Her Little Blackbook

Karina explains how Keni saved the day and why you can't judge a book by its cover.

What a great week it was for this episode. The Liza Minnelli lady actually had great stuff to consign, and the message there is never judge a book by it's cover. We get interesting types in the door all the time, and often times they are the ones with the best items. . .so always keep an open mind with the clients.

But the highlight for me (and obviously Ambria) was going to see my friend Keni Valenti at his showroom. When Ambria told Rebecca Weinberg that she had a blackbook to help her find whatever pieces she may need, I immediately said "What?" What blackbook? I'm the blackbook in this case, and Keni immediately came to mind.

He’s so much fun to be around, either in Miami or NYC. He has a fabulous demeanor and is always full of interesting stories from his early days in fashion. Keni "lived" the '70s and '80s, when stores like Fiorucci were the hottest places to shop. And now he is truly a one of a kind business with the most unique pieces. Where else can you find a classic YSL, Giorgio Sant'Angelo, Geoffrey Beene, Christian Lacroix, Halston, Oscar De La Renta etc., original vintage pieces???

He has it all, and it's a special place to see. I always tell him he should start a museum but he loves the interaction with his clients, which I guess is in some way very satisfying. Love you Keni!!!

My PS: Keni is the best. Did I say that already?

My PPS: Check out CrushworthyMoms.com. It is constantly updated with a new featured "mom," and my trip to Jamaica is recently highlighted as well.

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What The Water Gave Me

Ambria discusses the team's work with Generosity Water and how proud she is of Tara's progress.

I loved going to Kelly Killoren Bensimon's closet. Aside from Keni Valenti and Eva Lorenzotti's closets, Kelly's was my definite favorite. Handbags, shoes, dresses, suits, an entire Missoni shelf. . .seriously? I aspire to have that closet. On top of the clothing, the bags, the ridiculous apartment and Kelly's down-to-earth friendliness was her charitable demeanor. She knows she has been fortunate, and she makes it a point to give back in her life, which is such an admirable quality. Generosity Water is her pet charity, and I see why. You see the direct results of the funds you send, which is not always the case with charities.

I have always wanted to get involved with charities but I've never been in a position to do so. Working at Second Time Around gives me opportunities to be around clientele who have plenty of clothing and plenty of money. Linking Generosity Water with our clients to build a well in Haiti was finally my opportunity to be a hands-on part of something extremely beneficial. I knew being the one to auction everything would be a challenge -- I've never done that before in my life! I figured because I knew a lot of the women, and we had those amazing items from Peter Som, Kelly Bensimon, Rachel Roy, and Alexa Ray Joel it would be a walk in the park. I was secretly hoping to raise enough money for two or three wells. I was totally wrong. These women did not come ready to give their money away. . It was a real fight to even get a paddle raised. Luckily Wilson came to my rescue with that deep, masculine voice that commanded those women a bit more than mine. Wilson has such positive energy and he definitely added a richer dimension to the party.

Persistence pays off, though, and after a few glasses of champagne the women began bidding. It wasn't the triumphant, over-the-top success I had wanted, but that one well does give water to a thousand people. So I guess I'll just give us four a congratulations for getting that far. Water is something that we take for granted; I can't imagine taking a sip of water and worrying that it's contaminated. This was by far the most rewarding thing I've done in a long time.

I was soooo hoping that Colin's bracelet actually belonged to Coco Chanel. Obviously Coco was one of the most influential women in fashion, so I got really excited. It was a let down to find out it wasn't. Visiting the Elle accessories closet was a nice little band-aid. You didn't even really get to see how much stuff was actually in there! I only wished Karina could have been there to fulfill her fantasy of accessories.

I am proud of Tara for sharing about her alcoholism. Everyone has different past experiences which leads them into certain circumstances they would rather not have to deal with it; I definitely have my own. It hasn't always been easy to watch her go through the motions at work. It's the type of situation that there is nothing you can do but be supportive. She has handled herself with dignity and grace, and I believe her sharing is quite inspirational for others who have similar demons.

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