Snacks and Crafts

August 23, 2009

I met up with two lovely ladies, Ivy and Lindsey. We had a leisurely afternoon planned. On the agenda, lunch and some craft shopping browsing. First up was lunch at Snackbar. We spent a looooonnnnggg time chatting at the restaurant. Of course, this was my favorite part of the afternoon. There's nothing like good food and catching up with friends.


{Appetizer: Grilled Watermelon}

{Lunch: Buffalo Burger - Manchego : Roasted Corn : Gala Apple : Red Grape Aioli}

{Dessert: Funnel Cake!}

We then headed over to the mini-market that was sponsored by my favorite group, Unique Los Angeles.

I did a lot more looking than buying, which made my bank account happy. I did, however, come away with a necklace {Thanks, Ivy!} and some cute hair barrettes.

{Oh Hello Friend}

Ivy and Lindsey check out handmade by minzer's booth

I picked up a t-shirt and a ring for my sister from this booth.

I should have bought Dottie a new collar from these folks, but I totally forgot to come back to their booth.
{Sophie's Threads}

{Knicker Rocker}

{Rock Socks}

The giraffe that Ivy purchased for Joshua peeks his head out of the bag.
Angela Mesna Designs


A Special Request

August 12, 2009

Sometime in July, my friend Joella contacted me to do flower arrangements and tablescapes for a birthday party she was hosting. I agreed to assist her. Then, I didn't hear from her again... until the day before the party. {Yikes!} Apparently, the party had been canceled and reinstated at the last minute. Joella needed help with the party decor and a photographer. So, I called Pamela to see if she was available to shoot. Thankfully, she was free.
{From MarthaStewart.com}

This left me with a very daunting task - conceptualize and execute decor in 24 hours. The party was for Joella's male cousin. It was a catered dinner party for 30 people in Beverly Hills. Her only request is that I use white flowers. It sounds simple enough except I am not a professional florist nor have I ever been. I'm simply a woman who enjoys playing with flowers. I scoured the internet for images to inspire me. I found these.
{From MarthaStewart.com}
{From MarthaStewart.com}

{From MarthaStewart.com}

{From MarthaStewart.com}
{Source Unknown}
{From MarthaStewart.com}

I sketched out an idea inspired by these images and ran around town. I went to Ikea, Crate and Barrel, Cost Plus World Market, CB2, and various retailers in the Flower Mart. I was a woman on a mission. I was also an unbelievably nervous woman. This was the first time I'd ever been hired {read: paid generously} to do party decor.

I got up early the morning of the party and went to the Flower Mart to purchase these:


I pre-arranged them and headed out to Beverly Hills to the party location. The caterer that Joella hired, Kitchen 12000 was already prepping dinner. Although, they very graciously offered to help me setup the tables. I appreciated the help. I was so nervous that it took me a few minutes to get composed and focused. Fortunately, the nerves passed quickly and with Pamela's assistance I was able to get everything set up in time for the party's start. Here's what it looked like.

photo by Pamela Masters
photo by Pamela Masters
photo by Pamela Masters
*** Above photos were taken by Pamela Masters.
I was too preoccupied to photograph anything properly.***

Since it was such an intimate party with only four tables, I selected low centerpieces with lots of candlelight. I used flowers of varying texture to create visual interest. I became enamored with clear and mercury glass candlesticks. I found the candlesticks at various retailers.
photo by Pamela Masters
{photo by Pamela Masters}

I also created these flower floats for the pool. Combine button mums and tealights and you have magic.

I also designed some place cards for the table settings.

photo by Pamela Masters
{photo by Pamela Masters}

photo by Pamela Masters
{photo by Pamela Masters}

For entertainment, these two gentlemen played acoustic guitar. They were very talented. They had a great and varied repertoire. They played classics, but the real treat was when they played the theme to the Super Mario Brothers video game. Everyone was amused. They also threw in a few TV show themes, which also got a few laughs.

After setting up the tables and decor, I helped Pamela photograph the event. I focused mainly on the food. I feel most comfortable behind the scenes and I always love being in a kitchen. I feel guilty writing about another caterer, Kitchen12000 (especially since Rob is in the catering biz), but the food really did look amazing. The few bites I got to taste were divine. Here are some of my shots.
Dinner started with Sake bombs

Chef Steve Scherer preps the starter course

Starter Course: Double Prawns with Kimchi and Red Cabbage shred,
topped with a Citrus Soy reduction

Chef Michael Kay preps the Salad Course

Sous Chef Nick Bakti assists with the Salad Course

Salad Course: Marinated Cucumber Carpet with 3 Potato Hash,
topped with a Radicchio and Frise Sesame Salad

Intermezzo: Chilled Glass Noodles with Blueberry Citrus Broth and Candied Ginger

Main Course: 4 Style Japanese BBQ Sampler with Steamed Rice and Black Rice Vinegar Dipping Sauce (Marbled Beef, Chicken Breast, Shrimp {not pictured}, Ahi Tuna

Check out the blog post on the Kitchen12000 site, click here.

I think it's safe to say the party was a rousing success. Joella did a fantastic job of pulling us all together at the last minute. I really appreciated the challenge and opportunity to work on something so unique.

Even though, I appropriated some of her images, check out Pamela's blog post about the party.

Big Boy at the Park

Sunday August 9, 2009

The last time I saw Joshua, he was this big and his mom Ivy was still on maternity leave.
{iPhone photo}

Pamela and I met Joshua and his parents Tai and Ivy at the Los Angeles Arboretum. I know I sound like a sightseeing pimp, but if you haven't been... check out the Arboretum. Its gardens are lush and vast. The flora and fauna are breathtaking. If that's not enough, they have wild peacocks wandering the premises.

I came to assist Pamela on a family photo shoot and to catch up with Ivy. I hadn't seen them in months and it was obvious. Joshua has grown significantly. He's now 8 months old. He sits up and has a very distinct personality.

Here are some of the photos I took.

I thought it would be funny to take photos of Joshua on a bench.... all by himself. It turned out to be a bit of challenge, but we got a few shots and I swear he was not harmed in any way nor were his parents very far. Tai was just out of the camera's view ready to scoop Joshua up.

Joshua flirted with Pamela...
...and gave his mom and me a big smile.

He played in the grass...sorta.

Then quickly realized that he did not like grass AT ALL.

Ivy brought this cute "walking" balloon. That bounces along the ground as you pull it. Here she is showing it to Joshua.
Joshua demonstrates that pigs are meant to be eaten.

A peacock decided to drop in for a few shots.

As always, here's a photo of Pamela in action.
Please skip on over to Pamela's blog to see her fantastic shots.

People surprise you

It's been a rough year, but July had an especially low point. I discovered that a friend/former client had posted photos of my design work on her website without crediting me. From all appearances, I was intentionally uncredited. The text accompanying the photos inferred that the design and creation of the invitations and various wedding paper accessories was solely the work of my friend. There was a small blurb that she hired a graphic designer, but I was left unnamed. The initial work on the invitations was a collaboration between the two of us, but the design was my work. In all of my blog entries, I made sure to give her credit for all of her hard work in printing and assembling the pieces. I was stunned to see the photographs of my work with a credit for the photographer, but not for me, the designer who spent hours conceptualizing it.

My creative policy

I was a big ball of emotions. I was angry. I was stunned. And I was hurt. She was my friend... close friend even. We were heavily involved in each other's lives. I felt betrayed. I didn't want to write a horribly rude letter in that moment. I decide to wait to contact my friend.


In the interim, I vented on Twitter. I am aware that it was an immature thing to do, but I had enough presence of mind to not name my friend or her website publicly. I asked for advice on how to deal with this situation. The support that I received from other designers (specifically other invitation designers) and creatives was overwhelming. I was reminded that competition does not mean taking advantage of others and that most creative professionals have profound respect and admiration for their peers. A few people offered to draft letters for me. I declined these offers.

I received especially useful advice from Jennifer Berson of JenerationPR. Jennifer frequently posts info regarding media, marketing and tech info on Twitter. I have been corresponding with her for months. So, I wasn't surprised when she asked me for my mailing address. I jokingly told her not to send me junk mail and assumed she was going to send me additional info regarding copyright issues. Instead, this arrived via Fedex.


I cannot blog the package's contents, lest I get Jennifer in trouble. Let's just say that I will not have to buy any high quality hair care products for a very long time. I messaged Jennifer to thank her and ask why she sent me the package. She simply said that she felt that I needed something nice and that sometimes the people who deserve to win don't always win. I was moved beyond description. I know it was just some beauty products, but the gesture and the thoughtfulness are priceless. This little box saved me from sliding into such a low. I don't even think that Jennifer fully realized how a small thing could make such a big difference.

After receiving Jennifer's package, I was able to compose a simple letter that addressed my issues with the my friend's website. I asked to be credited or the photos removed. The photos were removed and I received a short, terse message notifying me of such. I have not heard from my friend since. I suppose is safe to assume that our friendship is no longer. I am disappointed and saddened by this, but what can you do?

A friend hurt me deeply and a total stranger lifted me up. People really surprise you sometimes.