The Third Annual Valentine Romance Sneak Peek Oscar Suite at Café La Boheme in West Hollywood gave celebrities a chance to pick up some Valentine's Day and award season freebies from a wide variety of vendors — including some with green elements, like Aquamantra water, sold in 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable bottles; Gold Canyon candles; which has an Essentially Soy line; and Twisted Silver jewelry, made from reclaimed metals, old spoons and recycled glass. "I love everything here," said Marilu Henner before snapping up earrings and a ring.
A longtime vegan, Henner (pictured right) pointed out that one can save body, health, animals, the planet and pocketbook by following suit. She also buys natural and organic products for her dog, and just started a garden. She has a big weekend ahead: she's doing hair and makeup for her son's school play, a production of "The Servant of Two Masters," and her Hallmark Channel movie, "Accidentally in Love," premieres Feb. 12. She plays the mother of Jennie Garth's widow and single mom in a story written by Garth's husband, Peter Facinelli.
Henner also has the comedy "Vamps" coming up, which she likened to "'Clueless' meets 'Twilight.'" She plays a dying cancer patient who reverts to her hot former self after a vampire bite. She'll also be performing live in a one-woman show this spring; so far, dates are set for April 15 and 16 in San Francisco and April 23 in Nashville. But of late, Henner is becoming known for something besides her acting career ("Taxi" et al.) and self-help books: her brain. She's one of six people confirmed to have super autobiographical memory — which means she can remember everything that ever happened to her, dates and all. Naturally, she's writing a book about it — and how mere mortals can improve their own memories — that will be published in September.
"When I go to stores I don't let them wrap my stuff in all that paper. I shop at Whole Foods and bring my own bag," said newly engaged Vivica Fox, who loved the rose-scented skin care products from Jurlique and "got some beautiful ideas for my wedding gown" from Mon Atelier's sample dresses. Having just wrapped a Robert Townsend film called "The Discarded Boys," playing a loving but dysfunctional mother, is touring in the play "Cheaper to Keep Her," beginning next week. She voices a character in Cartoon Network's "Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated" and markets her own line of wigs and hair extensions.
With her Atlanta-based fiancé joining her in L.A. this weekend, she'll celebrate Valentine's Day by going to dinners, parties, "maybe do a little spa rub 'n' scrub and just spend time together."
"Desperate Housewives'" Kevin Rahm, recently engaged to his doctor girlfriend of four years, picked up some items for her, including chocolate truffles from Rubina's Cake Shoppe (which sells vegan versions). "We were both anti-Valentine's Day, but getting engaged changed that. We're trying to make it our own, find our own traditions," he said. While the couple spends a lot of time on the road, traveling between L.A. and Redlands, Calif., where she's training to be a cardio-thoracic surgeon, she drives a Prius, their main car when they're together. Rahm has a fun scene coming up on "Housewives," in which his character and Eva Longoria's "go at each other over how to be parents. It ties into the whole Tiger Mom thing."
Attendees were asked to bring a toy to donate to kids at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and "Dancing With the Stars" pro Edyta Sliwinska brought a big teddy bear that will certainly brighten one child's Valentine's Day. After wrapping their stage run in "Ballroom with a Twist" on Sunday, she and husband Alec Mazo plan to spend the holiday hiking in Malibu and going out for a romantic dinner followed by some alone time at home, where she makes a habit of sorting her garbage, conserving water, and taking her own bags to the grocery store. "I always have a few in the trunk," she said.
"Dancing" returns to ABC Mar. 21, but Sliwinska probably won't be in the cast this time around. "I want to do my own thing, choreograph my own shows. I would like my life to be more stable. I think it's time to do something else," she said, explaining that due to last-minute celebrity casting and matching them up, "We are notified if we are even on the show about five days before we start shooting. I've done ten seasons. I've been very lucky," she said, naming past partners Jason Taylor and Cameron Mathison as particular favorites. "But I decided that I don't want my life to be hanging like that."
Touring this winter to support his new album "Zen Food," guitarist Kevin Eubanks says he and his band "travel very light. We don't check baggage. We take everything on board. We save money, weight for the plane which saves fuel and reduces a little of the carbon impact since we fly lighter," he noted. With dates at Yoshi's in Oakland on Feb. 21 and 22, the Coleman luggage he picked up will come in handy. He also got a Valentine's Day gift for his mother, a calendar key necklace with a birthstone marking her birth date from Not Just Any Old Day.
"I try not to leave the water running, I turn the power off, recycle plastic bottles, and try to be as aware as possible," said Sofia Milos, who ordered several Ali Rahimi/Mon Atelier gowns for events surrounding the premiere of her German crime drama series "Tatort." She also has a Canadian series, "The Border," that will show on U.S. cable on the Ion network this year. After working so much internationally, "now I want to stay here," declared the Swiss-born actress.
Marisa Ramirez admits to driving gas-guzzlers, "but I'm good about turning the lights off. I don't use plastic water bottles and I recycle everything," said the "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" actress, who plays Melitta in the Starz series, a role that required nudity. "I got the job and was in the gym every day for a week. I only had a week before I flew to New Zealand but I lost six pounds and felt really good. I get there and I tear a muscle in my glute so I couldn't work out. There was nothing I could do. I swam a little bit and tried not to eat a lot," she recalled.
Next, she'll play a pregnant cop in the Lifetime series "Against the Wall." "It's not your ordinary police procedural. My character is having a lot of hormonal issues." Without kids but married off screen, Ramirez doesn't have Valentine's Day plans yet. "We usually celebrate a few days later after the crowds die down because on the day everything is always so crowded and everyone is trying to outdo each other," she explained.
For Scott Baio, living green isn't exactly a priority. "We recycle a bit," he said, adding that his wife Renee planned to plant some tomatoes. She makes up for him, though: she carries a strawberry-shaped (and scented) pouch in her purse with a cloth tote folded inside. "I got it at a gifting suite a long time ago, and I carry it with me in case I ever need a bag."
Tune in: On Feb. 9, PBS' "Smartest Night on TV" packages three new "Nova" programs with an intelligence theme, starting with "How Smart Are Animals?" examining the brain capacity of non-humans. Next, "Making Stuff Smarter" continues the series focusing on cutting-edge inventions and the visionaries behind them, and "The Smartest Machine on Earth" introduces the IBM supercomputer Watson, which will go head-to-head with champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter Feb. 14-16 on "Jeopardy!" Also on PBS, "Nature" explores the beauty and the ecosystem of "The Himalayas" Feb. 13.
All photos: ZUMA Press