sound

On my way home I made my usual stop at In-N-Out Burger for a quick bite. I'm guessing I was probably back in San Jose when Gene arrived at Infusion. Sadly, I had to settle for wishing him a belated Happy Birthday the next time I saw him. In tribute I Photoshopped this picture of Gene, taken at a different event, of what it must have looked like when he arrived at the club. I know, pretty lame, but hey, I tried :)

Gene Higa (aka the Birthday Boy)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back to Blogging • I've Missed You Guys!

Hi There Flirty Readers!

Well I just wanted to let you all know that I'm doing my best to start blogging on a regular basis again. In fact I have several cool event posts almost ready to go. My apologies for kind of falling off the face of the blogosphere the past few weeks. While I have been attending both wedding events and showcases, as The Flirty Guide, my focus has been split the past 7 weeks as I've undertaken a new project...

In case you didn't know I've been working harder then usual because my cousin Tami, who is like a sister to me, was diagnosed with a bone marrow disease/blood cancer very similar to Leukemia called Myelodysplasia.

She is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. I looked into it and immediately found out that her odds of ever finding a match, because she is Asian and there are precious few Asians in the national registry, are not good at all. I have dedicated the past 2 months to building her a website, blog, forum and creating and launching publicity to raise awareness about why I hope that everyone who is eligible to register, will at least consider joining the National Marrow Donor Program.

Trust me. You do not want to wait to register until someone you care about is the person in need. Most people don't realize that if you aren't already in the registry it can take approximately 5 months to determine if you are a marrow match for a sick patient. If you are in the registry that time can be cut down to approximately 3 months instead. Now imagine waiting for 2 months while someone you care about is told that they need a donor to survive and they need one quickly while they are still healthy enough to undergo the transplant procedure.

How to join? I am conducting a nationwide mail-in test kit donor registration campaign as well as working with many amazing volunteers, donor programs and blood centers to help facilitate local live drive campaigns in California, Washington, Hawaii and now Massachusetts.

I have made some incredible friends along the way and have seen the other side of human nature, not the dark terrible side you see on the news each day, but the wonderful side where strangers reach out to you and people do anything and everything they can think of to help someone they barely or don't even know.

CLICK HERE to join the Helping Tami.org Facebook Group for updates and new even listings.

A lot of my blogging the past two months has taken place on the Helping Tami website blog. Please take a peek at it when you have the time. If you want to get involved, a little or a lot, there are many things you can do to help me help my cousin and the 6000 other Americans in need of a life saving marrow transplant.

• Join the marrow registry
• Spread the word
  - Email the link to Helping Tami.org to everyone you know
  - Add a Helping Tami web badge to your website or blog
  - Blog it
  - Post her link on Facebook, Twitter & Myspace
  - Tell everyone you know when you see them Face to Face
  - If you work in an office and there's a community bulletin board print out a flyer to post there
• Host a live drive
• Volunteer at a live drive
• If you know anyone famous who would be willing to do a 10 second cameo in the PSA please let me know

A Wedding Blogger Workshop with Liene Stevens

Next week I'm going to meet a rock star in the wedding blogger industry. Not only will I meet her? I'll be learning how to be a better blogger from her. I wanted to post about her blogging workshop in case any of you wedding bloggers out there hadn't heard that Liene will be in town for this special appearance and has a few spaces left.

Why do I want to learn from Liene? Because her blog receives 3000 unique visitors PER DAY! Yes, mmmm hmmmm..... I want to learn how to grow my Fun and Flirty Blog to become a "top blog" too!

To Register Click Here

Here's the 411:
Who: Any wedding professional who wants to effectively leverage online media to grow their business
When: Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Time: 9 am - 4 pm
Cost: $175
Where: Hotel Monaco, San Francisco, CA.

The workshop is open to all wedding professionals who want to learn how to be better bloggers.

Topics covered will include:
*How to discover and leverage your blogging voice
*How to maximize your blogging ROI
*How to develop killer content - consistently
*How to set short term and long term goals for your blog
*How to effectively analyze your stats and blog traffic
*How to increase your readership and keep them coming back for more
*Specific strategies and techniques to use your blog to improve your main website's SEO or "findability" on Google
*How to promote your brand through your blog's design and content
*Maintaining professional boundaries while still being personable
*And more!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

50 Fabulous Babes!

It began with a somewhat cryptic evite... 50 Fabulous Babes...

Leave it to Linda Hylen to plan something clever to celebrate the women in her life. In particular she gave recognition to Johanna Kaestner, Joyce Scardina Becker, Jean Marks and Jubilee Lau for their contributions to our industry. It was a very special afternoon.

The invitation was for lunch at the Julie Morgan Ballroom. Here were at least half of the 50 Fabulous Babes...

And on the other side of the room the other half. That's Jewel Savadelis shooting the room as I took a picture of her.

And officiant Heron Freed Toor and wedding coordinator Jean Marks catching up during our afternoon cocktail hour.

Wow. Can you imagine walking into a ballroom with a king's table set up the length of the room? I've seen the Julia Morgan Ballroom set up for events on numerous occasions and every time I do I'm always left in awe of how beautiful this venue is.

It was gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. 

The centerpieces were almost as tall as I am!

And then came the second surprise! Our wait staff was none other then our male wedding industry colleagues dressed in black. Oh my gosh it was so fun as the men entered the room. Needless to say we were quite shocked, cheering and hollering as they entered the room one y one with introductions. DJ Ron Grandia was our Master of Ceremonies and provided music throughout tour luncheon.

They poured us champagne...

And served with a smile. That's none other then Thomas John Henderson of Thomas John Events Catering.

There were lots of nice details that day.

Our first course.


And who brought my dessert? None other then photographer Dennis Menendez. Dennis was an excellent waiter that afternoon.

The tiramisu was really good. Very light and fresh.

Talk about fun. It was such a wonderful break from my  normal day to day grind.

As we left Stylist extraordinaire Jim Avila was there to drape a feather boa on each of us so that we could leave the party feeling fun and oh so flirty. Here Maralyn Tabatsky of Have Your Cake and Photographer Wendy Maclaurin Richardson join in the fun.

I felt like a Fabulous Babe as I walked to my car with my pink feather boa fluttering in the breeze. Linda thank you so much for the invitation. It was truly an honor to be included.