PBS and Chris Mann – Perfect Pairing

Published on Monday, November 12th, 2012

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Y’all know my history with Chris Mann, and you know how much I love PBS, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I got the invitation from Barbara at One2One Network to attend the taping of his upcoming PBS Special! I went to Sony last night and watched and listened to him BRING IT for four hours, and I can assure you the special will be something…special. I thought this about Chris since the first night I heard him play and am so happy to see all the great things that have happened since then – that he’s in the skilled hands of the production people at PBS is also very reassuring. I know that they’ll “get” him and create a wonderful program with all his hard work. His voice is in top condition, and every note her delivers is rich and clear. My favorite songs he performed? Cuts from his new album Roads: My Way ( Frank Sinatra and his grandad would be proud), and Cuore (it really doesn’t matter if you know what he’s saying, just close your eyes and listen). After seeing this special you will also want to add his Christmas album to your permanent collection – his version “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” is just amazing.

Here we are together after the show – I got to give him a hug and tell him how happy I am for all he’s achieved since that night at Genghis Cohen


When I LOVE to say “I told you so” – Chris Mann kills it on “The Voice”

Published on Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Remember my post last year about my “date” with Chris Mann? I sat with four people at Genghis Cohen and he played his heart out for us, even though we were such a small group. I am so happy that I got to know him now, because he is now on the road to superstardom. A HUGE congrats, much fan love, many hugs and kisses to the guy I knew would be a star – you deserve it!


My “date” with Chris Mann!

Published on Thursday, April 15th, 2010

See the whole broadcast!

As I mentioned in my previous post, My Perfect Husband and the Critter had boys’ night last night so Mom could go check out this Chris Mann person as the final event of the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Block Party ’10. Immediate reactions? He is disarmingly charming, smolderingly handsome, and seriously talented. I was thrilled to be able to sit about two feet from him while he performed a live stream concert for the blogosphere – and he can really work those tunes. He clearly is a person who embodies craft – the music and rhythm flow naturally from him, as easily as his conversation. I think if he didn’t have the keyboard and the tracks it wouldn’t matter – he could just snap his fingers along with that voice and we’d love to listen.

Over dinner after the show Chris and I discovered that we attend the same church (when I attend, that is), and that he went to Vanderbilt and that he lives in a Melrose Place type apartment building with lots of the young creative types supporting one another. He says he’s not much of a clubber, but he has his two gal pals to clue him in when it’s cool. All you Glee fans, get ready, Chris is coming – watch out!

Thanks so much Chris, for sharing this with me, and thanks to Barbara of One2One and 5 Minutes for Mom Network for sponsoring such a cool event!


Minds Blown Over New “Palessi” Shoe Event

Published on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Some days I have to drag out the old blog and give her a ride around the block. Today I’ve been shocked out of designing fabrics, writing and painting to weigh in on this story. As a blogger who has been privileged to receive invitations to amazing experiences and behind the scenes events, I’ve got some insights on this whole influencer thing. This particular public relations occurrence has been a hot topic today, blowing minds throughout fashion, public relations, social media, and all the adjacent professions that cause sales to happen.

Now that I’ve regained consciousness from the shock of how telling this type of “gotcha” advertising is, I have some thoughts. I have extensive experience in the blogging/influencer sphere, years of fashion retailing/merchandising, and through my interior design education, I know how to spot quality in a textiles and skins, so a few things come to mind:

Number One: If you don’t know how to spot the difference between real and fake leather and call yourself a fashion expert, you are a complete fraud. If you don’t catch that part of it, a hard plastic sole with “Made in China” stamped into it should also be the dead giveaway. I’ll give it to Payless, though – Christian Siriano’s designs are very well done for the price. Payless does a great job at what it does, and their branding company should be given whatever award can be given for stirring social commentary. But Payless is NOT a luxury brand, and anyone who understands the difference would not have taken that bait. No one knew enough at the Payless party to say “The Emperor has no clothes.”

Part two: The brand management that made a decision to embarrass these influencers got great viral videos, screen grabs, hashtags, and lots of exposure for Payless, but at what cost to everyone involved in the brand / PR / influencer triangulate? I’ve been a guest at many events like this, and I always try to have good manners. One tries to say nice things about the host. This also conjures up a real mistrust between the influencers and the PR firms who invite them. I realize that the point was to make folks see how there’s no difference in designer originals from their thirty dollar versions, but the ripple effect is that if the influencers have a real following, as opposed to fake paid follower bots, this could cause trust issues all around.

Which leads me to point three: Today, two conglomerates own almost every single international design house on the manicured streets of Beverly Hills, Paris and Tokyo. Your Louis is no longer actually a Louis unless it’s a bespoke trunk – everything else is made by the conglomerate. With the exception of the occasional artistic triumph, it’s all the same stuff. I’ll even go so far as to give the nod to the use of PU, the more recent faux leathers in ready to wear, but real leather is still the finest. If you pay $600 for a pair of vinyl shoes, joke’s on you.

Please don’t think I’m knocking inexpensive clothing and shoes. I buy more pairs of shoes from wholesalers in downtown LA as I do Rodeo Drive. I love that legit designers are doing exclusives for affordable brands, and I own lots of pieces from these collections. I love to buy a cute trendy thing and not pay a lot for it, but I don’t like designer FAKES. Frankly, I’ve always hated the idea, because I am a designer and have been down the road of someone stealing my designs. It doesn’t feel good and it definitely affects the bottom line, a line created from YEARS of education and experience. Case in point: I was gifted an almost perfect faux Hermes Kelly bag, but the pretending makes me so nervous that I cover the logo with the straps at the twist clasp so that the gold leafed “Hermes” stamp doesn’t show. I only use it when the yellow gold color of the bag is perfect with an outfit. I don’t want to be a fraud and pretend that I spent $15K on a handbag – I’d die of embarrassment if someone noticed. I guess I don’t need to worry about that a whole lot anymore.

My final takeaway is that it’s really easy to find a bunch of fake fashionista influencers who aren’t able to spot fakes. Advice to the PR firm attached to this event: if an influencer shows up to your event and says nice things about your brand, don’t embarrass them by pointing out their lack of knowledge. Advice to anyone aspiring to be an influencer in any realm, please – know your stuff. Do the work to learn, and only go to the event if it makes sense to your own brand, even if they’re paying you.


Hopping into Spring Break

Published on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013



As y’all know, I LOVE holidays, and Easter is my favorite – I think it’s the colors and all the cuteness. This year was a real milestone for us, as we have now started attending a church that we really like. We decided to make this shift from non practicing to practicing Christian behavior because our Critter was getting upset that we were not practicing the Jewish holidays. YOU try explaining why there’s no Hanukkah at your house without actually going to church. I remember taking the child to his first Sunday school class and when I dropped him I explained “We are trying to give him a cultural identity. So far all he knows is that Jesus is the boss of Christmas”. I think they probably pegged me for being a prime candidate for attending what we now call “cool church” as opposed to the traditional Episcopal service that we attended until cool church was called to my attention.

Since November, we have come to really enjoy Barry Taylor’s perspective widening sermons that relate real contemporary life to Biblical times. Barry is very interesting – legend has it that he used to be a roadie for ACDC, and sometimes my fave crooner Chris Mann sits in on the mostly music service. On Palm Sunday I grew to love cool church even more when Barry explained that he originally found religion in Stevie Wonder, which really validates my playing my Innervisions cd in my car over and over so the Critter is learning all the words. I really want my kid to have soul.

As time marched up to that day of Jesus’ (aka the boss) resurrection, I began to prepare for what has become an annual event at our home, where I go insane for two weeks choosing everything Easter and figuring out a menu I can serve to the usual twenty or thirty folks of all faiths who come to my place for good Southern food and fun. They all cram into our condo and I always worry that it’s like Holly Golightly’s apartment. This year carried on the tradition, and I had a ball putting it together.

The Easter service was really wonderful – Chris sat in, as you can see from the quick clip above. Our guests stayed at our home up until about eight o’clock, and then Spring Break officially began. You can see from the photos that we found lots of fun things to do to keep ourselves entertained, including Kathryn Ireland’s new fabric launch at Scalamandre, Taekwando, an awesome evening at H.O.M.E. Beverly Hills (SERIOUSLY – check out this video), playing with some cool new toys – in general having enough fun that we really didn’t take the break! The Critter returned to school yesterday. I think I’m going to take a cue from Louis XIV below and take a nap before I head over to Natalee Thai to hang with my mommyblogger peeps!


I feel like I’m internet dating again…

Published on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Tonight I am going to Genghis Cohen, a place I have been many times to eat firecracker shrimp, to drink cocktails, and see live music. The first time I went there was for a private party with one of my fabulous vendors from NEWH when I was a newbie designer in town. I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but it’s pretty self explanatory – it’s a Jewish / Chinese Restaurant with a rocker bar music venue. All good things! I have memories of a terrific night when I took my husband to see Sean G. play at Genghis when we were dating. That was the first time my friends met the man I would marry about a year later, a man I met on the internet, who I now refer to as my Perfect Husband (he really is – I have to remind him of that tonight). So today I ponder this whole Genghis Cohen – meeting people for the first time paradigm as I gear up to go to there tonight to meet people I’ve never met.

In four short hours I will be attending a special performance by Chris Mann to the women of the Ultimate Blog Party. I can’t begin to explain how this all worked out, but I am strangely excited to meet these gals – it reminds me of internet dating! No doubt there will be more to report on this…


Abundance of riches – torpor of spirit

Published on Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Right now I have a couple of hours to do anything I want to do. I have before me:

Beverly Hills Community Services Bulletin – and pore over pages six and seven – I can stress about whether the Critter is properly stimulated prior to entering preschool.
• Read
I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with my Daddy

, by Ellen Gilchrist, which causes me to miss the South and all its decadence
• Work on painting for page 15 of “Louis of Beverly Hills – The Adventures – Part One ‘
• Watch something on in demand like a marathon of “Project Runaway” or “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” and learn How It’s Done from the masters.
• Take a nap
• Get into it on City Mommy

I”ll Twitter later and let you know what I decided to do…