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"Housewives" Love Kodak's New Online Gallery

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A couple weeks ago I attended a reception celebrating the relaunch of the new Kodak Gallery, the film company's online service that allows members to store, organize, and print photos. Now, let me first say that my interest in attending this event was piqued by my fascination with reality television. (I know, I know...) See, the host of the event was none other than Jill Zarin, one of the Real Housewives of New York City stars.

Pitter patter went my heart. And then I watched as others from the New York City cast showed up. Then my heart stopped. I'm not even going to go into details when I saw that Bravo was there filming for an upcoming episode.

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Hello Kitty Turns 35—Cougar Jokes Abound

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Never has a pop icon been so happy to turn 35. Last week on  November 1, 2009, the beloved cat turned the big 3-5  (that’s 137 in human years).

To celebrate the Japanese import, Royal/T in L.A.'s Culver City is hosting a free Hello Kitty event entitled Three Apples—a nod to H.K.’s weight, as listed on her official bio—bringing together over 30 artists inspired by the flirtatious feline. A portion of the art’s proceeds will help fund community service projects in Los Angeles.

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Big Gulp–Gate: TSA Blogs About Britney's LAX Security Hullabaloo

There has been a bit of a fluster in the blogosphere in response to a video released yesterday by TMZ, showing Britney Spears passing through airport security at Los Angeles' LAX with a 7-Eleven Big Gulp in hand—and it wasn't confiscated by security, I might add.

The accusations were aplenty, most assuming the pop princess was granted special permission that allowed her to bypass common folk security regulations.

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Star Mapper: Los Angeles, 10/09

With Hollywood, the Walk of Fame, and red carpet events galore, Los Angeles is an obvious mecca of all things celebrity—and as such, is without a doubt my favorite U.S. city (sorry New York!). You can hardly hit up a Starbucks in L.A. without tripping over someone who's had their 15 minutes or more. Suffice it to say, tracking down this handful of celebs—with a little help from my West Coast accomplice—was like a walk in the park.


View Travel + Leisure: Celeb­-Spot­ting, L.A. Oct. 2009 in a larger map

10/2: During an event at Sonny McLean's—a Santa Monica Irish pub with an affinity for all Boston-based sports teams—a few patrons were lucky enough to be waited on by none other than Megan Fox. She was the surprise celebrity bartender. The celeb that was actually scheduled to be there? Brian Austin Green.

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Star Mapper: Manhattan, 9/09

Anyone who knows me can attest to my having a healthy and, er, perfectly natural fascination with celeb culture, so I was more than happy to take on the role as the go-to person for celebrity coverage on TravelandLeisure.com.

As a part of that beat, I’d like to introduce a new series: Star Mapper. I’ll let you know where the A-Listers go (and hey, I’m not too proud to go after some D-Listers too. *ahem* Kathy Griffin *cough*), along with a little info about their fave haunts and destinations.

Our first installment? Celeb spottings in Travel + Leisure’s own star-studded backyard: New York City.


View Travel + Leisure: Celeb-Spotting, NYC Sept. 2009 in a larger map

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Damon and Cheadle Vacation at Clooney’s Italian Villa

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What do George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle have in common? Aside from being A-list Hollywood hotshots, the three co-starred in the high-stakes Oceans trilogy—Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen—each cast as professional thieves you couldn’t help but love, and admire.

So after working together so much, it’s no surprise that the friendly trio enjoys time off-set. Their latest adventure? A trip to Laglio, a waterfront town in northern Italy set against the backdrop of dramatic Lake Como, where George just happens to own 19th-century vacation home, Villa Oleandra.

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Do British Columbia Like Zac Efron—If You Dare!

Zac Efron, the teen heartthrob and young actor of movie High School Musical fame, has been spending some time in Vancouver, British Columbia lately while filming his latest flick, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.

In the film, Zac plays Charlie St. Cloud, a man still stricken with guilt from the death of his brother 13 years prior. So much so, he becomes a caretaker at the cemetery where his brother is buried, and each night plays catch with the child ghost of his dead brother. When a new love interest captures Charlie's affection, he considers breaking his promise to never leave his brother’s side.

So it’s no surprise, really, that to combat the rather somber film’s emotional subject matter, Zac has made an effort to let loose off the set. How, you might ask? By heading to Whistler, where he took a fearless leap off a bridge 160 feet above the Cheakamus River.

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Behind the Scenes: Second Annual Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic

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What do you do on a too-beautiful-to-believe summer day in New York City?Head to Governors Island to watch HRH Prince Henry of Wales (Prince Harry to you and me) play polo, of course. This past Saturday, May 30, I was lucky enough to have been the guest of Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and St. Regis New York’s brand new British General Manager, Paul Nash, at the star-studded charity event.

Just a few of the celebs who turned out to see the Prince go head to head with smoldering Argentine polo phenom Nacho Figueras: A fedora-clad Madonna (with sons David and Rocco, the later sporting a mohawk), Kate Hudson, Chloe Sevigny (in creamy Chloe), LL Cool J (in a handsome brown Kangol for his first-ever polo match), model Alek Wek (wearing a canary yellow frock and a coordinating orange cast on her wrist), designers Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan, and my Today Show pal Matt Lauer. St. Regis New York sweetened an already memorable day by serving its classic Afternoon Tea, courtesy of Adour pastry chef Sandro Micheli, just as Prince Harry claimed the winner’s trophy.

See my behind-the-scenes slideshow.

Nilou Motamed is the features editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Susan Naci

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