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unique entertainment ideas

Christmas Party Decor, Food + Beverage Felici Events Style

Impromptu Felici-Hour Holiday Party

Last night marked the 8th year that Zohe Felici - Event Party Planner Extraordinaire - hosted a pre #paradeoflights gathering at Casa Felici.  The only difference, is that this year she had been traveling, and decided at the last minute to continue and host this ongoing tradition.  With only a few hours to put the "Felici-Hour" together, before she and her friends would head to see the boat parade and fireworks, Zohe dug into her impromptu skills to make this Felici Event effortless for her and a success for guests.

Decor:

There were four decor elements Zohe focused on to put together a holiday table-scape on her dining table.  She chose items (from storage) that accented height and interest to the table without overkill:

  • 1.5 foot tall Pier One Imports wooden snowman she fell in love with a few years back
  • wooden 3 tier Swedish Christmas Candle Carousel from Ikea - Zohe grew up with one and was always mesmerized by how they work using only candle heat to spin around….
  • mini Christmas tree gifted to her by the amazing and talented floral designer Kellye Clifford of Precious and Blooming at a recent coffee meeting.  This became a double-use item (Zohe loves two-fers, see more below).
  • red table runner from Cost Plus World Market
Felici Events Christmas Table Set Up

Felici Events Christmas Table Set Up

Favors and Entertainment:

As mentioned, the tree became a two-fer.  See it plain and simple on the image below and to the left.  At the foot of the tree are mini ornaments (from Ikea).  Zohe had no time to do this task, therefore she created this very fun activity for the kids (adults got involved too).  Zohe believes that interactive projects at parties are a great form of entertainment, so this was a no-brainer.  Voila, on the right is the finished product created by Zohe's almost-niece Malia.  Malia was so proud of her creation and keepsake!

Felici Events Kids Activity for a Holiday or Christmas Party

Felici Events Kids Activity for a Holiday or Christmas Party

Food and Beverage:

Once the table was set, Zohe, being the Italian that she is, moved on to feeding her guests.  With a time limit, she incorporated both home-made and store-bought items for nibbles.  From clockwise we have:

  • pizzette and arancini (placed in a 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes) from Trader Joe's
  • gorgonzola cheese dip with crostini (easy as 1-2-3 recipe, ready in less than 5 minutes)*
  • brussels sprouts with a spicy sweet glaze (easy as 1-2-3 recipe, ready in less than 5 minutes)*
  • mulled wine (easy as 1-2-3 recipe, ready in less than 5 minutes) for adults*
  • hot apple cider (from Trader Joe's) for kids or add Rum for an adult beverage
Felici Events Easy Food and Beverage for a Christmas or Holiday Party

Felici Events Easy Food and Beverage for a Christmas or Holiday Party

 Gorgonzola Cheese Dip w/ Crostini

  • 1 x 8 oz. container Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 1/3 c. whole milk
  • 1/8 c. half & half
    • microwave for 2 minutes
    • stir
    • microwave another 2 minutes
    • stir
    • serve with home-made or pre-made buttered bread crostini

Brussels Sprouts in a Spicy Sweet Glaze

  • 1 x 10 oz. package shaved fresh brussels sprouts (produce section)
  • 2 T. butter, salted
  • 1.5 T. agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 - 2 t. crushed red pepper
    • in large pan melt butter on medium
    • once melted increase temperature to high / medium high
    • add brussels sprouts and caramelize
    • stir occasionally so it does not burn, but let it brown
    • turn off burner
    • add agave nectar (feel free to add more to taste)
    • add crushed red pepper  (feel free to add more to taste)

Mulled Wine

  • 2 btls. red wine (preferably Merlot or something with hints of cherry)
  • 1 btl. white wine (preferably Chardonnay)
  • 1.5 c. sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 c. brandy
  • 1 fresh squeezed orange
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/4 T. cardamom
  • 1/4 T. fresh graded nutmeg
  • 5-6 whole cloves
    • put all ingredients in a large pot bring to a simmer
    • lower temperature to medium / low for 30 minutes
    • keep on warm until guests arrive or it is all sucked down!
    • pour into festive holiday mugs

Finally, she set her Spotify to the Michael Bublé Christmas Music Station, and there you have it.  How to prepare for and host a holiday happy-hour party for 8 in less than 1 hour.  The most time-consuming part of the preparation was the trip to Trader Joe's to purchase the food…..HA!

Happy Holidays Everyone!  We hope you celebrate safely with friends and loved ones in 2014 with these unique, #felicified and festive Christmas decor and food ideas inspired by #anotherfelicievent

Mr. Towbes Birthday Celebration at Bacara Resort and Spa

Felici Events Produces an Entertaining Brunch Celebration

Felici Events was honored to have been part of another grand celebration for the accomplishments, love and birthday celebration of Mr. Towbes, Santa Barbara's own "It's a Wonderful Life" (Zohe produced Mr. Towbes 80th at Fess Parker Doubletree)

This time, we had a double whammy with putting this event together at Bacara Resort and Spa.  Everything is grand at Bacara, event the entrance, impressive!

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Bacara Entry

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Bacara Entry

The gracious and gorgeous Anne, Mr. Towbes wife, was instrumental in creating this event and guiding Felici Events to a personalized affair!  Here is the happy couple just minutes before guests arrived.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Anne and Michael

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Anne and Michael

We created life-size cutouts of the guest of honor and placed them around the resort for guests to take pictures with.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th standing with lifesize

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th standing with lifesize

Being Mr. Santa Barbara created a receiving line which showed exactly that!  Everyone who is everyone came to wish him a happy birthday!

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th greeting guests

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th greeting guests

The guest of honor is an avid tennis player, so the talents of Louloudi Design incorporated this hobby into the centerpieces.  They looked lovely on La Tavola Linens with linear definitions.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th table set up floral orange linen

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th table set up floral orange linen

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Rotunda Room Bacara

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Rotunda Room Bacara

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th tennis racket signage

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th tennis racket signage

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th floral centerpiece with tennis ball

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th floral centerpiece with tennis ball

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th wide lens orange table decor

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th wide lens orange table decor

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Rotunda Terrace Orange Decor

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Rotunda Terrace Orange Decor

After brunch, we moved the 275 person event to the ballroom, where we had four performances or acts celebrating Mr. Towbes and his love and support of the arts and music as well as other surprises and personalizations celebrating his interests and  accomplishments.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th ladies kissing cheeks lifesize

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th ladies kissing cheeks lifesize

The Towbes Group Inc. is an award-winning and respected construction, development and asset management company.  We had a life-size cutout of the honoree supporting the Cottage Hospital Project.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Lifesize Architect

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Lifesize Architect

The honoree is also known as the owner and Chairman of the Board of Montecito Bank and Trust.  Here we produced a 'money tree' with oversized ficus and a Towbes Bucks garland.  Did you know people have been known to try to use the Towbes Bucks in town?!

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Money Tree

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th Money Tree

We set the ballroom into dinner theatre style small tables so all guests could see the performances.  At each table were programs, popcorn bowls and a low cylinder of floating candles wrapped in blueprints of the Cottage Hospital Project.  The red pens, personalized with Mr. Towbes Still Swingin' at 85' were party favors representative of Mr. Towbes use of them for using in his editing and return correspondence.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th ballroom table set up

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th ballroom table set up

The State Street Ballet danced while guests arrived into the ballroom.  Mr. Towbes is a longtime support and passionate of this local professional ballet company.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th state street ballet

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th state street ballet

During the brunch and performances, the Felici Events Team gathered all the 'momentos of Mr. Towbes' (the invitation asked guests to bring those in lieu of gifts), and produced two scrap books.  Carrie, Mr. Towbes daughter and Anne presented this surprise gift to the man of the hour.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th presenting album

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th presenting album

Let there be cake!  We replicated the invitation cover picture of the the man of the hour playing tennis onto a sheet cake.

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th birthday cake

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th birthday cake

Hope you made a wish!  Happy Birthday Mr. Towbes.  You are truly a genuine, altruistic, generous and kind man, and Santa Barbara is lucky to have you as a leader and philanthropist in our community!

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th blowing out candles

Michael Towbes Birthday 85th blowing out candles

Felici Events Presents Three Holiday Parties

Holiday Party Ideas

As we quickly approach the holiday season, Felici Events brings you ideas for your private or corporate party!

Inspired by Biz Bash: The Holiday Issue we share three seasonal holiday themes sure to please your guests!

Classic Holiday

Christmas Table
Christmas Table

Take out your ornaments and red candles! Make your holiday parties with classic themes like the nutcracker or holiday movies and use traditional decorations to bring the joy of the season! Hang up lights, wreaths, and trees, feel free to add a pine cone or two in there. For food, you can make appetizers based off dinners such as a turkey cranberry crostini, chicken kebabs or pizza bites in traditional holiday shapes. Be sure to decorate your table with a classic gingerbread house!

Food Cutouts
Food Cutouts
Christmas Kebabs
Christmas Kebabs
Gingerbread House
Gingerbread House

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is a modern theme that looks elegant and transforms your venue into an entirely different place! With Disney's "Frozen" and ice being all the rage, having a winter wonderland themed party can be the perfect theme for your holiday party! Decorate with snowflakes, crystals, blue lights, crystals and silver decor.  Be sure to have a hot cocoa bar to warm your guests up!

Hot Cocoa Bar
Hot Cocoa Bar
Winter Wonderland Center Piece
Winter Wonderland Center Piece
Winter Lights
Winter Lights

Try something innovative with live ice sculpting!

Live ice scultping
Live ice scultping

The Ice Beat Factory is an exciting performance ice show combining ice sculpting with live music.

Offbeat Bash

Many modern holiday parties are saying no to the traditional holiday themed parties and going for a more offbeat theme like a masquerade ball or as Biz Bash demonstrates, a circus theme.  Another theme idea could be a Brother's Grimm theme with Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and Disney's upcoming film, Into the Woods serving as inspiration. There's so many possibilities with this theme, guests can come dressed as their favorite fairy tale characters and the ideas for decorations are endless!

Fairy Tale Invitation
Fairy Tale Invitation
Fairy Tale Chandelier
Fairy Tale Chandelier

Get creative with invitations to inspire guests and decorate with grand chandeliers to create a more spectacular fantasy!

Fairy Tale Center Pieces
Fairy Tale Center Pieces
Flower Centerpiece
Flower Centerpiece

Take inspiration from Brother's Grimm fairy tales for centerpieces such as a single rose or a candelabra!

Feel free to use a specific fairy tale or just combine them all to make an enchanted venue! Have some caramelized apples or Alice in Wonderland cake for dessert! Be sure to checkout Cody's Cocktails inspired by fairy tale creatures that are sure to be remembered at your holiday party! This one below is called "Maleficent" and contains black vodka, grape schnapps, and apple pucker!

Poison Apples
Poison Apples
Maleficent cocktail
Maleficent cocktail

Whatever you decide for your theme, holiday parties should create a festive and joyous occasion!

Party Interactive Entertainment Idea - #Madlibs

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this past week-end, Felici Events has had the honor of experiencing just that! One of our clients hired us to produce her milestone 50th birthday celebration.  She came to Zohe's Godfather themed birthday, which took place in October at the Santa Barbara Club, and absolutely loved the party, especially Zohe's take on Mad Libs.  Zohe is a fan of having something unique and getting guests to interact rather than filling out a boring old guest book.

We made some mob-libs and had guests fill out cards rather than signing a guest book.  We don't know who had more fun that night, Zohe's friends and loved ones who wrote in the mad lib cards, or Zohe hooting and hollering in laugher reading them after the party.  

This idea is perfect for any party, a mitzvah, birthday, baby shower, bridal shower, corporate mixer or event a rehearsal dinner or wedding.

Here is the inspiration for Zohe's Godfather Theme Birthday  - Mad Libs

Madlib for Zohe Felici's birthday party celebration @felicievents

Madlib for Zohe Felici's birthday party celebration @felicievents

We called them Ann Libs (Ann is the client's name), and asked our graphics guru (Mitra from foreverbird.com) create a cartoon from Ann's picture

@foreverbird

@foreverbird

Felici Events Headquarters typed up and edited  the formatting and grammar.

Ann Libs in progress

Ann Libs in progress

We found some fancy schmancy paper from our local Paper-Source, and were able to print the Ann Libs at Felici Headquarters.

printing Ann Libs in house

printing Ann Libs in house

TADA!!!

Here is the end result!

We bundled it up nice and neat at each place setting, and attached a card to it, based on a pinterest inspiration.

Ann Libs packaged nicely

Ann Libs packaged nicely

They look great on the tables, each guest got one at their place settings, rolled up nice and neat with pens nearby.  It made for a talking point and incorporated interactive entertainment for the evening.

Ann Libs at each place setting

Ann Libs at each place setting