Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Soloist

Simply by seeing Jamie Foxx sing his hit song “Blame It” on American Idol, you wouldn’t know that he is an incredibly talented actor. Foxx stars in the touching film The Soloist with Robert Downey Jr. Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.) is an LA Times reporter who befriends Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx), a homeless, schizophrenic who happens to be a talented musician. The film is directed by Joe Wright of Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, two of my favorite movies, so I had great expectations. Thankfully I was not disappointed.

The film begins with the divorced Lopez down on his luck after getting in a bike accident. He meets Ayers playing a two-stringed violin at the foot of a Beethoven statue in Los Angeles. Needing a story, Lopez is intrigued by him after finding out that he attended Julliard for two years.

Lopez gathers enough information to write his column, and a kind reader gives Ayers her cello. Lopez will allow Ayers to have the instrument on one condition – he move to LAMP, a homeless shelter, to get off the street. Ayers is so grateful for the cello that it brings you to tears, but he is somewhat reluctant to move.

Lopez’s and Ayers’ friendship continues to grow. Lopez tries to help cure him of his mental illness, so that his musical ability can be fully realized. He later learns that he can’t cure him, and that being a friend is the greatest gift he can give.

The way to recognize a good actor is to genuinely believe that he or she is the character they are portraying. Foxx becomes Ayers in every sense even beyond the balding hair and wild clothing that greatly changes his appearance.

I recently heard that Lopez and Ayers still talk on the phone twice a day. It's truly heartbreaking to know that there are almost 100,000 homeless people living in L.A. like Ayers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lighten up for spring

[Jackson Lee/Splash News]

Julia Roberts showed off a tres fabulous lighter 'do at a tribute to Tom Hanks at the Lincoln Center. Roberts has experimented with just about every hair color under the sun, but this blonde look suits her well. It's always easier to go lighter for spring and summer since your hair gets naturally lightened by the sun, chlorine and ocean saltwater, and darker tresses usually end up going a shade or two lighter anyway.

If you are a dark haired person (like moi), I recommend Frederic Fekkai's SunshineShield spray ($22). It has special silicones to deliver shine plus UV protection and solarshield technology to preserve the color and moisture that the sun tries so hard to take away.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Michael Sheen as Aro in New Moon

I am thrilled about New Moon director Chris Weitz's choice of Michael Sheen as Aro. Sheen was incredible in The Queen as Tony Blair and Frost/Nixon as David Frost. I think he'll be perfect in the role as the domineering undead leader of the Volturi.

I'm excited to see how Sheen will play the character since we're used to seeing him in more subdued roles. He does have that mischevious smile that will suit the manipulative Aro to a tee.

Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has also said that she's pulling for Channing Tatum as Riley in Eclipse. Is she working on the Eclipse screenplay already? Riley is the new-born vampire who helps Victoria in her big fight at the end of the novel. He's somewhat of a tragic character because he thinks Victoria loves him, but she's only using him. Rob and Channing in one movie? Too delish!

Verizon iPhone?

Verizon is supposedly in talks with Apple to bring a version of the iPhone to their network as early as 2010. Yessss, this is great news. I think it's a wise decision because it seems that everyone who doesn't have an iPhone on AT&T has Verizon service, so it would definitely be a big hit.

I can't stand the LG Dare, the touchscreen phone that I currently have with Verizon. I will press dial, and it takes five seconds for it to decide to dial. I don't have that kind of time! It's also difficult to text on the phone. Luckily, the iPhone should be out around the time I am due for my "new every two" phone.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kings of Leon=Amazing

I saw Kings of Leon at the Patriot Center in Washington, D.C. This was the third time I've seen them live, and they get better each time. With a general admission ticket, I was up very close to the stage. The Tennesee-bred KOL are wildly popular in Europe, but are just starting to catch on in the United States with more radio-friendly music like "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," which was used frequently in support of the Obama campaign. However, I still love their older stuff that is very Southern rock/blues.

NYC band The Walkmen opened for KOL. I really liked their mellow sound, and the lead singer has a great voice.

The Followill boys didn't make us wait too long, and they were promptly on at 9:15 p.m. KOL is comprised of three brothers: Caleb (lead singer), Jared (bass guitar) and Nathan (drums), and their cousin Matthew (lead guitar).

They sang a lot of their more popular songs off of their newest album "Only By the Night." I was hoping to hear some more songs from my favorite album "Aha Shake Heartbreak" - namely my all-time favorite song "Soft." They did sing some other faves though like "Milk," "The Bucket" and "Taper Jean Girl" from that album. The popular "On Call," "Knocked Up" and "Charmer" from their third album "Because of the Times" were also performed beautifully. They also sang a gospel song, which is fitting since their father is a Pentecostal minister.

KOL has a very casual stage presence. I'm not even sure that they have a set list - it appears that they just wing it. The boys returned for an encore to play four or five more songs. Caleb was very grateful to the audience, and said "we know what it's like forking over all that money to see four guys play." Too precious!

Friday, April 24, 2009

17 Again

Last night I had free tickets to see the sneak preview of the new thriller Obsessed. However, they overbooked the theater, so we didn’t get in. We ended up seeing 17 Again which is very entertaining, and I was glad to see a happier movie. The film is fun, and Zac Efron is absolutely adorable in it.

Efron and Matthew Perry star as Mike O’Donnell (teen and adult version). The film begins in the 1980s when Efron is a popular high school basketball star with everything going for him. He’s playing in an important basketball game with college scouts watching when his girlfriend, Scarlett, tells him she’s pregnant. He tells her that she and the baby are the only things that matter now, so they get married.

Well, we find out that almost 20 years later, he still regrets not going to college and wishes that he could relive his high school days. His wife Scarlett (Leslie Mann) has filed for divorce, and he has lost his job at a pharmaceutical company. Mike goes back to his old school to pick up his daughter Maggie (Michelle Trachtenberg) and son Alex (Sterling Knight). There he encounters a janitor/”spirit guide” who turns him back to his high school self.

Now Mike must figure out why he was sent back. His geeky best friend since high school Ned Gold (Thomas Lennon), who happens to be filthy rich, plays his dad when he enrolls in school under the name Mark. In a few particularly funny scenes Ned falls in love with the school principal, and he spends most of the film trying to win her over – he finally does because she turns out to be equally as dorky and speaks Elfin.

Mike/Mark befriends Alex and Maggie at school since they obviously don’t know he’s their dad. Alex was being picked on by the school bully, who happened to be Maggie’s boyfriend. With his dad's help, he fends off the bully and gets a girlfriend. He also steers his daughter away from her loser boyfriend. Mike even delivers a few speeches to the students on abstinence and girls respecting themselves.

Mike finally realizes that the reason he became 17 again was to help his son and daughter find their way and to get his wife back. In divorce court, "Mark" gives a sweet speech from Mike, and Efron even has to shed a few tears.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fun spring dresses

[Jennifer Mitchell/]

Dresses for spring and summer are simple, yet so chic and feminine. These days it seems that everywhere we look, we see celebs in pretty dresses. This is where we get our fashion inspiration from! Take Jennifer Lopez's bright blue minidress, for example. Throw one on, add heels and an accessory (like J.Lo's Thomas Wylde statement necklace or a belt), and you're good to go!

I prefer to wear a dress over any other piece of clothing. What else looks appropriate for everything from work, dates, church and even shopping or running errands? For this time of year, pick a bright color like red, blue or yellow.

Sure, it's nice to splurge on a pricey dress every now and then, but there are plenty of affordable options out there. I've gotten countless fabulous dresses at Banana Republic, H&M or Forever 21.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Twilight men VMan outtake


This is an outtake of the Twilight boys from a photo shoot last year in VMan - Cam Gigandet, Robert Pattinson, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone and Taylor Lautner. Holy gorgeousness! I wish Rob would leave his hair like this all the time instead of covering it up in that dumb hat. I'm also going to miss Cam in New Moon.

There are tons of rumors going around that Rob and Kristen Stewart are dating. Hmm, I like them as Edward and Bella not "Robsten." I'm sure the truth will eventually come out!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Drew Barrymore promotes Grey Gardens

[David Livingston/Getty Images]

I know that Drew Barrymore has been sporting the blond 'do since Oscar season, but it still seems like new. Barrymore wore this lovely green Elie Saab dress with black-and-white Giuseppe Zanotti shoes to a Grey Gardens panel discussion in Hollywood. I am really liking the asymmetrical dresses. However, that is a difficult length to pull off since it cuts the legs off mid-calf.

The HBO film Grey Gardens aired yesterday. It features the lives Big Edie (Jessica Lange) and Little Edie Bouvier Beale (Barrymore), the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn), in their East Hampton, New York mansion. It was originally a 1975 documentary that was made into a popular musical among other adaptations.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning is an interesting film about life, love and starting over. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt star as Rose and Norah Lorkowski, respectively. Rose, a former popular high school cheerleader, is now cleaning houses, while Norah can't keep a job. Alan Arkin plays their father who keeps failing at lame business opportunities like selling shrimp to restaurants. So, things are not going well for the Lorkowski family.

It seems that the family's problems stem from the tragic suicide of their mother when they were young. Rose is in a relationship with her former high school sweetheart, who is now married, and she has a son with him. She is forced to get into the gross job of cleaning up crime scenes to afford private school for her misbehaving son. Norah helps her start their business Sunshine Cleaning.

The sisters start to develop some self-esteem. Rose even gives up on the married guy, and starts seeing a precious guy who owns a cleaning store, Winston (Clifton Collins, Jr.). Everything is going well until the business literally goes up in flames when Norah accidentally catches a house she's cleaning on fire. Don't worry, the sisters end up finding themselves and are able to start over.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Make a statement with a necklace

[Chris Weeks/WireImage]

I absolutely adore big necklaces. They add instant punch to an otherwise dull outfit. Take Sophia Bush's outfit for example. I really like the glam Miriam Haskell necklace she paired with her grey and black getup.

Try Forever 21 for an inexpensive version. J.Crew also has some beautiful options for a little bit more money.

I also love to take an extra-long strand of pearls (faux are fine) and wrap them around several times. They can also double as a bracelet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Miss Trish of Capri at Target

Miss Trish of Capri sandals hit Target stores on April 5. Designer Trish Carroll's limited edition shoes are available until July 5. Carroll, who has designed for the likes of Missoni and Celine, was inspired by the life of a jet setter. Her shoes have a preppy, resort-chic appeal.

I've always loved her sandals, but they're a bit pricey - between $200 to $500 - so I was so excited to hear about this line. I bought these super-cute starfish sandals today at an affordable $29.99. The gold starfish is fabulous, plus the color is fun and will be a great accent to many spring and summer outfits.

Check out the full collection here!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moss, Jacobs and Timberlake do Vogue


These lovely photos were taken for the May issue of Vogue by Annie Leibovitz. Designer Marc Jacobs, supermodel Kate Moss and Justin Timberlake were shot for this spread entitled, "Inspiring Beauty."

The shot of the three is very interesting with Timberlake's strong stance, Moss's damsel-in-distress pose and Jacob's possessive hold - his muse perhaps? The white Oscar de la Renta gown that Moss wears is incredible.

At first glance, Timberlake seems to be an odd pairing with a fashion king and queen - especially when one conjures up thoughts of his recent fashion slump. Nonetheless, he is co-hosting the Met Museum Costume Institute Gala on May 4 with Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and Moss. Jacobs is the honorary chair. The gala theme is "Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion."

It's always fun to see what everyone wears for the gala since it's the event of the season. The exhibit to follow at the Met will showcase 70 designers' works. It will run from May 6-August 9. I can't wait to see it!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dead Until Dark

I really enjoyed Charlaine Harris's novel Dead Until Dark - the first book of the Southern Vampire Series. HBO's show, True Blood, is based on the wildly popular series. I had seen the first few episodes of the show (before Comcast took away my free trial of HBO, ugh), so much of what happened in the beginning of the book, I had already seen.

Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress at a bar in Louisiana in a time when vampires have officially entered society due to a development of synthetic blood. Most people consider Sookie to be a freak due to her ability to read minds. One day, Sookie meets the handsome vampire Bill Compton, who became a vampire around the Civil War time. She is unable to read his mind, which is works out great for her.

Someone in town has started to murder young women who have associated with vampires, and Sookie ends up finding out exactly who the killer is. This novel is packed with action and romance.

As a fan of the Twilight Saga, I was hesitant to read this novel because I didn't want to betray my love of Twilight. I'm glad I decided to though. Harris's novel is more scandalous than Stephanie Meyer's novels, but I have noticed many parallels. For example, Sookie's ability to read minds and Bella's unique mind that could not be read by Edward and her shield power in Breaking Dawn. Bill and Edward Cullen are also very similar because they do not want to be evil, and they are both romantic and chivalrous.

There are eight more novels in this series. Next up is Living Dead in Dallas.

Public Enemies trailer

Dearest Johnny Depp, where have you been hiding? He's been on hiatus since 2007's Sweeney Todd, so I can't wait to see him in Michael Mann's new film Public Enemies, which is set to hit theaters this summer. Depp plays John Dillinger, a Depression-era bank robber, in this true story film adaptation.

Dillinger was a number one priority of J. Edgar Hoover's (played by Billy Crudup) FBI in the 1930s. Christian Bale plays Hoover's top agent Melvin Purvis, and Academy Award winner Marion Cottillard plays Dillinger's girlfriend Billie Frechette .

Well, we all know how the story ends, but it'll sure be fun seeing these great actors take on the characters on July 1.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Matthew Williamson for H&M

[Bruce Gifford/FilmMagic]

British designer Matthew Williamson created a line for H&M that will hit stores on April 23. Actress Ginnifer Goodwin gave us a preview of the line after she wore this fabulous dress by the designer.

I love the bright, vibrant colors that Williamson uses. I hope the line doesn't sell out like many of the other designer lines for H&M like Karl Lagerfeld. I can't wait to finally be able to afford one of his designs!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I'm on the fence about the cheeky spy film Duplicity. It should have been a great movie with an all-star cast that included Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti but something was lacking.

Owen played Ray Koval, a suave M16 agent, and Roberts was Claire Stenwick, a CIA agent. The two meet in Dubai and have a rendezvous. Koval ends up being duped by Stenwick after she drugs him and steals his top-secret info. When they meet two years later in Rome, they decide that they dig each other again and hole up in a five-star hotel for three days. Meanwhile, they cook up a plan to make the big bucks by working an inside job with a big corporation.

Giamatti and Wilkinson play CEOs for rival corporations. A particularly funny opening scene involves the two fighting with each other in slow-mo on a rainy airport tarmac. Their greed for power and recognition causes them to go to any extreme to find the next big thing.

Koval and Stenwick end up working for one of the companies to intercept this "big thing." It definitely does not go as smoothly as planned.

Owen was great in his role, and he's certainly not hard to look at. On the other hand, this wasn't Roberts' best acting by any stretch. The film was often funny, but I was confused by the jumping from different places and times. Plus, Koval and Stenwick as a couple were kind of annoying. Their constant distrust was a bore.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood is one of the best books I've read in a while. It's a touching story of one man's journey from death to life.

Charlie St. Cloud made a big mistake when he was 15-years-old that cost his brother Sam's life. Both brothers are on the verge of death, but Charlie is miraculously resuscitated by a fireman. Before Sam died, Charlie promised never to leave him. Thirteen years later, he kept his promise, and they play baseball in the woods of the cemetery where Charlie is a caretaker every night at sunset.

One day, Tess Carroll appears in the cemetery to visit her father's grave. Tess is about to embark on a daring sailing trip around the world. She and Charlie meet and fall in love, but can she save him from living in the past?

Sherwood's novel wonderfully illustrates the pain caused by the death of loved ones and the ever-present longing for them. This aspect of the book is heartbreaking. However, the joy of finding love is uplifting and hopeful. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud will remind you that those we have lost are are always with us and that miracles do happen.
Check Spelling

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Strong shoulders are back

[Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic]

Strong shoulders have been making their way back into the fashion limelight. I quite like Gwyneth Paltrow's choice of this Valentino dress that she wore to the premiere of Valentino: The Last Emperor. The dress is subtle and doesn't immediately evoke flashbacks to the 1980s.

The bold shoulder in many different forms was seen all over the fall 2009 runways including Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana. This trend will probably be popping up everywhere soon - especially since it does have somewhat of a slimming effect!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Adventureland is a dramedy set in the summer of 1987. Superbad director Greg Mattola was behind this film. It is equally funny, but much more poignant and less offensive. Actors Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg give exceptional performances in this movie about love, life and growing up in the late '80s.

James Brennan (Eisenberg) graduated from college and has a summer vacation in Europe followed by graduate school at Columbia in the fall ahead of him. After having his heart broken, he is really looking forward to the trip. Unfortunately, his family runs into money troubles due to his dad's alcoholism, so he is forced to cancel his trip and take a lame job running the games at the theme park Adventureland.

James falls for fellow game attendant Em Lewin (Stewart). She has many problems of her own after the death of her mom and remarriage of her dad to a "status-obsessed witch." Em is also seeing the married maintenance man at work, Connell, played by the dreamy Ryan Reynolds. Em must choose between the love of good-guy James or being second best for Connell, who creepily gets her meet him in his mother's basement.

Other great performances include James and Em's friend and stoner Joel (Martin Starr). Two Saturday Night Live regulars, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, play the hilarious husband-wife team who run Adventureland.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Topshop opens in NYC

America's first Topshop opened in New York City today by Sir Philip Green, owner of the store, and supermodel Kate Moss. The store is located at 480 Broadway and Broome Street in SoHo. It spans four floors including Moss's boutique and Topman.

There were numerous parties celebrating the opening including one at the restaurant Balthazar attended by many celebs including Jay-Z.

If you haven't been to this store in the U.K., you are in for a treat. The store offers trendy and classic pieces at reasonable prices. They have a good selection of swimsuits and cover-ups just in time for summer. They also have petite, tall and maternity options.

Check out their site if you can't make it to NYC. They are also offering free shipping until April 9. I can't wait to pay the store a visit! I hope they decide to expand throughout the United States.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3 Willows

I just finished Ann Brashare's newest novel 3 Willows. Brashares is the author of the popular The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. This novel follows three new friends, Polly, Jo and Ama, who happen to be polar opposites. The book's themes are self-discovery and the value of friendship.

I only saw the Traveling Pants films, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this novel. I saw this autographed book at Borders and bought it. Brashares mentioned the characters from her other novels throughout 3 Willows, which I found a bit annoying. Had I not seen the films, I would've been really confused.

Jo, Ama and Polly have just finished middle school, and they are off for the summer before their first year of high school. They haven't been as close as they were in elementary school when they planted the willow trees given to them by their third grade teacher. Their trees have continued to grow while these best friends have grown apart. Each friend faces challenges in this impressionable time during their summer before high school.

Ama is an intelligent perfectionist who goes to a summer enrichment program that happens to involve exploring the wilderness and hiking, much to her dismay. She meets a cute boy and learns a lot about her inner strength and abilities.

Jo spends the summer at her family's beach house and gets a job as a bus girl for a local restaurant. Her parents haven't been getting along since the tragic death of her brother Finn. Jo meets a boy who happens to have a girlfriend, so she has to deal with heartbreak on top of the turmoil of divorce.

Polly lives with her eccentric mother Dia who is battling alcoholism. Polly gets it in her head that she should model since her grandmother was a model. She starts extreme dieting and attends a modeling camp. Luckily she discovers what is most important.

The girls finally find their way back to each other. I really liked how Brashares used the willow imagery throughout the novel to tie everything together. 3 Willows is definitely geared toward the young adult audience, but I enjoyed it, and it was an easy beach read.