an open letter of thanks

 

 

Dear Mr. Osborne, Mr. Mankiewicz, TCM Staff, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, TCM Party and many distinguished guests:

I cannot thank you enough for your gracious hospitality and entertainment this past weekend at the 5th annual Turner Classic Film Festival. As this was only my second year to attend, I am fully confident that I will be attending every year, as this is one hell of a party.

Hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, you were gracious, patient and truly engaged with all the guests, those famous and those famous in our own minds. The entire TCM staff, from producers to greeters, were genuine and really looked happy to be working. If this was not the case, perhaps you should consider work in front of the camera, because you were all very believable. Everyone received equal celebrity status treatment.

The Roosevelt staff, under pressure from the onslaught of guests requesting changes of rooms due to construction and early arrivals remained graceful and collected. The hotel itself is an homage to a more graceful and elegant era. You provided the staff to back those images up and it did feel like “Old Hollywood” rekindled.

Film screening poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Film screening poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Many classic and current film stars showed up to support the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Turner Classic Film channel. Every one of them looked out to our applause with humility, mutual admiration and style. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They reminded us of why we traverse from all over the country to see these classic films on the big screen.

Alec Baldwin with Don Was intro "A Hard Day's Night" Illeana Douglas interviews Richard Dreyfuss
Alec Baldwin with Don Was intro “A Hard Day’s Night”
Illeana Douglas interviews Richard Dreyfuss
Ben & Jerry (see what I did there) Ben Mankiewicz interviews the legendary Jerry Lewis
Ben & Jerry (see what I did there)
Ben Mankiewicz interviews the legendary Jerry Lewis

 Finally, I offer my full gratitude to my #TCMParty pals. I am not yet a seasoned veteran of the festival, and still easing into the marathon of movies. But, this I know is true: there is just something special between this group of “friends” that see each other once a year and are pretty damned excited about it. Some of you, I finally met after years of tweeting back and forth. We are not strangers at all, just like-minded people with a passion for old movies, the strong link in our social media friendships.  It doesn’t matter where you come from, simply hashtag tcmparty and you’re in; our secret handshake, not so secret.

@AlanHait @CitizenScreen @IrishJayhawk66 @willmckinley @joelwilliams1 @MonsterResort @NitrateDiva @TCM_Party @cinebeth
@AlanHait @TheDarkPages @CitizenScreen @IrishJayhawk66 @willmckinley @joelwilliams @MonsterResort @NitrateDiva @TCM_Party @cinebeth

There is definitely a feeling of melancholy that April 2015 is now so far away. But, in the meantime, I’ve got TCM on the television as I write and Twitter at the ready. Robert, Ben and the gang all ready to just hang-out together online, until next year. The only thing missing is my own, personal Roosevelt staff. *sigh*

 Fondly,

                                       Jackie Stallings

this is "living lola"
this is “living lola”

soulful spring cleanse

via dawnontheville.wordpress.com

I’ve done nothing but clean, cull and move since January! I am so over it. So, I’m offering up a different kind of spring cleaning. You know how I love to be different.

The Windows=Attitude.

How do you see the world? Your world? This is all you; your attitude. Do you need an attitude cleanse? A cold, long winter can build up feelings of inner despair. All that hunkering down with comfort food because you “deserve it”, because your job is miserable, your relationship isn’t what you hoped, “True Detective” is over…whatever the reason. This I know is true: YOU are in control of your attitude. Guaranteed change only comes with change in you. Let’s Windex that attitude for the season and see what good energy reflects back your way.

What you send out through social media says a lot about your “window”, as well. (No, not that your hand on your hip makes your arm look thinner…we get it.) Are you sending out solutions or are you adding to the noise? Are you a hater or are you an inspiration to others? If someone were to pull up your “feed”, what are you serving up?

The Baseboards=Relationships

We all need a support group. Maybe not in a fluorescent lit room, in a circle of chairs, jones-ing for a cigarette, but a group of friends that support YOU, no matter what, without question, James Taylor/Carole King style: you just call out their name and they are there.

I wouldn’t have the gumption to write, live big or simply survive without my Scrabble girls. We started getting together for speed Scrabble, 10 years ago, but, then it became oh, so much more. We have gone through life and death together. We have prayed desperately together, we have traveled together. We have cried together. And, my God, have we laughed together. As we recently reminded each other, our friendship is based on absolute acceptance. We never have to apologize for ourselves when life gets in the way of our time together. True friendship should never be taken for granted, and the care and keeping of these special friends is vital.

I have a group on Twitter that shares a passion and love for classic film. I love when I have free evening, turn on Turner Classic, open my Twitter feed and instantly we are all together; offering trivia, critiques and laughter from all over the planet. Luckily, many of us will converge in Los Angeles next month for the TCM Film Festival; finally meeting some new faces and seeing others for our once a year blow-out.  Now, obviously this is more of a theoretical baseboard, but during moments of solitude or insomnia, I assure you, “they are real and they are spectacular”. I can always count on TCMParty.

Step out into the sunlight. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to search out and develop strong, empowering friendships with like-minded people.

The Junk Drawer=Procrastination

What holds you back from making those little, everyday decisions? Turning the report in on time, getting bills paid, cleaning out the emails, starting that DIY Pinterest project, signing up for that yoga class, healthy eating, exercising, etc? Procrastination.

Not going to write much on this, let’s not waste one more moment on it.

Pull that drawer out and dump it. Today is a new day. It is so easy to accumulate that junk drawer of excuses; all those lame little reasons for not getting started. You’ve always wanted to (insert exciting endeavor) So, go do it, already!

images

Your Closet=Life Changes & Letting Go

What, who are you needing to let go of to make the big decisions. What is holding you back from the life change you know you want? It’s just like those jeans you can’t throw away, because you swear you’re going to fit into them again. Look, I believe you will fit into them again, I really do. But, regardless of being a size whatever again, those stonewash, pleated jeans aren’t going to look good on anybody! You’re going to want new jeans!  If it doesn’t make you feel beautiful, pitch it. You have to clear out to make room for the new and improved.

If you have people in your life that don’t make you feel beautiful, well, pitch them. Those “friends” that pay back-handed compliments, talk behind your back, gossip and silently resent your life, have to go. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic Bette Davis scene with yelling and screaming. Just let them gently go. You don’t have to take those drunk dials in the middle of the night. You deserve better than that guy that pops in, conveniently at 2:20am, after the bars have closed. You most certainly do not need anyone manipulating your time, your life, your well-being.

It is time to let go of anyone that you cannot trust. Love, business, friendships, partnerships; trust is key. Without it, you have nothing. Let go and make room for the trusting, loving, healthy relationships that you deserve. Holding on to toxic, untrustworthy people is like holding on to a closet full of stonewashed mom jeans. Not good for anybody.

i_ve_got_your_back____by_shutter_shooter-d4vvxv1

The Fridge=Health & Prosperity

A perfect example of false over abundance. Toss the expired and recycle. Make a silent promise to only fill this cold box with healthy, fresh food that fuel your mind, body and soul. How many times have you opened your fridge, stared at the full shelves and proclaimed that there is nothing to eat? Clean, cull and be a good steward of what is on hand. Then, you open the space for fresh opportunity. New, healthy, exciting prospects. And, make sure that you always have that bottle of champagne chilling. That is you offering, your intention to bring celebration into your life.

Like when you’re done cleaning the fridge. Cheers.

The Crystal/Fine Jewelry=Family/Spouse

Look in the mirror, people. We are not getting any younger! Neither are our parents and sibs. One of the best things of 2014 for me, is that my mom has learned how to text. This makes life so much easier and I will forever be in debt to Steve Jobs. In this day and age, there isn’t any reason we cannot stay in touch with our family. It doesn’t have to be every day or even every week, but those delicate, precious gems that we lived with for the first 18 years of our lives deserve a shout-out every now and then. No matter your complicated history, they are the only ones that know your full history. Let’s keep them happy and keep them from testifying against you, if the case should arise. Everybody wins.

My grown children. In the 27 years of polishing and shining them up for the world, they are now out of the “safe” and on their way. Their OWN way. Not MY way. I’ve got my own roads to travel, my passport to fill, new goals and aspirations. What they need from me is simply my support and love. Sure, a little advice here and there, but no agenda of my own. I want them healthy and happy. I have no demands or expectations, besides the obvious. Be kind, put good into the world, make responsible choices, don’t go to jail and give me grandchildren someday. Please.

Psychologists are still out on soul mates, but I have proof and I am blessed. This relationship needs more than the infamous once a year polish. Everyday, your partner should feel loved, cared for and cherished. Simply. It doesn’t have to be big, epic events everyday. Just the basics: “Please”, “Thank you” and “I love you”. Don’t let too much time pass by without showing gratitude and admiration.  Then, it becomes as cumbersome as the laundry. It’s all piled up, you have nothing to wear, you’re totally overwhelmed and it kind of starts to reek.

And, nobody wants a marriage that reeks. Ever.

 

Happy Spring, dear friends & family. I thank you for taking the time to read LivingLola. I’m appreciative when you “like”. I’m grateful when you “share”. I’m committed to spreading a little “Lola” in the world, one little post at a time. Namaste.

 

 

 

 

inspiration for 2014

I know we have that kind of relationship. We don’t talk everyday. Yet, when we finally get together, it’s like time hasn’t passed. We don’t skip a beat. Just that kind of relationship.

I don’t want to be a buzz kill on NYE, but I am so ready for 2013 to be over. To end the longest year ever, I wanted to give you some straight up Living Lola inspiration.  Spunky anecdotes that really helped me through this tumultuous year.

These past few days have been filled with sending our kids back to their cities, cleaning out the fridge (so much damn food; Resolution #1: less waste) and willing the evergreen garland to last until the New Year or at least, heavy trash day.

The end of the holiday season always brings a little melancholy with that certain spark of hope. A clean start.  A new year.  Right after you throw out the gross food and dead evergreen remains.

Gratitude. Inspiration. Motivation. ‘Tis inevitable.

There is much to be thankful for, but there is also much work to be done. Larkin and I have big changes coming in 2014. I was just about to start making my lists, my resolutions, my game plan. Then, on the corner of Overwhelming and It Will Never Happen, I came across this:

This.

Elana Miller, MD
Elana Miller, MD

*Beep. Beep. Beep.*….Back it up.

Twitter is a funny thing. You read 140 words from people who are like-minded. People who share your interests. People who make you laugh with the scroll of a thumb. People you’d like to drink with at a cozy, neighborhood bar.

@ElanaMD has inspired me, made me laugh, offered advice.  And, “Holy Shit…” she has cancer. She could probably use a drink, too. Her blog post announcing her diagnosis will make you reevaluate your NY resolutions. Her humanity and candor will inspire you. I welled up reading her blog post, filled with emotion. She’s on my Twitter feed, for Godsakes!

Do we cry over Twitter/blogger relationships? (Do we really capitalize “blogger” or is WordPress spellcheck just fucking with me? (Resolution #2: less colorful language)

Well, I say “yes.” (To the first question, of course. Screw the capital ‘B’. Unless you’re Beyoncé, which obviously starts with a “Queen”, anyway.)

My Twitter feed is a personal, custom-made window to the world, as I choose to see it. Roger Ebert’s amazing tweets left a huge, gaping hole that I still miss. There are just some social media relationships that cannot be replaced.

I submit Dr. Elana Miller’s story for your 2014 Inspiration consideration.

LIVE your life and PRAY for hers. Pretty simple.

My story can wait. After all, we do have that kind of relationship.

 

Find amazing articles regarding mental wellness at www.zenpsychiatry.com. She really is brilliant. 

 

 

 

busy living

Busy just doesn’t cover it.

I am not complaining. I am more than lucky. I know that. I live a big, full life; trying to practice what I preach.

I was fortunate to spend a few days in NYC with my girlfriends. We did a little shopping, caught the musical “Once”, which I highly recommend. We stayed up late drinking champagne, played Scrabble in our pajamas and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was just one of those ‘good for your soul’ trips. Not hectic or over-planned. Just fun.

One of the best parts of the trip was taking a total tourist turn and hopping on a “Movie/TV” tour of the city. My  partner-in-crime, JWH, couldn’t contain the antics as I shot my hand up at every trivia question. I may have even sang a Seinfeld bit for the whole entire bus. But, I had to stop before I became the “obnoxious know-it-all from Texas.”

 We were more than fortunate to catch the last plane back to Texas before Hurricane Sandy hit. Since we are all seasoned Gulf Coast hurricane warriors, we would have found a way to “survive” at our swanky hotel. Larkin and my contractor were ready for me to get back home…and get back to work on our “little” project.

Project Restoration is steam rolling ahead. I have never worked with a more positive, dedicated group of people. I love our contractor, the crew, the plumbers, the electricians. They all greet me each day with smiles and “Miss Jackie” this and “Miss Jackie” that. What’s not to love?!

They sing along with the classic rock booming through the rooms. There hasn’t been a structural or design problem that we haven’t been able to solve creatively, not to mention easily. It just feels like we are a team, all working to bring this old house back to her old glory.

Bags unpacked from NYC and the contractor’s “to do” list all caught up, it was time for one of my favorite nights of the year. Halloween. I love, love Halloween. Dressing up, scaring young children, kid candy in “fun sizes”: I love it all.

Larkin and I, along with Jen and Tim (my sis and bro-in-law) dressed up as KISS.  As you can see, we are not camera-shy nor do we have a fear of jack-assery.

And, then, just like that, it became November.

Our President was re-elected.  Now, suddenly, it’s almost Thanksgiving.

This week, I am holed up on Martha’s Vineyard at the cozy Red Door Cottage, far far away from the restoration and remodeling that is going on, back in Houston. The fire is going and holiday music is quietly filling the air.

So, in the spirit of the week:

I am thankful for this cozy vacation home. I am thankful for the soon to be completed home waiting for us, back in Texas. I am thankful for my husband that has worked hard to purchase said homes. I am thankful that he is getting a much-needed break.

I am thankful to have 3 out of 4 kids here this week. I am thankful that the “missing” daughter is realizing her dream and working in Austin. I am thankful for the family and friends that make my life full. (Full of what, exactly, depends on the day.)

I am thankful for my health, good food, Manhattans, TCM, the Pats, Scrabble gals, Twitter pals, laughter and my pup, Juliet.

 But, mostly, I am thankful that I have been busy living.