Every year, for the last 19 years, members of our industry get together to celebrate the holidays.

In that time, SITE SoCal (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) has raised more than $2 million for local grassroots charities. You can only imagine the outrageous packages auctioned off at a travel industry event!

This year’s venue was the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. We all dressed up and showed up in fine style. In 40 days, it’ll be swarming with Golden Globes’ celebrities, but last night, it was filled with beautiful people from my fabulous industry!

Lots of famous people have probably occupied room 602 at the Beverly Hilton, but last night, the most beautiful people of all cavorted on the bed in that room! (from left) Whitney Chen, Howard Wise, Ellen Gruetzmacher, Gabriel Haigazian and Marilyn Murphy (Just in case you’re wondering, we did NOT sleep together!)

I remember the humble beginnings of this event, nearly two decades ago,  when there were about 40 people in the room. They were trying to reach their goal (a modest $1,000 as I recall) and were just short of their target. The M.C. was urging people to bid on the last auction item – a fruit basket. It was going for $20, then $25 – he was pleading for people to go just a little higher … so I shot my hand in the air and shouted, “$100!”

Best fruit I ever ate!

A few more pics . . .

I had been asked to judge the table centerpieces. Couldn’t resist the urge to pose with a crown from a Game of Thrones themed-table.

SITE SoCal

Table hosts went all-out to impress the judges and outdo each other!

What’s a Hollywood party without a drag queen?

Palace Resorts

These two brothers, Eric and Kevin Edmunds, representing Palace Resorts, make an unforgettable fashion statement every year.

The event represents a milestone for me. Last year at this time, I was six months into my cancer battle. The event, held in Laguna Beach, was a struggle, as I was at my lowest level of energy. I was extremely weak, and all I wanted to do was take a hot bath in my hotel room.

This year, I’m back – and couldn’t be healthier or happier! (Or more grateful!) My team – and friends from this industry – were great medicine.

Merry Christmas everyone!