Highlights

On the move_ATG FINAL_Highlights{On the move.}

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Whew. I’m happy to say I pushed through.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times on the blog about not feeling so great lately. Though I’d been to see my doctor a few weeks back, what she suggested wasn’t helping matters. At. All. I finally got to a place where I had to breakdown and see a rather pricey specialist. Turns out, what I thought a little rest, a few OTC meds, and some small lifestyle changes might fix, is a pretty nasty sinus infection. Ugh. This is actually good news though. I’m not at all happy about the amount of medication I’m on at the moment to treat it, but after months of wondering what the heck is going on with me, it’s nice to have a firm diagnosis and a plan of action.

Admittedly, I’m one of those people who starts Google-ing symptoms if something amiss sticks around for more than a few days. Unfortunately, this tends to lead down a rabbit hole where it’s not insane to start wondering if you have cancer at some point because, “Yes, I’ve been having a persistent sore throat, too!” (Do yourself a favor, and don’t do this.) I’m not at all trying to self-diagnosis, but because outside of my gnarly seasonal/dander-inducing allergies, I’m a healthy person. It bugs me to no end when I’m not feeling my best, so much so, that I have this need to at least have some idea of what might be going on.

Though I know I should take it easy for the next few weeks (and certainly will), I was excited to finally try out a new dance class to get some exercise. I’ve had such a lack of energy and my mood has been less than stellar. I’m sure this is because of my sinus troubles, but also because I stopped working out. I found a great new studio through Groupon and needed to get started on using my class passes before they expire. I had the time of my life! It certainly was one of the highlights of my week. The music was loud and the instructor was a ball of energy – her stamina was inspiring! For one-hour, while attempting to not overdo it, I could feel part of me wake up again. It’s so true boys and girls, there’s something about exercise that just works. I can’t wait until I’m feeling better so I can really “shake a tail feather” in class next time.

All this to say, another weekend ahead that will entail lots of rest. Rain is on the horizon in L.A., and I have to say, there’s no better way to enjoy that kind of weather than staying in bed with a cup of tea and marathon through House of Cards anyway (season 3 releases today!). Since the sun won’t shine and I’m on meds (boo!), I’ll take the wet weekend – seems like I won’t miss too much. There’s only one reason to venture out, and that’s to catch the Light & Noir exhibition at the Skirball, closing March 1st. Aside from this, I’m placing myself on strict bed rest.

Have a wonderful, wet weekend! x

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

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1. My current nail polish obsession. | Cement the deal by OPI (image via.)

2. Footwear that’s comfortable, stylish, and for a good cause. | Tom’s Black Women Diamond Women’s Classics.

3. The ergonomic hair brush worth the recent splurge. | Olivia Garden’s DV-3 Divine Dry Detangler.

4. A case for H20. | The Top 10 Things I Learned Drinking Only Water For A Month.

5. What a butternut squash and a can of black beans can do together. | Butternut Black Bean Burgers.

6. The comfortable dress I swear every woman should have (because I have 2). | Old Navy’s Women’s Sleeveless Jersey Dress.

7. Why coconut oil seems to be everywhere lately. | 14 Ways To Use Coconut Oil At Home.

8. The clever way to organize that burgeoning jewelry collection. | Wall Mounted Jewelry Organizer Photo Frame.

9. A timely article since watching Advanced Style. | 50 Ways to Break Out of a Style Rut & Feel Inspired Again.

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TOP FIVE: The 2015 Academy Awards

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It only rains approximately 5.7 days a year in L.A. Naturally, one of those days would fall on Hollywood’s biggest night. I was set to attend a viewing party, but the universe had other plans. Suffice to say, it was a rather chaotic Oscar Sunday on my end, down to an actual technical malfunction that had me at Best Buy one hour before showtime to rectify the situation. $45 dollars later, I was back home with Chinese take-out, a box (okay, 2 boxes) of my favorite candy, my TV set-up and ready to go. As the rain started up again, I lit some candles, and settled in for a cozy night alone just a few miles away from the festivities…happily at home, just Oscar and me, for the first time in years.

Here are my top 5…


The 5 Best Moments of the Night


5. Pretty much every single winner who continued to talk well into and AFTER the “wrap it up music” – with no regard that wrap it up means WRAP IT UP!

4. Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech that quickly turned into a social commentary on wage and gender equality (and Meryl Streep’s total “YOU GO GIRl!” jumping out of her seat whoop-whoop in support).

3. I knew she could sing, and I’m a fan, but who knew THAT voice would, or could, ever come out of Lady Gaga? Go Gaga, you nailed that Julie Andrews/The Sound of Music tribute!

2. Graham Moore’s acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, taking a moment to give a shout out to the “weird ones.” Best speech of the night, by far.

1. John Legend and Common’s moving performance of “Glory” from the film Selma. It gave me chills. When they cut to David Oyelowo and Chris Pine in the audience and both had tears streaming down their face, I nearly lost it. (p.s. what is it about seeing a man cry that’s so damn sexy?)


The 5 Best Dressed Starlets of the Night


5. | DAKOTA JOHNSON in Yves Saint Larent.

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4. | REESE WITHERSPOON in Tom Ford.

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3. | JENNIFER LOPEZ in Elie Saab.

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2. | LUPITA NYONG’O in Calvin Klein Collection.

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BEST DRESSED. | ROSAMUND PIKE in Givenchy.

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Header image credit: Oscar” by lincolnblues used under CC BY 2.0

Photo sources:
Dakota Johnson
Reese Witherspoon
Jennifer Lopez
Lupita Nyong’o
Rosamund Pike

Highlights

LV_3D_ATG FINAL{A 3-D silhouette selfie at the Louis Vuitton “series 2″ exhibition.}

Knock on wood, things have been going well. It feels like for the first time in a long time, I get to play and have some fun! The only major hiccup is that I haven’t been feeling so great on-and-off lately, a sign I need to spend some time taking care of myself. That’s the goal this weekend. There’s still one film I want to see before the Oscars on Sunday, and that’s Julianne Moore’s highly-praised performance in Still Alice. Otherwise, I plan to delve more into Diane Von Furstenberg’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, flip through the stack of back issue magazine subscriptions currently overwhelming my coffee tableand wait with bated breath for the Oscars on Sunday.

Have a great weekend! x

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{The sweetest gift basket with some of my favorite things from my Valentine.}

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{Taking myself to brunch.}

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{Playing festive for our Fifty Shades of Grey girl’s movie night out.}

Advanced Style

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On a dreary, rainy Saturday afternoon the weekend before last, I found myself in bed under the weather, making it the perfect recipe to kill some time exploring the never-ending streaming cosmos of my Netflix Queue. In a documentary sort of mood, the moment my eye caught the bright red feather boa laced around the neck of a lively looking older woman, I settled in for the afternoon’s entertainment.

Enter: Advanced Style.

What started out as a passion project for blogger Ari Seth Cohen, has sparked a book deal, a documentary…a movement. Ari’s blog, Advanced Style, is a celebration of aging, told through the expression of personal style. Unlike most fashion blogs of today, it chronicles women over 50, well into their 90s, who choose to defy the notion that aging means a woman cannot still savor a sense of style. It challenges the perception that the fashion industry, which unapologetically continues to cater to younger generations, shouldn’t discount women “of a certain age.”

In a collaboration with filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, Ari’s blog comes to life in documentary narrative form, following 7 of the New York women made famous through Advanced Style, ranging in ages 62-95. While their eclectic style, set against the vibrant background of New York City is the film’s premise, there’s something much deeper being explored here. Our youth-obsessed culture continues to create the belief that aging, something that’s as natural as breathing, is an experience to be feared. A culture that perpetuates the idea that over a certain age a woman should “tone it down,” effectively losing a part of herself in the process.

Sure, society’s preoccupation and constant nostalgia for youth, do drive certain facets of a woman’s relationship to fashion and beauty as she ages. Then again, maybe there are women that hit a particular age and simply decide that their priorities have changed, or perhaps fashion has never been a big part of their lives to begin with? What palpable comment is Advanced Style making when it comes to aging and appearance?

Advanced Style Dogwoof Documentary

What the film does brilliantly that puts everything into context as I questioned this, is to address the concept of style. The message is clear: Style is eternal – it cannot be bought. Of course, you’re buying things in a monetary sense to help subsidize an expression, but true style is born out of how you choose to present yourself to the world. It’s your voice before you even open your mouth. It’s what you’re wearing. It’s how your hair is styled. It’s the statement made through bold lips, lined eyes, and brush strokes. Most significantly, it’s your attitude, how you carry yourself. Your attitude is directly linked to your appearance.

Think not?

Throw on a pair of sweats to run errands (which I’ve been known to do and thoroughly enjoy!) and you’ll manage just fine; but take the time to style your hair, do your make-up, and put on something that makes you feel fabulous, and even I, can feel the difference in how I interact with the world. Your style…essentially, your brand, is what a woman should not lose as she ages.

Advanced Style is about those women who choose style, who choose to hold onto their brand. Their version just happens to be more colorful than what we’re likely used to seeing on most women in their twilight years. Alternatively, mature women who opt for a less colorful or eclectic approach to their style shouldn’t be discounted either. As long as they envelop their version of “style,” in whatever manner that means to them, that’s really what it’s about. Although, I can’t help but wonder given the number of women featured in Advanced Style throughout the years and its growing popularity, that perhaps…just perhaps, there are more of us colorful, eclectic types like the women featured in the documentary than there are not?

As I watched the film, it also got me to thinking about how I wanted to age. I have some time before I should even entertain the idea of freaking out about it really, but already, I can see it. I can’t say I look forward to birthdays with as much enthusiasm as much as I used to. I’ve already surpassed many of the big, celebratory milestones of youth-hood when I turned 30. The great news is that the 7 ladies profiled bring a fresh, affirming approach to aging.

It’s not about re-claiming your youth, it’s about being who you are, where you are, and not going quietly. It’s leaving this earth knowing you honored your truth. Even if it’s as simple, yet complicated, as how you present yourself to the world everyday. The takeaway is simple: Find your style and honor it. Rock it to the end. “Style is ageless.”

Advanced Style is available on Netflix streaming. It’s the perfect way to spend a dreary, rainy Saturday afternoon should you find yourself in a similar situation in the near future.

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Images via Advanced Style Film.

Rants & Raves: Volume 2

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I was fascinated to learn not too long ago, that statistics show, on average, a person has around 50,000 thoughts a day. Some argue that the amount of mental chatter in our minds is even higher than that, at an upwards of 70,000!

It prompted me to create a new series, “Rants & Raves,” sharing arbitrary thoughts that are on the mind as of writing time, or reflections I’ve been collecting to share that would tie in nicely. (You can read more about why I was so drawn to the idea of the human thought process on a more philosophical level, by visiting my Volume 1 post from last fall.)

Writing is typically such a cathartic experience because in many ways, it naturally helps to process the overwhelming volume of chatter going on in the mind, much of which, has no real purpose other than just being there. Sometimes a gal just needs to rant…and rave. A few random, compulsive, completely unproductive, not-so-deep thoughts as of late…

Rants & Raves: Volume #2


–>Rant
To every salesperson working in retail: I do appreciate your asking if I need help the moment I walk through the door as a form of greeting. However, if I politely say: “no thank you, I’m just looking,” this doesn’t mean that you can now stalk me around the store, talking up the merchandise, telling me how cute everything I touch is. It further doesn’t help that once I finally get you off my back, that your colleague then hones in on me. Being asked by SIX different people in a Banana Republic if I need help within a 10 minute span of time is ridiculous and only makes me want to leave. You’re harassing your customers. Trust me, if I need help with anything, I know exactly where to find you. And P.S.: I don’t need you to ask me (repeatedly) if I’m “aware of your current promotion” if the signage posted on EVERY blank wall in the store tells me that all items are 40% off. I can read, thank you.

–>Rave 
It’s 86° degrees today, hitting a high of 90° by Friday. God, I love L.A. Now my pedicure won’t go to waste.

–>Rant
Scandal has gone off the deep end. (Warning: spoiler alert ahead if you’re not caught up.) This season hasn’t been strong in general, but this new story-line where we kidnap Olivia Pope and hold her ransom so that the Vice President can get his war with West Angola, is stupid for so many reasons I can’t begin count. But let’s try anyway:

  1. The writers managed to skim over an important plot point: HOW a V.P. can take over a sitting U.S. President’s Secret Service and turn his entire team against him. Hello?
  2. Who in their right mind would actually declare war risking THOUSANDS of lives, to save ONE? No President would ever do this (I don’t care if he is, was, is, (oh, who the hell knows at this point?) hittin’ it.
  3. Olivia convinces her captor to “sell” her to the highest bidder, prompting him not to give it much thought, but to actually take her out of her holding cell and give in to her “suggestion.” Really?
  4. Oh, and JUST as the D.E.A. determines her location and comes to save her – she’s already on a plane, presumably to be put on the market for ransom (again). Hmmm.
  5. This means they’re dragging this story line out even longer!

If Scandal doesn’t get it together, I’m skipping the rest of this season. Yes, I guess this means I’m no longer a Gladiator. White hat gone. Whatever.

–>Rave 
God bless the beautiful soul who had the final say on the operating hours for Yogurtlands everywhere. Because of them, I can get into my sweat pants at 10:30pm on a Sunday night and haul ass to the land of unlimited fro-yo and cookie dough toppings.

–>Rant
I have a love-hate relationship with online ordering. On the one hand, I love the ease and often less expensive cost of items. On the other hand, I have no patience and absolutely hate waiting for things to ship. I’m usually so excited, I want it now! I don’t care if it’s Amazon’s super efficient 2-day shipping. Sometimes even this feels too long. I might not have such a problem with waiting overnight for a package. That seems much more reasonable. The caveat is that I refuse to ever “overnight” anything…or pay for shipping in general. I do whatever I have to, to avoid paying for shipping. Yes, I’m one of those annoying people that will Google: “(insert store name/website here) free shipping code.” I also have a huge grievance when something costs more to ship than the actual item I ordered. In what world is this okay?

–>Rave  
I realize this is now the second time I’m mentioning Fifty Shades this week (pardon me). Spotify took it upon itself to alert me that the soundtrack, released yesterday, was available for streaming. I had some time to kill while I got some work done. Dammit, if I didn’t love the hell out of it. Like. Every. Single. Song. From Frank Sinatra to Beyoncé, it’s got a fresh, passionate sound. I found myself grooving along more than I expected to. It actually has me excited for the movie now in a way that makes me uncomfortable to admit to anyone. Ugh. So I’ll just do it on my blog and if it gets backs to me…at least I’ll know who reads it.

 Do you have any rants or raves to share? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for indulging me! x

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Image credit: Neourban Hipster Office” by markus spiske used under CC BY 2.0 | Modifications: text added to original.

5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

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I think a big redeeming quality about the week ahead, is that everyone will feel the undercurrent of l.o.v.e. as we make our way toward Valentine’s Day on Saturday. Hopefully, this means that most people you encounter this week in particular, will be in a pretty chipper mood. Then again, perhaps the undercurrent will feel quite the opposite for those of us who choose to reject the Hallmark holiday altogether and celebrate Single’s Appreciation Day instead (trust me, I’ve been there). I don’t know what the plan for Valentine’s Day is as of writing time, but when I asked my boyfriend what we were doing for V-Day yesterday, he looked at me blankly and said, “I don’t know…bring you flowers?”

I made a deal with myself at the start of the New Year that I would have something to look forward to every single day. Most days find me looking forward to small pleasures: a morning latte, a night solo in with Netflix over a homemade meal, or simply excited to start a new read on my Kindle. It’s made 2015 a great start so far and the perfect excuse to continue with this series, which tends to share the slightly bigger highlights of the coming week, building excitement along with it. Essentially, it was designed to trick myself out of the Monday blues…and it does.

With that, my 5 reasons this week will rock!


1. Girl’s Night Out: I can’t wait to unwind with a classic G.N.O. later this week, hitting the equally classic dinner and a movie circuit. I was simply going to leave it at that, omitting the part about what movie we’ll be seeing so as to not embarrass myself completely. But what the hell! The movie, good or bad, is going to blow the box office out of the water this weekend…and I’m curious. So yes, you’ll find me and a gal pal at the Arclight ready to enter Christian Grey’s red room of pain, a.k.a. Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ll further stand in my truth by adding that yes, I read the book; yes, it was an annihilation of the English language; and yes, I continued reading it despite this. It was a book club selection chosen by one of the members some years ago. I had no idea what it was about when I first started reading it; so let’s just say, it caught me totally off-guard…and was “eye-opening,” for lack of a better word. My expectations for the film are pretty low, but it should be a fun way to kick-off the weekend.


2. Both Sides Now: I’ve seen Love, Actually almost every Christmas in recent years as a tradition to get into the holiday spirit. I was always struck by the scene where Emma Thompson’s character receives a Joni Mitchell CD from her husband as an early Christmas gift. There’s a line where she states that Joni Mitchell “taught her how to feel.” I’ve been on the prowl for something new, and for whatever reason, that line came to me when logging on to Spotify, looking for something to zone out to while I got some work done. Joni Mitchell’s 2000 album, Both Sides Now is my current life soundtrack and will be in heavy rotation this week. Her voice is mesmerizing on this album. It’s not usually what I find myself listening to day-to-day at all, but I guess that’s the funny thing about getting older, your taste evolves.


3. “The Theater” (in my best British accent):  To balance out my slightly more exhibitionist,”overly-romantic?” theater-going experience at the movies, I feel good that I’ll be going to a more traditional theater-going experience to keep my street cred. My boyfriend and I are off to see a friend in her new play. I’m looking forward to the drive out to Pacific Palisades and a matinee performance.


4. “The Woman I Wanted to Be:” I’m in the middle of Landline (Goodreads winner for best fiction novel of 2014). Though I’m enjoying the book, I cannot wait to get through it so that I can get to Diane von Furstenberg’s new memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be. I’m anxious to hear more about the life of the iconic designer in her own words. I admit, I have a bit of an obsession with DVF since visiting her Journey of  a Dress exhibition last year. I hear she’s led quite the life. Then again, as a princess turned fashion designer, you’d have to. I’ll keep you posted on if it’s worth the read.


5. V-Day: While I got that aforementioned blank stare from my guy when probing about V-Day plans, I know I don’t have anything to worry about. He always makes holidays special, even if it’s just a simple night in with pizza and a movie. I’m not expecting anything over the top, I just look forward to spending the day hanging out together.

 Wishing you a week of l.o.v.e.! x

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Header image credit: “coffee-cups-notes” by r. nial bradshaw used under CC BY 2.0 | Modifications: cropped, text added to original.