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Nick Hissom Debuts Video for 'If I Die Young'

The Vegas regular hits New York Fashion Week to celebrate his first-ever music video.

September 26, 2013

A working model and college student, fresh-faced recording artist Nick Hissom debuted the music video for his first single, “If I Die Young,” at the official afterparty for the AngelaIAM Fashion Show by Angela Simmons during New York Fashion Week.

Twenty-one-year-old Hissom was joined by model friends like Xiao Wen and Gigi Hadid, as well as music superstar Ne-Yo, to celebrate the video for the song which was inspired by a friend who died of cancer. With meaningful lyrics and a catchy beat, combined with Hissom’s smooth voice, the track has all of the makings of a radio hit.

Hissom—who hails from Britain, lives and attends college in Philadelphia, and can be spotted in L.A., New York, and Nevada (his stepfather is hotelier Steve Wynn)—tapped LA-based cinematographer Brian Michael Henderson to film the video. Shot on the dusty plains of Death Valley, Nevada, the resulting four minute and fifteen second video begins like a short film, with plenty of drama and cinematic impact, and features model Alyssa Arcé starring alongside Hissom. Check out the full video below.

By Anna Walton

 

Q&A: Nikki Lee of La Bella Donna

The makeup artist and account executive for the high-end line explains the brand's secret to success.

September 16, 2013

The La Bella Donna brand is known as the most premium natural makeup line ($22-$198) on the market. If you’re not convinced, stunning mineral maven Nikki Lee is a make-up artist and the brand’s account executive for southern California and Las Vegas who has a simple answer: the makeup line utilizes top ingredients. Sold exclusively in Las Vegas at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental and Wynn Las Vegas, Lee talks about the revolutionary line of products.

Mineral makeups were all the rage a few years ago. What makes La Bella Donna different?
NIKKI LEE: The first main difference is ingredients or quality. We have four ingredients in our loose mineral base and do not put fillers in our product line.  

You’ve worked for numerous high-end beauty brands. How did you get involved with La Bella Donna?
NL: I have been in the skincare and makeup industry for over 15 years. As a makeup artist and esthetician, I have worked with many brands, but I was looking for a makeup that would improve my problematic skin. La Bella Donna’s mineral foundation is truly skincare in a cosmetic form.

It’s only sold at two of the highest-end retailers on the Strip. Why?
NL: We partner with only high-quality resorts and spas, luxury boutiques, specialty salons, and medical offices to maintain the integrity of the brand. We want to present a cosmetic line that represents purity, protection, and luminescent beauty.

How is the brand able to make the product without fillers and other “natural ingredients?”
NL: The way the minerals are made is a key point. We put our minerals through a triple-dmill process, which is more expensive and grinds the minerals down to a very fine consistency. Other mineral lines do a double-mill process, which makes them heavier.

Where do other lines go wrong?
NL: We do not use corn starch, which is one main ingredient in other mineral foundations. When you mix corn starch with any type of oil on the skin, you instantly clog pores because it becomes paste-like and cake-y. All other mineral lines use mica as the key mineral in their foundations, which can make the skin look shiny, making pores and fine lines look bigger. It’s a much less expensive mineral than titanium dioxide, which is the main ingredient in our loose mineral foundation.  

You’ve said this brand actually improves skin and is a natural sun protectant. Can you elaborate?
NL:
La Bella Donna is a revolutionary, pioneering concept in cosmetics­—minerals that behave like makeup. They are actually healthy for the skin because they are made from natural elements: mineral-based pigments for natural-looking color and micronized titanium dioxide, a non-chemical sun block of SPF 20 for environmental protection. They provide excellent coverage in a wide range of shades, containing no FD&C dyes, oil, talc, alcohol or fragrance. Some additional benefits of mineral are long-lasting color that does not crease, it’s lightweight, waterproof, anti-aging, safe for post-op coverage, nearly zero allergy rate, and ideal for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

By Emma Trotter

 

Giada De Laurentiis Talks New Vegas Restaurant

The Food Network star dishes on her first restaurant at Gansevoort Las Vegas.

September 12, 2013

Celebrity Chef, TV personality, and author, Giada de Laurentiis.
Giada De Laurentiis is preparing to open her first restaurant inside the upcoming Gansevoort Las Vegas in early 2014.

Fans frequently see beloved chef, author, and Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis’ food, but following her partnership with Caesars Entertainment, they’ll now be able to taste it. The Rome-born and LA-raised Emmy-winning host will be opening her first restaurant inside the new Gansevoort Las Vegas boutique hotel and casino, all coming early 2014.

We sat down with Caesars’ debut female celebrity chef to learn more about her new venture, which will feature California-inspired cuisine that honors Italian traditions (pastas only as appetizers), feminine décor (“like people are coming into my home”), a signature antipasto bar, and an open kitchen, so that—just as her devotees are accustomed to—you’ll be able to watch everything in action.

Tell us about your new restaurant.
GIADA DE LAURENTIIS: It’s a very big endeavor for me. [It has] about 330 seats, so it’s rather large for a first restaurant. It has spectacular views of the Bellagio fountains, and Caesars Palace, so at nighttime it’s lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s kind of perfect. I really wanted something that I was going to be able to build from scratch.

How will you keep people coming back?
GD: We’re going to create spaces. We have an outside patio area, that’ll be different from the inside. We’ll have rugs, that feel like you’re in somebody’s house, [and] have couches that feel like home. When you first walk in, I’m going to have an antipasto bar. For dinner, I want people to start out with sharing an antipasto platter, so kind of teaching [diners] the traditions of the way we eat in Italy. I’m going to have a pizza oven and a bread oven, and you’ll be able to see the guys making the pizza.

What do you think the experience of watching food prepared adds?
GD: I think people are fascinated by watching cooks cook. There’s so much visual stimulation going on. It’s kind of like watching a dance, or a game. So the more connection there is between the patron and the kitchen staff, the more connection there is to the food they’re eating. That’s what I do on my cooking shows, is really try to make it less intimidating, and more welcoming.

What are some of your signature dishes?
GD: I think that I’m known for lighter Italian food, with a California flair. My lemon spaghetti is one of my iconic dishes, [as well as] my butternut squash lasagna. I have eggplant rollatini that I make a lot. So I will have those iconic dishes, but I also want to do some traditional stuff that my family’s made, that I can’t really make on my show or in my books, because they’re a little more complicated and they take longer to cook.

Tell us about some of those more traditional items.
GD: The homemade pastas are a big part of that: ravioli, tortellini, fresh spaghetti. I don’t usually make fresh pasta on my shows—I don’t even make pizza. Quite frankly, the best pizza comes from a pizza oven, and I don’t have one on my set [because] most people don’t have one at home, so they’re not really going to be able to replicate it to its fullest potential. [With the restaurant’s pizza oven], I can make my grandfather’s traditional Neapolitan pizza. When my grandfather used to have everybody over, the first thing you always had was pizza. That was our appetizer, every single time.

How did your experience in your grandfather’s restaurant inspire you?
GD: He opened it when I was 12, and he brought all of his friends from Naples—pizzaiolos, bread makers, pasta makers. He really brought what he grew up with; his parents had a pasta factory. And I fell in love with the energy and the passion that people had when they walked in, and the smiles, and the aromas. I didn’t know I’d be a chef, though. At the time, it was a different job. But I said, ‘I want to be around food, somehow.’ I just didn’t know what the vehicle was going to be.

Who do you look up to in the chef world?
GD: I think my biggest mentor is probably Mario Batali, just for the sheer fact that he’s a pretty incredible Italian cook. I envy his keen sense of ingredients. I look for more simplicity in my food, and he is able to really blend together ingredients that I don’t think I could ever put together. He would probably be my biggest competition out there, him and Scott Conant of Scarpetta. Rao’s is there as well.

Is there anything unique you can bring, as a female chef?
GD: I definitely can bring some softness. I almost want people to feel like when they walk into my restaurant, they’re getting a big hug from me, whether I’m there or not. I truly believe, just like with my shows and my books and everything else that I do, it will be a heartwarming, really fun, delicious experience.

BY JASMIN ROSEMBERG; PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT


 

Bill Maher Stirs the Pot at Palms

The political comedian hits the stage at Palms’ Pearl Theater.

September 04, 2013

Bill Maher stand-up
Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher. 

While we're used to seeing his rapid fire (and often biting) political and social commentary on television, Bill Maher also puts on quite a show at the Palms Casino Resort's Pearl Theater. This week, he returns September 6 and 7 to shake things up yet again, traversing topics from the war on drugs to government spending to political figures with whom he has a bone to pick. And of course, he laces all of the heavy stuff with his own brand of sharp, insightful humor.  

Best known as the host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher (nominated twice in this September's Primetime Emmy Awards), the Cornell University graduate takes viewers through the week’s news, current events, and world issues, all while interviewing guest stars ranging from Ben Affleck to Jay-Z to top financial minds and hard news reporters. Not to mention that when you tack on his comedy career and previous television stint, Politically Incorrect, Maher has been stirring the pot for nearly four decades. And he still performs at least 50 dates per year. Tickets to this week's engagements are $45. 4321 W. Flamingo Road., 702-944-3200  

Emma Trotter

 

Q&A: Kellan Lutz Talks Abbot + Main

From model to Twilight star to clothing designer, Lutz fills us in on his latest endeavor.

August 26, 2013

Kellan Lutz at work on his Abbot + Main clothing line.
Kellan Lutz at work on his Abbot + Main clothing line. 

When actor Kellan Lutz, best known for his role as Emmett Cullen in Twilight, isn’t playing a tough guy—he’ll next star as Tarzan in Tarzan and have a role in The Expendables 3—he’s working on designs for Abbot + Main, his contemporary clothing line he co-founded with Danny Guez. (Pick up his threads at Nordstrom at Fashion Show Mall.) The duo hit Vegas’ bi-annual MAGIC trade show to present the brand’s spring line, and sat down with Vegas to dish on his inspiration. 

How would you describe this line and how does it look different than your past collections?
KELLAN LUTZ: We’ve evolved, obviously. We stick to cool, classic, and comfortable. Now we have this new hacci fabric that I’m obsessed with it. It feels like cashmere, but for our price point. 

DANNY GUEZ: While he travels the world, he goes shopping and picks up stuff and says, “I found something amazing.”

KL: I am very passionate about it—it’s fun. We’re really going in with collars, cardigans, shawls. We love our core and are just branching out and adding new, different pocket types and different fits.

What was the inspiration behind this collection?
KL: I lived in Venice and when they would paint buildings, the sun would tarnish it into this great, Skittles color. Everyone has been tweeting to me that they love their orange pastel sherbet hoodie. It makes me really happy.

DG: I think the most important thing in evolving from where we were from a year ago to where we are now is that we have a full women’s collection and a full men’s collection.

KL: We have kids, too.

DG: Definitely the inspiration for this collection were colors, colors, colors, and then just the fabrication and the feel.

Even before you were an actor, were you always interested in fashion?  Did you know you wanted to start your own line?
KL: I started out modeling when I was 14, so I didn’t know I wanted to act. I would work with amazing photographers and amazing stylists and learn about the different fabrics, asking them “What is this? What fabric is this?” I was just very fascinated by clothes.

In your time spent in Vegas, what do you love about the big fashion convention?
KL: That’s why I love being here. I haven’t had the chance to come as often as I wish I could because I’ve been working—I’m about to go do Expendables 3 in three days—but I wanted to make sure I came here because it’s an education. I get to see all the brands, and it’s a great way to see all the buyers we have relationships with, to show them what we’re working on and just hang out with them.

By Devin Howell

 

Fire Up the Grill at Nobu Caesars Palace

A new teppanyaki menu is one of the Strip’s premiere dining experiences.

August 19, 2013

Dining gets interactive at chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu Caesars Palace, which is the only Nobu in the U.S. to offer teppanyaki-style Japanese cooking. With a selection ranging from à la carte choices to tasting menus, the swanky new dining gem features three teppanyaki tables (one of which seats up to 16 people) in rooms that can be curtained off for private parties like bachelor and birthday parties.

The live cooking demonstrations and personal interaction with the chefs make it a fun, intimate experience as guests see everything from diver scallops to crab fried rice to foie gras being prepared, cooked, and served right in front of them—with wine and sake tastings to boot. Plus, the chefs can speak extensively about the details of the meal, create specialty dishes to accommodate food allergies or restrictions, and perform a few master tricks on the griddle to wow guests.

Four different prix-fixe menus are offered, including the $280 sampling with highlights including truffle shishito peppers, Maine lobster, and toro tartare with Osetra caviar. The crème de la crème, however, is the ultra-rare, seven-course Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef Banquet ($688 per person), a succulent splurge that requires 24-hour notice.

The Nobu brand is enjoying a widely successful Las Vegas expansion that debuted earlier this year, with the city’s second Nobu restaurant and the world’s first Nobu Hotel, both at Caesars Palace. 

BY EMMA TROTTER 


 

Spa at Mandarin Oriental Adds Rare Diamond Facial

The hotel spa scores the world-exclusive on a luxe Natura Bissé treatment.

August 19, 2013

natura-bisse-vegas

Treat yourself to a world-exclusive Natura Bissé diamond facial at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas.

Spain-based beauty brand Natura Bissé is ultra selective in choosing its prestigious partners. Even more elite are the latest spa treatments offered, such as the Diamond Brilliant Facial, available only at Las Vegas’ Spa at Mandarin Oriental, a two-story retreat located on the hotel’s eighth floor.

The facial is part of five new Natura Bissé treatments that launched at the spa on August 7. All five are purifying with detoxifying properties and specialty ingredients, including real diamond dust. The treatments, including the Cure and O2 Awakening facials, are particularly brightening. Unlike other brands that often contain chemicals or bleaching agents, Natura Bissé’s Diamond line products lightens and brightens skin through its all-natural roster of premium ingredients.

Both the Diamond Magnetic Lift Body Treatment and Diamond Magnetic manicure and pedicure use Natura Bissé’s exclusive magnet exfoliation process to remove impurities from the skin, allowing for deeper moisturizing. In addition, the treatments counter electromagnetic pollution and balance energy. Along with some of the most posh spa offerings in town, the Spa features amenities including a hamman, laconium chairs, a Chinese foot spa, and vitality pools with Strip views. 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-590-8886

BY EMMA TROTTER 


 

Eiffel Tower Restaurant Debuts Late Lunch

The Paris Las Vegas staple is a perfect lunch destination for late risers.

August 08, 2013

It can be difficult to make a proper lunch date with all of Vegas’s late-night temptations. But a new “Lunch Late” menu at Paris Las Vegas’s landmark Eiffel Tower Restaurant is making it easy to dine in style during the day whether you’ve stayed up for a late party or worked into the wee hours of the morning. It’s served daily from 2 to 4 p.m. and features some of the most popular menu items from acclaimed chef J. Joho.

Guests can order a classic hamburger with fingerling potato chips, a prime steak salad with French blue cheese, caviar, or shrimp cocktail while enjoying the stunning, airy room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a perfect view of the famed Fountains of Bellagio. Avocado with Alaskan king crab, a romaine salad, a French BLT Tower, and a roasted chicken sandwich served in a gougère round out the menu. There are also four dessert options, including frozen soufflé with strawberry Grand Marnier and pistachio.

If a noon power lunch is more your style, dig into the lengthier list of mid-day offerings, which boast a beautifully presented summer salad and baked crepes with artichoke, walnuts, and tomato coulis. The popular lamb burger with Moroccan spices is also a must-try. The restaurant raises the bar another notch when the sun goes down with a romantic, fine dining dinner atmosphere—it’s known for its proposal presentations—and a panoramic view of the Strip lights from 100 feet up. 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-948-6937

BY EMMA TROTTER 


 

Cause for Celebration: AFAN Black & White Party

Break out black-and-white attire for Aid for AIDS of Nevada's annual bash.

August 05, 2013

Aid for AIDS of Nevada Black & White party

AFAN's annual Black & White party combines, food, fashion, and philanthropy. 

One of Vegas’s biggest annual charity events returns on Saturday, August 24 as Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) presents its annual Black & White Party, now in its 27th year. Held at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel, the VIP reception begins at 8 p.m., with the main event at 9 p.m.

With partygoers donning black-and-white ensembles, the event will feature more than 30 food vendors (look for Culinary Dropout, Brio Tuscan Grille, Double Helix, Ferraro’s and Sugar Factory American Brasserie), plus raffle prizes, a fashion contest, and entertainment. Guests can sample a variety of mixed drinks at premier liquor stations, with participating brands like Frangelico, Chambord Liquor, Southern Comfort, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Avion Tequila, Bacardi Pineapple Fusion Rum, and Bombay Sapphire Gin.

The Black & White Party is legendary for its festive, eccentric atmosphere with costumed and body-painted performers that set the mood for a spectacular night. Slated to host are Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis—local Chippendales performers who competed and placed second on the last season of The Amazing Race—along with Chris Saldaña and 98.5 KLUC’s Lauren Michaels.

One hundred percent of proceeds from the evening go to support HIV/AIDS services, including AFAN, the state’s largest non-profit supporting the AIDS community. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $100 for VIP, which includes a gift bag and early entry to drinks and food tasting stations. 4455 Paradise Road

BY EMMA TROTTER 


 

Penelope Cruz Teams with Agent Provocateur

Along with sister Monica, Cruz brings a movie star-worthy lingerie collection to Vegas.

August 05, 2013

Penelope and Monica Cruz for Agent Provocateur

Penelope and Monica Cruz with Agent Provocateur creative director Sarah Shotton. 

Cinema goddess Penelope Cruz is often buzzed about as one of the most sizzling bombshells on the planet, so it’s no surprise she’s just released her first lingerie collection, L’Agent by Agent Provocateur, in collaboration with her sister, Monica, and Agent Provocateur creative director Sarah Shotton.

A diffusion line from the famously sexy lingerie brand, the collection debuted August 1 in select Nordstrom stores, including Vegas’ location at Fashion Show Mall. Expect modest to racy pieces with attention to detail, such as the fringe on the midnight-colored Zanita bra and Zanita Trixie thong, and embroidered flowers on the Clementina set. Garter belts, bras, slips, and briefs make up the collection, with looks ranging from soft pink and sheer black lace sets to vibrant hues in shiny satin. Price points range from $30 to $154. 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-862-2525

BY EMMA TROTTER


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