Los Angeles Non Profit Event Planning

December 10th, 2013

Los Angeles non profit event planning can have it challenges. After all, how do you pull off an elegant high-profile event on a shoestring budget? Very carefully!

I recently produced this event and one key factor when it comes to Los Angeles non profit event planning is the budget. It is important to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the client and maintain the budget throughout the event process in order for the client to maximize their net profit of donations. For this event, we created streamlined centerpieces using glass colored beads and orchid plants.

Another way we were able to maintain our budget was to bring in our own wines and serve heavy appetizers and desserts instead of a seated formal dinner.  The fact that guests were able to self-park helped maintain a low cost event and working with repeat vendors who already knew the facility was a key factor as well.

Some other key factors with Los Angeles non profit event planning is to generate your donations well in advance of your event via sponsorships, donations or guest list expansion.  Finally, keep staff to a minimum and garner as many volunteers as possible.

For more information about creating beautiful events on a budget, click here.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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Savory Bites Cookbook

July 9th, 2013

One of my catering chefs, Hollis Wilder, who also happens to be the only 3-time Cupcake Wars winner, just published this great new cookbook called Savory Bites.  She takes her delicious recipes (from years of catering the A-list Hollywood crowd) and formats them so that the meals are prepared in cupcake tins and then served in portion controlled sizes.  This method of serving food is great for those watching their calorie intake as well as for people who want a quick small bite on the run or pack a lunch for weekend picnics with friends.

I made the Crab Napoleon from the Savory Bites cookbook. I followed Hollis’s suggestion and instead of roasting the tomatoes, picked up a jar of pre-made roasted tomatoes in the market’s deli section and assembled the crab salad and sauce and then layered all ingredients into the cupcake tins. It took about 15 minutes to make and then I chilled them overnight.

Note, it is best to line the cupcake tins the short width with two pieces of plastic wrap and make sure that you firmly press the plastic into the wells to create the cups prior to assemblage. Leave at least three inches of wrap on all sides and don’t worry if your middle wells have overlapping plastic wrap.

Serving these Savory Bites was easy. I just took them out of the cupcake tins, garnished with lettuce and served.  Of course, I ate four (so much for portion control!) but what can I say, they were delicious!

What is also great about this cookbook is that you gain a recipe within a recipe. For example, I love crab salad but never thought to make it on its own. Hollis's recipe was easy to make and delicious and can stand alone as well. Once you have made the crab salad, you can then take a roll and make a crab salad sandwich or add it to a bed of lettuce.

Next time, I think I will add some thinly sliced cucumbers on the bottom of the Napoleons and garnish with lemon. 

Savory Bites cookbook includes recipes made in cupcake tins for breakfast, eggs and cheese, vegetables, meats, fish and pasta. Using fresh whole ingredients makes these cupcakes nutritional, and Hollis is always quick to recommend short-cuts for those chefs who have just a few more items to juggle then their kitchen knives. Click here for your link to Savory Bites and enjoy!

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


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Birthday Lunch Party

May 2nd, 2013

Here are some ideas and pictures from a birthday lunch party we recently produced that can easily be done for Mothers Day lunch.  Instead of round tables, we sat everyone at one long table and assigned seating with place cards to ensure everyone was comfortable with the person they were seated next to.

The room decor highlighted the color French blue, and we used French blue checked linen to compliment the room. Since this birthday lunch was at a beach venue, we incorporated a beach theme into the centerpieces.  We had our florist place shells at the bottom of the flower arrangements for decor, and we also filled empty square containers with sand and shells to compliment these flower arrangements.


Other ideas from this birthday lunch that can be used for a Mothers Day lunch are the party favors.  We provided all of the adults with a box of truffles and for the kids, we gave them chocolate lollipops.  

A cost savings tip that you can use for your Mothers Day lunch is to bring your own wine and champagne to your event. Most venues will allow it, there is usually a corkage fee but often you find that you save some money and drink the wines and champagnes of your choice.  

Whether you celebrate a Mothers Day lunch, dinner or brunch, enjoy and remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


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Bar Mitzvah Themes

April 1st, 2013

It is always great to theme any event you plan. Theming an event gives a road map to all other elements of a party. Here are a couple ideas for Bar Mitzvah themes.

Bar Mitzvah themes can be anything you or the guest of honor selects. This Bar Mitzvah party had an Asian theme. Notice the fortune cookies inside the glass floral arrangement and the hanging to-go containers.  The Bar Mitzvah decor included using red and black as the party's primary colors, hanging Chinese lanterns from the house eaves and decorating the tables with Chinese fans, moss, rocks and orchids.


Other ideas for Bar Mitzvah themes can include creating a science lab for the party.  Instead of using regular table numbers, use the chart of elements or names of famous scientists for table assignments. For Bar Mitzvah decor, drop LED colored light cubes into the water of the centerpieces for a cool effect or hang the small lights from the centerpiece branches.

Creating an art gallery is another idea for Bar Mitzvah themes.  For the Bar Mitzvah decor at this event, we used the actual artwork, framed it and then hung it up on decorative hedging as background wall decor.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


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Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

March 22nd, 2013

I was just at an event and thought I would share with you some wedding centerpiece ideas. The artist, Michael Mantalos of Louloudi, is located in Santa Barbara, CA.

Wedding centerpiece ideas may include a single centerpiece on the table or you can do various flower arrangements on your buffet to highlight your theme.

Here are a couple of other pictures of wedding centerpiece ideas.  These flowers show a bit of contrast with the greens, creams and pinks and are two flower arrangements standing together.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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Silent Auction Tips for Non-Profit Silent Auctions

March 14th, 2013

Non-Profit silent auctions can generate a lot of money for fundraising events. Here are a few silent auction tips to help your charity with their fundraiser.

  1. One of the most important silent auction tips is to know your audience.  Don't price items at a premium if you don't have guests willing to pay.
  2. Most charities use the cocktail time for bidding at silent auctions. Make sure this time period runs at least 1.5 hours.
  3. If you have well over 200 silent auction items, then consider closing down the auction at various time intervals.  

Other silent auction tips include:

  • Create easy to read bid sheets on clipboards and provide pens.
  • Display items for silent auctions in a clean, orderly fashion so people can see and touch them.
  • Make sure your bid sheets include the retail value, starting price and bid increment as well as donor recognition.

Most important of all silent auction tips is decide upon the exact time the auction will close and stick to that time! Nothing can be more frustrating for the auction management team then changing the closing time, not to mention how maddening it is for the guests.

If you plan to hold a charity event with a silent auction in the Los Angeles area, we would be more than happy to provide you with a free quote on managing silent auctions and share a few more silent auction tips

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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2013 SAG Awards

January 31st, 2013

Here are some pictures from the 2013 SAG Awards. This past SAG Awards has been our 15th year working on the show and our tenth year working with Greco Decor.

Vitalie Taittinger of Taittinger Champagne helped open the 2013 SAG Awards.

Our florist, CJ Matsumoto, did a spectacular job with the table flowers and James Beard Award winning chef, Suzanne Goin, provided us with a delicious anti-pasta plate for this year's SAG Awards.

In addition to Taittinger Champagne at all of the tables, our guests at the 2013 SAG Awards enjoyed Gallo Signature Wines and Fiji Water. 

We start production each year for the SAG Awards in August and work through the fall and full-time in January to provide our guests with a beautiful room to enjoy the show. 

Finally, returning again for the third year to the 2013 SAG Awards, was Graff Diamonds (greenroom sponsor). Fendi Casa provided the incredible greenroom furniture.

A huge thanks to everyone for their support and excellent work on this year's SAG Awards and to James Sequenzia for providing the photos.

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Bat Mitzvah Party

January 9th, 2013

This Springtime themed Bat Mitzvah party was just recently done in December. We tented the backyard, hung flower balls, brought in vintage styled furniture and enjoyed the beautiful break from the rain.

The Bat Mitzvah party girl is an artist so we rented hedging and framed and hung her artwork for decor as you can see in the picture below.

Brunch for the Bat Mitzvah party was a buffet and the kids enjoyed a smoothie bar and snow cones.

We are now gearing up for the SAG Awards, until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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DIY Christmas Decorations

December 12th, 2012

DIY Christmas decorations can be simple yet elegant.  Here are some ideas for easy Christmas centerpieces from a party we recently produced.

My client found these cute pots in cherry red and apple green and then we planted holiday greens and built a table centerpiece. For these easy Christmas centerpieces, evergreens, Poinsettias, roses and berries were planted in the pots. Also, on every table for these DIY Christmas decorations, we filled two small pots each with peppermints and chocolates.

What was so fun about these DIY Christmas decorations was that at the end of the evening, each guest got to take home these centerpieces as their party favor. Some guests took home just the candy pots while others took the larger pots that were filled with Poinsettias or evergreens and roses.

To add to the atmosphere of these easy Christmas centerpieces, we placed votive candles on the tables and for our DJ's stage, placed Poinsettias as added decor.

For more easy and budget friendly decor and party ideas, look to Budget Bash.  Happy Holidays and until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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Citrus Chicken

November 30th, 2012

This easy roasted chicken recipe for citrus chicken is delicious and takes no time to make. All you need is:

1 orange cut in quarters

1 lemon cut in quarters and seeded

1 small onion cut in quarters

2 bay leaves

Salt, pepper and olive oil

For this easy roasted chicken recipe, stuff the orange, lemon and onion quarters along with the bay leaves into the empty cavity, drizzle olive oil on top and bottom of chicken and add salt and pepper to taste. Then  place the citrus chicken in a roasting pan, add some water and bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for about an hour and 15 minutes or a bit less. Make sure the chicken is cooked but not dry.

A helpful hint for this easy roasted chicken recipe, is to add to the water in the roasting pan some orange quarters and onions to flavor the water and add taste to the natural gravy created while making the chicken.

Place the citrus chicken on a cutting board, slice and serve.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


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