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

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You Can’t Eat Beauty

Believe it or not, I can remember a time before the introduction of that little thing we call “the internet” made its way into the common household. I can’t even imagine what life would be like today if I couldn’t simply jump on-line to stay in touch with friends near and far with a simple Facebook “like,” email, or Google Hangouts session; check traffic to plan my way around town; catch-up on current events; pay a bill; peruse the blogosphere; or find nothing less than inspiration (overload) on Pinterest.

What has to be one of the most powerful things about the world wide web as I see it, is not only the ease of accessing any bit of information with the click of a mouse, but how we can share wisdom, what we’ve learned as we navigate through our days, never knowing how our message impacts those who find it in cyberspace.

On a rather ordinary Monday evening, I stumbled across this video in my Facebook news-feed of a recent speech from Lupita Nyong’o at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon as she accepted an award for Best Breakthrough Performance. As I’d come to expect since following her career, I was prepared to hear her speak eloquently and thoughtfully. But THIS, I did not expect. Her take on how she’s learned to find beauty in herself in a world that traditionally celebrates pale skin and light eyes, floored me.

I’ve watched this video at least 4 different times now and it gets me every single time. I’ve shared it on Facebook, Twitter, and decided to dedicate some space on my blog today to spread the word on what has to be one the most poignant, profound, yet simple messages I’ve ever heard on the subject of beauty.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

Of course, we all want to look and feel our best. Essentially, we just want to be our best. And I don’t personally think that there’s anything wrong with that. However, the pressure to fit into a mold is where we need to learn to draw the line. Eight words from her mother and years spent reflecting on them before she found her way, was all it took. Lupita shares her story in the short clip below.

It’s moments like this that make that little thing we call “the internet” more than just a tool to make the day-to-day easier or a source for staying connected while equally creating disconnection. It’s moment’s like this that make the world wide web not such a big place after all.

“You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.”

2014 Academy Awards: The Best Moments and the Top 5 Best Dressed

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As we bid adieu to what was one of the heaviest rain systems we’ve seen in years in LA (yes, we’re OK!), we also say a final farewell to a powerful year in cinema with the biggest celebration of them all, the Academy Awards. I was so thrilled to see all of my predictions win the major categories. I was especially ecstatic to see Lupita Nyong’o and 12 Years A Slave take home well-deserved statues last night. Though I saw that film nearly 5 months ago, it still gives me the chills when I think about it. And to me, that’s the epitome of masterful film-making.

Ellen DeGeneres was simply delightful and managed to carry the broadcast forward with humor and grace. I can’t image a tougher gig to land in Hollywood, because it’s also the most critiqued the next day. What I found so refreshing about her was how comfortable and completely in her element she was, seemingly un-phased by the pressure. (And I’m sure Samsung is over the moon with that blatantly obvious product plug.) Overall, for a nearly 4 hour presentation – I thought it was well done. And if I do ever have a moment of doubt, I just think back to the year Anne Hathaway and James Franco  hosted and I’m suddenly more confident in my assertion.

And can I just stop and take a moment to salute:

  1. Pink on that incredible tribute to Judy Garland.
  2. Harvey Weinstein for tipping the pizza guy.
  3. Matthew McCounaghey for the most surprisingly engaging speech…
  4. …but Lupita Nyong’o for the most moving speech of the night. (We’re talking goosebumps, people!)
  5. And let’s just say that Pharell makes me “Happy.”

Now on to the fashion!

Like last year, I was a bit disenchanted with the night’s fashion. Don’t get me wrong, there were some fabulous dresses on the red carpet, but I had very few WOW! moments (there are only 2 on record). This is always quite perplexing to me. The night to really show-off and add that “I’m a movie star” glamour is on a night like this. My philosophy would be to go all out and make ’em jealous!

The good news is that there we a handful of starlets that got it right among of the many safer and less dramatic looks of the evening. Here are my top 5 best dressed on Oscar night, with honorable mentions to follow.

Who were your favorite looks?


 NUMBER FIVE: Lupita Nyong’o | Designer: Prada

What a stand-out on the red carpet last night. Aside from being the only starlet to boldly rock a bright color among a flurry of pale and darker-colored dresses; she was also the most playful, by creating a solid theme when coordinating this whimsical look. The Grecian-style design, paired with a sparkling encrusted headband is refreshing, yet sophisticated.  Lupita is and looks every part the goddess in this light blue number by Prada. Bravo!

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  NUMBER FOUR: Charlize Theron | Designer: Dior Haute Couture

What would look like something is totally missing on anyone else, not only looks complete, but oh-so-polished on Charlize Theron. The reason this dress works is because it’s a risk, and one of the very few of the night on the red carpet. Clear straps on a dress like this could look totally ridiculous, particularly as your eye is drawn to the bottom where you’d expect a simple straight line thinking “don’t overdo it, Charlize.” Instead, she greets you with two last embellishments: pleated organza strips creating a fuller more mermaid-inspired skirt…and a train! By far, she had on my favorite piece of bling of the night with that stunning Harry Winston drop necklace. Ladies and gentleman, this is a movie star!

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NUMBER THREE: Sandra Bullock | Designer: Alexander McQueen

It’s hard to believe this woman is turning 50 this year! Sandra Bullock is a testament that some things do get better with age (and perhaps some Botox – but to each his own, no judgement here if/when it’s done right). This midnight blue Alexander McQueen dress is such a stunner. I can only imagine that if this striking hue came across so well on-camera, how show-stopping it must have been in person. Aside from being my favorite color of the night, the elegant drapery at the waist paired with just the right amount of fabric at the train makes it the definition of evening gown glamour. The rest is in the details: the side swept tresses, the Lorraine Schwartz half lobe sparkling studs (so on trend right now, we’ll be seeing this A LOT), a simple bracelet, and yes, I even adore the blue nail polish. This is Sandy at her best. And to boot, I L.O.V.E. that she’s maintained such a positive reputation in Hollywood. Rumor has it, she’s one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Bonus points!

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NUMBER TWO: Kate Hudson | Designer:  Atelier Versace

Kate Hudson was slated to be my dressed of the night when I saw her walk out onto the Oscar stage in this gorgeous silver beaded Versace gown with the best glow the night (I need to find out who does her facials and book an appointment ASAP!). The deep plunging neckline to the belly button is always a risk (hello, wardrobe malfunction), but she has the perfect frame to keep it sexy, yet classy. Minimal jewelry is the right way to go with a dress such as this because the intricacy and embellishment alone makes this gown one huge piece of fine jewelry. I’m infatuated with the simple knotting and drapery at the waistline to just below the hips giving a touch of exaggeration elevating this dress to one of the best of the night. To make things even better, the gown is still incredibly chic with or without the removable cape. This was one of two pure WOWs of the night. The other went to…

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BEST DRESSED: Jenna Dewan-Tatum Designer: Reem Acra

Jenna Dewan-Tatum is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorites on the red carpet. She nails it EVERY time in my book. I can’t image too many ladies being able to pull of a near flesh tone dress with such elegance. The silhouette is incredible and I adore the sequined bodice that subtly leads to an unexpected feathered tulle skirt. This dress was one the other WOW moment of the night. Her hair, make-up, and jewelry are impeccable. Channing Tatum is one lucky guy. Flawless.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

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Camilla Alves in Gabriela Cadena, Maria Menounos in Johanna Johnson, and Laura Dern in Alberta Ferretti.


**Disclaimer: Since it’s obvious I wasn’t at this year’s ceremony snapping high res photos, all picture sources are here, where you’ll need to drive through the slideshow to find it – except Jenna Dewan- Tatum sourced here. Honorable mentions are linked just below the collage.

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