Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday & My LA Marathon Ambition

On March 15th, 2015, I have committed to running my first ever full marathon! I plan on running all 26.2 miles in honor of my non-profit, P.S. ARTS dedicated to improving the lives of children through arts education. 

The ASICS LA Marathon will be hosting it's 30th event and I am proud to be a registered participant this year. Especially for a cause so dear to my heart. 

I do not consider myself an artist; however, I do enjoy the arts.  As a kid, I loved painting, choir, dance, and trying to play every instrument I could get my hands on. The arts impact even those who aren't artistically inclined and have helped me become a more creative thinker and problem solver as an adult. 

My younger brother is an incredible artist. Sometimes I don't think he realizes it but it's true. He plays multiple instruments, is a talented singer and even can be caught sketching from time to time. Currently studying Film at SDSU, he has a unique eye for design and creativity unparalleled by anyone else I know. We were lucky to grow up in an environment at home and attend schools that fostered these talents but many children aren't as lucky. 

P.S. ARTS is the only organization in Southern and Central California that provides yearlong arts education in dance, visual arts, music, and theater arts to every child during the regular school day. Without our programs, children in these school would not have access to the arts. 

Since today is Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, I thought it would be a great time to launch my fundraising efforts. I have set a personal goal to raise $1,000 for our programs and would greatly appreciate a donation of any size to assist me in reaching my fundraising goal. All donations are tax deductible and help us provide dance, music, theater and visual arts programs to more than 20,000 students in 51 schools each and every week. With the cost only being $250 per student to have an arts education the entire year, any and all donations are significant. 

Thank you so much for your time and I greatly appreciate your consideration to support me and Team P.S. ARTS! :)


To make a donation online now, please visit my personal page. You're also welcome to write a check made out to P.S. ARTS, with my name in the memo and mail to our office at 1728 Abbot Kinney Blvd. #101 Venice, CA 90291

Monday, March 31, 2014

Annenberg Community Beach House Bar Mitzvah: Jesse

Jesse's Bar Mitzvah
March 8th, 2014
Annenberg Community Beach House
Santa Monica, CA

The first time I sat down with Jesse's family, we discussed their vision for Jesse's special day.  They envisioned formal, clean, modern, sleek - Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" if you will. Jesse didn't have a color preference, so we decided that we wanted to turn the Annenberg Community Beach House into "Jesse's Black & White Club" for the evening.

We started by creating a logo for Jesse using his initials as inspiration.  The logo was incorporated onto everything

The invitations.

The cocktail napkins. 

The giveaway sunglasses. 

The swag bag.

The pillows. 

The cake. 

The candy bar.

The Step & Repeat wall:
This wall was at the entrance of the event for guests to take their picture upon arrival to "Jesse's Black & White Club" for the evening.

Guests received a copy of their picture instantly and got a second copy to add into Jesse's scrapbook along with a note of congrats (that also had the logo on it :)

We wanted to avoid flowers and instead go for something chic and modern. I used mirrors for the low end tables and silver globes with candles on the cocktail tables. 

For the large round tables outside, I used large square glass vases with "vase pearlfection" filler which allowed the pearls to float and created the allusion that they were suspended in water. These, topped with floating candles were perfect centerpieces that added to the feel of the event but weren't over-the-top or too dramatic. 

Jesse loves sushi. He really wanted sushi to be one of the buffet stations and Feast catering did an amazing job fulfilling this request. It looked AND tasted amazing. 

Finally, a huge shout-out to the vendors who made this possible:

  • Venue: Annenberg Community Beach House, Santa Monica
  • Photography: Hom Photography, Los Angeles
  • Emcee & DJ: David Greer Entertainment, Los Angeles
  • Catering: Marcus Baird of Feast Catering, Los Angeles
  • Airbrush Artist: Shane Horrell
  • Step & Repeat Services: Craig Harrison of 575 Productions, Los Angeles
  • Candy Bar: Sweets Indeed 
  • Lighting: Chris Brazas Enterprises 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year - New Adventures! Seattle, WA Travel Tips

I've always wanted to visit Seattle and found the perfect opportunity when a long time friend of mine was living there and doing an internship with Amazon. Because I work in events, sometimes I'll go months without a free weekend, so I could only commit to a 32 hour trip. I left Los Angeles and landed in Seattle at 10:30 pm on Friday and left Seattle to head back to Los Angeles at 6 am on Sunday morning. Although it was a quick stay, having a local show me around was definitely beneficial and I truly believe you can see a lot in 32 hours. 

Friday Night: Day 1.
  • Went to the top of the Space Needle 
As I mentioned, I didn't arrive in Seattle until about 10:30 pm so there wasn't much time to sightsee on Friday. The main thing I wanted to do was go to the top of the Space Needle, and this was a perfect activity to tackle the first night. The view was spectacular - here's a picture of my friend and I at the top. 

Fun Fact: The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World Fair and at the time was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

Saturday: Day 2.

  • Ate brunch at a fantastic local restaurant near the Space Needle
  • Walked through Pike's Place Market (recently featured on ABC's The Bachelor)
  • Visited the first Starbucks
  • Strolled the Waterfront 
  • Went on the Farris Wheel on the Pier
  • Took a Ferry Ride to Bainbridge Island
  • Ate dinner at Seattle's Oldest Bar - The Central 
  • Went to Safeco Field and watched the Mariners play the Angels

Pike's Place Market is famous for it's fish throwing and hosts many small farmers and merchants. If you watch ABC's The Bachelor, you may recognize it as the place where Catherine took Sean on her hometown date.

One of my regrets was not actually being able to spend time on Bainbridge Island. Our Ferry ride was spur of the moment and we ended up just taking it round trip, never actually getting off the boat. If you have the time I'd recommend walking around - Bainbridge has a bunch of cute shops and wineries to explore. You can check the schedule for the ferry and learn more here.
Here's a few pictures from the Ferry Ride. 

Finally, I'm a huge baseball fan. My San Francisco Giants always come first but I truly enjoy just watching the sport and seeing different fields. The Mariners were playing the Angels and it was a great way to end my whirlwind Seattle visit.

Until next time Seattle...
Xo, Chels

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year - New Adventures! Chicago, IL Travel Tips

Although Vancouver may be the cleanest, safest, most beautiful city I've traveled to this year, Chicago takes the cake as my favorite. It's full of personality, unique neighborhoods, great city life, amazing restaurants and fun sports teams to cheer on.

Here's Chicago in four days.

First, when packing for Chicago it's very hard to predict the weather - pack everything and be prepared for anything.

Day 1.

We felt the first day it was really important to get the lay of the land, really see the city and get some bearings. After we checked into our hotel, The Talbott (which we loved and HIGHLY recommend), we 

  • Went to an Irish Pub a few blocks from The Talbott
  • Took an Architecture Tour on the river
  • Ate dinner at Eduardo's Enoteca
  • Saw a Second City Improv Comedy Show

If you're not very familiar with Chicago Architecture or architecture in general, I'd recommend reading Devil in the White City. It's a story about a serial killer and famous architect set during the 1893 World Fair in Chicago. It's an interesting story but helps give some context about all the architecture on the river prior to taking the cruise. 

Eduardo's Enoteca was a lovely Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar. I always try to find more local spots and this was definitely a local gem. Four stars on yelp led us here and we were not disappointed - the pizza was delicious! 

Finally, anyone who's a true Saturday Night Live fan has heard of Second City. This comedy club opened in 1959 and has produced many of the SNL greats; John Belushi, Tina Fey, Amy Poheler, Chris Farley and many, many more. After an incredible boat ride, fantastic dinner and insanely funny improv comedy show, I was sold on Chicago as one of the greatest cities in America. 

Day 2.

  • We ate brunch at "Eggs-perience"
  • Rode Divy bikes around the city - From Navy Pier to the Lake Michigan front, to Lincoln Park and Old Town
  • Enjoyed a Sushi Dinner & Bars

Little disclaimer - I'm terrible at bike riding so needless to say I was a little skeptical to ride a bike around this unfamiliar city, but despite my hesitation, it was insanely fun. Divy Bikes is a bike-share system in Chicago where you can purchase an hour pass or a day pass, pick up a bike at any station, ride around then drop it off at any station throughout the city. We spontaneously joined an afternoon bar crawl, stopped when we felt like it, and ended up watching a little college football here and there. 

Day 3:

  • Bears Game (or other sporting event) White Sox, Bulls, Cubs
  • Lou's Deep Dish
  • Pourhouse
A good friend of mine plays football in the NFL and his team was coincidentally playing the Bears when we went to visit. We bought tickets to the game and it was an incredible experience. Chicago fans are loyal and energetic to say the least. Besides getting the experience of going to a sporting event at Solider Field, we were honored to experience some standard Chicago weather - it pouring rain the ENTIRE game after it had been warm and sunny the entire day prior.

For dinner at some point during your trip, Lou's Deep Dish is a must. Although a little more touristy than I would like, you cannot go to Chicago without eating traditional deep dish Chicago pizza. 

At night we wanted to watch the 49ers vs. Seahawks game and stumbled upon the Pourhouse. It was a perfect sports bar with about 100 beers on tap. 

Day 4:
  • Walked through Millennium Park
  • Visited the Signature Room on 95th at Hancock Tower
The last day we were in Chicago I wanted to see the Bean in Millennium Park and go to the top of the Hancock Tower for one last view. Below is the picture from the Signature Room where we enjoyed a lovely glass of wine and then headed to the airport. 

Thank you Chicago! I was blown away :)

Xo, Chels

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Years in Los Angeles - Bring on 2014!

New Year's is a time for reflections of the past and celebration of the future but can oftentimes be stressful when planning what to do. You want a balance; the right people, food, activity to commemorate the previous year and ring in the new one.

Here are some suggestions when planning; from a quiet night at home with the family to a progressive dinner with friends.

Night in with the Family:
Great for adults and entertaining kids alike.
Food: sliders, french fries, smores
Drinks: apple cider for the kids and champagne for the adults 
Games: Make it simple - invite other families over and each one has to bring their family's favorite game. 

Another idea is to have a different game or activity to play every hour. 

Night in with Friends:
Who doesn't love a themed dress up party? Even if it is just themed Black & White, adults love to dress up or costume dress and show off their inner child/creative side.

Black & White
Roaring 20s - Great Gatsby
60s - Mad Men
Vegas - Casino Game Night
Time for a Change (decades)
Around the World

If you have a lot of friends in close proximity, within walking distance because finding a cab on New Years Eve is nearly impossible, you can turn your night in with friends into a progressive dinner. Pick three houses - one host appetizers, another a main course and the final dessert. This could work well with the decades theme or around the world and each house be decorated to match a subcategory of the overall theme. You can even apply the different activity for every hour idea as well and do one per house. 

No matter what you decide to do, having a little extra something for the stroke of midnight is always a hit. Grab some sparklers, poppers, silly string, champagne, etc but know your audience.
Have fun & happy 2014!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Year - New Adventures! Round Three: San Diego

San Diego, California is a gorgeous place to visit. Whether you take a quick trip from Los Angeles or come from out of state San Diego has a lot to see and do. 

Itinerary for a 2 day, one night stay:

1:05pm: Catch an afternoon Padres Game at Petco Park in the heart of downtown. Although I am a die hard San Francisco Giants fan, Petco Park might be my favorite ballpark. They have a huge grass field just behind the outfield and you can buy $5-$15 tickets (depending on the game) and throw a picnic. They even have a mini baseball diamond for the young ones to play. 

5:00pm: Check-in to the hotel, maybe enjoy a quick nap before heading back out for night festivities. I'd highly recommend the Bristol Hotel - they were in a very central location, walking distance from everything and a great price. 

7:30pm: Head out in Gaslamp for a nice dinner, drinks and dancing. 

10:00am: Mimosa brunch at St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro 
They have incredible food and a great mimosa brunch deal.

San Diego is also home to a lot of street art fairs. Before heading home check what's happening around an go for a quick walk through the streets of a fair or walk on the beach to complete your San Diego experience. 

Other fun things in San Diego if you have a little more time:
San Diego Zoo
Chargers Game 
SDSU Basketball Game 

xo, Chels

New Year - New Adventures! Round Two: Cabo San Lucas

My brother and I are getting older and unfortunately aren't able to make it home as often to see our parents in the Bay Area. Family time is valuable to us all and this year instead of traditional presents for Christmas we decided to take a family vacation. Our mother picked Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and we stayed at the all inclusive Riu Palace. Based off of our trip, here's my Cabo recommendations for a 7 day relaxed stay. 

Friday: Arrival in Cabo San Lucas from San Diego, CA
We flew in and since the resort was all inclusive decided to just hang at the hotel and explore. We got dinner at the buffet and hung out at the main bar that was open 24 hours a day and served everything you could imagine. (Except Pacifico and Corona, which was my only complaint about the entire trip) 

Saturday: Hotel day
We decided to take advantage of all the activities our resort had to offer - laid by the pool and on our private beach. My mother and I enjoyed a hilarious water aerobics class and my brother and father entered a dart tournament. We also used today to plan at least one tourist activity a day for the rest of our trip. 

Riu Palace was enormous in itself but was also connected to two other resorts within walking distance. Santa Fe was one of the hotels connected to our resort and was more tailored to the spring break crowd. They had their own night club, Pacha and my brother and I spent the first night dancing away and meeting other vacationers. 

Sunday: Water Adventures

A Cabo must is snorkeling. We also opted to book a tour that included paddle boarding and kayaking as well and even saw a gray whale on our boat ride! 

Monday: Private Fishing Tour

Although we didn't catch anything we were very lucky to see dolphins, more whales and then some very friendly sea lions we fed our leftover bait to.

Tuesday: ATV Ride & Exploring the town 

Our ATV ride was arguably my favorite activity we did. We had amazing tour guides and it was a great activity for all ages and skill levels.

After our ATV ride we went into town and went bar hopping. First stop was the Giggling Marlin - they hang you upside down and feed you a tequila shot.

Next we went to the famous Cabo Wabo - they had the best burritos we had all trip. We ended our day drinking at Mango. They had great drink specials and karaoke. 

Wednesday: Swimming with Dolphins 

Our last tourist activity was swimming with dolphins. Our mom really wanted to go and although I was a little skeptical at first must admit it was really fun.  

Thursday: Departure

Although we were leaving we still had time for one last round of mimosas and a lovely brunch at our hotel.

Cabo San Lucas was a beautiful destination with plenty of activities for family members of all ages; active nightlife and relaxing day excursions.