Last Thursday morning I got up nice and early to make my 9am flight from JFK to LAX. Ouch. With all four dresses sealed in tissue paper and stuffed in my suitcase, I made my way to the airport and onto the plane wearing the dressiest, most comfortable outfit that looked west coast cool and could take me from 6am EST to 10pm PST — literally.
I sported a silk long-sleeved Tibi blouse in a summer orange with paisley and polka dot yellows and browns, my usual black Levi jeans, my brown hooded Vince undercoat, and my new pair of 2-inch patent leather Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. That look was supposed to take me through middle seat naps, various car rides, the taping of a Conan show, and dinner at a rodeo-themed restaurant next to the Andaz (our glamorous home for four amazing nights) — and I’m proud to report it did just that.
Unlike day 1 of Grammy weekend 2012, day 2 required HOURS of preparation for the evening’s Music Cares silent auction and dinner. From 12:30pm to 3:30pm my boyfriend’s mother, sister-in-law and I bounced from chair to chair getting our hair and makeup did by professionals to the stars at the Arglye Salon & Spa at the Sunset Tower Hotel.
With no planned look in mind, the venue's stylists and December issue of NYLON inspired a smooth classic wave/deep right part and a super smokey eye on this rarely made up gal. 180 minutes later I had a new and expensive addition.
Ummm, hello Uncle Jesse! Meeting John Stamos
Back at the hotel and pretty in pink (I decided on dress #1), the night and its festivities officially kicked off. A beautiful black limo picked up our group of seven from West Hollywood and chauffeured us to the Convention Center in downtown LA to bid, dine and gawk at the stars.
Sightings, handshakes and brief ‘hellos’ scaled Paul McCartney (obvi), Neil Diamond, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, the Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys and John Stamos. After numerous stellar performances and tributes to the knighted Beatle — as well as an all vegetarian dinner in his honor, thank you very much — the night concluded with an unnecessary super generous bonus (as if it NEEDED to get any better): we were gifted with large heavy swag bags filled with lotions, polishes, hair crèmes and more. It simply seemed too much.
At last Sunday, SUNDAY (à la Al Roker) arrived, but it turned out we weren't exactly ready for it. That morning found my boyfriend’s sister-in-law and I fretting over how we were going to successfully transform ourselves into the same beauties from Friday. You see, we hadn’t booked any hair or makeup appointments, and when we called at the 11th hour we were practically hung up on — EVERYONE else in town was ALSO getting dolled up for the same event.
Luckily, the glamour gods up high weren’t about to let us down. With three hours to spare we answered a call from a referral salon that had just received two cancellations due to traffic. EJ Alejo (former stylist to Paula Abdul) turned out to be a bedazzled water paddle that just drifted over to our windless sail — we were saved. In under two hours our Asian Polly Pocket speedily made us over with his gazelle-like hands, Angela's brushes and some of my Rite Aid makeup. What were we thinking not calling ahead for an appointment!? But our lesson was learned AND our crisis was averted; we lucked out.
With our looks complete, we hustled — we had to be IN our seats by 5pm PST. My gold dress glittered amongst a sea of bling that night (I clearly got the memo) and I appropriately felt like a tinsely Tina Turner. The show’s producer abruptly addressed us, the house lights dimmed, and the production crew counted backwards from 5, 4, 3…
I assume most of you watched from your living rooms what I got to experience just yards away, so you don’t have to be told Rihanna looked rockin and fit, that Adele is now blonde, and that Jennifer Hudson succeeded in eerily channeling Whitney in vision and in sound Sunday night.
But I will tell you that after it all ended with Sir Paul jamming with his band, Bruce and Dave on stage, we Staples Center revelers were ushered over to the Convention Center for a grand after party that served the food and alcoholic beverages I was too excited to consume beforehand. There were also intricate Carnival-themed scenes complete with headdresses, aerobatics, jiu-jitsu and Kenny Loggins.
This weekend was my definition of a surreal life.