Hit Play.

17 Dec

It is pouring rain here in California and I love it. Coming from the Midwest where bad weather is a mainstay, it brings me back to my childhood and makes me want to stay in bed and watch movies.That is one of my favorite things about the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays as well. The world stops functioning in its normal capacity and we are allowed to drink a little extra wine, eat another helping and stay in a our pajamas all day.

Even if you have stressful family situations, at least you are spending time together and what better way to do that than to sit around a fire and watch a great film. So to enjoy the upcoming holiday to its fullest, or in some cases merely survive, make some popcorn, pour yourself a large glass of egg-nog, gather everyone in the family room and watch something together.I have the task this year of trying to pick out which movies to bring with us when we spend Christmas at my in-laws. It inspired me to start collecting some good choices and I figured I would share them with you so you have time to secure them before next week. (YES!! Christmas really is next week)

(FYI-Some are not technically “Christmas movies” but were shot in Winter with the holiday season in mind.)

Luella says…Merry Movies.

(in no particular order)

Which Christmas movies do you love?

What holiday family traditions do you have?

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All Hail the Queen.

16 Dec

So I consider myself to NOT be a star struck person. I won’t chase after you, or interrupt your dinner to ask for an autograph or accost you and take your photo; you’re human just like the rest of us and want your privacy.

I live in Southern California, the metropolis for celebrities and so maybe I am just used to it. Part of it though is I really don’t care. Not to be harsh but if I love you, I will be loyal by buying your records, watching your shows or movies and potentially even praising you on my blog or amongst my friends.

I think in general our generation, (yes us 20-30 year olds), spend too much time idolizing the few who become famous. What is fame really? I wonder what those who have lived it would say?Maybe we learned to cope with the state of the world through the escapism of Perez Hilton and US WEEKLY to name a few. (I am guilty as well) It deters us from the focus and scary reality of our economy, our planet’s health and the war and potential for more on the horizon.Yet, with the news that Kate Middleton & Prince William are engaged and getting ready to marry, it seems as though my newfound restraint against needing to know everything in the celebrity world,  has gone out the window. I can’t seem to get enough of this story and feel profoundly happy for them.I don’t know her and never will but she has a good energy about her. She is naturally beautiful and comes from a great family and is in all intents and purposes; normal. I love it. It is about time something modern happened to the monarchy.

Unlike the royal weddings of the past, this one has the chance to be less pomp and circumstance and more just two people in love wanting to simply get married. One has to wonder if Princess Diana didn’t have a hand in this, as it seems like the perfect ending she would have scripted and wanted for her William.So now on to the fashion side of things. As every girl who gets married knows, the dress is one of the key elements. Once you find “the one” everything else to seems to fall in place.

Every designer in the world is now clamoring for the chance to dress Kate on her wedding day. Women’s Wear Daily asked a group of designers to submit sketches to them of their “royal wedding dress” visions for Kate. (Scroll through the choices below.) Regardless of what direction she goes in, it will be a hard decision for her and one that will be scrutinized for years to come. Ultimately it is her day and she needs to wear what makes her feel beautiful and comfortable.

What a spectacle this will be for the world to watch!!

Luella says…Here Comes the Princess Bride.

Alberta Ferretti

Gucci

J. Mendel

Lela Rose

Rachel Roy

J. Crew

Prabal Gurung

Kimberly Ovitz

ValentinoTommy Hillfiger

Chris Benz

Reem Acra

Rebecca Taylor

Nina Ricci

Nicole Miller

Nanette Lepore

Yigal Azrouel

Monique Lhuillier

Missoni

Lyn Devon

Karl Lagerfeld

Jason Wu

Elizabeth Emanuel

Doori

Chado Ralph Rucci

Badgley Mischka

Christian Lacroix

Vera Wang

Which dress would you choose for her to wear? Or if you are artistically inclined, sketch one of your own.

Remember what I always say, think big, live big.

Closet Construction.

15 Dec

Making a list for Christmas is really no different from what I go through every season when Fashion Week rears its gorgeous head.

I delightfully go to Style.com and watch the slide show images of each designer I covet and make mental and yes literal notes of what I would choose and fill my closet with.

A girl can dream right?On a side note, for this Holiday season if your budget is tight, find things you would love to buy for your loved ones and wrap them as promises for when times are not as tough. The thoughtfulness is the same whether it is physically there or not and it gives you a goal and the receiver something to look forward to.

Christmas in (fill in the month) perhaps?

Back to the point, I am compiling a style collage for my work with Kimberly Ovitz, an amazing designer that if you don’t know you need to and thus began my “LOVE list” for the Ready-to-Wear Spring 2011 collections.

If money were no object, I would construct a closet and fill it with these styles and then add to it for each new season from now till forever.

(Like KOD on Facebook)

So while I sit here staring out the window at a very dreary and cold day, my thoughts go to Springtime when the world warms up and our closets turn over and welcome back some color.

This is a list of my favorite styles coming hopefully to a boutique near you for Spring 2011. (February/March delivery.) Remember these choices are not necessarily my favorite designers but merely my Musts & Loves.

Luella says…Runway to Reality?

(all photos SOURCED from: www.style.com)

Designer: Vionnet

Designer: Miu Miu

Designer: Chloe

Designer: Rag & Bone

Designer: Ports 1961

Designer: Marchesa

Designer: YSL

Designer: Lanvin

Designer: Jill Stuart

Designer: Alberta Ferretti

Designer: Willow

Designer: Kimberly Ovitz

Designer: Preen

Designer: Diane Von Furstenberg

Designer: Alexander Wang

Designer: Donna Karan

Designer: Collette Dinnigan

Designer: Phillip Lim

Which style is your favorite? What personal projects do you love to do during the year?

I actually would love to know what you think , so VOTE in the comments section below.

Glitter, Sparkle & Shine.

14 Dec

‘Tis the season to break out your sequins and sparkles.

I love Christmastime for a lot of reasons but one is most definitely the ability to wear whatever you feel in the name of the season. Holiday parties are in full swing and rules that normally apply to the rest of the year; come December, don’t.

The Holidays bring about a chance for everyone to express themselves and I say the bolder, sparklier and brighter the better!

There are some basic rules to follow though when going for as I like to call it, “Sparkle Chic.”

1. Go for rich earth tones. (Navy, Emerald, Gold, Brown, Black, Gray & Cream)

2. Choose to wear it as an accent piece and make sure to pair it with something matte.

3. Don’t wear more than one item per outfit. (SEQUIN & SPARKLE OVERLOAD) Keep it subtle.

4. There is a huge disparity between hand sewn and machine sewn sequins. The latter is much more affordable but if you can, go for the hand sewn, the quality is better and the look is much richer.

5. Make sure to launder it appropriately and wear it with care. Sequins are expensive and difficult to repair.

So now that you know the rules(-ish), I ask you to go to the back of your closet and pull out the items you think are over the top. Try them on, take a strut around your bedroom and rethink your notion that you wouldn’t dare.

Fashion risks are always explainable and who doesn’t want to glisten anyway?

Luella says…Go Glitter.



What do you love to pull out of your closet and wear during the Holiday party season?

Take a photo as you are on your way out the door and let me see your style!!

Listen. Rock. Volume 1

10 Dec

My husband took me to see a band called BRAD on Wednesday at The Roxy in Hollywood. I was totally game as I need every opportunity possible to get out of our house/my office/life center.

BRAD consists of Stone Gossard (yes from PEARL JAM), Regan Hagar, Mike Berg and singer Shawn Smith. It was amazing.

We stood in the second row and watched as they put on a 2 hour show. It was intimate and raw and the music itself stole the show. (The way it ALWAYS should be.)

Shawn took a large portion of the encore to sing some of his solo songs and I was blown away. His voice doesn’t end and borders on classically brilliant.The Roxy was jam-packed and yet you could hear a pin drop. Complete respect for an amazing artist.

He sang on the soundtrack of the final season of THE SOPRANOS in “Long Term Parking” one of the most memorable episodes of the show’s history. It became a mainstay on our favorites list and I am so happy I got to see it performed live.

Luella says…Enjoy for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is meant to be short, sweet and full of sound.

Check out www.shawnsmithsinger.com and www.bradcorporation.com for info, show schedules and more music to listen to.

Happy Weekend.

Where the Wild Things Are.

9 Dec

A colleague of mine suggested I look into the photography of Gregory Colbert. I had never heard of him before and was completely blown away by his unbelievable images.

He is Canadian by descent and began his career in Paris making documentary films on social issues he believed strongly needed a voice.

He has much matured since then and his latest exhibition entitled, Ashes and Snow has been viewed by over 10 million people and is the most attended exhibition of a living artist in history.

View the video below of the actual shoot.

Gregory says, “In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present.”In my own humble opinion, I think it is important to reflect back on a time centuries ago, when we were able to live symbiotically with nature and animals. Colonization and the progression of technology will never allow us/ Earth to go back to those simpler times but there are places in our world where this does and can exist.

I feel privileged to have found these photos and hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Luella says…Through the Lens –

Gregory Colbert.

(All PHOTOS sourced from www.ashesandsnow.org)

The beauty of photography, dance, the written word, music etc. is the essence of interpretation.

One person’s genius can make another person believe.

Keeping Up With the Tradition(ians).

8 Dec

Family traditions are an important part of our culture. They tie together generations and allow us to pay homage to those, amongst other things, we can’t sit with at the dinner table.

From a very young age, my mother taught my sister and I to hold on to traditions, create some of our own and value atmosphere. (not necessarily in that order).

For example, every night, no matter how busy we were with school, sports or dance, we lit candles, put on some music and ate dinner together as a family even if it was for five minutes.

These are the things I will carry on with me as I start a family of my own.

Specifically for the Holidays, she took decorating our house very seriously and instilled in me the need to continue that in my own home.

As you know, I grew up in the Midwest where space and square footage reign supreme, so although my heart wants to buy the same 12 foot tree we get during Thanksgiving at my parents home every year, reality says 3.5 feet it is.

This is quite a change from my childhood but now my home is where my husband is. So my decorating remedy for our “tiny dwelling” is to fill it with Christmas accents and adorn our tree with family keepsakes.

Ever since I was small, my Mother has given my sister and I an ornament in our stocking. They varied each year in size, shape and significance but the point was she was helping us a create a timeline of all of our Christmas’ spent together as a family.

Growing up I didn’t take it very seriously, as I was much more interested in the mountain of gifts under the tree, but I realize now just how special they are.

Each year when I decorate our tree, a part of me gets to revisit those moments and remember that family, friends, love and time are the most important aspects of life.

These ornaments tell the story of where I came from. When my husband and I have children, I will carry this tradition on for them. After all, it is the small things that remain the most meaningful.

Luella says…Confessions of a Christmas Tree.

I would love to know what some of your family Holiday traditions are?

What do you treasure the most during this Christmas season?

Just a reminder that Christmas and New Years go by so fast . In this economy, when not everyone can give what they are used to, take a couple of moments to recognize what you are truly thankful for.

It is more important to be present rather than to give presents.

 

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A Winter Weather Staple.

6 Dec

It is 15 degrees back home today. I am lucky I only have to write about it and not actually try to maintain my life while living in it. With that said, there are ways in which to keep yourself warm and maintain your style integrity. One of the best solutions and a main staple of my Winter wardrobe is the scarf.

I used to work for Kate Kanyon Cashmere and was gifted a bunch of wraps and scarves. Ever since, I have literally lived, traveled and snuggled with one almost year round.

The scarf is  a double purpose pleasure in that it keeps you warm and adds the perfect finishing touch to your outfit no matter the season. When choosing a color, go for primary pop. Peacock blue, Emerald Green, Hermes Orange, Optic White, Black, Marigold & Grey.

Cashmere is my favorite but cotton and wool blends will do the trick as well. The larger the better. Realize when you travel if you have a large scarf (28 inches  by 86 inches or so) you can use it as a personal blanket as well. I do and it has served as the perfect travel companion.

Luella says…Wrap up for the Winter.

Fashion is truly a visual signature. Spice it up this Winter with a scarf.

 

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IndepenDANCE.

3 Dec

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived two totally separate lives. I am sure a lot of people feel that way who venture out of their home towns and settle in elsewhere.

I still have a core group of friends whom I have known since grade school and actually was introduced to my California born and raised husband by one of them but that is a story for another day.

My point is what many who know me now, don’t know, is I was a dancer my entire life. I started ballet when I was 4, dabbled in gymnastics and ended up at a studio at the age of 9 and stayed dancing there till I was 18. We did everything. Ballet was the foundation (as it should be) but we learned Tap, Contemporary, Modern, Broadway, Hip-Hop & Jazz. In retrospect, we were quite progressive.

(Source: Tamsin Flickr & RisaCandy.tumblr.com)

When I was 11, I made the company and traveled around the country performing and competing in various cities. We stayed in hotels and I lived with the same three girls in my room each trip for 6 years. Our company as a whole was extremely close. We were innocent, spastic, creative, supportive and built such a deep bond that it is actually hard to articulate with words. We don’t see each other as much obviously but when or if we do meet up, it is as if no time has passed.

I am so grateful to my parents who supported my passion both monetarily and emotionally. They never once were put out by the costumes, shoes, lessons, airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc etc.

I would even argue their support of my independence through dance allowed me to garner the tools necessary to branch out for college and life after graduation. It helped solidify my sense of dreaming and living big.Our company, for being from a small town in Wisconsin, was and is for that matter, kind of a big deal. Our teacher was asked to tour as a choreographer on the same circuit as Stephen Boyd, Densil Adams, Frank Hatchett and Mia Michaels who we were privileged enough to take classes from.

Some unbelievable dancers came from AOD and I am proud to say some have even gone on to open their own dance companies. Namely All About Dance in Chicago, Virtuoso Performing Arts in Glenview, IL & Bound Contemporary Dance in San Diego. One alumni is a member of the Sonya Tayeh Dance Company, has danced with Wade Robson, in Cirque du Soleil BELIEVE and is currently dancing in New York at Radio City Music Hall.

(Martha Graham dancing Satyric Festival Song in 1935. Photo by Barbara Morgan, American, 1900-1992)

When I hear certain music or watch choreography it brings me right back to all those moments spent in the dance studio. Once a dancer, always a dancer. I suppose that is true for any artisan or athlete.

If anyone with young children is looking for an outlet, enroll them in dance class. It was the best thing my parents ever did for me.

Luella says…Make it a Movie Night.

All of this was inspired by the new movie BLACK SWAN that is coming out today starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to see it.

IMDB says, “Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

(CLICK TO WATCH THE TRAILER)

If you go and see it you MUST let me know what you think.

What hobbies were you passionate about growing up?

What did you fill your spare time doing?

Songs for the Season.

2 Dec

What is music? This is an open-ended question that every person in the world would probably have a different answer to. For me, it is everything really. A perfect addition to any space or time and a poetic reminder of life’s struggles and triumphs.

Music gives us the opportunity to listen, feel and interpret sound. What a concept!

The photo above is so striking to me because it represents what music would look like if we could actually see it. On a visceral level the notes and melodies go up into the air and land on everything in its circumference.

The Christmas & Hanukkah season are here and with that comes a barrage of Holiday music. Some can’t wait while others consider it an onslaught. I land somewhere in the middle and decided to do a post on songs we can all live with through the festive season.

Remember, music in all its variations is powerful and profound.


Luella says…A Christmas Playlist For You.

(Click on the Album Cover to listen)

Mrs. Christmas by Jessie Baylin

River by Sarah McLachlan

Christmas Lights by COLDPLAY

Comfort and Joy by Tori Amos

Last Christmas by WHAM!

Snowfall by Ingrid Michaelson

Boots by The Killers

Mistletoe by Colbie Caillat

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

Christmas Means Love by Joan Osborne

Silent Night by Priscilla Ahn

Ave Maria by Josh Groban

The Heartache Can Wait by Brandi Carlile

Auld Lang Syne by Sara Bareilles, Jim Bianco, Cary Brothers, Buddy, Holly Conlan, Marie Digby, Katie Herzig, Jesca Hoop, Laura Jansen, Tim Jones, Greg Laswell, Lenka, Anya Marina, Jonah Matranga, Ingrid Michaelson, Meiko, Joshua Radin, and Butch Walker.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer by Five for Fighting

I’ll be Home for Christmas by Indigo Girls

Angels From the Realms of Glory by Annie Lennox

Frosty by Fiona Apple

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra

Let it Snow by Diana Krall

Which side are you on when it comes to Christmas music? Does music hold the same meaning to you as it does to me?

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