We just got back from a whirlwind week in New York (holy humidity and thunderstorms!), and our final night in the Empire State included guzzling down some delicious strawberry-flavored Moscato alongside world-famous blogger Perez Hilton and singer Christina Milian (pictured above) at NoMa Social in New Rochelle.
The self-proclaimed "Queen of All Media" kicking off summer with some friends in the "Queen City of Long Island Sound"? How fitting.
The evening kicked off with some cocktails in NoMa's gorgeous bar-lounge, courtesy of Viva Diva Wines, while scoping the room for a bevy of reality-TV stars like Patti Stanger from Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker. It also happened to be Patti's birthday, so naturally we had to drool over her gorgeous cake from Anna Artuso's Pastry Shop. Unfortunately, we didn't stick around to sample what was beneath the colorful fondant and icing.
Outside on the pool deck of the Radisson Hotel, guests were treated to photo ops with the stars, more fruity Moscato, and a hot mix of jams from a DJ stationed by the VIP entrance.
While tasty nibblers were being passed around (we couldn't get enough of the mussels and macaroni-and-cheese balls), we caught a few more notable faces in the blinged-out crowd: Carla Facciola from Mob Wives and the ladies from Big Rich Atlanta.
Naturally, while hanging in the VIP lounge, we had to chat it up with Christina Milian and thank her for participating in Bello Mag's photo shoot last fall (yours truly had the pleasure of doing her interview and chatting about her current gig on NBC's The Voice).
Many thanks to the Viva Diva team for making our last night in New York a memorable one. Now...how about sending a few bottles of Moscato to L.A.? We'd love to share some flavors with our friends out here.
Last night in Hollywood, W Hotels hosted the next installment of its ongoing music series, Symmetry Live, at Drai’s Private Lounge (the hotel's posh and exclusive venue) to kick off IMS Engage, a one-day event to engage the electronic music world with the wider industries of technology, finance, hip-hop and the arts.
The night crackled with energy as UK singer Foxes (pictured, right) took to the stage with a soulful acoustic performance and revelers closed out the night as the DJs spun for partygoers.
The night was hosted by W Hotels’ Global Music Director Michaelangelo L’Acqua at W Hollywood.
Notable appearances of the night included Jessica Lowndes and Michael Steger from 90210 (below).
HIH is thrilled to be invited to kick off summer with blogger extraordinaire and media dominatrix Perez Hilton in New York this June!
This year, Viva Diva Wines will be having its annual summer launch party poolside at NoMa Social in New Rochelle (Our hometown! What are the odds?), and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. On June 5th, the soiree will be hosted by the world famous blogger, and we can't even begin to imagine the photo opp potential.
General admission tickets are available in addition to limited VIP tickets, which include a photo with Perez. The event starts at 8pm, and we're looking forward to one memorable night.
For ticket information, visit the events page at Viva Brands USA.
And if you're bicoastal like us, come on down and (responsibly) join HIH and Bello Mag editor Hiko Mitsuzuka for a cocktail or two (or four).
If you think bingo is for old ladies in church halls with tacky sweatsuits and even tackier nails, then you obviously haven't played the game in West Hollywood.
Hamburger Mary's, the place for a good burger and a killer martini, will be the place to be this week as Legendary Bingo (a.k.a. Drag Queen Bingo) celebrates its 15th Anniversary with a bevy of stars from shows like Suburgatory, Smash, and Golden Boy calling out numbers for a festive crowd of players. The three-night celebration continues tonight, and table reservations will be going as fast as the masacara running down a crying queen.
Founder Jeffrey Bowman (pictured above, center) will be on hand, emceeing the night, interacting with some of L.A.'s most famous drag performers, and making sure everyone is having a grand old time.
Join us, won't you? 8288 Santa Monica Boulevard in the 90046.
I have no Irish blood in my body, but having grown up in the Boston area, I like to think I know a thing or two about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. This year I had the opportunity to check out the festivities as a guest of Tam O’Shanter in Atwater Village.
I arrived and immediately noticed the place was bustling with patrons of all ages. An elderly couple was dressed in elaborate costumes and ready to head home just as I was getting started. Children ran around devouring green ice cream cones. I stood in line with my companion for fifteen minutes waiting to check in. The young lady who greeted me was full of smiles as she handed me my four tickets (normally $8 each) that were good for food or beverage. We wandered into a giant tent filled with people dancing and enjoying the Irish music stylings of The Ploughboys.
I walked to the bar to wet my whistle. For $16 (two tickets), I ordered a Guinness and a Jameson on the rocks. I watched as the bartender poured my Guinness into a tiny plastic cup and proceeded to take a tiny little plastic shot glass and measure what would have been a half shot anywhere else. I’ll accept this practice under protest at the Staples Center. However, for an establishment that charges $21 for their cheapest entrée, it is nothing short of tacky.
We were very curious to try the food inside the restaurant, but with the wait being long and the prices being sky high, we opted for the street food. A corned beef sandwich on rye or a roast beef sandwich were priced at $8. For $12 you could get a corned beef and cabbage plate that goes for $26 on their regular menu. We chose to split the corned beef sandwich on rye. The meat was flavorful and tender but by the time we arrived at a table, the cabbage on the side made the rye bread soggy and crumble in our hands.
My plus-one and I decided we would avoid another sandwich fiasco and split another drink with our final golden ticket inside the hot and humid tent. Despite the hot temperature, the band playing onstage made every bead of sweat worth it. Their energetic performance truly dictated the atmosphere of the party. Parents indulged in green beer as children danced in front.
Tam O’Shanter’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Party: County Fair feel at Disneyland prices.
Yes, the Sundance Film Festival is a playground for moviemakers, but indulging in its unique fashion, food, and music events is part of the whole experience.
The largest evening of independent music at Sundance, Koffeehouse Chateau featured fourteen sublime acoustic artists playing before a roaring fireplace in the intimacy of a private manor miles from Park City. One of the performers, American Idol alum, Crystal Bowersox glowed, "I'm so happy to be here. My first Sundance! I just finished my second album (due late March). It has a duet with Jakob Dylan, and all original except for one track (“Here's Where The Story Ends” by The Sundays)."
Kari Feinstein's Style Lounge offered new lifestyle brands for the celebrity set (Katherine Heigl, Courtney Love). Feinstein, now in her 13th year of hosting style lounges, says, "Style is the way you carry yourself and your attitude and the way you feel about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, and have confidence - you have style." Who also showed up? Matthew McConaughey (photo courtesy of KFPR).
Sean John at TR Gifting Suites went the extra mile and donated brand new coats to needy New Yorkers for every coat they gave away at Sundance as part of New York Cares Coat Drive.
OAKLEY LEARN TO RIDE
Oakley Learn To Ride escorted festival-goers up the mountain with Olympic medal winner Danny Kass, and taught them (and celebs Adrian Grenier, and Brazilian supermodel Allesandro Ambrosia) how to snowboard. By night, Oakley's space transformed into Sundance’s own Hyde Lounge.
Snowboarder and rapper, Lil Jon, and pal Octavia Spencer at Oakley Learn To Ride (photo courtesy of Getty Images/Fingerprint Communications):
Then, animal lovers convened on CatDance, a celebration of cats in short films. Adorable celebrity host, AnnaLynne McCord, proud owner of two kitties, cited "What's New Pussycat?" as her favorite 'cat' pop song. Proceeds from the limited edition black and grey cat-inspired hats (seen here on McCord) benefit the ASPCA.
THE PROMONTORY FEAST
The culinary highlight of Sundance was Chef Bill Reilly's exclusive five star Italian feast (inspired by the Sundance winning film, Big Night) at The Promontory, THE luxury community in Park City.
Carlo Mondavi, grandson of Robert, presided over the meal's wine pairing with his 2009 Continuum Cabernet - full of dark chocolate and black cherry accents. Needless to say: Mmmm! If you can find it, check it out!
GREY GOOSE BLUE DOOR
Speaking of alcohol, the Grey Goose Blue Door on Main Street, which also featured a fantastic Sorel boots gifting suite, served my favorite cocktail in all of Sundance: a Hot Apple Pie. Here's the recipe...
1 ½ oz Grey Goose Poir (pear)
½ oz B&B
¾ oz Cinnamon
4 oz Hot Apple Cider
A hot mug and garnish with lemon zest and clove (You're welcome)
Needless to say, we all felt warm and happy with this cocktail. Already looking forward to next year in Park City!
When HIH/Bello editor extraordinaire Hiko Mitsuzuka asked me to attend the premiere of The Cottage (starring David Arquette and Kristen Dalton), I asked what I always ask before agreeing to an assignment:"Will there be wine and dancing?" and although I was told, "categorically NO DANCING!" I went with an open mind and my compadre (aka spiritual advisor) Courtney, to control my overt campiness.
The premiere was held at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, with the entire cast in tow. Also in attendance were director Chris Jaymes, Lexi Ainsworth, Jordan Beckett, Judd Nelson, Jessie Rabideau, producer Bettina Tendler O'Mara and a certain Mr. Jack Nicholson. The hive positively buzzed around his honeypot, as he excreted Nicholsonness with every step. Even I wanted to suckle upon his magnificent teat in the hope some of that awesomeness might rub off. Fortunately I was advised that was a sentiment best kept to myself.
I can sum up The Cottage in one word—creepy. In the opening scene I initially feared "torture porn," but thankfully that was far from the case. This is an old-fashioned psychological thriller, where suspense builds gradually. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely murder and mayhem, just not the gratuitous kind. Instead, it concentrates on a mood of constant uneasiness. Let's face it: teenage polygamy and underage brides never make for "cheerful" themes, but kudos to director Christopher Jaymes for choosing the non-exploitive route. Kristen Dalton also proves an unexpected badass, but my favorite cast member by far was "the sullen sister" Morissa O'Mara. She maintained the expression of the perpetually pissed-off, which I personally grew really quite fond of. David Arquette naturally embodies quirky-creepy, which had the same horrid effect on me as Edward Norton (in American History X.) He's a sexual confuser! My head said "don't like!", my heart said "be afraid!" but Vera Vadge down there, well, she was saying something else. Mmmm, this must be how John Mayer feels about black women.
"There's definitely a Manson vibe," said the indie horror flick director Jaymes, admitting the whole film was shot "in less than two months." Which, even I have to admit, is bloody impressive stuff. Although I remain unsure as to what happened to the family cat, as he/she was never officially slain. I'm confident in the belief kitty still resides in the guest house.
The after party was at David Arquette's club Bootsy Bellows, which is where things all went a bit pear shaped for me. I started seeing Lynchesque femme fatales and vaudevillians participating in shenanigans, and by the time I consumed my fifth fishbowl of Pinot I discovered the dancing marionettes!
Everything from there was a blur of newfound friends, Brazilian models, Boy Meets World references, pockets full of candy, a Malaysian media mogul, a boy from Oz (the country, not the prison show), champagne sparklers, and a 6-foot-6-inch Hawaiian. I'm not 100% who half these people are in these photos and there's a distinct possibility I tackled that Arquette fellow, like a gluten-deprived linebacker. It's hard to tell if he's smirking or just really annoyed. Regardless, I'm proud to announce I was the victor in that particular rumble as this picture will attest.
PLOT: Chloe (Dalton) and Michael Carpenter (Victor Brown), a struggling suburban couple, have no idea what they’re in for when they rent out the cottage behind their house to a quiet, charming romance novelist named Robert Mars (Arquette).
“Would you like to try our
rattlesnake and rabbit sausage?” the lady asked us as we walked up to L.A.’s
famed Wurstkuche booth. Um,
rattlesnake and rabbit? Yes, please! After all, this was The Taste of L.A., a
foodie’s paradise that comes every Labor Day weekend, comprised of
five different food-sampling events spanning three days. Sadly, we could only pick one event this year: Flavors of L.A. Our ticket
included unlimited wine, beer, spirits and food tastings, plus access to all
seminars and presentations featuring California's most well-known chefs and foodie journalists.
Sportos may have the Super Bowl, film geeks may have the Academy Awards, but then there's my kind. The Taste is my Holy Grail for food, and I was
determined to try everything this event had to offer, even if it did include a
sausage that combines rattlesnake and rabbit (for those of you wondering, it
tasted like chicken, grilled to perfection). Braving long lines, the hot sun,
alcohol at every turn, and some of L.A.’s most fabulous, we roamed the Paramount
Studios backlot in search of the city's greatest culinary fare. Of course, stars like Susan Feniger’s STREET, Lukshon, Farmshop, Milo & Olive Milling
Co., the aforementioned Wurstkuche, and The Counter took center stage, but other,
just-as-worthy restaurants had us raving too.
Some of our faves we'll be visiting again soon:
1. Schulzies Bread Pudding - Finding
the names of the eight different flavors as irresistible as the bread pudding
itself (Millie Vanillie, Salted Caramel Sutra, Boom Boom Banana), don’t forget
to add sauce like peanut butter and whisky for a flavorgasm in your mouth. It
made Kaila exclaim, “This was worth the price of admission alone!” ‘Nuff said.
2. Black Market Liquor Bar – A
mysterious punch and dessert were on display, prompted me to ask, “What are you
serving?” Without missing a beat, the cute guy in the booth told me the punch
was, “deliciousness in a cup!” (Pointing to the dessert, what looked like a
fried cake of messy goodness) “And is this deliciousness on a fork?” I asked
excitedly. “No,” he said, looking at me like I’m from Mars, “It’s deliciousness
on a plate.” Duh. (And btw – they weren’t telling anyone about their mysterious
delectables. Kaila and I definitely detected marshmallows, bananas and caramel
in the fried cake of deliciousness – heaven).
3. Picca Peruvian Cantina – Chef
Ricardo Zarate scored high marks last year with his culinary wit in Los Angeles
Magazine (fourth best new restaurant in L.A.), GQ (sixth best new
restaurant in the U.S.) and Traveler Magazine (tenth best new restaurant in the
world). He also became Food and Wine’s best new chef in America. All in 2011. My new culinary hero. That’s a lot to live up to, but when I tried his unagi
casa roll (eel wrapped in yellow mashed potato), Chef Zarate had me
forever and proved his praise is well deserved. Well done sir. Go visit Chef
Zarate at his new location, Mo-Chica, in downtown L.A. and follow them on Twitter @piccaperu.
4. Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches –
This food truck cum ice cream shop had one of the longest lines of the day, but
well worth the wait. Their sammies challenge your palate with flavors like
Brown Butter Candied Bacon ice cream on chocolate chip cookies, Fried Chicken
and Waffles and Pistachio Black Truffle ice cream on Brioche cookies, just to
name a few. You can even eat the wrapper, how eco-friendly is that?!?
5. La Casita Mexicana’s Coconut Agua Fresca - It tasted like
horchata but with a different dimension. For someone who grew up in San Diego (and knows good horchata), I will be back for more
Chaya’s tuna burger
combines teriyaki and guacamole, making the combination a hit and my taste buds
Sweets for the Soul’s unique and tasty honey and lavender cake.
truck Waffles de Liege boasted fresh-baked waffles topped with butter and
caramel, making me want to follow them wherever they go.
And Cake Mamas (below) are back
again this year with cupcake flavors like salted caramel (a growing trend in L.A. no doubt) and my personal fave, churro.
For those of you who may have experienced a drunken run-in with a tiara-wearing bride-to-be at West Hollywood's #1 hotspot, The Abbey, you might be relieved to hear this...
According to Weho Confidential, The Abbey Food & Bar, known as the "Best Gay Bar in the World," a title won two years in a row from Logo, announced today that all bachelorette parties have been banned from taking place within its doors. “Every Friday and Saturday night, they’re flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our gogos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials," said Abbey founder David Cooley.
"They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married. Over the past 22 years, The Abbey has been a place that accepts everyone, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and everything in between. We love our straight girlfriends and they are welcome here, just not for bachelorette parties.”
The Abbey claims it is has long been a policy of theirs to deny admission to groups in costume, including Bachelorette regalia. Bachelorette parties had previously been allowed inside if they removed their costumes. The Abbey’s Bachelorette Ban comes on the heels of a ban on same-sex marriage in North Carolina and a number of other states across the south.
The Abbey is encouraging other gay-owned and operated establishments to institute their own bans as a sign of solidarity until marriage is legal everywhere for everyone. Source.
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