Friday, June 19, 2009

Cool Today, Target Tomorrow.

Some of the amazing things NOLA HOME loaned us to prop the shoot.

More from NOLA HOME - in Minneapolis.
404 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405, 612-374-4066
Antique blankets, rugs, linen print pillows. Fantastic!
So good, the homeowners kept several of the things we brought in from NOLA.
Tell Kelly that Alecia sent you!

Actual unretouched photo of my living room at this moment.
After a monumental photo shoot. When will I ever dig out?

"I'm tired as a meatball," is what my daughter, Isabelle, used to say when she was around three years old. Funny for someone who, at five, became a vegetarian. Perhaps she thought that would cure exhaustion. At this moment, I am as close to exhaustion as I've been in a long time. Too tired to forage for food.

I just finished maybe one of the biggest photo shoots I've ever done. It was a whole home near Stillwater. The family could not have been more photogenic and lovely. The couple. Kevin and Jodi Spearman, own an interior design firm based in Houston - Bellacasa Design. They have a stunningly successful business there and they bought a second home near Stillwater because they both grew up in the Midwest and wanted their 4 sons (ages 5 - 19!) to know the cousins and aunts and uncles and the whole Minnesota-running-barefoot-in-the-grass-go-out-and-play-kind-of-thing. (I learned you can't be barefoot on grass in Houston because of the red ants.) They were taking their family to Duluth for the weekend to run the 1/2 Grandma's Marathon with their 14 year old son, Nicholas. They are gorgeous, fit and extremely nice. I felt like a human slug around them.

But, here's the real story. It was bigger than usual because I have changed since I've been in New York. I see differently. I am a better stylist. I am also a better stylist because I have had some terrific design projects and one informs the other. But, now that I see more, I need more props.

And, with some wisdom from a guardian angel, I hired my friend Anna Hillegass to assist me. She's my "design buddy" from New York, originally from Minneapolis (really an organic farm in Wayzata.) Well, we were the perfect team. Well, she and I and her Audi station wagon, which I required because my little Mazda wasn't even close to big enough to schlep this amount of stuff. Some scientist could have done a documentary on the act of creativity by filming us. We would get stuck on a problem - like....what do we put on that shelf that works with everything around it? We wiggled, we wobbled, we tried this and that. We gave up for a moment and moved on. Then....BINGO! One of us had the perfect solution. Just like that. And, by the end of the two days, we knew that was our process, so we didn't worry when we didn't have the answer. We knew, by putting our heads (really, our eyes) together, we would find the solution! It was magic!

And the best part, is so much of the last two days made me laugh. At one point, we were looking at a prop - trying to decide if it was cool or not cool. And, Anna kind of thought it reminded her something of the nature of "scrapbooking" - sort of crafty - which totally made me laugh. So we kept exploring that idea - the idea of the thing that is cool now, but some knock off version of this crafty item will be all over and super popular in no time. So, I said, "Yeah, cool today, Target tomorrow." And, we knew we had just coined a phrase that would forever have meaning for us. When I am 75 and she is 47, we will still both know what that means. At another point, we noticed some neighborhood guy in the black Hummer with bluetooth in his ear driving by. I commented, "That is my kind of man." (Anna got the joke. She knows Lee.) She asked, "Did he have a golden Minnesota tan and highlighted hair, too?" She just gets me.

Plus, she is just raw talent. She brought flowers from her farm - fresh cut - and arranged them effortlessly. The peonies even took away the breath of the photographer, who is not easy to please. We are certain we have a future together. I can't do it alone anymore. I might have thought it was because the schlepping was too much, but, really, it is because creative collaboration rocks!

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