Color Crush: Blush

In the summertime, I always gravitate to lightweight, pale-colored clothing.   This season is no different because I have a serious crush on blush. It is a perfect color for summer, even though I wear it all-year round, because it is a soft, light, and feminine color. When it is super hot outside, you don’t want to be in a dark color, and blush is a great way to cool things down. It has been a very popular color for the past couple of seasons and it is not losing steam anytime soon. With most pink hues, you run the risk of looking too Elle Woods or like a bottle of Pepto Bismol. However, blush is such a subtle version of pink that you can’t go wrong with either wearing it as an accent or the star. When styling your favorite blush pieces, keep in mind that it works well paired with navy, white, nude, or grey. If you love blush but don’t want to look too girly, try pairing it with a darker hue like navy or brown; it really changes the look. My last color crush was all about wearing white head-to-toe. I know that some of my readers didn’t like the idea of it, so wearing an all blush ensemble is a great compromise. If I can’t convince you, maybe these fabulous styles can? In this roundup, I have selected a few items that have been on my wish list for a while now. That’s no surprise though; I am currently very attracted to this color and believe that it should be on your top of your list for summer fashion must-haves!

 
 
Color Crush: Blush


Color Crush: Blush Color Crush: Blush Color Crush: Blush

 

 

IN THIS POST:

1. Zara – Tw0-Tone Flat Shoes | 2. Asos – Skater Dress | 3. Gigi New York – Desert Rose Carly Convertible Clutch | 4. La Mer Collections – Del Mar Watch | 5. Zara – Short Sleeve Knit Top | 6. H&M – Knee Length Skirt | 7. Dorothy Perkins – Tie Waist Joggers | 8. Kate Spade NY – Color Pop Necklace | 9. J.Crew Factory – Beach Sweater | 10. Kendra Scott – Parker Drusy Stud Earrings | 11. Essie – “Angel Food” Nail Polish | 12. Mango – Minimal Dress | 13. Joie – Kidmore Dusty Sneakers

 
 
 

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Movies & Films Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl & The Wolfpack

The Life Saving Power Of Cinema

By Johnny Pomatto

We all watch movies to be entertained, but they can serve a greater purpose and provide us with therapeutic comfort when we need it most.  Two movies currently in theaters, (one based on fiction, the other on fact) demonstrate the life-saving power of film better than any other example in recent memory.

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ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

While I do my best to go into every movie I see with a completely open mind, sometimes I simply have to acknowledge that some movies out there just weren’t made for me.  This is why I can’t fully begrudge someone’s love of a film like “The Hunger Games,” even though I find it a complete bore.  This time last year there was a niche film that seemed to have a surprising amount of crossover appeal, the film adaptation of “The Fault in Our Stars,” and while I was able to admire some better than average performances in it, I still found it to be typical, by the books, young-adult fare.  Jesse Andrews’ film adaptation of his teen novel ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL features many of the same tropes that one might expect from a weepy “teen with cancer” movie, but it spoke to me in a way that “Fault” never was able to do, primarily because I found the characters so real and instantly recognizable.  It’s possible that I may be overly biased in favor of this movie because the person that I recognized most in this movie was none other than myself.

Thomas Mann plays Greg, and there’s nothing about Greg that stands out as especially remarkable and he’s certainly not the gorgeous heartthrob we’re used to seeing in these kinds of films.  Neither social outcast nor notably popular, Greg prefers to go by unnoticed.  He even claims not to have any friends, refusing to acknowledge his close attachment with the titular “Earl,” referring to him only as his business partner.  What business is this?  Well, Greg and Earl are obsessed with classic films, and this was the moment when I started to get excited.  Never have I seen a movie for and about teens that knowingly referenced the films of Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, and Powell & Pressburger, to name but a few.  Greg even has a shelf of Criterion Collection DVD’s that rivals my own collection.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Nobody can compete with my collection, but I digress.  As if their film preferences doesn’t make them outcasts already, Greg and Earl’s primary hobby consists of taking these films that their classmates have already never heard of, and making silly parodies of them.  These titles, which include “Pooping Tom” and “2:48 PM Cowboy,” frequently made me laugh out loud, and it’s a good thing I was laughing because the rest of the movie deals with considerably darker subject matter.

The aforementioned “Dying Girl” is Rachel, a classmate of Greg’s whom he has no relationship with, until his hippie beatnik parents, (a note-perfect Connie Britton and Nick Offerman), encourage him to befriend when she’s suddenly diagnosed with Leukemia.  For Greg, who has made such a conscious effort to not get too close to anyone, this is a task with seemingly no reward.  He can’t imagine that his uncomfortable presence could possibly make Rachel feel better, and he assumes that this doomed friendship can only make him feel worse.  Even the hope of a weepy romance between the two is almost immediately ruled out, a relief to both the awkward Greg, as well as to myself, so thankful that I wouldn’t have to sit through a retread of the plot points from “Fault in Our Stars.”  ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is a film about something more important than a first love marred by sadness.  Instead it’s about friendship, which doesn’t get nearly as much focus and energy put towards it in the Hollywood climate.  The film realizes that potentially losing a close friend to illness is a complicated enough topic without mixing it with feelings of love along the way.  Eventually, Greg and Earl attempt to make an original film as a gift for Rachel, overwhelming Greg with pressure of having to express his creative side for someone other than himself.  The boy who avoided establishing friendships for fear of losing them suddenly has to face the real fact that some friendships have to actively be fought for in order to keep, while others may be lost while he remains powerless to save them.

The film does hit a few of the beats you’d expect from a young-adult novel, though I was astonished to discover that I never fully knew where the story was heading.  Not only did the twists and turns continually surprise me in unexpected ways, but the subject matter was presented with a tremendous sense of humor that lifted even the saddest moments into a light and airy tone that always reassured me to stay transfixed on the screen.  Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon utilizes tricks such as stop-motion animation, obscure but well-earned references, and sardonic voice over to tell this fairly familiar story in a totally unique way.  Rejon’s style reminds me very much of the earlier films of Wes Anderson, when that young director didn’t yet have the budget or the trustful audience to create the elaborate, life-sized dioramas that he dreamed of, instead settling for subtle homages to films that nobody would recognize but himself.  Rejon has hardly settled with this film, bringing a freshness to a genre that I thought had no surprises left in store for me.  Given his clear respect and understanding for the classic films displayed in this film, I would say that Rejon’s options are limitless in terms of where he can go from here.  I can’t wait to see where he ends up next.

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THE WOLFPACK

Even the worst movies can provide us with some fleeting escapism from our everyday lives.  This is nevermore true than for the teenage children of the Angulo family, in Crystal Moselle’s new documentary THE WOLFPACK.  The offspring of a Peruvian immigrant and a Midwestern mother, the seven Angulo children, (6 boys and 1 girl, each with their toothy grins and hair down to their waists), have led an incredibly sheltered life.  Unclear if inspired by severe over-protection or familial religious beliefs, the Angulo’s spent almost their entire adolescence inside their lower east side apartment, sometimes going years without leaving it.  Their only source of relief and window to the outside world is the thousands of movies they’ve watched over the years, which make such an impression on them that they spend almost all of their time making elaborate recreations of their favorite scenes, which they film for nobody to see but themselves.  These one-room pageants are remarkably impressive, with costumes like a Batman suit made out of cardboard, and impressions of stars such as John Travolta and Steve Buscemi being shockingly on point.  Early scenes of the brothers remaking “Reservoir Dogs” shot by shot are very amusing, but Moselle luckily has purer motivations than to just stuff her film with adorable sequences of the boys performing tricks like animals in a zoo.

Moselle first discovered the brothers when the eldest and most adventurous, Mukunda, decided he had had enough and ventured out into the world alone for the first time while wearing a homemade mask of Michael Meyers from the “Halloween” films.  Moselle witnessed his behavior and ultimate arrest, and was determined to learn more about the family.  It’s unclear how or why the boys’ father would allow the intrusion into their lives, even after the family’s secret is revealed.  The father figure spends almost the entirety of the film locked in his own room drinking wine, which is a shame because the film occasionally really lacks answers that one could imagine their father could provide if he were only willing.  Moselle had little experience behind the camera, and sometimes in the earlier moments of the process that’s all too clear.  I wondered if she was fully capable of both documenting the boys’ introduction to independence as well as initiating it.  Numerous sequences seem to be presented like scientific experiments, just to see how the boys would react to new experiences, such as their first theatrical movie or stepping into the ocean for the first time at Coney Island.  That’s not to say there isn’t a great deal of fascinating revelations made from observing these boys’ interaction in the busy metropolis that they’ve previously only viewed through their windows.  Mukunda does most of the speaking for the group and seems to be the most comfortable with his new predicament, though I continued to wonder if any of the teenage brothers would ever be able to live fully independently of their father’s home, or if a few of them even wanted to, growing up with so many dreams but also fears of what was beyond their doors.  It’s easy to escape into a movie when you know that you’ll be able to return to the safety of your room when cameras stop rolling, but the boys typically look uncomfortable in public environments and I wondered if they would have been so brave in exploring if they didn’t have a documentary film crew leading the way.

I don’t mean to accuse the film or Moselle of exploiting the Angulo family, or suggest that the events feel too staged, as the storytelling is often intentionally and effectively leaving out gaps where many changes and decisions have been made, but I did sometimes feel like Moselle was in more control than the film required her to be.  Still, THE WOLFPACK is a strange, funny, and deeply mysterious film that left me with a lot of questions afterward.  Though sometimes unanswered questions isn’t a bad thing when one gets the feeling that a documentary’s subjects might be better off if they were left alone to figure things out for themselves.

Hear more of Johnny Pomatto’s reviews on his podcast MOVIES AND FILMS WITH JOHNNY AND FRIENDS available on iTunes

9 to 5 Style For Beating the Summer Heat

There is one style that I haven’t talked a lot about on this blog, and that is work wear attire.  Most of us working 9 to 5 have to look our best five days a week while still staying true to our individual style.   This can get even trickier when it’s so humid out that we feel like human Popsicles.  Forget applying makeup or styling your hair; getting to a morning meeting not looking like a mess can be a challenge during a hot summer.  No matter how little we feel like wearing, if you don’t work from home, you still have to try looking professional.  That is what has inspired this week’s style guide.  I have put together three outfits for you that are a great start to looking chic and stylish while staying as cool as possible.  Better yet, all of these outfits make the transition from day to night seamlessly, so you don’t have to worry about what to wear later.  When putting together the perfect summer 9 to 5 outfit, remember that prints and bright colors are your friends.  Most of the time in the summer, we are our worst critics.  We may look great on the outside, but on the inside, we are convinced we’re a sweaty mess.  Wear a bold color or an eye-catching print to boost your mood.  These outfits should get the creative juices flowing so that you can put together outfits that give you the confidence that you are ready for the workday.

   9 to 5 Style For Beating the Summer Heat1. Shinymix – Golden Wilderness Necklace | 2. Matisse – D’Orsay Laser Cut Flats | 3. COS – Round Shoulder Dress (on sale) | 4. Kendra Scott – Cassie Bracelet (on sale) | 5. Marc by Marc Jacobs – Metropolitote Tote (on sale)

 

 9 to 5 Style For Beating the Summer Heat
1. Julie Vos – Lion Stone Stud | 2. Julie Vos – Imperial Stacking Bangle | 3. Calvin Klein – Nasi Leather T-Strap Sandal | 4. Mango – Wrapped Jumpsuit | 5. Choies – Striped Blazer | 6. Ann Taylor – Pebbled Signature Tote

 

 9 to 5 Style For Beating the Summer Heat 1. J.Crew Factory – Laser Cut Tee | 2. Sole Society – Freyaa Gladiator Sandal | 3. H&M – Textured Jersey Skirt | 4. Kate Spade NY – Charm Bracelet | 5. Jules Smith – Americana Classic Earrings | 6. Zara – Perforated Shopper Bag

 

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Movies & Films: Jurassic World Review

 

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Not With A Roar But With A Whimper

By Johnny Pomatto

In the summer of 1993 I saw “Jurassic Park” and I’ve been chasing that film-going experience ever since.  The film ranks high with the very best of Steven Spielberg’s escapist adventures and time has been very kind to it.  Although we’ve gotten a few sequels throughout the years, ranging from disastrous misfire (“The Lost World”) to silly dumb fun (“Jurassic Park III”), Hollywood has never given up their quest to return to the island and introduce the dinosaur theme park to a new generation.  After several failed attempts, we finally have JURASSIC WORLD, a film that proves that “bigger” and “more” isn’t always a guaranteed improvement.  While I fully expect the film to be a gargantuan hit, my nostalgia couldn’t fully allow me to overlook its many troubling faults.

Colin Treverow’s JURASSIC WORLD doesn’t waste any time getting to the theme park, and what we see there is pretty astonishing.  There’s a certain kind of wish fulfillment as the skeleton of a park from the first film appears to be a thriving business with thousands of visitors.  But the film cynically tells us that the customers are bored with typical, run of the mill dinosaurs and that the park must add strange and new attractions to lure people through the gates, including the catalyst of the film: a genetically modified dinosaur that has new deadly tricks of camouflage and cunning.  While the heroic characters in the film scoff at the idea of teenage hipsters being too cool to be impressed by plain old dinosaurs, the movie treats its audience the same way, thinking that the only way for the sequel to impress is to forgo the subtle horror of the first film, in favor of large scale action sequences and dinosaur fights.  That might be easily forgivable if the dinosaurs were visually appealing, but this brings me to the film’s biggest problems.

The very first shot of the film is of a baby raptor hatching out of an egg, but something about it looks strange.  We already know what a hatching raptor looks like, because we saw it in the first film.  But this dinosaur looks like a cartoon straight out of one of the “Ice Age” movies.  Spielberg’s original film was a revolutionary coming-out party for a new age of digital effects, but he still used them sparingly alongside animatronics, which is why the effects still look so seamless today.  The majority of the dinosaurs in JURASSIC WORLD are computer creations and their animation is wildly inconsistent.  Some of the CGI, (such as the raptor scenes and various flying dinosaurs) is detailed enough to appear convincing, but other times you’re looking at so much animation you begin to wonder if there’s anything physical in the shot that you’re watching or if it’s just green screen on green screen.  About halfway through the film, Chris Pratt cradles a dying dinosaur and I realized that the thing he was holding was in fact a robotic prop.  The visual was in such jarring contrast with the rest of the film that it made me feel like I was watching a completely different movie.  Perhaps the robotic models look just as fake as the digital effects, but at least they look like a physical thing that you can reach out and touch.

Sudden A-lister Chris Pratt does a decent job carrying the film and playing one of its only likeable characters.  He has some well played moments but much of his effortless charm that he exuded in “Guardians of the Galaxy” last summer is muted.  Jake Johnson plays a small role as a technician and provides the film with some essential comic relief.  He comes damn near close to walking away with the movie with just a few brief scenes, but I kept thinking that a couple years ago, that would have been the role that Pratt would have played, and it might have been a more appealing task for him.  The rest of the film is mostly comprised of a cast of villains.  If the film is lacking a funny wiseass like Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, it has plenty of John Hammond’s in its place.  While the first film let us see the park through the eyes of a few lucky visitors, this one generally keeps us amidst park employees, who have long since forgotten the magic and wonder that could have appreciatively been rubbed off on the audience.  While the body count may be relatively high by the end of the film, many of the people responsible for such carnage are our supposed protagonists.  Bryce Dallas Howard’s corporate supervisor deserves to be torn apart by dinos for all she’s done, rather than given the chance to be Chris Pratt’s girlfriend after some half-assed attempts at redemption.  Just because her character is not quite as evil as Vincent D’Onofrio’s isn’t reason enough to let her or any of the other attractive park employees off the hook.  The closest things we get to innocent protagonists are two children, (Howard’s nephews) who get chased around the park and don’t seem to emerge that transformed after their harrowing journey.  Considering the hook of this film is to show us a park that’s fully operational, it’s a shame we never get to see it through the eyes of an average tourist.  My further enjoyment of the film could have easily have been resting on one well cast comedic actor in the role of an average audience surrogate, but alas the film is more interested in taking us behind the scenes, rather than immersing us in the world as if we were a part of it.

I can’t say there was nothing about the film that didn’t enjoy.  After a clunky first hour, the film finally delivers a few memorable action set pieces in the final act, (such as a fun pterodactyl attack and raptor chase through a forest), but even the best bits feel like too little, too late.  There’s nothing to rival the terrifying kitchen sequence from the first film or the T-Rex escape.  The villainous genetically enhanced dinosaur doesn’t provide that many scares on its own, and when it makes its own escape, I was left saying to myself “that’s it?”  It’s discouraging that the T-Rex, the symbol of the entire franchise, is reduced to not much more than a cameo, and only under the cover of darkness where its special effects are mostly hidden from us.  Worst of all, I kept wondering where do these films go from here?  This clearly wasn’t meant to be a one-off revisit, but rather the beginning of a new series.  But if you begin your saga with a fully operational park under attack, (insuring that  it will never allow to be opened again), then how do you up the stakes in your sequel?  The filmmakers seemed so determined to give us everything they thought we always wanted that they didn’t leave any room to grow, though plenty to improve upon.  Though perhaps the greatest gift they could have given us was to leave well enough alone.  The original film’s theatrical rerelease from a few years ago introduced itself to a new generation and few people who saw it for the first time left the theater anything short of awestruck.  Perhaps it’s enough to keep a few classics around for revisiting without the need to update them.  Nostalgia will help do some of the work when delivering a so-so product, but it will only get you so far.

 

Hear more of Johnny Pomatto’s reviews on his podcast MOVIES AND FILMS WITH JOHNNY AND FRIENDS available on iTunes

What To Pack For The Beach

Sunshine, sand, and water; is there anything else we need this summer?  I feel my absolute happiest when lying on the beach or by the pool.   Anytime I’m near a body of water, I instantly relax.  The best part of summer is getting away and hitting the beach for a little rest and relaxation.  There are so many cute accessories, beach bags, and swim gear out there that are a must for your next beach day.  One thing not on this list is makeup or jewelry.  The summer is all about fun, so check out these items that I am taking with me on my next beach visit.  Once you have all of these necessary essentials, you’ll be ready for a fun summer ahead!  As always I love hearing from my fabulous readers.  Let me know in the comments below what you’re favorite beach essential is!

 

A Day At the Beach A Day At the Beach A Day At the Beach

IN THIS POST:

1. J.Crew – Nine Space Carmel Beach Towel | 2. Calypso St Barth – Hester Tunic | 3. Sole Society – Jude Sandals | 4. H&M – Straw Hat | 5. TopShop – Poppy Bikini | 6. Hat Attack – Stripe Tote | 7. Madewell – Indio Sunglasses | 8. Macbeth Collection – Bikini Bag | 9. Funboy – Flamingo Float | 10. Essie – “Saltwater Happy” Nail Polish | 11. Shiseido – Sunblock | 12. Rebecca Minkoff – Sunnies Pouch

 
 
 

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Wedding Guest Style

Tis the season for weddings.  Raise your hand if you’re attending a wedding this season?  No matter how many events you have on your calendar, not all weddings are alike.  It wasn’t until I moved to New York City from California that I experienced black tie weddings all year round.  It seems rather cruel to force people to wear black tie in the hot summer months, but if the bride requests it, you do it.  Thankfully, most brides request cocktail attirel for a more informal daytime wedding.  This means that other than wearing denim, anything goes.  The last wedding I went to in California, guests were wearing shorts.  I thought my husband was going to have an aneurism.  When choosing an outfit for a wedding, I am all about comfort.  I never wear anything too tight, I keep my heels at a nice medium height for dancing, and never ever wear white.  Every wedding I have been to, including my own, there has been a rule breaker.  When you think of it, not wearing white is the easiest thing to do, so don’t wear it!  If you have an in with the bride and you know that she has eight bridesmaids wearing navy, maybe pick a different color.  It’s not a requirement, but you do want to stand out in the crowd, right?

No matter what kind of wedding you’re attending this summer, you can’t go wrong with these two outfits.  They are perfect for any wedding dress code whether it’s black tie or cocktail wedding attire.  Also, once wedding season is over, these dresses can be dressed up or down for any future event.  Think this maxi dress is only for an evening wedding?  Throw on some sandals and a jean jacket and you can wear it for the weekend.  Hope these looks inspire you. Enjoy your summer festivities!

 

Wedding Guest Style : Black Tie  1. BaubleBar – Mint Necklace | 2. Julie Vos – Stanton Cuff | 3. Dorothy Perkins – Peach Maxi Dress | 4. Big Buddha – Sweetie Box Clutch | 5. Steve Madden – Stecy Shoe

 Wedding Guest Style: Daytime Wedding

1. Kt Collection –  Gold Link Necklace | 2. Kendra Scott – Robby Link Bracelet | 3. Zara – Crossover Buckle Dress | 4. Rebecca Minkoff – Colorblock Leo Clutch | 5. Louise et Cie – Esperance Pump

 

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Currently Coveting: Scalloped Edge

If you’re looking for a feminine piece to wear this summer, then look no further than the scalloped edge.  Flirty scalloped hems are the perfect way to embrace a summery outfit, especially if you’re traveling to the seaside.  Just don’t overdo it; make sure you limit yourself to one scalloped item when putting together your ensemble.  A little goes a long way, but it is a lovely detail that can really elevate a look in a very minimalist sort of way.  The style is versatile and effortless.  It’s a trend that can easily pass as a classic piece.  I highly recommend you give it a try this season!

 

Currently Coveting: Scalloped Edge Currently Coveting: Scalloped EdgeCurrently Coveting: Scalloped Edge

 

IN THIS POST:

1. Kate Spade – Sweetheart Scallop Necklace |  2. Asos – Scallop Trim Cross Body Bag | 3. Dorothy Perkins – Scallop Hemed Shorts | 4. TopShop – Striped Scallop Mini Skirt | 5. Kate Spade – Brittany Leather Slides | 6. Daisy Street – Scallop Dress | 7. Double Zero – Scalloped Romper | 8. Victoria Secret – Scalloped Bikini Top | 9. Victoria Secret – Scalloped Bikini Bottoms | 10. Oasis – Crochet Scallop Hem Top

 

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