Tag Archives: Dansko

Open Your Heart by Wearing More Green

               Chiles de pasilla, fresh and forest green                                                                                          Chiles de pasilla, roasting on the stove                                                                                            Chiles de pasilla, stuffed with cremoso cheese                                                                                  Chiles de pasilla. Hey, they’re not all for me?!

The vibrant, green, giving heart. To give gives us so much. Whenever I’ve left my childhood home, my dad (and my mom – when she was alive) tries to make us take things.

“Here, Laura, I’ll never eat all this cheese!”

“You wanna take some avocados?!”

“Laura! The figs!” (Calling out the front door, us in the car, motor running most likely)

Here, I stand under that giving fig tree, feasting iridescent Japanese beetles buzzing around my head. The images are bookended by pasilla chiles, fresh and after transforming into chile relleños for my dad’s 91st birthday. One of the many things he’s taught me are the benefits of a giving heart. The happiness it brings him to give was understood by me on a deeper level when my boys were born. I tried to stop him from giving so much to me as a young adult. I was the youngest of his five – the only girl – so, of course I was out to prove my abilities and independence. Once I became a parent, I realized that in a way there was no separation between us. To give to my sons was and is to give to myself. To see them happy is to be happy myself. In our best moments – with friends, with strangers – this is a connection that is not blood related.

The green, heart chakra is about giving, loving, and openness. When I was looking into how to improve in terms of prosperity (Why, you ask? You are crazy rich with all those figs!), I was surprised to see how prosperity was connected to the green heart chakra. I read about how we can work so hard and not get anywhere if we are not generous – generous with our love, with our time, with our resources. The more I contemplated this connection, the more it made sense. We attract whatever we need when we are consistently in a state of open heart giving, of breathing in and out. I have learned that it must start with myself. If I am hard on others it is because I am hard on myself. I aim to be softer. I aim to be more loving with myself.

When my younger son was just a wee little man lying in a hammock outside holding his ukelele, he liked to ask me, “Guess who I love the most in the whole world.” Sometimes I would name different people. Sometimes I would just ask, “Who?” Always the same answer in those days. “Me!” I loved that. I knew exactly what he meant. He was giving us a gift by loving himself so much. He enjoyed himself, laughing and singing his songs, making the world a better place. Laughing, loving, giving, green heart. No wonder it’s his favorite color.

Recipe for chile relleños using chiles de pasilla. I used the recipe from this book, a favorite in our kitchen when I don’t have notes from my mom!

Dress (friend’s closet clean out) by Alpana Bawa. Top (another friend’s closet clean out) by edmè and esyllte Shoes by Dansko – similar here. Necklace by Nicole.

Chile photos by Evan Hartzell. Fig tree photos by Aristotle Hartzell.

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Sade in my Day

  

        So, like I said in my last post, I’ve been space clearing. I don’t mean just going through a pile of papers or one box of photos or a closet. This is a whole house. It’s all going down at my childhood home where I grew up – the only house I grew up in, the house with an attic, the house with a closet under the stairs, that once had whole bedrooms devoted to storage, with endless forgotten kitchen cabinets and the house with a deck full of tarp covered boxes.

Although it is emotionally exhausting going through your whole life history, there is a ton of benefits. For example, revisiting different chapters of your own style through photographs, letters, sketches, music and maybe even a few articles of clothing can teach us a lot about ourselves. One such chapter I revisited with enthusiasm was the Sade chapter.

In terms of music appreciation, there is no Sade chapter. She has been my favorite vocalist since I discovered her in the 80’s. With no other artist would I read every word of every song she wrote before putting the new vinyl on the turntable for the first time. Her lyrics are just as important to me as her delivery, her vocal sound, and the band’s musical collaboration with her. In 1987, as I completed my Tess chapter over the summer, I entered college ready to embrace the Sade chapter of style.

While the Tess chapter was a country bath full of lavender flowers that washed away all of the glitz of eighties blue eyeshadow and Wham U.K. day glow, the Sade chapter was about growing up into an artist with classic and sophisticated style that was at the same time European and embraced diversity. Sade represented a simplicity that spoke of strength and individuality. I felt like I had a lot in common with her at the time. She was born in Nigeria, grew up in England, went to art school where she studied fashion, and afterwards when she helped out some friends who needed backup vocals, found her love of writing songs. I also felt like I was bicultural growing up in Southern California with a firm grounding in all things Mexican. I got into fashion school, made a detour to an art major, where I also “helped out” some friends who needed vocals for their electronic music class. Lyrics also came to be one of my favorite parts of the music process as well.

My Sade chapter of style really took off when I decided to be her for Halloween in 1987. Of course, I doubt anyone knew who I was channeling at the time. I continued with this inspiration on and off for at least a year. Hair pulled back, red lipstick, gold hooped earrings, with a lot of denim, black and white. At one point, I even found it necessary to invest in a black bolero hat. The best word to describe what I thought of her style at that time would have to be “cool”. Just like her approach to creating and her approach to life, her style expressed integrity, brevity, a sense of being comfortable in her own skin. For a woman of color who was expanding her “languages”, it was a whole collection of qualities that could help me make this transition from girlhood to adulthood.

Pulling a black dress from the way back of my closet, which I wouldn’t normally wear these days, as I am so addicted to color, I paired it with a white shirt that was a recent thrift store find. Black and white? What was I doing? So unlike me these days. And then it hit me. The Sade style chapter was making an appearance – a result of all this unearthing of the past. The gold hoop earrings are updated. One side of my head is now pretty short as it’s pulled back. Red lipstick? That hasn’t gone anywhere. Some things just stick.

I like the idea that time is a circle. My synesthesia lets me see this moment as a spinning wheel, each spoke in the wheel a different moment – past, present, with inklings of the future. As they spin together, they become a beautiful blur, the miracle of our evolution.

Dress by Patagonia, shirt by American Eagle (boyfriend fit) – thrift store find, shoes by Dansko, earrings by Mingle, necklace by Evan Hartzell. All photos of outfit by Evan Hartzell.

Some of my favorite Sade style moments.

Some of my favorite Sade style moments.

Color Lift

            

When in doubt, throw color at it.

There are so many things you can do when you need a lift. For example, I was talking to a young long distance runner who said imagining her favorite foods during a race makes her run faster. I’m sure this doesn’t work for everyone. Food might be the last thing on some people’s mind when they are fighting the urge to lose their lunch during a two mile race. But we all have certain things that just to think of them, make us feel happier. I have to say it’s all connected to the senses. And for this post, it’s all about sight. It’s all about color.

Feeling a little boring, lost, or sad? I say throw color at it. Color just makes me happy. As an artist, I love mixing colors. I love spotting a good palette whether it’s on a building, a graphic, or yes, on a salad. If this outfit was a salad, it would be a Japanese-Mexican-Chinese salad with a little Danish inspiration at it’s base. Seriously, I can’t help feeling cheerful or at least tropical when I throw on hot pink, red, and gold, on a bed of turquoise. Delicious.

Blouse homemade by my mama – Japanese cotton and 70’s sewing pattern, skirt is the bottom of a dress that was left at our house by my aunt when when she was visiting from Mexico, purse from Chinatown, Los Angeles, and shoes are by Dansko.

All photographs by Evan Hartzell.