Category Archives: Celebrity Interviews

Meet Project Runway’s Althea Harper This Wednesday!

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Althea Harper

I’m super excited to meet Althea Harper, the runner up from Season 6 of “Project Runway.” I’d feel sorry for her for getting the runner-up spot, but she seems to be doing juuuuuuust fine.

She launched her own clothing line, and she’s visiting select cities to showcase her collection – and Cincinnati is one of those lucky cities! (Click here for more deets) She’ll be at Paris J Boutique (in Montgomery near Carlo & Johnny’s) this Wednesday from 6-9pm.

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Kourtney Kardashian in an Althea Harper color block dress design

Althea is actually from the area! She grew up near Dayton, and then she went to DAAP. She was actually just recognized at the DAAP fashion show a couple weeks ago, so she’s getting to see a lot of the Queen City lately!

Ever since I watched her on Project Runway, I’ve been following her on Twitter, and she’s really a great celeb to follow. You can tell it’s really her “behind the tweets” and it’s so inspiring to see her updating at 4 in the morning because she’s putting in the elbow grease needed to make her vision a success.

After all this time I’ve been following her on Twitter, I feel like I know her. But on Wednesday, I’ll actually get to meet her! I’m almost just as excited to see her designs up close and personal. I know she works with a lot of sheers, and Kourtney Kardashion was actually just spotted wearing a super cute color block dress that Althea designed.

Althea’s new collection will be at Paris J and so will Althea! Paris J will have wine and sushi there too… mmmm!

This is a really rare opportunity to meet a rising star in the fashion industry! I hope you can make it! She seems like a super nice gal! Check out the flyer below for more info:
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*Thanks kelklump who commented on the blog and pointed out that the dress was worn by Kourtney not Khloe Kardashian as I had originally written… that’ll teach me to write a blog in middle of the night, running on brain fumes. : )

Shooter Chic: Jewel Hits Fashion, Fan Interactivity Bullseye

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Jewel Swag (signed copy of Sweet and Wild CD, media pass) Also pictured is the pin pad we used for interactive portions of the show.

As a good journalist, I have to tell you this upfront: I’m a Jewel fan.

And not just the “I know the words to ‘Foolish Games'” kind of fan. I’m a “I’ve been to every Jewel concert to come within a 200 mile radius of me, read all her books, and have every song she’s ever recorded memorized” kind of fan.

So when I got a press release about Jewel hosting an interactive concert, and the ability to see it here in Cincinnati, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more. I emailed the folks who sent me the release and they agreed to give me a media pass to take part in the event and write a review on it.

I had never been to an “interactive concert” before and the press release was scarce on details, so I tried to do some digging. I didn’t find much, but I did learn that the company behind this new concert concept is Velocity Broadcasting. This Pittsburgh-based company apparently has a bunch of high definition television networks and they produce and broadcast custom-made, multimedia TV in HD. So, say a pharmaceutical company wants to do interactive videoconferencing with all the Rheumatologists across the nation, they’d call Velocity.

Well, Velocity apparently decided to spread its wings into the music world. And Jewel helped them do that. (I couldn’t find any other artists that they did one of these interactive concerts with before Jewel’s, so I’m assuming she’s the first.)

So, here’s what they did: The night before Jewel’s new “Sweet and Wild” CD released, they had this virtual, interactive concert called “First Spin.” It was a launch party of sorts. People all over the world purchased tickets (they were around $100) through Velocity. You can actually still see Jewel’s promo video of the event at www.velocityboxoffice.com. The ticket price included the concert and a four course meal. Here in Cincinnati, the two locations to choose from were Mortons Steakhouse and Maggianos (I chose Mortons).

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Event Emcee and Jewel. Explaining how to vote via pin pad on the three outfit options.

I get there, and I’m greeted with a signed copy of Jewel’s not-yet-released “Sweet and Wild” CD. SCORE! Each guest got one as part of their ticket price. Then came the amazing food (I had crab cakes and filet minon… yum!) while we watched live behind the scenes footage of Jewel backstage.

An emcee of the event took us through her motorcoach, we met her puppy and saw where she writes on the road. Then the interactive portion of the event began.

We were given little pin pads. They looked like mini remote controls. Backstage, Jewel gave us the opportunity to pick her first and last song via vote with our remote controls. Then she went through her closet and picked out three outfits for us to vote on. (The little floral sundress I voted on won by a landslide!)

Then we got to do a 10-question Jewel trivia game using our pin pads. This was like crack for all the Jewel fans in the room. The prize – for the most correct answers and quickest response time – was an iPad signed by Jewel. The questions were tough, but I got 7 out of 10 right. Right after the game was over, the system tabulated results and live broadcasted who won. Jewel talked to the winner live, signed the iPad for her on the air and asked her which song she’d like her to play at the concert. How cool is that?

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Steel Magnolia singer and her yummy blinged out necklace

And just to give us a feel of the thousands of other people (the release said this had the potential to reach 165,000 people globally) tuning in to Jewel’s performance that night, they showed live feeds from locations around the world – from Canada and Australia to a big blogger party in Florida. It was so neat to know I was part of such a large group of Jewel fans that night, even though I was sitting in a small room of about 10 people.

Steel Magnolia was the opening act. The female signer was wearing a super fab necklace. Big, chunky and sparkly – as all good jewelry should be. : ) They were talented! The ladies at my table really liked them. I was too overwhelmed with anticipation to see Jewel… wearing what I voted for her to wear and play what I voted for her to play.

Jewel finally came on and it was euphoric. She was wearing the cute little floral number, oh and her guitar strap was lined with bullets – a trend I’ll now refer to as “shooter chic.” : )

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Jewel and her "Shooter Chic" guitar strap

She played for more than an hour. It was in such crisp HD, I felt like I was there popping her bubble of personal space. But in reality, I was (at this point) sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying a nice piece of key lime pie in the comfort of a steakhouse.

She was performing live in Pittsburgh (actually in the same studios where Mr. Roger’s was filmed). And with this experience, I genuinely felt like I was there. I was skeptical about it at first. I wondered if it would essentially be like watching a pre-recorded Jewel concert on a cheap projector. Granted, I probably still would’ve gone.

But this… this was an amazing experience like none other. It was unlike any in-person Jewel concerts I had ever gone to, or any other music performance I’ve participated in (I’m married to a musician, so I’ve seen my fair share).

I left there invigorated. I knew I had just been to “the concert of the future.” It had every thing our society wants right now: immediate, on-demand interaction. I was so proud of Jewel for being the musician who made this forward-thinking performance possible. Not bad for an Alaskan girl who grew up in a one-room cabin!

Check out the video below I shot from the event. Gives you a good idea of how the room was set up! And click here to get her CD. Or at least see the must-have shooter chic outfit she’s wearing on the cover. She’s smokin’! Enjoy!

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Cincy Chic Meets Clinton Kelly

Saturday was a busy day in Amyland. I had the Locals on Living Saving Summit event in the morning, then I met with Clinton Kelly for an interview, and then I taped a commercial for Bad Girl Ventures.

errrrrrrrrrr… back up… that’s right, I met with Clinton Kelly! As I promised in a blog last week, I got an in-person interview with him to talk about what he was doing here in our fine city of Cincinnati. He was in town as stop six of eight on the “Macy’s and Clinton Kelly Make Over America Tour” that’s providing makeovers to women across America.

Twelve Tri-State women were selected to receive a head-to-toe Macy’s makeover, with wardrobe styling provided by Clinton Kelly himself. Check out the video below as I talk with Clinton about this campaign. He’s so passionate about providing style advice for real women, so about mid-way though, I decided I wanted him to analyze my style to make sure I was dressing right for my body type (FYI, I’m a curvy girl and I decided to wear skinny jeans that day). You won’t want to miss what he said!

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Also check out the before and after pictures of the girls who received makeovers below. Macy’s sent me before and after pictures, and I tried to match them up so you could see side-by-side comparisons. But some of the women looked so completely different, I couldn’t tell who was who! That’s a good thing though! Enjoy the pics and try to see for yourself if you can match up the befores and afters!

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UPDATE: Macy’s PR person sent me an email after I posted this blog and helped me decipher who was who. Here are side-by-side comparisons of all the makeover winners! Enjoy! (Click on the photos to enlarge).
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Clinton Kelly Gets “Real” with Cincy Chic

makeover americaSeriously. The “What Not to Wear” Gods are smiling down on me in 2010! Last month I got to meet Stacy London and yesterday I got to chat with Clinton Kelly on the phone (an in-person interview will follow when he comes to town on May 15 *pinching myself*).

The reason for my chat with Mr. Kelly? Well, he’s part of the “Macy’s and Clinton Kelly Make Over America Tour” that’s providing makeovers to 96 women across America  – 12 women in eight cities, including Cincinnati.

Clinton says he chose the women based on their story, but also made his selection to represent a diverse group of what he calls “real women.” The winners he selected come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors and types, hair colors and textures. He says he purposefully chose such a wide spectrum of winners because wanted viewers to be able to relate to at least one of the winners.

This tour will mark the fifth year Clinton has worked with Macy’s on a fashion show campaign across America (Click here to see pictures from his visit to Cincinnati in 2008).

When Clinton first started working with Macy’s, he worked with your typical model type (aka the skinny bitches we all hate – haha!). Then he began to incorporate plus size models into his shows. At the end of last year, he talked with Macy’s about how great it would be to feature real women on stage instead of models. They loved the idea and decided to run with it!

Clinton said Macy’s has been a great partner in executing this idea (he did admit though that it’s been a bit of a logistical nightmare to pull off, but they’re dealing with it well). They had tons of applicants and they finally narrowed it down to the 12 lucky winners in the eight selected cities (Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Albany, St. Louis, Seattle, Cincinnati, Houston and Raleigh). He and these 12 self-proclaimed style-starved Cincinnati girls will be strutting their stuff at a fashion show at Macy’s Kenwood Towne Centre on Saturday, May 15 at 2pm.

And because Cincinnati’s a big small town you’ll probably know one of the girls who will be rocking the runway. If so some out to support her, see her new look and meet Clinton Kelly! Here are the Cincinnati area Make Over America winners (and pictured in the below slideshow):
·        Tiffany Anderson from Seven Mile, OH
·        Michelle Burgio from Hamilton, OH
·        Danielle Cain from Cincinnati, OH
·        Shannon Crutchfield from Cincinnati, OH
·        Jennifer Gerike from Cincinnati, OH
·        Sarah Godfrey from Cincinnati, OH
·        Alexandra Hoog from Bethel, OH
·        Heather McDonough from Monroe, OH
·        Michelle Miller from Springfield, OH
·        Kim Poynter from Batavia, OH
·        Molly Rogers from Cincinnati, OH
·        Lisa Ross from Burlington, KY

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I did a little Q&A interview with Clinton, which you can check out below. Like I said, when he comes to Cincinnati I’ll get some one on one time and I’ll catch it all on video for you. Post in the comment section below what you’d like me to ask him when I meet him on May 15! Until then, enjoy this Q&A about the Make Over America campaign he’s coming into town for!

Amy: The press release says you’re going to help these women reinvent themselves from head to toe. Tell me about that. “Reinvent” sounds like so much more than just a surface makeover.

Clinton: I made over 225 women last year. I’ve done it enough to know that it’s not just a surface makeover. These women have written me the most wonderful letters and they’ve posted on the Facebook fan page that it’s changed their lives. So, what I’m doing is giving a surface makeover, but quite frankly it does go a little deeper than that.”

Amy: I knew a few models who were involved in one of the last events you did with Macys in Cincinnati. One in particular said you were meticulous and paid attention to every last detail before the models walked out on the runway. That was really powerful to hear because I think we sometimes see a spokesperson as a talking head who isn’t very involved. Tell me about your involvement in this campaign and level of work you put into these makeovers and this tour.

Clinton: I don’t just settle for okay. I settle for fabulous. That’s my goal: To make every woman look as fabulous as she can.

When you’re working with real women, it’s very different than working with models in that models get paid to wear what you tell them to wear. So, if they don’t like it, tough. They have to wear it anyway. Real women have opinions. I tell the real women “It’s important you like what I put you in, because if you don’t have that confidence on the runway you’re not going to impress anyone.”

Half the style is the confidence in what you’re wearing. So, if you feel uncomfortable, everyone else is going to feel that. I make sure that there’s a dialog between me and the real women. I call it a co-creation because it’s not me doing all the work and it’s not them doing all the work. It’s a real back and forth. Some women say, “I can’t wear heels,” so I work around that. Or they say, “I really don’t like my legs,” so I say ok that’s fine too.

I don’t do this for my ego. Don’t get me wrong my ego isn’t completely out of the equation. But, for the most part, I do this because I enjoy showing women they can be beautiful despite what they may think.

Amy: Sounds like you’re teaching these women some pretty valuable tools to spruce up their style. Can you share some of your best secrets that my readers can easily apply?

Clinton: Unfortunately there is a definite “Mom uniform.” It’s the cross training sneakers, light wash jeans, topped with a t-shirt, topped with a hoody. I think it’s a shame because they’ll never feel pretty in those four pieces. But there are four very easy alternatives.

Non athletic sneaker, boots or flats.

Dark wash jean with a straight leg that goes straight from the hip to the ground. Boom! Much more polished. Much more elongating on the leg. It takes the same amount of time to put on a bad pair of jeans as it does a good pair.

Instead of a t-shirt, do a blouse. Women think blouses are fancy. They are not fancy, they’re just shirts made for women.

And the hoody or sweatshirt, they do nothing for your body. You need to upgrade that to a jacket. It doesn’t need to be a suit jacket. It can be a cotton jacket or a denim jacket. It creates an hourglass shape even if you don’t have one.

These are four ways every woman can do today to completely reinvent her casual style.

Check out the video below of the Make Over America 2010 preview!

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Thank You, Mom

TymomP&G, the nation’s largest advertiser, is sponsoring something new: Your mom.

For the past several months, they’ve been branding themselves “P&G: Proud Sponsor of Moms.” And yesterday the company announced they’re now sponsoring 100 mother-child reunions around the country.

The marketing mecca said this “Reunion” campaign is an extension of its “Proud Sponsor of Moms” campaign, which began during the Winter Olympics. During this campaign, P&G paid the expenses of 250 mothers to travel to Vancouver so they could watch their kids compete.

And they didn’t just sign over a check to gain the glory. P&G created an entire campus in Vancouver where the athletes’ moms could stay, be pampered and hang out with their Winter Olympian kids.

Not too shabby.

The athletes and their moms expressed such gratitude (and P&G said in their presentation yesterday that it also made their stock go up) that they decided to bring the reunion experience to “real people.”

To launch this new Reunion campaign, P&G flew in the people who got it all started: Winter Olympic medalists and their moms. Julie Chu (hockey), Seth Wescott (snowboard cross), J.R. Celski (speed skating) and Paralympian Caitie Sarubbi (giant slalom, super combined skiing).

I got to meet some of them in sethperson (check out the video below) Oh, and HANDSOME-HUNK-ALERT about 6min into the video (and in the pic to the left). Seth Wescott couldn’t have been cuter. He’s such a momma’s boy. And is mom was adorable too… the perfect son and mom to give a reunion to. Seth said he always wins the gold when his mom is around (no pressure P&G to keep this up, wink wink)!

I also talked with Caitie Sarubbi, a Paralympian and her mom Kathryn. Caitie was absolutely awe-inspiring. Not only is she a visually-impaired 20-year-old competing – and winning medals – on the USA Paralympic alpine team, she’s also a Harvard student. Caitie suffers from an extremely rare disease and was born without eyelids, which led to her having over 56 surgeries and left her visually impaired. She’s now studying to be a surgeon because surgeons have done so much for her throughout her life.

They were pretty amazing athletes, with incredible stories. I loved meeting the moms who you could tell were just beaming with pride. Moms are these Olympians’ unsung heroes. You know it would have broken their hearts to not be there when their kid achieved one of the highest honors an athlete can achieve in their lifetime.

And being a daughter with a mom who lives out of state and I don’t get to see much of, I can really appreciate how P&G wants to bring together moms and their kids for special occasions like this. Distance, and tight budgets, cause you to miss the little (and sometimes unfortunately big things) in life.

As an example, next time my mom will be in town and we’ll be celebrating Father’s Day, my niece’s baptism, my birthday (June 10) and my brother’s birthday (June 7) all at once. But you do what you have to do. And thanks to this campaign, getting together will be a little easier for 100 people and their moms.

You can participate in this “Reunion” campaign by nominating yourself at www.thankyoumom.com. You might be one of the 100 people selected to get $1,000 to help pay for a reunion with your mom for a milestone event like a birth, wedding or graduation.

All you have to do is write a 100-word essay on why you’d like to be reunited with your mom. You can also can vote for the submissions you want to win. P&G will select 15 winners every month from now until Thanksgiving.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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(Stacy) London Meets Cincy (Chic)

stacy londonOn the first of April, I always second guess any good news and wonder if I’m going to be the butt of yet another April Fool’s Day joke.

For good reason, too, as today my day started with a fake engagement announcement from a friend and my husband announcing on his Facebook page that he’s going to be a dad (I’ve since had to clarify to a lot of people that I am, in fact, NOT pregnant).

So, when I got an email mid-morning asking if I’d like the opportunity to meet TLC’s “What Not to Wear” star, Stacy London, today at 1pm, I was admittedly suspicious. I immediately thought it was a joke. Someone on my staff looked up the email author’s name and contact info and determined it was a verified PR rep for the Pantene brand. So, I responded and said – as professionally as possible – “YES YES YES YES YES I’ll be there! Oh… my ….God… She’s my idol, I watch the show all the time, I love her I love her I love her!”

I happened to be working from home today (actually from my backyard because it was so pretty), so I jumped in the shower and then… dun dun dunnnn … stared blankly into my closet. I was meeting Stacy London, the sheriff of all Fashion Police. What to wear? Or more importantly, what NOT to wear?

I hadn’t done laundry in quite a while, so the pickins were slim. But I decided on a strapless LBD with a lime short sleeve cardigan over top, classic black pumps and a chunky lime green necklace.

So, I get to P&G headquarters downtown and learn why Stacy is in town. She was filming a live webcast where she announced the next Pantene spokesperson. They announced that they are doing a call-out for Pantene users to submit a video of themselves and enter to win the opportunity to be the next Pantene spokesperson. Whoever wins will get to be a part of the world’s first live reality TV ad.

They are doing this to promote their new customized Pantene products, which they claim are custom-built around your individual “hair personality.” So, click here to submit your video and tell them about your hair personality that could make you the next Pantene spokesperson! And click here (you have to put in your contact info first FYI) to view the webcast that Stacy was in town for… um, just a warning, Bret Michaels randomly stars in this video too. I wasn’t prepared for it and don’t really understand it, but hey, I guess they figured women love dirty hot musicians so why not throw him in to make the big announcement. Apparently, the winner of this contest gets to go on tour with Bret… hmmm… good thing they’ll have lots of Pantene on hand to sanitize themselves after being on THAT tour bus! haha!

stacy londonI did notice that they mention at the end of the webcast that you can go to pantene.com/freesamples to get free samples of the new customized Pantene products they just released. It’ll take you to a page that lets you sign up for a P&G Everyday Solutions membership. I actually just signed up for this last month. One of my friends who works at P&G told me I needed to sign up and I love it. P&G sends you samples and coupons for all their new products. It’s a free membership, so I definitely recommend it.

So, back to Stacy. I know you’re probably wondering what she was like. Especially those of you who are HUGE fans of her show like me. I watch it all the time, I absolutely adore her and Clinton, and think the show is brilliant. I was hoping she was nice, because if not, I’d have to find a new hobby for my lazy Saturdays. Well, lucky for me and my laziness, she was extremely nice. The first thing out of her mouth was a compliment (said she liked my lime green cardi, by the way). She was very personable, and was really easy to talk to. She had a very BIG personality, was very animated and was really quick on her feet with jokes and jabs at Clinton.

I asked her if she was friends with Clinton before the show, because they seemed to get along so well, even in the first season. She said no, but she did meet him at auditions and they sparked the chemistry before ever walking in front of the producers, and they were fast friends from that day on. Actually, she explained the relationship as “brother and sister who have been stuck together on a long car ride.” She loves him to pieces but they know how to get on each other’s last nerve. I told her I had a brother nine years older, and could totally relate. She said Clinton was nine years older than her too. I nodded and smiled in belief, at which point, all her hair and makeup crew busted out laughing and promised to tell him she said that.

She was a blast to interview. I really had a great time and I learned a lot. She of course talked about all the new announcements Pantene had today, but I couldn’t leave her without asking which Spring and Summer trends to keep an eye out for. And oh my goodness, after asking that question, it was like the flood gates of her brain opened up. She must have rattled off literally 20 Spring/Summer trends without blinking an eye. I got video of it all, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. Check it out below!

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