The Suite Life in Sin City

After several successful years in Miami, The MTV VMA’s, relocated after Katrina to New York, the original home of MTV and The VMA’s. The designer shoe didn’t fit, so they made yet another move this year, slipping in to Vegas. Sin City was a perfect fit and the perfect backdrop for the constant shmoozing, boozing, music, mayhem career breakthroughs and personal meltdowns.

Fed Ex Shar Jackson wearing Bayona Jewels at Style Villa

We realized early on that getting into the actual VMA “show” or their coveted carpet was not an easy one. Rejection ended up being protection in this case as the really engaging shows in town were at the celebrity gifting suites that took place before the VMA event. The suites, along with a slew of great theater and a handful of sophisticated restaurants that were as theatrical as they were decadent, made for pure entertainment that was in fact true to the backdrop and the city itself, sinful.

No awards show would be complete without their series of swag suites. For those of you not in the know, SWAG is short for Sealed With A Gift. It’s a freebie, a high-end, high priced goodie, gift, trip or service often given to celebs, scenesters and serious swag hags. The giving of swag usually surrounds awards and major entertainment events in LA, New York, Sundance and Vegas.

The recent taxing of swag on well noted backstage gift bags valued anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 at The Emmy’s and Oscars have sent A List celebs running for The Hills fearing a sag in their swag. In hushed tones, desperately clutching to their overly stuffed swag bags in their tense hands, celebs and eager to please handlers feared the end of an era, the gifting era. Fear not my friends! In Sin City, the swag, like everything else in Vegas, was as big, as decadent and as over the top as ever. It was win, win for those that rolled in to town ready to play the game.

This year’s VMA’s, complete with the Britney debacle, proved to be more about business and less about show. We found that the Best in Show at this year’s VMA’s was definitely the swag suites leading up to the big event. They were some showstoppers in town with some serious talent headlining the events. For back up, there were bikini clad buzzed babes floating poolside and plenty of DJ’s on deck mixing it up, keeping it fresh.

Here’s a sneak peak and the inside skinny on what the celebs scored, what went down and who got what and where in the suite scene.

Rock Hard
This past weekend several stars like Akon, CeeLo (Gnarls Barkley), K Fed’s Ex Shar, Miss Jackson if you’re nasty, Three Six Mafia, Queens at the Stone Age, Panic! At the Disco and Linkin Park were rocking it hard at THE STAR LOUNGE in honor of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 40th Anniversary at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, just off the strip. Rembrandt Flores and his crew at Fusion were very successful in securing several celebs to pop in to the house of Rock and get in to a serious swag mode.

Champagne at Hard Rock's Star Lounge

What I love about musicians and rockers is that they are not afraid to voice their opinions. Unlike actors with their camera-ready cover, they are ready to throw down and get real. They are modern day messengers, our urban poets. They stir things up, heat them up, get off or go off, be it personal or political, they are ready to work the mic and a room, or so I thought.

Rappers Ludacris and Nelly ran into each other in the True Religion Jeans suite at the THE STAR LOUNGE where they were discussing the ongoing feud of dueling hip hop sensations 50 Cent and Kanye West. Both were giving their strong opinions on whose album was going to do better when they dropped on the same day, September 11. As their heated debate got hotter, cameras were rolling and the two quickly cooled it. They changed their personalized I-tunes and were all swag smiles, in synch with the politically correct social tempo and tune before continuing to pick up gifts from Ray Ban, Gibson Guitar and Nike. The Video may have killed the radio star. It looks like the camera may have killed their honesty.

Nelly’s R&B GF Ashanti was noticeably absent from The Star Lounge, but met up with her man later in the evening as they walked hand in hand in to The Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary Bash, where Ashanti said “I’m excited to see Kanye perform. He is brilliant.” Meanwhile Luda was seen at the 50 Cent’s event.  Both events were held at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Can you guess whose side Nelly & Luda were on???

Don "Magic" Juan at Hard Rock

Thank God “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” for Brody Jenner! The Hills hottie Brody was trying to score more than swag this weekend. In true Brody fashion, he was enamored with his Star Lounge escort. He tried to hold her hand, then ordered himself a cocktail and insisted that his she drink with him. She coyly turned him down. What a blow to the Brody ego!  
He loved the Patron sponsored G&P Foundation for Cancer Research photo booth so much that he insisted on photogs taking pictures of him in it, making other celebrities such as supermodel, actress Amber Valetta and her son bypass the booth, because he was taking too long and creating a scene. Attention anyone? The good news is that all autographed photos from the booth will be auctioned off on eBay Giving Works.

PETA princess Joss Stone stopped by the Zerosmoke suite where she was excited to learn about the all-natural way to quit smoking. After trying out the magnetic therapy, Stone was enamored with the Gershon Jewelers beautiful wine openers; not realizing it was made from an authentic warthog tusk. Stone’s handlers immediately pushed her out of the room and shielded her from being photographed with the product. They created such a commotion. It left every one wondering what went wrong. Apparently, Joss is a staunch PETA supporter and her handlers did not want her associated with products made with animal parts. 

Joss and others scooped up animal friendly cosmetics by Laura Geller, Gibson Guitar gear, Eco Friendly Cashmere & Cotton Couture Fashion by California Rising, Free Slacker Radio, Bustelo Coffee treats, waxing by Flirt Salon and blinged out flip flops by Glitzy Baby.

Sidekicks are hot this season. They are front and center and seriously on the rise. Diddy’s umbrella Boy Fonsworth was hogging the swag camera. Snoop’s Magic Bishop Don Juan had a crowd around him in the Hard Rock parking lot and suddenly slimmer Ross the intern from Leno was on camera interviewing all the celebs in the Star Lounge suite. It’s proof positive it’s not what you do, but who you are with.

Asian Fusion
Tao kicked off the weekend with a press conference on Thursday with Jay Z and his lady friend, the beauty, known as Beyonce. Kingpin and Brand Ambassador Jay Z announced plans to open his famed 40/40-night club in Vegas. For the rest of the time, it was Tao time with a bevy of parties and events and Tao’s hospitality suite in full gear all weekend. It was as much about the swag as it was the scene.

Rob Boyd and Kevin Wu from Bayona Jewels

Brands included Blue Man Group, Bulgari, Canyon Ranch Spa Club, Guggenheim Hermitage Museum Jan Marini, LaFresh Group, Kerastase Hair Products, Madame Tussauds, Me!Bath, Phantom and Express. Beyonce buddy Jennifer Hudson said, “I love The Venetian!" Robin Thicke declined swag and all gifts saying, "Please give it to someone that needs it." We love him that and we love his music!

Paris, Diddy, Jamie, Jermaine, Janet, Pharrell, Kanye, Britney, Nelly and Ashanti were all seen doing time at Tao Bistro and nightclub throughout the weekend.

Wynning Details
After a hard partying weekend, just before the curtain was called for the award show on Sunday, Geffen, Interscope & A&M had a swag suite of their own catering to execs versus celebs in the beautiful boutique club Blush in The Wynn Hotel. Guests enjoyed cocktails, coffee, gourmet finger sandwiches and pastries. The event featured The Details Magazine Style Lounge & Playstation Arena for the fashion forward kid in all of us. .

The Beauty Station was buzzing with old school classic barbering services for the boys courtesy of Elliott & company, Sin City’s newest high-end barbershop. Wynn’s salon had their top stylists on the floor for manis as well as the curling my hair and flattening my friend’s while using products by Joico.

Caeser's Pool

Over a quarter million dollars worth of product and gifts were given away to guests at the IGA Gifting Suite. Two hundred gift and goodies bags were given out filed with MTV’s diva’s Gwen Stefani’s new LAMB perfume, Joico products, J 8 jewelry which makes the most amazing guitar string bracelets, marc ecko cool, casual clothes and mark ecko watches for guys and gals where bling was just the thing and right on time. Also gift certificates for Marlies Dekkers Lingerie (at The Wynn) and VIP LE REVE tickets also at The Wynn complete with Perrier Jouet champagne & chocolate covered strawberries served exclusively in the VIP section. Divine!

Several executives from Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Sony Music and Bad Boy Entertainment attended the Sunday fete, as did the owner of The Fred Segal store. Celebrities included recording artists Warren G, i-15, Sparkle, Hotrod from G-Unit and sizzling celebrity chef Kerry Simon.

Wynn Hotel’s concierge services hand delivered gift bags to celebrities Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Akon, Kevin Federline, Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5 and Fallout Boy direct to their hotel rooms. That’s swag service.

Bikini Clad Babes kicking it at the Style Villa, Caesar's Pool

LA Villa Vida
Vegas’ premier Lifestyle Marketing Agency, Access West Marketing, brought their renowned Style Villa to the Pure Management hotspot, The Venus Pool Club at Caesar’s Palace. Style Villa has been the go to destination by day for VMA’s, for several years running, both in New York and in Miami.

It was true roman decadence with swag cabanas surrounding the large Romanesque pool. The heat was definitely on! Fortunately for those in attendance, there were plenty of chilled libations on pour poolside. Trago served yummy fruity margaritas and sent every one off with Trago trios to make your own Vegas style Margies at home. Svedka tried to mask their decadence with early afternoon Cucumber Martinis and healthy Ginger infused shots that went down like water.

For those out of Rehab, committed to life on the straight and arrow and wearing their ankle bracelets, there was plenty of Glaceau Smartwater and ice cold Vitamin Water to take in.


Comedian & Actor Orlando Jones at Style Villa

Plenty of A-listers lined the pool from Friday to Sunday. Nelly, Timbaland, 50 Cent with full entourage in tow, funny and friendly man Orlando Jones, John Salley, Three Six Mafia, Panic! At the Disco, Nicole Sherzinger from Pussycat Dolls, the cast of MTV’s “The Hills”, K Fed’s Ex Shar (we love her) Jackson, Melissa Joan Hart, old school over the topper, Mr. Decadence himself, The Rich and Famous Robin Leach, Paris and Ashlee’s ex Josh Henderson, Sammy Hagar and Ryan Cabrera, another Ashlee ex were seen soaking up the rays, swag and the scene.

Celebs wove in and out of the swag cabanas scooping up Apple Bottoms jeans, T’s and tops, super sexy Marciano shoes by Guess, Hanes, Retrosport super soft T’s, Zappos gift certificates, sleek Sheiki jeans designed locally in Vegas, Symantec’s and Norton Anti Virus, LESPORTSAC fashion forward fall bags, Dermalogica skincare analysis and a full round up of products and one of my favorite jewelry lines Lia Sophia was on deck dishing out yet another season of fierce jewelry designed by the Nylon Magazine’s own Dani Stahl. There are too many celeb fans of Lia to list. Fair to say, women in film, those on the big and small screens have all screamed for Lia. For more info: 

Another jeweler on hand, a unisex jeweler was ROCK BANDS. Each one-of-a-kind piece is handmade using the finest-quality aged leather and fixtures. The stones are hand carved and polished and suited for personal style, benefiting body, mind and spirit. As each stone is associated to a charka to help balance the body, they aid in concentration, digestion, and protection against infection or bad energy. Debuting last year at MTV's Video Music Awards in New York City, designer Dahlberg was the darling of the celebrity gifting suites.

Hot Toddy Lee Dahlberg an ex actor, not hard on the eyes, has since brought ROCK BANDS to the Oscars, GRAMMYs, Emmys, Sundance and Cannes Film Festival. He told us that the it stylist of TV Pat Fields of Sex in the City fame took a box of Rocks to be used on the currently filming Sex in the City Movie. I saw Chris Noth, the famed Mr. Big at Wynn’s SW Steakhouse having dinner on Saturday night. I didn’t see a piece of the Rock on Chris. Maybe he’s saving it for the big screen. Only time will tell. For more info on Rock Bands, check out

Rock Bands at Style Villa

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