Tag Archives: inspiration

Epilogue.

1 Aug

Faded_Black_Paint_by_GrungeTextures

 

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

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

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

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

Luella Says, I pledge to live #100HappyDays,

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.07.32 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-01 at 2.47.31 PM

 

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

 

 

Advertisements

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

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.

Hearty and Homemade.

11 Oct

 

When I was in grade school, every year around this time we would take a field trip to a local apple orchard. We would see how the fermentation process worked, taste all the various flavors of cider and be allowed to tour the grounds and see the rows and rows of apple trees. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We would finish the day in the pumpkin patch picking out small gourds and pumpkins to take home to our parents. It was such a simple time.

Every year when Autumn weather starts to set in, I think of those childhood field trips to the orchard. It dawned on me, what a perfect inspiration to build a menu of good eats from! How decadent would eating outside in the splendor of an orchard or vineyard be, with your closest friends, homemade food, candles lighting the table, full-bodied wines and stars illuminating the sky? I intend to find out.

 

 

My next “life list” endeavor is to plan a wonderful outdoor dinner party at either an orchard or a vineyard. I can’t imagine an evening better spent.

In preparation, I decided to post some wonderful family favorite recipes that are hearty, healthy and good for the soul. If you are searching for what to cook tonight, look no further.

 

Luella says… Cook and be Merry

WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI

Submitted by Luella

INGREDIENTS:

 (please note I sometimes double this recipe to make enough to have leftovers. It is great re-heated)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1.5 lbs. Cooked Chicken (please see preparation below)

2 Cloves Garlic – minced

14.5 oz. Chicken Broth

1 can (18.75 oz.) Tomatillos (drained and chopped)

1 (16 oz) can Diced Tomatoes

1 (7 oz.) can Diced Green Chiles

1/2 Teapsoon dried Oregano

1/2 Teaspoon ground Coriander seed

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 (15 oz) can White Northern Beans

salt and black pepper to taste

1 lime sliced

Fresh Cilantro for garnish

**Cooked Chicken – 1/2 cup  white wine, 1 Tablespoon of Dill Weed, 1 Chicken Bouillon cube, 1 cup of Water, Fresh squeezed Lemon (half), Minced Garlic, Lemon Pepper to taste**

PREPARATION:

Cook chicken in the wok/large pan first. Combine all the ingredients listed **above  in your wok. Cut the chicken into cubes. Put it on Level 8 for a Wok or Medium-High heat if it is in a pan. Cook/simmer half covered for 10-15 minutes stirring often. Save one cup of the juice to add into the mixture later.

1. Heat Oil and minced garlic until soft.

2. Stir in Chicken broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add chicken and beans and 1 cup of cooked chicken juice to the mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve with fresh lime and cilantro on the side.

  

MUSTARD ROASTED TILAPIA

Submitted by my sister, Leslie

 INGREDIENTS:

4 (8 oz) Tilapia filets
 
Kosher Salt and ground Black pepper
 
 
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
 
1 tablespoon Whole Grain  Mustard
 
2 tablespoons Minced Shallots
 
2 teaspoons Drained Capers
 
PREPARATION:
 
1. preheat oven to 425
 
2. sprinkle filets generously with salt and pepper
 
3. place in oven proof glass pan
 
4. combine rest of ingredients and mix well
 
5. pour over fish to completely cover
 
6. Cook 15 to 25 min depending on thickness of the fish filets.
 
  
  

 

Southern Style Spare Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Submitted by my Mother-in-Law, Maria

INGREDIENTS:

1 Package of Southern Style Ribs (please note this is an actual type. They are heartier and have more meat on the bones.)

1/2 Cup of Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce

 1 Reynolds Brown N Bag

 For Dry Rub:

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1 Teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt

1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

PREPARATION:

Cut off fat on bottom of ribs

Pat them dry

Combine ingredients of the Dry Rub and drag and douse the ribs in this so they are covered

Place the ribs into a Reynolds Brown N Bag and poke holes in the top of the bag

Cook at 350 Degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Cut open bag and use 1/2 Cup of Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce to cover the ribs completely

Put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to solidify the rub and bbq sauce taste

Serve with Garlic Mashed potatoes:

Place 8-10 Yukon Gold Potatoes and 3 Medium Cloves of Garlic  in a pot of boiling water

Boil till tender (10 minutes or so)

Drain the water and add 1/2 Cup Low Fat Milk and 2 Tablespoons of Smart Balance

Whip them and Enjoy!

 

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

Submitted by my Mother, Debra

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts cut into cubes

2 Bacon slices

1 cup diced Red Bell pepper

2 Garlic cloves – minced

4 1/2 cups Chicken Broth

1 3/4 Cup Diced & Peeled Red Potatoes

2 1/4 Cups Fresh Cut Broccoli

1/2 Cup all Purpose Flour

2 cups 2% Milk

3 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper to Taste

PREPARATION:

1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Crumble and put it on the side

2. Add Chicken, Garlic & Bell Pepper to the bacon grease pan and saute for 5 minutes

3. Add Potatoes & Broth to the pan and bring it to a boil

4. Cover and reduce heat and simmer until potatoes get soft (about 20 minutes)

5. Add brocolli and stir well

6. Place Flour in a bowl and gradually add Milk whisking till it is smooth, add it to the soup and simmer, stirring frequently over Medium heat for 15 minutes. (until it thickens)

7. Stir in Cheese, Salt and Pepper and top it off with the Crumbled Bacon 

 

 

GRILLED EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup Olive oil

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried hot Red-Pepper flakes

1 (15-ounce) can crushed Tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup coarsely chopped Fresh Basil

1/2 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup)

4 small Italian Eggplants (1/2 pound each)

16 thin slices whole-milk Mozzarella (from a 1-lb block; not fresh)

PREPARATION:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and parmesan.

2. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over moderate heat or Cooks’ note: Eggplant (brushed with 1/4 cup oil) can be roasted on a foil-lined large baking sheet in middle of a 450°F oven, turning over once, 20 minutes. Top with sauce and cheese, then stack and bake 5 minutes more.

3. Trim 1/4 inch off 2 opposite long sides of each eggplant. Cut each eggplant lengthwise (in same direction as trimmed sides so each slice has skin just around edge) into 4 slices. Brush slices with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

4. Grill eggplant, covered, turning over once, until tender, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a work surface.

5. Spread top of each slice with about 1 tablespoon tomato sauce and top with a slice of mozzarella, then restack each eggplant. Transfer stacks to a shallow baking pan and grill, covered, just until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.

 

BEEF LOAF IN WILD MUSHROOM SAUCE

Submitted by my Mother, Debra

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef

1 Cup Fresh Grated Bread Crumbs

3 Eggs – Beaten

1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley

1/2 lb. Ground Pork

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1/3 Cup Sour Cream

PREPARATION:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pack into a loaf pan and cook it for 1 hour – or until brown on top. Remove from Oven and slightly cool. Serve with Mushroom Sauce.

INGREDIENTS – MUSHROOM SAUCE:

5 Tablespoons Butter (divided)

8 oz. Fresh Wild Mushrooms – Sliced

4 Tablespoons Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Cups of Beef Broth

1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet

PREPARATION:

1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of Butter in a small saute pan.

2. Add Mushrooms and simmer over Medium Heat until soft.

3. Remove Mushrooms and set aside

4. Add remaining 4 Tablespoons of Butter to the pan and let it melt

5. Add Flour, Salt & Pepper to the pan and Stir until mixture is smooth

6. Blend in Beef stock and stir until sauce is thick

7. Add Kitchen Bouquet and Reserved Mushrooms and bring to a boil

8. Remove from Heat and serve over Beef Loaf.

 

Run Luella Run.

29 Sep

Today my post has nothing to do with Fashion. I had something completely different planned but was so blown away last night by ESPN’s 30 For 30 on Terry Fox, that I decided to change it up.

Too often, (I will speak for myself here) I get wrapped up in what doesn’t matter. I think we all do. Everything truly happens as it is supposed to and we can’t change what we can’t control. Take Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guywho missed his flight to LA on September 11th, 2001 by 5 minutes as an example. A series of events occurred that morning that ultimately saved his life. When asked if he lives differently because of it, he says no. He believes it was just a coincidence and will not let that define the rest of his life. Similar to Terry who didn’t allow his cancer diagnosis or his disability to stop him. He was profoundly succesful in his quest of raising awareness for Cancer in the early 1980’s when nobody was talking about it. Imagine if he had allowed self-doubt, exhaustion or politics to change his course. He was the ultimate Iron Man.

After watching the inspirational documentary last night, I realize Terry served his purpose in life. It has been 30 years since his fateful run across Canada on one leg and in that time, according to the documentary, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $500 MILLION dollars for cancer research. How can we ever calculate what that has meant for others who have been stricken with the disease since his passing? The impact of his determination is astounding. I kept telling myself, this is not a movie, Terry is NOT a character and this story was not written by David Benioff, Quentin Tarantino or Jason Reitman. It was life at its most inspiring and most unfair. 

 

 

 

The next time I find myself getting wrapped up in the unimportant details, I will think of him and all that he went through and change my tune. For Terry, the run was much more than raising money. I don’t think he realized when he started but he was living the next 60-70 years of his life in those 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi). It is the most noble ending ever written.

For a lighter take on it, I am totally inspired. My husband and I are running the Manhattan Beach 10K on Saturday and I am not in my best running shape. Besides Terry Fox, music is what will inspire me to finish strong. I asked some of my closest friends for a list of their “ultimate, inspiring, makes you run faster, want to fist pump and air pull songs”  so I can share them with you. If you can’t run, put music on and dance around in your living room. It is very difficult to be stressed, upset, sad, blue or all of the above if you are jumping around to your favorite jam. Try it and let me know how it goes.  

Here is the Luella Top 40

(in no particular order, click on song for video)

 1. Freakshow – Britney Spears

2. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

3. Long Way to Happy – P!NK

4. Better Off Dead – Bad Religion

5. Midnight Show – The Killers

6. Right Now – Van Halen

7. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem Featuring Rihanna

8. No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age

9. Make Me – Janet Jackson

10. Changes – Tupac

11. Teeth – Lady Gaga

12. Mercy Me – Alkaline Trio

13. Lovestoned – Justin Timberlake

14. Young Forever – Jay Z Featuring Mr. Hudson

15. Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson

16. Rock Show – Blink 182

17. DJ Got Me Falling in Love – Usher

18. An Open Letter to NYC – Beastie Boys

19. Breathe Me – Sia

20. Robot Rock – Daft Punk

21. Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna

22. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

23. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

24. Optimistic Thought – Blues Traveler

25. Loca – Shakira + Dizee Rascall

26. Chances – Five for Fighting

27. Again Today – Brandi Carlile

28. Rap Game – D12

29. Telephone – Lady Gaga Featuring Beyonce

30. At the End – iiO

31. Scream – Michael Jackson

32. Rearview Mirror – Pearl Jam

33. Heartbreaker – P!NK

34. Play Your Part (Part 1) – Girl Talk

35. On Fire – Eminem

36. Misery Business – Paramore

37. You Lost Me – Christina Aguilera

38. Holding Out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler

39. Use Somebody – Kings of Leon

40. Repo Man – Ray LaMontagne

 

Feel Free to comment with some of your own. I can use as much inspiration on Saturday for my run, and through life in general; we all can. Be good to yourself and to those you love.   

%d bloggers like this: