Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Testinomy - Grace

Hi Julia and Eddie,

Thanks for the list. I see a few competitors sneaked in! I think everyone
had a great time. The photos were a huge hit!! The next day during the show,
we overheard several complimentary comments about the party, and guys were
showing off their photos to each other!

I know you were all very busy the entire time and then some. We appreciated
all of you staying late and printing so we could display the photos at our
booth the next day. All but one person came by the booth and picked up their
photos. We should have the candid shots posted this week, so maybe this one
guy will check the website and ask for his to be mailed.

It was a pleasure working with you. We'll be back in Long Beach in 2010 for
the same show, so if I'm still doing this, I'd definitely like to work with
you again. I think the photos made a huge difference.(I now have the
reputation as "the guy" who threw the Laker Girls party, so I'll have to
come up with something bigger and better.)

Thanks again!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Laker Girls Event at Long Beach

We were hired by Magnolia Plastics from Atlanta, Georgia to do a photo set-up at their conference at the Long Beach Hyatt. They hired 6 Laker Girls to perform some dance moves and pose for shots with guests. The girls were very professional.

Since Eddie is a big fan of the Lakers, he couldn't resist the chance to take a photo with 6 of the famous Laker Girls.

Conference attendees, mainly engineers, eagerly lined up to take photos with the girls, and the idea was a huge success. Kudos to Grace McElleny for her brilliant idea! Thanks to Magnolia Plastics for hiring us for this event!
For those who want to download their photos with the Laker girls, please contact Magnolia Plastics.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Palms Springs

We just came back from spending two days in Palm Springs. Those of you who don't know, Palm Springs is about a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles. It's in the middle of the desert. We had been there before, but only for a short day trip, during which we took the tram up to the top of the mountain and pretty much spent the whole day up there. So it was nice this time to actually stay overnight and visit the city itself. That time we took the tram up was in 1996, and it was making creaking and squeaking noises... This time, it looked like the tram has been updated since then. But we went straight into the city because not only had we done the whole tram thing before, it looked like it was pretty cold up there...! Neither one of us are fans of cold weather unless we are skiing or snowboarding!

So the picture you see above is where we ate lunch the first day there. It's a place called Fisherman's Market and Grill. We know, it's in the middle of the desert, no ocean in sight... But hey, we didn't name it, so, send your letters their way, not ours. And to those of you who are Food Network fans, yes, this is one of the places Rachael Ray ate at in $40 a day.

We ordered the Fish and Chips and a Crab Cake Sandwich. Both were pretty well cooked. The fish was well fried. They were crispy on the outside, and done just right on the inside so that it was cooked but not tough. And not too greasy or heavy, which is always hard to achieve with fried foods. The crab cake was pretty good. The cole slaw, on the other hand, we both agreed was a little on the bland side... We are both fans of KFC coleslaw, so I guess it's kind of hard to top it...
Here we are, just sitting in the middle of a plaza in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. Eddie thinks the plaza has a name, but Julia has no idea what it could be.
The picture above is the Plaza Theater. It's famous for the Palm Springs Follies, which from research that Julia did before going, seems to be a pretty popular show there. We didn't go, since it didn't seem like our cup of tea. So, we just took a couple of photos. It is, after all, a landmark.
Above are some interesting structures built by some artist guy... We have the info that Julia grabbed from the Palm Springs Museum of Art, where they are located. But they are not in the room, and neither of us feel like getting up to go get it.... Sorry. We promise we will fill in the artist name and all that other educational info later. We can tell you these are rattan, though! We had a great time there. They had all these different collections from sculptures, to prints, to artifacts, and paintings. Definitely worth a visit. If you are ever in that area, it's free on Thursday nights after 4 pm.
So right after the museum visit, we went to the big weekly Palm Spring event: Villagefest. Every Thursday night at 6 pm, a stretch of Palm Canyon Drive is shut down and is filled with people and street size stands. The festival is bigger than we thought it would be and you can find everything from street performers to palm dates (we will get to that later). This photo you see above is a booth selling nothing but different rubber duckies mounted on soaps. We thought they were colorful and cute, so Julia couldn't resist taking a photo of them.
Here is a shot of people browsing Villagefest. In the desert, after dark, it was pretty comfortable and not as hot as it was during the day, where some businesses had cold mist spraying out toward the sidewalk, reminding us of the long lines at Magic Mountain.
So after we retired back to the hotel, we were relaxing when we noticed this very clever, but also very umm, "interesting" tissue box holder. Julia sees a certain humor in it. But Eddie says it's disgusting.

Day two: we got up early in the morning. Okay, not early, but still in the morning, and drove out to Indio, which is about 40 minutes east of Palm Springs to the Shields Date Gardens. We read about this place online. This is where the palm dates thing we mentioned before should be explained. To those of you who already know this, this might not be interesting. But neither of us knew that the many palm trees that line Palm Springs are actually "date palms", so we had to go see it for ourselves. We didn't know that dates grew on a certain kind of palm trees. We thought all palms were coconut trees. :) So the trip to the date gardens was educational for both of us.
Here is Julia standing outside the Shields Date Gardens. Those of you who know her, yes, she is wearing a tank top. Thats how hot it was. Those of you who don't know her, she NEVER wears tank tops.
Above is the only sorry date palm we were allowed to get close to... the rest of the garden, of course, was fenced off and off limits to us. They had a 20 minute video that explained how date palms are planted, polinated manually and picked. It takes a lot of time and effort to grow them successfully, and that is why it's almost impossible to find dates growing on trees in the wild. They require a lot of manual help for the dates to grow and ripen successfully.
Here we are enjoying one of their famous date shakes. They taste like dates and are very, very sweet. They cost $3.75. Not a bad deal, we think. Especially after learning how much time and effort it takes, and how hard it is to grow dates. And of course, we bought a variety pack of dates to bring home.
They will ship their dates. They take orders online if our blog has peaked your interest... According to them, 90% of palm dates are produced by them. And they even cultivated their own breed, Blond dates. Eddie liked the soft Medjools. The biggest, most expensive variety, considered the "royalty" of dates. Julia pretty much thinks they are all good. We were allowed to sample a huge variety, and Julia still couldn't decide which one she liked the best after tasting almost all of them... Probably the Medjools also, but she is not sure. (Eddie rolls his eyes...)
Back from Indio, we headed back to downtown Palm Springs and after having our third ice cream or shake, we went to La Casita Mexican Restaurant, located right next to the Plaza Theater. Julia was hungry and ordered the concoction above: a Mexican Pizza with chicken and black beans. Eddie was too hot and full of shakes and ice cream to eat. He just nibbled on chips and salsa and sipped cold lemonade.
Of course, a trip to Palm Springs wouldn't be complete without photos of the windmills above, and of the Cabazon dinosaurs below. This time, Julia actually got to walk inside, which she didn't get to do last time they passed by because they were closed. Those of you who dont know, the dino is a gift shop.
The photo below is of some interesting bottles of wine we saw at Hadley's Fruit Stand. It is located right next to Morongo Casino and Resort. If you are a fan of trail mix and dried fruit, Hadley's will be heaven for you. According to their website, they claim to be the ones who invented trail mix. They had tons of varieties of it. Neither of us are trail mix fans, so we really can't tell you if they were any good. But their certainly had a nice variety, and they looked pretty... healthy?

This was a pretty good, relaxing two day getaway. We were scratching our heads trying to figure out where we could go for two or three days, and couldn't think of any place we havent already been within southern California. So finally we settled on Palm Springs since the last time we went we didn't really visit the city. We are glad we went. We learned some things, about art, about growing dates, and now got the chance to relax. So we came back well rested, and with the new found knowledge that not all palm trees grow coconuts! :)