Oh What A Night!

The first thing you should know about me and Sean is that we are not---nope, not in the slightest---people you would call partiers. We are not typically "Vegas" people. We are not big ballers or high rollers or people who do wacky, glitzy things like staying out past midnight wearing formal attire. We like to stay in on our couch with Thai takeaway and cheap wine and play Guitar Hero with our friends and watch whole DVDs of Modern Family in one sitting, because we have only recently discovered it, a year later than the rest of the world. And yet we spent New Year's Eve 2010 at a celebrity-studded party in the entertainment capital of the world, pretending to be people way fancier than ourselves. 

I was invited, through work, to attend the grand opening weekend of the new Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, which included a private invite-only concert by Coldplay and Jay-Z. When my brother Tom found this out, the first thing he said was "What? But that's wasted on you!" The second thing he said was "do you have an extra ticket?"

As for me, the first thing I said was "what the hell am I going to wear?" And then I promptly went out and bought a gold sequinned dress.

Because I think that's pretty much the only thing you can wear to a private Jay-Z/Coldplay concert on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas, right? A gold sequinned dress? There's some rule about it written on an ancient stone tablet buried deep in the MGM Grand, I think, or at least it sure seemed that way, because I certainly wasn't the only girl there wearing a gold sequinned dress. When in Rome and all that. Even Gwyneth Paltrow was wearing one!  Hers was more pewter, really, and probaby cost about ten thousand dollars more than mine---which was marked down to $20 at Marshalls, only it was five sizes bigger than my normal size but I bought it anyway and took it to a seamstress and had her take it in, just like the magazines tell you to do---so I think she can probably rest assured knowing I won't be up against her in Us Weekly's next Who Wore It Best.

Anyway, first of all, the hotel was amazing. This was our room:

Except that was only about a third of our room, because the thing went on for miles. It had a kitchenette, a living room, a dressing room, a three-part bathroom, and a terrace. And this wasn't even one of the fancy rooms, by the way, this was just the normal kind. It was, without question, larger than our old apartment in San Francisco.

After a quick nap (Sean) and a quick bit of work (me) and a weird mad dash to a seedy strip mall to pick up Sean's tux (both of us, plus an insane cab driver), we started getting ready for the evening ahead. I applied the legal limit of L'Oreal Self-Tanning Towelettes to my personage, plus some seriously insane false eyelashes that impeded my vision for half the night but which I would still swear, on a Bible, were totally worth it. I teased the crap out of my hair and pinned it up with seven hundred bobby pins, six hundred of which the poor housekeeping staff of the Cosmopolitan are probably still finding in the sheets two days later. I considered doubling up on the Spanx, having greatly underestimated the...uh, intensity of the holiday eating period, but ultimately decided I would rather be able to breathe. I paid very great detail to my makeup, applying every powder and gloss painstakingly slowly. I stepped into my new gold shoes, purchased in a panic at DSW ten hours before our flight took off. And then I was finally ready.

Sean basically just took a shower and put on a tux.

We went downstairs to dinner for our 8pm reservations. Our table was next to two very long tables in the middle of the room, which remained empty until about half an hour later when a small commotion broke out at one of them, mostly consisting of hushed whispers and the collective force of a roomful of people trying not to stare at the celebrity who'd just sat down at it. "Dr Dre!" hissed the woman to my right. "Dr Dre!" Sean and I mouthed at each other. Since reading this New York Post story the night before we left, we'd had a hunch we might see a celebrity or two, but we didn't think we'd be eating tzatziki with deep-fried zucchini three feet from one.

And then Gwyneth Paltrow walked in. I feel like I could tell a hundred stories about my life and things that have happened in it, but none of them would have the dramatic effect of "and then Gwyneth Paltrow walked in." I had my back turned at that point---or, let's face it, I probably had my face turned...INTO THE TZATZIKI---and I just heard Sean say "hey, there's a security guy. Oh look, I think he's here for whatshername. That chick."

I turned and there was Gwyneth Paltrow in her pewter sequinned dress, standing at the long table in front of us, incredibly tall and slender and shiny and gorgeous and probably smelling of leatherbound books and rich mahogany. "Gwyneth Paltrow!" I yelped, and I'd barely had time to get it out before Cameron Diaz breezed in on the arm of A-Rod and Sean about fell out of his chair, being both a lifelong Yankees fan and a confirmed Cameron Diaz one.

Then Jay-Z and Beyonce arrived, and Rashida Jones, and later Chris Martin swanned in for a little while before his show, and Internet, I know you are supposed to play it cool around celebrities and act like it's no big deal because Stars, They're Just Like Us!, but I don't mind telling you that I was FREAKING. OUT. WITH EXCITEMENT. Oh look, there's Cameron Diaz applying her lipgloss between courses! A smooch between Gwyneth and Chris! And hell if that isn't Kanye West who just walked into the restaurant and up to the table, HAS MY US WEEKLY COME TO LIFE BEFORE MY EYES?

That Us Weekly subscription has more than paid for itself by the way, because I recognized every single celebrity who walked in, even the more esoteric ones like Samantha Ronson and Solange Knowles, Beyonce's sister. The Italian guys sitting to our right started calling me their "star adviser," which is much more hilarious when uttered in a thick Italian accent by two tan ladykillers in crisp shirts. "Who, who?" they'd whisper, when another sunglasses-clad icon strolled by our table. "Who is the star?" I'd incline my head slightly to the left and then turn back to them and hiss the name of the A-lister. They were particularly pleased when I indentified the aforementioned Kanye West, who ran in to the restaurant impishly with a bandana on his head. "Kanye!" they said. "We go crazy for Kanye!"

(Don't we all, buddy, don't we all.)

The concert itself was incredible. I hadn't listened to much Coldplay since the Rush of Blood to the Head days---though I did have my opening line ready for Chris Martin, should we happen to stumble into each other; it was "hey, we went to the same university!" because we did---but they played a really good set. Jay-Z came on and performed with Coldplay a few minutes before midnight before doing his own solo show, and Beyonce, Kanye West, and (randomly) John Mayer got on stage at various points too.

I only knew two and a half Jay-Z songs before this weekend, and one of them was that one about New York that everyone knows from watching The City (ssssh), but I found myself half in love with him by the end of the show.

I had a hilarious conversation with Kevin Christiana, the season four winner of Project Runway, without realizing who he was because I've never watched Project Runway, and we also saw Forrest Whitaker, Tom from Parks and Recreation, Giada de Laurentis, Chelsea Handler, and Blake Lively, who ran past me breathlessly after the show was over and who looked pretty much as gorgeous as you would expect a breathless Blake Lively to look. We also shared an elevator with Ryan from the Office. Sean's biggest regret, to his dying day, will be that he only thought of the line "I'm going to WUPH this" after they'd had a brief conversation about how to successfully operate the elevator with a key card. Aw, man. That would have been so awesome.


By the time the show was over we were exhausted in the way that people who rarely stay up beyond 1am often are, and as much as I wanted to stick around and find Ellen Pompeo, who'd been rumored to be there, so I could convince her to leave her husband and run away with my brother Luke who is inexplicably in love with her, we decided to call it a night and return to our room.

Shortly before crashing headfirst into bed at 3:30am, but not before ripping off the false eyelashes with the strength of a thousand rugby players and stomping on them with my stupid painful heels which I then, in turn, threw out of the window to rot in the Bellagio Fountains forever and ever and ever, amen. Not really. I probably just winced and then packed them painstakingly in my suitcase so they didn't get crushed. 

So basically that was the most fun ever, and even though I will never again in my life have an occasion to wear a gold sequined dress---though you should certainly feel free to borrow it if you find yourself invited to, like, Elton John's Mardi Gras party---I don't regret buying it (or the other two back-up dresses I bought, one of which was also sequinned, though a rather more sedate black) because when else are you going to wear something like that, you know? (Well, I guess Elton John's Mardi Gras party, but still.)

There are approximately ten zillion more photos of us attempting to approximate the lifestyles of the rich and famous right here (I even have one of Gwyneth Paltrow's back which I keep meaning to upload because that would surely be scintillating), but for now it is 10:01pm and I am dying to go to bed, which I think proves to you what I was saying all along in the first paragraph of this blog post, which is that obviously I am an insane party animal who cannot be tamed.

Filed Under:
Camels & Chocolate
Jan 03, 2011

Wow, I feel like everyone I know in our industry was at this party--crazy! Sounds like a blast. And may I be the first to say that Jay-Z and Coldplay are not two artists I'd immediately think to pair together for a New Year's bash? One of the best concerts I've ever attended, however, was Coldplay in Germany in 2005. Who knew Chris Martin, emo as he is, was such a performer?

Super Sarah
Jan 03, 2011

OMG... seriously, that sounds like the most fun you could have pretending to have someone else's life! I used to obsess over Coldplay in the early days and am still grumpy I was pregnant with Stella when they came to Sydney!

Kerri Anne
Jan 03, 2011

I really do think you're totally right about Gwyneth Paltrow most likely smelling of leather-bound books and rich mahogany. (Favorite sentence ever!)

Apparently Channing Tatum (I've tried not to love him, but I can't) and Puck from GLEE were also at that party. So basically that room was FULL OF MAGIC.

Jan 03, 2011

I feel as though I should get a subscription to US Weekly just in cases. That's one he'll of a story and one hell of a dress. So awesome!

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 03, 2011

Kerri Anne, I'm afraid I cannot take credit for it! I was quoting Anchorman, so all firm handshakes must go to Ron Burgundy.

Savvy in San Francisco
Jan 03, 2011

Wow! I was impressed with myself because we saw Jim Caviezel on NYE at Greystone restaurant in St. Helena. Ha! Close second to your evening! I don't think I would have been able to eat anything else at that point and would have had my husband telling me to stop staring!

Savvy in San Francisco
Jan 03, 2011

Wow! I was impressed with myself because we saw Jim Caviezel on NYE at Greystone restaurant in St. Helena. Ha! Close second to your evening! I don't think I would have been able to eat anything else at that point and would have had my husband telling me to stop staring!

Jan 03, 2011

amazing. you must work for a pretty good company :)

Jan 03, 2011

omg, you're such a baller! question on the tanning towelettes...do they work??


Holy crap, this is a great story!!! You and Sean both look fantastic, by the way - per usual.

Jan 04, 2011

I imagine that this kind of amazing evening can make up for spending Thanksgiving in an airport!

Lo (@lamaschida )
Jan 04, 2011

That's so awesome!!! I'm sure more events like this are in your future. What do you do again? Btw the cosmopolitan commercials have driven me nuts, I don't get it! Why the animals? And why does the starved, skinny model put just one rabbit outside? Did ur stay there shed any light on this? ;-)

Jan 04, 2011

Oh my gosh, you guys are the coolest no matter what you say! Sounds and looks like you had an amazing time. Definitely kicked the butt of my NYE!

Jan 04, 2011

No lie, I am watching Regis and Kelly right now and she is talking about her New Years Eve in Vegas at the Cosmopolitan!! I'm so jealous, me and my husband were in Vegas days score it opened and it looked amazing! I would not trust myself around so many celebrities, there's no way I WOULDN'T make a fool of myself!

Jan 04, 2011

I'm still stuck on the sentence about never having seen Project Runway. With your craftiness and stylish sensibilities, I think you would LOVE it! Please Netflix the first two seasons ASAP!

Jan 04, 2011

"Who is the star?"

YOU. You, Holly Burns, are the star. Because even with all your (spot on) descriptions of the celebrities, it's your rendering of those two Italian ladykillers that made the story for me. (And, I will add, shamelessly, that I've been waiting impatiently for this story since your NYE tweets. You did not disappoint.)

I'd have to guess that ringing in 2011 the way you did indicates it is going to be a fabulous year for you and Sean. Cheers!

Jan 04, 2011

Great story. But my takeaway- YOU HAVE NEVER WATCHED PROJECT RUNWAY?!?! You let your eyes bleed with multiple watching of the Bachelor, but you don't watch PR?? For shame, Ms. Burns.

Jan 04, 2011

Awesome that you went to the concert!!! Heard it was a blast. Next time you see Blake Lively, please give her my number. Thanks in advance!

Jan 04, 2011

I have the same utter inability to act cool when I see celebrities, so I would have been a MESS at that event. You and Sean totally blend with the glitterati, though!

Amy --- Just A Titch
Jan 04, 2011

I saw Jay-Z perform last year and he was mind-blowingly awesome. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Also, I'm aggressively jealous of this night. Holy crap.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 04, 2011

Kat, the tanning towelettes are fantastic. My fake tan of choice is always going to be the Clarins one, but it's about $32 for a bottle and while Gwyneth may be able to justify it, I cannot always do so. I've found that the whole L'Oreal Sublime Bronze range is a really good substitute, probably the best drugstore option out there. The gel and the cream are both very good, but the tanning towelettes are the best for travel since they're so small, you don't have to worry about packing them in a carry-on, and there's no danger of them spilling or getting messy. Two thumbs up! (Plus, I looked like I got back from a week in the Bahamas when I was done. Well, for ME anyway, the pale-skinned English girl.)

Jan 04, 2011

I think this calls for a Wear Your Sequin Dress Houseparty. I have a pink one. It will be very fancy.

Jan 04, 2011

I got very "oh my god a celeb!" excited just reading this!
Also, if my own experience is at all relevant, I think that people are far more insulted when you DON'T know them than when you freak out a little over who they are (looking at you, Nathan Fillion circa 2000). Thank goodness for US Weekly (never thought I'd say that, actually).

Locusts and Wild Honey
Jan 04, 2011

That last picture of you is something that will keep you warm on rainy nights when you are 99 years old. You'll be like, YEAH, BITCHES! THIS IS ME!!!

Wow, that sounds shallow. Okay, I'm sure you'll also be thinking of your awesome kids and grandkids too.

Jan 04, 2011

How incredibly fun!!!

Jan 04, 2011

I think we all agree when I say YOU HAVE THE BEST JOB EVAH!

I'm so super jealous right now.

Jan 04, 2011

I think Chelsea Handler was performing in Connecticut on NYE... ?

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 04, 2011

You're right! That's so weird, I could have sworn it was her. She was dancing in a red dress next to Giada de Laurentis in the VIP area (and her boyfriend 50 Cent was there too!) Oh no, guess I'm not as good at identifying celebrities as I thought....

Jan 04, 2011

the celebrity nut that i am just squealed through this whole post. that is one hell of a party, so awesome.

Jan 04, 2011

I feel famous just because I've been a faithful blog reader of yours for so long. Now this!

You and Sean were probably turning heads behind your back too, Holly. That sibilance you seemed to hear every time you turned a corner? "Ohhhh, look at *them*. Who *are* they, do you know?"

Impressive that Sean was able to score a tux in Vega$ on NYE. Clearly, you are ace party goers!

Jan 04, 2011

ggaahh this is awesome!!!

Jan 04, 2011

I love Gywneth Paltrow. SO MUCH. I would have fainted right there in my seat. Gahhhhhhhhh.

(You and Sean both looked GORGE.)

Twice Five Miles
Jan 04, 2011

I am so completely frustrated right now because I've been looking for a dress EXACTLY LIKE THAT for a few months now. And you found it for $20. At Marshall's. Eargh.

In case you're wondering, it's for a James Bond theme gala. Probably the only other time besides NYE when one can wear all gold sequins.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 04, 2011

Do you want me to mail it to you?

Twice Five Miles
Jan 04, 2011

Oh so much with the YES!

Jan 04, 2011

Sean looks very James Bond-esque in that first photo.

Jan 04, 2011

Sounds incredible!

Jan 05, 2011

You know Ellen was wearing quite the similar dress that evening......(I think you looked way cuter though!!!)


Jan 05, 2011

Holy crap! I always have day dreams of what i'll say and how cool I'll act when I run into a bunch of famous people. I would probably spit up on myself.

You looked gorgeous! Nice find on the dress!

Funnelcloud Rachel
Jan 05, 2011

Holy moly! Also, you look fantastic in gold sequins!

Jan 05, 2011

Oh Holly...you guys looked so beautiful. I agree with Jenn, very James Bond-esque. I'm so jealous you got to see all the celebs. Thank God US Weekly is good for something!

Jan 05, 2011

I'm pretty sure that is the most awesome New Year's Eve I have ever heard of.

Also, I think maybe the chandelier in your room is the same one RS wrote about this month:


I loooove it.

Jan 05, 2011

Bit slow picking this up, but... You linked to the Daily Mail article I twittered to you! Or do you read the Daily Mail on line every day like I do? Such a hateful paper with appalling views, but it is SUCH fun reading the crazy comments then rating them... Sounds like an amazing night - very jealous

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 05, 2011

Nikiflembo, I did! Thank you so much for sending it! Agree on the Daily Mail -- so awful but such a guilty pleasure.

Sensibly Sassy
Jan 06, 2011

So if Sean is ever un-available to be your date for one of these parties go ahead and give me a call. Bringing a female date is so A List.

Jan 07, 2011

LOL! I love it! And it looks like you had a great time!

Jan 07, 2011

So jealous of your real life US Weekly moment! I was reading your tweets from the airport en route to Fiji - and I kinda wanted to trade places with you!

Jan 07, 2011

I am amazed by your star naming prowess. I couldn't remember anyone's name at my class reunion, all people who I actually knew in real life, so I can't imagine how I would have responded at that star studded event. Kudos to you! And BTW...I think you just wear the sequins on a regular basis because you looked fabulous! I mean why not?

Jan 07, 2011

OMG you look so much like Natalie Portman in your first picture! Lucky you!


Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 07, 2011

It wasn't Chelsea Handler, it was CHERYL HINES!!! http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecosmopolitan/5322612640/in/set-721576257...

At least I got the initials right?

Jan 08, 2011

I recently discovered that I live 1 road away from Chris Martin & Gwynneth, I knew it was close by, but not exactly where. I might wander past a few times to see if I spot her. Have seen him. With Apple!
You look great and looks like a fun night!

Jan 09, 2011

Pretty much the greatest New Year's Eve ever. And, puts my New Year's eve of good champagne, average movie, and kid puke to shame. I hope you won't mind if I tag along with you next year; your night is bound to be more fun!

Jan 11, 2011

I must agree with everyone else who can't believe you don't watch Project Runway - the drama, the glitter, the outfits! And as someone who has watched the show obsessively (although my love affair might be over due to S7), I must ask if the guy you talked to was Kevin Christiana (who was on S4) or Christian Siriano (who won S4). I'm super excited either way, but the suspense is killing me!

Congrats on keeping your cool in the dining room. I would have been the ass trying to take surreptitious photos and eventually being dragged out by security still clicking away.

My biggest brush with fame was when I was in Carmel back in the 90s. I saw this sweet car parked on the side of the road and then thought the guy standing next to it looked familiar. Then I started yelling, "OMIGAWD, that's Steve from 90210!" Thankfully I was inside a car with all the windows rolled up so he didn't hear me shrieking. And that's how excited I got over a guy I didn't even think was hot (sorry, Ian Ziering) so imagine how crazed I would have been in your place. Which is probably why I haven't received any invitations to fancy opening nights.

Jan 11, 2011

You both look ab fab, Holly. Great story, very well told!

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