In this issue our West Coast event goddess-on-the-go Lara Shriftman hosts memorable book launch events with celebriauthor Gigi Grazer in Los Angeles and the Hamptons. She also has some holiday insight to help relieve the stress that sometimes accompany them.
My friend Gigi Grazer, an extremely talented writer and the bestselling author of five novels, including The Starter Wife (which became a series on the USA Network) and Maneater (a Lifetime miniseries) wanted to create an event for her fifth novel, The After Wife. It tells the tale of a grieving 40-ish widow and the wacky friends who love her as she attempts to regain control of her life in the sometimes-surreal L.A. landscape. How perfect.
To celebrate, I threw two memorable Grazer fabulous book parties, in Southampton and Los Angeles. I love to surround myself with talented people. That’s why I worked with my favorite design duo, Anders Ruff Custom Designs, who specialize in custom party invitations and accessories to create the perfect invitations for the two events. Invitation are crucial since they are the first point of welcome for any event you might host yourself.
Guests arrived breathlessly in anticipation of a great time and when they walked in they were treated to tray-passed signature cocktails from Caliche Rum’s Cali Mojito, which happens to be Grazer’s favorite drink. Look for it here.
2 oz Caliche Rum
1oz Fresh Lime Juice
¼ oz Agave Nectar
8 Mint Leaves
Crushed ice on top
Garnish: Mint Sprig
In a mixing glass, lightly muddle the mint. Add the remaining ingredients fill with ice and shake until well chilled, strain into an ice filled highball glass, top with the crushed ice, and garnish.
In a special nod to the book, both events included psychic readings for the guests. In the Hamptons, AstroTwins Tali and Ophira Edut read charts for the guests and gave incredible astrological insight. Michelle Whitedove, named “America’s #1 Psychic” by Lifetime TV, conducted readings in Los Angeles and guests were both intrigued and amused by the readings.
The Hamptons event was hosted by Christopher Burch at his estate in Southampton. You likely know Burch since he is the founder of C. Wonder, which offers a completely unique shopping experience for clothing, accessories, and home décor. Both the website and C. Wonder’s brick and mortar store in New York offer a diverse assortment of beautiful, versatile products that pair timeless design elements with fresh twists. The staff was dressed in C. Wonder’s aprons and hors d’oeuvres like Mini Phyllo Triangles with Feta and Spinach with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce were served on C. Wonder trays and glasses.
The Los Angeles event was held at SoHo House hosted by film producer Suzanne Todd, whose credits include Must Love Dogs, Prime, and The Accidental Husband. Guests included Thea Andrews, journalist and TV personality, and Bernadette Leonard, wife of Sugar Ray Leonard. Caliche Rum cocktails and hors d’oeuvres like a baked fig, gorgonzola, and arugula flatbread were passed, too.
Make Up For Ever’s professional makeup artists from the Robertson boutique provided touch ups for anyone who wanted to look extra glamorous after their arrival and it was the perfect opportunity to get camera-ready since Make Up for Ever cosmetics specialize in highly pigmented products and camera-friendly foundations and powders. I love that guests can have an extra opportunity to look their best with a fun area like this at an event.
Gift bags included a signed copy of The After Wife by Gigi Grazer and a personal note attached with twine along with C. Wonder flip flops, Vitacoco coconut water and Pop Chips. Having hosting so many of them, I can attest that book parties are a great way to invite people over for a special occasion.
Having a book party is a great way to spice up an ordinary bunch, lunch, or dinner party. Instead of just the usual dinner, make it like a book club and invite your friends to share and discuss a great book you have all read. With so many people self-publishing books now, a book party can be a great way to celebrate that accomplishment with friends.
GET THE LOOK
Get Gigi’s Make Up For Ever Look for your own special occasion.
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Making the holidays more glamorous, like everything else, takes a little more effort, but it is so worth it. Here are some of the ways I love to spice up the holiday scene in my life.
I love giving and receiving holiday cards because they are a great way for me to stay in touch with people and to reach out. Many people create e-cards now, yet I prefer to do a custom photo card. I order the same cards from Alpine Creative and do a really cute picture of my son Lucas and my dog, Lulu Flynn.
I always do my list months before and work off last year’s list to make sure I don’t miss anyone. I have found that the best time to send your card is by December 1st. If you’re late, sending a New Year’s card instead it is fun and something different.
Crane & Co. is my classic card option. You can never go wrong with their simply stated holiday greeting cards. You can personalize both holiday greeting and thank you cards, and purchase boxed sets. The Paper Source is my go-to for boxed sets. They have tons of cards that are perfect for everyone, including your boss, co-work, neighbor, and relatives. Their cards are simple and clean, with prices starting as low as $10.00.
You can also go with printable download cards from Anders Ruff. They have a great variety of designs and can do custom prints. To add a personal touch, turn a great family photo into stamps for your holiday mailing. Go to stamps.com and create your own stamps. All these details will add up to your thoughtful choice of sharing joy over the holidays.
BE MY GUEST
Always be gracious and reply when someone sends you an invite, whether it is a hard copy invitation, an evite, or a phone call.
Always reply because there are a lot of parties during the holidays and you want to let people know you are coming.
Guests of guests may not bring guests.
If it’s a sit down dinner and you have other events to go to, commit to staying where you are you told your host you would attend. Otherwise let the hosts know in advance that you can only come for cocktails or stop by for dessert.
Dress festive. It helps to enhance the overall party mood and your hosts will appreciate that you made the effort.
Don’t consume too much alcohol. It gets messy and other guests may have a long memory for it.
Be prepared. Make a list of those whom you need to give gifts to in advance. Think about friends, family, coworkers, and people that do things for you all year long. Don’t wait till the last minute to go over the list or you will forget someone.
Be thoughtful. Think about each person individually and something that they may like or want. If the person is hard to buy for, a gift certificate to something you know they will like, such as their hairdresser or yoga instructor is always a thoughtful gift if accompanied by the right note.
A gift does not have to be expensive since it being thoughtful is enough. For example, you can bake someone a batch of cookies wrapped in great bag and hand deliver them.
Make sure the gifts are wrapped and make sure to include a handwritten note. Include a gift receipt where possible.
Keep the list for next year so you can refer and not forget anyone.
Luxury, fashion and lifestyle expert Lara Shriftman co-founded Harrison & Shriftman in 1995. The agency specializes in public relations, marketing and events for high-profile luxury brands. In addition to serving as a correspondent for Extra with her own segment, Party Confidential, Lara has authored four books on entertaining, Fete Accompli , Fete Accompli Workbook, Party Confidential and Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining.