Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oscar Night: Getting Ready with Amanda Puck

Amanda Puck at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

When you think of the Oscars, images of red carpets, beautiful celebrities, stunning fashion, little gold awards, and long pedantic acceptance speeches may come to mind. When Luxe File learned that the always-glamorous PR star, Amanda Puck, had been tapped to host Oscar Night America, the only party in Chicago to be sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), we were thrilled (and we also assume the set of coveted Oscar party tickets we begged her for have been lost in the mail. Thanks, UPS!).

In the coveted role of red-carpet hostess, Amanda will be interviewing VIP guests and talking about everyone's favorite subject - fashion! The style maven reports that she will also be dressed to impress. When we asked, Amanda confided that she would be bedecked in head-to-toe YSL. Konstantine Mironychev, Chanel's gifted makeup artist and whose work has appeared in everything from magazines to the runway, has been tasked to turn Amanda into a gilted glamazon.

Hosting a party that guests will never forget is easier said than done so who better to ask than Amanda Puck, who's famed for hosting lavish VIP parties that everyone dreams to crash? Here, she spills her Oscar Party Day schedule and the party she would host if she were catching the Academy Awards at home.

Amanda Puck's Oscar Night America Schedule

Morning - Sleep late. I need my beauty sleep, it's going to be a long night!

10:30 a.m. – Breakfast with Mom at Feast.

12:00 p.m. – Study up on last-minute movie facts and nominees.

3:00 p.m. – Appointment with Chanel's Konstantine Mironychev at Bloomingdales.

5:00 p.m. - Head to the Gene Siskel Film Center for pre-Oscar party meeting.

5:45 p.m. - Channel Anne Hathaway to give a star-studded performance on the red carpet.

6:00 PM – Showtime!

Amanda Puck's Fantasy Oscar Party

How I would make my home "Oscar-ready": Make it fun and casual. Everything would center around the TV, so lots of pillows and fur throws.

Cuisine I would serve: Working at Spago so many years ago, I learned that caviar is the thing to serve on Oscar night! So I would make mini-baked potatoes stuffed with caviar along with smoked salmon pizza topped with caviar. And, of course, popcorn flavored with truffle oil.

Heavenly Bites: Caviar-Stuffed Mini-Baked Potatoes

Cocktails I would mix: Champagne all the way! And I would make sure it is served ice cold.

Music I would play: Just the TV with the E! pre-show then on to the awards!

What I would wear: Black jeans and a gold sequined tank top.

Party favors I would offer: Chocolate-shaped Oscars.

My top 5 guest list: My 5 besties to dish on all the fashion DOs and DON’Ts. After all, that’s the best part!

Photos courtesy of Amanda Puck

For more information about Konstantine Mironychev or to book an appointment, call 312-399-0333 or click HERE.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Host An Oscar Party Like A Hollywood Insider

Have you ever wanted to throw one of those fabulous Oscar parties you read about in Vanity Fair? Luxe File Chicago did, so we consulted with fête aficionados, Rachel Schwanz and Corey Sanford, who have each catered and DJ'd some of the most spectacular celebrations our city has ever seen. Grab your Mont Blanc and take some notes.

Rachel Schwanz of the Entertaining Company

If there is one woman who knows how to throw a party, it's caterer and event planner extraordinaire, Rachel Schwanz, whose posh parties are always the talk of the town. We caught up with Rachel, who's working with Vital Bridges on their private Oscar party - this event is so private only forty guests have been invited! - to ask what tips she would give for hosting a Hollywood-style Oscar party at home.

Make Your Home "Oscar-Ready": Gold linen. Gold confetti. Gold glassware. Gold seats! Even if you have to hijack chairs from neighbors, seating is key. No one likes to stand that long. And, of course, you'll need a TV. Multiple would be ideal.

Oscar Party Must Haves: Ballots for all to vote and well-dressed, good-looking guests. Clearly.

Menu: I love themes and for an Oscar event, I would suggest creating a gold and white buffet. Make things in the shape of stars or even the shape of the Oscar award. Cue the Oscar Cookie Cutter! This can be used for sweet or savory items alike. Think crackers, cookies, even tortilla chips. If you’re good with a pastry bag, try making cookies. I would also suggest serving a Golden Egg. You can buy these - a hollowed out egg shell dipped in gold paint. I serve all kinds of things in them - soups, ceviche, puddings. I would also recommend Lemon Tarts, Smoked Salmon, Pear & Gorgonzola skewers, and Vanilla Cupcakes are lovely, too.

Go for the Gold: Pear Skewers with Honey and Gorgonzola,
Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets and Golden Eggs filled with White Chocolate Mousse

Here are a few tasty suggestions Rachel thinks you and your friends will love. Serving delectable, thoughtfully-prepared dishes like these will do more than just impress your friends - they'll win you the award for Best Oscar Party. Ever!



Golden Eggs filled with White Chocolate Mousse


Creme Brulee in Asian Spoon with Caramel Twirl


White Chocolate Kisses in Gold Leaf


Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets


Coconut Buttercream Snowball Cupcakes with pool of Apricot Preserves and Edible Gold Flowers on Buttercream



ar Skewers with Honey and Gorgonzola


Lime Grilled Shrimp in Asian Slaw in Chinese Takeout Containers


Waffle Chip with Smoked Salmon, Golden Caviar and Creme Fraiche


Duck Bundles with Mango Chutney

Beverages and Specialty Cocktails: Champagne. Oscar-tini. Golden Fizz. Star Power. Remember to keep to your theme.

Background Music: Playing the movie soundtracks is an option but I prefer French lounge music!

Party Favors: Take those Oscar-shaped cookies you made, put them in a cellophane bag, tie with a gold ribbon and send them home with friends. If the cookies don’t pan out, you can always order the Oscar cookie cutter (below) for each guest to take home. Tie cutters to splits of champagne for a truly memorable gift.

Host/Hostess Attire: Cocktail. Glitter. Both! I’ll be donning a gold sequin top (and a chef’s coat)!

Rachel Schwanz's Perfect Party Advice: Have plenty of food and beverage. No one wants to make a run to the store and you certainly don’t want the party to die while you’re doing so! Keep the cocktails flowing and you will be fine.

If you have questions for Rachel Schwanz, please contact her at For more information about the Entertaining Company, click HERE.

DJ Corey Sanford

Music enhances any party setting but you may choose to forego the tunes to keep the attention on the Oscar action. We wanted some background music so we asked Corey Sanford, the artistic genius behind Music Masters Entertainment, what songs he would suggest we play. He turned us on to the Tru Music Official Podcast - Episode 6. This one-hour set is a compilation of electronic remixes of our favorite dance songs including:

N.E.R.D & Daft Punk - "Hypnotize You"
Jody Wisternoff - "Won't Let You Down"
Everything But The Girl - "Missing" - Freddy LaGrande remix 2010
David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi - "Memories"
Chromeo - "Night By Night"
B.o.B feat. Hayley Williams - "Airplanes"
Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull - "I Like It" - DJ Chuckie remix
Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Other Side" - Funkerman remix
Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette - "Hello"
The Black Eyed Peas - "The Time"
Supafly - "Get Down Tonight"
U2 - " Magnificent" - Dave Aude remix
Nadia Ali - "Rapture" - Avcili remix 2010

Click HERE to go to directly to the Tru Music Official Podcast.

To book Corey Sanford for future events, call Music Masters Entertainment at 312-835-7023 or visit the Website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Luxe File ♥s...Oscar Parties

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards are less than a week away and Chicago has already been hit by Gold fever. However you opt to celebrate - at a star-studded soiree sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or in a luxe rooftop tent overlooking a magnificent metropolis - there are plenty of parties honoring everyone's lovable little golden boy, Oscar! Here is round-up of a few of our favorites:

A Red Carpet Affair
STATE Restaurant & Café
935 W. Webster
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
With more than 100 HDTV’s televising the Oscars at one time, your ADD-afflicted significant other will even know who won Best Supporting Actress. Hosted by the Chicago Sports and Social Club, the evening features great food, an Oscar trivia contest and an open bar with beer, vodka, rum and whiskey cocktails. This event will feature some hot red carpet action so don your best duds and leave your favorite Bears jersey at home.
Cost: Tickets are $25 per person. Includes open bar and dinner buffet.
Contact: 773-975-8030 to RSVP your table or visit the Website.

On the Red Carpet: Center on Halsted Oscar Party 2011
Center on Halsted
3656 N. Halsted Street
6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
We were excited to hear that The Weather Channel was predicting snow showers for the evening - perfect weather to view the Oscars in the Center on Halsted’s heated rooftop tent! In addition to exciting awards coverage, and a silent auction, guests will sip and sup the night away with unlimited cocktails and a buffet. Participate in the prediction competition and win special prizes. Proceeds benefit programs at Center on Halsted.
Cost: Director tickets ($75) and Producer tickets ($125) are available. Both include open bar and a lavish buffet.
Contact: 773-472-6469 to purchase tickets or visit the Website.

Oscar Viewing Party
The Palm Court at The Drake Hotel
140 E. Walton Place
5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Hosted at one of the city’s most iconic properties, our favorite fashion duo, Cece & Melinda of Raymi Productions, will kick the evening off in high style with a red carpet entrance and one fashionable fêter will receive the award for Best Dressed. Guests will enjoy a three-course dinner and a glass of bubbly as they watch their favorite Hollywood stars on a huge life-sized screen.
Cost: Tickets start at $75 per person. Includes dinner, bubbly and a goody bag.
Contact: Space is limited so email to secure your table.

Oscar Night America
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street
6:00 p.m. - Midnight
Don’t confuse the sparkling you see on the horizon for a diamond heist at Tiffany's. It‘s just the city’s glitterati glamming their way down the red carpet at Oscar Night America, Chicago’s only Academy Awards-sanctioned event. Broadcasted on multiple screens, guests won’t miss a single minute of Oscar action as they enjoy creative cocktails and cuisine catered by Petterino’s. Check in with Amanda Puck, who will be on the red carpet interviewing the most fashionable VIP guests.
Proceeds benefit the
educational programs of the Film Center and The Chicago Academy for the Arts Scholarship Fund.
Cost: Tickets start at $100 per person. Includes open bar, buffet, raffle, silent auction and an official Academy Awards program.
Contact: 312-846-2072 or email for tickets.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's In Her Bag: Candace Jordan

Ever wonder what a former model-actress-Playboy-centerfold-cum-blogger-playwright-socialite-philanthropista carries around in her bag? Luxe File Chicago did so we asked one of Chicago's most fashionable doyennes - the always-captivating Candace Jordan. Here, the creator of Candid Candace shares her must-have essentials.

Candace Jordan

Chanel Coco Cocoon

Louis Vuitton Artsy

(From top left):

Notebook: This monogrammed Goyard notebook is perfect for jotting down names and notes for all the parties I attend. There are so many details I have to include in my blog, Candid Candace, it's an absolute essential. Please follow me at:

Makeup Bag: Another Goyard piece which I had monogrammed. I don't know why but I have a thing for monograms! A lipstick with no label called "Cameo" that I would kill to find again, a Shu Uemura eyelash curler and under-eye cover-up by Che Squardo.

Louis Vuitton Photo Case: It’s filled with pictures of Chuck, my mom and my two Chihuahuas so I can have them with me wherever I go.

Louis Vuitton Card Case: I go to a lot of parties and events so I’m always distributing and receiving cards. Hopefully, they will all become Candid Candace fans!

Reading Glasses: My favorites are EyeBobs. I need a pair to match all of my outfits!

Perfume: Michael Kors, my favorite cologne.

Mints: I received these at a Playboy party.

Purell: I can’t stand being sick so this is my secret weapon. I don’t know if it works or if it's just psychological but, either way, it’s fine with me!

Pen: Stole this Mont Blanc pen from Chuck after I lost mine. Don’t tell him!

Pill Case: I love this Judith Leiber pill case. It was a gift from my girlfriend, Tissy Eggleston.

Camera and Louis Vuitton Case: You can’t see the camera because I'm using it! I found the coolest rhinestone strap at Ritz Camera that I use as well as having an ID sticker on it in case I lose it.