Thursday, December 6, 2012

Art Basel Bound and Bicoastal Besties

Hello from the friendly skies! This is my very first time blogging from 30,000 feet high...gotta love technology. I'm currently en route to Miami for Art Basel. I've been to Miami many times but this is my first time going for Art Basel, which is a huge contemporary art fair. I'm super excited to ditch NYC's freezing temps for some fun in the sun and get some culture, of course. In addition to lots of exhibits and shows, there's also tons of parties happening this weekend in South Beach. My friend Rhiannon Ally, who anchors CBS4 Morning News in Miami, is graciously hosting me for the weekend so I'm excited to catch up with her and hit the town. Diddy, Demi Moore and Lenny Kravitz are already down there so I'm sure I'll be in good company.
Speaking of good company, I also got to catch up with another one of my best friends Whitney English this week in NYC. Whitney and I first met in LA, when we both worked at E!, and now we still get to work together at Whit, who also has her own blog, was out here to interview Jenny McCarthy. During her downtime, we hit Washington Square Park together, attend designer Monika Chiang's 1 year anniversary party, did dinner at Fig and Olive with another one of our LA-turned-NY BFFs Katie and check out Kristin Cavallari's Chinese Laundry shoe launch party at Avenue. All in a day's work!

I can't believe it's already December! Our Movember party at Southside last week was a big success and raised more than $2,000 for charity. Thank you to everyone who attended and donated! Big thank to you Roberto DePalo, who took a ton of great pics for us, too.
Credit: DePalo Photography
I'm signing off for now but I'll try to post more this weekend. Miami, here I come!
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Movember Madness

Can you believe we're halfway through November? This month is also known as Movember or "No Shave November", and if you've noticed more men than usual sporting moustaches as of late, here's why. Starting November 1, many dudes donate their face and vow to grow a mo for the whole month to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer.

Last year, Twilight hottie Kellan Lutz, Kevin Connolly and even Justin Bieber participated:

Biebs' attempt at growing a mo
Ladies can get involved, too. My dad is a prostate cancer survivor and one of my best friends used to work for the campaign, so we do a yearly fundraising team called Mo Babes where we raise money together and throw a super fun party. Here's a shot from last year, held at the Tribeca Grand:
Our fiesta this year is going down at the legendary venue Southside, and if you live in NYC, you should join the party on November 29! Southside + open bar + moustaches = guaranteed good times. You can get your tickets here. Glowstick mos are highly encouraged.

And if you can't come to the extravaganza, feel free to donate to our team here. Even a dollar or two helps. Thanks for your support and hope to see you at our moustache bash!
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No Power & Picking Up the Pieces

As I type this, I'm sitting inside my warm, well-lit apartment as it snows ferociously outside. A little more than a week ago, I (along with the lower half of Manhattan) lost power due to Hurricane Sandy. After Hurricane Irene was so weak last year, New Yorkers didn't take Sandy all that seriously and like most things, saw it as an excuse to party. Until a transformer exploded, the waters rose and the entire lower half of the city went dark...for days.
Photo Credit: NY Magazine
The darkness wasn't even the worst part to me. ATT wireless customers like myself who lived downtown suddenly had no signal, no texts in or out, no calls. Luckily, my friend staying with me had Verizon so I was able to keep in touch with what was happening in the outside world, but it's very disconcerting to wake up the morning after a hurricane with no power, no cell service and no real idea if the world is coming to an end.
Once we ventured outside and headed north on foot, we found that there was life, power and cell service above 39th Street. When we first hit the powered up part of the city, it was sort of surreal to see. People were sprawled out in ATM lobbies, crowded around surge strips. The first open Starbucks was packed with people glued to their iPhones and laptops. For a few days, it was kind of fun adapting to the new lifestyle, which included sleeping until noon at home, showering and drying our hair at Equinox uptown, going to dinners at midtown restaurants, checking out typical Upper East Side nightlife staples (Dorian's, anyone?) before finally coming back to the blacked out side of the city and going straight to bed. On Halloween, day 3 of no power downtown, some of our friends saw the humor in the situation and dressed as power outlets.

But a few days into it, I was over the candelight living and decamped to my aunt's in Battery Park (which ironically never lost power). On Friday night, I bought an air bed (that I had to go to three other stores to find D batteries to blow up) and was packing a bag in the dark to go stay with a friend for the weekend when my power suddenly, miraculously returned. After days in the dark, I can't even describe how happy I was to finally have lights again and be able to take a warm shower and sleep in my own bed and wake up and make coffee the next morning. Not having power, hot water and heat for days (or a home) really reminded me to not take anything for granted. Despite the daily grind and life's trials and tribulations, we are all pretty lucky.

That's why on Sunday, I felt compelled to head to Staten Island with a group of friends to volunteer for hurricane relief efforts there. We spent the day cleaning out flooded basements and houses, digging and clearing remainders of people's histories and lives.

Courtesy Katie Thiele
Some houses were competely ruined, their residents long gone, only their roof or foundations remaining.
Photos courtesy Dan Fredinburg / #operationsandcastle
We also walked around and distributed hot meals, water, food and supplies to residents still living in their damaged and flooded houses, with no power, heat or water. For an area that lost so much, residents seemed to be in relatively good spirits, like one neighbor who had power at their house and made a makeshift charging station on the sidewalk.
But tonight, as I sit comfortably, in my cozy and cheerfully lit apartment, the snow continues to fall outside. And I continue to think of the people still out there without power in the cold, who have lost cars, homes and maybe even loved ones. Recovering from this disaster will take time and effort for areas that were already struggling. I encourage you to help out any way you can, whether it's donating your time, money or resources to assist those in need.
And speaking of another kind of power, we had an election last night. No matter what your political affiliation or beliefs, the outcome is now decided. We've got four more years with Obama, so let's all come together and try to support our nation's leader, shall we? Forward...together.
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pencil-ing in Some Time With Usher

Last week, I got to mix business with pleasure when I covered the red carpet at the Pencils of Promise gala, where Usher was being honored. Pencils of Promise is an amazing charity that helps build schools for children in underprivilged areas and a few of my friends are personally involved in the organization. More on the charity in a minute, but this was my first time interviewing Usher and he was great.
He actually had no idea what designer made his suit so when a reporter asked what he was wearing, he had me check his tag for him! During our interview, Usher dished on his new gig as a judge on The Voice and who he thinks his biggest competition is. I tried to embed the video but the code isn't working, so click here to watch my chat with the R&B superstar.

I also interviewed Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen's master manager, who confimed to me that Justin is working on an acoustic album. Cue the screams from the Beliebers. Scooter was in attendance because his brother Adam is the CEO and founder of POP.

POP was founded in 2008 and they've already built 71 schools, with 20 other builds currently happening. Knowledge really is power and I believe in what their foundation is doing. Education is so important and something everyone should have access to.  It was great to be able to cover such a worthy event for Fuse, meet Usher and see some friends all in one night. Congratulations to the Pencils crew for an amazing event!

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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Thrill Of The Hunt

I've been majorly slacking on posting lately and I apologize for that, but The Hunt was last Saturday and it took me a bit to recover. As I previously wrote, this was my first time going to The Hunt (as an adult) and it was quite the experience. If you've never gone, here are my helpful tips for surviving your first Hunt.

1. Wear rainboots or shoes you don't care about ruining. The Far Hills fields where the steeplechase is held gets super muddy. I wanted to wear my favorite Tory Burch boots but a friend advised against it, and thank god she did because they would have been unwearable afterwards. Think rainboots. Either you need to be able wash them off or throw them out post-Hunt. Trust me.

2. Be adaptable. It's a long day. Chances are, you're getting on a bus bright and early in the city to head out and by the time you get to the Hunt, temps have risen.

I recommend wearing layers. Or you could get creative, like our friend Jeff, who fearlessly decided to convert his jeans to jorts (jean shorts) in the afternoon when it got warmer.

Fun fact: Jeff's jorts made it onto a best dressed of the Hunt style blog. See the final result of the jorts conversion here.

© Meg Lindsay Photography 2012
Also, your phone probably won't work so don't plan on meeting up with friends you didn't go there with. But don't sweat it. Consider it an opportunity to make new friends and expand your social circle!

© Meg Lindsay Photography 2012
 3. Eat something. This is a seriously boozy tailgate and people here are daydrinking like they're back in college. Think kegs, ice luges, etc. But consider The Hunt a marathon, not a sprint, and make sure to eat a solid breakfast and lunch if you plan to last throughout the day. Hydrate with things other than alcohol, such as water.

4. Have a safe haven. Partying with the muddy masses is fun...

 ...but it was so nice to have a tent in the civilized area as well, complete with our own bartender and catering and seats and people who were coherent. Highly recommend and big thank you to Adam for the amazing set up!

© Meg Lindsay Photography 2012
5. Two words: Hand sanitizer. They only have Port A Pots at the Hunt. Enough said.

6. See a race. One friend who shall remain nameless told me on the bus ride over that he's gone to The Hunt for four years and had never seen a horse. Unacceptable (in this horse lover's opinion, at least). Take a break from the boozing to actually watch at least one of the steeplechases.
© Meg Lindsay Photography 2012
7. Take photos. It's definitely a day to remember and one that is best shown rather than told, so play paparazzi. Props to Meg who took most of these amazing snaps.
© Meg Lindsay Photography 2012
I promise I'll update again sooner this time. I have red carpet tales from this week and our big Halloween bash is tonight, so check back again soon. Happy Halloween weekend!
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall-ing in Love With NYC All Over Again

Fall is one of my favorite times in New York City, and last weekend was a perfect example of why.
Photograph courtesy of Julia Fehrenbach
On Saturday, our lovely friend Shanel organized a super fun field trip upstate where we went apple picking and wine and cider tasting. We booked a bus (thanks with a group of our friends and hit the road bright and early Saturday am. Our first stop was at Applewood Orchards, where they make their own cider.

Photos courtesy Julia Fehrenbach
 The Naked Flock pumpkin flavored cider was beyond good! Highly recommended if you can find it.
After a little liquid refreshment, it was time to hit the orchards. We boarded a haytruck and headed out to the fields. They had both apples and pumpkins available for the picking.
 Post-picking, we headed to Warwick Valley Winery for some wine tasting and live music courtesy of Uncle Shoehorn, a blues/rock band. They were actually out of apples there but we were fine with just hanging out and enjoying the fresh fair, fall foliage and nature. It sort of reminded me of my small town upbringing.
Photo courtesy of Julia Fehrenbach
 (Sidenote: I definitely recommend creating Instagram hashtags for group outings. We made Saturday's #shanapple and it was so fun to look at everyone's pics afterwards. 89 and counting!)

On Sunday, the nature kick continued with a Central Park excursion. I hadn't been in awhile but a friend was visiting from LA, and it was her idea to go up. Best.idea.ever. The weather was unseasonably warm for November and we had such a lovely Sunday.

After hanging at the fountain and people-watching, we went for drinks at Loeb Boathouse Cafe, which is absolutely adorable, and enjoyed the sunset and waterfront views over a bottle of wine.
Photo courtesy of Julia Fehrenbach
Hope you guys are loving fall so far, too. Halloween is just two weeks away and if you're in NYC, come celebrate with us on Oct. 26 at the Wooly. You can buy tickets here. Fun times ahead!

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Ready to Rocktober: Pumpkin, Ponies & Playing Dress Up

Fall is in full swing and October is already here! I know, I know, it's sort of sad that summer and Hamptons season is over but there's so much to look forward to this month. In no particular order, here are a few things I'm excited for:

1. All pumpkin everything: About this time of year, my kitchen becomes a pumpkin party. Over the weekend, I bought Dunkin Donuts pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pancake mix and even pumpkin flavored Greek yogurt at Trader Joe's. If fall had a flavor, it'd be pumpkin. (Winter would be peppermint.) I also enjoy carving pumpkins in October.
2. The Hunt: This will be my first time attending (as an adult that I can actually remember. Thanks to my mom who commented below that I went as a baby, who knew?) but basically the hunt is a horse racing steeplechase event in Far Hills, New Jersey. Their website promises "world-class tailgaiting" and "the social event of the season". I don't know about that but I do like horses and daydrinking so combining the two is a total win/win in my book. Although I'm a former equestrian myself and have been to many racetracks, this is my very first steeplechase as an adult. I'm already thinking about an outfit.

3. Halloween: I love Halloween for a few reasons. First of all, it's the one day a year when adults get to play dress up. It's so much fun seeing all of the creative and crazy costumes people come up with. Personally, I'm in a big believer in the power of the group costume. Any costume is automatically made better when worn by multiple people. Last year, my friends and I were hot nerds and it was a hit.
This year we have yet another group costume in the works with even more girls in the mix and it's gonna be awesome. I don't want to spoil the surpise but let's just say it's something colorful and creative  that's made a lot of headlines this year and recently got banned. Any guesses? Another reason to love Halloween: candy. And candy corn!

4. Fall fashion: I'm happy to say goodbye to the subway sweat of summer and hello to crisp mornings, cozy sweaters and chic coats.
Happy October!
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pro Ballin' With Jay-Z

It's been a massive week for Jay-Z in the sports arena. Literally. Barclays Center, his long awaited venue in his native Brooklyn, opened this weekend, which will host his Brooklyn Nets team as well as a slew of superstar performers (starting with himself).

But he also added yet another credit to his already impressive resume: executive producer...of a video game. Yep, Hova is the EP of NBA2K13, a basketball game for which he handpicked the soundtrack, players and much more.

And on Wednesday night, he celebrated at his own 40/40 club and I covered the carpet, where I chatted with rappers and pro ballers alike (hopefully simultaneously upping both my street cred and my sports knowledge).

Check out interview highlights below:
For such a mega celeb, Jay is pretty low-key with his security entourage. The carpet was very close quarters and Jay only had two bodyguards with him. Great that he's down the earth but I was a little bummed that Beyonce didn't make an appearance.

Inside the bash, Meek Mill performed and guests ate chicken fingers, sliders and sipped champagne. I thought it was a bit weird that Jay's Ace of Spades champagne magnums were displayed everywhere inside, yet the bar was pouring Wycliff bubbly (which is about the equivalent of Andre). Oh well.

On Thursday, Jay opened a Brooklyn outpost of the 40/40 Club inside the Barclays center, which Rihanna attended. Friday night, Beyonce was there to cheer him on at the first of his 8 shows at Barclays Center. All of them are sold out, natch. It's Jay's world and we're just living in it!

Speaking of Jay-Z, have we all seen the Obama remix of 99 Problems? Whatever your political stance may be, this is hilarious.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Live with Lupe Fiasco!

One thing I like about my job is that every day is different and Tuesday was no exception.
I produced an interview with Lupe Fiasco, who performed live in our studio, and Ashanti. Unlike some rappers, Lupe's lyrics are about much more than bling and bottles and explore deeper ideas, such as politics, poverty and misogyny.
Check out his performance of Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free) from his new album Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1 below:

The Grammy award winner was amazing live and super nice to his fans and audience members. He also explained to Fuse News why he decided to make his latest album art all black, with no photos or text on the album cover. Here's a preview of his insightful interview:
I'll let you guys know when the full interview airs on Fuse News. In the meantime, go get his new album, in stores now!
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Empire State Of Mind

Having lived in NYC for more than a year, there's actually quite a few "typical" things I haven't done here yet. So when my parents came to visit for the day last Friday, I decided to check one totally touristy thing off the list: visiting the Empire State building.

You can buy tickets online in advance, and we opted for the double pass which gets you access to the open air observatory on the 86th floor, as well as the very top viewing area on the 102nd floor. Make sure you allow yourself enough time for possible lines. When we went on a Friday, the wait was about 45 minutes, and one employee said weekends are even busier.

If you're on a tight schedule but not a budget, you can also purchase an express pass that lets you skip the line for nearly double the cost (but hey, this is NYC and time=money, right?)

On the way up, you can see photographs from when it was originally erected in the 1930's and read all about the building's history. Once you hit the 86th floor, you're rewarded with a 360 degree, open-air views of the entire city and it's pretty damn impressive.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Night With Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is the (pouty) face of H&M's fall collection and Wednesday night in NYC, she was the voice as well during their party. Everyone knows I love me some Lana so when I snagged an invite for her private performance at the Wooly, I was so there. First, I covered the black carpet for Fuse, where I chatted with model Robyn Lawley (the new face of Ralph Lauren) and star stylist Robert Verdi. Lana did walk the carpet (wearing H&M obvi) but she didn't do interviews. I usually hate when celebs skip interviews but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt...maybe she was saving her voice for her performance later in the night?

Inside the bash was an electric mix of designers including Jason Wu (a favorite of Michelle Obama), Prabal Gurung (Kate Middleton just wore his dress in Singapore) and Christian Siriano. Barbara Bush was also there...clearly, Lana has quite a diverse fan base.

I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first time seeing Lana perform and she famously bombed her live set on Saturday Night Live earlier this year. The Wooly is a super small, intimate venue so my former E! and Life & Style coworker and BFF Laura and I were able to score prime stageside real estate. I'm happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by Lana's pipes in person.

She sang 4 songs, opening with Blue Jeans (video below) before crooning a song from her upcoming album called Sing the Body Electric.
Then LDR sang her hit Video Games much better than she did on SNL (listen for yourself below) before capping off her set with a cover of Blue Velvet, the song featured in her H&M campaign.

For someone who has such a bombshell image, (hello, have you seen her naked British GQ cover?) Lana seemed almost shy and sweet on stage. "There's so many faces here I recognize," she told the crowd in between songs. Now I've seen a lot of shows where the artists don't really sing or rely on backing tracks. Instead, she had a full band complete with vionlists. The strings sounded so pretty during the acoustic performance. I think her sound and lyrics are so unique and that definitely translated live as well. The audience seemed really into her performance, as was I. Her voice sounded amazing and being able to see her in such a small venue was really cool. My only complaint is she didn't give us an encore! After her soulful set, guests stayed to sip custom cocktails like the Wooly Mule (their delicious twist on a traditional Moscow Mule) and dance to the deejay's tunes. 
My friends and I loved the cotton candy and fun desserts they served at the end.
The good news is that it was an epic night and she was even better than I hoped live! The bad news is my girl crush on her is bigger than ever. Love you Lana! x

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