Another awards show, another round of gifting suites. YAY!!! Exhausting as they are, there’s no place I’d rather be. Still nursing this seemingly-never-ending disk problem, I could make it to only five. Did I just say “ONLY???” How many more can one bon vivette do? In just three days, to boot.

And let me tell you, this was one of the best rounds of suites EVER!!! I just don’t know how the organizers continue to raise their game. It was all very impressive, even to this jaded suites-goer.

Also impressive is the fact that most of them have a charity component this year. The organizers donate a percentage of the profits to a specific charity, with some of the sponsors and celebs donating even more. If you go to the sites I’ve listed, you can see how you can get in on the giving, as well. I always feel that by doing something for others, the donors wind-up with the biggest benefits, in spirit, soul and good feelings.

Since I loved every suite, and want to give each its proper due, (unlike many other attendees who simply print a cursory list,) I’ll review the first three today and the latter two tomorrow. Please make sure to read both or you’ll miss out on some wonderful product finds.

Here are the first three, in order of my visits.


I started off my Emmys Suites week with a much-needed visit to the Beauty Bar at the Byron & Tracey Salon in Beverly Hills. This was a first-time suite and became an instant winner! For viewers of my former show, you know I’m familiar with many salons, and this one is just spectacular in every way. It looks beautiful, is in a part of Beverly Hills where it’s easy to park, and I found my favorite stylist of all time! Read on.

My new best friend, stylist Danny Rishoff at the Byron and Tracey Salon.

His name is Danny Rishoff and he’s just a dream come true on every level. He even knows what krump dancing is! Okay, I’ve just got to rave about him for a minute here. The main thing for my mane is that he looks great himself. I just hate it when people look bad in their supposed category of expertise. (Manicurists with bad nails, facialists with bad skin, plastic surgeons who look like they could use some themselves, or had too much, etc.)

Next, Danny’s proud of his mother, so you know he’s a good guy. He and I were both lauding our literary moms, which usually doesn’t happen with one so young. (By “young,“ I mean both of us! No snickering.) And he has an appreciation of Old Hollywood. He’s truly a kid parents can be proud of, which actually isn’t all that common nowadays. At least it’s not common for me to think so!

Anyway, Danny did wonders for my hair. He even gave me my bangs back after about nine months of pushing them to the side. I felt so much better when I left with a new hair style and a new best friend!!!

I would have loved to see what this new-ish salon did with my color, which they were also offering at the suite, but alas, I had just had it done in NY. But that gives me something to look forward to for next time.

When I could pry myself away from hanging with Danny, which wasn’t easy, cute little Kelly Nguyen gave me a mani/pedi. That was a week ago, and they’re still holding up, which doesn’t happen very often, especially after four more suites visits!

In-between, I snacked on lovely food and drink served by adorable waiters. Then just when I was about to leave, I was apprised of the gifting garden! I almost missed it!

The Redken ladies were lovely and knowledgable and hooked me up with tons of fabulous products to keep my hair healthy and beautiful.

Koolaburra was showing off its new line of sheepskin boots, but I was so hot that I chose sandals…with the sheepskin inside the straps! Now I can be cool and hot at the same time. In oh so many ways.

For a twist, rather than give us coffee this time, Café Bustelo gifted us with bright yellow fanny-packs and tank tops. Which is perfect for me because I don’t drink coffee, but I do get dressed. Occasionally.

[Note: There were a couple of more gifts, but they’re being sent, so, as with any on the way from other suites, too, I’ll tell you about them in a follow-up column down the line.]

I’m thrilled I chose to go to this suite first because now I was beautiful and refreshed for my other suites visits over the following two days.


I love that the Secret Room Lounge changes venues often. It makes it truly a secret! And very interesting for us frequent guests. This time, it was held in The Penthouse of the Petersen Automotive Museum. I know this revelation is shocking, but in all my years of being L.A.’s top Bon Vivette, I’ve never been here! I couldn’t believe it myself! It looked really interesting, but with so many suites to get to, I didn’t have time to check-out the museum itself. But now I have something else to look forward to.

This suite had the most mouth-watering displays, from cupcakes and candy to purses and shoes. Yum-my! So let’s get to them.

Secret Room’s charity of choice was Operation Smile, a very wonderful organization that provides free surgery to children worldwide who have facial deformities, such as cleft lips and cleft palates. You really should read more about it.

Telling you about the treats I found at the suite seems frivolous after reading about all the good that Operation Smile does, but life goes one, and I must laud the fabulous sponsors. So, here are my favorites:

GrupoMenbur Purses–when I entered the suite, I was immediately drawn to this display of stunning evening purses. I picked-up one just to tell the girl from the company how gorgeous and mouth-watering it is, and they said I can choose that one, if I liked, or any other one. It actually was a hard choice, but the silver sparkly one, with a black velvet side bow, was just too overwhelmingly beautiful to pass up.

So Danca Shoes–these were the other highlight gift of this suite!!! The personnel could not have been cheerier or more helpful. And the girls were perfect advertisements for the sexy Brazilian shoes because they all looked great in them! There were at least ten pairs I wanted, but I’m thrilled with the navy stiletto pumps I chose. I’m holding them as a carrot to my herniated disk to get it to hurry and heal so I can get styling’ in my Muicha heels.

Test Tube–only Mr. X, who has to live with my beauty-mania, can truly know how much I love this brilliant concept from New Beauty magazine! I forgot to pick mine up at a past function, and lament the loss still! What it is is a giant see-through tube with beaucoup products from companies who are leaders in the world of beauty. This one featured, among other items, Moroccan Oil, which Danny had just used on my hair in the previous suite, and all kinds of facial potions that I’m dying to try. And the best part is that there’s a pamphlet explaining each product and just how to use it. Loving it!

Melissa Lew Necklaces–these are little bamboo disks featuring different inspirational messages written in Chinese characters. I was hoping for one that stood for “weight loss,” but when Melissa and I discovered one that represented “vigor, glory, spirit, and truth,” she said, “That should just about cover it!” After I left, she probably drew up one for herself to save her from nutty journalists!

Lashem–this table was manned by the nicest, best-looking girls. It’s a new lash-enhancing product that I’ll try right away, especially since they told me that crying won’t affect it. (I had to explain that I still cry over Clarence all the time, to find out if tears will mess it up, which it won’t, and they were totally understanding.) One was even holding back the tears herself.) www,

Visine–while we’re on my crying jags, let me tell you about Visine’s two new products, which I’ve never needed more. They’re Total Eyes Soothing Wipes and Maximum Redness Relief Formula drops, and prove that often, the simplest of gifts is the most welcome.

Belly Buds–these are headphones for pregnant women, that you attach to the belly, so that babies can get a head start on their music educations. I was hoping they were also for chubby chicks like me, so that I could play over and over on the phones, “Fat–get out of there!” It’s worth a try!

Giving Bands–remember skinny jelly bracelets? Well, these are ones with charms attached. Each one is to help a different charity, and are cute at the same time. And the best part is that they’re assembled by people with disabilities, so, by buying and wearing them, we’re helping everyone all the way around, including ourselves because we get to fun, stylish and good people.

Earthly Body–even though all the boys tell me that my body is divine, I’m looking forward to trying these natural hair products made with hemp.

Cynergy–this company offers a product that will eliminate your tattoos! Too bad all those skanky chicks who cheated with Jesse James weren’t at the suite–they should just bathe in it!

All the while, we had some really fun snacks to keep us going:

American Cupcakes–the slogan of this San Francisco cupcake shop is “Just like your mother never made.” Boy, they can sure say that again! That’s why I became a restaurant critic to begin with!!! Because my little mo was a teacher, she had not time to cook or teach me kitchen skills. Isn’t Mr. X the lucky one? These mini-gems were beautiful as well as delicious. I especially liked the chocolate on chocolate, but the one with a “balloon” sticking out of it was just adorable and reminded me of my former career as a circus girl.

The Fry Girl–speaking of not cooking, these girls set up a whole frying situation right on the penthouse patio. We had fries with different sauces, and mini-doughnuts with assorted sugar toppings.

Secret Room usually gives us an additional overstuffed goodie bag on the way out, which is my favorite part of any suite, with different products they feel we should know about. And they’re always right! But even though I was a tad disappointed they didn’t do those this time, I was actually happy because I just couldn’t carry even one more ounce of gifts! And there’s really no need to gild the lily at this always-fabulous suite that I look so forward to every time.


I had heard about Anita Thompson’s suites before, but I was a virgin at this one. (Nice to be one again, actually.) It was at a private estate close to my house, so it was a bonus to end the second day there, poolside in the luscious garden, where they even served a buffet of Italian food to the hungry masses. There were many sponsors I had never known of before, so each booth-visit was a treat.

In addition to throwing this great party, Bella Fortuna was raising funds and awareness for Children Uniting Nations, whose purpose is to improve “the lives of at-risk and foster youth through positive mentoring and academic advocacy.” Very worthy cause.

The scene was set as we entered through the gorgeous display from Fabuluxe Lounge, a company who “dresses” events. And let me tell you just how mouth-watering their area looked! It tasted even better with a colorful candy bar by Candee By Sandee, one of the nicest sponsors I’ve ever met.

Here’re the rest of my favorite products at Bella Fortuna:

DaLita Moda Jewelry–I love my feminine chain-and-lace bracelet designed by this lovely girl whose mother was one of her helpers for the day, beaming with pride. Nice family and gorgeous jewelry–a perfect combination.

In Styler–I’m so excited to have received this hair tool that we’ve all seen on TV! They had a stylist on-hand to show us how to use it, but I didn’t take advantage of it because Danny had just done my hair [see the first suite above for those deets,] and I didn’t want to change it right then. I hope Mr. X will help me try it out. He hopes I’ll figure it out for myself. Which one of us will win?

Bare Ease–something that every woman needs! This numbing system, that is used before bikini waxes and laser treatments, was designed by a female anesthesiologist, so she knows what we all go through. The only time I had my underarms and legs waxed, the technician was crying from how much pain I was in! That won’t happen again with this product. And their website is beautiful.

Dermera Acne Treatment–the two girls who manned this booth had gorgeous skin themselves, so they were great advertisements for their product. I have a couple of pals who are tortured by acne, so I can’t wait to pass this simple 3-step regimen on to them.

Sibelle Chic–these lovely ladies from Canada doled-out their handmade stainless steel pendants that they were wisely displaying on a leather jacket. They’ll go perfectly with motorcycle attire, I would think. And you must read their funny disclaimer!

Susan Jones Glass Jewelry–each hand-blown bead is unique and colorful. And will look great hanging on a chain against all the ecru colors of Fall.

Rolling Razors–It turns-out that Mr. X is already a fan of these! Now we are the proud owners of his-and-hers razors, so we will be the least-hairy couple in town.

Lastly, I had forgotten long ago that the whole idea of gifting suites to begin with was to gift celebrities! Nowadays it’s basically working actors rather than celebs, but since you never know just who will become really famous down-the-line, it’s still a great place for sponsors to get their products seen. So I was happy to see Dancing With The Stars Karina Smirnoff walking around the grounds. I used to see her around town more often, but haven’t since she broke-up with Maksim Chmerkovskiy last year around this time. I think that I was more heart-broken than he was because I love fun couples. She looked great, but once again, the show saddled her with a lummox, The Idiot Situation, so I fear that she may be leaving the show early again.

Please remember to check back tomorrow for my reviews of the GBK and Alive suites. There’ll be lots of good stuff to lean about!



  1. Rachelle Jones on

    Karen – thank you for the warm words about our luxury suite design. So Fabuluxe! is glad you graced us with your presence.

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