RAFI GIFT LOUNGE—THE OFFICIAL GIFT LOUNGE OF THE 2019 BET AWARDS
As many of you know by now, between my former television show, my various columns on other websites, and this e-zine, I’ve covered more gifting suites than just about anyone else over the years! I’ve written about hundreds of them here on INAM alone!
But, until this one of Rafi’s for the BET Awards, I had attended only one other official gift lounge for any event. That one was for the NBA All-Star game a few years back, and it was held at the same venue, the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, as this one for the BET Awards. But Rafi’s was my first for an awards show, so I thank him for that.
The event took place in the Gold Room at the hotel, and was set-up beautifully! There were colorfully-pillowed couches and perfect-height tables for relaxing in-between all the action, and there was just the right amount of room to walk around and be comfortable in.
My contributing writer on this one, Roz Wolf, remarked, “This was a great gifting suite! It had a very hip and festive party vibe. Everyone was dancing, at one point or other, to the constant upbeat sounds from the DJ. It made the whole room feel alive.” I hadn’t moved and grooved so much since my days of running hip-hop clubs, and it all brought back such happy memories for me. (And I was glad that I didn’t have to stay out until the wee hours to enjoy Rafi’s event!)
There were many guests who were involved with the BET awards themselves, and I noticed one particularly handsome man. It turned-out to be Mike Colter, whom I used to be scared of, (while admiring his beauty at the same time,) when he was the baddie, Lemond Bishop, on The Good Wife. And while I was getting my hair cut, Justina Adorno, (from one of my favorite new summer TV series, Grand Hotel,) stopped by to chat with the guy who was also having his hair worked on at the same time. (And, of course, Rafi, whom I first met because he’s the designer of the Bullets4Peace jewelry line, was the biggest celeb there!)
You know I love a lounge that feeds us, so I was happy to see that, contributing to that party atmosphere, there was very attractive all-day food! I so appreciated that they changed-up the menu as the day went along. Roz describes it all like this: “The bites they served were perfect! We started off with breakfast nibbles of tiny croissants and cute little palm-of-your-hand-sized crumble cakes.
Later on, they brought out a delightful display of afternoon treats. All were delicious.” That fare was several interesting dips, along with pita triangles and all kinds of interesting long crackers to scoop them up with. I’m sure the vegans in the crowd were happy to see that there were some for them, such as basic hummus and one with sun-dried tomatoes, but there was also one with bacon and a hot crab and cheese dip for the rest of us. And sodas, sparkling water, and coffee and tea were on-hand at all times.
But, as usual, most of the guests were there to check-out the gifts! So here are the highlights of what we found at Rafi’s official gift lounge for the BETs:
HUE For Every Man—This hair care company from New York gifted their shampoo for men’s diverse hair types, which Roz says “smells great” and should “definitely be popular.” So now us gals don’t have to share our shampoo with the guys anymore! And I’m happy that they also make a sheet mask specifically for a man’s skin, because I always hide my masks from Mr. X. But even better than both of those discoveries is that Hue had hairstylists on hand for touch-ups and even the works! So, adorable Allen McMurren…cut my hair! Yes, folks, I did allow someone to trim it! And he was meticulous about it—this was no quickie job, let me tell you. And, true story here, when my bestie Marc picked me up for an event later that night, and saw me just walk in front of his car, he said, “You’re hair looks so good! It’s moving beautifully. Did you cut off an inch or two?!” I’ve been making it sway ever since! So, a major thank you to both Allen and Hue! (I guess that makes this company also for every woman, on occasion!) www.hueforeveryman.com
Yael Designs—I couldn’t get over to this table of beautiful jewelry fast enough! I loved everything on it! All the items were crafted of sterling silver and I believe zirconia. I was so intrigued that I took a look at the designer’s website, which features all gorgeous high-end pieces, with the real jewels! But honestly, I was in love with the delicate earrings and pendants that he was gifting at the lounge. I have no idea how anyone chose among all the beautiful pieces! I wanted them all! www.yaeldesigns.com
JKimm by Concrete Rain—Since this jewelry designer, Julie Gibbs, was one of the hits of Rafi’s Oscars lounge earlier this year, I was thrilled to see her sunshiny self at this one, too. She was gifting each guest a choice of her lovely and colorful bracelets, of which Roz said, “Her designs are all brilliant and different; she was offering a truly beautiful selection at the lounge.” She especially loved one that featured “a bright and bold purple amethyst.” And I was drawn to them all, especially the sparkly ones! But my absolute fave was one with silver beads between blue tiger eye stones. It was just gorg! www.jkimm.com
Alpha Wolves Swimwear—This gorgeous swimwear is just launching next month, so I was thrilled to be among the first people to view the line in person, ahead of their website starting-up! All the monotone bikinis, in classy muted and gold hues, looked and felt truly luxurious! Now if only I had a trim body like the pretty designer, I’d be all set to rock her creations! Maybe the desire to wear one of her bathing suits will actually give me something to start working-out for! (And if you just have to learn more right now, look for this line all over social media platforms, so you can be one of Alpha Wolves’ first fans, as well!)
Grindstone Universal—Each guest received his or her choice of one of the hip caps or tees from this urban fashion company. Since Mr. X has been krump dancing for so long, I’ve become an expert in the appropriate headwear and tee-shirts, so I know that everyone at this lounge will enjoy rocking these new gifts! www.grindstoneuniversal.com
Bogavia—Roz says that this company’s strengthening shampoo and conditioner are “the perfect hair care for summer, when you know that harsh pool chemicals, and intense sun even moreso, will really destroy your tresses.” She adds they “smell fresh and clean.” And who doesn’t want strong, fresh-fragranced hair?! www.bogavia.com
Nuzuna Zone Fitness—I saw some in-shape girls doing some impossible body positions on the floor right in front of me, so, of course, I had to learn more. Roz paid attention, too, and tells us, “This is the future of fitness! Their revolutionary Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is used to unlock your full potential for a work-out.” We both can’t wait for this concept to branch-out from their current Costa Mesa location into greater Los Angeles, so we can try it out. I’m sure all the guests feel the same way, due in part to the generous certificate of a free private session with a one-year membership that each person received. www.nuzunafit.com
Gloria Hincapie Body Contour Art—We were both very interested to learn about this new technique in body fat removal. Roz said, “The fat is gonna go by-bye with this hands-on approach to it.” They gave everyone a gift certificate for three complimentary sessions, which is perfect right now because, as Roz points-out, “Swimsuit season is upon us!” www.gloriahincapie.com
Neft Vodka—They set-up their own little mini-bar at the far end of the room, with petite glasses filled with their vodka for easy sampling. You all know I don’t drink, but Roz said it was “simply delicious.” We both oohed and aahed over the adorable barrel packaging, which Roz says “is so different, you’ll want to display this on a home bar as a conversation starter!” Even teetotaler moi can get behind that fun visual! www.neftvodkaus.com
Happy Doggies—This local doggie daycare gifted certs for a few nights of overnight boarding, walking services, or training. After speaking with their rep, Roz deemed this “a great place for the four-legged members of your family,” whose comfort we all know is the most important to us! www.happy-doggies.com