Monday, June 29, 2009

napa know how.

as i mentioned previously, i was in napa valley last week...which quickly became one of my favorite places to visit. it has all you need: great weather, world class food, laid back people and most importantly an endless abundance of magnificent wine.

on a tip from a friend, i hired a private
"tour guide" (contact gordy larum at to hire yours) to take me around the valley.
this eliminated waiting in line, boarding a hot bus with tourists and their fanny-packs and allowed the opportunity to taste and see some really unique wines and wineries.

to give you an idea of the scale:
sterling vineyards (shown at right) produces something like 18 million cases a year, whereas lava vine is under 1000 case production. the difference is palpable, without a doubt.

so for fear that i may have started sounding like a napa valley pamphlet, lets discuss how this affects you (my loyal audience)...

wine and events go hand in hand. or they should. and selecting wine can be intimidating and overwhelming. some
tips of the trade to get you through:

sticker shock.
good wine does NOT need to be expensive and dont be talked
into the most pricey bottle on the list. there are
great wines out there for less than $40 a bottle, even some as little as $15. higher prices usually mean a smaller yield, making it rare or a "reserve". save those for small, special occasions. a midrange bottle is entirely acceptable to serve to guests at a large gathering.

blanco y rojo.
the age old adage that white is for fish and red for beef is simply not true. to me, it depends more on the preparation of the dish (sauce and sides) than the actual protein itself. lighter reds pair surprisingly well with fish or chicken. dont be afraid to take risks and try new things, you'll be glad you did.

because wine can be potentially overwhelming to your guests and food tastes SO much better when paired with the right wine, do the pairing for them at your dinner. simply passing by with a bottle of white and a bottle of red at each course doesn't showcase the wine or the food like it should. i like to start with a sparkling because its light and celebratory. pair that with your amuse bouche or first course. next, pair a wine with your salad, entree and even
into dessert. it is AMAZING how different the meal will taste and feel when the wine is thoughtfully selected. most restaurants and event venues have a sommelier on staff, use it.

hope your summer is off to a sunny start and thanks for your loyal readership. i enjoy your feedback and am open to topic suggestions too. next week, in honor of the 4th of july, ill be blogging about chinatown. until then...


lindsay piram
event planner & producer

Monday, June 15, 2009

please. and thank you.

as a child...

i walked with books on my head, by choice.

when i set the table, i set salad, dinner, dessert and shrimp forks. when having tacos.

my school lunch box, included a linen napkin. pressed and folded.

i sent thank you notes to my slumber party hosts.

i guess you could say, etiquette has always been important to me. and in my career, nothing has changed. etiquette, to me, is a sign of respect. respect to tradition and also to the guests and hosts of an event.

so, today...a few simple etiquette "rules" i live by.
and you should too:

spell correctly.
whether it's the menu at an event, the (reluctantly) invited cousin's girlfriend's name on the invitation or text within a program: proof, proof and proof again. take time and do some research to get the accent on the french wine varietal just right. email your aunt and make sure cadie opts for the c. and the d. explain the significance of a huppah at a jewish wedding, not the hippo. (spell check wont catch that but proofers will.) it bodes well for you in the end.

source those old dusty stationery grammar books.
believe it or not, when inviting a child to a formal event, it should read "master ben miller". i know this sounds crazy and even outdated, but if you're going formal, i recommend going all the way. there are certain ways to address judges, doctors, widows and officers. all of this and more is included within
Crane's Blue Book of Stationery. here at give my regards to, there are literally copies on every desk and shelf.

put your napkin on your lap.
as soon as you're seated! this is a big one and to me, encompasses all table manners, such as: let the ladies order first. use the utensils from the outside in. pass items, such as bread baskets, to your right. excuse yourself if leaving the table. lay your flatware diagonally across your plate to signal you are finished. simple, right?

be grateful.
a thank you goes a long way. a thank you note, even further. it is such a simple gesture, but makes people feel appreciated. and insures you get invited back! i've written them as a host, to my guests (ESPECIALLY if gifts were involved) and as a guest, to a host for a great event. including something unique to that event, within the text, helps personalize it. ("the nutella crepes were divine. merci!") come see us if you need some new thank you notes...there are some adorable options that make you want to send, send, send. (so cute that my son has had a set since age two.)

lindsay piram

event planner & producer

next week i'll be blogging from napa valley....this should be interesting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

how to have a haute party.

what to wear?

when it comes to my wardrobe, i abide by the following: i splurge on basics that will never go out of style (motorcycle jacket, black cocktail dress, cowboy boots) and i force myself to be frugal and smart when it comes to th
at season's trends. i just can't justify blowing the bank on a feathered bikini…it would be SO cool, but laughable by next season. son in tow, we hit up sale racks, vintage stores (because everything that’s cool now, has been cool before) and designer outlets to still get the look, but for a lot less.

so, the blog begs, can fashion trends transcend to events? let's explore:

rock and roll:

"equal parts rebellious and refined, this 90's style" is characteri
zed by black, frays, rips and tears, more black and studs…100% downtown. an event look would rock this style with black on black, couture cutting (contrived rips), stark floral arrangements with all one flower (callas would be cool). bring in the studded look through metallic accents (flatware and serve-ware). and lots of leather…seating is an obvious place for this.

open range:

feathers and fringe. wild at heart. life on the prairie gets a fashion update. i see this trend becoming event décor through suede,
flowing fabrics, untamed floral, natural tones with pops of color inspired by nature (turquoise, orange). keep in mind, the juxtaposition of a cowboy boot and a long, laura ingalls wilder floral print dress will look just as cool when interpreted at an event as it does on the runway. this is done with bold, worn-in, chocolate leather seating against a pastel table-scape with quail feathers mixed into a bucket or pitcher of wildflowers.

floral and feminine:

old school ladylike meets modern ‘tude. floral patterns, sheer fabrics and ethereal layers combine flirtatiousness and elegance. incorporating vintage pieces into the event décor will weight this look accompanied by silk and sheer linens. nothing too heavy though (no drapes) or it will date the look. floral motifs can be exhibited through not only pattern, but texture, too to soften the look. anchor it with neutrals (like you’d pair ivory linen trousers with a floral blouse) to keep it elegant and modern.

global goddess:
find inspir
ation from distant lands like southeast asia or the plains of sub-saharan africa. beads, bold prints and embroidery transport us to new lands and new looks. bold linens with funky pots, nothing contrived and lots of layers. lighting is low for nighttime and daytime events of this type should soak up the sun. moroccan teacups can double as adorable and appropriate wine glasses, toss some beaded pillows down and cover your table with animal prints and bold patterns.

the four current spring/summer fashion trends listed above can certainly translate to an event, but keep in mind that trends change with the seasons…a prairie-inspired party next spring will be far less cool than this spring. (by then i'll be dishing on the super-hero look that's sweeping the runway!) fashion magazines and fashion show footage from pari
s or new york are my new favorite places for event inspiration, now all you need to figure out is what to wear to your party!

lindsay piram,
event planner & producer

Monday, June 1, 2009

sidelined by the stomach (not swine, thanks) flu in los angeles over memorial weekend interrupted some, but not all, of my excursions. still, as promised, i got my picture next to mike’s star (wow, did that make me feel like a tourist or what? all in the name of my blog, wink wink.)

so, later that day i ended up in santa monica. and at the ritz. I worked for the ritz-carlton hotel chain in sobe and love, love all they stand for. as a guest and as an employee. i just strolled in and made myself at home, and at the ritz, this is allowable. act like you own the place and no one says a word. ha.

i think i've mentioned before that YELLOW is the “it” color this season. if i haven’t, i'm sure you already know. yellow is hot for clothes, jewelry, handbags, flowers, stationery, events. (basically everything but cars).

so…what did i find while snooping through SM? a yellow event (wedding) AT the ritz. (yes, i was in the ballroom). it was in the very preliminary stages of being set but I snapped what I could. how nicely it tied in with the yellow and gold touches within the hotel itself, such as the hand-blown amber glass fixtures and antique mirrors.

which leads me to my #1 event philosophy: WORK WITH THE SPACE, NOT AGAINST IT. im talking color, style, theme. this will save you time and money and will ma
ke your event feel “right”. a rock and roll party at your parents' country club? not gonna feel as good as it could. with some work, it could eventualllllly but think about all you would have to bring in by way of props and décor. why not go straight to the heart of rock and roll? find an old warehouse or kick a** bar that embodies that style.

an all-white princess wedding? I would recommend a more traditional venue where the elements are built in through architecture versus the contemporary, urban hotel. and keep in mind…if a hotel or venue is modern or contemporary in its architecture, its standard linens, chairs and serve-ware will be too. which means YOU will need to supply the ones that go with your look. all of those things should exude your overall theme and if they don’t,
there will be a disconnect. ($30 chair cover x 300 chairs = find a venue where the chairs fit your look and you can spend this $ somewhere else, like on a planner to tell you that!)

so, the moral of the los angeles story? YELLOW works at the RITZ. and i heart both.

regards, lindsay piram event planner & producer