Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend Event Recap

deborah kLast weekend I had the honor of managing the Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend (RYMWW), led by entrepreneur extraordinaire, Ms. Deborah Kagan. What exactly does that mean you may be asking? Deborah explains the mission like this:

“As a woman who lost her mojo and gained it back, I am on a mission to help other women do the same. Today, I am a successful entrepreneur, have a delicious relationship with the love of my life and have an enthusiasm for living that’s unparalleled. Those three things (the money, the honey and the vibrancy)—that’s my dream for you.”

it's your turnNot only did Deborah share her unique journey with attendees, but she also gave them a plethora of tools to start living their most “mojolicious life.” In addition, she brought in several speakers that complemented her wealth of knowledge.

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First up was Krisha Young, a “delicious life strategist and sabotage slayer” helping high-achieving women take back control of how they look and feel so that they can have the confidence and energy to go after what they truly want. For more information about this amazing entrepreneur who has walked the walk, check out here website here.

theresa de vera

Next, attendees heard the inspirational story of Ms. Theresa De Vera, a disability rights advocate and the current President of the Commission on Disability for the City of Los Angeles. Her unbelievable story is extremely motivating as she reminds us that no matter what our circumstances are, we can always take a stand and make a difference. For more information on this extraordinary woman, please check out this article featured on NBC News.

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Sunday morning, after Deborah kicked things off with another impactful morning session, we heard from LA Times & CBS Best of LA Personal Stylist, Laurie Brucker. From her website, “Laurie brings realistic and attainable style advice that she uses to create possibility and empowerment, and to promote personal growth and achievement.” Click here for more information on one of the most desired and decorated stylists around LA.

matt brauning

That afternoon we got to hear from Matt Brauning, a master NLP trainer (neuro-linguistic programming) who speaks all over the world teaching people how to re-wire their brains. While Matt only took the stage for a short time, his impact was huge due to the way he relates to the audience and speaks from the heart. For more information on him and his many endeavors, please check out his website.

dr. amadi

Finally, rounding out the weekend, attendees were enlightened by Dr. Hepsharat Amadi, a renowned physician practicing holistic healthcare. Dr. Amadi believes in preventative care for women focusing on hormonal balance and has a wealth of knowledge in homeopathic practices and remedies. Cancer is big business so pharmaceutical companies don’t necessarily want you to know that there are many things you can do to prevent hormone-based cancers. Do yourself a favor and check out her website for more information.

long story short

Not only was I honored to work with such an amazing group of people, but I also took away many lessons from the vast amount of knowledge that was dropped over the course of the three days. What resonated most with me is to not get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s great to have big goals, but the most important thing to do is just to take the next available step, even if you don’t know what comes after that. The universe will!

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From the Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend website:

“Women see themselves most clearly in the reflection of other women.

From the beginning of time, women gathered in circle.
To reflect. To learn. To see themselves more clearly.
They came to share stories, traditions, advice and secrets related to the feminine arts.

Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend brings the circle back.”

For more information about the next RYMWW, click here.

chakaTheme song of the weekend, Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman.”

 

 

Los Angeles Hotels You Should 100% Know About

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NoMad Los Angeles, Downtown LA

As an event planner, one of the key aspects I help my clients with is venue selection. Over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know several different hotels across Los Angeles. Today I share with you my current favorites in each area of town.

We begin in the East with  NoMad Los Angeles, Downtown’s latest addition which opened its doors in early 2018. From their website: “Originally built in the 1920s as the headquarters for The Bank of Italy, the building’s gold and blue Italianate lobby ceiling has been fully restored and serves as inspiration throughout. Honoring its rich history, NoMad naturally balances the integrity and character of the Neoclassical landmark with a contemporary California design sensibility.”

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NoMad Los Angeles, Downtown LA

The meeting space is limited but the rooftop pool overlooking Downtown LA is the perfect spot to host a small welcome reception or employee appreciation event. If you’re looking for a hotel in this area, I personally think this is an ideal spot to host any of your tech, sales or corporate staff. Oh! And the main restroom is located underground in the old bank vault, how cool is that??

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Next up we head west to Dream Hollywood, “a new breed of Los Angeles luxury hotel” according to Ann Abel, Contributor at Forbes.com. This property opened its doors in the summer of 2017 and recently finished its meeting space.

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This is a great hotel for guests looking for a relaxed but glamorous vibe in the heart of LA. Again, not very much meeting space, but they too have a great rooftop pool overlooking the city, as well as several eateries run by the popular Tao Group. Another one to get out and see if you haven’t done so already.

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Beauty & Essex, by Tao Group

Continuing west we stop at Sofitel Beverly Hills, a locale I love for more social type events. From their website: “Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is a stunning hotel in LA, offering elegant luxury accommodations and dramatic décor with an ambiance that combines see-and-be-seen excitement and the calm of an urban resort.”

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Sofitel Beverly Hills

I can’t wait to plan a bridal shower or birthday brunch on this outdoor garden patio, such a perfect space for those types of functions.

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Sofitel Beverly Hills

And now to the beach! According to their website: “Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel fuses classic sophistication and contemporary chic to create a thoroughly modern and uniquely luxurious Santa Monica, California boutique hotel and resort.” And I couldn’t agree more.

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Viceroy, Santa Monica

Like some of the other properties mentioned, I wouldn’t say this hotel is known for their event space. However, the pool area is a very popular wedding locale and hosts a tech mixer I’ve been attending lately. If you’ve never been here, or it’s been a while, I highly suggest you stop by for a drink in their lobby bar, you won’t regret it.

And finally, to round out the city, we head “over the hill” to the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village.

Four Seasons
Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village

Unlike many of the hotels above, this property is covered in event space, great for both corporate clients and social. We all know the Four Seasons brand is synonymous with luxury, but this particular property also has an affinity for wellness as they house the California Health and Longevity Institute.

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California Health & Longevity Institute – Wellness Kitchen

While the property is equipped to handle all types of events, from high-end weddings and bar mitzvahs to mid-sized meetings and conferences, I think this is an exceptional venue for corporate retreats, team building activities and incentive trips.

The next time you venture out that way, be sure to stop in, get a cup of their fantastic coffee, and take a look around this pristine hotel.

that's all folks

Hopefully you discovered something new here today. Please comment and let me know what your favorite venues are, no matter what area you’re in. We’re always eager to learn about new, fabulous spaces.

Finding the Right Venue

When the time comes to start planning your big event, one of the first things you’ll need to lock down is the venue. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a romantic wedding locale or a hotel to host your corporate meeting, there are several key questions you’ll want to ask the venue rep before making your final decision.

I like to equate selecting a venue with choosing a romantic partner, initially there must be some sort of physical attraction, i.e., The pictures you’ve seen on the venue’s Insta are what dreams are made of, but once that’s been established, you’ll need to dig a little deeper to find out if this is really the one for you.

Key Questions to Ask Your Venue Rep

1. What is the capacity?

Before you start talking dates of availability and price, you’ll want to find out if your group will even fit in the space. Most venues have capacity charts online which will tell you how many people can be accommodated depending on the configuration of the room, ie. Classroom style set-up for a meeting or a reception style for a mixer.

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Once you’ve confirmed you’ll fit in the space, in the format you’d like, it’s on to the next question.

2. What are the dates of availability?

Depending on how flexible you are with your date, often times you can give the venue parameters and they will advise what’s available within them. You may be planning your annual sales meeting for some time next summer, but you’re flexible as long as it’s in the months of July or August, and takes place over two consecutive weekdays.

If you do have wiggle room, though I know that’s not always possible, one of the benefits is that you will usually end up seeing a decrease in the venue rental rate. For example, wedding venues always charge the most on Saturdays because that’s the most popular day for them. If you are willing to move to a Friday or Sunday (or weekday even better) you’ll typically see a significant cost savings. Good ol’ supply and demand.

3. What will it cost?

Once you’ve received answers on capacity and dates, the next big query is cost. Be sure to find out how many hours are included in the price you’ve been quoted and everything that comes with it, ie. Cleaning and maintenance fees, security, venue staff, power, etc. And remember, just because you’re given a price (similar to any purchasing situation in life), don’t assume it’s non-negotiable.

If you need help when it comes to venue contract negotiations, please reach out for tips and tricks of the trade (or stay tuned for that article, coming soon).

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4. Are there any required vendors and are they a Union house?

Often times, venues will require that you use their in-house caterer or AV company, this is not atypical. If you had your heart set on someone else, sometimes you can pay a fee to use the vendor you’d like, but you have to ask the question. Usually this isn’t a make it or break like the queries above, but good to have all of the information none the less.

Whether or not a venue is a union house matters because this effects price greatly:       (mo) union = mo $$

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Since budget is usually top of mind for most clients, I let them know the cost implications of going with a union venue right away. Again, not as much of a deal breaker as the top three, but could definitely be a deciding factor if you have both union and non-union houses as options.

5. What is the parking situation and are there any noise restrictions?

Like #4, these answers aren’t as imperative as the top three, but could play a key role in your decision making process. If you’ve got a venue that has no parking for guests (or not enough) you’ll need to anticipate the cost of bringing in a valet company or making other arrangements.

Similarly, if you were planning to keep the party going all night long, but your venue has a noise restriction after 10 o’clock, that could surely put a damper on the festivities.

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These are my top five questions but when speaking with your potential venues, please don’t stop there. Ask all the questions you want and be sure the answers align with your vision and budget.

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One of the great things about being an event planner is getting to see and experience the latest in hospitality, food and drink, entertainment and more. Over the last couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with several of Los Angeles’s newest and most popular venues, and I’m excited to share some of my favorites with you in the next article…stay tuned!

And Now for a Music Break

As we all know, music is key to any event, especially when you want people on the dance floor. Check out Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” (Remix) featuring Cardi B., a newer song that should definitely be on everyone’s “Let’s Boogie” playlist.

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For those of you who know me, you know I love me some 90’s hip-hop. This remix is amazing to me (not just because it’s Bruno and that’s obvi.) because it’s very reminiscent of some of my favorites from that era. That, and it’s a GREAT car dancing song.

So, no judgements if you see me on the road rocking out, just know I’m having FUN…and that’s what it’s all about! What’s your favorite song to rock out to in the car? I’d love to hear from you!

 

What Are You Bringing to the Party?

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It’s likely that by now you’ve got your viewing plans for Sunday’s Super Bowl locked in, but have you figured out what “bowl” you’ll be bringing to the party? Whether you’re going to watch the game, see the commercials or just for some plain ol’ good fun, one thing you don’t want to do is walk in empty handed. Check out this fresh and delicious recipe that is sure to leave you the hit of the party…and it’s easy!

Cowboy Caviar

use this

 

Mix together:

1 can of corn – drained

1 can of black beans – drained

2 tomatoes – chopped (Scrape out and discard inside juices and seeds)

1 bunch of green onions – chopped

Cilantro – chopped to taste

In a separate bowl mix:

1 teaspoon Tabasco

2 teaspoons salad oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Salt & pepper to taste

2 avocados – chopped (Check out this video for a little trick on getting the pit out)

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Combine the two bowls and lightly toss with a fork

Garnish with lime

Try not to eat the whole bowl before you get to the party 😊

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As a great compliment, I suggest stopping by Trader Joes and grabbing a bag of their blue corn tortilla chips for scooping.

I promise, this dip + your party pants = a great time!

And just in case you haven’t been following football this season but want to get up to speed, check out CBSSports.com’s “2018 Super Bowl: 52 things to know about Eagles vs. Patriots in Minnesota.” This way you’ll be able to talk about more than the delicious Cowboy Caviar you brought or Tom Brady’s amazing…arm 😊

Superbowl LLI Song Pick

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In honor of Justin Timberlake’s return to the Superbowl, and the release of his latest album, check out the track “Say Something” featuring country star (and winner of 3 Grammys this past weekend) Chris Stapleton. I have a feeling we may be hearing this on Sunday, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

 

New Year, New You – Get Organized

Hello, and happy New Year! I hope your 2018 is off to a great start thus far. I love the new year because it always provides an opportunity for a fresh start. Whether it’s restored energy for your business, renewed commitment to your health, or just the overwhelming feeling that NOW is your time, there’s something about a new year that is invigorating.

To help you tackle whatever it is you have in store for 2018, I suggest starting the new year off right…aka organized. My top three tips for achieving this are below.

Anyone who’s ever planned an event knows that it comes down to the details. Whether it’s a bride’s dream wedding day or a corporate client’s 5-star incentive trip, being well-organized and prepared is the key to a successful event. Well that and a great planner of course 😉

 

Step 1: Organize your inbox

inbox clear out

I know this seems daunting when you’ve got an inbox with literally thousands of emails, but I promise, you can do it! And once you do you’ll feel so much better. Here is a helpful article written by Alex Cavoulacos, President & Founder of The Muse, with a great guide to organizing your inbox.

Personally, I color code everything.

color code inbox

Now this may only work if you use Outlook, but categories are crucial to my sanity. Each job has its own color as does each of my internal business categories, ie. Accounting, social media, operations, etc. This trick makes searching and sorting SO much more efficient.

In short, when it comes to the seemingly overwhelming task of organizing your inbox, be like Nike:

just do it

Step 2: Create a “to-do” list

Now this may seem obvious, but it’s all about what you put on your to-do list. Can you think of one task that would tick numerous boxes? If so, DO THAT.

to do list

Here’s an insightful article published by Forbes with tips on creating your best to do list. Luckily everything remains relevant even though it’s dated 2014.

Step 3: Create a schedule (and stick to it)

Especially if you are your own boss, creating a schedule is vital. It can be easy to get side-tracked with other tasks. Carve out blocks of your time for the day and assign them different responsibilities, ie. Proposals, make phone calls, return emails, etc. And take breaks!

Here’s a great article from Jacquelyn Smith, Director of Content Strategy at FlexJobs, with tips on creating a schedule to maximize your productivity.

work schedule

I also really love Daymond John’s morning routine, starting the day on the offensive, take a look here. Daymond John is the CEO of FUBU and The Shark Group and is a major investor on ABC’s Shark Tank.

We all wish there were more hours in a day, especially if you’re trying to balance work, family, fitness, the list goes on, the key is being efficient with your time. To be efficient you must be organized. It will take a little work up front (like anything) but once you do it you will find yourself at a whole new level of productivity.

Just do it!

And to end on a fun note, (and because you’re probably ready for a break after all of this) here are a couple of songs I’ve been listening to on repeat lately to help keep me motivated and inspired as we wrap up week two of January 2018.

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Macklemore’s “Glorious” featuring Skylar Grey off of his latest album Gemini. Needless to say, I dance A LOT to this one.

Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder” from their latest album Evolve. I love the idea of being the lighting before the thunder.

Here’s wishing we can all make 2018 electric!! And thank you for sticking with me if you’ve made it this far down 🙂

Things to Look Forward to

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Photo by Robin Randolph Photography

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to check out my first post. As many of you know, I recently started my own business, Bianchi Productions, and I’m excited to launch this blog and begin sharing my passion for events, and more, with all of you!

A little background for those of you just reading about this exciting new venture: Bianchi Productions is a boutique event planning company whose mission is to spread love, light and positivity by creating memorable and meaningful events. Our hope is that “Celebrating Life’s Memorable Moments” helps achieve that objective while also providing insight into the event world and inspiration on life, love and entrepreneurship.

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Photo by Robin Randolph Photography

If you’re wondering what types of topics we will be covering, here’s a little peak into the plan as it stands today (lord knows these things change by the minute):

  • Event Planning Tips
  • Favorite Venues and Locals
  • Entertainment Acts
  • Catering and Restaurant Reviews
  • Travel and Life Inspiration

And through all that, you can be sure there will be many references to music and dancing, because besides my family and friends, that is what brings me the most joy in life. #TRUTH

Have you heard the saying “it’s better to be lucky than good?” Well I think it’s better to be both! I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked for several* smart, strong and inspiring women throughout my career. Thank you to all of you for showing me that hard work and a positive attitude can lead to amazing things. Thank you also for giving me the knowledge and confidence to start my own business, I am forever grateful for all that you’ve taught me.

Speaking of amazing things, I’d like to share a little bit about a company I recently discovered whose mission I think is so important.

While attending a conference for entrepreneurs and small business owners earlier this fall, I had the privilege of listening to a man by the name of Chris Pan speak. Chris is the founder of MyIntent.org and closed out this year’s QuickBooks Connect with a session so moving it’s hard to put into words. Wow, was this man inspiring!

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After a fabulous meditation and listening exercise, Chris explained his company’s mission of being a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive energy. Through that mission, he started asking others, “What’s Your WORD?” and he engraves that word on a bracelet. Your word is something you want to have more of in your life or a challenge you want to overcome.

So in closing, I would love to hear from you…What’s your WORD?

Mine is happiness 🙂

Cheers!

*Thank you to the following women for being amazing leaders and role models (in order of appearance in my career):

Roberta Kantola, former Backstage Manager at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Lauren Levy, Manager Program Standards & Practices at NBC Universal

Wendy Steinhoff-Baldikoski, VP Comedy Development at Warner Bros. TV

Cheryl Cecchetto, Owner & President of Sequoia Productions

Andrea Michaels, Owner & President of Extraordinary Events

Chelsey Martin, Australian Consulate-General, Los Angeles

Erin Gray, Program Director G’Day USA