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?

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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.

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With Gratitude…

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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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The 5 Best Documentaries I’ve Seen on Netflix So Far (That You’ve Likely Never Heard Of)

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My love of cinema stems wide and deep. It’s why I went to film school and made the even crazier, very cliché LA choice to pursue a career in media focusing on storytelling. Though I’m a devotee to narratives of all kinds, I don’t think there’s a genre I’m more fond of than the simplicity of a well-made documentary film. I suppose it’s because it embodies what I think makes this particular aspect of cinema a force unlike any other – and that’s the synergy that comes from telling a story rooted in and based on reality, fused with the artistic ability to capture that moment in time through one of the most powerful mediums ever created.

Ever since I moved into my own place about two and a half years ago now, I never made the leap back to subscribing to cable again (crazy, right?). Instead, I joined Netflix streaming and never looked backed. What has to be the best thing about Netflix, other than the $7.99/month access to thousands of titles, has to be the ability to catch more obscure, independent films and lesser known documentaries.

I can’t tell you how many films and TV shows (read: my current addiction to Scandal) I’ve taken in since my ongoing relationship with Netflix, but there’s plenty worth checking out if you find yourself home on a Saturday night with nothing else to do. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get caught in the trap of sifting through all the titles that I become so overwhelmed and can’t decide what to watch, only to turn it off and grab a book instead.

I’m here to help! If you’re looking for something life-affirming, eye-opening, inspiring, or just plain entertaining. I’ve got you covered on the documentary front. Sadly, what would have made this list as one of my absolute favorite Netflix finds, 65_Red Roses, is no longer streaming, but it would be here without question. I encourage you to see it if you can.

With that, here are the 5 best documentaries I’ve seen (so far) currently streaming on Netflix that you’ve probably never heard of. Your Saturday night programming dilemma, is solved.

If you’re in the mood for a real-life psychological thriller…

11164313_detTania Head says she was inside The World Trade Center the day of the tragic 9/11 attacks. She shares in vivid detail how she got to safety after the plane struck the building, and how unfortunately, her husband didn’t make it out. In an effort to build community with other 9/11 survivors to deal with their grief and give back, Tania helps found and soon becomes President of The World Trade Center Survivor’s Network which makes her a prominent figure in the press and within the community. One small problem though, it’s an intricate web of lies. Tania’s name really isn’t Tania. There’s no record of her ever being married. In fact, we find out that Tania was nowhere near The World Trade Center on 9/11. She was on the other side of the world. Told in uniquely visual manner, The Woman Who Wasn’t There, mysteriously unfolds as it delves into the mindset of a living sociopath and how those she fooled for years finally caught on to her scheme. How could one woman deceive everyone for so long? You’d have to see it to believe it. This is a real-life psychological thriller if there ever was one.

If you’re in the mood for something moving, yet life-affirming…11167652_det

Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home feelingly follows those who have built a community within the complexities of homelessness. Filmed on Skid Row, which holds Los Angeles’ largest homeless population, this story shares not only the lives of those who’ve made a home on Skid Row and what might have brought them there, but those who have bonded together in the midst of it. Yes, it’s a portrait of life with little means, but more importantly, a story about human connection no matter the circumstances. There’s such humanity to this film, though it shares the most unfortunate of situations, there’s a level of affirmation to it that drives home the resilience of the human spirit.

If you’re in the mood for a night with the supernatural…

11169590_detMy Amityville Horror goes behind the various Hollywood re-makes of the infamous Amityville haunting and catches up with the little boy who lived the real-life horror himself almost 40 years ago. That little boy, Daniel Lutz, now an adult, shares his chilling and life-altering account of personally living among supernatural forces. Whether you believe the story or not, you walk away believing that Daniel truly did and still does. What is now a source of entertainment over a tub of popcorn at the movies for us, seemingly caused permanent psychological damage to him. An entertaining and eerie look at when reality and the celestial collide. Don’t watch this alone.

If you’re in the mood to know what’s likely to become the next biggest social issue of our time…

11171866_detAccording to the eye-opening and infuriating 2013 documentary, Terms and Conditions May Apply, big brother is alive and well. This film succinctly sheds light on what is sure to become the next biggest social issue as our lives become more and more digital, and that dear readers, is your privacy. All of those “accept’ buttons you simply check under the “terms” section of a website to be able to swiftly maneuver to the next screen on-line, is costing you more than you know. Add in the use of social media, web browsing, which email service you use, and cell phone tracking, and we’ve all but somehow given our privacy away. Every single human being who uses the internet or takes a phone call needs to see this film. Perhaps you’ll actually read the “Terms and Conditions” sections before you mindlessly “accept” them moving forward. Apparently, we’re all being watched thanks to our devotion to the internet and our “smart” phones.

If you’re in the mood for something to get you inspired to make a change…11164631_det

Vegucated follows three meat-loving New Yorkers who take on the 6 week challenge to adopt a vegan lifestyle. I was actually inspired to write about this film after I saw it last year. You can read my full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Let me know your thoughts if you happen to catch any of these. If there’s something you’ve seen that’s not on my list, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Until then, happy streaming!

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*images sourced from Rottentomatoes.com.

5 Reasons This Week Will Rock

Happy Monday! A few things that I’m looking forward to that should make for an exciting week…

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1. An impromptu visit to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica this weekend brought a few new treasures to play with all week long. These big brown eyes of mine will have a little more drama than usual thanks to an old gal pal’s recommendation for Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara. I’m in love! Bonus points for cashing in on my Sephora rewards points for Victor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb – my new signature scent this week. Hello, gorgeous!

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2. Starting a new read for my new book club. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed is on my Kindle and ready to go!

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3. My Chromecast will be here in a few short days and I’m beyond excited to expand my entertainment options. I jumped on this gadget the moment I saw the email announcing its awaited release. A small step for those of us who refuse to pay for cable…at least for the time being.

 


4. Looking forward to getting into the Halloween spirit this coming weekend. A visit to the Sherwood Mansion for the annual Sherwood Scare is sure to set the tone. Beware boys and girls!

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5. Netflix has done it again. Like my recent addictions to Thirty Rock and Friday Night Lights, I’m discovering juicy new entertainment (that’s been off the air for ever and I’m just now getting to it). I’m sure any time I have to myself this week will find me in front of my TV devouring Gossip Girl.

xoxo,

Candi

Highlights

Happy Friday! Boy, am I looking forward to the weekend coming off an exhausting week. Last weekend, I got the worst “stomach bug” (if that’s what you want to call it because I could never actually pinpoint what caused it in the first place) that took a few days to shake. The pain subsided after a day or so, but physically drained me in a way that lingered for days. I don’t get sick or experience ailments very often (aside from my horrible allergies to dust and anything furry) but it’s when you’re under the weather you truly realize that there’s no better reminder to treasure your good health. Needless to say, once this passed, it sure made me grateful for mine!

Though I spent most of last weekend trying to take it easy, I managed to see The Spectacular Now at the Arclight and spent some time perusing Amoeba before the movie started. As far as The Spectacular Now goes, I was pretty disappointed overall. The film was the talk of Sundance (behind Fruitvale Station) this year and the trailer, very enticing. While I personally thought the film wasn’t executed very well (mainly due to casting choices and some script issues) it did make me want to read Tim Tharp’s novel from which the film was adapted. I suspect that the weaknesses in the film are more eloquently developed in the book because it has the substance to make a very rich story.

Otherwise, most nights this week I was simply content to be at home enjoying my new Kindle reading this month’s book club selection in between watching hours (and yes, more hours) of Friday Night Lights. This is the newest Netflix addiction that I am just now catching up on at a speed that’s pretty insane because I love it so much. Yes, I realize this news is about 7 years too late.

I did venture out 2 nights that were the absolute highlights of my week. Meeting a friend to catch-up on some girl talk over much-needed strawberry margaritas (in an awesome pineapple shell no less) was the perfect way to kick-off the work week; and seeing Blackfish last night, a documentary that explores the exploitation and psychology of orca killer whales once captured and trained to entertain millions at SeaWorld. Apparently, Shamu and his peers are a part of some of the biggest cover-ups in modern times.  It certainly sparks a continued debate about removing species from their natural habitat for the sole purpose of human enjoyment. This film is worth a visit to the theater.

While it isn’t expected to be too warm this weekend, the sun seems to be making a solid comeback. The plan is to hit the beach and hang out with my Kindle, my guy, and the ocean.

Have a great weekend!

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{Strawberry margaritas and girl talk at Pink Taco.}

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{New to my collection? Couldn’t pass up on The September Issue on a recent visit to Amoeba.}

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{Starting my first official novel on my new Kindle Paperwhite – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. So far, so good!}