If you’ve visited Swatch And Learn or followed me along social-media avenues in the last few days, you’re well aware of some pretty big news: I met Suzi Weiss-Fischmann (Co-Founder, Executive VP & Artistic Director of OPI) a 2nd time and attended an exclusive OPI product launch!
I thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. But, Fate dealt me a Royal Flush in the game of polish poker. 😉
On February 20 (which is actually around my birthday!), Langton Communications, one of the PR firms I’ve collaborated with since August 2011, e-mailed me an invitation to attend an exclusive OPI product launch of the Fall/Winter 2013 collection! (A big thank you goes out to the entire Langton Communications team. Their professionalism and ability to get things done with flair never ceases to impress me.)
When I read the message on my iPhone, my heart was racing like Usain Bolt.
It’s every nailphile’s dream to meet the creative visionary behind the leading nail-polish company. But to have the opportunity to do it twice? “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!” 😉
There probably was a cloud of smoke rising as I RSVPed. Pig Pen from Charlie Brown would’ve been impressed, even if it wasn’t a cloud of dirt.
Eventually, my heartbeat went back to its usually rhythm (Kes the Band “My Love”, if you must know the exact beat…hehe!).
From now on, I’ll always remember Monday March 18 as the day I got to meet Suzi Weiss-Fischmann a 2nd time!
This time, it was held at the Aria Ristorante in the heart of downtown Toronto. What a classy venue!
In this post, I’ll go into the details about the whole experience. There’s so much I must tell you, and I hope that we can share the excitement together as nailphiles!
Also, I’m sneaking in a surprise giveaway for my blog readers. I hope you like it! 😉
Edit: CONGRATULATIONS, Floria! You won my surprise giveaway for an autographed bottle of OPI The Man With The Golden Gun! Please reply to my e-mail within 48 hours to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone for participating!
What I Wore to the Event
My dress is just an affordable $40 CAD Suzy Shier sleeveless sheath dress that I fell in love with when randomly window shopping at the mall. I wasn’t even looking for a dress, but then this polka-dot dress caught my eye andddd they actually had it in an extra small – woo hoo! (I still had to get the top altered a bit because, yes, I’m very petite, as if you couldn’t tell from my toothpick fingers.) 😉
Here’s a closer look at the fabric. I just loved the colours because it’s not a combination I usually go for.
Haha, it just hit me…I wore a Suzy Shier dress to meet Suzi!
On top of the dress, I wore a 3/4-length sleeve black cardigan, the red-bow belt (that came with the dress), black nylons, and black knee-length boots.
What I Saw When I First Walked Into the Restaurant
This is by far one of the classiest restaurants I’ve ever been to!
There were bags with large graphics of OPI nail polishes all over. And if you look in the middle, you’ll see there are cupcakes.
Near the end of this exclusive event, I learned that Samantha, one of the lovely Langton PR ladies, actually spent time on the weekend making the cupcakes! I was beyond impressed! (First of all, even though I love cupcakes, for some reason, I never get to eat them often. And now there’s an exclusive OPI San Francisco cupcake? Umm…Must. Eat. Now!)
A few days after the event, I decided to stop just admiring the work of art and, well, terminate it. 😉
I joked with Samantha that I would take Before and After photos. Well, turns out it wasn’t a joke because I actually did it!
At the end of the event, everyone was given a cupcake to take home!
My First Professional Manicure…Ever!
In the invitation, I was offered the chance to get a complimentary mini manicure with colours from the unreleased OPI San Francisco Collection for Fall/Winter 2013! Of course I was interested!
The exclusive product launch was for 11:30 am, but since I booked my manicure appointment for 10:30 am, I got there earlier.
This was a big deal to me because, believe it or not, I’ve never actually had my nails professionally done in any way, shape, or form. I’ve always painted my own nails at home. So, I was excited to see what it would be like to get pampered.
I bared my naked nails to the event in anticipation of getting the manicure. Haha, my natural nails are stained yellow because I paint my nails so often and maybe it’s just my nail chemistry to absorb pigment (regardless of what base coat I use). Soooo, it added extra awkwardness on top of me baring them without polish.
The nail technician shaped my nails (I asked her to keep it rounded). She said, “You have a nice C shape.” 😀
At first, I was going to choose just one, OPI Alcatraz…Rocks (which has a Liquid Sand finish and blurple and green sparkles – totally back-up worthy!). But, then I decided to choose a second colour – Honey Ryder (a golden Liquid Sand). And I asked the nail technician to alternate the colours on my nails.
It felt weird to have someone holding my fingers and painting my nails. I almost felt a little guilty…like I should paint them myself.
And I noticed that my technique is very different than the nail technician’s. She used verrrry thin coats. When I paint my nails, I use medium coats, usually. Also, I prefer to wrap my tips so that the manicure lasts longer.
Here’s what the finished quick manicure looked like, professionally painted and shaped:
As you can see, haha, I dented the pinkie finger on my left hand. And, on my right hand, I accidentally dented a few fingers. This is because after getting my nails painted, I went to take photos of the beautiful nail-polish displays. While opening my camera bag, I had a “D’oh!” moment. 😉 I usually paint my own nails at night and then go to bed right after, so this was different.
That’s What Friends Are For
In addition to meeting Suzi, I was also really excited to attend this event because I finally got to meet Marta from ChitChatNails!
We’ve been friends for quite some time, and we ‘met’ through blogging about our shared interest. We sent each other cards and nail mail, and we had been wanting to meet in person for such a long time. It was really cool how the first time we met was at this exclusive OPI event! For me, that made the entire experience even more memorable.
It was so nice to see a familiar face. 🙂 (She looks exactly the same in person as she appears in photos, and just as I suspected, she’s a real kindred spirit. I feel very lucky to have a friend like her.)
We were the first two people to arrive, and so we had total freedom to take photos of all the displays without rubbing elbows with anyone else.
And then we took this manicure photo together:
We almost forgot to take a photo together, y’know, showing our faces! Haha, I guess this just proves what nailphiles we are. Our nails came first! 😉
At the very end of the event, one of the servers took this photo of us:
One section of the restaurant was set up with nail-polish displays, and I just had to snap away!
Here’s the OPI Bond Girls Collection. It contains 6 new Liquid Sand shades, and it’s due out in May. For more details, click on the link to see my blog post with swatches of all the shades, bottle photos, and the official press release.
Don’t you just love the beautiful, spring flowers in the vase? So gorgeous! I really appreciated the cheerful decor.
Let’s take a moment.
Stop to smell the flowers!
Back to the polish! 😉
So there was also a cute mini set on display for the OPI Bond Girls Collection.
There were also displays for the OPI San Francisco Collection for Fall/Winter 2013 that will be in stores August 7. (Click on the link to see my blog post on that collection, which includes swatches of all the shades, bottle photos, and the official press release.)
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already saw that during the event, I shared photos such as this one. It was fun to post photos live.
See those multicoloured beads on the left? They’re ‘love beads’, I believe PR told me. How sweet that they match the colours in the collection!
I just had to snap a few photos to show you the fine details:
Yes, that’s a wooden bead designed to look like an OPI nail-polish bottle! It’s actually engraved!
Let’s get all up in its grill, shall we?
I flipped it over, and look – even the back is special! (I love when people pay attention to the fine details.)
I just had to take a photo of these beads with my favourite nail polish in the collection – OPI Alcatraz…Rocks:
Another table had a slightly different set-up. *Snap snap* polish Paparazzi in training? 😉
Across from all these beautifully decorated tables with polish displays was a lounge area with cushioned seating.
They displayed large promotional posters for the OPI San Francisco Collection.
At first, I was going to crop the photos I took, but I left them as-is because you can see a bit more of the restaurant’s decor. (Silly me forgot to take more photos of the actual restaurant. The power of polish compels me! Hehe!)
Note the awesome lighting fixtures. They reminded me a lot of fireworks – you know the ones that burst like a balloon and get so huge, it looks like you can touch them? Those!
Gradually more people trickled in, got their nails done, and socialized. It dawned on me that a lot of the people who were invited to this event were magazine editors. Aside from Marta, I didn’t recognize any other bloggers. Although, there was one woman who I may have seen on a fashion blog, but I wasn’t certain.
Haha, it became clear to Marta and me that we were in a room with so many influential professionals. That experience is just…WOW! Imagine having an incredible job like that where you get to attend events like this often? You could learn so much!
Then…Suzi Weiss-Fischmann walked in!
I believe it was at this point that I nudged Marta with my elbow and whispered something like, “She looks exactly like she does in her photos.”
Although this was my second time seeing Suzi in person, I knew that it was extra special because it was Marta’s first time! (I have to admit that I was looking at Marta a lot at this time and thought it was so cute how wide her eyes were. True nailphiles would have that expression upon being face-to-face with a nail-polish icon.) 😉
Suzi went around to speak to the various magazine editors, and we both looked on, probably thinking, “Is this really happening? Am I dreaming? Don’t wake up!”
Then, Harris Shepard, the president and founder of Harris Shepard Public Relations Inc. (the PR firm that represents OPI in the United States) came over to chat with us. I recognized him because the first time I met Suzi, he was also there.
We told him that we were beauty bloggers, and we had a nice little conversation as the restaurant servers brought around trays of appetizers and asked if we wanted to try one and if we wanted a drink.
I munched on nearly every appetizer that came my way. (I think I joked with Marta that I should stop or else I’d eat the entire tray of food. Yeah, they were that tasty!)
Then a camera guy from CityTV rolled up with all his equipment. There was also a woman with a microphone interviewing Suzi. They were filming a piece for the Cityline TV show.
As it happened, I posted this photo on Instagram:
Then PR told us to be seated in the dining area because some good grub was comin’ our way! (Okay, no, they didn’t say it like that. I’m obviously paraphrasing for comedic effect.) 😉 They are very classy ladies.
I wish I took a photo of the dining room because it was so beautiful, but I forgot because I was so wrapped up in the event. 🙂
There were two long tables with wine glasses on top. It looked like a page right out of a magazine, which is appropriate considering that there were quite a few magazine editors attending.
I sat at Suzi’s table, but I wasn’t able to sit very close to her because other smarties made a beeline to the hot spot. 😉 But that was okay. Marta sat beside me, and just knowing that Suzi was even at the same table was enough to make this heart flutter.
All the women at this event looked so posh – beautiful and fashionable.
I felt a little bit like a Jack Dawson (from Titanic) in the middle of sophisticated society, but like Jack said in the film, we need to make every moment count. (And no, I did not stand up on the table and exclaim, “I’m the king of the world!”) 😉
And thank goodness I paid attention during that movie. Start using the utensils from the outside and work your way in during the meal. 😉 (Yeah, apparently I learn my etiquette from blockbuster films. It’s a good thing I didn’t lean more towards Dirty Harry or Taxi Driver…haha!)
How about some more photos?
In the customized OPI lunch menu, this was the salad we got:
As you can see, it was really fresh, and I devoured it quickly, but not so quickly that I looked like an uncouth barbarian. Remember, I’m a lady! *Points pinkie finger up* Haha, oh, who am I kidding?
Oh, and the whole time, we got to enjoy some wine! I chose white wine (I like the taste, but also it’s more forgiving in case you spill it…hehe!). Marta had red wine (and no, she was very careful and didn’t spill a drop).
After that, we had a choice for the main course. You could either get fish or this special ravioli with mushroom and truffle oil.
I’m a Pisces, and maybe that’s why I don’t like fish…hehe! So I opted for the ravioli.
Listen, it was so delicious that I completely forgot to take a photo of it. When I remembered, it was when the server was removing my empty plate from the table!
For dessert, there also was a choice. I can’t remember the names because they were so fancy, but the one I wanted came in a glass, and you eat it with a spoon. It was almost like a pudding with some cookie crumble on top.
The only reason why I didn’t get that was because of my nut allergy. So, I chose the lemon rice cake. I’ve never had anything like it before. It’s was yummy!
This time, I remembered to take a photo.
As the event wound down, many people headed to get their coats and leave. They were going back to their offices.
Marta and I stuck around, and we ended up being one of the last people to leave. 🙂 (Haha, first to arrive and last to go! You can totally tell how we wanted to soak up every single second, can’t you?)
I took another photo with Suzi, but I also asked to take a photo of the Langton Communications team. After getting to know them since 2011, I realized that I didn’t have any photos of them.
I’ve met all of Langton Communications ladies in the Toronto office. But this was the first time that I got to meet Donna-Lee Langton!
In case you don’t know, Donna-Lee Langton is one of the top 6 public-relations professionals, as rated by Canada’s beauty media in Cosmetics Magazine surveys.
Here’s the photo zoomed out, so you can see more of the restaurant’s decor:
Afterwards, I got to sit down with Suzi for a one-on-one ‘interview’. PR had set aside special time just for me, which I really appreciated.
The first thing I told Suzi was that I was really in love with the Liquid Sands. Haha, then I pretty much pleaded that OPI comes out with a green Liquid Sand!
I also asked her about whether OPI would be collaborating more with bloggers, perhaps to come up with new colours. Bloggers not only are great for building connections, but also for marketing and communications. Suzi made it pretty clear that OPI had plans to reach out to bloggers. (I can already see that happening, and it’s really exciting!)
Then, of course I thanked her for having me at the event, and I told her that it was extra special because I got to finally meet Marta. After communicating via computers and the phone, it was nice to finally interact with her face-to-face. I told Suzi how the opportunity to be there was already huge, but that it also helped bring Marta and I together. 🙂 Suzi seemed touched to hear that! And when I think about the whole event now, it brings tears to my eyes because, honestly, how often does an opportunity like this knock on your door? Amazing! Just amazing!
At the end of the event, Donna-Lee Langton handed me a swag bag that contained the cupcake I showed you earlier as well as every single nail-polish shade from the OPI San Francisco Collection and the OPI Bond Girls Collection!
Inside, there were also nail-board swatches and the official press releases for both collections. Anddd, as if that wasn’t spoiling me enough already, I also got the Love Beads! I was really excited about that because it’s something exclusive to commemorate the event for me. 🙂
A huge THANK YOU to Suzi Weiss-Fischmann and the entire Langton Communications team!
The whole experience was a dream come true, and I appreciate even being considered for this exclusive event, even though I’m not an industry professional – I am incredibly honoured!
After this event, Marta and I hung out one-on-one. We ended up walking a bit and then going to Baton Rouge, which was funny because we literally just came from lunch and then went to another restaurant. 😉 (No, our stomachs weren’t getting their second wind!) We just had chips and a spinach dip to snack on. Marta had a coffee, and I had an apple martini.
Okayyyy, so this was a loooong post, wasn’t it?
But, as Ron Popeil said, “But wait! There’s more!”
Win an Autographed Bottle of OPI The Man With The Golden Gun!
Now, initially, I brought along a nail polish and wanted to ask Suzi to sign it (like the last time I met her), but things were a bit rushed. I got caught up in talking with her, and before I knew it, PR let her know that the car was waiting out back for her because she had to leave soon. Busy woman, and that’s to be expected!
Unfortunately, I only remembered afterwards about the nail polish.
So, I decided to sign it myself. Heck no, I don’t think it’s a replacement for Suzi’s signature. But, I wanted to personalize this prize in some way instead of just giving you something you could buy off eBay.
I wrote “You swatched & learned” on the side of the sealed box so it’s especially for Swatch And Learn readers. 🙂
As you know, OPI The Man With The Golden Gun is no longer available for sale in stores, and if you can find it online, it’s going for insane prices. Even the retail price was high. But, we won’t talk about how much it costs. There’s more fun stuff ahead! 😉
This is the bottle that’s up for grabs in this surprise giveaway:
Here are the details for how you can enter to win the signed bottle of OPI The Man With The Golden Gun:
- Starts: Now
- Ends: Saturday April 6 at 11:59 pm Eastern (I’m keeping this giveaway open for longer so that even more people will have a chance to enter.)
- Who Can Enter: Everyone! (Yes, you can be from Canada, the U.S., or anywhere in the world!)
- How Many Times You Can Enter: Even if you comment more than once, I will only count it as a single entry.
- How to Enter: Leave a comment on this blog post, and somewhere in your comment, type the following: “#SwatchAndLearn“. (By adding this text, it’ll indicate to me that you want to be entered into the draw. If you don’t want to be entered, you can still leave a comment without typing that in.)
- Please Help Me Spread the Word: I’d appreciate it if you could help me get the word out about this blog post and the giveaway. Feel free to tweet, blog, etc. about it.
- Note: I’ll be using Random.org to randomly select the winner. I’ll announce the winner sometime on April 7, and the winner will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail to claim the prize. Failure to do so will force me to randomly draw another winner. (Please add email@example.com to your Safe list so my e-mail doesn’t accidentally go to the Junk folder.)
Please Support Me Along These Social-Media Platforms
(No, it’s not mandatory to be entered in this giveaway, but I would appreciate your support):
- “Like” me on Facebook (Swatch And Learn)
- Twitter (@SwatchAndLearn)
- Google+ (Mary)
- beautylish (Mary)
- Pinterest (Mary)
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I would also really appreciate it if you left comments on any of my other blog posts, too. Even if a post is old, I still read the comment and try to reply as soon as I can.
Good luck in the draw! 🙂
P.S. Due to the anticipated number of comments and giveaway entries this blog post will have, I’m going to only begin replying to comments on this post after the giveaway is over. At that time, I’ll try to reply to as many as I can.