novikov – london

novikov || 50a berkeley st., london || +44 20 7399 4330

touchdown [fancy] londontown!

this dark [yet perfectly lit for footos: foodie photos], decadent, festive, sexy venue filled with beautiful people [with british accents] & especially fresh seafood [+wifi!] deserves a proper standing ovation, so here it is:
20140714-141458.jpgles poissons, les poissons…20140714-141628.jpghee hee hee…20140714-141658.jpghoh hoh hoh…20140714-141716.jpgafter saying hello to the kitchen staff & shaking hands with the lively seafood on display, onto the real excitement – the eye candy food & beverages:20140714-142922.jpgfrom the bar area, starting with perfectly crafted espresso martinis – not overly sweet like one too many places.20140714-143538.jpgas we venture over to our table, the dining room faces the fresh seafood flown in first class from various parts of the world + the seemingly open kitchen for you to enjoy the art of cooking segregated by a glass wall so as not to ruin the scent of our carefully slathered perfumes [or colognes].20140714-144358.jpgshrimp dumpling topped with ikura.20140714-144442.jpglangoustine carpaccio – YES.20140714-144606.jpgo-toro, you’re so fatty. hotate, you’re so hot. YES.
20140714-144821.jpgikura, you’re so ballsy. YES.20140714-144956.jpg[edible?] floral drinks for the ladies. 20140714-145058.jpgcrispy fatty duck with microgreens, pomegranate, pine nuts = mixed guilty + guilt-free feelings cancel out = nonetheless, delicious.20140714-145256.jpgking crab legs cooked with superman butter.20140714-145338.jpglightly seared razor clams in a citrus sauce – YES.20140714-145439.jpgspicy sea bass in an orange sauce [think fancy orange chicken] – not my favorite but still done well.20140714-150325.jpgcrispy soft shell crab – yum.20140714-150402.jpgi changed it up to a whiskey-based drink served in bamboo for a tropical effect. for dessert, we had few more espresso martinis – they were consistently great. overall, wonderful experience! bravo novikov!

next stop: the rififi club [members only] for restaurateur arkady novikov’s newest creations. more soon!

world cup

inspiration for the finals:
20140712-135609.jpgmister italia perfecto, fabio cannavaro.20140712-135617.jpghail to the glorious dolce & gabbana ad campaign. team italia!20140712-135624.jpggo italia! oh wait they’re not involved anymore. so sad.

brazil should redeem themselves & get 3rd, germany 2nd, & argentina should take 1st & make evita proud. all the winners should do nude half-naked ad campaigns featuring their perfectly-sculpted bodies. this is what world cup is about. this is real life.

july 13 add-on: ok so brazil didn’t really redeem themselves. those cutie pie netherland boys played better & won deservingly, despite some controversial referee calls.20140713-124801.jpgbut go argentina! take home the trophy!20140713-125055.jpg

les benjamins

love notes from paris,
drums on my heart…

20140709-104726.jpgparis fashion week is here. an up & coming turkish designer brand is making waves across the borders: les benjamins. the cocktail party in le marais hosted by the lovely paula was filled with special guests & fashionistas as the new collection was unveiled.20140709-195015.jpgwhen paula & i first met @ cannes film festival, all dolled up & glowing #tbt20140710-142315.jpg20140709-195028.jpgmy favorite piece in the collection: albert einstein + miley cyrus. e=m[iley]c[yrus] squared. brilliant. 20140709-195044.jpgsister loved it too.20140710-183340.jpgcute + hyperactive dog spotted. must pick up. he went for a kiss.20140709-195103.jpgmust take photos.20140709-195349.jpgsome help from his owner.
20140710-030655.jpgme: is he neutered? [random question]
he: what? [laughs hysterically]20140710-030802.jpgfinally got the shot [after 20 tries]. meet easy, the dog.20140710-030902.jpgthanks to victor malecot at ten days in paris for our sibling photo.20140710-031017.jpgcoolest kids in town selfie: L-R yours truly, myself [in creepy shadow]; benoit, a talented jazz musician [& natural charmer]; martin the attorney; baby co, the little sister & attorney in the making.20140710-031058.jpgbaby co had harassed chased down stalked pet every single dog in sight during our monthlong eurotrip. what is one more lovable italian greyhound?20140710-031114.jpgles benjamins has an effortless chic & feel to their designs. trendy streetwear full of attitude mixed with symbolic images allow one to ponder about pop culture and its influences. the understated cool factor is here to stay.

a great celebration it was with champagne & beer flowing since it was also a glorious win for france against nigeria that day. allez les bleus!20140710-175934.jpg

osteria pastella – florence, italy

osteria pastella || via della scala, 17/r – 50123 firenze || 055 2670240

“this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!”

ciao! as i explored italy with my sister, we stumbled upon this place all on our own – no tripadvisor, no help from yelp. i was instantly drawn to the front window showcasing a sous chef making fresh rows of pasta. what can i say, i fall for appearances, thus, this new restaurant had already stolen my heart passed the first test & quickly became my favorite in florence. [plus they have wifi!] 20140706-075904.jpgpuff of joy starter.20140706-075935.jpg20140706-075955.jpgthe caprese was interestingly stacked high & executed well, tasting of mouthfuls of freshness.20140706-080018.jpgthe fresh tagliolini alle vongole was hands down the best vongole i’ve had in italy [at such a reasonable price too]. the strong but well-blended wine + the finely chopped garlic parsley as their sauce was magical – this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!20140706-080109.jpg20140706-080139.jpg20140706-080151.jpgwe went with the pio ix dessert option which was recommended by our server & it was indeed a unique delicacy. i don’t know much beyond the fact that it is named after pope ix & it was delicious. took me a lot of googling to find out exactly what that nostalgic tasting fruit was: a european gooseberry.

then as a very kind welcome to osteria pastella + florence, the [awesome] big boss presented us these following italian specimens: tasty dessert wine & [drum roll] grappa. a lot of grappa.20140706-081649.jpg20140706-081703.jpgit was a challenge we couldn’t refuse.

their usage of flavors + quality of ingredients + presentation are comparable perhaps even superior to fine dining places but without the arm-chopping fine dining prices [and snobbery]. it really shows they care about maintaining the authenticity of the cuisine with no extra side orders of bs. such a wonderful experience overall. this is a must-visit when in florence! cannot wait to return to try more from the menu.

note: on fridays, they have live jazz :D what more could you ask for? big thank you to pietro for being a wonderful human being who truly appreciates the arts all across the board – grazie & salute!
20140706-140233.jpgregrettably, i didn’t do justice for the welcoming window photo the first time around.

20140706-142157.jpgso we went back. arrivederci!

explorations

explorations, incomparable. can i ever go back?

my recent hiatus can solely be blamed on my latest travels: new york – lake como – milan – venice – florence – naples – rome – nice – london – paris. i will have amazing photos [and stories] to prove it soon, i promise. til then, arrivederci! au revoir!

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shiki beverly hills

shiki beverly hills || 410 n. canon drive, beverly hills, ca 90210 || (310) 888-0036

part of the excitement of food documentation is when you come across a new spot that has not been overdone with hundreds, thousands of reviews prior to yours [similar to claiming ownership of new territory, minus the bloodshed]. this time, it was finding shiki beverly hills, a recent addition to the greater los angeles area since april 2014, and to [restaurant] namedrop for the obsessed snobby knowledgeable foodies, the executive chef mr. shige fujimoto has done his infamous rounds [10+ years] at matsuhisa & a notable michelin starred period at asanebo. rumor has it that he is the reason the latter had earned its star 2 years in a row. well this venture was sure to be promising.

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peaceful murals of cherry blossoms. am i in tokyo or beverly hills?

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“shiki” means four seasons. the characters on the chopsticks are the type of wood used, i’m told by one of the young, adorable staff members

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the delicate cat-like plate for the sake glass

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MUST-GET: seared wagyu beef with peach. its sister appetizer is the seabass + peach. next time…

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mixed mushroom + ohba leaf soup in stone teapot. heartwarming.

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MUST-GET [especially scallop lovers]: seared scallops over marinated plum tomatoes + ohba leaf + a perfect citrusy appetizing sauce.

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toro tartare topped with caviar + wasabi soy dressing. delicious.

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MUST-GET FAVORITE: halibut + truffles + ponzu sauce + arugula flowers = LOVE.

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if you love it, take 2 photos of it. then eat it all! :D

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miso black cod – a standard dish at many places. fish was delicious.

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grilled octopus + tomatoes + onions. not usually a fan of octopus [because i think of ursula] but this was very tasty. the tomatoes were flash fried and its texture turned into a happy mystery.

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what ursula became after king triton banished her.

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stewed wagyu beef + shishito peppers. FATTY. TENDER. GREAT.

surprises do happen: 5 of the staff surrounded me with this glorious plate, singing the happy birthday song to me. no, i was not embarrassed.

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a wonderful array of desserts for my belated birthday celebration: 1) vanilla ice cream + fresh berries // 2) passion fruit gelée + panna cotta // 3) blood orange gelée. the combo of the 3 was perfectly sized & not too heavy for the weight watchers. the palette was happy.

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happy [late] birthday to me.

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yes, it’s time for the bathroom selfie check. did i stuff myself, check. but can i still take a decent photo, check.

visit shiki beverly hills for a sophisticated but relaxed & proper japanese dining experience to impress a foodie friend with something brand new & awesome. friendship/courtship points will be given for sure. attire is business casual and the lighting is actually pretty bright [like soto ny] + perfect for food photographing without the obnoxious flash chatting with my dear friend about the details of her upcoming wedding in lake como! can’t wait to share that experience with you soon. til then, let me know what you think of shiki so i can relive my experience there! じゃあね!

animal.

animal || 435 north fairfax avenue, los angeles, ca 90036 || 323-782-9225

me: if you were to be a dinosaur, which would you be and why? i’d be pterodactyl so i can fly + oversee everything.

he: i think you’d be t-rex.

me: …cuz i can be such a man meat-eating heartless [queen] b*tch?

he: cuz when the bill comes, your arms are so short, you can’t reach the bill.

returning from such a long hiatus, you’d think i’d have some animal cooler than a llama to post [does that exist?], but no, just food. from the restaurant, animal, where males and females are [wom]animals, the omnivores that we were created to be. it’s a “thing” ya know. first walking in, it’s a dimly lit, casual cool setting with a lot of tables full of animals feasting on their latest kill, sniffing their next bambi-esque victim made of wood, very reminiscent of new york, [or am i just missing it?] especially traif, except minus the foie gras. here goes:

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starting from a semi-blank slate

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resembles classic barf but the best gnocchi i’ve had as of late: ricotta gnocchi + 6-hour bolognese. i had one piece & i already felt full. so rich.

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hamachi tostada – one of my favorites not just because it was raw + light + refreshing but probably because it was raw + light + refreshing with an asian flair to it.

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veal brains. i tried it. it’s like other animal brains. brains will be brains. #hannibal

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uni dish. almost like a greek salad, but with uni.

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spicy beef tendon chips w/charred onion pho dip – this dip was phenomenal. all the flavors of vietnam in a dip.

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chicken liver toast – as great as everyone hypes it up to be. the additional concentrated caramelized onion on top was a happy surprise.

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crispy pig head. wasn’t too crazy bout this. i was looking for a fattier texture in the meat.

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“toad in a hole” basically duck egg, truffle, english pea, french ham, gruyere. more like a brunch piece.

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poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar. basically fancy chili cheese fries.

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roasted bone marrow with chimichurri sauce. great, but FAT, but great. bone marrows are easy to make, but this sauce really did it for me.

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help. i want to tap out already. but notice their dinner napkins with a buttonhole. can be attached as your baby bib, or to your fancy cuff links.

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fried rabbit legs. couldn’t touch this. i don’t eat adorable little bunnies anymore – i made a promise.

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crispy broccoli [yay, something else healthy!] slathered in pancetta vinaigrette that tasted of butter sauce, soft egg, & parmesan

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yellowtail collar, jerk spices, watermelon radish, citrus, palm sugar. this was another light + refreshing dish with an asian flair done well.

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fried chicken wings.

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melted p’tit basque & chorizo. i couldn’t touch it.

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if “flirt with me & love me” were to ever be translated into a dessert, it’d be this LOVELY one: blueberry, frozen brown butter crumble, yogurt, bay leaf ice cream topped with purple edible flowers.

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interesting [but not a fave] dessert: meyer lemon sherbet, frozen citrus, white chocolate, malted milk

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this photo doesn’t do justice to my other favorite dessert: cheesecake pudding, passionfruit, seascape strawberries, graham. perfectly balanced so it’s surprisingly not heavy at all.

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errrthang on the menu, almost, except a few.

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warning: beer & wines only – no hard liquor. the scotch enthusiast at our table [me] was quite disappointed. but i did enjoy the last bottle of the rosé we chose.

i was shocked to have eaten so much cooked, hearty food that by the end, i felt i had transformed into the beast. a heavy yet exciting journey this was!

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…so then the beast roamed the streets of los angeles, ripping apart palm trees and claiming bentleys.

llama cop premiere

a llama always has a smile on his face, and it’s infectious.

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on april 1st, the biggest, coolest april fool’s nationwide was having a real llama walk through the velvet ropes of new hollywood hotspot bootsy bellows [compared to the likes of the box in new york] named after co-owner david arquette’s mother’s burlesque stage name. the premiere for the new starz digital web series, llama cop has finally arrived with a big bang in the club, a debut on tmz, and a notice from the public health department threatening to shut it down [or give it a silly slap on the wrist, but either way, marketing genius for the show + club worldwide]. exclusive evidence that this was real life & that alcohol was served within the club premises with a live llama follows:

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someone went crazy with the champagne selfies. it’s not everyday a llama walks into the bar…and i’ve met him before…

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with the 2 starz of the show, como t. llama [in a tux] and walter masterson [where's yours?!]

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walter giving us a pre-screening speech, and como t. llama giving me the llove stare.

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3 men & a llama…in a photobooth

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pose, pose. who needs a red carpet when you can have a llama cop?

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como t. llama was not ready to leave the club after the premiere… *smirk*

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instead of smothering faces with a hot groupie at the premiere, he just wanted some hay. that’s a classy llama.

for more photos of the llama star & his friends [dalai llama, barack o' llama, pajama llama, drama llama] back in his fancy shangri-llama ranch before he was splashed all over tmz, now famed like serge [the llama kidnapped by those silly drunk brilliant kids from a zoo & brought around for a fun night out], visit the la la llama post here from their wrap party, without the silly harness [like he would ever bite c'mon. he only spits]. otherwise, enjoy their trailer & show! congrats guys!

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nantucket island.

“whenever you feel off, just roll up into fetal position and everything will be fine.”

photo (3)

wolfie.

during the wtf ridiculously, abnormally cold & gloomy winter days [why am i complaining whilst my warmish stay in la], it’s always wonderful to recount the warmer days: nantucket in the summer. i had been pre-warned that i’d be a fish out of water, but nbd [are those bees or wasps?]. kind of reminded me of private christian school. i had a little nantucket 101 on the old money vs. new money on the island. so opulent. so gatsby. where’s daisy and what about love?

here are some love[ly] visuals:

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jfk-ack. aerial view of the island.

entrance to steps beach. there is a long path of steps between a lot of green before you reach the beach. pretty magical.

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hat from lids in causeway bay hong kong, sunglasses by ksubi, cover-up by victoria’s secret

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little house on the prairie?

steps beach had their beautiful collection of a million seashells, even in the waters, which proved to be quite dangerous when wrestling boys waves. regrettably, i didn’t take any boys shells for souvenir.

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fourth of july weekend.

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this admittedly was relaxing to be away from big city lights & loud obnoxious noises.

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with this peaceful silence of only waves crashing, you almost want to think about marriage & babies…and then i turned on loud music from my spotify

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you can retire here.

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passing through the wharf & CRU, with my favorite convertible clutch by liucia

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brunching at straight wharf restaurant, with my favorite scotch on the rocks + must-have iced coffee in the morning

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3′s a crowd of eggs benedict on a bed of arugula + sourdough toast. delicious.

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madaket beach. when light meets water.

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walking waves, in my favorite one piece swimmer by camilla and marc

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hong kong meets nantucket

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sebastian, is that you?

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mandatory selfie before missing the fireworks

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heading to dinner in my favorite b&w dress by bcbgmaxazria

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oran mor bistro

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foie gras 3 ways: terrine, torchon, & seared. delicious!

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as if i didn’t have enough duck, i had more deliciously seared duck. mid-dinner, the lobster face across from me turned into a duck as well.

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festive fourth of july themed at the infamous pearl restaurant & lounge. their award-winning passionfruit cosmo was fantastic.

we just missed robert deniro & drew barrymore. what’s even cooler is that john kerry was in town for the weekend, not too far away.

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all of the lights

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i found nirvana. and brett.

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goodbye nantucket! til the next time.

oscars 2014 – fame & philanthropy charity gala

everybody comes to hollywood
they wanna make it in the neighborhood
they like the smell of it in hollywood
how could it hurt you when it looks so good?

part of the excitement of the oscars is the fashion and afterparties – i was grateful to be invited to the fame & philanthropy charity gala. all i knew was that it was hosted by james cameron [yes!]. what a happy surprise to know that charlize theron was also going to make an appearance [love her work, ever since devil's advocate #girlcrush] as well as halle berry and many of the greats.

as we ubered our way up the fancy bumper-to-bumper hills of beverly past the peaceful green vineyard and onto the tower road estate where the gala occurred, we passed the red carpet, the quick way.

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photo of the chaos

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the beautiful grand entrance to the main ballroom

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james cameron making his inspirational speech

whether it is giving a physical helping hand, or in financial ways, or motivational speeches, or the power of the voice, social media or whatnot – whatever way you can afford to give – it is infectious and it is wonderful. i recommend it. now back to the festivities.

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i found scotch, or scotch found me. our table had mostly vodka + muscat so we did some exploring.

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selfie of the evening #nofilter, just the lighting from the evening’s color scheme.

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ran into bff ex-colleague paris hilton [we worked together on mtv show] looking gorgeous in a sparkly golden dress. her table in the ballroom was right next to ours & yet too many ppl surrounded her so i opt out of stepping over others and ripping dresses trying to say hello

bandits1

#tbt press event with paris hilton in malibu, when i was blondie

tvinterview

#tbt interview/show day in new york for tv guide and tyra show

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our table looked elegant [initially] but this was the mess toward the end

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lighting. along the theme of virgin america flights.

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a great sparkly non-selfie photo. #youcantsitwithus especially if you’re creepy!

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stafford brothers go time!

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lighting fixture or purple matrix?

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the magazine of the evening

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great speech by james cameron

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ne-yo performs!

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dj paris hilton is on!

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lights, camera, action. i counted 44.

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walk of fame, not walk of shame. [wit credit: lmo. photo credit: cute valet boy]

so it was a pleasant evening filled with the beautiful, the brave, the generous [$100k vip tables], the creatives, meeting new friends and running into old ones. but all good things come to an end, and here i waited for my valet on the sunset strip in west hollywood [with the majestic columned stairwell of my favorite japanese restaurant katana in the backdrop]. keepin it classy, even the day after. til the next black tie!

i lost my memory in hollywood
i’ve had a million visions, bad and good
there’s something in the air in hollywood
i tried to leave it but i never could

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