Friday, November 14, 2014

The new chic

Well I must be writing for myself since I haven't written in two months. Do six posts a year a blog make??? On to the topic.



I just received the new book LouLou De La Falaise. I transports me in the most beautiful way to the 1970s, 1980s, to Paris and London, when people were chic in a way we almost never see today, to a time when no one had a cell phone attached to them. At some point, "chic" was derailed by "sexy." LouLou, for those of you who don't know because you are oh so much younger than me, was born to mid-level European royalty in London in 1947 to an English mother who was a Parisian model, and who became a Parisian model herself in the 1960s with a striking resemblance to Twiggy - then went on to become the muse to Yves St. Laurent in the 1970's and a spectacular jewelry designer.

LouLou was a star. She was a star to the world. She was a star to me, a young aspiring fashionista, merchandiser, designer. She was everything I could ever imagine being. Fun, happy, expressive, not so much caring what others think because what she was doing was so much more!

The book is full of beyond belief photos and here is my point....there was not a cell phone in the entire book.

After I finished paging through the whole book with Lee next to me, attempting to explain the magic, I went online to Sartorialist, which I do every day or two, to see where Scott Schumann is hanging out. Of course he's been around the world - in Dubai, in Milan, in Paris. But sadly, MOST of his photos are of people with a cell phone. Not all! But most. It's like a pacifier, I have decided. People with a cell phone don't have to deal with reality, with other people. We can totally fake that we are busy with our phones or on a phone call to get out of interacting with another human being.

You couldn't do that in the really very fun 1970's and almost just as fun 1980s. Nope. No hidin out. Just you and the world. No pacifier.

So...here's my idea. What if we said, fine, use your phone during the day for work. But, man, in public, at a restaurant, out with friends, at a dinner party...ditch it. Just don't even bring it. What are we missing? A message? I'm changing my cell phone message to say the following:

Hi, this is Alecia and this is my cell phone which I never answer when in a meeting or out with a friend or driving, which seems to be alot of my life. So use it like an old fashioned phone. Leave a message, then I'll call you back when I get a chance. The fastest way to reach me is by email. Happy day.

Then, I'm going to get busy on chic. Since sexy is out of the question. Here are some images of LouLou.


















Monday, August 25, 2014

For myself, maybe?

I've been struggling with the whole idea of blogging since the beginning of the year. Here's the deal: someone close to me implied (STRONGLY) that blogging and Instagram and Facebook and all the yadda - yadda -blah - blah social media stuff is just TECHNO NARCISSISM. And man oh man, the air just went out of my sail because I am so fricking sensitive to criticism: I just stopped blogging. I've been struggling massively with this whole thing. As it gets more run of the mill, I find myself less interested in participating, too. Is it a cliche? But I am sitting here in Charleston tonight - I love writing - but I'm not quite in the mood to do the serious manuscript of a book kind of writing - just missing the more casual putting observations from the day on a page kind of thing.

So...who cares what anyone else thinks about my narcissism? Lee would say it was projection, anyway! I'm feeling like noodling around on my blog....



Flounder Ceviche at 167 Raw....my new favorite food. I think I slurp when I eat it.

View from the bar at 167 Raw.

Walking home on Thursday night. This wonky cross caught my eye. Lovely.

Home. 

Butler's Tray with new "Spanish wine glasses" from Foundry Home Goods!


It's Sunday. I arrived on Thursday. I am so madly in love with the ordinariness of my life here I can hardly contain it. I love sitting on the porch doing pretty much nothing but sweat and checking a text now and then. I love walking on the beach just at the edge of where water and earth meet. I love sleeping in the dark silence that defines this small town at night. I love the food that I find here: shrimp and oysters and flounder and grouper just out of the sea, ceviche raw. I love the fans whirring whirring whirring overhead, moving the westerly breezes off the Ashley River down the length of my piazza (porch) with swallows swooping around the steeple ahead there on Meeting. I love the palm tree in front of my house, the berries creating opportunities for the local squirrels to perform acrobatics; hanging by their feet from the telephone wires to pick the berries. I love the nothing expected of our days. I love the African Dance class Isabelle took me too. Something moving and profound and weepy-making about it in this place. I LOVE 167 Raw, the seafood  restaurant and market that our upstairs neighbor Jessie just opened, patterned after his family business in Nantucket. If you say your family was in the seafood / fishing business in Nantucket for a couple generations, that seems like the real deal to me. So we checked it out and were there 2 x in 24 hours. Can't get enough of the ceviche - made fresh PER CLIENT ORDER! Or the Flounder Fish Sandwich - which they had for the 2 days the flounder was fresh - who knows what they will have next week. Then there is the Lobster Po'Boy. A couple from Boston were sitting next to us - repeat visitors - claiming  better than anything in Boston! They specialize in "organic" and humanely caught seafood and, with the added benefit of having a great sense for presentation, flavor and seasoning, who could argue with that platform? It's our new #1 spot in Charleston. We are groupies. (That is not related to grouper, the fish.) Maybe a favorite part is that they don't yet have their liquor license - they are kind of being stonewalled by finicky Charleston neighbors, which is pretty wacky. But because of that, you can BYOB! How fun is that? Well, you can bring your own beer and wine...but makes for a cheap night and great picnic!

I heart Charleston.






Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Home in Charleston

I am going to write about the making of a new home. We bought a home (condo) in Charleston last month. Charleston is our happy place. We have no idea what we will do with this. I love that city and really have since I left there in 1985. I've been able to live without it, obviously, but more recently, have longed to return. Happily, Lee gets it, too. Walking, green year round, a palm tree in front of our home, antiques, 18th and 19th Century architecture, a remarkable food culture and people who love to be helpful.

Icy, cold winter here has gotten the better of me. I no longer want to live forever in a place I have to remove my shoes at the door. Still this is a terribly complicated matter. We ADORE our friends in Minneapolis. I LOVE my work and my clients and this is where my work is. So, I imagine doing something flexible and creative and seamless when it comes to serving my clients. And, still, I don't know exactly how that will work. But, I've done it before when I lived half time in NYC. We are keeping our beautiful 510 apartment as the home base for my business. Mostly I am hoping and expecting to enrich my life and my work by spending time in Charleston. For now, we'll rent the condo on VRBO except for the times we'll want to be there.

******Just this week I purchased 4 pieces of furniture from Charleston for clients in Minneapolis and arranged to have them shipped here. Antiques ROCK in Charleston!*******

A few snips and snaps:

1860 Greek Revival - the first floor is our home - with that GREAT PIAZZA
( Charleston's name for the more pedantic "porch". )

Image with the blow up mattress and nothing else. Original heart pine floors c. 1860 and fireplace.

I'll be painting the walls - oh, I am such a just want it white gal! (Though this white will be
Ben Moore Navajo White to match the existing trim.) Again, the gorgeous heart pine floors, another fireplace in the Living Room (this would have been the original dining room probably. 12 foot ceilings! Woo hoo!

Piazza with great view of Palmetto tree and church steeple.
This is furniture the owner's left for us - perfectly useful for now!

French doors in both of the main rooms onto the piazza. Crazy beautiful indoor - outdoor living.

This is the in process bedroom after some the antiques were delivered and before
room is painted...But after I was trying out the colors on the walls!

Another view of the Bedroom - with great old vintage wingback chairs I found
in Charleston in musty green leather. 





Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Until next time, Pacific

What to say? Lee will argue that you can't beat it for beauty. I'm not going there.
It is spectacular.
And I am so grateful for the time with Lee, Collin, Annie, Landon and Jed.
Just a big old bunch of very cool chill people. What I noticed? There wasn't a minute of complaining in 5 days.

Lee watching the sunset (with gin and tonic in right hand, btw.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Micro-View

So, it is so rare that I have time to think....reflect...observe....but I have that here. Today, instead of seeing Oregon in a "MACRO" big picture kind of way, I took some time to see the "MICRO" and the beauty of the forces of life and the universe are really quite amazing. I went out this morning with my camera just to "see" into the world in which I am living these few days. Here are a few of the things I saw today. With emphasis on the seeing of it all.

So, as I walked through the little path to the beach, instead of seeing the whole macro path, I looked at each and every flower that was on the path to the beach. And this is what I saw....

And, in the end...the thesis of this post is what a spectacle of beauty, life and miracle this world is.

All of these flowers are on one short little path to the beach.































Below, what I "saw" on the beach.....and oh so my color palette!








































Saturday, May 24, 2014

East Coast - West Coast

I don't think it has ever happened to me that I have been on both East and West coasts in one week until this one. I left Charleston on Tuesday and flew to Portland on Friday, landing on the beach here today (Saturday.) Pretty darn good and not sure how I landed this lucky life.

Charleston is a post of its own - one I need some time to write - but this, this beach house on the Pacific (yep, ON the Pacific) with Collin and Annie (son and daughter-in-law of our dreams), Landon (son) and Landon's uber chill awesome friend Jed (Mr. Google starting his sabbatical with us here on the Pacific) is just fireworks of bliss for us. Especially Lee. I've never seen him so full of gratitude. I think there is something called the Stendahl effect that best describes it.

So, not a West Coast kind of gal, I had not made Portland and the coast a priority, but when it became clear that Collin and Annie (who live in Eugene and work a bit in Portland) were feeling dismissed (and rightly so) we bought our tickets and said, "Show us what you got."

Well, they rose to the occasion, got a beach house in Arch Cape (4 miles south of Cannon Beach and 8 miles north of Manzanita), bought a car full of groceries, gin, wine, Prosecco, raw cheese, gluten free crackers and picked fresh arugula and lettuce from their garden and packed the car.

After 24 hours in Portland and a divine Peruvian mean at Andina, then a hearty brunch at Tasty and Sons, we headed to the beach. I couldn't have imagined such a perfect place. It's clean! Beachy places can be so skanky dirty, ya know. This is so fresh, modernish, fireplace, awesome beyond explanation deck, and a really good kitchen.

But mostly, what's better than a husband rockin out to Dylan and Van Morrison and tearing up at the sunset sitting next to his sons. Big old cotton candy clouds of joy.

So, here are a few images from my day in Portland and my landing at the beach.

Thanks, pals Nick and Wendy Brown for encouraging this East coast girl to head West. www.brownink.com. Just fyi - there is, at this moment, a Bob Dylan sing-along on the deck. Need to go!

A front porch in Portland.

Darling "pop up" restaurant - getting ready for Saturday brunch.

This is a light bulb store window. Craziest damn thing.

This is another window at the light bulb store.

This is a slightly embarrassing store selling salt, chocolate, flowers and wine.
This is a store for rich people.

This is part of the "small house" movement in Portland. 

Self-explanatory.

Gorgeous - koi at the Japanese Garden.

Woven bamboo fence.

Japanese Maple and beautiful pebble garden.

Beach at Arch Cape. Oregon.

Off our deck - yep, those are Calla Lilies!
Arch Cape, Oregon.



Dylan sing along on the deck watching sunset. Really.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Design is Everywhere

Yep, even in the way a sandwich is wrapped! This one, from Goat. Sheep. Cow. in Charleston, SC. This is a shop I so wish we had in Minneapolis. I know.... there's 44 France and Surdyks....



 But, you can't beat a little shop on Church Street in Charleston for charm.







Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wisdom for the Week

I was talking to my Mom about life. She's 83 and still pretty darn cool and smart. Book club, works out at her little Senior center there in Northfield, goes to an acupuncturist and says Namaste at the end of her prayers.

Anyway we were talking about money and how great it is when you save it. Because recently I have had the idea that there are at least two things in life you NEVER REGRET.

There are probably more.

But, for sure, you don't regret these:


1.  Saving money - for the long haul or the short haul. Having for when you are 80 or having it to take a great trip or having it to buy a home or having it to buy some new clothes. Never ever have I heard someone say "I wish I hadn't saved that money."

2. Exercising - Like, again, have you ever heard anyone say - wow, what a waste of all those years of staying healthy! Never. Never. Ever. Even when it's hard, I have never thought. Wow- I wish I hadn't gone to that yoga class. Or what a dumb thing to run the lake today!


So, that's my wisdom for the week. I"m starting to feel older when I start spouting wisdom.

Anything else you'd add to the list? Bet there are some things about spending time with people you love.....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Random Ideas about Aging and Embarrassment

This happened to me today, March 3, 2014:

I have a client who recently moved into a home and wants to hire an organizer. She travels, she has 2 other homes. She has a busy life and housekeeping is not her highest priority. (God love her!) So I sent her the name of a lovely organizer I know.

The organizer wrote back:

P.S>


Sometimes clients will take my number, and be embarrassed to call. Assure her that I have seen everything, and our work is confidential. We can set a two or three hour session and move mountains!!

I wrote back to the organizer:

Lorie is my age - we no longer get embarrassed! 
We've run through all the embarrassment we carry in a lifetime by now. :-)



I had never really thought about this before I wrote this today. But I actually think it is true. It is as if life is graceful enough to give you only so much "embarrassment" in your life and then you run out and never have to worry about that again. It would be hard to embarrass me now. At 60, I have made such a wretched fool of myself over the years that I don't know what's left to worry about.

It's your life. Not someone else's. So what is there to be embarrassed about, really? Who cares if other people see things differently?

This does not excuse bad manners, however! I'm talking about feeling ashamed or embarrassed by the life we've created, lived, chosen - even when it is in the middle of looking like a train-wreck. Who knows what will rise out of the ashes? Who knows when the Phoenix will take form?

Remember, that Thoreau guy had a few good ideas:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

“Not till we are completely lost or turned around... do we begin to find ourselves.” 
― Henry David Thoreau





Saturday, February 22, 2014

Instagram - starting to bug me.

Carl Jung


Oh, dear. I'm starting to be bugged by Instagram. I think it would bug Carl Jung too.

How precious it is!
Life is so beautiful on Instagram.
And it seems that everyone's life is beautiful - including mine, of course!

I don't know what to do with this new attitude I have developed.
I thought of putting photos of my cat box, the mess in the corner of the kitchen, the stack of bills to be paid, the ugly salt stains on my winter boots, the trashy mess of the floor mat in my car....but that seems uninspired. How I look when I wake up in the morning. But, who should have to look at that!

But, I feel compelled to make this point.


No, it's not all good!

Instagram is just a little too precious to be real. I feel like we are all trying to be Gwenyth Paltrow.

We all have children. They are all adorable - sometimes.
And sometimes not (and those moments never make it to Instagram.)

We have moments when we look good (and those go on Instagram) and we have moments when we look bad (and those don't.)

We have insights when we see beauty and post it.
And sometimes life is really ugly (and don't post that so much.)

What would Carl Jung say about Instagram and the shadow? See here by clicking the link:

Shadow definition on wikipedia

I would love an Instagram celebrating the shadow. I think the shadow is so much more interesting!

So, what to do? I guess the answer is obvious.

No one cares what you think about this, Alecia.





Thursday, February 20, 2014

North Dakota Weather Alert...on U Tube.

This is actually funny in a Coen Brothers kind of way...especially given that we are currently experiencing another blizzard.

North Dakota Weather Alert (or just plain Midwestern Weather Alert


DATE CORRECTION! PLEASE JOIN ME FOR MORNINGSIDE AFTER DARK

I made a mistake!
The uber cool Monday evening coffeehouse is FEBRUARY 24! (Not Jan. 24)
Alas, my brain is snow-filled.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Here's the recent article:


Morningside After Dark

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Writer's Block

I admit it. I either have blogger's writer's block or I am just too darned busy designing rooms.
I did write for about 4 hours today - but not on my blog.
I have a  few ideas, but can't find the time to put it down on paper.

So, please, give me the privilege of one good writer's block and then, I'll get over it and get back to writing here.

In the meantime, I have some good old posts - especially 2007 - 2010 in Italy and in NYC.

Happy almost end of winter!

And if you have nothing to do on Monday, Jan 24, please join me...this is supposed to be a happenin' event. Last month , 150 people showed up!!!!

leave it to Rebecca. She's a rock star at getting people together.

Morningside After Dark - Coffee House - Music and Stories

xo
a

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New year...new website!


510 Groveland. Photo by Susan Gilmore.


                                             Here's the link to the website : Alecia Stevens

Blasting this out on facebook and my blog because I really am so excited. Kim Kalina, my web "master" and I have been noodling about updating by website for about six months. Just throwing around ideas. Then, over the holidays, with all that down time, I sat down on the sofa and all those disconnected ideas became very clear and visual and I laid out exactly what I saw and Kim put it all together with the touch of her brilliance around "optimization" which I know nothing about!

In the end, we pulled this site together in one week and it was such a great example of that letting down so that ideas can rise up. I've had it happen many times. But constantly forget that it really does work, so all too often, I push and push and push to solve a question when I should really just go take a walk.

I feel like I'm inviting you into my home...come on in. Sit a spell.