Miss A Columnist

Melissa Curtin covers charity and style related events and loves to cover LA's best in beauty, fashion, and culture. She is an educator who recently returned to the classroom to motivate and inspire third graders at a private school in Pacific Palisades. In 2012, she launched an educational T-shirt line called Wear2learn. When she is not working out, hiking a canyon, or at the beach, she is writing. Her latest dream come true has been travel writing for Johnny Jet.

After teaching in the Maryland public school system for almost a decade, she left the conservative East Coast environment in Washington, DC for West Coast living. Eager for adventure, inner growth, and a new environment, she packed her car and took to the open road on her own landing in her new home - Hollywood, California. As a Connecticut Yankee at heart, she has now lived in Los Angeles for six years surrounded by the stars.

Melissa graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in psychology and art history. Soon after, she earned a Master's Degree in education. Melissa traveled around the world on Semester at Sea, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to teach in England. A lust for travel and learning has fueled her globe trotting ever since. Some of her favorite destinations are Costa Rica, Thailand, Fiji, Morocco, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Prague, Egypt, Australia, Greece, and Paris.

Los Angeles has won over her heart. She is constantly taking advantage of what LA LA Land has to offer - new boutiques and restaurants, finding great deals, discovering new hikes and beaches, music, and West Coast fashion.

Recap: Sundance Events At Sky Lodge Hotel

Sundance Film Festival is known for cutting edge films, celebrity sightings and prime networking parties and lounges. This year, the CW3PR RE:treat was a stand-out amongst the swag suites boasting 360-degree views of Main Street and the surrounding snowy mountains. The entertainment industry gathered at the lounge at the Sky Lodge Hotel on Friday and Saturday afternoons (January 20 and 21) for a luxurious gifting suite extravaganza featuring an eclectic assortment of brands. “Entertainment Tonight” used the event space as their hub for celebrity interviews and their Sundance coverage all weekend.

The suite was filled with fabulous brands, some I discovered for the first time and  some I already loved. Vita Coco (coconut water), Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf single serve coffee machines, and Patron liquor was readily available.  The gourmet hot chocolate bar was paired with their XO Cafe tequila, while XO Cafe Patron held a fun photo shoot all day on a white couch donned with purple and white motifs in the background while party goers held their tequila.  Paul Mitchell and their new Mitch line for men had a styling station while my favorite Burts Bees had an assortment of wonderful skin and make-up products they were giving away. Other products included: high-end cosmetics and make-up by Tarte Cosmetics, David Noble & Co fine jewelry, Alex Stein fine jewelry, charity themed jewelry by Expression Rings/Bling for a Cause, and lighted mirrors by Vanity Girl.

Nik Richie and his wife Shayne Lamas sporting red and white Remix watches. (Photo credit: Remix watches on Facebook)

Some of my favorite new products included:

Remix watches ($39.95) in every imaginable color are too fun, especially in the dark! Each watch comes with a removable wrist band, water resistant to 3 meters, and 3 LED lights that’ll make you think the laser light party is on your arm. I would think kids or club goers would dig this watch.  I actually like the white casual one with diamonds.  All you have to do is push the little button above the watch switch and get electrified.  So many people were sporting these all weekend. The owner Ryan Town said he recently launched the watch line.  I saw everyone rocking one at Sundance.

LYON Fine Jewelry not only has a edgy rocker line of rings, earrings, and bracelets, but they were gifting three of their sexy unisex one size fits all charity bracelets.  Lauren Russell, the CEO and creative director of LYON Fine Jewelry launched their first charity bracelet campaign this Fall in support of the non-profit Friendfactor with 20% of proceeds from the sale of each Equality Bracelet being donated to their organization. The team at Friendfactor was instrumental in helping the LGBT community win the right to marry in New York.  Friendfactor is a gay rights organization tailored for straight supporters that is building a movement to end discrimination against your gay and trans friends. Using social media and innovative public education campaigns, Friendfactor enables all of us to accelerate change by making it easy to stand up for our gay friends. www.friendfactor.org.  When you rock the Equality Bracelet by LYON Fine Jewelry, you join the historic movement to end the legal inequalities your gay friends face in marriage, housing, and employment.  Lauren created four different Equality Bracelets in the collection.  Each bracelet is aptly named after a city that has been instrumental in the gay rights movement.  The Stonewall Equality Bracelet sells for $95 and is made from 100% Sterling Silver and Leather.  The Castro, Weho and Vere Equality Bracelets are made from the finest silver, 14k and 18k gold with gorgeous and conflict-free black diamonds and are $775, $1,350 and $1,950 respectively.

Lauren Russell of LYON Fine Jewelry with True Blood's Ryan Kwanten rocking their Equality bracelets. (Photo credit: Lauren Russell)

The slogan for the Equality Bracelet is “We Are All Created Equal.”   The Limitless charity bracelet is in support of the non-profit Adaptive Action Sports (AAS), which helps provide action sports and camps for veterans and people with disabilities. The third bracelet, Rock the Vote charity bracelet, supports the charity by the same name.  Celebrities got to select the cause and bracelet they would like to support: Equality, opportunities for the physically handicapped, or empowering the youth vote.

On Sunday “True Blood” stud Ryan Kwanten was overheard telling LYON Fine Jewelry CEO Lauren Russell that he admires her passion and tenacity in the fight for Equality at the Paige Management Group Football Viewing Party benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals sponsored by Rated M,  Mario Lopez’s stylish and sexy new line of undergarments, which benefited Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Natrol was another new find. Natrol, MRI Performance, and PROLAB featured an “Enhance Your Sundance” experience with healthy vitamins and supplements. Natrol is online, where you can buy vitamins and other dietary supplements for men, women, and kids.  I went home with pocketfuls of samples of acai dietary supplemants, vitamin B-12 for energy (a celeb favorite), melatonin to sleep better, and VeggieFestiv, another dietary supplement made with organic vegetables.  The site has a plethora of items to buy for beauty and health improvement.

Later Saturday night, Give Back Hollywood and Children’s Miracle Network teamed up with VIBE to bring Sundance the hottest party at The Sky Lodge.  Party attendees included Estelle, Toni Braxton, Curtiss Cook and many more who gathered in support of Children’s Miracle Network.

Singers Estelle and Toni Braxton (Photo Credit: Natalie Cass)

Celebrity guests who stopped by the opening weekend of the festival included:  Emily Blunt (“The Devil Wears Prada), Kate Bosworth (“Superman Returns”), Liv Tyler (”Lord of the Rings”), James Marsden (“27 Dresses”), Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”), Lake Bell (“It’s Complicated”), Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”), Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), Anthony Mackie (“Real Steel”), Alison Janney (“The West Wing”), Danny Glover (“Dreamgirls”), Justin Long (“He’s Just Not that Into You”), Victoria Justice (“Victorious”), recording artists Jason Mraz, Estelle and Toni Braxton, Nia Vardalos  (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Red Tails”), David Bianchi (“Filly Brown”), Britt Robertson (“Scream 4”), Kacee Stroh (“High School Musical”), socialite Tinsley Mortimer, Traci Lords (“Zack and Mimi Make a Porno”), Andrew Keegan (“10 Things I Hate about You”), and many other tastemakers…

The Sky Lodge was the place to be all weekend playing host to the gifting suite, Vibe/Give Back Hollywood party, Detropia premiere party, Paige Management AFC/NFC Football Viewing party benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (Trueheart Events), and the Slated Film Financing party.


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