Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Eventup -- A New Site to Book Cool Party Venues

I just learned of a great new site I had to share. It's called Eventup and it's an online party venue booking site.

It's based here in Santa Monica, so a few weeks ago I had coffee with the founder, Tony Adam, and he told me all about it.

Now if you're looking for that cool loft, new restaurant, or great house to throw a party or wedding at, you don't need a party planner. All you need is to head to Eventup and you'll find exactly what you need. The site currently only serves LA, San Francisco, and New York, but they plan to expand to other cities soon, so be on the lookout.

What's great about Eventup is they offer a wide range of unique locations in every price range, but I asked Tony to share with me some of the most incredible spots in LA you can book, and here's what he chose. Wait until you see these spots... You'll drool.

Oviatt Penthouse

Tap into the glitter of old Hollywood at the Oviatt Penthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Housed in the 13-story Oviatt Building, this Art Deco landmark was built in 1927 and 1928 for James Oviatt. A rich haberdasher who dressed the dashing likes of John Barrymore and Clark Gable, Oviatt’s building was inspired by the novel splendors of Art Deco he viewed on a trip to Paris. The ground floor houses the glamorous Cicada Restaurant, featured prominently in the 2012 Oscar-winning The Artist, while upstairs, the ten-room penthouse and expansive rooftop terrace with entrancing downtown views provide 7000 feet of undeniable Jazz Age glamour for any event. Lalique himself designed the building’s glass front doors, gilded elevator doors, and etched glass used throughout the building. The rooms feature Oviatt’s original burled mahogany furniture and built-in cabinetry.

Disney Hall

Downtown Los Angeles’ Disney Hall is an architectural wonder. Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, who Vanity Fair called “the most important architect of our age,” the structure’s swooping, curved façade, uniquely laden in stainless steel, is breathtaking. Within, the auditorium, fully paneled in fir wood, is equally peerless in its sailing ship-inspired design. This home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic can be rented for weddings, parties, and other events. Opened in 2003, Disney Hall may prove to be as representative of Los Angeles as the Chrysler Building is of New York City.

Frank Lloyd Wright Wright Jr Mansion - Sowden House

Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.’s Sowden House in Los Feliz is one of L.A.’s most unique homes. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son Lloyd Wright in 1926, it beautifully exploits the wonders of nature, with every room surrounding a spacious central courtyard. An important part of L.A. history, the Mayan-inspired dwelling played host to famous photographer Man Ray in the 1940s and has been featured in Architectural Digest and Martin Scorcese's 2004 film The Aviator. It’s perfect for a truly exceptional wedding, launch party, or birthday soiree.

Simon House

This mid-century modern home in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills was designed by a builder of dozens of homes in Palm Springs, a city that exudes mid-century style. The 5000-square foot Simon House is situated on an acre of land. The front entryway is home to a unique reflecting pool reminiscent of the one Peter Sellers lost his shoe in Blake Edwards’ 1967 comedy The Party, while the backyard features lush gardens, an infinity Jacuzzi, a heated pool, ocean views, and complete privacy. It’s an ideal setting for photo shoots, filming, and select events.

Union Station

Admittedly, a train station might be the last place you might consider for a fabulous party, but Union Station is a unique and stylish choice. Across from Olvera Street in Chinatown, the bustling station dating back to 1939 brings a sense of style, action, and adventure to any event. Surrounded by palm trees, this landmark’s architecture is Spanish Revival with Moorish influences. The waiting area retains its original elegance with dozens of plush leather-and- wood Art Deco armchairs and vaulted, ornately painted soaring ceilings. One room available only for private events is the old Main Ticketing Concourse. It features grand ironwork chandeliers, a gorgeous wooden ticket counter that doubles beautifully as a bar, and space for as many as 1,000 guests. Another private venue, a former Fred Harvey restaurant, suits a special occasion with its original, elegant details such as red leather banquettes, a horseshoe-shaped bar, and a balcony perfect for a band or DJ setup.

How awesome would it be to have your party in a train station??? Even if you don't live in LA, SF, or NYC, definitely take a look at Eventup. There are so many fun place to check out!

I Had a Photo Shoot

Now that Catch My Party is off and running, I thought it was time I got some half-way-decent photos taken of me. There are so many places I need to add a photo (like our own site), and I never seem to have one I like.

While my husband is wonderful in many ways, he takes the most unflattering photographs.

So enter photographer Tamar Levine.  I met Tamar when she tutored me in Photoshop about a year ago.  She's young, hip (but not too hip), and approachable.

I thought, if I was going to get my picture taken, I needed it be by someone who was going to make me feel comfortable.  And Tamar was just the person.  She was fun, supportive, easy to work with, and she even gave me some important tips on how to look my best in photos ("chin up, chin up").  By the end of the shoot, I felt like such a natural.  I even wondered if I'd missed my calling as a supermodel.

Here are some of the photos she took of me at the photo shoot.  (I love saying photo shoot, by the way.)

While Tamar is best known for her fashion photography, she also loves shooting portrait and engagement photos.

Here are some of her fashion photographs...

And here are some of her gorgeous wedding and engagement photos...

She will be shooting my daughter's next birthday, so be on the look out for that in March.

And if you live in Los Angeles and are looking for a creative, down-to-earth photographer, who takes beautiful photos, and might make you (delusionally) think you could be a supermodel, Tamar Levine is your woman.

Vanilla Bake Shop

Friday night we were invited to a friends' house for dinner, so I stopped by Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica, CA (where I live) to pick up some cupcakes.

The store is so lovely and the desserts so beautiful, I had to shoot some photos.

Vanilla Bake Shop was started by husband and wife team, Amy and Jeremy Berman.  Here's an article from the New York Times about their story.

Amy has also appeared on the Martha Stewart Show to bake her famous Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes.

Some iPhone photos of the store...

The baby cupcakes I bought for our dinner... Yum.

If you're visiting Los Angeles, I think Vanilla Bake Shop is definitely worth a visit for some of these tasty baby cupcakes.

How to Throw an Out of this World Bar or Bat Mitzvah

I love Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  I love them because they're like weddings, only a lot of times, more festive.  You can go over the top with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and nobody cares because it's a party for a 13-year-old!

So to get some insight into what's hip and cool right now in the world of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, I talked to two event planners -- Terri Bergman on the east coast and Carol Rosen on the west coast -- who plan a lot of them.

Terri of Terri Bergman Events, based in Washington DC, says she likes to think of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in terms of two party areas within one room -- one area for the adults and one for the kids.

The adult area is usually more traditional with a seated meal at tables, but for the kids party, she likes to keep it casual.  She create lounges, renting furniture to make the party feel more like a club than an event.

A Bat Mitzvah lounge for the kids designed by Terri

Another one of Terri's lounges

And another...

Basketball centerpieces at a Bar Mitzvah designed by Terri

Lighting and video screens at one of Terri's Bat Mitzvahs

She also likes finger friendly food for the kids: sliders, Chinese food in take-out containers, Japanese food in bento boxes, fries in cones, etc...

And to keep the kids (and the adults) entertained, she likes to have activities going on during the party.  Some of her favorites are:  a casino table, a cell phone bling station, a temporary tattoo or airbrush artist, Guitar Hero, flip books (which I wrote about here), or Dance Heads.  According to Terri, people love personalized activities and they love having pictures or videos of themselves to take home.

When I talked to Carol Rosen of Party Designs by Carol, based in Los Angeles, she said she also likes to do lounges for the kids and sit down dinners for the adults.  She's a big fan of casual kids buffets, food stations, and candy tables.

A kids' lounge at one of Carol's Bar Mitzvahs

A dramatic table at a Bat Mitzvah designed by Carol

A candy table at one of Carol's Bat Mitzvahs

Lighting used to highlight a room at a Bar Mitzvah designed by Carol

A "red carpet" set up outside one of Carol's Bar Mitzvahs

For activities, she likes setting up a karaoke station or a Rock Band video game station.  She also likes airbrushing, temporary tattoos, and Dance Heads.   But another way Carol likes to get the party started is by hiring DJs that provide trained dancers or "party motivators."  These dancers get to know the kids during the cocktail hour, then keep them dancing and having a good time throughout the night.

In terms of party favors, here's where we get an east coast/west coast split.

They are a big thing on the east coast.  Some of Terri's favorite ideas are personalized sweatshirts, tank tops, boxers, fleece scarves, or beach towels.

On the West coast, favors are not as common.  Carol like to have cards on the table that say a donation has been made in the guests' honor or she likes edible takeaways like a bag of bagels and cream cheese for each guest.

Please know, the parties I'm writing about are the big ones -- we're talking $50k and up.   Most of us can't afford them, and according to Terri and Carol, budgets, even in this stratosphere, are coming down.

So use these ideas and photos as inspiration, but don't be afraid to talk to an event planner if you are having a much smaller Bar or Bat Mitzvah, because believe it or not, with their connections and know how, they can actually save you money.  That's right... save you money.

And if you don't believe me, call Terri (on the east coast) and Carol (on the west coast) and ask them yourself.  They'll be happy to talk to you.

This One's For My Husband -- The Park's Finest BBQ

My husband is a huge carnivore.  If he could eat meat at every meal he would.  So when he saw the link on Yelp to The Park's Finest BBQ with accompanying pictures of meat in all it's glory, he forwarded the link and told me, "This is something to blog about."

Turns out The Park's has no restaurant.  They only do catering.  So in order to taste their deliciousness you need live in LA or at least be visiting, throw a party, invite all your carnivorous friends, and have Park's cater it.

Courtesy of NJ Eats Blog

And why is The Park's so great?  The secret is the BBQ sauce.  According to the blog NJ Eats, "The sauce makes this barbecue. Don't get me wrong. The meats are great but significantly enhanced by the addition of this sweet, spicy, garlicky, smoky delight that you likely have never tasted before. It's that transformational."

The secret is in the sauce

So what is the sauce?  Passed down for generations, Johneric Concordia, owner of The The Park's BBQ, says it's rooted in flavors from the Philippine islands where his family is from.   Natural sugars from cane and pineapples are simmered with soy sauce, peppers, and spices.

Johneric Concordia from The Park's Finest BBQ

So let's read what some people on Yelp had to say:

From Craig R in West LA, CA:

"Adjectives describing The Parks Finest:

Delectable Delicious Divine Flavorful Heavenly Juicy Mouthwatering Savory Scrumptious Succulent Tasty Yummy"

From Larry O in San Dimas, CA:

"Pork Pork Pork Pork. Oh my god it is falling off the bone delicious. I LOVE PORK. Especially when it is cooked like this!!!"

And from Steve S in West Hollywood, CA:

"Those who follow my reviews know I don't give out 5 stars easily. But today I experienced not only some of the finest quality BBQ, but also the most amazing BBQ sauce that ever past my lips."

So for all you meatlovers out there.  One more picture...

Courtesy of NJ Eats Blog


I Want the Fry Girl at My Next Party!

I just stumbled upon the Fry Girl, and even though I just threw Lainey's third birthday party, I'm already looking for cool ideas for the next one.  And what cool idea is this -- piping hot mini donuts made fresh at your party.  (They can even do fried candy bars, corn dogs, and traditional French fries if you want.)

Here's how it works.  The Fry Girl sets up a mini donut machine at your event.  Your guests watch as they make their "healthy" donuts. (Each donut made with 100% canola oil, has 26 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 3.5 carbs.)  Then your guests get to top them with cinnamon sugar, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, powdered sugar, Vermont maple sugar, or Oreo cookie crumbs.  Sounds like a big yum to me, don't you think?

The Fry Girl is based in LA and already has a huge celebrity clientele that includes Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, Ellen Degeneres, and Tori Spelling to name a few.   But don't be surprised to see my name on that list soon.

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