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Operation Community! When Community is Built, Prosperity Blooms

In the quiet suburb of Westlake Village, CA, just outside the lines of Los Angeles proper, deliberation was taking place. It had been a tough winter: the Woolsey fires, the Borderline shooting, rain and mud slides followed by a teacher’s strike…all affected not just the team at XO Bloom and its owners, Sarah Zahran and Laila Elsherif, but also the community.

And so it was settled. Time to bring the community together—and what better way to do so than with a two-tiered event: first, teachers from a nearby school were invited to the studio for a free class at the company’s flower bar;


then, as the teachers left for home with their arrangements of hydrangea and orchids, the event team readied for the next phase of “operation community.”

To show invited guests what they could expect to see at upcoming events, three styled areas were created. There was a lush, romantic all-white tablescape for weddings; a green, white and black tabletop design perfect for corporate events and featuring a dramatic malachite print linen from Wildflower Linen; and a third design that showcased how to create photo opportunities at events. This area featured a linen vintage sofa against a fur wall surrounded by a twig frame. As expected, many guests took advantage of a stylish portrait shoot.

As guests viewed the many design elements while enjoying citrusy, herbaceous signature drinks, Contemporary Catering’s attentive staff circulated with appetizers that embraced the flavors of the season. Duck, truffles, braised beef and curry were artfully woven into the menu that concluded with a timeless community-building dessert activity—doughnuts with a DIY topping bar.

Community warmth was apparent in the happy banter of a group coming together as the news crews outside were still covering the last of the mudslides. But warmth was also in the unique candles provided by Vogue Candles. Instead of wax, reusable wicks were placed in white granules creating a beautiful glow that was the perfect symbol of all that XO Bloom wanted to express with the event—that the warmth of community burns bright through thick and thin.

MENU: Passed Hors D’Oeuvres

Warm Spiced Braised Duck Taco with Shredded Napa Cabbage, Orange Supreme and Lime Crema

Blackened Shrimp Tostone with Pickled Shallot and Sliced Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Seared Tuna Spoon with Yuzu and Soy Crystals, Onion Ponzu and Pickled Fresno Chili

Truffle and Potato Lollipops with Red Potato, Shaved Black Truffle, Hand Cut Bacon, Tempura Batter and a Fortified Wine Spray


MENU: Plated and Passed Items

Citrus Poached Salmon served with Cauliflower, Cilantro Sauce and Potato Gaufrette

Beef in a Birds Nest: Braised Beef nestled in a Filo, Ramen, Capellini Nest with English Peas and Roasted Pepper  

Warm Coconut Curry Bowl with Kabocha Squash, Delicata Squash, Avocado, Scallion and Beet Cream


Food and Beverage: Contemporary Catering
Linens/Napkins: Wildflower Linen
Specialty Napkin Rings: Tin Parade
Candles: Vogue Candles
Design: Cindy Celis
Photos: Jillian Rose Photography 

Liese Gardner

Owner, Liese Gardner Communications, Los Angeles, CA

Liese Gardner is a marketing expert working with top brands and individuals in the special events industry since 1984.