Prince Announces Welcome 2 America Tour

On a very rainy night, I ran up to Harlem for a Press Conference by Mega Icon, Prince. As I ran up to the Apollo Theater, I had no idea what the Press Conference was about as the invitation only stated: “Superstar Prince to make Exclusive Announcement”. The Press conference was supposed to start at 6pm, so I had limited time to sprint up there (luckily it actually started after 6pm, so I had a few minutes to get settled in). While waiting for it to start, we were treated to music from Prince’s album and I couldn’t hep but notice Prince’s name illuminated on the ceiling on one side and Welcome 2 America on the other. After several minutes of listening to some awesome Prince music, the curtain arose to reveal this poster

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Seconds later, Steven Hill, Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Music Programing at BET Networks arrived on stage to introduce the superstar. He gave a riveting and enthusiastic homage to the icon. See the video below

Now on to some tragedy, I did have the full video of Prince himself announcing his tour and the other performers who are joining him on the tour but of course, my computer decided to crash at the same time I was downloading the video….sigh. So instead you must settle for only a photo of the Purple one on stage

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As for the tour, he coyly proclaimed “We’re here in New York to announce a series of events that will begin on a purple day in December 2010” and listed the following friends that will be included on the tour such as Mint Condition, Janelle Monae, Sheila E., Cassandra Wilson, Maceo Parker, Lalah Hathaway, Esperanza Spalding and Sinbad. My favorite moment of the of the evening was when Prince told the audience – “Bring your friends, bring your children,” he said, “and bring foot spray because it’s going to be funky.”

Another highlight was the announcement that Prince will auction off this gold-plated Fender guitar

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after the run of live shows, with the proceeds benefiting the economic recovery group Harlem Empowerment Zone. After the press conference, we were treated to Prince’s DVD from his London concert series called 21 Nights in London. The DVD included scenes from his concerts and interviews with fans including Naomi Campbell, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Elton John, etc. See below for an excerpt.

COVERGIRL for LeSportsac Launch Party

LeSportsac recently held a celebration for the launch of the limited edition COVERGIRL for LeSportSac cosmetic bags, designed in collaboration with legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath at the LeSportsac Soho Flagship Store

The yellow and black bag collection, inspired by Covergirl’s LashBlast Length Mascara, features two bags, PAT (single zipper) and PAGE (double zipper), which retail for $28 and $62 respectively

As you can see they make a great addiction to the existing LeSportSac collection; both will be available at LeSportSac.com (the PAT is available online now, the PAGE is coming soon).

I’m looking forward to more being added to this collection soon.

ShāToBu™ – The Workout You Wear

You may remember that I first mentioned (and discovered) ShāToBu in my post on the Robert Verdi Suite from this past season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Click HERE for a refresher. Anyway, while attending the CurveNY Show, which is a trade show held at the Jacobs Javits Center for lingerie, shapewear, etc. I decided to begin trying out my pair of ShāToBu™ (you’ve heard me discuss my thighs over and over again, and walking the trade show is a great workout). I was happily surprised to run into their booth at CurveNY.

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But it turns out I surprised them when I was asked by the creator, Dr. Denise Perron, if I was familiar with ShāToBu™, I told them not only did I find out all about it at the Robert Verdi Suite but I was actually wearing a pair right now (yes I showed them) and how much I loved them (I really do). Many people who wear shapewear and the few complaints you hear the most are “they’re not comfortable, can’t breathe, bulging, visible lines through your clothes, too hot, etc” – well, I haven’t experienced any of that. In fact, I tend to forget that I am wearing the Waist to Knee Shape. Directly below is the High Waist to Knee Shaper which gives you a more enhanced hourglass look

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ShāToBu – The Workout You Wear™ – is the revolutionary shaper that helps women shape, tone and burn more calories during everyday activities. It burns up to 12% more daily calories while helping you maintain a sleek, smooth silhouette in today’s fashions.
The benefits go beyond ordinary shapewear – ShaToBu instantly gives a sleeker silhouette, but women can also see and feel a difference in their bodies with regular use over time. By incorporating resistance bands right into the garment, muscles work a little harder and more calories are burned during daily activities.
ShaToBu helps women fit a workout into their normal day while looking and feeling great.

It was a wonderful experience visiting the ShāToBu booth and I enjoyed meeting Dr. Denise Perron

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Find out all the technical details of the magic of ShāToBu in their video below

 

video courtesy of  ShāToBu™

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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Handbag Butler at NYIGF

As I mentioned in my post on the NYIGF, there were companies from around the world showcasing their products. I had the pleasure of getting to know a few like Handbag Butler of Australia. Handbag Butler is a chic, foldable hanger that can be attached to a tabletop to keep you handbag out of harm’s way. (like a dirty floor) Launched in Australia in October 2008, the Handbag Butler has given women the freedom to dine in style without putting their purse in peril.

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Handbag Butler comes in 25 unique styles in three very elegant collections – Printed Collection, Sparkle Collection and Crystal Collection (click on each Handbag Butler to see a more detailed view). I love the elegant beauty of the Printed Collection, the Swirl, the Butterfly and Tinker being my favs in this collection. They are so feminine and ornate. My other favorite is from the dazzling Sparkle Collection, which is so opulent; in fact it is from this collection that I found my own Handbag Butler – The Rose Petal

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Now I know there are a few people in the market with this must have accessory but Handbag Butler stood out to me, not just because of their designs and beauty but their packaging as well. I ask, what do you do with your Handbag Butler when it’s not in use? Just put it in it’s little holder which is so adorable. And that holder comes in an intricately decorated – utterly adorable

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Unfortunately, Handbag Butler isn’t available in US Stores as yet (I’m sure that will change soon after showing at the NYIGF) but you are able to order via their website. The Printed and Crystal Collections retail for $24.95 USD each and the Sparkle Collection retails for $29.95 USD. Funny thing, I’ve seen less beautiful pieces for much more. Trust me, go with the Handbag Butler.

As before, I got a chance to speak with the owner – Ana Slavka

****UPDATE – In approx 5 weeks, Handbag Butler will be available in about 20 shops in the US. For now it is available at “Lee’s Art Shop”, located at 220 West 57th Street . Happy Shopping.