Archive | June, 2012

Thank you Nora Ephron. Rest in Peace

26 Jun

My heart is heavy with the news this evening about the passing of Nora Ephron. It’s hard to believe and with every tweet/obituary and remembrance I read, I just keep getting sadder.

Nora Ephron. Amazing writer, director, woman.

For ladies of a certain age, and we don’t have to say our age, but let’s just say we grew up in the 80′s, Nora Ephron’s movies and stories were a big deal. They made us believe in the fantasy of love in the movies (when the term chick-flicks was probably born) but somehow relatable to our lives. Nevermind that I was just in high school, the premise of When Harry Met Sally felt like it could be applied to me and all my friends. Todas eramos la “Sally”… (It also introduced us to Harry Connick Jr. who did the soundtrack of the movie.)

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally” 1989. “I came here tonight because when you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible…”

Her writing was smart, funny, had memorable quotes which we can say verbatim, and still manages to hook us in everytime one of her movies is on television. I’ve  probably watched most of them a hundred times, and will see it again if I come across it. “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are my favorites, but then you look at “Julie and Julia” and you are blown away by the performances and the story. Nora Ephron was so massively talented, and so wise and funny, that it seems unfair she should go, when there were so many more stories to tell.

Late in 2010 I was going through a hard time with some personal stuff and happened to listen to an interview on NPR as I was driving. I had to stop the car and have one of those “driveway moments” where you can’t turn the radio off. She was promoting a new book of essays called “I Remember Nothing” but the interview was so fantastic, I had an Aha! moment on the spot. Looking back I wish I could’ve contacted her then to thank her personally for her wisdom and wit. It all seems so relevant today.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview “I Remember Nothing” by Renee Motaigne (All Things Considered)

My religion is ‘Get over it,’” says Ephron. “And I was raised in that religion. That was the religion of my home — my mother saying, ‘Everything is copy; everything is material; someday you will think this is funny.’ My parents never said, ‘Oh you poor thing.’ It was work through it, get to the other side, turn it into something. And it worked with me.”

She also credits her parents with teaching her to focus on the funny side of even the saddest things.

“My mother (taught) me a very fundamental lesson of humor, which is that if you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you, but if you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your joke,” explains Ephron. “And you’re the hero of the joke because you’re telling the story.”

Despite all the I’m-getting-old jokes in Ephron’s new book, the last chapter, called “The O Word,” takes on a more elegiac and wistful tone as Ephron considers the serious implications of aging.

“You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can’t put things off thinking you’ll get to them someday,” she says. “If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I’m very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it.”

For Ephron, there was a moment that helped bring that realization vividly home. She was with friends, playing a round of “What would your last meal be?”

(Her pick, by the way: a Nate & Al’s hot dog.)

“But (my friend) Judy was dying of throat cancer, and she said, ‘I can’t even have my last meal.’ And that’s what you have to know is, if you’re serious about it, have it now,” Ephron says. “Have it tonight, have it all the time, so that when you’re lying on your deathbed you’re not thinking, ‘Oh I should have had more Nate & Al’s hot dogs.

So Thank You Nora Ephron! Godspeed to you and I’m sure you’ll be delighting the angels with your stories up in heaven.

A good amount of links have been popping up all over. Here are some notable ones:

NY Times: From Sharp Edges to Sugary Success

NY Times: Writer and Filmmaker with a Genius for Humor

LA Times: Nora Ephron: A Life in Pictures

Stars react to Nora Ephron’s death

Five Great Nora Ephron Movie Scenes

“People watching” @Dwell on Design LA Expo

22 Jun

The annual Dwell on Design Expo is going on this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center and it’s worth a trip to see. If you’ve ever read Dwell Magazine or like modern simple architecture, interior design and eco friendly materials and buildings, then this is your cup of tea.

I had a chance to go on their preview day and saw very unique and interesting takes on living spaces and everyday items for your home and lifestyle. But this is material for another post since there was so much to see; I still need to sort it out!

Right now I want to post about the very unique PEOPLE that go to the event. I love architects, designers and design enthusiasts. They obviously have a very cool aesthetic and it shows in the way they present themselves to the world with their personal style. They are not afraid to show their personality with their eclectic and often minimalistic outfits. I guess they know they have to match great design spaces, so they see themselves integrated as part of the “package”…

Here’s a few shots of interesting people my camera caught. Lets just say at some point the people watching took over, since there was a great mix of creative individuals.

Go to Dwell this weekend! Entrance is $30 for Saturday and Sunday. From 10am to 6pm at the Convention Center.

LA creative types gathere at the Dwell on Design Expo in DTLA. Great place for people watching!

Isn’t she the coolest person? Love the Cruella hair with the outfit and the flat T strap shoes.

Citrus colors are a big deal with these design enthusiasts.

Black on black on black ALWAYS works. Look at her sandals!

Cute Guys Alert!

A skirt to match the wall decor. Well, I don’t see why not!

So Chill.

Shopping for lawn chairs with multiple functions.

Updating Social Media Status.

Sundresses and heels, skirts and booties.

Reminds me a little of David Bowie.

Designers meet consumers.

Test driving the lounge chairs in black, white and red.

Learn Spanish “pronto” with these Spanish 101 books

19 Jun

Traveling to Mexico soon? Don’t speak a word of Spanish but need to communicate and get your point across? Or maybe you just want to brush up on a few basic phrases?

Never fear, there’s always a handy dictionary/guide/ “tumbaburros” (dummy rescue) ready for your language needs.

I found these books browsing at the Kitson store in Santa Monica, but I’m sure you could find them on amazon.com or online. Leave it to a practical gringo (that’s a term of endearment my friends, I mean no disrespect) to come up with Spanish on the go  booklets to get you through your next trip.

“Mexican Spanish” is not to be confused with Spanish Spanish…Here’s a book to get you through Mexico without having to spend hours learning the important stuff like grammar and pronounciation.

Learn basic Spanish with your Spanish Flash Cards… or have your kids use these to not feel ridiculous when asking “Donday Es-tah el Bain-nio?”

A VERY CLEVER take on learning to pronounce Spanish correctly with graphics and smart icon references . “Cone Goose Toe” Spanish Slanguage by Mike Ellis.

“Cone Lee Moan: With Lemon”… “Poe-Yo: Chicken”… but of course you have to know who Edgar Allen Poe was, so it takes a little bit of smarts to read this. Me Gusta! (May Goose-Tah: I like it)

Spanish Telenovelas, now refritos en Inglés!

18 Jun

Happy Monday everybody…

Reading the LA Times this morning, I found this article on the new telenovela trend catching up with our English speaking amiguitos, specifically how Nickelodeon and Televisa are currently producing a soap opera based on a mexican telenovela adapted for a gringo friendly audience.

Tonight at 9 pm Nick at Nite premieres “Hollywood Heights”…which is based on some novela mexicana that I probaby didn’t watch on Univision, but that garnered good enough ratings to justify the remake en inglés. It’s the same storylines, but with American actors, including a very lovely James Franco in a starring role. To keep it real and transition the content to English, they even brought along our very easy on the eyes and all around nice guy Carlos Ponce for an important role.

I am intrigued!

According to this article, Televisa has even set up shop in Santa Monica (Televisa USA) to keep producing these “refritos en inglés” so you know it has to be a long term commitment with the US networks.

Read the article here “Networks look to clean up with nighttime soaps” from LA Times June 18, 2012. And tonight let’s see what this “Hollywood Heights” is all about.

The cast of Hollywood Heights. Photo from Justjared.com

Carlos Ponce will have a role in the new English only novela, “Hollywood Heights” on Nickelodeon. Photo from Justjared.com

Bravo Dreamers! Bravo President Obama!

15 Jun

Today is a good day if you are a young undocumented student in the USA and you were fighting for a chance to stay legally in the country you love, and the only country you know. Breaking news this morning! This is a bit from the New York Times:

U.S. to Stop Deporting Some Illegal Immigrants

By 

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration

The policy, effective immediately, will apply to people who are currently under 30 years old, who arrived in the country before they turned 16 and have lived in the United States for five years. They must also have no criminal record, and have earned a high school diploma, remained in school or served in the military.

See the complete article here.

Congratulations to the Dreamers, and we realize that there is still so much more to do for them. Here’s how you can participate and support, through one of the major organizations fighting for them, Presente.org. I just received an email from one of its founders, Gaby Pacheco, and it urged us to keep fighting. This is from her email:

It would be easy to stop here and celebrate the President’s words, but we’re 1.2 million deportations past words at this point. We have to send the country a message that while we appreciate the President’s announcement today, we won’t stop fighting for change until we see it.

That’s why I need you to tell the President, Congress and other leaders in this nation that you stand with me, and millions of undocumented people who have become Americans, even if we don’t have papers that recognize us as such. If you tell them that you stand with us, you’ll be sending a message, and that you’ll continue to fight against every deportation. Tell them, now, and tell all your friends to do the same:

http://act.presente.org/sign/withdreamers

Go to Presente.org for more information.

So on that note, let’s keep up the fight for these kids. I personally know of several exemplary, smart, hard working, decent, and best all around kids who would love a chance at citizenship and who love this country just like any citizen born here. You would do anything to help them because they are the best of us, really.  As TIME Magazine said this week (bravo Time Magazine! This is the 2nd cover in 3 months dedicated to Immigration issues) “WE ARE AMERICANS…. Just not legally.”

It’s about time to make it happen for them and for the rest of the hard working, respectful immigrants who want to do things right and stay here legally.

Amazing cover by Time Magazine for the week of June 15, 2012. They probably just increased their Latino readership ten fold with all their new readers!!

Rock of Ages starts tomorrow!

14 Jun

Here’s a movie I’m looking forward to seeing, and which I’ve been hearing about for months. Rock of Ages is the debut film for our very own Diego Boneta (paisano nuestro) who leads an all star cast including Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julianne Hough, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, and Alec Baldwin. Is that a cool lineup or what? The screenplay is by Justin Theroux (el novio de la Jennifer Aniston), Chris D’Arienzo and Allen Loeb, and the director is Adam Shankman. (Todos tienen nombres de rockeros…)

Rock of Ages is a rock musical I don’t want to miss. Here’s the movie poster you can win below.

The movie starts tomorrow, but the good people at Warner Bros. want to share the excitement by giving away a few gifts from the movie. Here are the prizes:

1 – Rock of Ages Splat Hair Color Kit (Various Colors: Lusty Lavender, Electric Blue, Hot Pink, Jet Black, Luscious Berry) like the image below.

This is the Splat haircolor that is all the rage at the moment.

·         1 – Rock of Ages Splat Bag

·         1 – Rock of Ages Arsenal T-Shirt

·         1 – Rock of Ages I Love Stacy Jaxx Tank

·         1 – Rock of Ages Poster

All you have to do is leave a comment below, and unscramble the words to reveal the Mexican born actor starring in ROCK OF AGES:  GIDEO ATBENO

Visit and Like “Warner Bros. Latino” on Facebook, where you can find additional content, promotions and updates on behalf of the film. Click on the facebook icon to go to their page.

 

“Rock of Ages” tells the story of small town girl Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake and more.

Nuestro paisano Diego Boneta tiene su primer estelar. Let’s go support our homie!

A Teacher, Oprah and the power of Twitter

13 Jun

Here’s a story that proves things can happen in an instant when you put your intention out there and have a little faith. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…” (Matthew 7:7)

Cen’Cere Cooks is a high school teacher in South Central Los Angeles who, like every year, was on a mission of helping her students get ready for their prom. She is also one smart lady who knows the power of Twitter. (You can follow her on Twitter @cencerecooks.)

Every year she helps girls in her class get their prom dress, but this year had been a little tough. So a few weeks ago in May she sent out tweets to very important people who could help her get 25 dresses for her girls. It was a very sincere and direct request trying to make something happen.

Little did she know that THE person who would respond to her almost immediately was the one and only Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) offering to help out…Can you imagine the excitement?!

Here are the tweets that tell the story:

Cen’Cere can be found on Twitter @CencereCooks. “High School educator in South Central Los Angeles, committed to changing this generation one student at a time!”

Here is one of the responses from Oprah! Good to go!

By then, things are in motion. Oprah made a call to her friends at Macy’s (you gotta love @Macy’s) and they got on board. Pretty soon they were confirming that they were donating 25 prom dresses for the girls in Ms. Cooks’ class! Isn’t this amazing? Sometimes all it takes is a call, or a tweet, and the goodwill of someone who makes things happen.

Fast forward to this week, when 25 lovely ladies, along with Ms. Cooks and chaperones Loretta, Misha, Sivonney and Gabrielle, went to Macy’s South Coast Plaza to choose a prom dress. There was an expert styling team to help them, and the girls enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the store as well.

Here are some pictures of the exciting day. Thank you Macy’s for the opportunity to photograph this event. There was so much joy all around, it was contagious!

These beautiful ladies are ready for their prom thanks to their teacher, Oprah and Macy’s.

Bravo Ms. Cooks! You made it happen.

The girls choose their prom dress from a selection at Macy’s.

So many to choose from, the girls had fun trying on all the dresses.

Susan Koziak and her fabulous styling team did a great job helping the girls choose their dress.

Team Effort: Loretta Cotton, Raegan Gall from Macy’s, Misha, Amanda Dobernic from Macy’s, and Cen’Cere Cooks.

Sivoney Gomez and Gabrielle Ramirez, chaperones on the field trip to Macy’s South Coast Plaza.

The girls and their prom dresses.

All the girls received a Macy’s goody bag.

And, if I may, on a personal note: tonight I saw on Twitter that Ms. Winfrey herself had seen the photos and tweeted one of the photos I took. Needless to say…This made my day and my year. Thank you Oprah!! Your generosity provides so much happiness. 

San Antonio de Padua, Junio 13

13 Jun

Image

San Antonio de Padua hace milagros, ya sabemos, pero hoy 13 de Junio es el dia de su Santo así que “Keep it in mind”…. (Ahi te encargo San Antonio!)

Este texto es de una estampita que me dio mi abuelita hace mucho tiempo:

“¿Quién te llama angustiado, Padre mío San Antonio, que tú no le escuches sácandolo con mano poderosa de la tribulación en que se encuentra? Pues cuando perdiste el Breviario y llamaste a la Santísima Virgen te concedió tres mercedes: Que las cosas perdidas fueran aparecidas ; las olvidadas fueran recordadas, y las propuestas aceptadas… Así San Antonio, aquí vengo hoy con mi propuesta, para colocarla en tus manos y recordarte con la mayor necesidad una de las tres mercedes que te concedió María desde los cielos, para derramarlas en tierra como santo tributo de tu poder milagroso y que el Señor te concedió.”

Brasil Night at Rock/Style with Macy’s and LA Times

9 Jun

It was a tropical night of great fashion, beautiful people and rock&roll at the annual Rock/Style event last Thursday. The scene was the classic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel by the pool, transformed into a runway for the evening.

This is a cool party the LA Times and Macy’s put on every year and this time the theme was Brasil, coinciding with Macy’s ongoing campaign at their retail stores.

Samba dancers (y sus cuerpazos) opened the show with the best samba music and outfits you could imagine. We later enjoyed three segments of fashion and music, for swimsuits, moda brasileña and preppy outfits, plus great “people watching” all the Hollywood types and “the beautiful people.”

Here are some images of a fabulous night. Thanks to my friend Martha @MarthaMacys for the invite.

Rock/Style by the LA Times and Macy’s at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.

“Oh le le, Oh la la, pega no ganzé, pega no ganzá…” The Samba dancers were spectacular.

Swimsuits inspired by Brasil.

Moda para ir a la playa a jugar futbol.

Nightclub at the pool with a fashion show.

This is Dante. Dante es guapo…

Macy’s sponsored the event.

The beautiful people watching the show by the pool.

Preppy fashion in orange, green and blue.

Runway show finale at Rock/Style.

Beautiful trio: Yarel Ramos from mun2, Diana Ramos and Martha Gildemontes from Macy’s.

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