My Oscar Speech

“Me? I won? Did they really call my name?” I stumble out of my seat, kiss my adoring husband, and after what seems like an eternity, I finally make it to the stage steps.

“Don’t fall,” I tell myself repeatedly. Chances are if I did, I wouldn’t look as graceful as Jennifer Lawrence. And truth be told, I’m growing weary of JLaw’s “oh woe is me, I’m such a klutz” routine. Elegance and authenticity are the keys to this moment.

As I take the podium and cradle my golden friend, I look out at the audience and pause for a moment, taking it all in. I remember that 40 million people are watching, and in this moment I know why this awards ceremony touches so many people.

For all of us who have dreamed of winning an Academy Award, or doing anything that sets our hearts on fire, here’s why the Oscars matter.

The Chance to Celebrate Glamour

For most people, there are only a handful of times that they get to be utterly glamorous. Prom. Their wedding. An occasional ball or two. But for the Hollywood set, they get to live the glamorous life more times than they probably enjoy.

For the rest of us plopped on our sofas drinking wine and wearing yoga pants, we celebrate glamour by ogling celebrity gowns and jewels. We tune into the legendary catwalk that is the red carpet, and we swoon.

So thank you, Cate Blanchett, for your unique beauty and for floating down the red carpet in this timelessly gorgeous frock. You are my style inspiration.


Bearing Your Soul is a Valued Endeavor

With awards going to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyer’s Club, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, and Lupita Nyong’o for Twelve Years a Slave, we learn that bearing your soul for the sake of your passion does not go unnoticed. In fact, it inspires others to do the same.

It wasn’t that long ago that Matthew McConaughey was starring is syrupy rom-coms, swooning girls, and minting money. The livin’ was easy. McConaughey could have stayed there in the sweet spot, but instead he wanted to work outside his comfort zone. He wanted to get gritty and uncomfortable. And that he did.

Losing forty pounds to play the role of a lifetime, his focus was undeterred. He risked the raw exposure of his talent to tell the story of a man who’s existence could have easily been hushed by the decades gone by. It’s here at the crossroads of where art meets life that you realize the two are really one in the same.

So thank you, Matthew, Jared, Cate, and Lupita, for reminding us that when you bear your soul, magic happens. And whether 40 million people see it or only you do, a seismic shift occurs and an ordinary human experience becomes an extraordinary one.

{Photo courtesy of}

A Reminder to Dream Bigger

Academy Award-winning makeup artist Matthew Mungle was raised on a dairy farm in Oklahoma. Growing up he loved horror movies and monster films. By fifteen, he was stealing his mom’s old makeup and making his own costumes. His parents supported his passion and encouraged him to pursue it. Hollywood wasn’t just a dream for him. It was a goal. And in 1993, he won an Oscar for his work in Dracula.

Haven’t we all dreamed of doing something worthwhile? Something that lights us up inside. Something that as a kid was considered “playing.” And a good number of us have taken those dreams and put them on a shelf and are schlepping our way through life, focused on the mundane.

Lupita Nyong’o might have said it best in her eloquent acceptance speech, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.”

So thank you, Matthew and Lupita, for reminding us that no matter how crazy they seem, our dreams are valid and that we should all dream a little bigger.


In closing, I want to thank the Academy for giving us the Oscars, a ceremony that unites and sometimes divides us (Gravity really won 7 awards? Really?). I also want to thank all of you for reading this post because without you, my ideas would just be floating around out there like Sandra Bullock in space.

Now where’s that after party? A glass of Moët is tweeting my name.

What to Pack for Sailing the Islands

4 islands…6 friends…12 days

I’m getting ready for my summer sailing trip. My husband and I will fly St. Martin, where we will charter a sailboat from the Moorings. With four friends, we’ll sail the clear blue water around St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Bart’s, and Saba.


Living on a sailboat for over a week is a life changing experience. The bathrooms are small, the air conditioning may not work, and the only way to get to most islands is to swim or take a dinghy. It’s not a glamorous endeavor.

But on what other trip can you get rocked to sleep by the gentle roll of waves? Or drink a glass of wine with sea life below you and the Southern Cross above you? Ah, life is so simple when all you worry about is where you left your book, which sunscreen to apply, and whether it’s time for a boat drink. It’s nothing short of magical.


With all that said, having six people on a boat for twelve days can create a few questions about what to pack. We’ve sailed other islands before, including two trips around the British Virgin Islands, so I’ve had a few opportunities to overpack, under pack, and pack all the wrong things.

With all this experience, I thought I’d share with you the right things to pack. Here are a few highlights of what I’m taking this time around ~

  • 2 TERVIS TUMBLERS WITH LIDS. The boat is stocked with some essentials like silverware and plastic dinnerware but there are no Tervis Tumblers. Keeping my drink cold on the sailing trip is one of my only responsibilities, so I take it seriously.
  • 2 WINE THERMOSES. I bought these at Nordstrom rack. They hold an entire bottle of wine and the airtight, screw top makes them ideal for travel. An added benefit is that they keep beverages cold all day. I’ll use them for water and the occasional vodka and soda.


  • SUNSCREEN. These days I like Sun Bum for my body. It has fewer bad chemicals and the smell takes me back to my Hawaiian Tropic filled teenage years. I’m taking a variety – lotion, sprays, 15, 30, 50. For my face, I use something with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and a 50 SPF.


  • 4 BEACH TOWELS. The Moorings provides bath towels but not beach towels. There’s no washer or dryer on board, so I’ll bring 2 for me and 2 for my husband. Depending on how often  we use them, we may have to wash them at a laundromat on one of the islands.
  • POLARIZED SUNGLASSES. Polarized lenses protect your eyes from the sun and enable you to see color variations better than regular lenses. The water is even more beautiful when seen through the right glasses.
  • VIBRAM  5 FINGER SHOES. These shoes are a game changer. They are like gloves for your feet. The idea is that your feet are healthier when you engage each toe. The hard rubber bottoms also protect your feet while snorkeling and walking in the water. When on vacation, I exercise in them. Not having to pack running shoes saves me a lot of space in my suitcase.


  • 2 PAIRS OF SANDALS. 1 casual. 1 dressy. Dinner at an upscale restaurant in St. Bart’s or Anguilla will require a fancier sandal with a little bling.
  • 5 BATHING SUITS. I’m taking mostly solids so I can mix and match for different looks.
  • 6 COVER-UPS. When sailing and island hopping, you spend most of your time in bathing suits and cover-ups. Think laying around reading, jumping in the water to cool off, and snorkeling. I take more cover ups than anything so that I feel stylish and fresh without much effort. And a chic cover up is essential for an island lunch.
  • 2 FUN NECKLACES. What makes a simple sundress chic? The right accessories. Here’s one that I’ll be packing to wear to a fun, island dinner.


And last, but not least…

  • 2 BOOKS. Everything Asian by Sung J. Woo. A reviewer said that it’s a charming tale about a Korean immigrant family. I’ve read a short story by Woo. He has a masterful way with words. And my second book is Beautiful Ruins, which I’ve been saving just for this trip.

10walter "Beautiful Ruins" By Jess Walter

Life on a boat is the perfect mix of solitude and bonding with friends. Some of my favorite memories were born on starry nights on the back of a sailboat. Sailing is also a perfect reminder that less is more.

So whether you’re sailing or flying or driving or walking…travel light.