Movie Monday

Gloria
I have a working theory I’d like to run by you. The previews for a movie are in direct correlation to the quality of the film. Do you agree? Never has this been more true that with this little gem of a film, Gloria, which I was first introduced to in the movie previews for her.

A chilean film by writer-director Sebastián Lelio, Gloria is the story of a 58-year-old woman living in Santiago, who even though divorced, alone and an empty-nester, has a zest for live that is intoxicating. We see Gloria, beautifully acted by Paulina García, open herself up to love again with a man she meets while on the dance floor. Will he rescue her? You will just have to see the film to find out.

One of my favorite scenes in this film is when Gloria, attending a wedding on her own, comes face to face with a breathtaking peacock in the garden of the hotel and just laughs. A peacock. How strange. But after a little research, I came to find out that peacocks naturally replace their feathers annually making it a symbol of renewal. What a beautiful symbol to a beautiful film.

Gloria is one of those songs I have heard for years but never really listened to the lyrics. Oh how I relate!

Gloria, you’re always on the run now
Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow
I think you’ve got to slow down before you start to blow it
I think you’re headed for a breakdown, so be careful not to show it

You really don’t remember, was it something that he said?
Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?
Gloria, don’t you think you’re fallin’?
If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody callin’?
You don’t have to answer
Leave them hangin’ on the line, oh-oh-oh, calling Gloria
Gloria (Gloria), I think they got your number (Gloria)
I think they got the alias (Gloria) that you’ve been living under (Gloria)
But you really don’t remember, was it something that they said?
Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?

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Inspired

Toms
As you know, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what’s next for me. This discernment process has been fun. Am I a city girl? Am I an island girl? Do I miss a “desk” job? Can my passions really be my vocation? What motivates me to get up in the morning? You know, all those important life questions. While my path is slowly revealing itself to me, I have realized one very important thing. I want my work to impact the lives of others. Corporate Social Responsibility is something I am passionate about as I do believe you can do well (from a financial perspective) by doing good.

A company I’m constantly inspired by is TOMS. I received their Spring 2014 Vagabond Journal in the mail earlier this week and thought, now there’s a company I want to be a part of. After visiting a village in Argentina in 2006, Blake Mycoskie was struck by the fact that children around the world were without shoes. So, he created a simple but life changing business model: for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair would be donated to a child in need. One for One.® Realizing that his approach could serve other global needs, Blake launched TOMS Eyewear in 2011 to help restore sight to persons in need with every purchase of sunglasses and optical frames. And just this year, Blake launched TOMS Roasting Co. with the mission to provide clean water to developing communities with the purchase of premium coffee. Are you inspired yet? I am!

In addition, last year he launched an online marketplace accessible from his site to highlight global commerce. In his words “We believe commerce can be about more than just profits. But it takes more than a belief to make this a reality. So we’ve created a platform on our site to help other social entrepreneurs succeed and build momentum for this way of doing business. Welcome to The Marketplace. This is bigger than us.” Just look at some of the offerings: these earrings, this bracelet, and just look at this hammock. This may just be my new go-to site for all things gifts.

And let’s be honest. I am obsessed with my classic TOMS. I think I have gone through 3 pairs in the last 2 years alone. Jonathan Adler recently teamed up with TOMS to launch a terrific and eye-catching spring line. Check them out here.

Blake reminds me of a very important lesson “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Have a great weekend, sweet friends!

Book Club

Book Club
I think I mentioned this in my last book club post, but thank god I have an affinity for being a bookworm as this little habit of mine has gotten me through what might just be the longest winter of my life. If you are looking for some suggestions, read on.

By NightfallMichael Cunningham
I was blown away by the simplicity and beauty of this novel by Michael Cunningham, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Peter Harris, the protagonist, seems to have it all: a beautiful wife, a successful career as an art dealer, a daughter in Boston and a beautiful apartment in downtown New York. But one never really has it all, do they? His wife, Rebecca, has a 23-year-old brother Ethan, whose visit stirs things up just a bit. Dubbed early on as “the mistake” by their parents, he was unplanned, which has caused him a life of questioning. Ethan engages Peter in the midnight hour and makes him question himself for he, like Ethan is lost and searching for more. A thoughtful look at a marriage, desire, and family and a quick read too at only 238 pages, I highly recommend.

Me Before YouJojo Moyes
Once I started Me Before You, I simply could not put it down. What a beautiful love story (and you know me, I love a good love story). Set in a small town outside London, we meet Louisa Clark, a simple girl who has just lost her job at a coffee shop. Her family struggling to make ends meet rely upon her weekly wages for survival and thus she must find a job and fast. She responds to a call for a care assistant to Will Traynor, a quadriplegic. Their relationship, a bit bleak at first, over time becomes one of the most moving friendships I have read about. I promise, there will be tears, but good ones at that. Will and Louisa create a bond that allows them both to become their best selves. What all relationships should help us do.

One More ThingB.J. Novak
Do you miss The Office? I sure do. When I heard that one of my favorite characters and writers from the show, B.J. Novak, had published a collection of short stories, I knew that it was exactly what I needed in my life. A little humor. The stories in this collection, 63 to be precise, will have you laughing, disturbed and sometimes even shedding s tear or two. I learned one of the greatest lessons, though, from B.J.’s acknowledgments. “A clear voice is the best kind to aspire to have.” Words from his father that I will certainly take to heart. If I had to pick just one story as my favorite it would have to be “A Good Problem to Have.” Or wait “Never Fall in Love.” Shoot… I can’t decide. Pick up this genius work of art. It will certainly be one I go to again and again when I need a little pick-me-up.

Please accept my apologies in advance as it might take a little time for my next “Book Club” post as I have just started The Goldfinch and at nearly 800 pages I fear it will take me a bit of time to finish. But let me tell you, what a beautiful work so far. I’m mesmerized.

Blown Away


Friends. Please don’t worry. I am safe and sound in my island home but let me tell you the winds on this little island of mine are insane. 76 mph wind gusts and rising. I was, however, blown away by the voice of Sam Smith and his rendition of “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston featured in last week’s Grey’s Anatomy (snow days are a perfect excuse to stay in bed and catch up on some TV). Truth be told, I’ve always loved the music on Grey’s and admit that a few of their soundtracks (I won’t admit how many) are in my music library. Quick sidebar… how do I get the job of picking songs to accompany my favorite TV shows and movies. I know I would just excel at it!

Ok. Back to Sam. The more I read about this London-born singer/songwriter, the more I realized why I am drawn to his lyrics. “I’ve never been in a relationship before. When I was writing this album, I really delved into that fact. I delved into how I fell in love with someone who didn’t love me back last year. I really went inside myself and I wanted to write an album for lonely people, because I don’t think there’s been enough music out there that talks about unrequited love.” Oh Sam… we certainly share quite a bit in common.

Lucky for us, Sam is the musical guest this weekend on Saturday Night Live. My DVR is all set. And his first album “In the Lonely Hour” is releasing May 26.

Take a listen and let me know what you think!

I Like It

emersonfry
I am always inspired by women who have a dream and follow it. Emerson Bethany Fry is one such inspiration. An artist by training, she left the hustle and bustle of New York City, purchased an old farm with her husband in New Hampshire (how cute – they have known each other since childhood) and set-out to build her lifestyle brand, Emerson Fry. Initially, her product line was simple. Beautiful flower pins and clutches (I still have mine that I purchased in 2010). Her business has grown gradually as she introduced beautiful silk tops and skirts in 2011 and today her line includes stunning leather goods, killer shoes and accessories and the kaftan, featured above, that I am lusting for. With a focus on simple lines, luxurious fabrics and the modern woman, there isn’t a single look that I wouldn’t want to add to my closet. Just take a look.

And if you need just a little more to love this woman for, take a look at her home. Her pantry is an inspiration!
Emerson

Movie Monday

Gravity
I did a very Hollywood thing when I was out in L.A. I saw my very first theatre movie in 3D. Gravity. The story line quite simple but the craft of creating this film simply mind-blowing. I see why the team won the Academy Award for best visual effects, sound editing, sound mixing, cinematography, film editing and the big one, best director.

And although the story line was simple its one that I think is relevant for many of us. I’ve been feeling a bit lost. A bit beat up. And Sandra Bullock’s character struggled with the same emotions. A single mom who lost her daughter, she got lost in her work. Her work and long drives. I won’t admit how many miles I’ve put on my car since moving home but promise you, its been quite a few. But faced with adversity, she finds the courage and strength to hold on and not let go. And you know what, choosing life and to actually live it, a very good thing.

George Clooney does provide a bit of comedic relief and while I don’t swoon over him as many girls do, I did enjoy his performance.

What do you think… did you enjoy this movie? Only one left on the Academy list to watch… Nebraska.

Transformation

Spring
It’s here. It’s finally here. Enjoy this beautiful first day of spring, dear friends!

As we all know, the spring season signifies renewal, rebirth and growth. This spring, instead of doing a bucket list (see past lists here, here and here), I want to focus on one simple but very important task: transformation. I have come to some rather big life decisions as of late and have begun the process of thinking where to go next. It’s exciting but also daunting at the same time. My transformation continues and I want to thank you all for being here to support me through it. May this new season bring you all that you hope for!

A Day in LA

Los Angeles
L.A. Oh how I miss you! You have quickly become one of my all-time favorites (next to Chicago, New York and my beloved Boston). What do I love so much about you? I love all your little neighborhoods that feel like some of my favorites (South End, Kendall, Lincoln Park, West Village) all by the water. Life doesn’t get much better than that!

For all of you who haven’t been or are planning a trip out there soon (I highly recommend that you do), I thought I would put together my favorite day in L.A.

My Morning Juice
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I always try to start the day with a fresh juice and it is quite easy to do so in this city. My god. There seems to be a juice bar on every corner. My favorite by far is Kreation. With six locations and a juice kar (correct spelling, I promise) and bike around the city, they are easy to find. I frequent the one in Beverly Hills because it is right next to my all-time favorite cupcake place, Sprinkles. I figure if I’m juicing in the am, I can pick up a treat to splurge on in the afternoon.

Hike it Out
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One thing I never realized is how many amazing hiking trails there around L.A. Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, Tree People Inc. The list goes on and on. Since my parents are in the valley in Sherman Oaks, Tree People is just a short drive, although you have to go down Mulholland Drive, which is just about the scariest road I’ve ever been on. But the hike is well worth it. Just beautiful.

Lunch by the Beach
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I stayed in Santa Monica on my very first trip to L.A. back in 2006 so it has always held a special place in my heart. And then when I discovered Huckleberry Cafe, it sealed the deal for being one of my favorite neighborhoods. Huckleberry Café is what I dream of one day opening. A beautiful café with delicious sandwiches, salads, savory goods, sweet treats and a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy. This visit, I tried their arugula salad with grapefruit, pine nuts and fresh parmigiano reggiano and my mom had the butternut squash terrine. Perfection!

Bike Ride
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Being an island girl, I have always loved to ride my bike. And a bike ride from Santa Monica down to Venice Beach, nothing compares in my humble opinion.

Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
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I really developed a love for Venice Beach last winter when I headed west to visit my parents after they made their big move. Abbot Kinney Street has it all. Urbanic Paper Boutique, Steven Allen, Gjelina and Intelligentsia, the best coffee shop I have been to by far. This place knows how to do coffee right. The idea is for the barista to create an individualized experience for every customer, regardless of how many are being served. Awesome!

Cocktail Hour
Viceroy
I think I’ve shared this little fact with you before, but I have a thing for boutique hotels. One of my favorite hotel groups The Viceroy Hotel Group and their spot in Santa Monica is sheer perfection. Cocktails by the pool are a must.

Dinner Time
tavern
If I had to choose one neighborhood to live in, I think it would have to be Brentwood. Not only am I obsessed with Brentwood Country Mart but Brentwood is also home to Tavern Bar & Larder. You may have heard of this space if you are addicted to Million Dollar Decorators like I am. Jeffrey Alan Marks designed the space and it’s breathtaking and the talented Suzanne Coin is the head chef and owner. Never have I been some place where the décor and food are so on par. A definite treat!

Stargazing
Observatory
Griffith Observatory. You literally feel like you are top of the world. The views of L.A. are breathtaking and you know me, I have a thing for stars. I suggest going at sunset, packing a light picnic and spending a least a few hours up here. Well worth the time. And the really cool thing… amateurs bring out their telescopes too so you can meet, mingle and check out a bunch of different views.

Oh and the adorable L.A. poster above is from the one and only, Rifle Paper. Click on the image and you will be directed right to their site.

Collaborate

I’m back! I certainly did miss you all but had a wonderful time on my California vacation. I promise to provide a full report next week with all my must-do’s in the Golden State.

Grace Rifle
While lounging on the beaches of Malibu (don’t mean to rub it in), I was able to catch up on some much-needed reading (and sleep). And I must say, I was excited to read about several exciting collaborations that have just launched. Let’s begin with one of my favorites… Rifle Paper and Garance Dore. If you don’t read Garance’s blog, you should. She lives a life I dream of… in Paris no less. A lover of the finer things, she has an incredible eye for all things street fashion. She, like me, is also a lover of all things paper and always dreamt of launching a paper line but knew she needed to find the right partner. Enter my all-time favorite paper designer Anna Bond and Rifle Paper. The two hit it off instantly and created a breathtaking line that launched in Paris last week and will be stateside soon enough. Can’t wait to add a few of these pieces to my ever-growing stationary collection.

SJP Shoes 2
Not only am I a lover of paper but beautiful shoes make me weak in the knees. Sarah Jessica Parker, a/k/a Carrie Bradshaw, partnered with Manolo Blahnik to create a beautiful shoe line fondly named SJP. Available at Nordstroms, her first collection is breathtaking. In honor of her mom, several pairs of shoes in the collection feature grosgrain ribbon the heel. What a special touch. I have my eyes on these and these.

Goop

And last but certainly not least, Gwyneth Paltrow has teamed up with Peter Dunham to offer an exclusive line of pillows on her site. And as I have said before, I have a thing for throw pillows. Aren’t they just beautiful?

My takeaway from all of these is that collaboration really does make everything better. An important lesson on this snowy Thursday. Stay warm!