Tag Archives: Christmas

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/

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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.

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?

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!!

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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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?

Be Present.

24 Nov

 

I love Thanksgiving. I might even argue it is my favorite holiday. I love Christmas too but there is something less complicated about Thanksgiving time. With no need for presents, it becomes a holiday based around time being spent together.

It truly combines all my favorite things to do. Celebrate with family and friends, eat a delicious home cooked meal, drink fantastic wine, visit with old friends I haven’t seen since last year at this time, play games, stay up late, not worry about work, the list goes on and on.Lately time seems to be flying by. I find myself grasping and holding onto moments in an attempt to control and slow it down. It has proven to be fruitless and I realize the older you get the faster it goes.

My only recompense is to enjoy each and every day. Be present and thankful even when that seems impossible.

Thanksgiving is a perfect reminder of this. Let’s all take advantage of it.

Below are some beautiful Thanksgiving home accents and table decorations. I hope they will inspire you to enjoy decorating before the guests arrive and then relish the time you spend with whomever is coming over to celebrate.

I am thankful for many things this year and am going to make a list and refocus on what I do have instead of concentrating on what is missing. I suggest you do the same.

Luella says…Make a “Thankful” List and Check it Twice.

 I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is exactly as you wish it to be. It might not be as perfect as the accents above are but that is half the charm.

As Dave Matthews sings, “Eat, Drink and be Merry.” (feel free to insert a lot after any of those) 

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