Al Roker, Barbara Bush and Peggy Siegal Fetes Elizabeth Olsen

We were disappointed to hear that we’d missed seeing Wendy Williams who’d come by on Monday for lunch with her parents. A little birdie told me that the talk show diva issued this rallying cry to mom and dad before departing to face the lone paparazzo waiting outside: “Get ready! Here we go! Here we go!”  Today the few shooters milling around outside had a little more to work with since starlet of the moment, Elizabeth Olsen, was being feted in the Garden Room. Meanwhile, the main event in the dining room featured its usual mix of moguls (Barry Diller, Ron Perelman),  talking heads (Al Roker) and high-profile editors (Jon Meacham). Just business as usual for Wednesday at Michael’s.

I was joined today by Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief Rosemary Ellis, the magazine’s new money columnist Carmen Wong Ulrich and Hearst’s executive director of public relations, Alexandra Carlin. With 24 million (yes, you read that right) readers, this is not your mother’s Good Housekeeping. With Ellis at the helm, GH is a must read for the multi-tasking, multifaceted woman (Is there any other kind?) and filled with smart, savvy content that covers everything from food and fashion to family and finances.  And, while many books have retooled their marketing message for a niche reader, Good Housekeeping is a media behemoth with some really impressive reach. “We’re not age specific. We have kazillions of 28-year-old readers and kazillions of 34-year-old readers,” says Ellis. “More than the magazines that target them.”  Rosemary, whose editor letters are often inspired by her own family life and her adorable daughter, Lucy (“I figure I have a few more years before she says no more”) says Good Housekeeping offers “one stop shopping  — Who has time to read seven different magazines?”

We all agreed that the one topic on every woman’s mind these days is money. It makes sense, says Rosemary, because 80 percent of all  spending decisions are made by the woman of the house. So, Rosemary tapped Carmen to dispense her unique brand of uncommon financial common sense culled from years of experience deciphering today’s often confusing and confounding financial landscape. “I live for this,” says Carmen, who first became interested in money through her father. “I’ve been watching stocks since I was eight.”

Carmen Wong Ulrich, yours truly and Rosemary Ellis

Carmen got her start as an assistant editor at Money 15 years ago and has written two books, Generation Debt and The Real Cost of Living, published earlier this year. A familiar face on Today, Dr. Oz and now The Early Show, she headlined her own show for a year on CNBC, On The Money, whose debut coincided with the economy’s collapse in 2008. “I spoke to so many people who lost everything — their homes, their life savings. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories,” says Carmen. “My mission is to make the financial information you need more accessible and less intimidating. Information is power — the power to improve the quality of your life.”

So, between the celebrity interviews and festive holiday how-tos in Good Housekeeping‘s December issue, Carmen is offering tips on how to stretch your dollar without skimping on the sentiments of the season. In January, she’s giving readers a complete “Money Makeover” that can be done in two hours (really!) and in February her first column will make its debut.  “As women, we spend so much time taking care of everyone else. By finding out what we need to know when it comes to money, we are doing something that needs to be done and taking care of ourselves,” says Carmen. “Women tend to take care of the day to day financial decisions, while men take care of the long-term planning. It’s a disservice to ourselves. We need to be involved in both.” Amen sister.