An Incognito Laurie Dhue & The Summer Swells

Even presidential gridlock couldn’t keep the diehards away from Michael’s today. While President Obama dished with the gals on The View across town, the usual mix of media mavens, moguls and socialites pecked at their lunches and traded war stories about their oh so busy summers. Overheard in the ladies’ room: “The traffic in the Hamptons is worse than ever!” and “There’s just too many parties to get to this year!” What a pity.
I was lunching today with Amy Matthews, licensed contractor and host of This New House, premiering Thursday night on DIY. In it, she and co-host Kevin O’Connor travel the country in search of the latest and greatest innovations in home building and construction. The mission of the show, explains Amy, is to teach do-it-yourselfers how to spruce up their homes using their own muscle.
Fresh off an appearance on The Early Show this morning, Amy looks more like a movie star (think a younger Virgina Madsen) than a hardhat, but she says she came to love all things construction from her dad while growing up in Minneapolis. She recommends home improvement novices start by consulting the experts and trying “cosmetic” projects like painting or switching kitchen and bathroom faucets first. But if you think you’re ready and want to have some real fun, pick up a pickaxe and go for it. “A lot of people find doing their own demolition very therapeutic,” she says. “Plus, you can save yourself a lot of money.”
In the series this season, Amy and Kevin meet up with all kinds of inventors, builders and scientists that are sure to get you off the couch and into your local hardware store. One of her favorite inventions, she says, is an at-home system that allows doors in private homes to operate like those handy automatic ones at your favorite big box store. Just the thing you’ll need when you come home ladened with packages from the new Target uptown. We’ll be tuning in.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong (Long time no see!) and pals David Patrick Columbia who celebrated a birthday earlier this week, Joan Jacobsen, Patrick Murphy and Mary McDonagh Murphy. I stopped to say my hello’s and found out the gang was celebrating the release of Mary’s new book Scout, Atticus & Boo which celebrates the 50th anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird. Congrats!
2. An almost unrecognizable Laurie Dhue, who exchanged her usual anchorwoman ‘do for a slicked back look today, and some equally attractive gal pals.
3. Dynastic dynamos: Margo McNabe Nederlander and Haley Steinbrenner Swindal
4. Jerry Inzerillo

5. Allen & Co.’s Stanley Shuman
6. Artisan House’s president Mickey Ateyeh
7. Artist Paige Peterson with scribe Jesse Kornbluth and Alexandra Peterson.
9. Leslie Fagen
11. A table full of Mickey Ateyeh’s pals, so we’re told
12. Shelley Zalis (Michael Kassan’s cousin)
14. Hearst’s new president David Carey
15. AP’s Tom Curley
16. Richard Beckman with two extremely busy suits who were glued to their phones while waiting for e5 Global Media’s president to arrive. Time is money!
17. Time Warner’s Ed Adler
18. Joann Ross of CBS
20. Citi’s Women & Co. CEO Lisa Caputo. We thought about asking Hillary Clinton’s former press secretary if she was on the guest list for Chelsea’s wedding this weekend but figured she was probably sworn to secrecy if she was. Guess our invite got lost in the mail.
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher
22. Amy Matthews, Ferren Comm’s Lindsay Gallager and yours truly
23. BizBash’s David Adler
24. Martin Puris. If you were watching Mad Men‘s season premiere this Sunday (and who wasn’t?) you probably caught Martin in a commercial for BMW where he talked about creating the car’s iconic ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ tagline. Impressive.

@DianeClehane Diane Clehane is Adweek's weekly 'Lunch' columnist.