Tag Archives: friends

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?

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Back to Life. Back to Reality.

29 Nov

I am on a plane making my way back to Los Angeles after a much-needed escape back home to the Midwest for Thanksgiving. I leave feeling full; literally and figuratively. Full from the massive amounts of food & drink I consumed but also filled with a hearty dose of family and friends.

Our roots are what shape us and help us become who and what we are. Mine start in Wisconsin and  a part of me will always remain where I began.For me, the holidays provide an excuse to eat what I want, have an extra (or three) glasses of wine, laugh, relax and ultimately let my guard down. I realize this is not the case for everyone as families come in all sorts and sizes. My remedy is to focus on the best moments and live in those memories.

As I sit here in turbulence, over the great Western Plains, I realize my transition back into reality today is also a bit choppy.

Maybe it is just the Monday blues or a post-holiday melancholy….either way, I need a little help to restart my reality after the holiday break. 

Luella says…Pass the Cream and Inspiration.

These images provided a respite for me on this hard day back to the grind. I am going to make a considerate effort to find more of these in my every day life.

How do you remedy a moody Monday? I am open for any and all suggestions.

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) 

Variations on Beautiful.

19 Oct

What is beautiful? Is it happiness, contentment, vanity, companionship, friendship, love or the sum of all the parts? Everyone defines it differently. Throughout our lives our concept of what is beautiful will change. I look forward to that.

Today is my parent’s wedding anniversary. In 26 years there have been highs and lows but today I would say, they love each other more than ever.

In their honor, I moved up a post I was working on for a later date. What is beautiful?

Real Simple did an article a year or so back on authors describing what makes them feel beautiful. I was so moved by the above submission from acclaimed author Anne Roiphe,  that I tore it out and put it on our vision board next to Marilyn et al.

It is simply profound. Please read for yourself.

“It was mid-December of 2005. I don’t know why he said it. I don’t know if a shadow had fallen across him, something appalling he saw out of the corner of his eye. I don’t know if it was just coincidence or intuition that prompted him, but about a week before my seemingly healthy 82-year-old husband suddenly died, he emerged from the kitchen ready to go to his office, his face clean-shaven, his eyes shining, smiling shyly, holding the copy of the Anthony Trollope book he was rereading, and said to me, “You have made me very happy. You know that you have made me a happy man.” There I stood in my work outfit, blue jeans and a T-shirt. There I stood with my white hair and my wrinkles and the face I was born with, although now much creased by time, and I felt beautiful.
 
“What?” I said. I wanted him to repeat the words. “You heard me,” he said and put on his coat and drew his earmuffs out of his pocket. “Say it again,” I said. He said it again. “You’ve made me happy.” We had been married 39 years. We had held hands waiting in hospital corridors while a desperately ill child struggled to breathe and thankfully recovered. We had made financial mistakes together. We had spent hours out in fishing boats. We had raised the children and then second-guessed our choices. We had stood shoulder to shoulder at graduations and weddings and we were well-worn, but still I had made him happy, and I was proud and flushed with the warmth of his words.
 
I know I looked beautiful that morning. Perhaps not to the young man holding his toddler in his arms who rode the elevator with me; perhaps not to the friend I met for lunch, a true believer in Botox; perhaps not to passersby on the street; but I knew it for a certainty. I was beautiful.
 
I don’t believe that inner beauty is sufficient in this cruel world. That’s the pap one tells a child. I don’t believe that positive thinking improves your skin tone or that loving or being loved changes the shape of your nose or restores the thickness and color of hair, but I do know that there is a way of being beautiful, even as age takes its toll, that has something to do with the spirit filling with joy, something to do with the union with another human being, with the sense of having done well at something enormously important, like making happy a man who has made you happy often enough.
 
Ten days after that morning conversation, my husband and I returned from a concert and dinner with friends and walked down our windy block toward our apartment house when suddenly he stumbled and fell and died within minutes. As I waited for the ambulance, I remembered his words, a beauty potion I would take with me into the rest of my life.”

Those words are hard to follow but I figured why not reflect on and share what makes me feel beautiful, in the hopes it will inspire you to do the same.

Below is my list, the next time I am feeling melancholy I will revisit it and take notes.  

 

Luella says…Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

MY HUSBAND & HIS LAUGH/SMILE

THE PERFECT DRESS & PAIR OF SHOES

  NESTLED IN READING A GREAT BOOK

TRAVELING EUROPE

ACCOMPLISHING MY GOALS/TO DO LIST

  FEELING SUNKISSED ON VACATION

 LISTENING /ABSORBING WHEN OTHERS REMIND ME

(All Images above via MEMORY BOOK  &  Krystal Muellenberg)

 

EARLY MORNINGS SPENT OUTSIDE

  DANCING – (always)

 BEING WHERE I HAVE BEEN BEFORE – WHERE PEOPLE KNOW MY NAME

 BEING INSPIRED BY HIGH FASHION & FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

 VIEWING VINTAGE ARCHITECTURE / HOME DECOR

 EXERCISING TO GOOD MUSIC (loud)

 PARTICIPATING IN AN INTELLECTUAL CONVERSATION / DEBATE

A CLEAN & ORGANIZED HOUSE

(All images above via AN ABUNDANCE OF)

 

TIME SPENT WITH MY FAMILY

 LONG EYELASHES

MY CHILDHOOD HOME/BACKYARD

(All images above via Krystal Muellenberg)

 

COOKING A GREAT MEAL

(Image above via The City Sage) 

LIVE MUSIC

(Image above via Doublecrossed)

DECADENT WINE & DINNER PARTIES WITH MY GREAT FRIENDS

(Images above via Remodelista  &  Country Living)

 

I realized in making this list, beautiful to me means contentment and happiness. I look and feel best when I am at peace with my actions, state and surroundings.

Find your own variation of beautiful and hold onto it always.

I Do, in June.

22 Sep

  

J’aime vintage. I got married in June, to a man named Ralph, in my favorite place in the world, my parent’s backyard in Brookfield, Wisconsin. I am now a wife and I have a husband. Crazy but true. I can’t say I spent my childhood dreaming of my wedding day, it was more that I was dreaming of who I would be married to.

Even still, when it was my turn to be a bride, I wanted to plan it like an intimate dinner party. I love vintage as aforementioned and thus was born my theme. Mismatched china, a sideboard to hold our cake, handmade table numbers made of vintage French apothecary and soap labels, ball jars, green depression glass and cream hobnail vases, Lisianthus, Gardenias, Peonies, Green Hydrangeas and Ranunculus flowers, tuxes and candles; essentially “splendor in the grass.”  To accomplish this, let’s just say a lot of DIY, Etsy and imagination.

I knew some things were beyond my control and I left those to come as they may. At the end, it was an evening filled with lovely memories I will keep with me always. It was perfect. Wonderful friends, family, decadent food, drinks, dancing and laughter.  We are blessed. I know I relied on others inspirations to create my own so enjoy! 

(photos by Krystal Muellenberg and Studio Noveau

   

   

   

  

“Let’s turn to the West, Let’s turn up the music, Let’s hope it’s always as good as this” – Chris Pureka

(Venue: Shully’s Garden Tent, Cake: Sweetness by Alice, Flowers: Esther)

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