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Entertainment Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin


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CURE IN THE CANYONS

The next section will give you the scoop on all the Emmy Suites from last week, but this one lets you know of an experience that YOU can have that rivals it. And, you’ll be contributing to a great cause at the same time. I know that I’m not going to miss it.

It’s called the Cure In The Canyons and the proceeds benefit Breast Cancer Research. It’s a day of fun and relaxation at the Bony Pony Ranch in Malibu, and features beauty treatments and products, snacks, fitness classes, and deluxe goodie bags! What could be better?

I noticed that the website (below) says to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, so that you’ll be ready for yoga or whatever comes your way. To not have to dress-up makes the event even more appealing.

Attendees are asked to come early to take advantage of as many product demonstrations and services as possible. Organizers of the event are offering additional incentives for guests who carpool.

All this for just a modest tax-deductible contribution of $40! Pretty nifty. I’ll review it next week, so check back to see if your experience compares. And, if you’re there, please don’t judge my looks by my get-a-massage duds. Or cut ahead of me for a manicure!

Cure in the Canyons September 22
Bony Pony Ranch 12555 Yerba Buena Road Malibu

www.cureinthecanyons.com



PRE-EMMYS SUITES

On the off-chance that you’ve never read my columns about pre-awards shows Suites, here’s the basic low-down on what they are and how it all works (some of it copied directly from my own pre-Oscar article):
When this trend started several years ago, the events were held in hotels, in actual suites, hence the name. Each suite would have a different service (hair, manicures, facials, etc.), and the celebrities involved in the awards shows were invited to partake of those services for the days leading up to the ceremony. More celebs started being invited, product “gifting” took over many of the rooms, and the Award Suite was born.

The phenomenon has since expanded to many different types of edifices around town, which may or may not be in the form of suites, but the moniker has stuck, no matter where the action takes place. Now some have started using the name “lounges” instead. Either way, they’re mostly great, and tons of fun to attend, not to mention major work on the part of the organizers and sponsors.

The venues originally catered to nominees, but as they evolved over the years, they’re now populated by mainly working actors (which doesn’t make you a celebrity, but it’s something to be proud of anyway, in this hard business), and select media. I’m a weird case; sometimes I’m invited as “talent” because of my show, and sometimes as “press” because of this column. And, I have a feeling, sometimes as just the court jester.

No matter what it is, I’m always the most appreciative one there because I know it’s an extreme privilege to be included. And I love finding new products and services, to pass on to you, as well as to enjoy with my family, friends, and audience.

This seems to be the year of the “green” suite, meaning eco-friendly, which is just great by me. I’m so sick of people not even bothering to re-cycle, so I was very happy to find so many environmentally-conscious companies. And the product variety is mind-boggling. I found everything from clothing to nail polishes, biodegradable teabags to major-brand hair products.

So, unless I state otherwise, all of the following products and services are good to the earth in some way. They should all be very proud of themselves. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t include everything that I came upon at the suites, so here are the highlights:


MAIN EVENT RED CARPET LOUNGE

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Lauren working on Karen’s hair, on the second day. So, two more outfits to come.

This lounge had so many enticing companies that I wound-up going there all three days! That’s a record. The first day, as soon as I got there, I had a portrait taken with the love of my life, Clarence, the Singing Dog.

The fabulous photographer, John Manning, must be the most patient man I’ve ever met. We were like a three-ring circus there; Mr. X was wrangling Clarence, I was wrangling Mr. X, and Lauren Fernald from Bed Head was wrangling my bangs! (She did such a good job that I went back the next morning for her to style the rest of my hair.)
www.johnmanningphotography.com
www.tigihair.com


The family portraits came out great. I had originally thought that they were for us, but it turns out that they’re being auctioned off to benefit the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Clarence and I were very happy to do our part in that endeavor. If you would like a picture of us to grace your walls, along with those of your family members, go to www.spcaLA.com. Then when your guests ask who we are, you can make believe we’re the kin you never speak of.

I had three great snacks to keep me going. I didn’t believe Mr. X when he told me that Marius Morsels were the best cookies he ever had. I’m sure the rest of the week’s guests were happy that I didn’t trust him sooner because there wouldn’t have been any left for anyone else if I had. They’re unbelievable! If you’re a viewer of my show, you may be lucky enough to win a box of them, down the line. I just might be entering that contest myself! www.mariusmorsels.com

karen and dog
Portrait of Karen and Clarence by John Manning.

John Kelly fudge is made by neither John, nor Kelly, but by both! It’s the owners’ names put together. (Mr. X said, “Why don’t they just call it Jelly?” Get it? Like Brangelina and Bennifer?) Anyway, it’s scrumptious and I hope to feature it on my show in the near future, as well. Think Bars are the healthy alternative, and come in wrapping as mouth-watering as their flavors. www.johnkellychocolates.com
www.thinkproducts.com

Mr. X wasn’t even there for his favorite gifting booth--it was the sexiest lingerie ever, courtesy of Undercover Wear. And there were innovative “bedroom accessories” to go along for the ride.
www.undercoverwear.com

www.bedroommagic.com

Speaking of underwear, I had a wardrobe malfunction and of course, that day, I was going commando, upstairs as well as downstairs. So, Dragonfly was kind enough to hook me up with an attractive lilac tank top. And a safety-pin!
www.dragonflyclothing.com

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Karen, her third day at this suite, with Clarence and Jennifer Bunt.

I received the most delicious-smelling candle from La-Tee-Da. I had actually heard of them before. The fragrance isn’t in the candle; it’s on a special ringed-lid, it appears. And in these tenuous times of global warming, one can never have too many candles on hand. So they may as well be special.
www.ltdfragrance.com

If I look better soon, the credit will belong to Regen de Peau skincare. At least it’s just one step, for your whole face and neck.
www.oli-co.com

You all know that anything to do with Clarence is the best thing to me. Well, Jennifer Bunt of Magic Dog Studio (and what dog could possibly be magical than Clarence, the Singing dog?) took his pawprint to make a pendant from it for me! Or did she just want his autograph? We’ll know in about eight weeks. www.magicdogstudio.com.

This Debbie Durkin-hosted space was the most opulent of the venues I visited. It was held at the Friars of Beverly Hills, and just hit you with the visuals as you walked in. So much was going on. And they had two separate spa areas that you could visit when the urge hit you, with no appointments necessary, which made it very convenient.

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Karen at Bella’s suite, getting her feet pampered, while breathing in oxygen. Notice her opening day outfit. The one that needed the pin!

I had a treatment that everyone will be happy that I had--not because I needed my teeth whitened, but because I had to keep my mouth shut for a whole twenty minutes. Bella, Beverly Hills’ newest spa, did the three most different treatments I’ve ever seen at a gifting suite! And I took advantage of all three.

First up was the aforementioned teeth whitening. It took just twenty minutes. What a trip. I returned later for paraffin treatments on my hands AND feet, while I breathed grapefruit-flavored oxygen, which is always a boost.
www.bellabeverlyhills.com

To cap it all off, I got a great 20-minute back and neck massage from Selia Hansen. My shoulders were tight from carrying all those bags of swag!
www.seliahansenmassage.com


MIX MEDIA AWARD SUITE

This is where I met my favorite famous person of the week, Tony Dovolani from “Dancing With The Stars.” All the suites pride themselves on having celebs in attendance, but I never know who anyone is because I don’t watch that many different TV shows.

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Karen with Tony Dovolani of “Dancing With The Stars.” Get these people sunglasses chains!

But anything to do with dance is a must for me. Tony has always been a fan favorite on “Dancing…Stars.” I tell anyone who will listen that a number he performed this past season, along with his professional partner, Elena, Julianne Hough, (who was the eventual winner, with Apollo Ono), and her brother, Derek, (the newest pro on the upcoming season) was the single most incredible dance performance I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Tony choreographed it, as well.

It was to Joss Stone singing live, and I played it so much that I wore out my built-in DVR and it erased all ninety hours that I had recorded! As sick as I was about losing everything, the worst part was that I lost that dance number! I still haven’t gotten over it.

But back to meeting Tony. I practically stalked him at the Mix Media suite, and he couldn’t have been more pleasant. His young publicist was the same, which trust me, is beyond rare.

They talked to me for a long time, laughed at everything I said, took pictures AND video with me, and the most amazing part--he got off the elevator as he was leaving so that we could take another picture! He was so nice that I thought he was ME! (On my good days.)

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Karen with author Carl Bernstein. He looks thrilled to be hanging with her, don‘t you think?

I also met probably the most scholarly person of the week at this one. It’s Carl Bernstein! No lie! I couldn’t believe it. (For you non-literary types, he’s the author of “All The President’s Men,” with Bob Woodward.)

Now I must tell you what I found at Mix Media/Alive Expo/Madison and Mulholland because most of it is incredible. (More to come in the next few weeks on the bigger finds that are being sent.)

This one was held in the penthouse of Sofitel in West Hollywood. It wasn’t about luxury treatments here, and instead concentrated on gifting, but the luckiest of us got invited back to have the one of our choice, at the hotel’s spa, whenever we get the time. After a week of Suiting (as I coined it), you know I’ll be heading back soon. www.sofitel.com

There are several products that I had received at the Main Event Oscar Lounge in February that I use all the time, but knew not from whence they came. I had been feeling bad for seven months that I had never gotten to laud them in print, and here they were at this suite, all at one table! The Pure Vitamin E Oil is a godsend for my recent facial scar, the Head Organic Hair Serum keeps me frizz-free, and my Pure & Basic Glitter-Up Body Lotion makes me sparkle on special occasions. What more can a girl ask for?
www.pureandbasic.com
www.headproducts.com

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The spread in the VIP room at Sofitel. Guess which treat I started with?

I had been longing for Jumpin Jammerz, one-piece PJs…with feet(!!!) since I had seen them at an Oscar Suite. And now I finally have them! Each pattern is cuter than the next. Mine is rubber ducks on a background the color of bathwater in children’s books. That light bluish-green makes my mouth water. I actually heard hip young guys comparing theirs in the VIP lounge! I love them so much that if I didn’t agree with all this environmental awareness, I would turn the AC down to 40 degrees and wear them to bed tonight. www.jumpinjammerz.com

In keeping with this theme, but a tad more grown-up, Barefoot Dreams gifted me with the best-feeling bathrobe ever. I’m so into the tactile sense that I’m afraid Mr. X will have to separate me from it. Or watch me lie around and luxuriate in it so much that I may never leave the house again! Oh, that just means I’d be turning into him. www.barefootdreams.com

Speaking of luxuriating, Get Fresh gave us all bags in beautiful turquoise, green and white filled with products for our aching feet. They must have known how badly we would need the grapefruit (one of my favorite fragrances) scented foot scrub. I will be working on those tootsies as soon as I finish writing this. Hey, I’m at my own computer--maybe I’ll do it during!
www.getfresh.net

The main thing I’m missing in the girly department is a great purse. When I was little, I was all about them. As I grew up, carrying something with me at all times just became an inconvenience. Then I became a club chick, and I just had whatever guy friend I was with carry my one small lipstick. It was all so simple.

But in the past year or two, I've realized that females are judged by their purses. Everyone even refers to my friend, Carole, as “Carole Purse,” even though she’s actually a designer of belts! I always think it’s so unattractive to see females rummaging through the inside of them, and most girls don’t want a ton of outside pouches, which makes you look like you’re on safari instead of a date.

All that’s been solved, though, by Jen Groover, a cute young girl from the east coast who designed Butler Bags, the first line of compartmentalized handbags! There’s a space for everything, all in hip, easy to carry clutches and shoulder bags. I’m ordering one ASAP, so I can stop being known as “Karen Backpack.” www.butlerbag.com


GREEN LIVING LIFESTYLE LOUNGE AND SPA

As the “green” trend goes, this suite, located in Cisco furniture store, (which meant it had the most places to sit down of any venue!) was the greenest. Just about every product and service was specifically pro-environment.
There’s only one product that makes itself seen in every suite there every was: bottled water. VaVa Water was at this one. Each bottle is charged with electro-magnetic frequencies designed to elicit certain responses from the body, such as Chill, Slim, Relief, Breathe, and Joy of Life.

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VaVa Water’s display, making use of the beautiful Cisco furniture.

In this competitive field, I asked the owner if she minded that there are so many companies out there nowadays vying for the attention. Her answer was so not show biz-y. She said that VaVa certainly can’t supply water for the entire world, and she’s glad that there are other responsible companies out there, as well. She’d rather people make the healthy choice of drinking water rather than sugary/chemical/caffeinated beverages. www.vavawater.com

The most popular section was the upstairs beauty and spa offerings, most of which you needed appointments for. Origins was providing the products from their new line, and offering chair and hand massages as well. www.origins.com

Green Bliss Eco Spa sponsored the facials and massages. I had both, I’m happy to report. Lila Castellanos, who did my facial and Catherine Flournoy, the masseuse, couldn’t have been nicer or better at their jobs.

This company had been on my “not-pleased-with” list for not honoring a gift certificate that I had gotten at another gifting suite some months back. Though I’m still perturbed about that incident, these girls totally redeemed my opinion of the company for their quality services and unbelievably pleasant demeanors. They’re perfect as representatives of the business they’re in.
www.greenblissecospa.com

After my massage, I availed myself of a hair-style freshening by Angel del Solar of Pureology. He was one of the least attitudinal hair stylists I’ve ever dealt with, and even said the people who had done it the day before did a good job. That’s pretty rare. He’s out of Seattle, but I wish he had a salon here. He loaded me up with products that are good for both my hair and the environment. In this case, it’s a tough call which one I care about more. www.pureology.com

Continuing the beauty trend, I found organic, non-toxic nail polishes from Priti, a new company from New York. I waited all day for a manicure or pedicure at this suite, but they were inundated with bookings. Next time I’m in NY, though, I just may visit their nail salon. If there’s one location where we’re looking for a brief respite from the conditions, that would be the place!
www.pritiorganicspa.com

The most over-whelming display, of all the suites, was at Earth Friendly Products. They had everything from cleaning products to body lotions. And all in clean, crisp-looking packaging. One of these days, I’ll lie around slathering on the creams, while Mr. X removes stains from the carpet. Hey, at least I FOUND the cleaners! And I bet you guys thought I was pampered!
www.ecos.com

Of great interest to me was the Driving Green concept. I didn’t quite grasp it fully, but you give them information on your car and they computed how much it would cost to offset your greenhouse gas emissions by contributing to renewable energy projects and the like.

Normally, we, the participants, would then send in the payment. But in this special circumstance, THEY made the donation for us! How’s that for making your presence at Emmy Suites mean something?! As much as I love me some swag, this company gave me the biggest gift, which is that of trying to help the world keep going. www.drivinggreen.com


THE SONYA DAKAR EMMY BEAUTY AND
GIFTING LOUNGE


This is the third time I’ve attended a lounge here and I love that no two events have been the same. They surprise us constantly. This time around, it had a mellow kind-of vibe. I love all the suites I attend, and never have a favorite. But this is the best one for SERVICES because it’s a spa all the time, so it’s set up for them, which makes it more comfortable in that area.

I was dying for a pedicure there, in Sonya’s inviting lounge chairs with attached foot baths, but sadly, waited all day and didn’t get one, mainly because I hadn’t scheduled one. Several of the suites did services by appointment, and I didn’t want to be a pig and ask for too many. But there’s always Oscar Week! Gives me something to look forward to.
www.sonyadakar.com

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Karen with Lisa, who just did her tan. She may have her hair back, with no make-up, but she looks happy to have her fake tan!

Not to worry, there was plenty more to do. While spa services were offered at all the lounges I visited, this one had two unique ones. I got the always-embarrassing-to-go-through, but worth-the-results spray-on tan, courtesy of Sunstyle Tanning. I just hate being stark naked in front of someone who gets to see it all close-up like that. (Unless it’s Mr. X, of course. Or Clarence. Or Hugh Jackman. Or Tom Welling. Or…you get the idea.)
www.sunstyle.la

The most different new experience was having individual fake lashes applied by Ja’maal of Fab’lous Lashes. It was so quick and easy and painless. I asked him how long they would last because I had thought they were the semi-permanent ones. Turns out they were just daily ones, and he said they would come off the next time I undid my make-up. But let me tell you, they lasted through seven showers, five exercise sessions, and two facials! No one could believe it! (Of course, I had to tell everybody because I don’t believe in fake things, in general, so I feel like a phony if I didn’t let on.)
www.fablashes.com

As soon as I walked in, though, I headed right up to the hair salon where Chi’s Abel Salazar flat-ironed my hair to perfection. He got me brave enough to let Josie Scarpa, in from Queens, New York, cut my bangs! I had been growing them out since May, but I’m thrilled that I trusted her because I’m not really Karen without the bangs. You know, like Rosemarie and the farkakt bow. (Look it up--it’s Yiddish. It just took me a half hour to find the correct spelling!)
www.farouk.com

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Once I looked fabulous, I headed to the beautiful roof-top lounge that was put together by event planner Carrie Zack, for some tasty snacks. We all know that I love my desserts to be delicious or colorful or adorable, but rarely find all three qualities in the same product. I was in love the second I laid eyes on these minis, baked fresh daily by the two-month old Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica.
I went berserk! I didn’t know which one to sample first! I wound-up gorging myself on the Red Velvet cupcakes, a flavor I’ve never been into before. As soon as I left, I remembered that I wanted to try the banana crème pies. Lucky thing I tape my show in that neighborhood, so I can always hop right over before a taping. Or after. Okay, both.
www.vanillabakeshop.com
www.carriezack.com

I had to wash all my goodies down, so I chose creamy Hansen’s Smoothies to do the job. It was that or Monster Energy Drink, which I didn’t think went great with chocolate mousse. Maybe next time.
www.hansens.com
www.monsterenergy.com



PRE-EMMY AWARDS ESCAPE TO MALIBU

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Karen rockin’ her new robe, with Lauren of VaVa Water.

This was more of an early afternoon beach bash than a gifting suite, which was an excellent way to wind down from the hectic week. It was one-day only and was held at a small, open floor plan, rental house in Malibu.

There were only four each of services and product sponsors, but there appeared to be constant sushi-cooking in the centerpiece kitchen, and you could walk right out onto the beach to chill. Total hang-out atmosphere. By the end, we all knew each other. I was so comfortable that my new best friend, Kathryn Grant, owner of TLC Cosmetics, sent me home in a luxurious company bathrobe, and that’s how I drove the hour from Malibu! Mr. X just stared at me when I arrived. But that’s the kind-of party this was.
www.tlccosmetic.com

Vava Water made its second suite appearance this week, and the owner even brought watermelon for us to nosh on, which made it seem more of a soiree. I received Revitalash from a girl with the most gorgeous lashes herself, so I’ll try it. It’s said to make your own grow longer and more luxurious. I’ll let you know in a few months if it works, though I don’t know if the world is ready for ME to have even more fabulous lashes! www.revitalash.com

I got a home waxing kit from Wax And Waxing. The rep did my legs right there, but they had the same stubbly feel after all that, so my new friends in the suite surmised that it didn’t work because the hair wasn’t long enough. (I had shaved them the day before.) This is not my area of expertise (come on, we all knew there would have to be ONE at some point!), so they gave me a home kit, AND convenient touch-up stick, and when Mr. X wants to cause me some slight pain, we’ll rock that baby.
www.waxnwaxing.com

The best part of the day was getting a microdermabrasion facial from the ultra-pleasant Cassandra of TLC cosmetics, hence the robe. If that stuff makes me look as young as Kathryn, I’ll be doing it every day! (I think just once a week or so is necessary.)

Then Christy did my make-up, so if I got stopped for driving in a robe, at least I’d look good for my mug shot.

ENOUGH ABOUT BRITNEY


And lastly, one final (for now) word on Britney’s performance on the VMAs last week, since everyone who has no life of their own insists on still commenting on it. At least she’s not anorexic, or one of those depressing chicks who’s famous for being famous.

Enough with the schadenfreude already. (Look it up, if you haven’t seen “Avenue Q.”)

 
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