Highlights

Highlights Header ATG FINAL{A Saturday well spent at the museum.}

Though it’s still very much summer, I can feel the subtle shift to fall – well, as much of a “fall” as LA can muster. While we’re still about 3 weeks out according to the calendar, I can feel a more gentle breeze in the evenings, my A/C doesn’t need to be on every time I’m home, and those damn flowers are starting to fall off the tree and stick to my freshly washed car that’s just minding its own business in the parking lot at home. I’m not at all getting prepared for a complete change in season anytime soon though. LA typically channels summer until late October into early November (no joke). My boots and scarves will have to collect a bit more dust before I can find a legitimate excuse to break them out.

Until then, I’m more than happy to soak up the rest of summer. My summer bucket list is coming along, but I’m finding that I’m only at about 40% through it. The goal is to knock this up to 60% by the end of the holiday weekend!

Overall, a good week on my end. I spent most of it prepping a film shoot that we’re heading up to San Francisco for later this fall, then unwinding with a more nights than I care to share of “why am I watching this?” reality tv.

The highlights of life since we last caught up involved breaking the rules when it comes to yogurt, spending a relaxing Saturday at the LACMA, and heading over to the Sundance Theater in West Hollywood to check-out Mark Duplass’s new film “The One I Love.”

The One I LOVE ATG FINAL{“The One I Love” at the The Sundance Sunset 5.}

I’m a huge fan of independent cinema. It’s my absolute favorite type of film, behind a well-made feature-length documentary film, of course. I must say, “The One I Love” is…unique. It plays on what is likely to be a trend in relationship-based or genre-specific films, by not falling into one particular category at all. “The One I Love” is part comedy, part drama, and part sci-fi. This hybrid approach breeds a narrative that’s inherently interesting because you can’t quite place where the story is going. In some cases, this works, in others it doesn’t. This is a case where it worked…I think. I’ll admit, it took such an unexpected turn that you’re not entirely sure what actually happened, and it certainly didn’t help that it was left completely open to interpretation. This would be a case where I’d watch the film again with a more critical eye after the first pass to come to a firm conclusion. It’s available on VOD if you’re not in an area where the film is screening at your local cineplex. If you happen to catch it, let me know what you think…and what the hell happened!?!

So, onto the biggest highlight of my week! Let me preface that living in LA makes seeing a celeb around town a dime a dozen and because of the business I’m in and the all of the screenings/events surrounding the industry – there are few people that I actually get giddy over. This is not to brag, it’s just how it is. It’s actually frowned upon to freak out around celebrities when you’re just a “regular” (like myself) working in the biz. However, the big draw for seeing the film was that Mindy Kaling was moderating the Q&A along with Mark Duplass after the film! I would (and did) get a little giddy for her.

I, like almost every other normal 20-30 something gal in America, feel some sort of weird connection to her. It’s like you can actually picture yourself hanging out with her because she seems so authentic, funny, and down to earth. I’ve often stated on the blog pretty emphatically that we’re really BFFs…she just doesn’t know that. :)

Unfortunately, my camera died (what is it with me about not keeping my battery charged!?!) so I didn’t get any shots of her (except the exterior marquee and dinner that night), but trust me – it really happened! And p.s. she’s pretty damn cool in person.

harvest salad ATG FINAL{Taking myself to dinner before the screening – the yummiest salad ever from the Veggie Grill. Note the grilled peaches and pecans!}

With that, it seems this weekend will find me working on my summer bucket list some, and giving myself a much-needed mani/pedi. Oh, and I’m really starting to push it and need to tackle my laundry. Since it’s likely everyone will be out and about for Labor Day and not in front of their computers (if they’re smart), I’m not posting on Monday, but can’t wait to catch up with you again on Wednesday.

I look forward to a relaxing holiday weekend ahead. I wish you the same. See you in September! x

Yogurtland ATG FINAL{That time I totally just ate Yogurtland for dinner. Hey, it kills two birds with one stone: dinner & dessert in one! Less guilt.}

Words_ ATG FINAL{A gem I spotted on the walk to grab my Sunday latte. And they say LA is full of negativity.}

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Best Dressed: The Top 5 Fashion Hits of the 2014 Emmy Awards

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Admittedly, I didn’t watch the Emmys this past Monday night. It certainly didn’t help that my Facebook newsfeed went crazy as the winners were announced well before the west coast broadcast anyway. (Gotta love that 3-hour delay.)

I am somewhat proud to gloat that I did the right thing and went to yoga class as planned. (It’s much more likely I’d be closer to channeling some of the best bodies in Hollywood by working out rather than sitting on the couch watching them with takeout on my lap, right?)

I did, however, make it a point to keep an eye on the red carpet. So the next day over my morning latte, I went about the business of catching up on all things Emmy fashion.

Overall, I was rather underwhelmed during my “research.” I’m sure if someone had a camera on me as I sifted through hundreds of pictures – you’d have seen quite a few actual frowns.

There was a lot of white on our starlets this year, which is always a hard color to pull off, but a few ladies got it right. I also felt that some dresses might have looked fan-tab-ulous in person, but didn’t photograph well – something that I hope any decent stylist would keep in mind when working with a celeb. (Who cares if it’s cute, when it doesn’t work well on camera!?!)

In the past I’ve usually called out both my fashion hits and misses (read: why did you leave the house looking like that?) in posts such as these, but in the spirit of keeping things positive I’ll forgo the latter. I’m sure those poor ladies already got an earful from every media outlet in the world and I often wonder if those who clearly exude an “I don’t give a crap attitude” do it for the coverage. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity – even when you’re on the worst dressed list.

As usual, when thinking about my favorites of the night, I went for total package glamour. This meant not only a show-stopping gown, but impeccable hair, make-up, and accessories. There’s nothing worse than a gorgeous dress with terrible styling. These ladies nailed it…and clearly gave a crap.

Here are my top 5 picks of the night…

5. | Edie Falco in ESCADA
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 4. | Sophia Vegara in ROBERTO CAVALLI
8d3f9f90-2cb4-11e4-80cc-ab228d134167_Sofia-Vergara-2014-Primetime-Emmy-Awards

3.  | Julia Roberts in ELIE SAAB
rs_634x1024-140825170449-634.Julia-Roberts-Emmy-Awards.ms.082514

 2. | Camila Alves in ZUHAIR MURAD2372cfa0-2cbf-11e4-94e0-cbf67bc3f18a_Camilla-Alves-2014-Primetime-Emmy-Awards

BEST DRESSED | Halle Berry in ELIE SAAB

d6716ef0-2cd2-11e4-90ec-29c9129bb37c_Halle-Berry-2014-Primetime-Emmy-Awards (1)(This woman is 48 YEARS OLD!?! She gets better and better. Nailed it!)


**Disclaimer: Since it’s obvious I wasn’t at this year’s ceremonies snapping high res photos, all photo sources are noted below:

Edie Falco
Sophia Vegara (slide #7)
Julia Roberts
Camila Alves (slide #13)
Halle Berry (slide #1)

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Highlights

5 completely random things I learned this week…

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1. Unfortunately, the “best iced latte in America” is overrated.

As evidenced from the image above, you can see that I’ve been up to my ol’ shenanigans again on the latte front. I told you I’d be back after my first visit to Go Get Em Tiger (yes, that’s the coffee bar’s name) to say hello again to the current reining champion of the “best iced latte in America,” to see if perhaps I misjudged my rather uninspired experience a few weeks ago. I didn’t. I was actually even more underwhelmed this time. I ordered the drink just the way it comes: espresso, their famous almond-macadamia milk, and ice. I deduced that it is, in fact, the almond-macadamia milk itself that I don’t care for. What’s interesting is that I’m a lover of all milk types: almond, soy, whole, non-fat….I guess just not when macadamia nuts are involved. So there you have it boys and girls, I’m breaking up with Go Get Em Tiger’s almond-macadamia/best-latte-in-America for good. However, it still wins my heart for having the most creative business name yet.

2. The irony of “Rich Hill.”

As evidenced from the image above (but not exactly clear), I’m in the lobby of the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood, not only coming to the conclusion noted in #1, but waiting to see what turned out to be an amazing documentary film, Rich Hill. It’s a moving portrait of three young boys and their families as they live day-to-day in Rich Hill, MO – population: 1,393. The irony is that its inhabitants are far from “rich,” monetarily-speaking. The film subtly enters Andrew, Appachey, and Harley’s world sharing the harsh socioeconomic conditions plaguing much of small town America, and how our youth is navigating the journey. I encourage you to see this film. It’s a narrative told so beautifully, so gracefully, it leaves you wanting more. You get to know the boys in such a way that you care about what happens next. This is not a case of it being over once the screen fades to black.

3. Don’t leave fresh produce in the car while waiting in the lobby to see Rich Hill, snapping the image above, as you come to said conclusions about lattes.

Clearly, NOT evidenced from the image above, I stopped at the Larchmont Farmers’ Market to buy my favorite type of lettuce to make salads for the week ahead before heading to the movies. Somehow it seemed completely OK to me to leave lettuce in the car…in 100° weather…while I went and saw a movie. I just love throwing away money, especially, just after watching a documentary about poverty in America. This was a total “what the hell was I thinking?” moment.

Highlights ATG FINAL

4. I’m 3 years behind on the realizing how incredible Beyoncé’s 4 album is.

Sure, I heard the singles released to the public, but after catching Beyoncé’s “Life is But a Dream” documentary on HBO Go earlier this week for the 2nd time, I was enticed to actually listen to the entire album. How did I miss what an incredible record this is? It’s been on repeat all week. Better late, than never I guess.

Highlights FINAL

5. A change of scenery works.

Like most people, I spend HOURS a day on the computer because of my job…and because that’s how society works these days. I also spend much of my free time blogging. That means, I’m on a computer – ALOT. It was an invigoriatiog change of pace to grab my laptop, headphones, and notebook and head over to a local cafe to sit and blog for almost 4 hours on a warm Saturday afternoon. Though I have a nice, comfortable desk set-up at home  (in front of a large window no less), and a coffee machine on my kitchen counter – I found the change of scenery inspiring as I worked on a post for the week ahead. Forgive yet another photo of a latte, but between you and me…it was better than the one above anyway…and half the cost.

I’m looking forward to some me time this weekend. So, I’m taking myself to the Van Gogh exhibit at the LACMA and then I’m off to see a new indie dramedy that should be right up my alley. Admittedly, I’m more excited for the Q&A than the film itself (and p.s. this never happens, I usually don’t care for Q&As and often skip them, but this one features two of my favorites.). I’m SO EXCITED. I’ll fill you in next week.

Happy weekend to you!

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Inspired.

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A mid-week pause for some soul encouragement.

But first, a word.

I came across the quote above yesterday. Reading it immediately solidified something for me when thinking about labels, paths, and women.

It’s no secret that women are more likely to encounter the struggle of walking the fine line between the perception of assertiveness and bitchiness, something most men presumably don’t think about (or defend) when maneuvering through life; and if they do, “bitch” (or the male equivalent) is not always the first thing that comes to mind.

Now before I offend anybody, naturally it depends on the person (irregardless of gender), the situation, and how a specific person interprets another, but for devil’s advocate sake, let’s focus on that fine line and what I think makes all the difference.

Obviously, I’ve never met Madonna, and I certainly don’t know the complete circumstances of how she was quoted here, but on some level I think she’s commenting on that aforementioned fine line, following her path anyway, and accepting whatever label comes with it. I can respect that. However, this post really isn’t about her or a comment on her as a human being, so much as the train of thought that her words provoked, inspiring me to write this post. So bear with me.

Let me preface that I’m not at all advocating that women should say, “ok, fine then” and be as much of a total battle-ax as necessary to get where they need to in life, or that we need to start more openly imparting such labels on men to stick it to them in the name of equality. While there’s certainly a vital conversation that could take place regarding the blatant gender hypocrisy at play, that’s not the aim of this post. Instead, what I am advocating is being who you are, despite perception, as long as there is a level of grace to it.

Be assertive, yes. Speak your mind. If you need to raise your voice a little higher so that people can clearly hear you after you’ve already repeated yourself twice? Perhaps that’s necessary. But with anything in life, there should always be grace present. How you’re perceived from there is really out of your hands.

I would describe myself as an independent, assertive woman. I was raised by a single mom so it’s what I witnessed and absorbed firsthand during my childhood. As I’ve gotten older, I think the most delicious thing is learning to take my own path, but on an even deeper level. I’ve become much more selective about how and with whom I spend my time. I don’t have time for disrespect, games or drama. I pick my battles (though this one’s hard!).  If I don’t want to do something (within reason, obviously) I don’t. And typically, when I have something to say, I mean something to really say, I think about the best approach and then go for it. Sometimes it goes just fine, others…well…

The more I think I about it at this moment, I’ve always had these attributes. I think they are simply becoming more defined as I age, and are a work in-progress. I’m still a work in-progress, by no means perfect.

The challenge is that many things in life require a compromise so you don’t always get your way 100% of the time (unless you’re someone like Madonna); however, the beauty is learning what those areas are and should be, while also keeping in alignment with your chosen path. You may have to walk the curb for a while in the name of compromise, but at least you’re still going in the right direction.

It’s even more complicated when taking into account that most of us still want to be liked and loved and respected as a person, while on said path. After all, you can’t do everything on your own.

Clearly, not everyone you meet is going to gravitate toward you or like you. And this is why I use the word “grace” when advocating being who you are. I think the best way to meet like-minded people stems from that. Grace is subjective, like beauty. You’re bound to meet people who gravitate toward your grace and those who don’t. When the “those who don’t people” arise, remain cordial, but keep pushing forward.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to understand that women typically have to accept labels if they want to want to make a mark in the world or stay on their chosen path. I think what makes all the difference is in how you go about maneuvering it. Essentially, it really comes down to being who you are, staying on the path that works for you, while still being able to live in the world with all kinds of personalities and situations that are inevitably out of your control. As I write this and wrap up my thoughts, I see the intricacies involved in that fine line. Grace is your guide. The pendulum of that fine line. It doesn’t necessarily prevent the more harsh perception, I’d say, so much as keeps you grounded and your intention pure, coming from a good place.

While this post has officially become more than “a word” (sorry!) this quote and those below are keeping me inspired at the moment.

Happy hump day. See you Friday!

Blend

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

Happy Monday! As we start a new week, I’m determined to get things off on the right foot after such an exhausting one last week. As such, I’m looking to things that are making me smile, and smile big. It’s in the little things: sidewalks reminding us to be awesome (#1) or timely words (#7). It’s in the new: changing up that yummy, but very predictable strawberry smoothie at breakfast for something decidedly different (#3). And yes, it’s even in something rather surface, but still gives an equally delicious feeling…like the one you get when you see a cute pair of shoes for the first time (#5). In a nutshell, it’s in a little bit of everything – so everything it is. Here’s what I’m lovin’ right now…

(Oh, and come hell or high water, let’s make it a good week! x)

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  1. A reminder where you least expect it. |  Flickr
  2. My official style muse. |  Wendy’s Lookbook
  3. A new take on the breakfast smoothie. | Coconut, Vanilla & Almond Butter Smoothie
  4. A clean (and inexpensive) why to finally prop up your phone. | Wooden Phone/Tablet Stand
  5. Eye candy for the “sole.” | DV by Dolce Vita Caged Sandals (on sale!)
  6. Inspiration for my next hair cut. |  Good Short Cuts for Wavy Hair
  7. “Overcoming the Fear of Not Being Enough” |  The EveryGirl
  8. Earrings that keep things simple. | Matte Stud Earrings
  9. Keeping things personal and (easy to recognize). | Personalized Wooden Flash Drives
  10. The best idea I’ve seen when you don’t want to commit to making a full stack of pancakes when it’s just yourself. | The Single PancakeBlog Signature Official_FINAL

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Highlights

my happy place ATG FINAL

{Finally, my toes are in the sand. It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer.}

Between you and me, I’ve had better weeks. Not that anything in particular happened to me personally that should make me say this. There’s just something in the air as of late that seems to be hitting nearly everyone around me, creating this level of….what…exhaustion, perhaps?  Truth be told, I’ve been dragging much of this week myself.  Add in the aftermath of what’s happening in the press and I suppose we’re bound to feel the effects of it.

Though I’m always mindful of being healthy, I tend to slip into patterns where I could be better about taking care of myself. The interesting (and somewhat frustrating) thing is that I feel like I have been taking better care of myself lately. I’m eating balanced meals and cutting back on sugar, which for me means addressing my more recently developed predilection for snacking after dinner. (I haven’t had Hot Tamales in weeks! And yes, this is a big deal.) I also had an invigorating yoga class that didn’t leave me practically disabled because it had been so long since I last practiced that I was sore for 3 days straight. In fact, I can feel myself improving. And with one exception where I stayed up late one night to put the finishing touches on my blog, I usually went bed at a decent time.

I realize there’s always room for improvement, so I’m going to spend some time this weekend focusing on what else I should add to take things up a notch (and if you’re yelling at me in your head right now to get more exercise on the books…I know, I know). Aside from this, I’m thinking I just need a little at home rejuvenation this weekend. It really could be as simple as a day lounging around in my PJs all day, reading books and watching movies.

As we wrap up another week, I’m decidedly going back to the last time I clearly remember being in my happy place. It started on a late Saturday morning last weekend: my notepad, a few magazines, the first Diet Cherry Coke I’d had in ages, chips and guacamole in the cooler, toes in the sand while watching the fog burn off and turn into pure sunshine on the beach in Malibu with my guy. From there, what more could I ask for when meeting new book club gals over brunch the very next day to chat about an engaging read? (Never mind that I’m now somehow juggling two different book clubs!) Oh, and let’s not forget what I think will become my new indulgence (in moderation, of course): crunchy french toast buried under strawberries. Yum!

In other words, after my first trip to the beach this season (and nearly at the end of it at that!); along with a warm Sunday morning brunch with new friends, somehow, it actually started to feel a little bit more like summer, like my happy place…and most certainly the highlights of life lately.

Have a great weekend!

Malibu Setup ATG FINAL

{Our set-up in the fog in a spot away from everyone…note to self: need beach chairs.}

Malibu Beach ATG FINAL

{Enjoying the view once the sun arrived.}

Trees to Brunch ATG FINAL

{Something breathtaking happened when I gazed up through the trees on the way to brunch.}

Crunchy French Toast ATG FINAL

{A great book club discussion and crunchy french toast (they’re dusted in cornflakes!) topped with fresh strawberries from a cafe 5 minutes from my house…this might become a problem.}

 Buddhist Boot Camp FB Quote

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Words That Gave Me Pause

Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.― Aristotle 4

This week took a nose dive with everything that’s been going on in the press as of late and it’s creating much discussion about the severity of depression and addiction. I recently signed up for The Daily Love email after stumbling across Mastin Kipp on Oprah.com. Mastin calls his blog “a dose of love” and the message he spreads “a free daily e-multivitamin for the soul.” I can get behind that.

In the wake of the tragic news of Robin Williams’ passing, he sent out a poignant and expressive post yesterday, “Goodbye Genie, You’re Free…,” about depression and addiction that eloquently created a real life “ah-ha moment” for me. It was these words that gave me pause:

…we know that depression has something to do with the brain. I believe it also has something to do with the spirit.
My therapist told me many years ago that re-pression tends to lead to de-pression.
What’s that mean? It means that our spirits are meant to be free. They are meant to create, to Love and be Loved.
When that process halts itself because of repression, we can get depressed.
We are meant to be free. When a series of events happens in life that prevents that freedom, naturally we lean towards depression. Because there’s a part of us that knows that we aren’t living our purpose.

“Re-pression tends to lead to de-pression.” Wow. In all my years as a student of life, I’ve consciously made it a point to absorb the wisdom of others, particularly, when it comes to spiritual/life development. Yet, I don’t think I had quite ever heard this idea expressed so succinctly and powerfully. And though there are certainly different levels and forms of depression; ranging from a possible severe chemical imbalance in the brain, to hormones, to simply experiencing a string of bad days – I think back on the times when I’ve been down and this one sentence seems all too fitting. I was likely in a state where I wasn’t in full expression in some area of my life, that therefore, manifested itself into feelings of sadness.

As human beings, we can all relate to this. I would argue that this feeling is cyclical, meant to return in our lives as an S.O.S. when it’s time to move to the next stage. Our spirit is speaking to us. The goal is to learn to listen, then act accordingly.

While resonating with me, these words might not be enough for someone with a clinical form of depression. More intense resources are likely needed (long-term therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, etc.). I won’t get into all that because I’m by no means qualified to speak to it.

What I will say, is that the news of Robin’s passing was a huge shock to many of us, myself included, because of our perception — or better misperception — of a person. When we’re used to seeing someone smiling and joking, we assume that all must be well in their world. The fact is we never really know what’s going on with a person. It’s especially difficult if they want to keep it that way. All we can do is be there for those that we love and make sure they know it; reminding them and ourselves that every sunrise and sunset, no matter the storm we may find ourselves in during those hours, is a gift. And like all gifts, my hope is that we’ll get the opportunity to see what’s inside. Essentially, it’s life.

I had always hoped that we might see Mrs. Doubtfire make an on-screen appearance again (and there were strong rumors of a sequel a few months ago). It’s still one of those films and characters that make me smile and think of my childhood. Peace to you, Mr. Williams….and to all of us.

Dead Poets Society Quote ATG FINAL

 

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Image credit: “Beach” by Catherine, used under CC BY / text added from original.