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136 days.

5 Oct

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I start my new job on Monday. Tomorrow, October 6th, after 136 days of getting my feet wet as a Mom of two. This heavy, overwhelming feeling is familiar. I’ve been here before, so most would think, (myself included) I’d have a clue as to how to navigate through it. Alas, I don’t. So I’m here again. Staring at the calendar, marveling at how fast the days flew by, wishing I had more time. I can imagine there are many of us out there doing the same thing, some for different reasons, some for the same.

There is an ongoing dialogue, maybe even a debate, between those of us Moms who stay at home, and those of us who return to work. What is better? What is fair? Is there a line? Should there be?

In a perfect world, I would stay at home and raise my girls, never missing a milestone or a moment in their formative years… but I would also go back to work.  I’ve spent the last 13 years being a professional since graduating college, and I like where I landed. What to do when you want to be in two places at once?

Is it selfish to have kids only to pass them off for a portion of the time? Do I have a greater responsibility to rise in the professional ranks because I am raising girls, and they need an in-home role model that proves there is no limit to what they can accomplish? How do I convince myself they don’t feel abandoned as I walk out the door? It sounds dramatic, but if I am living in full disclosure-ville, I think about it every time I leave the house without them in tow.

Is it important to back off, give the helicopter a rest, and let them formulate their independence regardless of the likely bruises, mistakes, potential bullies, danger zones et al. that lie ahead? Yes. Probably. Who knows. I think the best approach to this topic is to speak singularly. For me, I want to do both. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, some days I would like to trade the tea in for a double tall vodka, ok a lot of days, but at my core, I am doing what I want to be doing.

Parenting is not for everyone. I am a staunch supporter of that. Being a woman doesn’t mean you NEED to be a mother. It’s ridiculously hard, so you need to be all in. Which leads me back to my original dilemma of how one pulls off being the invested employee whilst being the super mom? I don’t buy into the ‘lean in’ movement. I like this author’s take on why it doesn’t work. Again, for me personally, I don’t live to work. I want to be a Mom more than anything, but I still need to flash my skill set and continue my professional trajectory. I think striking the perfect balance between at home and profession is best.

So what should we call this? Straddling the line? What does this balance look like? For me, its choosing what you want to spend your time doing, and whatever it is, wherever you’re at in that moment, do it to the best of your ability. No excuses. Growth and opportunity spring from being uncomfortable, and as I tell my 2-year-old, never say can’t. It is possible to excel at both. I think I can… I think I can…

If you’re a Mom of two or on the precipice of becoming one, here are a couple of tactics that worked for me.

TWO-do list.

  • Get a routine going for you as soon as possible. Mine consisted of coffee every morning OUT OF THE HOUSE at Java Man. I walked, ran, (almost always with both girls in tow) or drove to get it so I was out of the house and everyone got a little fresh air and sunshine.
  • Pay attention to the toddler as much as possible. They will remember, the baby won’t. I included Stella in everything. She didn’t always want to partake, but I at least gave her the option. Change the baby, watch Mama feed the baby, dress the baby, rock the baby etc.
  • Make sure one parent, or person is always paying attention to the toddler. (Do you see a theme happening here?) I learned quickly the toddler was the hard part of this equation, not the baby.
  • If breastfeeding, do it standing up sometimes. It’s easy and then you can maneuver around and (feign) you’re involved in whatever activity the toddler is doing.
  • Play doh. It works, trust me. We tell her what to make us and she goes to town.
  • Stella discovered a really cute YOUTUBE channel called Charli’s Crafty Kitchen. I allowed her iPad time every day during lunch and at 5pm. She watched these vignettes, and now has a much more vested interest in food, what we’re eating and how we made it. Check it out parents, super cute!!
  • Get the toddler involved in something new. During my maternity leave we had Stella in a private swim class with her friend Olivia once a week for 5 weeks. After that, we took her to ART ZONE to paint, play and get dirty once a week as well. It was a good distraction and (I think) made her feel like we were still concentrating on just her for a bit. (Please note, I brought the baby to both events. Kept her in the stroller and so again it was fresh air and a change of scenery for Wren as well.)
  • Dance parties. Yep – we put on our apple tv and went to town dancing around the living room. Wren either slept or I held her and Stella and I got a chance to get exercise and goof around.
  • We napped Wren in her Mamaroo upstairs in the middle of the play zone. We did this with Stella too, but I think it’s even more important with the 2nd because they need to get accustomed to chaos. Unlike your first, the second is always going to be in the middle of Toddler-ville. If they need a museum-esque atmosphere to sleep, you might be in trouble down the road.
  • Great blogs to know, follow and read – www.mothermag.com, www.clementinedaily.com, www.smallfryblog.com, www.weelicious.com 

These 136 days will be missed. Unlike the first time when I was so overwhelmed I barely moved off the couch, I truly enjoyed every waking moment of being able to just be a Mom. I owe a huge nod to my husband who made it possible for me to take this much time.

These 136 days were also hard earned. There were tears, fights, failures, highlights, a heart so full it can’t be described, a deeper appreciation, an awakening, a desire for more (dare I say it) and a lot of help. Help that deserves to be called out by me, to live in perpetuity in the annals of this blog, which may or may not be read, but at least exists for someone to find.

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This still exists, stationed in our kitchen. I wrote this to myself at the end of June when Ralph went back to work, and my parents left. It was just me and the girls for the first week of July. Overwhelmed doesn’t cover it.

Luella says… Cue the orchestra, this might take a while. And the awards go to…

Katie – you came because you knew I needed you to. Full stop. You’re amazing. I am so lucky you’re my best friend. I love you. xo

Mollie & Heather – you visited, dropped off food (homemade at that) and affirmed why we’re so lucky to call you great friends who live down the street. I love you both, thank you! xo

Ali – you got me out of the house and a lot of times out of my own way. You’re the go-to when it comes to what the benchmark is. Love you, thank you! xo

Tina & Gene – I am not going to say much because after 30+ years of friendship you already know. We’re sisters. You’re always there when I need you. I can’t believe how lucky we are to go through this together. Cheers to forever, I love you. xo

Leslie – You’re the only other person in the world most like me. I am so glad you got to be a part of this one. You handled Stella and everything as well, if not better, than I would have myself. But then again, of course you did. Thank you for being so amazing. I love you so much and marvel at all you can accomplish. What can’t you do? xo

Mom & Dad – You too came when I needed you to. Mom you also gave me permission to be overwhelmed. I needed that. It helped me set the tone for my own expectations, and gave me the confidence I needed to tackle handling both girls. You shaped me, and I hope to do as good of a job for our girls. I love you both, see you soon. xo

Nana & Nanu – Not much I can put into words here. I couldn’t do it without you. I will never be able to repay your generosity of time, your selfless willingness to help, and the inherent trust I have knowing the girls are in the best hands. I love you both very much. My gratitude is marrow-deep. xo

Ralph – I found you and now we’ve built a family. You’re the best Dad I know. From late night get ups, to launching your own business teaching others how to swaddle ;), to hair bows in your hair – you’re all in, 100% of the time. Thank you for walking this road with me. I love you  more than anything. It has and always will begin and end with you. xo

Stella & Wren – You’re both everything I ever wanted. When I was little I didn’t dream about my wedding. Watching you both grow alongside of Daddy and I matches the snapshots I’ve carried in my head, of what I hoped would be my future. You + Daddy are what I dreamed of. I love you forever. xo

 

 

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43.0581° N, 88.1147° W

13 Aug

carlsaganexistence

There’s a little town called Brookfield, nestled in the outskirts of Milwaukee and it’s where I am from. I point this out because lately bad news seems to be de rigueur and in trying to navigate past all these sore subjects, I’ve realigned myself to where it all started, to what really matters and to making sure life moving forward walks the right path.

Too often we move along at such a quick pace, we forget to breathe in a couple of steps and enjoy the ‘now’. Everyone is so elbows deep on their phone or stuck in traffic or just tired in general, that reprieves of fresh air along the way get missed. This is not new or earth shattering. I am far from the first blowhard to think it necessary to put it down in ink but each time I’m reminded, it’s usually by way of great joy or cruel reality. Why let it be that way? Lets retrain our brains to slow down and be grateful for those around us, what we have and how we got there.

As we all know, life is unpredictable. Why let ego or assumption force you to carry heavy words left unsaid? Remind others what they mean to you and do it often. After recent news from back home surfaced, I’ve been having a hard time with the adage, that everything happens for a reason. Debatable. Some things suck and are simply meaningless. Unfair, too soon, and tragic feel more applicable.

Everything is too easy now. Communication doesn’t require human interaction. Instant gratification and the ideal that ‘we are what we share’ has completely taken over. I’m starting a movement of remembering that curating the relationships with the people who mean something to you is worth the calories burned. Pick up the phone, send a card, write the email, text, show up… whatever it takes to stay close. Unfortunately time is not for sale, don’t learn the hard way.

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Life moves too fast. I blinked and I’m 34 and a mom myself. My precious memories of my childhood spent in Brookfield are in the awkward phase of becoming a long time gone. Forever 16 in my head, the realization has truly sunk in that the world keeps going; regardless of what or who you lose or how badly you wish to go back and do things a bit different. My roots are tied and twisted around so many of you who helped shape me into who I am today. Family, lifelong friends, acquaintances and even those who taught me by example without knowing or meaning to; I tip my cap to you. Thank you for digging in long enough to leave an impression.  Indelibly you’re a part of me. Hope I’ve been able to afford some of you the same.

As Chris Pureka writes,

Life is cruel and it’s clumsy
I wish I could say that it’s better than that
but this is our time
this is all that we have ’til we turn out the lights…

Luella says… honor your coordinates.

With that being the benchmark – here are a couple tenets I am forcibly applying to life moving forward.

  • spend time each day not judging anyone or anything. Only allowing kind, decent and positive thoughts to course through. (this includes judging yourself, we’re our own worst critic)
  • live one day at a time, hour by hour, moment by moment
  • reconnect or re-affirm those relationships who mean the most to you
  • compromise more – in the end what do you win if you’re the only one satisfied?
  • communicate what others mean to you – go there – even if it’s awkward at least everyone knows where they stand.
  • practice appreciation, patience and forgiveness

Please note, this is all hard. Letting go, moving on, staying present, living for today, not judging, being thankful are all beautiful but not always attainable. I get it. This is perfect world scenario and some days it’s just not going to happen. It’s simple to sit behind a computer and wax on about how important this all is but the practice and application is where it gets real. I am hoping by setting the standard (for myself) of getting even half way, some of the time  – I will be successful. We shall see – To be continued…

Mom Finds

11 Mar
stellaloves
TOP.   CUBE.   BRICKYARD BUFFALO.   PANTS.   SLEEPER.   BUNNY.

I am keeping this one short and sweet. Here are some great new finds Stella digs and so do Ralph and I. You know in case you were looking for more stuff to collect. (ha ha)

ETOILE t from Zara.com It’s adorable and super inexpensive – who knew ZARA baby would be so amazing? Plus they ship for FREE!

B ZANY ZOO cube from Target – She LOVES this. It has been such a great piece to hold her attention for more than 4 seconds. Lots to play with and it will continue to remain relevant the older she gets.

BRICKYARD BUFFALO – a fantastic new website curated with discounted wares for baby, mom, dad and your home. Super indie, super dope.

BOW pants from Zara.com Super inexpensive, super cute!

SLEEPER PJ’S from Leveret – why don’t all pj’s have zippers said every parent in the history of the world. Soft and the fabric stays after multiple washes.

BONNE NUIT bunny by Jelly Cat – This is Stella’s ultimate favorite toy. She got so excited she launched it out of her stroller never to be seen again and so we’re on bunny 2.0. It’s super soft, washable and the perfect size for her to carry around.

Happy Monday xx

 

 

Dear Laura.

22 Feb

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*** I wrote this 4 months ago and never posted. Hmm…must’ve been busy. Anyway I think it’s still pretty true – so here you go.

I so appreciate all the lovely feedback I received from my last blog post. I’ve even read and referenced it myself a couple of times since I posted it. Anyway lately I’ve been feeling a bit lost, personally that is, with what my new status means. As I mentioned in GRAY, the feeling of Who am I? What have I become? still lingers a bit at 3.5 months in. I’ve gone back to work and feel torn between the adult interaction I so desperately need and the idea of being there for every moment of Stella’s formative years. I don’t want her to prefer anyone else to me but need a break. I feel inspired at work but cry each morning when I leave. Life has become one big dichotomy.

In addition to that, Ralph and I were super social. We live in a Peter Pan-esque community that truly lives by the credo you’re only as old as you think you are; which is fantastic when you have no responsibilities but a bit difficult when you move to Baby-ville. Is it me or does everyone appear to be on their way to a party we didn’t get invited to?? The social transition from pre-baby to baby is shocking. Let’s talk truths here. You don’t know until you know and when you do, a small part of you wants to hide under the bed until your child becomes a little less thankless. Is it blow hardy to discuss this? Is it pointless to want to understand the transition? As the days post partum turn to weeks and the weeks turn to months, the other side; (AKA your former life) seems a distant memory as the “new normal” settles in and starts to feel comfortable. How do you socialize with a baby? How do you go out to dinner? Have people over? Travel? Exercise? or do anything that bears a small semblance to life before. Truth is you manage and figure it out as you go. What’s the worst that can happen? Really ask yourself that and mean it. The answer is nothing. If she cries, she’s being a baby and people understand.

Now that I loosely have a small footing on this motherhood adventure, I keep thinking to myself, what would you say to you, if you could go back for a day before Stella came?

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Luella Says… remember how lucky you are.

Dear Laura,

When you look in the mirror you’re not going to love what you see. You just had a baby and major surgery, the scar will be there forever but the excess weight and bloat will not. Breastfeeding burns 800 calories but don’t give yourself a license to eat whatever you want. Stay focused on your green & clean living tenets and exercise as much as you can. You gave up your gym membership for the time being and running with her in the stroller, walking up hills, sit ups, even bouncing her will give you a little bit back.

You’re going to feel bored sometimes, feel as if you’re clock watching to get to the time Ralph comes home or help arrives; it’s ok and totally normal. To be fair, you’ll also relish in the moments with her that are small but intensely perfect. Like when she finally falls asleep on your shoulder after many attempts to get her to stop crying or at night, (yes 2,3,4,5 am) when she’s finished nursing; the house is dark and quiet and all the people who matter most are off in dreamland and you get to take a moment to be grateful. It really does get better and easier every day and you’ll surprise yourself with how natural it comes to you and the want to be good at it more than anything else.

People will show how important they are to you. Meaning – wait to put anyone on a VIP list until they’ve helped/been there/proven they want to be. You’re going to be alone a bit more often but it’s ok and temporary. Your marriage will shift a bit as the focus becomes solely on your new creation but you’ll adapt and steal moments together more often as time goes on. You will become a Stella pro fairly soon and eventually regain a small part of who you used to be. Best part is, that coupled with MOM is a pretty fierce combination. Cue the Star Spangled Banner as it plays at your medal ceremony for winning the gold in multi-tasking.

In closing, be excited. It’s the hardest, most amazing, hysterical, crazy, lovely, scary and profound experience you will ever have. You have been gifted with this little being, so head up, stay the course and know you’re going to choose wrong sometimes. Carpe Diem – seize EVERY day.

Love, me.

The Art of Deco

20 Jan

To me, Art Deco is like a fantastic wine; it is the perfect blend of fashion with architecture and design and encompasses all of my visual art passions.

According to Wikipedia, Led by the best designers in the decorative arts such as fashion, and interior design, Art Deco affected all areas of design throughout the 1920s and 1930s, including architecture and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as painting, the graphic arts and film. At the time, this style was seen as elegant, glamorous, functional and modern.It  could also be described as a movement of sorts. A rebelling from designing with political or philosophical roots. It was simply about design. Nothing more, nothing less.

It was the soul of the 1920’s and 30’s and  served as the foundation for design movements that emerged throughout the past 80 years. The “art deco aesthetic” is primarily found in fashion, architecture, art and typography but its influences can still be found in modern design.

Luella says…That building matches my dress.


What era of design do you love?

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.

What’s Up Doc?

4 Jan

I am getting back to reality after a two-week holiday stint spent relaxing with my husband, watching movies, eating and drinking with friends and sleeping longer than usual.

I am sure you all indulged in your own version of that as well. To that, I say cheers and well done!Well good morning 2011, now it is time to get back into the swing of things and start anew. Whatever that means, right?

I realize I have been straying away from fashion posts but I go with what I feel and lately I have been digging a bit deeper and looking outside of the “what to wear” scope. (Hope you don’t mind) I promise there is more fashion on the horizon.Anyway, as with most things in my life, I lean toward the uncontrived and what is more organic and real than documentaries? They evoke real emotions and shed light on people, places and events that otherwise would remain unknown.

I consider myself a connoisseur of the arts in general, (if you haven’t already picked up on that) and think these should land in your “What to Watch” queue for the cold and sometimes listless month of January.

Luella says…Document Everything.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

“This is the inside story of Street Art – a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money and vandalism collide. Exit Through the Gift Shop follows an eccentric shop-keeper turned amateur film-maker as he attempts to capture many of the world’s most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner with wildly unexpected results.”


Surfwise

According to the NEW YORK TIMES, “There are many different ways to drop off the grid, but few dropped off with such style and urgency as Dorian Paskowitz, the paterfamilias of what is lovingly and at times enviably described as the first family of surfing. It was an intensity in part born of his passionately felt engagement with history as a Jew, which took him from Stanford Medical School in the 1940s to button-down respectability in the 1950s and, thereafter, on the road and into the blue yonder with a devoted wife, nine children, a succession of battered campers and the surfboards that were by turns the family’s cradles, playpens, lifelines and shields.”

 

Funky Monks

One reviewer writes, “this independent production in living black & white was shot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they became “Funky Monks” with producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin and retreated to a virtual monastery of an empty house in the hills above L.A. to record their greatest musical achievement ever, 1991’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”.

The personality of L.A. is every bit as much the star of this film as is the personalities of the Chili Peppers themselves. The feel of the town is everywhere, from the record offices where the executives explain the concept behind the recording taking place in the fashion it did to the locations where Anthony is interviewed regarding the lyrics of “Under The Bridge” to the wrap party that is held at the house once the recording has been completed…the soul of Los Angeles (such as it is) and the symbiotic association it has with the band are factors that set this filmed “making of” documentary a step above all the others; there is much more than four guys in a studio and a producer in a booth…it is an encapsulation of a city and its most identifiable band, frozen in time forever.”


Helvetica

Gary Huswit says, “Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.”


So watch the above documentaries and let me know what you think. We found them profound in their own subjects.

There is also something very appealing to have the opportunity to see things for myself, a peek behind the curtain if you will. What would your life’s documentary be about?

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joyeux Nell.

24 Dec

You never know where life is going to take you and whom you are going to meet along the way.I stumbled upon a contest held by Sunglass Hut called Full Time Fabulous about a month ago. It is their quest to find a blogger for 2011 who will live in a furnished loft in Manhattan, get paid $100,000 and “be the eyes and ears of the Sunglass Hut Institution” to loosely steal a line from The Breakfast Club.For the entire month of December, the Top Ten Finalists have been dueling it out in a blog-off that will end December 31st. Wits, words and creativity are on full display and it has been interesting to be an observer.

So on to the rest of the story.

Luella says…Salt in the City.

Meet Nell Alk, one of the finalists from…wait for it…. GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN!

I was so happy to see someone from my beloved state of Wisconsin make the cut, that I reached out to her in support and have been following her Full Time Fabulous blog posts for the past month.

She has lived in New York for the past 4 years or so and is already a contributing editor and blogger for  NBCNEWYORK.com, PAPERMAG.com, OKMAGAZINE.com, FABRICMAG.com and OURSTAGE.com.

I find her writing to be fresh, clever and full of rich details. I don’t have to be at the events Nell describes and reports on because she creates the full picture through her story telling.

When describing the importance of New York City as the Fashion Capital of the World, Nell says,

“Manhattan speaks to the global community on behalf of fashion with the authority and authenticity of its people. It’s a recognizable and relatable tongue, a dialect everyone knows, from Monaco to Madrid, Minnesota to Malibu. New York City is the epicenter of fashion. A sanctuary of culture, New York is a haven for the “who knows,” the “what ifs” and the “this is its.” Its influence is as much about its exclusivity and elegance as it is about its ability to embrace the everyman. Or, in this instance, the everydesigner. The power this city and its spirited people wield is unmatched. They influence fellow New Yorkers; they influence fellow Americans; they influence the rest of the world. Manhattan has an unstoppable influence around the world because it represents and embodies the people of the whole wide world. The human condition defined and redefined. In an inspiring city that is both timeless and timely. Not to mention, all-accepting. The big apple can be yours. And yours. And yours.”

See what I mean?

She comes from my home state, so I will say with pride, “salt of the earth country,” has an affinity for fashion and lives and breathes the pulse of New York City.Sunglass Hut, what more do you really need?

In the spirit of the Christmas season, please check our her blog and share her story. The more support she garners the better her chances of winning the coveted position will be.

In layman’s terms, Re-tweet, Like, Comment and Share. Wisconsin-ites mount up.

http://nell.fulltimefabulous.com/

Go There.

22 Dec

I am not an artist. I just don’t have the talent. I wish I could look at a blank canvas and know exactly what to draw or where to go with my vision but such is not to be.

I was born a consultant of sorts. Meaning I can tell you what works and what doesn’t but I can’t create it myself. My skill set is much more in the performing arts spectrum rather than the artistry of paint, pencil and ink to canvas.I have always admired the art world though with its chic gallery shows and pedestrians lining up to be blown away by the abstracts, paintings and works of their favorite artists.

I used to think one had to possess a certain “eye” for understanding but as of late I realize it is what you make it. If you allow yourself to go there, things tend to take on a whole new meaning.Such was the case when I was doing research for a project and stumbled across the art works of Pierre Soulages.

He was born in 1919 and according to Claire Rosemberg of The Telegraph, is famously known for switching direction halfway through his career to emphasise how light is reflected from the colour black – a concept he calls “ultra black”, or outrenoir. Using thick layers of black paint, he scrapes and digs and etches using bits of rubber, spoons or tiny rakes to create smooth and rough textures that absorb or reject light, subtly changing monotonous black.He recently hosted his own gallery show, at Le Centre de Georges Pompidou in Paris in 2009 and at age 91, is still living and working in a flat in the South of France that overlooks the Mediterranean.(Pierre Soulage’s shadow painted by Klaus Guingand 2005)

When interviewed for his gallery show last year, Pierre said, “It is touching to see 63 years of my work brought together, but I don’t much like the word ‘retrospective’,” he added. “I am still painting, I have works drying in the studio.”

At 91, is that a testament to spending one’s life living out their dreams instead of waiting to pursue them? Perhaps.

Luella says…Dig a Little Deeper.

(all photos sourced from Pierre-Soulages.com)

I love his work. I would never have found him had I not been a bit idle.

Moral of this story, is to take a little more time out for yourself. Stop and absorb your surroundings, breathe, be present and notice the details.

Give that to yourself this Christmas.

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