greetings from Alaska: Gabrielle Bernstein video blog [6.28]

I adore Gabrielle Bernstein. Ever since I finished her book I’ve always been looking for ways to continually “add more ~ing” to my life. Her lectures are available for free on iTunes and they’re all amazing. I recommend: Love Wins: Lecture on Releasing Romantic Illusions, Knowing Your Worth, Clarity, InJoy, and I Believe. While some of the content is redundant, I feel it helps keep me focused on staying in touch with my inner guidance system and away from negative patterns. Changing your way of thinking from fearful and ego-driven thoughts is not an immediate process; it requires constant work. Gabrielle is fun and engaging and will inspire you to keep your ~ing work going. I also am tuned into Gabrielle’s YouTube channel where you can access her video blogs. Here is her most recent one, with a clip of Gabrielle in Alaska. (Who sings the song in the beginning? Love it.) Although I would have loved to hear about Gabrielle’s travels in Alaska, she mostly talks about giving up gossip, which is something I think all ladies need to work on. In my current job, gossip is practically nonexistent and I feel it does my inner self good. “InJoy!”

Eat, Pray, Love: the movie [trailer]

Eat, Pray, LoveI am wildly excited for this. I love when I can see a trailer for a movie I’m excited about in the theaters for the first time, which is what happened last Sunday when I went to see Sex and the City 2 (big thumbs down). I knew a movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s amazing true story was coming out, but when I saw that Julia Roberts was playing the (very ambitious) lead role my heart  fluttered. Who else could possibly be more perfect? Women everywhere clamor(ed) over this book and there’s a reason it was a New York Times bestseller for as long as it was: It’s an incredible book. It’s a spiritual travelogue that any woman who has felt lost in relationships (not just within them, but in the habit of being in them) and constantly probed for a deeper meaning in their lives will resonate with. “One woman’s search for everything.” It was one of several important books that profoundly healed me during the most traumatic breakup of my life to date over a year ago, and I can honestly say it changed my life. Originally a library book, I bought it immediately and took pleasure in the battering my paperback copy received from being borrowed and toted by friends soaking up its wisdom. Liz Gilbert is funny and heart-crushingly raw and honest. The book, in its three parts (Eat: Italy; Pray: India; Love: Indonesia) perfectly rounds a journey of insightful healing and unimaginable adventure that most of us aren’t lucky enough to experience firsthand. Gilbert is such a talented writer, you feel there; or at least I did.

The trailer left me breathless. I am always excited to see movies based on books I’ve read. Of course, it is generally true that “the book is better than the movie,” but I am thrilled to see Julia Roberts as Gilbert. Even in the trailer my belly does flip-flops. I. Can. So. Relate. I feel like no one else could take on such an ambitious role and honor it with grace (remember Erin Brockovich?) as Julia herself. My expectations are high.

Eat, Pray, Love is slated to hit US theaters August 13, 2010 (the day before my 25th birthday)!

P.S. This is my 100th post on this blog! Hooray 😀

Sex and the City 2: all glammed up and nowhere to go

[Editor’s note: I am quite possibly the biggest Sex and the City fan ever. I have watched every episode at least 12 times. I adore it all.]

Sex and the City 2 seemed ripe with possibility at first. That glowing “Carrie On” poster. Trailers of glitter and light, piles of more of what we loved. The glitz and glamour, the fabulous city, and the four girls who started it all. Right? Wrong. First of all, the “girls” are definitely not girls anymore. They’re middle-aged women now. Sex and the City was stories of single women in their thirties and their dating escapades and trials with love and life. The show was witty and insightful. The first movie was a peek into their lives as real grown-ups. Miranda and Charlotte got married and have kids, Carrie finally marries Mr. Big, and Samantha–well, she’ll never change. The first movie was a love letter to the series. It had real heart-wrenching moments, good times in the Big Apple and of course, great outfits. It was an extra shot to fill our Cosmopolitan cups, if you will, another fix because we missed our fab foursome. Perhaps Michael Patrick King (writer, director) saw some untapped loyalty in the rabid SATC fan base and decided to milk it for all it was worth.

Milk it they did, creating a film with unreasonable excess ($10 million wardrobe budget: Patricia Field’s ultimate coup!) and a tissue-thin plotline. Suspend all that you once knew about Sex and the City. The characters here might be played by the same actors, but they seem like cardboard cutouts. The movie’s first big event? A white, rhinestone-crusted gay wedding (Stanford and Anthony), replete with swans and a cringeworthy cameo courtesy of Liza Minnelli. Here we set up our general plot points: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is 2 years deep into marriage with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), and just came out with her 4th? 5th? pink and black fake relationship book. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is still with Steve (David Eigenberg) and is struggling to be present for son Brady, while also dealing with a sexist boss (Ron White). Charlotte (Kristin Davis), also still married to Harry (Evan Handler), is deep into mommy-hood with a big-boobed, braless nanny to contend with.  Samantha (Kim Catrall) is facing the onset of menopause–or rather, avoiding it at all costs with pills and creams galore.

PR genius Samantha gets a business offer from a business-savvy sheik so slick she can’t turn it down (courtesy of hot ex boyfriend Smith, who has one scene and then vanishes from the film with no resolution): An all-expenses paid trip for four to Abu Dhabi. Noteworthy is the fact that the United Arab Emirates refused to let the crew shoot on location due to the offensive script, so the desert scenes, which comprise the majority of the film, were shot in Morocco. The ladies, dressed in their Manhattan-goes-to-the-Middle-East-finest, descend upon the city. The whole premise is a huge culture clash and eye-rollingly unrealistic. Even as well-off New Yorkers, the wardrobes are out of control and would make Paris Hilton suggest toning it down. Their gilded suite is the epitome of opulence; they have personal butlers and are waited on hand and foot. None of the girls fit in, least of all Samantha, who eventually gets arrested for public indecency. The film blithely pokes fun at burqas and Muslim modesty, and Samantha literally gives their culture the finger. This aspect of the film–not a mere scene but a huge portion–is culturally inept and painfully shallow.

Plot-wise, things bumble along. Anyone who saw a full-length trailer will know to expect Carrie to cross paths with ex-flame Aidan (John Corbett) –she’s shopping for shoes (of course!) and spices in a foreign bazaar; he’s buying rugs for his NYC furniture store. The sheer chemistry between Parker and Corbett is magnetic. The two wind up sharing a dinner and a kiss–which is quickly smothered by Carrie’s guilt, and we don’t see Aidan again, only Carrie confessing her sin to a wounded Mr. Big. Carrie and Miranda share a heart-to-heart on the woes of being a mother with live-in help (Kristin Davis does give one particularly honest scene and it involves baking cupcakes and vintage Valentino). Samantha is a caricature of herself. Sex-crazed and delirious, she spends the film chasing after dick or smearing herself in yams (since her menopause “supplements” were confiscated at the UAE airport).

The series centered around Carrie, and now there’s nothing left for her to do. At the wedding, a fellow guest gushes about how she “is” Carrie, until she realizes that Carrie and Mr. Big aren’t planning on procreation. They say it’s “me and you, just us two,” but never bring up the baby talk or even explore the topic. Granted, making Carrie a mom would be so cliche, it would break the soul of everything SATC used to be about: Make your own rules. Do what makes you happy, and love yourself. Carrie still writes, but it seems like more of the same. Her marriage to Mr. Big is placidly vanilla; evenings with takeout and a flat-screen TV. Even if that’s what happened, we don’t need to see that. Our Carrie is forever adventurous.

SATC 2 is a fun romp, if you can forget the well-crafted masterpiece that was the HBO series. It’s a chick flick on speed. There’s no sharp narrative or insight here. Nothing but a dervish of self-indulgent “girl power” and decadence from women who are simply too old for their roles, no ageism intended. The show wrapped up the stories perfectly; the first film put a bow on top. It would have been better to go out on a high note. There was simply no story left to tell–continuing the saga leads into the banality of lives that many women are already living, coated in a glamour lifestyle most are not. SATC 2 makes a mockery of the Sex and the City franchise, dumbing it down to avante garde fashion and bawdy laughs. The show had its moments of glamorous excess and was no doubt laced with innuendo, but now it’s gone trashy. SATC 2 utterly lacks authenticity. You won’t see Carrie typing at her window eating a popsicle, and you won’t see Miranda at home in her Harvard tee shirt hanging out with Fatty. SATC 2 is a faint echo of what we once loved. True fans are best to get lost in reruns of the TV series.

multifaceted

Crystals (and raw gemstones and geodes) are everywhere this summer: In art, on clothes, on necklines–even draped around reality’s most obnoxious star, Spencer Pratt. Crystals have long been renowned for their supposed healing and energetic powers. I just think they’re pretty. Whether organic or laser cut, here are some crystals–both real and stylized–that I’ve been enjoying lately.

From Marc Johns. Love.

Above: Force Field necklace from Cursive Design.

Above, clockwise from left: Acne crystal tank (close-up of print), irizided crystal ring by Mark Walsh, “Rock Group” tee by ModCloth, Geode ring by Kabiri, rock candy swizzlers by ohnuts, rock candy bracelet by Kenneth Jay Lane.


Above: Gorgeous watercolor geos by Carly Waito via ArtzSkool.


Above: Spencer Pratt with his crystals; he reportedly spent Valentine’s Day 2010 cuddling with Heidi, their puppy and their crystal. Honestly, WTF.

Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other


Above: Snapshot from I Wish Your Wish, 2003.

I stumbled across this post on The New York Times’ website. Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander is doing another “ribbon” exhibition. Her first exhibition was done in 2003 and was all in Portugese. The concept is simple: Colorful silk ribbons hung en masse on a wall, stamped with the wishes of past visitors. New visitors can take a wish ribbon to wear on their wrists in exchange for writing down a new wish which could be perhaps used in a future exhibition. This work of art is based on a tradition which occurs in a Brazilian church; according to the tradition, when the ribbon falls off, the wish will be fulfilled. The exhibition will be on display June 23 – September 19 at New York City’s New Museum.

Wishes include: “I wish democracy was real,” “I wish it was benign,” “I wish for a job I love,” “I wish for more time with my boyfriend,” “I wish Obama to be re-elected,” “I wish for peace in Afghanistan…” and so on. What would you wish for, if you could declare it on one among many ribbons for all to see?

I also discovered some of her abstract thought bubbles via ffffound and and MoMA, which I think are just so cool in their simplicity.

Toy Story 3

The Toy Story saga comes full circle with Disney & Pixar’s third installment of the tale that follows toys that have a life of their own. When it first came out 15 years ago, Toy Story was a landmark of its time. Now, CGI technology is even more groundbreaking, and the film is produced in subtle yet effective 3D. (There are mixed feelings in the critic’s circle about use of 3D in films — it’s becoming a money-drawing trend and can tend to distract from a film in some cases.) No matter–Toy Story 3 is an animated masterpiece.

We rejoin our old friends Woody and Buzz Lightyear and the gang of Andy’s other toys, including Rex, Hamm, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, and Slinky the dog. Jessie and Bulls Eye are part of the group now, following their introduction in Toy Story 2 where they narrowly escape living an “immortal” toy’s life in a Japanese museum. The Toy Story movies speak to such a wide audience, thanks to not only the colorful characters and lively dialogue, but also the consistent presence of meaningful themes. The toys continue to struggle as they watch Andy grow up and not play with them anymore. Tucked away in a dusty toybox, the toys reminisce of the days when they were played with. The movie’s epic opening scene is both a shout-out to Hollywood’s blockbuster movie mentality and “more is more” philosophy, which turns out to be an enchanting memory of Andy’s childhood playtime.

Alas, Andy is growing up, as all children do, and is headed to college any day. Faced with the task of sorting through his belongings, the fate of the toys becomes uncertain as they are mistakenly taken to the curb–when Andy intended to store them in the garage. Woody is separated from the group, as Andy elected to take him along to college. The toys are devastated because they think they’ve been thrown away, and thus begins a delightful and non-stop adventure.

The gang winds up at Sunnyside Daycare, where promise abounds: The dilemma of the child growing up and outgrowing the toys no longer applies. There is a constant cycle of fresh faces and happy hands overjoyed to play with the toys. Or so it seems. The happy fantasy is thwarted when a certain strawberry scented bear, Lotso, manipulates the situation and forces the toys into the cruel hands of the tots in the “Caterpillar room.” The toys seek escape and try to make their way back to Andy’s house. Notable moments of hilarity: A scene in Ken’s Dream House where he models some of his sequined duds for Barbie, and Mr. Potato Head’s incarnation as a flatbread. I won’t spoil the ending, but be prepared to get misty-eyed at the end, at the very least. Toy Story 3 is a perfect film. It connects with a mass audience, reminding us all of what it was like to be a child. It is bittersweet and thoughtful, as much for grown-ups as it is for kids. (To think I wrote it off as a mere “kid’s movie!”) Overall: Charming, cleanly funny and engaging. A must-see for all.

anchors away: Fleet Week style

One of the trends I’m loving about summer that never really goes out of style is the nautical look. Crisp white and navy look perfect no matter what. Regardless of where you are, it’s just so preppy, clean and timeless. I was inspired by the episode Anchors Away in Season 5 of Sex and the City: Fleet Week comes to NYC! One week every year (typically at the end of May/beginning of June…I’m a bit late with the post), the ships from the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard dock and our fine maritime heroes come ashore to tour the city and have a good time. In Anchors Away, Carrie meets a cute sailor from Louisiana, Charlotte flashes a boob to a naval officer–all in the season that creator Michael Patrick King refers to as a love letter to New York City.

Below: Get inspired with a few nautical-inspired pieces I put together. Mix stripes and solids, throw in rope and knot details, brass buttons and anchor charms and you’ll be ready to set sail.



Above left: It may have been a costume for Halloween, but I adore Lauren Conrad’s “sailor” outfit. She looks cute as heck. Above right: Ralph Lauren is the king of nautical style. His entire collection has always been synced to the lifestyle of The Hamptons. Understated American glamour. All you need is a G&T and to be sitting on a Yacht somewhere.