By Jake Gaines Photography courtesy of Jennifer Lynch
There’s a new book for children about inclusivity and celebrating our differences, that the author, Jennifer Lynch, wrote after spending nearly 20 years volunteering to help abused children as a court appointed advocate for foster kids through CASA in Austin. Titled Livi & Grace, the book teaches children to love their individuality and promotes the acceptance of others in a fun, short story about two sisters who are as different as can be.
According to Jennifer Lynch, these sisters know a secret that they’d like to share with you; Differences are interesting—and life enriching too. Appreciate what’s special about everyone you know, And love what makes you special, from head to tippy toe…. You’re perfect, good, and lovable—yes, just the way you are, And everyone is special: everyone’s a star.
But it doesn’t stop with the book. Parents and teachers can access free resources, such as coloring books, note cards, sample letters of kindness, and other interactive activities to supplement the book at www.jenniferlynchbooks.com by request. These tools can also be used by caregivers and teachers to talk to children about the deeper message of self-acceptance and accepting others.
“I have had the joy of working with children of all ages and all backgrounds,” said Lynch. “Every child benefits from a positive, affirming message. The looks on kids’ faces when they realize they are perfect and lovable just as they are is pure magic, and every child deserves that feeling.” Additionally, Lynch owns the You Are Good children’s clothing line, a precious line of children’s shirts with angel wings printed on the back. Since its founding in 2008, she has donated nearly 1,000 shirts to children in foster care and continues to donate 20 percent of the proceeds of that business to children’s charities.
Livi & Grace is available through the above link, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For every book purchased, one will be donated to children’s charities such as CASA, Literacy First, children’s hospitals, and beyond. The book was illustrated by Missi Jay. Her work has earned recognition from Print Magazine and the Addy Awards, and she won the Big Wig Award for best illustrator from the Austin Advertising Federation.
I just love doors. In fact, I love all kinds of doors, shapes, materials, and the design of them. And, the doors of the ages. Doors, you see, are really portals. They are entryways of transformation that lead us into a world of both old and new energies. Beyond that space, every door has its own story, whether it is a historic site, a church, or an elaborate social event (prompting the thoughts: where does it lead to, what will I experience, do I stay or will I leave?)…from ancient history to now.
In the history of mankind, there are many mesmerizing door stories. The history of doors date back to the ancient era of Egypt. The first records we have of them, ancient hieroglyphics, illustrate that there were painted versions on doors on the Egyptian tombs. These ancient doors were simple slab of wood hanging on hinges, since there was no fear of warping, due to the dry and hot weather of the desert. The Egyptians also used a false door, that was placed in the tombs, that led to nowhere. These doors were known as the doors to the afterlife.
All doors can have their own magical story…even yours. They represent beginnings and endings that you can enter and exit at will. Do you open it or do you close it? Doors are all symbolic and can represent decisions, discoveries, opportunities, and goodbyes. They have a magic about them no matter how elaborate or simple.
DOORWAYS TO BEHOLD
Throughout our lives we come upon many doorways and thresholds. We encounter many beautiful doors that were built centuries ago, some still remaining. It is almost impossible to choose for this article, so I have chosen these…
One of the world’s most famous doors is in our own backyard…in Washington D, C. It is the 17-feet high bronze doors that have series of ornate cravings leading to the rotunda of the United States Capitol. They depict scenes from the life of explorer Christopher Columbus.
Another is the Holy Door in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This sacred door is normally bricked up and only opened on special years, known as jubilee celebrations. They look rather modern now, since these great bronze panels have been replaced by wooden ones in 1949 for preservation reasons.
The world’s largest door was installed in the world’s largest building as a part of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building located at Cape Kennedy, Florida. It stands 456-feet tall to accommodate the 38-story rockets that have to be held in upright positions. In fact, it takes a full 45 minutes to open and close these massive structures. That’s a bit of trivia to know when you watch the next launch on television.
Two internationally famous doors that have been in the news over the last year are the Portal doors depicting the Last Judgement are in Paris in the Notre Dame Cathedral that was damaged by the fire in 2019, but is now under repair. Another set of doors is at 10 Downing Street at the entrance leading to the headquarters and residence of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The door, solid black, has a large brass knocker and high on the door, with a white painted number 10. You’ve probably seen it many films, written in books, photos, on television, and also, often in political interviews.
DOORS OF BEAUTY
So many doors, so little space. One door has a delightful story you may not know, but many women can identify with. It’s the Red Door made famous by the beauty queen, Elizabeth Arden, who paved the way for the countless spas and cosmetic industries to follow (she was into self-care way before the others). In 1910, Arden opened her first beauty salons on Fifth Avenue in New York and made an iconic statement with her red. painted door (as well as her iconic perfume, Red), all of which became her trademark as similar as the Coca Cola and the Singer sewing machine were to the world. Today, there are still Red Door salons all over the world.
Like many doors, the Red Door has a story of a deeper meaning. Arden’s intense rivalry with fellow beauty magnate Helena Rubinstein (the European-born) expert who came to the U.S. in 1915 and set up a salon just seven blocks away from Arden (but with no red door at the time). The battle began, as rumor has it, when Arden declared war by painting her door Red, a warrior color. The two never met, nor referred to the other by name. The Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical War Paint that ran recently was based upon their rivalry and won four Tony nominations. Every door has a story the rivalry, continued beyond their deaths, as their empires continue to grow. Beauty is power. Everything in the Universe resonates and vibrates at its own frequency, so the next time you approach a space blocked by a door, remember that the space has a story. So, open it like an opportunity or new experience, or, close it as a decision or finalization. Go ahead, open the door to your own story.
In the ongoing wake of COVID-19, so many issues are being addressed beyond the pandemic. Direct Orthopedic Care (DOC) and its founder Dr. David Hassinger are committed to ensuring their emergency rooms are available for COVID-19 patients. In fact, DOC has seen a radical spike in patients with injuries and needing medical care (especially sprains and broken bones). This is due, in part, to people staying home–yet going outdoors to exercise and trying new activities. Ironically, a number of these are from parents and children as they cope with the never-ending “recess” brought by shelter in place.
If you’re like millions of Americans who unexpectedly found their jobs affected by COVID-19 restrictions, you may be spending much more time at home now. People are becoming very creative with ways to help stave off boredom and stay active with this extra time, from homemade gym equipment to backyard obstacle courses. For many parents who find themselves confined at home with their children, the seemingly never-ending “recess” has become a great time to reminisce about the fun of younger years. Many parents are excitedly jumping right back into old routines, breaking out the skateboard from their teenage years or hopping on bikes for a family ride without realizing that the body is no longer used to the motions or capable of bearing the load on the joints. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in orthopedic injuries, from broken bones after a spill on the concrete to muscle strains from throwing the old baseball. Even something as simple as walking pets has landed people at orthopedic urgent cares with injuries such as dislocated shoulders, as excited dogs unaccustomed to going for walks yank on leashes.
So, how do you avoid an emergency trip to the orthopedic doctor? To help avoid orthopedic injuries and avoid an ER visit during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are the top seven safety tips for parents and children of all ages, according to DOC and Dr. David Hassinger:
Wear proper fitting shoes. Kids grow fast and don’t always want to part with ‘their favorite’ shoes. However, a routine check of the footware they most often use in recreational activities can help avoid sore feet as well as potential missteps. And, if they aren’t great about tying their laces, wrecking on a bike as a result of a lace caught in the chain is a painful reminder.
Wear protective gear, and adjust it as needed to the appropriate fit. The importance of a fitted helmet during any other sport or activity where the head and / or neck is at risk cannot be understated–especially for children. Unfortunately, most helmets aren’t fitted properly. Once again, kids grow and helmets get smaller as the ‘dome’ gets bigger with growing brains. This is an area where ‘hand-me-downs’ aren’t practical. Helmets crack, don’t fit like they do on the last kid, etc. Helmets have come down in price and there is wild variety of cool styles. Get several. Make a safety and fashion statement.
Old Dogs can create new injuries for kids. There are all sorts of memes and social media examples of dogs getting more walking time than ever. Unfortunately, not all old dogs can learn new tricks—quickly. Untrained hounds are tough to handle, even for an adult. For kids and adults, dogs can easily strain and even dislocate joints. If your pooch is new to a leash, shorter walks will benefit you both. Also, less leash given to the dog makes it easier to control. Start with a tighter reign until you both get used to the strain.
Follow the 10 percent rule. When adding distance (longer bike rides, skateboarding, etc) or engaging in a new activity avoid the impulse to ‘perform like a superstar’ right out of the gate. Instead, remember the ’10 percent rule’: Take smaller steps (10% more) in advancing your effort and skill level. Every adult and child has seen how a favorite activity has been performed by ‘the experts’. It’s only natural to want to emulate. A slow and gradual increase in pursuing ‘stardom’ will increase your skill level and reduce your chance of overuse injuries or worse.
Go for a “test drive.” Before you hop on a skateboard or build bike ramps to show off your childhood skills to your kids, get a feel for the movement of the board or bike on soft ground. While it may be true that you don’t really forget how to ride a bike, it might take a ride or two for muscle memory to kick in.
Don’t just rub dirt on it. Don’t try to push through pain, as it is your body’s natural alert system when something isn’t quite right. Rest when your body says it’s time. Peer groups and many team sport cultures can foster a ‘play through the pain’ mentaility. It’s ok to tell your coach (mom) that you’re having pain. It could be minor, or it could be something more serious. Fostering an awareness of how a child feels when their body is performing normally versus when it doesn’t feel right will pay dividends and help avoid injury.
Remember, your body is amazing and can quickly adapt to your more active lifestyle, when properly prepared. Be sure to follow all appropriate guidelines for your safety and health, taking into account your current physical activity level before beginning any new exercise regimen. Should you experience any injuries involving muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones, visit an experienced orthopedic specialist for proper care (or call 911 for emergencies). From the team at Direct Orthopedic Care, which has 10 clinics across Texas and Oklahoma, including five in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the walk-in, immediate-access orthopedic clinic that treats minor to severe orthopedic injuries, including emergency surgery.
By Lance Avery Morgan Photography courtesy of EvolvE
As we think past COVID-19, we definitely have some luxury health treatments in mind for the near future, don’t you?
In a world run with autoimmune diseases, allergies and chronic pain, it’s not surprising that in Austin, a city known for its propensity for health, is making great strides in the arena. EvolvE has become a sanctuary free from harmful toxins and brimming with holistic services. “I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s nearly 10 years ago and didn’t feel medication was the best option for me,” says Shannon Maddalena, one of EvolvE’s founders.
“So, I consulted my nutritionist who put me on a healthy path to recovery. She has a Ph.D in Biochemistry and I trusted her guidance immensely. We’ve had great success working solely through nutrition. People are looking for alternative options to medications, options that don’t include treatment that can create other conditions. That’s how EvolvE was born as a destination in Austin: we are working with the body’s natural abilities to accomplish a goal, whether it be better sleep, improved immune function, reduced pain, more energy or recovery. Holistic services work with our intrinsic healing powers.”
At EvolvE, every service and product is vetted thoroughly before being added into Austin’s State-of-the-art Wellness Center. Housing myriad services for Austinites and travelers alike, their core principles are focused around the whole health of the human. “We only have this one body. In order to thrive, we need to make great choices for ourselves, our families and our future,” says Shannon Maddalena, as we caught up with her to learn more about creating more health in our lives…
LANCE AVERY MORGAN: What is your favorite motto for yourself and the way you live your life?
SHANNON MADDALENA: In order to care for our loved ones, we have to have our own basic needs met first. Self-care is significantly underrated. Please place the mask over your own nose and mouth before assisting others is what parents are instructed on flights in case of need. We often don’t take enough time for ourselves.
LAM: What inspired you to open a wellness center?
SM: After I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, I decided to embark on a journey to find real answers. I worked with a nutritionist to avoid medication and to keep my health intact. We have had great success through diet alone, but avoiding toxins is part of the plan to keep me thriving. While I was on a non-toxic path prior to my diagnosis, I pay much more attention since then and employ it in every aspect of my life now.
LAM: How has your diagnosis changed how you look at products?
SM: We don’t typically learn what we’re putting on and in our bodies until we get sick. When our members tell their stories, they resonate with me because I’ve been there. I think the take away is to share our experiences more. We should be on our own path to become and stay healthy, rather than working to correct sickness.
LAM: How do you choose which brands to carry?
SM: We curate brands based on various guiding principles. I look for botanically rich skincare, sourcing organic or wild crafted ingredients without fillers, synthetics and toxins. It’s important to us that the brands we carry are mindful about ethical and sustainable sourcing, as well as avoiding animal testing. Green beauty takes a tremendous amount of time, attention and awareness to create, but reaps amazing rewards in terms of both results and, more importantly, our health. While these products are a bit more expensive, it’s important to understand that quality ingredients are more expensive to procure and produce.
LAM: What does ethical beauty mean to you?
SM: For me it starts with passionate founders of companies wanting to create products that are not only great for the people who use them, but foster a positive work atmosphere, and offer fair pay. It also means keeping the environment in mind when producing and manufacturing the ingredients in their products, and making decisions about how to test their products.
When it comes to purchasing products, it means understanding that we put our guests’ health first and helping them learn how to source great products in everyday life. In supporting companies that avoid toxins, we are not only improving our health, but that of our environment as well. As sales of organic, sustainable, ethically oriented companies increase, sales of dirty products decrease and large companies take notice. Your best vote is with your dollar.
LAM: How do you apply this to your business?
SM: We thoroughly vet all vendors to ensure their philosophy is in line with ours. We look for companies who refuse to use harmful ingredients on principle, and foster meaningful relationships with companies who share our core values. We often have events where we can spend more time with our guests answering questions and helping them make the best choices for where they are in life. Clean options are not the least expensive, but they are worth the purchase. We help guide people within their budget.
LAM: What beauty services do you provide?
SM: The skin division of our Wellness Center offers corrective BioEnergy, Nanotechnology and Stem Cell treatments as well as Hydrating Treatments and facials to get acne under control. Utilizing nature’s most nourishing ingredients, we can get the response we are looking for with our skin. Our products are botanically rich, nutrient dense collections housing peptides, vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, and superfoods.
LAM: Plus, I personally love the Cryo chamber treatment. There’s nothing like it that I have ever experienced as a treatment for reducing inflammation, which also is a leading cause of disease. Why is it important to stay away from toxic ingredients?
SM: Toxic ingredients age your skin and are absorbed into the body. It isn’t a one-off application that makes a difference, it’s the combination of the products we use all day, every day. It makes a big impact over time. In fact, everything at EvolvE is clean, from no VOC paint to the laundry protocol. Our entire facility is curated with health in mind. We clean the facility with the same ingredients I use in my home, Tea Tree and Peppermint Oil. Our Massage Oils are certified organic or wild crafted, and our products are vetted for purity, sustainability and ethical practices.
LAM: How do you source the brands you offer at EvolvE?
SM: We procure everything from organic skincare to products for everyday life. Most products on the market today contain toxic ingredients. The key is to learn which ingredients to stay away from and read labels, or find a trusted source for your daily needs.
By Lance Avery Morgan Photography courtesy of YouTube
There have been many documentaries on the House of Dior–like Dior & I about Raf Simons point of view as design director. Then there were the documentaries, Inside Dior, and Four Seasons With Dior, to name a few, all of which have a decidedly modern point of view toward the fashion house.
We all know fashion can be a way to transport us from today’s “sheltering in” to another world away. Like to the past success of Christian Dior, the man who invented, and revolutionized fashion, with the New Look in 1947. Cue the recently released mini documentary on YouTube, Haute Couture, a pristine, 15-minute film directed by Henri A. Lavorel, who goes behind the scenes of the venerable fashion palace, 30 Avenue Montaigne, which was Dior’s original locale.
Haute Couture, both the documentary and craft, celebrates the high-profile, other worldliness that fashion represents at its very best. It takes us to the heady preparation of the Autumn–Winter 1949 collection and is narrated by Dior, the master himself. A flurry of models, design assistants and opulent fabrics sets the tone of the film for pure couture fantasy.
By Lance Avery Morgan Photography courtesy of Menachem Wecker
We all know that social media is supposed to create a connection. A deeper connection. But often, it can appear to be a tad too Hey, Ma. Look at me. So, what happens when children are the subject of social media? If it’s @arthistorybaby on Instagram, then magic happens.
The brainchild of new dad Menachem Wecker, an arts, culture and political journalist based in Washington, D.C., the subject is one close to his heart: his son, Aaron Wecker. It all started in February of 2019. “My wife and I took a picture of our son and I was struck by the way his right arm was dangling just so over the side of the bed, and something about that form and the palette of the image (extreme dark and light) reminded me of neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David’s famous 1793 work, The Death of Marat. I posted the two side-by-side and the handle was underway.”
Understanding the complexities of social media, Wecker admits, “I quickly set some ground rules for myself. I would crop and occasionally rotate or flip images of my son, but otherwise, there would be no posing (as if he’d ever move his arm or leg if I asked, or hold a position long enough for me to stage). And on a few occasions, I would self-censor images if my wife didn’t like them. The baby couldn’t talk, so he was stuck with my decisions, and friends told me they hoped I could generate enough money with the project to pay for the inevitable therapy he would need as a result when he got older (sadly, I haven’t yet managed to do that),” he quips.
With so many posts, I ask Wecker if any stand out, since there is a healthy mix of Modern, Neoclassical, Impressionistic, and just about every other form of art represented. “Looking back over the handle, I’m amazed to see how much he’s grown and changed in such a short time,” he notes. “But over the course of more than 14 months and more than 200 posts, some of my favorites are…
The way he used to sleep looking like he was doing Spock’s Vulcan mind-meld, or in a Yoda-style pose
When I realized he had Gene Wilder eyes, I couldn’t stop seeing it
With an art critic for a dad, Aaron has clocked more time in galleries and museums already than many adults, but he mostly sleeps or whines through them at this point, according to Wecker. “But I really do think his travels–quite a few states and some overseas travel as well–and the art and architecture we see together makes a difference. And, who knows if it won’t mean that when he sees things again as an older person that it won’t jog what he’s already seen on some level? And for me, having trained as an art historian, I’m able to imagine him through the history of art as a warrior brandishing a sword (perhaps having just slayed the terrifying Medusa), as Moses having come down from on high with the Tablets of the Law, or as a scholar-monk poring over medieval manuscripts. I hope someday he will see his dad as nearly as heroic as the potential I see in him now.”
The success of the social media experiment is now evident for the new parents. “The handle has already attracted a following that humbles me — an ambassador, curators and museum directors, and others,” muses Wecker. “I can see a bit of how tough it is to be a new, first-time mom when I see how much my son is drawn to my wife, but in a different kind of way, it’s also tough to be a new dad. This project is simultaneously therapeutic to me, and it’s also a way to keep my brain active at 3 a.m. when I’m trying to get my son to sleep. There’s so much uncertainty and scariness in being a new parent, and this helps ground me while also tickling my imagination.”
We are considering young Aaron Wecker to already be a hit on social media. “I assume the latter is just as important for new dads as it is for a (now) toddler, who is figuring this big world out and what he makes of these two strange people who are his housemates”, says Menachem Wecker. “It’s also the very stuff of which art and culture are made, and I think some of my followers have found this project to open their understanding of the works of art as well–whether they are familiar–or new–artworks.”