Tag Archives: LOS ANGELES

Ocean view.

20 Nov

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Dear Disappointment,

You’re heavy. You hang around longer than you should, and selfishly fill the space, becoming all-consuming. You make it difficult to see the light, the forest, the brighter perspective and frankly, I’m over you.

Thanks, (but no thanks) Luella

I’ve been writing this post for a while now. I blame the above mentioned culprit who stole my creative juice with its heady presence. On the other hand, maybe it’s good time has lapsed, and this post has changed its tone 10 times over. No one needs or benefits from reading a vitriolic tangent or a sad pity filled note to self. So here we are.

For the last year and change, I’ve been working at a job I really loved. I haven’t felt that way since my Casch/Groa days back in my 20’s. So it felt good, and I was professionally really happy. Although there was a long commute, which in turn created an extremely hectic life schedule for drop-offs/pickups and being a Mom – I was representing a team/brand I truly believed in. Something I could tack on as an extension of myself, and really dig deep and produce creative that landed. If I work, and am away from my girls, it has to be worth it. This was a good balance for me. FINALLY. Well… recently my desk got moved to NYC, and took a little bit of my confidence with it. (Insert a variety of applicable emoticons here)

Sooo…. I’ve been interviewing and researching what is out there, all the while battling the rejection blues. I know it wasn’t personal. It was logistics, but I still blame myself based on the mantra I will teach my girls when they’re old enough to understand. ‘Be so great at your task, you’re indispensable’. A staunch believer in merit based eventualities, how do you get over it when you couldn’t have prevented it? The older I get, the more I realize you can do everything right, and sometimes that isn’t good enough to steer clear of choppy waters. This experience hurt more than I expected it to. On the other hand, it’s a growth opportunity. The only way through, is… through.

Interviewing is interesting. It’s kind of like online dating. You go through a couple of rounds of interviews only to find out you’ve been bested by a different candidate, and the company just isn’t into you anymore. All of the sudden you’re dealing with another no that wears away at the hanging shred of confidence you were desperately holding on to. What if I keep ending up where I started at good ol’ square one? How do I feel good enough in the areas of my life that truly matter? How do I fight the urge to retract and wallow? Lots of questions, not a lot of answers.

UNLESS…. you have a *Ralph (see definition below) in your corner, whose reassurances early on, eventually turned to a simply put, short speech that got my ball rolling again. You have two choices. You can either set yourself up in a situation where you look out the window and see barbed wire and trash, or you can put yourself in a position to see the ocean. Take action. Be relentless in the pursuit of your goal. Ask for help. (Just say NO to shame spirals.) 😉

HELLOLuella

So I did. After 7 years of sitting on Luella says, I built it out. I’m entering the freelance race. I am dipping my foot in the proverbial creative pond. It’s an online creative collective filled with my graphic design work and copywriting, it’s also (potentially) the start of a creative firm obsessed with visual storytelling and the social space. It might be nothing, it could be my new gig. Welcome to the world www.luellasays.com. If you know of anyone looking for social guidance, we’re (Laura/Luella) here.

*male species, handsome, good advice giver, tough love disher

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gray.

7 Sep

Having a baby changed my life. (bet you never heard those words uttered before.) The irony is it’s totally true. I hate clichés in prose and in life and although there are different interpretations and some experiences are easier than others; the baseline remains constant. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do…period. Every inch, every second spent since June 9th has changed me into a different human being. The world’s brighter, experiences feel richer, emotions run deeper (if that’s even possible for me) and I’ve made it out of the fray and lived to tell this tale to you.

The first couple weeks were so difficult, it’s almost hard to discuss. It sucked in short and even though I love Stella more than I could ever imagine possible, I felt so unprepared and unqualified. I kept looking for a time out button somewhere to just take a 2 minute break but alas this person I worked so hard to get was here, my number was called and I was out on the field indefinitely. Overwhelming simply doesn’t cover it. I felt blue, exhausted, awkward, ugly and not able to live in the moment. Who was I, what had I become? I kept thinking “but the books and the people I talked to used words like amazing, blissful, simple and easy when it’s yours.” My expectations were so far off it’s not even worth detailing. Each day felt like a year and the nagging feeling of failure was a constant companion. I had met my match, motherhood was here and I wasn’t sure it was for me. But then I woke up one day around 3 – 4 weeks in and felt better; albeit the leap was small and low to the ground but it was progress. Miraculously the proverbial light appeared. She cried less that day, small victories were attained and dare I say, I began to get the hang of it.

Which brings me to my long-winded point. Life can be spent living in the notion of black and white, good or bad, 1 or 100 but there is a middle; a gray area if you will, that exists and boasts good weather and yummy cocktails. As of late, I am allowing myself to visit this area more often. To be a constant work in progress, to not have all the answers, the control, the perfection is not only ok, it’s necessary. Up to this point, I always told myself, don’t let anything you do define you. Keep reaching, never settle, always give 500%, think out of the box, practice first in, last out and follow your shot. Now I’ve embarked on something I want to be known for. A great wife and a “show and tell” worthy Mom. The highs and lows are higher and darker than anticipated but the every day is pretty damn amazing. Yep I went there. The word that eluded me for so long in my new world of mommy-hood has landed and been assigned. I get to mold this little human and teach her what I can, while she still wants to listen to me. My husband and I get to watch a mash-up of ourselves navigate the world hopefully with my rhythm and his charisma.

I felt compelled to write this down because in my obsessive googling whilst still pregnant and in the first couple days post partum, if I had stumbled upon this little blog and known there really was someone out there feeling just as I did, potentially the light would’ve appeared sooner. I would’ve been able to handle how awful I was feeling knowing it was fleeting and concretely things were going to get easier. Women lie to each other, everyone puts their best foot forward and perception is hardly often reality. Consider me the attendant behind the customer service desk at Mommy World, telling you I know how you feel and can whole heartedly promise it gets easier and better each day. (keep repeating that to yourself at 2am when they still won’t sleep or stop crying for that matter) I worried about the difference between “baby blues” and post partum depression and desperately hoped this too would pass. If you can get out of bed and don’t feel like harming yourself or your child, most likely it’s the former. Be diligent about chatting with your OB about it regardless but eventually it leaves the building. It did for me and now I can share some pearls I gathered with you.

First Month Musts:

1. Wake up and shower if even for 2 minutes. Bring your baby in the bathroom if you have to but SHOWER to start your day.

2. Get a calendar and cross off each day at the end of it with a big X. For some reason it helps build confidence knowing one more day is in the books, accomplished and done.

3. Watch HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK, the 5 s’s are your friend.

4. Ask for help. Ask for help. Ask for help BUT also spend enough time doing it yourself. If you farm everything out, your only prolonging the rookie period.

5. Have no expectations for anything, your birth plan, your baby, yourself, your partner or your family and friends. People will let you down and you might let yourself down as well. Set the bar on the lowest rung.

6. Know your bump will go down eventually. I’m at 3 months and it’s still around. Each week it gets better.

7. Talk to your spouse, boyfriend, partner or friend about how you’re feeling and be brutally honest. Also chat with your baby about it. I told Stella many times, Mommy is feeling rough today but know I love you and we’ll get through this together.

8. Try to ease back into your old social routine as early as possible. Take them on walks and meet up with friends. Even if it’s for 5 minutes, you have to start somewhere.

9. Go on food adventures. Ralph and I would put Stella in the car and she would scream cry until she fell asleep and we’d go to different food institutions around Los Angeles. We always got it to go and brought it back home to eat but just the excitement of semi doing something social felt like the best, booze filled dinner party ever.

10. Go on multiple walks a day. Even if you make it around the block it’s a victory.

11. Colic is bs, it’s likely acid reflux. Check the infant GERD checklist and if your baby has a lot of the symptoms ask for a prescription of compound PREVACID. It worked wonders for us. I hate medicine and we waited 2 months to give it to her but she was in pain.

12. Stock up on BIO GAIA probiotic drops at Walgreens. They’re expensive but they work so well on their tummies for gas and overall discomfort.

13. You will not feel like this for 18 years. New problems arise just when you figure out answers to the former but nonetheless you’re better, smarter and faster than you were yesterday.

14. Know your baby is going to scream, wail, cry and turn purple. Don’t think this means you have to stay in your house. Get out, it also always seem louder to the parents.

15. Try to keep it light. Babies work off your energy, try not to get too worked up. (self grade: F for me on this point)

16. Burp them like a heartbeat. Pat pat, Pat pat, Pat pat. It works.

17. Set up stations around your house and use those every day to entertain or placate your baby. Do them in different rooms if possible. Station suggestions: Activity Mat, Swing, Mirror, Crib, Mat/blanket on the floor, Pack n Play, Bouncer, Your lap, Lounger, Changing Table cushion.

18. The uglier the better when it comes to mobiles or hanging toys. This one is hard for my design aesthetic but it’s true so embrace it.

19. If you’re breastfeeding start pumping and storing milk right away. I didn’t and playing catch up when they’re eating more is difficult. Use the rule of 2’s. 2 hours at room temp, 2 days in the fridge, 2 months in the freezer.

20. Know it’s normal for your baby to: cough, sneeze (multiple times), grunt, growl, choke while eating, snore, make weird noises in their sleep, drool, chew on their hand and feet, cry when you change or dress them, have crossed eyes.

21. Babies have a crying language and it actually is pretty true for Stella. Neh means I am hungry, Oww means I am tired, Eh Eh means I have a burp, Eairr means gas.

22.Sing, talk and read to them as if they completely understand from the first day you bring them home. Get real close to their face while you’re doing it so they can see your expressions.

23. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, introduce a bottle by 4 weeks. One a day filled with pumped milk is a great way to get them acquainted, allow your husband or someone else to bond through feeding and if you don’t they won’t take one when or if you go back to work.

24. Cry when they cry, sleep when they sleep, laugh when they laugh.

25. Buy the BREST FRIEND and wear it to feed at night. It serves as a shelf and lord knows that helps when you can barely keep your eyes open.

I would love to connect with any of you soon-to-be or new moms. I told myself I would never be a stroller strider or go to parties and only talk about my kids but I get it now. I am one of you, we are all in this together.

This is not a black and white world

To be alive I say that the colours must swirl

And I believe that maybe today

We will all get to appreciate The Beauty of Gray 

LIVE – The Beauty of Gray

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.

Blame it on Ray LaMontagne.

24 Sep

 I love Ray LaMontagne so much. His new cd, God Willing & The Creek Don’t Rise is haunting and rich and I can’t get enough of it. This morning his music inspired me to pay homage to the most important men in my life. My husband Ralph, my Dad James, my Father-in-Law Wayne and my best friend JD. This post is for you, all the men out there and the ladies who love them.          

   Operation: Sweaters, shirts, shoes and pants. As the weather gets colder and true Fall sets in, we all need a change-up in our wardrobes. Who doesn’t like new clothes?Men’s fashion is hard. I have worked in the fashion industry for 9 years and I still find it difficult to rattle off a bunch of great designers who get the “every day” look right.  I went on an adventure today and have detailed below some really great Autumn/Fall items for the men in our lives.    

These items are available and in stores now. Click the photo and it will take you directly to the retailer’s site. I have three tiers when discussing prices. Dreaming, Realistic and Steal. I put these items at Steal +.            

 Happy looking, happy shopping.          

    

           

OBEY Shoreline sweater $78
Shades of Greige crewneck $97
Scotch and Soda Cardigan $140
Original Penguin Heather pullover $41
MG Black Label Zip Cardigan $92

     

    

Gap Very Soft V-neck T $19.50

 

Subtle Plaid Shirt $98.50

 

        

7 For All Mankind Corduroys $159

 

Joe’s Jeans Corduroys $158

Nudies Bootcut jeans - Vintage Wash $179

 

J Brand Cooper Bootcut in Dark Wash $165

 

Express Heather Grey pants $79.90

 

    

Marc Jacobs Patent Leather boots $174

 

Costume National Black Boots $283

 

Base London Washed Leather boots $110

 

Steve Madden Leather slip-ons $59.95

SupraPilot Fleece shoes $104

 

John Varvatos for Converse Brown Leather "Throw Back" Shoes $150

 

 If this blog could sing. It would sing just like Ray.  

    

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An Introduction.

9 Sep

 

Welcome to Luella says. I have been meaning to get this up and running forever now but just couldn’t find the time. Ok, in truth I just got married and was my own wedding planner. Needless to say I was a bit busy. Anyway, it is a personal perspective on life and fashion. In order for that to make sense to those of you who don’t know me, read the introduction below and become acquainted. Everyone is an expert on their own life, I have been fortunate, through my professional career, to become an expert on fashion as well.

My mother always told me, “life is a series of choices” and so I followed that mantra and still do. When I graduated from college in 2001, I was a bit lost. Up until that point there was an unspoken formula to follow. Go to school, go to college, graduate and get a job. What no one tells you though, is just how difficult it is to find a job you are happy with and qualified for at the same time.  I had done well in college but the marketplace for new graduates in 2001 was terrible. I moved back home to Wisconsin from Arizona and needed guidance. What next? I was lucky to have a Mom who I considered a good barometer on life. She told me to make a wish list of my dream jobs and to think big. Life is about taking risks and I decided I was going to follow my heart. I went to task on my list, laughing a bit along the way figuring none of these organizations were even going to glance at my limited resume. Well I was wrong. Marie Claire magazine offered me a post-graduate internship to work underneath the Fashion Merchandising Editor in the sample closet. In actuality, I had to pay $600 for graduate credits to be able to work there for free. Somehow that didn’t seem right, but it was the push that got me to move to New York City and officially begin my foray into fashion.

I had never been to New York but it was on my “life list” and so like a scene out of Felicity, I flew there, took a taxi and when dropped off at the curb looked up and realized this is my life now, put your head down and make something of yourself. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE has to put their time in. I worked at Marie Claire for five months, even though originally I was supposed to work for three. I kept thinking I would weasel myself into the ranks here eventually. The issue was this job was for college credit which I didn’t need and didn’t pay a salary or offer benefits of any kind. (Sidebar…I did get to go the Christmas party at Tavern on the Green though which was an amazing experience.) Anyway, I was working 60 hours a week, LOVING my job and exposure to everything fashion but struggling to stay afloat monetarily in Manhattan. I was 22, young, passionate and desperate for a salaried job. Finally through a reference from the Accessories Editor at Marie Claire,  I got a job at Rafe New York as the Assistant to the Vice President and Sales and Marketing Director. I loved both of these jobs so much. I was exposed to everything imaginable because in essence that is New York living. After a year I decided I was not a New Yorker. I moved to Los Angeles, another destination on my “life list”. I was Coast surfing and landed in Beverly Hills on Almont Drive with my childhood best friend, Kelly.

LA was much more my scene. I didn’t realize how much I longed for space, grass, sunshine and the ability to drive my own car. I LOVE New York, I think it is one of the best cities in the world but not to live in, at least not for me. I got a job working in a multi-line showroom downtown in the fashion district and was on my way to building my career again. After working for almost 3 years for 8 different designers, I got the opportunity to open a US Showroom for a Danish women’s designer collection, Casch Copenhagen. It really was my dream job. I flew to Denmark and gave my business plan to the “suits” so to speak and they said yes! What an experience. I have since spent the last 5.5 years moving from Account Executive, to National Sales & Brand Manager to Director of Sales. I have weathered many highs and lows with this company. I loved loved loved my job. I put everything into it. I took an almost scientific approach to the business.  The fashion industry has too many showrooms, too many brands, too many designers etc. I knew the importance of being at the helm of a European indie brand and relished all the opportunities that came along with it.

Things have recently changed in my life. My scope has shifted. Maybe it is getting married, maybe it is the internal company struggle we went through these last 1.5 years or maybe it is the realization I need to move on to a new challenge. I am not sure but I will always believe working for Casch Copenhagen, Groa, Gro a Live and By Gro Abrahamsson changed my life. I will always be grateful. Thank you to those who remained constant, you gave me an experience unlike anything I thought I would have growing up in a small town in Wisconsin. So looking forward I move on to the next chapter.

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