Looking back at a wonderful Christmas and New Years in Los Angeles

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I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post after I got back form Paris. The moment I arrived in LA, I hit the ground running, its been marathon of Christmas parties, company party, Christmas decorating and dinner planning for my family at home, finishing building my hotel project in Beverly Hills in time for a New year opening and so much more…I’ can’t believe I’m still alive and sane!!!! I feel like I’ve been through hell and back; and yet, it’s been one of the most amazing and fulfilling Christmas seasons in my life! This time around, I’ll just be writing about the highlights of the last 3 weeks in LA; it all started with getting back to my hotel project on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Yes, I’ve been designing the interiors of the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel for the last 5 months; it’s the only hotel on the internationally famous Rodeo Drive where all the best fashion designers have their gazillion dollars boutiques. We have a January 1st deadline to re-open it’s doors and I am so behind, I have no clue how I will pull this out of the hat in time for New Years. So for me the next 3 weeks is all about finishing my hotel project and try to fit in as many friend’s Christmas parties I can, my Hilton & Hyland company holiday party and yes…plan my own Christmas decorations at home and my own Christmas dinner at home for my family that is arrived in mud-December…somebody shoot me!!!!

 

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Entrance of the Luxe Hotel on Rodeo Drive

 

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Work in progress…

 

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One of my favorite holiday parties every year is Uber agent and old friend, Kevin Huvane’s; who not only hosts one of the most fun parties in LA, but also does it for a good cause, in this case, collecting endless amounts of toys for under privileged children. Arriving at his beautiful estate, walking through the entrance hall and finding Billy (the Gardner on the Ellen De Generous show) standing in front of a massive Christmas tree in a Santa hat and Santa shorts and nothing else, pretty much sets the tone for what is to come!

 

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The beautifully lit driveway to Kevin Huvane’s estate

 

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Billy the “Gardner” as Santa, David Cooley and Robert Kass

 

My company Hilton & Hyland’s holiday party, held at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, is a great time to catch up with my real estate peers and explain to them why I haven’t been at the office in years! I love catching up with my bosses Jeff Hyland and Rick Hilton before indulging in my favorite activity in this kind of party: getting drunk and terrorizing all the new agents in the company along with my equally naughty partners in crime: Alla Furman, Ladd Jackson, my date Laura Kelb, etc…

 

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The iconic entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel

 

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Hilton & Hyland’s Holiday party

 

One of the most original events this season, was my dear friend Sami Hayak’s launch of his new china collection. Sami is Selma Hayak’s brother and a very talented architect; so when he told me he was launching a new product, I was curious to see what he was up to. The event took place at a very cool location named: Just One Eye in Hollywood, where Sami hosted the most amazing party I have been in a while, complete with stunning dance performances by incredibly beautiful dancers, performance art by girls painted as a Damien Hurst painting, which looked amazing in front of an actual Damien Hurst painting, an amazing guest list of art aficionados, Latin characters and beautiful people…just perfect! I hung out with my favorites people, including Loree Rodkin, Isa Jonay, Celesta Hodge, Claudia Klein, Omar and the handsome producer Christian Bettler; before continuing the night at Chateau Marmont for the after party private dinner hosted in the infamous suite # 47 at the Chateau. There, Selma Hayak and her billionaire husband François-Henri Pinault hosted the dinner for the 40 lucky guests.

 

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Dance performance at Sami Hayak’s event

 

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Sami Hayak with the dance group

 

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Damien Hurst painted lady in front of Damien Hurst painting

 

IMG_7004Performance art…


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Robert Kass and Christian Bettler

 

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Robert Kass and Loree Rodkin at Chateau Marmont

 

One of mom’s favorite shows is Cirque du Soleil, so I had no choice but to squeeze in a night at the new Kurios, Cabinet of Curiosities show that just opened at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for a two months run. As always, Cirque du Soleil delivered with flying colors, not to mention, it was even better sitting at the first row center…got to spoil my mama whenever I can!

 

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Arriving at Cirque du Soleil famous tent at Dodger Stadium

 

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Entering the tent

 

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View from the front row

 

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RObert Kass with Mama Anita Kass


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Spread out…

 

Another lovely evening was my dear friend and Hilton & Hyland colleague, Drew Fenton and his partner Abel’s Christmas party at their super chic new villa in the hills. Nothing like delicious Mexican Tamales for a holiday party and good tequila! I especially loved the Charlie Brown Christmas tree at the entrance that only Abel could get away with.

 

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Drew and Abel’s chic party

 

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Abel’s “Charlie Brown” Christmas Tree

 

Somewhere between all these events I also had to dress up my own home with my beautiful Christmas tree and anther decorations including my very glamorous dinner table for the 24th family celebration. Because of my whorl load, this year is just my mom, my brother David, my aunt Judy and uncle Jeff and last but not least, my dear friend Marcus who should up with 17 bottles of booze for dinner…he must think we are all alcoholics!!!


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My beautiful Christmas Tree

 

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Detail

 

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My Christmas dinner table setting

 

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Dinner table

 

Christmas dinner was amazing and even more amazing was doing absolutely nothing on Christmas day beside eating and witching movies with mom and David. The 26 was back at work for the final marathon to complete the hotel by December 31st!!!! My next post will hopefully be photos of my “Finished” beautiful hotel…or a photo of a very sad Robert who got fired for not finishing the hotel in time!!!! Stay tuned…

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you…my dearest possums!!!!!

Here Kitty Kitty… “Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation”, Mexico City, Mexico

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After an easy, quick flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City on a much-improved United Airlines (www.united.com) I’m finally here! Mexico is a real paradox and a bag of mixed emotions; It’s chaotic and extremely disorganized, everything seems to be an afterthought. Buildings and freeways seem to raise as they go with no specific engineering or planning of any sort; a real opposite from the many gorgeous 17-18th century Spanish and Colonial towns that pepper the entire country. And yet, this urban jungle is on of the most vibrant cities in the world, not to mention the biggest. If you can look beyond the chaos and the brutal traffic, you will find a true metropolis filled with amazing energy, stunning neighborhoods, top notch museums, incredible history, restaurants of every kind, amazing artisan markets, more history and shopping galore. It’s not for everyone…but I love it!!!!

I’m staying at my dear friend’s Eugenio’s spectacular penthouse in Polanco, overlooking the Woods of Chapultepek (which is Mexico City’s version of NYC’s central park). I’ll be staying here for a few weeks, including a visit at my mom’s house in Cuernavaca, which is just 1 hour outside the city. There are several museums I want to see on this trip, most of all, Eugenio’s Jumex Museo that I followed through all of it’s stages: it’s inception and design, construction and the spectacular opening weekend just about one years ago, which I will report on as a “Throwback” post at some point.

But today I’m doing something totally different from my usual comfort zone, something I’ve never done before and I’m soooooo exited!!!!!! A dear friend of mine: Eduardo Serio, started a foundation some time ago in Mexico that dedicates itself to saving, healing and providing shelter to felines of all types that are left behind by private people, circuses and zoo’s. The operation is divided in two parts: the baby felines, from birth to a few months old, are hosted at his own home in Pedregal de San Angel; once grown, they are moved to the larger sanctuary for more space, protection and supervision.

I’ve been salivating over Eduardo’s Instagram page for a while (@blackjaguarwhitetiger), watching all his posts of the cutes panthers, lions and tigers I’ve ever seen and videos of the amazing relation he has with these animals. I promised myself that on my next trip to Mexico I would beg him to give me the grand tour; So here I am and after a few texts later, Eduardo has agreed to show me his fascinating new world. Our super cool driver: Jose Luis, picks us up in the morning for the 30 minute drive to Pedregal de San Angel, a wealthy suburb of Mexico City, to go to Eduardo’s own home to visit the baby felines. There is really nothing I can say to describe the amazement you experience once I am taken in a room with three baby tigers; I guess the photos will do more justice than anything I can say.

I am so happy with these little fluff balls that they have to drag me out by force. We move to the gardens where they keep the adolescent cats, one month to 6 months old, depending on the breed. Here that cats are definitely larger and very playful, I’m shocked at the strength they have at such a young age. It’s rough and painful some times, specially when one of the lions though my ankles was a lamp chop and pounced on it…teeth and all!!! It’s extraordinary how these cats have such different personalities from one another.

 

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Driving to Eduardo’s “Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation” sanctuary with Raphael Tessier, our driver Jose Luis and Coronas

 

IMG_2080The new love of my life

 

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Being viciously attacked by two white lions and a tiger

 

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Adolescent tiger

 

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Panther hug…literally

 

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Trying to hang with the Puma but the jealous Panther won’t have it!

 

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The time has come to drive to the actual sanctuary hosting all the big cats, just 45 minutes away. Eduardo has purchased over a 100 acres of land in an area just off the highway to Acapulco and has built a state of the art sanctuary for his growing number of adult cats. There are no cages just fenced areas to separate the different animals; each one has plenty of space to roam around, they have pools to swim and cool down and they are fed individually according to their health needs. Here I see fully-grown panthers, white tigers, tiger, lions, jaguars and more. They all arrived at the sanctuary sick, diseased and bone-thin, but you would never know, because they have all been treated and brought back to a healthy life.

We are all mesmerized by the beauty of these animals and the incredible efforts made to built this oasis and give these felines a second chance; suddenly Eduardo asks me if I want to play with two adult lions…before I could even think it through, he opens a gate to one of the enclosures and two fully grown lions come charging in our area and plop themselves just next to my feet. The combination of sheer terror and adrenaline was paralyzing, but I after a few moments I am compelled to pet the 500 Lbs. beasts and finally relax enough to start taking photos with my mates…equally terrified. That, of course, is until one of the lions decided that, yet again, my leg looks like a delicious snack and in a split-second movement, the lion turns around and locks his jaws on my ankle (in a playful way of course, if the cat was serious he could snap my leg apart with no effort at all). Eduardo, who consistently keeps a watchful eye on all of us and the animals, doesn’t miss a beat and quickly grabs the lions jaws and pry them open releasing my skinny and now dented ankle. I’ll take that as a sign that it’s time to leave before I turn into a meal; but not before watching Eduardo lying on the ground playing with 1-2-3 lions on top of him as if they were house cats!! It’s definitely not for the light hearted and things can easily go south in a split-moment; I am so impressed by Eduardo’s work, his courage and dedication to these animals.

After spending 5 hours with the kitties, it’s time to go back to the city. Thank you Eduardo for such an amazing experience…I’ll never look at a cat the same way from now on. Now it’s time to get ready for tonight’s opening of Becco restaurant at the newly redone Four Season Hotel in Mexico City.

Meow!


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In the cage with two full grown lioness

 

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Stunning white tigers

 

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White tiger sucking Eduardo’s finger

 

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Lion sticking his tongue out at us

 

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Cielo the Panther

 

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Robert Kass, Raphael Tessier and Raul Olivo in the cage with two lions

 

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Having a screaming match with the white tiger

 

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Eduardo playing with two full grown lions…insanity!

 

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Robert Kass and Eduardo Serio at his sanctuary in Mexico City