Although the Millennium Biltmore hotel is in downtown Los Angeles, it is no surprise that Celebrity Connected selected its grand ballrooms for their pre-Emmy festivities. The chandeliers, carpeting, and ornately painted ceilings evoke the grand movie premières of almost a century ago. On the other hand, contemporary practicality and (mostly) healthy lifestyle choices made that Old Hollywood glamour a bit of an afterthought.
After going through the red carpet gauntlet (admittedly tamer and more laid-back than the one preceding the Emmy broadcast ceremony), celebrity guests were greeted with his-and-hers beauty care packages from Taiwanese-made Quekke Hud for men and Stare Cosmetics, which clearly has ambitions with its presentation and packaging to be the next MAC. A sharp turn to the right took guests to Svakom, purveyors of racy “intelligent intimate lifestyle products” with a brand rep who could not help but put a smile on one’s face if the “toys” did not already do that.
A turn to the left again, and beyond a quick sugar fix at Justin’s nut butters, you were in the land of products that truly were new and different. Mad Hops’s beer flavour drops promised the transformation of bland commercial beer into craft brew refreshment. Master perfumer Sue Philips offered guests custom-created perfumes based on their preferences of citrus, oriental, floral, or mineral blends. DivaStuff, which looks like the kind of line one would find at a neighbourhood spa in its purple–blue bottles, appealed to us because of the product names actually identified what was inside the packages while still having a whimsical sensibility. In contrast, High Gorgeous offered its cannabis-based beauty products in beachy and bright packaging. The line includes potions for cellulite, showers, body butters, and light body lotions that also calm arthritis and certain skin irritations.
North Carolina-based WeWool, founded by Matt Syracusa, not only crafts beautiful and cozy socks for hiking and the corporate jungle from merino wool, but also donates a pair of socks to people in need for every pair sold. Syracusa came up with the idea when running a breakfast outreach ministry and realized how a sturdy and soft pair of socks could make a difference in the recipient’s life during New England Winters.
We also found ourselves cheering for the inventors of A Good Cycle and the Restroom Kit, not only because they created things that address a very buggy problem everyone deals with (bacteria!), but also had fun with addressing necessary products in entertaining ways. While A Good Cycle is behind SaniFani, a disposable seat cover for spinning and rental bikes, the Restroom Kit ensures users are prepared for any sort of emergency anywhere in the world, be it India or Indiana.
Cyndie Wade, meanwhile, was a show-stopper with her hand-painted glassware adorned with our favourite stars. Wade mentioned she may be interested in putting a certain New Zealand publisher on his own glass in the future. BuzzPop Cocktails rounded things out with refreshing adult popsicles that may soon make its way to better hotel pool decks, while NaiaVibes offered perfect totes and Ts for beach visits.
Across town at the iconic corner of Hollywood and Vine, Wow Creations Media chose the fittingly named W Hotel to host their annual star-studded gifting lounge. The red carpet was abuzz early as celebs and media guests sampled and tasted wow worthy products that included fashion, beauty and yummy vegan treats.
For flawless geisha-girl skin, Reiijinka and Akiko skin care from Japan is packed with proprietary blends of stem cells and gold placenta in concentrated creams and serums to keep those pesky signs of ageing far, far away. For the most sensitive and inflamed skin, Brevena Daily Hydration Moisturizer includes a macro B-complex minus all the dyes, chemicals and bad stuff. John Paw Pets and Dog Bath in a Pack were on hand to ensure pets get the proper care and pampering they deserve with products that are convenient, healthy and natural.
Say goodbye to uncomfortable strapless bras with Jewel Designs’ Replacement Bra Straps. Available in sterling silver, stainless steel and rhinestones, these straps are an ingenious fashion accessory that no shoulder-baring woman should be without.
Browsing gift lounges works up an appetite. At only 10 calories per cookie, Jackie’s Cookie Connection Cookie Babies are safe enough for even the most dedicated dieter (and vegan, too). Mama Taylor’s Treats is possibly the best fudge I ever tasted. Melt-in-your-mouth decadent yet surprisingly light, these need to be on your holiday gift list. Forget the guilt about indulging in chocolate, head over to Dr Don Stokes for the latest in non-invasive laser lipo. Dr Stokes is a Master Certified Trainer and you’ll see results after just one session.—Jody Miller, Correspondent, and Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor