Surprise Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula Beverly Hills

Do you like surprises? I don’t love being surprised myself (due to my control freak nature), but I enjoy surprising others! My best friend, Pauline, was having a big birthday and I wanted it to be one she’d never forget.

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Pauline is an East Coast “fashionista” who enjoys fine things. She loves to get dressed up, appreciates quality dining and spending time with her friends.

What’s more fitting than afternoon tea at one of the nicest hotels in Beverly Hills? Have you ever been to afternoon tea? This week, I experienced it for the first time. I don’t know why I waited so long!

The Surprise

I told Pauline I was picking her up to take her to lunch for her birthday, just her and me. Before arriving at the surprise destination, I pulled over and told her I needed her to put on a blindfold.

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She said, “Jenny! What are you up to?” We pulled into the parking lot where the party bus and her friends were waiting.

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I took her things and helped her step out of the car.

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Hard to help someone walk blindfolded when you’re both in heels!

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Ounce of Salt Jewelry

We had to be very careful not to mess up the eye makeup and lashes – you know how it is.

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Who’s happier? Pauline or me? I loved how surprised she was.
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What Pauline saw (minus her and me).

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Priceless moments.

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Pauline realizes photographer (and friend) Ben Benoit is taking her picture. Thank you, Ben, for taking our pre-departure shots!

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She is ecstatic.

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The joy and laughter is contagious.

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She needed a hat to match the rest of us. The girls had a gift hat for her to put on.img_5547a

Quick fun shot before heading out! She has no idea where we are going.

The Party Bus by Moonlight Limo

I worked with Serge, owner of Moonlight Limo to arrange transportation to Beverly Hills. Riding in the Party Bus was the perfect way to ease into our day. The music, the lights in the bus, the tinsel… even the two poles! So much fun and a great ice breaker for all.

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Break out the champagne for the ride! It was time to celebrate.
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Tiffany was impressive on the pole!

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Pauline was a pro too.. have you taken pole dancing lessons in the past, P?

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Pauline entertaining us!

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Fake Hookah shot. This hookah business is after my time. I don’t get it. And now that marijuana is legal, will it become obsolete?

Arrival at the Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills

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Impeccable Peninsula Beverly Hills.  

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Once we got off the bus, Pauline sees where we are and is once again surprised. Aren’t her facial expressions fantastic? img_5705a

I announce we are here for “Tea.”

The Club Bar- Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills

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We stepped into the Club Bar for a drink since we were a bit early for our tea time.

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A couple of other friends arrive.

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A little freshening up before we close out at the bar.
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The Living Room – Afternoon Tea

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View from lobby – The Living Room Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula.

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The settings were pristine.

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I loved the harp music! At one point she was playing the love song theme from “St. Elmo’s Fire” which made me emotional.

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Jacob, head manager of the Living Room. He was lovely and made our visit extra special.  img_5856

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Ambiance was lovely. It truly felt like we were in someone’s home.

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Pauline went around the room thanking each guest for their friendship.

img_6016aShe shed a few tears.

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Some very touching moments.

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Each guest wrote a message on stone for Pauline.

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Cymbidium orchids from the L.A. Flower Mart – Julie and I ran over the day before to pick these up. Read how!

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Pauline opens our present from SN Queens, her favorite jeweler. She is shocked to see in the box, a bangle she had her eye on.

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Admiring the bangle bracelet from SN Queens, Los Angeles. Read more about jewelry in my blog post, Navigating Through the L.A. Jewelry District.

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Special birthday ice cream in a pastry egg for “Paulina” by the hotel.

Goody Bags Contributed by Brands

Several Brands were generous enough to gift items for each guest’s goody bag.

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Godiva, Manhattan Village, gifted truffles- Thanks, Julie!

Bristol Farms, Manhattan Beach, gifted Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut Champagne – Thanks, Bill! We love to shop at Bristol, and I attend cooking classes there every month. Check out my latest post on Roasted Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta I learned to make there.

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Kit and Ace gifted each guest a $25 gift card. Thanks, Erin & Courtney! Read Why I Give Kit and Ace a Thumbs Up, and you will shop there too.

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Proven Luxury gifted each guest with these gorgeous leather card holders- Thanks, Riccardo!

Riccardo has authentic, high end designer bags for significant discounts. I’ve purchased a Fendi (click to see bag in my Favorite Things blog post) and Celine from him.

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The hotel gifted us with vouchers to their Belvedere Restaurant as well as their signature Page Boy Cap Cakes wrapped to take home. Thanks, Jacob!

Leaving the Hotel

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We each wrote note cards with a moment or memory about our relationship with Pauline. On our ride home, I read each aloud and had her guess who wrote it. Fun, right?

What a wonderful day of celebrating friendship, birthdays, laughter and fine food.

I was previously not a great party planner, but I think after this event and the last party I helped plan for my BFF Julie (see YOLO post), I’m getting the hang of this!

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I’m learning to celebrate life, not just during special occasions like this one, but also in my day to day. How about you? Try it. See how it feels.

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Happy birthday, Pauline.  You are loved!

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.