GBK’S CRITICS’ CHOICE LUXURY LOUNGE 2024
I’ve attended many a GBK gifting lounge over the years, (and always adore them,) but this was my very first one that was for the purpose of celebrating last week-end’s Critics Choice Awards! I love doing something a tad different. And you know that I’m happy to celebrate anything with GBK!
This lounge was held at one of GBK’s favorite venues, (and mine, too,) the garden on the second floor of the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. I love that place! I first stayed there on my twentieth birthday, so, with my bit-more-advanced new age coming up again just two days later, this occasion was basically my anniversary with the venue! I adore symmetry like that, especially when it is about me!
My co-writer Laura, an upscale native of Los Angeles, had, (very shockingly to me,) never been to that hotel before, and says of GBK’s efforts, “Nothing says luxury and elegance more than holding your event in the heart of Beverly Hills at such a classic hotel. Every detail of the lounge was meticulously curated, reflecting a keen eye for style, and a commitment to creating an atmosphere that exuded luxury. From chic floral arrangements to delicious petit desserts, GBK’s touch was evident in every corner of the space.”
It was freezing out that day, (for Los Angeles, that is,) but GBK was kind enough to provide outdoor heaters to make the guests, and more importantly, the sponsors, warm and toasty throughout the event. Even my not-loving-the-cold self forgot all about the weather, (except for worrying about the comfort of everyone else,) pretty quickly!
As always, there were many recognizable faces in attendance, but many of us had eyes for only old school actor Héctor Elizondo, who played the hotel manager who helped Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Woman…at this very hotel! That was fun to see. I wanted to go over and beg him to make me classy, too! (But that might be a hard gig for even my Fairy Godmother!)
However, everyone was there mainly for the gifts, so here are the highlights of what Laura and I discovered at the lounge:
Ike’s Sandwiches—The second we walked in, (or, actually, out, because it was held outdoors,) Laura noticed Ike’s Sandwiches on-site, and she ran right over to their area. I thought she was perhaps very hungry and therefore going for one of Ike’s wonderful and creative sandwiches, but it was really to ask Ike for a picture together! She’s usually a tad shy, so I was surprised to see her do that, (even though she’s met him through me several times before,) until she gushed to him, “My children are obsessed with you and your sandwiches!” There are several locations around town, and it turns-out that she and her fam frequent them as much as Mr. X and I (and all of our friends) do! Ike looked adorbs in his fuzzy navy blue coat, so I wish that I had asked for a selfie, as well. And the sandwiches he chose for the occasion were perhaps the most delicious ever! Laura said, “Ike is my favorite person I’ve ever met at these events! He always generously offers just-right-sized versions of some of his delectable sandwiches. And now more of you will get to try them because I just learned that Ike’s has launched over thirty new locations in the past year! What an incredible feat.” I add only, “What she said!” www.ikessandwich.com
Rest Duvet—My mouth literally watered when I saw these comforters and pillowcases in colors I adore. And then when I felt them, it was total love. Their Evercool Cooling Comforter is exquisite, not just in looks and feel but in its ability to keep you cool at night, without having to make the entire house a walk-in freezer, (as Mr. X and I do!) I literally wanted to wrap myself up in one of them right then and there! And I knew right away that I had to own an Aqua Blue pillowcase for a nutty reason—every year, I take a selfie on my exact birthday, January 14th at 2:03AM, to document turning my new age. So to have that gorgeous pillowcase color as the backdrop, (because, of course I’m in bed at that ungodly hour,) to match my eyes and new PJs, completed the tableau beautifully. (Or maybe I should have just put it over my head, instead of putting my head on it.) Laura is more technical in her praise of this company, saying, “The moisture-wicking fabric brings getting a good sleep to the forefront. Not stopping at functionality alone, the comforters, sheets, and pillowcases also boast an ultra-smooth texture that goes beyond the traditional comfort of standard bedding, because the innovative cooling technology is embedded in the fabric; that takes comfort to the next level.” www.restduvet.com
Pooph Odor Remover—This was quite the find for my asthmatic self! It’s an odor-removing spray, formulated mainly for pet odors, but great for eliminating all offensive smells. (No, I’m not going to make any cheap jokes here!) Mr. X used to use similar products around the house, and just about all of them gave me an asthma attack because of their fragrances. But Pooph is fragrance-free, (their site even touts, “It smells like nothing!,”) so I believe it will work well for me. And the presentation of their gift, which was a sturdy backpack filled with all of their products, was so good that I’m sure every guest enjoyed receiving it. www.pooph.com
El Cristiano Tequila—I noticed a crowd of sorts gathered around a for-the-occasion bar, and everyone seemed very happy with what they were imbibing. When I got closer, I noticed that they were serving popular and classy El Cristiano Tequila exclusively. On top of the tastings, each guest left with his or her own bottle of the brand’s Clase Reposado. I have a feeling that they were all more than happy to keep the tequila party going when they got home. www.el-cristiano.com
LA Smile Specialists—Laura and I had both been to this Beverly Hills dentist before, so we were happy to see Dr. Shawn and his beautiful office manager, Courtney, again. They were gifting certificates for a dental cleaning and hi-tech x-rays, (which everyone really needs to experience for themselves—easiest x-rays ever!,) so I urge every recipient to take advantage of those services at this exquisite office, (which Laura quips is “so beautiful that hanging-out in the waiting room is even worth the visit !”) There was no time for the crowd to have gotten their choppers spruced-up before the Critics Choice awards a night or two later, but there’s plenty of time now, before the Grammy, SAGs, and Oscars! www.lasmilespecialists.com
Glow Pups—This was the most enchanting display ever!!! Laura thought so, too, saying, “Their adorable set-up not only showcased their delightful doggie accessories, but also radiated an undeniable charm that captured the attention of everyone present. It was a testament to the perfect blend of style and functionality that Glow Pups brought to the suite, making them stand-out as a beacon of canine cuteness.” And, oh yeah, they gave each guest a choice of—guess what?—adorable dog toys or bowls, along with a fun high-quality rope-style leash. www.glowpups.com
Milena Candles—As proud owners of multiple candles from this company, Laura and I were both excited to discover that Milena did something new and special to some of them this year. And that is…put a splash of glitter to the top! Laura says, “It’s so simple, but it adds so much to the drama of her luxury scented candles. And, of course, they all smell amazing!” www.milenala.com
Michael Todd Beauty—This skincare company was gifting their anti-aging Knú Cream, a category which I’m sure all the Hollywood-types in attendance care about. (I sure do!) Laura’s just getting into taking care of her skin now, so she was interested to learn that hyaluronic acid is the cream’s key ingredient. After doing some research on the topic, she says, “It has proven benefits for any facial care routine.” I thank this company for finally opening my associate’s eyes, (and perhaps some of my readers’, as well,) to what I’ve been saying for years! www.michaeltoddbeauty.com
Root Brands—This company from the east coast gifted a variety of items from their line that focuses on well-being. Guests had a choice of a bag of their special coffee or different supplements, such as collagen, along with a duo of beautiful little cappuccino glasses and a book by the founder of Roots, Christine Rahm. Laura perused the pages a bit, and liked that it “focuses on addressing the root causes of illness, rather than merely treating symptoms.” And, I’m assuming, hence the company name! www.therootbrands.com
Care A2+ Infant Formula—Since I’ve never had a baby, while Laura has had two, she’s going to give us the lowdown on this Australian-based company, which was gifting its premium infant formula. As a mother, she tells us, “Parents have to be vigilant when choosing infant formula. Some of my fellow moms have opted against purchasing brands that are manufactured in the United States, expressing concerns that the safety and nutritional standards are not as rigorous as those in some other countries. From what I’ve read about it, Care A2+ is precisely the type of formula that my friends would chose.” www.carea2plus.com
Rear Ended—This athleisure wear company gave out what Laura describes as “high-quality, thick tank tops, which come in a vibrant array of fun colors, adding a playful and fashionable touch to the wardrobe.” We agree that it “can be worn to the gym or dressed-up under a blazer for a night out on the town.” www.rearended.life
As always for GBK events, this one benefitted a few charities. This time, they included a couple of animal rescue organizations, Angel City Pit Bulls and Paws for Life K9 Rescue. They were also supporting The Collective Identity Mentoring, which is a grassroots mentoring program for young people, with a focus on black girls.