GBK BRAND BAR LUXURY LOUNGE IN HONOR OF THE 2022 EMMYS
I love that GBK returned their annual gifting lounge in honor of the Emmys to my nostalgically-favorite hotel, the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. On the day my co-writer, Laura, and I attended, it was held in the ballroom, which was a pleasure for us during the record heat of that pre-Emmys week.
Laura had never been to a GBK event with me before and loved it. She said, “GBK was a very fun gifting lounge, with a party atmosphere. There was a female DJ spinning great tunes all day, and a few times I noticed guests busting out some dance moves.” Yes, I do know she was talking about my former hip-hop club promoting self! And proud of it!
I usually tell you about GBK’s charities towards the end of the article, but there were a couple of very worthwhile organizations at this one that I feel I must tell you about right up front. (And after I wrote this, I learned that Gavin Keilly, the mastermind behind GBK, had just received the Innovation Award from Be Great Humanitarian Awards because of the millions he’s donated to over fifty charities in the past decade!)
Covenant House California—Laura and I both have known of this charity for years, but she was more familiar with it than I, explaining, “They provide much-needed services for unhoused youth.” We both loved what they were doing at the lounge, which was giving each guest a package of a blanket and toiletries to give to someone who’s homeless. That kindness chokes me up. Laura said, “It was thoughtful of them to enlist the guests at GBK to do something good.” www.covenanthousecalifornia.org
Worthy of Love—This charity’s colorful, happy display, not to mention its upbeat reps, made us want to learn everything about them! They throw birthday parties for homeless kids. Laura explains, “Worthy of Love’s mission is to change the way youth experience homelessness. When we think about the unhoused and specifically the youth, we think about the most traumatic issue that they are facing–the lack of a stable roof over their head. But what about all the other things they are missing out on in life? There are the small things the rest of us take for granted, like celebrations. I never thought about all the birthday parties my children have had and attended, and their importance. This organization is creating positive memories for kids who really need them.” I love them for that! www.worthyoflovela.org
Then on the food front, GBK is known for always feeding their guests. The fare is never the same, so I always look forward to seeing what it is at each event. At this one, I was rewarded with Mr. X and my absolute favorite sandwich shop of all time, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches!
Ike’s Love & Sandwiches—Over the years, I’ve introduced various friends to their delicious and creative sandwiches, so I was excited to do that here for Laura. She said, “It was very fun to meet Ike. He is a great spokesman for his delicious sandwiches. Having someone so personable at the head of a company gives it a soul, and makes the experience with them a total joy. I tried the Marshawn Lynch, which was delicious. And just as a side note, Marshawn Lynch, who is known as an outspoken football legend, was also a star running back at my alma mater, Cal!” And Ike, being the uber-generous guy that he is, insisted I take a couple home to Mr. X, who once again raved about how superior these sandwiches are. I’m so glad that he’s some close-by locations have opened recently, so we have more chances for this deliciousness! www.ikessandwich.com
Now here are the highlights of the rest of the items we discovered there:
California Caviar Company—I had met Deborah Keane, the lovely founder of this company from Sausalito, exactly three and a half years ago, and she kindly remembered me immediately! Once again, the GBK guests were clamoring for tastes of her domestic caviars, and then they received gift certificates for a “custom caviar gift set,” with a choice of flavors. To me, that sounds like a New Year’s Eve party waiting to happen! www.californiacaviar.com
SalaHime Facial Gel–Laura tried-out this skincare line’s Essence All-In-One Facial Gel right at the lounge, and says, “I’ve never felt a cream that absorbed into my skin so quickly. Within minutes of rubbing it in, my skin felt moisturized but not oily. And it didn’t feel like it was on the surface of my skin; rather, it was absorbed at a deeper level.” And a deeper level is what Laura is on, vis a vis moi! I was just happy that their rep, Tianna, looked just like my adorable former best friend, and more coincidence—they’re both make-up artists! We could have stayed at this booth all day, chatting and learning about this company’s Nanobubble technology! On top of all that, their gift bags were the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and the plush make-up pouches that the gel came in were mouthwatering. (And contained a mini of the gel, to try out for skin sensitivity, to boot. How thoughtful.) I just hope their product make the guests as gorgeous as their display! www.salahime.com
Hitch Bottles—They were gifting their very attractive bottle and cup duo, for both hot and cold beverages, that Laura describes this way: “This company has elevated the insulated reusable bottle. It has a hidden cup that you can pull out of the bottom. Its sleek minimalist design looks like you’re holding not just a water bottle, but a piece of art.” And the reps at the event could not been upbeat, which you know I love! www.carryhitch.com
Davi–This company was gifting satin pillowcases that are printed with art by James Peter Henry. Laura said, “I really appreciate the bold black and white design; it’s so dramatic.” And my ten thousand pounds of tresses appreciate the material, which means this is the smoothest pillowcase to make sure your straight hair wakes up looking like it did when you went to sleep! www.getdavi.com
Serenity Organizers—As ladies who hope to get back to air travel soon, we were especially happy to discover these travel organizers! Laura speaks for both of us when she says, “It was so fun to meet the pair of founders of this company. Both ladies came out of retirement, after spending their careers in corporate America, to create these organizers.” Since she’s a mom herself, who has traveled on airplanes with young children, she adds, “I really appreciate this innovative product. It provides a place where you can organize all the things you need on a plane. My son has the tendency to drop his water bottle when we’re flying, and it’s pretty horrifying to hear it roll under the seat and know you’ll need to dig under someone’s seat to retrieve it. No more of that with Serenity Organizers.” www.serenityorganizers.co
Nicole Sassaman Interiors—This designer, with a showroom on trendy Robertson, was gifting her very classy leather tissue box covers. As Laura says about them, “Sometimes you don’t realize you need something until you have it! I love these décor accessories. Who knew that tissues could be chic?” I guess the answer is—Nicole did!!! www.nicolesassaman.com
Thin Energy Hydration—This company was doing on-site tastings of their energy drinks, which come in a trio of flavors. And then each guest was gifted a pack of thirty servings of it. Laura tried it and said, “I’m very sensitive to caffeine, and can’t tolerate much of it. So I was excited to find an energy drink that doesn’t contain it. And it tastes great, too!” www.thinenergy.com
99 Gens—This is something I’ve never come upon before—it’s A.I. generated artwork tailored for each guest. You told them what type of animal you want, and what it should be doing in the pic, and then they print it later and send it to you. The best part to me, of course, is that it was done by cute twin brothers. And I could even tell which one was a minute older! www.99gens.com
Mander by Karn—This suit-maker was gifting, as Laura describes them, “Beautiful classic ties,” in a variety of styles, from ones in basic colors to crazy-patterned designs. I looked at some of the guests and tried to figure-out which one each would choose. www.manderbykarn.com
Hobo Queen Art—This display featured an artist doing a painting right on-site. Laura said, “Her art was beautiful and colorful.” Since she couldn’t do a work of art for each guest, she gifted them boldly-colored trucker hats, in some of the shades of the paints she was using that day. www.hoboqueen.art
Rasha–We spent a few minutes doing this “meditation technology” treatment in a separate room in the back, (so none of the guests would see the others lying down; it was nice of GBK to let us have that privacy.) Laura, who’s actually a tech person, told me, “I don’t fully understand the technology of this treatment; all I know is that it felt like I had a full body massage. I was relaxed and alert at the same time. I can’t wait to try it again.” www.therasha.com
We ended our visit to GBK in the sweetest way—we stopped by the dessert buffet which featured some of the hotel’s tastiest tidbits. I could live on their chocolate chip cookies alone! What a fun way to leave an event!