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#TRUTHday

8 Sep

victoriaerickson

I want to scream at someone, something, my computer, myself, the construction workers across the street who start banging at 7am… anyone really. But what will that solve? Nada. TOO MUCH BAD NEWS lately.

It’s as if there’s a spotlight over the coterie of people I know, and things. just. keephappening. What are my escape route options here? I can shut myself off of social media, but I long to be informed (especially while I am out on maternity leave watching the adult world go by). I can pretend it doesn’t matter, which will get me nowhere, as I suffer trying to make sense of things regardless of what I profess. I can and (likely will anyway) give myself a thousand justifications as to why these things are happening; complete with telling myself to ‘just live in the moment, be grateful, slow down, practice gratitude’ blah blah blah… but I’m over it. As the wise have said, “it is both a blessing and a curse to feeling everything so very deeply.”

So back to trying to process the static of death, infertility, heart defects, brain aneurysms, cancer diagnoses, money woes, professional stagnation etc. etc.  I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m drowning. I want to help everyone. I want to say the perfect thing, bring solace to those who need it, be the funny one who appropriately changes the subject, bring the laughs, wipe the tears, lighten the mood and provide emotional shelter. Did you get all of that? Help me. Help everyone. Whatever you believe in, whomever you call out to for salvation, ask for a reprieve. Things are too heavy lately, so shout it out, send the love, light, prayers and energy filled with hope and positivity to each other and let’s break this cycle.

The truth is bad news, pain, grief and sickness live next door. It’s never an if, it’s a when, and then it’s a how do you process it, and keep moving forward. That’s the fine line. Maybe our current social connectivity has created a false universe where we all believe we are ONLY what we share. We’ve been privy to ‘staged truth’ for too long, and it’s placed us on a fragile pedestal with a cracking foundation. As I’ve said 1000+ times, perception is not reality. Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics, and use our overly connected social space as a resource center, and not simply a show and tell. We can’t help each other if we only know one beautifully staged and photographed side.

Oh, you’re having a hard time in your marriage? Oh, you’re worried your kid is autistic, behind or socially awkward? Oh, you know the ins and outs of metal illness, cancer, eating disorders, fertility treatments and/or fill in the blank? If you speak it, people will come. We all want to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. The ‘fitting in’ clause doesn’t phase out after high school. There’s comfort in knowing someone else out there has been where you’re now standing, and can offer some advice or lend a hand.

I had a miscarriage before Stella and Wren. When I blogged about it, I had an outpouring of support from my own friends and family whom I otherwise would never have known had a similar and shared experience. They said, ‘thanks for talking about it. You gave us a window to tell our story.’ That’s a social win. That’s #TRUTHday personified.

In a social space filled with challenges to dump ice, donate and rally around the less fortunate, I challenge the everyday individual to put the device down, and spend a little more time living rather than creative directing. Store the snapshots in your head. Don’t leave things unsaid IN PERSON to those who matter. Get home and unplug yourself. Sit at dinner and enjoy the conversation sans selfies and food snaps. Don’t be so quick to move on to the next thing. Sit in the moment. Take a deep breath. Realize this time, this snapshot of your life, will never happen again. Own it and absorb how lucky we are to be here.

Vintage anything is better in my opinion. So if we have to call detaching ourselves from the ‘information matrix’ a vintage approach to re-connecting on a cellular, person-to-person level, then so be it. We’re information rich, yet relationship poor. So let’s do something about it. Let’s make #TRUTHday a permanent movement. An anomaly in that it’s a step back to where we used to be, and a step forward to making it the norm again.

Luella Says… new hashtag movement starts now. #TRUTHday.

truthdayLet’s lift the veil and share our experiences for what they are. A check and balance if you will, of showing life the way it is; complete with blemishes, stains and frayed edges. Let’s really talk to each other. Be truthful, and know not every day is picture perfect. We might actually surprise ourselves with how big our villages become.

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Epilogue.

1 Aug

Faded_Black_Paint_by_GrungeTextures

 

It’s a Tuesday and I’m in a dress and my running shoes. More specifically, I’m un-showered after a 4-mile run, but undressed and redressed to address my need for quick breastfeeding access. (You got all that, there will be a test later.) I’m sitting at my computer trying to eek out an hour of creative flow time while Stella is at her ‘one day a week’ daycare and Wren cries and wiggles out of her swaddle for the 100th time. ‘Why aren’t you napping? You grow when you nap, if you want to start talking and running (because that’s definitely next) shut your eyes and buy your ticket to dreamland. Mama needs 5 minutes. (Actually more in the day to week range but who needs the truth).’ I hate this post even before I write it because it means one of my favorite ladies is no longer strolling the earth, championing Jazzercise and keeping Bartles & Jaymes in business. Shirl you were you, every day, simply put and we were all better people to know you. You also gave birth to one of my favorite people so there’s that too. I love you and hope you know, wherever you are, (I guess you’re everywhere now) that you made a lasting impression.  The sky has officially gained a star. #ShirleyStrong

I can’t say I’ve been privy to a lot of tragedy. I’ve had a steady flow of anti-luck, are you kidding me, yep that just happened, deep disappointments, important people vacating without reason and 2nd places, but in the end it doesn’t come close to the pain of losing someone you love and need desperately to stick around. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to those who are going through it. There is a natural division of those who understand and those who are waiting to. As a Mom, now somehow caught up in FB groups and mom circles that detail every horror known to man, the world seems and is I guess, so much more fragile. The transparency trap of wanting to know, wanting to be prepared has become less attractive than the ‘ignorance is bliss’ ilk that was the standard for so many generations before us who didn’t or couldn’t connect with every single person in the world. (I mean where was secondary drowning and hand foot & mouth disease when we were growing up???) They say after you have kids, you know what’s it’s like to have your heart walk around outside your body, and that is precisely how it feels. I think (and secretly hope) it goes both ways though. As a parent, I hope my girls will forever rely on me as a barometer for direction and advice. Remember me when they’ve done something they shouldn’t, but need help navigating out of. My Mom did that for me and both of Shirl’s girls still need her in their 30’s so that is a parenting victory to be celebrated. (Tangent/sidebar – I hope I gather a couple of those. These terrible twos are seriously terrible. If I have to tell myself to pull it together, she’s 2 one more time…)

As a bona fide fixer, it’s difficult to grasp the finality of death. What do you mean that’s it?! It’s annoyingly selfish. It makes the world feel like a shallow pool we’re all just breast stroking through for 2 minutes. She had so much left to do. She was the life of the party and always a perfect person to drink a glass of something with. Truthfully I’m filled with emotions I can’t articulate. I think of her, I think of my best friend, I think of how much of Shirl is tied into my own childhood, and then I get pissed that life has moved on, and the reality of time has taken hold. How did we already get to the last chapter, we were just in the middle of the storyline a year ago?!

The only thing I can think of to make it a little more palatable, is to live happy. Amidst bs, traffic, bad news, fights, lost friendships, toddlers, financial struggles,  __________ etc. etc. We must all live happy. Some days will be easier than others, but it’s up to all of us to dig in, find it, celebrate it and then rinse and repeat. Shirl did and so maybe the silver lining is the constant reminder that it’s the only way, no excuses. As the ever-wise Rumi said, “Look past your own thoughts, so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment.” Sure that was the 13th century, but it’s transcendent so get on board.

Luella Says, I pledge to live #100HappyDays,

 

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Who wants to join me? www.100happydays.com

 

 

90 for 30.

30 Apr

62628251039419997_j2pKNfzy_cI’m 34 and spend so much of my time feeling tired and stressed. Anyone else feel that way? I know so much more than I did in my 20’s – oh to go back and handle certain situations differently but ultimately I live looking forward and respect the aging process as a well oiled machine.

Holding Stella last night, sitting in her dark nursery listening to her descend into sleep, I had the epiphany that this is truly what it’s all about. (for me anyway) Fast forward 30 years and (hopefully) Ralph and I will watch a couple pass by with their stroller and new baby and I will reflect to last night and the deepest sense of purpose I ever felt and wish I could go back to ‘now.’ Those moments are everywhere and differ from person to person but they’re magical and worth reliving.

Life is best spent being happy with who you are and not getting wrapped up in who you think you should be. I’ve been spending too much time caught up in the doesn’t matter. Calories burned on mundane details I am too embarrassed to admit. You ever get the feeling like you don’t want to hang out with yourself because of the ridiculous nature of where your brains at? Yep, me too – which is why I’m writing and sharing this to keep myself accountable.

181714ad5b3de5ffd61cc0c479a41088On May 1st, 2013 I am committing myself to 30 days in a row of BIKRAM YOGA. Each morning before work at 5:30 am I’m going to drag myself to the 114° studio down the street to spend 90 minutes relinquishing the mental and physical baggage I’ve acquired since having Stella. It will be my time to reflect, balance and get centered. A cleanse of self on my way to living a less cluttered life and hopefully baby #2. I’ve run half marathons, given birth and battled the newborn blues but this adventure is going to rattle me. I feel prepared going in knowing by day 11 I will be struggling to keep it up. I’ve enlisted Ralph to support me but hope when you roll over and stare at your clock reading 5:00am, you think of me and send a thumbs up my way.

I look forward to the endorphins, being a part of the stillness of early, early morning, eliminating the static and getting my old body back. Reset button is in my hand, I’m pushing it tomorrow – wish me luck. (gulp)

 

 

Where There is Darkness, There is Light.

11 Jan

Have you ever wanted to stop time and literally spend an entire day in just one moment? Soaking it in, reveling and trying to imprint the details in your life memory bank forever? I have and its been happening a lot lately.

I equate it to getting older, being more aware of mortality, aging, being in love, experiencing loss and learning hard truths and realizing how quickly things can change.I have never been good with change but always seem to be in a constant state of it. Life just simply goes by too fast. There is no formula, surgery, potion or elixir that can change that.

As Chris Pureka says, Time is the Anchor, Change is a Constant.I had an entirely different post planned about fashion and my beloved Green Bay Packers but that will need to wait a day. I awoke this morning to the news that a close friend’s mother and a singer songwriter we love and follow are both facing one of life’s hardest realities; cancer.

I was struck with their honesty and perspective so much so that I felt compelled to share it with you. Here they are, two different people, two different versions their paths anonymously connected by unfortunate news and the courage to carry on.

As we all know, Cancer doesn’t care. It sees no color, gender, age, race or sexual orientation. It is undiscriminating, taxing and incredibly selfish. It is a real life monster under the bed HOWEVER, in the grandest sense possible, there is always hope. Hope breeds positivity and lightness and I think reaches far deeper than any treatment or remedy.The power of positive thinking, love and tenacity goes a long way. As my friend Heather eloquently said 4 years ago when she received her diagnosis, “I am going to kick cancer’s ass, it has messed with the wrong girl.” As we speak, she is pregnant and healthy.I consider this news a reminder of what is important. A re-balancing of my life’s priorities and focus. A necessary nudge to reach out, educate myself and be a lending ear and shoulder for those in my life who might need some extra support.

Read the brave words and perspectives of the affected who have now become warriors in their fight back to healthy.

Luella says…C Stands for Change and Courage.

Our close friend Sandra said,

“My family is about to embark on a challenging journey. It will be up to each person to transform the situation into an opportunity for faith, hope, and happiness. My mom’s cancer is back. It’s in her liver and lungs. Wanted to share this early before it became too overwhelming to share.”

Doris Muramatsu of GIRLY MAN writes,

“One image that keeps circling my mind is of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s an 823 ft hill in the middle of the city, climbable from almost any direction. The views up top are breathtaking, you feel otherworldly and closer to God. It was climbing this hill back in October 2010 when I knew something in me had shifted. I was no longer a healthy person. Perhaps it was the moment when my chromosomes decided to mutate; I’d like to think they’d pick a transcendent experience such as this hike to do so rather than during one of my more earthly chores such as brushing my teeth.  Of course, I don’t even think I was conscious of this shift. All I knew was that my legs felt like cement blocks and my breath huffed double time with every step I took. I had to stop every 2 minutes or so to regain my breath and couldn’t understand why or how so many people could just amble up the hill with such ease. But the sun, making a rare appearance, shone down on JJ and me, and the highland grass shimmered. Something was beckoning me to keep moving forward because to stop would admit defeat. Sure, my legs and ankles swelled daily for seemingly no reason, and sure I was dangerously short of breath. But I couldn’t admit defeat yet.

I finally made it to the top and rejoiced. I felt proud of myself and thoughts of being sick were set aside for one more day. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I were really sick. In retrospect, I can hardly believe that I returned from the UK and immediately played shows in Atlanta and Birmingham, then the next weekend in North Carolina and South Carolina. Then I somehow managed to do a grueling 2 and half week tour in the Northeast, playing a show almost every night and teaching a harmony workshop. And every day I was zonked out in the van, barely able to lift my head, barely able to eat. I’d garner my strength for the show and give my all during those 90 minutes, (though I coughed through a good portion of it) but I felt scarily disconnected from my body. My midriff looked foreign to me, like I was in one of those books where you can flip the top, middle, and bottom portions and create the policeman wearing a pink tutu with ostrich feet. I was the Asian girl with E.T.’s belly wearing tights and cool Fluevogs. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror.

It made me think about what I would want to hear if I were about to make my transition: (for my own sanity, I like to think of death as a gateway into more life, just in a different form) the good memories, fun times, the love and laughter. Because doesn’t it all boil down to the love we share, what we give to each other and what we take in, and being able to see each other through the eyes of Source? (or God if you want to call it that?) That’s the one big thing that I realized the day I was going to receive my diagnosis in that hospital in Jersey. I was freaking out, shaking violently underneath that swath of hospital gown. And underlying that fear was the profound certainty that I wasn’t done with my life–I still wanted more. I realized that music was my absolute calling and how lucky I was to have found Ty, Nate, and JJ. How lucky we were to be able to create together. As I focused on each of them, and then on my parents and my other dearest friends, tears of joy streamed down my face. In that moment, I basically experienced the opposite of fear: love. It instantly lifted me to the grandest, most comforting space I have ever been simply because I was allowing myself to bask in its eternal truth. I was one with the Universe. (I hope I don’t sound crazy!) My mood completely transformed, and I think I even glowed because I was vibrating on such a high level.

Five people in white coats came in just then to give me my diagnosis. (It was the oncologist, the resident, and 3 medical students–I was quite the teaching example.) I shone in a state of grace and acceptance. I was ready.”

Just click here to follow her story on her blog.

Nothing else to say really. Be aware of life’s highs and lows, either way keep learning from your experiences.

Be a work in progress.

Clean Your Slate.

31 Dec

So I write this blog feeling all over the place. For me, 2010 literally personified the beginning of Charles Dicken’s epic novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–“On one hand, I finally got to marry my dream man after 4 years of living with and loving him. Our wedding was a perfect party and I had the best time. I am a Willison now and I feel ready to start the new chapter in my life of family, babies and selflessness.On the other hand, I left my dream job of 8 years with a disappointed heart and fractured loyalty and spent the last couple of months searching for professional meaning. At 31, I felt average and as much as I told myself better things were to come, I couldn’t quite absorb and believe it.One doesn’t want to think their job defines them but when you find yourself idle you realize in some respects it did. Having had time to reflect on where I was, who I had become and what I had to offer was humbling and difficult.

Again like Dickens wrote though, it was necessary and inspiring. When a forest burns down to the ground, new life springs forth. Ideas, creativity, dedication, passion and growth are now ignited and re-aligned. Change is good even though change is hard.As the clock hits midnight, I will not only be starting a new year but also a new job and feel blessed to have the opportunity.

For those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation remember your “double rainbow” (sorry had to) is coming but you have to fight for it. Persistence is your final answer.

Luella says…New Year, New You.

Below are some inspiring words and songs for new beginnings that inspired me during my difficult moments.

There is no place to go but up. Keep on trying and always, always, always believe in yourself.

F***IN PERFECT by Pink

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”– T.S. Eliot

RADIOACTIVE by Kings of Leon

Entrance

By Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Dana Gioia)

Whoever you are, step out of doors tonight,

out of the room that lets you feel secure.

Infinity is open to your sight. Whoever you are.

With eyes that have forgotten how to see from viewing things already too well-known,

lift up into the dark a huge, black tree and put it in the heavens: tall, alone.

And you have made the world and all you see. It ripens like the words still in your mouth.

And when at last you comprehend its truth, then close your eyes and gently set it free.

JAR OF HEARTS by Christina Perri

A New Start

by Bernard Shaw

I have wiped the slate clean,
No more reminders from the past.
Memories of what I have been,
Have vanished at long last.

I look forward to my future new,
Where all is territory strange.
Soon I will be among the few,
That plans their life at long range.

I see my life laid out at my feet,
New friends shall rally at my call.
They will be the first I will greet,
At this my welcoming ball.

Soon all memories will depart,
Of a past left well behind.
I will get off to a new start,
With the best of mankind.

Eminem I’M GOING THROUGH CHANGES


New Beginning

By Tracy Chapman

The whole world’s broke and it ain’t worth fixing
It’s time to start all over, make a new beginning
There’s too much pain, too much suffering
Let’s resolve to start all over make a new beginning

Now don’t get me wrong I love life and living
But when you wake up and look around at everything that’s going down
All wrong
You see we need to change it now, this world with too few happy endings
We can resolve to start all over make a new beginning

The world is broken into fragments and pieces
That once were joined together in a unified whole
But now too many stand alone There’s too much separation
We can resolve to come together in the new beginning

We can break the cycle – We can break the chain
We can start all over – In the new beginning
We can learn, we can teach
We can share the myths the dream the prayer
The notion that we can do better
Change our lives and paths
Create a new world

The whole world’s broke and it ain’t worth fixing
It’s time to start all over, make a new beginning
There’s too much fighting, too little understanding
It’s time to stop and start all over
Make a new beginning

We need to make new symbols
Make new signs
Make a new language
With these we’ll define the world

Teeth by Lady Gaga

I think this cover of The Climb is stunning. I realize my street cred meter just broke but the words are pertinent and when I was running and feeling ugh it made me want to keep going and prove the world wrong.

THE CLIMB by Kelly Clarkson with Jill and Kate (her backup singers).


This blog has been a huge salvation for me during my recent transition period. I loved every minute of creating blog posts and intend to keep on posting in the same manner as always.

After all and  in appropriate fashion, this is just the beginning of Luella says.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Less is Enough.

20 Dec

My husband is a great sport when it comes to allowing me to decorate our home. As you probably know by now, I love Shabby-chic, Victorian era antiques that don’t scream masculinity. Anyway I have been trying to adopt a middle ground lately by getting rid of things we don’t need.

This is not an easy task because our house is trés petite and decor takes on the effect of clutter when it appears displayed on top of itself. Anyway, I am starting to pare down and I am proud to say I am making a bit of headway.I have also been adjusting to life post “dream job.” It has been a hard 5 months of searching, interviewing, interning and consulting, failing, breaking through and everywhere in between. I was very used to having the right answers and or controlling my outcomes to get what I wanted and for a while I took it personally that this was happening to me.

I felt like life was progressing without me and I was stuck back in a fog of what should I do? Who do I want to be now?But like the removal of clutter from our home, I started (inadvertently) reorganizing my head space.  Life isn’t smooth, fair or easy a lot of the time. Taking what you have, continuing to grow and learn through experience and still coming out wanting and trying to be the best version of yourself is the greatest measure of success.

I have grown immensely during this time and vow to re-emerge from the ashes a better wife, friend, sister, daughter, employee and person.My husband passed on this blog post taken from Zen Habits. Please read it and then seek to find what rules work best for your life.

Luella says…Courtney says.

 

Lessons from Less

By: Courtney Carver of Be More with Less.

When I was 16, I wanted more. When I was 24, I wanted even more than that. So, I worked harder, earned more, spent more, to have more, only to owe more. I was exhausted at the end of the day and tired when I woke up most mornings. I ate on the fly, fell behind, ran late and could never catch up. Sound familiar?

I thought everything I was doing was for a better life. I thought what I was doing was normal and right. I had become so used to bills in the mailbox, and feeling rundown, that I didn’t know anything was wrong. So, how did I go from wanting more, more, more to craving less? I would love to tell you that I woke up one morning a changed person, but that’s not the way it went down. Even though I had begun to make small changes, I needed a wake up call … and it had to be really loud.

On July, 7th 2006 I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis. That was my wake up call, and to say it was loud is an understatement. The diagnosis was nothing short of traumatic. I didn’t have enough information to take action. I only knew enough to be really scared. I had so many questions. Could I still ski with my family? Would I be able to help my daughter with homework? Would I even be walking in a year?

No one had the answers to those overwhelming questions, so I had to focus on what was most important: my health and my family. Nothing else mattered. If I had moved forward with these big questions and fearful thinking, my daughter and husband would have been so worried. I realized that if I started thinking differently, so would they. My questions went from, “What is this disease going to do to my body and mind?” to “How am I going to reverse MS?”

The answer to my question was change. Small shifts and big change were necessary to become the best possible version of myself. When I started making changes in my life, I didn’t know that they would lead to minimalism, but they did. In fact, while the changes I made were fighting MS, they were also redefining my whole life. The changes I made are not all essential in the life of a minimalist, but they are all essential to my minimalist lifestyle.

What I did to change my life:

I became a vegetarian. Research shows that MS patients, and people dealing with other autoimmune conditions that eat fewer saturated fats and “inflammatory foods” maintain better health. (I would challenge that this goes for most everyone.) Giving up meat was one of the best ways I could really “do something” about my new diagnosis. I stopped eating meat to achieve better health.

When I started my vegetarian journey, I started reading. I read about raising animals for meat. I read about factory farming. I learned about the impact of our actions on our bodies, animals and the earth. By really opening my eyes and heart to how meat was put on my plate, I lost my appetite for it. I was motivated by health and changed with compassion.

I fell in love with yoga. Practicing Yoga gives me strength, flexibility, focus, peace of mind and freedom from fear. I want to keep my body strong, and my mind calm and focused so I can effectively fight this disease and take care of my family. While I am in search of less, I want to be more sensitive and loving, more adaptive and more resilient. Yoga gives me that, too.

I got rid of my stuff. While I always felt compelled to put something on an empty surface, I have come to love an empty space. It takes living without it to realize how clutter affects your life and takes away from your freedom and creativity. I am reminded of that every time I walk into my kitchen and instead of seeing a cluttered counter, I see sunlight streaming in from the kitchen window. I am still letting go of my stuff and feel lighter everyday.

I decided to live without debt. You may not think that your bank account can affect your health, but considering money can cause great stress, and stress can make you sick, it only makes sense that poor money management equals poor health. My husband and I made the decision to be debt free, and paid off our last debt this summer except for our house. What will we do with our money now that we don’t have any monthly payments? Whatever we want.

I hung up the phone. I do not use my phone when I’m driving anymore. I don’t text at red lights or make calls on the back roads. I can remember too many times where I would arrive at a destination and not remember how I got there because I was so involved in a phone call. Admitting that I had essentially been risking my life and the lives of other drivers wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to make the change and the commitment to be phone free in the car.

Another benefit is that now, when I pick my daughter up from school, she has my full attention. She doesn’t have to compete with business or other phone fueled distractions. I am there for her.

I redefined better. As I mentioned before, all of my bad habits came from wanting something better, something more. In the changes I’ve made, I have redefined what better means to me and my family. The health and happiness of my marriage and family comes before everything else. My husband and I have decided that “more” isn’t the answer for us.

Now at 41, forever changed, and virtually symptom free, I am becoming me. I know I haven’t figured it all out but am content. I don’t make as much as I used to. I didn’t take a big vacation this year or make any big purchases, but there is no doubt that I am happier. Less speaks to me. Less lets me love more deeply and less lets me really be me.

My wake up calls have become more subtle, but because I have the time and space to pay attention, I hear them loud and clear. When I first started to practice doing less and being more, I discovered Zen Habits. It was another wake up call, but it sounded like a whisper, “You can do this. You can change.” It is not a coincidence that Leo Babauta’s story of change changed me. I was ready to listen, ready to change.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that less is enough. Of course, I am still learning, still changing and still a work in progress, but now it is my turn to inspire change with my story.

Use Courtney’s story as a positive wake up call and get your outlook in order as we enter the new year.

No matter how deep the hole feels, there is ALWAYS a way out. Stay positive and believe in yourself.

Sofia, Charlotte, Vogue & 1974.

17 Nov

Similar to my Marilyn photo, I have had this Sofia Coppola for VOGUE article on Charlotte Rampling being “The Sexiest Woman in the World 1974″ on my vision board since October of 2003. I love Sofia’s description of her journey and relate to her visual obsession of photographs.

(Read abridged article below)

I Wanna Be Like You by Sofia Coppola from Vogue, Oct 2003

Sofia Coppola grew up pasting pictures of the sultry heroines of seventies magazines to her bedroom wall in California.

Helmut Newton’s portrait of Charlotte Rampling from the seventies is one of my favorite photographs of all time. When I was a kid growing up in the country, magazines were so important to me. I would get The Face and Vogue and French Vogue – they were my link to the rest of the world. And although my parents took us all over when they traveled, high school in Napa was far away from the sophistication and glamour I saw in the pages of those magazines.

Like most teenage girls, I covered my walls with the pictures I tore out of them. I think when you’re younger you look at women and pictures of women to define who you want to grow up to be, and they make a deep impression on you. I always loved images of Tina Chow, Paloma Picasso, and Anjelica Huston. I remember I met Anjelica when I was fourteen. She told me I would grow into my nose, which I appreciated.

The image of Charlotte Rampling sitting naked on a table seemed to me the ultimate portrait of a woman. I like photos that have a story to them. This picture could almost be a still from a film: it makes me think about what just happened and what will happen next. There’s something going on between her and the photographer, the way he’s looking at her and she’s looking back at him. She’s so striking and cool, and you can tell she’s smart. Who doesn’t want to be that?

The seventies seemed like such a glamorous time. It was before sportswear became normal; women didn’t wear sneakers. There was a romance and a decadence to the way those women looked that I found very appealing. I remember being impressed by the French actress Aurore Clément, who was married to my dad’s production designer Dean Tavoularis and was a friend of the family’s. I think she even posed for Helmut Newton when she was younger, and she epitomized a certain kind of sophisticated French beauty. She would wear Yves Saint Laurent – not the super-sexy slash-necked looks but silk pleated skirts with a little blouse and round, flat shoes. She was very chic.

I began collecting fashion photography, encouraged by my mother. She gave me a William Klein photo of a woman smoking with roses on her hat, and another of a model on a Paris street. I still collect photos and art, and I love it. Some of my favorite pieces are by Philip-Lorca diCorsia, Richard Prince, Takashi Homma, Larry Sultan, Elizabeth Peyton. Just the other day I bought a Bob Richardson piece I love of a model on a beach with a tear in her eye. I tried to buy the Rampling photo a few years ago, but it was so expensive!

When I’m working on a film project, I put together books of visual references in a certain mood, even if I have no idea how they’ll relate to the final product. I still love looking at magazines and tearing pages out, and I still have the Charlotte Rampling picture on my wall.

The photo and article inspired me to go back in time and seek out some of the beauty, film and fashion icons of the decades before I was born.

Luella says…I Wanna Be Like Them.

Charlotte Rampling

Catherine Deneuve

Grace Jones

Twiggy

Jane Birkin

Sofia Loren

Mia Farrow

Brigitte Bardot

Edie Sedgwick

Lauren Hutton

What inspires you? What do you tear out of magazines or bookmark in your google reader?

Figure it out and stock up.

PS. Don’t forget to check out Sofia Coppola’s new movie SOMEWHERE coming out December 22nd. It won the top prize at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.


Put This On.

22 Oct

 

I love the word apothecary. It evokes a sense of history, a time when potions and elixirs were made and sold in local Mom and Pop type stores. So many beauty companies we know and love today started with a chemist in the back of one of those. They no longer exist really and now we have so many beauty and skin care choices it is hard to know where to start.


Let’s start with the basics.

I believe hydration is the single most important factor in anti-aging.

Be aware of parabens and plastics that are in many of the products we like to use. Going green in what you are putting on your largest organ (skin) is so important.

Get in the know here: GREEN BEAUTY GUIDE

It doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive to work. You just need to remain diligent in your application and be wary of too much sun, cigarettes and not drinking enough plain water.

Below are products that have been tried and tested on both my husband and myself long before I  knew I would be discussing it in a blog. They are the best of MANY go rounds. They are easy to find and almost completely Beauty on a Budget.

 

Luella says…Finally Something to Get Addicted to

FACE

DAILY MOISTURIZER

For the LADIES

AMORE PACIFIC Moisture Bound Lotion – Lightweight, Brightening, long-lasting.

KORRES Pomegranate Balancing Lotion – From Greece amazingly light and refreshing with a soft skin after finish.

SKINceuticals Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30 – Great base to wear underneath the above mentioned moisturizers. Ultimate sun protection.

MASKS & FACE CARE

SABON NYC A & E Vitamin Mask – Amazing super moisturizing formula. When you take it off, your skin feels like butter.

OLE HENRIKSEN Aloe Vera Cleanser – Great non-dehydrating cleanser. Eco-Friendly, with aloe healing  properties.

MANUKA HONEY Organic Natural Mask – A natural anti-aging remedy. Straight Manuka honey applied directly to your face. Tightening and moisturizing.OLE HENRIKSEN New Beginning Scrub – Gentle scrub with brightening and oxygenating effects.

NIGHT CREAM

SABON NYC White Tea Night CreamUnbelievable White Tea scented, soft and rejuvenating nighttime formula.

KORRES Quercetin and Oak Age Reversing Night Cream – A bit thicker and filled with restorative properties.

 

For the GENTS & CHAPS

KIEHL’S Soothing Face Creme for Men – Great every day face lotion.

SABON NYC After Shave Cream – Wonderfully scented, replenishing and rejuvenating.

ANTHONY UV Protection SPF 15 – Important Oil Free SPF base layer.

KIEHL’S Facial Fuel Cleanser – Invigorating day cleanser. Amazing skin pick me up.

ART OF SHAVING Unscented Mini Kit – Perfect for the “old school” shaving enthusiast.

OLE HENRIKSEN Walnut Exfoliating Scrub for Men – Refreshing, cleansing and brightening exfoliator.

EYES

BLISS SPA Baggage HandlerWheat based, quick action eye lift and de-puffer.

SKYN Icelandic Relief Eye Cream –Tightening, thick restorative eye cream.

BODY

MAMA MIO Boob TubeAmazing chest & neck daily lotion with lift and tightening properties. Truly works!!

MOISTUREL Body CreamBest, cheap overall body cream around.

MAMA MIO Shrink to Fit Cellulite Cream – Cellulite and firming cream. Amazing.

HAIR

MOROCCAN OIL for Shine and Body – Yummy smelling and silky smooth finish for any hair type. LOVE it.

NECTAR OF THE GODS Detangler – BEST detangler around, period. Little goes a long way.

AVEDA Grooming Clay for Men -Non-Greasy sculpting clay that keeps its shape.

 

Moisturizer is your friend. Taking care of your skin is the best remedy for feeling good.

You’re only as old as you think you are.

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