Building community…one party at a time.
My passion is conceiving and manifesting events that bring people face to face, because let’s face it, we all spend way too much time on our smartphones and computers. I feel it’s important to bring communities together so that everyone has a sense of belonging and fellowship. And since we’re lucky to live in a neighborhood that values the bonds between neighbors, I’ve been hosting events at our house in Sunnyvale ever since we first moved here.
But I do a lot of other events, too. I do them pro bono for causes I really believe in, because when you don’t have a huge budget, creativity is an excellent substitute.
One of my most successful events was the “CakeOff for Kids” competition to benefit Cake4Kids in 2011. I met the founder of Cake4Kids in early January and learned they needed $3,000 to file for non-profit status. With no budget, I conceived, planned and executed my idea to put on a cake contest (eventually bringing on Jo Ann Alvarado to help with logistics). The idea was simple: Bring together 50 volunteer bakers to offer attendees “50 bites of cake” for $15 with the chance to win prizes in 5 categories: Best Decorated, Best Tasting, Ultimate Chocolate, Gluten Free and Kids.
In one night, we raised $5,000 while spending less than $100 for paper goods — everything else, including the venue, we were able to get donated (not to mention my graphic design skills and a custom CakeOff logo by my Romanian friend, Alice, who’s a very talented illustrator). I solicited sponsors for each category and rounded up a few local celebrities to act as guest judges.
The CakeOff was a huge success. The charity got more than enough money to file for non-profit status, and I learned that no one can handle tasting 50 different cakes — 20 is the max! I left the charity soon after — I’m not really a baker and just like to create fundraisers — but the CakeOff for Kids continues, and the next year it doubled their proceeds.
In 2014, I co-hosted the “Beauty Bash After Party” at Hotel Valencia’s “V Bar” with GEV Magazine. Santana Row’s Beauty Bash on May 7th benefited Dress for Success San Jose, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women in more than 125 cities across 15 countries. Dress for Success provides professional clothing, employment retention programs, and ongoing support to help clients be self-sufficient and successful in their careers. Beauty Bash guests were invited to shop, nibble and enjoy cocktails while talking to style experts and fashion bloggers stationed at more than a dozen stops exploring the latest hair and make-up trends and receiving personalized consultations, a mini-magazine of tips, and a gift bag.