Month: May 2012


Living Marina

To be perfectly honest, I could spend the rest of my life trying to adequately write about living a whole life, taking chances, dreaming big and making your life, the best it can be. Yesterday, I read one essay that nailed it on the head. As I read the heartbreaking story about  Marina Keegan, my heart was full. My sister Jen said it best, “I know we shouldn’t question God’s plan, but sometimes we want to question God’s plan.”

In her too short 22 years, she was able to sum up a manifesto, an essay on how to truly spend your days. Ironically, she didn’t even know exactly what she had accomplished when she edited and proofread her final draft. She is inspiring, eloquent, humorous and above all, she is right. Sadly, her statement about having her whole life ahead of her was, tragically, incorrect.

Note to self:  START TODAY. There are no guarantees. Starting a new life doesn’t only have to come on January 1. A better you, a better relationship, a better job, a better life can start on May 30th, as well.

Yesterday, I was just telling my son of a tweet I had read that questioned why Americans have two days to honor veterans, as we should, but not one day to celebrate peace. He and I were imagining a national holiday spent working on doing good in the world. A day when we were exactly the person we knew we could be; the best version of our self. (Maybe it could be on John Lennon’s birthday, no?)

A day unplugging from the social world and plugging in to your real world; offering a smile to everyone, letting others go first, holding doors for each other, letting go of the road rage. Just looking up from our phones and into the eyes of the world would be a great start. And, we would call each other out with a simple , “Ahhh, it’s Peace Day, remember?!” and we would bring that person around and share a good laugh. We’ve been trained to pinch someone for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s day, for crying out loud, it could work!

I hope you will read “The Opposite of Loneliness” in its entirety, keeping the Keegan family in your thoughts, while putting the words of Marina into action.

“Let’s make something happen to this world.”

I … Read the rest

lifestyle, movies, Uncategorized

TCM, Classic Continuity

Spring has truly sprung on Martha’s Vineyard. One of the things I love most about New England is the changing of four actual seasons. When I arrived 3 weeks ago, it was still cold and the leaves and flowers were still waiting for their cue, holed up in their tight buds. With a beautiful Memorial weekend, the island joined in on a resounding, “TA DAA”!

When I am here, there is always something to do to keep up this 135 year old house. It is a job I relish. This summer, I have plans to re-finish furniture, convert the shed into a Pilates studio and maybe, just maybe, build a small deck. It’s a hammer and nails and measuring tape, wood planks, right? I’m sure there is a YouTube for that.

When I retire for the evening, watching old familiar movies is comforting. Especially since my dear husband is in Texas right now.  There are some movies I can watch over and over again. Currently, however, I am all about ‘The Avengers”. I saw it again this weekend with my kids, my second time, my daughter’s third. We are hooked. (I want Tony Stark to be real and in my life.) There is something about the familiarity of knowing the lines and what’s coming next that I find reassuring. It is like all is right in the world for 120 minutes. To be honest, we watched Star Wars on Friday night for the, hmmm, 237th time? (It WAS the 35th anniversary!) And, I could still watch again. Continuity can be extremely comforting.

Today, it’s back to work around the Red Door cottage. It is garden day. There are flowers to prune and arrange. And, after a weekend with the kids here, I’m sure a trip to the market is in order, as well. Before I head out, here are my TCM picks for this week. There won’t be as many in the coming weeks since it’s summertime and I hope you are out enjoying it. But, it is nice to have a couple of sure things waiting on the DVR after a long day outside, at the beach or wherever you summer days take you. Enjoy!



Thursday May 31

10:00 PM

BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)   The legendary bank robbers run riot in the South of the 1930s. Dir: Arthur Penn Cast:  Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard. … Read the rest


TCM Tuesday 5/22

It is a cool, dark, rainy day in New England, perfect for old movies. This is why I always check the TCM schedule and set my DVR for upcoming classic films. On evenings like tonight, I don’t have to lament that, even with 500 channels, there is nothing on TV!  My DVR is usually at capacity with masterpiece movies. To me, it is like having a well-stocked pantry, in case of a storm. Here are my pics for this week’s classic films.


Tuesday May 22

2:00 AM   GILDA (1946) A gambler discovers an old flame in South America, but she’s married to his new boss.  Dir:  Charles Vidor  Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready. BW-110 mins, TV-PG, CC

Ladies, take note: THIS is a siren performance. Hayworth performing “Put the Blame on Mame” shows how sexy can be sexier without getting graphic. This is the movie that the prisoners cheer in “The Shawshank Redemption” as Hayworth does her famous hair flip. The sexual tension between Ford and Hayworth doesn’t just simmer, it boils over. This is classic, sexy 40’s noir and Hayworth is the definition of “femme fatale.” Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered why the government’s nuclear testing bomb was named “Gilda”…well, you’ll see.


Wednesday May 23

6:30 AM   SAN FRANCISCO (1936) A beautiful singer and a battling priest try to reform a Barbary Coast saloon owner in the days before the big earthquake.  Dir: W. S. Van Dyke Cast: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy. BW-115 min TV-G, CC

This would be the Memorial Weekend blockbuster of its time. Star actors, lavish drama, great storyline, amazing special effects for 1936; definitely the blueprint for all of those 70’s disaster films. See if you can spot MacDonald’s opera gown that would later become Glinda’s costume in ‘The Wizard of Oz.” MacDonald and Gable are amazing in their roles, as they did not care for each other off-screen and never spoke to each other off camera.


8:30 AM   ALL THIS, AND HEAVEN TOO (1940) A French nobleman falls in love with his children’s governess. Dir: Anatole Litvak  Cast: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn. BW-143 mins, TV-PG, CC

Not the conniving, chain-smoking Davis, but a sweet, warm and innocent Davis. Barbara O’Neil earned an Oscar nomination for the crazy jealous wife in this tragic story based on a true 1840 French scandal. Most of the budget
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empty nesters, home, lifestyle, Martha's Vineyard, parenting

the summer of peace

I am getting settled for another summer on my beloved island. It is always a little bittersweet, because Larkin has to commute every few weeks. We really do hate to be apart. Texas is very far apart. It takes a car, a plane, another car and a ferry to get here. But, as a dear friend once told me, “if it were easy, everyone would do it.”

While here, I will get to spend more time with our two college kids. Jordan is finishing up at BU and can take the ferry over on weekends. The Boy is spending his summer here on MV, searching for a little summer job, a few gigs and a lot of artist peace and quiet.

In between ALL of those loads of laundry (!), he and I have had some long talks about peace, comfort with who your are and being comfortable in your own skin. Why is it so easy for some, while others have to really fight for a place at the table of calm?


Do you find yourself searching for peace?

If so, then please stop. Just stop. You cannot go out and search for it. Be still. Let it be. Allow peace to come into your life. It is there waiting patiently and quietly…after all, it is peace!

I believe some people do not see themselves worthy or deserving, so they fool themselves into searches for causes or purpose or bliss, whatever the current blog buzz word happens to be. It is like busy work, tricking yourself into believing that the search is the hard work. If you’re out looking for it, you are missing it altogether.

The hard work is being still. Accepting what is. And, simply, let it be. No shame. No judgement. This is life. As Katharine Hepburn put it, “Life is hard. After all, it kills you.”

We’ve always known that life is ups and downs, ebbs and flows. So, why can we get so thrown?

Conquering unhappiness, depression, addiction, insecurity, health issues, divorce, unemployment, financial fiasco, anxiety, obesity, self-harm, loneliness or even general malaise; they all share a starting point, a first step towards the light. It begins with peaceful acceptance. “It is what it is.” (Larkin’s favorite.)

Now, you are ready.

 Facing the issue, steadying yourself to be open to the calm, will bring you to a state of peace; an … Read the rest

home, lifestyle, Martha's Vineyard, parenting

No TCM, No Cry

TCM Tuesday from Martha’s Vineyard, has been preempted, in order to do the 11 loads of freshman dorm laundry.

I have had 3 girls return home from freshman year. This is my first boy. Did I miss something? Is there a protocol?  Was I supposed to just burn all of this?! Wow.

As I’m finally going to bed, I realize that I have an answer to the age-old hypothetical question:

If you were stranded on an island, who would you want with you?

Easy. Lorena. My housekeeper back in Texas.

Back to classic movies soon.


Read the rest


Happy Mother’s Day

I remember foolishly thinking:

If I can just get them to sleep through the night,

If I can just get them into full day Kindergarten,

If I can just get them to stay in their own beds all night,

If I can just get them into the right school,

If I can just get them to see their self-worth,

If I can just help them be self motivated,

If I can just get them through driver’s ed,

If I can just encourage them to make good decisions,

If I can just stay awake and wait up until curfew,

If I can just help them choose the right college,

If I can just get them moved into their dorm,

then, maybe, just maybe,

I can sleep through the night.

What a fool.

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare

The laughter, alone, has been worth the fool’s errand of perfecting motherhood.

I just want to say thank you to Jordan, Joshua, Monica & Nicole for humoring me.

I love you~Lola

Read the rest

lifestyle, movies, Uncategorized

TCM Tuesday

If you play by the rules, you miss all the fun~Katharine Hepburn

This week, we are celebrating the May 12th birthday of Katharine Hepburn and TCM is offering some of her classics along with a rare interview.  Hepburn is ranked the #1 woman in the AFI’s “50 Greatest Movie Legends”.

She has always been one of my personal favorites; playing dramatic and comedic roles in her own special way, on her own terms. She even did her own stunts since no one could stand up as straight as her; reinforcing my personal mantra to always stand tall.


Tuesday May 8

3:15 PM


An American artist finds love in Paris but almost loses it to conflicting loyalties.

Dir: Vincente Minnelli Cast:  Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant

BW-114 mins, TV-PG, CC

The studio created 44 dramatic sets despite Kelly’s wanting to shoot on location in Paris. The romantic story set against Paris with fabulous choreography, combined with the general Gene Kelly casual coolness definitely make this a bucket list musical. Kelly discovered Caron while on vacation in Paris and she replaced the originally cast Cyd Charisse, who had discovered she was pregnant. At times, the numbers can seem overblown, but really, you risk that in any musical when characters suddenly burst into song and dance. Although, I sometimes think, trying life scenarios could totally be diffused with a good, choreographed number.

2:15 AM


A heroic slave leads a revolt against the corrupt Roman Empire.

Dir: Stanley Kubrick Cast:  Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons

C-197 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

I have to admit that I did not see this film until last summer and I was so taken with Kirk Douglas. The film was shot on a 10 acre site in Los Angeles, using about 10,500 people for battle scenes; filmmaking before CGI.  Over 180 stuntmen were actually trained in the rituals of a gladiator, battle to the death. “I am Spartacus” was voted as the #64 greatest movie line by Premiere in 2007.


Thursday May 10

10:30 PM

I WANT TO LIVE! (1958)

True story of the small-time lady crook who fought to escape the gas chamber.

Dir: Robert Wise Cast:  Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent

BW-121 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

One of the first “old” movies I saw when I was in high school. I still Read the rest

books, home, lifestyle

The Art of the Gift- A Guide

The month of May always brings an onslaught of gift giving necessities with Mother’s Day, graduations and June brides. In our family, we even have several May birthdays compounded with Mother’s Day. I always refer to the second week in May, lovingly, of course, as “Hell Week”.

Here are some suggestions I have come across in my online search for mothers, grads, brides and birthdays.




Whether High School or College, I think The Every Girl’s Guide to Life by Maria Menounos is an exceptional gift. Her book is brimming with small the details that we have tried to instill in our daughters, but in that un-nagging, not bitchy, cool-big-sister sort of way.

She is not only a beautiful girl on the outside, but she lives her life from a unique, calm, beautiful center and her inner beauty is just as stunning.

Her advice, tips and ideas are brilliant and savvy for a young woman getting ready to conquer her world.




Since my first home is Texas, I will give a shout out to the King Ranch Saddle Shop for the perfect Texas Grad guy gift. They have an array of gorgeous, quality leather goods in a variety of price ranges. Their luggage is stunning, yet very practical. This would be an awesome gift for a Texas student going out a state. Classic and understated; proud to be a Texan.



If you are not a Texan, first of all, my apologies. Second, I will throw a little support to my island home, Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Vines has an amazing on-line catalog with great gift ideas that make shopping a breeze. They have a huge selection of collegiate  ties and tote bags, so your student can fashionably show support for their favorite school or alma mater.



Sure, couples make it so easy by registering for all of the things they think they are going to need. But, when there is that special couple and you want to give that special gift, one word: Tiffany’s.

When Larkin and I registered, we were that typical couple in ‘la la love land’ …clueless. Of course, I was 22 and did not really have a sense yet, as to what my home decor style was going to be. I just knew I wouldn’t be able to tack up posters on the wall anymore.

From … Read the rest

cocktails, Latina, lifestyle, Uncategorized

Derby de Mayo

Kentucky Derby! Cinco de Mayo!

What’s a southern Latina to do?

The Tequila Julep

Muddle 10 leaves of mint and half of a lime cut in wedges 

1/2 shot simple syrup or tablespoon of white sugar

2 shots of Herradura Anejo Tequila


top off with Topo Chico Agua Mineral

Inspired by Jordan Stallings (alchemist/filmmaker/activist)

Prepared by Larkin Stallings (nightclub sage/the most interesting Man in the world)

Viva la Derby!… Read the rest

movies, Uncategorized

TCM Tuesday

It is Turner Classic Tuesday and here are my picks for this week, including a birthday movie tribute for Audrey Hepburn.


May 1, 2012

11:00 AM

An Okinawan translator introduces U.S. occupation forces to the joys of local life.Dir: Daniel Mann Cast: Marlon Brando , Glenn Ford , Machiko Kyo .C-123 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

The 1954 Tony for best play and won the Pulitzer for Drama that same year. Apparently, Marlon Brando’s performance was so convincing as his asian character, that theater managers reported moviegoers requesting refunds because Brando was never on-screen. 

9:15 PM

A Cuban fisherman believes his long dry spell will end when he catches a legendary fish.
Dir: John Sturges Cast: Felipe Pazos Jr. , Harry Bellaver , Spencer Tracy .
C-87 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

I am a huge Spencer Tracy fan, thus the recommendation. Although Hemingway, himself, was not a fan of Tracy’s portrayal of his infamous literary character. Academy critics disagreed and Tracy was nominated for an Oscar.

May 2, 2012

4:00 PM

A phonetics instructor bets that he can pass a street urchin off as a lady.
Dir: George Cukor Cast: Audrey Hepburn , Rex Harrison , Stanley Holloway .
C-172 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format

Totally obvious, I know. But, just try and NOT imagine Stewie of “Family Guy” as Rex Harrison. ‘Tis difficult. But, cheers to Seth MacFarlane for basing a cartoon character after such a cultured, well…character. Always a classic, but it does bother me a little that Hepburn’s voice had to be dubbed. 

May 3, 2012

10:45 AM

An answering service operator gets mixed up in her clients’ lives.
Dir: Vincente Minnelli Cast: Judy Holliday , Dean Martin , Fred Clark .
C-126 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format

If you have never seen a Judy Holliday movie, you will either totally love or hate her. I weigh in on the “love her” side . I think she created the Hollywood version of the “dumb, actually smart,you can’t fool me blonde”.  I feel that Melanie Griffin was most likely influenced by her, although she has never told me that directly. Holliday re-created this role from Broadway, where she won the 1957 Best Actress(Musical). Sadly, this was her last film.

May 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Read the rest