Robert Verdi’s The Future of Fashion Retreat

Celebrity Stylist Extraordinaire, Red Carpet Aficionado and now host of his own show, The Robert Verdi Show Starring Robert Verdi hosted his third The Future of Fashion Retreat for the fashion elite to relax and unwind in between the mad dashes to shows. We, lucky few, were treated to “Blowouts from PHYTO’s professional hair stylist, Manicures from Ginger+Liz, Make-up touch ups from Jouer Cosmetics (all were too busy so I never got a chance to enjoy), New ABSOLUT Berri Acai cocktails, Healthy lunches & recovery kits from Blue Print Cleanse, SmartWater & the new VitaminWater Zero, Aluminum bottles from Coca-Cola, Rock & Republic Jeans (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), ShatoBu Shapewear Bar (heaven), Vans custom shoe station (I never got a chance to try it out), Shades from Carrera (I never got to check these out either) and one-on-one fittings to find your perfect bra size from Maidenform” and a few more treats.

Before I go into detail on my gifting experience, let’s find out a bit more on this amazing retreat (and a few other tidbits) from the man who created it – Robert Verdi. Although I didn’t get to experience every aspect, Robert Verdi does go into great detail the brands featured in his retreat.

Now, my first stop was to Popcorn, Indiana. I must say that Kettle Corn is my favorite and as you can see below, there was plenty of it to enjoy.

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I then ventured to the private boudoir to get fitted for my perfect bra size by Maidenform thanks to Nicole. I found out some very interesting things including the fact that I have to get rid of most of the bras I own as they are the wrong size.

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I was introduced to a new bra guaranteed to give you two cup sizes instantly – as many of you may know that is something I don’t need so Nicole introduced me to the custom fit bra. I asked her the one question that all women should know the answer but don’t – because I didn’t

My next stop was to sample the fantastic and healthy food and drinks from BPC (Blue Print Cleanse). I loved the Spicy Lemonade and Cashew Milk from BPC and the amazing cocktail made with Absolut Berri Acai (a delicious combination of Acai, Blueberry, and Pomegranate)

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Then it was off to the Rock & Republic Denim bar to find a new pair of favorite jeans. Rock & Republic is a luxurious denim brand who makes “must have” jeans and has recently branched out into the Cosmetics market to join their handbag and accessories lines.

 

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My favorite were these embellished skinny jeans (UPDATE: the jeans are called F#@k Me B#@!H)

 

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Then I was introduced to what could possibly be my new best friend – The ShāToBu™ Shaper, the workout you wear. ShāToBu™ burns up to 12% more daily calorie- that is my type of workout. “Designed to be worn all day, every day, ShāToBu™ offers enough resistance in the bands to provide a significant toning and burning effect”. I welcome the challenge to these thighs of mine.

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And although I didn’t get to personally try out the Carrera Sunglasses which has been around since 1956 and has made quite a comeback thanks in part to Lady Gaga and other celebs, in my interview with Robert Verdi, he does talk about them and I do have a photo (thanks to a friend).

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What do you think of the items we saw at the Robert Verdi’s The Future of Fashion Retreat? Any favorites you’ll be keeping an eye out for?

Community Coffee’s Rich Taste of Louisiana

I grew up in a house and family where coffee was king, no matter what the occasion. death – out comes the coffee, Wedding – there must be a few after ceremony cups, Christmas season – coffee was always ready for carolers. Like I said, coffee was boss. And in those days of my youth, the words “instant coffee” was very much frowned upon – coffee was made on way and one way only – fresh roasted coffee beans were grounded and brewed, if you wanted instant, well go to someone else’s house. This was a place for Percolators, preferably stovetop (these have since transformed to coffee machines, espresso machines, etc, but a few are still around today). They generally looked something like this (of course this one is more refined than what I remember from childhood)

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Although I have since been captured by the Starbucks machine but my mother has never been impressed with designer coffee mixtures – she still loves her ground coffee and roasted coffee beans. She even has a vintage percolator, a coffee grinder and several coffee machines (backup in case one breaks I guess)- the woman loves her coffee. I usually can’t help myself and always pick up coffee I think my mom will enjoy. On her most recent weekend visit to NYC, I introduced her to Community Coffee. I should say I showed her the coffee I got from Community Coffee, which was the Rich Taste of Louisiana Coffee Sampler

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I had to pull my hands back very quickly or risk missing a few appendages. After the oohs, a very faint “you shouldn’t have” and he sound of the package being ripped opened I thought to myself – should I tell her that I was just showing her the coffees and it wasn’t a gift for her? My answer was of course no after I saw the intense salivating going on in front of me let me know this coffee was never meant to be mine – so this will be a review of Community Coffee through my mother’s eyes or rather her taste buds (yes, my mom proceeded to give me details on how much she liked or loved each flavor) – sweet, isn’t she?

A little bit about these coffees – First, Community Coffee is Louisiana-based, family-owned company and has been around since 1919. The Rich Taste of Louisiana Coffee Sampler comes with four 12oz bags of coffee beans – Evangeline Blend™, Louisiana Blend™ (Medium Dark), French Quarter Fusion™ and Crescent City Blend®. The four 12oz bags cost only $34.99 and each bag cost a very, very low $7.99. One thing I noticed from the time I got the coffee, even though the package was sealed, the aroma was very present from the coffee, at first I thought one package might be ripped but turns out each bag has a little valve (known as nitrogen-flush containers)which allows the you to enjoy the amazing aromas. “The valve keeps oxygen from entering the bag and causing the coffee to lose freshness. This also keeps the bag from opening prematurely due to excessive pressure.” This little valve was the coolest thing to my mom, she kept on poking the bag so more of the coffee aromas came out (told you she loves her coffee). Anyway, out came the coffee grinder, filters, etc. We went through each bag and here are the findings

Crescent City Blend (Medium-Dark Roast) – mom thought this was a gentle and mild coffee, it smelled and tasted a bit sweet, was smooth and had no after taste. A great start to this little tasting adventure (and some quality mom and daughter time)

Louisiana Blend (Medium-Dark Roast) – this blend had a nutty aroma and taste; it was bold and rich, very srong. It didn’t smell nor taste sweet (even though this is medium-dark roast like Crescent City, they are quite different)

Evangeline Blend (Dark Roast)- heaven…this ultra smooth blend was mom’s favorite. She said it reminder her of coffees from the Caribbean/Latin America. It’s not as bold as the Louisiana Blend but was the perfect combination of sweet and richness.

French Quarter Fusion (Medium Roast) – this blend had a strong and bitter taste, it was my mom’s least favorite (she still finished it though). She doesn’t add milk to her coffee, but she said she would with this blend.

So there you have it, great coffee at a refreshingly low cost and this is coming from a coffee addict. The weekend visit ended with my mother taking “her” coffee back with her – as I said, the coffee was never mine. I think next time I’ll go for tea instead, she doesn’t drink it as much.

Before I end this, I must let you know some of the other cool things Community Coffee offers, such as a Mardi Gras Giftset (complete with mardi gras designed Tumbler and beads)

or maybe you’re in the mood for some of Marguerite’s King Cakes, which comes in Cinnamon (shown below), Cajun Praline or Cheesecake) – yum

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Fashion Night Out sponsored by Vogue

Let me start by saying, I wish this event was at least two days or more (And preferably prior to Fashion Week) because there is no way to hit more than three places in one night but we attempted to anyway.

We (Dave, Zia, Kim, our new photog friend, Brittany and I) foolishly thought we would be able to do this (Kim and I even had a charity event to attend that same night). Anyway, Dave, Zia and I started off at Movado (they started at 5pm while everyone else started at either 6pm or 8pm), stayed for a while, drank champagne, grabbed our giftbag and then headed to Gucci. We arrived to find a concert-length line (we should have skipped Movado); the first 200 people or so got the official Fashion Night Out t-shirt for free. Needless to say, we didn’t get the shirt, there were still about 20 people ahead of us when they ran out but we went in anyway to enjoy a few cocktails and drool over the accessories. We left 10 minutes later and headed to Bergdorf Goodman where most of the action was. On our way in, Zac Posen was rushing out the door (wearing a tiara) after painting one-of-a-kind dresses and we headed into the madness that awaited us. In the middle of a very large crowd (mob) were designers, Badgley Mischka signing fashion night out t-shirts.

With the help of heels, a long reach and a damn good camera, I got these photos and the video following




Of course they were only signing t-shirts purchased at Bergdorf so we attempted to do just that, with no luck. After several minutes, we decided to try to head to the 7th floor where Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen were guest bartenders but it seemed the madness found it’s way there too and we gave up and decided to try another store. To our surprise, on our way down via the escalators, i turned around to say something to my crew and who do I see riding on the escalator directly behind them? The queen of Vogue herself, Madame Anna Wintour

After excitedly taking a few photos (because she was actually smiling and waving to us), we remained in awe for a few more minutes then proceeded to escape the crowd. It was here we separated – Kim, Zia and I headed to the charity event which was attended by Housewives of NYC’s Alex McCord and Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz and Mark Indelicato. We then hit up BCBG where we received a free BCBG t-shirt and enjoyed drinks (although by this point water was all we wanted), then flew down to the meatpacking district for the finsl hour of Fashion Night Out. Dave and Brittany attempted to run into Pharrell at his store (no luck – too crowded).

Shigoto Fashion Launch Event

On a dry but humid day, Dave, Kim, Natasha and I ventured downtown to attend the Shigoto Fashion Launch Event at Ninja New York Restaurant.

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Shigoto Fashion is a Japanese Streetwear clothing company consisting of Tabi Boots (split toe boots), Tobi Pants (Japanese construction workers’ baggy pants), Teko Wristbands, T-shirts, and other accessories all inspired by the old Samurai era.

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Founded by Jasper Momma (here he is holding alcohol sponsor, TY-KU’s Junmai Ginjo Sake with one of his models)

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Shigoto’s mission is to bring this innovative Japanese street style to the world and they begin with this first US show.

Right before the show, we dined on some of Ninja’s delectable Ancient Short Rib and got a surprise when we noticed Kwame Jackson, runner-up from Season 1 of The Apprentice

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I asked what he was up to now and he told me he had an accessory line called Krimson by Kwame. Anyway, although I didn’t get a chance to speak to the designer, I did get a photo (see above) and of course each model was stationed in the various alcoved rooms at Ninja Restaurant, which allowed us to take photos. After I got my photos, we each grabbed our gift bag and headed on our way.

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LAUNCH OF ABSOLUT MANGO

 Oh boy, oh boy, although it’s cold outside, I was enjoying that sunset view all night at the launch of Absolut’s newest flavor – MANGO!! Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the Absolut Mango Launch Party. This event was thrown by Us Weekly and Rolling Stone, although sad to say there were no issues of either. They turned the ground space at 122 W 26th street into a Mango Grove (yep, trees and all).

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I met up with Dave and we headed over to the event, Kim was on her way, Marisol was stuck at work and never made it, Mr. Popular, Alex double booked himself and we don’t know what happened to Patty. Anyway, as soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a woman peeling fresh mangoes on a stick which were made available to anyone who wanted.

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I LUVVVVVVVV Mangoes, so I immediately grabbed one, Dave passed and we headed for the bar, on my way I decided to get some decor photos. There were mangoes everywhere and I mean everywhere.

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According to the Absolut website, “The main ingredients in ABSOLUT MANGO are ABSOLUT VODKA and mango flavor. ABSOLUT VODKA is made from water and winter wheat. The water comes from a deep well in Åhus where it’s protected from impurities. The winter wheat is also grown in Åhus and differs from other crops: it’s sown one fall and harvested the next one. Days in between it grows under the Swedish snow developing its’ hard grain. Also, the use of fertilizers is minimized. Of course, the mangos are as natural as the rest of the ingredients”

We made our way to the bar and it seems there were three choices tonight, I decided to start with the Absolut Mango Spice and Dave went with the Absolut Mango Cooler.

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Naturally I took some photos while we were waiting for our first round of drinks (did I mention that we tried all of the drinks that night)

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Hope you guys could feel the vibe of the event through some photos of the DJ Johnny Dynell and the great crowd

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I ended up having 4 or so drinks, Kim barely had one and Dave had more than me (I’ll just keep it at that). It was a great night and a fantastic event. On our way out, we each took 2 mangoes to take home (I later heard someone took 8).

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy+Coffee

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As if we New Yorkers needed something else to get us up and moving, Starbucks in now in the Energy drink business. And what better way to have your boost of energy than with coffee? I guess if an espresso doesn’t do anything for you anymore, try a Starbucks Doubleshot Energy+Coffee.

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The Starbucks Doubleshot Energy+Coffee comes in four flavors:

Coffee
Vanilla
Mocha
and the new flavor, Cinnamon Dulce

Now, I’m not really a coffee drinker (ok, not at all…they’ll win me over with some free Tazo Chai Tea – HINT, HINT) but I know quite a few coffee addicts who would pay me top dollar for this, including my lovely mum). Anyway, the package also contained a disk with information on these new energy coffee drinks which is surprisingly quite detailed. Check them out below (click on image for larger view)

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But the best thing, which I may give to my mum or keep it for myself is the beverage warmer/cooler (see photo of beverages above). You can keep your hot drinks from 50-60 degrees and your refrigerated drinks at 12 degrees, it’s small as you can see and can be used at work and home. the amazing part is it’s powered via USB port. Yes, your computer can keep your coffee warm and your soda/juice, etc cold (imagine how many trips to the microwave and fridge you save daily).

So you coffee fanatics (who don’t get these from me), go out and try this and get back to me. The Cinnamon Dulce is available in grocery and convenience stores as of February. Happy drinking!

The Bacardi Flavor Exchange

After the Siwy Jean Event, I wasn’t sure I wanted to attend the Bacardi event because The Shop was located way downtown on Orchard Street and the Bacardi event was at Body Restaurant & Lounge in Harlem, 135th & 12th Ave to be exact (for some reason, their website is not available yet). Not only was it way uptown but if you had to take the train, as I being vehicularly-challenged had to, you had to 1 train to 137th Street & City College, then walk down some very, very dark stairs on 136th Street to get to 12th Ave. I swear you need Vin Deisel’s eyes from Pitch Black to navigate those stairs, luckily my cell did a pretty good job of being a flashlight. I was meeting Zia* and Alexandra* at Body (my cousin went back home to get ready for a night out with a friend and her friends. They were supposed to meet me at the Bacardi event which didn’t happen – too long a story).
Zia*, Alexandra* and I arrived at Body around the same time. There was a line but it moved very quickly, we were inside in less than 10 minutes but not before signing a release for possibly being filmed. Anyway, as you enter, you are greeted with a full crowd and lots of Bacardi branded decor (of course)






Body has two floors, the first was themed after Brazil and the Bacardi flavor for this floor was Bacardi Limon

This introduced guests to Latin music all night (although it was really spanish hip hop and reggaeton – I was expecting at least a little Brazilian music but not so much). And althought we were expecting allLAtin music, the DJ spun a lot of regular hip hop – I was enjoying myself so I wasn’t complaining). The only Brazilian music we heard was when the Brazilian Carnival Dancers came out



They performed first as a group, then each danced individually and back as a group to pull guests on the dance floor to create a conga line (they performed twice while we were there).





At this point, more people started coming in, so many that I heard they stopped letting any more people in, which sucked because my friend, Michael, whose birthday it was today, was stuck on the line. I’m not shocked that it was so crowded though, I mean Bacardi open bar all night and hors d’oeurves (although I never got to see any upclose).

While the first floor was Brazil, the second was themed after Monte Carlo. The girls and I went upstairs for only mere seconds because it was way too crowded. There was gambling (I saw a Black Jack table) and the flavors for upstairs were Bacardi Razzberry and I think Bacardi Orange as well but as I said it was way too crowded and we never even made it to the middle of the room. The music was all hip hop though. Anyway, back downstairs we go and luckily we got some seats, so we put our bags down and danced a bit.

It was then that I saw a blast from the past in the form of a t-shirt, specifically a logo on a t-shirt.

As you can see in the above photo, this guy was wearing a Moshood t-shirt. Moshppd is an African designer that owns a boutique on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. I worked for him for two years while in college. I was introduced to this line as a model in one of his fashion shows – the casting line was always long and usually wrapped around the block. The day I went to pick up my payment for participating in the show ($200 cash and a garment), he offered me a job because the person who was working that day was alone and I was helping her. I started that very same day. Interesting times.

*Some names have been changed to protect the permanently shy and those possibly under witness protection