Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Birth of Venus

Because I realized it's been such a long while since I've done a book review on here, and because I just recently finished a book that I literally could NOT put down...  it only made sense for me to share it with all of you today. For those of you who are into historical fiction (and even those who are not), The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant would be a novel I highly recommend! The perfect mix of suspense, intrigue, history... readers are instantly pulled into 15th century Florence as seen through the eyes of a young, ambitious Florentine girl. The book chronicles the trials and tribulations faced by this otherwise luxurious and thriving city, including the terrifying threat of plague, the downward spiral of the Medici dynasty, and the rise of one highly influential Girolamo Savonarola. This Renaissance-era novel is rich with art history, which may have been one of the principle reasons why it had me so captivated. I also loved the complexity of the novel; so many layers, intriguing characters and side stories come together to create such an elaborate and gripping tale complete with love, drama, and even bits of mystery. Even more than the story itself, I loved Dunant's style... as a lit major, I do notice and appreciate uniquely beautiful prose, and I found Dunant's language to be so appropriately extravagant. I definitely do not want to include spoilers, so I'll keep this already lengthy review short. If you're looking for a good book to curl up with, this one will not disappoint... take my word for it!

Before I go, I wanted to wrap this post up with a photo of Botticelli's  painting, The Birth of Venus, just because. The original is currently located in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (sadly, photos were not allowed in the gallery when I was there but needless to say it is absolutely beautiful in person)...

And there's your mid-week inspiration... stunning, n'est-ce pas?

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Perfectly Portman

Good morning lovelies! Hope you all had a warm and merry holiday weekend and are now gearing up to push through this last week of 2010. I spent my weekend with family, eating lots, baking, and catching up on some reading. This morning I woke up to news of Natalie Portman's engagement AND pregnancy, featured on my Yahoo homepage, and I have to say (as lame as it may sound now) it did get me just a little bit giddy with excitement. I adore Natalie (Garden State will always be one of my all-time favorites), and though I have yet to see Black Swan, I can't tell you how excited I am about it. Needless to say, I think it's so, so cute that she is expecting. And so, amid such sweet news, I thought it'd be appropriate to feature Natalie's January Vogue cover and a couple of pictures from the spread. As always, she is looking picture perfect and completely elegant. She looks stunning in soft, girly pink on the cover but what I loved the most were the two ballet-inspired photos in the spread (click the image to get a closer look). They have this hauntingly beautiful quality about them that just captivates you and pulls you in. Love it!

What are your thoughts? On Natalie, the film (no spoilers please!), these photos, her big news...? Let me know in comments! xo

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Tis the Season... of Caffeine!

Everyone in my life knows I am addicted to coffee.. this is nothing new. If I haven't mentioned it before on here, consider this my confession. I love, love, love coffee and can pretty much never start my day without at least one cup. So naturally, I also share an equally grand love for Starbucks. And, as I love the month of December and do all I can to get into the holiday spirit once Thanksgiving is over and done with, every year I eagerly anticipate the arrival of the seasonal drinks at Starbucks. And every year I take full advantage by ordering one every chance I get until the very last day they offer them up. So for those of you who have yet to taste these creamy, wonderful red cups of goodness, I have to ask... WHAT are you waiting for? Lucky for you, I'm here with a guide to... well, my personal favorites. Today I discovered one of the best hot chocolates I have ever tasted: the salted caramel hot chocolate. Oh. my. goodness. Equal parts rich, sweet, chocolatey, with the slightest kick that makes it the perfect sweet & salty guilty pleasure. I must say, one taste and this drink quickly shot its way up my favorites list. A more classic favorite would be the gingerbread latte, always. And as for the seasonal drinks I prefer largely over ice? Peppermint mocha and pumpkin spice lattes are both enjoyed better on the rocks, take my word for it (that's not to say their warm counterparts are not mouth-watering, as I am sure they are). And there you have it, lovelies... I have shared with you my expertise. The only one left on my to-try list at this point is the new caramel brulee latte, through which I will probably be consuming enough calories to substitute for an entire meal. Ah, c'est la vie. Because really, how often does Starbucks pull out those beloved red cups? My point exactly.

Happy holidays to you and yours, dear readers. xo

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Nightmare

Don't we all tell ourselves every year that we will do our holiday shopping online, nice and easy, with a cup of coffee, wearing PJs, no problem at all -- and every year, we fail? We venture out into the busy, crowded malls, spend about half our time stuck in traffic or circling around the lots aimlessly, hoping to spot some defeated shopper whose spot you can steal, wait in long lines, hear the screams of children drowning out the Christmas music... and so on and so forth. No? Just me? At any rate, I DO always wonder why I don't get more of my shopping done online in the comfort of my own home. I asked myself that just the other day, after I got home from the mall, dripping from the rain (non-stop gloom and showers for about a week now in Los Angeles -- better than a sunny Christmas, I can say that much).
I think it's safe to say I literally spent more time in my car, searching for parking or just trying to get in/out of the lots and the general vicinity of the mall... than I actually did IN the mall. At any rate, my best friend and I gave up within a couple of short hours, got NEARLY nothing done, and headed straight for the food. Tuna burgers and cheese fries made the excursion semi-worth it, but I digress. Next year, either I stop with the procrastination and get this stuff done nice and early, or I do it on my laptop in my PJs... dry, warm, and screaming-child-free.

I promise that was the last of what might sound a lot like a Grinchesque rant. And I promise, in all actuality I do really, really love Christmas and the holidays in general. We will now return to regular festivities... cue the Pandora Christmas music station, peppermint hot chocolate, and gift wrapping!

Also, please be sure to keep up with me on TWITTER & BLOGLOVIN xo

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cover Me Up

How chic is Victoria Beckham in her pretty black coats? She's rocking a Giambattista Valli coat in the first photo, making traveling through bustling airports look so effortless... I can't help but admire her. I am currently LOVING tights, as they can be worn with dresses but also shorts.. flats or pumps or boots.. with a cute coat or cardigan. I mean, the options are endless. But I digress, because this post wasn't about VB's tights (although paired with the black high collared coat and simple pumps, they do help her look put together). I was actually going for a post about... COATS. The Burberry Prorsum she wore recently at yet another airport (as seen in the second photo) was equally chic with bare legs. This season, every time I go shopping I can't stop myself from browsing through endless options of outerwear. I just find pretty coats to be irresistible this time of year! Personally I love a classic beige trench and a nice double breasted style.. and of course, my black motorcycle jacket has become a staple in my wardrobe. I love my coats in shades of beige and grey in addition to classic black, but I also love coats that wow with a pop of color, like red. Which styles do YOU reach for, lovelies? xo

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sweet Little Moment

How sweet is this photo of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams? I stumbled upon it recently as I was looking for pictures of Michelle out and about promoting Blue Valentine -- she looked so classy in the Azzaro number she wore to the New York premiere. I was originally going to post a couple of pictures of her and Ryan Gosling from that night, but this particular shot was too precious to pass up.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's on my mind?

Hello pretty people! I feel as though I have neglected this blog long enough.. as a crazy, crazy semester winds down I am back and hoping some of you readers are still left out there, somewhere. The ever-so-dreaded Finals Week is about to begin, so right now all that is primarily on my mind is a whole lot of French grammar and about 30 or so works of American Literature. And while it is 80 degrees here in Los Angeles, in the middle of December, I also find my mind wandering to a white Christmas. A beautiful cabin, crackling fire, snow covered pine trees... but for now, as I am stuck in SoCal buried in textbooks and notes, all I can do is drink my seasonal Starbucks coffee (Iced Peppermint Mocha, mmm), listen to Christmas music and watch The Holiday & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. (Side note: I think it's safe to say holiday movies never, ever get old to me). At any rate, I will stop my rambling at this point, take a breath, and look around to see if I even have any faithful readers left after my unofficial hiatus. I will try to be much, much better with updating as soon as I get through my finals. In the meantime, if you DID find your way back to this blog, please don't hesitate to leave me comments and let me know you are still out there. Lots of love (and best wishes to those of you in the Finals Boat like me) xo

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Movie Monday: The Social Network

"If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook."
Okay so many of you regular readers might remember me mentioning my excitement over The Social Network back in August. And, lo and behold, I did happen to go see it about a day or two after it was released earlier this month. Happy to report that I was absolutely not disappointed! Granted, it had received practically impeccable reviews and even some Oscar buzz -- nonetheless, I was hoping it would live up to the hype and it did. Not only did I find the entire story of Mark Zuckerberg interesting to begin with (it's insane to think Facebook -- now being used literally all around the world -- was created by a 20 something Harvard student in his dorm room one night), I loved the way the film captured it all. Viewers get tangled into the whole mess that comes with such great success and large sums of money at such a young age, and at times the story is heartbreaking and intense. I will definitley refrain from including spoilers, but I will say I loved the quick pace, wit, and the way in which the story was told (through flashbacks and the like). So get yourself out to the movies and see this one if you haven't already, because it will no doubt continue to be highly talked about! And those of you out there who HAVE seen it, I'd love to hear your take on it as well!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

xoxo, GG

So sorry for neglecting this blog for the past week. Let's just say using the word "hectic" to describe things at the moment would be an understatement. Anyways, today I wanted to engage in a bit of what I like to call TV talk. Hopefully some of you readers out there are Gossip Girl fans... warning: this post will contain spoilers, so if you haven't been watching the new season, I think you might want to stop here!!!
I have to say I was giddy with excitement when I saw Blair and Chuck reconcile on screen, if only for the briefest of moments, to speak in last week's episode. As much as I hate seeing them apart, I have to admit I'm excited to see what's in store for their on-again off-again relationship. Shifting gears, I am convinced Milo is NOT Dan's son, and Rufus will dramatically uncover the truth soon enough.. and speaking of the Humphreys: SO glad Jenny is M.I.A. for the time being. Never was a fan of hers, especially lately. I'm not crazy about Nate's new (potential?) love interest, but I wasn't quite hoping for him to be with Serena at this point either. But I think it'll be interesting to watch that play out and discover what her role exactly is in all of this.

So, GG fans.. discuss! What are your thoughts on the new season so far? Sadly, due to Monday night classes, I usually have to catch up on the week's episodes (online) several days after it airs. That being said... no talk about this week's episode just yet, please!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Movie Monday: (500) Days of Summer

"I love how she makes me feel like anything is possible, or like life is worth it."
This week's Movie Monday is about a film I'm sure many, many of you out there have seen already, but it's one that is just too cute to overlook: (500) Days of Summer! This quirky and fun film is completely different than what you think of when you think of the whole Romantic Comedy genre. Tom, a young greeting-card writer, falls hard for Summer, the pretty girl he meets at the office, quickly developing a full blown infatuation with her. Full of good music, wit, and too much cuteness.. this film is both sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Rather than going on and on like I usually do, all I will say is: 

1. Who could really resist Joseph Gordon-Levitt?
2. I adore Zooey Deschanel and her entire wardrobe, always.
3. They make the sweetest couple of all time.
4. Did I mention the soundtrack to this is really, really good?

Thoughts? xo

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Rebel Without a Cause

Lately I've found myself really loving the tanks, sweaters and hoodies of Rebel Yell. I just love how they look so laidback, cool and comfortable. I find them perfect for those days where we just feel like throwing on our favorite pair of jeans and a hoodie with some big sunglasses before running out the door. I picked out some of my favorite pieces and played around with some fun looks centered around the Rebel Yell items.

What do you think? How would YOU wear your favorite Rebel Yell hoodies and tanks? xo

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Keeping Up with Rory

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big HUGE Gilmore Girls fan. I've seen every episode, every season, several times. It's definitely right up there as one of my all-time favorite shows; I can't tell you how many times I've caught myself wishing I lived in Stars Hollow among the quirky townspeople that form an eccentric extended family of sorts. I mean, who wouldn't want to visit the gazebo, Luke's diner, the Black White & Read theatre... sit in on the borderline-absurd town meetings, spend a weekend at the Dragonfly Inn. Mix in the fast-paced, witty dialogue and a whole lot of eye candy as far as male love interests go... I could go on and on, but I digress. Because, for those of you who have never seen the show, this probably isn't making a whole lot of sense. And honestly, this post was initially meant to be about Alexis Bledel, who played Rory Gilmore on the show. Lately I've been seeing photos of her popping up at various events and I have to say I'm so excited to be seeing her out and about. I adore her, not only because of the show but because she's just so classy. I loved every single one of the looks she was photographed in recently. She is definitely one to watch, style-wise! I do hope we'll be seeing more pictures of her in the near future!

So, now I have to ask -- any Gilmore Girls fans out there? I guarantee this will not be the last you'll hear about the show on this blog. Everyone could use a little bit of Gilmore in their life :]

As always, a big thank you to everyone who has been reading and commenting ♥

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Picture Perfect

Can I just say how excited I was when I came across the October cover of W Magazine with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling? While I absolutely adore them both individually, I also loved seeing pictures of them together promoting their upcoming flick, Blue Valentine, at various film festivals and whatnot. They just make such an incredibly attractive pair! I'm excited to see how their chemistry pans out on the big screen for sure; the film is about a young couple dealing with their marital problems. Apparently, the plot chronicles the relationship from its very exciting, early stages all the way to where the honeymoon phase dies out and the two start butting heads. At any rate, I have to say that Michelle matches Ryan completely. I mean, look at that cover! Stunning! Okay, I'll stop gushing now only to show you some of the other photos from the feature that popped up online recently...

How hot is Ryan? Can't get enough of him!!! Thoughts? xo

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Friday, September 10, 2010

L'amour et la Ville: Geneva

When thinking about what to write about on here next, I realized it's been a while since I've done a city guide. And I instantly knew which city I wanted to feature next: Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva was seriously so heavenly and peaceful for me... I loved it! Here are the things/places to check out while there...

 1. The Lake: I think this pretty much goes without saying, the lake is more or less the "main attraction", and it's SO gorgeous and hard to miss! All along the lake you can find little places to have anything from coffee, ice cream, or lunch. We bought iced lattes and crepes from a cute little stand and had it while looking out onto the sparkling blue water. Perfection! For those who want to spend even more time at the water, you can take a cruise on the lake or even go for a swim!

2. Old Town: Stroll through Geneva's Old Town, characterized by small, quaint cobble stone streets and beautiful old buildings. Here you'll find shops and boutiques, and the beautiful St. Peter's Cathedral. Do some exploring! You just might end up at the Maison Travel, which is the oldest house-turned-museum in Geneva. Walk a bit more and you'll end up in the shopping district with larger and more well known stores.

3. The United Nations Building: Possibly the most notable building in all of Geneva, Europe's UN headquarters. I've heard that tours are offered there for those interested, though sadly we didn't have enough time to actually go inside so I don't really have much more information about it. 
And that's just based on my personal experience... I'm sure there are lots of hidden gems that I may have missed, and I do wish I had spent more time in this beautiful city. While it may seem like there's not a whole lot to see or do in Geneva, it's honestly one of the best places to just get away and relax without a care in the world... absolutely one of my favorite cities!

Has anyone else been? What are your thoughts? xo

Monday, September 6, 2010

Movie Monday: An Education

 "If you never do anything, you never become anyone."

So for today's Movie Monday I decided to go with a newer release. Admittedly I didn't see this one until it came out on DVD, but it came highly recommended and I have to say I loved it! In the film, the sweet Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, a teenager living in London in the early 1960s. While her parents pressure her to focus on her studies so as to end up at Oxford upon graduation, Jenny herself begins questioning the real value of education and schoolwork when she meets David, a suave sweet talker who is twice her age. Things start picking up rapidly as the two begin their grown-up relationship and Jenny goes from the dull life she once knew to an exciting, if not très risqué, whirlwind of concerts, parties and weekend getaways. And while she doesn't accept the importance of an academic education, what she ends up with is a far more real education in life and in love, the hard way. Equal parts indulgent and poignant, this film is definitely worth a watch. While one can't help but feel sorry for Jenny in her naivete, it's also easy to understand her desire for rebellion and her challenging of higher education, particularly at a time when women were given far less opportunities in the work force and were largely seen as housewives. Speaking of the 1960s, as you can imagine, the film is also a feast for the eyes when it comes to the fashion. Love it! Perfect casting (couldn't think of anyone better than Carey and Peter Sarsgaard in the lead roles), flawless performances.. I can't recommend this film enough!
Has anyone out there already seen this one? What were your thoughts? ♥

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Lanvin Lovin'

Noteworthy news of the day: a Lanvin + H&M collection due out in November! I love French fashion and H&M (although, naturally, I found the H&M stores I've visited in Switzerland and the U.K. to be far superior to the ones we have in LA.. no surprise there), so of course when I read about this I had to feature it on here. Another thing I love? Seeing fabulous designers collaborating with large stores to create accessible and affordable lines. Some people scoff at the idea, but I say, pourquoi pas? Of course, they are remaining tight-lipped about the details of the collection, so we are left to imagine (and anticipate) great things. Doubt that we will be disappointed! And, of course, I had to put together a little collage to get us all excited. Note: this is NOT the actual H&M collection (as I said, I have no idea what the actual collection will consist of). Just a few Lanvin pieces that I liked.

Thoughts? On Lanvin, on H&M... on the fact that we are now in the month of September?? Say it with me now: When did THAT happen?

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coffee Break

Anyone remember me going on and on about experimenting with new nail polish earlier this month? Well, I finally ventured out and picked up a bottle of Coffee Break by Orly, and here I present to you the end result. What do you girls think? I personally am loving this warm beige-mocha shade! Also: I just had to show you all another of my recent purchases, this two-finger cross ring from Forever 21. Anyway, I thought I'd keep today's post short and sweet. Of course I want to thank everyone that has been commenting... I love knowing that I have at least some readers out there, somewhere. I've got exciting plans and ideas for this blog so do stick around! xo

Be sure to follow me on TWITTER & BLOGLOVIN

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lust List: Cool & Casual

As someone who loves to shop and make fun collages and such, I can't believe I had not discovered Polyvore earlier! But now, thanks to reader and fellow blogger Vivian from Diamonds and Tulle, I have stumbled upon this Shopstyle-esque site and, as you can imagine, have been having lots of fun with it. Here's the first one I created, a compilation of items that I loved... I know it's more of a summer look rather than upcoming A/W, but with the triple digits we've been having in LA lately, it's hard to imagine shopping for chunky sweaters and boots right now (though I LOVE shopping for Autumn).

Stripe Crop Tee $26 - Metropark
Self Belt Pleat Front Shorts 15 GBP - Jane Norman
Balenciaga Arena Classic Velo $1,445 - Barney's
Tory Burch Reva Leather Ballerina Flats $235 - Net-a-porter
Loree Rodkin Lacy Bondage Ring 10,000 GBP - Browns
Marcel Drucker Women's 24-497 Gold-tone Yorkie Charm Bracelet Watch $150 - Endless
People-Ivory Super Sunglasses $160 - Gargyle

Okay so most of these items are not cheap by any means. But a girl can dream, can't she? ;]

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Take Me to the Movies

If it hasn't been made clear already, I love movies. I watch a lot of movies. I definitely rent (huge Netflix fan) more than I actually go see a movie in the theater, though. I couldn't tell you why that is... it just always works out that way. In all honesty, there haven't been many new films out recently that I just couldn't wait to go and see. That being said, Eat, Pray, Love was the first one in a long time I was actually excited about (though I have yet to see it..) and now here are two more upcoming films I'm genuinely interested in seeing once they're in theaters...

I always love a good action flick, and this one looks like it should be really good. I recently read an interview Ben and Blake did for Interview magazine which got me even more excited. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint!

I've been hearing about this one for a long time now, and I mostly want to see it just because I find Mark Zuckerberg's whole story so interesting. The fact that a phenomenon as huge as Facebook was started by one 20-something in his Harvard dorm room... it's crazy! Plus there's something about Jesse Eisenberg that I like in this trailer, can't put my finger on it. He just seems to fit the character really well.

I will keep you guys posted with reviews once I DO see any (or all) of the aforementioned three. Eat, Pray, Love is out right now, while The Town is due out in September and The Social Network follows right on its heels in October.

Thoughts? Oh and don't forget to follow me on TWITTER ♥ And of course, a big thank you to everyone who has been leaving me comments on here xo

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to School Chic

I honestly can't believe summer is over already and it's back to school time! Here are some items I stumbled upon that I thought would be perfect for the occasion. What do you think?

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Movie Monday: Match Point

 "There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose."

The film I decided to feature today is a bit older, but it's one I've seen several times and is up there on my list of favorites. First, I should say it was completely coincidental, two Movie Monday films in a row being Woody Allen/Scarlett Johansson collaborations... I just had to mention this one because of how much I love it. In Match Point, a charming Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Chris, a tennis instructor who uses his quick wit to slip into London's wealthy crowd. It doesn't take long for him to woo Chloe, a wealthy yet slightly uninteresting girl. Suddenly, Chris has this picture perfect life full of extravagance set up for him thanks to his new wife-to-be and her family. The only problem is, he also finds it to be a dull life... until he meets Nola (played by ScarJo), an American actress who also happens to be the girlfriend of Tom, Chloe's brother. And of course, it doesn't take long for Chris to woo her, either. Fast forward to Chris marrying Chloe, all the while finding Nola irresistible, and I think it goes without saying that the plot really picks up here as they begin their steamy affair. I absolutely do not want to give any spoilers away though, because one of the aspects I love most about this film is that it's unpredictable and full of suspense with unexpected twists in all the right places. I will say that the movie revolves around one central theme: luck. It really gets you thinking... how much of our lives is determined by pure chance? Great performances, great casting. This film is artistically made and will most likely stick with you for a while after you've watched it.

Be sure to let me know what you think once you do see it! And also those of you who already have, tell me your thoughts in comments below.

Don't forget to follow me on TWITTER! ♥

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Take a Chance & Don't Ever Look Back

For the past two weeks or so, I haven't been able to stop listening to Katy Perry's newest single, Teenage Dream. It's catchy, it's cute, it's perfect to sing along to in the car. Once I saw the music video, I fell even more in love with the song. I adore Katy, as I find her to be quirky and sweet; she can pull off over-the-top without being obnoxious. But I have to say, she looks so much better when she goes au naturel. In the video, Katy swaps out the neon wigs, funky nails, and sequined Daisy Dukes for minimal makeup, Raybans and hair blowing in the wind. When it comes to rounding out the perfect summertime look, that's essentially all you really need, if you ask me. The video is just as fun and summery as the song is; watching it never fails to make me want to hit the road in a convertible, headed to the beach (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I did this past weekend -- hence my latest city guide -- convertible and all). I'd be surprised if this video doesn't make you want to throw a spontaneous dance party right there on the beach, splashing around in the ocean and jumping into the arms of a guy as hot as the one Katy's got here (admittedly the only thing missing from my beach weekend). He is DEFINITELY a looker... the cherry on top of one of my new favorite music videos. By the way, I think it's worth mentioning that the first time I saw this video was when it premiered on MTV. Nice to see a music channel actually playing music videos for once. Just saying!

Thoughts? Or are you already halfway out the door, headed for the beach?

On a side note, I won't be updating for the next few days, as I'm taking a weekend trip to Dallas... But make sure to keep up with me on TWITTER & BLOGLOVIN! xo

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

L'amour et la Ville: Santa Monica

Sorry for the lack of updates these past couple of days -- I've had family visiting from Australia so I've pretty much been spending all my time with them. I have family all over the world and I absolutely love when they come and visit, not only because I love spending time with them but also because I kind of get to see SoCal through their eyes, if only for a little bit, which is always fun. Cities and attractions that feel so familiar to me are so interesting to tourists. Every time I go to a foreign country, I marvel at the fact that the locals seem almost immune to the beauty around them; some look out to a view of the Eiffel Tower every morning, while others pass by the Colosseum daily on their way to school. It never occurred to me that the same may be said about Californians with certain famous landmarks and cities. It may not be nearly as beautiful or interesting (in my opinion) as other parts of the world, but it is definitely worth a visit. So while shopping in Santa Monica over the weekend, I decided it would be perfect for me to feature a local city for my next guide on here. Because, even if it's not really new to me, it's a fun place to visit for locals AND for tourists.

1. Third Street Promenade: Much, much better than being stuck in an indoors mall. Small shops, cafes and restaurants line the strip, where you'll find something for everyone -- Victoria's Secret, Urban Outfitters, surf shops... you get the picture. As you walk along the street, you'll hear live music, watch quirky street performances, and see so many different kinds of people. For lunch (or dinner) there's such a wide variety... everything from loud bars to nice sit down restaurants, and even a food court full of fast food options for those on the go. It's definitely a fun and lively place to be, and it definitely doesn't hurt that the shopping is good too!

2. The Pier: Possibly the most famous part of Santa Monica, with its beautiful big ferris wheel that lights up every night. Grab ice cream from the old fashioned Soda Fountain and feel like a kid again... play the arcade games, ride the rollercoaster or the historic carousel, visit the aquarium, all with a perfect view of the ocean. Everything you might picture when you think of a typical California beach is right here on the pier. If you're looking for something even more adventurous, take lessons at the trapeze school.

3. The beach: And of course, there's the beach. Lay out with a good book or magazine and tan, go surfing or swimming in the ocean, or play some beach volleyball. Visit the famous muscle beach, where you can work out with the ocean in the backdrop, or go biking along the South Bay bicycle trail. No matter where you're coming from, California beaches are a must... they may not be the most beautiful in the world by any means, but they are definitely part of that SoCal vibe that you can really only experience here.

There you have it, lovelies. Hopefully now you'll add Santa Monica to your list of things to do on your next trip to California! Local readers, feel free to leave comments with more suggestions that I may have forgotten!

Don't forget to follow me on TWITTER & BLOGLOVIN

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Get the Look: Miranda Kerr

For today's Get the Look post, I decided to feature an outfit recently worn by Miranda Kerr, whose style I adore. She always looks so sweet and chic, even in the simplest of outfits. Miranda was photographed last month as she stepped out with her beau, Orlando Bloom, shortly after the two tied the knot. I love the whole maxi dress/scarf/flats combination... comfortable without looking like a mess! And not only was her outfit a hit, she herself looked so, so happy which I think is really key to a great look -- a smile.

What do you think of this look? Or of Miranda? Remember, you can click the photo above for a closer look!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

For the Love of James

Yesterday morning, as I was having my coffee, I happened to stumble upon the September cover of Esquire magazine online. And who should be right there, staring back at me, but the incredibly handsome James Franco? It's no secret that he happens to be one of my favorite actors, since I first saw him in an old film called Whatever It Takes. Since then, I have seen his fun, eccentric pieces like Freaks & Geeks and The Ape (a quirky film that was written and directed by Franco himself) and his bigger hits like Spider Man and Pineapple Express (I actually attended the premiere for the latter in Los Angeles... saw him in the lobby, and I have to say he is just as good looking in person). The man is a chameleon, going from portraying the brooding and mysterious James Dean to a lovable stoner who goes through the duration of an entire film in pajamas. And, to top it all off, he's a scholar, too -- recently graduated from UCLA only to head straight to Columbia and NYU. Sigh. Ok, ok, on to the good stuff... I present to you, a couple of my favorite photos from the Esquire spread.

I have yet to see the actual issue itself; from what I saw online, the feature was actually done in an interesting way, putting Franco under the microscope through five different perspectives. The profile takes on different art forms: poetry, narrative, and video are all included in the online version of the spread.

So, do tell... what do YOU think of Mr. Franco?

Don't forget to follow me on TWITTER & BLOGLOVIN

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

L'amour et la Ville: Venice

As I've said in my very first post, I am a girl who loves, loves, loves to travel. I have an ever growing list of countries I want to visit, and literally any chance I get to hop on a plane and fly far from LA, I take. So once in a while, I'll put up posts about some of my favorite cities, with my own personal photos and experiences. For today, I wanted to do a little bit of a city guide to a stunning city: Venice, Italy. Use this guide to take on all the must-sees and must-dos of Venice, even if you have as little as a day to spend there! Click below to read more...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Monday: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

"Maria Elena used to say that only unfulfilled love can be romantic."

For my first Movie Monday, I wanted to cover one of my favorite films ever: Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I'm sure a lot of you have already seen it but for those who haven't -- it's an absolute must. Equal parts witty, dramatic, and enticing, you will not want to turn away for a second once you start watching this beautifully made Woody Allen flick. The film chronicles two best friends, Vicky and Cristina, as they spend a summer in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. Things take an interesting turn when the duo meets Juan Antonio, a suave and smooth-talking local artist. The story unravels as the girls get to know Juan Antonio, and later, his fiery ex-wife, Maria Elena. I'll stop there because I don't want to accidentally reveal any spoilers, but I have to say this movie will more or less leave you wanting to have your own rendezvous with a mysterious stranger in Europe. And I have to say, the casting in this film was so perfect. A lot of times, when watching a movie, I think about which actors or actresses would have fit the roles better than those who had been cast; with this particular film, I found that no one would have played the parts better. Javier Bardem is the perfect Juan Antonio and Scarlett Johanssen is the perfect Cristina. But above all else, Penélope Cruz gives the most impeccable performance as the emotionally unstable yet wildly passionate artist, Maria Elena. The subtly funny narration tops the whole thing off -- so great in timing and tone, I found the narrator to be that perfect finishing touch.

So, you already know what you should be renting for your next movie night, dolls! Let me know what you think!

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter & Bloglovin! xo

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

C'était.. un mammouth!

So rather than my usual lengthy posts, I decided to make this one short and sweet. I wanted to share with you all one of my absolute favorite videos, in which the cutest little French girl named Capucine tells us a captivating fairy tale. I guarantee this will put a smile on your faces -- the perfect way to start your Sunday morning, no?

Oh and it only gets better! Capucine has teamed up with Edurelief to design a bunch of t-shirts, magnets, etc. Proceeds go to helping children in Mongolia. Love it! Click here to see how you can contribute.

Have a great day, everyone! xo

I am in no way affiliated with Capucine, Edurelief, or whoever uploaded this video. Just stumbled upon it on Youtube and thought I'd pass it along!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Five-ish

So for my first Friday post, I decided to do something called the Friday Five-ish. It'll basically just be a brief (or maybe not so brief, as I tend to have a problem with cutting my writing down sometimes... but I'll try, I promise!) round-up of topics. Things I am loving at the moment. Events. People. Thoughts. Anything, really. This is usually done on other blogs or sites as the "Friday Five", but I like to keep it open, as sometimes I may have lots to say and sometimes not much at all. It may or may not carry on as a weekly feature... we'll see how it plays out, how I like it, how you all like it. Never know until you try, right? This blog was essentially built on that philosophy, after all. So let's dive right in! 

1. If there's one thing you need to know about me, it's that I have a huge sweet tooth. And to go off on that tangent, another fun fact: I also really like to cook and especially to bake. Lately, I've been playing around in the kitchen, toying with some of my favorite desserts. Recently, it was tiramisu... mostly because my sister and I had just returned from our trip to Italy and were feeling nostalgic (to say the least). Needless to say, it turned out good but nowhere near as good as the ones we would have in Rome. Anyway, I've really been wanting to attempt crème brûlée next, another all time favorite. I've already found some great recipes online, but I'm kind of iffy about the whole flambeé part, which involves a kitchen torch and is very much necessary, because it essentially gives you the hard sugar coat on top. I know this is a bit of a stretch here but I have to ask -- anyone out there happen to have any experience with this? Any good tips that will make the last bit a little easier? At any rate, I'll keep you all posted.

2. Something else I've been feeling the urge to try out and experiment with lately? Nail polish. I'm one of those people who always has to have perfectly manicured nails at all times, even if sometimes that means just keeping them natural with a clear coat. Most of the time, though, I stick to my 3 or 4 tried and true favorites, which are either very light (along the neutral/pink lines), super dark, or the perfect shade of red, not really paying any mind to the season or the nail trends of the moment. But now, I've been seeing pretty shades of grey, mint green, taupe, and light lavender and I just can't resist. So I think I may have to go with something completely new and different next time -- recommendations?

3. And finally, I have to say I was excited to see Julia Roberts as the cover girl for the September issue of ELLE. I've more or less been keeping up with her as she does her promotional rounds for Eat, Pray, Love because I absolutely can't wait to see the film (love Julia and loved the book, so I have to admit I'm expecting great things.. Ryan Murphy, please don't let me down!). To this day, I can never NOT watch Pretty Woman when it's on. And while all three covers were stunning, I wanted to share instead the two images from the shoot that were my personal favorites...

Gorgeous, right? Happy Friday, everyone! As always, I'd love to read your thoughts in comments! xo

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rough Drafts

Oh how I wish I wasn't so artistically challenged. For as long as I can remember, I have had no ability whatsoever to sit down, sketchbook and pencil in hand, look at a neatly arranged bowl of fruit or vase of flowers, and recreate an almost carbon copy of the object onto paper. Now, I know this feat is possibly easier said than done, and very few people can actually create said carbon copies... but I would've at least liked to possess the ability to create an image remotely resembling its original. Throughout elementary school, art class consisted of little to no actual instruction, led by a rather discouraging woman who apparently didn't believe in words of endearment, regardless of the fact that her students were between the ages of 6 and 14 and could, at the time, really use it. This coming from a private school. No matter -- from then on, I was convinced that I was incapable of creating any piece of art worth taking even half a second look at. This wasn't just in my head, either... on several occasions since those fruitless elementary school art days I HAVE tried setting aside my personal inhibitions to put in real effort and see what the end result will be. In high school, the one art class I took was one that was required of us, and even then I would actually attempt tirelessly to complete the assignments everyday... only to pass them on to my best friend later (who happens to have impeccable sketching and painting skills) to complete for me.

This all came to mind when, just recently, I was sitting in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and observing a local who looked to be around my age, standing about a foot away from a marble bust and sketching swiftly into a leather bound notebook, glancing up at her subject every so often and very rarely erasing her markings to make adjustments. I admired her then, thinking to myself how lovely it must be to pick up a book and go spend an afternoon at the local museum, sketching away effortlessly (granted, she lives in one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to, a city bursting with art and culture and inspiration, the city that was once home to Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci -- but I digress). I imagine it to be liberating, satisfying, and even somewhat therapeutic. I guess that's what writing is for me, though. I turn to writing when in need of comfort and, more often that not, comfort is what I find. So maybe we all have that sort of medium, there to serve us loyally by providing us with that sense of freedom, relief, comfort, revitalization, whatever it may be -- in the form of drawing, writing, running, creating music, cooking, twirling batons, and so on. So maybe I'm not the next Monet... there's only so much I can do about that. For now, I'll frequent art history courses in place of drawing 101, leaving the painting to the pros and continuing on as an admirer.

Oh and by the way, how great are those sketches? The first is Dolce and Gabbana, second is Christian Dior. I love looking at designer sketches almost as much as I love looking at fine art... I find them so fun and inspiring. See -- appreciation. In this particular case, it's what I do best.

So now, dear readers, I'm curious: what is that one thing YOU turn to when you need to let go and relax? 

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Get the Look: Nicole Richie

One of my favorite style icons, Nicole Richie, stepped out to attend driving school earlier this summer looking effortlessly cool, as per her usual. Although I did catch myself wondering how weather appropriate the outfit was (thick black tights, a denim jacket and an oversized scarf in June? in Los Angeles??), I can't bring myself to say anything negative about her choices, as each and every piece comes together to create such a pretty look without looking like she's trying too hard... or trying at all, for that matter. The Nicole we see now seems so far removed from the Nicole who got her in this whole driving school mess in the first place -- and her style reflects that completely. Further goes to show that one's style is an extension of oneself. Nicole has embraced her current role as mother, girlfriend, designer, and philanthropist and she really looks the part. Gone are her Simple Life days of partying with Paris Hilton, and I have to say I adore this Nicole much more than the younger firecracker one. And so, for those of us who don't exactly have the Nicole Richie budget, I recreated the look using much more affordable and accessible pieces (some of which you might already have in your closet, ie the scarf or tights!). Here's what I came up with...

And voilà... a chic and easy outfit à la Nicole Richie, perfect for a lunch date or even a day out running errands (for a closer look, click on the picture to enlarge). 

What do you think of this look, or Nicole in general? Whose style are YOU head over heels for? Let me know in the comments! xo

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Places You'll Go...

For those of you who are unable to get away this summer due to financial reasons, or because you’re stuck working or in a classroom… I present to you the next best thing. Grab a copy of Alice Steinbach’s Without Reservations, as well as your drink of choice (whether it be a decadent cappuccino or something fruity with an umbrella in it), throw on some sunglasses and/or a cute floppy hat, and lounge out for what will undoubtedly be a truly enjoyable and thoroughly indulgent read. With a writing style that is effortlessly breezy and familiar, Steinbach pulls you into her story like a girlfriend you’ve known for years, intimately reminiscing about the discoveries she made during her travels. Reflecting on the moments of clarity, the memorable encounters, and the unforgettable sights that can only be found abroad, Steinbach pulls you deeper and deeper into her journey to some of Europe’s most glamorous and intriguing cities. She shares funny anecdotes, sweet rendezvous with eccentric strangers, and her innermost desires: from wanting to get in touch with her inner daredevil, who craves spur of the moment adventures and explorations, to her interest in picking up ballroom dancing. Immerse yourself shamelessly in this brilliant little memoir, starting out in France and making your way to England before wrapping your European adventure up in Italy. Allow yourself to get lost in each city, with Steinbach acting as both your tour guide and trusty companion. An easy read, I am positive you will soon be turning to this book every time you crave that escape from reality. And, in addition to providing you with that beautiful escape, this book will inspire you and prompt you to open up your own mind and heart to the endless possibilities that are out there, if only we are willing and able to take a moment out of our hectic schedules and just… breathe. And observe. And listen. And play. And learn. And laugh.

So, open up to the first page and let your mind wander to Europe… no packing, no pricey (and unbearably long) flights, no jetlag. Just you and Alice Steinbach, discovering the gems and wonders each stunning city has to offer. And be sure to come back here and let me know what you think once you’ve finished reading! Also do not hesitate to leave me your favorite travel memoirs… I love adding book recommendations to my ever growing to-read list.

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For the past few days, I've been putting a lot of thought into my first post, continuously turning a couple of ideas over and over in my head. Generally speaking, I've never been very good at introductions to begin with; this is made doubly awkward by the fact that, at this point, I can't imagine having more readers than I can count on one hand. I guess I can start this blog off by telling you the very basics about myself: I'm a college student from Los Angeles who loves to write, travel, read, shop, eat good food, meet new people, see things that inspire me and make me think, and just enjoy life to the fullest as often as possible. So there's me in a nutshell. This blog will be a direct reflection of that: book and film reviews, travel writing, outfit posts, articles or photos I come across that are inspiring or intriguing. I'm hoping to share memories, tips, musings, whatever. All I can do is express myself as best I can and hope you will all join me for the ride. xo