Sunday, March 26, 2017

That's a Wrap!

Ever since I've got my hands on the Sony a6000 camera, I've been wanting to take it out for a test run. With all of the beautiful, warm, and sunny weather that we've been getting lately, I felt that it was a good day to take a break from the books and hit the road.

Once upon a time, I wanted to work in the film industry. I've always been fascinated by set design, movie production, and post-production. One of my first memorable experiences was shooting a short promo at the Walt Disney Studios back in the day. Kudos to you if you can you can find the clip! Just learning about the amount of effort and time that goes into the creation of a clip was fascinating. I have so much respect for the people who work so hard everyday to make digital content for all of us to enjoy.


Yesterday, I headed up to Burbank to check out Warner Bros. Studios. Our tour was very intimate, composing of only nine people. I really appreciated having a smaller group, as that allowed for better social interaction between us and our tour guide.


Our first stop on the tour was the Warner Bros. Archive, home to the costumes, props, and valuable collectibles to some of their most notable movies and franchises. There, I lived out my Harry Potter dream of getting sorted by the Sorting Hat, and checking out all of the beautiful costumes from the movies of the Harry Potter franchise.


Just look at Newt Scamander's ensemble. The rich colors and well tailored wool make for a dashing fellow, don't you think?


Okay, so maybe I've been living under a rock this whole time, but I never really noticed how close in size Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) was to Hermione (Emma Watson) until now. I wasn't really expecting that. The costumes demonstrate just how much smaller the actors are in real life versus the big screen.


Witnessing all of the life size figures and costumes made me realize just how tall a lot of the actors were, particularly the superheroes and villains. The body proportions are just insane. They're definitely not average by any means. I can only imagine how much Gal Gadot had to work out for her role as Wonder Woman.


I found Batman. Somebody call Christian Bale and tell him to come back please. 


After visiting the archive, we headed to the prop department. I've never seen building with so many random items in my life. I would turn a corner and then see a 7 foot panda or a random baby head on a reptile body. The building looked like a well curated antique store. I wanted to take home all of the Casablanca memorabilia.


Next stop on the tour: television and movie sets! As you can tell, I was pretty stoked to visit Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls (Team Jess forever and ever), the set of La La Land, and the Tanner house from Full House (aka Fuller House). Stars Hallow was a lot more spread out than I imagined it to be. I expected it to be a much tighter community, but of course, tv gives all of us a sense of forced perspective.

I will say that my favorite part of the tour was the Tanner house. Full House was one of my favorite shows growing up, and it still is among one of my all-time favorite shows of all time.


The last stop on the tour: the sound stages. Fun fact! Did you know that Fuller House is currently filming on the Friends sound stage? During this part of the tour, we weren't allowed to take photos inside the live sound stages. However, we had the opportunity to tour several buildings including my favorite late night show, Conan.

Anybody else here a Conan fan? He's definitely one of my favorite comedians. I love it when he takes his show on the road. If you're not familiar with him, go onto YouTube and find some of his travel clips. They're hilarious!


Of course, no visit to Warner Bros. studios would be complete without visiting the Friends Central Perk Cafe. Who could resist a cup of coffee where Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe once hung out?


Overall, I enjoyed the tour. The pace of the tour was good, although the group itself lacked energy and enthusiasm. Looking at the operation as a whole, the tour team was very well organized, and the studio was fairly easy to find. It's a fun tour to take if you're looking for a mellow day in LA.


To review my Sony a6000, I was really surprised how light it was to carry around. I brought my 16-50mm lens to test it out. My camera captured images with ease and minimal effort.  It was the perfect point and shoot camera to carry around, considering the fact that I didn't want to bring my Canon DSLR. It performed very well in areas of low light with no flash, the colors of the photos came out vibrant, and the battery life was terrific.

The only vice so far is the pixels for my photos were a little smaller than what I am used to. The wifi feature is my favorite part about the camera, which completely cuts out my computer as the middle man to upload my photos. I will try to use it more so that I can give you all a more in-depth review on it.


Of course, no trip to L.A. would be complete without dessert! We dropped into Little Damage to see what the hype was about. I ordered "The Zebra", which was a "vanilla and almond charcoal" ice cream swirl in an (Oreo?) cone.

Yes, you heard that right, almond charcoal flavor. Surprisingly, it was light, fragrant, and delightful. There were no odd tastes or textures in the ice cream, despite the addition of the uncommon ingredient, charcoal. Supposedly, rumor has it that charcoal supposedly has detoxing properties, but I wouldn't hold my breath on it.


If you like new and odd things to try, definitely stop by Little Damage. Parking in Downtown L.A. is a pain to deal with, but if you can tolerate it, more power to you. The signage in the shop was definitely very cheeky, which I really liked. Definitely, a cute spot to grab dessert in despite the hustle and bustle of Downtown L.A.
Well, that's all for this weekend. If you have any questions or want to connect, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram via @Tran_gerine.

Until next time!

-Melissa 




Sunday, March 19, 2017

If Found, Please Return to the Beast's Castle

Did anybody watch the new Beauty and the Beast movie? If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it and then return to this post.

**Spoilers ahead.**


For somebody who hasn't stepped foot into the movie theaters in a while, I shaved some time in my weekend schedule to go see it. Going in, I tried not to set my expectations too high despite all of the hype surrounding it. To my delight, I was quite satisfied with the live-action adaptation of the animated feature.

Disney did a wonderful job of making not so likable characters, LeFou and Gaston, quite likable. Josh Gad and Luke Evans had such great onscreen chemistry and really made their characters quite believable. The comedy bit between the two was so entertaining. I'd rewatch the move again to watch their scenes. Josh Gad is seriously my favorite character in the entire movie, and I think he made the perfect LeFou.

Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying Belle. I got emotional when she and the Beast transported back to Paris. I could feel the sorrow of her character as she revisited her childhood home. It was a powerful scene to learn about her past and feel the feelings that she felt. Opposite of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens played a great Beast. His tone of voice and mannerisms were on point to the character of the Beast. The special effects team really nailed the look of the Beast. He was oddly handsome? Just me? Okay.

Anyways...

Emma Thompson made a terrific Mrs. Potts. I loved both her speaking and singing voice. That casting was so perfect. She was Mrs. Potts. Nathan Mack made an adorable chip. The enthusiasm in his voice really made his character come alive. Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere were good. I wish there was a little bit more comedy and banter between them. I felt that the relationship with LeFou and Gaston were played out a little bit better though. Kevin Kline as a believable Maurice who seemed more socially aware of everything as opposed to his aloof animated counterpart. I liked this live-action portrayal a lot better. Hattie Morahan as the Enchantress was mesmorizing, and her role was a lot more involved in this version of the film than the animated feature. I liked the way that Disney used her character as a thread to tie all of the parts of the movie together from beginning to end.

Overall, I would give this movie 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, and will probably watch it again at some point. I docked off half of a star because I wasn't wild about some of the new songs. I'm slightly bias to original features, so new material takes a little bit of time to adjust. All in all, great movie, and I'm looking forward to Aladdin and Mulan coming soon.

Did you watch the movie? I would love to hear some of your thoughts! Feel free to Tweet or Instagram me @Tran_gerine.

Until next time,

Melissa



Sunday, March 5, 2017

March Madness

This month has just started, but it feels everything has been moving at 100 mph. This upcoming week is going to be handful with work, projects, and events. For once, I wish time would slow down. This week alone, we celebrated 3 birthdays in my family, which is nuts. I've never had so much cake and ice cream in my life...haha. I definitely do not want to see another cake for a while!

Lulu's French Doors Ivory and Blue Floral Print Wrap Maxi Dress

It's been two weeks since I had surgery on my back. Lately, I've been feeling a little bit more mobile. Gradually, it's becoming easier to sleep at night, which is a plus. What I miss the most is running. I love getting my heart pumping and running to music. It helps me to clear my mind, and it puts me in a better mood. For now, I've been doing a lot of walking, which is alright for the time being.

Due to my limited mobility, I've been wearing a lot of button up shirts, zip up dresses, and wrap dresses like this Lulus French Doors Maxi. I actually don't mind it, as it has made getting dressed a piece of cake. Lately, I've been really into blue and while tile design, which is why I was so drawn to this dress. It's a light, comfy, and doesn't wrinkle, which makes it that much more lovable. If you're looking for a spring or Easter dress, I would highly recommend this one. The price point isn't so bad either.


Good news! Yesterday, I got my sutures removed, and my doctor said that I've been making good progress. My surgical wound is healing nicely, and I've been granted to start working out (light exercises) again beginning next week. Only a few more weeks to go, and I should be back up to speed with everything. Next month will be pretty busy, so this is very good news in my book!


After my doctor's appointment, I celebrated the day with my sister and niece at our favorite place in L.A.,  The Original Los Angeles Flower Market. The spring flowers are beginning to roll in. We found lots of vibrant and happy blossoms and greenery, which we brought back to create a variety of floral arrangements for our homes. If there is one thing that I don't mind spending money on, it's flowers...and food. 


Speaking of food, I also finally got to eat at République this weekend, a modern French restaurant and bakery that I had been eyeing for a while. I really enjoyed their Almond Milk Caffe Latte and Kimchi Fried Rice. Their regular breakfast was quite delicious as well. 


The interior of the restaurant was simple, but beautiful. It was a fusion of both old world and contemporary architecture and decor. When I walked into the building, I could instantly feel the warmth of the space. The use of a neutral color palette as well as ample natural lighting made the space inviting and and intriguing. 

Interestingly enough, the building was originally built in 1928 by Charlie Chaplin and designed by architect Roy Sheldon Price. It's initial purpose was to be utilized as an office and mixed use space. Now as a restaurant and bakery, it provides a delightful meeting ground for foodies and food connoisseurs to gather for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Overall, I had a delightful weekend. With good news, beautiful flowers, and tasty eats, what's not to like? If you happen to be visiting L.A., I would highly recommend the Los Angeles Flower Market and République. Make sure you arrive early, as both locations are quite popular on the weekends. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me or twee me via @Tran_gerine. If you'd like to check out my day-to-day shenanigans, you are more than welcome to connect with me via Instagram @Tran_gerine.


Until next time,

Melissa