Mr. de la Renta

oscar

The moment I saw the headline of Oscar de la Renta’s passing on my MSN homepage when I turned on my laptop Monday night, I sighed at the sad news…and then gave a slight smile. Though it’s always tough to hear of anyone’s passing, I would argue that 82 years, over 50 of them as one of the world’s most respected and legendary designers ever to grace the runway, is a good life; particularly, when you take into account that many people don’t make it that far in age…or in success. What’s been quite moving this week has been catching the tributes here and there as they came in. I was especially fond of reading Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker’s words as they reflected on an old friend.

I found myself looking back at all things Oscar de la Renta throughout the week…and that smile appeared again, this time much bigger without an ounce of sadness as I sifted through hundreds of pictures and years of fashion. What a fun contribution, body of work, and legacy to leave behind.

I wouldn’t personally describe myself as the biggest fashionista of them all, because I’m not, but I certainly love a beautiful dress when I see one. They say “never say never,” but I’ll likely never have an original Oscar de la Renta hanging in my closet – and yet, it’s still dreamy (and quite fun!) to admire the poetry and pure art if you’re one of the lucky ones who have.

It comes down to how I imagine it must feel for any gal wearing Oscar de la Renta: like a modern-day princess, in the middle of a real life fairy-tale.

Let’s spend some time in fairy-tale land, shall we? A look at some of my favorites from Mr. de la Renta to close out the week…

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Oscar de la renta ATG FINAL 3left / right

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Oscar De La Renta ATG FINAL 2left right

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Oscar De la Renta ATG FINALleft / right

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Thank you, Mr. de la Renta. You sure helped make it fun to be a woman.

Have a wonderful weekend! x

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{click image or “left/right” for photo sources.}

With Gratitude…

make-a-wish-atg-final_With Gratitude

I’ve been feeling out of sorts as of late and though I’m pretty aware of the reasons for it, I’m also trying to remember that it goes with the ebb and flow of life. It’s only natural, apart of the ride. Much of what’s contributing to this feeling I realize is a signal that it’s time for a change. I’m trying to work out what I feel the next steps should be to bring me into better alignment with “what next?” but it’s producing a range of emotions that is another story altogether. Rather than dwell on it too much, I know the best way to deal with a flux in your mood as you work through anything in life is to continue to live in gratitude. It’s when you focus on the good, what brings you joy, however big or small, that makes the journey all the more meaningful…and a little easier.

I try to live by the philosophy of keeping your spirits in the right perspective, even as you progress through a range of emotions. Of course, this is a constant conversation I have to have with myself when dealing with the unknown. The interesting thing is that oftentimes whatever is nagging you tends to works itself out, or the right guidance will come just when you need it to. So though I’ve been in a pretty blah mood this week, I’m with gratitude for the small things, waiting until that ah-ha moment comes and I find my next step. These 11 come to mind:

  • As the weather continues to cool in LA (finally!) and it actually starts to feel like fall (finally!), my (very girly) addiction to candles is alive and well again. Nothing beats the warm glow and the heavenly scent that makes home feel all the more like my special refuge.
  • 7 words: Gilmore. Girls. Is. Now. Streaming. On. Netflix. (Amid the glow of those aforementioned candles, will be much “ass on couch time” re-living one of my favorite shows as a teen.)
  • I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Belgian Butter Almond Thins and I can already tell this is going to a be problem. I can’t put them down. Yum!
  • The one thing I never take for granted: being in good health.
  • The other thing I never take for granted: a good job and a paycheck.
  • The other, other thing I never take for granted: a warm place to sleep at night.
  • Iced vanilla lattes.
  • My Stinker – who makes me breakfast every weekend…and readily helps in my coffee addiction.
  • Along with the switch in seasons means (finally!) getting to rock scarves – the ultimate fall staple.
  • Birchbox makes me happy.
  • The smell of a Stargazer lily, arguably my favorite flower if I had to pick one.

I’m with gratitude…

What are you grateful for?

Happy hump day to you! x

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Highlights

What I Know for Sure ATG FINAL{A new read for a new season.}

What I know for sure? T.G.I.F! I’m happy the weekend is upon us again. And while this sentiment is rather surface compared to what Oprah might say, it’s about as fitting as I can get at the moment. I waited almost a month and a half to grab a hard copy from the wait list at the library, and I can already tell after reading just a few pages so far, it’s going to be something quite special to take in and reflect on. I’m actually considering just buying a copy of my own so that I can add it to my non-growing bookshelf because I made the switch to a Kindle and never looked back (though admittedly, it took awhile to give into digital reading).

I’ve always known when it comes to books, there are just certain reads that work well the good old-fashioned way: with pages that you can turn, and words you can highlight in bright yellow as you make your way through them. It’s no secret that I read a lot, but what you might not know is that I don’t usually buy books in general, unless it’s something I’d like to reference again – it just saves money and space. Thus, I get my fix from being an eternal lover of the local library and use it frequently, but mostly for downloadable titles now.

Side note: I’ve also heard that the “What I Know For Sure” audio book is quite moving because Oprah (and that thoughtful voice of hers) personally reads it.

As I think about this week, I do recall stopping a few times and asking myself “What do you know for sure?” I hope to have a much more eloquent answer as I think more about this (with perhaps a post in the future dedicated to exploring this topic), but one thing that comes to mind as I write this is remembering to always be grateful if you wake up every morning with your health alive and well. It seems medical scares and stories are rampant lately about those who are struggling with what I’m sure most of us take for granted, or don’t take the time to really be mindful of…and that’s good health. So I’ll answer this question, in part, now:

What I know for sure is that if you can get out of the bed with your health in tact, that my friend,  is truly priceless. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other.

Life lately has been good, a little hectic, but overall well. It feels like fall, though almost a month behind the calendar, is slowly starting to join us here in LA. Mornings have been foggy at times, my car windows might need de-frosting before I hit the road, a sweater is almost always necessary, and I successfully dusted off my leather jacket and black boots earlier this week to celebrate the transition. Funny enough, I was talking to my boyfriend about how it just didn’t feel like the Halloween season last weekend. Yes, I have my festive pumpkin lights up, and have indulged in at least 3 pumpkin spice lattes already, but it’s strange (even for LA) to be doing so while wearing sandals, with your A/C on in 95° weather.

Thank goodness this weekend will find it temperate! The plan here is to meet a few co-workers for happy hour tonight, catch what many are calling a sure Best Actor nomination for Michael Keaton in Birdman with my boyfriend and a group of friends on Saturday night, and perhaps a jaunt to the farmers’ market on Sunday to stock-up on produce, and of course, to spend some more time with my girl Oprah.

Have a great weekend ahead!

A few other highlights since we last did a life catch-up…

Pumpkins ATG FINAL

{My boyfriend’s sweet response when I complained about it not feeling “Halloween-y” enough. He brought me 5 mini pumpkins Add a $3 Glade pumpkin-scented candle and things are feeling more appropriate at home while we wait for fall to finally get here.}

Pedi ATG FINAL

{A Saturday afternoon at home pedi.}

Milk Hazelnut Ice Cream ATG FINAL

{After years of seeing the line hang out the door, I finally grabbed some of Milk’s famous all-natural homemade ice cream. Yum!}

plan check ATG FINAL

{A Tuesday date night over drinks.}

Urban Sunset ATG FINAL

{Admiring an urban sunset.}

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Inspired.

Where is the time going? How is it already Wednesday? October is half-way over? Why am I starting my post with so many questions?

This week has been hectic so far, to say the least. I can’t seem to catch my breath long enough to feel totally grounded. My Monday night yoga class zen is already gone (and mind you, that was only the day before yesterday!). And though I think I work well and even thrive under pressure (I love a challenge!), I try to remember that it’s important not to get too caught up in the chaos – it’s how life passes you by and how you lose perspective. Since I can’t get to another yoga class to re-capture that zen feeling at the moment, I’m going to my next best resource – the words of wisdom I’ve been collecting as of late on Pinterest.

It’s funny, while I don’t necessarily get the same feeling as I might after an hour and a half of an invigorating yoga class, I do find stillness and inspiration in reading the right words. I have entire notebooks just filled with quotes I’ve collected since I was a teenager. Now in the digital age, I’m finding Pinterest is my new notebook. In the spirit of turning to good advice, I’m taking a mid-week pause to share words that are keeping me inspired and in perspective. I hope they remind you, too, to take a moment to just breathe, keep going, and keep your focus.

“Make today count, you’ll never get it back.” Find your zen within the chaos. x

Inspired ATG FINAL October 2014

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

Another week, Gang! #1 below brings very timely and wise words for a Monday. And while I have a busy week ahead, I’m decidedly looking forward to changing things up a bit in an effort to create my own sunshine. I’m excited to meet the BF for happy hour drinks on what’s likely to be an otherwise uneventful Tuesday, instead of our usual gathering for a movie or hanging at my place while we watch Netflix over baked potatoes. And thanks to an awesome Groupon find (along with a 20% off discount), I’m trying out a new dance studio that just opened in my neck of the woods to shake up my workouts (and get my groove on!).

I’m finally starting to settle back into my routine after my recent trip to SF and it feels good. Here are a few other things adding to my sunshine. Here’s what I’m lovin’ right now…

WILRN ATG FINAL

  1. Wise words for a Monday. | Media Cache
  2. Keeping the art of handwriting alive…and in-style. |  Stationary of the Art Pencil Set
  3. Becoming your own Barista. | Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
  4. What to do with that bag of potatoes before they spoil. | Baked Garlic Potato Slices
  5. The most ideal sweater I’ve seen (so far) to pair with leggings. | Double V-Neck Tunic Sweater
  6. Currently on my toes and perfect for fall. | Essie’s Bahama Mama
  7. Earrings suitable for everyday wear with a salute to the retro. | Sunburst Engraved Stud Earrings

Have a good week! x

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Highlights

Srunrise ATG FINAL{If you have to be up at 5:15am for a 6:30am call-time, watching the sunrise makes up for it.}

Home sweet home! As much as I love traveling, I always forget how exhausting it is because you’re so focused on the preparations and then the excitement for the adventure ahead. Add in that this was a work trip first and foremost, and exhaustion probably doesn’t even describe how fried I am on all levels at the moment. That being said, it was an amazing trip overall, and I’m grateful that all went well with our documentary shoot. San Francisco was absolutely beautiful, which was a concern given that much of our filming was outdoors and we wanted to avoid that notorious SF fog. More importantly, we managed to have good meals in-between filming, dinner at the über sexy Foreign Cinema being a huge highlight of my time there. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in town and looking for something special. I can still taste the swordfish and sips of lavender lemonade in my mouth as I write this.

But back to life, back to reality. Happy to be home.

I have to say, that almost every single time I travel – I always, always, always miss home…in particular, my own bed! Hotels, while fun in their own right, are never quite the same. I also forget how disconnected you feel from things going on back at home and in the larger world, because you’re not tied to your computer all day; and yes, while you have your phone, even it can decide it’s had enough and you find yourself trying to be careful about battery usage so that your phone makes it through a long day with you.

It’s probably not surprising to you that I plan to spend the weekend decompressing, re-joining life and catching up with what’s going on in the world. Very necessary things like grocery shopping, a Target run, and laundry will be high on the list. One thing of note is that I’m super excited to see my guy to see what’s been one of the most anticipated films this year for me personally, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. We waited for the “Her” and “Him” release, where the narrative is told from her perspective, then again from his. This means it’ll be a long 3-hour Friday night at the movies. It’s worth it though. I’m a fan of James McAvoy and I’m sure my Jessica Chastain girl crush will only deepen.

Have an amazing weekend. Here are some other highlights of life in SF from this week.

See you Monday! x

Virgin Plane ATG FINAL{I didn’t fly first class or anything, but there’s something about Virgin America’s ambiance that just speaks to me. Perhaps it’s the sexy purple-ness of it all?}

AudioRole ATG FINAL{A small crew means we take on many roles. This is me as audio/sound person.}

Basic Bitch Latte ATG FINAL{Latte break for a “Basic Bitch.” Now, this isn’t me just feeling the need to curse at you. This is what the drink was called, but it’s really just a pumpkin latte if you ask me.}

SF Mural ATG FINAL{SF has some amazing street art. This mural was just off Valencia Street. The whole alley is covered by art.}

ForeignCinema ATG FINAL{Foreign Cinema. The restaurant projects films on the back wall in its courtyard. We ate inside near the fireplace. As I said, it’s pretty sexy!}

Bay Bridge{View of the Bay Bridge from Coit Tower.}

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Rants & Raves: Volume 1

Rants&Raves ATG FINAL v7

I’m sure this concept has been around since the creation of philosophical teaching itself, but I credit Eckhart Tolle for much of my personal understanding of the “ego” vs. the “true self” when it comes to matters of the mind, or in his words, the “compulsive thinker” vs. “being.”

It’s interesting how on a higher level I get that most of the thoughts that flow through my mind are nothing more than mental chatter, frequent visitations from the ego with nothing better to do than just be there; and yet, I still find myself entertaining them. I also understand and believe in the grace of the voice that makes an appearance to talk to the “compulsive thinker” voice. That voice is my true self speaking – tasked largely with the goal to keep things in perspective and keep the mind present.

Now, this is not to cause alarm that I’m some sort of mental case that needs to get out her head (though maybe it is that simple!), but I think on some level we can all relate to this. I often wonder what truly goes on in other people’s minds as they go about their day. (Then again, maybe it’s best we don’t get that kind of access to each other.)

We all have a journey or a life lesson or two to learn before our time is up. I truly believe one of mine is to learn to better manage the internal dialogue that can take place in my head as a result of external forces (read: things I can’t control anyway!) and learn to stay centered and present, in a state of pure “being.”

As I’ve gotten older, I do think I’ve made progress with this, but I still have an “active” imagination. Depending on the day (and admittedly the mood I’m already in) what was a simple “hey, he just cut me off!” could translate to “hey, he just cut me off because he’s an asshole who thinks where he needs to be is more important than everyone else!” Ahhh! Aren’t those ego thoughts just grand? Wouldn’t it be quite funny if I later found out that he had just gotten a call from a man holding his wife for ransom, and his cutting me off was really to get to the bank ASAP before someone killed her? This would clearly be a case where I’m okay with being cut off. It’s a more important destination than my trip to Target…to spend money on things I don’t need anyway. (And there’s that active imagination again!)

Experts say that we think on average around 50,000 thoughts a day, and apparently, that’s a conservative number. I thought I would dedicate a post toward writing down some of them. Now I realize the contradiction here: I’m essentially still entertaining my “ego voice” by doing so, rather than just letting it go and being present, but bear with me – somehow putting my random compulsive thoughts out there, may release them into the ether to make even more room for that true voice….at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. And let’s be honest, it just helps to rant!

Oh, and rave too.

A few random compulsive thoughts as of late:

Rants & Raves: Volume #1

Rant: Do us all a favor who paid the ridiculously over-priced $15 to actually watch the movie while “at the movies” – if you’re going to talk through it as if you’re sitting in your living room, then stay home….or go to a bar and talk over drinks. Thanks! (P.S. The occasional comment if it’s related to the movie is fine…and I mean occasional.)

Rave: Boy, do I worship people who honor their word. It’s how I am in my life, but have learned that not many people you encounter are this way unfortunately. There’s one person I have in mind at the moment who is and has always been this way and I adore him dearly for it.

Rant: Condescending, passive aggressive people. 1). You don’t know it all; and 2.) if you have something to say, I’d have much more respect for you if would just find a diplomatic way to speak your mind, than be passive aggressive about it. I could go on ad nauseam about this, but I’ll leave it at that.

Rave: I do most “salon-like” services myself at-home (mani/pedis, facials, etc.), but I treated myself to a quick visit to S.H.A.P.E.S for the 1st time in 9 months and got my eyebrows threaded (still boggles my mind how they do this!). It’s amazing what a little clean-up can do and how it changes your face for the better. Best $12 I’ve spent in weeks!

Rant: As a person who writes incessantly, why oh why does spell check suck so much sometimes? Do you ever find yourself having to spend absorbent amounts of time trying to re-misspell a word better to help the spell checker find a more accurate selection of words that you’re trying to spell? WTH? At that point, I might as well just Google the word. It conveniently auto-populates the correct spelling before I even finish typing it! Horray for Google! Boo for spell checker! End rant.

Rave: Just a general thank you to the kind stranger who holds an elevator or the door for me. Don’t you just love those people who sense someone is behind them and seemingly speed up so that it would now be passed the limit of required kindness toward pure inconvenience to have wait for you now? Yeah, I don’t either.

I feel better already. This was too much fun. I think I’ll turn it into a series!

Do you have any rants or raves to share? I’d love to hear them. As I mentioned, you have 50,000 to choose from on any given day!

Happy hump day!

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*images courtesy Pixaby.com used under CC0 1.0. Final design is mine.*