Celebrity Spottings at Blogher ‘10

Ok, so I knew there would be a couple of celebrities in advance of the Blogher conference, but there were a few surprises.

After I hit the registration table at Blogher, I went upstairs and a woman told me that Bruce Jenner was pouring OJ over at the Tropicana stations. I had to see.

Bruce Jenner & I

He was so nice. I told him how I’m a big fan of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and he chuckled and said “those girls sure give me a hard time don’t they”, I chuckled back.

A couple short hours into the conference, I met up with Rebecca Weinberg, Emmy award winning stylist from “Sex & The City” at the eBay Fashion Lounge. You may read my interview with Rebecca here.

Tamra Barney & I

So I heard that Tamra Barney from “The Real Housewives of Orange County” was going to be at the Quickie booth, so I had to take a look. She wasn’t there. As I was walking away, guess who was walking right towards me? In the same color dress no less. Yup! It was Tamra! She looked beautiful. I asked if I could get a quick photo with her and she said absolutely. Then she noticed my orange Linea Pelle bag and said “I have the same bag in tan”, I replied “No way, Linea Pelle?” She said “yup, I love their bags”. “Me too” I said and told her how I went to their first ever sample sale in NY recently and had a blast. Not only were we wearing the same color dress, we have the same bag. Ahhh kindred spirits! (Click here to read my Linea Pelle blog post.)

Padma Lakshmi & I

So the last celebrity of Day 1 was none other than Padma Lakshmi. The hubs loves her and I mean loves her. I knew in advance she was going to be there and joked with him about me being in the same room with her. So I made a sign. It read “We love Nick DeVito” and was hoping I could take a photo with it. I knew the hubs would love it. Padma was at the Hillshire Farms booth as part of their sandwich showdown. The staff loved that I made a sign to hold up with her. We took the picture and Padma gave me 2 autographed photos of her, one for me and one for the hubs.

Day 2 I ran into Tamra again. I wanted to see if she was wearing a navy dress like me. No such luck.

Veronica Webb & I

Then guess who was at the Eucerin booth? Super model Veronica Webb! First of all she is stunning and had the cutest dress on and beautiful jewelry from her own jewelry line. Second, she was super nice. I mean ok, all the celebrities were nice, but Veronica was so genuine. Her hair stylist was there with her too and just as sweet. I told her about my NJ Unemployed group I founded and she wanted to hear more. No sooner did we take a few photos, but she had already talked me up on Twitter. How cool! Eucerin has a great spokesperson in Veronica. She was super sweet.

*Veronica Webb’s jewelry line will be available in September. She promised her Blogher girls will be amongst the first to hear about it. Stay tuned!

Who would’ve thought all these celebrities would have been supporting their brands at Blogher? Certainly not me, but I loved every minute of it.

Let’s Talk About Swag Baby – Blogher Sponsor’s and SWAG

Getting my swagger on…

With my background in event planning, I have attended many a conference in my day. The rows and rows of exhibitors handing out pens, notepads, magnets, stress balls and letter openers. But at Blogher 2010… no way! These exhibitors know how to conference! Offering full size bottles of products, toys, celebrities, it was unbelievable.

My friend Hilary (@mrsmonj) wasn’t able to attend Blogher because she just had baby #2 and sold her ticket to me. I was thrilled because I wanted to attend so badly, but the conference was sold out. It was my mission to score some cool finds for her and the fam. Playtex provided me with two baby bottles for her newborn, I got a cute stuffed animal from the Quickie booth for her little girl and a fellow Blogher attendee Jen (@jenrab) gave me a onesie and formula for me to bring back for Hilary. Score!

I had always wanted to try out a Soyjoy bar and to my surprise they were there. So I took a banana and a blueberry bar. I love the banana! Gonna have to stock up on them. They make for a great snack post workout. Butterfinger was also there showing off their bite size Butterfinger Snackerz which were delish! GoodSkin Labs provided a wrinkle treatment for fine lines. Bausch & Lomb handed out Biotrue a contact lens solution and Hasbro provided the Trivial Pursuit Steal card game. Perfect for travelling, it’s so compact.

I landed a sample of Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights in Mint Chocolate Chip which tastes just like the ice cream. It is out of this world! I was a bit disappointed though. There was a note on the gum to all Blogher attendees to visit a website, enter a code and receive another free sample. I went on the site to obtain another sample, and the site said the program closed. There was no disclaimer on the note, though. Oh well!

Loved the Eucerin booth! Received the Daily Skin Balance and Everyday Protection lotion in full size bottles, plus some hand lotion. I’ve been using the Daily Skin Balance every day since I received it and love the fresh scent. The scent stays on your body all day long which I love. Couldn’t be happier with this swag!

Aquaphor gave out a lip repair as well, which I’m loving and using nightly and throughout the day if my lips need a little pick me up. Super hydrating!

The Yellow Umbrella teamed up with makeup artist Debra Macki for the conference and I won their raffle. Whoo Hoo! I won a Debra Macki mineral eye shadow palette in Monaco which is beautiful. The Hautelook company was handing out full size Lorac 3D lip glosses and I scored one in Vivid. In the bottle it looks hot pink but on, it has a gold sheen. Super cute!

Playdoh gave away an adorable travel case with tons of playdoh and gadgets to build something fun. My nephews were thrilled I went to the conference for this little treat.

Scored some Cherry Vanilla flavored Nyquil which sounds delish, but I’ll wait till the winter when it’s cold season to test it out. Vicks also supplied me with a full size container of vapor rub. Again, I will wait till cold season hits me and will be all over my Vicks vapor rub.

The P&G booth was my favorite booth hands done. They had an entire house set up with different products in each room with someone explaining them. It was so cute. I scored a Venus Embrace razor (which I love and use at home), Oil of Olay Total Effects Bodywash & their Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller, Secret Clinical Strength deodorant that’s waterproof (perfect for the pool), PUR water filter and Febreeze Set & Refresh Air Freshener in Spring & Renewal (no plugs or batteries needed) which smells divine. Loving it!

I came home with bags and bags of swag and couldn’t wait to rummage through it all. The hubs said “I wonder how many pens you got”. After all that, one. I got one pen. Now that’s some swag.

The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill – The New Celebrity Hot Spot

Recently the hubs and I were invited to the Grand Opening and VIP party at The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill. We were thrilled to be invited and be one of the first to check out a new pub in one of our favorite towns, Princeton, NJ.

Many of you may remember The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill as Sotto Ristorante or even The Annex. Boy has it changed. Owner John Procaccini added 15 hi-def flat screen TV’s around the bar, so you will never miss a game. Finally there’s a sports bar in town! It’s the perfect place to grab a drink after work, watch a game and for of-age college students to hang out.

Energy filled the room at the VIP party. Outstanding appetizers were passed around. I especially liked the buffalo shrimp. We also tested out the crab fries with cheese which were delish as well.

Dan the bartender - "The Best Bartender in Mercer County"

While there, I dubbed Dan the bartender as “The Best Bartender in Mercer County”. First of all I must say that Dan makes a mean dirty martini, but what we loved most about him was his personality. Dan was so full of life, what you want your bartender to be. He was personable, fun and mingled with the customers. So often we go out on the town and the bartenders are just miserable and lack a personality. Not Dan! Dan really is the man at The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill.

Besides finding “The Best Bartender in Mercer County”, our night was filled with a few other surprises. We ran into Doug Palmer, former Mayor of Trenton.

Doug Palmer, Former Mayor of Trenton

Ed Tseng was also there in high spirits signing his book “Game. Set. Life.”

Ed Tseng

To top the evening off, we chatted it up a bit with famed Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West.

Dr. Cornel West

Talk about a party! We had some night out!

So head on over to The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill, tell Dan I sent you. Dress your best, because you never know who you might run into.

Wedding Industry Networking Event 7/27/10

Tonight the hubs and I headed over to the Marriott Lafayette Yard in Trenton, NJ to meet up with our good pal Michelle Lawlor, owner of Lucky 17 Photography to check out the NJ Wedding Industry Networking Event. I had been invited by my good friend Erik Kent, owner of NJWedding.com. The go to source for any Jersey Girl bride-to-be.

I chatted a bit with Erik about the event. Here’s what he had to say.

I even ran into Denise Taylor, owner of Great Looks 4 Less. They are located in Mercer Mall, right off Route 1 in Lawrenceville, NJ. Great Looks 4 Less specializes in ethnic hair and offers a wide selection of services and products. Stop by and check them out.

I also met the women of Anywhere Childcare. They specialize in special event childcare & babysitting services. They provide children with a kids reception while the parents are at the “adult” reception. How cool is that? Check out my brief interview with the ladies.

We truly had a great time networking with all the industry professionals tonight.

Getting Lucky with Lucky 17 Photography

Chatting it up with incredible photographer Michelle Lawlor, owner of Lucky 17 Photography

How long have you been interested in photography and taking photos? What made you get into it? Just for fun?

I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I have my grandparents to thank for that. I spent a lot of my formative early years with my grandparents, and would often fall asleep looking at the old-time portraits of them hanging on their wall. My grandparents were also very big into swap meets and yard sales, and I started to collect antique and often non-working cameras thanks to my travels with them. I loved (and still love) the way old cameras looked and felt. When I could actually put film in them and make pictures, it was like no other joy I’d ever known. Going on into high school and college I was constantly taking photos everywhere I went and filled my room with photos of friends and family. My first long-term job was at a busy portrait studio in the mall, and I put myself through college working full-time making pictures there. At times it was incredibly stressful, but I look back at that time in my life as a valuable learning experience, because I learned to think on my feet and adapt quickly to get the shots I was after. You have to move fast with little kids – their attention span is very short so every second counts. J So while my “career” did start just for fun, it still continues to be a huge source of joy in my life today.

When did you start your company Lucky 17 photography? What has been your proudest moment since its inception?

I started Lucky 17 Photography initially as Lucky 17 Consulting about 6 years ago. At the time, I couldn’t decide which profession I loved more: Graphic Design or Photography. Back then, I was doing more graphic design work than photography (logos, business cards, flyers, etc), and that was what I focused on initially. However as time passed I started to do more photo work and used my design skills to help me design complimentary products using my photography. Finally, it felt like I’d found my calling and things really started to click. I still maintain both halves of my business today, but a larger portion of my business comes from photography. I design all of my clients’ greeting cards, books, and albums, and so the graphic design skill set constantly comes in handy. I can give my clients unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, and that means a lot to them.

My proudest moment? Wow. That’s a tough one. There have been a lot of milestones along the way. I think I would have to say that my proudest moment was delivering my first wedding album to my very first bride. She was so thrilled with her album she literally carried around everywhere she went for a whole week. And that was no small feat because the book was 11”x14” and weighed about 12 pounds. That meant a lot.

Tell me about the type of photography you do.

Without trying to sound cliché, my photography blends a photojournalistic approach with traditional portraiture to get a complete observatory perspective on my clients’ events. Let’s be honest, many of us have a particular vision in mind when we say we want photos of something. I know that with a formal event like a wedding, for example, 99.9% of brides I encounter envision the pictures they’ve seen in bridal magazines. They see celebrity weddings and say “OH, that’s what I want!” They want to be the gorgeous, laughing bride with the debonair, handsome groom, and they want the romantic candid shots. And I LOVE that. I find that when you ignore the camera and truly just live in the moment – that’s when the real “you” comes out, and that’s what I love to capture. However, that’s only one half of the event. In my humble opinion, there is still a need for formal photos, like the ones taken of your parents and grandparents. There is something to be said about tradition. You still want the grand portrait from your wedding that you can hang proudly on your wall. I can keep them ultra-traditional, or we can mix it up a bit and give your portraits a modern edge. I strive to give my clients both styles of photography with my event coverage.

 
 
 

Katie & Nick DeVito Wedding

When I saw some of the wedding photos you took for various couples, I knew you had to be our wedding photographer. Besides weddings, what other types of people/things do you shoot? Tell me about some of the bands you’ve shot and celebrities.

Katie! That’s so sweet. Thanks so much. Your wedding was a blast to shoot and I’m so glad to have been a part of that amazing day. Aside from weddings, I also do general portraiture, which includes families, teens, seniors, children, maternity, pets, and live music and promotional shoots. I also do some music journalism, freelancing for various publications, and that’s really a lot of fun. Music’s a huge part of my life and I get a real kick out of shooting bands.

I work with a lot of great local bands but also occasionally get to shoot major acts too. I’ve had the great pleasure of covering performances from bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Phantom Planet, OK Go, Van Halen… the list goes on and on. My boyfriend is currently in the band Honah Lee, and I do a lot of their publicity and live coverage, as well as when they go on tour. It’s a whole lot of fun!

Green Day

What services do you offer? What do you think separates you from the rest of the photographers out there? Everyone thinks they’re a photographer nowadays with the easy access of special cameras and PhotoShop.

Aside from photography and graphic design, I can also do photo restoration, scanning, archiving, and some light retouching. If you have some old family photos you’d like digitized to either enlarge or share on Facebook/Myspace and don’t have a clue where to start, get in touch. I adore old photos and just love breathing new life into faded, cracked, ripped and stained old prints.

The age of digital photography has brought a lot of new photographers to the field. Modern cameras make it easier and easier to take a good picture. It’s incredible what you can do now even with your small pocket camera. My pocket camera is pretty souped-up and any advanced amateur can make great images with it with only minimal practice.

However I believe what sets me apart from the pack is my training, my knowledge of the history of photography, my ability to pose and address difficult lighting situations quickly and effectively, my experience with digital processing, archiving, and color correction, and most importantly, my passion for each event or assignment I undertake. Photography is my art, my outlet for my creative energy. I pour a little bit of my soul into each and every shoot, and I strive to make it fun for everyone involved. Believe it or not, I hate being in front of a lens as a subject. I 100% know how it feels to dislike being photographed, and keep my shoots lighthearted and fun. It’s a very personal experience to be photographed by someone you don’t know, and so I immediately work on establishing trust between my clients and I. I’m not going to take unflattering photos of you and then smatter them all over the internet. I want you to look your best and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the best pictures I can create.

I really, truly care about each of my clients and take my work very, very seriously. I’m not one of those photographers that will spend half of your wedding reception outside smoking cigarettes, missing the little moments that make a wedding day so special. I work very hard for each of my clients and treat each special event as if it were my own. I throw my heart into it. My ideal clients are those that value photography as much as I do. When I connect with those people, the possibilities are endless.

If you could shoot one celebrity who would it be and why? Place you would most like to visit to shoot?

One celebrity? Hmm. That’s a tough one. I think it’d have to be Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. I’ve taken pictures of him playing live but I’d really like to take a crack at doing a portrait session with him while his band is on the road, sort of a tour documentary style thing. He’s been called “the nicest guy in rock and roll,” and though he seems to be a private individual, I’d love to get behind the scenes and really try to capture his personality through photography. So Dave if you’re out there, give me a call. LOL.

As far as a place to visit and shoot, I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. My ancestors were from there and someday I hope to travel to the town that my family’s from and document the rolling countryside and my family’s history. Oh, and I’d love to stop off at the Guinness factory for a pint as well. People tell me there’s nothing like a Guinness poured in Ireland. I’d like to find out for myself.

I love to travel as well, and am available for travel around the world. Have camera, will travel.

What is your favorite photo someone has taken of you? Why?

This one’s easy. Last June I was hired to photograph the wedding of two of my very close friends. I brought my lovely and talented second shooter Heather with me to cover the reception because the bride and groom wanted me to be a guest when it came to be party time. We split the day in half and I shot all of the early day’s events and then handed the reigns over to Heather when we hit the reception. My boyfriend was also a guest at this wedding and so he and I had the rare opportunity to dance together. Of course Heather was on her game and snapped some photos of him and me laughing and dancing. It was really “us” – having a great time and enjoying the night. There’s one in particular where I’m in a mid-laugh in his arms and I just love it. We’re not “cheezing it” for the camera, just enjoying the moment.

 

How can people contact you? Why should someone hire you?

Contacting me is a piece of cake. You can visit my website at http://www.Lucky17Photography.com, email me at Michelle@Lucky17Photography.com or call me at 609-610-2953. I’d love to hear from you!

Choosing a photographer for a special event or portrait session is an important decision. A client should take into consideration a few things when deciding on hiring a photographer:

  1. Does his or her style fit what I’m looking for? Am I looking more for a candid approach or formal portraiture or both?
  2. What’s my budget? Does this photographer fit into my price range?
  3. After our initial consult/email/phone call or meeting, do you feel that we get along on a personal level? Do you feel comfortable around him or her?

I pour my heart into each session, shoot, event and assignment. A potential client should hire me because I truly care about the art of photography and the customer experience. I’m not a photo factory and I only take on a limited amount of assignments per year, in order to ensure a level of customer service and personal availability that you won’t get with a larger studio. When you meet with me regarding booking an event, you’ll be seeing my smiling face behind the camera at the event, not some stranger you’ve never met. When you have questions or need help, I’m the one there to assist. In an era of automated everything, I find that a personal touch makes all the difference.

Trattoria Dopo Teatro

Recently the hubs and I were visiting the city (New York City that is) and planned to have lunch at Trattoria Dopo Teatro. We did a little research online and this spot was near where we were going to be, the menu looked scrumptious and priced just right.

For an appetizer we ordered the Eggplant Campanada which consisted of eggplant, olives, capers, pine nuts. It was a great mix of sweet and tangy.

For our main course, we shared the Dopo Teatro pizza which is mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto and truffle oil. It was out of this world! My husband and I debated as to whether it was the best pizza we ever had or not. I’ve realized recently that I’m a huge fan of truffle oil.

For dessert we shared the profiteroles, which are similar to a cream puff but instead of cream inside it’s vanilla ice cream with tons of chocolate sauce. They came as a pair, so it was perfect for sharing.

We will definitely go back there again if we are in the area.  I’m dying to go back to try their Gorgonzola e Pere pizza. The ambiance was super cute and you felt like you were in a quaint Italian restaurant in Italy. The servers, the owner and even some customers spoke Italian. It wasn’t over priced and the food was truly spectacular. It’s always fun when you find a hidden gem.

Super Sample Sale

Today I attended my first ever sample sale. Who you ask? Only the super trendy Linea Pelle known for their plush, malleable leather bags, belts & bracelets.

I had never been to a sample sale. I had no idea what to expect. Would women be pushing and shoving to land their fave LP bag or would it be totally organized and like shopping in a store?

The hubs and I arrived at the building, went to the 9th floor and walked right into the Linea Pelle NY office. Tables were set up and bags and belts were hanging off walls and laid out on tables. Sales people were ready to help any way they could. It was a bit crowded, but there was no pushing and everyone was in good spirits and very polite.

A few years ago I was drooling over a super cute Dylan bag in black, but never purchased it.  I was so excited to hear about this sample sale, because it would be my opportunity to finally buy a cute LP bag. I was crossing my fingers that I would score that black Dylan bag. No such luck! No black Dylan’s to be found. But they did have a wide variety of other colors in the Dylan to choose from.

I opted for a super cute and comfy orange Joey bag and grabbed two leather bangles with embellishments.  I was thrilled! I can’t wait to start sporting them.

Linea Pelle - Joey

Linea Pelle - Bracelets

We waited in line and my husband and I helped a woman choose between a few different bracelets. I even helped put it on her. We walked up to pay and the two girls ringing people up were great. They were having a great time at the sale, chatting with all the customers and making it personal. My husband whipped out the credit card and they were impressed and wondered where they could get such a great guy like mine. He’s a one of a kind I told them. I chatted it up a bit with Morgan and we exchanged Twitter names and she promised to keep me posted on future events and sales. Whoo Hoo!

Maybe I’ll score that black Dylan after all.

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