Highlights

As the summer wraps up, at least according to the calendar this Sunday (though I’d give it a few more weeks before we’re in the clear from the next heat wave), I’m finding how ready I am for the change in seasons. Of course, sunshine is never too far away in L.A., but I’m terrified to see my next electric bill after a pretty consistent relationship with my air-conditioner at home over the last month.

This so-called last week of summer found me on a complete roller coaster.

Professionally, it’s been a pretty chaotic, but very productive work week – juggling many different projects happening worldwide; along with a happy highlight of spending some time on-set this week supervising the on-camera interviews we’re filming for a series of short documentaries. I’m finding that I love the diversity of the projects happening right now and I’m even more in love with the fact that my responsibilities are changing in a way that feels like growth (uber important to me at this time in my life when it comes my career).

Personally, since my laptop broke up with me last weekend, much of this week was filled with stressing out over researching my next move. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to get up to speed on the laptop market in a way that actually matters and, as expected, I’m overwhelmed with the thousands of options out there. Do I go Mac Book Pro or stick with a sleek and more affordable PC? What are my deal-breakers? (I’m just now catching on to how rare it is for a laptop to have an optical drive which I had in the deal breaker column…until yesterday – go figure). And more specifically, what do I need to do financially to shift around expenses to accommodate this unexpected break-up? I have a plan and everything will be okay in the end. While I know my last post spoke of this great revelation in a new perspective on stress – it still bugs me to have to deal with this right now, and therefore, still causes short spurts of it. (I know, I know.)

So I guess the universe decided to send me yet another message.

On Wednesday night after a much-needed yoga class – I sauntered home tired, thinking about computers, scrambling eggs for dinner, and mentally going through what I could watch in my Netflix queue to unwind some. Interestingly, nothing in my queue appealed to me so I started browsing and literally stumbled across the most life-affirming and moving documentary I’ve seen in a while – with a message that perhaps I needed to hear again, in another form, and even more intensely.

What drew me to the film was the unusual title, 65_RedRoses, and once I read the synopsis something pulled me to put it on among the thousands of other options in front of me.

65_RedRoses follows Eva Markvoort, an instantly lovable and highly spirited 23-year-old, whose lungs are failing from cystic fibrosis. The film enters her life during her difficult journey as she waits for a lung transplant, next on the donor list. Watching her struggle with simply breathing, something many of us take for granted, couldn’t be a more powerful way to shift perspective – not only in living life to the fullest, but in the importance of organ donation.

I had no idea how affected I would be by this film and by Eva’s story.

As soon as the film ended, I literally felt myself opening up and relaxing into a mixture of sadness and gratitude. The trivial stuff that I’d been allowing myself to be bothered by from work issues of the day to laptop worries seemed completely unnecessary, and in the grand scheme of things were and are completely fixable – therefore, unimportant.

What I’ve been thinking as I write these words is whether or not it’s a coincidence that the Oprah Winfrey Network logo was at the beginning of the documentary? I mean, twice in one week I’ve come across these messages (granted this type of stuff is very “Oprah”) that I can’t help but somehow interpret as the universe speaking to me, getting me to just relax and change my thinking and my approach.

Since this seems to be a recurring theme this week, I encourage you to see the film if you can. It’s streaming on Netflix and is available on Amazon Instant Video.

I was saddened to hear of Eva’s story, but I was grateful to have heard it. The tagline of the documentary I later found out is simple, yet profound; particularly because it’s literally true: Every breath counts.

With that, I’m entering the weekend with Eva and the universe’s message on my mind, my laptop worries a very distant second.

#4Eva

Have a wonderful weekend.
Candice

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The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars

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{A super excited selfie on the way to the Bowl!}

It doesn’t feel like an authentic L.A. summer until there’s a trip to the Hollywood Bowl. Not only is it a quintessential experience when living in the City of Angels, it also happens to be my favorite place in L.A. if I had to pick one.

This past Labor Day weekend found me right where I wanted to be: with my guy, a small picnic dinner, and seat at the Bowl ready for a night of movie music under the stars. The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars was an enchanting extravaganza celebrating music from Academy Award winning films that magically echoed through the warm September night. Conductor David Newman and the immensely talented Hollywood Bowl Orchestra recreated soundtracks to some of Tinseltown’s most renowned stories masterfully playing the score over live picture projected on their new state of the art LCD screens. As clips from famous films such as To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), The Artist (2011), An American in Paris (1951), and The Wizard of Oz (1939) played on the large screens, I almost forgot that the accompanying live music was even happening! The synchronicity and the crisp, booming sound were so solidly fused with the visuals, you felt like you were just watching a movie as you would any other time.

What was particularly special about this night was the eclectic mix of films and genres the program chose to highlight. Instead of the very obvious choices you might expect on a night like this, films such as Bullitt (1968), Up (2009), and You Only Live Once (1937) were saluted. In fact, I admired that they didn’t focus merely on films that won the coveted Best Picture award, but films that won accolades from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a variety of areas from film editing, to acting, to screenwriting.

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{Making our way up to the cheap seats…yet again.}

Unlike this time last year with an engaging Jason Alexander as host – there was a weakness in the show with this year’s selection. Mary McDonnell (the President’s wife who dies in Independence Day) was an odd choice. She was ever so gracious, but clearly reading from a teleprompter and just didn’t have that natural relaxed spirit you’d expect in hosting duties on a night like this. I’m not one to be too harsh in this situation, I can only imagine what it’s like getting on stage in front of an 18,000 seat amphitheater, but I was often taken out the evening festivities when she was on stage. She just wasn’t the right person for the gig unfortunately. This would be my biggest criticism of the evening (outside of some obnoxiously loud people behind us.)

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Otherwise, the night was another huge success. This time I went homemade with a ham and cheese sandwich (sometimes a girl just needs one), good conversation, lots of people watching (you couldn’t ask for a better place to do this!), and a night dedicated to two of my greatest loves: movies and music.

If I’m still carrying anything with me as I write this, the evening inspired me to check out films that I haven’t ever seen before or want to watch again. I see a night curled up on the couch with The Wizard of Oz and some popcorn in my near future.

The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood. Their summer season ends this month.

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Deep Fried Everything: The LA County Fair

Location: 1101 West McKinley Avenue, Pomona

A great way to appreciate the last few weeks as the summer season winds down (at least according to the calendar, but not the weather gods and/or global warming) is a day among animals, carnival rides, shopping booths, cotton candy, BBQ pits, and deep fried everything. This past Saturday, we made our way out to the Pomona Fairplex and braved 93 degrees of sunshine to enjoy the LA County Fair.

{Thanks to Groupon we got a buy one, get one free deal. FYI – tickets are $17 each. Not sure why they said $5.95.}

Since I knew that we were going out to dinner later that night, I did my best to indulge lightly. A few spoonfuls of my boyfriend’s vanilla bean ice cream, a sip of his lemonade, followed by the heart attack waiting to happen from the best chili cheese fries ever! In retrospect, I wish I had at least tried the deep fried Oreos, but felt that I did well under the given circumstances.

{The fist station I saw when I entered the grounds.}

Luckily, before all the eating began (though not much later) we started the day with a trip through the farm to meet and greet the animals. What a sight to see a pig feeding their young! Who knew they just climbed and fought all over each other, looking for the prized milk source, and go to town as poor mom just lay there? So anxious were those little guys!

{Animals, animals, animals.}

From there, the day became a special mixture of walking around the grounds, people watching, trying to decide what to eat because the options were endless, looking for shade when we needed a break, walking through special exhibitions; and browsing around the shopping buildings filled with booths from hundreds of vendors, ranging from the cheapest looking of jewelry to purchasing a new hot tub. (Apparently, people actually go the fair to remodel their homes?)

{Food, food, food.}

{Rides, rides, rides.}

5 hours later, I was LA County Fair’d out (in a good way)! As the day went on, it got more crowded and warmer; and while I loved being there, I wanted nothing more than a chair, a solid healthy meal, consistent air-conditioning, and a shower!

We finished the night at Osteria Coppola a small Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks, and was I ever excited to see their insalata mista (aka salad) and a fresh-baked chicken lasagna sitting in front of me. It was the first time I had a vegetable all day. It was the perfect way to top-off a perfect LA day!

{Insalata Mista.}

{Chicken Lasagna.}