Popcorn & Prosecco: Rooftop Cinema Club–Los Angeles

About a month ago, I purchased tickets for my (at the time) boyfriend and I to see an older movie “Heat” with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on an outdoor rooftop building in LA. I figured this would be a fun and trendy date night for us, and I wanted to do something nice for him.

I purchased the more expensive love seat tickets, which included a 2-person chair, blankets, pillows, endless popcorn, and a glass of wine or beer each (still only $30 per person). Unfortunately though, we broke up before we could enjoy this special night together.

As the independent and strong woman that I am, I decided I didn’t depend on him in order to go myself. I invited my best friend Ally to accompany me on this new girl date night. Although I was slightly disappointed that this night didn’t go according to plan, I was very happy to have my trusty and reliable best friend be my sidekick for the night.

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We dressed cute, and headed out. Of course, we made a pit stop at Taco Bell before getting stuck in the all-too-expected LA traffic (UGH–why I hate LA right here). We finally made it to the destination: Level Furnished Living. This place was no joke. They only offered valet (no self-parking), which we were not informed of on the tickets or website. We ended up spending $16 to park for a few hours, but later realized that there are a ton of other, cheaper parking structures close by (note to future self). We asked the concierge what the price was to live there, and were told it costs $4,000-$6,000 per month. Holy cow.

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We headed on up to the rooftop which, disappointingly, was not as high as the building was. We thought we were going to be about 30 stories high or so, but came to find we were only about 10 stories up. Sigh, first world problems.

On the bright side though, the venue was freakin’ adorable. Despite not being that high up, the view was still pretty cool. Little lights surrounded the seating area, which was full of little lawn chairs on a bed of grass. A giant movie screen was set into the side of the building, for easy movie viewing from even the back rows. We were all given individual headphones, so that we could hear the movie despite the city noises. Before sitting down, we loaded up on popcorn and prosecco. We then crammed on the tiny 2 person chair–love you Al, but that was a little too close for comfort! Unfortunately the seats were not the most comfy, and the flying bugs were a slight distraction as you tried to focus on the screen. We were less than enthusiastic about the 3 hour movie that we chose, so we decided to duck out early after an hour of watching.

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We then headed over to The Yardhouse for some pints of cider. Have to admit though, it was 10:30pm and I was already getting sleepy (did I mention I’m a grandma?)…so we headed home shortly thereafter…although not without hitting a ton of frustrating 11PM LA traffic.

So the question is: do I recommend going to the Rooftop Cinema Club in LA?

Yes. The venue is adorable, and perfect for a date night or girls’ night out. Take selfies and enjoy your glasses of wine & popcorn as you look out at the LA skyline.

Tips:

Don’t valet the car. Self-park in one of the nearby parking structures (walkable distance).

Know the movie you are seeing. Read reviews, see one you already know and like, or just seriously cross your fingers. Since there are more distractions outside than in a real movie theater, you really have to enjoy the movie to be invested.

Wear warm clothes. Even if it’s 90 degrees during the day, it gets much cooler at night time. Especially since you are in a shaded area, you experience wind and chills. They do provide blankets, but it’s definitely nice to come prepared.

Don’t purchase the loveseat. Honestly, even if you’re going with your “honey”, I guarantee you will both be a million times more comfy in your own individual seats. Plus! It’s cheaper that way. General admission is $19 per person. To learn more about the rooftop cinema experience and see their movie schedule click here.

Well, that’s my review. Hope you enjoyed.

 

xx allie

The Beauty of Today

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This morning I woke up early, before my alarm went off. I always love when I wake up at 5am, as it’s the best feeling knowing that I still have an hour and a half more to sleep. Today is also the best day of the week—it’s Friday…and for the next two days I don’t have any responsibility. I am trying to appreciate my free weekends right now, before I am occupied with papers and homework once I start grad school in August. The sun is out and about today, even along the coast, meaning it’s going to be a great weekend for tanning/hiking.

As I drove to work, I came across zero accidents. Phew. I checked my snack drawer as always, and noticed that someone had left a “Take 5” candy bar inside. I’m not sure who put it there, but I am absolutely grateful for their generous gesture. I always try my best not to purchase candy bars at the store (despite my contact desire to), but since this one randomly appeared in my vicinity…I am stoked. Thank you Universe.

Quick aside: I came across the most adorable succulent garden last night at Trader Joe’s, and simply cannot get my mind off of it. I will be going back this weekend to purchase those potted plants for my room. I love to add life to my living space. They literally look like this and they’re only $6.99 apiece:

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I am leaving work early today to go make a business relationship, and try samples of nuts and dried fruit (strange I know). Things like this make me grateful for the job. (Also so stoked for my solo business trip to Bend, Oregon next month! Woo!).

Tonight is a fun event, as Ally and I are headed to an LA Rooftop movie w/ wine and popcorn included. We are definitely going to get trendy and dolled up, as we rarely have a reason to go downtown on a Friday night. More to come on this..

Today I am full of energy and liveliness as it’s a beautiful day to be alive, and I am SO stoked for all that is to come. I am ready for the next chapter that the Universe delivers. I am ready for new adventures and learning experiences. Bring it!

xx allie

Creating a Cozy Room

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After graduating from UCSB a few years back, I moved back in with my mom to save money while working. Expecting it to be a relatively short transition period between my school apartment accommodation and getting my own place, I did little to decorate my room or “make it my own” so to speak. I took little pride in my room, and never felt good spending extended periods of time in it.

A few months back, I was accepted into a 2-year Master’s program that ultimately led me to decide to live at home for a little longer to avoid losing money over paying rent expenses. While it was tough to make this decision at the time, looking back I am really relieved that I did.

That being said, I felt compelled to transform my room into a cozy and inviting space for me to relax or study in. Although it’s not completely done yet, I already feel SO much better about my room and how far it’s come along. I now take pride in my room, keep it spotless and clean, and look forward to getting home to it at the end of every work day. It’s my cozy comfort lounge.

Here’s what I did:

Paint Color: Alright this was somewhat of a difficult choice. I knew I wanted something calming and warm. So for me it was between a very light yellow, coral, or mint. I decided to go with coral, as I feel this color is girly and happy. Side note: be careful when choosing your color from a swatch! The color always looks a few shades darker on your wall once it’s done. Also, you should definitely watch some painting tutorials on YouTube if you’ve never painted a room on your own before. There are tips and techniques for making your walls smooth and even. My life would have been 1000x easier if I had done this before myself.

Pillows: Essential. An assortment of pillows with different patterns and materials makes for the cozy illusion that you want. How can a bed truly be comfortable without pillows? Not only do they add to the coziness factor, but they also add toroom11 the deco. Use them as an accent or statement to give your room more pizazz and character.  You’ll also need a soft throw or blanket to lay across the foot of the bed: it’s an optional piece of extra coziness. I purchased mine at Ross.

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Rug: Specifically if you have wood floors, you will definitely be needing a rug. The rug should tie in with the other decorations around the room, but is mainly there to keep your feet warm as you move about. You’ll never want to leave your bed if you’re anticipating a freezing cold floor! Worry no more. I bought mine at Home Goods for $30.

Lamp: Lighting/Fixtures are important. There are literally thousands of styles of lamps. They can be modern, vintage, sleek, unique, and everything in between. The style of lighting you choose can really make or break your room and its theme. For my room, I chose a Himalayan salt crystal lamp. These have a ton of added health benefits, but also emit a dim pink hue that is not too distracting or obnoxious. I liked it because it adds to the calm, peaceful setting that I was going for with my ambiance. I got mine from Home Goods for only $15.

Candles: Not everyone is a fan of candles, but I happen to love them. They come in any scent and color, and never fail to relax me in the evening when I light them as I read. A nice scent is vital in a room, as it truly adds to the aura it presents. Pro Tip: Go for the Soy Wax Candles, as their smoke isn’t harmful for you to breathe.

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Living Plants: Living plants are always a nice touch. For my room, I chose a baby orchid plant that I’ve put on my bedside table. It’s totally thriving right now, and makes my room seem alive! Watering the plant and keeping it healthy also makes me feel like a proud plant parent. Hehe.

Reading Corner:  I am obsessed with reading good books. For me, a good book is one on self-help practices, relationships, communication, psychology, the brain, or mental health disorders. [Duh—I’m getting my Masters in Counseling Psych].  So personally, a nice space to read is vital. I had a vacant corner of my room that I decided to devote to this cause. I went to Target and was able to get a very soft seat ($70), which I’ve draped with a fuzzy throw ($30) and the latest edition of Psychology Today. Overhead is a 36” white feathered dream catcher that I purchased on Amazon for $15. Arguably my favorite section of my room.

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Wall Deco: Take your time with this one. It is important to find a painting/picture/canvas that you truly truly love. After all, it is the centerpiece of the entire room. It took me a few months to find something I loved, but I finally found this colorful elephant from Cost Plus World Market, that I just had to have. It was $100, which was a little more than I was willing to spend. I left the store without it, but the next day, I looked online and found the same canvas from Burlington Coat Factory for under $50. I bought it immediately. It currently resides over my bed and I absolutely LOVE how much brilliance it’s added to my room.

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While my room is still in the process of its transformation, I am TOTALLY excited about the progress I’ve made so far. I still need to purchase a flat screen TV for the wall across from my bed, a mirror to hang on the wall above my dresser, a floor plant for an empty corner of my room, and some mini lights to hang over my bed or window (have decided which yet). I feel confident that by my room’s conclusion, it will be the cozy and relaxing space that I desire and look forward to.

xx allie

On Integrity

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In·teg·ri·ty

inˈteɡrədē/

noun: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

Synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principles, ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness.

As I grow older, I am discovering the value of integrity in others. Not every person we meet has integrity. Not every person we meet is authentic, and true. There are many people who struggle with being honest and trustworthy. There are many people who feel a strong need to fabricate in order to win acceptance from others. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) the truth is often uncovered, making the acceptance and belonging that was so sought after, virtually unattainable.

As social media becomes more central to society, it seems that integrity as a trait is declining. Now I don’t have proof or statistics, but I’m just describing an overwhelming observation.  More and more people are beginning to obsess over how others see them. More important than the true nature of a person, seems to be the façade that they create for themselves and protect at whatever cost or expense.

What exactly is a façade?

Façade: an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.

What’s more, they are more or less unaware of (or in denial about) how unauthentic they are being. Not only are they not being honest to others, but more importantly they are not being true to themselves. What happens as a result? They live an unfulfilling life. They cannot be wholehearted. They cannot be at peace within their soul. They will constantly work to uphold the image they’ve created, and a false one at that. It’s like running on a treadmill that never lets up. Running and running, but getting nowhere. Trying to catch up with their lies, but coming up short every time.

More than anything, I feel sorry for the people that don’t feel “good enough” to just be honestly themselves. They are afraid of criticism or rejection. They are afraid of judgment. But what is worse is that they are harvesting superficial relationships that are not built on a foundation of integrity. People like and accept them for the façade they are displaying, but not for the true person that they are. They are illusionists–sometimes so good at creating the illusion that they start to believe it themselves. That’s where the problem ensues. But deep down they don’t have a choice. They’ll do anything to feel accepted. They’ll do anything to feel belonging. They don’t realize that they are only hurting themselves. They are only sabotaging all that the universe provides to them.

To the outsiders that aren’t fooled by the façade, we get angry. We wonder how people can be so foolish and conniving. We wonder why they could lie to prop themselves up, at the expense of others. But instead of anger, it is best to harbor compassion. It’s time to notice their struggle and acknowledge their powerlessness in defeating it. Or moreover, their unwillingness or incapability to notice it themselves. They are afraid of being vulnerable. They are afraid to step out from under their veil. They are afraid to have integrity.

Be Honest. Be True. Be Humble.

xx allie

Being Real

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As I was reading my book the other night (“Daring Greatly” by author/researcher Brene Brown), I came across a quote that I absolutely loved:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

*Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Although it has been quite a long time since I’ve read the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, this passage truly touched me. Growing up and even today, I’ve always had stuffed animals (even a blankey). I remember when I was little my mom would always say, “Allie, what are you going to do when you go to college? Bring your blankey with you?”. Well…that’s exactly what I did. I brought him along for the 4 year ride.

To me, this passage hits home. I have given my stuffed animals and blankey so much love and affection over the years, that they are worn, tattered, ripped, etc. One of their noses has fallen off, and of course I’ve taken the liberty to superglue it back on. Fact is, I’ll never give them up for as long as I live. And you can bet that no matter what, there will always be an animal of some sort in my bed that I sleep with.

But what makes this passage even more profound to me, is the fact that it also alludes to humans in love. Sometimes, it hurts to be loved. We are worn, tattered, and scarred from the love we’ve received, and in the end, it only makes us more real. It only makes us more beautiful. Not everybody can accept being loved. They are fragile and meek, and would prefer to be left unscathed. They may not look damaged or worn, but that is because they are not real. They have not gone through the one human experience that sets the real apart from the unreal. They are afraid to be vulnerable. They are afraid to be tossed around from the tempestuous emotion that is love. The incredibly sought after, yet infinitely feared emotion. They are not willing to be tattered from the wounds of love, and they’ll never understand the beauty inherent in feeling this sense of “realness”.

But those who are real don’t mind that it hurts. We are eager to be tattered and worn. We are eager to be shabby.

xx allie

The Light Between the Cracks

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“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

-Leonard Cohen

 

One of my favorite courses that I took while attending UCSB was “The Dark Side of Relational Communication”. Not because I am a dark, sadistic person (because I’m not), but because the main premise of the class was that even the worst aspects of our relationships, and the sometimes harsh ways that they end, have a silver lining.

You cannot begin to appreciate the light without darkness. I have been struggling with a very difficult life transition lately. But despite my less than enthusiastic mood and notes of negativity, my support system is rockin’ it. I couldn’t be more grateful for a fantastic group of friends (who are basically family), and family (who are also friends) who have taken it upon themselves to rush in and comfort.  Despite the changes that occur in life, my support system has always been a constant. They are there through the best of times, and the worst of times. They are there to rise up my spirits, and remind me of my worth. They are truly the real MVPs, as they never let me down in my time of need.

I am able to be real with every single one of these people, and they are able to be real with me. They are the foundation on which I stand. They talk to me about the finer things in life, the things that are not always easy to discuss. They question my intentions, my values, and my aspirations, and challenge me to do what’s best. They are what make my life beautiful. They are what make my life deep.  Because that is what life is all about: human connection and belonging. I feel 100% connected by their presence and company in my life. I feel strengthened by their very existence to me. I am incredibly lucky, as not everybody gets the chance to meet life-changing people like these. They truly add to my life, and inspire me to always be my best self.

It takes a loss sometimes to be reminded of all that I have not lost, and never will. The people that see the light in me, will want to remain in my life. They will feel enriched in my presence, as I do in theirs. They will feel inspired by me to be a better version of themselves. To me, a thriving relationship is one in which both parties feel the value of their counterpart, and acknowledge it to them. There is a give-and-take exchange, where both parties feel balanced from the equal reciprocity among them. There are equal parts gratefulness. Equal parts love. Equal parts understanding. And equal parts patience.

There is not always agreement, but there is acceptance for the other side. There is respect, in spite of controversy. Not everybody is willing to make the sacrifices that must be made to cradle a relationship and solidify a bond. Not everybody is willing to endure the darkness, to appreciate the light. I am beginning to see the beauty of the cracks. I am beginning to value the presence of the dark.

xx allie

QUEEN

“Be careful how you play your cards when you have a queen in your hand”

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I know that what I want in life is not impossible. I see it every day. I see men posting appreciation photos of their girlfriend with the caption, “luckiest man in the world”. I see engagements occur every couple of months, when the man knows with 100% certainty he never wants anybody else. I see young married couples holding their children’s’ hands as they walk to the park. But in waiting for my happy ending, I am beginning to lose some hope.

I found a guy that I really fell in love with. I don’t fall often, but when I do, I fall hard. While I feel lucky to be able to love so strongly, it’s hard to fall without inevitably feeling some pain. I let myself be vulnerable with him. But trust me, it wasn’t easy. I remember crying as I looked at him, so overcome with gratitude and joy that it was almost sad. It almost didn’t feel meant for me. The feeling that I had wasn’t “luck”. Because luck is too stupid. Luck is too dumb. It was much more than luck. I felt more than lucky. It felt like being handed a million bucks, and when asked what you owe in return, the person says, “Just accept it”. While it seems like an easy enough request, it wasn’t. I struggled with accepting it. It felt so good, it almost hurt. It felt so right, it didn’t feel right. You spend so much time hoping that life gives you everything you’ve always wanted one day. But do you ever wonder what it feels like when that day actually comes? It’s the scariest thing you’ll ever come to know. You panic. You cry. You shake…for fear of losing it all unexpectedly. Or even expectedly. Anticipating the loss is almost worse. You want to feel relieved that you can finally revel in having what you’ve always wanted. But you simply can’t. It feels too good to be true. It feels like a sick joke from the universe that you hope never reaches the punch line. Because this punch line would hurt.

This should have been the red flag. The sweetness never should have also felt bitter. Looking back, perhaps this sick joke was intuition. Nothing more. I was the only one feeling overcome. I was the only one feeling this obscene amount of gratefulness for what the world had offered me…my so called million bucks. I was the only one struggling to accept this love. Why? Why? Why? I asked myself a million times. Did he not love me as much? Was I not as special to him, as he was to me? Was I a dime a dozen? Had he had greater loves before me? Was I a let-down? Did I not match up to his self-made construct of a future wife? Did he always know it wouldn’t be me?

Or maybe he just didn’t know a good thing when he had it. 

I’m not sure why things changed so unexpectedly, but I have to believe that it’s for my highest good. I guess the universe can take the reins on this one.

Despite it all, I know that my time will come. In my own mind, I am a queen. I will always be deserving. I will always be special, and valuable. I will always be enough. And one day, my king will appreciate his hand, and never let it go.

xx allie