Friday, April 30, 2010

Highlights from Una Bella Sera 2010

You can click on any image to view an enlargement for details.

When I arrived at the Craneway Pavilion the weather was gorgeous! The sheer size of the building makes you wonder what the history behind it must be. Turns out it was a former Ford assembly plant designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. Of the 525,000 sq feet the entire building encompasses, 45,000 of them (the bay front portion of the building) comprise the Craneway Pavilion.

I caught Floral Designer Nicole Ha and Event Designer Crystal Lequang of Amazáe Special Events when I arrived. Nicole and Crystal are the founders of the Una Bella Sera showcase who were inspired to host their first event 3 years ago. This year was another smashing success. The showcase is a great opportunity for engaged couples to both find inspiration as they plan their weddings and meet many of the Bay Area's top wedding professionals as they mingle with the guests.

It's a good thing that the Craneway Pavilion is huge because there were plenty of guests attending.

The first of 5 vignettes was the "Sense of Touch" described as a "sensous & vintage boudoir."

It was beautiful, romantic and just plain yummy looking. I especially loved the pink table cover with white filigree patternwork by La Tavola Linen.

The "Sense of Sight" vignette was an art deco inspiration. Note the deco look of the rhinestone pieces. The look started in Crystal's beaded hair ornament earlier. Here they are again on the table and menu card as rhinestone brooches, and you'll see them repeated on another table top as beaded pieces in the upcoming, similar yet different "Sense of Sound" vignette.

I really love how each year Crystal designs multiple vignettes in different styles rather than choose a single theme.

The "Sense of Sound" vignette was suggested by contest winner Jenny Peng who requested a "flirty soft contrast against a bold modern element."

Success on a flirty yet modern theme!

Floral Designer Nicole Ha never disappoints. I have seen her work in so many settings and events and it is always absolutely stunning. I loved this piece. Who would have thought black feathers and pink roses could create such an elegant display? Well, who other than Nicole.

This gorgeous bouquet by DK Deisgns is comprised of handmade, air dry, clay flowers. How gorgeous are they? I even took a picture of the back of the bouquet because I love Diane's attention to detail in her finishing techniques. That gorgeous table cover was provided by La Tavola Linen.

The "Sense of Taste" theme was my favorite. It was a fun and flirty vignette overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables which was inspiring to me because I'm back into healthy eating and cooking.

An empty umbrella frame was the perfect support system to hang strands of filament strung with fruits and veggies to create this whimsical centerpiece design.

A colorful art piece made of fresh produce.

Yummmm these fruit shaped gelees and marzipan sweets were such cute accents to add charm to the table.

I once attended a wedding as a guest that used whole vegetables, piled together, as the centerpieces. For favors each guest was given a fabric shopping bag and encouraged to take whichever vegetables we wanted, to take home and cook. I thought it was a really neat idea. Here the vegetables mixed with fruits were as colorful as a floral centerpiece!

The "Sense of Smell" vignette was clean and modern and filled with fresh baby's breath. The seating was set up "in the round" which would make for an interesting ceremony set up. Especially if the bride and groom stood on a slowly revolving platform! Then every guest would have a great view.

I loved the chairs. I'll have to find out where they came from for you and let you know.

This immense chandelier by Enhanced Lighting was a show stopper. It was so elegant and stunning! I just wish it had photographed better but the brightness from the sky lights washed it out a bit in the photo.

And then came the food...

The "Coronet Hors d'oeuvres by Thomas John Events were perfection! I can't stress enough how much I appreciate when caterers keep the scale of their hors d'oeuvres down to one or two bites at most. I don't know about you but for me It's sooooooo awkward trying to hold a glass of club soda in one hand while balancing my purse on one arm, a cocktail napkin, and a plate or oversized hors d'oeuvre that takes more then two bites in my other hand all while trying to hand someone my business card. Eek! And if the hors d'oeuvres are too big they completely mess up my lipstick. LOL So in short I need 4 hands or bite size hors d'oeuvres.

Left: White Cone: Roasted Peanut Butter and Nutella garnished with a fresh strawberry whip cream. Green Cone: Chocolate Hazelnut Mascarpone garnished with Macadamia nuts (pictured during preparation without garnish)

Right: Roasted Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Feta garnished with crème fraiche and micro greens

Left: Coconut Rice and Spicy Shrimp garnished with a Sriracha sauce and micro greens

Right:Kobe Beef Meat Balls with a mango crème fraiche

Thomas John sent me the following description of the Coronets:

"These bite sized delectables were served on a custom made 'Traveling Platter' which was a 6’ x 24” serving platter carried by 2 people. The concept was based on the idea of “ carrying the table to the guests.” There are roughly 50 holes on the platter allowing many guests to be served in one passing.

The Coronets were filled with over 20 different fillings throughout the event. Every time the platter was passed there were different fillings running the gambit from spicy, savory to sweet."

Above: Fig relish seasoned with sriracha and pickles, topped with crushed peanuts

I sampled the fig and tomato/red pepper coronets. Both were fantastic! The fig was so delicious I wanted to eat 30 of them.

More yummy hors d'oeuvres were provided by The Boilerhouse Restaurant located on the Bay Trail at Ford Point. The restaurant is in the same building just one door over from the Craneway Pavilion. Am going to have to have to go back and have lunch there someday. Their online reviews are great so I'm looking forward to it.

And this was just wow! Michi Sushi brought an entire sushi bar onsite with countertop glass display cases for the fish, sushi chefs and a 25 lb. Scotland Atlantic salmon embedded in an ice display. The chefs spent the entire evening creating hand rolls, custom made to order, for each guest. That was chef Jorge De La Pie Rendon making a special hand roll for me!

There was a gorgeous, too tempting, display of many of the maki (roll) sushi options available at their restaurant in Campbell. As the evening wound down the guests started devouring the displays. LOL a few snuck pieces here and there during the showcase. I couldn't blame them. It was too tempting if you're a sushi lover.

Pictured clockwise from top left: Pookie Roll - salmon, avocado, cucumber in the inside and mango with unagi sauce, honey and tobiko.

Second: the Climax roll - spicy tuna, cucumber, with tuna on top drizzled with unagi sauce, wasabi sauce, spicy wasabi sauce and topped with Macadamia nuts, scallions, tobiko.

Third: a California handroll, avocado, rice, and kani crab with black sesame seeds.

Fourth: a platter of Korean pizza's assortment, including ( jalapeno, pork and tofu pizza, pork, beef, and tofu pizza, and talipia egg and tofu pizza

The best I can describe the top photo is a sushi hand roll with a side of Japanese, sashimi (raw fish) nachos. LOL. I didn't have any but I heard they were good. I did however have two hand rolls, both equally delicious.

The top photo above: A california Handroll with flavored tortilla corn chips topped with herbed cream cheese topped with assorted fish, tobiko, and scallions. The bottom handroll is a salmon, avocado, and tobiko handroll.

For those who wanted something sweet there were plenty of options from this fresh fruit display provided by the Craneway Pavilion...

To these cupcakes and chocolate truffles.

From Left: Jen's Cakes, Chocolates à la carte, and Glass Slipper Gourmet

Cake Coquette also had samples out but by the time I got there the display was half empty and not looking as photogenic as I would have preferred. A great testament to Gabby's cake but not such a great photo op. Of course I would have got there earlier had I not gotten lost and gone over the Richmond Bridge by mistake. Doh!

There was also plenty of music. Here the Laurent Fourgo Ensemble kept things hopping.

And it's been awhile since I've seen him around but "Flamingo" showed up and spent the evening being photographed and hanging out with his adoring fans. The limo was provided by Corinthian International Parking.

Jade Studio Productions were there to do some photo sessions with the bridal models and some silly shots just for fun with our colleagues. I'll have to get some photos of the models from Armando of get your DO up! as he provided the hair styling for them. I'll post them in an upcoming post when I do.

Towards the end of the evening everyone gathered round as Nicole and Crystal took the stage to thank their guests for coming and the sponsors who helped to bring their vision to fruition.

Entertainment company Entire Productions provided many elements that evening including "Busta Groove" who had people on the dance floor having a great time.

This is a great example of how event lighting can change the ambiance of a room. While the lights were set up in both photos, in the before picture it was too bright from all of the day light coming in through the windows to really make a statement.

As soon as it started to get dark outside... Look at the difference! It's the exact same space with the same lighting. The pictures speak for themselves. North American Theatre Technology did a great job creating the atmosphere in the "Taste" vignette.

As the evening began to wind down the venue took on a beautiful glow.

I grabbed this shot from the back parking lot right before I got in the car to leave. Gorgeous right? I loved this space, the windows are really amazing. They run down the entire length of the building including a double row of skylights that run along the entire span of the building. It's truly a unique and memorable space.

And one last shot over the bay as I left. It was a beautiful evening and a really special event. Congratulations to Nicole and Crystal for showcasing not only their own talents but the talents of many of their colleagues. I hope the engaged couples who attended left feeling as inspired as I did.

You can view the sponsor's list on the Una Bella Sera website by CLICKING HERE

Bone Marrow Donor Drive at UCLA May 5-7, 2010

Click on the image to view and read the letter Janet received.

I have mentioned Janet Liang here and on Tami's blog from time to time. Janet is a young woman who was diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing round 7 of 8 rounds of chemotherapy in an attempt to knock the cancer back and attain remission. Hopefully she will and the remission will be long term. If the many months and 8 rounds of chemo fail, a bone marrow transplant will be her only hope at being cured and living a long and healthy life.

With the help of UCLA Vice Chancellor Janina Montero UCLA (Janet's alma mater) will be hosting a marrow drive for Team Janet.

Please help me to spread the word about this event:

Bruin Plaza
UCLA Campus
May 5-7, 2010
10:00 am-2:00 pm

Already in the registry? Volunteers are needed. If you can help please email Gloria at gchi@a3mhope.org with the date/time you are coming and your phone number. Thanks!

Currently there is no match for her in the national registry so, thinking it's better to be prepared, Janet has kept up with raising awareness as to not only her need, but the need thousands of other patients who are dealing with the day by day search to find a marrow match in time to save their lives.

While she has been sick, Janet has been really busy emailing and writing people. I had not heard from her in quite some time and was glad that she messaged me today to ask a favor in helping her to publicize an upcoming marrow drive at UCLA.

Said Janet in her note to me:

"It's not just about leukemia for me, it's about fighting cancer in general ... and this applies to such a huge demographic suffering from illness, young and old."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Doggie Meet and Greet

Last weekend I took an afternoon off to take Kitai out to a doggie meet up. Of course there was a lot of introductory sniffing going on. While watching this slide show you'll be glad that smell-a-vision doesn't exist. LOL

Kitai had a great time. We got to meet some of the people and pups that we (that actually means I) have been friends with for the past few years on the Dogster.com website. A fun time was had by all! Thanks so much to the meet up organizers. Your hard work was very much appreciated.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cute New Graphics: Blog, Twitter & Facebook

I was feeling like my sidebar icons on my portal website, StacieTamaki.com, and at GIRLgoesGeek.com both needed a little face lift. No need to use the boring, ho hum, buttons I'd been using. So here's what I came up with... They're fun and flirty and I think they really brighten up my web pages. If you know Illustrator, Photoshop, Paint or a similar graphics program you can design your own buttons too!

Just noticed that TInywater Photography has a cute & custom Twitter updater/link over to Twitter on their blog:

So get creative and show your style and you will attract followers, friends and fans on all of the great social media sites.

Oh, and have something great to say once people arrive!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A New Flirty Girl

Yup, that's my mom! She was the highest bidder at a Robert Yamada live auction fundraiser I had donated a "Cartoon You" illustration to back in February. Among other things two of my mom's favorite things to do are winning big at the casino (the cash out ticket she sent me a photo of was only for 5¢ so I embellished her winnings just a bit.) and her iPhone, so of course I included both in her illustration.

She was also tickled that I included her MBT shoes. For those of you who are unfamiliar with MBT shoes, the sole is rounded to mimic the walking style of the Maasai, the semi-nomadic people of Africa. Their unique sole design promotes a better gait and better posture that in theory leads to better health. My mom could be a poster girl for the MBT brand. They are also pretty pricey but ever since she got her first pair years ago the pain that used to be in her hips has gone away. So some would say that though they are expensive, they're worth it. She even has MBT sandals for the summertime. She's kind of an MBTaholic.

Well I just wanted to say thanks to my mom for bidding in the auction to help Robert. Especially since I would have made you a "flirty" you for free. I mean you are my mom and all.