Arts & Culture

AMA Gift Suite Goes Socially Conscious

By Jill Blackford

Matthew Lawrence and Cheryl BurkeThe American Music Awards rock. And GBK Productions’ AMA Gift Suite did too.

Fitting within a “socially conscious” theme, many vendors gifted products (or proceeds) that think about others and not just the bottom line. And GBK donated 20 percent of the proceeds to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation plus auctioned the $30,000+ gift bags for auction to benefit non-profits like DMC’s Foster Care Foundation.

And various Hollywood types showed up to gather goodies, sign personalized cards to the troops and venture to teach English abroad. Guests included hip-hop legend DMC, AMA nominees & presenters, and stars from shows like Heroes, Ugly Betty, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol.

With R&B singer JROME entertaining, Effen Vodka and Who’s Your Daddy energy drink serving, uh, energizing cocktails, Heineken making beer drinking a bit more stylish, and SkyTaco providing “shopping” sustenance, everyone looked stunning and satisfied in PhotoWow’s Andy Warhol-esque guest photos.

From candles to dog carriers, singing to sexy wallets, there was certainly variety in the Standard’s Penthouse for this gift suite.


Call me a fashion cynic, but it’s not often that I find something that really makes me pause – and then praise. dbClay’s line of funky-chic, eco-friendly wallets was that breath of fresh air.

Made in limited edition batches (typically of 500 or so), the handprinted wallets are great for men and women. Photograph or drawing designs like the human hair batch are nebulous enough to warrant a second look. The brunette and blonde collections are available now, and red, black and an “especially elderly white” are to come. 

Other designs from this Portland designer, like the Whipping Tail and Lights of Spain, are available online. We knew Portland was up-and-coming-cool.

Park City Ice Water Company

Unless you’ve been living in an unrecycled, plastic bubble, you know that the time to think about our planet is now. And bottled water, once seemingly innocuous, has turned out to be a large contributor to landfill waste. Not cool.

The Park City Company’s new mission: to help reduce that waste while delivering primo, crystalline hydration. The water is culled from a subterranean, melted glacier in northern Utah (um, wow). It’s then funneled directly into enviro-friendly pouches (think a disposable camel pack); the vacuum-seal means there’s not even contamination from the air. The pouches themselves require 75 percent less energy to produce than typical bottling.

Drinking water is good for you. Drinking Icewater’s glacier pouch water is even better.

100 Candles

Candles are romantic and mood-inducing. But for an increasing number of venues (and even for your home), it’s not alwaysChloe Kardashian, 100 Candles smart to burn

With 100 Candles, there’s a smoke-free, fire-risk-free alternative. LED batteries power an assortment of candles – including aromatic ones. So you can feel warm and cozy, without having to monitor the burning.

Ideal for event planners, the 100 Candles website offers over 4,000 items on virtual display and ready for purchase. The unique vendor gifted a dozen votives with S-curve hanging bins — perfect for living room ambience.


In a flashback to Edie Sedgwick, today’s rage in beauty is lashes – of the long and thick variety. And even though Wallpaper magazine dubbed faux lashes one of the two coolest accessories for 2004, some of us remain unconvinced. Glue pasted near eyes is a bit disconcerting.

A better bet? Athena Cosmetics’ RevitaLash. The Nevada-based company is leading a new revolution: make your own lashes plump up, with a little help from their liquid friends.

Founded by an optometrist for his wife, who had experienced a loss of lashes during her bout with breast cancer, RevitaLash is a thickening, strengthening and lengthening formula. The tube of eyelash conditioner has a mini-brush that fits perfectly just above the lash for nourishing at the roots.

Don’t be the biggest faker.

Eminem’s Shady LTD

Everyone has a favorite hoodie, and Eminem’s Shady LTD twist on the classic has people clamoring to get their own. The zip-up sweatshirt zips all the way up the face of a graphic Jason mask for Halloween-esque cavorting year-round. Guests chose from black with white imprints or vice versa, but both were bizarrely badass.

Don’t be alarmed; it’s all in the name of good fashion.

NOVA Skin Care System

Now you can give yourself a pro-feeling facial. NOVA’s system uses rare-earth magnets to drive a hand-held vibrating pad. That means micro-vibrations that create thousands of motions per second – all to release impurities and help deliver anti-aging benefits.

Even living in a city with air that could be called a bit suspect, your skin can feel alive, refreshed, and young.

Komfort Pets

Bob Inello’s Komfort Pets Carrier is the perfect solution to keeping your pets comfortable regardless of how hot or cold the whether might be. As the most innovative, climate-controlled pet carrier in the world, Komfort Pets is designed to automatically keep cool your pets down when the outside temperature gets too hot and to warm them up when it gets too cold.Now your pet can be treated like a celeb too.The SPCA has recently chosen and awarded  the Komfort Pets Carrier as their “ Best of the Best” in their carrier category.James Kyson Lee and Shar Jackson

Posh Life Bling

Whether or not Posh Spice deserves the credit, the word posh implies the appropriate dose of chi-chi-ness. Posh Life Bling (part of the overall Posh Life brand, also including a beauty line), takes that a step further. Seriously.

Get your cell phone decked to the nines with Swarovski Crystal. In fact, you can pretty much adorn anything your heart desires: from your Havaianas to your hair dryer. Ooh la la.

Hasbro Games

Remember the game of Life? With cash and insurance policies and bank loans? Well, the 1970s game has gotten a modern makeover.

With credit cards passed out as the currency, and real interest rate fluctuations, Life Twist & Turns may even seem a bit too real. But it’s good fun for a lazy Saturday night.

There’s also the new iLIST Music Game, which make a game out of song-searching a pair of iPODs. Come on, you can’t go out clubbing with your friends every night.

DMC and Shar Jackson, Ace Karaoke

Ace Karaoke Corp.
Karaoke can often be found in one of two scenes: going to a 10-by-10 foot room and bringing your own beer or waiting two hours for your song to be called because there’s That Girl on stage again trying to get discovered with her Celine Dion renditions.

With the Ace Karaoke system, you can sing your heart out – but in your own living room. It dubs itself “the karaoke expert,” and if you like to call yourself that too, this karaoke gig is for you.

Cheryl Burke, James Kyson Lee, Ace Karaoke


Audrina Patridge and Chloe Kardashian, Rose of Thanks

A Rose of Thanks
On the heels of Veteran’s Day, this booth drew a crowd – not to receive, but to give. Thanks, that is. The mission of A Rose of Thanks is to send a card to every serviceman (and woman) that is deployed.

In the midst of the glitz of commercial gifts, this booth stood out for its passion. It’s not quite practical: one man setting out to change the worlds of U.S. troops, one card at a time. But nothing truly magical ever is.

Cards at the gift suite event were colored, signed, and rhymed (as DMC’s was) – and they can be ordered to send from your crew too. The founder of A Rose of Thanks, Matt Hunt, had a revelation to make a difference. And with the help of Angelenos and Americans across the country, he can make that profound thought into a generous reality.

Read more about A Rose of Thanks in our Featured Article.

Shar Jackson, DMC, Rose of Thanks

Art Stamps
Fundraisers are a necessary part of any child’s education. But instead of students selling chocolates or knick-knacks, Art Stamps gives kids a chance to sell their own creations.

Their drawings become stamps or postcards or letterhead. Then, these in turn can raise money for art and music programs in schools – while giving students confidence and giving their family and friends something to write home about.

RH Pumpkin

RH Pumpkin’s mission is to enable local artisans from Cambodia to share their work with a broader base of customers. Their silver star pendant charms made a statement at the gift suite, and their other items like raw silk cushion covers and Angkor Wat bracelet are the perfect way to make a stylish, socially conscious statement in gift giving.

I-to-I Travel

The jet-set crowd knows travel is divine. And it’s now starting to see that making a difference while traveling can be even more so.

I-to-I Travel provides an opportunity to volunteer to help in community work (like orphanages), conservation, teaching English, building, coaching sports and more. It sends over 5,000 volunteers a year for 500 projects in 30 countries.

Celebs have started signing up for these chances to travel for pleasure of a different sort. The rest of us should check it out too.


When a business gives any portion of its proceeds to charity, we give our nod of approval. When it gives 100 percent of profits away to help others in need, we cheer. Loudly.

B.E.L.T.S. (Because Every Life Touches Someone) donates its entire profits to impoverished American children. And the figure is astounding: the sale of one belt feeds one child for one year. Plus, the belts are as outlandish, bold and fashionable as the business model itself.

Now go hold your pants up with something pretty (and generous).

Jennifer Tilly, ParasucoOTHER GIFTERS TO KNOW

Couture for the Soul

Breathe Balance

West Hollywood Harmony

World Poker Tour


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About the author

Jill Blackford