Friday, May 29, 2009

Mexican Restaurant "La Fonda"

I enjoyed dinner at this wonderful restaurant near downtown LA called La Fonda on Friday for my parent's wedding anniversary. They decided to invite the whole family (us 3 kids) and chose this restaurant because it was where they had their first date. How cute!Dinner was delicious, but the best thing about the venue was the mariachi singers! They worked great with the audience, there was traditional Mexican dancing, and they even brought up guests to dance with them (like us)!
Dancing it up on stage!
Another random tidbit of history was that my father shot a movie called "Ninja Turf" back in the 80's and a scene from the movie was shot at this restaurant. How funny! How many restaurants in LA has lasted more than 2 decades?!? I give them major props for their great service, their fun entertainment, and for being timeless through the changes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My First Indian Wedding

I attended my first Indian wedding on Sunday with Diya Events. It was wedding that was booked under a month with a couple from Michigan, Samir and Anjali, who was going to be celebrating from Friday to Sunday.
Indian weddings are very colorful and full of festivities and ceremonies. The groom and all the guests started around the corner of the Renaissance hotel on a white horse adorned with beautiful fabric. Music led the guests to dance along the street towards the lobby entrance where he met with the bride's family and a ceremony was done to present the bride to him. They walked hand in hand and led the guests to the ceremony room, which was beautifully decorated with dark red and gold.The Hindu ceremony was over 90 minutes long but was really inclusive because there was a translator with the priest who would explain all of the rituals in English.
After the ceremony it was a bit tricky. They had been running late on their pictures so family and couple photos were taken then. In the midst of it all, the mother of the bride lost her purse and everyone was on scavenger hunt looking for it. After the photos, the bride still had to go and change into her reception dress, which was going to take another 1.5 hours before the cocktail hour would start.
Cocktail hour started and everyone enjoyed Indian appetizers and an open bar. The bride and groom didn't want a cash box at their gift table, so an uncle was chosen to receive all the envelopes. They also had a beautiful photo album made so that all of their guests could write a special note to them. During this time rehearsals were being done in the reception ballroom for the dance performances to be presented later. We were also told that more guests were invited after the guest list was printed, so we would have to fit them to tables as people were sitting down.We pushed the reception time another half an hour because the bride wasn't ready after 1.5 hours, so when guests finally sat down to dinner it was 9:30! They had speeches done by all the siblings and fathers, then a dance performed by family members, a slideshow, and some Bhangra dancing! Dinner buffet was announced at 10:30pm and included all the traditional Indian food (delicious!) and it was the first moment that the 2 event planners Hima and Preet, and I got to relax a bit! The catering managers Michael Fox and Jamiee Heu was super amazing and really rolled with all the changes that we kept throwing at them.I left the reception after 11pm but I know they were going to be partying it up until 2am. It was a really fun and I totally loved working with Diya Events. Great job girls!

Congrats James and Vivian!

A very special congratulations to my good friend James on his engagement to his longtime girlfriend Vivian (I totally predicted they'd be next!!). This couple got engaged over the weekend in Palm Springs. It was a very cute story where he serenaded her on his guitar singing Adam Sandler's "Grow Old With You" (from the Wedding Singer) and then proposing with a beautiful 1.71 carat ring. Congratulations guys!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wacky Funny Inventions!

My uncle sent me this ridiculous email with all of these crazy inventions for the year. I thought they were hilarious, some of them actually pretty functional, so I thought I'd share these brilliant ideas with you. You know what they say, when things get tough, people start getting creative!
An easy way to carry a tray.
No need to ask other people to take pictures anymore!
Cookies and coffee all in one!
Yay! An umbrella built for 2!
This one is my favorite! Good marketing Viagra!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scary Airplane Story!!

OMG! This is a true story found on NBC LA News on May 12th. The scary part is, I flew out of this airport all the time when going to and from Japan whenI lived there for a year! Just be careful out there guys, the picture below will blow your mind!

Here is the actual article from NBC:

Who's to blame? That's the question FAA inspectors are hoping to answer at LAX. But the more frightening one is: How catastrophic could the accident have been?

The feds are doing follow-up interviews at the Japan Airlines terminal after Monday's bizarre mishap on the tarmac near Runway 24 Left. Video from the scene shows a 200-pound metal luggage container firmly lodged in the front end of a JAL 747-400's jet engine. It somehow got sucked in while the plane -- Flight 61 to Narita Airport, Japan -- was preparing for takeoff with 249 passengers and 18 crew.
Japan Airlines says the container did not belong to JAL.

Paul Hedlund is a west L.A. litigation attorney who specializes in aviation cases. He says the investigation is likely focusing on one of three individuals -- either the pilot, the guy operating the luggage transport cart or whoever was towing the plane from its berth to the taxiway.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they're gone already, whoever caused this," he said.

Aviation experts say even at an idle, jet engines on a plane as massive as a 747 can be deadly. Pilots are taught to check and re-check the "cones of danger," imaginary areas in front of the engines where objects, debris -- even people, can be sucked in to the whirling fan blades, sometimes with catastrophic results.

Hedlund points out that, with a fuel capacity of nearly 60,000 gallons, the jetliner's engine is directly connected to fuel lines. He says if the luggage container had shredded, or even sent a small piece of metal sparking through the engine, there may very well have been a huge explosion.

"Fuel-air mixture and ignition source is all you need," he said. "(It would) take out that whole airplane. Real quick. Real quick." Fortunately, no one was injured in the mishap and passengers were accommodated with other flights or overnighted in local hotels.

Friday, May 22, 2009

ISES Event @ Crustacean

Went to the ISES LA networking event last Tuesday the 19th at the Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills. It was a crazy drive from Monterey Park to Beverly Hills but I made it just "fashionably late."
We entered from the side door up the stairs to the private area where they had a very small tabletop room, a hallway with the bar and the wine bar across the way, and then the entrance where DJ Nachey was playing. Once you passed that area though, it was this huge open area with a balcony to see down into the main dining area.
Met a lot of nice people, including Chris and Natalie from Argyle Event staffing, Daryl from mb2racing, and Justin and Jason from Plan It Interactive. I also chatted with Mike from Dazian lienes and Val from City Connection, and bumped into Ani from Social Hollywood (I attended a Step Up Network event there).
An Catering introduced their catering services and we were able to sample the pass appetizers. There was a sushi table but unfortunately I got there too late to try anything, though I heard it was very good.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Doubt Concert!

My boyfriend took me to a No Doubt concert for my birthday last night (yes, I know my bday was last month!). It was a 2 part combo actually, he really wanted to see the opening band Paramore and I was super psyched to see No Doubt after 5 years of hiatus.
We left LA at 4pm to drive 2 hours to Baskersfield. Did a pitstop at Sonic because because we don't have one near us (their liimeades are yummy!) and then drove right up to the parking lot next door, paid $5 (OMG what a deal!) and parked right in a small little 50-car lot. We both looked at each other and thought...this is most definitely NOT LA!
Walked across the street to the Rabobank arena and walked right up (no line?) and had great seats close enough to the stage on the first row of the balcony.
Hello from Bakersfield!

The Sounds played first, then Paramore did some great songs (Hayley is soo small and young!) and then it was all about No Doubt! Gwen is such an inspiration! She is so beautiful, I love all of her songs, and I think she just has so much charisma, charm, and high energy. How can you not like her?
Paramore opens the No Doubt concert. They're actually a really great band. Good choice!
No Doubt's stage design was very clean, ultra-modern quasi-space age. They played a lot with the lighting and had a huge projector in the back that synched up with each song.
We stood up the whole time and shared binoculars, and of I sang every single song they did! It was great high energy and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The craziest moment was when Gwen jumped off the stage and ran clear across the the entire arena, stopping midway and yelling into the microphone that if you're going to touch her, NOT to touch her dress cuz she's only got 2 of them! She took pictures with fans, signed autographs, and even sang one song on her upcoming album.
Two large projector screens were at both ends of the stage for close-ups.
We love you Gwen!!
The concert lasted about 4 hours and as we headed out, we were shocked to see how quickly we just walked to our car, got in, and drove out of the driveway and back onto the freeway. No traffic, no lines, not even waiting for loads of pedestrians to walk by... is this what life is like outside of LA?! Cheap parking and easy access around even the big events? Crazy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ISES Jam Event-Sept 23rd!

HeyHey! So ISES is having their annual JAM (Joint Allied Meeting) on Wednesday, September 23rd and I'm on the entertainment committee! We're very excited to have to Biltmore hotel in downtown LA and we've got some great talent on our team this year.
What is JAM? JAM is a great combination of a trade show and mixer. It's sponsored by ISES and happens once a year. All of the event professionals and affiliate associations come together to show off their stuff, share ideas, and have a great time. We expect some great music, entertainment, food, table tops, and a great networking opportunities everywhere you turn!
The flyer s below. Definitely sign up to attend, and if you're interested in renting a booth space, contact me and I'll send you to the right people: jsoiree[at]gmail.com.

9/23 from 5:30pm-9:30pm, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Connie and Robert's Wedding

My boyfriend and I attended his college friend's wedding this last Saturday in Costa Mesa. The couple are both optometrists who met in Optometry school whom I met briefly last year when they were engaged.
The Turnip Rose hosted the outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. It was a bit cloudy near the beach but it allowed for nice lighting for pictures and a cool breeze during the ceremony and cocktail hour. The ceremony itself was short and sweet, the officiant Doc Johnson was very fun and sincere, and he focused a lot on the love and support of family and each other. They included a simple candle-lighting and sand-mixing ceremony.
Connie and Robert.
Although the outdoor venue was beautiful, the seating had to conform to the cirular water fountains and balconied coves surrounding the area. Part of my view was obscured from the huge water fountain, but at least they had the decency to turn off the water during the ceremony.
The cocktail hour was just on the other side of the patio with open bars and a fun little margarita blending table complete with unique margarita glasses. I met several UCLA alumni including another Joanna (cool!) and her husband Jordan, who is opening a jewelry store in Costa Mesa soon.
Fresh margaritas! Yummy!
The reception was held inside and followed the floral Victorian theme. The food was amazing (I loved the apple salad!) and guests enjoyed toasts, thank you's, and a slideshow of the bride and groom. I don't think there was an event planner other than the catering manager who spoke directly with the bride, so things would sometimes move really fast or really slow and the newlyweds were hardly ever at their sweetheart table.
Wonderful presentation.
After the entree, the DJ asked guests to come out and dance on the dance floor, and later the bride (changed into a Chinese dress) was cutting the cake with her groom.Another hightlight was the strawberry desserts (in addition to the marbled cake and red velvet tiered cake). Guests could choose from peanut butter to white chocolate strawberries and have a chosen liqueor injected into each strawberry with an actual syringe! They had amaretto, chocolate, orange, and coffee flavors! They were very rich but delicious! You could also choose to dip your own strawberries.
Spencer enjoyed injecting all the strawberries.
The rest of the evening was spent dancing the night away to hip hop, 80's music, and top 40. We were able to keep the beautiful centerpiece and the party favors were a mix of both Chinese and Armenian: 9 Jordan Almonds. 9 in Chinese means "longstanding" and an odd number of almonds in Armenian signify health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life. A perfect blend of both cultures. Congratulations Connie and Rob!
This is now sitting in my dining room!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Birthday Beach Bash!

The Birthday beach bash turned out great! Everyone had a great time and we were able to incorporate all the things the birthday boy wanted: the local brewing company's laid back feel, and beach activities, and the Laker game all in one party!
The restaurant was called the Manhattan Beach Brewing Company and it was literally down the street from the beach! It's a pretty small venue but they had plenty of TV's to watch the Laker's game 7. We arrived early knowing our party of 19 was going to be hard to seat together even with our reservations. And even though we had made the reservation 2 weeks before, there was no way they could fit everyone together at the same table, so 4 people had to sit in a separate booth. The food and beer was great though, and everyone was surprisingly satisfied at the menu options and how delicious everything was.
Parking was a bit tricky since the restaurant could only offer 2 hour meter parking. Guests found parking around the area and then met near the Manhattan Beach pier. It was quite a trek with folding chairs, an umbrella, towels, toys, and about 3 coolers worth of food and drinks, but we made it and set up camp.
Guests lounged around and snacked, threw around the football, and read magazines. It was nice and relaxing, though too cold to get in the water. At one point the birthday boy got buried in the sand and shaped him into a sexy mermaid with long seaweed hair. And then they made him a sand cake which he accidentally took a bite out of.
Nice stars!
Probably the only thing missing was the hot summer sun! It was pretty warm inland but I found as we drove to the ocean that it got really cool and grey...I don't know how people who live near the beach deal with the constant marine layer! It wasn't cold persay, but eventually the winds and lack of sun got to everyone and we packed up around 5:30pm. And even with no sun, I was exhausted! It was a very busy weekend!
Happy Birthday Dave!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beach Party Tips!

Summer is right next door and the beach is calling you! As you pack the essential sunblock and swimsuit, don't forget to add a bit of personality to your beach parties to make sure it's memorable for all your beach-going guests.

1. Make it BIG! It can be hard spotting your group at a beach, especially on the weekends! Make your party easy to spot with pop-up canopies, personalized umbrellas (they can say "Happy Birthday David!") or stake some colored flags around the site.2. Change up the Menu! Burgers and hot dogs are always a favorite, so why not mix in several types of meats and toppings that other countries use? You can cook stuffed patties and a variety of sausages and offer different kinds of toppings like chopped cabbage, sauerkraut, spaghetti sauce, and even sugar (popular in S. Korea)!3. Party favors they can wear! Make everyone feel like part of the party with customized slippers, hats, sarongs, reuseable bags, or t-shirts to wear throughout the party.
Check out AllProducts.com for prices.
4. Try new toys! Don't forget the frisbees, footballs, and volleyballs for group games, but you might want to see if there's rentals or classes for surfing, boogie boarding, banana-boats, kites, bicycles, rollerblades, or even handgliding or parasailing!5. Play some games! Depending on your guests, they may or may not want to play games, but it's always a good idea to have some just in case. Some quick easy games are limbo, sand castle contests, or a scavenger hunt! Break people up into small groups or partners and give them a list of items that need to be retrieved by the end of the party. They can be easy things like shells and sand crabs to scissors and a phone charger. At the end of the party, whoever collected the most items wins a prize!6. Kick off the after-party! Who says the party has to end when the sun goes down? Choose a beach that has fire pits and enjoy an evening of smore's, skewers, and hot dogs. Just make sure you’ve got some blankets or a light jacket handy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Weapons of the Orient seminar

I coordinated a Weapons of the Orient seminar last Sunday May 3rd in West Los Angeles through the World United Martial Arts Organization. Participants came from various schools in the area including Abrigo Martial Arts, Chul Jin Martial Arts, Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do and Jun Chong Martial Arts branches, totaling to 78 students at the seminar.
We introduced three different types of weapons during the seminar: Nunchuks, Escrima, and Kendo. Everyone was able to practice each weapon first-hand, learning the basic forms and strikes of each weapon and how they are used in combat.
Instructor Jay Schlauch puts on his Kendo gear.

I designed the commemorative shirt that was given to all the students as a gift for participating and they also received a Certificate of Completion. At the end of the seminar, the masters each gave a brief demonstration of each weapon and students were able to purchase weapons and DVD's to practice at home.
My Karate rubber duckies were a big hit!

Thanks to my volunteers Ada Chong and Spencer Groh for your help in registration, check in, and merchandise sales. Everything went really smoothly and even I was impressed that we were always on time!
For information on escrima, nunchuk, and kendo classes at Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do, please check their website or call (323)658-7570, (310) 979-9222.
A great job to all of our participants!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Have a Rockin' Cinco De Mayo Fiesta!

Amongst all the birthdays and weddings that have taken over April and May, don't forget to share a little love for Cinco de Mayo this week! I for one LOVE Mexican food, so when there's a reason to celebrate a Mexican holiday, why not make the most of it!?Fun ideas for a Tuesday Cinco de Mayo party:
1. Learn about the history of Cinco de Mayo. I found a great article about what Cinco de Mayo is all about. So start off by sharing a bit of multiculturalism and knowledge on the origins of Cinco de Mayo.
2. Try some fun margarita recipes. From avocado margaritas to beer margaritas, host a fun margarita party and try several of these fun kooky margarita recipes!3. Buy a pinata! Pinatas come in all shapes and sizes and are pretty cheap. Fill it with all sorts of candy and goodies, and POW! A great activity for kids and adults.4. Watch some Mexican-inspired DVD's. As an avid movie-lover, I'm always on the lookout for fun themed movies. I found a few lists recommended at amazon, but I'm only going to recommend the ones that I've actually seen:
The Three Amigos, Like Water for Chocolate, The Mexican, Selena, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico