Monday, July 27, 2015

Russell Jew's 1st Annual 29th Bday!

One of my closest friends of 14 years recently turned the big three-oh, and to celebrate this milestone, we had a party last Friday night at the Drake.

I don't remember how exactly we became friends, but I remember we met in Mr. Tanisawa's math class at Westmoor.  I sat right behind him and observed how he would not remain in his seat for more than five minutes without making his rounds around the classroom starting conversations with everyone.  That was Russell, then and now, a real people-person.  The teacher eventually gave him the nickname, "Wandering Jew."

Before I knew it, we became best friends.  I remember leaving school every day in his old Caddy; it was his parents' wedding car.  Russell was also my shopping companion.  He is one guy who never complained about too much shopping, even through all those semi-annual sales!  He also gave me my first Chanel item - Chanel Chance (I have kept the empty bottle and box in pristine condition after all these years).  One time we were walking through the cosmetics department in Nordstrom Stonestown, we passed by the Chanel counter, and I briefly mentioned that it was my favorite fragrance.  It was Chanel Chance's debut year and I instantly fell in love with the scent, the color, and all of its marketing, but for whatever reason, I did not think of treating myself to it.  Months later, he surprised me with my very own bottle for my birthday.  I did not expect him to remember or to have even paid attention to my fleeting comment!  He is truly one of the most thoughtful and generous person I know.

So when I asked Russell what he wanted to do for this birthday this year, he said he booked the entire second floor of the Drake and wanted to spend time with all his friends.  I really wanted to make this the most memorable birthday for him.  I helped him with the catering, sourcing the vendor and placing the order, but what makes something memorable and special?  Personalization!  Without his knowledge and only a week to put together a stylish Sanny-type-of-soirée, I designed a golden 20-pound birthday cake, ordered 150 adorable caricature cookies of his best smile, and had his photo and birthday messages printed onto colorful classic M&M chocolates.  #OnlyforRussell!

As he called it his "1st Annual 29th Birthday,"
here are some highlights from the event:

It's the sweet life

10" custom almond cake made with vanilla Swiss meringue
buttercream and fresh peaches (May through October only)

The gracious folks at Parker's Crazy Cookies worked
with me draft after draft to combine these two photos:
To create these one-of-a-kind treats!
There's enough of Russell to go around!

Setting up this martini tower was nerve-wracking!
Even watching it afterwards gave me anxiety!

Personalized Russell M&M's in light blue, platinum, and silver

Gorgeous chandeliers and ambient lighting at Drake
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Making perfect crêpes double time!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Even though everyone had dinner before coming,
who can resist crêpes?!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Makings of a savory galette: smoked salmon,
sour cream, and green onion
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Roasted butternut squash salad, prosciutto melon wraps,
and bacon wrapped stuffed dates
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Cucumber herb and hummus avocado tea sandwiches
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Another round for the birthday boy!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Bottoms up!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

All 30 candles at once!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Flame's too bright!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Huffin' and puffin' but I can't blow it out!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

There you go (cheater)!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

The happy dance
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Oh snap!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

K A R M A
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

| Venue: Drake SF | Cake: Pretty Please Bakeshop | Cookies: Parker's Crazy Cookies |
| Martini chocolates: My M&M's | Fresh crêpes: Brittany Crêpes | Small plates: Whole Foods Catering |

Russell,
May your birthday bring you
Many More Incredible Milestones.
Wishing you the very best,
Today and Always!

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