Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wear It Wednesday: Good Girls Studio

I have created this blog to share with you, dear reader all of the fabulous things I encounter on this life journey. My random musings, thoughts, opinions and feature artists that I am personally inspired by.  The intention is to empower and inspire women to meet their full potentials, whatever that may be. Let the artist from Good Girls Studio inspire you today.  I am all about pushing the boundaries of fashion and personal style and this girl is creating statement pieces that do just that! The best part of her designs is that she is Re-Styling fashion's past by using vintage elements, random hardware, contemporary chains and findings to create one-of-a-kind pieces that will appeal to a wide range of stylish women. You can find an assortment of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, key chains, rings, men's stuff and a wedding collection. The designer creates all of her re-vamped goodies from Raleigh, North Carolina.  How did we connect? besides Fashion Fate, she found me on Instagram and I have a habit of looking at instagrammers profiles who like or comment on my images and I have never stopped looking. I was immediately inspired by her designs and her creative eye.
Designer - Johanna Ely

What appeals to me is the mixing of materials, textures and eras. I love her use of vintage jewelry, watches and keys. The mix of materials like random hardware, bullets and other pieces are a nice departure from the generic, "trendy" pieces on the market now. The unique, one-of-a-kind, hand made aspect is also always appealing. To uniquely express yourself through fashion you need to trust your instinct, ignore the outside world and wear what you LOVE. I think Good Girls has something for everyone.

A few of my FAV pieces:

I had a chat with designer Johanna Ely recently about her desire to design and unlock hidden treasures.

LG: Where did your love for Jewelry come from? why did you choose to re-purpose fashions past?

JE: I have loved jewelry & playing dress up since I was little kiddo. My mom & grandmother both had a ton of fun costume jewelry! When my grandmother passed away she left us a treasure chest full of jewelry. We didn't want it to just sit around in a jewelry box so my mom suggested I try and remake it into something else as I was already making jewelry at the time. That project turned into an obsession with vintage jewelry which turned into the launching my Good Girls line of jewelry.

LG: Who/What Inspires you?

JE: Historical costume has always been inspiring to me. I'm fairly certain I was born in the wrong century. Trolling through the flea markets and antique stores gets my creative juices flowing. I can spot an antique brooch and my mind starts going. By the time I'm paying for it I already know what I want to turn it into!

LG: Your FAV piece of jewelry? and why?

JE: Right now I am head over heels in love with statement necklaces!! This one in particular makes my heart flutter when I put it on. I really don't want to part with it but you may see it up for sale in the shop soon. It's called Gold Rush and vintage ingredients are tons of gold tone and brass intricate chains and the most amazing antique gold mesh collar. 

Connect with Good Girl:

Evolution Revolution readers can enjoy an EXCLUSIVE 25% off ANY item
Use Code: EvolutionVintage

What's your FAV piece? Share in the comments below.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Great Expectations: Down Syndrome Edition

Blake with his sister Kaleigh

The times in my life I have had the greatest expectations for a person, and event or anticipated an outcome of a situation I have found myself the most disappointed. I have done it over and over again too, somehow expecting a different result. Wait, that's the definition of insanity, isn't it? The most 'insane' concept to me is expectations but I continue to get sucked into this vortex.

Life is a journey of work. Work from home, workout, go to work, work on your craft, work on yourself. Removing expectations from people is something about myself I am currently working on. It is a tough one as you have to retrain yourself in a sense. My son Blake has Down Syndrome (In case you missed the other dozens of posts about it). His presence in my life has been a crash course on a daily basis about removing expectations and replacing it with acceptance.
Let's think specifically about the expectations we have projected onto our children. We expect them to be the top of their class, their first words to come early, to be the smartest, fastest, happiest children. We can't help but compare them to others. Don't bother lying to yourself we ALL do and have done it. I am presented weekly with charts, statistics and developmental averages for which Blake is to be measured against. How can I not have expectations?  It seems only natural right? YES, if I want to be let down and set myself up for disappointment. I work on releasing my expectations of him so I can let him go at his own pace and do what he wants, when he wants from a developmental perspective. This notion of 'letting go' and letting him be who he is on his own schedule has been a tough one for me. 
Some of us judge our parenting skills on the development of skills in our children and how fast they reach these milestones which is the ultimate fallacy. Early intervention and extra practice will enhance a skill but honestly each individual child, when THEY are ready will complete a task, master a skill or say a new word. I used to judge myself  because my children's progress seemed to be the only measure of all the hard work, time, effort and care I poured into them each and every day. I don't do this anymore. Instead I honestly ask myself if I gave my best at the end of each day and move on.
How does my tale apply to every one's life? You don't have to have a child with Down Syndrome or any children for this to resonate in your life. Removing your expectations from others will help you minimize stress, allow you to be in the moment and actually ENJOY the event or time you are spending with someone. In my case, I enjoy my son's milestone(s) and his progress, no matter what the pace. I cannot project my schedule of how I want or wish things to be, but remove these expectations and learn to accept the way things are. The ultimate parental freedom.

Blake's extra chromosome has forced me to slow down my life and look at the world with new eyes. The only great expectations I have are on myself, to enjoy each and every moment.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Behind The Lens: Tom Fowler

I live to surround myself with creative people. They serve as the ultimate inspiration to me as I have grown so very tired of the generic world I have recently found myself in. I was happy to connect recently with a local photographer, Tom Fowler. Don't let his vast body of wedding work fool you, behind that lens is a bounty of creativity waiting to be expressed in all areas of this visual medium. I have the impression Tom's artistic photographic journey has just begun.

The Photographer

Tom's influences are #1 is most definitely Rodney Smith #2 Frank Ockenfels #3 Art Strieber. He told me, "As far as just plain old fashion inspiration goes mostly paintings, art, music, movies. Anything that I feel that someone has taken an enormous amount of time conceiving whatever point they want to make and have done it successfully."

You may be wondering how Tom got into this business, we discussed it recently and he expressed, "My family took a trip to NY in the summer of 04 I believe and my brother took pictures of time square and all the typical stuff. When I saw his pictures I had no idea that could be done with a camera. Fast forward a few years and I took a black and white class at Cuesta College and I actually hated it ironically enough. 6 months after that I took my camera to Santa Cruz to visit a buddy of mine and I took pictures all day. This was actual film so I chose my pictures carefully and I would say from then on I was hooked. I started shooting bands, people, and eventually fell into weddings. I am at the point now where if I don't take a picture of something every day I get antsy or depressed etc. It is sort of an addiction you could say.I eventually moved to LA and worked under a very big wedding company and I learned a ton I worked along side him for two years. My boss worked under Annie Liebovitz and from there my skill advanced very quickly he taught me so much. I am so grateful for that experience and after I left him I started my own business. Now here I am just trying to make a name for myself in this very hard industry. But at the same time I kind of like flying under radar a little."

The images below are from a recent shoot we did at the old Freemont theatre in San Luis Obispo, California. Tom and I collaborated on this shoot showcasing Vintage Gowns and Jewelry on the beautiful model HannaF, with hair by Brooklyn Truderung. My story for art direction was an old Hollywood starlet who's time in the limelight had become a memory. She dresses and enters what is now just an empty theatre, adoring fans long gone. It was a collision of fashions past and present in the looks I styled styling and wardrobe too.

The work speaks for itself, you know the old adage a picture is worth a thousand words...
Dress: Vintage 1950's Gown (Vintage Jewelry)

Gloves: White Vintage Opera Gloves with pearl button detail
Jewels Vintage faux-pearls

I look forward to future collaborations with Tom, bringing our visions to life one click at a time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lisa's Library: The Year My Son and I Were Born

I came across the book, The Year My Son and I Were Born: A Story of Down Syndrome, Motherhood, and Self-Discovery by Kathryn Lynard Soper by circumstance, when my son Blake was born. I had a traumatic birth experience, traumatic post birth experience, and a possibility of a diagnosis that my son had Down Syndrome. I was lost, terrified, sad and quite frankly devastated.
I was in the dark, along with my husband trying to navigate a whole new world that I have never seen and have only had limited contact with through the course of my life. I was berated with the political correct and generic statements people were saying when they don't know what to say .. "They are the most loving people", "Children with DS are god's angels" - Blah, Blah, Blah. I appreciated the sentiment but was irritated at every turn when my congratulations turned into scared faces and "I'm so sorry".
 I felt patronized by the social worker that was sent to me and stunned at the prospect of a life with a boy with a "disability" the extent to which I will not know until he grows. I needed someone, anyone who was in my situation to talk to or to listen to. I am an information seeker by nature and craved all information that I could find. I was confined, however to a hospital room with a lame Blackberry device. I came across Kathryn's book and after I read a review with the words "Brutally Honest" I downloaded a copy to my Kindle immediately. I spent every spare moment reading it and basked in the experiences and feelings I could relate too. I slowly began to awake from my fear coma. That whole period of time seems like a blur but this book still stands out in my mind. I have also read the two other books she published as well. A collection of essays titled: Gifts and Gifts II. Complied from parents who have children with Down Syndrome.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Kathryn about her book and life recently.
LG: What made you decide to share your experiences with the world?

KLS: Sharing your inner landscape is a risky endeavor, but the rewards can be tremendous, especially when a reader says, “I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Thank you for showing me that I’m not alone.”

I think the hardest part of being human isn’t the inevitable pain we go through, but the suffering we create by rejecting ourselves when we’re in pain. When we need gentleness and kindness and community the most is when we’re most prone to be harsh with ourselves and isolate ourselves from others. So I believe there’s a lot of grace to be found in writing about the hard things. For me it’s a way to process the raw material of my experience and find meaning in it, and come to terms with the shadowy parts of myself that hard times tend to reveal. Just as importantly, sharing with an audience is a way to connect with fellow travelers, to feel the power that comes in vulnerability, and to discover, over and over, that one of the greatest gifts we have is our capacity for compassion.
LG: How is your doing son now? tell us about him?

KLS: Thomas just turned eight and he is one of the funniest, smartest, coolest kids I’ve ever met. In addition to T21 he has a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (an autism spectrum disorder) and an auditory processing disorder. He has yet to say a word, but he communicates very clearly nonetheless. I’m beginning to think that symbolic language is overrated. He’s in second grade at a beautiful school in our district for kids with multiple and severe disabilities, and I only wish all of my other kids could have the attentive, personalized education that he participates in every school day. He’s pretty much everyone’s favorite around here, although HIS favorite person is his definitely his dad.
LG:  What is the most important thing you have learned by being a mother of a child with Down Syndrome?

KLS: I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, that love has nothing to do with how many positive adjectives I can reel off about Thomas or any of my kids. Thomas is truly funny and smart and cool, but even if he wasn’t, he would be utterly loveable. People don’t need to do anything to be loveable. They don’t need to accomplish anything other than breathing. Heck, even breathing is optional. And learning that about my kids has helped me begin to accept the same truth about myself.

LG:  What advice would you give new parents?

KLS: Every chance I get, I encourage new parents to let their experience be what it is. There are new parents who weep because they don’t know if they will ever be able to love this child. There are new parents who weep because they didn’t realize it was possible to feel the kind of love they feel. There are parents who weep because they carry both of those realities within them at the same time. There are new parents who don’t weep at all. And there is every possible combination in between.

You don’t have to feel bad about being sad. You don’t have to feel bad about being happy. Your experience is as unique and legitimate as that little baby that just turned your life inside out. Or made it all come together.

My sincere gratitude to Kathryn for sharing her story and helping to give me the courage to face mine.
Kathryn currently lives in Utah with her beautiful family!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Soul Sunday: BE PEACE

Image: Cambria California Sunset 10/06/13

This blog was intended to share a wide variety of topics. My random thoughts, musings, observations, inspiration, style and more. The concept of inner peace is a daunting one. I am a MAJOR work in progress on many levels, one of which is balance and inner peace. Have you ever thought about how your 'being' impacts those around you? We are all, on some level looking for peace in our lives. See if you can take a few moments to read the following concept and try his suggestion of using imagery to help obtain some peace.

We are all familiar with bed peace, hair peace, world peace, but to BE Peace?

The concept I want to share today comes from a man I truly admire, Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Peace isn’t something you ultimately receive when you slow down the pace of your life. Peace is what you’re capable of being and bringing to every encounter and event in the waking moments of your life. Being peaceful is an inner attitude that you can enjoy when you’ve learned to silence your incessant inner dialogue. Being peaceful isn’t dependent on what your surroundings look like. It seldom has anything to do with what the people around you think, say, or do. A noiseless environment isn’t a requirement.

St. Francis’s famous prayer states it better than I can: “Make me an instrument of your peace.” In other words, St. Francis wasn’t asking God to provide him with peace. He was asking for guidance to be more like the peace he trusted was his Source. Being peace is different from looking for peace.

This principle isn’t about merely choosing tranquil thoughts when you’re feeling frayed and anxious. I suggest picturing a container deep within yourself out of which all your thoughts flow. Inside of this container, at its very center, imagine a candle flame. You need to make a commitment that this flame in the center of the container holding all your thoughts will never, ever even flicker, although the very worst may go before you. This is your container of peace, and only peaceful thoughts can fuel the burning candle. You don’t need to change your thoughts as much as you need to learn to be an energy of peace lighting the way and attracting serene, harmonious thoughts and beings. In this way, you’ll become a being of peace.

As a being of peace, you make a huge impact on those around you. It’s almost impossible to be totally stressed out in the presence of someone who has opted to be peace. Peace is a higher and faster energy—when you’re being peace, just your presence alone will often nullify the uneasiness and tension in those around you. The secret of this principle is: Be the peace and harmony you desire. You cannot get it from anything or anyone else.

Could you 'be peace'

Share your thoughts below.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LaBlast: WIN Your Way To FIT

It is no secret that I am not the biggest fan of 'working out'. The gym scene I despise and I have a hard time self motivating. I am a habitual procrastinator and excuse maker, I know MANY of you can relate. I did decided to try LaBlast because I adore Louis VanAmstel. You may know him from the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars but he is also a world ballroom dance champion and creator of this fitness program. 
His enthusaium is infectious and that compelled me to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised how much I LOVE it.
It is indeed a workout in disguise. When learning to 'dance' I am engaged and preoccupied with learning the steps and keeping time the entire notion of 'working out' leaves me. It is amazing to be able to engage yourself in a physical activity and have fun doing it, never putting the dreaded 'I have to work out now' label on it. When you LaBlast, its "time to DANCE".
LaBlast 411:
*Variety: There is enough variety that you are never bored (5 discs)

*Motivation: The program has several levels to keep you motivated and working toward a higher goal.
*Triple Duty: Learn a new skill (dance), get fit AND build self esteem.

*Something for everyone: on the go? there are a series of 15min workouts. Can't Dance? not to worry, you will learn. Let Louis lead the way.

*YOU Can Do It: This program is for every woman/man. You can be any age, any weight, any fitness level and have zero dance experience. You WILL and CAN benefit from this fitness program.
Want to give it a try?

ENTER TO WIN a set of 5 DVD's: autographed and personalized by Louis himself for the winner!

Who Can Enter?
Anyone ready to Dance their way to FIT. 
Open to Facebook AND Twitter

2) ReTweet and/or SHARE this blog on your twitter timeline and Facebook wall

3) Use Hashtag #LaBlast in your entry (comment) (On FB #Hashtag and TAG @LaBlast)

4) Tell us, in a creative way WHY you need LaBlast

Example: RT This blog link. In a separate tweet submit your entry: "@LaBlastFitness I need LaBlast to loose my Fat Ass #LaBlast"

Have fun and be creative. 

We will choose the winner FRIDAY OCTOBER 25th. Louis will announce it (so FOLLOW HIM and LIKE his Facebook)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Down Syndrome VLOG

My son, Blake at the Pumpkin Patch

Today I am in full VLOG (Video Blog) mode. As stated yesterday my blog for the remainder of October (Down Syndrome Awareness Month) my blog's content would have heavy emphasis on DS. I will break for important fashion and fitness content but primarily I want to dedicate the next few weeks to DS awareness and education.

This is a VLOG today. A collection of AMAZING and INSPIRATIONAL video's that I have seen and saved since my son was born. Sit back, enjoy, grab the kleenex and prepare to be inspired.

1) A Fathers perspective about raising a child with Down Syndrome. It is honest, insightful and fabulous!

2) A father exposes his soul and writes an honest letter to his two year old Daughter with Down Syndrome. On so many levels I can connect and empathize with him. My son did not get diagnosed until he was born but the fears were still there for me too. Originally posted by ESPN in 2012. This dad is bold and courageous for sharing the brutal, honest truth of how he felt and feels. 

3) Tim's Place. What a motivational man. He is the proud owner of his own restaurant called "Tim's Place" in Albuquerque. Up at 5:30am with HUGS the best part of his day. I think we can all learn a thing or two from him! I hope my son Blake is able to find his passion in life like this.

4) Archie and Me - I love these two. Children never really grasp the "differences" until adults and society point it out to them. I love to see these two as it reminds me of my daughter and son. I hope they grow up to be best friends and take care of each other.

5) Meet John Anton. What an inspirational man. Most individuals with NO disability fail to accomplish what John has. It is my hope that my son Blake will follow his passion and dreams. I love that he pushed past the menial jobs that did not stimulate him and onto his dream of advocacy and helping others.

6) Super Hero: Too lazy to go to the gym? not this man. He is a soft hearted, hard core power lifter and NOT in the "Special Olympics" - right on par with this peers. Amazing!


Me Too ...
Blake & Mommy (me)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is a month full of raising awareness for many important causes, Breast Cancer, Depression, Autism, and dozens more. For me the MOST important issue to raise awareness and promote education for is Down Syndrome (DS). This of course because my son Blake has and extra 21st chromosome.

There are many things I want to discuss between now and the end of the month so bear with me. The regularly scheduled fashion and style programming with appear intermittently between my posts about Down Syndrome and my experience thus far of being a mother of a son with perceived 'special needs'. I say perceived because everything is based on individual perception as live is a very subjective experience.

You can read the first story I ever wrote about Blake HERE
(and the follow up a year later HERE

Since Blake was born our family has had a warm welcome into the Down Syndrome community via organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) as well as from parents all around the world thanks to technology. Turns out this 'little something extra' has meant a LOT more to our family than I could have ever imagined.

During the coming days I will talk about Blake's birth, receiving the diagnosis, books and websites that have helped me navigate my new world, the up's and down sides of DS, social misconceptions/stigma, other peoples inspirational stories and more.
In this world where information is so easily accessible it fascinates me that people are still so UNeducated when it comes to DS.  Let's start my series of posts out with a few FACTS.

What is Down Syndrome? Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. Blake has Trisomy 21 (nondisjunction).

*There are three types of Down syndrome: Trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, Translocation accounts for about 4% and Mosaicism accounts for about 1% 
This is an image of his actual chromosomal karyotype  from his test when he was born. Note the extra copy of the 21st.

*Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.

*There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.Some estimates put the worldwide population of people with Down syndrome at more than 6 million.

*Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 60 today. 

With early intervention, education, proper health care, nutrition, persistence, opportunity and most of all LOVE people with DS can reach their full potential and live happy fulfilling lives. As parents of ANY children this is all we want for our kids, to be happy. Being a good parent is a choice, a lot of sacrifice and hard work but the results far outweigh the efforts.

I am excited to share my journey with Blake with you dear reader and I'm first to admit that I am still learning and relatively new to this community (Blake is 2.5) but hope to be a voice of advocacy for Blake and all other children/families who have been gifted into the Down Syndrome community.

I read a statistic somewhere that 38% of Americans know someone with Down Syndrome.  

Do you?

Please share your experiences and stories in the comments!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Now & Then: Black Halter


I always love when I see a current dress that reminds me of fashions past. I am constantly seeing examples of just how chic Vintage clothing still is, or can be depending on your creativity, attitude and personal style.

The latest example is Nicole Kidman in PRADA. Nicole usually does not make my best dressed list(s) but I have to say this look is beautiful and unique.

 Nicole Kidman with Jackie Chan at Huading awards ceremony in China
I love the classic black halter style gown with front 'key hole' detail. This looks is tailored to perfection on Nicole. The sleeve details are an orange embroidered 'shawl' that is attached to the dress. A very unique detail.

A different dress but similar silhouette. To me these dresses are a blank canvas or 'tabula rasa' to decorate and style to your taste.


Do you love this classic silhouette?