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The very starry Met Gala

The Oscars were fab but people,  the Met Gala!!

Stars of fashion, movies, TV, and music hit the carpeted steps of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art each year on the first Monday in May to celebrate the latest costume exhibit at the museum. 


The evening host Anna Wintour. 


This year was unusual –instead of a theme, it was dedicated to one living designer, Rei Kawakubo, whose label Commes des Garcons is known for highly conceptual designs like this:


Yeah she had no arms outside that er, dress. 

This one on Tracy Ellis Ross had arm holes but lots of structure and bright color. 


Rihanna took Rei’s fabric circles to heart. 


Carolyn Kennedy might have taken it a step too far. 


The Met Gala is where stars dare to go different like Katy Perry’s red masked showstopper. 


Few stars talked on the carpet but that didn’t stop me from shouting “who are you wearing?!” like an old pro. 


The guest list was insane. So many huge stars! MAdonna– two feet away!


Claire Danes feeling the Rei vibe.  

JLo and ARod! 

Julianne Moore in Calvin Klein. 

An interesting view of Kendall Jenner’s revealing gown. 


It’s very common for stars to come with the designers they’re wearing. Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson were both in Stella McCartney. 

I caught Nicki Manaj chatting with Kim Kardashian. Tbe Met had PR reps up and down the carpet, whose sole jobs for 4 hours were to carry handbags and heavy dress trains. 


There were some extraordinary looks like Donatella Versace: 

Cara de Lavigne shaved her head and painted it white. She also rocked a sparkly pantsuit. 


But my favs were Blake Lively 


Gisele


And Pryanka Chopra in an extremely oversized trench coat by Ralph Lauren: 


Favorite moments? 

Talking to Reese Witherspoon about “Big Little Lies” and the importance of creating stories about women…


And when I told Diane Von Furstenberg that I was wearing a blouse designed by her and she smiled and squeezed my arm in approval. 


The hardest working crew in late night fashion edits…


If you want more, you can read my story here

That one time I covered the Oscars

My feet are mangled and numb from standing in 4-inch heels for hours, and the bags under my eyes seem to be holding extra cargo after not sleeping more than 5 hours a night for weeks. Small prices to pay for living a dream.

Last night I covered the Oscars and it was glorious.

My colleagues had warned me that awards season– as it’s known in the entertainment biz– is a killer. It snuck up on me right after the lull of the holidays. All at once, there was the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, Directors Guild, People’s Choice, and Independent Spirit Awards… leading up to the mother of all shows: the Oscars.

This was my first year in the job, and the AP does things very differently than my past workplaces, so everything from set up to staffing to production was new. I spent hours on conference calls, making complicated schedules and coverage plans, and negotiating restrictions. I worked too many late nights, and woke up often before dawn in a panic that I’d forgotten to book a fiber line connection or apply for enough credentials.

It was a stressful, exhausting few months learning the ropes and planning for awards shows I’d never attended. But I knew that the beacon at the end of the long journey was that I’d be on the Academy Awards red carpet.

I dutifully saw most of the movies nominated. I picked a dress, made an appointment at Dry Bar that Sunday morning and headed for Hollywood.

Let me just tell you people– it was a career highlight for sure and one of the most memorable nights of my life.

Seeing so many huge stars all in one place, all glammed up and mingling was the insider view I’d always dreamed about. After years of blogging about red carpets by religiously watching E!, I was living it!

The best way to share my experience is to show you the many photos I took throughout the weekend so you can get a little glimpse.

Oscars red carpet prep

Testing out the carpet– behind me are empty fan bleachers

I went to pick up my credentials and see our spot on the carpet — prime real estate right near the entrance where they take the fashion shots– between Ryan Seacrest and the E! crew and the ABC live show.

oscars-signs

The carpet was under plastic wrap to keep it clean before the big day. The whole carpet is tented and looks like a giant set with lights and press risers on one side and fan bleachers on the other.

Oscars red carpet preps 2017

There are VERY strict rules against photographing credentials so you won’t see that.

oscar-and-me

When we arrived on the carpet everyone lined up to take the obligatory photo with Oscar. How can you not?

oscars-team-ap

Here was the amazing AP Entertainment crew getting ready for the big rush of celebs. We had two producers asking questions and two cameramen for interviews and broll.

oscars-nicole-cards

Producer Nicole did research for days to develop smart, varied and personal questions for each star. She had color coded cards with subject tabs to refer to when she knew a nominee was coming up. We try to get unique, thoughtful answers by asking the right questions.

oscars-entrance

At first, just a few stars came in through a grand entrance flanked by red velvet curtains. They pose in front of the fashion cameras and then either walk down the press line, or duck behind the crowds and enter discreetly.

There are always stars who just won’t walk the carpet– Meryl Streep is one. Other nominees like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling snuck in without doing the press line. But we had plenty other nominees and presenters to interview.

oscars-john-legend

Ryan Seacrest showed up just minutes before the big stars came and had several producers and groomers surrounding him. It was common to see stars lining up to talk to him. See the cards a producer is holding to the right? That’s how he gets info for his interviews.

One of my takeaways was how beautiful many of these actors are in person. Best Actress nominee Ruth Negga was gorgeous and lovely.

oscars-ruth-negga

Negga would be on my best dressed list, along with Halle Berry, Haley Steinfeld, Jessica Biel and Taraji P Henson.

Janelle Monae oscars red carpet 2017

Janelle Monae who was there as a presenter to support both “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures” had flawless skinn and makeup… and that dress. Many of the embellished dresses that I normally would not like on TV, look so much better in person when you see the textures and detail and how they wear the dress.

Scarlett Johansson red carpet Oscars 2017

Check out Les Moonves and Julie Chen to the left

Scarlett Johanssen was another one who was luminous in person and a smart interview.

We spoke to some of my favorites like Dev Patel from “Lion”….

Dev Patel red carpet Oscars 2017

…and his co-star Sunny who doesn’t speak much English but man is he cute in a tux!

oscars-sunny

I was excited to be near Best Song nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda, who brought his proud mom.

LIn-Manuel Miranda Oscars red carpet 2017

Sting!

Sting red carpet Oscars 2017

Andrew Garfield who is charming, and not just because of his British accent.

Andrew Garfield Oscars red carpet 2017

I love director Ava Duvernay. She is so talented and speaks so beautifully and passionately about film and the need for more people of color and more females telling stories.

Ava Duvernay Oscars red carpet 2017

Nicole Kidman did not stop to talk but I watched her walk past us and her skin is like allibaster. Loved her look. She and Keith Urban seemed very connected.

Nicole Kidman Keith Urban Oscars red carpet 2017

And for more adorable couples…..um hello JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE and Jessica Biel!

Justin Timberlake Jessica Biel red carpet Oscars 2017

They don’t do many interviews so we were psyched they stopped for us. Justin was everything you’d want him to be: easy, funny, smart and playful. When they were waiting to talk to Ryan, I watched them on the carpet and they were flirty and laughing.

oscars-leslie-mann

I interviewed my favorite celebrity couple Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow and they did not disappoint. My impression before we met was funny, smart and unaffected… and they were!

We went into our production trailer to watch the show and eat dinner. I thought Kimmel was fantastic. I laughed out loud many times. The show was long but didn’t feel it to me …and who could believe that surprise ending!

oscars-gov-ball

With AP producer and Oscars expert Mike Cidoni

I was part of the Governor’s Ball red carpet press which was only a handful of crews, including Natalie Morales (whom I love) from Access Hollywood.

oscars-mahershala

The carpet is right at the entrance to the giant ballroom where Wolfgang Puck creates culinary delights and fancy champagne flows. It’s a gorgeous party with a live band, a dance floor and more roses than Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

oscars-natalie-barry

We interviewed Barry Jenkins and the boys who play the lead character in “Moonlight” about their big surprising win.

oscars-moonlight-boys

Jenkins was gracious and thoughtful and I wanted to give him a hug. (I didn’t.)

Viola Davis Governors Ball Oscars 2017

We also congratulated Viola on her win. She never disappoints with a sound bite. And what a speech.

And then– after a 13 hour marathon day fueled by adrenalin and nerves– it was over.

Awards season is full of work and stress but completely worth it. Remind me of that come December 2017!

la-hike-julie-cindy

Shout out to my LA girls who put me up and kept me sane.

oscars-me-on-carpet

 

 

 

Remembering Mary

In my current job as an entertainment news producer I report on many celebrity deaths. Mourning becomes a casualty to getting the news out quickly and getting reaction from family and fans. But when I heard Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday, I took a moment to grieve.

I was too young to watch “The Dick Van Dyke Show” when it was in its original run, but I watched reruns and always liked Mary’s spunk. Then she became a feminist icon starring in the very originally-titled “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

mary-tyler-moore

Mary Richards was one of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist, and more specifically, a TV news producer. I’m sure I’m not the only one of my sister colleagues who was inspired by her moxy and independence….her work ethic and heart.

And how about that cool apartment and enviable wardrobe? She was the first to have a giant letter “M” on the wall, and no one ever looked better in a suede vest.

She knew how to deliver a punch line with a quiet power, and how to stand back and let her quirky co-stars have their moments. She and Rhoda created a road map for female friendships, while proving you could have a successful, happy life without needing a man.

mary-tm

Thanks for that Mary.

I met Mary once, while covering the red carpet of the Tony Awards in New York in 2002. I jumped at the chance to talk to her.

She was taller than I thought she’d be and impeccably dressed in a classic black suit that was sophisticated, and age appropriate yet sexy. I asked her a bunch of questions which she answered dutifully.

mary-tyler-moore2

As we wrapped up we had an exchange that I will never forget. I asked her if she enjoyed getting dressed up for big events like the Tonys and she looked me straight in the eye and said “No, I hate it!”

I was so surprised, as she seemed so in her element. But she said she’d rather be home with her dogs. Then I said ” But you look fabulous!” and she cocked her head to the side and smiled and said, ” Well, there’s that.” And then she glided away.

That dame knew how to take a compliment!

I’ll miss Mary, and what she represented to young girls like me: Someone who was smart and capable, glamorous and self-reliant. She made many of us believe we’re gonna make it after all.

 

 

 

Holiday weekend in NY

I’m a sucker for tradition and one of my favorite parts of living where we do is being able to stumble into Manhattan and see the magic that happens every holiday season. There’s an energy and a classic holiday feeling that gets me every time.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Eli poses before seeing the Spectacular

You may know I love the department store windows and gaping at the Rockefeller Tree, despite the maddening crowds and the risk I’ll be mistaken for a cheesy tourist.

Christmas Spectacular Santa fest

Christmas Spectacular Santa fest

This year, I upped the holiday spirit by scoring tickets to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. Of course, Wilson, Jacob and Aden wanted no part in seeing the show, and had less enthusiasm for seeing the tree and windows.

Shake shack Penn Station

First holiday gift of the season? Shake shack has opened in Penn Station. 

But then there’s Eli.

Not only did he insist on getting a green and red mani Friday, he persuaded me to buy and fill Christmas stockings to open on Sunday.

New tradition? I’m in.

So my little guy and I hopped the train to NYC and drank in the spectacle that is the Christmas Spectacular.

Radio Vity Rockettes making their leggy entrance

Radio City Rockettes making their leggy entrance

Three-D rides on Santa’s sleigh, a Nutcracker ballet, skaters doing tricks on a simulated Central Park ice rink… and the fabulous Rockettes.

Radio City Rockettes doing the soldier domino drop

Radio City Rockettes doing the soldier domino drop

If I had a Christmas itch, this show scratched it.

Rockefeller Tree selfie

From there we walked past the tree on our way to Fifth Avenue– with sidewalks packed with slow moving people.

Fifth Ave and 50th NYC, Christmas Eve 2016

Fifth Ave and 50th NYC, Christmas Eve 2016

We checked out the Nutcracker themed dream sequence in the Saks windows….

Sals Fifth Ave holiday windows 2016

Saks Fifth Ave holiday windows 2016

And the twinkling lights at Tiffany’s.

Tiffanys NYC

Eli wanted to see Trump Tower after hearing about it in the news.  You can’t get close anymore– there are cops everywhere within a two block radius and you have to convince them you’re going to a store on the block to get through the lines of big guns protecting the street.

We headed to Bergdorf Goodman, which usually blows me away with detail and creativity.

Each window had a different theme. Check out the textures and styling of this symphony in green.

Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows 2016

But my prize goes to Barneys, which had three wacky avant-garde windows that made you stop and look, and think.

The most accessible one was a recreation of the cast of animated characters of “South Park,” making fun of gift giving and the retail business with funny, pointed dialog on an audio loop.

We met up withe the rest of the Scrooges in my family and drove to my brother-in-law, Jon’s East side apartment. My 7-month-old nephew Cooper may be the cutest baby on the planet.

Like good Jews, we lit the Hanukkah candles and headed out for sushi and frozen yogurt.

Sunday we took the train to MSG to see the Knicks game. Each kid got to bring a friend (Jon scored us the tickets.) Good game with an exciting ending but Santa gave the Celtics the win.

We lit candles again at home still showing Knicks pride.

And then headed over to our friends’ house down the street for an annual post-Christmas dinner drink by the cozy fire. Thanks Knutsens! 

Not exactly traditional, yet true to our  traditions. We like a little bit of Hanukkah and a little bit of Christmas. Just like the Empire State Building.

Hope yours was merry and bright too. Happy holidays to all….and to all a good night!

I survived a 7-day cleanse- part 2 (the results)

Wow! Huge response to cleanse post part one! Many of you are fascinated by the idea and/or have your own experiences to share.

Now for the results….(drumroll please)……

Did I enjoy it?   I would say I appreciated the experience. It gave me the kickstart I needed to eat and feel better, and it reeducated me on healthy food and portion control.

Would I do it again?  As I said, the chocolate-flavored shakes smelled like baby formula and tasted like cement, no matter how many different ingredients I tried in them. BUT, I know my blender was not up to the task, and I tackled the cleanse with my friend Hope and she loved the shakes, and several of you commented saying you enjoyed the shakes too so it’s really personal preference. But no, I would not do this cleanse again, and probably wouldn’t do a liquid based cleanse for 7 days again. I missed solid food! But I might try a 3-day cleanse at some point, if I needed a restart. Or I would definitely do a no sugar/dairy/gluten/alcohol/caffeine cleanse that was food based.

Can you exercise while cleansing?   My nutrition and health coach friend, Pam, advised me not to do my regular exercise routines– especially cardio–which was horrifying news for a committed yogi like me who also runs and does other activities. But your body is exerting so much energy cleansing, and you don’t have enough food to give you the necessary energy to exercise at your regular intensity, so it’s best not to overdo it. By day 3, I was getting a dull headache and a bit nauseous if I overexerted myself, so I took a break until the cleanse ended.

Clean cleanse box on carpoolcandy.com

Did I lose weight?   I lost four pounds during that week. BUT I WASN’T EATING! So although I continued to eat a gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol and caffeine free diet for the next two weeks, I was eating more and gained back two pounds right away. BUT, I was able to lose some more weight once I started exercising again and continued eating cleanly. I’d say I kept off about 5 pounds. Then I went on vacation and had some wine and indulged in sweets and all bets were off. But I know if I went back to clean eating and was conscientious about it, I could lose extra pounds. It’s all about choices.

How much does it cost?   The CLEAN cleanse cost about $195. Starving yourself aint cheap! But what I learned and the recipes in the materials they give you, plus Pam’s great advice made it worth the price for me. There was also extra money I spent on food that week. Hope and I went to Whole Foods and loaded up on vegetables, nuts, various non-dairy milk products, almond butter, and other healthy snack food, so that was probably another $150. I looked at it as an investment in healthy eating and weeks later I still have a lot of the stuff.

What were the other challenges?   For one thing, I was a total beotch to my family for the last 5 days of the cleanse (they would say I should NEVER do it again!) I didn’t feel great on days 3-5: physically weak, tired, and very cranky, but also mentally resentful of everyone who was freely eating food around me. I took it as a personal affront when my sons scarfed down a bagel for breakfast and tried to suppress evil thoughts while making them pasta for dinner.

cleanse cartoonI would also say the time it takes to plan and prepare for every meal took a toll. I had to get up earlier in the morning to make the shake, and shop for the food I needed for lunch to bring to work or wherever I was going. I had to have the right, clean ingredients for meals and be prepared to make substitutions. I know– cleanse or not– that I should be thinking about what I’ll eat at the beginning of every week and each day, but I found it mentally exhausting and a time suck. But when I don’t plan ahead, I can make poor decisions.  

At meals, I rarely felt deprived and was actually happy with my clean choices. Clean eating can be delicious. I discovered chia and flax seed, ezekiel bread, and coconut milk. I rediscovered spinach salad, hard-boiled eggs, rice cakes, nuts, and brown rice pasta. Salmon has become a once-a week meal for us., with just olive oil and dill.

Shopping at Whole Foods for a 7-day cleanse  on carpoolcandy.com

Hope shopping for veggies at Whole Foods.

–What did I learn?   I’m not always hungry when I think I am and drinking a glass of water can satiate me during the day when I’m antsy and/or bored. It’s hard to drink 64 ounces a day, but I find ice and a straw helps a lot, and pouring the 64 ounces into a pitcher that sits on your desk or counter all day is motivating.

I like an iced coffee now and then but it’s a treat I don’t need and I barely missed it. I missed caffeine as a pick-me-up in my tea at work, but I survived. No alcohol during the week was easy, and while it was a sacrifice on the weekends, it’s doable for a few weeks at a time. I started drinking more vodka and tequila, which have less sugar and carbs than wine. I’ve found some great substitutes for carbs like pasta, bread and bagels and I feel better when I avoid them. And they taste amazing when I indulge.

The most difficult for me to give up was dairy and sugar. I eat non-fat organic yogurt a few times a week with fresh fruit or in a smoothie. I love eggs and often eat them as a source of protein. I love cheese, but I’ve basically given it up for several months now and lived to tell the tale.

Shopping at Whole Foods for a 7-day cleanse  on carpoolcandy.com

–The exceptions/Food I won’t give up  Pizza! But I don’t have 2-3 slices, I try to have one and a salad now. Cookies! I’ll give up bread and pasta, but don’t take away my cookies. Chocolate! Need I explain?

Life is too short to give up eating my favorite things. It’s all in moderation, so better that I enjoy eating what I love, than feeling completely deprived and binge down the road.

I actually liked reading the cleanse pamphlet about the efficiency of clean food in our digestive system, instead of all the crap I put in there. The process forced me to examine my intake and I realized I was eating way too many carbs. I thought I was being a conscientious eater by only consuming whole wheat bread, bagels, and crackers. But I was eating too much.

I needed to look at the whole day of eating and make choices by day– not by meal — to promote better digestion. I started making substitutions for traditional carbs.. I’m not going to say it tastes the same, but I found combinations that I can live with, like sun butter on a brown rice cake and turkey meat sauce on brown rice pasta.

And I didn’t feel like I had rocks in my belly after meals. I felt lighter. While I wanted to lose wight, my goal was really to make better choices to feel better. The cleanse definitely helped me do that.

I also was reminded that although I think I’m craving food, I often need something else. It’s usually sleep, but sometimes can be something to drink or a walk around the block to get the brain juices flowing. My go-to was always to have a snack , but now I’m trying to pay attention to why I’m reaching for that cracker. Mindful eating is key.

If you’re interested in trying a cleanse, I highly recommend you work with Pam from Wholefully Aware. Not only is she knowledgable and supportive, but during the cleanse, she was practically on-call 24-7 for questions about how I was feeling, what food choices to make, and what my personal blocks were in the process.

Would you do a cleanse? Tell me why or why not in the comments.