5 movies that will make you want to dance your ass off

It’s not just movies that make me want to dance my ass off though. Do you watch So You Think You Can Dance? Man, I love that show. It makes me wish I could go back to childhood and hardcore-train to be a contemporary dancer. You should see me watching it too. I laugh, I tear up, I gasp, I attempt leaps…I’m a mess. But I’m just so fascinated by dancing and the people that are so good at it. Hence the list! I love a good dance movie and these are the ones that make me want to get up offa that thang! I promise you,  I don’t actually say things like that out loud (but I do love that James Brown song).

1. Center Stage

I like Center Stage for many reasons, but mainly it’s the awesome choreography and the utilization of professional dancers in some of the roles. The characters are relateable, likeable  and trying to make it on their own terms. The movie is just a fun, light-hearted watch. One of my favorite scenes is when Jody lets loose in the jazz class with Cooper Nielsen (see below!). Higher Ground is a cool song and  the dancing is energetic, sweaty, intense and  everyone looks like they’re having the time of their lives. Are all dance classes like this? Because if they are then sign me up!

2. Dance With Me

I loooove love love this movie, so much so that I went to see it three times when it first came out in theaters. I think it stands the test of time because I  watched this on Netflix recently and still loved it as much as I did back then ( or I  could just be a sucker for nostalgia, so judge for yourself). Chayanne, a famous Latin pop singer in real life, who plays Rafael, is such a passionate, charismatic dancer. And who knew Vanessa Williams was such an talented ballroom dancer? I just want to be her! There’s a great story here, and while some it may be a little predictable, it’s still so enjoyable to watch. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable and you can especially feel it through the dancing. I love the ending salsa number, but I think my favorite dance scene is when Ruby and Rafael go to the club seriously decked out and dance the night away in each other’s arms—and everyone else’s! You can check that one out below (although nothing beats seeing it in context).

Bonus: Catch this one on Netflix streaming now.

3. Girls Just Want To Have Fun

A delightfully cheesy movie that is all fun and froth. A young Sarah Jessica Parker dances her way through a competition with her baby-faced bad-boy partner. It’s got your basic teen movie archetypes: the good girl, the bad boy with a heart of gold, the cool and spunky best friend, the uptight father and the rich bitch. This movie is quintessential 80’s, complete with cheese-tastic electro-pop music, crimped hair and neon spandex. Of course, a dance competition movie wouldn’t be complete without that one epic move that the couple masters at the end (think: Johnny and Baby doing “the lift” in Dirty Dancing). Pretty epic stuff.

Bonus: Catch this one on Netflix streaming now.

4. Shall We Dance (2004)

I’ve seen the original 1996 Japanese film and I’ve seen the modern American version. The original is a little more nuanced, but I find the modern version slightly more entertaining, at least dance-wise. It also has its fair share of heartfelt and hilarious moments.  Plus, a hot dark tango between Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, where the pair is practically smoldering on that dance floor. Ugh, so good. Stanley Tucci as Link is equally fun to watch with his manic energy and dance moves. His love for dance is utterly infectious. And if you like Richard Gere when he’s all charming and fumbling (and who wouldn’t?), then you should definitely see this, if you haven’t already.

Bonus: Catch the original 1996 version on Netflix now. The 2004 version is coming to Netflix this January.

5. Mad Hot Ballroom

This film is probably one of the most charming documentaries. It’s about New York City public school fifth-graders and their inspirational journey to the annual ballroom dancing competition. It’s so easy to root for every team to succeed. I find myself smiling when watching this film because you can see these kids genuinely trying so hard to succeed and they’re just so darn cute doing it. Speaking of cute, watching the kids attempt the tango is not to be missed.

the hunt for a wedding dress (for the sis!)

janey

I always see how much fun the families have on Say Yes to the Dress but you never really know until you experience it yourself. It’s so much fun and even more so when you can be involved in picking out the potential dresses. Me, my sister Janey, her mother, her best friend and my mother met up at Glamour Closet, a small bridal sample sale shop  in Chelsea. I haven’t ever been wedding dress shopping before this, BUT I think I can safely say that the staff at this place is top-notch. They are warm, friendly, cheerful, helpful, patient, not pushy (so important!)….basically everything you want your bridal salesperson to be. The experience here was tremendous. I can’t say enough good things about it. In fact, we promised to leave some glowing (well-deserved) reviews on Yelp which I have yet to do. Need to get on that.

So we only had one instruction from the bride-to-be: no poufy ball gowns.

dresses

So off we went to “pin” the dresses that we wanted to see Janey in. Did I already tell you how much fun this was?

sifting

Meet the judges (minus one!).

ladies

And the contenders! Cue the upbeat pop music you have yourself an awesome fitting room montage.

dresses 1 and 2

dresses 3 and 4

detail2

dresses 5 and 6

Then, we found this delicate, ethereal gown that just flowed gorgeously when it moved. I don’t think Janey allowed herself to fall in love with it until our salesgirl Joyce  told us, “The price of this dress is ridiculously good. Unheard of even!”. We all kind of looked at her somewhat incredulously and asked her what exactly was this fantastic price was. As soon as she said it, the tears started flowing and the cheering ensued. The price was just unbelievable for a dress that looked like a million bucks. Afterwards, we brunched (couldn’t stop talking about The Dress), went to an appointment at David’s Bridal (still couldn’t get our minds off The Dress) and came back absolutely positive that The Dress was The Dress. I’ll have to wait to post the pic on her wedding day next May, but for now just believe me when I say it’s so pretty.

Oh, hi.

me

Next year we’re gearing up for a ton of wedding bashes, including my sister’s and three other friends. All around the same time, no less. But I have to say I’m most excited for Janey’s—and why wouldn’t I be? It’s going to be a gorgeous, nontraditional affair and I get to be a part of it (plus, I get to pick out my own bridesmaid dress, so there’s that). Bring on wedding season!

click on these

xmas ornaments

  • Pug in a tub! My mom sent this to me on a really bad day and it made me instantly smile.

Happy weekend!

two days of turkey

dinner

What’s better than Thanksgiving?

TWO Thanksgivings, of course.

Also, Christmas! Christmas is my FAVORITE of all. But Thanksgiving, you come in second and that ain’t half bad.

me, janey and victoria

This year, turkey day started out on a low point when we discovered mold in our coat closet. So we packed up our coats into a bag and hauled our load to Bob’s grandmother’s house to do laundry (womp, womp). Good news is we were going there anyway, so it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience. Now the super is talking about knocking down our closet to see if there’s a burst pipe causing the moisture. Ugh. First off, why is there a pipe in our closet? Second, get me out of this apartment already.

Anyway. We had a lovely 5-course meal, which I completely forgot to photograph. So no pics of that. But trust me, it was yummy. We chatted for a few hours around the table until I felt lethargic and made my way over to the couch with my jeans unbuttoned. I was basically a Thanksgiving cliche. It was wonderful.

bob sleeping

Bob after dinner.

The next day, we had a Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving at my parents’ place. It was a lot of fun. My aunt and cousins showed up which doesn’t happen often, so it was great to see some fresh faces in the mix.

cousins

Sisters in the middle, brothers at the ends. To be clear, not our brothers but our cousins.

cousins2

My dad had a ginormous spread of food: turkey with gravy, sweet potato souffle, fresh cranberry sauce, meat stuffing, avocados, salad, arroz con gandules and pasteles. Needless to say, it was difficult to move afterward. We all felt like stuffed turkeys.

dinner2

Mason doing the robot, plus some aggressive krump moves that he’s super into these days.

mason doing the robot

Then, my cousin’s girlfriend’s adorable daughter Victoria sang a few renditions of Let It Go. She gets so into it!

victoria singing

And finally, the pair joined forces to dance to some hip hop. They’re the cutest.

dancers

This was a riveting game of Heads Up, which is pretty much the best party game ever. If you haven’t played it yet, you need break it out at your next shindig. It’s guaranteed fun when you play with a few people. We couldn’t stop laughing at ourselves. Think: Charades meets Taboo.

heads upI have no idea what we were acting out here. ↑

Last week as a whole was a really good one. The work week was short, we had two great Thanksgivings and I managed to shop for half the people on my list without spending tons of money and without stepping foot in an actual store. I’m actually pretty impressed with myself and have decided that I shall do ALL of my Christmas shopping online this year. Bob’s mother reminded me of this website she’s been using called Ebates which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone doing their holiday shopping online. In short, you make back a percentage of cash whenever you log in to the site and then click and shop in stores like Target, Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, etc.  I’ve already made back about $6, although the check doesn’t arrive until Feb 2015 (I believe the checks are distributed quarterly, but don’t quote me on that!). Six bucks is small, but it’s something! I’ve still got more shopping to do so I expect to bring that number up a bit. So yes, Ebates! If you’re interested in joining (no catch, it’s completely free to join), then sign up through this referral link here. Full disclosure, I get cash back for anyone who signs up via my link. It’s up to you. Happy shopping peeps!

How was your turkey (tofurkey?) day?

my favorite beauty products right now

It’s that time again! A list of my favorite beauty products of the moment. Makeup lovers unite! And be sure to leave any suggestions down in the comments, if you feel so inclined :)

1. LORAC Skinny Palette in Nude

lorac paletteThis palette is incredibly versatile in that it can be worn for a natural daytime look (which I often achieve with the 3 matte colors in this palette) or a more dramatic night-out look. I love it because shadows are smooth, pigmented and there’s a good ratio of light-dark and shimmery-matte shades. The colors are warm-toned (which I tend to graviatate to), so if you’re looking for something a bit more neutral or cool-toned, the sister palette in  Navy is available at the same price of only $15!

2. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed

tarte exposed

This color might look unremarkable. Maybe a little too brown. Boring even. Let me be the one to tell you, you are wrong on all accounts! This is the prettiest nude pink blush.  I love it so much that I haven’t worn any other blush since I picked this up at Sephora a couple of months ago. It looks completely natural, as in your natural cheek color and not overly rosy, but not overly mauve or brown. It’s kind of hard to explain because I feel like this color looks a bit different on everyone (google image search it and see). I would have shown it on me, except my camera couldn’t pick up the color very well. I liken Exposed to the “traveling pants”. You know, the pair of jeans that looks great on all the friends, in spite of their shape or size? I wouldn’t say it lasts for 12 hours as it claims, but it is still a long-lasting blush at about 7 hours of wear, which is completely acceptable to me. This goes down as one of my top favorite blushes (MAC Peaches is up there too).

3. Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Fig

melted fig

If you’re looking for rich, saturated lip color, then any tube in the Melted line is for you. Ugh, every single color is just impressively gorgeous. I’d snatch up almost every shade in a heartbeat if not for the $21 price tag. I’m particularly infatuated with Melted Fig which is a pretty plum-pink color that’s perfect for fall and winter. Although in the photo above, it photographs a tad brighter than it actually is. It’s a liquid lipstick that dispenses as you squeeze the tube, so you’re in control of how much product you use. The result is pigmented, long-lasting statement lips. Definitely not for the color-shy!

4. SEPHORA COLLECTION Rouge Cream Lipstick in Charmer 19

sephora-charmer

This is an amazing everyday pinky-nude lipstick. Not the most terribly exciting shade, but it’s beautiful, flattering and I get a lot of compliments on it. Charmer is probably my most worn lipstick of the past two months because it fits all occasions so well, especially very casual ones like lunch dates or weekend errands. The formula is creamy, comfortable and pairs nicely with smokey eyes or a bare face. My only gripe would be that it highlights any dryness you may have, so moisturized lips are key! Which brings me to the next product…

5. e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator

lip exfoliator

In order to pull off any matte or dark lip colors, lips must be moisturized and flake-free. Even if you’re not a lipstick wearer, soft lips are something most of us desire, especially in the cold, dry months. The exfoliator is basically a lip balm flecked with tons of coarse sugar crystals that serve to scrub away the dead skin. I found that exfoliating my lips by way of brushing them over with a toothbrush wasn’t as effective for me, so I’ve started using this exfoliator and it is very effective at getting my lips super smooth. Sure you can make your own scrub (I did for a while), but at $3 a pop, you just can’t beat the convenience.

6. Nicole by OPI Matte Top Coat

matte topcoat

It’s difficult to find matte nail polishes, but no worries because this is even better. You can transform any color into a matte shade with this clear topcoat and it completely freshens up the finish. I tend to get bored of my limited selection of nail polishes quickly, so it’s refreshing to be able to change it up. It’s a nifty product to have!

click on these

autumn in central park

Central Park

  • Morning routines! I’m so fascinated by other people’s routines so this website speaks to me.

Happy weekend!

wedding fever

twirl

Last weekend, Bob and I went to his friend May’s wedding.

justin and dominique

The event was just beautiful. The Manor (in West Orange, NJ) was so gorgeously fancy. Really made you feel like you were attending an extra classy affair. We enjoyed ourselves and I loved getting to see bits of traditional Chinese culture thrown into the ceremony and reception.

dragons

couples

Being at the wedding gave me serious wedding fever (as weddings tend to do). Recently, Bob and I have been discussing our own wedding plans in earnest and I’ve learned that we have very different ideas of what we want ours to be. I’d love something intimate: get hitched at City Hall and then have a small gathering at a nice restaurant with a few of our closest family and friends. Good food, good laughs, good people. That’s all I really need.

I also have a hard time wrapping my brain around spending more than a few thousand dollars for one day. That’s partly why an intimate get-together appeals so much to me.

bridebride2

me and bobBut Bob would love something bigger. He doesn’t want to leave anyone out of the equation, so his idea would be a banquet hall to fit both his and my family and friends which totals to approximately 130 people. He wants a high-quality selection of food, a space for dancing and an open bar. These are his must-haves. He’s concluded that this + other expenses will set us back over $10,000. In my opinion, it’ll easily be over $10,000. Perhaps closer to $20,000.

laughing john

In an ideal situation where money is no object, I’d say, hell with it! Let’s do this thing grand! I want the Kleinfeld experience! I’d love to have our families celebrate with us. I was talking to Bob’s friend at the wedding who’s in the middle of planning her own wedding and she told me, “I finally decided to give in to a big celebration because there is never going to be another time in our lives where we will plan something of this caliber with our families and friends all in one room. That means something to me”. I get that. I’m not one for being the center of attention, but there’s something really nice about a bunch of people coming together to celebrate something monumentally joyous in your life. It’s a way of shouting from the rooftops, “I love this person and we’re going to be together forever!” Plus, it’s FUN. Large weddings are fun! But the more practical part of me still can’t help but think, we need to play this thing smart and cheap.dessert

photo booth

Right now, we’re at a point where one of us is trying to convince the other that our idea is best. We’re not officially engaged, but after eight years together, the topic of a wedding and marriage comes up frequently. Long ago, we both agreed that it would happen eventually and since we felt committed to each other already, there wasn’t any rush. Now that we’ve been together for so long, “eventually” is a lot closer. Both of us acknowledge the legal benefits that come along with marriage (romantic, right?), but we also recognize that, hey, maybe it’s time to start thinking about this thing already…for us.

group

So that’s where we’re at right now. We’re in our “thinking” and “dicussing our options” stages. There’s lots of compromising to be done. Either that or I’ll find ways to make my idea sound more and more appealing to him ;)

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