Its in the bag. The VIP gift bag!

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The coveted gift bags at reserved seating.

We all know about the highly coveted celebrity VIP  gift bags at all the Oscar after parties, right? From what I’ve read, these bags can contain high priced gifts ranging from vats of LaMer beauty cream to the latest and most current IPhone or some gadget worthy of James Bond. Gift bag distribution isn’t limited to award ceremony after parties though. They exist at benefits, big shin digs where the host/hostess wants to show off,  I can imagine theres an exchange when celeb “friends” meet for lunch (or when they meet with their agents)- who knows?

What I DO know is that over the past year I have acquired (on a watered down scale) quite a nice collection of gift bags. I’m no celeb so OBVI my bags are on a different level than the “big wigs”. BUT I believe mine must be a close variation on a theme , so I thought I’d share with you whats in them! Alas I have not been gifted with technical devices or cool spy toys. Instead I now have a plethora of makeup and beauty products by companies I never would have heard of had I not been in the right place at the right time. Nail polish, lipsticks, eye makeup, cleansers, giftcards for manicures at the most luxurious nail castles…the list is extensive. As a philanthropic study, I had planned on walking around Santa Monica donating the various treats to homeless women, but, in fear of a not so welcoming acceptance of said gift, I though it would be fun to review and compare some of the beauty products here.

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Whats in the bag? A princess’ dream…tons of beauty products!

Murad Skin Smoothing Polish:

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Murad’s skin polish, with its pleasant aroma, gives a firming affect.

This exfoliant has a lovely hint of sweet berries in its scent. It feels pretty coarse to the touch. Once applied it feels like little seeds scrubbing. I feel it was less intense than one of those clarisonic brushes, but still pretty strong. After rinsing,  my face felt fairly clean but in need of a rich moisturizer. The instructions say to use this product three times a week. I feel this product would work well for someone with oily to combo skin. It could help with skin cell turn-over, which can be lost or lessen as we age. Its a bit intense for sensitive skin like mine.

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser:

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I would have NEVER heard of this product had it not been in my gift bag. This one was a pleasant surprise. For more info click here: Suki Skincare

Not knowing at ALL what to expect, I was really impressed with this product. Just like many other amazing things that I love,  Suki comes from Northampton, Massachusetts; home grown in the good ‘ol USA. It is a 100% natural and organic. Free of parabens, gluten & synthetics of any kind,all the Suki products are safe for everyone- including breastfeeding and pregnant women. Another bonus: no animals or bees are harmed in their creation either.  I’ve tried other organic products from the Whole Foods skin care isle (eyes roll) and they have mostly been pretty bad, so I admit I was a bit hesitant with this one. However, the exfoliate is seriously amazing. I actually want to look into trying her other creations.

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It appears this product would be very coarse and damaging to the skin. Looks can be deceiving because in actuality the exfoliant was luxuriously foamy and gentle- yet very effective.

The Suki exfoliate has a citrus smell. The directions explain: wet a small amount of product in your palms and then apply to face and decollate. The scrub is extremely gentle. After a rinse my skin felt clean, fresh, and baby soft. After using this product for a week (3x/week), I noticed my naked face looked naturally brighter. I’ve even been receiving compliments that I’m”glowing”. No, I’m not pregnant. This may also be from my moisturizer (see Doc Schwab below). I believe the exfoliant is also prepping my skin so that I can get the full effect of my moisturizer.

Panthenol Cleanser:

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My favorite little blue cleanser. Back in the day my grandmother told me “the best way to wash your face is with plain water. Everything else is full of chemicals and will ruin you.” I never feel concerned with the Panthenol cleanser though. It leaves the skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

This was gifted by a local esthetician and honestly, I LOVE this product. I can’t thank her enough for tossing this into the bag. And its a full sized bottle at that! I feel extra lucky!! Apparently this cleanser is loaded with Vitamin B5 which acts as a hydrator WHILE cleansing (as opposed to stripping the skin, like most cleansers). This is self-evident. After washing with the Panthenol my skin felt fresh and supple but also clean. It has a light fresh scent. I love when products have minimal smell because to me it means, there are less harsh chemicals added. I recommend this product to anyone, any age.

Doctor D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid amd CS Citrusome:

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Facelift in a tube. Everyone needs to try this stuff! I’m hooked! For more info click here: Doctor Schwab. Tammi, the skincare specialist, is a doll. Definitely hit her up with any questions.

I honestly had no idea what these products were meant for but I ran out of my daily moisturizer and via the ingredients (and the fact I had it laying around) I decided to give this duo a try. I assumed the Citrusome is a Vit C serum, which I put on after my morning cleansing, followed by the Skin Fluid (moisturizer?). I am loving the “moisturizer”. It is very lightweight and non-greasy. My favorite part? It is shimmery! I haven’t put on foundation since the day I started using this. It reflects the light so nicely, I haven’t needed it! This stuff is like a facelift in a tube. I read a little about it and it appears this line is also all natural- though I’m not sure its to the same extent as Suki. Via their website, I contacted the Doctor Schwab “skincare specialist” and she was very helpful, as well as budget conscious,  regarding what Dr. Schwab products would work well for me. I like their costumer service and this particular product, so I’m giving the brand a recommend.

Hopefully I’ve satisfactorily unveiled the mystery of the VIP gift bag and all its contents. That is all for today. I’m finally coming off this dreadful stomach bug! The biggest casualty of the bug? I am now certifiably addicted to The Vampire Diaries! So…off I go….to finish up season one of this enslaving little devil.

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Jermaine Jackson Jr and the Asa Kaftan fashion show.

Untitled Number Eleven, 2011 by Gilles Bensimon, the first fashion photographer I ever loved.
Untitled Number Eleven, 2011 by Gilles Bensimon, the first fashion photographer I ever loved.  Click here to browse some of his work: Gilles Bensimon 

Once upon a time, a million years ago, when smog was not a worry,  children didn’t have to wear bike helmets, and there was no such thing as auto correct, a shy 13 year old girl (me) discovered Seventeen magazine. She read each issue back cover to front, taking in all its photographic glory, reading every article including the letters to the editors. As the images permeated her imagination, she could escape into the fantasized fairy tales. She was on the other side of the looking glass, wearing the beautiful clothes, running amongst the nymph models through alternate bewitchingly created universes. Also the articles provided sage advice and funny anecdotes. Her love, or obsession if we dare, with fashion was born.

A few weeks ago my friend Emily invited me to a fashion show benefitting City of Hope, an LA based cancer research and treatment hospital. Since I was on my work hiatus, I could excitedly RSVP “yes”, despite the event being held at one in the afternoon on a Friday. I don’t watch much reality television, so the fact the event was being televised on The Shahs of Sunset meant nothing to me- other than heavier than usual makeup and an immaculate outfit. How exciting! My first fashion show!

Asa’s Kaftans for City of Hope:

The Four Seasons Beverly Hills is nothing short of fabulous.
The Four Seasons Beverly Hills is nothing short of fabulous.

The event was held at The Four Seasons Beverly Hills. Wow this venue is beyond gorgeous. The Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills is one of my all time favorites. It’s posh but feels somehow approachable. It’s sort of like a little bit of a dream brought to reality. The Four Seasons, alternatively, is a little slice of heaven. Lush greens with well groomed gardens ensconce the hotel. Soft flowing lavish fabrics hanging from colums, dancing in the wind.

Traffic was terrible- who knew so many people would be out and about at 1pm on a Friday? I mean it is LA, I guess. Home to the rich and famous who don’t, apparently, need to work- or at least don’t need to go to the office to work. Anyways, I digress…..as I was saying, traffic was awful and I arrived not so fashionably late- 73 minutes late, to be exact.

I was signed in by a very gregarious man who explained he was one of the producers of Shah’s of Sunset, and then escorted me to the party. Luckily, as commonly expected in television production, everything was running behind. I hadn’t missed a thing! There was a silent auction table including wonderful items like a Skinny Girl libation basket, stunning pearl earrings, and a day trip to a world renowned spa. I put bids on the Skinny Girl and the Earrings. Little tip when it comes to silent auctions- be careful of what and how much you bid. Choose wisely. Three years ago I bid on 6 items at the Junior League of LA’s Harvest Boutique and I won every single item, totaling well over a thousand dollars! I mean yeah, it was for a good cause but that was  a lot more than I wanted or had expected to spend!

I love how lately I've been seeing a lot of fruit infused water offered at parties. They look so pretty and add just that little touch of flavor to tickle the palette.
 Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of fruit infused water offered at parties. They look so pretty and add just that little touch of flavor to tickle the palette. Very classy. 

I knew no one attending the party, only my friends Emily, Victoria, and January- who were working the party. I took a deep breath to get a grasp on my courage and began to tour the “room” (it was an outdoor patio area) and start conversations with a bunch of strangers. I met two women that own a PR agency and seemed to really love their jobs, a lovely editor in chief of a celebrity lifestyle magazine,  and a  group of well dressed co-eds.  I did glance around the room and noticed that Latoya (I thought it was Janet) Jackson was there. Cool!

It was such a pleasure meeting and speaking with the stunning and gracious Ms. Mimi, Editor in Chief of Celebrity Style Magazine. I adore her, and her outfit! xo
It was such a pleasure meeting and speaking with the stunning and gracious Ms. Mimi, Editor in Chief of Celebrity Style Magazine. I adore her and her outfit, particularly this necklace. So pretty! xo
Guests waiting for everyone to be seated. Typical LA, most are killing time on their cell phones- or booking their next appointments. I definitely feel like I know this man from somewhere....
Gift bags underfoot, some VIP guests wait while everyone else is seated. Typical LA,  killing time on their cell phones- or booking their next appointments. I definitely feel like I know this man from somewhere….and I LOVE that woman’s pink hair!

Finally the fashion show was to begin. The party progressed onto the adjacent lawn, resplendent with sunlight and brilliantly saturated greens. How gorgeous this area was! I could imagine a princess getting married here. Emily and Asa both stood and spoke for a moment, explaining the event. As the music played, the models amusingly walked by, the fluid fabrics flowing behind as a light wind took grasp of the kaftans. Asa’s Kaftans of multitudinous colors perfectly contrasted the green setting. I appreciated the designer picking models of all shapes and sizes. They walked with such confidence. I could tell everyone was having fun.

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I just loved the colors of the Kaftans, and how well the fabric flowed. They look so luxurious. I can imagine someone wearing one in Santorini. I told that to Asa's mother who exclaimed
I just love the colors of the Kaftans, and how well the fabric flows. They look so luxurious. I can imagine someone wearing one in Santorini. I told this to Asa’s mother who exclaimed “There is one named Santorini!”. They are made NOT of silk- so easy to care for, but appear to move like silk. They look and feel luxurious. If your interested in purchasing one, I’ve included a link below.

After the fashion show I spoke with Emily and met a very attractive colleague who was introduced as Asa’s “soul mate”. He was kind, spiritual, and very intelligent. I asked if he worked in fashion as well. He mischievously smiled and answered “No, I work in music. Mostly on the business side, but I’m working on an album.” We discussed the significance of music and music therapy amongst other things. When we parted ways I told him “good luck on your album! I hope to hear it and see it sometime!” Later I found out he was Jermaine Jackson Junior. Ha! I hope its a good thing I never know who anyone is prior to meeting them! (AKA I’m totally embarrassed).

What the heck to wear to a benefit Fashion Show held in the middle of the afternoon:

I seriously had NO clue!  I mean for me this event was at the oddest time of day. Cocktail attire seemed too dressy, business attire too casual. Plus I knew friends of the fashion industry would be in attendance, so I wanted to make sure my outfit had edge and was a fair player. And on top of that it was to be televised!

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Blazer: Theory Top: Alice and Olivia Skirt: Stella McCartney Shoes: Christian Louboutin (the first pair of designer shoesI ever bought! I will keep them forever). Not Pictured: Handbag: Celine Handbag Karlito Charm: Fendi. <because you can’t go to a fashion show without Karlito!

Danielle definitely pulled through. I’m not sure why, but I’m always impressed when she throws out an outfit idea without looking through my wardrobe. How does she remember what I own? This time she really surprised me because she suggested a pair of shoes I bought nine years ago. A pair with which she’s never truly admitted are acceptable! I guess fairy godmothers remember everything :).

My friends and I after the show.
My friends and I after the show. As mentioned previously, I will never get rid of these shoes. 

I had a fantastic time at my first fashion show. I look forward to hopefully one day attending another! I ALSO look forward to watching this episode on Bravo. It will be fun to see if I made it in the cut!

Asa’s family and friends were all so lovely. I hope her line sells exquisitely. If you are interested in purchasing an Asa Kaftan, please click here: Asa Kaftans

If you are interested in learning about or donating to City Of Hope, please click here: City Of Hope

{PS} Happy November everyone!

xoxo

QJ

QJ