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We are smack in the middle of the Hollywood awards season.  For fans of film, and/or fashion, these are glorious times.

Every season, a few people really stand out.  Some, unfortunately, stand out for all the wrong reasons and then there are stars like Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong’o.

These two actresses have been killing it on the red carpet.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that they share a stylist, Micaela Erlanger.  This has been a break out season for her as well.

I love that both woman wear clothes that fit their personalities.  Sometimes on the red carpet it looks like the clothes are wearing the star.

While it’s true most of the clothes are borrowed, there’s still no excuse for ill fitting garments.  One thing I’ve noticed with both Michelle and Lupita is the fit of their clothes.  Perfection.

How beautiful is this Oscar de la Renta dress?  On someone else it could’ve seemed too old fashioned but Michelle’s make-up and accessories keep it fresh.

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  Photo: OscarPRGirl

The detailing at the neckline and the color of this Gucci dress is stunning.  It’s a great color for Lupita’s complexion.

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Photo: E! online

I’m very curious to see what they will wear for the Oscars.

All over my neighborhood are signs like this:

siamoferieBefore I was on Hollywood’s schedule, so August was a busy time for me.  While all my friends and neighbors fled the August heat and tourists, I stayed behind in Rome writing and pitching TV projects.

Now I’m on a local schedule and it’s a trip.   Last week I was running around town making sure to touch base with my vendors before they closed up shop for the month.

There will be NO furniture deliveries in August.

September will be out of control.  Everything is being pushed to that month.

In the meantime, I’m going to use this period to catch up on office paperwork. I also need to find more space in my tiny apartment for all the new books I have.  I’m literally running out of room.

One friend (who just left town for the rest of the month) suggested I see a few movies.  Then we started laughing because most of the movie theaters are closed too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a cloudy, rainy day in Rome.

To be honest, I’m so over the rainy season it’s not funny.  Perhaps living in sunny Los Angeles for ten years has ruined my ability to cope with normal winter weather.

I went to college in Upstate New York.  I’m from the East Coast.  Now all of a sudden I’m a big wimp when it comes to the weather?  I really need to stop complaining about the cold because in a few months it will be too hot.

It’s Oscar weekend.  One of the most fun events is the Independent Spirit Awards, which were held under a big tent in Santa Monica with the after party at Shutters On The Beach Hotel.

The last time I went to the party, a friend and I kept following bumping into Daniel Craig. It was a glorious day.

Unfortunately, the upcoming forecast is not so glorious…  rain for the next five days.  Clearly, there will be no stylish bike riding for me this weekend.

Buon weekend a tutti!

 

 

 

 

 

In 2011 the Italian fashion label Miu Miu started Women’s Tales, a series of short films about women directed by female directors from all over the world.

Their most recent short was directed by Ava DuVernay.  Ava won the best director award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Here is more information about Ava’s short from Miu Miu:

The Door, by Ava DuVernay, the fifth Miu Miu Women’s Tale, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change. The symbolic centre of The Door is the front entrance of the protagonist’s home. As she opens it to greet a friend in the powerfully framed opening scenes, she is shrouded in an oblique sadness. “In the film, characters arrive at the door of a friend in need, bringing something of themselves,” explains director DuVernay. “Eventually, we witness our heroine ready to walk through the door on her own. The door in the film represents a pathway to who we are.” Clothing is also a symbol of renewal, each change of costume charting our heroine’s emergence from a chrysalis of sadness. In the final scenes, she takes off her ring, pulls on long, black leather gloves, and walks, transformed by the emotive power of the clothing, through the door.

Not a word was spoken, but Ava told a beautiful story.  For some reason, I didn’t recognize Gabrielle Union at first!

The Door combines three things I’m passionate about, dècor, film, and fashion. Several of the pieces in the short need to be in my closet and hello, that house!

I’ve seen many films with “a glass house in L.A.” set design but this one really captured that L.A. loneliness vibe.  I loved it.

Last month I attended Kathryn M. Ireland’s Interior Design Bootcamp in Los Angeles.

That would be Kathryn the internationally known designer, NOT Kathy the former SI cover model.  One Hollywood exec said to me, “I thought you were talking about the model the entire time.  Alas, now our conversation has become less interesting to me.”  Too funny.  Gotta love Hollywood.

It would be hard to describe a packed four day schedule in one short blog post.  Overall, it was fantastic experience.  I was very impressed by Kathryn and her team, Jen, Rebecca, and Francesca.  I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting my fellow bootcampers.

There were only seven of us.  Six were in different stages of our careers. One bootcamper had a new house.  For her it was a good opportunity to see how a designer works.  Some bootcampers had degrees in Interior Design and their own showrooms, while others were self taught and just starting out.  It was a great mix.

If you watch the show MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS or have read anything about Kathryn you know that along with being a talented textiles and interior designer, she’s a fantastic host.  We met some heavy hitters in the business and it says something about Kathryn that everyone she introduced us to was warm, and down-to-earth.

The workshop was organized (binders, books, baked goods!)  We received excellent nuts and bolts information and advice about the business of design.   There were guest speakers who talked about the state of the industry, branding, product development, publicity, and social media.

We also visited several high profile showrooms with Kathryn, like Lucca, Nathan Turner, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Peter Dunham, Christopher Farr, Jasper, Pat McGann, etc.

Martyn’s was our last showroom stop. He had drinks and quips for us.

There was down time too (and plenty of wine with meals). We went on a hike in Will Rogers State Park with sick views of the Pacific.  It wasn’t mandatory but a nice way to kick off a long day.  That day we visited  Kathryn’s print shop.  She opened it in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing the work.  The time it takes to hand print fabric is no joke and that’s why it’s expensive.

We worked on our mood/presentation boards for our projects with input from Kathryn and her team.  I wanted to pull my hair out as I tried to draw my floor plans by hand. Luckily for me, one of my fellow bootcampers was a kitchen and bath designer.  She talked me down off the ledge.

I can’t really say which highlight (there were many) of the workshop was my favorite.  I can say I returned to Rome feeling excited about the future and inspired.

For more information about future Bootcamps, check out Kathryn’s WEBSITE.

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Years ago when I was in the middle of hell a Hollywood film development executive, I worked 24/7.  I also made no money, but on my birthday I would buy either a bag, shoes, or jewelry.

For a few years (until the production company I worked for shut down) I alternated between which item to get, went go to Barneys, and put down my Barneys credit card.  I would pay it off immediately with birthday money I received from my family.

I didn’t go crazy.  I would buy, say a pair of Prada shoes (back then the prices were at least $200 lower) instead of Louboutins.  That said, I think Marc Jacobs bags were/are completely over priced.  Can someone please explain their price points to me?

One particularly heinous year, I doubled down and bought a bag AND earrings.

That year I walked pass the jewelry section on the first floor and a pair of earrings, similar to below, caught my eye.

Me&Ro Silver Multiple Flattened Dangle Earrings

I put them on and said, “I’ll take them.”

For a while I only wore the earrings on special occasions.  Then I thought that didn’t make sense.  Beautiful things should be worn.

I wear them all the time now.

These earrings are the only Me&Ro pieces I own.   I love them and look forward to buying more pieces in the future.

The designer and CEO, Robin Renzi, used to be a dancer and started her company in the back of her Elizabeth Street apartment in the early ’90s.  Me&Ro works with recycled materials and their designs are simple and stylish.  The company has really grown since the mid 00s but the quality is as high as ever.

Also, I like that they still make and produce all their jewelry in Tribeca, New York City.  I’m sure they could increase their profit margins if they shipped those jobs overseas.  That they’ve been in downtown NYC all this time says a lot about the company’s values.

For those who don’t watch NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, here are two clips explaining what the heck the title of this post is referring to.

Not having a steady paycheck is of course one of the major downsides of starting your own company and/or being a writer.  Your landlord doesn’t care if your latest script is hilarious.  If it doesn’t sell, you can’t pay your rent.

Another downside is the lack of structure.  I work from home.  My laptop is always around.  I don’t take the weekends off.  I feel guilty if I’m not working on novel number two, tweaking the AGD business plan, finishing a rewrite on a spec, working on my TV idea pitches, etc.

The thing is, I’m producing diminishing returns.  I’m fried.

I finally hit the wall last week.  While I do have a slew of pitches coming up, (which I have no control over), I have to get some kind of schedule in place.

I also need to treat myself once in a while.  I have been so severe with my budget, it’s insane.  I can account for every single euro I spend.

I have no desire to have credit card debt or to be irresponsible.  But I cannot continue to live the way I’m living.   Something has to change.

So, I’m going to loosen the reins a little.

Treat. Yo. Self. 2012 has begun.

I’m in shock.  Nobody outside her immediate family knew she was even ill.   Here’s a link to the ABC News breaking report about her death.

While she may be better known for her films, Nora was also a very witty journalist/novelist.  Her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck” is hilarious.

Nora and her words will be truly missed.

My first trip to southern France was incredible.  My friend’s boss invited me to join them on his yacht. At first I wasn’t sure about going since I didn’t have a film at the festival and I had nothing to wear.

I like to have a plan. What exactly would I do in Cannes? My friend told me to get a grip as the trip was completely paid for.  She had a point.

I’m very glad I said yes.  Our host was lovely.  Being a good host (and a good guest) is not something everyone knows how to do.  I’m not sure why this is as there are a billion magazine articles and books on etiquette.

The attention to detail was impressive.  The crew went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable. The chef was OUTSTANDING.  I ate well and drank some great wines.

On the first day, the water was extremely choppy. It calmed down by the evening and I had no problems sleeping.  it was so quiet (unlike my darn neighborhood).   The décor of my en suite cabin (and the yacht in general) was fantastic, very classic and understated.  It felt like a home.

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It was nice, and surreal, to catch up with some Hollywood friends. There were multiple celebrity sightings.  I did slip into a little funk after one exec said something bitchy to me.  My friend and her husband cheered me up and reminded me why I left L.A. in the first place.  Also, a good friend back in Rome told me to remember where I was staying and to forget about that miserable snobby person.  Which is what I did as I drank some rosé.

On Friday we drove to St. Tropez.  The traffic was bananas but it was worth it.  We had a delicious lunch at Le Club 55.   It was great people watching.  Later, I read that during July and August the whole beach becomes quite the scene.  When we were there the restaurant was packed with local families looking like the wealthy French version of J. Crew.

The sun came out during lunch and we drove back with the top down.  It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.

The village of St. Tropez is charming.  I would love to go back and spend more time there.

There were many highlights during my short trip (French bread, excellent bath products, jogging through Cannes early in the morning) but the best thing about it was spending time with my friends.

The Bravo show recently started playing in Italy on SKY Cable, channel 124 on Thursday nights.

I read about the show before it premiered in the States. Many wondered if a show with decorating budgets in the millions would appeal to the public during a recession.

I think they picked a great “cast.”  Some of the decorators’ comments had me on the floor.

“Decorating is totally delicious.”  I agree Mr. Bullard.

“Sometimes, I think my job is more important than the President of the United States.”  “That goes without saying.”  I can’t figure out if Jeffrey Alan Marks is just playing to the camera. (A friend who’s a set designer said he is.  She adores him and said he’s very talented).

“I have clients all over the world and I don’t get out of bed for less than a million dollars.”  Do your thing Ms. Ireland.

All reality shows have a villain, but this one (so far) doesn’t seem to have one.  The designers all know each other.   Some are closer than others, but it’s nice to see a lack of back stabbing in such a competitive field.

A few of the clients don’t come across as well.  Like the one woman who said upon meeting Kathryn that she had a MBA and a law degree so how hard could interior design be?  She quickly changed her mind after spending over $500,000 shopping in Europe only to realize she had no idea where to put anything.

Bullard client Joe Francis, the CEO of that wonderful contribution to society “Girls Gone Wild”, has a 13 million dollar estate in Mexico. The way he spoke to his household staff was out of control.  Perhaps he forgot the cameras were rolling?  Did he think was okay to use that tone because they’re Mexican?  I had some L.A. flashbacks listening to him treat people like dirt.  Like the Countess from RHONYC said, “Money can’t buy you class.”

What do you think of Million Dollar Decorators?

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