Another Woody Allen film and another conflict of interest for my love of fashion in film and disdain for the man who married his adopted child. Once again, the plot a tad lackluster but the glamorous shots of Los Angeles in the 1930's and reference to the dazzling old school CafĂ© Society just marvelous. Starting right off the bat with this pristine pool at dusk in the opening scene, veering slightly into Slim Aarons territory. What I wouldn't do for an invite! Enjoy. 

I'm not sure if living in Los Angeles makes me more appreciative of the incredible beach shots, most likely filmed at my favorite El Matador in Malibu, but one thing I can never got over is just how spectacular any and every inch of beach continues to be! I love everything about this shot of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart canoodling with a straw beach bag. Beach picnic envy for sure! 

And of course the film gets some great shots at swanky Mediterranean villa mansion in Beverly Hills.  I love the cypress trees and beige color scheme of everyone's attire for Brunch. It might be hard to spot but Parker Posey (female, above) has the most wonderful silk blouse on with a giant tassel in the center that I am dying to get my hands on. Isn't it amazing how much fashion trends repeat themselves? I'm assuming costume designer, Suzy Benzinger, must have created it specifically for this film! 

This is perhaps one of my favorite shots in the entire film when Kristen's character comes to pick up Jesse Eisenberg for a tour of Los Angeles. The color palette cinema photographer Vittorio Storaro uses in the shots of old hollywood are so alluring and perfectly depict the relaxed vibe Los Angeles culture is so heavily attributed as. It's consistent with the costume color palate and does a great job of setting the tone for some frivolous, romantic escapades. 

Once again, not too far off from replicating a Slim Aarons photograph. It's a classic Los Angeles paradox to host upscale social events by the pool where nobody intends to dive in but the allure of the setting allows one misnomer the opportunity to break the insincere notion of formality and poise. Isn't that Los Angeles though in a nutshell? Always trying so hard to be taken seriously, yet in a perfect position to be pushed into the pool. 

And so then we go to New York, where the title of the film actually makes sense? I think the film couldn't decide between which city's past to glamorize. Fortunately for me, I happen to think they did a good job in both. I actually came to find some relevance in the switch back, where Jesse Eisenberg's character goes to Los Angeles to find adventure and in the midst, himself. Yet he ends up back in his hometown of New York City, but with an enlightened (and albeit bedazzled) sense of self, right back home. And perhaps he even finds himself more evolved as a result. 

They did a wonderful job of creating a great set for the club in New York City. From the champagne saucers to the broaches on Blake Lively's dress straps, all the details mattered and came together wonderfully. I must say it was quite pretty to see a little bit of Gatsby glamour in the midst of the overanalyzed comedy so much of Allen's banter is usually centered around. It's also a great selling point for a new bar/lounge idea in Los Angeles, the closest place I can think of is my favorite bar at Hotel Bel Air. It's even decorated with a similar color scheme and has live music at night. If only people dressed in long gloves, suits and silk gowns too!

Hence the Gatsby reference... Despite my slight disappointment in some of the plot I think the film does touch on some aspects about culture and the end of life. I think what the film does do well is incorporate some aspects of how family ties continue through young adulthood and can often help and hinder growth amongst its members, both young and old. What was simple (and somewhat unexpected) was the chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg. 

And what a party is was, hope you enjoyed the lovely film stills whether you make it to the theater (or maybe just Netflix, sorry, not sorry).




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This is not another city guide, not that I don't love them (LA here, Palm Springs, Hamptons, and Chicago) but rather a realization I had this past 4th of July weekend about what actually makes a fulfilling time spent, in your own city or someone else's. As an avid planner I actually had no plans, I repeat, NO PLANS... for a holiday weekend! I was invited to a total of two pool party/barbecues on the same day/time, however, had no idea if I was attending. I am not sure why I didn't plan anything, but I have a had a lot going on the past month and I think I just needed some breathing room and flexibility. Every holiday weekend tends to stress me out. As someone who wants to enjoy every moment, make the most of my weekends and let's be honest, snap some Instagram worthy photos, it can be very overwhelming to me to have high expectations for the very best time. So this year, I just didn't, and it was probably the best thing I have ever done for myself. Here's why:

1. I said YES to what I wanted and NO to what I didn't. 

This may seem very simple and in fact it is, once you learn how to. For me saying no has always been very challenging, because I have a major fear of missing out. With the invention of social media, it's nearly impossible to not feel like you should have been there, especially since you are seeing only five seconds worth of life with a filter. As much as I love social media, I realize that it can often make everything look a lot more fun then it is and captures a moment in time, rather then an entire experience. I am sure everyone has experienced this first hand, where the photos depict more enjoyment and memories then the actual night. What is really important is to stay true to what you want to do for yourself, not what you think or hope could happen or what your friends will think. 

2. I focused on friends, not events. 

As much as certain restaurant, activity, or party might appeal to me, I can't stress the importance of being with the people you love and enjoy. You can have all the flash, drinks and ambiance you want (aka Gatsby) but if you're not with people who fulfill and entertain you then it really doesn't matter too much. I have had so many instances in which I am all dressed up with tons of pretty people and feel so alone. It's a clichĂ© but people make the party. And sometimes that's a pizza & champs party on your best friend's couch.

3. I changed my perspective on what's fun. 

Don't be afraid to spend time alone or get stuff done that doesn't involve other people, Instagram or money. One of my favorite things to do is stay home on Friday night, workout and eat dinner by myself. We all get overwhelmed after a long day or week at work and I think people forget that weekends are about recovery, not just fun. It's important like I mentioned earlier to say no when you need a break. Even though I did so many fun things this weekend, I really don't believe it would have been as wonderful without also running each day, starting a new book, sleeping in and watching Bravo. Balance is the best way to live, so when you can, attend what you want and save the rest for actual rest! 

4. I went with it. 

As I said, I made sure not to set any big plans for the 4th of July weekend. I didn't want to be too tired or anxious about being awake in time to get somewhere, which is so unlike me! I always dream up what "perfect" would look like when I plan and often it leaves me disappointed. So instead I slept in, went for a run and texted a few people causally about grabbing lunch. A few things I did plan, such as attending a going away party and shooting some fun new blog content. However, the one's I didn't were the best; relaxing at a co-workers pool, eating yummy barbecue food, grabbing dinner with friends, meeting new people, going to the beach and seeing fireworks at the Marina. It was an unexpected and relaxed weekend with some really good friends. It was easy because I didn't put any pressure on myself to have fun, but rather allowed myself to just really live in the moment. I realize this isn't always possible to repeat most weekends. We all have obligations and things planned ahead of time we either must attend or want to. But the point I am trying to make revolves more around enjoying the down time and the way new things happen in the moment rather then trying to make the moment.

5. Don't expect every weekend to be the best weekend. 

The one last takeaway from my "perfect" weekend is to remember it just like that. It came and went and was exactly what I needed. Thus, no need to replicate or set up expectations for every weekend to go as such. In fact, we can't call something best unless it stands on its own. I am a believer in appreciating things for what they are, the good, the bad, the tragic. I hope to have more great weekends in the future but once again will remember to just allow it to happen on its own. A friend of mine recently said, "trade expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly," and I think she was right. 

I appreciate you reading, 
so grateful, 
have a wonderful day, 

Xx, Monica


This past weekend I had the pleasure of finding another wonderful slice of food heaven on the hippie chic Abbot Kinney in Venice. I originally came across Greenleaf's uber accessible healthy meals to go when I worked out at Equinox and they conveniently sold them at the Earthbar. I still love grabbing them for lunch at work since they are so fulfilling without feeling heavy after or falling flat on taste/heartiness. Naturally I was happy to find out a free standing restaurant opened in Hollywood and now Venice with a more extensive menu, bright and glowy ambiance, and serving delectable cocktails! Enjoy!

So before I eat anywhere, I like to check out the decor scheme first and this one doesn't disappoint! I LOVE bright and airy spaces filled with tons of natural light. And I spy a banana leaf print pillow, do you? The green leaf plant with the white walls, natural light and open windows represents the way I like to see Southern California very well!

First things first, delicious cocktails, juices and lattes! They have a quick to-go bar up front with grab and go meals/snacks and juices. And then this wonderful and well lit patio perfect for brunches and dinner under some pretty twinkle lights. I love the patterned tile on the floor, it just screams "I'm Instagram ready, hope your shoes are cute too." I think they did a wonderful job keeping the patio furniture in neutrals with natural wood tables, greenery and burnt orange seats. It's fitting with the causal Venice beach vibe without being overly shabby or too rustic. 

And now, back to the food! It's amazing to have variety. I must say my favorite menu items are the antioxidant orchard salad, wild mushroom and truffle pizza, almond crusted chicken sliders (which I ask to be put in my salad), baked sweet potato fries with an avocado pesto dip, ABC protein shake, eggs Benedict and Chinese chicken lettuce cups. 

It was so nice seeing friends this weekend, catching up during brunch and not feeling like I needed a nap right after! I also went back the next day to do some work over a latte on the amazing marble countertop bar. I can't wait to come back for more, perhaps a lovely dinner on that patio, until next time! 

More from Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, here

Hope everyone's having a great summer, 

Much love, 


All lovely photography by Sabrina at