GBK BRAND BAR’S 2021 PRE-OSCARS GIFT LOUNGE
Even though I’m now fully-vaccinated, and hadn’t left the house for well over a year except for food shopping, I had still been planning on not going out for the foreseeable future. But when I received the invitation for the GBK Brand Bar Pre-Oscars Gift Lounge, you know there was no way I was going to miss it! So I thank GBK for being the impetus for me to finally get back to my pre-pandemic life a bit.
The Gift Lounge was held in about six different areas of the La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood, including the rooftop, the lobby, and the new GBK Brand Bar gift shop.
One of the attractions was that I knew they’d keep us safe, which they did, in spades! Each guest had to either show their vaccine card or be tested right on site, which I’m sure that everyone involved appreciated. (I know I sure did!) And masks and social distancing were also required.
As to the actual event, I was expecting a very pared-down version of a gift lounge, but this one was just as wonderful as ever. And it was perfect for the current health situation because it took place over four days during which they very wisely and kindly spaced-out the arrivals, so fewer guests would be there at one time. That was so thoughtful of the GBK peeps! (But I am a tad disappointed that I was there on a different day than Oscar nominee Andra Day! I’m such a fan that I would have loved to see her, and perhaps let her know that in all the articles I’ve written about awards season, I said she deserved to win every award there ever was for her turn as Billie Holiday! There’s not one other person on earth who could have given the performance she did in that role!)
I’m not going to lie—since this was my first in-person event in over a year, I was a wreck on the way there, and even checking-in, but I calmed-down pretty quickly because absolutely everyone was so nice, and had the attitude that we were all in this together. I really had a wonderful time at the GBK Brand Bar Pre-Oscars Gift Lounge.
And it seemed that a good portion of the gifts had a concentration on wellness, which I really appreciated, after a year of no doctors, no gyms, and not much human contact. We even received personal hand sanitizers right off the bat!
So let’s get to the highlights of the items I discovered there already, shall we?:
Johnathan Schultz—I had so much fun with this lovely artist from South Africa. He was gifting each guest one of his signature Infinity Boxes designed from…the guest’s own handprint! Johnathan first gave them a glove to put on, (which was a thoughtful move, since no one wanted to get their just-sanitized hands full of paint,) and then brushed-on the color they chose. And then they did the handprint right on site, after which he returned to his studio in Las Vegas, to complete them all with…gold! Now even the celebs who did not win an Oscar that week-end will have their very own golden memento of the occasion. www.thejohnathanschultz.com
Kailo Pain Patch—This one had my name written all over it! Since I had no idea how my perennially-injured back would react to a day out after so long, I had remembered to apply sticky pain patches to my back that morning, noting what a hassle it was. So you can imagine my delight at learning about this non-sticky, reusable patch!!! I found-out later that the company’s mission is “to relieve suffering and enable joy by using innovative technologies to reduce pain without drugs.” I’m with them all the way! www.gokailo.com
Source Naturals—A more generous sponsor I’ve rarely seen!!! Each guest received a gift bag containing many of the company’s assorted supplements, some of which I’ve been swearing by for a few years now. I got a peek at some of the contents, and was overwhelmed by the breadth of Source Naturals’ product line. There were capsules and tinctures for so many health and wellness issues, including ones that help with blood pressure; brain and memory; immune systems; energy and endurance; hair, skin, and nails; inflammation; sleep; and even libido! I think my health improved just learning about them all! www.sourcenaturals.com
Cabo Couture—This enthusiastic and adorable swimwear designer from Texas was gifting a choice of a women’s swimwear set, an activewear set, or men’s swim trunks. The apparel was all so refreshing-looking that I don’t know how anyone chose among them! And she even insisted that each guest take a cool pair of sunglasses with them, as well, along with a little package of candy, to match her artistic color palette. What a nice and talented young woman! (Uh-oh—I guess I have finally turned into my mother.) www.cabocouture.com
Gastro Garage—I was so happy that GBK still managed to feed us a bit, as they always do, with a fun, made-fresh-on-the-spot treat. They were pizza “donuts,” parts of which the chefs made with…blowtorches! And then the guys surprised each guest with a gift certificate for a dinner for two at their Torched Pop-up on the rooftop of the W Hotel. I bet everyone’s looking forward to that! www.thegastrogarage.com
Soultox—The first thing that caught my eye in the hotel lobby was the impressive and colorful display of Soultox’s Recovery Water. It comes in three flavors, and it’s full of the good stuff, (vitamins and electrolytes,) with none of the bad (zero carbs, calories, and sugars.) Now that I’m aware of a water to help me recover, I’m almost happy that I started working-out every day during the lockdown! And the company did the kindest thing—instead of making all the gift-ees walk around all day carrying a heavy case of the waters, they hand-delivered them to everyone’s home or office!!! How thoughtful is that? www.luckysoulusa.com
Chicago Stuffed Pizza Co.–I cannot tell you how pleasant the group from this new-ish pizza place on Melrose was! The girl was bubbly, the guy kept trying to get me food, and the owner (I think that’s who the man was,) was happy meeting everyone, celeb or not! The pizza on the front of the menu looked mouthwatering, so now that I’m out and about a little bit, you just know that I’ll be heading right on over to trendy Melrose Avenue, and stuffing my face with their stuffed pizza, (even though I’m from Brooklyn and not Chicago. But they serve New York pizzas, too!) And the lucky celebs at the event are receiving a whole year of free pizza! So you have a great chance of seeing someone famous when you’re eating there yourself, or even just picking-up a pie. They have appetizers, sandwiches, and chicken wings, too, so there’s something for everybody. [They’re working on a new website at the moment, so just call them to order from their uber-extensive menu!]
Core Bar—Since plant-based everything seems to be the way to go these days, I was happy to be introduced to these nutrition bars that are exactly that. They come in interesting flavors, (such as blueberry-banana-almond and strawberry-basil-tea,) contain no added sugar, and help support your immune system, (and who doesn’t need that right about now?) And they have no preservatives, so are best kept refrigerated, which is a cool new idea in health bars. www.corefoods.com
ComfyCozy Boutique—A lovely young mom was gifting her “Calm” series of classy aromatic diffusers in a choice of scents. I took a whiff of the “Day at the Spa,” and trust me—the name fit the fragrance perfectly! What a delightful item to have in one’s office or just about anyplace in the home, especially the bedroom, so you can relax and get some rest. www.comfycozyboutique.com
Reset IV—The lovely upbeat rep for this company explained how their treatments work. Each guest received a gift certificate for an IV-administered hydration “cocktail” for different symptoms, one that can even help with pain! The rep even let me choose a numbered cert that had my bday within the code! (But don’t get excited—not the year.) www.resetiv.com
Merci Life—I often hear about how everyone’s hair and nails have suffered during the past year. (I, in particular, barely remember my beautiful digits!) The female developers of this new product, Bare Beauty, heard the laments, as well, so they came-up with this formula, which you mix with water once daily, to help to restore hair, nails, and even skin. The container it comes in is as pretty as their pink display at the lounge. www.mercilifeco.com
Delight Cafe—I had the most fun talking to the chill rep of this company. I found-out he was in that cool way of mind because he used his own product! It’s a CBD powder that you mix into any drink to “find your calm.” Maybe Mr. X and I should bathe in it after a year of being together 24/7! www.delightcafe.com
eOn Hand Sanitizing Mist—After a year of using the same old hand sanitizers, I was happy to discover a different one! This company gave each guest a small canister of it, but their gift to the world was donating thousands of cans to charity. www.eonmist.com
Yassi’s Butta—A mother developed this multi-purpose organic salve for her multi-ethnic fam. I love that! She told me it works wonders on their multi-tude of skin and hair situations. (See what I did there—used “multi” in multi ways! I thank Yassi for giving me the occasion to do that.) www.yassisbutta.com
John Kelly Chocolates—It’s a good day whenever one can have some delicious handmade chocolates from this duo!!! Each guest was treated to a six-piece box of truffle fudge and clusters. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, this was the perfect time to be either introduced to, or reminded of, these classy confections! And more good news is that they’re “best by” date is several months from now, but I can’t imagine that anyone can restrain themselves from all that chocolate yumminess for that long! www.johnkellychocolates.com
PFB Vanish—As a long-time fan of this company, their owners, and even their PR guy, I was thrilled to discover their latest product, (which was just one item in their generous goodie bags, by the way!) It’s their Triple Antiox Serum, which is vitamins C and E combined with ferulic acid. I’ll venture a guess that absolutely everyone needs this hydration and brightness after such a dreary year. www.pfbvanish.com
Rachel London Face Masks—The very first sponsor we all saw on the way in was perfect for the occasion. This artist was gifting her adorned face shield and masks. I have a feeling most of the celebs chose the flower-surrounded shields, so as to not hide their moneymakers, but since my eyes and hair are the only good things left about my looks these days, I was happy to hide behind Rachel’s hand-painted, material “RBG” mouth mask, while paying tribute to the late judge at the same time!
OG Hot Sauce—After a year at home, most of us can use a little spiciness in our lives right now. To that end, each guest received both of OG’s gluten-free and non-GMO Hot Sauces—one is “spicy hot” and the other is mild, (for wimps like me!) And they were both housed in glamorous silky pouches, perfect for the occasion. www.oghotsauce.net
Beverly Hills Spine & Rehab—They were gifting a pain balm made purely from botanicals. I’m sure the guests were all happy to use it after carrying so many gifts! And they presented them all in such a pretty manner, to boot. www.90210doc.com
Superva 1+1—The guests were invited to bring in a pair of shoes to decorate at their Shoe Customizing Workshop. When the cute guy at the booth mentioned that each person may bring in a spectator, I thought that was kind-of strange. But then it hit me—most of us always need a friend with whom to discuss every move we make, so it’s brilliant and kind of them to include that opportunity. www.shopcurve.com
Vice Bake Shop Confetti—To keep up our energy along the way, we each got to choose a delicious cookie, (or two, in my case,) from this mouthwatering display that featured my favorite color combo! (But no worries—there’s no vice in eating them—the name is because the company is headquartered in Miami!) www.vice-bake-shop.square.site
GrowingGreen—This company gifted bottles of their 500mg CBD-Enhanced Pain Gel in a convenient you-don’t-have-to-dip your-hands-into-it bottle. www.growinggreencbd.com
DJ Aaron Colbert—This cute DJ kept the action going on the rooftop all day, and then gifted an hour of his services. www.aaroncolbertentertainment.com
And as always, GBK helped a few charities, which is even more important in this hard year for so many than ever before. The beneficiaries of this one were:
The World Wide Fund for Nature—This international organization was founded to help preserve the wilderness, in very many ways. www.worldwildlife.org
World Central Kitchen—This is the charity founded by kind and famous chef, José Andrés. His goal is to use “the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond.” www.wck.org
Goodwill Southern California—I’m sure everybody in SoCal is aware of this organization, and have even donated to it. It was great to see them out there, still working to help the community through job training and placement services. Meeting the rep reminded me to go through my closets again to donate even more now! www.goodwillsocal.org