Wednesday, January 28, 2009

TSE-Day 2: Welcome Party, Beach style!

Woke up a little later today since I didn't have to go to the wedding luncheon and I had missed the opening session. I was able to spend 3 full hours at the exhibition hall and still barely got through half of them! I met a wonderful woman named Ann from "Your Wedding Day" magazine and wandered around with her to various booths and took pictures for her with people.
At 2:30pm I headed over to 6th and Broadway to volunteer with HOH on the Welcome Party for the evening. It was a pretty slow set up since the florists, caterers, and decor people all came to set up on their own. We were mainly in charge of putting together the goody bags from all the 40 caterers we had presenting at the event. Of course more than half of them hadn't even brought in their information flyers, and then we weren't allowed to set up our working table until after 5pm, and I had gotten there at 3pm, so most of us just hung around and tried to find various jobs to do.
Had a quick box lunch and by 5pm we were setting up and stuffing 1200 bangs. It was a crazy assembly line of 12 people on one side passing the bag along and stuffing it with papers, 4 on the other side trying to do the same, 1-2 runners storing them, and 2 in the front handing bags to us. In 2 hours, we finished all of them!!! WHEW! Good teamwork! It was good, working hard on something like that...I like that kinda stuff, when everyone pulls together into this awesome assembly line and gets super efficient. =)
The remainder of my volunteer hours I handed out programs as guests entered, but by 8pm my shitf was done and I was able to hang out and mingle with the crowd. That was the most fun, the building was amazing!! The ground floor was all beach-themed, with a pretzel stand, mini donuts, gelato cups cut into a boogie board serving tray, slushies, expresso bar, and live band. Downstairs was super cool with an Asian "Karma" room filled with food, Flamenco dancers (??), and green screen photography. There was a sunflower room, literally filled with sunflowers, yellow, edible arrangements was there with their fruit/chocolate baskets, cookies, and food sampling. I met some really cool guys from Optics who do stage design and set up, and it was fun just to hang out with some guys for a little bit. =) Then there was the "Red Light District" room, with sailor photos, beer buckets, filet mignon samples, and red everywhere! It was in a vault room, literally! So that ambiance was really cool! The next room was the ladies powder room, which was painted hot pink, so pink champagne with raspberries were offered there along with chocolate covered strawberries and mini cupcakes, and there was a ice sculpture of a high heel. And yes, the women's toilets were just a curtain away, so that was a bit awkward cuz men did come to check out the pink room! And the last room on that floor was the green room, which was perfect because it was all about the natural foods, veggies, and organic fruits, etc. There was a big paper mache tree in the middle and the food table design was all green grass, wood baskets and crates with fresh fruit and veggies. It was an amazing design and so much fun just exploring!
Hey there Sailor! Catch the Moment greenscreen photography.
Surfing with the girls!
I met Michael from Creations for Catering in Hawaii and his son Jordan as well, funny story with him was that I met Jordan first, so when I finally met his dad on my own, I said, Oh! So you're Jordan's dad! And he said, Wow, all this time he was always more famous than his son, but now his son is moving up (in the catering world) and he's being asked if he's Jordan's dad. =) It was funny, really funny for him, he probably laughed for like 10 minutes straight! A very nice man, I hope to meet him again when I got to Hawaii at the end of February.
I finally left at 11pm and got home by 11:30pm. I have an early start tomorrow, but thankfully I'll be done early as well! I hope to finish up the rest of the exhibition hall as well, cuz there are some fun booths there that I can't wait to share with my clients!

TSE-Day 1 A Complete Success!

Got to TSE today at 9am and went to the "Ignite Creativity Workshop." "The Art of Fabrication" for a bit before heading out to "Wedding Etiquette Solutions" and then to"The elements of Linen Couture" and "Must have Flowers: NeoFlora-Couture Floral for Tomorrow" and then quickly snuck into "Selling Your Clients on You." Needless to say, there was a lot of note-taking and ideas, but it was soo fun! I think by far my 2 favorite workshops were the linens and florals, because the simplicity in the creativity is astounding! I was able to get a quick bite at a local thai restaurant at the Gaslamp district, but other that that, I didn't really get to eat much.
The workshops all finished up at 5:30pm so I went down to my car and organized my thoughts for a bit, returned my phone calls, and read some more of "Eclipse" (the 3rd book of good!!!) before heading out to my volunteer shift at "TSE Starts Here," a casual social night at a local bar/club in San Diego. We had to collect tickets and strap wristbands on everyone, but unfortunately we were all outside so I was FREEZING!!! Everyone was pretty nice though, no serious problems or anything, and i got to meet Kristin from Rhode Island and Paul from South Africa!! Very cool!
Dale, our team leader, let us get off a little earlier and so Kristin and I went and took a green screen picture and ate some of the cheese and crackers. There was an awesome chocolate section and they had a couple of girls in chocolate-covered outfits dancing and posing on a platform right in back of all the chocolate displays. It was definitely a focus point. The location, Stingaree, was also really awesome, with 3 floors of bar and lounge areas, including a rooftop view and at least 3 stations of food.
Dancing the Night away with "Catch the Moment" Photography. Good times!

Kristin and I spent the rest of the night dancing away with the rest of the guests to pop and old skool (can't touch this, baby got back, you get the idea...) until about 11pm. I almost lost my camera but luckily I went back and found it!! *whew!*
Got back to my friend's apartment by midnight, and thankfully I dont have to get in until the exhibition halls open at 10:30am. I'm really excited to see all the new trends and products and services they'll be showcasing at the hall. I will also have to volunteer in the evening again, but I think I will have more time to be at the event afterwards, which should be awesome because it will be co-hosted by NACE, (National Association of Catering Executives) so the food is supposed to be SUPERB. Yay!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Training at TSE 2009

So today I arrived in San Diego much earlier than expected to start the week of TSE. It's my first year doing TSE, but it's supposed to be one of the biggest worldwide event planning conferences in the world. I drove around the Gaslamp district in search of cheap parking and something to occupy about 1.5 hours of time. Turns out, trying to figure out all the one-day streets and ped crossings kills a a lot of time! I finally parked at the mall and wandered around there for a while. It only took less than 15 minutes for me to walk to the convention center from there, about 7 blocks. It was a lot chillier than I expected.
The Hands on Hundred program volunteer meeting started at 5pm. I bumped into Shirley who was one of the interns at my old event planning company, so that was a surprise. I also met a few nice people, Mia from New York and Julie from Pismo beach. The meeting was pretty brief and straightforward, all the volunteers seem really nice and some have traveled from really far away, like Australia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and South America. They were already announcing next year's TSE in New Orleans! I don't know if I"ll be able to make it out that far...
I confirmed my 4 volunteer slots and ended up meeting a wonderful woman named Marianne who was from South Pasadena as well (my hometown!! GO TIGERS!). She runs her own event planning company and does mostly weddings but is hoping to expand her business. We got along really great, exchanged cards, and she even gave me a ride to the mall parking lot since it was soo cold! I hope I get to bump into her again later this week, she seems like a really good contact to know, and she's pretty much doing exactly what I'm doing.
I'm spending the week with my friend at her apartment in San Diego. We went to eat at a Japanese Izakaya afterwards and then got boba. YUM! After settling in and figuring out my schedule for tomorrow, it's going to be a long day! But I'm excited and hopeful. At least I know Shirley is around, and I found out that my other friend Mark Howell will be here for his entertainment work as well. Out of the 5 social events, I'll be attending 4 of them as a volunteer, so that means I get to see the final product without having to pay the additional ticket cost, so that's helpful. Tomorrow will mostly be workshops and seminars in the day, and then I volunteer at the "TSE Starts Here" event from 7pm-11pm. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Inside a Rose Parade Float

I got a call from my friend DeAnne for a strange favor the day before NYE. She needed a sound coordinator for a rose parade float she was working on, and though I wouldn't get to be seen, I would be able to ride inside the float of Jack in the Box! Since I had always wanted to see the Rose Parade and figured, when else will I ever get to be INSIDE a float? I was in!
I had to go to rehearsal on NYE to practice the music with the dancers and meet the whole crew. Her boss Ron is a super cool guy and runs Miziker Entertainment Group. I got to chat with him a lot during rehearsal cuz he was riding in the makeshift float with me (a pickup truck) and leading from the mic strapped to the speaker I was running. He was the man who developed the concept for the Electric Parade at Disneyland!!! =O
Ron and I early New Year's Day.
The rehearsal went well and I even got to sneak a peek at the float to test out the music. Of course the music that we rehearsed with was different than the music that was uploaded on the flaot, but we made due and everything turned out for the best by the end.
I partied (lightly) on New Year's Eve and went to sleep around 1am to reluctantly get up at 4:30am. We arrived in Pasadena around 6am and even though it was pitch dark, people were already around taking pictures and checking out the floats lined up on the streets. It was hard being up that early, but by the time the sun started peeking out (and finally getting warmer!) it was tolerable.
The actual ride in the float was probably not as exciting as one would think. Thankfully it was big enough for several of us to fit and stand in, etc. Rudy was my sound technician (and he was a life saver!). I got to meet Mr. Box himself (he also does all the commercials)!! A very funny man named Jack (really, that's his name) and I got to see how they put on the whole round head thing. There were two drivers, or rather, Guy was in the front steering and Jack was in the back with the brakes and no view. Scary, huh?
The satellite float. One guy drove this one on his own.

Here's the whole crazy ensemble!
By the end, it was like a sauna in there! I had to take off my4 layers of clothes and ended up with just a tank top. There was no ventilation, no bathroom (well, a portapotty bucket, but I wasn't about to squat in front of everyone), and the carbon monoxide was really starting to get to me. And there weren't any grated windows or peekaboo holes to see the parade through, so it was just me playing the disco music over and over again for like 3 hours straight in this wooden box.
But our float must have done really well because it won for Extraordinary float, which is one of the Top 3 awards to receive at the Rose Parade. And even though I couldn't see it, every time Jack went up to dance on the float, the crowds cheered and yelled and I'm sure they were dancing and singing along, so that was pretty fun. I heard we were one of the best floats in the parade because we had the dancers, Jack, a juggler, and a brass band playing with disco music running through the entire parade. Quite a production!
The float crew and I with Mr. Box.

I'm in here!
By the time I got home I was soo tired, I had a sandwich and knocked out for about 30 hours...cuz my body finally gave in to the cold/flu that it was trying to fight off all week. I down a couple of knock-out syrup stuff, so that helped. But it was good fun and totally worth it!