I confess, one of my absolute favorite parts of awards season, almost better than doing live color commentary for the Oscars on BBC Radio, is seeing what’s inside the fabulous gift bags they give out in honor of the Oscars, and meeting some of the people behind the products in The Secret Room Red Carpet Style and Beauty Lounge. This year’s giant L.L. Bean Zip Top Boat and Tote Bag was absolutely packed with goodies that celebs are sure to find essential, once they get to know them.
One of my absolute favorite gifts, and those of you who understand my relationship with Hollywood Hound Frankie Feldman will understand why, is the Petzi Treat Cam, which I’m going to do an entire feature on as soon as I get it set up. This pet cam is like a nanny cam for your pooch, but t’s unlike most others in that it allows you to speak to your pup, and with the push of the button on your app, it dispenses treats! Can’t wait to say, “Hi Frankie! Are you being a good boy? Sit!” and then have a treat pop out. And the beauty of it is I get to watch him do it on my iPhone! Stay tuned for the video.
And it looks like I’ll be needing it sooner rather than later, because, thanks to the amazingly luxe Sherborne Wyndham Grand in South Beach, we’re going to Miami! I wonder how many other people came home with a Secret Room 2016 gift lounge crying, “Honey, we’re going to Miami!” We were gifted with a four day, three night’s stay, not to mention a delicious smelling soy candle and cocktail shaker to enjoy while staying at this sumptuous art deco resort. I’ll do a feature on their fab decor as well.
Jewelry designers were especially prominent this year, and what celebrity can resist being blinded by the coolest and most cutting edge? Stars received a naturally faceted quartz crystal pendant and earrings set from Herkimer Diamond Mines, located in Herkimer, New York, the only place in the world you can find these lovely, 500 year old gems. There were beautiful white leather, crystal and silver bracelets from Mack and Jane Jewelry. And celebs also received lovely pendants, earrings, etc. from Jan Peyser Jewelry, and had the opportunity to meet Jan herself, an amazingly warm, creative and resourceful woman who I bonded with, because she confided in me that she’s a retired English teacher and this is her second act. You go, Girl!
Diamonds were a bit of a theme, and appropriately so for the Oscars, as hot British company label.m introduced their Diamond Dust line, including Diamond Dust Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Lotion, all that give hair and skin extra sparkle, without looking like you’ve just been hit by a glitter bomb. This is one of my faves.
To keep us all in shape, we received the ingenious Woss Suspension trainer, which I saw as a portable Pilates type workout system. My husband and I are going to suspend ours from the pepper tree in the backyard, so we can absorb some Vitamin D-infused sunshine while we’re working out. And for tightening up those neck muscles, there’s a very interesting Silc Skin Collette Pad, that promises to help prevent neck and clavicle wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging and sleeping on your side.
The wee ones are always well taken care of in the Secret Room, this year with a Keep Asleep 3-1 Baby Pad that allows moms to nurse, transfer and change their babies with the aid of one cutely decorated blank. The bag also contained the most adorable and soft little bunny puppet you’ve ever seen from renowned French toy maker Kaloo. There was also Rashoodz swimwear for tots, including a very clever, long-sleeved baby rash guard with a built-in hood, perfect for babes at the beach. Winkniks provided pint-sized designer sunglasses for the same purpose. My nephews love them! (There were Modo paper thin sunglasses for the bigger “kids”) And the small, soft and colorful Pocketopia Dolls, designed to spread messages of Love, Comfort and Empathy? Adobs!
The Yazzi Travel Wallet and Organizer are such clever makeup and jewelry cases that I’m going to use the Organizer fulltime to store my my makeup, so it doesn’t litter the sink, and all I have to do is throw the bag in my suitcase and I’m ready to go.
Among the beauty products to put in that bag, there are Cherry Blooms Instant Fiber Brow enhancer kit with stencils, for those of us who never can get our brows quite even. For the lips there were a must-have box of “Sundays in Silverlake” Colour Pop Lippie Stix, from a local company located on Wilshire Blvd. The Cailyn lipstick display was so popular I noticed a celeb or two actually elbowing in to get their favorite waterproof shade, of which their seemed to be hundreds. Cailn also gifted the softest, most genius ‘O! Wow’ makeup brush I’ve ever seen. Anastasia contributed a Contour Kit, meant to help you sculpt and define your features, as well as a highlighting duo pencil (something new and cool to me) and gorgeous pale lipgloss.
Celebrities are always eager to try the latest, greatest skin care products, and so am I! Even my husband is starting to appreciate the beauty of a fine hydrating cream, like Murad‘s new Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence, since he’s now frequently on camera and Skype, shooting various projects for his business, VoiceOverLA–many clients want to see, as well as hear, the voiceovers for their ads and narrations as they’re being recorded. The political ad voiceover clients are especially sensitive, as you can imagine.
And speaking of politicians, the skin care products that should be most in demand by them right now comes from Fake Bake, which generously gifted special formulas for the face and separate ones for the body, complete with mitts for streak-free and easy application. We’re thinking one particularly orange-faced Republican candidate should check out Fake Bake, for a more natural looking tan.
Dermesse took advantage of the opportunity to introduce their skincare line to the stars, gifting them all a bottle of collagen lotion, vitamin C serum, skin illuminator hyaluronic cream, and a Red Carpet 2016 natural sugar scrub. Dermesse is a local company, headquartered in Carlsbad.
To improve your skin from both the inside and the outside, Age Off gifted Clinical Strength Skin Nutrition tablets, full of Biotin and Vitamin C, as well as this truly amazing little bottle of Instant 90-second Facelift. I couldn’t believe it worked, so I tried it and it did! I love the way this company advertises: one of their slogans is “Say no to Ma’am.” Anyone who’s ever been called “Ma’am” knows what they’re talking about
For the bath, there was the fabulous smelling Dam Good Soap made of pure olive oil, so it’s “Not just soap, it’s skincare.”
Among the more unusual gifts was a set of Red Fern sexy lingerie for survivors. While I am fortunate enough not to need it, I have many friends and family members who will appreciate this thoughtful gift. Also along the lingerie lines was a special Janira Secrets Tanga undie that lifts the bum and tucks the tummy. It has such a remarkable effect I think I’ll be wearing it under everything except my PJs from now on.
Also in the “wear under everything” category, in fact I’m wearing them as I write this, are the WigWam Classic Socks. My husband also helped himself to a pair. They’re super warm, soft and durable, yet contain no wool, to which I’m allergic.
I want to give special kudos to the cheerful and resourceful women of Amy’s Social Butterfly, who produce handmade, three dimensional cards, which can also be used for attractive wrapped package toppers instead of bows. I’m always looking for something that makes gift giving easier and prettier. I’m not known for my adroit wrapping technique.
I’m kind of in love with my new, Pool Boy wallet from Icon. Their graphic shoes, handbags and and accessories are bright and colorful, just like I like ’em. You’ll be surprised by some of the artists creating images for them.
Of course at an event like this one tends to get parched, so there were plenty of beverages. The thirst quenchers included Bethany Frankel’s new K-Cup Skinny Girl Coffees and Teas, which came in a classy box full of Cocktail Inspired Teas, Rainforest Alliance Coffees, Hot Cocoa and Indulgent Lattes. Anything that comes in a K-Cup is eminently consumable in our house. Additionally were were given a “Timolino” vacuum mug to make the drinks in and take them with us. I was also thrilled by Salutti’s Aloha flavored water, made with Aloe, but no sugar or artificial colors. Super refreshing!
When it comes to food, the outrageously delicious hors d’oeuvres from The Perfect Bite Co. were so good I will never slave over appetizers again, now that I know I can run right down the street to Gelson’s and pick up boxes of bite-sized Spinach & Fire-roasted Red Pepper Mini Souffles, or Fig, Apple & Onion Jam Pastry Kisses, to name a few. And something on which to serve those delicious little bites came from Denby Stoneware — a beautiful (and expensive) dish, made in England of the strongest Derbyshire clay, since 1809. We will of course use it for our Downton Abbey goodbye party, and for all our soirees thereafter.
Also for entertaining were the Twisted Cherries–maraschinos that pack a wallop — they come either soaked in gin or whiskey, and are ready to pop into your favorite cocktail. Should we decide to eat out rather than entertain in, Patina, one of L.A.’s most esteemed restaurants, gifted a $100 dining certificate.
The housewares we received included beautiful, pineapple-inspired vases, both large and small, plus the most scrumptious smelling pineapple and lime candle from the Island Trading Co., a great new female run business founded by blogger and Australian online shopping queen Kathy Sheeran. Her products, including candles, bedding and more, have recently been licensed for Target Australia. I always love to see a sister succeed!
Also from Australia was a bag full of Hot Tresses vegan hair care products, including shampoo, rehab conditioner and leave in conditioner, which promise stronger and faster growing hair naturally. Yay!
As always, the Secret Room Style and Beauty Lounge is not just about getting, it’s about giving too. This year it benefits Omics LIVE!; a non-profit student Career Exploring program which customizes live and remote internship experiences related to relevant fields and professions today; Fashion, Entertainment, Music, Lifestyle, Journalism, e Commerce, Website Development, Retail, Product Development, Event & Show Production, Graphic Arts, Communication & Philanthropy.
Surprising Highlights From the 2016 Oscar Gifts Bag