Homemade Tomato Sauce

October 29, 2008 at 4:47 pm (better tv) (, , , , , )

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. Making homemade tomato sauce with Italian restauranter Donatella Arpaia. She owns some fab NYC based restaurants including Mia Dona, Anthos, and David Burke and Donatella. She learned to make tomato sauce from her own Italian family and is now passing along the secrets to Better TV.


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Celebrity Jewelry Maker Rosena Sammi

October 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm (better tv) (, , , )

Another segment I did for Better TV. This one is a profile of jewelry maker Rosena Sammi, a former lawyer, who takes the ornate styles of ancient India and creates modern, wearable pieces for present day. Her jewelry is favored by stars like Naomi Watts, Lindsay Lohan, Kristin Bell and Jesicca Alba.

It’s really beautiful – even more beautiful in real life than what you can see on this clip below. I’d love to own a piece myself. But, of course, all my jewelry, for now at least, is strictly the costume kind! 🙂

Take a look!

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Tea Party

October 17, 2008 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

tea party
PICTURED: Anisha Lakhani (Author of Schooled), Tracy Stern (founder of Salon Tea), Me, Mina Jacqueline Au (Luxury Lifestyle expert and founder of Bon-Luxe), and Melissa Foss (celebrity stylist/former editor of Harper’s Bazaar.)

A couple of weeks ago my photographer and I went to the beautiful Upper East Side home of Tracy Stern, Manhattan socialite and tea entreprenur, and shot a segment on hosting tea parties in your home.

Tracy had laid out the most gorgeous table I’ve ever seen, choosing a colorful garden theme. There were little watering pails for the milk and even the mini sandwiches had a flower theme, with edible geraniums and salmon rosettes. Move over Martha Stewart!

She talked about the odds and ends she picked up here and there to make the display. Stuff anyone could find – even on a budget. But it takes someone with a good eye – like Tracy – to pull it all together. Seriously, the woman is majorly creative!

Her teas were delicious too — try them once and I guarantee you’ll give up Lipton forever! 🙂 Her company is called SalonTea and they import teas from the finest estates from around the world. She’s even written a book on hosting tea parties – the subject of our segment.

It was a really fun segment to shoot and her apartment was to die for. She was really sweet, too. And so passionate about her teas – it’s not just a business for her. It’s a lifestyle.

Check out the SalonTea website and get yourself some tea! But not before you check out the final segment below.


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Shopping with Jamie Lynn Sigler

October 16, 2008 at 7:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Jamie Lynn Sigler at Saks

Yesterday I headed to Saks to interview Jamie Lynn Sigler. You might remember her as Meadow from the Sopranos. After six seasons on the show, she’s all grown up and moved on to new ventures. She’s appearing as herself on at least three episodes of Entourage. (And rumored to be dating the guy who plays Turtle in real life, though she didn’t confirm that on camera.) She just finished filming a movie this summer and will soon be introducing a new jewelry line called “C.J. Free” after her friend Holly Freeman’s son. The jewelry will be available this winter and can be customized with different charms. I couldn’t find a photo online, but she was wearing one of the bracelets during the interview and it was quite cute. When I post my Better TV report in a week or so, you’ll get to see it.

Jamie has recently partnered with Mastercard to promote their shopping savings program – good timing with the failing economy, everyone wants to save money! The program offers discounts at over 25,000 retailers nationwide for cardholders. You can find out more about the program here.

One of the participating retailers was Saks, where we conducted the interview. After we talked to Jamie, we took her upstairs to their shoe department (so big it has its own zipcode) to film her shopping. Not that she needed shoes – she was wearing an amazing pair of peep toe Louboutin booties. (Awesome, if not a bit tough to walk in…) I’m sure they cost as much as my monthly salary, but I hey – I can dream!

I zoomed in on the photo I had so you can get a better look.

Close up on the Jamie Lynn Sigler's Louboutins

She seemed nice, but pretty quiet. No small talk really while we waited for the elevator. She might have been tired though – this was her last interview of a whole day of interviews! And she was good on camera, which is all that really matters in the end. While it’s more fun to hang with someone who’s chatty (like Bill Murray for example!) in the end, I’d rather have someone who’s bright and interesting when it counts!

Funny – my photographer was excited (for the first time EVER, I think) to go on this interview. He’s not really into the Hollywood scene and doesn’t know or care about most celebrities. When I got the pitch for Jamie he was like “OMG we HAVE to do this!” So now he owes me big time. 🙂 He was cool as a cucumber in front of her though. Didn’t even shake when he hooked up her mic. Restrained his inner fan boy like a pro.

Jamie Lynn Sigler at Saks

Here’s the finished Better TV segment, based on the interview.

Who would you guys like to interview more than anyone? I think for me, #1 would be David Bowie. Though I’m not sure if I got the chance I’d even be able to stand, never mind speak.


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Let’s Get Physical, Physical!

October 9, 2008 at 1:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s been quite a month for celebrity interviews. Not sure why they’re all coming out of the woodwork in October, but I won’t complain. Yesterday I interviewed Olivia Newton John about her quest to educate women on breast cancer and the importance of self examination.

Olivia Newton John and Marianne Mancusi

Olivia herself found a lump when examining her own breast and pursued her case, even after her mammogram came back negative. So she’s advocating for women to take charge of their health with a new product called Liv-Aid. (Pronounced Live – as in her nickname and also, of course, the obvious.) Any woman who goes into Curves fitness centers can get a free Liv-Aid: a heart shaped medical device used to help with self breast exams.


Olivia was telling me about her recent hike along the Great Wall of China – a 142 mile journey – done to raise awareness and money for the cause. She’s quite a woman! Calls herself a breast cancer “thriver” not survivor – and she’s been cancer free for years.

Anyway, you’ll be proud to know I stayed on topic and didn’t break down and beg her to break out in “Hopelessly Devoted to You”. 🙂

Here’s the final segment, based on the interview.



PS She looked great, by the way! And was very warm and easy to talk to, even though she was exhausted from back-to-back interviews. Very passionate about her cause, too!

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City of Ember and Interviewing Bill Murray and Tim Robbins

October 6, 2008 at 4:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

On Thursday I went to see the press screening of the upcoming CITY OF EMBER film at the Fox headquarters. I thought it was a really fun movie and one many of you will likely enjoy. Definitely family friendly – with appeal for both adults and kids.

The premise is great – especially for post-apocalyptic fans like myself. The world is dying. A group of men have built a single city underground, a sort of Noah’s Ark for the human race. The citizens of Ember will live for 200 years underground and then emerge to the surface once again, once it’s again habitable. Unfortunately, over the years, the instructions for surfacing have been lost. Now the City of Ember is dying – the generators which provide life are failing, and the corrupt government is covering it all up. It’s now up to two determine children to save the day.

The set is practically a character in and of itself – really elaborate and totally steampunk. All the technology is based on mechnical things like wheels and gears. There’s even a brief scene with goggles – which, of course, are a steampunk mainstay.

On Friday I headed to the Waldorf Astoria to attend the press junket of City of Ember and interview its stars. First up, Tim Robbins and Saoirse Ronan. Tim Robbins has been a hero of mine for quite some time. Ever since I saw him in Robert Altman’s “The Player”, I think. I also admire him and wife Susan Sarandon’s convictions and outspokeness about issues they care about. Saoirse Ronan is only fourteen, but has already been nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Atonement. The two of them were a fun interview – joking back and forth and teasing one another. Tim has a great voice in real life. And he’s looking really good, too! His sister called just before they started rolling and he had to pause to answer his phone. Stars’ siblings – they’re just like us!

I asked him about the parallels between the film – where politicians are ignoring the crash and burn of their city – to our real life situation in America. You’ll have to wait until my segment airs on Better TV to see his answer.

Saoirse Ronan, Marianne Mancusi, Tim Robbins

Next up, Bill Murray, who plays the mayor of Ember. I had no idea what to expect with him – some people had warned he might be a jerk. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! He was charasmatic and funny and attentive and really engaging. I told him how Liz and I had gone to the New York Bar in Tokyo where Lost in Translation was filmed. He asked if we stayed up all night and I told him we couldn’t because the trains stop running and we’d have gotten stuck. He said he loved Tokyo. He also said he liked my sweater! 🙂 I know, I know, it’s the little things.

And of course I had to ask him – even as they were cutting me off and telling me the next journalist was waiting – about Ghostbusters 3! But again, you’ll have to wait for my report to hear his answer! 🙂

Bill Murray and Marianne Mancusi

All in all, an incredible day of interviewing legends I’ve loved most of my life. It was truly awesome to meet them and know that they not only live up to their reputations, but are also just cool, normal everyday people.
Here’s the finished segment as aired on Better TV.


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Leighton Meester – Gossip Girl Being Chartiable

October 3, 2008 at 6:46 pm (better tv) (, , , , , , )

Yesterday I attended a charity event in Union Square sponsored by Marshalls. The campaign, Shop ‘Til it Stops, aims to stop Domestic Violence. Anyone who brought in a pair of shoes could get a new pair free. The shoes were used to create a shoe tree sculpture, commemorating the cause.

If you missed the event, you can still help out. For every pair of shoes purchased at Marshalls from now until October 16th, Marshalls will donate $1 to support Safe Horizon. Details here.

Anyways, the coolest thing about the event was that Leighton Meester, who plays Blair Waldorf on Gossip girl, was there. She spoke to the audience, walked a runway, and donated a pair of her own shoes to the tree. I interviewed her afterwards. She was much nicer in person than her character, let me tell you! She was also thinner than she appears on television. (Though in a small bones way, not an anorexic one.) Which makes me only imagine what the 90210 girls look like in real life!

Anyway, here are some pics.

On the Red Carpet…

Leighton Meester 014

Leighton Meester 016

Donating shoes.

Leighton Meester 002

Me interviewing! And squinting…

Leighton Meester 003

Here’s the finished piece, as aired on Better TV.

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Gypsy Behind the Scenes report

October 2, 2008 at 6:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I’m a bit behind on my blogging this week – been busy!!

On Tuesday night I filmed my behind-the-scenes at Gypsy segment for Better TV. We were taken around the set by Leigh Anne Larkin, who plays Dainty June in the show.
She’s great in the play and great in real life – really friendly and down to Earth! She did a great job showing us around the set and introducing us to everyone.

Here she is in the show…

And yes, we got to go in the dressing room of the show’s star, Patti Lupone. She was extremely charming and really funny, too. I think everyone in the cast is in awe of working with such a Broadway legend.

Fun fact about Patti? She has an Elvis bust in her dressing room. 🙂

We also interviewed the kids who play Baby June and Baby Louise. So well spoken – they were almost like little adults. They’re really talented too – I think they’ll go far.

One thing I noticed about Broadway? There’s no glamour. These people work their butts off six days a week – often doing two shows a day. They aren’t getting rich and unless you’re a legend like Patti (or once won American Idol), you’re not going to be stopped on the street by fans. The dressing rooms in these old theaters are tiny and the backstage area small.

Still, these amazing, talented actors and actresses are making a living, doing what they love and entertaining the rest of us – and that, at the end of the day, is what’s important.

Here’s the final segment from Better TV.


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