"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home At Last Premiere!

It's finally here! Woo Hoo! And every other week until the end of the year, you'll see me post an episode for the series I worked on with some very lovely and talented people, including William Russ, who you've probably seen on Boy Meets World, as Corey's Dad. Yeah. We grew up watching him on Friday nights, and I got to work with him! Career highlight? I say Yes!

Do me a favor and watch this, wouldja?

And if you go here, you can see two bonus videos (the one with Jeff Lewis is not safe for work and filled with a lot of dirty words. If you're not into that, don't watch it. If you are into it, you'll definitely enjoy it)!

Woo Hoo!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Tv

I love Fall in Los Angeles. It looks a lot like summer, except with better television programming!

Let's talk about a few of the shows I've watched:


Happy Endings. (Technically, this is their second season.)

If you haven't caught on, catch! It's so funny. I love the pacing, the energy, the ridiculousness, and it gives me such happiness that Casey Wilson, who was rumored to be fired for being too fat, has found a great, wonderful vehicle for herself. And a shout out to Elisha Cuthbert for taking a character who could have been extremely annoying, into a friend we want to watch and root for.

 Also, Damon Wayans Jr and Eliza Coupe might be the best married couple on television. Seriously, you'd want them to come to your party.

And Zachary Knighton, you are super dreamy.

2 Broke Girls
I am enjoying this for the most part, but know it's just going to get better with time. Next season will be stronger, and the third will be even better. Right now, we have to grow with the two leads, but the supporting cast are just stereotypes and cliches. Even so, I'm excited to see where this show will take us.

I do feel bad for the actresses, however, because they both wear heeled shoes with their work uniform. I get that Beth Behrs, playing the used- to- be -stinkin- rich- girl had to leave her home with the clothing on her back (and shoes on her feet) but it hurts me to watch Kat Dennings tromp around on set whenever she's wearing her boots with her work uniform.

I hate that they're wearing heels as waitresses in the first place (try 9 hours of standing like that in real life). It feels like Michael Patrick King, who co-created the show with Whitney Cummings, is trying to capitalize on the Sex and the City shoe glamor of years passed. But I don't get it.  Put them in sensible sneakers, you guys! You're making your viewers feel bad for them!

New Girl
"After a bad break-up, Jess, a quirky young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her and they become like family."
Zooey Deschanel stars as Jess, a woman who is far too pretty and well dressed to ever be considered "weird" or "annoying" in real life. And that's the major problem for me. I have nothing against ZooeyD - I thought she was GREAT in 500 Days of Summer, but this show feels like they're taking Zooey's quirky/cute brand and shoving her down my throat and force feeding her to me that she's likable and a goof and look! she sings to herself! how adorkable!
This is a show that NEEDED to have an unknown female lead. I don't buy ZooeyD as this girl. They needed someone we could all really believe IS this person. Having indie darling ZooeyD star in this was just a bad idea. So I really hate this show. Now, I know a few people who love it, which I really don't get, but I was thinking to myself, this show might work better if it was a 3 camera sitcom, like the Big Bang Theory. I don't think 1 camera is doing them any favors. And the jokes don't work for me. If Jess was played by a heavier, dorkier girl (think first season Ugly Betty star America Ferrara) the show would make sense to me and I'd watch.

But as of now, all three of the three episodes I've seen has Jess being quirky! the guys not liking it! Jess saving them from embarassment by being her quirky self! The guys falling in love with her! Then Jess being quirky! And the guys finding her annoying again!
Barf. (and let me go ahead and say that I really hate their poster too. WHY am I so against this show?!)

Once Upon a Time
"Centers on a woman with a troubled past who is drawn into a small town in Maine where the magic and mystery of Fairy Tales just may be real."
Saw the first episode last night and fully expected to not care for it. But I did! Interesting idea and I'm excited to see where it goes in the next couple of episodes, because it looks like we'll get to see all the fairy tale characters' back stories and that interests me a great deal.

And I'm really glad someone has finally put Jennifer Morrison and Ginnifer Goodwin together in the same show, cause I always thought they looked alike and used to confuse them for one another.

Do you agree or disagree with me on what I've seen so far? What shows are you loving?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Does It Feel Different?"

After getting hitched two weeks ago, people have been asking me, "Does it feel different?"

Yes and No.

There is something to be said about suddenly getting to say things like, "This is my husband," or, "I need to talk to my husband before I can commit to this." I mean, I'm saying things my mother used to say! It's a very....grown up feeling.

It's different in the social-sphere as well, akin to graduating from Elementary School and now suddenly, you go to Junior High (!) and you have a locker(!) and a schedule(!) and a gym uniform(!). You are the same kid, but now, perceived a little differently because you are considered to be more mature, Sailor Moon Pillowcases be damned!

But maybe because we haven't gone on a honeymoon yet, it kinda feels the same too. Same apartment, same guy, same habits. It's still comfortable and still fun.

Speaking of comfortable and fun, I'd like to share with you some of the wonderfulness that was our Wedding Day.

All pictures are copyrighted by our wonderful friend, photographer Tanya Giang.
 Isn't this beautiful?
When I asked Gloria to be my Lady of Awesome (Maid of Honor is too diminutive a term for all her powers), she replied, "Of course!" And in the same breath "-But only if I can be your Production Designer too." An emphatic yes with the one condition that she be in charge of making it pretty. Thank goodness! I know absolutely NOTHING about making things pretty!

We started on Pinterest and I said that I wanted an arch of some kind and I really liked the look of fabric falling. She corrected me, "You want a focal point?" Yes. And she basically went from there. Our colors are purple and red, nodding to our color coding at Burning Man, and she turned her back yard into the beauty you see above. The structure in the back is called a Star Plate Dome, and our friends Amelia and Kevin lovingly let us borrow it. Gloria had bought all the fabric and sewn cut out paper flowers that I had punched to create beautiful garlands.

Our friend Resa said "I want to help!" and help she did! She, Gloria, and Joe (he likes to be anonymous :) put in about 40 hours to make flowers out of plastic table cloths, tissue paper, pipe cleaner and felt. Joe even went out on his own and bought the gigantic pom poms hanging from the tree. He simply arrived at the house one day, saying, "I went out and got these, because they need them." How lovely is that? Resa made a gajillion flowers and did all the arrangements.

Note the pretty bottle stakes, too. We did a lot of upcycling!

Gloria researched benches, drew up a plan and Perry (the Best Man) and Anthony (my HUSBAND) put them together. Gloria sealed and stained them. She really can do anything.

 Gloria can also tie bow ties. Here is my beautiful fiance at the time. He chose all parts of the outfit himself.
 Here are Anthony and Perry looking quite dashing, yes? The boutonnieres are made of felt. Resa made the prototypes and Joe and Gloria helped make the eleven we needed.
Resa and Gloria made the bouquets! We're also wearing dahlia felt hair pins.  
And here's a few notes about the dress: it's from Unique Vintage in Burbank. [And I just want to say that the staff at Unique Vintage was so sweet. They never rushed us, always made us feel important, and were attentive without being pushy. We had a great experience shopping there.] Here's the original dress, actually. We liked it, but I wanted more color for it to pop. We took out the removable modesty panel, the corset string and seam ripped the tulle off, and Gloria and I dyed it on her stove. She told me that we weren't going to get an exact color match, but we practically did. Another friend, Carrie (a costume designer!), agreed that the tulle peeking out was just way too long and lovingly reattached it much higher so that it was more flattering.
Note the garland of flowers and circles behind us. Gloria used different strips of tulle and other fabric for the different textures.

 A huge shout out to Sandra D for m 1950s hair style. Is it not beautiful!? In order to feel glamorous, I like to straighten and then recurl my hair, but I can never do a good job myself. Sandra D is famous for her vintage hairstyling. She even teaches classes. Go to her.

My necklace is a gift Anthony's mom, Nina, presented to me when we first met. She has Amazing taste in jewelry, and I was so happy to wear this necklace on the day I married her son. The bracelet is my "something borrowed" from my Aunt Sira. It was her mother's, and I believe, judging from the clasp, that it was made sometime in the 60s. It's gorgeous. I was very close to my grandmother and it was so lovely of my aunt to let me borrow it.

We elected to do family photos before the ceremony. I knew my makeup would run and I'd have to fix it, so I made sure to have us take pictures when we all looked fresh and so clean, clean, cause I'm a little vain like that.

 Now the ceremony. Anthony escorted Mama Nina down the aisle to her seat, and she's already crying. I love this photo. He is such a Mama's boy, and he is her favorite son (it's okay for me to say that. He's her only son :)

 Months ago, that Bruno Mars song came on the radio, "Just the Way You Are" and Anthony told me that he always thinks of me when he hears that song. That song was already a contender for what I wanted to walk down the aisle to, but I wanted something a little slower than the original. I found this cover by Tyler Ward, featuring AHMIR . It was a surprise. I never told Anthony this was what I was walking to.  As soon as the song started playing, he started crying. He later told me that after he seated his mom and he took his place at the alter, the enormity of the day really hit him. His eyes watered he said. But then my song started playing, and that's the moment he started crying.
He's a big ole softy.

[During the reception, actually, we asked our DJ Jimmy G at No1 Betta to find a LOT of old Italian songs, and he did! If you guys need a dj (or want to go karaoke-ing!!) check them out on their Facebook page. ]

 I am so happy! It was either Gloria or Resa's idea to strew paper cutouts on the aisle path. I didn't know it was there until I walked out. It was beautiful!!

 We're here! Getting Married! We can't stop smiling!! And hey! Do you recognize our Officiant, Tracy? It's none other than Phoenix!! And not only was she amazing as our Officiant, but she then appointed herself our Day Of Coordinator, making sure we ate food, had water to drink, and stuck to our wedding schedule. And this was all on 5 hours sleep, as she was shooting a top secret movie with her as the lead, doing night shoots for the previous five days, working her job in the afternoon, and the day before our wedding, attending an all day conference. She was absolutely wonderful.

 Anthony is reading his personal vows to me. He had to keep pausing after every sentence because he was on the brink of tears the whole time.

My turn for vows!

  My dad is a little overwhelmed by our vows. I remember an old jewelry commercial where the Father of the Bride is saying to his daughter, "They say the happiest day of your life is the day you get married. It's not. It's the day your daughter gets married." Isn't that beautiful? I imagine my dad is feeling some of that here.

I am repeating my marital vows with my hand on his heart. They were a bit long, but poignant, specific, and exactly what we wanted. It ended with "From my hand, to your heart, I thee wed." After this, we exchanged rings.

 Tracy gave the authority of everyone at our wedding to pronounce us as Husband and Wife together with her. It was fantastic! She said, "Anthony and Lira, with the authority vested in all of us, me, your family, and friends, we now pronounce you [and then she pointed to the audience for their cue, and they all said] Husband and Wife!" 63 of our closest family and friends pronounced us. It was great!


 Our first dance. Do you see Mama Nina and Papa Joe happily watching us? They've been married for almost 40 years.

 Anthony had a cartoon of us as our logo for our save the dates and invitations and as soon as I saw it I told him we HAD to have the drawing as our cake topper. He modified it to match our hair styles and clothes, and Gloria and Perry took it, mounted it on foamcore and placed it on top of the cake.
The cake.
I had this brilliant idea that on the day before, I would make our wedding cake. A simple two pan carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. Gloria talked to Resa, who is quite the baker herself, and they both sat me down and forbid me from even THINKING about making the cake any longer. Somehow, they just knew that I would have no time to do it. Bless them.

 Do you see the fondant icing? And the fondant flowers?! And the tiers?! I NEVER would have made this cake so beautiful!

 Seriously. Look how beautiful this cake is! And it was SO good. We were eating it all the week after too. The fondant helped the cake stay super moist and delicious. Or, Resa is just that amazing a baker. Yeah. Probably the latter.
The fondant icing, however, made it a little tough to cut. Anthony had to help me slice it and was nearly crushing my hand, which I was laughing at. I'm too weak to cut a cake slice!

Here we are in the photo booth that Gloria and Perry created. This is at the end of the night, as you can tell by Anthony's unbuttoned shirt and untied tie. Can we look at my hair, though? I have already been dancing up a storm at that point and the hair STILL IS AMAZING. Thank you Sandra D!

Signing of the marriage license. This shizz is legal, yo. And can I just pause for a second and say how hot all my friends are? Gloria knows how to work the camera!

So, Does it feel different? Yes and No.

But regardless, being married to my husband feels Wonderful.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Just a Quick Peek!

My friend Tanya is a photographer. You have seen her work on this blog because she's amazing and I love her stuff. She offered to shoot our wedding (and our engagement! and a special boudoir session!) as a gift.

We opted to do a "First Look" shot, where Anthony sees me before the ceremony. Due to time constraints, we wanted to do all our family photos before our ceremony, meaning that he will already have seen me before I walk down the aisle. I STRONGLY recommend this route. Our hair was perfect, our clothes weren't wrinkled, and I knew I was probably going to be a mess after our personal vows, so I wanted to make sure my makeup still looked good in photos. I'm vain.

Here's Anthony seeing me as his bride for the first time. We both cried. What can I say? We're total wusses. I love that he's squinting so hard in the first picture, and after the initial excitement in the third picture, the tears just leaked out. The enormity of the day hit us full force by the time the last photo was shot.

I'll have more for you later. We dropped the last of the family off at the airport today and still need a few days to settle. 

It was a great day, and I can't wait to tell you more about it!

Much love to you all!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


My alarm was set for 8am this morning. I woke up at 6:45 and my body would not let me go back to sleep.

Anthony and I are getting married today.

We're excited. We're happy. And we are so, so loved. Family from far and wide have flown and drove alllll the way down to see us on this momentous occasion.

So I keep taking little moments.

la vita รจ bella.

See you later.