Tag Archives: WISCONSIN

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,

 

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

 

 

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Joyeux Nell.

24 Dec

You never know where life is going to take you and whom you are going to meet along the way.I stumbled upon a contest held by Sunglass Hut called Full Time Fabulous about a month ago. It is their quest to find a blogger for 2011 who will live in a furnished loft in Manhattan, get paid $100,000 and “be the eyes and ears of the Sunglass Hut Institution” to loosely steal a line from The Breakfast Club.For the entire month of December, the Top Ten Finalists have been dueling it out in a blog-off that will end December 31st. Wits, words and creativity are on full display and it has been interesting to be an observer.

So on to the rest of the story.

Luella says…Salt in the City.

Meet Nell Alk, one of the finalists from…wait for it…. GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN!

I was so happy to see someone from my beloved state of Wisconsin make the cut, that I reached out to her in support and have been following her Full Time Fabulous blog posts for the past month.

She has lived in New York for the past 4 years or so and is already a contributing editor and blogger for  NBCNEWYORK.com, PAPERMAG.com, OKMAGAZINE.com, FABRICMAG.com and OURSTAGE.com.

I find her writing to be fresh, clever and full of rich details. I don’t have to be at the events Nell describes and reports on because she creates the full picture through her story telling.

When describing the importance of New York City as the Fashion Capital of the World, Nell says,

“Manhattan speaks to the global community on behalf of fashion with the authority and authenticity of its people. It’s a recognizable and relatable tongue, a dialect everyone knows, from Monaco to Madrid, Minnesota to Malibu. New York City is the epicenter of fashion. A sanctuary of culture, New York is a haven for the “who knows,” the “what ifs” and the “this is its.” Its influence is as much about its exclusivity and elegance as it is about its ability to embrace the everyman. Or, in this instance, the everydesigner. The power this city and its spirited people wield is unmatched. They influence fellow New Yorkers; they influence fellow Americans; they influence the rest of the world. Manhattan has an unstoppable influence around the world because it represents and embodies the people of the whole wide world. The human condition defined and redefined. In an inspiring city that is both timeless and timely. Not to mention, all-accepting. The big apple can be yours. And yours. And yours.”

See what I mean?

She comes from my home state, so I will say with pride, “salt of the earth country,” has an affinity for fashion and lives and breathes the pulse of New York City.Sunglass Hut, what more do you really need?

In the spirit of the Christmas season, please check our her blog and share her story. The more support she garners the better her chances of winning the coveted position will be.

In layman’s terms, Re-tweet, Like, Comment and Share. Wisconsin-ites mount up.

http://nell.fulltimefabulous.com/

IndepenDANCE.

3 Dec

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived two totally separate lives. I am sure a lot of people feel that way who venture out of their home towns and settle in elsewhere.

I still have a core group of friends whom I have known since grade school and actually was introduced to my California born and raised husband by one of them but that is a story for another day.

My point is what many who know me now, don’t know, is I was a dancer my entire life. I started ballet when I was 4, dabbled in gymnastics and ended up at a studio at the age of 9 and stayed dancing there till I was 18. We did everything. Ballet was the foundation (as it should be) but we learned Tap, Contemporary, Modern, Broadway, Hip-Hop & Jazz. In retrospect, we were quite progressive.

(Source: Tamsin Flickr & RisaCandy.tumblr.com)

When I was 11, I made the company and traveled around the country performing and competing in various cities. We stayed in hotels and I lived with the same three girls in my room each trip for 6 years. Our company as a whole was extremely close. We were innocent, spastic, creative, supportive and built such a deep bond that it is actually hard to articulate with words. We don’t see each other as much obviously but when or if we do meet up, it is as if no time has passed.

I am so grateful to my parents who supported my passion both monetarily and emotionally. They never once were put out by the costumes, shoes, lessons, airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc etc.

I would even argue their support of my independence through dance allowed me to garner the tools necessary to branch out for college and life after graduation. It helped solidify my sense of dreaming and living big.Our company, for being from a small town in Wisconsin, was and is for that matter, kind of a big deal. Our teacher was asked to tour as a choreographer on the same circuit as Stephen Boyd, Densil Adams, Frank Hatchett and Mia Michaels who we were privileged enough to take classes from.

Some unbelievable dancers came from AOD and I am proud to say some have even gone on to open their own dance companies. Namely All About Dance in Chicago, Virtuoso Performing Arts in Glenview, IL & Bound Contemporary Dance in San Diego. One alumni is a member of the Sonya Tayeh Dance Company, has danced with Wade Robson, in Cirque du Soleil BELIEVE and is currently dancing in New York at Radio City Music Hall.

(Martha Graham dancing Satyric Festival Song in 1935. Photo by Barbara Morgan, American, 1900-1992)

When I hear certain music or watch choreography it brings me right back to all those moments spent in the dance studio. Once a dancer, always a dancer. I suppose that is true for any artisan or athlete.

If anyone with young children is looking for an outlet, enroll them in dance class. It was the best thing my parents ever did for me.

Luella says…Make it a Movie Night.

All of this was inspired by the new movie BLACK SWAN that is coming out today starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to see it.

IMDB says, “Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

(CLICK TO WATCH THE TRAILER)

If you go and see it you MUST let me know what you think.

What hobbies were you passionate about growing up?

What did you fill your spare time doing?

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.

Get Out the Map.

11 Nov

If you close your eyes and spin a globe where would you land? Where would you want to land?

In researching fashion photos for my Tumblr, I stumbled upon a blog called Landscape Lifescape and was completely mesmerized. It is dedicated to real-time nature and landscape photos.

I spent a long time looking through the vast archive and finally had to pull myself away. I feel like I just got back from a vacation after staring at all these amazingly detailed images.

These photos got me thinking about perception. Beauty, as we have discussed before, comes in all sorts of packages. I believe it exists in its purest form in nature.

Culture, tradition and heritage shape the earth. Stereotypes and media coverage do not. Sometimes we judge a place before we have seen it. I know I have.

Imagine where you would choose to go if you picked from a book of photos with no captions.

Luella says…Visit the World

(all images below are sourced from LandscapeLifescape)

GREENLAND GLACIER

LASPI BAY, BLACK SEA

PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA

ALIF ALIF, MALDIVES

NORTH CAROLINA COUNTRYSIDE

WONDER LAKE, CHINA

WATERFALL AT MIDNIGHT, ICELAND

PICTURED ROCKS, LAKE SUPERIOR MICHIGAN

PROVENCE, FRANCE

LAVENDAR FIELDS IN FROME, ENGLAND

PAULOSE, WASHINGTON

FARAYA, LEBANON

WINTER IN SWEDEN

KOH SAMED, THAILAND

HUNZA, GILGIT PAKISTAN

MONTREAL, CANADA

 

TYSON, TEXAS

UUMMANNAQ, GREENLAND POPULATION 1,299

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

FJORD IN DENMARK

BENMORE, NEW ZEALAND

METHONI, GREECE

DOMBAY, RUSSIA

MOSTNICA GORGE IN SLOVENIA

DERBYSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

LAKE BASIN, COLORADO

OHERI, MACEDONIA

DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN

Next time you are planning a trip seek out the location less traveled.

Immerse yourself in the culture and don’t take a guided tour. Live amongst the natives and do as they do.

Stadium Style.

4 Oct

 

Beside loving Miu Miu and Marni, I love the Green Bay Packers. Growing up in Wisconsin, I didn’t have a choice and for that I will always be grateful. When I lived in New York City, I would go down to Christopher Street and watch the game at The Kettle of Fish which was owned by two Wisconsin-ites. It was nice to blend my worlds for a couple of hours every Sunday. When I moved out to California, I watched the games at The Underground in Hermosa Beach and again revelled in screaming and hollering for my team amongst others who were transplants just like myself.  

  

The caveat though has always been What to Wear? An oversized jersey is cute for 10 minutes; I wanted choices, I wanted some style. In the past, I will admit, there may have been a belt added once or twice to achieve some sort of middle ground but there are no photos, so there is no concrete proof.

Having worked for Contemporary designer labels for 9 years has made this Sunday tradition difficult. However there is hope on the horizon. The NFL just launched its new “Fit for You” campaign and although I can’t say I love all the styles, they are definitely heading in the right direction.  

  

 

  

Ladies, if you love football or just want to hang out with your man come Sunday, you need to get in gear. (Literally)  Most of the styles listed below are available in all 32 team logos.   

Luella says, “Show me your Stadium Style.”

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

  

  

   

 

   

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 A portion of the proceeds from all NFL items sold during the month of October, are being donated toward Breast Cancer Research. Become a fashionable fan, (Finally!). 

In style and health we trust.  

  

I Do, in June.

22 Sep

  

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

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

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

(photos by Krystal Muellenberg and Studio Noveau

   

   

   

  

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

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

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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