Tag Archives: LIFE

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

 

 

#TRUTHday

8 Sep

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I want to scream at someone, something, my computer, myself, the construction workers across the street who start banging at 7am… anyone really. But what will that solve? Nada. TOO MUCH BAD NEWS lately.

It’s as if there’s a spotlight over the coterie of people I know, and things. just. keephappening. What are my escape route options here? I can shut myself off of social media, but I long to be informed (especially while I am out on maternity leave watching the adult world go by). I can pretend it doesn’t matter, which will get me nowhere, as I suffer trying to make sense of things regardless of what I profess. I can and (likely will anyway) give myself a thousand justifications as to why these things are happening; complete with telling myself to ‘just live in the moment, be grateful, slow down, practice gratitude’ blah blah blah… but I’m over it. As the wise have said, “it is both a blessing and a curse to feeling everything so very deeply.”

So back to trying to process the static of death, infertility, heart defects, brain aneurysms, cancer diagnoses, money woes, professional stagnation etc. etc.  I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m drowning. I want to help everyone. I want to say the perfect thing, bring solace to those who need it, be the funny one who appropriately changes the subject, bring the laughs, wipe the tears, lighten the mood and provide emotional shelter. Did you get all of that? Help me. Help everyone. Whatever you believe in, whomever you call out to for salvation, ask for a reprieve. Things are too heavy lately, so shout it out, send the love, light, prayers and energy filled with hope and positivity to each other and let’s break this cycle.

The truth is bad news, pain, grief and sickness live next door. It’s never an if, it’s a when, and then it’s a how do you process it, and keep moving forward. That’s the fine line. Maybe our current social connectivity has created a false universe where we all believe we are ONLY what we share. We’ve been privy to ‘staged truth’ for too long, and it’s placed us on a fragile pedestal with a cracking foundation. As I’ve said 1000+ times, perception is not reality. Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics, and use our overly connected social space as a resource center, and not simply a show and tell. We can’t help each other if we only know one beautifully staged and photographed side.

Oh, you’re having a hard time in your marriage? Oh, you’re worried your kid is autistic, behind or socially awkward? Oh, you know the ins and outs of metal illness, cancer, eating disorders, fertility treatments and/or fill in the blank? If you speak it, people will come. We all want to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. The ‘fitting in’ clause doesn’t phase out after high school. There’s comfort in knowing someone else out there has been where you’re now standing, and can offer some advice or lend a hand.

I had a miscarriage before Stella and Wren. When I blogged about it, I had an outpouring of support from my own friends and family whom I otherwise would never have known had a similar and shared experience. They said, ‘thanks for talking about it. You gave us a window to tell our story.’ That’s a social win. That’s #TRUTHday personified.

In a social space filled with challenges to dump ice, donate and rally around the less fortunate, I challenge the everyday individual to put the device down, and spend a little more time living rather than creative directing. Store the snapshots in your head. Don’t leave things unsaid IN PERSON to those who matter. Get home and unplug yourself. Sit at dinner and enjoy the conversation sans selfies and food snaps. Don’t be so quick to move on to the next thing. Sit in the moment. Take a deep breath. Realize this time, this snapshot of your life, will never happen again. Own it and absorb how lucky we are to be here.

Vintage anything is better in my opinion. So if we have to call detaching ourselves from the ‘information matrix’ a vintage approach to re-connecting on a cellular, person-to-person level, then so be it. We’re information rich, yet relationship poor. So let’s do something about it. Let’s make #TRUTHday a permanent movement. An anomaly in that it’s a step back to where we used to be, and a step forward to making it the norm again.

Luella Says… new hashtag movement starts now. #TRUTHday.

truthdayLet’s lift the veil and share our experiences for what they are. A check and balance if you will, of showing life the way it is; complete with blemishes, stains and frayed edges. Let’s really talk to each other. Be truthful, and know not every day is picture perfect. We might actually surprise ourselves with how big our villages become.

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Epilogue.

1 Aug

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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,

 

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

 

 

Dear Stella,

5 May

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Dear Stella Viv,

Let’s start this off with saying how proud of you I am. I know that might seem weird, seeing as though you’re not even 2 yet but I am. I love that your kind-hearted, funny and already super inquisitive and that simply you’re ours; a perfect mashup of your Dad and me. As a family, we’re about to embark on a new adventure and I wanted you to know a couple of things before life gets hectic and you potentially feel left out (hopefully just at first) in the beginning.

First of all, YOU are the reason we are having your sister. In truth, it was always on the table, but after realizing with each milestone how amazing it is to watch you blossom and grow, we were all in. You’ve shown us both how to be better people, how to be patient when we feel like screaming, how to adjust our view finder to life through the fresh eyes of a toddler and how to reach a place in our souls we never knew existed until you laughed for the first time, said I love you, sang or wrapped your arms around our necks and squeezed tight. There are a million moments I wish I could freeze frame and hang on a wall to harken back to when you’re older and likely just not that into us anymore (ok likely just Mom, Dad will reign supreme forever I think). I like to say there is no wine/booze buzz, vacation sunset, race finish, money flow or decadent meal that can even scratch the surface of being relatable to life with you. Honesty back on the table, it’s not simple and definitely not always fun, but even whilst gritting my teeth, through tears (ok, lots and lots of tears) and wanting to offer you up for free at the end of our driveway some days (not really but…) I can’t think of one other thing more important to my legacy than raising you to be a kind soul, willing to help others, chasing YOUR dreams wherever they take you and being happy.

I love being your Mom. I can’t imagine what it will be like to add another soul to my heart, as frankly the real estate square footage is covered between you and Daddy but we’re going for it. You will always be my first, my foray into Mommyhood, my whole heart and then some. Don’t ever forget how much you’re loved. It’s free-flowing, growing and never-ending from Mom and Dad and adding your sister will only strengthen our bond and hopefully our 4’s volleyball team years down the road. You are everything and please remember as you get older that being you is the single best asset you have.

I am going to rely on you to help me these next couple of months as we’re both at home with our new addition (too bad you’re not old enough to drink wine but I will make sure your portion is covered). You can’t know what help even means, but I have an inkling you’re going to surprise us and potentially even yourself with how easy the transition of becoming a big sister will be. Frankly, I was a mess when I brought you home. A MESS. More than anything, I am looking forward to re-living the moments I missed getting caught up in the ‘I have zero clue what I am doing’ maelstrom of a first time mom who never babysat or even changed a diaper before. These redux moments include you, every step of the way. As hard as it’s going to be, we’re in this together. All 4 of us. It’s about to get real so buckle up baby girl and let’s get this crazy, terrible, amazing, really?, ####!, beautiful, hysterical party started.

Love, Mom xo

Ps. If nothing else sticks, know we love you. Every inch of you. Forever.

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

Through the Lens – Paolo Roversi

28 Dec

One of the things I  love the most about my blog is the research I get to do each day in preparation for my content. I love being able to learn as I go and immerse myself in areas I never knew much about before. One of those areas is definitely photography.

As you know from earlier posts, I have loved editorials and fashion photo shoots ever since I was small. From the grandeur of the poses, to the artistry of the clothing, to the beauty of the landscape locations; they simply speak to me.After a bit of thought, I decided I needed to create an outlet and launched Luella’s Visual Industry on Tumblr. It is an archive of fashion photos, paintings and pictures I wish I had shot, created, styled or photographed myself.

In doing my research for Luella’s Visual Industry, I stumbled upon a group of photographers I think are a large step above the masses. I already detailed Steven Meisel and have a bunch on the horizon but today I present Paolo Roversi. Paolo Roversi is an Italian-born fashion photographer who currently lives and works in Paris. Born in Ravenna in 1947, Paolo Roversi’s interest in photography was kindled as a teenager during a family vacation to Spain in 1964. Paolo Roversi’s trademark 8 x 10” Polaroid format and very long exposures have a romantic and ethereal quality. His favourite lighting is window light or a Mag Flashlight to light his models.

According to A BLOG CURATED BY, “As a quiet force in photography for over 25 years, Paolo Roversi has firmly grounded his softly organic and profoundly intimate work within the more avantgarde circles of fashion. Over the years, Roversi has helped define the aesthetics of many key players who manage to sit just under the global commercial and celebrity radar, those intelligent labels from Romeo Gigli to Undercover and Yohji Yamamoto. Accompanying this inclination for the darker side of the industry, Roversi has held his fascination in the faces of muses such Stella Tennant and Kirsten Owen – protean beauties whose faces have stood the test of time.”

Luella says…Representing the Dark Side.

(All images sourced from PAOLOROVERSI.COM)

His photographs represent haunted hopefullness.

Where this is darkness, there is light.

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.

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.

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