Crushing on Coral

Crushing on Coral ATG FINAL

It took nearly three decades, but I finally deduced that my favorite color is purple. For years, whenever someone would ask me what my favorite color is, I’d say, “I don’t really have a favorite color.” And though it’s not rocket science to figure it out, I started paying more attention to myself, putting two and two together when it seemed my eye was always drawn to any hue in the purple family.

Case and point: when I moved into my apartment, the first thing I did was decidedly paint my walls a soft lilac, with one big accent wall coated in a deep heather purple for dramatic effect. Many of the dishes in the kitchen are purple. My bedspread is lavender and the lampshades on my nightstand are orchid. The iPod I bought years ago (when you might call me more “color fickle” ) is purple. And the color of choice when it came time to purchase a case for my new Kindle is…you guessed it…purple. Let me preface that my apartment doesn’t look like Barney the Dinosaur’s crib, I do try to balance out all that purple love with lots of golds and browns to keep things from becoming too overwhelming.

Though I think I’ll stick with purple as my official favorite color (since it took so long to make up my mind), I’m currently crushing on corals as we gear up for summer at the moment. Last year, mint green was all the rage in the fashion world and though it has staying power, there’s something about coral that I find to be an equal competitor, if not taking a slight advantage. It’s a shade that looks uniformly amazing on the palest of skin tones, to the darkest of complexions. It represents all the things that I love about this time of year. Coral is fresh, bright and unbashfully playful.

Unlike those early days when I had a crush on a boy but could never quite bring myself to tell him so, I’m telling the world all about my new crush. I just hope my currently relationship with “the color purple” (pun intended) doesn’t get too jealous.


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Top 10 Films of Summer 2013

It’s been 5 days since the start of fall, and while the weather hasn’t made the complete shift from summer in L.A. – I can see it slowly pushing through. My air conditioner is being used less and less, I find myself wanting a sweater more often, and needing a blanket when I’m in the mood to be cozy on the couch at night. As we bid goodbye to long days of warm sunshine and the need to be around a consistent a/c source, I’m reflecting back on all things summer movies.

Though the calendar marks mid-June as the start of summer, it seems Hollywood drives when the season officially begins – the first weekend in May, releasing the first of many summer blockbusters to come for the next 3 months. I do like to indulge in many of the blockbusters, but I definitely make it a point to keep a strong connection to the smaller independent, foreign, and documentary films that also flood the market.

Let’s just say it was a busy summer. I can’t tell you how many collective hours I spent in the movie theater…well, I can. I’ve seen 28 films from May 3rd – September 21st (which I’ve deemed the end of the summer movie season for the purposes of this post, though some might argue the official “summer movie” season ended weeks ago).

It will be interesting to see how things shift as we move forward toward Oscar season where the best in cinema is yet to come.

Here are my top 10 films of the summer:

10. the great gatsby 


With many people (myself included), Baz Luhrmann can be a hit or a miss. (I loved Moulin Rouge, but had a hard time with Romeo & Juliet.) I think what one must understand when approaching his material is to expect fantasy, expect extravagance, over-indulgence, knowing that your suspension of disbelief is all part of the plan. In other words, just expect too much. I went into Gatsby thinking that I might not like the film because of the buzz it was getting around the industry, and the fact that it was 143 minutes instantly put me in the frame of mind ready to not like it. I was presently surprised. I found myself easily engrossed in the screen by a very charming Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carrie Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan – their chemistry undeniable. Aside from such precise casting, one couldn’t help but fall into the too much. The lush 1920’s costume design, the decadent art direction, and witty writing made for an enjoyable 2.5 hour experience.

9. enough said


Part of the reason that I chose to end my summer movie review season just as the calendar officially turned to fall, was because I was so fond of this film that I wanted to give it a proper salute. It won’t be one of my top ten films of the year, but Julia Louis-Dreyus and James Gandolfini had me smiling (and I mean literally) for 1 hour and 40 minutes straight. The situation our protagonists find themselves in couldn’t be more “Hollywood,” full of coincidences that make for a great comedy that would be far from comedic if it happened in reality. What the film does well is not only maintain sincere humor along with depth to each and every character, but by not falling into a complete romantic comedy stereotype. What can I say? It’s a sweet film and an ever sweeter way to bid farewell to the very talented James Gandolfini. Enough said.

8. world war z


I wasn’t expecting much from this film, and in fact, was going to skip it. Another zombie movie? After a culmination of good reviews, and the fact that it never hurts to spend 2 hours looking at Brad Pitt, I went in with a rather uncertain disposition, looking forward to another blockbuster flick. World War Z delivered. It’s naturally fun. It does a phenomenal job of building tension and taking the viewer into another world wrought with creative apocalyptic ingredients. I was completely taken in, thanking the films gods that the story got right to the point and didn’t let go until the end. I know that fans of the book were not so thrilled, but I didn’t read it. And in this case, it was probably a good thing. 

7. 20 feet from stardom


Dreams lost, dreams found, dreams re-dreamed. 20 Feet From Stardom invitingly follows the unknown icons of the music industry. Those whose words we know better than the actual verse to a pop song because it’s the chorus that often sticks with us. And while it’s their lyrics and voices that melodically repeat in our heads when incessantly humming a tune, the spotlight is far from their reach. They are the background singers. They are literally steps away from the superstar, and are oftentimes more musically apt and vocally talented than the person at center stage. This touching documentary examines that 20 foot barrier that is nearly impossible to overcome. It takes a look into the lives of veteran and working background singers, whose only dream was and is the spotlight and their struggle to get there. What makes someone a star? As I walked away from this experience, I concluded that in many cases – almost all cases – simply having talent isn’t the answer. 

6. the conjuring


Four words come to mind when I think of this film: Holy. Awesome. Scary. Movie. In my book, when you’ve seen one scary movie, you’ve likely seen them all. Horror is a complicated genre to pull off and I’m not easily fooled. However, the delectable mixture of a well-crafted “based on a true story” tale, fueled by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson’s performance as paranormal investigators/real-life couple Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring did in fact get to me. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the next scare as much as I was starting to believe that perhaps there may be some validity to paranormal activity, which I’ve always been rather ambivalent about. James Wan certainly has a talent for directing the dark side and has taken the horror genre to a fresh new level. To this day, the one horror film that admittedly did fool me was 2004’s Saw.

5. the way way back


There are those films that radiate a nostalgic feeling in such a way that no matter what happens along the journey you’re going to connect. I knew this would be one of those films about 5 minutes in. The Way Way Back endearingly depicts summer in a way that any person who has survived the complications of youth would understand. While circumstances differ in every person’s journey, many can relate to being young with 3 months of too much time on our hands, the weight of the world on our shoulders, and friction with our parents. Crafted in such a way that highlights equal amounts of humor and truth, while set in the alluring backdrop of Cape Cod, the film singlehandedly captures the epitome of all things summer, celebrating its uniqueness and doing so in a way that just takes you back.

4. fast 6


Fast 6. You read that right. BY FAR, the most fun I had in a movie theater this summer was on Friday, May 24th at 8:00pm. Opening night at the Arclight in Hollywood found me among other like-minded hardcore fans of the race car driving franchise phenomenon! Pure adrenaline, completely cliché and ridiculous dialogue, along with even more ridiculous and unrealistic over-the-top action and stunt sequences had the entire audience cheering out loud. The icing on the cake was the surprise hello from Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and the entire Fast 6 cast in-person as the film credits rolled. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it again. It doesn’t get more popcorn summer blockbuster awesome movie fun than this! Yeah!

3. fruitvale station

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Of all of the films I saw this summer – this was the only one that hit me in such a way that I couldn’t readily let go when I left the theater, sparking a need to really evaluate my thoughts on Oscar Grant’s story and the film that took on the complicated task of telling it. You can read my full analysis on what will likely be in my top 10 films of the year, Fruitvale Station, here.

2. blue jasmine


As far as I’m concerned, the Best Actress Academy Award winner was chosen just as Cate Blanchett disturbingly makes her way to a park bench, sits down, and starts talking to herself, a completely and utterly broken soul at the end of Blue Jasmine. I know it’s early in the year to make this assertion as we approach awards season – but I would have a hard time being as convinced of a person’s mental breakdown unless it happened right in front of me. Simply put, Cate Blanchett’s performance made this film for me. Period. And though Woody Allen’s writing and direction are to be commended, along with excellent casting of supporting characters, I cannot say with confidence that I would have such esteem for this film if it weren’t for Blanchett’s extreme and consuming immersion into the instability she created in Jasmine.

1. before midnight


Before “Sunset” (2004) there was “Sunrise” (1995) just after “Midnight” (2013). If someone where to ever ask me what film has a sequel that is better than its predecessor, I would emphatically answer that I can now name two – and they’re both from the same series. I cannot think of another series of films that so eloquently depicts a nearly 20 year journey of the complexities when building an intimate relationship with another person.  These films have developed a formula, a narrative structure, and cinematic style that illicit a breath of fresh air every time. Before Midnight explores Jesse and Céline’s relationship 9 years after the last film now with 2 kids and the insecurities that come with finding your forever. I cannot find a better word to describe this film other than “poetic.” It never falls into deep cliches or loses an authentic connection to the viewer. I simply adore the dynamic of Jesse and Céline’s relationship; their intense connection abundant with humanity, open communication, and true friendship. It is that foundation that leads to some the best and most sophisticated dialogue I’ve ever heard on-screen, creating two of modern cinema’s best characters. While not impossible with three months left in the year, it would be very difficult to top this film as my favorite of 2013.

Farewell summer, hello Oscar season…

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Ladies, we all know and can agree that being “female” certainly has its perks (hands down, when it comes to shopping we got it made – have you ever gone shopping with a guy? It’s literally the exact same shirt in different colors?) but in all seriousness, its challenges. Pressures to fit into picture-perfect airbrushed magazine standards of beauty being arguably the greatest of them if you ask many of us.  I won’t go into a rant about my personal thoughts about the challenges of being a woman in today’s world; but I will share something that resonated with me, perhaps because it’s from a male point of view literally stepping into a woman’s shoes. I came across this clip yesterday afternoon after I’d seen it posted a few times in my Facebook feed and watched it wanting to know what was causing a mini viral craze. It warmed my heart to see such vulnerability and compassion from a man, and not just any man, a “Hollywood” man. Dustin Hoffman said it best. Now if only we could somehow manage as both women and men to collectively shift our perspectives on how we value people. Honestly, I really couldn’t begin to even say how. The conundrum we’ve gotten ourselves into is pretty complicated.

here’s what i’m lovin’ right now

||’s 30 Challenges of 30 Days.|| e51a8fa3b6d820267c804d87bc7a4824

 ||Cream on cream with a splash of gold. Perfect for Summer.||


773b274289cc1e23ed45c75377d81de9||Mod Cloth’s A Dot a Day Flats.||

 ||Holy sugar rush! Birthday Cake Pancakes. // full recipe here.||


||10 Fabulous Scotch Tape Manicures.||6bc9534699fb6ffea1a5fc1b5182999c

||’s Cabinet Cookware Organizer. Love this idea! ||


||Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad. // Recipe here.||


*click photos for image sources.

Highlights: The 4th


{Greetings after a relaxing and happy 4th of July weekend!}

It’s been a few days since I’ve last caught up with you after my mini-summer holiday vacation, so I thought I would share the highlights of my 4-day-weekend before returning to our regularly scheduled (blog) programming.

The plan for this year’s 4th of July festivities came together at nearly the last minute. I knew I wanted to be at the beach, to indulge in a celebratory cocktail, sit up close to fireworks, and aim to get as much rest as possible. So I thought it would be the perfect weekend to kick-off beach season in Malibu, our first trip this year. This time of year finds me longing to be near the water with a book, some magazines, lights snacks, and good company as much as possible. After a lazy beach day, we’d head to Paradise Cove for a late lunch before heading home to freshen up for a night of fireworks. Ah, don’t you just love when you know that you have the perfect day planned?

Until, it’s not…so perfect.

Long story short, Paradise Cove didn’t work out (despite our reservation) so we made our way down P.C.H. looking for an alternative and landed at Duke’s. I want to keep things positive here, so I’ll just put it this way and move on – AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS. I can’t think of a more terrible restaurant experience I’ve had in my entire life. Ever. The service was absolutely horrible, to put it mildly. What should have tipped us off was that this restaurant, located in gorgeous Malibu + right off the water + on a holiday = no wait time? The only redeeming quality was that my cocktail was divine.

Despite this hiccup, the rest of the weekend was magical – full of lounging, reading, hanging out with Ryan, funnel cakes, fireworks, and sunshine. Not a bad start to summer.

1-2013-07-04 12.51.22

{Celebrating America’s Birthday on the gorgeous beaches of Malibu, California.}


{That redeeming cocktail by the beach I mentioned.}


{Mexican Food at my favorite place.}


{Seeing The Way, Way Back on a gorgeous Sunday Morning. A great film, by the way!}

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||


I cannot tell you how excited I am for the 4th of July weekend. I think of it as the epitome of summer: being around good food and good company, with a vibe of casual laziness in the air that’s completely acceptable. Personally, that’s how I intend to enjoy the festivities.

It’s going to be low-key on my end with a pretty consistent relaxation theme happening over the next 4 days. There will be lots of time on the beach with a good book in hand and I’m very much looking forward to a cocktail, followed by plenty of time on the couch sifting through my Netflix queue. There’s also been a jewelry project that I’ve been wanting to make that’s been sitting on my desk for 2 weeks now that I am resolving to finally finish.

I expect it to be very busy around town all weekend – people out and about enjoying the sunshine, fireworks, and all the holiday sales, so once the necessary celebrations are over and I’ve gotten my vitamin-D fix, I plan to hibernate a bit. To further enhance my lazy/relaxation themed plans, I’m taking some time off from blogging, so this will be my last post for the week.

Wherever you find yourself and whatever find yourself doing this holiday weekend – play safe and play happy.

Everything I’m lovin’ right now involves all things 4th of July. This week’s list was curated with a nod toward all things nostalgic to summer holidays. I’ll see you next week! xx

here’s what i’m lovin’ right now

|| Homemade Honey Peach Frozen Yogurt / Recipe Here.||

Honey Peach Frozen Yogurt

 ||BCBGeneration Bright Red Multicolor Print Open-Back Romper.|| 3fe74418369542b584a54a3f1d7466e2

 ||Cost Plus’ Retro Popcorn Maker.||


||Helen Kaminki’s Provence 12 Raffia Straw Hat. Expensive, but fab!||


eee1f9a7e0c981a2097fd0f7153c597a||’s 11 Ways to Have Your Best Summer Yet. ||

||Grilled Lemon Chicken, Berries, and Feta Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing //

Full recipe here. ||


||Straw Studios Straw Woven Tote.|| 1-_7530532

|| This stunning villa in Oia, Santorini just made my bucket list.||


Up-3 ||Paradise Inspired Cocktails (with an umbrella, of course).||

*click photos for image sources.



{Instagrammed shot of the Hollywood Sign.}

The first few days of summer were full of sunshine and birds chirping here in LA – a picturesque manner in which you’d expect. Then June gloom took over for a few days (boo) …just before a heat wave that will continue well into the weekend. I’m always surprised by much the weather affects me. I know some welcome the cloudy gray skies, but this type of weather makes me want to stay indoors and watch movies all day. It produces such a lethargic energy in me that lets me know I’d probably die of depression if I lived anywhere else, and certainly limits my options during those times when I fantasize about moving to another city for a while. I’m sure I’ll start complaining shortly about how hot it is, but I’m enjoying the clear blue skies and sunshine in the meantime.

A huge highlight for me since last catching up with you, was that I finally crossed something off my bucket list that’s been there for quite awhile. On a gorgeous Saturday morning I got up early and tackled the Hollyridge Trail – the famous hiking site in the Griffith Park area for up close and personal views of the beloved Hollywood Sign. Full post to come on that amazing experience next week.

I can’t say I’m happy at how fast time seems to be going, but I am happy to bid June gloom goodbye once and for all. This was a roller coaster month for me, in retrospect. Full of good days and bad, but I’m very much looking forward to welcoming July. My summer plans are all set. The 4th is just around the corner and I’m still that girl who totally digs fireworks.

This weekend I’d like to make it a point to get out and enjoy the sunshine with perhaps a book on the beach or under a shady tree at a park. Then once I’ve had enough of nature, enjoying the air-conditioning when we go see Pedro Almodóvor’s new film, I’m So Excited.

Have a great weekend. xx


{Enjoying Lake Balboa Park on the first day of summer.}


{In love with my new sunnies from Free People.}


{Taking a moment to sit in the sunshine – I don’t think there’s anything quite as spectacular as light on water.}

{Experimenting with a quick video clip which I wasn’t going to include – but thought was pretty funny because it’s so bad. I couldn’t keep a straight face and my allergies were killing me that day.

Yes, I did go to film school and should be ashamed of myself.  Yes,  these will be improved. Yes, that Rice Krispies Treat was yummy!}

How I Plan to Spend My Summer Vacation

They say youth is wasted on the young. I might also add so are summer vacations. Three months of complete carefree freedom – no bills, no big worries other than your new first day of school outfit, and plenty of opportunities to sleep during a time when 3 months seemed like a really long time. I find that as I get older, I hear myself saying “rent is due again!” more and more frequently.

Year after year of the famed summer vacation as a kid through my college years was always welcomed, though became more and more complicated as I got older (insert summer job/responsibility here), but likely nothing compared to what a summer vacation would look like today as an adult if I had 3 entire months to do whatever, whenever I wanted.

What once was an endless day doing arts and crafts at the Boys & Girls Club when I was 10, ironically would be similar, but on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean. I’d still read books, veg in front of the TV for hours while eating incessantly (not gaining a pound, of course) with the caveat being that I would be in the middle of a 3 month tour of Europe, and this was just how I would choose to unwind after a day exploring the city.

While I’m grateful for being steadily employed, I won’t let a little thing like a full-time job prevent me from having the summer of my life. While I won’t be in the middle of the Mediterranean making art collages, nor will I be stuffing my face with pasta all day while watching re-runs of Friends dubbed in Italian during my European adventure, I do have big plans to enjoy the California sunshine, explore the time of year that LA really comes alive, and make collages all summer long…for my blog. In fact, here’s one now…

How I Plan to Spend My Summer Vacation

How I plan to spend summer

Picnics. Outdoor movies/Cinespia. On the beach. Under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. Hiking. Reading. At the movies. Yoga. Farmers’ markets. Eating cupcakes. Museums. Blogging. Milkshakes. Bookstores. Fruity inspired everything. LA County Fair. Drive-ins. My favorite grilled cheese joint. Iced lattes, lattes, lattes! A weekend getaway with my guy, place: TBD. The beach again.

…And exploring my beloved LA as much as I can.

Happy Summer!



This final week of Spring was going along nicely…until yesterday. I overheard a conversation that I took very personally. It was disappointing and I felt insulted, so much so, that it ultimately infuriated me. You know, that type of anger that makes you just want to vent to the nearest person because just getting it out would somehow make you feel better? Since I didn’t have that nearby, I started to type this post in the heat of that emotional state and then decided to stop and come back to it later. Suffice to say that this post would’ve sounded very different if I’d written it 5 hours earlier. There really is something to just feeling what your feeling, taking a few deep breaths, and knowing that this too shall pass. What other people do is more of a reflection on them. And your reaction to them is more of a reflection on you.

Interestingly, I had come across Oprah’s recent commencement speech for the graduating class of 2013 from Harvard and watched the entire thing just after said “infuriating” incident. There is still something so relatable and calming about her that instantly got me to take a step back and put things into perspective. When hearing about her failures and speaking to those who have ever also felt inferior – it made me realize that no matter who you are, there are times that people and life disappoint you. Despite her public struggles with launching her network, she just kept going and is now on the way to victory.

Admittedly, I am still upset as I write this (but as I proof it several more hours later, I’m fine and think that perhaps I might have overreacted since I can’t say I was sure I had all of the details of what I was overhearing – go figure :)). Either way, I realize that this one incident shouldn’t nor will it define my week. I had lots of highlights that I want to think about as I close out Spring with much appreciation so that’s what I’m going to do. Even better? By the end of that day something I’ve waited for my entire career is seemingly taking huge steps to come into fruition. Go figure.

Here are this week’s highlights – happy summer!


{Enjoying great films and lively Q&A’s at The LA Film Festival.}

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{Sugary goodies and checking out my now favorite documentary of the year so far, 20 Feet From Stardom.}

{Oprah’s 2013 Harvard Commencement Speech. A must watch.}

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||


With the official start to summer only 2 short days away, I’ve been excited at all the fun to come. I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite time of year, because I’m usually ready for the change in season at the exact time the new season joins us (and this can’t ring more true right now). While fall and winter both have their unique traits and celebrations, I’m NOT a fan of being cold. At all. So if I had to pick, there’s something about summer that makes me happiest. Perhaps it’s because I’m a California girl through and through. I love sunshine, warm weather (if we can keep it around circa 80-85 degrees), the beach, long days, 4th of July, outdoor movies, the Hollywood Bowl, sundresses, sunnies, sandals, fruity cocktails and iced lattes. So the plan this particular summer season would be to channel as much of what you see in the picture above for the next 3 months.

love & light,


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now

|| Kate Spade’s Alyx sunglasses featured on Keiko Lynn’s blog last week. WANT. ||


|| These 14k Gold Peach Wire Wrapped Earrings from Diamblond’s Etsy Shop. ||


|| Homemade Frozen Strawberry Lemonade // Recipe here. ||


|| Ryan Gosling’s very wise and very true words. ||7b04ce5c55ab76db9a3211a4637a4614

|| Vintage inspired door knobs as curtain tie-backs // Details here. ||


|| Revlon’s Plum Seduction Nail Polish (currently on my toes and perfect for summer!). ||


|| What’s inspiring me to want to drop everything and take a summer adventure.||


|| Mushroom, Asparagus + Prosciutto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze // Recipe here. ||


*click photos for image sources.

Weekend Cocktails

While I like cocktails as much as the next girl, it turns out I’m not a big drinker on the day-to-day. Sure, I’ll have a glass of wine with dinner every once and awhile, sip a midori sour during girls night out, or grab a margarita over Mexican food; but ice tea is my liquid of choice (passion-fruit iced tea if I’m feeling especially feisty).

Fun fact: this past weekend is the first weekend I can recall in quite some time having a cocktail on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday.  What a lush I’m turning into! Perhaps it’s the vibe of the season and cradling a sweet drink in your hand makes the days of summer all the more sweeter.

It all started at happy hour with the gang from work on Friday evening. Followed by two super delicious and well-presented homemade concoctions that I can’t take credit for (thanks Ryan!) other than the bellini peach-raspberry syrup that I buy by the bottle every time I hit the Olive Garden to add to my iced tea because I’m obsessed with it. Don’t laugh,  I admit I have a very strong affinity for the Olive Garden.

If you’re looking for a good summer cocktail,  I just had to share the deliciousness I experienced every single day of the weekend with you. Try it at home yourself! While you do, I’ll be seriously rethinking the frequency of my cocktail intake!

Friday Night 
White Tea Cooler

Ingredients: wild tea vodka, st. germain, mint, fresh lime juice, luxardo maraschino cherries, soda water.

Saturday Evening

Homemade Concoction #1

Ingredients: Olive Garden’s bellini peach-raspberry syrup, vodka, club soda

Sunday Afternoon
Homemade Concoction #2

Ingredients: Olive Garden’s bellini peach-raspberry syrup, vodka, 7-UP, sugar-coated rimmed glass