• Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards

    February 17, 2012

    The 2012 Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards were quite the event. It was actually one of those experiences that inspired me to want to make a difference, which is part of the reason this post took so long for me to put together. I wanted to make sure it was as thorough as possible to help raise awareness about heart disease in women.

    The Red Dress Awards, of course, were a fancy-schmancy event, complete with celebrities, red carpet, fancy (red) dresses, cocktails, glitz, glamour, and everything else that goes along with a fabulous Manhattan soiree. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the hard work of devoted individuals and their commitment to the fight against heart disease in women. Even though my photos show a good time had by all, the event supports a serious cause that needs more awareness brought to it.

    With that said, I’m going to give you guys a quick recap of the cocktail hour before the awards ceremony and then move onto the important/serious information related to heart disease. Sound good? Great.

    The Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards were held at the gorgeous Rose Hall at Lincoln Center. What a space. The views on the city were stunning.

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    As a guest of Campbell’s, I had the opportunity to interview Richard Blais, the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars and the Campbell’s Healthy Heart Award Presenter at the ceremony. He was such a nice guy and totally down-to-earth. Even from our brief conversation, I could tell he was really passionate about cooking and healthy living.

    I asked Richard if he was okay with me videotaping our interview so I could share it with my readers and he agreed. Yay! In our interview, I asked him about running the New York City Marathon, his inspiration for his Spicy Bouilliablais, what he thinks people would be surprised to know about reality cooking shows, and what his last meal on earth would be. As expected, I’m totally nervous and awkward in this video. Derp.

    After I interviewed Richard, Theodora and I went in search of food and cocktails.

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    We each started with a glass of sparkling rosé.

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    And then we hit the appetizer table. The National Pork Board was one of the event’s sponsors, so there were a ton of pork-inspired dishes as well as fried calamari, a crouton bruschetta, and a selection of cheese, crackers, and breads. I helped myself to a little bit of everything.

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    After we chowed down, Theodora and I headed over to check out the photo booth.

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    Obviously, we needed to get a photo together.


    Our next stop was the red carpet where things were bumpin’!

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    Oh, hey, Dr. Oz.

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    Dr. Oz was one of the honorees at the Red Dress Awards. (Cameras weren’t allowed into the awards part of the evening, so I only have photos of a couple of honorees that I snapped before it.) Besides hosting The Dr. Oz Show, he also directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and his research includes heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, complementary medicine, and health care policy.

    During the awards ceremony, Dr. Oz shared a story about performing open-heart surgery on a 25-year-old woman whose family brought her fast food the day after the operation. He said, at that moment, he realized that he wasn’t really doing his job if he didn’t educate his patients on the dangers of heart disease and what they could to prevent it. Dr. Oz actually said he’d much rather be put out of business than perform preventable open-heart surgeries. Ever since his experience with that young woman, Dr. Oz has been working to help fight heart disease.

    Also on the red carpet was Star Jones, another one of the evening’s award honorees.

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    I have to admit, I always thought Star Jones was just some attention-seeking, tabloid celebrity, but I learned that there is so much more to her. She’s best known as one of the hosts of The View, but did you know she’s also an attorney? Me either! She’s been a licensed attorney in New York for the last 25 years, and was a senior assistant attorney in Brooklyn before the age of 29. Impressive, right?

    Anyway, Jones’ work in the law field isn’t why she was honored at the Red Dress Awards. A few years ago, she underwent elective open-heart surgery after being told she had the early signs of heart disease. Jones survived the surgery and her recovery with flying colors, so just a week after coming home from the hospital, she called the American Heart Association (AHA) and asked them what she could do to help their organization. Apparently, Jones could do a lot.

    In 2011, Star Jones was named the American Heart Association’s National Volunteer and she’s been making heart disease awareness her life’s work since. Jones said she always thought heart disease was an “old white man’s disease,” but she now realizes it affects all kinds of people. As an African American woman, she says she’s proud to be the “face of heart disease.”

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    I love this quote from Jones: “I learned late in life that my health is my greatest asset. For she who has health has hope. And she who has hope has everything.

    Theodora and I only spent a little time checking out the red carpet because the awards ceremony was about to start. As I mentioned, I couldn’t snap photos inside, so I’ll do my best to recap without them!

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    Hoda Kotb of the TODAY Show hosted the event, and she was really something else. I absolutely loved her. She was funny, witty, and so incredibly positive. Kotb is definitely one of those people who fully enjoys and appreciates life. Fun fact: Hoda loves Beyonce’s music!

    Throughout the awards ceremony, we were entertained by a number of wonderful musical performances. Of note:

    • Violinist Caitlin Moe and DJ Mia Moretti: Impressive musical duo. Their music is high-energy and really funky. Great for working out!
    • Javier Colon: Winner of The Voice. He sang a goose bump-inducing “I Will Always Love You” as a tribute to Whitney Houston.
    • Sugarland: Jennifer Nettles was amazing! What a voice! I thought Sugarland would be totally cheesy, but they put on a great show.

    After the honorees were presented their awards, each of them spoke to the audience for a few minutes. Of course, all of them were wonderful and impressive, but Regina M. Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon General (no big deal), really wowed me with what she’s done for increasing heart disease awareness and public health in general. I tried to summarize her contributions and achievements in this post, but there are just too many to list. If you have a chance, please read up on this woman. She’s amazing.

    Other honorees of note:

    • Dr. Martha Gulati, who is a pioneer in studying heart disease in women, after realizing that the previous standards were based off of men. She was also wearing a pretty sweet Oscar de la Renta dress and Louboutins.
    • Katherine Leon, who, with Laura Haywood-Cory, both victims of a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, work as WomenHeart champions to encourage women to take responsibility for their health.
    • And Shermane Winters-Wofford, who suffered a stroke on a first date. She had pain in her chest and shortness of breath, but just thought she was nervous. She asked him to take her home so she could lay down, but he wouldn’t listen, and took her to the hospital. Spoiler alert: they’re now married.

    Source: Losing Weight in the City

    During the awards ceremony, presenters and honorees referred to the “heart guidelines” and “warning signs” of a heart attack, and I can honestly say I didn’t know much about either. I figured some of you might be in the same boat, so here’s some information about both.

    More women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. But, according to the American Heart Association, 80% of cardiac events in women could be prevented through a healthy diet and lifestyle. So, the AHA defined what it means to have “ideal cardiovascular health” by identifying seven factors that impact health and quality of life, known as Life’s Simple 7:

    1. don’t smoke;
    2. maintain a healthy weight;
    3. engage in regular physical activity;
    4. eat a healthy diet;
    5. manage blood pressure;
    6. take charge of cholesterol; and
    7. keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels.

    And the signs of a heart attack in women?

    Signs of a Heart Attack:

    1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
    2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
    3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
    4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
    5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

    If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1…Get to a hospital right away.

    Source: Go Red for Women

    During the awards ceremony, we watched “a little film about a super mom who takes care of everyone except herself” and doesn’t realize she is experiencing a heart attack.

    If you watch the video, you’ll see that this woman ignores her heart attack symptoms because she’s too busy and doesn’t want to inconvenience others.

    Many of the stories that I heard from honorees at the event involved seemly healthy (and some not-so-healthy) women, who thought their symptoms were no big deal until they experienced a cardiac episode. So, please know the symptoms of a heart attack and please take care of yourself. And please share that video with everyone you know. 

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    I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to attend the Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards. I learned so much and left feeling very inspired. Thank you Campbell’s for inviting me!

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    { 44 comments… read them below or add one }

    Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Beautifully put! ‘Tis true that too many people (women especially) think it’s a man’s disease….when in fact it kills more women than men! And yes, those 7 things listed are VITAL to keeping heart disease risk down. I have a friend whose sister died last year of heart disease–she was a model, fit, and 28 years old…..recognize the signs and know ’em people!

    Love the recap, thanks for the awareness! And what a fancy, cool event you could attend 🙂


    Stephy C February 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Wow- this is a really important post! I really never knew the symptoms of a heart attack either. Thanks for sharing!
    Also, I love that first pic of you and Theodora in the photo booth!


    Talking Thirty February 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think you seem nervous or awkward at all in the video interview with Richard Blais. The “last meal on earth” question was a good one. Great job!


    Wendy Irene February 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Tina, I know you are saving lives by sharing these tips! Much love <3


    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries February 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    LOVED every bit of this post. i appreciate you taking the time to write this all! it’s something i think we all need to be aware of and reminded of regularly. you looked gorgeous in your red dress! 😉


    kathleen @ the daily crumb February 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    amazing recap!

    i loved the interview with richard blais. he is one of my all time favorite top chefs!


    Caitlin February 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you for doing a post on this! I am apart of a sorority where woman’s heart disease is our philanthropy (Go Alpha Phi!) It is so great to read things about events that are there to create awareness and information on heart disease. Thanks again!
    Here is some more information that is very helpful!


    hilary February 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Here is an interesting article that you might be interested in:


    I know the Heart Association brings great awareness to the issue of heart disease, but I believe there is more to the story than they espouse. And as in many issues, money and lobbyist play a big part in policy and talking points, which are not always to the advantage of the general public.


    Life's a Bowl February 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Such a great opportunity to attend and way to spread the word about something so serious! Both of y’all look fabulous in your red dresses 🙂


    Amy @Macncheesenpeas February 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    What an amazing event! Good to know people are spreading the word about women’s heart disease! It’s such an important issue and easily over-looked.


    Ida February 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Blais is a rock star. I used to live in Atlanta and loved his flip burger bar so much!
    Star jones went to law school at my alma mater. She’s got an impressive background.


    Dori February 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Looks like an awesome event, and it really is so important that we recognize that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. For my job, we are donating $1 for every new Facebook ‘Like’ we get this month to the National Heart Association!


    Cat @Breakfast to Bed February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    it’s soooo important that women realize that this is OUR NUMBER ONE KILLER. and so much of it can be averted with diet and lifestyle. Live a good lifestyle so you can LIVE A LONG LIFE.

    p.s. you two are the hotness in your red dresses.

    p.s.s. did you guys laugh that the pork council served FRIED calamari at a heart disease event?


    Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl February 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    What a fantastic event. And glad they are making it a big thing because women tend to have silent or different symptoms when it comes to having an attack (compared to men). So more notice of these things is important. Take care of your heart!

    And I had no idea Star jones was an attorney.


    Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Wow this was a great post! I actually don’t know much about heart disease, but I learned a lot from reading this. I know that being in my early 20’s makes me think I have a long time until I even need to think about disease, but the truth is that prevention needs to start now. Just because I have a good metabolism now, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t focus on heart healthy foods more often than I do. True health is on the inside 🙂


    Anna, Fitscally Responsible February 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    What a great opportunity to attend this event and be able to spread the word on your blog. My aunt died unexpectedly from heart disease in December at age 49. She worked out a few times a week, ate moderately healthy and always seemed young for her age. It’s good for people to know they should have conversations often and early with their doctor about their heart health, even if it is just for peace of mind.


    Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction February 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Wow, this looks like it was a fun and informative event! I can’t believe the story about doctor OZ. That is so scary but unfortunately it’s true! All we can do is be aware of these symptoms and try to prevent them by using the guidelines that you stated. Have a nice weekend, and I like your dress choice!


    Hope @ With A Side Of Hope February 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I love that you chose the one shoulder dress! I am loving those lately! So pretty! 🙂 This is such an awesome opportunity! I agree with you on Starr Jones. I met her a long time ago when she was doing a book signing. She was super nice! So jealous you saw Dr. Oz! Love him.


    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio February 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    What an amazing event. I love the red glasses they served the drinks in. Too cute!!

    Do you ever sit back and think “OMG, I can’t believe I do this for a living?”. I think it’s so cool! Great post Tina!


    Mari February 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Interesting food they served at a heart disease awareness event…


    Alyssa @ Life of bLyss February 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    TINA, this is so cool! I loved Richard on the show. I’m totally jealous of your interview. You rocked it. 😉


    Cait's Plate February 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Looks like so much fun! Love your red dress 🙂


    HRCK the Herald February 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    What a fun and fancy party!

    And I had zero idea that Star Jones had such an educated background! Though I think I may have her confused with Sherri Shepard, ha.

    Glad you picked the one shoulder dress, too 🙂


    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for highlighted such an important topic. I am an exercise physiologist in Cardiac Rehab so I see the many faces of heart disease. Unfortunately, the faces are getting younger and younger each month. The youngest patient I had was 28 years old!


    Anna February 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    What an awesome event and amazing opportunity for you! Thank you for spreading the word about Heart Disease and its impact in the world..it is the number one killer in the US for women! And its SO preventable!!


    Emily @ The Finicky Farmer February 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Tina, many thanks for sharing the video (it’s *hilarious* and informative). Several years ago, my mom was part of a Red Dress high-risk study group for Woman’s Day; she was paired with a fabulous doctor, nutritionist, trainer, and so forth to help her reduce that risk. Such a great organization!


    Donna February 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Great cause and it looked fun! Just a word of advice, next time you wear that dress the little silky “strap” is not worn, its for when you hang it up.


    Tina February 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    No, it was part of the dress. The straps that hang the dress were on the inside! 🙂


    Mollie February 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    @Tina: Seriously?? haha! Tina, it’s very obvious that the strap was part of the dress. 🙂


    chelsea February 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing!


    Sarah @ The Healthy Diva February 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    You guys look simply stunning in red! Dr Oz is one of my heroes…I love that he’s all about encouraging people to take control of their health and look after themselves


    Molly @ RDexposed February 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I had no clue about Star Jones! Star Jones > Paula Deen. Way to do it right!
    And isn’t there always a double standard at healthy conferences? Food choices are never quite in line with event’s dietary promotion. No good solution for this, sadly.


    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I love that quote by Star Jones, and I had no idea she was an attorney, that’s impressive! I’m in law school now and I hope I can be as influential! And I love that commercial, although made to be comical, I have a feeling a lot of women probably do that! Sounds like an amazing event for an important cause!


    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for using this post to not only tell us about your amazing evening, but also to spread awareness about such an important concern. Also, you both look stunning! 🙂


    Hilary February 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Yes, I did know that about Star Jones. I’ve heard of the Red Dress awards, and I LOVE Hoda Kotb….so I would love to go to that event…sounds like so much fun, and totally inspiring!


    Kerry February 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Tina, I used to feel awkward presenting and speaking in public but I have taken advantage of several opportunities that have made me confident and more at ease. If you feel like this is an area you would like to improve, let me know and I am happy to provide some resources.


    Erica @ For the Sake of Cake February 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    This looks like so much fun! And for a great cause which makes it even better. Love the dress, too!


    J @ ... semplicemente j ... February 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    What an event … great cause … thank you for sharing … interesting and important facts to learn.


    Bojana February 18, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Hey! This is actually my first time commenting on your blog, even though I have been reading it for over a year and I have lots of love for it, it’s one of my very favorite ones and I look forward to reading it every day 🙂

    So it kind of sucks that the first comment i have on it is kind of on a negative side – but my jaw kind of dropped on the floor when I read that the National Board of Pork was one of the sponsors for an event, that is trying to raise awareness on the issue of HEART DISEASE? Really? I don’t want to sound all preachy or something, but hey, this is just the same as those Coke adds where the company is claiming Coke should be a part of every healthy meal.
    I mean, I can totally see how The National Board of Pork would looove to jump on the bandwagon of healthy living, but this to me seems like a very transparent and uttery cynical move on their behalve – and as much this kind of events are really just more of an entertainment, i still think that the organizers should do some soul-searching … ‘coz to me this just doesn’t sound quite the right message to send if you are really concerned about health.

    Again, I love your blog and I think you give out a great message about healthy living in general. But i just thought this is a thing that deserves a second thought.

    Have a great day!


    Tina February 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for your comment!:)

    Curious– why do you think pork can’t be part of a healthy diet? It’s not like it was deep-fried, ya know?


    Emily @ The Finicky Farmer February 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    P.S. I think that you both look lovely and that you were totally gracious in your interview with Richard Blais. Congrats!


    Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie February 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I LOVE that dress! So happy you decided to go with the asymetrical one.

    Plus, the fact that it was on clearance (I think that’s what you said?) makes it even more awesome 🙂


    Jean February 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

    My comments are going to be all over the place, so bear with me…

    I’m glad you picked that red dress – it was my favorite of the two. 🙂
    I LOVE Richard Blais – so glad you got to talk to him, and discover for the rest of us that he’s just as nice in person as he appears to be on tv!
    Did you mean for all (most) of your pics to be at an angle?

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us!


    kathy March 19, 2012 at 7:49 am

    wonderful post! thanks for sharing your experience to us! 🙂


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