Orchids & Onions, it’s a wrap…

While this blog may a little late following the successful 2012 Orchids & Onions Award’s Ceremony & Silent Auction almost a month ago, it’s taken me some time to carefully consider how to best articulate my appreciation & put together an all positive ‘thank you’ to the tremendous team of volunteer’s who made it all possible. This is experience for me, as crazy at it was throughout the preparations, was phenomenal on many levels, & I don’t take lightly how thankful I am for everyone who was involved. Orchids & Onions is in my opinion the most important program in San Diego that truly relies upon public involvement. At the end of the day, we all come across good design & bad design everyday & whether we acknowledge it or not, it has an effect on how we interact, how we communicate & how we feel. To expand this understanding beyond the creative community alone is key to improving our built environment. O&O does that, it gives everyone an opportunity to tell us what you think. What good additions have come into your neighborhood, and why? What spaces & places have made you feel uncomfortable, even if you cant fully describe it – the simple act of a nomination puts it on our radar & forces us to analyze it. Its an important question to ask. O&O provides this.

In only my second year involved with the San Diego Architectural Foundation I am honored to have been invited to Co-Chair this important & engaging event. Equally as honored, I was panicked to death about being able to pull it off while, given it’s importance to the dialogue of San Diego’s built environment, while simultaneously ensuring not to let down any of our DBRDS clients, given the time commitment that O&O required. That being said, our faithful Executive Director Leslee Schaffer recognized my apprehension & teamed me up with one of the most grounded, O&O experienced & amazing individuals I have ever had the pleasure to work with, the legendary Ivana Vinski to part-take in this challenge with me. Ivana – I simply can’t thank you enough for your passion, guidance & ability to cut through all the bollocks to have a laugh & just get done what needs to get done. Your a solid rockstar…would work with you again any day.

Leslee – call me crazy, but should the SDAF Board invite me to Co-Chair O&O again, you can count me in right now. I can’t express how proud I am to be apart of the SDAF Board of Directors, & also to be in the trenches with our volunteer base to see just how much SDAF means to the San Diego creative community. Can’t thank you enough for having confidence that this Aussie could get stuck in & pull it off. Thank you.

Chuck Crawford – last year, you drove me completely crazy as my leading ‘jury liaison’ not going to lie about it. This year, appreciating the quirkiness that is only you, I could not express enough my respect for your thoughtfulness & willingness to engage in our Jury discussions & to participate in both the preparations & the award ceremony. Getting to know you has been, well, super fun & you I extend much respect, Mr. Chuck Crawford.

The ‘Big 4’ – (in alphabetical order) Darren Bradley, Suzanne Clemmer, Perriann Hodges & Craig Howard – you guys are superstars.

Darren – no one I know cares more about architectural photography than you do. Both your ability to applaud a great photo, as well as to critic the heck out of a bad one, makes it a pleasure to discuss architectural photography with you. Combine that with your dedication to craft cocktails & you automatically are invited to every drinking design discussion I ever have, ever.

Suzanne – the ‘Two-Time Reigning O&O Co-Chair Champion’ – you just cant get enough of O&O can you? Couldn’t walk away if you tried. I really enjoyed your slightly pessimistic ‘been there, dealt with that’ charm throughout this year’s program. You knew all the challenges, called it like it was, & stepped up many times to take on some of the more time consuming roles…like writing all 16 draft project descriptions. Your a champion & I love working with you.

Perriann & Craig – the dynamic duo, what can I say? You two recent graduates are the most dedicated, fun & crafty team I know. From model making (sort of) with the ORCHID & ONION stage letters, to the PREZI presentation, to the ‘what else can I do?’ attitude you both brought every single day…your both solid rock stars, & where ever you land to start your professional career, I will back you 100%. Need a reference, count me in. I’d hire you myself if I could!

To all other O&O volunteers & supporters – whether you participated through sponsorship, or Silent Auction donations, or hours of preparation for graphics, or set up, photography (Mike Torrey – THANK YOU!!!), flowers, food & drinks (Stone Brewery – THANK YOU!!!), printing (Reprohaus – THANK YOU!!!)…to all of you, thank you. We couldn’t have put this on without you.

Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla staff – you guys were just awesome! Ivana has been doing this for 6, yes 6 years & she still raves about how smooth it was to work with you! What a great event space & dedicated team of professionals who did everything possible to make our event a success. Thank you so, so much.

Our awesome DJ Marc Abouaf (also one of San Diego’s hardest working Real Estate Agents!) – thank you for playing the tunes that had everyone feeling good throughout the party component of our event. Thanks brother!

Paul Basile & the whole BasileStudio crew – you guys were awesome! From my literally random ’10 second’ sketch idea for a custom lectern, you guys literally didn’t think twice as you simply got to work to make it so! The elegance of your creation will be a huge asset to the San Diego Architectural Foundation for years to come & demonstrated your commitment once again to just be involved. Not wanting to take credit for anything, but just doing whatever it took to make this a centerpiece of our night, our appreciation cant be expressed enough. Thank you.

Our Jury – (in no particular order) Marcie Harris, Chris Puzio, Catherine Herbst, Greg Strangman, Nathan Lee Colkitt & Robin Wilson-Carrier…thank you, thank you, thank you for dedicating your time to participate as our esteemed Jury. We did our best to accommodate everyone & to provide the best drinks, snacks, coffee stops, etc, that we could, but you all gave your valuable time to power through all 150 nominations to select the ‘best & ‘not so best” of our built environment awards. I enjoyed getting to know you all through this year’s program & I look forward to building that relationship with each of you for years to come.

Sam the Cooking Guy, or ‘Mr. Kick-Ass Emcee’ – you bloody legend. Cheers & thank you. You had people in stitches all night. A vibrant, chatty, inventive & creative lad, you took O&O to a level none of us saw coming with your own personal take on ‘The Taco Shop O&O Critique’.

One final thank you…to the most awesome Kinsee Morlan!!! At the last minute, you jumped up on stage to present an award, with literally 30 seconds preparation, pregnant as can be, technical gliche & all, & were such an absolute legend presenting the People’s Choice Onion award…you, you live on the edge you, and I admire the heck out of you. Cheers.

So proud to have been associated with everyone who made the night a success. What an awesome bunch of peep’s you all are, make me proud to call San Diego home.


  1. Jerry

    Pauly, Ivana, Leslee and all the Volunteers:
    It was another great event that gave a face and voice to the SDAF while enjoying an evening of old and new friends along with great food an beverages. Congratulations!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Pauly. Nobody deserves more recognition and praise than you and Ivana for all of your hard work. The whole thing came off brilliantly because of you two. It was a pleasure working with you and the rest of the team. And I second the kudos for Leslee, Perriann, Craig, and the rest of the team. Thanks again!

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